News from around Illinois, as reported by GateHouse newspapers.
CENTRAL ILLINOIS FutureGen loses support from Energy Department SPRINGFIELD -- The U.S. Department of Energy is pulling support for FutureGen, a $1.75 billion coal-fired power plant that was planned for Mattoon. The federal government was supposed to pay 75 percent of the project's cost, but DOE has proven reluctant as costs mushroomed for the project, which is aimed at proving that coal can generate power while creating minimal pollution. The project was supposed to cost $950 million when President Bush announced it in 2003. A consortium of private power companies that was supposed to pay 25 percent recently offered to cap DOE's share at $800 million -- the amount called for in original plans. But DOE secretary Samuel Bodman reiterated criticism of the project during a meeting this morning with Illinois lawmakers, saying the department will pursue alternatives, said Joe Shoemaker, spokesman for U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin. Durbin sounded livid after the meeting. “After our meeting today, it is clear that the Secretary of Energy Sam Bodman has misled the people of Illinois, creating false hope in a FutureGen project which he has no intention of funding or supporting,” Durbin said in a written statement. “When the City of Mattoon was chosen over possible locations in Texas, the Secretary of Energy set out to kill FutureGen.” Durbin vowed to continue the campaign to bring FutureGen to Illinois, saying the state's congressional delegation will appeal directly to Bush. State Journal-Register Taylorville native killed in Iraq TAYLORVILLE -- A Taylorville native serving in the U.S. Army was killed Saturday by a roadside bomb in Baghdad, the Department of Defense announced this week. Staff Sgt. Robert J. Wilson, 28, was conducting a "dismounted patrol" when the explosive device detonated, according to a news release from the military. Wilson, of Boynton Beach, Fla., was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky. He was serving his third tour of duty in Iraq, according to the (Taylorville) Breeze-Courier. Wilson spent his early childhood in Taylorville before moving to Florida. He returned to Taylorville and attended high school there before enlisting, the newspaper reported. State Journal-Register Officer didn't lie about past DUI BLOOMINGTON -- A Bloomington police lieutenant who was accused of showing up drunk to an armed standoff last summer was not required to acknowledge a drunken-driving arrest in his employment application. That's the conclusion of an investigation into Lt. Tim Stanesa's background after a media report that the officer lied about the DUI by omitting it from employment documents. Stanesa did, however, discuss the May 1985 arrest in an oral interview with the city's then-chief of police, Myron Miller, and the board of fire and police commissioners when he applied for a job in late 1990, according to a release from the department. The release said job applications at the time of the interview only required applicants to list traffic arrests that occurred within the previous five years and that the DUI arrest in question happened outside that time frame. The contents of the oral interview and investigation into Stanesa's background are a personnel matter and were released to the media with Stanesa's permission, the statement from the department noted. Stanesa was accused of showing up intoxicated to an armed standoff with a man who was suspected of shooting at teenagers on Aug. 25. According to a letter from the Police and Benevolent Association, which demanded that an outside agency investigate the matter, Stanesa refused to take over as "incident commander" because he said he was too drunk. Instead, he assumed the role of "SWAT commander" and allegedly was seen sleeping in the mobile command center while in that capacity. The union letter also noted that Stanesa had been at a party hosted by another Bloomington police lieutenant and that other officers at the party declined to respond to the scene. The Illinois State Police initiated an investigation into Stanesa's conduct at the standoff, but in late September informed the Bloomington Police Department that it did not intend to further investigate. The McLean County State's Attorney's Office determined there was not enough evidence to warrant criminal charges. Journal Star, Peoria Members of 1844th headed to Iraq QUINCY -- While presidential candidates promise to bring an end to the war in Iraq, another group of young men and women from west central Illinois will soon be headed to the war-torn nation. It has been confirmed that 190 Illinois Army National Guard members from the 1844th Transportation Company will be deployed to Kuwait. From there some of the members will be sent to Iraq for various assignments. There will be a deployment ceremony for the soldiers in Quincy at 10 a.m. Friday. The ceremony will be conducted at the Memorial Gymnasium at Quincy University. Although the unit is based in Quincy, there are members in the unit from the Warren-Henderson-McDonough county area. An official with the Illinois National Guard said they are not allowed to comment on specific soldiers that have been deployed, or are about to be deployed overseas. The 1844th Transportation Company will also be joined by members from two other Illinois National Guard units. About 40 soldiers from the 1244th Transportation Company in North Riverside and 35 soldiers from the 1644th Transportation Company in Rock Falls will join the Quincy unit. After the ceremony, the soldiers will be transported to their mobilization station at Camp Atterbury, Ind., where they will receive extensive training prior to being deployed to the Middle East. The official with the Illinois National Guard did say the deployment will be about one year, beginning with the date they start training at Camp Atterbury. It appears the soldiers will spend between nine and 11 months overseas. Daily Review Atlas NORTHERN ILLINOIS Neighbors fearful over Rockford killing ROCKFORD -- A man was found shot and killed this morning on the city's northwest side. Deputy Police Chief Greg Lindmark said police arrived around 9 a.m. at a three-story apartment building at Auburn and Evelyn streets. They discovered the body of a man in his mid-20s, whose name is not being released pending family notification. "We're still processing the crime scene at this time," Lindmark said. Lindmark said the man had been shot multiple times. Winnebago County Coroner Sue Fiduccia said there will be an autopsy Wednesday. Lindmark said there are no suspects at this time. Ashley Kyles, a neighbor, said she discovered the body after hearing a woman scream, "Help me." When she went inside, she said, she saw the victim lying near the bed. Rockford Register Star Northern Illinois braces for powerful winds, blinding snow ROCKFORD -- Northern Illinois is bracing for a blast of disruptive winter weather. Meteorologists say powerful winds and blinding snow should start to affect Rockford and Chicago this evening. Wind gusts could reach as high as 45 mph. And blowing snow could result in near-whiteout conditions. Thermometer readings are also expected to plummet from highs in the 40s to closer to zero later today. Wind-chill values could fall to minus 20. A Chicago Department of Aviation spokesman, Gregg Cunningham, said fog is already causing problems at O'Hare Airport. He said 150 flights have been canceled and delays are around 30 minutes. Midway Airport reports no delays or cancellations. Rockford Register Star SOUTHERN ILLINOIS Woman arrested twice in West City WEST CITY -- A Carterville woman was arrested twice within 24 hours on charges of trespassing, according to a West City Police Department report. Jillian Black, 24, was arrested at 3:37 p.m. Sunday after she allegedly broke a window of a trailer home and tried to gain entry. Black was taken to the Franklin County Jail in Benton on a charge of criminal trespass to a residence. Her vehicle was impounded pursuant to village ordinance. She posted bond and was released. About 8:37 a.m. Monday, police were called to the Days Inn in West City after Black appeared there. Black was arrested for criminal trespass to real property and taken into custody once again. Once again, her car was impounded. Benton Evening News