The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois on November 24, 1977 · Page 3
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The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois · Page 3

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Bloomington, Illinois
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Thursday, November 24, 1977
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Page 3
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PanUgrtpti A 1 Bloomlngton-Normal, III. Thuri., Nov. 24, Wt Crime package OK'd, sent to Thompson SPRINGFIELD AP) - A 23.000-word measurt that makes changes In whole chunks" of the IDInoli Criminal Code was approved with overwhelming blpartlun aupport Wednesday at the Illinois Central Assembly adjourned lor the year. The package, conceived by Democrati more than two yean ago but containing elementi of Republican Gov. Jamei R. Thompson's, much-touted "Clan X" felony propoMl, will go Into ellect Feb. 1 once It la signed. : "I will ilgn It and I will sign It proudly and I will tign It with appropriate credit to all of those members of both houses and both parties who worked so hard to sea it passed." Thompson said at a news conference after the House approved the measure by a 145 to 24 vote. The measure was approved Tuesday night by the Senate after an hour-long debate, 43 to 7. Specifically, the bill on Its way to the governor's desk would: Abolish parole, substituting "good time" as a procedure for allowing an Inmate to obtain release from prison before his term is up. Under good time, a person sentenced to a term of six years, for example, would be eligible for release after only three years-as long as he abides by all prison rules. -Provide for modest across-the-board Increases In the average sentence a convicted fcloa would be expected to serve In prison for violent crimes, consistent with what legislators view as a public clamor to send criminals up the pike for longer periods. -Require judges to sentence criminals to a specific number of years In prison rather than a range of years. Proponents argue the provision, which the governor at first opposed but later accepted, would eliminate the wide variety of sentences set by judges In different geographical locations for the same crime. Add to the current four felony classifications a fifth aet of nine Class X felonies. Felonies are the most serious crimes under current law. Under the measure, a person convicted of a Class X felony would face a mandatory six-year prison term. And the term could be set as high as 60 years depending on the crime. The governor had originally sought a maximum life sentence for Class X crimes. The nine Class X crimes would be aggravated kidnaping, rape, deviate sexual assault, armed robbery, aggravated arson, treason, armed violence, hard narcotics transactions and conspiracy to sell, product or distribute hard drugs, Most of those crimes art now Class 1 offenses for which a judge can Impose a prison term of as little as four yeart-or even probation. -Provide that a person who Is convicted on three separate occasions of committing thret aeparate serious felonies would be sentenced as it he were a Class X offender. All the offenses would have to have been committed In the state and would have to occur after the bill becomes law Feb. 1. The governor wanted the provision to apply to previous, out-of-state convictions as well and he Insisted on that point until the eleventh hour In compromise negotiations. Passage of the criminal sentencing measure ended months of haggling between liberal Democrats and Thompson supporters In both the Senate and House. When It came to final votes in both houses, however, scores of speakers rose to proclaim that they agreed with the Idea of gettlng-tough-on-crlme. Within an hour of its passage, the House adjourned its fall veto and special session until Jan. 11. The Senate had adjourned earlier In the afternoon "This legislation says basically two things," argued Rep Michael L Getty. D-Dolton, whose subromittee on adult corrections drafted the original Democrat-sponsored sentencing measure "It says we will be fairer to the society as well as to the defendant Secondly, It says we're going to come down harder on violent crime." But Rep. Eugene M. Barnes, D Chicago, one of the few House opponents of the crime bill, argued that the measure would not rid the streets of crime. "This will not deter crime one iota and everyone anting her In this room knows it," he said. At his news conference. Gov. Thompson acknowledged that the sentencing bill Is only a first step toward getting a grip on violent street crime. "But everything has to start somewhere," he said. Though he did not make specific relerenct to It In his news conference. Thompson also could take obvious pride in ramming the (lass X title through the General Assembly He has said that the title Is a public relations gimmick aimed at criminals, and suggested In one speech that gasoline service stations might be better protected from crime If they