State Briefs 5/14/09

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Bill to let school districts raise taxes to replace damaged buildings sent to governor

SPRINGFIELD – A plan to let two downstate school districts raise taxes to replace buildings devastated by natural disasters is heading to the governor's desk.

The state Senate voted 55-3 for House Bill 1107 on Tuesday. It already had been approved by the House so now needs Gov. Pat Quinn's approval to become law.

The measure affects schools in Martinsville in southeastern Illinois and Benld, located south of Springfield. The Martinsville school was flooded when huge rains fell last summer, while the Benld school was condemned earlier this spring when mine subsidence caused part of the building to cave in.

Some critics questioned whether the increased taxes could be avoided through other avenues, such as life-safety borrowing offered by the state.

But supporters said that approach wouldn't work. They needed the law change to speed up rebuilding for the two schools without having to wait for voter approval to raise local property taxes to pay for the projects.

GateHouse News Service State Capitol Bureau

Robber runs away after workers refuse to hand over money

PEORIA – A not-so-persistent robber was turned away from an attempted holdup Tuesday night.

According to Peoria police, a male believed to be in his teens entered JJ's Fish and Chicken in Peoria about 9:15 p.m. Dressed in dark clothing and partially covering his face, he displayed a gun and demanded money.

When employees refused to hand over money, the gunman turned around and ran out of the restaurant. Police searched the area but did not locate the suspect.

Peoria Journal Star

Horse temporarily sedated after accident

DIVERNON – A horse had to be temporarily sedated Wednesday afternoon when the trailer it was riding in overturned as a result of wind and water on the road near Divernon.

The woman driving the truck, whose name was not immediately released by authorities, was taken to St. John’s Hospital. She was wearing a seat belt and was not seriously injured.

The wreck happened about 1:20 p.m. at Divernon and Dambacher roads. The woman was driving a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado toward Richland Stables when a storm caused wind gusts and water on the road. The driver hit a patch of water and lost control of the truck, which overturned, along with the 25-foot horse trailer it was pulling.

A veterinarian from Richland Stables sedated the horse so it could be removed from the trailer. They then walked it to the stables about 3 1/2 miles way. The horse was not seriously injured.

State Journal-Register

LaHood to speak at Monmouth commencement

MONMOUTH – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray H. LaHood will deliver the 2009 commencement address at Monmouth College on Sunday.

A former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, LaHood is one of only two Republicans serving in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet. As secretary of transportation, LaHood leads an agency with more than 55,000 employees and a $70 billion budget that oversees air, maritime and surface transportation missions.

From 1995 to 2009, LaHood served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois’ 18th District, which includes Peoria, Springfield and Jacksonville. During that time, he served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Appropriations Committee. Before his election to the House, he served as chief of staff to U.S. Congressman Robert Michel, whom he succeeded in representing the 18th District, and as district administrative assistant to Congressman Thomas Railsback. He also served in the Illinois Legislature.

About 245 students will be graduating.

Galesburg Register-Mail