The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois on June 25, 2012 · Page 3
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The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois · Page 3

Bloomington, Illinois
Issue Date:
Monday, June 25, 2012
Page 3
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A; Mark Pickering, managing editor, 309-829-9000, ext. 252, email: MONDAY, June 25, 2012 Sprinkle fails to ease drought Forecast calls for temperatures to dip to high 70s, low 80s iTT -T 1 By Kevin Barlow BLOOMINGTON - The dry and warm spring, which has led to severe drought conditions in McLean County, will continue, says a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Lincoln. "Our next significant chance of rain is probably not until next Friday night," said Darrin Hans -ing. "And at this point, that doesn't look like very much of a widespread event." The weather service has added DeWitt, Logan, Tazewell and Woodford counties to the severe drought list. Severe drought conditions mean that crops are likely to be affected, the risk of fires is higher, water shortages are common and water restrictions may be imposed in some areas. A quick-moving shower dropped a trace of rain on McLean County on Sunday morning, but it wasn't enough to make any type of impact, Hansing said. "It didn't even make a dent," he said. The eight- to 14-day outlook calls for above normal tempera tures and below normal rainfall. July looks to be more of the same. "We don't see this trend changing anytime soon," Hansing said. Temperatures' will remain seasonal today and Tuesday, but that's the good news. The bad news is that temperatures are expected to break the 90-de-gree mark for the later portion of the week. "We could even get close to 100 degrees on Thursday," Hansing said. "I don't think we will hit that mark, but I certainly wouldn't be surprised if it hits 95 degrees." 7 f - v Sara Stark, an employee of Mugsy's Pub, rinses a car Sunday during a bikini car wash at the tavern in Bloomington. The forecast calls for temperatures in the low 70s, but then they will rise again by midweek. The PantagraphLORI ANN C00K-NEISLER Honoring fire dogs Statue raises awareness of canines' role in sniffing out culprits in arson f r i w J. A .... YL u The PantagraphLORI ANN COOK-NEISLER Above: The National Fire Dog Monument, sponsored by the American Humane Society and State Farm Insurance Cos., made a stop at State Farm's corporate headquarters in Bloomington on Sunday afternoon. Sculptor Austin Weishel of Colorado talks to Bruce Abbott, a member of the Bloomington Township Fire Department, right. Top: Jerry Means, a Colorado arson investigator who created the monument, lets Jesse Arndt, 3, of Champaign kiss Sadie, a fire dog. With them is Jesse's sister, Kylan, 7. By Kevin Barlow . A 38 -year veteran of fire service, Bruce Abbott of the Bloomington Township Fire Department, has seen many works of arts dedicated to firemen. The most impressive he has seen, though, was Sunday morning's National Fire Dog Monument on display at the State Farm Insurance Cos.' corporate headquarters in Bloomington. "The best word to describe this is awesome and I have never seen the detail this one has," he said. "It seems so life-like. It's the best one I have ever seen." The "From Ashes to Answers" monument, a sculpture of a firefighter looking down at his Labrador retriever, is in the middle of a 12-city, 2,000-mile tour that began in Denver and will reach its permanent home in Washington, D.C., next week. The life-sized monument weighs 450 pounds and was created by Jerry Means, an arson investigator from Colorado. The bronze statue was sculpted by Denver-area firefighter Austin Weishel and serves to acknowledge the work of certified accelerant-detecting arson dogs. "The work that the dogs do really inspired me to create something where they can be recognized ... " Jerry Means the Colorado arson investigator who created the monument "The work that the dogs do really inspired me to create something where they can be recognized and so, four years ago, we started raising money," Means said. "We raised over $100,000 and are bringing recognition to these dogs who are so important in finding out who or what is responsible for fires." Means found Weishel, a 22-year-old, self-taught sculptor, who owns Honorable Sculptures Inc., near Denver. He spent more than 1,500 hours completing the project. "It's something I enjoy doing and being a firefighter myself, I made sure I took the time and effort to get every detail exactly right," he said. The tour is sponsored by State Farm and the American Humane Society. "The response has been great so far and it has actually brought people to tears," said State Farm spokeswoman Heather Paul. Several local residents stopped by Sunday for a firsthand look, including Dee Harms of Roanoke and her three grandchildren, Ally, Ryan and Riley Schumacher. "It's great for the kids to see something like this and let them learn something new about dogs," she said. "It's a great display and very well done." Also in Bloomington was Means' current arson dog, Sadie. Means used several children to demonstrate how Sadie has been trained to pick up accelerants on the clothing of potential suspects. "Lots of times, the person responsible for starting the fire will stand around and watch," Means said. "You can't have firemen or police going around sniffing everyone's shoes for some transfer, but you can take a dog and a properly trained one will be able to find the suspects." Nine lawyers in running to replace judge By Huey Freeman DECATUR - Nine area lawyers are being considered to replace Judge John P. Shonkwiler, who is retiring July 31 from the 6th Judicial Circuit tnat include s several Central Illinois counties, including DeWitt. The a p p 1 i -cants are Timothy J catur; John Shonkwiler Tighe, De- David K. Cox, William H. Finson, John W. Foltz, Dana C. Rhoad-es, Roger Simpson and Gary A. Webber, all of Monticello; Debra A. Seaton, South Holland; and Shig W. Yasunaga, Champaign. The new judge will be appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court. Besides DeWitt, the circuit includes Champaign, Macon, Piatt, Moultrie and Douglas counties. The Supreme Court has announced that it has formed a judicial screening committee and will make a recommendation, according to Justice Rita B. Garman's office. The committee will interview each applicant, gather information from the public and assess the candidates' qualifications. The committee The Supreme Court has announced that it has formed a judicial screening committee and will make a recommendation. will recommend a candidate to Garman, who will make her recommendation to the other Supreme Court justices. Members of the public are invited to submit comments on the applicants to Kelly Finet, secretary, 6th Judicial Circuit Screening Committee, P.O. Box 17, Monti-cello, IL 61856. Comments should be received by 5 p.m. July 9. Shonkwiler, 79, chief judge of the 6th Judicial Circuit since 1994 and one of the state's longest -serving judges, announced his retirement as a result of health issues. A lifelong Monti-cello resident whose courtroom is also in Monticello, Shonkwiler has served on the bench for 47 years. The applicant who is appointed to replace Shonkwiler will serve the remainder of his six-year term, which expires Dec. 1, 2014. The position will then be filled through the 2014 general election. Woodford Co. moves toward new phones By Cheryl Wolfe EUREKA - The Woodford County Board has taken its first step toward purchasing a new phone system for the courthouse. Replacement parts for the current 11 -year-old system are limited and will be harder to find now that the manufacturer has been sold. "This thing could hum for 30 years, or it could quit tonight," sheriff's deputy Matt Smith told the board. "If (the system) goes down, you're up the proverbial creek," board member and retired telecommunications worker Tom Karr said. Wilson Consultants will write specifications at a cost not to exceed $10,000, which did not include the the cost of a per formance bond. Neither the system nor the consultant is budgeted. Public Safety Chairman John Krug said the cost of the consultant would have to come out of the contingency fund. A system has been estimated to cost about $1,000 per phone, or a total of $125,000 to $150,000 to replace the system. The current provider offered a lease -like plan but board member Larry Whitaker said that would eliminate the bidding process. "Anytime we are spending six figures of taxpayer money, we need to go through the bidding process," Whitaker said. The committee wants to get the consulting work done in order to determine a figure to put into next year's budget to replace the system.

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