posted stickers saying "Warning, this building protected by Class X." After the legislation was approved Wednesday, Thompson joked to reporters that he had told his wife Jayne to follow that lesson at the executive mansion.. "I told Jayne to put up a sign: 'This mansion la protected by Class X." he said Democrats argued from the beginning that Class X was a gimmick aimed, not at criminals, but at promoting Thompson's presidential prospects The governor has begun boasting ol the Class X proposal at Republican fund raising events out of state As legislators fell Into line behind the Class X name, many made It plain that they were voting for the substance of the Democrat Initialed sentencing bill, not the Class X title Democrats were forced to accept the name, they argued, because It would have been political suicide lo refuse It "Class X is a gimmick that has no place in the deliberations of the legislative body and it may live to haunt iThompsonl." House Speaker William Redmond, DBensenville. said during debate on the bill. "Every time we have a Class X oflense I have the Inclination that I will take a newspaper article and I will pin It on the door of the governor a olflce and say. I toid you that It was never going to work.'" t VD clinic may treat a By Stepban Gleason . The McLean County Health Board will decide next month whether to open It's new veneral disease clinic to all county residents, regardless of financial need. The board delayed a decision on the policy until Dec. 20 to check with the county Medical Society for any possible objections. The new policy is aimed at obtaining more Information on the disease which ia steadily growing In the county, according to Ben Boyd, acting director of IPrrecDedleiinit : Thompson doesn't like election board reform bill SPRINGFIELD (AP)-Within a week of a state Supreme Court deadline, the General Assembly Wednesday sent to Gov. James R. Thompson compromise legislation creating a new state Board of Elections. But the governor said he won't sign it. The bill calls for the governor to appoint half the members of the politically sensitive eight-member board, which would oversee elections in Illinois. The other four would be selected by the next highest office holder of the opposite political party. All appointments would require confirmation by the Senate. Thompson, a Republican, said he did .not want to set a precedent where officeholders other than the governor appoint members of state boards, and added.' "That is a dangerous principle to which I will not accede." At present, four of the appointments would be made by Secretary of State Alan J. Dixon, a Democrat. Thompson has 60 days to sign or veto the bill, or use his amendatory veto powers to recommend changes in it. Under the legislation, the board is scheduled, to begin business April IS. The Supreme Court had given the legislature until Nov. 30 to come up with a new state elections board to replace the current one declared unconstitutional last year. Snow watch Thanksgiving travelers might get a taste of early winter snow tonight and Friday, the National Weather Service in Peoria has warned. The weather bureau Wednesday Issued a storm watch, predicting a 50 percent chance of snow for most of Central Illinois and the northern Midwest. Temperatures are expected to dip into the low 30s tonight, climbing to the mid- or upper-30s Friday. A spokesman for the weather service said travelers' advisory warnings are not expected to be Issued but the weather bureau will not be able to predict the exact track of the storm until midday today. The storm in the northern Rocky Mountain states Wednesday night will move to the eastern end of Kansas and Nebraska by that time. Downstoters rap 'Chicago slate7 SPRINGFIELD (AP)-A group of downstate Democratic legislators called Wednesday on Democratic power brokers to meet again and revise their slate of state candidates for next year. One said that unless (he current ticket is changed Democrats may face "a kamikaze political run in November." "With only one exception, the state Democratic ticket is devoid of bonafide downstaters," complained Rep. Larry R. Stuffle, D-Charleston. "This situation has drawn the ire of many downstaters legislator and constituent alike." Rep. John S. Matijevich, DNorth Chicago, a state central committeeman, said he supports holding another meeting of the Democratic State Central Committee to reconsider its slate. "I think there was too much emphasis in helping the Cook County Democratic party," said Matijevich. He said he thought the statewide slate was fashioned with an eye on the politically coveted assessor's position in Cook County. The state slate, selected Nov. 15, included candidates appealing to Italian, black and Polish blocs. "Many thought that was to appease the three heavy voting blocs in Cook County, which would probably open the door to the assessor's position (for someone else)," he said. Matijevich also said the slate represented a slap in the face to Secretary of State Alan J. Dixon, the only downstater