News from around Illinois, as reported by GateHouse newspapers.


  CENTRAL ILLINOIS   Lack of funding closes Logan County Planned Parenthood   LOGAN COUNTY -- Planned Parenthood has left Logan County. The clinic closed Friday after losing the battle to maintain funding. The clinic, which was located at the Logan County Health Department, served about 400 clients a year.   “We just found that it was becoming more and more difficult to fund the program with the rising cost in service delivery and decrease in funding,” said Robin Beach, regional chief operating officer. “Ultimately, when we sat down with the health department to look at ways we might be able to decrease the cost or increase the funding, we just couldn’t come to any sort of conclusion.”   Planned Parenthood receives government funding through the Federal Title 10 grant. That grant sends revenue to the Illinois Department of Human Services, which then passes it on to agencies like Planned Parenthood.   “That funding has stayed flat for many, many years,” Beach said.   According to figures from Planned Parenthood’s nationwide revenue reports in 2006, about a third of the budget comes from government grants and contracts, while a little more than a third comes from the clients who receive service. The agency treats patients regardless of their ability to pay.   Logan County clients received letters in January to inform them of the closing.   Beach said former Lincoln clients can go to other area Planned Parenthood clinics including those in Bloomington, Clinton, Decatur or Springfield.   The letter also informed clients they could have birth control medications mailed to them or that they could obtain a prescription to be filled at any pharmacy.   Clients with outstanding fees still owe those costs, and questions about financial obligations should be directed to the clinic in Bloomington.   All patient records have been sent to the Bloomington clinic at 318 W. Washington St. Clients can call that office at 309-827-4014 to make appointments or to have their records sent to another office. Patients can also call whichever new office they choose to have their records transferred.   Lincoln Courier   Overall crime down in Peoria   PEORIA -- Peoria saw an overall drop in crime during 2007, though an increase in sexual assault arrests puts a black eye on an otherwise promising trend.   In a report released earlier this month, Peoria had a decrease in six of eight crime categories, including murder, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. Criminal sexual assaults increased to 86 last year, from 78 in 2006, as did robberies, up four at 390 for the year.   Police Chief Steven Settingsgaard noted Wednesday that, although the sex assault statistic increased, it was still one of the lowest in nine years, second only to 2006, which he said was a "phenomenally low year."   Settingsgaard said many reported assaults are spousal incidents, as opposed to random attacks. Even so, he said his department will work to track these crimes and focus on the cases involving strangers.   He said in order to gauge whether streets are more violent, one should put more weight in shootings and homicides.   The report shows 17 murders in 2007, down one since last year.   Shootings, on the other hand, have dropped 29 percent. Even if homicides were down and shootings were up, Settingsgaard said, that doesn't mean crime had improved. Because shootings have declined, he believes Peoria is gaining ground.   Journal Star, Peoria   Rudy Giuliani apparently cancels Springfield appearance   SPRINGFIELD -- Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who dropped out of the race for president Wednesday, has apparently canceled his appearance at the Sangamon County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Luncheon on Saturday.   County GOP Chairwoman Rosemarie Long said Thursday afternoon the last she heard he is not coming.   The event will still go on. Party leaders are working on getting a replacement keynote speaker.   Plans for the event have already changed once this week. The luncheon was scheduled to take place at the Illinois State Fairgrounds' Illinois Building. But a major power outage at the fairgrounds prompted officials to move the event to the University of Illinois at Springfield.   State Journal-Register   Former Gov. Edgar endorses McCain for president   SPRINGFIELD -- Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar today endorsed U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona for president, according to state Rep. Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, who co-chairs McCain's effort in Illinois.   Edgar had been for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has dropped out of the race.   Asked his reaction to Edgar's endorsement of McCain, Durkin said, “It means I feel good about Illinois on Tuesday.”   Also in the running in Tuesday's GOP primary in Illinois are former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.   State Journal-Register   NORTHERN ILLINOIS   Remains of woman identified   CHICAGO -- The frozen remains found Jan. 25 on Chicago’s southwest side have been identified as those of a missing 41-year-old Justice woman.   Carolyn Schranz was reported missing in October, according to media reports. An autopsy performed Saturday by the Cook County medical examiner’s officer concluded Schranz died of multiple stab wounds.   Her remains were found by a Lyons environmental inspector, according to Lyons officials. The inspector had been in the area searching for clean debris to fill a village-owned quarry at Lawndale and Ogden avenues in Lyons, village manager Roy Witherow said.   Witherow said the inspector was checking for soil contamination when he saw a foot and a leg.   Initial reports from Lyons officials about a blue container being found at the scene raised suspicions that the remains could have been those of missing suburban mother Stacy Peterson.   Volunteers looking for Peterson had been searching for a blue container at the direction of organizers after state police began investigating reports that her husband Drew Peterson removed a large blue container from his house shortly before his wife was reported missing.   Police quickly dismissed the possibility and denied the reports of a blue container.   