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July 23, 2014, 6:54 am
970 WMAY News

Sheriff Uses MRAP Armored Vehicle to End Standoff Near Riverton

An armed standoff at a mobile home park near Riverton has ended peacefully.


The incident started Tuesday evening when a man called police to say someone had pointed a gun at him in the Lincoln Place mobile home park. When deputies arrived, the armed man allegedly pointed his weapon at them, too.


Officers retreated and called in the tactical response unit and hostage negotiators.


After around four hours, the sheriff’s office brought in its recently-acquired MRAP… Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected… armored vehicle. The vehicle pulled up next to the suspect’s home and shined spotlights inside.


Undersheriff Jack Campbell says the man then came out, laid down his weapon and surrendered.


The mobile home park was locked down and some residents were evacuated for hours, but everyone has now been allowed to return to their homes.

Autopsy of Human Remains Fails to Answer Most Questions

An autopsy indicates that the skeletal remains discovered in a garage in Rochester last weekend are those of an adult white female.


But it did not indicate her identity, or how or when she died. Coroner Cinda Edwards says an anthropologist was brought in to help determine the race and gender of the remains.


Now DNA samples and X-rays will be used to match the remains against any missing persons cold cases in the area. Edwards says she believes the death is a homicide.


Illinois State Police are handling the criminal investigation.

Subsidies for Health Insurance Will Continue in Illinois Despite Court Rulings

Officials with the state programs that are encouraging people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act says nothing has changed… despite a court ruling Tuesday threatening the federal subsidies for low-income enrollees in states like Illinois.


A federal appeals court ruled those subsidies only apply to states that set up their own insurance exchanges… not those like Illinois that steered residents to the federal exchange.


However, a second appeals court reached the opposite conclusion in a separate case Tuesday.


Get Covered Illinois says for now, subsidies will continue as the rulings are appealed.

Quinn Signs Capital Bill, Includes Millions for Springfield Area Roads Projects

Governor Pat Quinn has signed a billion-dollar capital construction bill that allocates millions of dollars for Springfield-area projects.


Among the work to be funded under the updated public works plan is a $22 million resurfacing of Interstate 72 between New Berlin and Springfield, $4.6 million for resurfacing and bridge deck repair on I-55 near Lake Springfield, and $3.7 million for resurfacing of Veterans Parkway between J. David Jones Parkway and Jefferson.

States Attorney Issues No Confidence Letter to Block ISP Trooper Testimony

The St. Clair County state’s attorney has issued a “no confidence” letter stating that an Illinois State Police trooper can no longer be called as a witness by prosecutors in criminal cases.


Trooper Bradley Wilkin is currently on restricted duty after being accused of choking a motorist during a traffic stop.


The Belleville News-Democrat reports Wilkin has had a history of questionable incidents… including a training simulation in Springfield that had to be halted when Wilkin allegedly fired deliberately in the direction of participants who were playing the role of hostages in the exercise.

Howlett Building Expected to Reopen

Springfield’s Howlett Building is scheduled to reopen today, one day after a small mechanical fire closed the building.


Secretary of State offices in the Howlett were closed Tuesday because the fire disabled the building’s air conditioning system.

Armed Standoff Ends Peacefully Near Riverton

UPDATE: A nearly four-hour standoff in a mobile home park near Riverton has ended peacefully.


Sangamon County Undersheriff Jack Campbell says the suspected gunman surrendered to authorities after the county deployed its MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) military-style vehicle.  The large armored vehicle pulled up to the man's door, and shined spotlights inside.  Campbell says it appears the suspect was intimidated, prompting him to come outside, lay down his weapon and surrender to authorities.


He says no shots were fired and no one was hurt.  Residents are being allowed to return to their homes in the Lincoln Place mobile home park.



[Here is our earlier story on the standoff:]


Hostage negotiators are on the scene of a standoff at a mobile home park near Riverton. 


