Unemployment rates are up across East-Central Illinois. New numbers released by the Illinois Department of Employment Security show numbers increasing in Iroquois, Ford and Vermilion Counties.
In Iroquois County the jobless rate climbed from 6.0 to 6.8 compared to last March. In Ford County, the unemployment rate of 6.5 percent in March was up one-percent from a year earlier.
Vermilion County's jobless rate hit 8.4 percent during March. That was up from 6.8 percent a year ago. The city of Danville's unemployment rate rose to 9.0 percent – up more than 2-percent from March of last year.
The jobless rate in the Champaign-Urbana-Rantoul area climbed one-percent to 5.8 percent last month.
A Gibson City man was ordered back to prison for a 10-year term for his part in a fight that injured and killed another Gibson City man in 2013.
36-year-old Ryan Nibbe, prosecutors proved at trial, threw a punch that killed 44-year-old Timothy Robertson. Nibbe claimed it was self-defense. He told the court he did throw a punch but there was no intent to kill anyone; it was a tragic accident.
The re-sentencing came after an appellate court judge reversed an earlier 2nd-degree murder conviction that brought a 17-year prison term in 2014.
The judge reversed Nibbe's murder conviction, but upheld a felony Class 3 conviction for aggravated battery in a public place. A resentencing was ordered. In 2014, Nibbe was sentenced only on the murder charge, as Illinois law requires that a person who commits several crimes during a single incident be sentenced only for the most serious offense.
It was also noted, Nibbe has a lengthy criminal record, felony offenses. It's the sixth time he's headed to prison.
In recommending a 10-year sentence, State's attorney Randy Yedinak noted that Nibbe has been convicted of eight felonies since the age of 18. That's includes two prior convictions for aggravated battery. Yedinak said the convictions have landed Nibbe in prison five times already.
The Illinois Attorney General's office has issued a ruling that an emergency meeting the Kankakee County Board held in 2015 violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act.
The local watchdog group, OUTRAGE, brought the complaint to the state in regards to a lack of public notice of the August 19th, 2015 meeting. OUTRAGE argued there was no required 48-hour notice of the meeting.
The Kankakee County Board claimed it was an emergency meeting in which a 19 percent hike in the premium for its liability insurance coverage was scheduled to expire at midnight that day.
The premium on the policy was increasing from $976,000 to $1.9 million per year, according to the Daily-Journal. It provided coverage for public safety functions such as the county jail.
OUTRAGE filed an appeal with the attorney general's office regarding the lack of public notice. Under the law, there must be 48 hours of notice prior to holding a public meeting. The board called the meeting only several hours before approving the policy.
The only exception to the 48-hour notice requirement is a bonda fide emergency, which the attorney general has ruled is only appropriate for unanticipated circumstances.
The OUTRAGE appeal stated the county admitted to knowing the insurance coverage would expire about 60 days prior to calling the meeting. At the time, county officials said the insurance policy wasn't underwritten until the last minute and determined the lack of coverage was the emergency.
Kankakee County Board Chairman Mike Bossert said he disagreed with the ruling.
The Honorable Judge Michael Kramer will be swron-in as the newest Circuit Judge in the 21st Judicial Circuit Friday. A 3 pm swearing-in ceremony is schedled at the Kankakee County Courthouse. Chief Judge of the District, Michael Kick, sasy the public is welcome.
Officiating the ceremony will be Honorable Thomas Kilbride, Illinois Supreme Court Justice and Kankakee native.
Judge Kramer is filling a vacancy created by last September's retirement of Judge Kendall Wenzelman.
Judge Kramer is serving as the Circuit Judge-elect. He's been an Associate Judge since December of 2001, having filled a vacancy then with thye death of Judge Duane O'Connor. Prior to joining the judiciary, Judge Kramer was in private practice for 17 years in Kankakee. He's been active in civic and community affairs.
Like Justice Thomas Kilbride, Judge Kramer is also a graduate of Bishop McNamara High School.
Citizens in the PBL school district are getting a say in what the future holds for the Eastlawn School. The 91-year-old building is the district's oldest facility. It's been reported to have structural damage.
A community facilitating team is collecting feedback. A public hearing this evening...FROM 7 -9 PM .... welcomes input. The meeting is at the PBL Junior High school.
The local facilitating team has discussed options...building a new school near the junior high campus, or building an addition to the Clara Petersn Elementary School, which is home for grades 3 thru 5.