Illinois News Roundup for Thursday


Published on May 3 2012 12:21 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

>>Shop For Mom Illinois Style

(Undated)  --  Mother's Day is less than two weeks away and the state's Agriculture department says you can "Shop for Mom, Illinois Style."  You can find links to all sorts of special treats including an assortment of candies, nuts, popcorn and even cookbooks on their website.  All of the gifts are from small-to-mid-sized Illinois food and agribusiness companies. Check out the Illinois Department of Agriculture website to get a full list of what's available.


>>New Farmers Market Requirements

(Undated)  --  There are new rules in place for Farmer's Market vendors this spring or summer.  The new Cottage Food Bill governs the markets and is designed to help entrepreneurs who want to make foods from home.  The vendors are required to register in the county where the food is prepared.  They're also required to take a 16 hour course from the Illinois Department of Public Health to get a Food Manager's Certificate.  Any Farmer's Market vendors with questions about the Cottage Food Bill, should contact their local health department.


>>Carterville Student Receives Congressional Gold Medal

(Carterville, IL)  --  A Carterville student is the newest Illinois recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal.  U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello presented Joanna Bean with the award last night.  He says she earned the honor thanks to all of her hard work and efforts to serve her community.  Bean says she took on a rigorous schedule to meet the award requirements but she's glad she did it, completing 400 hours of voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition or exploration.

>>Senate Panel Votes Down Pension Measure

(Springfield, IL)  --  An Illinois Senate committee rejects a measure that would force local government to pick up the tab on pensions when it gives an ex-lawmaker a big paycheck.  The bill passed the House on a 110-0 vote in March.  The legislation sought to require cities, villages or other governments employing a former lawmaker for short periods of time to pay for the additional pension expenses that go with the new job.  Some former lawmakers have collected huge pensions for working for small cities for a short time.


>>Illinois To End Long-Term Jobless Benefits

(Undated)  --  Illinois' falling unemployment rate will mean an end to a federal program for the long-term jobless.  The Illinois Department of Employment Security says that the Extended Benefit program ends May 12th.  The program pays 20 weeks of benefits to anyone unemployed beyond 79 weeks.  It was triggered by recent decreases that have seen unemployment fall below nine-percent.


>>Senate May Eliminate Legislative Scholarships

(Springfield, IL)  --  The General Assembly scholarship program could be on its last legs.  A switch in position Wednesday by Illinois Senate President John Cullerton could spell the end of the program.  Cullerton previously favored mending the program, which has been in effect since 1909, instead of ending it.  On Wednesday, however, he took over sponsorship of a bill to abolish the program, and the bill, House Bill 3810, then was approved by the Senate Executive Committee.

>>Man Threatens Schools Because He Enjoys Watching Police

(New Lenox, IL)  --  A New Lenox man says he threatened Lincoln-Way high Schools because he liked watching the police response.  Tom Rohrbach was arrested and accused of making several calls to 911 making terrorist threats on the schools.  During questioning, Rohrbach allegedly admitted to using a stopwatch to record police response time while watching them work from a nearby forest preserve.  Police say he seemed remorseful for the hoaxes and claimed the students were never really in any danger.


>>Drivers Urged To Watch For Motorcycles

(Springfield, IL)  --  State officials are asking drivers to look out for motorcycles on the roads.  State Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider says the bikes can sometimes be hard to see so other drivers should pay close attention.  Safety precautions include keeping a greater distance between your vehicle and a motorcycle, judge the bikes speed and distance carefully as it approaches the vehicle, always use your traffic signal, and check your rearview mirror before switching lanes.  Bikers also have a role to play in safety, they're encouraged to wear proper safety gear, take the free IDOT training courses, and obey the rules of the road.

>>Texas Man Acquitted Of Murder Charges

(Olney, IL)  --  A Texas man is acquitted on first degree murder charges in Illinois' Richland County Court.  The jury took just over three hours to return the verdict against Brandon Jenkins, who was accused of shooting a man at an Olney, Illinois bar last November.  They did, however, determine Jenkins was guilty of misdemeanor reckless conduct.  The lesser guilty verdict means Jenkins can return to his home state if he pleases, but he's required to come back for a status hearing in August.


>>Legislative Scholarships On Chopping Block

(Springfield, IL)  --  The State Senate is now on board with a plan to prohibit lawmakers form handing out scholarships. The controversial "legislative scholarship" program has been plagued with abuse and corruption for several years, with lawmakers allegedly giving the tuition waivers to children of those who donated money to their campaigns.  The House voted to eliminate the program earlier this year but Senate majority has consistently looked for ways to reform the program.  But yesterday, President John Cullerton released a statement saying it's clear that majority of the General Assembly supports ending the program rather than reforming it, so he says it's time to take steps in that direction.


>>Students, Churches Gather For National Day of Prayer

(Undated)  --  People across the nation are invited to pray for America's leaders today in this "National Day of Prayer."  Many groups will gather outside schools and government buildings.  To get details on a gathering near you, check out  It's the 60th year the event has taken place but this year, there will be some resistance.  The American Humanist Association has planned to protest the prayers, calling their movement the National Day of Reason.