State Briefs 8/27/09

Police confirm Secret Service agents were legitimate

BELVIDERE – The Belvidere Police Department has confirmed the that United States Secret Service was in Belvidere this week after what police officials initially believed were two individuals impersonating officers.

A Belvidere resident called the police to alert them to what she believed was the impersonation of officers who appeared at the resident’s door, police Chief Jan Noble said. Noble confirmed the officers who “quickly flashed their badges” were indeed affiliated with the federal agency, but took the instance as an opportunity to remind residents to exercise caution and call police if they suspect the impersonation of an officer is being performed.

The department warns against fraudulent behavior and would prefer residents call rather than become the victim of a crime, Noble said.

According to www.secretservice.gov, the Secret Service is a federal law enforcement agency with headquarters in Washington, D.C., and more than 150 offices throughout the United States and abroad. It was established in 1865 to suppress the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. The agency is mandated by Congress to carry out dual missions: protection of national and visiting foreign leaders and criminal investigations.

Rockford Register Star

Mayor accused of verbally abusing woman

GALESBURG – The mayor of Galesburg has defended his actions after two people complained Tuesday to police that he verbally abused a woman as tempers frayed at a traffic jam caused by roadwork on Carl Sandburg Drive.

Police were called at 8:05 a.m. Tuesday to the area of Carl Sandburg Drive and Broad Street, where traffic was backed up due to construction work. The city confirmed that Mayor Sal Garza called police to the scene.

Upon arrival, police met with an unidentified female flagger, an employee of Gunther Construction, who said she was attempting to route traffic due to construction in the area.

A witness gave similar information to the officer according to the police report. The witness did not want to be identified, fearing repercussions from the mayor.

The person said people were yelling and screaming at the flaggers from their vehicles. At one point, Garza got out of his car and approached the flagger, yelling, screaming and waving his arms at the flagger. The citizen said the flagger was not overly rude to Garza but the mayor’s conduct was out of line.

Police found all electronic warning and stop signs were in place and the flaggers and construction workers on site were performing their assignments in “a reasonable manner” considering the amount of traffic, the location and length of the job site. No citations were issued in the incident.

Galesburg Register-Mail

Caterpillar, Walgreen’s reach agreement on drug costs

PEORIA – Caterpillar Inc. has reached its second agreement to bring lower pharmaceutical costs to its employees, dependents and retirees.

Caterpillar and Walgreen’s reached the agreement that the Deerfield-based pharmacy giant said "establishes a direct relationship for the purchase of prescription drugs using a transparent pricing model."

Walgreen’s said the two-year agreement will commence Jan. 1, 2010.

The release did not say what prices Caterpillar employees, dependents and retirees likely will pay for generic prescription medicines. That information is still being disseminated internally before it is made public, said Caterpillar spokeswoman Bridget Young.

Young said the deal with Walgreen will not affect Caterpillar's pilot drug program in place with Wal-Mart stores since Sept. 30, 2008. That program started for select salaried and management personnel, then was expanded to include hourly workers if they joined the company's HMO plan beginning Jan. 1 of this year.

Peoria Journal Star

Power company accused of violating Clean Air Act

PEORIA – Midwest Generation LLC stands accused of violating the Clean Air Act in a lawsuit filed Thursday morning by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Illinois Attorney General’s office.

“The excess illegal emissions resulting from the violations alleged in the complaint are sufficient to cause serious harm to human health and the environment,” said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, in a prepared statement. “Today’s federal court filing is the first step in this litigation and it demonstrates our commitment to ensuring compliance with environmental laws in the energy sector.”

Midwest Generation operates the Powerton plant in Pekin and five others in the state, including two in Chicago.

Peoria Journal Star