06:10am CST, 12/19/14

Local News

Congressman Shimkus says he'll "wait and see" on situation with Cuba

12/19/14 06:01 AM
Congressman John Shimkus made a stop in Vandalia on Thursday, as he was making a sweep throughout his district. Congressman Shimkus talked about the latest developments with Cuba, as the United States and the island nation are moving to start normalizing relations after better than 50 years. Congressman Shimkus says he's still skeptical about the situation.


Shimkus says he's

Outgoing Governor Wants Special Session To Replace Comptroller

12/19/14 06:00 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Governor Pat Quinn has filed paperwork calling for a special legislative session next month to determine the replacement for Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.  Quinn wants an election from members of the House and Senate on January 8th.  The announcement comes one day after both Quinn and Governor-elect Bruce Rauner attended a memorial service for

Numbers Continue to Improve in State Unemployment

12/19/14 05:59 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Illinois' unemployment rate is down.  Greg Rivara with the state Department of Employment Security says the November jobless rate reflects a state economy that continues to move forward.

About 23-hundred jobs were added last month in Illinois.  The biggest gains were seen in the manufacturing, construction and leisure and hospitality

Auditor's Report Details Missing Children Problems With DCFS

12/19/14 05:58 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  A report from the auditor general is sounding the alarm on the failure of the Department of Children and Family Services to report missing children in state custody.  The report, which goes back to 2011, estimates nearly three-thousand wards of the state disappeared multiple times in a two-year period.  The audit also found that caseworkers sometimes

Instructor At School For The Blind Arrested

12/19/14 05:57 AM
(Jacksonville, IL)  --  An instructor for the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired is behind bars after being arrested for aggravated criminal sexual abuse. James Strader of Jacksonville has been employed at the school since July, according to a press release from the Illinois State Police, which conducted an investigation.  He reportedly worked as a rehabilitation and

Could be a sloppy day outside with chance of snow, light rain

12/18/14 05:54 AM
It could be a bit of a messy weather day outside. We do have a chance of snow today, with the snow possibly mixing with some light rain or drizzle this afternoon. We are looking at a high today in the mid 30s, with a low tonight in the mid 20s. There had earlier been some mention of snow on Friday and Friday night in the forecast earlier this week, but the National Weather Service has now removed

Election filings off to a very slow start

12/18/14 05:53 AM
Election filing is going on this week for the April 7th consolidated elections, but it hasn't exactly been a mad dash to get paperwork filed. For City of Vandalia Alderman, all four Wards have one spot that is up in the April 7th election. So far, only three individuals have filed to run for a seat. In Ward One, Kenneth Hubler filed to run. Current Ward One Alderman Neil Clark has not yet

New Sheriff Chris Smith says things off to a good start

12/18/14 05:52 AM
We talk again today with Fayette County Sheriff Chris Smith, who is now officially 18 days into his term. Smith says things are off to a good start.


And, Smith says they worked to get things started in the right direction—starting with a meeting and some training for everyone on his second day on the job.


Smith won a four man primary election back in the spring,

Rauner Learning From Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels

12/18/14 05:51 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Governor-elect Bruce Rauner is planning to take a few pages out of former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels's playbook, especially when it comes to creating jobs.

Rauner says Illinois families and businesses have been flocking to Indiana because of the growing economy.  He says he wants to reverse that trend.  Rauner says Daniels had a lot to do with

Thompson: Remember Topinka By Putting Bickering Aside

12/18/14 05:49 AM
(Countryside, IL)  --  Former Governor Jim Thompson says Judy Baar Topinka worked with dignity and served the people of Illinois with honor.  He says other political leaders could learn from her example.

Thompson says political leaders can find solutions to high debt, high unemployment, high crime, and crumbling infrastructure if they put partisanship aside and work

Durbin Supports President's Cuba Announcement

12/18/14 05:48 AM
(Washington, DC)  --  U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is applauding the President's plan to normalize diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba.  Durbin greeted American prisoner Alan Gross at Andrews Air Force Base on Wednesday.  He says a new approach is long overdue after 55 years of embargo.

Jim McCabe/bfj     IL) STL) MO)

Cairo Fights Against Levee Project

12/18/14 05:47 AM
(Cairo, IL)  --  The city of Cairo is trying once again to block a controversial U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project that city officials fear would leave them susceptible to disastrous floods.  Cairo is appealing to the EPA to invoke a provision of the Clean Water Act to block the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway project.  The project would close a gap in the levee

Maybe some wet snow over next few days

12/17/14 06:04 AM
Although the chances of a white Christmas aren't very good, we could potentially see some wet snow here over the next few days. We do have a chance of snow overnight tonight and into Thursday morning. Eventually, that snow will change over to a drizzle during the day on Thursday as we'll see a high get above freezing. We then have another chance for some snow on Friday night and Saturday

Shop with a Cop this Saturday

12/17/14 06:03 AM
The Fayette County Sheriff's Office is working to make this a little brighter year for some Fayette County kids. The Sheriff's Office is participating in the Shop with a Cop program this Saturday. Fayette County Sheriff Chris Smith says they will be taking some kids out to do some Christmas shopping.


