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State Discusses Special License For Powerful Motorcyclesposted July 31st, 2014
Motorcycle related fatalities are at near record levels and on the rise in Illinois. The statistic has the state looking at a possible change to how it licenses motorcyclists. The Secretary of State’s office is considering an idea to add a new license for people who ride bigger and more powerful bikes. Ryan Hubbard is the state coordinator for ABATE, an advocacy group for motorcyclists. He says the extra designation isn’t fair. Hubbard tells WDCB News just because you take a driver’s test in a mini-van doesn’t mean that’s all you can drive. He says you can leave the Secretary of State's office and go buy a Corvette, Mustang or other powerful sportscar. Hubbard says there are no limits on the kind of car people can drive why is the state going to put limits on motorcyclists. He says Illinois should focus on making sure everyone riding has an “M” class license. He says a review of accident data shows many people haven’t even gone to the Secretary of State’s office to test for the motorcycle endorsement.
Some Illinois Cities Could Face Road Salt Shortageposted July 31st, 2014
Nearly 200 communities across the state, including several in the Chicago area already have concerns about winter weather. The State Department of Central Management Services requested road salt bids for 560 communities around the state, but suppliers only responded to 367 of those requests. CMS’s Mike Claffey says last year’s harsh winter depleted road salt supplies. DuPage and Cook County buy their own road salt and say they have plenty. Claffey tells WDCB News they both have the advantage of size. He says when you're looking at smaller communities, they don't have the buying power of large metro area county transportation departments. Claffey says CMS knows there is supply out there, about two-thirds of the communities in the state purchase program did get bids in the first go around. He says the cities that didn't get bids are spread across the state. CMS says supply won’t be the only problem for communities across the state this year. Claffey says companies are charging as much as double the price per ton of as they did this time last year.
'Last Call' Could Come Earlier In Napervilleposted July 30th, 2014
Naperville bars have seen their share of fights, scuffles with police and most recently two drunk driving related deaths after a car crashed into a water filled quarry. The city has tried to control the crowds of people attracted to its bars and restaurants and now it may take another step. City Manager Doug Krieger says there is talk of moving closing time on the weekend back to one in the morning. He tells WDCB News the city’s worked to develop a vibrant entertainment district and it has to protect its visitors. Krieger says the issue the city is trying to tackle is creating an environment that is both safe and enjoyable as well as being fair to the business owners in its downtown. He doesn’t think the one hour earlier closing will have a dramatic impact on the bar owners or the revenue the city generates from those businesses. He expects the city council will have initial discussions of the change at its August 19th meeting.
Cantigny Celebrate's Robert McCormick's Birthdayposted July 29th, 2014
It’s easy to drive by Cantigny on Roosevelt Road in western Wheaton without really noticing the more than 500 acre park. The Chicago based McCormick Foundation oversees the operation of the park. Diane Gutenkauf is Director of the McCormick Mansion. The house was Chicago Tribune Publisher and Editor Robert McCormick’s home. Wednesday the park’s offering free admission to celebrate McCormick’s birthday. Gutenkauf tells WDCB News the event is an attempt to raise awareness. She says for many years Cantigny didn't do a lot of self-promotion, but now thinks it's time to get out there and let people know what it is and what it has to offer. Gutenkauf says Robert McCormick left the entire property to the people of Illinois and the McCormick Foundation want to share the gift with more people. A number of events are planned for throughout the day on Wednesday. Cantigny is home to the McCormick Mansion and garden and a museum that chronicles the history of the Army’s First Division.
Cubs Owner Visits Kane County Cougarsposted July 29th, 2014
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts visited the Kane County Cougars yesterday. The Cougars are the Cubs’ single-A minor league affiliate. Ricketts spoke to a crowd of around 50 people as part of an event sponsored by The Executives’ Club of Chicago. He talked about the team’s long-term commitment to winning and the future of Wrigley Field. WDCB News Reporter Gary Zidek has the story.
Watchdog Group Sues IHSAposted July 28th, 2014
A push to increase transparency of the agency that oversees High School sports in Illinois has taken another turn. The Better Government Association filed a lawsuit this month to gain access to documents government agencies are required to make public. The Illinois High School Association argues it isn’t bound by the state’s Freedom of Information Act. Matt Topic is a government transparency attorney representing the BGA. He doesn’t deny IHSA incorporated as a private, non-profit organization. But Topic says in the past it has claimed to be entitled to certain immunities and legal defenses that are only available to government actors. He says in a previous lawsuit IHSA said it was organized for the purpose of conducting public business. Topic tells WDCB News, if IHSA is going to claim ‘government actor’ status it must also comply with the FOIA laws. Some state lawmakers also want more openness from IHSA, a legislative hearing on the issue is planned for September.
Weekend Tour Highlights Energy Efficient Homesposted July 25th, 2014
The increasing cost of staying cool in the summer and warm in the winter has many people looking for ways to make their homes more energy efficient. This weekend the Illinois Green Building Council is giving Chicago area residents a chance to get some ideas. The Council’s Jason LeFleur says the ‘Green Built Home Tour’ highlights the energy saving aspects of 17 homes from Crystal Lake to Chicago’s Southside. He tells WDCB News the homes are scattered across the metro area to allow people across the region to sample building and design innovations. LeFleur says there are common elements that many of the homes on the tour share so visiting just a few will give people a number of efficiency ideas. He says visitors will see a number of technologies that can be implemented in other homes. LeFleur says all the homes on the tour were built…or in some cases are being built to meet national energy efficiency standards. This year’s ‘Green Built Home Tour’ includes several “zero energy” homes that produce more power than they need on a monthly basis.