A Lincoln man allegedly killed himself after being involved in a deadly crash. (Photo used under Creative Commons from Flickr user davidsonscott15)
By Ryan Denham
Five Things You Should Know for Monday, Sept. 17, 2012:
A troubling story took an even darker turn over the weekend in my hometown of Lincoln. Michael L. Foster, 65, of Lincoln was driving a truck that struck a motorcycle carrying two people Friday night. The motorcycle's driver, a 43-year-old Hartsburg man, was killed, while the 40-year-old Palmyra woman also on board is in serious condition. Foster, meanwhile, was taken to the hospital and then quickly released, only to barricade himself in a home in Lincoln on Saturday, authorities said. Crisis negotiators and SWAT team members were called to the home but never made contact with Foster, the Springfield Journal-Register reports. Foster was found dead inside, from an apparent gunshot wound.
The Normal Town Council on Monday will be asked to sign off an extra $30,000 in spending on the Uptown Station project. The $45.9 million transportation center opened in July, but there are still some loose ends being finished up, including more signage; the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system; and woodwork. The $30,000 is a pretty small sliver of the ultimate project price tag, and will be paid for using some contingency dollars set aside for these purposes. "The project took longer than anticipated. I don't think that's our fault, I think the contractor took longer than we had anticipated that he would and so we've had to keep Cotter Consulting for longer than we've expected," Peterson said.
The Chicago teachers strike entered its second week Monday, displacing 350,000 students for at least another few days. After the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) failed to sign off on a new contract over the weekend, Mayor Rahm Emanuel now says he's going to ask the courts for an injunction to force teachers back to work. Emanuel said the strike is illegal in part because it concerns issues -- evaluations, layoffs and recall rights -- that state law says cannot be grounds for a work stoppage. Meanwhile, union leaders say they've only seen the contract in small pieces and want some more time to review the whole things. (Monday's Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashana, also delays things by another day.) "You had a whole week. This is beginning to be ridiculous," said Chicago working mother Dequita Wade.
The Associated Press put together a pretty good explainer about Illinois' falling credit ratings and what the real impact of those downgrades could be. The AP concludes that, for now, the downgrades are most valuable as warning signs, rather than as actual financial hindrances produced by increasing borrowing costs. Illinois is paying between 1.2 percent and 1.5 more in annual interest on long-term bonds than the top-rated states. That's between $25 million and $30 million more annually in the early years of a $2 billion bond issue, The AP calculates. The most interesting part, to me, is that California pays "far lower interest on bonds than Illinois despite having almost identical credit ratings." That's due in part to California's upcoming vote on Proposition 30, a measure strongly backed by Gov. Jerry Brown that would raise taxes -- mostly on the wealthy -- in order to stave off doomsday cuts to education.
A labor dispute between the NHL and its players led to a lockout over the weekend, when no progress was made between the two sides on a new contract. The dispute, as it always is, centers around how to split the $3.3 billion pot of revenue between owners and players, with the owners asking for a larger slice of the pie. The players balked, and here we are. For the NHL, as you may know, this is well-traveled ground, since the entire 2004-05 season was lost due to a work stoppage. The Vancouver Sun posted an interesting story about how the 750 locked-out members of the NHL Players' Association are going to spend their time during the lockout, which frees players up to go play wherever they'd like. Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin and Ottawa Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar both signed Sunday with the Russian-based KHL. Last time around, in 2004-05, nearly 400 NHL players found playing time in the KHL.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Ryan Denham can be reached at email@example.com.