Chicago Suburban   Woman who lied about cancer to get out of trial gets prison time   DUPAGE COUNTY -- A Woodridge woman who attempted to avoid trial for theft by telling a judge she had ovarian cancer was sentenced Monday to six years in state prison.   Karen Johnson, 44, was charged in April 2006 with stealing $16,000 from the financial firm where she worked. As her trial approached, she presented DuPage County Circuit Court Judge Mark Dwyer with a forged doctor’s note saying she was to undergo surgery to treat the cancer.   The assistant state’s attorney assigned to the case investigated the note and discovered it was a forgery, said Paul Darrah, a spokesman for the state’s attorney’s office. Johnson was charged in October with felony forgery.   Johnson pleaded guilty to both the theft and the forgery charges, and Dwyer sentenced her to three years in prison for each charge with the sentences to be served consecutively.   Because of good-time credit, she will likely be paroled after three years, Darrah said.   Chicago Suburban   McCain to visit DuPage County   DUPAGE COUNTY -- Fresh off a victory in the Florida Republican presidential primary Tuesday, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will make two campaign stops Friday in DuPage County.   The presidential hopeful and Republican front-runner will appear at a rally at the Odeum Sports & Expo Center in Villa Park. He will also make an appearance at the DuPage County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner Friday evening at Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace.   Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at that event. But after a disappointing showing in the Florida primary, he withdrew from the presidential race Wednesday and threw his support behind McCain.   McCain will now take over as the main speaker at the dinner, said state Sen. Dan Cronin, R-21st District, of Elmhurst. Giuliani might still attend, he added.   Cronin, county GOP chairman, is a McCain supporter and delegate. He is happy to have the leading Republican candidate attend one of the party’s biggest events, he said.    Other prominent DuPage Republicans were supporters of Giuliani, including former Illinois Attorney Gen. Jim Ryan and State’s Attorney Joe Birkett.   Ryan said now that Giuliani is out, he has not decide who to endorse in the field of Republican presidential candidates, which also includes former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul from Texas.   “I have a lot of respect for Mayor Giuliani,” Ryan said. “I think he was and is a strong leader.”   Chicago Suburban   3 charged with running Winnebago County heroin ring   ROCKFORD -- Winnebago County sheriff’s detectives have arrested three people who they say operated a far-reaching heroin ring that sold up to $10,000 of the drug daily.   The heroin was packaged in aluminum foil and sold as “dimes,” or $10 packets, officials said today. Users would contact cell-phone numbers and runners would deliver the heroin within a matter of minutes to locations throughout the city.   The arrests put to rest a monthslong investigation by the Sheriff’s Department.   Arrested were: Steve M. Harris, 32, of Machesney Park, charged with calculated criminal drug conspiracy, criminal drug conspiracy and trafficking charges; Jermaine Harris, 28, of Rockford, charged with possession of heroin with intent to deliver, calculated criminal drug conspiracy and criminal drug conspiracy; and Latonia S. Partee, 36, of Machesney Park, charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.   Steve and Jermaine Harris, brothers, were in the Winnebago County Jail on $250,000 bond each; bond for Partee, Steve Harris’ wife, was set at $50,000.   Rockford Register Star   SOUTHERN ILLINOIS   2,000th signature supports ‘In God We Trust’ license plates   MARION -- In a striking show of local approval for legislation sponsored by State Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, that would create an “In God We Trust” license plate available to Illinoisans, the Southern Illinois lawmaker announced he has collected his 2,000th petition signature in support of the measure.   “I am thrilled by the response the proposed plate has generated so far,” Bradley said. “We have people coming out to help pass petitions and collect signatures and I appreciate the work each and every one of them is doing. Collecting our 2,000th signature in only a few months is a testament to their tireless efforts and the popularity of the bill.”   The measure, House Bill 4183, would create the “In God We Trust” license plate and be available through the Secretary of State’s office for the standard specialty plate fee of $40, plus the standard fee for a regular license plate. Indiana recently instituted a similar program that has seen great success. According to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ Communication Department, almost 24 percent of the state’s over 6 million registered license plates now bear the motto.   Bradley is confident that Illinois’ motorists will support the “In God We Trust” plate. Under the legislation, a portion of the issuance fee will be dedicated to the Secretary of State, as is standard with most specialty plates; while the rest of the fee will be allocated to the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund, which provides grants to help minimize the impacts of costs associated with food, housing, utilities, medical services and other expenses for families who have had a family member placed on active military duty   Marion Daily Republic   Sex offender arrested for allegedly not registering address change   BENTON -- A Benton man was arrested on a charge of failure to notify his change of address as a registered sex offender.   Benton Police Chief O'Neill said officers concluded their investigation in the case and on Tuesday morning located Christopher L. Davis, 20, of Benton.   “He was located in the 300 block of Grand Street,” O'Neill said. “He had previously registered when he lived in the 800 block of South Taylor Street but failed to notify the Benton Police Department within five days when he moved to Grand Street.”   Davis was taken into custody and transported to the Franklin County Jail, where he is awaiting bond, the chief said.   Benton Evening News