by The Chicago Times Staff

September 6, 2021

PERU, IL – On Sep 4 several police, fire, and rescue agencies, including the Bloomington Police Department, discovered an unidentified body in the Illinois River.

The body was discovered along the south river bank east of the Illinois Route 251 bridge at 9:47 a.m.  The LaSalle County Coroner’s Office, LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office, Bloomington Police, and Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services all responded.

The LaSalle County Coroner’s Office has not released the body’s identification and has stated that it may take several days or weeks to confirm an identity.


by Frank Conklin, The Chicago Times

August 31, 2021

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Gov. JB Pritzker announced today that a 46-member Urban Search and Rescue Team, as well as the necessary mission equipment, will deploy to Louisiana to assist with water rescues caused by Hurricane Ida’s flash flooding and dangerous storm surges.

Urban Search and Rescue teams collaborate with local rescuers to conduct search, rescue, and recovery missions in flooded areas.  The team can provide on-the-spot emergency medical care, emergency transportation for medical necessities, and assistance with helicopter rescue operations in water environments.

The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a mutual aid agreement that allows states to request assistance from other states during emergencies, coordinates assistance requests.

The MABAS team will depart from Wheeling on Monday morning after receiving event identification, mission and safety briefings, and mobilization assistance.  This process ensures the accountability and readiness of personnel and state assets prior to departure.


by The Chicago Times Staff

August 20, 2021

CHICAGO — The Illinois State Police began installing license plate reading cameras throughout the Chicago area to assist law enforcement in slowing the tide of expressway shootings.

A $12.5 million grant was awarded to the Illinois State Police to purchase and install more than 200 high-definition surveillance cameras at 47 locations along Chicago-area expressways.  The funds are provided by the Tamara Clayton Expressway Camera Act.  Clayton, 55, was shot and killed as she drove to work on I-57 near Cicero on February 4, 2019.  Her assailant has never been found.

According to state police, there have been 157 reported shootings on Chicago area expressways since the beginning of 2021.  In Chicago, there were 128 expressway shootings in 2020, and 52 in 2019.

The specialized cameras can read license plate numbers even while a vehicle is moving through traffic on the expressway.  In addition, the installation will include systems and software that can search and match license plate photos to existing vehicle databases.

“They will be able to track offenders down, make an arrest that will lead to a conviction,” said Illinois State Police Colonel David Byrd.


by Frank Conklin, The Chicago Times

August 15, 2021

SPRINGFIELD — Governor Pritzker signed House Bill 219 into law on Friday to foster safe and inclusive classrooms. The bill seeks to end the use of physical restraints to discipline students in public schools.  The legislation, which has received widespread bipartisan support, aims to eliminate solitary confinement and other restrictive interventions within three years, while also expanding school-based training and accountability for these practices.

According to Pritzker “Our students deserve a safe and quality education, no matter their zip code, background, or learning ability . . . The use of dangerous, physically restrictive discipline on our students runs entirely counter to that mission. It is appalling and entirely unacceptable – and it must be brought to an end in Illinois. This legislation ensures that our schools are meeting the needs of all students as we uphold our obligation to educate and protect all of Illinois’ children.”

The bill prohibits prone restraint, a type of behavioral intervention in which pressure is applied to hold an individual’s face down.  To allow for a gradual phase-out, prone restraint may be permitted only as an emergency measure until the end of the 2021-22 school year.

The use of medical and chemical restraint is also prohibited by the bill.

The legislation requires that timeouts, isolated timeouts, and other forms of physical restraint be used only if a student’s behavior poses an immediate danger to the individual student or others, and that the school staff member using the invention tactic be trained in its safe application.

To ensure long-term change, the measure will impose stricter staff training requirements as well as increased accountability, transparency, and reporting requirements for these practices in the future.