Smith says they certainly want to make it a bright Christmas for some less

Budget Structure Hurting Illinois People, Business

12/17/14 06:02 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Governor-elect Bruce Rauner says the state's flawed budget structure is weighing heavy on the people who live and work here.

Rauner says the whole structure needs an overhaul and that will be a priority when he takes over on January 12th.  Rauner says there will be some tax reforms but he won't go into detail on what the specific plans are.

Agencies Press Rauner For More Money

12/17/14 06:01 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Some Illinois state agencies are pressing Governor-elect Bruce Rauner for more money.  He says the agencies are going to fall short by more than 760-million-dollars.  That's because they kept spending at high levels this year, even though their budgets were cut short.  Rauner won't say if he'll support a deal that would cover the

Governor-Elect Says Some Agency Directors May Stay

12/17/14 06:00 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Governor-elect Bruce Rauner says some Illinois department heads may not get the ax.  He spoke Tuesday at a Better Government Association luncheon.  Rauner stressed that there is a need for the best people and there are already a number of agency directors that will be retained in his administration.  He'll be inaugurated January

Reminder: People Pay Taxes On Unemployment Benefits

12/17/14 05:58 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  The Illinois Department of Employment Security is out with a reminder.  IDES Director Jay Rowell says anyone who collected unemployment insurance still needs to pay taxes on those benefits. 

The 1099 form will be emailed out in January.  Rowell says the online system saves taxpayers hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars on postage and paper

Have A Plan For Drunk Party Guests

12/17/14 05:57 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  The Illinois Department of Insurance is offering a few tips for people who are planning to throw a big holiday bash. Insurance spokesperson Kimberly Parker says you should have a plan for your guests who drink a little too much. 

Parker says to use caution and common sense when you're prepping for the holiday.  The Illinois Department of Insurance

Judge rules in favor of The Lake House-city won't pursue matter any further

12/16/14 05:55 AM
A judge has ruled in favor of the Lake House in their battle over whether they can operate the restaurant on the property where it's located. And, the City of Vandalia will not pursue the matter any further. Chief Circuit Judge Michael McHaney issued his order late last week stating that he finds the city's ordinance unconstitutional in its entirety. And, further stated the ordinance

Slow first day for City election filings

12/16/14 05:54 AM
Yesterday was the first day to file to run for one of four Aldermen seats in the April election. But, there was certainly not a rush to get filed. Only two individuals filed on Monday---Kenneth Hubler filed to run for Ward One Alderman and B. John Clark filed his paperwork to run for re-election as Ward Four Alderman. There are four seats up in the selection—as the seats of current Aldermen

AG Madigan Weighs In On Topinka Replacement

12/16/14 05:53 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Attorney General Lisa Madigan wants voters to decide who'll replace the late comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.  She says the constitution gives Governor Quinn the right to put someone in the post until January 12th.  Bruce Rauner will appoint someone after that.  He's hoping to let someone keep the job for a full, four-year-term but Madigan

Dignitaries Slated To Speak At Topinka Memorial

12/16/14 05:52 AM
(Countryside, IL)  --  There's a full lineup of dignitaries slated to speak at the memorial service for the late Judy Baar Topinka.  Governor Quinn is on the list along with former Governor Jim Thompson, Governor-elect Bruce Rauner, and Bill Holland, the state's auditor general.  The service is being held at the Local 150 in Countryside tomorrow morning at 9:30.

Rauner Ditches Inaugural Ball

12/16/14 05:51 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Governor-elect Bruce Rauner won't be having a traditional ball on the night of his inauguration.  He's planning to have a big concert at Springfield's Prairie Capital Convention Center instead.  The event will be held the night of January 12th.  Tickets are 125-bucks apiece but there's no word on who'll be taking the stage.

Sen Kirk Retires From Navy

12/16/14 05:50 AM
(Washington, DC)  --  U.S. Senator Mark Kirk is no longer in the Navy.  He retired his position as commander yesterday.  He served 25-years in the military and did tours in Yugoslavia, Turkey, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  Navy officials honored him during a ceremony at the Pentagon yesterday. 

