State Briefs 9/24/09

Country star Gary Allan to play in Bloomington

PEORIA – Gary Allan will bring his "Get Off on the Pain Tour" to the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington on Nov. 8. The show, which also features Jack Ingram and Eli Young Band, starts at 7:30 p.m., and doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $33.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday at all Ticketmaster outlets, the U.S. Cellular Coliseum Box Office, Ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Allan is known for the country tunes "Tough Little Boys" and "Songs About Rain," from his 2003 album "See If I Care." In 2005, he issued the album "Tough All Over," which features the Top 10 hit "Best I Ever Had." He toured with Rascal Flatts for much of 2006, according to CMT.com.

Peoria Journal Star

Caterpillar named one of Newsweek’s greenest companies

PEORIA – Caterpillar Inc. has been named one of the country's best environmental companies – near the top, in fact, in the industrial goods sector – by Newsweek magazine.

Caterpillar was named to Newsweek's Top 500 Greenest Companies in America, ranking No. 73 overall and No. 5 in the industrial goods sector, ahead of its top U.S. competitors.

The magazine cited Caterpillar's commitment to align its sustainability efforts with business strategy. Newsweek bases its rankings on a company's environmental policies, practices and overall reputation.

Noting that "big machines are usually bad for the environment," Newsweek cited the fact that Caterpillar is working to offset the effects of the carbon footprint of its equipment, including plans to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of its entire product line by 20 percent by 2020 and reduce the absolute greenhouse gas emissions from its facilities by 25 percent by the same year.

Peoria Journal Star

Winnebago County offices to close early to save money

ROCKFORD — In a move that will save $347,000 in personnel costs for the upcoming fiscal year, four Winnebago County offices will close two hours early starting Oct. 2.

The offices that will be affected are those of the state’s attorney, circuit clerk, recorder and supervisor of assessments.

Employees of those offices, 204 in total, will leave work at 3 p.m. rather than 5 p.m. on Fridays for the upcoming year, Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen announced Wednesday.

It means hourly employees in those departments will go from a 40-hour workweek to a 38-hour one, and salaried employees in those offices will see their weekly pay reduced by the equivalent of two hours starting next week. It also means that area residents and people needing to do business with those offices will need to get used to a smaller window of time to get things done on Fridays.

And it could mean changes in the operating hours of the 17th Circuit Court in Winnebago County.

Court officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but Christiansen said courts, which are heavily supported by the work of the circuit clerk and state’s attorney offices, likely will follow suit with a shorter day on Fridays. That move would affect 163 employees of the public defender’s office, probation office and circuit court and save the county an additional $362,000 a year, county officials said.

Rockford Register Star

Man dies after fall at coal mine

BENTON – An Elizabethtown man died Wednesday night as the result of injuries suffered in a fall at a Franklin County coal mine.

Robert Comer III was pronounced dead on arrival at 10:48 p.m. Wednesday at the Franklin Hospital Emergency Room, Franklin County Coroner Marty P. Leffler said. Comer was an employee for a company that was sinking the shaft at the Sugar Creek M-Class Mine north of Akin, Leffler said.

"Mr. Comer and other employees were in the process of rigging out from a concrete pour and were getting ready to move the work deck, in which (he) and other employees removed a metal grate from the decking to allow the concrete pouring tube to be removed up the shaft," Leffler said. "Mr. Comer had apparently unharnessed and turned around and fell 39 feet down the shaft."

Benton Evening News