Peoria, IL – A Plymouth man accused of mailing suspicious packages to the McDonough County Sheriff's Department and St. Paul Church in Macomb has been indicted by a federal grand jury. The two-count indictment alleges Michael Parker mailed a threatening communication. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Peoria. The packages contained a white powder. It was later determined that the substance was baking soda. Meanwhile, several McDonough County agencies are likely to revise their emergency procedures over the next few weeks.
Macomb, IL – McDonough County's police department, sheriff's office and the dispatch center were locked down Tuesday afternoon when white powder spilled from a parcel being opened. Sheriff Mike Johnson was opening the package. A 46-year old Plymouth man will be charged with threatening the life of a public official. Police say they found baking powder and other items connected with the incident when they searched his home late yesterday. About 35 people were in the building when it was closed. They underwent a decontamination procedure before being allowed to go home.
Springfield, IL – Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed a bill that will give people more access to information about out-patient medical care. It calls for the state's Department of Public Health to put on the web the average cost of 30 out-patient procedures, along with how often a particular hospital or surgical center performs them. Blagojevich says more than 900,000 outpatient surgical operations were performed in 2003.
Fort Madison, IA – The Lee County Board of Supervisors agreed to wait at least another week before making any changes to the county's work week or to the salaries of the county's workforce. Shortening the work week by one hour would essentially negate a 3% pay hike union workers will receive next month. The supervisors are also considering whether to eliminate a potential pay hike for non-union workers and cut the hours worked by the information technology director.
Macomb, IL – A group of volunteers is being assenbled to plan a hiking or biking trail in McDonough County. The group is likely to work with the county's new Greenways and Trails Plan. Dave King of Prairie Hills Resource Conservation and Development is seeking people who can pick which of many possibilities should be the first to be attempted. King says construction will depend on funding. However, he says the Illinois Department of Transportation could have $50 million or more in two or three years. He says having a trail selected will be a key to gaining funding.