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WIQI News Archives for 2022-12

Iroquois County Courthouse Closure Friday December 23, 2022

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Friday December 23, 2022. The warning indicated that Iroquois County could experience wind gusts of 50 mph with a wind chill of -40. This wind, coupled with the snowfall and drifting snow from Thursday’s winter storm, will likely cause treacherous conditions for motorists and possibly impassible roadways. For the safety of the Iroquois County courthouse staff, attorneys and the public who would be required to come to court, the decision has been made to close the Iroquois County courthouse for Friday December 23, 2022 from 8:30AM to 4:30PM. The Iroquois County courthouse is scheduled to re-open on Tuesday December 27th, 2022 at 8:30AM following the holiday schedule. Please stay safe. Sheriff Clinton J. Perzee

ILLINOIS STATE POLICE URGE PUBLIC TO STAY OFF THE ROADS AND OBEY SCOTT'S LAW DURING THE SEVERE WINTER WEATHER EXPECTED OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS

 The Illinois State Police (ISP) is asking the motoring public to stay off the roadways for the next couple of days during the severe winter weather expected To begin tomorrow.  If travel is absolutely necessary, allow enough time for travel and remain focused on the hazardous road conditions.  Slow down AND move over for those vehicles stranded on the side of the road and for those emergency vehicles and personnel assisting them. Scott’s Law related crashes are 100% preventable.

Coincidentally, Scott’s Law Day is recognized on December 23rd of each year to honor public safety workers and to remind motorists to slow down AND move over when approaching an emergency vehicle, or any vehicle with its emergency or hazard lights activated.

Within the last five years, the ISP has seen increasing numbers in crashes involving Scott’s Law violations (see table below). So far this year, there have been 25 ISP squad cars struck in relation to Scott’s Law violations and a total of 10 Troopers have sustained injuries from those crashes. During one of the first major storms of 2022, on February 17, 2022, ISP officials investigated five separate traffic crashes involving ISP squad cars. A total of five Troopers were struck during those crashes and four of the five crashes were Scott’s Law related crashes.

A person who violates Scott’s Law, commits a business offense and faces a fine of no less than $250 or more than $10,000 for a first offense. If the violation results in injury to another person, the violator’s driver’s license will be suspended for a mandatory period of anywhere between six months and two years.

All 50 states have mandatory move over laws to protect first responders, roadway maintenance workers, roadside workers, and all motorists stopped on the side of the road. Additional information on all crashes involving ISP squad cars can be found at the following link: ISP Trooper Squad Car Crashes.

“With the hazardous winter weather approaching, it is extremely important everyone follow the rules of Scott’s Law, which require motorists to move over when approaching emergency and other vehicles stopped on the side of the road,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “Our Troopers and roadway workers are risking their lives to make the roadways safe. Do your part, remain attentive, slow down, and move over, so that we all make it home safely, not only this weekend, but always.”

ISP SCOTT’S LAW CRASHES

2022

25

2021

22

2020

15

2019

27

2018

8

Watseka firefighters respond to two fires Dec. 16-17

Watseka firefighters responded to two fire calls Dec. 16 and Dec. 17.

Watseka Fire Chief Ken Baier said in a press release that the fire Dec. 16 was at 209 E. Walnut. Police called in the fire at 9:15 p.m. because there was smoke coming from the apartment, he said.

Baier said there was smoke throughout the upstairs apartment. The cause of that fire was determined to be that a resident was burning trash inside a metal container inside the apartment.

“(The) resident had been staying there without permission,” he said. “There was no water, gas or electricity to the apartment. The fire was put out with a pump can. Smoke was cleared from the apartment building and then secured by the owner.” He said there was no fire damage and the resident, unnamed in the report, was relocated to a hotel.

The second fire was at 9:15 p.m. Dec. 17 and was at 320 N. Third.

This was a basement bedroom fire, Baier said.

 

 

 

“Damage was kept to a basement bedroom,” he said in the report. “A wall outlet caught fire and then the clothes next to it caught fire, but the damage was kept to that room.”

Cause of that fire as a failure of the electrical outlet.

Baier said, “(The) owner called 911 stating that his house was filling with smoke but unable to see any fire. Fire departments responded and found smoke throughout the residence and after a primary search for fire its as located in a bedroom in the basement at the far side of the house.

“A single hand line was pulled and fire was a quickly put out. Everyone was out of the house. There were two dogs save and one cat unfortunately was not able to be saved. Four residents have been displaced. “

Watseka and Crescent-Iroquois firefighters responded to both fires and Riverside Ambulance responded to the fire on Dec. 16.

Baier said there were no working smoke detectors at either location.

Barickman Announces Retirement from Senate

State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) released the following statement announcing his retirement from the Illinois Senate.

“I have chosen to retire from the Illinois Senate, effective at the end of my current term, which expires on January 10, 2023.

“I have now served in the Illinois House and Senate for twelve years. My oldest son was born during the final days of my first legislative session, which quickly taught me about the sacrifices that would burden my family as I chose to serve. Those who know me are well aware of the priority I have continually attempted to place on my family. However, my other obligations have only increased, bringing further sacrifices. Throughout my time in the legislature, I have also had the honor to work as a full-time attorney, an adjunct college professor, and more recently as a partner in a real estate company that has grown much faster than I could have hoped for.

“Kristin and I have been blessed with a growing family, and our children deserve more of my time, attention, and involvement. My children are at special ages when parental involvement is critical, and I owe them my best attempt to make them the priority they deserve to be. However, for too long, Kristin and our kids (Augie, 11; Wally, 9; and Lia, 5) have tolerated a father who has had more obligations than time. I want to now give them more of me and am looking forward to getting more of them. My mom, dad and brother have also supported me at every turn. Now is a chance for me to give them more of my time as well. 

