The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois on January 5, 1981 · Page 2
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The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois · Page 2

Bloomington, Illinois
Issue Date:
Monday, January 5, 1981
Page 2
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A-2 The Daily Pantagraph, Mon., mois accidents kill 15 By The Associated Press 'At least IS Illinois residents died in traffic accidents in the state during the New Year's weekend, while more than 400 persons were killed on the nation's highways in the four-day holiday weekend.- Five persons died on Illinois roads on Saturday, including an 8-year-old suburban girl who was killed near her home. Suzanne Gerlits was crossing a street when she was struck by a car, Winnetka police said. ' -Three other Chicago area residents died Saturday in auto accidents. Ronald J. Gorniak, 34, of South Elgin, died after his van was struck broadside on Illinois 68 in Inverness; Edward J. Slanek, 25, was struck by a car in an unincorporated area near Elk Grove Township; and Thomas Panos, 85, of Chicago was struck by a bread delivery truck, police said. Pownstate, police said, Philip Starwalt, 19, was killed when his car ran off the road in Jasper City, near Newton. Four other persons died over the New. Year's weekend in a fiery collision Friday of a car and a Rock Island commuter train on the city's South Side.. By 2 a.m. CST Sunday, the national death count had reached 428. The. National Safety Council had estimated that 420 to 520 travelers might die on the nation's highways between 6 p.m. Wednesday and midnight Sunday, local times. There were 493 traffic deaths over the four-day New Year's weekend a year ago. Destroyed . PONTIAC A construction . trailer and a storage building were destroyed by separate fires Sunday. Pontiac firemen said a trailer owned by The Austin Co., parked at a construction site at Caterpillar . Tractor Co., R.R. 4, was gutted at 12:40 p.m. -. The blaze began when electrical .wiring shorted out, firemen said. , Damage to the trailer, which ' apparently was used as a warm-up shack by construction workers, was estimated at $4,000. An estimate of damage to the contents, which included some tools, was unavailable. The second fire, at 5:32 p.m., gutted a storage shed behind A&W Root Beer, 420 Ladd St. ' Firemen said the cause of the blaze was undetermined. ' Restaurant equipment and some furniture were being stored in the building, firemen said. Total loss ' Was estimated at $6,500. No danger to health Radioactive snow at Morris 'MORRIS (AP) Steam laced with small amounts of radioactive contaminants turned to snow and fell on a nuclear plant parking lot after Commonwealth Edison Co. conducted a test of a backup cooling system, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman said Sunday night. The release at the utility's Dresden Nuclear Power Station Unit No. 2 lasted about 15 minutes, the spokesman added, and resulted in no health or safety hazard to the public. The plant is about 50 miles southwest of Chicago. "It's a rust color, a solid material and within that is laced some radioactivity," said Russ J. Marabito, of the NRC's Region 3 office in Glen Ellyn, Chicago ; CHICAGO (AP) - The leading contender for the superintendency of Chicago's schools withdrew his name from consideration Sunday, surprising a racially polarized school board said to be on the verge of appointing him. : Frederick D. Holliday, the black superintendent of the York, Pa., schools, on Sunday telephoned Kenneth B. Smith, Chicago school board president, to withdraw his name from inois murder suspect caught in Iowa PALATINE (AP) - A 31-year-old man has been charged with murder in the shotgun slaying of his father and unlawful restraint in the abduction of his mother following his arrest in Iowa after a 24-hour manhunt, police said. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Nicholas T. Pomaro signed both complaints Sunday against Robert Eugene Koch, 31, police said. Bond was set at $1 million and a hearing date was set for Jan. 21. Koch was jailed earlier Sunday in Jan. 5, 1981 j 111 I ' -i v Firemen at work Residence damaged by evening blaze Fire did extensive damage to a second-story apartment in a house at 819 E. Grove St. shortly after 7:30 p.m. Sunday. The occupant, Steve Graham, Apt. 5, was not at home when the blaze broke out in the apartment's kitchen area. Several other residents of the building's five apartments escaped safely. One of them, Anne Page, said she was watching television when the smoke alarm in her apartment, which is across from Graham's, went off. "I opened the door and the smoke about knocked me over," she said. Mrs. Page and her son managed to get to the first floor with little difficulty, she said. Cindy McCray, who lives at 814 E. Grove, called the fire department after her fiancee noticed smoke pouring out of a window of the house. "He came running in and said the corner apartment building was on fire," she said. Graham said he left the apartment about noon and had no idea where the fire might have started in the kitchen. He was visiting his mother when he a suburb of Chicago. "It's so low that some of the measuring devices we used at that point couldn't pick up a read-. ing." He said the radiation described as the isotope cobalt-60 was contained in residue from a steam discharge about 11 p.m. CDT Saturday which slightly blanketed a parking lot of the plant in an area about 100 yards by 50 yards. Sub-zero temperatures caused the steam to condense and fall on the plant property before it drifted off-site, he