NEWS

State Briefs 6/19/08

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Wind tower company looking at Peoria area for plant

PEKIN - A company that builds towers for wind turbines is shopping for a place to locate about 150 jobs and a multimillion-dollar facility, and it has its eye on Peoria and Tazewell counties.

While the project is still being kept confidential, the two counties are competing against other communities statewide, said Greg Truninger, director of business development for the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois.

Truninger said the American-based company hasn't revealed its name but has sent a representative who looked at Pekin's Riverway Business Park and the former Caterpillar Inc. property in Mapleton as possible sites to locate the facility, which he said could cost between $20 million and $30 million.

The company, which manufactures the shafts for wind towers, did tell Truninger it wants to be up and running by the first quarter of 2009, so a decision on where it will locate should be known by July.

Interested apparently was spurred in Tazewell County for its access to railroads and the amount of acreage available. The Mapleton site also offers access to the Illinois River.

Journal Star, Peoria

Man held on $60,000 bond after alleged shooting

GOODFIELD – A Goodfield man was held on $60,000 bond Wednesday after allegedly pointing a loaded shotgun at a man, firing a blast in his direction and then holing up in a trailer until being coaxed out by police.

Eric P. Gorton, 32, faces one charge each of reckless discharge of a firearm and aggravated assault, both Class 4 felonies. A July 14 preliminary hearing was set, though it is likely a grand jury will hear the case before then.

Police responded to Gorton's home about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, after neighbors reported hearing gunshots. Officials said Gorton pointed the weapon and fired it near Anthony D. Waldschmidt, 28, though declined to detail what led to the shooting or how the pair knew each other. Waldschmidt was not seriously injured.

After calling in the Central Illinois Emergency Response Team about 11:30 p.m., Gorton remained inside the trailer for several hours until negotiators convinced him to come out, at which point they arrested him.

Journal Star, Peoria

High school aims to raise $60 million for new campus

PEORIA - Peoria Notre Dame High School is gearing up for a $60 million capital campaign to build a modern new campus in North Peoria.

The earliest the new facility would open at the donated land is fall 2012.

A yearlong study conducted by the Reid Group concluded that the private Catholic high school needs to be remodeled or a new school needs to be built. Notre Dame owns more than 40 acres on Willow Knolls Road, sufficient space for a new campus and athletic complex.

The school hopes to select a consultant by July to conduct a feasibility study to determine how much money it can raise.

The new school will be built in phases. The campus will include a chapel, gymnasium, football stadium, soccer and baseball fields, swimming pool and tennis courts. The fundraising campaign could begin in March.

Notre Dame's enrollment for this fall is 850 students, which has seen a gradual increase in enrollment over the past few years. The new school would be built possibly to house 1,200 students.

Journal Star, Peoria

Special prosecutor says he’ll fight attempt to close his appointment

SPRINGFIELD – Charles Zalar, the special prosecutor assigned to review the cases of six people never charged with any criminal offenses in a long-term cocaine probe, said Wednesday he’s going to fight an attempt to close out his appointment.

Jay Elmore, the attorney for Sangamon County Clerk Joe Aiello, one of those connected to the cocaine ring in court documents but never charged, has asked a judge to discontinue Zalar’s appointment as special prosecutor.

Elmore has said it’s just an attempt to tie up loose ends in the case, because Zalar already has announced he’s not going to file any charges.

Zalar said new issues might arise that would require reconsideration by a prosecutor. He cited a new controversy over whether Aiello should be required to testify in a disciplinary hearing against an Illinois state trooper.

A hearing is set Friday morning on whether Zalar’s appointment should continue.

Zalar in April granted immunity to Aiello to testify at a disciplinary hearing involving Trooper R. Michael Jennings, a longtime friend. Jennings allegedly had told Aiello to stay away from the house of another man involved in the cocaine ring, Gerald Vondebur, because Jennings knew Vondebur was being investigated by state police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

But Zalar’s immunity promise isn’t enough to protect Aiello, Elmore said, so he is refusing to testify.

State Journal-Register

County committee approves settlement with inmate

PEKIN - The Tazewell County Board Risk Management Committee voted Wednesday to recommend that the county board give a former inmate of the Tazewell County Justice Center a settlement of $440,000.

After deliberating for nearly half an hour, the committee voted eight to three in favor of the resolution.

In November, Charles L. Chandler, 23, filed a lawsuit against Tazewell County Sheriff Robert Huston, Sgt. Michael Harper and Tazewell County Justice Center corrections officers Joel Brown, Eric Rasmussen and Schad Martin, claiming that in 2006 he was stripped naked by Tazewell County correctional officers and then beaten severely enough to have his jaw and several ribs broken.

According to Chandler's lawsuit, a recording shows Chandler being taken into his cell, handcuffed and wearing a jail suit, by four jail officers, one of whom is believed to be a sergeant.

The beating was filmed by cameras in the jail.

The resolution still must be voted on by the county board.

Pekin Times