State Briefs 6/22/09
Oprah flies staff out of Rockford for Mediterranean vacation
ROCKFORD — About 1,500 of Oprah Winfrey’s staff members and their families flew out of Chicago Rockford International Airport Saturday night. Only one thing was missing — Oprah.
Dean Ogren, a representative with Event Architects, said Oprah staffers boarded five chartered planes headed to Barcelona, Spain, but Oprah was leaving for the trip from a different location.
“She will not be here, but she will be attending,” Ogren said. “This is for her staff to thank them for the hard work that they do for her and helping her become what she is now.”
The vacation, titled a “Trip of a Lifetime,” includes a lavish Mediterranean cruise.
Ogren said the group decided to fly out of Rockford because of the accessibility and service.
Airport Executive Director Bob O’Brien had said it would be the most passengers to leave from the airport in one day.
The group is reportedly returning to Rockford on July 5.
Rockford Register Star
Veteran police office accused of sex crimes
SPRINGFIELD – Bond is set at $250,000 for a veteran Springfield police officer who was arrested Sunday night for alleged sex crimes involving family members, according to police.
Kevin D. Barrington, 51, who has been a popular neighborhood police officer in the Enos Park and Oak Ridge areas, was arrested about 10 p.m. Sunday at his Springfield home for predatory criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and sexual relations with family.
He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday at the earliest. Sangamon County state's attorney John Schmidt said Monday that his office is still reviewing reports to determine exactly what charges Barrington will face.
Barrington was arrested following an investigation by Springfield police detectives. He remains at Sangamon County Jail and has been placed on administrative leave at the police department pending the outcome of the criminal case and an internal affairs investigation by the department.
Barrington is a 22-year veteran of the Springfield Police Department. Springfield Police Chief Ralph Caldwell this morning said Barrington was well liked within the department and the community. He said he was "totally shocked that this could happen by any Springfield police officer."
Quinn honors Illinois spelling champs
SPRINGFIELD – Tossing out politically tinged words such as "gridlock," "mudslinging" and "legislature," Gov. Pat Quinn tested the skills of some of Illinois' top young spellers Monday as he honored them for their spelling feats.
Quinn recognized 18 students who qualified and competed in the 82nd Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. He also congratulated six fingerspelling champions who participated in the 12th Annual Fingerspelling Bee hosted by the state's Hard of Hearing Commission.
During a ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, the students received a certificate of achievement from Quinn and got their photos taken with him.
He also quizzed them in a mini-spelling bee, using words associated with "the good things we're doing in Illinois."
The first student, Myung Wan "Jonathan" Suh of Oakdale Elementary School in Normal, was assigned the word "whistleblower." Quinn provided a definition: an informant who exposes wrongdoing in an organization with the hope of stopping it.
He peppered his remarks with references to the state's uncertain budget situation. Quinn wants lawmakers to authorize a temporary income tax increase to generate extra revenue.
"These young boys and girls are our future. It's very, very important that we invest in our future. We don't want to be a society that, when history is written, people look back on our time and say: Gee, what were those people thinking back in 2009? They didn't really think about the future generations."
GateHouse News Service State Capitol Bureau
Grand jury arrests 19 on drug charges from Summer Camp arrests
PEORIA — Arrests made at last month's Summer Camp music festival topped this week's list of indictments from a Peoria County grand jury.
Charges range from allegedly peddling hallucinogenic psilocybin mushrooms, LSD or marijuana to the possession of ketamine - an animal tranquilizer - at the Memorial Day weekend music festival at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe.
Officers from area police departments and troopers from the State Police worked undercover, weaving through the crowds and looking for those selling drugs.
In all, police seized $22,000 worth of drugs. About $15,000 in cash was also seized.
Peoria Journal Star