Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and two NFL referees. (Photo used under Creative Commons license user Jeffrey Beall)
By Ryan Denham
Five Things You Should Know for Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012:
long national nightmare is over: The regular NFL referees are coming back. The NFL and the officials' union announced at midnight Thursday that a tentative eight-year agreement had been reached to end a lockout that began in June. That means regular officials are expected to work the Browns-Ravens game on Thursday night. Like so many labor disputes, this one involved pension and retirement benefits. (Referee replacements are not unheard of, by the way. The NFL used them back in 2001 for one week, but those replacement refs weren’t from lower college divisions or arena football.) Here’s the moment I can’t wait for: the standing applause that the regular referees will get at the start of each game this coming Sunday. Another fun moment will be when the regular refs get their first boos – likely just moments later.
The new interim head of the Community Cancer Center talked more Wednesday about the impact of director Barb Nathan’s departure on the facility’s $8 million fundraising drive. The cancer center’s expansion plans called for a new two-story medical oncology wing, exam rooms and food service area. But now Nathan, whose been with the center for 16 years, is leaving midway through the campaign for a job at Westminster Village. Interim director Roger Hunt says a national search for a full-time replacement could take up to nine months and will begin soon. "The good news is that we've cajoled to Barb that she really needs to be part of that campaign committee, and she's not going to be that far away at Westminster, and she cares a lot about it and will be right there working with us," Hunt told WJBC.
Bloomington isn’t the only Central Illinois city dealing with inefficiencies in its garbage collection system. Just down the road in Springfield, where homeowners have to hire a private hauler to collect garbage each week, some residents are concerned about a new plan to bill customers monthly through the city, instead of quarterly through the waste haulers. City officials say that’ll help them eliminate some 3,000 households who currently don’t have garbage service – a violation of city ordinance. “This gives us a mechanism to deal with a lot of the problems we’re talking about. ... At this point, it’s just a proposal, and we’re still working stuff out,” said city public works director Mark Mahoney, as reported by the Springfield Journal-Register’s Jason Nevel.
If you think Bloomington has a speeding problem, you’re not alone. Now, the city of Bloomington is getting ready to deploy a new piece of equipment called a “speed trailer,” which records traffic pattern data. Police will begin using the $7,000 device next week, and plan to order more, WMBD 31’s Kim Behrens reports, based on discussions at Wednesday’s Citizens Voice meeting. "We have a speeding issue. We know that," said Police Chief Randy McKinley. “What we need to do is figure out how to best attack that and do it efficiently."
Paxton Record Editor Will Brumleve published a great story Wednesday about uncertainty created by the looming expiration of the wind energy production tax credit. That uncertainty, the newspaper reports, has stalled wind developments across the U.S. and led to cutbacks at major turbine manufacturing facilities. And though an extension is possible before year’s end, Congress allowed the tax credit to expire in 1999, 2001 and 2003 – each time with subsequent turmoil in the industry. That industry, of course, is quite important to Central Illinois, as you can see by driving just about anywhere on Interstate 55 between Chicago and Lincoln. “It’s just the uncertainty of the whole thing — that’s what’s causing this,” said Turner Hunt, president of Cincinnati-based wind-farm developer Vision Energy, according to the Record. “It’s hard to have a plan in place (for a wind farm) when you have your credit on a yo-yo string.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Ryan Denham can be reached at email@example.com.