Reporting from Peoria, Illinois I have a couple of topics that are new and ongoing.
First is the fact that we have been having apocalyptic weather. Not only have we had bitterly cold temperatures with wind chills down to 30 below zero but on top of that we had an ice storm which left everything covered with ½ inch of ice. This caused major power outages and many tree branches to fall on cars and homes. Power lines have collapsed.
The temperatures have remained cold maintaining icy conditions. Results of this include accidents and we also had a plane slip off one of the runways at our airport.
Yesterday, December 26th, 2008, we had a sudden increase in temperature to the forties creating an incredible fog.
As I complete this report it is storming. It is a full-blown thunderstorm with lightening wind and thunder. It is hard to know what the results are going to be although we do know flooding has been predicted.
What makes this news even more intriguing is that our weather has been weird all year with temperatures being warm when they should be cold and cold when they should be warm.
With the holidays beginning with Labor Day our city has dedicated itself to clamping down on illegal drivers. They are looking for people with no licenses; people who have been drinking or doing drugs and people without insurance. This has been designed to make the roads safer during busy traffic days including holidays.
How do they do it?
The police set up areas on a road where a line of traffic builds up. There is no warning and there is no escape. A car cannot turn around and if one tries to they will be pursued.
As the cars move forward drivers are checked for alcohol and drugs. If there is a suspicion they are pulled to the side of the road.
Next, drivers are asked for their licenses, registration and proof of insurance. Failure to provide the correct information results in a ticket to impounding of the auto to arrest.
Results of these events have been most satisfactory with the police catching illegal drivers to the tune of 20 to 30 at a time and occasionally more.
During one of these roadblocks I was caught because I had subbed for a buddy to drive his limousine. Since the registration and insurance information was displayed (it is a city requirement it be displayed on a vehicle such as that), I was waived through. Off to the side of the road were several drivers taking sobriety tests, getting tickets and one was being arrested.
While this may not be the most dramatic news it is effective police action.
Consistent traffic management and odd and severe weather are what’s in the news in Peoria, Illinois.