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Around the state 4-1-18

 
 
Illinois corrections sued for missing prison buses payment
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Corrections is being sued by a finance company for missing an annual payment on four prisoner transport buses.
The lawsuit filed Thursday by Wells Fargo Equipment Finance Inc. says the state agency has neither made the payment that was due last fall nor met its demands that the state turn the buses over to the company.
The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that corrections department spokeswoman Lindsey Hess says the agency submitted a voucher for the $580,000 payment to state Comptroller Susana Mendoza's office in January.
Mendoza's office says corrections officials haven't said the payment is a priority and the office was unaware of the lawsuit.
The suit says Illinois began leasing the buses in 2014 under an agreement calling for four annual lease payments of $580,000.
 
Man arrested after 400 pounds of marijuana found in his home
CHICAGO (AP) — A suburban Chicago man is in custody and facing drug and weapons charges after police discovered more than 400 pounds of marijuana inside his home.
The Chicago Tribune reports that 31-year-old David Gutierrez of Skokie is charged with a felony count of manufacturing or delivery of cannabis and misdemeanor charges of unlawful use of a weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Last week, tactical officers executing a search warrant at Gutierrez's home found the estimated 423 pounds — with a street value of more than $3 million — along with four handguns, a shotgun and what police said was a "large amount" of cash.
 
Western Illinois University opens food bank for students
MACOMB, Ill. (AP) — Western Illinois University has opened a student food pantry after a survey showed a large number of students skipping meals or going hungry.
The university says the pantry opened Thursday and will be available to any student regardless of income.
A group of students studying diet and nutrition sent out a campus survey last year to gauge interest in a food bank. They found that nearly half of students who responded had reported going hungry in the past month.
The survey results inspired students in the School of Agriculture to hold a food drive. They collected more than 1,100 pounds of non-perishable food for the pantry project.
The food bank will be open every Thursday until the end of the school year. It is run by a volunteer student organization.
 
Man whose estate got $1.5M settlement faced federal scrutiny
CHICAGO (AP) — A man whose family was paid $1.5 million by the city of Chicago after he died in police custody was under federal investigation at the time.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Justin Cook was a member of the Four Corner Hustlers street gang. Records show he was one of three unindicted co-conspirators named in a racketeering indictment.
That case allegedly ties 11 gang members to six slayings, along with several robberies, batteries and drug-related offenses. It's set for trial next year.
The 29-year-old Cook died in 2014 after police allegedly refused to give him his inhaler as he suffered an asthma attack after being arrested. His estate sued the city and three officers. City officials authorized the settlement in 2016.
A spokesman says the Chicago Law Department determined there was "a significant chance" police would be found liable.
 
Group wants to restore 1866 Civil War memorial in Peoria
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Efforts are underway to restore one of the oldest Civil War monuments in Illinois in a new location.
The memorial was dedicated in October 1866 before a crowd of 30,000 on the current Peoria County courthouse grounds. It was dismantled in the 1960s.
The (Peoria) Journal Star reports that a group of history buffs spent the past few years looking for the pieces of the memorial and found many discarded at a marina. A Peoria County committee has unanimously recommended that the group receive permission to transport pieces of the memorial to Springdale Cemetery to be reassembled and restored.
Members have been in touch with the company the originally supplied the marble for the monument 153 years ago about replacing missing pieces.
 
Gastrointestinal illness outbreak reported at veterans' home
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — There is an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness among residents and staff at the Illinois Veterans' Home in Quincy.
The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting the outbreak began earlier this week, with 24 people experiencing vomiting and diarrhea for at least two days. Although health officials say test results are pending, based on the symptoms, the spread and the duration of illness, norovirus is suspected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says norovirus is the leading cause of illness and outbreaks from contaminated food in the United States.  Each year there are approximately 19-21 million cases.
Norovirus infection cannot be treated with antibiotics because it is a viral infection.
The veterans' home in Quincy is where Legionnaires' has claimed 13 residents' lives since 2015.
 
Chicago sees drop in gun violence in March
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police say March ended as the 13th straight month to see a drop in gun violence.
In a news release, the police department says there were 29 homicides during the month — 10 fewer than were reported in March of last year.  And the department says there was a similar drop in the number of shooting incidents and shooting victims.
The department says that so far in 2018 there have been 108 homicides compared to 140 during the same three-month period last year.
The department says the drop in both homicides and shooting incidents that began early last year coincides with the expanded use of technology that helps police better identify areas where crimes might be committed and respond quicker to shooting incidents.
 
2 officers resign after off-duty traffic dispute, gunfire
CHICAGO (AP) — Two Chicago police officers have resigned several years after an off-duty incident that led to one of them firing shots at the truck of another officer from a suburban department.
The Chicago Tribune reports Friday John Gorman and Timothy Neylon resigned earlier this month. They faced firing by the Chicago Police Board after department-related charges were filed against them in February.
Gorman and Neylon were driving on the city's south side in November 2014 when an off-duty Merrionette Park officer spotted him driving recklessly. After a pursuit that included a failed attempt to stop Gorman, he fired shots at the suburban officer's truck. Nobody was shot.
Gorman was charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm but acquitted in 2016. The judge said then Gorman appeared to have "felt threatened."
 
Former Gilman clerk gets probation for stealing city funds
WATSEKA, Ill. (AP) — The former city clerk of the central Illinois community of Gilman has received four years of probation for stealing thousands of dollars of government funds.
Michelle Fancher pleaded guilty to felony theft charge in exchange for the sentence, which also requires her to pay back more than $51,950. Prosecutors dropped a charge of official misconduct in exchange for the plea.
Iroquois County State's Attorney Jim Devine says Fancher pocketed cash from residents who were paying their water, sewage and garbage fees during a period between 2011 and 2017.
The theft was discovered when Fancher went on vacation in August. Fancher resigned her post when confronted with the inconsistencies in city ledgers after her return.
 
Chicago receives $6.7M to help people living with HIV/AIDS
CHICAGO (AP) — The city of Chicago is receiving more than $6.7 million in federal grants to help low-income residents with HIV and AIDS.
U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth say the funds from the Department of Health and Human Services are intended to provide support services to people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. The care will extend beyond essential medical services, and is aimed at improving overall medical outcomes.
Durbin says it will improve the quality of life for patients and families. Duckworth says it builds "on the progress we've already made addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic."
 
Man shot dead by HUD agent identified as Waukegan resident
ZION, Ill. (AP) — Authorities have identified the suburban Chicago man who was shot by an agent with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper on Friday identified the person as 19-year-old Dishon McBride of Waukegan.
Police in Zion say the agent, who was on duty, told them a group of people approached a vehicle while the agent was inside Thursday morning. Police say one of them who had a bandanna covering his face showed a handgun and the agent fired through the vehicle's window. The others in the group fled.
Cooper said preliminary autopsy results indicate McBride died from a single gunshot wound. He refused to say where the bullet struck McBride.
The shooting is being investigated by federal, state and Zion police investigators, with Illinois State Police taking the lead role in the case.

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