The incident began around 6pm Tuesday when a man in the Lincoln Place park called police, saying another man had pointed a gun at him.  Sangamon County deputies responded, and Undersheriff Jack Campbell says the armed man then pointed his gun at an officer.  Deputies retreated and called in the tactical response unit. 


Several adjacent mobile homes have been evacuated as police try to bring a peaceful end to the standoff.  Campbell is asking everyone to stay away from the Lincoln Place mobile home park… and says any residents currently at home in the park should stay indoors for their safety.


Stay with 970 WMAY and for updates on this developing story.

Autopsy Identifies Remains As Those Of White Female, But Few Other Details Emerge

An autopsy reveals that the skeletal remains found in a garage in Rochester over the weekend are those of a white female.  But there’s still no information on the identity of the woman, her exact cause of death, or when she died. 


Coroner Cinda Edwards says the death appears to be a homicide… and that the victim died quite some time ago.  The coroner’s office will use DNA samples and X-rays in an ongoing effort to identify the victim, while state police handle the criminal investigation.

Health Insurance Subsidies For Illinoisans In Jeopardy After Court Ruling

Tens of thousands of Illinoisans who signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act could be on the hook for the full cost of their premiums… with no help from federal subsidies… because of a federal appeals court ruling. 


That three-judge panel ruled two-to-one that the subsidies are only available to states that set up their own insurance exchanges… not to those like Illinois that steered residents to the federal exchanges.


The White House says the subsidies will continue for now.  The ruling is certain to be appealed.


Quinn Signs $1 Billion Capital Bill; Millions Set Aside For Springfield-Area Projects

Governor Pat Quinn has signed a billion-dollar capital construction bill that allocates millions of dollars for Springfield-area projects. 


Among the work to be funded under the updated public works plan is a $22 million resurfacing of Interstate 72 between New Berlin and Springfield, $4.6 million for resurfacing and bridge deck repair on I-55 near Lake Springfield, and $3.7 million for resurfacing of Veterans Parkway between J. David Jones Parkway and Jefferson.

GOP Attorney General Candidate Accuses Lisa Madigan Of Putting Family Before Constitution

The Republican challenger for attorney general says Democratic incumbent Lisa Madigan is showing more loyalty to her father’s political agenda than to the state constitution. 


Madigan’s father… House Speaker Mike Madigan… was a chief architect of the state pension reform law that is currently facing legal challenges.  Lisa Madigan is fighting those challenges… but Republican opponent Paul Schimpf says parts of pension reform are clearly unconstitutional, and contends that Madigan should have refused to defend the law.

Howlett Building Closed After Small Tuesday Morning Fire, Expected to be Open Wednesday

The Howlett Building downtown will be closed today because of a small fire.


A message posted to says the building is closed Tuesday because of mechanical issues caused by a small fire.


Henry Haupt with the Secretary of State’s office says Springfield’s Fire Department responded to the fire shortly after 1am Tuesday morning and the damage was minimal.  Haupt also says there is no air conditioning, but no further information was available.


Normal hours and work schedules are expected to resume Wednesday.

Autopsy Today on Body Found in Rochester

An autopsy will be held today on human remains discovered over the weekend at a home in Rochester.


The discovery was made on Saturday as residents of the home were cleaning out items. Rochester authorities called in Illinois State Police to take over the investigation.


There was no immediate word on the gender of the remains or how long the person may have been deceased.

School District Reminds Parents of Vaccination Requirements for Balanced Calendar Schools

The clock is now running for students of Springfield’s two balanced calendar schools.


Those students now have just 10 days to show proof of proper vaccinations, or they will be prohibited from attending school until the paperwork is in.


School board officials are reminding all other parents to take action now to make sure their children have the required vaccines before classes start in the rest of District 186 next month.


Free school physicals and vaccinations will be offered at Washington and Jefferson Middle Schools on August 4th and 5th… and at Springfield High School on August 9th.

School Board Continues Televising Meetings, Seeks Sponsors for Next Year

Springfield school board meetings will stay on TV for this year… but their future beyond that may depend on whether the district can line up sponsors for its educational access channel.


