State Farm's corporate headquarters building in Bloomington. (Photo from Creative Commons/Flickr user State Farm)
By Ryan Denham
Five Things You Should Know for Friday, Sept. 21, 2012:
State Farm changes
State Farm Insurance Cos. has announced plans to close some of its agency field offices
, likely leading to an unspecified number of job cuts. The offices support the insurer's almost 18,000 agents around the country. A State Farm spokesman says employees are being encourged to stay flexible and consider opportunities such as relocating or training for a new position, but the changes are part of a larger restructuring and necessary for the Bloomington-based insurer to stay competitive. "Our plans strategically position our agents for success by aligning agency field leadership and support with a similar acquisition and marketing focus," he said in a statement.
The search to identify all of John Wayne Gacy's victims through DNA has closed an unrelated cold case involving a Peoria native. Phil Luciano with the Peoria Journal-Star
talks with Ray and Phyllis Noe, whose son, Daniel, disappeared in 1978 while making his way cross-country from Washington state to Illinois. They submitted his DNA to investigators looking into unidentified Gacy victims. Daniel Noe wasn't one of Gacy's victims, but the DNA was linked to remains found in 2010 on Mount Olympus, Utah. Authorities now believe Daniel Noe, a Northwestern University student, died accidentally in Utah on his way home to Illinois. “It’s good to have a conclusion,” his mother, Phyllis, told the PJ-S on Thursday. “Of course, it would’ve been better if he had been found alive.”
California is now the 12th state to offer online voter registration
. The system will search DMA records for the applicant's driver's license and other identifying information and match it to the electronic form, the Times reports. It's quicker and easier for voters, says Secretary of State Debra Bowen. "Today, the Internet replaces the mailbox for thousands of Californians wishing to register to vote," she said Thursday. Of course, the threat of a hack -- and subsequent fraud -- looms large, but California officials say it's no less secure than the old way. Arizona was the first to try online voter registration 10 years ago, and now 70 percent of its voters register online. And the big win: Arizona "saw an increase of 9.5 percent in voter registrations from 2002 to 2004 with the implementation of online registration," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Despite much newer aircraft being readily available, WJBC's Paul and Laura took a ride Thursday in an 83-year-old aircraft Thursday and made a video about it
. But they had a decent reason: The Experimental Aircraft Association brought a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor airliner to Central Illinois Regional Airport for public tours. Dubbed the "Tin Goose," the Tri-Motor was one of the first widely-produced commercial airliners in the country. "Unfortunately, it was almost obsolete before it left the drawing board, because the DC-3 was right behind it," said pilot Tom Leahy. "But it did provide safe and reliable transportation, and helped get the airline industry off the ground." Through Sunday, 15-minute tours are available out of the old terminal at Central Illinois Regional Airport. You can check out their video from the Tin Goose flight here on WJBC.com
Food for Thought
Colleen's latest Food for Thought blog
tries to stir up a conversation about the most unusual food offerings on Bloomington-Normal restaurant menus. She opens with one of her favorites -- the Beer-Battered Asparagus at Destihl -- then surveys some other folks for such hits as the Muffaletta (A. Renee) and Beef Tongue (Taqueria El Porton). She then builds a whole list of unique offerings around town. "I need to stress that I am not a culinary cruiser, meaning I don’t like to try new things and I don’t like anything too exotic. However, I urge you to consider these items because even though some may sound scary, they are delicious," she writes.
Ryan Denham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.