State Briefs 11/21/08
Cat not allowed to withdraw premiums from pensions until appeal settled
PEORIA – Caterpillar Inc. cannot take health insurance premiums and other costs from the pensions of some of its retirees while a federal injunction is appealed, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger has denied Caterpillar’s request to stay the Sept. 16 preliminary injunction pending appeal, according to an order issued late Thursday.
The case in question in this ruling is one brought by retirees and surviving spouses from Caterpillar’s Logistic Services division. They are a subclass of a larger class action suit brought by another group of retirees that is still pending.
The retirees contend they are harmed by changes Caterpillar made in 1992 to its contract with the United Auto Workers.
Prior to 1992, Caterpillar retirees were promised free health care for life. Those who retired between 1992 and 1998 — a period when there was no contract — believe they should be subject to pre-1992 terms. The 1998 contract was the first without that provision.
Peoria Journal Star
Police out in force at school that has had repeated threats
EAST PEORIA – Throngs of police officers greeted students of East Peoria Community High School Friday morning hoping to stifle fears and thwart any possible attack.
Nov. 21 was listed in threatening messages found in a women’s bathroom stall over the past two weeks. The notes stated "people are going to be killed."
Police on Tuesday arrested the alleged author of the messages, a 15-year-old girl, a freshman, on a charge of felony disorderly conduct. She faces expulsion from the school.
Another note, found Wednesday, again in a women’s bathroom, fueled an already anxious study body who worried they still weren’t safe despite the earlier arrest. Police are investigating the source of that message as well as trying to quell rumors that the note contained a "hit list," which it didn’t, police said.
Students who opted not to come to school Friday will be excused, school officials said.
Peoria Journal Star
Man whose case became issue in state’s attorney race sentenced
PEORIA – A South Peoria man whose sexual assault case became a political football in the local state’s attorney’s election was sentenced Friday to 26 years in prison.
Monterius Hinkle apologized and told Peoria County Circuit Judge Michael Brandt that he hoped his victim, a 16-year-old girl, could someday forgive him.
The girl came to court and attempted to read a letter to Brandt, explaining how the Jan. 16 incident has affected her. She got through only a few lines, telling of nightmares before she broke down in tears and stopped.
The girl was walking to school when Hinkle came up from behind, put her into a choke hold and dragged her through an alley and a yard before taking her to his house, where he sexually assaulted her.
Hinkle must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence meaning that with time served, he could get out in about 22 years.
Peoria Journal Star
Leaf pile fire blamed for prairie burning
BELVIDERE — About 3 acres of prairie burned Friday morning after a leaf pile fire got out of control.
Boone County District 2 Fire Protection District Chief Mel Johnson said a crew battled the blaze for about a half-hour. There was no danger to nearby homes, Johnson said.
“There are about 10 to 15 homes in the area, but they were pretty far away,” he said. “The fire was burning the tall, wild grass. It wouldn’t have gone onto the green, manicured grass that’s around the homes.
Johnson said the fire was accidental. It was started by someone who was burning leaves.
Rockford Register Star
Man arrested after pointing gun at officers
TAYLORVILLE – Taylorville police arrested a man after he allegedly pointed a handgun at officers and tried to flee from them while they were investigating a man-with-a-gun call Wednesday night.
Jeffrey P. Allen, 38, whose hometown is unknown, additionally was wanted in Logan County. Bond on the warrant was $50,000.
Police and Christian County deputies were sent out about 6:25 p.m. after receiving reports that Allen had a gun. They found him in a van in front of a residence, brandishing a handgun and pointing it at officers.
Police helped a passenger out of the van, and Allen then tried to drive away. Police shot the tires of the van, and an officer broke out the passenger side window so he could get inside. Allen was removed from the van and taken into custody.
One officer suffered a hand injury from broken glass.