Four Injured near Somonauk
Four people were injured following a two-vehicle accident near Somonauk Thursday morning. La Salle County Sheriff's officials say they responded to the crash just before 6 AM Thursday. Authorities say 24-year old Ashley Nowak of Crest Hill was driving on US Route 34, just west of the La Salle-DeKalb County Line, when she passed a vehicle driven by 35-year old Justin Jones of Earlville. Authorities say Nowak's vehicle struck Jones' vehicle, lost control and overturned. Nowak, along with three passengers in her vehicle, were taken Valley West Hospital in Sandwich. Jones was uninjured.
Gas Prices Mixed into the Weekend
Gas prices continue to be mixed throughout the area. Triple-A in Chicago says the demand for gasoline has remained low. Crude oil prices have also stayed around $75 a barrel for the past three weeks. Most stations throughout the La Salle-Peru area, along with Utica and Spring Valley are averaging around $2.67. Prices are higher in Ottawa and Streator at $2.84 and $2.87, respectively. Throughout Illinois, the average price has fallen to $2.94 while the national average sits at $2.84.
Streator City Council
Several changes are coming for Streator downtown businesses. At Wednesday night's city council meeting, board members approved a change in the sign ordinance, in which signs can now extend up to four feet from the building's wall at a maximum of 20 square feet. The old ordinance only allowed signs to be up to 15 inches from a building wall. Board members also approved outdoor sales outside of downtown businesses without a special use permit. Items from businesses can be put outside up to five feet away from a business, but no large appliances or glass items are allowed.
Lawmakers Waiting on Rauner
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says lawmakers are heeding Governor-elect Bruce Rauner's advice and won't extend the state's temporary income tax increase. Rauner advised lawmakers not to take up any substantive issues before he's sworn in. Cullerton was one of several top lawmakers who met yesterday with Rauner at the Capitol.
Pension Overhaul Arguments
State employees and retirees are preparing to argue today in court that the Illinois Constitution bars lawmakers from cutting their pension benefits. Lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn approved a law in December 2013 that overhauled the operation of the state's five pension systems. But the lawsuit complains that the Constitution prohibits reducing any benefits or compensation once they're promised.
DeKalb Murder Trial
A DeKalb woman accused of killing a boy has been found mentally fit to stand trial. Jessica Breuer is charged with murder and aggravated battery in the death of John Hawks. She faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. Breuer is due back in court next month.
State officials say the Illinois unemployment rate held steady at 6.6 percent in October as private-sector hiring slowed. The Department of Employment Security said Thursday that seven-straight months of unemployment declines came to an end. But the department noted unemployment has dropped from 9.1 percent in October 2013. The number of unemployed people actively seeking work was 429,000.
Man Remains Jailed after Flight Attempt to Syria
A federal judge says a 20-year-old American accused of trying to join al-Qaida-affiliated fighters in Syria will remain jailed pending trial. Abdella Ahmad Tounisi's lawyer asked at a hearing today in Chicago for her client to be released to home confinement. But Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan said he saw no compelling reason to revisit the detention issue.
Later School Starting Times?
Members of the American Academy of Pediatrics have pushed Chicago officials to roll back public school start times to allow middle and high school students to get more sleep. Medical experts attended a City Council Health Committee hearing to outline options to deal with sleep deprivation among teenagers. They don't go as far as a later start of the school day.