Hoopeston police chief dies
The police chief of Hoopeston has loss his battle with cancer. Mark Drollinger passed away yesterday morning. He was 54. Drollinger joined local law enforcement as a patrol deputy with the Vermilion County Sheriff's Department in 1988. From 1991 to 1999, he worked as an investigator for the sheriff's department. He left to become chief of police in Hoopeston, and spent the remainder of his career as chief.
He is survived by his wife, Susie, and his son, Patrick.
State of Illinois finally has a budget
AFTER MORE THAN TWO YEARS…THE STATE NOW HAS A FULL YEAR BUDGET…AND AN INCOME TAX INCREASE.
The House vote came two days after the Illinois Senate quickly overrode Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of the appropriation, revenue, and implementation bills approved by both chambers over the weekend. House Speaker Mike Madigan said the bill was a bipartisan effort that was needed immediately. The governor has called the budget plan “a disaster.” The personal income tax will increase to 4.95 percent, and the corporate tax will rise to 7 percent.
Much to the disappointment of local officials, expanded gaming legislation is not included in the budget package. And a gaming expansion bill that includes a proposed Danville casino remains stalled in Springfield.
Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Gee-bert said with the budget measure, Illinois can now hopefully move forward and begin to address its unpaid bills. While no one likes a tax increase, important agricultural programs received additional funding in the budget package
“However, the work of the General Assembly is not complete. We urge legislators to take up reforms that will improve the business climate in our state.”
Chad Hays will not seek re-election
State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) announced that he will not seek reelection in 2018. He has served in the General Assembly since December of 2010 and as Assistant Minority Leader since 2013. Hays pointed to a changing political climate in Springfield as a contributing factor of his upcoming exit from State politics. “The functionality of the Illinois General Assembly today is simply untenable and counterproductive,” said Hays. “Legislators who care deeply and have the courage of their convictions and the intestinal fortitude to do what is right regardless of consequences are increasingly silenced. I believe we are in serious jeopardy of independent thought being a relic in our public discourse.”
Hays was one of the Republicans who broke ranks over the weekend and voted for the Democratic budget and tax increase. The Governor has vowed to veto the plan, but lawmakers appear to have the numbers to override his veto.
Hays, a native of Vermilion County, served as the Mayor of his hometown of Catlin for two terms before his election to the General Assembly. He says it has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as State Representative.
Accident victim identified
The Vermilion County Coroner, Jane McFadden has identified the victim of the fatal train accident in Danville on Friday night as 13 year old Deon L. Jackson. The Danville Police Department and the Vermilion County Coroner’s Office are continuing to investigate.
The accident occurred shortly after 4 p.m. at the railroad tracks on North Griffin Street, near the Boys and Girls Club in Garfield Park. Police said the teen was riding his bicycle when he was struck by the train. Jackson was a seventh-grader at North Ridge Middle School last year.
Fourth arrest in local death
A fourth person has been arrested for the fatal stabbing of a Danville man last month.
24 year old Ronesha Pettis of Danville, was charged on Wednesday with two counts of first degree murder in the death of 43-year-old Kuron Kimmons. She was also charged with one count of aggravated battery and one count of mob action. Public Safety Director Larry Thomason said Ronesha Pettis turned herself into police. Her bond was set at one million dollars. She is set for a preliminary hearing on July 6.
Danville police were called to the 900 block of Campbell Lane around 12:20 a.m. May 30. They found Kimmons lying on the ground, and several people attempting CPR on him. He was taken to Presence United Samaritans Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.
Three others have also been charged in connection with Kimmons' death.
They include: A 15-year-old female whose name is not being released due to her age, Ronald R. Pettis of Danville, and Marcus D. Jefferson who listed addresses in Danville and Chicago.
Judge to run for post
The man who recently was appointed a circuit court judge plans to run for the post next year. Charlie C. Hall announced his intent to run for the Republican Party’s nomination in March 2018 for Circuit Court Judge. Judge Charlie Hall was appointed to fill a vacancy created by the Nov. 30 retirement of Circuit Judge Claudia Anderson. Hall is a native of Danville and has more than 40 years of legal experience. He and his wife – Kim -- have three children and two grandchildren.
Concerns raised about run-off into local river
Some citizens and local political leaders are voicing concern about small amounts of run-off from coal ash pits leaching into the Middle Fork River northwest of Danville. State Representative Chad Hays told about 75 citizens attending a forum at Danville Area Community College that the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has set into motion a series of tests and requirements of the power company Dynegy. Environmentalist say toxic material from the Dynegy plant's coal ash pits is now leaking into the river. Dynegy bought the power plants in 2001. The ash pits are remains from the power production of the now closed Vermilion Power Station. Dynegy says it completed a riverbank restoration project along the Middle Fork River last fall. But citizens who attended the meeting were shown newly shot video showing discoloration along the bank and areas where some chemicals have settled into small ponds along the riverbank. The Middle Fork of the Vermilion River is Illinois’ only National Scenic River.
Water company seeks rate hike
Aqua Illinois has filed a rate increase that would have the average monthly residential water bill increasing by $5.42 next year. Aqua filed a proposed change in its rate schedules with the Illinois Commerce Commission. If approved by the ICC, the rate increase would go into effect March 30, 2018. The rate increase request is an 11-month process, which includes hearings. Aqua last filed a rate increase in 2011, with an increase occurring in 2012.
Aqua Illinois serves more than 60,000 Vermilion County residents in Danville, Tilton, the Danville Correctional Center, the Lake Boulevard and Hooton areas, Catlin, Westville, Belgium, Indianola and Philo as well as surrounding unincorporated areas.