IHSA fights back on football lawsuit
The Illinois High School Association is seeking to get a class-action concussion lawsuit dismissed, on the basis that if the lawsuit is successful it could end prep football programs across the state. The motion for dismissal was filed April 13 in a Cook County Circuit Courtroom. The IHSA argues that the organization and its 800 member schools are proactive about managing head injuries among the tens of thousands of high school students who play football each year. The original lawsuit was filed in November 2014 and seeks court supervision over how high schools and the IHSA manage head injuries that occur to prep football players. Previously, IHSA Director Marty Hickman has stated that court-imposed mandates could negatively affect poorer schools, making it too expensive for them to field a football team. The attorney for the plaintiff, has stated improved safety should help high school football programs, not hurt them.
Police looking for missing woman
A Peoria woman has been reported missing and the police are asking the public to aid in their search. Katherine D. Johnson, 42, was last seen about 1:25 p.m. April 1 in the area of the Dollar General store in SW Adams Street, according to police. Her last known address is in the 1110 block of South Western Avenue. She is described as black, 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 115 pounds and last seen wearing a multicolored floral print shirt, blue jeans and a white head covering, according to police. Anyone who has information on Katherine D. Johnson is asked to call the Peoria Police Department at 673-4521 or CrimeStoppers at 673-9000.
New principals named to lead local schools
School District 150 has announced three schools will be getting new principals for the 2015-16 school year. Doug Atkins, principal of Whittier Primary, is being reassigned to Lincoln school where he replaces Ursula Brown, who resigned. Patrick Sell, who is assistant principal at Richwoods High School, will succeed Atkins at Whittier. Special education coordinator for District 150, Karen Ball, will be the new principal at Jamieson School, succeeding James Jemilo who resigned.
District 150 update anti-bullying policies
The new state anti-bullying law was discussed by the School District 150 board on April 13. Students now will face the possibility of discipline for cyber bullying that occurs outside of school, under the new law. Also, students will be able to report bullying anonymously, by email or by phone. In addition, school administrators will be required to document and investigate charges of bullying on social media if it affects the school environment event if the incidents happen outside of school hours and off school property. The board voted to update the district’s policy to reflect the state law. So far this school year, the district has reported more than 60 student suspensions for bullying incidents.
Council reviewing pet ordinance
The city is reviewing its ordinance on multiple pet ownership in wake of a dispute between neighbors that was brought before the city council’s Public Safety Committee. Chillicothe residents, Jeremy Koll and Stacey Mueller, addressed the committee about Mueller having multiple dogs on her property. Koll complained in March to the city regarding noise from the dogs and expressed concerns about Mueller looking into a kennel license for her property. Based on current city ordinances, there are no specifics on the limit to the number of pets someone can house on one residential property, according to police. There is no clear designation on what is a multiple pet household. Mueller told the committee the main reason she applied for a kennel license is she has five “breed-able” female dogs on her property and under state law that is the maximum number a residence can have before needing a license, according to reports. Ward 4 Alderman Gary Sharp expressed concerns that breeding and then selling the puppies is essentially a business operating out of a residence. Mueller said that does not make her a business, but City Attorney Michael Mahoney disagreed.
Construction on Route 29 underway
The state is beginning work on a segment of State Route 29 in Mossville, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. The project involves replacing a structure carrying Route 29 over Boyd’s Hollow, some paved median construction, resurfacing and guardrail improvements according to IDOT. It is expected to be completed in November. Two-way traffic will be diverted into the existing northbound lanes during the construction for about three months. In the second phase, two-way traffic will be moved to the southbound lanes to complete work on the northbound lanes.
Highway Dept. posts construction updates
The Cloverdale Road bridge construction project moves forward with excavating the creek channel, both upstream and downstream of the bridge, according to an update from the Peoria County Highway Department. The road will be closed to traffic as the existing bridge will be removed. The project is expected to be completed in August. The Kickapoo Creek Road bridge project is expected to be finished by May 1, weather permitting. Landscaping work at the site began the week of April 13, according to the county. Also, crews are expected to install the permanent pavement striping.
County pushes for Schock to pay for special election
The Marshall County Board wants former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock to pay for the special election needed to replace him following his resignation this spring. Schock, a Peoria Republican, resigned his office under investigations into his campaign finances and use of taxpayer money for private use. The Marshall County Board voted to send a $76,000 bill to Schock and sent a letter requesting a certified check or a promise from Schock that he will cover the costs related to the special election to be held this summer. The county sent a copy of the letter to the other 20 election jurisdictions in the 18th Congressional District.