on the ticket and the party's biggest vote-getter in the last election. Dixon was unable to get the slate fashioned the way he wanted it. the Health Department. Department records show there were 488 persons seeking treatment for VD this year compared with 444 last year. Boyd said the VD Investigator, who ii suppose to track down suspected cases of VD, has had problems with some doctors not reporting cases of the disease. Because of the reporting problems and the various places that persons can seek treatment, the former VD coordinator, James Modine, recommended the department open its clinic to all persons and become a central point for VD care and treatment. Presently any person can be treated for the disease at the health department if he or she is unable to pay for the treatment. Those who can afford the treatment are referred to a doctor. The new policy would allow all persons, regardless of need to be treated by the department's nurse. "By getting the majority of the people to come to us first, more people can be interviewed at that exact time instead of waiting for the doctor to report and then trying to find the patient, which is usually hard, if not impossible, to do," Modine said in his last report to the board. Board member the Rev. Roger Zimmerman wanted the board to vote Wednesday night on opening the treatment to all residents. The other members, however, voted to delay the decision until the medical society had a chance to comment on the change. Boyd said new policy would not cost the county any money because treatment drugs are received free from the state. Zimmerman said the new policy might make it easier for a middle-class person to seek treatment at a county clinic where he or she is not known. Other counties in the state have such a program. The board in December also may receive a recommendation on its new director. Boyd has been acting director since' May when E.E. Diddams resigned from the post. Six finalsit have been chosen from 40 applicants. That field will be narrowed to three or four who will be interviewed by the personnel committee of the board. The board changed the December meeting date from the 28th to the 20 to avoid conflicts with Christmas season vacations. The board also voted to change its meeting date next year from the fourth Wednesday to the fourth Tuesday of the months. Some board members had conflicts in their schedules on Wednesday night. ' - - m a , .. ' 'J I , Robert Melnes, cook at the Home Sweet C I l l "ume Mission, got his bird in the oven EQrly Start arly. Melnes started roasting the first of about a dozen turkeys Wednesday morning. He's cooking for more than 100 persons expected for the mission's tradl-tlonal Thanksgiving Day dinner. It starts at noon today. (I'antagraph photo) Army lore helps chef handle mission arge volume By Jim Flannery Robert Meines is working today-Thanksgiving. He'll finish roasting 200 pounds of turkey, mixing 20 gallons of instant mashed potatoes, boiling 10 gallons of green beans and dishing out about 12 gallons of cranberry sauce. Meines, the chief (and only permanent) chef at the Home Sweet Home Mission, will be preparing a Thanksgiving dinner for 200. Meines says that doesn't bother him. Cooking, in fact, is a joy for him. "It's the best part of Thanksgiving," the 58-year-old Meines said. "I really love it." He said he would be up all night Wednesday night, roasting turkeys for the mission's annual dinner at noon today. "I've done it in the Army many a time," he said. "I used to feed 275 men then. "I'm. not worried about getting this done." Thanks to CETA (Comprehensive Employment Training Act), Meines is the mission's first full-time chef. He lives at the mission and took the job last July, while on his way back to Arkansas from Des Moines, Iowa. Meines said he was a cook for the Salvation Army in Des Moines, and has done his share of cooking for missions, too. But it was his 12 ft years as an Army cook that taught him most of what he knows. Meines recalls missing just one Thanksgiving behind the stove during that time. And he spent "four or five years" as a cook on a tugboat operating out of Morgan City, La., along the gulf coast to Galveston, Texas. Those were the days when he spent seven days on duty and seven days on shore leave. Now, he works a 40-hour week, but puts in extra time when his mission help skips out on him. "They come and go," Meines said of the mission regulars. "They don't stay long." And until recently, neither did Meines. "I used to stay here (at the mission in Bloomington) three or four weeks at a time, going back down to Arkansas," he said. "But I've stayed here longer this time." For Thanksgiving, Meines said he'll have the help of some "real nice wom- Women's Auxiliary, who will also be providing 40 pumpkin pies for the dinner. In addition to turkey and the pumpkin pies, the mission dinner will Include mashed potatoes, green beans, dressing, gravy, pickles, cranberry sauce, celery, radishes, coffee, milk, bread and rolls. "This mission here's feedin' better than most