noted. A Commonwealth Edison spokeswoman, Cindy Blessington, said the school consideration for the superintendency, Smith said. The reason given by Holliday, who had become the focus of racial controversy in Chicago, was that Earl Kline, the man poised to replace him as York superintendent, died Saturday, Smith said. "Holliday said to me under those circumstances he just could not in any way leave the York system," Smith Denison, Iowa, on additional charges in that state and was expected to appear at an extradition hearing in Crawford County Court. Koch was apprehended in the tiny western Iowa community of Vail, where authorities said he had lived with his estranged wife Cathy, 25, until about two months ago. Authorities began searching for Koch after his mother, Jean Koch, 56, called Iowa law officers from a farmhouse near Vail early Saturday to say she had Bloomington firemen used a ladder to get to a second-floor apartment fire Sunday evening at 819 E. Grove St. (Pantagraph photo by Nancy Holding) received word the building was ablaze. According to firemen, the apartment's kitchen was gutted and other areas suffered varying degrees of smoke and water damage. The fire originated in a wastepaper container, according to Assistant Fire Chief Marty Hoeniges. He said it was possible a burning cigarette or match had been thrown into the container. A damage estimate was unavailable Monday. According to a resident, the house is owned by Verne McDonald of Pontiac. In a second fire Sunday night, heat from a boiler started a fire in the basement at 2104 E. Empire St. and the fire spread to the wall of one of the apartments. Firemen cut through the wall of the residence of Kathy Whitman, Apt. 4, to put out the flames. The fire was reported at 11:55 p.m. Sunday. Inspectors said heat from the boiler set its wood stand on fire. Residents of the apartment building will be using space heaters until the boiler is repaired, firemen said. Damage was undetermined Monday. utility believes the discharge lasted about five minutes rather than 15 minutes. She said the utility notified the NRC of the discharge later Saturday, adding that an NRC resident inspector was present during the discharge. The contamination was vented during the testing of the isolation con-densor system that is designed to keep pressure from building up in a reactor, the NRC spokesman added. A small release of radioactive material was expected during the test, but the amount released was above that anticipated, although still below allowable limits, he added. hopeful said. "Dr. Kline was not only a colleague of Dr. Holliday's but a personal friend. "I said, you're sure this is what you want to do, that we were postured to vote on Monday, all members of the board were prepared to vote the way they were expected to vote, and he said, yes." Holliday could not be reached for comment. been abducted from her Palatine home by her son. She also contended her son had shot his father, Eugene Koch, 59. After being contacted by Iowa authorities, Palatine police found the elder Koch's body in a crawl space of his home about 6 a.m. Saturday. Koch's mother said she was driven to Iowa by her son and left bound in a car in near zero weather in a farm field. She said she escaped after about four hours and called authorities from a nearby farmhouse. No murder link yet Strange Atlanta clues By Pantagraph wire services ATLANTA Police so far have found no connection between an abandoned house where Bibles and strange paintings were nailed to walls and the deaths or disappearances of 15 Atlanta children, says Public Safety Commissioner Lee P. Brown. The house, which had a strong, foul smell, was pointed out to searchers who were combing southwest Atlanta Saturday for clues about the missing or dead children. Volunteer search captain (Catherine Whetstone described the house as smelling "like decaying flesh." It also had several Bibles and "strange paintings" nailed to the walls inside. Shovels, an ax and a hatchet were strewn around the floors. But so far, there is "nothing to suggest that there is any relationship between that and our ongoing investigation" into the child cases, Brown said in an interview. "If there is evidence uncovered that relates to our investigation, we're not going to talk about it publicly." "To even imply that there is a relationship is incorrect at this point," he said. Kills himself Virginia RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Larry Murphy, top aide to Gov. John Dalton, wounded his fiancee and then killed himself after an argument with her father, police said Sunday. Murphy, 34, had been carrying a gun because of threats on his life, police said. He was found dead in an upstairs bedroom of the suburban Chesterfield County home owned by William Whitaker, said Detective R.C. O'Shields. Murphy's fiancee, 22-year-old Margaret Whitaker, was shot three times, in the left arm, shoulder and right leg, O'Shields said. She underwent surgery at Johnston-Willis Hospital and was listed in stable condition, a hospital spokeswoman said. Detectives BUFFALO, N. Y. ( AP) - Working on the theory that one man killed eight black men in the Buffalo area and Rochester, city detectives were heading for Manhattan Monday to compare notes with New York City police about four similar slayings there last month. Four men, three blacks and one dark-skinned Hispanic, were stabbed to death and two wounded in Manhattan during a 10-hour period on Dec. 22, apparently by one man, according to New York City authorities. In one sample, radiation specialists found 42,000 pecocuries of radiation per litre of water, Marabito