Big pension bill rejected, smaller one passes, but now what?
The Illinois Senate yesterday approved a plan to cut working teachers' pensions while rejecting a more sweeping plan, sending mixed messages about where the debate over one of the state's biggest financial problems will go next. A plan by state Sen. Daniel Biss to cut the pensions of public employees including teachers and lawmakers, which had appeared to gain bipartisan momentum in recent months, was instead defeated 30-23. As a result, a proposal from Senate President John Cullerton was approved by a 30-22 vote. Cullerton's plan would affect only teachers and leaves other retirees alone. Full story.
Grayslake District 46 to lay off teachers
Grayslake Elementary District 46 board members last night made a dent in a projected $2.2 million deficit for the 2013-14 academic year by approving a package of cuts that included teacher layoffs. About 15 full-time classroom instructors were eliminated for an estimated $750,000 in savings. Roughly another $200,000 is expected to be saved with the dismissal of four full-time special-education teachers. Full story.
Roselle forum addresses heroin 'crisis'
It's happening to kids from good families, with good parents. That's why a group of DuPage County police departments sought to educate the public last night about the prevalence of heroin and the danger it poses to anyone who tries it. The forum gave statistics about heroin deaths, video of suburban kids buying drugs on Chicago's West Side, photos of the drug and scientific data. Full story.
Elgin picks Riverboat grant winners, with some dissension
Elgin picked 10 nonprofit agencies plus the Ride-in-Kane transportation program as this year's recipients of Riverboat grant money during a discussion that verged on becoming heated last night. Councilman John Prigge was the lone dissenter in a 6-1 vote, saying that in a tough economy, they shouldn't remain untouched while taxpayers suffer. But the idea didn't gain any traction. "If you don't think that any of these people have felt the pain, you are totally clueless as to what goes on," Mayor David Kaptain said. Full story.
Senate panel: Schools must carry catastrophic accident insurance
The Illinois Senate yesterday started moving forward on an issue sought for years by former Rolling Meadows High School football player Rob Komosa, who died last weekend. A Senate panel approved legislation that would require public and private schools to carry catastrophic accident insurance to cover their student athletes. Full story.
Suburban counties dip in health rank but still do well compared to state
A slight increase in the number of people who say their health is fair or poor, along with an increase in preventable hospital stays, may have helped dethrone Kendall County as healthiest in the state. A list released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Heath Institute shows other collar counties also declined but were still in the top 20 percent. Full story.
Judge to rule on hearsay in Darien triple-murder trial
Before he and two family members were gunned down in their home, Jeffrey Kramer confided he was "worried about this Johnny coming in and shooting up the place," his father-in-law testified yesterday. Next week, a DuPage County judge will decide whether that account can be repeated when Johnny Borizov stands trial for the March 2010 murders of three members of his ex-girlfriend's family. Full story.
Authorities: No explosives found at Aurora University
Aurora University officials canceled classes throughout the day and evening yesterday after receiving more than one emailed bomb threat, but no explosive devices or suspicious items were found, authorities said. The Kane County bomb squad left the scene about 5:10 p.m. after initial searches began about 8:40 a.m., authorities said. Full story.
Lake Zurich Sonic closed after fire
An off-duty firefighter's good eye likely saved a Lake Zurich fast food restaurant from extensive fire damage yesterday afternoon, according to officials. Lake Zurich Fire Rescue Department Deputy Chief Don Golubski noticed flames coming from the exterior roofline of the Sonic at 205 S. Rand Road on his drive home from work, Capt. Robert Bachler said. Full story.
Round Lake man charged with sexually assaulting woman
A Round Lake-area man has been charged with criminal sexual assault by force and domestic battery after beating a woman over three days, authorities said. Ruben Sereno, 36, of the 24000 block of Orchard Drive, is also accused of spitting on and kicking the victim, Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Marc Bangser said yesterday. Full story.
I-90, Barrington Road interchange takes step forward
Illinois State Toll Highway Authority board directors yesterday approved an intergovernmental agreement allocating $1.75 million toward engineering and design of a full interchange at I-90 and Barrington Road in cooperation with Hoffman Estates. The total cost of the plans is $3.5 million with Hoffman Estates providing the remainder. Full story.
Clear but very cold with temperatures hovering around 15 degrees this morning. Temperatures will climb to 31 degrees later this afternoon before dipping back to 21 degrees tonight. Full story.
Roadwork continues in St. Charles on IL Route 64 between Dunham Road and IL Route 59. The construction is expected to last through September. Full story.
Blackhawks lose after 3 goals in the final 5:27
The Hawks' showdown with Anaheim last night at the Honda Center featured the two best teams in the Western Conference, clubs with a combined 6 losses in regulation in 59 games. The Ducks scored 3 goals in the final 5:27 to wipe out a 2-1 deficit and beat the Hawks 4-2 to pull within 3 points in the West standings. Full story.
Bears need a new face for the franchise without Urlacher
The Bears announced late yesterday afternoon they were unable to reach a contract agreement with Brian Urlacher for the 2013 season, which would have been his 14th with the team. The team will have to find a new face for their franchise -- and a new middle linebacker -- after parting ways with the unrestricted free agent, an eight-time Pro Bowler and a future Hall of Famer. Full story.