The bill directs the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to develop a plan by 2024 to significantly reduce the use of such practices. ISBE will also establish, subject to appropriations, a grant program for school districts to implement culturally sensitive, trauma-informed interventions, and restorative practices within a multi-tiered support system.  Priority grant funding for staff training is available to school districts that develop plans more quickly.


by P. J. McNeal, The Chicago Times

August 6, 2021

Alphonse Capone, alleged gambling racketeer

CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs are one step closer to hosting legal sports betting at Wrigley Field after the Commission on Chicago Landmarks approved a proposed two-story sportsbook adjacent to the historic ballpark on Thursday.

The glass-walled sportsbook, which would be a collaboration with DraftKings, would be located at Addison Street and Sheffield Avenue, at the southeast corner of Wrigley Field which was built in 1914.  Following the ballpark’s designation in 2004 as a National Historic Landmark last year, it still requires approval from the City Council, the Illinois Gaming Board, and the National Park Service.

According to Cubs spokesman Julian Green, the addition of a sportsbook at Wrigley Field is critical to attracting more fans.

The Wrigley Field sportsbook is permitted by the 2019 Illinois Sports Wagering Act, but it still requires City Council approval on a proposed ordinance allowing Chicago sports venues to obtain sports wagering licenses, as well as approval from the state gaming board.

Wrigleyville Ald. Tom Tunney expressed concerns about potential logistical issues related to trash pickup at the Chicago landmarks hearing, but did not have a problem with the proposed sportsbook from a historical preservation standpoint.

A proposal to allow sportsbooks at Chicago sports venues was introduced to City Council last month.  Ald. Walter Burnett who sponsored the bill, said Thursday that a revised version of the proposed ordinance is being worked on and that approval may take some time.

The mafia economy under the Illinois Sports Wagering Act authorized the state’s ten casinos, three horse tracks, and seven largest sports facilities to obtain a sports gaming license for a fee of no more than $10 million.

The Illinois Gaming Board opened applications for three online-only licenses worth $20 million each on Thursday, as authorized by the sports wagering act.  The board will accept applications for the online-only licenses until December 3 and will announce the three successful bidders within 90 days.

Last September, the Cubs announced a partnership with DraftKings.  Has anyone questioned or raised an eyebrow about a Major League Baseball team’s involvement in gambling?  Does anyone remember the 1919 “Black” Sox scandal or the ousting of Pete Rose?  We already have a Cannabis in Wrigley, what is next Wrigley Field Brothels?  Welcome to the Illinois Mafia Economy.


by J. J. Quincannon, The Chicago Times

August 1, 2021

CHAMPAIGN, IL — According to authorities, an Illinois man is facing murder charges after a teen boy who lived around the corner was discovered beaten to death in a roadside ditch on Friday.

Steven Butler III, a 14-year-old from Champaign, Ill., went missing on Thursday evening after his father reported him missing.  The teen had left home around 5 p.m. Thursday, according to the nonprofit Missing Person Awareness Network.  According to police, the father reported him missing about two and a half hours later.  Police searched the neighborhood and conducted other investigations in an attempt to locate Steven but were unsuccessful.  A pair of bicyclists discovered a body about 1.4 miles away around 7 a.m. Friday, according to police.  It was determined to be Steven’s by investigators.

Daryl Vandyke, 55, was identified as a person of interest by police with the assistance of the local sheriff’s department and taken into custody by 11 a.m.  Before obtaining a warrant for the murder charge, police arrested him on an outstanding warrant in Douglas County, according to a statement from the Champaign Police Department.  After arresting him, police stated that they discovered “a potential crime scene” and obtained a search warrant for a private residence, where they recovered additional evidence.  According to the statement, the evidence led to first-degree murder charges.

Vandyke knew Steven’s father, according to Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, who spoke to the News-Gazette, an area newspaper.  She also stated that the apparent cause of death was blunt force trauma and that an autopsy was scheduled for Monday.  Vandyke has a criminal record dating back to 1986, according to Champaign County jail records, including an allegation of sexual abuse and more than a dozen drug-related charges.

Vandyke is being held on a $2 million bond.