Illinois news

2013-07-28T19:00:00Z Illinois news
July 28, 2013 7:00 pm

Neighbors upset after blaze at shuttered Joliet prison

JOLIET | Neighbors living near a closed state prison in Joliet are frustrated and worried that the property is falling into disrepair, saying last week's fire is just another sign that the aging limestone complex is a public safety threat.

Thursday's fire destroyed a warehouse on the long-shuttered property that was featured in "The Blues Brothers" movie and TV shows. The complex has between 12 and 15 buildings and was built in the mid-1800s, but was shuttered by the Illinois Department of Corrections in 2002.

It's been empty ever since, but is still used by film crews as well as police and military agencies for special training.

"The years of neglect have finally caught up with the state, and it's time for the state to acknowledge that what is a historical structure is going to be coming down very soon if nothing is done," Joliet City Manager Thomas Thanas told The (Joliet) Herald-News.

Amy Sanchez, of the Collins Street Neighborhood Council, said the deteriorating complex is dragging down property values and neighbors are frustrated by inaction at the property, which they worry could be a safety hazard.

"We want (the state) to take responsibility for it," she said.

July one of deadliest months in history of Rockford

ROCKFORD | July is not quite over, but it's already been one Rockford's deadliest months ever as the number of homicides nearly doubled the total for all of 2013.

The Rockford Register Star reports that there were eight homicides in the month — two more than the six homicides recorded from January to June this year.

"It's a hard time for the community with all this violence, and the Rockford Police Department is doing everything we can ... to solve as quickly as we can all of these investigations," Lieutenant Marc Walsh told the newspaper.

The slayings, which Walsh said were "all more or less isolated," and had little in common, included the drive-by shooting of 15-year-old girl who was gunned down standing outside her family's home and the slaying of a 75-year-old woman who was apparently the victim of domestic violence.

Walsh would not offer details in the investigations, but said detectives have made progress in all of them.

With the eight homicides, the city is on a pace to end the year with about two dozen, which would make 2013 the deadliest year since 1996, when the city had a record 31 homicides.

Town Council still is advancing

New Rosemont mall first new one in suburbs in decades


ROSEMONT | Crews are putting the final touches on a unique shopping complex in Rosemont, the first mall built in suburban Chicago in over two decades.


The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports that Fashion Outlets of Chicago opens Thursday. It's a fully-enclosed outlet mall with high-end retailers.


Industry experts say its close location to Chicago — less than 20 miles — makes it unique as outlet malls are usually further from city centers.


The village of Rosemont borrowed tens of millions of dollars for the project, which city officials say is money well spent. Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens says the mall will create 2,000 jobs and generate about $6 million each year in sales tax revenue.


Parking is free the first few months and the mall is accessible by public transportation.

Celebration honors Hyde Park native Chaka Khan


CHICAGO | Chicago is honoring 10-time Grammy Award winner Chaka Khan with a weekend of celebrations.


On Saturday, the Chicago-born singer, activist and philanthropist had a portion of South Blackstone Avenue named after her. And on Sunday, she will put on a free outdoor concert in Millennium Park.


The 60-year-old Khan was born as Yvette Marie Stevens in Hyde Park and attended Kenwood Academy.


She adopted the name Chaka while working with the Black Panthers.


Khan appeared Saturday at the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Operation PUSH headquarters to announce a partnership of the Chaka Khan Foundation with the Chicago chapter of the nonprofit organization Dress for Success.


The organization helps low-income women with clothing and job-hunting.

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