PIPER CITY, Ill. (AP) -- A fire at a north-central Illinois soybean plant remains under investigation.
Authorities lifted a partial evacuation in the tiny village of Piper City on Thursday afternoon and classes are set to resume Friday at a nearby school district. Officials shut down a section of the Ford County community near the facility after spotting smoke coming from the roof of the building.
No one was injured.
Investigators say they believe a chemical - aluminum phosphide - may have reacted with water from a leaking roof.
Dennis Higgins is Ford County's Emergency Management Agency coordinator. He tells The (Champaign) News-Gazette that authorities were worried about poisonous fumes being released.
Piper City has about 830 residents and is about 45 miles north of Champaign.
Appeal likely for cousins convicted of attempted murder
The Daily-Journal reports an appeal is expected for the Wade cousins, who were sentenced last week to more than 30 years each for attempted murder. The attorney for Jerrell and Jonathon Wade says his clients 25-year add-on sentences were illegal.
The Wades were convicted of shooting and nearly killing an unarmed man outside of a Kankakee barbershop. Both Jerrell and Jonathan Wade faced a mandatory 25 years in addition to their regular sentence.
Attorney John Ridge says the state never warned the Wades of the potential for extended sentences and says he plans to appeal them in Kankakee County Circuit Court.
Last week, a judge sentenced Jerrell to 39 years and Jonathan to 32 years. Ridge argues that the 25 years added on because a gun was used should be dropped. The state appears confident that a judge will uphold the sentences.
Under Illinois law, certain gun crimes carry sentences ranging from 15 years to life in prison.
The Journal reports, prosecutors must indicate in writing, when defendants face these extra years behind bars. Whether it is clear that they did in this case is under dispute.
JUSTICE RITA B. GARMAN ELECTED AS NEXT SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE
CHICAGO - The Illinois Supreme Court announced Thursday that Justice Rita B. Garman will be its next Chief Justice, continuing her remarkable and unprecedented journey to the top of the state's judiciary.
Justice Garman was chosen unanimously by her fellow justices to succeed Chief Justice Thomas L. Kil-bride, who will leave a notable legacy of achievement when his term as Chief concludes October 25. Jus-tice Garman will become the 119th Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court when she assumes the po-sition beginning a three-year term on October 26. She will become the second woman in Illinois to be Chief Justice and the second woman to head one of the three branches of government in Illinois. Her selection as Chief Justice on the seven-member Court culminates her long service to the people of Illinois. There are more than 950 judges in Illinois, and Jus-tice Garman has served in the judiciary longer than all of them--except one.
She first wore the judicial robe in 1974 as an associate judge in Danville in the 5th Judicial Circuit, and will mark her 40th anniversary as an Illinois judge next January 7.
"I am honored and humbled to have been chosen by my colleagues to serve as Chief Justice," Justice Garman said. "This office has been held by many great jurists, several of whom I have served with and count among my friends. I welcome the challenges and the responsibility that go with the role of Chief Justice because I know that I can count on the support of my colleagues at all levels of the judiciary and the members of the Illinois bar."
Justice Garman has served on the Supreme Court since February 1, 2001, about two months after Chief Justice Kilbride and former Chief Justice Robert R. Thomas were sworn in as justices following their election.
"I have served with Rita Garman for nearly my entire tenure on the Illinois Supreme Court," said Justice Kilbride. "We have not only worked together as colleagues, but she has become a dear friend. She has an extraordinary combination of intellect, temperament, and experience that will serve well our Court, our judiciary and our state.
Chemical smolders at Piper City soybean plant, school dismissed as a precaution
PIPER CITY, Ill. -- Officials say a chemical emitted a toxic gas at a Ford County soybean facility this (Thurs) morning. The unidentified chemical was smoldering after a water-reactive agent used to fumigate soybeans likely got wet during overnight storms.
Patti Thompson is a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Emergency Management. She reports Precision Soya officials in Piper City alerted the state this morning about the incident. The village of about 820 people took precautions, evacuating homes on the south side. The Tri-Point School District also dismissed students for the day and rerouted buses for the students return home.
Thompson says a two-block area around the plant has been evacuated and a hazardous material team from Champaign is heading to the scene. A nearby school district in Kempton canceled all classes for the day. The district's junior high school is across the street from the plant.
Ford County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Dennis Higgins said a pellot-product, used for poison control to control varmints, got wet from overnight rains. The moisture triggered a gas being emitted. Illinois Route 24 was also shut down from either direction leading to Piper City.
Precision Soya is headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The company operates 11 other similar facilities. The agricultural firm serves the seed industry.