Tag Archives: Wisconsin

Illinois Says to Indiana: Keep Your Petcoke and Take Ours Too

22 Dec

by Ken Davidson

Hammond corporation George J. Beemsterboer, Inc. is known to many Indiana residents as the operator of the J-Pit in Gary and a contractor at local steel mills and refineries.   As operator of the J-Pit, Beemsterboer has long been known for bringing  waste into the state of Indiana.  Now Beemsterboer is under fire for allegedly moving Petcoke out of Indiana and into Illinois.

Beemsterboer recently entered into an Agreed Interim Order with the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago.  According to a release issued by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the Order was designed to thwart a serious public health issue:

“The actions we are taking today mark a critical step forward in putting a stop to the
serious public health threat facing the residents that live near these facilities, but we will
continue to push for the strongest possible protections to ensure these conditions can
never happen again here in Chicago and across the state,”

Earlier in the month, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel requested that citizens experiencing any problems with petcoke call the City’s 311 number.  Citizens reportedly complained of dust so thick they could not open their windows last summer.

The petcoke which was stored in Illinois by Beemsterboer came from a local refinery.  There are several refineries in the area which produce petcoke including BP in Whiting.  There are also refineries in Joliet and Lemont IL.  The most likely scenario now will be that petcoke from all of these refineries will be stored and shipped somewhere in Indiana or Wisconsin.

Petcoke is a byproduct of petroleum production.  The material is similar to coal in appearance.  The substance has been a byproduct of refining since the 1930’s.  It has become a national issue lately for several reasons.  The sheer quantity of petcoke has grown as local refineries have expanded.  The market for petcoke now lies outside the US, so it is primarily shipped overseas.  China is the main purchaser of petcoke products as many countries no longer allow the burning of petcoke as fuel.   Because shipping is the primary source of transporting the product, petcoke must be stored near water-in this case Lake Michigan or a local tributary.  Conveniently, Beemsterboer announced the purchase of the vacant State Line Energy plant after the Illinois Attorney General filed suit against them seeking to have the product removed from Illinois.  It has been reported that Beemsterboer will develop the State Line Energy site into condominiums.

One thing is clear, Beemsterboer is not storing petcoke in Chicago anymore.  So far officials have been mum as to future plans for storage of the material.

petcoke loaded onto barge in chicago

Petcoke is loaded onto a barge for shipment overseas

petcoke mountain in chicago

Petcoke Mountain on Chicago’s southeast side.

 

 

 

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HazMat Tanker Rolls, Closing Toll Road for 2 Hours

19 Dec haz mat tanker rolls on indiana toll road

Gazette Staff

Lake County-A semi loaded with 30,650 pounds of Sodium Hydroxide Solution rolled
over on east bound Toll Road closing all lanes for almost two hours.

Preliminary investigation by Trooper Aron Weller revealed that at approximately
10:05 a.m., this Thursday, December 19, 2013, morning a 2013 Peterbilt semi pulling
a tanker trailer, driven by Eugene W. Hejhal, 55 of Twin Lakes, Wisconsin was on the
entrance ramp from I-80/94 (Borman Expressway) when he took the ramp too fast to
negotiate the curve portion of the ramp onto east bound I-90 (Toll Road). Hejhal
lost control of his semi as it began to slide off the roadway, jack-knifed and
rolled onto its driver’s side across all lanes blocking all lanes east bound on the
Toll Road.

The semi, owned by Heniff Transportation Systems out of Alsip, Illinois was loaded
with Sodium Hydroxide Solution which is used as an additive for cleaning detergent.
No load was loss.

Hejhal was not injured and was wearing a seat belt.

One lane was reopened at approximately 11:50 a.m. and all lanes were reopened at
1:53 p.m.

Hejhal was cited for Speed Too Fast for Conditions.

The semi/tanker was totaled.
http://s3.amazonaws.com/nixle/uploads/pub_media/user29390-1387484881-media1

28 y.o. Avon, IN Woman Dies in Jasper County Crash

9 Dec

Gazette Staff

 

Jasper County-An Avon, Indiana woman died yesterday evening, Sunday, December 8th, from injuries she received in a three vehicle crash.