said. He said a pecocurie is a trillionth of a curie, a basic radiation measurement. NRC regulations allow up to 1,000,000 pecocuries per litre in the fenced-in areas of a nuclear plant, he said, and 30,000 pecocuries per litre off-site. Marabito said measurements made "thus far" indicate no radioactive material was released to any area outside the boundaries of the plant property. Some form of contamination clean-up work may be necessary but the extent has not been determined at this time, he added. quits The board was expected to vote Monday 6-5 to offer the job to Holliday, who had already indicated he would accept the offer. Those opposing Holliday were the five black members of the board, who instead support Dr. Manford Byrd, a black who is deputy superintendent of the Chicago schools. Those supporting Holliday were the three whites and three Latinos The arrest Sunday came as Iowa Highway Patrol troopers Frank Weber and Bill Springer were questioning Vail resident Dick Blair on the street. Blair suddenly pointed to Koch. "I saw Bob and said, "That's the man you're looking for," Blair told reporters. "He took off running behind a building and the sergeant went after him. "I drove up ahead in my car. When I saw him, I said, 'Bob, stop, for God's sake. It's all over.'" David Westbrook, owner of the house, said he rented out the structure, but did not know where the tenants were. He said they had left their possessions behind. Eleven Atlanta-area children have been slain and four others reported missing over the last 18 months, compared with seven such cases during a 17-month period between 1977 and 1978, according to statistics. Police made arrests in all seven of the 1977-78 cases, but the recent slayings, all involving black chidren, remain unsolved. Meanwhile, a source close to the investigation indicated Sunday that an arrest would be made soon in connection with at least one of the cases of missing or dead children. . Volunteers who have turned out for 10 Saturdays to look for clues in the children deaths were sent during the weekend to the house in a black residential area in southwest Atlanta, called Adamsville, after search organizers received a tip. Besides children's shoes and clothing, searchers found two Bibles, both King James translations, pinned to the wall with four nails driven into aide shoots fiancee O'Shields said the shootings occurred after an argument between Murphy and Whitaker. Murphy, senior executive assistant to the Virginia governor, went to the house to see Miss Whitaker and her father asked him to leave, O'Shields said. Whitaker was treated for bruises and facial lacerations received in the argument, the detective said. Murphy followed Miss Whitaker to an upstairs bedroom after the argument, 'Shields said. "Several shots were heard. Miss Whitaker was found wounded and Mr. Murphy had a gunshot wound to the head which appeared to be self-inflicted," O'Shields said. He said police compare Erie County District Attorney Edward Cosgrove has said he believes the upstate attacks may be linked to those in Manhattan. Cosgrove had predicted on Friday that authorities would capture a suspect in the case by Saturday. He refused comment Sunday on the prediction. Meanwhile, Buffalo police revealed that they had recovered a hunting knife near the scene of the latest attack on a black man in western New York. - Mill I I llffi Mt k -' $ . n I ! i fztwitm r IV fori'" rT- :- !'-' ... ' the upper-center of each open page. The larger Bible was opened to the passages from Isaiah 1:14 to 3:25, the smaller to Jeremiah 15:4 to 18:4. Both sections made frequent references to children and death. John Bascom, another search leader, said volunteers also found a letter in the house. "It was a letter written from lady, I guess, to the man who was living there telling him he was sick and a pervert," Bascom said, refusing to discuss the names in the letter. David Westbrook, owner of the house, said he had rented it but did not know where the tenants had gone. He said they left behind their possessions. All of the items found by searchers were turned over to police, who planned another look at the building today with a tracker and his dogs. Don Laken said his two German shepherds had found the house two weeks ago, but he did not go on the property because it was posted. Laken came to Atlanta two months ago to help search for clues in the deaths of II black children and the disappearances of four others. were called to the home at 12:28 a.m. Sunday. O'Shields said the wounds appeared to be caused by a .38-caliber pistol that Murphy brought with him to the hous6. Murphy obtained a gun permit more than a year ago, telling authorities he needed the gun for protection because he had been threatened. "The governor is shocked and saddened. His heart goes out to the families involved," said Dalton spokesman Charles Davis. Murphy began working for then-Lt. Gov. Dalton as a staff aide in 1975 and was his ranking campaign aide when Dalton ran for governor in 1977. Murphy was divorced and had no children. stabbings The knife, about six inches long with a wooden handle, was found Saturday a block from the home of Larry Little of Buffalo. Police said Little fought off .a white assailant near his home Friday morning. The suspect has been described by witnesses as a white male, between 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-10, with a fair complexion and short brown hair. One black man in Buffalo and another in Rochester were stabbed to death by a white man last week. (WWDllBffiRi mum mm wmsm A

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