Roadside checks coming in June

DECATUR — State police will be conducting roadside safety checks in Macon County next month, District 10 Commander Louis Kink said. 

The object of the checks is to remove DUI offenders from the roads and improve safety on the roads, police said in a statement. 

Troopers working the detail will watch for drivers who are violating state vehicle codes. Some of those behaviors are:

  • driving in an unsafe manner, or with a suspended or revoked driver's license;
  • transporting open alcoholic containers;
  • driving under the influence; safety belt and child restraint use;
  • speeding;
  • distracted driving.

The effort is funded through the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Topinka gets comptroller memorial 

SPRINGFIELD — The Democratic Illinois comptroller has dedicated a memorial to trailblazing Republican politician Judy Baar Topinka.

Susana Mendoza unveiled the small monument Wednesday to the late Topinka outside the comptroller's office building in Springfield.

Topinka was elected to a second term as comptroller in 2014 but died unexpectedly a month later at age 70.

Mendoza defeated Topinka's appointed successor in a 2016 special election. Mendoza considers Topinka a friend and mentor despite their differing politics.

Topinka was a state legislator from 1981 to 1995. She served three terms as state treasurer and was the first woman GOP nominee for governor in 2006. She took on incumbent Democrat Rod Blagojevich but lost.

Political corruption sent Blagojevich to federal prison. Topinka returned to politics as state comptroller in 2011.

Garden, carillon group trip set

DECATUR -- Macon County Conservation District is taking reservations for a group trip to Springfield's Lincoln Memorial Garden and Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19. The plan includes a walk through woodland and prairie gardens and Nature Center and a visit to the 67-bell landmark, considered one of the world's tallest and finest bell towers, according to the Springfield Parks District.

The cost for the trip is $25, which covers transportation. The group will leave Rock Springs Nature Center at 10 a.m. and stop for lunch along the way. Register online before May 17, at MaconCountyConservation.org.

Waukegan worker memorial planned

WAUKEGAN — Officials have identified the fourth victim of an explosion at a northern Illinois silicone plant and say a memorial is planned this morning at the site.

AB Specialty Silicones general manager Mac Penman on Thursday identified the final employee who died in the May 3 blast as 24-year-old Daniel Nicklas of Beach Park. Waukegan Fire Marshal Steve Lenzi says the body was recovered late Tuesday from the rubble, about 50 miles north of Chicago.

Lake County Coroner Howard Cooper said his office would use dental records or DNA to officially confirm Nicklas' identity.

Lenzi has said there is no evidence of foul play and the explosion appears to be an accident that happened within the processes at the factory. Penman says the company "has resolved to re-open."

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Contact Kennedy Nolen at (217) 421-6985. Follow her on Twitter: @KNolenWrites


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