News from around Illinois as reported by GateHouse newspapers.
You can still see Palin – but it’ll cost you
WASHINGTON - Though the 600 auditorium seats and the 420 banquet seats available for Sarah Palin’s April 17 appearance at Five Points Washington quickly sold out, big spenders still have the opportunity to meet the former Alaskan governor at a private reception.
The Palin event has garnered 12 couples as sponsors so far, at $5,000 each. These sponsors will be able to meet with Palin at a private reception prior to dinner.
Washington Area Community Center board president Sherril West said the reception will be limited to 50 people.
According to Five Points staff, about $4,500 of the $5,000 reception tickets is tax-deductible because it goes to the Washington Foundation, a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization.
Five Points staff said they are still receiving a large number of calls for the keynote address and the banquet. They are keeping a waiting list in case anyone who bought tickets online in the past two days has extra seats available.
Biden to make stop in Peoria
PEORIA - Vice President Joe Biden will speak at the March 31 Partners in Peace Luncheon at the Peoria Civic Center.
“We are thrilled to have Vice President Biden for our event,” said Martha Herm, executive director of the Center for Prevention of Abuse.
As a U.S. senator, Biden co-authored the 1994 Crime Bill and the Violence Against Women Act. That law lead to formation of the Peoria County Family Justice Center, a collaborative effort between prosecution, courts, law enforcement and The Center for Prevention of Abuse. It is the only one of its kind in the state of Illinois.
“Because of this funding, the Family Justice Center was formed,” Herm said.
Tickets are $150 for priority seating and $50 to $75 for regular seating.
Springfield man pleads not guilty to injuring infant daughter
SPRINGFIELD - A Springfield man pleaded not guilty to severely injuring his 3-month-old daughter on Jan. 3 after a preliminary hearing Thursday on two counts of aggravated battery to a child.
Richard L. Britts, 19, had his next court date set for Feb. 16 before Circuit Judge Pete Cavanagh.
Springfield police detective Rick Dhabalt testified during the hearing that Britts admitted to officers that he “must have shaken the baby too hard while he was horsing around.”
Dhabalt said a Department of Children and Family Services caseworker and officials at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria told him the girl likely will be blind and suffer from epilepsy for the rest of her life.
Police were sent to Britts’ apartment around noon on Jan. 3 after receiving a 911 call.
Officers said they found Britts and the baby in the southeast bedroom, and Britts was performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The baby started breathing again, and paramedics rushed her to St. John’s Hospital.
Britts’ wife, who is the baby’s mother, had gone to work before 9 a.m., and Britts was alone in the apartment with the 3-month-old and another infant about a year old, Dhabalt said.
Ex-employee sentenced, must pay back almost $500,000
ROCKFORD - An employee of a Rockford eye clinic was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to felony theft charges.
John A. Flood, 51, stole thousands of dollars from Northern Illinois Retina Ltd. while he was employed as the business manager, court documents say.
Flood was investigated after a review of payroll ledgers uncovered discrepancies that reflected unauthorized payments to Flood. The audit also showed charges made on company credit cards that were not authorized or approved.
Flood’s sentencing also demands that he must pay more than $487,000 in restitution within five years of being released from prison.
Tazewell County museum seeks grant funding for expansion
TAZEWELL COUNTY - City council members say they are not ruling out helping the Tazewell County Museum and Educational Center financially, but they would like to explore other possible solutions.
At Monday’s city council meeting, museum Director Christal Dagit requested an $8,000 annual grant from the city to help the museum expand its square footage at its current location in the Sunset Plaza shopping center.
Several council members said Tuesday that they would only consider helping the museum financially if a match or other contribution came from the county, and that a grant coming solely from Pekin could be unlikely during current budget trimming.
Mayor Rusty Dunn said he would like to have a larger discussion with Dagit about the long-range possibilities of the museum, and explore more permanent locations.
The $8,000 request would allow the museum to expand into just short of 1,000 square feet of additional office space, freeing its current area for more display room. Dagit said that several historical items are in storage because of space limitations, and that the current space only allows for groups of six to eight at a time.
Pekin Daily Times
GateHouse News Service