I've been in," Meines said. "In Rock Island, it was soup. That's ail they had for Thanksgiving. "The staff might have had chicken, but that was it." Darryl Eslinger, mission executive director, said last year the mission fed about 200, at a cost of $301 40. In addition to dinner this year, the mission will send meals to shut-ins and give the traditional baskets of canned food to needy families, Eslinger said. He said the dinner will be "for anyone who doesn't have a Thanksgiving dinner, for people who are alone or whatever," as well as for those who have helped the mission over the years. Yes, Robert Meines will work Thanksgiving. But he said he's still got plenty to be thankful for. "I'm just thankful I'm here," he said, "and not someplace else, like some of those guys who ain't got no place to go." en" members of the mission's eaaaaaaaaeeaaaaa Thanksgiving more than feasting Tax refund Some residents get an early Christmas It's Thanksgiving, but for McLean County residents In the Olympia School District Wednesday's news sounded more like Christmas. ' The McLean County treasurer's office, said Wednesday that refund checks, totaling $78,048, for 3,210 Olympia taxpayers are being prepared for mailing about Dec. 15. The refunds represent extra school taxes paid by taxpayers in the district. The Olympia school board amended its 1976 tax levy after the approved deadline, and the amended levy was used in setting the district's tax rate. However, the Illinois Supreme Court June 8 affirmed a McLean County Circuit Court decision that the five-county Olympia system could not collect taxes this year on the basis of the amended levy. That decision meant a reduction of $163,417 In taxes (not all in McLean County) for Olympia patrons. The McLean County refunds range from a low of 7 cents to a high of more than $600. It will cost the county $417.30 just to mail the refund checks. The Olympia system covers territory in Tazewell, Logan, DeWitt and Woodford counties in addition to McLean County. Editor's note The assignment was to write a Thanksgiving story. The story disappeared in the shadows of feeling, one reporter's feelings about a special day in his life Thanksgiving Day. By Dave Haake Thanksgiving is a day for family,' ' friends, football games and a feast of roast turkey with all the trimmings and pumpkin pie. It's all of that.. .and more. Thanksgiving Day, according to Webster's Dictionary, is "a day for giving thanks for divine goodness and mercies." It's that, too. , But, too often the only thanks to God on Thanksgiving Day is a shftrt prayer spoken as we sit at the table eagerly ' awaiting bountiful portions of turkey, heaped with dressing and cranberry sauce. Actually, the Pilgrims began the Thanksgiving Day tradition as a day for prayer, as well as celebration. After almost half their number died during that first winter in Massachussetts, the Plymouth colonists had a lot to be thankful for. They celebrated their plentiful harvests and invited their Indian friends to join In the feasting. But, prayer and thankfulness to Gpd for His goodness and mercies were the basic purposes behind that first Thanksgiving Day. Those ideas carried forward as the nation grew and Thanksgiving Day became an official observance under presidential proclamation. Real thanksgiving is still the cornerstone for Thanksgiving Day. It's a practice or an art that opens one '9-eyes and ears to things overlooked or simply taken for granted. They aren't the cars we drive or the ' clothes we wear. Important as they are in a materialistic world, they don't make our hearts glow. That glow comes from simple things. ' You can't put a handle or set a value on such things. You can't display them or wear them with pride. Love and understanding essential in marriage and important in every relationshipare two of them. They light a glow for continuous thanksgiving. Good neighbors, friendships that hold through turmoil and the memories of small children's hands once held, but grown and free to hold the hands of children born or yet to be born are others. The opportunity to do your best and see accomplishment in doing a job well are part of the multitude of often forgotten blessings. The early morning chirping of birds greeting a new day, the warmth of bright sunshine, and the beauty of golden, multi-colored leaves falling in an autumn breeze are other examples. You can think of dozens of things for which you are thankful. It only takes a few minutes of quiet, thoughtful reflection. ' ' Most aren't of your own making. Trials and tribulations, even illnesses, that help us to grow and appreciate the things that count in life are part of the mixture unveiled by thoughtful reflection. Real thanksgiving like the careful preparation of the Thanksgiving Day meal awaiting you today is an art that matures only with practice and diligence. The ingredients are all about us. All we have to do is open our eyes and ears and hearts as well to see, hear and appreciate our blessings.

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