State Briefs 6/10/09

Chinese government donates Abe Lincoln statue

SPRINGFIELD -- The Chinese government donated a small bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Wednesday.

The statue, sculpted by Chinese artist Yuan Xikun, is 44 inches tall and weighs about 80 pounds. It portrays Lincoln standing with his right foot planted on a rock and his coat blowing in the wind.

“Lincoln’s forehead shows his creativity and intelligence; his eyesight reflects wisdom and determination. He is a man of great breadth of mind, and as a leader this helped to better apply his broad philosophies and theories to practice,” Yuan Xikun said in a press statement.

The statue is the library and museum’s first major Lincoln artifact from China. Xikun is known for his portraits and sculptures of world leaders, including former President Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Simon Bolivar and Butros Butros Ghali.

State Journal-Register

Peoria airport awarded $3 million federal grant

PEORIA -- The Gen. Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport has received a $3 million federal grant, money to be used for a new service road around a runway and for a 10-foot chain-link fence to keep wildlife away from the airfield.

The $3.05 million U.S. Department of Education grant was announced by U.S. Sen. Roland Burris in a news release issued Wednesday.

The service road, or perimeter road, will be built around Runway 4 to redirect vehicular traffic from crossing active runway, the release stated.

Journal Star

Burger King shooter gets eight years

PEKIN -- Tenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Richard Grawey said Tuesday that a strong message needed to be sent to those who would open fire in a public place.

About 12:35 a.m. on Nov. 2, 2008, Albert E. Thornton, 25, of Peoria, shot 11 40-caliber bullets into the Morton Burger King in retaliation against his former girlfriend for leaving him, knowing that she and other Burger King employees were inside.

Thornton pleaded guilty earlier this year to aggravated discharge of a firearm.

Grawey sentenced Thornton to eight years with credit for 220 days served in the Tazewell County Justice Center. Thornton must serve 85 percent of the sentence before being eligible for parole.

Grawey said despite Thornton’s very limited criminal conviction history and his potential to become a good citizen because of his college education and young age, he would not give him the minimum sentence because of the nature of the crime.

Pekin Daily Times

Ethanol production under way in Galva

GALVA -- After a couple of years of construction and another couple of months of testing and start-up procedures, Galva’s new 100 million-gallon ethanol plant is doing what it’s supposed to be doing: producing ethanol.

“We’re now at full production,” said Big River CEO Raymond Defenbaugh. “We started our first grind a couple of weeks ago, then it takes a week to do tests, because the ethanol has to be up to standards.”

Defenbaugh is also pleased with the operation of the facility’s zero-discharge water system, which produces salt crystals as a by-product.

But the biggest news is the fact that Galva’s newest, biggest business is up and running.

“We’re filling cars,” said Defenbaugh. “We’re in business.”

Star Courier