State Briefs 1/21/10
Springfield teacher to appear on Oprah
SPRINGFIELD – A Southeast High School teacher will appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show on Friday to talk about texting and driving.
After Robert Nika, a driver’s education instructor at Southeast, had learned about Winfrey’s No Phone Zone campaign, urging people to put their cell phones away while driving, he visited the show’s Web site and sent in a request for more information.
In addition to the request, he mentioned how difficult it’s been to get his students to stop texting despite showing them pictures of graphic accident scenes. When the show's producers read his request, they became interested in his efforts and wanted him to come to Chicago to talk about it on the show.
The show will be taped Friday morning and will air Friday afternoon.
Man killed when car struck by train
WHEATON – A man was killed Thursday morning when a freight train hit his car after he drove around the gates at the Union Pacific train tracks.
The driver was traveling south and attempted to drive around the railroad gate when an eastbound Union Pacific freight train struck his car around 10:35 a.m. Thursday, police said.
The man was alive when police arrived on the scene. He was transported to Central DuPage Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
There were no passengers in the vehicle.
Suburban Life Publications
State police still trying to figure out car in canal
LEMONT – State police are trying to figure out what caused a Chicago man to drive his car into the canal blocks north of downtown Lemont earlier this week.
Thomas A. Janeczko, 48, was pronounced dead on the scene Sunday, Jan. 17, after Lemont authorities recovered his body from inside the vehicle, which was submerged in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, police said.
Janeczko’s body, which showed no signs of foul play, was inside a black, 2006 Hyundai that was pulled from the canal, a state police spokesman said. The state police have jurisdiction over the canal.
An autopsy was conducted Tuesday, Jan. 19, but the report is being held pending further studies and will not be available for a few weeks, according to a spokesperson at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
Suburban Life Publications
Quinn signs legislation that will save jobs at steel company
BARTONVILLE – Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Thursday that will save and create countless jobs at Keystone Steel & Wire Co.
Flanked by state Reps. Mike Smith, D-Peoria, Jehan Gordon, D-Peoria, state Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria, and Keystone officials and employees, Quinn signed into law a measure that will extend the company’s utility tax exemption. Keystone had no longer qualified for the exemption because it crossed below the threshold requirement of 1,000 jobs due to the slumping economy.
Senate Bill 328 was approved by the House and Senate just last week. It needed to be approved by Quinn before the end of the month in order for the credit, which amounts to about $140,000 per month, to continue.
Vic Stirnaman, Keystone executive vice president and chief operating officer, said the exemption on energy use translates into a nearly $2 million annual savings.
As of Jan. 1, the company had 165 salaried workers and 668 hourly workers. The proposed bill stipulates that in order to continue receiving the exemption, a company must have 675 full-time jobs in 2011, 850 in 2012 and, ultimately, 1,000 full-time jobs.
Peoria Journal Star