Nicole Wilson/jb IL) STL) MO) SCC)


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Judge McHaney rules in Lake House Restaurant's favor

12/15/14 05:43 PM
Chief Circuit Judge Michael McHaney has ruled in favor of the Lake House Restaurant, in their battle with the city of Vandalia over whether they can operate a business on the property located by Vandalia Lake.  In his order, Judge McHaney states the City Ordinance from 1988 is "unconstitutional in its enitrety, both on its face and as applied to the case."  The City has argued

Changing weather this week

12/15/14 06:00 AM
A very changing week for weather is upon us. For today, we are looking at rain throughout the day today with a high in the lower 50s. Rain remains in the forecast for tonight with a low in the upper 30s for tonight. We will see temperatures drop during the day on Tuesday as the rain will move out of the area and then a low in the upper 20s on Tuesday night. Wednesday we will see temps in the mid

State Weather Officials Doubtful About White Christmas Chances

12/15/14 05:59 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  What are the chances of a white Christmas in Illinois this year?  State Climatologist Jim Angel says it depends on where you live.

The areas with the highest statistical possibility of a white Christmas are all in Northwestern Illinois, but Angel says the current long-term forecast is calling for above-normal temperatures through Christmas

Two sentenced to DOC time in Fayette County Court

12/15/14 05:58 AM
A 27 year old Vandalia was sentenced to time in prison last week in Fayette County Court. On Wednesday, Judge Marc Kelly sentenced 27 year old Samuel E. Brummett to 30 months in the Department of Corrections on multiple probation violations on the underlying offense of Aggravated Driving Under the Influence, which is a class 4 Felony.


A 26 year old Albers man was sentenced to prison

Flu Season Coming On Strong

12/15/14 05:54 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  It looks like the flu bug is coming on pretty strong across Illinois this year.  Stats from the state health department show more than 100 people have already been admitted into hospital intensive care units for treatment.  No deaths have been reported.  Officials are urging people to get a flu shot to help keep the bug at bay.

Topinka Memorial Service Wednesday

12/15/14 05:53 AM
(Countryside, IL)  --  A public memorial service honoring the late Judy Baar Topinka is being held this Wednesday.  It'll be at the Local 150 on Joliet Road in Countryside.  The service will get started at 9:30 a.m.  Topinka died last Wednesday after having a stroke.  There's still no word on who will replace her as state comptroller. 


IDOC Director To Retire At End Of Year

12/15/14 05:52 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Illinois' top prison official is retiring at the end of the year.  Last week, Salvador Godinez told his staff and Governor Quinn of his decision to step down as Department of Corrections director.  He was appointed  to the post in 2011 by Quinn and was reappointed last March.   Godinez spent 27 years of his 42-year career in

Warm weekend for the area

12/13/14 06:30 AM
We will see a warm and cloudy weekend.  Saturday will start off with sunshine, but becoming mostly cloudy later in the day with a high of 50 and a low on Saturday night of 40 with mostly cloudy skies.  Sunday we'll see mostly cloudy skies around the area with a high of 57.  Rain comes into the forecast on Sunday night with a low of 46.  Monday we will see rain, possibly a

Presidential Library Officials Need Help Transcribing Documents

12/13/14 06:27 AM

(Springfield, IL) --  The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library is looking for the public's help in transcribing thousands of Civil War documents.  The thirty-thousand pages of documents are from Illinois Civil War governor Richard Yates Senior, covering everything from military correspondence to personal letters.  Library spokesperson Chris Wills says they're looking for

Warmer this weekend, then rain back in the forecast for start of new week

12/12/14 05:56 AM
It will get warmer this weekend and then wetter again for the start of the new week. Today we are looking at increasing clouds with a high of 40, and we will see mostly cloudy skies on Saturday with a high near 50. And, then mostly cloudy skies with a high in the mid 50s on Sunday. The rain comes into the forecast on Sunday and then rain is likely on Monday and Monday night. We'll see a high

Vandalia VFW with events this weekend

12/12/14 05:55 AM
The Vandalia VFW will be having a Christmas Party for kids this weekend, and for themselves coming up on Monday. Sherri Garrett with the Vandalia VFW talks about some of the details.


Meanwhile, Garrett reminds everyone the Vandalia VFW is participating in the Wreaths Across America program and they are asking for helpers. Garrett says they will meet Saturday morning at 9 am at the

Area High School Students Earn Illinois State Scholar Honors

12/12/14 05:54 AM

Sixteen area high school students have been designated as Illinois State Scholars for 2015-2016. Students across the state are named each year based on the selection process in which the State Scholar formula calculation uses a combination of ACT and /or SAT test scores, class rank and class size. The 16 area students to gain this special academic honor are:

Mulberry Grove High

Rauner Makes Recommendation For Topinka Replacement

12/12/14 05:53 AM
(Chicago, IL)  --  House Speaker Michael Madigan says there won't be a special session to pick a replacement for the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.  A spokesman for incoming Governor Bruce Rauner said Thursday that Rauner's legal team met with the legal team of Governor Pat Quinn to relay Rauner's request that Topinka Chief of Staff Nancy Kimmem be appointed

State Getting Pre-school Money

12/12/14 05:52 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Illinois is getting federal grant money to improve early childhood education.  The state will see 20-million dollars as part of the Preschool Development Grants program. In total, there are 18 states getting more than 226-million dollars.