“At the same time, the wonderful people of the 53rd Senate District need a representative who can make them the priority they deserve to be. Representing central Illinois, first in the House and then in the Senate, has been an incredible honor and privilege which I have never taken for granted. During my time in office, I have had the opportunity to play a role in historic changes in our state. My passion has been to serve as an independent voice in favor of limited and responsible governance for our State. I’ve tried to demonstrate that there is space for independent and thoughtful representation, even in our increasingly polarized political climate. Solving problems legislatively, and just as importantly, working to address constituent issues, has given me an opportunity to prove that our government, as frustrating as it can be, can actually still work. 

“Throughout my career in public service, Kristin and I have met countless individuals who have become and will remain our closest friends. I am especially grateful to my colleagues in the Senate, and to the incomparable staff on whom we all rely. Kristin and I will be forever blessed by the kindness and friendship shown by far too many people to name here.

“What's next for me includes more time with my kids - fishing, outdoor activities, traveling, participating in their activities, shuttling them around, and hopefully avoiding many of the phone calls, meetings and conflicts that have too often pulled me away from my family. 

“I am announcing my retirement now to give the Republican Party leadership in my district time to fill this vacancy so that a new Senator can be seated at the inauguration of the new 103rd General Assembly in January 2023. I am very excited for this next chapter of my life to begin, and I wish nothing but success for the next Senator to represent the 53rd District. May God bless Illinois.”

ILLINOIS STATE POLICE MAKE ARREST FOR CRIMINAL SEXUAL ABUSE

 On April 27, 2021, the Illinois State Police initiated an investigation against Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) Assistant Warden, Edward Jacob, a 45-year-old male of Kankakee, Illinois, pursuant to an allegation of Criminal Sexual Abuse committed against other IDOC personnel. As a result of the investigation, two arrest warrants were issued for a total of five counts of Criminal Sexual Abuse (Class 4 Felony), each with a $100,000/10% bond. Jacob was subsequently taken into custody without incident on November 30, 2022, remanded to the custody of the Will County Detention Center, and given a future court date. This is an ongoing investigation and there is no further information available at this time. 

ILLINOIS STATE POLICE ANNOUNCE RESULTS OF OCCUPANT RESTRAINT ENFORCEMENT PATROLS

 Illinois State Police (ISP) District 21 Interim Commander, Lt. Tim Sweeney, announces the results of Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols (OREP) held in Kankakee, Iroquois, and Ford Counties in November. These OREPs provided extra patrol coverage for the ISP so officers could focus on saving lives by making sure all vehicle occupants were buckled up. Violations Enforcement Activity Safety Belt Citations 32 Child Restraint Citations 2 Total Citations 62 Total Written Warnings 34 Most motorists know safety belts save lives, but some ignore their safety and that of their families by neglecting to use safety belts and child restraint devices. These patrols reinforce the occupant protection message by focusing on those who ignore the law. Lives can be saved if people simply “buckle up!” This project is funded through the Illinois Department of Transportation.

ILLINOIS STATE POLICE TO CONDUCT DISTRACTED DRIVING ENFORCEMENT

– Illinois State Police (ISP) District 21 Interim Commander, Lt. Tim Sweeney, announces the ISP will conduct Distracted Driving Enforcement Program patrols in Kankakee, Iroquois, and Ford Counties on December 12th, 2022. This program allows ISP to focus on distracted driving laws to prevent traffic deaths and serious injury crashes. Distractions can increase a driver’s risk of being in an accident: • Eating or drinking (non-alcoholic beverages) increases the risk by three times. • Sending a text message increases the risk by four times. • Reaching for an object increases the risk by eight times. • Reading a text message can take a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. Officers will be on the lookout for drivers who disobey Illinois’ distracted driving laws, especially the following: • All drivers are prohibited from reading, sending, or receiving text messages or communication, and from browsing the internet. • All drivers are prohibited from using handheld electronic communication devices. • Drivers under the age of 19 are prohibited from using any cellphone, even hands-free. • All drivers are prohibited from using any cellphone, even hands-free, while in school speed zones and work zones. • School bus drivers are not permitted to use any type of cellphone, even hands-free. • It is illegal to use a cellphone or take photos or videos on wireless devices when driving within 500 feet of an emergency scene. This distracted driving enforcement campaign is made possible by traffic safety funds administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

2 IN FORD COUNTY ARRESTED IN METH BUST

 Megan C. Hawk, 29, and Louis R. Berg, 32, both of Paxton, were each arrested on a Class X felony charge of possession of methamphetamine, a Class 3 felony charge of possession of methamphetamine and a misdemeanor charge of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia after Paxton police executed a search warrant at a residence at 616 N. American St. around 9:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28, and found 522 grams of liquid methamphetamine and several items of drug paraphernalia in the home, including multiple baggies. Berg was charged additionally with obstructing justice, while Hawk was also arrested on two warrants — one out of Ford County and the other out of Vermilion County — for failure to appear in court. Berg allegedly tried to destroy evidence by shattering a pipe and throwing items in a garbage can as he fled out the back door before being apprehended by Ford County sheriff’s deputies who were waiting behind the home. The total weight of the liquid methamphetamine found by police comprised not just the weight of the methamphetamine but also the weight of the water and the container. Both Berg and Hawk remained Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the Ford County Jail, where Berg was being held on a $50,000 bond and Hawk on bonds totaling $131,000.

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