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WJBD - Local News - Junction City Meeting Erupts in More Controversy

Junction City Meeting Erupts in More Controversy

By Bruce Kropp

The Junction City Village Board meeting erupted into a shouting match Wednesday night after Mayor Jerry Grey ordered the owner of the town's only tavern removed from the meeting.  Grey issued the directive to a Junction City Police Officer after Hideout Owner Joe Blunt handed out a copy of a state law and claimed four of his patrons were illegally given seat belt tickets while riding away from the bar in a taxi cab.  

"If Mr. Grey is not on duty on Sunday, how he can spend for five-hours every Sunday parked across in front of my establishment was getting paid, just out in the cop car to keep people from coming to my place, and his comment was he was doing it for the people to stop speeding.  It's complete harassment and it's time for me to stand up for the people that work for me, for the people and my business.  I come here; I don't start any trouble with the businesses, but it's time that they cannot just go on and mock and write tickets and pull everybody over in town that comes into town and ask them what they are doing", said Blunt.  

Blunt will consult his attorney before deciding his next step.  Blunt was held by Junction City Police next to the squad car until Blunt asked if he was going to be arrested.  Blunt was let go after saying he would leave.  

Meanwhile, Grey maintains the car involved in the traffic stop was not a properly licensed taxi and Blunt was out of line bringing up an issue that needs to be handled by the court system.  "He was upset because we were getting several complaints about loud music, speeders, and loud mouths on vehicles, and I sit out here on Adams Street and run radars that Sunday and he was upset over it.  Our police officers are here to protect the people that live in this town and the ones who pay taxes, not for him to be a rich man.  They're not here to serve him", said Grey.  

Some board members defended Blunt's right to talk during the public participation part of the meeting.  David Winegarner told Grey after the meeting what he was doing was not right.  

There is still no resolution to the status of board member Ricky Boxx.  Boxx had earlier submitted his letter of resignation, but returned to the board before it was acted upon.  Boxx now wants to stay on the board, but Grey has been pushing for the letter of resignation to be approved.  The motion to accept the resignation died for lack of a second.  

The board approved raises for the six village employees.  Raises range from 25 to 75 cents an hour, with the two part-time police officers who some members of the board have been trying to fire receiving the 25 cent an hour increase.  

The Christmas for Kids program was set for Sunday, December ninth, at two pm.  It will feature a visit from Santa, cookies and punch and presents for the kids.  There will be additional money available for the program this year because the board is cancelling its own Christmas Party.   The consensus was it wouldn't be a pleasant party since they were all mad at each other.   

See other LocalNews news:

Centralia City Council Notes
Vacant Building Codes Tabled in Centralia
Centralia City Council Approves Business District
Northern Illinois Resident Hurt in I-57 Crash
Police Beat for Wednesday, July 27th

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