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WLIP Voice of Lake County 2/21/19

Inmate Charged With Soliciting Murder for Hire

Vander Tuuk 2-21-19

(Waukegan, IL) A Lake County Jail inmate already facing serious charges, has now added to his rap sheet. Sheriff’s officials say Ade (Ida) Tramble is facing one count of Solicitation of Murder for Hire, after he reportedly tried to hire a hitman to kill a witness in his upcoming trial. The hitman was, in reality, an undercover detective. Tramble was in the Lake County Jail on charges of home invasion and domestic battery stemming from an incident in Zion…and the murder for hire investigation took over two months to complete. The 45-year-old Chicago man remains behind bars on a 500-thousand-dollar bond.

Gang Member Hit With Drug Charges

Vander Tuuk 2-21-19

(Waukegan, IL) The Lake County Sheriff’s Office says a routine traffic stop turned into several drug charges for a Round Lake Beach man. On Tuesday just before noon, deputies stopped Angel Castro in the Round Lake Heights area, and discovered he has no license. A subsequent search of the 22-year-old and his vehicle turned up cocaine and ecstasy. Castro now faces several charges including possession of a controlled substance, and intent to deliver. He is currently in the Lake County Jail on a 75-thousand-dollar bond.

Lockdown Waukegan Schools

Vander Tuuk 2-21-19

(Waukegan, IL) A social media threat led to lockdown situation at three Waukegan Schools. District 60 officials say they notified Waukegan Police about the threat on Wednesday morning. The situation led to a hard lockdown at the Waukegan High School’s Washington Street campus, and a soft lockdown at the Abbott Middle School and Alternative Optional Education Center. The specifics of the threat have not been released, but District 60 continues to look into the matter, along with Waukegan Police.

Smollett’s lawyers vow ‘aggressive defense’

Associated Press 2-21-19

CHICAGO (AP) Attorneys for Jussie Smollett say they will mount an “aggressive defense” of the “Empire” actor after he was charged with making a false report that he was viciously attacked during a hate crime in Chicago last month. Attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said in a statement: “Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence… ” It did not say where Smollett is and when he might turn himself in to police, though a bond hearing is scheduled for this afternoon. Smollett, went from the alleged victim, to being charged with felony disorderly conduct for falsely reporting an attack on Jan. 29. The charge carries a possible prison sentence of 1-3 years, but he could also receive probation.

Pritzker Budget Proposal

Associated Press 2-21-19

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) Gov. J.B. Pritzker proposed a budget Wednesday that relies partly on tax revenues from two industries that currently aren’t even legal in the state. Pritzker’s $39 billion proposal includes more than $1 billion from legalizing recreational marijuana and sports betting, while also imposing a tax on insurance companies, hiking cigarette and e-cigarette taxes and raising $20 million from a tax on plastic bags. Pritzker, making his first major address to legislators, also wants to modify the albatross of the state’s estimated $134 billion in pension debt. He’s seeking to borrow money through bond sales, sell state assets, use extra money from a proposed income-tax revamp and stretching out those obligations by seven years. Under his plan, those debts would be paid off by 2052 instead of 2045.

Budget Detail: Cigarette Tax Hike

Associated Press 2-21-19

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) Gov. J.B. Pritzker is proposing a 32-cents-per-pack hike in the state’s cigarette tax. The proposal is part of the Democrat’s $39 billion budget unveiled on Wednesday. The state tax on cigarettes is currently $1.98 per pack. Kathy Drea (DRAY’-uh) is vice president of the American Lung Association of Illinois, and says Pritzker is also proposing taxing e-cigarettes at the same rate as other tobacco products, which is a wholesale rate of 36 percent. The Governor predicts the tax increases would produce $65 million in new revenue. Waukegan State Sen. Terry Link is sponsoring legislation to allow the e-cigarette tax.

Budget Details: Cap on retailers’ reimbursement, Plastic Bag Tax

Associated Press 2-21-19

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) Gov. J.B. Pritzker plans to raise $75 million for his proposed budget by capping the amount of money retailers can keep for collecting sales tax for the state. He also said Wednesday he wants to impose a 5-cent plastic bag fee. Retailers may keep 1.75 percent of the money they collect from the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax. Pritzker would cap that at $1,000 per month. Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh (a-boo-DAY’-uh) says the majority of retailers would see no reduction in discount, and says taxable retail sales are concentrated among a relatively small number of high-volume stores. Pritzker says a plastic bag tax would raise $20 million for the state.

Metra approves $71M contract to replace aging locomotives

Associated Press 2-21-19

CHICAGO (AP) Metra has approved a nearly $71 million contract to buy 15 locomotives and begin replacing the commuter rail agency’s aging fleet. The contract approved Wednesday includes the option to buy up to 27 additional locomotives from Progress Rail Locomotives of La Grange if funding is available. Metra CEO Jim Derwinski says the goal is to increase reliability and “improve the state of good repair of our system.” They also are expected to reduce operating costs, since the older locomotives are increasingly expensive to maintain and operate. The agency has 147 locomotives, about 70 percent of which are rated in poor or marginal condition. Metra says that will drop to about 40 percent with this year’s purchase of 24 used locomotives from Amtrak and to about 14 percent with Wednesday’s purchase.

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