Funding for Channel 22 on the Comcast system was cut from this year’s budget, but the school board agreed to restore the money because of public interest in keeping the board meetings and other video of district events on the air.


Sponsors would not be allowed to run commercial messages, but would be allowed to make a statement of support for Springfield public schools.


Prices for the various levels of sponsorship have not yet been set.


Candidate Rauner Open to Tax Rate Negotiations

Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner is opening the door to discussions after the election on where the state income tax rate should be set, in the short term… even as he continues to call for a four-year phased reduction down to three-percent.


Rauner tells the Chicago Tribune that voters shouldn’t worry too much about rates in the short term… because in the long run, he says he will significantly reduce the income tax burden and create a more favorable economic environment for business.


Rauner’s statement leaves open the possibility that he will ask the legislature to extend the current 5-percent income tax rate past its scheduled expiration at the end of this calendar year.


If the rate rolls back to 3.75 percent as scheduled, it could create a huge budget gap in the current fiscal year.

Authorities Investigate Discovery Of Possible Human Remains In Rochester

An investigation is underway after the discovery of what appears to be human remains in Rochester over the weekend. 


A Rochester resident contacted authorities after discovering those remains.  Illinois State Police have been called in as the lead investigating agency. 


An autopsy is being conducted to determine more about the time and manner of death.  [Stay with 970 WMAY and for updates on this developing story.]

State Lawmaker Pushes Retirement Savings Plan For Those Without 401(k)

A state lawmaker says millions of Illinoisans don’t have access to a 401(k)-style program through their job… and without it, he says they are unlikely to set up a retirement account on their own. 


Democratic state Senator Daniel Biss of Evanston is calling for the creation of the “Secure Choice” progam, which would automatically enroll workers who are not covered by another employer-based retirement plan.  Workers would have the ability to opt out. 


Appearing live on 970 WMAY's "Jim Leach Show," Biss said the program does not pose any financial risk to the state.

Sherman Officials Touting ''Controlled Growth''

Work continues on a major new development in Sherman that officials say will meet the needs for a new municipal building, added green space, and more opportunities for retail growth. 


Sherman is developing a major park, including an outdoor amphitheatre, on a 10-acre site near the Rail Golf Course, where a new municipal building will also be built.  An adjacent 25 acres is being set aside for commercial development. 


Village president Trevor Clatfelter says the goal is controlled growth for Sherman. Clatfelter appeared live Monday on the 970 WMAY News Feed.

Petersburg Man Dead After Stabbing, Pending Charges for Half-Brother

A Petersburg man is dead… and his half-brother is charged with fatally stabbing him as the two traveled together in a pickup truck in Pike County.


47-year-old Dennis Coffman of Petersburg was pronounced dead at a hospital in Hannibal, Missouri, after authorities found him and his half-brother inside that truck on Interstate 72 near the state line.


Coffman’s half-brother, 28-year-old Joseph Coffman of Arizona, is currently being held on charges of aggravated battery, but Pike County authorities say additional charges are likely.

Lincoln and Logan County Economic Organizations to Merge

Four separate organizations focused on economic growth in Lincoln will merge into a single entity this fall.


The Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln and Logan County Development Partnership, Logan County Tourism Bureau and Main Street Lincoln will join forces by November 1st.


The Decatur Herald and Review reports the new organization will hire one CEO to oversee all operations, and the merged agency will be governed by a seven-member board.


Officials say the move will end duplication and make for a more efficient, coordinated approach to economic development and job creation.

West Frankfort Considers Ban on Single-Wide Mobile Homes and Trailer Parks

The city of West Frankfort is considering a ban on new single-wide mobile homes and the construction of new trailer parks.


West Frankfort Mayor Tom Jordan says those types of homes can decrease the property value of neighboring structures.


At least one city resident calls the policy discriminatory, and says his single-wide mobile home is his best option for living on a fixed income.


WesThat proposed ordinance comes up for a vote later this week.


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