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Government
4:44 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Transfers from Dwight Prison to Pontiac

The closure of the Dwight Correctional Center last week means other state prisons will be able to ramp up staff.  As IPR’s Amanda Vinicky reports, most employees transferred from Dwight start at their new posts Monday.

Listen to the story.

The Tamms prison in deep southern Illinois used to house the so-called "worst of the worst" inmates who'd committed the most heinous crimes, or misbehaved in other prison and were thus isolated as punishment. When Governor Pat Quinn ordered Tamms closed last year, those inmates were moved to the Pontiac prison.

Warden Randy Phister says there have been no problems with the Tamms inmates since they arrived, some in August, others in December. That's despite Pontiac not getting any additional staff to help with the 140 extra inmates. Pontiac prison guard Frank Turner, who’s also President of the local AFSCME union, says that forced an average of 56 overtime shifts a day.  

"You have to have them bodies here to protect the public and the institution and protect the inmates from each other. Somebody has to be here. And if you have to work 16 hours you have to work 16 hours," says Turner.
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Education
3:13 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

UIS to offer classes for veterans

Veterans and active members of the armed forces will have classes just for them at the University of Illinois Springfield. Students will discuss their time in the military and must also complete an in-depth writing assignment about a life-changing experience. Kevin Beeson, a visiting instructor at UIS, teaches other experiential learning courses. He says he's watched as other students bond over shared life experiences. Beeson says he created the class after interviewing students with military backgrounds and noticing the bond they share. 

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Sports
2:43 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Vancouver Canucks buying Peoria Rivermen

The Vancouver Canucks are buying the Peoria Rivermen hockey team.  The St. Louis Blues confirmed the sale of its franchise, pending approval by the American Hockey League.  The Rivermen are leaving Peoria at the end of the season.  The Blues notified the Civic Center last week that it was buying out the remainder of its contract for a reported $90,000. The Blues had two seasons remaining on their Rivermen contract with the Civic Center.  The news comes after multiple seasons of low attendance at home games.  

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State News
8:14 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Police want to use electronic testimony to obtain warrants

Police in Illinois could see a key step in obtaining search warrants become quicker. Lawmakers are considering a plan that would allow police to lay out evidence before a judge using an Internet chat session, as long as it has video and audio. Cook County Assistant State's Attorney John Carroll says it's not always easy to find a judge to approve a warrant.

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State News
8:05 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Measure considered to keep teenagers out of adult courts

Illinois lawmakers are considering a change that would keep more teenagers out of adult court. The measure would send 17 year olds charged with nonviolent felonies into the juvenile court system. 

Illinois Public Radio’s Brian Mackey has more:

Since 2010, 17 year olds charged with misdemeanors have been sent to juvenile court, while those charged with felonies are sent to adult court. Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, a Democrat from Chicago, says getting more 17 year olds in juvenile court has led to fewer of them being sent to prison.  Courts that focus on youths have more options to help troubled kids.  While kids sent to adult court are much more likely to commit crimes in the future.

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Peoria Public Radio News
7:22 am
Mon April 1, 2013

College prep focus of District 150 pilot program

Peoria School District 150 is touting a pilot program to help parents and high school students prepare for college.  

Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports:

The College Bound Peoria program launched last fall and now has 20 students and 28 parents. The program gives parents financial information, shares tips on how to save for college and takes students on tours of state and private schools in the Mid-West. York Powers is the District 150 Family and Community coordinator. He says the program’s goal is to help students adapt to an ever-changing academic environment:

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State News
7:08 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Revolutionizing transportation in Illinios

In March, President Obama visited Argonne National Lab in the western suburbs of Chicago. Among the many projects there is an effort to dramatically improve battery power. It’s one of several green energy hubs around the country.  

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Peoria Public Radio News
6:23 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Local man trying new method to revitalize Peoria's neighborhoods

Certain parts of the heart of Peoria keenly reflect the leftover effects of what our culture has long called ‘white flight’. The City of Peoria has a pronounced effort to create a vibrant and lively downtown. The trouble with that is the housing stock that immediately surrounds the city’s downtown. Parts of it teeters on the edge of condemnation, or at least, it’s not someplace where those with even moderate means would choose to live.

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Economy
7:13 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Highway projects near Morton to begin

An $86 million road improvements project begins Monday near Morton.  It’s part of Governor Pat Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now program, and includes additional lanes and pavement replacements on I-74.  The I-74 and Morton Avenue interchange will also get ramp improvements.  The project is expected to finish by summer of 2015. 

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Courts
7:06 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Judge post filled in 10th Circuit

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Thomas Keith to fill a vacancy in the 10th Judicial Circuit.  Keith has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney since 1994 and is currently based out of the Central District Office in Peoria.  He will fill the Resident Court post in Stark County starting April 5th.  Judge Stuart Borden retired from that position last December.  The 10th circuit is comprised of Marshall, Peoria, Putnam, Stark and Tazewell Counties.

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