State Briefs 2/20/09
Nature Conservancy cuts six positions in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – The Nature Conservancy is cutting 10 percent of its 4,000-employee workforce worldwide, including six staff positions in Illinois.
The Conservancy has holdings around the state, including the 7,100-acre Emiquon Preserve in Fulton County, considered a big-river floodplain restoration project of international significance.
In fiscal 2008, the Conservancy had dues and contributions of $485 million.
The Conservancy’s Illinois chapter had $7.1 million in contributions in fiscal 2008, down from $9.4 million in fiscal 2007. The Conservancy in Illinois also realized a loss of $530,629 on investments in fiscal 2008, compared to income of $1.8 million the previous year.
The Conservancy recouped some of its investments by selling $1.3 million worth of land and easements to government agencies.
Spokesman Jim Petterson would not comment on individuals that were laid off or about whether the positions were within the state chapter’s administration or among those who directly carry out programs.
Chrysler to cut one shift next week due to supply shortage
BELVIDERE – Chrysler LLC will run just one shift at its Belvidere assembly plant next week because of a shortage of parts from a supplier company that may be shutting down for good.
Chrysler spokesman Max Gates said just the first shift should report to work next week because of a shortage of roof racks from the company, which he could not name because he was out of the office.
Thursday, Chrysler had said it would run both shifts for the first time in a month.
“The decision was made late (Friday) afternoon after we learned of the supplier shutdown, and we found we didn’t have enough of the parts to operate both shifts,” Gates said. He said Chrysler will try to find another supplier as soon as possible.
Workers in Belvidere make the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot. The company has been making decisions on plant schedules week by week to control costs in the global recession.
About 2,700 people work at the plant, making it the largest manufacturing employer in the region. An additional 1,800 workers are at supplier operations near the plant and work schedules at those businesses are aligned with Chrysler’s production schedule.
Rockford Register Star
Peoria police officer files additional lawsuit against city
PEORIA —Peoria police Lt. Marshall Dunnigan continued his legal spat with City Hall with yet another lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court this week, alleging racial discrimination.
The suit, filed Wednesday, states the punishment the 28-year veteran received for allegations he took winnings from another gambler at the Par-A-Dice Riverboat Casino in November 2006 - he was fired - was "different and more severe than the discipline" imposed upon other, white police employees.
Recently, the city gave Dunnigan $37,240 in back pay and benefits after an arbitrator ruled last year the city failed to establish Dunnigan committed a crime. The amount Dunnigan received was likely more as the city agreed to also repay his pension for the money Dunnigan withdrew while out of work for 16 months.
The suit filed this week seems to mirror that earlier arbitration, with a key difference being that Dunnigan is now asking for attorneys' fees as well as "damages sufficient to compensate him for the emotional distress, mental anguish, embarrassment, inconvenience and loss in the enjoyment of life suffered by him."
Dunnigan was fired in March 2007 and reinstated in July 2008. He has always maintained his termination was more about his displeasure with being passed over for promotion in 2005 and the subsequent filing of a human-rights complaint with state officials than about what happened at the casino.
Peoria Journal Star
Wanted man caught on roof of building
SPRINGFIELD – Authorities arrested a wanted Springfield man Friday afternoon after he jumped from a third-story apartment balcony, then scaled the roof of the Project Scope building to elude police.
A warrant for the arrest of Eric Masters, 33, was issued Friday morning, and he fled when police went to arrest him. He is wanted for predatory criminal sexual assault of a juvenile family member.
The Scope building, which is a before- and after-school program center for District 186 students, was placed on lockdown during the brief search for Masters. He fled the apartment building about 12:30 p.m. and was apprehended on the roof of the school building about 12:45 p.m.
Authorities were requesting paramedics to look at Masters after he was taken into custody, apparently because of possible injuries he suffered after fleeing the apartment.
Man accused of battering toddler
SPRINGFIELD – A 22-month-old Springfield boy is hospitalized with severe brain damage and his mother’s boyfriend will stand trial for battering the boy.
Anthony M. Mines, 23, of Springfield is charged with aggravated battery to a child for allegedly beating the toddler. The boy suffered brain injuries, bruising to this face, chest and back, eye hemorrhages and three rib fractures.
The incident happened Jan. 29. The boy is hospitalized at St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria. Mines, who was charged Feb. 9, is in the Sangamon County Jail on $250,000 bond.
He waived a preliminary hearing on the charge Thursday, and his case was assigned to Circuit Judge Pete Cavanagh with a tentative March trial date.
According to Springfield police, Mines was watching the toddler and two other children, ages 4 and 6, while their mother was at work. She left the home about 5 a.m.
Mines told police the 4-year-old said the boy had been jumping on the bed — which police said was a mattress on the floor — and struck his head on a pink plastic Halloween bucket. When investigators talked to the 4-year-old later, however, she said she didn’t see the toddler fall. She reportedly said that’s what Mines told her happened.
The physician in charge of treating the toddler at the Peoria hospital said the extensive injuries he suffered “would not be consistent with a fall onto a Halloween bucket,” according to a police report.