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  • Parent Category: News

Buckley Man Sentenced to 7 Years for Fatal Wreck

WATSEKA — Circuit Judge Gordon Lustfeldt imposed a seven and a-half year prison term for a Buckley man who was involved in a fatal drunken driving accident in 2010. 

25-year-old Jordan Hasselbring pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated DUI.  The accident in May of 2010 killed 33-year-old Corbin Siddall of Lake Iroquois.  The collision happened at an unmarked intersection north of Lake Iroquois.

Hasselbring’s plea came just weeks before he was scheduled to stand trial for aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, a Class 2 felony.  Hasselbring will be required to serve at least 85 percent — or 6.4 years — of the 90-month prison term, according to Iroquois County State’s Attorney Jim Devine.

Hasselbring was facing up to 14 years in prison before a plea deal was worked out.

Devine said he accepted the plea deal because he did not think he could have argued for more prison time because of Hasselbring’s slim criminal record. Hasselbring had one felony conviction, from April 2004, for possession of a controlled substance in Ford County.

94.1 FM, WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Barickman Endorsed for Senate by 5 Central-Illinois Sheriffs

BLOOMINGTON — State Rep. Jason Barickman, R-Champaign, picked up endorsements from five Central Illinois sheriffs Wednesday in his bid for the Republican nomination for the redrawn 53rd Illinois Senate District seat.

The sheriffs and their counties are: Mark Doran, Ford; Mike Emery, McLean; Derek Hagen, Iroquois; Marty Meredith, Livingston; and James Pierceall, Woodford.

Barickman was appointed to the House in 2010 to fill the seat vacated by Shane Cultra, R-Onarga after Cultra had been appointed to the Senate to fill the seat vacated by Dan Rutherford’s election as state treasurer.

Barickman is now challenging Cultra for the Senate seat in a district that stretches from the Illinois River to the Indiana border and includes Bloomington, Normal, Pontiac, Gibson City and Paxton.

94.1 FM, WGFA


  • Parent Category: News

Former Kankakee Man Sentenced to 1 year and a Day; Pot, Weapons Found at Home

PEORIA — A former Kankakee and Colfax man who admitted to growing and dealing marijuana was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison after a judge reviewed a litany of praise for the defendant from his supporters.

37-year-old Leon Battiste was arrested in February 2010 after McLean County sheriff’s police found 180 marijuana plants in a sophisticated grow operation in the basement of Battiste’s Colfax home. Police also seized 4 pounds of the drug valued at $20,000 and five weapons.

Battiste, who later lived in Kanakakee, pleaded guilty in August to the manufacture or possession of marijuana with intent to distribute the drug.

In a commentary requesting a minimum sentence, his defense lawyer listed 43 positive traits offered by employers, neighbors, friends, and students of the marshal arts studio where the defendant was an instructor.

Supportes called Battiste “A gifted teacher and a champion of the underdog; a positive role model; and a genuine good person.”

The defense also argued that Battiste’s “physical appearance would likely make him a target for troublemakers in a prison setting. Unlike many criminal defendants, Mr. Battiste’s tattoos, piercings and other permanent adornments are a matter of expression, individuality and style and not related to gangs or crime. This distinction might be lost on inmates in the Bureau of Prisons.”

  • Parent Category: News

Livingston Co. eyed for food processing firms

PONTIAC — Livingston County may be a perfect spot for food processing and manufacturing firms, based on results from a countywide survey of business leaders.

Larry Vaupel, CEO of the Greater Livingston County Economic Development Council, plans to target those industries in the coming year in hopes that someone will locate a plant and add jobs to the market.

The 25-question survey garnered 75 responses from business leaders in Pontiac, Fairbury, Dwight, Saunemin and Cullom.

“We learned several things and gained a better insight into our county’s strength and weaknesses,” Vaupel said during the council’s annual meeting last week. “We also found some things that were very encouraging and some things to work on.”

Location, availability of land and proximity to markets were the top three reasons to do business in Livingston County, the survey showed.



  • Parent Category: News

Indiana governor to be featured speaker at Lincoln Day Dinner

CHAMPAIGN — Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels will be the headline speaker for the Champaign County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner on April 19.

Tickets, which will be $90 apiece, will go on sale to the public on Feb. 23 at the party's website.

The event will begin with a special VIP reception for sponsors and premium ticket holders at 6 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Conference Center in Champaign, followed by the dinner at 7 p.m.

Daniels also is scheduled to give the Republican Party's response Tuesday night to President Obama's State of the Union address.

"I love the guy. I've heard him speak before and I think he's terrific," said Habeeb Habeeb, the local party treasurer who said he helped persuade Daniels to come to Champaign County. "He's not pompous. He's just a regular guy."

Habeeb also likely will deliver the "State of the Republican Party in Champaign County" address at the April 19 dinner.

So far he is the only announced candidate to be the new party chairman, a process that will culminate the night before with the election of new party officers.

The event is expected to draw an estimated 800 people from Champaign and throughout Illinois.