Preliminary investigation by Trooper Jason Madison revealed that at approximately 5:15 p.m., yesterday, a Jeep (unknown year) driven by Ashley A Rogers, 28 of Avon, Indiana was south bound on I-65 at the 225 ½ mile marker (this is approximately 4 ½ miles south of the Demotte/Roselawn exit) lost control for unknown reasons, road conditions were snow covered and slippery at the time of the crash.

A 2003 Ford, driven by Dana R O’Brian, 37 of Gary, was south bound and came over the hill crest and saw the Jeep spinning in the roadway. O’Brian swerved to the left to avoid the Jeep but was hit on the front right side of the Ford. The Ford came to rest on the inside shoulder. O’Brian was wearing her seat belt and was not injured.

A 2007 Kenworth semi, driven by Kimberly S. Thietje, age unknown from Burlington, Wisconsin stated she was south bound and came over the hill crest when she saw the Jeep in the right lane. Thietje could not avoid hitting the Jeep. The semi went off the interstate, down into a ditch and into the fence line approximately 50 feet off the road. The Kenworth was loaded with approximately 45,000 pounds of Resin. No load was lost. Thietje was wearing a seat belt and was not injured.

Rogers was found lying on the inside shoulder next to the concrete barrier wall. It is unsure at this time if she was ejected or hit while she was outside of her Jeep.

Rogers was taken to Jasper County Hospital in Rensselaer and was being transported to a Lafayette Hospital when complications arose and was rushed back to Jasper County where she died at the hospital.

Family has been notified.

WE WANT YOUR FEEDBACK:IN. Senator Introduces Bill to End Straight Ticket Voting

5 Dec

Reader submitted

Please submit a comment and tell us what you think. If we get enough comments, we will submit them to our local representatives.

Senate Bill 146 was recently sponsored by Senator Mike Delph (R) of Carmel. The bill calls for an end to straight ticket voting in Indiana. Senator Delph believes that a person should vote for an individual candidate, and in doing so, have knowledge of the candidate they are voting for. He also believes that straight ticket voting can put other candidates at an unfair advantage. With the simple push of one button, you can vote for a straight party without having to view every candidate’s name and position without giving your vote much thought or effort. Delph said Senate Bill 146 will likely be assigned to an elections committee in order to be considered. According to Michael Adkins, Chairman of the Hancock County Democratic Party, the bill would not create major changes in voting in Hancock County, and that straight ticket voters would continue to vote straight ticket.
This is not the first attack on straight ticket voting. Earlier this year in March, representatives of the People Before Party Act- Jim Matheson (D) of Utah and Charlie Dent (R) of Pennsylvania introduced H.R. 936 as a means to prevent straight ticket voting in federal elections. The bill amends the Help America Vote Act of 2002 by adding to it- that no state is allowed to provide a voter with the opportunity to indicate the selection of a political party as a representation of the selection of an individual candidate.
Straight ticket voting exists elsewhere, but varies by state. States include: Indiana, Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, & West Virginia. In general, straight ticket voting is on the decline in the U.S. The most recent state to abolish straight ticket voting was Wisconsin in 2011.

Two Sentenced, One Pleads Guilty in Unrelated Firearms Cases

21 Nov

Gazette Staff

The office of United States Attorney David Capp has announced that two individuals have been sentenced in unrelated firearms charges this week.

George Black, 53, of Gary, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge Rudy Lozano to 120 months imprisonment and 3 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of possession of a stolen firearm. According to documents filed in this case, Black has 3 prior felony convictions for burglaries in Wisconsin and was on probation for the most recent conviction at the time of his arrest. This case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives HIDTA Task Force and the Indiana State Police. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Padilla.

Brittini Anderson, 27, of Gary, Indiana, was sentenced by Chief Judge Philip Simon to 24 months of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of making false statements in the acquisition of a firearm. According to documents filed in this case, Anderson straw purchased a firearm that has not been recovered by law enforcement. Based on her interview with ATF agents, Anderson admitted that she purchased a 9mm pistol for a person she knew could not buy a gun. This case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Padilla.

Additionally, Shamekka Thomas, 29, of Gary, Indiana, pled guilty before Senior District Judge Rudy Lozano to the felony offense of making false statements in the acquisition of a firearm. Sentencing has been set for 1/30/14. This charge was filed as a result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.