(SPRINGFIELD) The owner of a Chicago convenience store and two employees have been charged with selling synthetic marijuana that has been linked to two deaths. Federal prosecutors have charged 48 year old Fouad Masoud and 44 year old Jad Allah, both of suburban Justice, and 44 year old Adil Kahan Mohammed of Chicago with conspiring to distribute and sell a controlled substance. Federal prosecutors say U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents made undercover buys of the synthetic marijuana at Masoud’s West Side Chicago store. Officials say the synthetic pot was packaged in sealed containers and that testing showed a toxic substance in rat poison had been added. The State Department of Public Health reports 56 people in Illinois experienced severe bleeding after using the substance, two of which have died.
(SPRINGFIELD) Voters around Illinois have chosen agricultural breakthroughs, high-tech triumphs, and life-saving ideas as the top inventions and innovations in state history as part of the ongoing Illinois Top 200 project, which allows statewide residents to vote every two weeks to choose the top ten favorites in twenty different categories in celebrating Illinois’ 200th birthday. Voted in as the state’s top invention was the Steel Plow, developed in 1837 by blacksmith John Deere, followed by the Cell Phone, Birth Control, Skyscrapers, and the Blood Bank rounding out the top five. The sixth highest vote-getter was Mail Order, followed by Barbed Wire, the Agricultural Silo, Meatpacking, and Computer-Assisted Education. Voting in the next category, top buildings, is now underway online, at www.IllinoisTop200.com.
(CHAMPAIGN) The Illinois State Water Survey has released weather statistics for the February-March time period. The statewide average precipitation for February-March was 8.69 inches, which made it the fourth (4th) wettest February-March on record. The wettest February-March in Illinois was back in 1898, with 8.96 inches. Here at our WVLN-WSEI National Weather Service Weather Station, at the south edge of Olney, we had a February-March precipitation total at 12.20 inches (6.38 inches in February and 5.82 inches in March), one of the highest two month totals in Illinois. The statewide average precipitation for March alone was 4.03 inches, 1.07 inches above normal. Meanwhile, the average statewide temperature in March was 38.7 degrees, 2.6 degrees below normal. The National Weather Service’s outlook for the month of April is pretty much more of the same – calling for an increased chance of below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation for Illinois and the entire Midwestern region of the United States.