Jim McCabe/bfj     IL) STL) MO) SCC)

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ADM Puts Tech Center In Kentucky

12/12/14 05:51 AM
(Chicago, IL)  --  ADM officials are switching gears on a plan to put its tech center in Chicago.  They've decided to put it in Kentucky instead.  The move will take place sometime next year.  One-hundred people will be put to work at the center, and that'll eventually double.  The Ag giant is getting more than five-million-dollars in economic incentives for

Wrestling postponed for tonight

12/11/14 01:40 PM
The Vandalia at Hillsboro wrestling match for this evening is postponed.  It will be re-scheduled at a later date.

Fayette County Farm Bureau holding Farm Bill informational meeting

12/11/14 05:52 AM
The Fayette County Farm Bureau will look to get their members more information on the Farm Bill. The Fayette County Farm Bureau will be holding a Farm Bill Informational Meeting on Tuesday, December 16th. The meeting will start with lunch at noon and the meeting to follow, with Illinois Farm Bureau's Doug Yoder presenting the information. You are asked to called ahead to set up your

Vandalia VFW looking for volunteers for Wreaths Across America Saturday morning

12/11/14 05:51 AM
The Vandalia VFW Post 3862 is participating this Saturday in the National Wreaths Across America project, to lay wreaths on veteran's soldiers this Saturday morning. Sherry Garrett, the Secretary of the Ladies VFW in Vandalia says they will be meeting this Saturday morning to lay out the wreaths.


Garrett says they had just a few folks come out to help last year, so they are

Liberty Utilities Breaks Ground At New Vandalia Site

12/11/14 05:49 AM

Liberty Utilities will be moving from their present location on 6th Street in Vandalia, but will not be going too far as they broke ground at the site of their soon-to-be new location just south of AutoZone in Vandalia. Mayor Rick Gottman, Senator Kyle McCarter, several Vandalia Chamber of Commerce members and representatives of Liberty Utilities were on hand for the groundbreaking and Les

Mayor Gottman and Senator McCarter React to Passing of Judy Baar Topinka

12/11/14 05:48 AM

State lawmakers and local officeholders awoke to the sad news of the passing of Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka yesterday morning at the age of 70 after having suffered a stroke on Tuesday. In speaking about Topinka, State Senator Kyle McCarter, he says he didn’t work with her as long as other lawmakers but came to learn that she was always tough lawmaker who worked hard for what

Confusion Over How To Replace Topinka

12/11/14 05:47 AM
(Chicago, IL)  --  There's a bit of confusion as to how the process works in terms of putting a new State Comptroller in place.  The state constitution says the governor must appoint someone to fill the slot until an "elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified." Some people believe that gives Governor Quinn the right to put someone in

Illinois Not The Most Corrupt State In The Nation

12/11/14 05:46 AM
(Undated)  --  Illinois is known for being one of the most corrupt states in the nation, but it doesn't top the list. Kentucky and New Jersey are actually worse off when it comes to "legal corruption," according to a new study from Harvard University's Center for Ethics.  That means politicians in those two states hand out benefits to private groups or individuals

Rate Hikes Ahead For Ameren, ComEd Customers

12/11/14 05:45 AM
(Springfield, IL)  --  Ameren and ComEd customers are going to be paying more on their bills next month.  State regulators approved a deal that gives Commonwealth Edison a 245-million-dollar rate hike.  Ameren was approved for a 137-million-dollar-hike.  Those who get power from ComEd will pay about two-dollars-and-50-cents more on their monthly bills.  Ameren

Statements from Sen McCarter, Rep Cavaletto, Congressman Shimkus on passing of J

12/10/14 11:51 AM

 Statement from Senator Kyle McCarter on the passing of Judy Baar Topinka:

 “Judy Baar Topinka spoke her mind. You knew where she stood. She was not about sugar-coating the tough issues. She was that rare elected official who was genuinely concerned about the people she represented rather than the trappings of the office she held. Elected

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka Dies At 70

12/10/14 05:58 AM
(Chicago, IL)  --  Friends are family are mourning the death of Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. "The Chicago Tribune" reports Topinka passed away early this morning in a Berwyn hospital at the age of 70, due to complications of a stroke.  She was the state's first woman treasurer from 1994 to 2007 before being elected comptroller in 2010.