Below normal temperatures are expected to continue throughout the week with another shot of snow this weekend. Bitterly cold wind chills struck the area this morning as some areas were down to 30-degrees below zero with temperatures between 10 and 5-degrees below zero. The area is forecast for another round of snow this coming weekend. Initial snowfall forecast is around three inches but it could be as high as five inches. Temperatures are expected to stay below normal through the middle of next week.
Health Insurance Sign Up
The government says more than 7,000 Illinois residents have signed up for private insurance coverage since the federal online exchange was launched. Fewer than 1,400 signed up in October when the website was barely working. Nearly 5,700 made it through the process in November as the government scrambled to make repairs.
PCHS Mourns Loss of Teacher
Faculty and students are mourning the sudden passing of one of it's teachers. According to the Putnam County School's website, English teacher Judy Gedraitis passed away on Monday at the age of 55 from a sudden illness while she was in London, England for her daughter's wedding. Staff and students alike said Mrs. Gedraitis possessed such grace, dignity and wisdom in all aspects of her life. A candlelight vigil is scheduled to be held this Sunday at 6:30 inside of the Putnam County High School gym.
Four Republicans running for Illinois governor have had their lottery to determine the order they will appear on the ballot in the March primary. State Senator Bill Brady got the coveted first spot, followed by Treasurer Dan Rutherford (ROOTH'-ur-furd), Senator Kirk Dillard and venture capitalist Bruce Rauner (ROW'-ner). Republican Peter Edward Jones will be listed fifth by virtue of filing last.
Ameren Rates Decreasing?
The Illinois Commerce Commission is requesting cheaper rates for customers of one area utility. The ICC announced that they ordered a reduction of $45 million dollars for Ameren Illinois starting January 1st. Earlier this year, Ameren’s proposed a rate reduction of $37 million. Electric distribution rates are set annually according to the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act.
Pontiac Dog Park Name
The Pontiac Dog Park Committee has decided to name Pontiac’s future dog park Draco Park, in honor of the police dog killed in duty. Draco and his partner Casey Kohlmeier were killed in the line of duty back in October. Currently the Committee says that more funding is needed. The Kohlmeier family has donated about $5,000 and the Committee received a state grant for just under $25,000. Residents can make donations by going to pontiacdogpark.com.
New Cell Phone Law Kicks in January First
Starting January 1st, anyone talking on a cell phone while driving must have a hands free Bluetooth device. According to Area District 17 State Trooper Craig Graham, anyone caught not using a Bluetooth will be ticketed $75. Graham says that most Bluetooth devices are between $20 and $100, and are much cheaper then getting a ticket. Graham says this will not end distracted driving but it will help prevent it.
Ice Rinks Opening Up in the Area
Ice rinks in Peru and Oglesby should be up and running by weeks end. Peru Mayor Scott Harl says the ice rink will be located on the softball field at McKinley Park. In years past, the rink had been placed at Veteran’s Park. The City of Oglesby announced that their ice rink is now open from 8am to 10pm daily depending on weather. It is located in the empty lot downtown on the north side of East Walnut Street.
Man Suing Archdiocese
A 27-year-old Chicago man is suing the Archdiocese of Chicago, alleging a convicted former priest molested him when he was a boy. Darryl McArthur is the only alleged victim of priest pedophilia in Chicago to publicly identify himself. McArthur says Daniel McCormack abused him while McCormack was the priest and coach in McArthur's parish school. McCormack pleaded guilty in 2007 to abusing five children.
Man Sentenced for Killing 3 yo
A Rockford man has been sentenced to 62 years in prison for the 2011 death of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter. Duran Johnson was sentenced for the murder of Kaitlyn Head. Prosecutors say the toddler was beaten, starved and forced to perform extreme exercises before she died. The girl's mother, Melanie Grant, pleaded guilty in August to aggravated battery and endangering the life of a child charges in exchange for a 20-year sentence.
The wife and daughter of a Chicago man who was poisoned with cyanide after winning the Illinois lottery have settled his estate. Urooj Khan died in July, days before he was to collect $425,000 in winnings. Urooj Khan's widow, Shabana Ansari, will receive one-third of the lottery winnings, their house and business. Khan's daughter from another marriage will get two-thirds the lottery proceeds and some investments.
United Center Keeping Its Name
United Airlines has reached an agreement to keep its name on the home of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks for another 20 years. The two main tenants of the United Center and United Center Joint Venture, which runs the arena. Financial terms were not disclosed.