Potential roadblocks are surfacing to the proposed Illiana Expressway that would connect Interstates 55 and 65 in Illinois and Indiana.
Two months ago, Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider was in Joliet to announce an aggressive schedule for the $1.2 billion highway, which likely would be a tollway. She predicted a 2015 ground-breaking date after the completion of an environmental impact study that's now under way.
But then three environmental groups — Openlands, the Midewin Heritage Association and the Sierra Club — filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago on July 10 to try to block the project. And on July 30, a staff analysis by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning criticized the Illiana plan, including its estimated cost and economic benefits.
The analysis, public comments and a staff recommendation will all be forwarded to the CMAP board and the Metropolitan Planning Organization board for review and votes in October. Federal regulations require the two boards to agree to amend their Go to 2040 long-term transportation plan to include the Illiana or environmental study cannot continue and the road won't be built.
The final CMAP staff recommendation hasn't been made, but the current analysis raises many issues with the 47-mile highway's planning by the Illinois Department of transportation.
CMAP staffers view IDOT's cost estimates as low. For instance, the study says the Illiana would cost $8.1 million per lane mile in 2020 dollars. But that estimate is much lower than similar projects, including the Interstate 355 extension through Will County that opened in 2007 and cost $18.9 million per lane mile.
Woman charged in foster child’s death released from jail
A woman facing murder charges in the 2011 death of a foster child has been released from the Livingston County jail.
29-year-old Heather Lamie posted bond and was released Friday. Her attorney was successful Thursday in having her bond reduced to $1 million dollars. She posted the necessary $100,000 to be released from custody.
Lamie is charged with two counts of murder and one count of endangering the life and health of a child in the May 2011 death of 4-year-old Kianna Rudesill.
If convicted of murder, Lamie faces mandatory life in prison. A jury trial has been set for Oct. 21.
Lamie is not allowed to leave the state and if she does, she is required to waive extradition back to Livingston County.
Riverside Medical Center Provided $41.5 Million in Community Benefits Last Year
2012 Community Benefit Report Released Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
KANKAKEE, IL (August 8, 2013) –Riverside Medical Center is committed to bringing health, healing and access to quality care for those living throughout the region. In 2012, this commitment continued as Riverside not only expanded existing services, but added new programs as well, providing more than $41.5 million in community benefit.
"Riverside Medical Center is committed to serving our community, supporting health and wellness for everyone and addressing future health needs, particularly in vulnerable and underserved populations," said Phillip Kambic, Riverside Medical Center president and CEO.
"Every day, our staff, physicians and volunteers work together to meet those needs through quality health services, wellness and education initiatives, charity care, and charitable contributions."
Of the more than $41.5 million of community benefits in 2012, more than $22.7 million of the total covered costs was for subsidized health services. This included Medicaid services (care provided to those in state aid program), and community health centers in Kankakee, Momence and Hopkins Park. New Life Center, ambulance services, health screenings, physician recruitment and health care education, and other services are also included in this figure.
The income, employment and insurance status of residents of Kankakee County result in the hospital caring for a large number of patients who are uninsured or underinsured, or for whom public program reimbursement is inadequate to cover costs.
In 2012, Riverside provided care to 230,312 patients. This included 165,071 outpatient visits and 40,841 emergency room visits. The number of inpatient admissions visits was 11,116. Riverside had 8,401 outpatient surgery cases, 3,953 inpatient surgery cases and 930 newborn deliveries in 2012.
New charges pending in beating death; blunt force trauma caused death of Gibson City man
Ford County State's Attorney Matt Fitton is reviewing the case against a Gibson City man who's charged in the beating of another Gibson City man. Aggravated battery against 34-year-old Ryan Nibbe could be bumped...since the beating victim died.
Autopsy results show that complications from blunt-force trauma caused the death of a 44-year-old Tim Robertson he died eight days after sustaining a traumatic head injury in an altercation with Nibbe at a Gibscon City apartment building.
Mr. Robertson had been in a coma at the hospital since July 28, after his skull was fractured during the altercation. He died Monday at Carle Hospital.
State's Attorney Fitton is considering filing additional charges of either second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter.
Nibbe remains at the Ford County Jail on a $150,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is set for 10 a.m. Aug. 12.