Tazewell County News Briefs

Chronicle Media

Current disabled parking permits expire Jan. 31. Technology is making it easier for people with disabilities to renew their parking placards while visiting their doctor. Physicians can renew their patient’s disability placards online via the Illinois Secretary of State’s website


New divorce law decides who gets the family pet

Divorce proceedings have so many assets to divvy up. And, the decision of one question can raise a lot of concern: Who gets the dog? 

Under SB 1261, which Gov. Bruce Rauner signed in August and took effect in Illinois Jan. 1, the judge will now answer that question. In deciding the fate of any family pet, a judge may take into consideration important pet parent details concerning who takes care of the animal on a day-to-day basis, and who spends more money on necessities such as food and vaccinations.

Two other new laws that took effect Jan. 1 also affect animals.

SB 1884 requires laboratories to make a reasonable effort to find homes for dogs or cats used in their research.

And, staple circus character is now a part of history. To protect elephants from harmful training conditions and abuses, SB 1342 prohibits circuses or traveling animal acts in Illinois from using African and Asian elephants.

Doctors can renew patients’ disabled parking permits

Technology is making it easier for people with disabilities to renew their parking placards while visiting their doctor. Physicians can renew their patient’s disability placards online via the Illinois Secretary of State’s website, making Illinois the second state in the nation to provide this service.

Persons with disabilities are required to renew their permanent disability parking placards every four years. With the upgraded renewal system, the Secretary of State’s office sends a renewal certification form to the authorized holder of permanent disability placard approximately three months prior to their parking placard’s expiration date. The renewal certification form contains the information of the authorized holders including their current parking placard number and authorized pin number. The authorized holders then take the form to their physician, who submits the patient’s information online at cyberdriveillionis.com.

Then, the certification form is submitted instantly to the Secretary of State’s office. If the authorized holders provided an email address, they will receive an email confirmation that their application has been received. Following approval, their updated placard will be mailed. The new system reduces the amount of time it takes for individuals to receive their new parking placard.

The next expiration date for parking placards is Jan. 31.

Records show 2017 was a warm year in Illinois

It may be difficult to comprehend given the recent frigid temperatures, but the Illinois state climatologist says 2017 was the sixth warmest year on record in the state, with an average temperature of 54.3 degrees, or 2 degrees above normal.

Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel says eight months last year had above-normal temperatures and Illinois had the warmest February on record with a statewide average 41 degrees, which was about 10 degrees above normal. Statewide the average precipitation during 2017 was 37.65 inches, about 2.3 inches below normal. That’s despite heavy rains in southern Illinois in the spring and northern Illinois during July and September.

Snowfall for the 2017-2018 winter season was slow to start but there were significant accumulations by the end of December. Snowfall totals were from 6 to 15 inches in northern Illinois and were almost zero in far southern Illinois by Dec. 31.


Restaurant inspections using new scoring system

Starting this month, Tazewell County health inspectors are using a different scoring system as the first step to adopting the new state of Illinois Food Code. The 100-point restaurant inspection scoring system, used for more than 30 years, is no more.

Under the new inspection system, establishments will be rated according to how many risk factor violations they have. Their goal: The fewer, the better.

Risk factor violations address practices that could lead to foodborne illness. They include time and temperature control for cooking and storing foods, various hygiene practices, and proper food sourcing. Each of 29 possible violations will be noted under the new system. If a violation is repeated on future inspections, it will also be noted.

Inspectors will continue checking establishments for less serious issues called good retail practices, but they won’t be counted in the inspection total.

Tazewell County inspectors have been trained on the new system for months. They also have been worked with area eating establishments to help managers understand the new inspection system.

The new food code is more detailed. It explains not only how to do things, but also the reasons why. The new scoring system is part of the FDA food code adopted by the state in 2016.


–Tazewell County News Briefs–