Mental illness delays sentencing for convicted-murderer
A scheduled-sentencing for 21-year-old Dushawn Johnson of Kankakee was delayed in Circuit Court (Wed). A mental evaluation will have to be reviewed after the court learned from the defense attorney that Johnson was "hearing voices."
Johnson was convicted (in April) for the 2010 shooting death of 24-year-old Maria O'Connor. She was hit by gunfire while innocently walking home from a job interview.
During a pre-sentencing investigation, it was revealed Johnson was "hearing voices" so now the mental illness possibility will have to be taken into consideration.
A tentative agreement has been reached between Iroquois County and members of the Fraternal Order of Police union. Details are not available, but a ratification vote is likely by the December County Board meeting.
An agreement would find at least one of three union negotiations put aside for the next three years.
An agreement was reached with a mediator during a six-hour session Wednesday, according to County Board Vice-Chairman Kyle Anderson.
"This could be ratified in December. It's a fair agreement; we didn't have to go to arbitration but instead through a mediator got it resolved," Anderson told WGFA News. "We're as pleased as we can be."
Anderson said it says a lot when we can get this done without having to go to binding arbitration.
Harms votes NO on passage of gay-marriage legislation
State Representative Josh Harms did not waiver from his stance on same-sex marriage this week, saying his belief is that "marriage is between one man and one woman."
The Watseka Republican voted against legislation to legalize same-sex marriage Tuesday (Nov. 5). Harms said "I still firmly believe that marriage is a religious institution between one man and one woman." . Senate Bill 10 passed the Illinois House with 61 votes and the Illinois Senate with 32 votes.
"I am disappointed that the state of Illinois has now redefined marriage by allowing gay couples to marry," Harms said.
In a prepared press release, Harms states "Senate Bill 10 does not protect any private citizen with religious objections; and businesses will be forced to host, cater, or otherwise serve gay weddings, even if their religion forbids it.
"Legislation is being drafted to try and institute these necessary protections to ensure that no one is forced to go against their faith. I will continue to fight for traditional marriage and the rights of those individuals and businesses that have religious objections to gay weddings."
Gov. Pat Quinn has stated he would sign the legislation, which would go into effect June 1, 2014.
Watseka citizens high-light community’s good points
Comprehensive Plan to guide future growth
A suburban-Orland Park (IL) firm is leading Watseka in a comprehensive plan that hopefully will direct community growth in the next 20 years.
Ginkgo Planning & Design, Inc encourages citizens to submit their ideas about the community. Future meetings welcome discussion from anyone with ideas to share. There were several "positives" pointed out about the Watseka community Tuesday night. And although all communities have negative issues to overcome, "building on the good things is key to finding ways to tell others why the future looks good," says Ferhat Zerin, Principal of the Ginkgo Group.
"There's history in Watseka, it's quite amazing and it should be showcased, Zerin said. There's a charming downtown that's in need of a rekindling effort."
The comprehensive plan, she said, is a plan. But the people here need to create projects and focus on the best possible projects that can produce the best results.
Zerin said she believes "every town needs that gathering place, a town square. Never underestimate that value of a square."
Zerin said "think big; the bigger the project the more government grant dollars will be available to make things happen."