State Briefs 6/16/08
Legion post named after four-star general
PEORIA HEIGHTS – A new American Legion post here has adopted the name of one of the area's best-known former residents, a man who climbed the military ranks and eventually was appointed to a post in the Bush administration.
Post 1111, established in November, officially named itself after Wayne A. Downing, a Peoria native, at a ceremony Saturday at Tower Park.
Downing, a four-star general who once served as counterterrorism "czar" to the White House, died unexpectedly of complications from meningitis last year at age 67 after moving back to the area.
Downing's wife, Kathy, said she was happy to see the American Legion post from Peoria Heights honor her late husband.
Although his job kept him on the move for much of his life, he loved the Peoria area, where he grew up, she said. He had enjoyed coming back to the area when he left the military, and he would have appreciated the honor from local residents, said Kathy Downing, who lives in Peoria Heights.
Journal Star, Peoria
Multiple arrests at Steamboat Sports Festival
PEORIA – Peoria police arrested about 10 people Saturday night at Steamboat Sports Festival on the riverfront and fired rounds of pepper balls into a destructive, unruly mob three times to quiet the fray.
Several fights broke out on the fairgrounds about 9:30 p.m., causing organizers and police to shut down the festival and bar anyone from entering the grounds for about 45 minutes. Upon reopening, only visitors 21 and older or children accompanied by adults were allowed to enter.
As police ushered festivalgoers off the grounds about 9:45 p.m., a crowd of about 100 to 150 people took off running into the parking lot at Hamilton and Water streets, jumping the fence onto vehicles parked in the lot, according to Peoria police reports.
Police fired 20 to 25 rounds of pepper balls to disperse the crowd, some of whom were standing on vehicles. The crowd then ran to Eaton Street, knocking down a fence before a group of 30 to 50 young people turned around and started running at the officer armed with the pepper ball gun, reports said.
The officer ordered them to stop and then fired another 30 rounds of pepper balls at the front of the crowd, forcing them to again run toward Eaton.
Police again fired pepper balls at the crowd, which had grown to about 75 people and was blocking the road near Washington Street.
Journal Star, Peoria
City reaches tentative deal in personnel files dispute
SPRINGFIELD – The city of Springfield has a tentative deal with four unions that have filed unfair labor practices complaints over an ordinance giving aldermen access to city workers’ personnel files, according to an attorney for three of the unions.
The agreement, which would have to be ratified by aldermen, calls for the city council to pass a new ordinance that would let aldermen review an employee’s personnel file only if that employee sues the city.
The deal would not settle the issue of the 2,300-page Illinois State Police report detailing misconduct allegations within the Springfield Police Department, which prompted aldermen to pass the open documents ordinance in the first place.
Michael O’Hara, the lawyer for Springfield fire fighters and members of the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and International Union of Operating Engineers, said those three unions and the local American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees have signed off on the deal. AFSCME representatives could not be reached to confirm their participation.
Under the agreement, a log would be kept in the event a personnel file is examined, the employee would be notified, and no copies could be made of anything in the file, O’Hara said. Any medical records in the employee’s file or previous disciplinary history unrelated to the lawsuit would be off limits.
Aldermen sought to gain access to the ISP report last year, but Mayor Tim Davlin refused to turn it over, saying it is a personnel matter. Aldermen then passed an ordinance granting themselves access to all city documents, arguing that they need the information to fulfill their oversight responsibilities.
The ordinance prompted the five unions to file charges with the Illinois Labor Relations Board. The unions said aldermanic access to personnel files is an issue that must be bargained under their contracts.
Man arrested for damaging table with bike tricks
SPRINGFIELD – A Springfield man was arrested Friday morning for allegedly damaging a picnic table outside the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum by doing some bike tricks on it.
Timothy G. Smith, 26, was arrested about 1:30 a.m. Security guards told police they saw Smith ride past the museum, then ride up to the table on the north side of the building, jump his bike onto it and do some bike tricks, then ride away.
The guards saw several gouge marks on the bench that hadn’t been there earlier when they did their rounds. They told police Smith previously was banned from the property for similar activity.
Police found Smith in a parking lot and arrested him.