BCR News Feed

19 July 2019

  • Wyanet Summer Festival Car Show returns
    Organized by the Wyanet Community Club, the Wyanet Summer Festival Car Show was the first car show in many years held in conjunction with the annual festival. It attracted more than 50 entries, according to Scott Heller of the Wyanet Community Club, who along with his wife, Tina, oversaw the show. “They’ve had it previously, but it’s the first time that it’s been back for quite a while,” Heller said. “We did have a good turnout. We’re pleasantly surprised.”

  • The story behind the car
    More than 50 cars were entered in Saturday’s car show held in conjunction with the Wyanet Summer Festival. Here’s the story behind one of those cars:

    The car: A 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Sunliner convertible, with a 312 Thunderbird Special V8 engine and a three-speed manual transmission.

    The owner: Curt Johnson of Wyanet.

    The story: Curt Johnson and his late wife bought the car in 1976 from someone who lived east of Princeton. The car had been customized with black paint and a flame job on the fenders, bucket seats and a four-speed transmission. They stored the car for years, Johnson said, until a guy came along and offered a lot of money to buy it.

    “We declined selling it, but it got us to thinking that if we’re ever going to do this, we better do it. It’s been restored about 12 years, I guess,” Johnson said.

    That restoration features a red-and-white two-tone paint job, shiny chrome bumpers and a restored interior.

    Johnson said he and his wife “had a lot of fun with it.”

    The car reminds Johnson, a 1964 high school graduate, of other ’57 Fords he owned as a young man. “I tore up a few of these, back then,” he said with a smile.

    The car gets about 18 miles per gallon, “cruises just fine,” and there’s another attractive attribute: “When I open the hood on that, everything I see, I know what it is, what it does, and how to work on it. These new ones, if you don’t have an elaborate computer setup, you can’t begin to work in it.”

    The car “doesn’t even know there is winter” because Johnson keeps it covered and inside a garage during cold weather.

    “If we get a nice day in winter, I’ll start it up and back it out and let it run a little bit. Other than that, it hibernates,” he said.

    Any regrets? “The one thing, it is a little hard to park because it doesn’t have power steering,” Johnson said. “The parts car I had did have power steering, and I found myself wishing that I’d put it on this one.”

  • Princeton man pleads guilty to aggravated battery
    PRINCETON — The Princeton man accused of striking a wounded shooting victim with a baseball bat on May 7 in Hillview Trailer Park entered into a plea deal in Bureau County Circuit Court on Tuesday during his pretrial hearing.

    Nick Hand, 35, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery, a Class 3 felony. In return, he will serve two years in Illinois Department of Corrections, which is the minimum sentence time for a Class 3 felony. He will have to pay $1,649 in court fees and restitution and is required to undergo substance abuse treatment, as he was under the influence of a substance when he committed the crime.

    Hand has served 70 days in the county jail since being arrested for the offense as he was not able to post 10 percent of his $50,000 bond. He receives credit toward his prison sentence for those days served.

    Witness statements

    During Tuesday’s hearing, which went before Bureau County Circuit Judge Marc Bernabei, Bureau County State’s Attorney Geno Caffarini read witness statements that would have been given if Hand’s case went to trial.

    The statements came from the victim, a neighbor of the Hand home, and James Hand, the father of Nick Hand.

    From those statements, it is understood that the victim in this case, who was a Peoria man, came to the Hand home in Hillview Trailer Park in the early morning hours of May 7 looking for his girlfriend, whom Caffarini later explained, was also in a relationship with Hand and has two children with him.

    James Hand answered the door and was unsure who the man was and did not realize Nick Hand’s girlfriend was in the home. James Hand told police the man made threats and did not leave the home when he was asked to, so he went inside and grabbed his shotgun. After another exchange of words, James Hand told police the shotgun accidentally discharged and struck the victim in the thigh. Caffarini said the court cannot dispute this claim and the fact that James Hand was defending his own property, which is the reason why he was never charged in this case.

    When the victim was shot, Nick Hand took a wooden baseball bat and struck him multiple times in the body and head, which resulted in a skull fracture and the need for stitches. The victim was treated at Perry Memorial Hospital and OSF St. Francis in Peoria.

    A neighbor of the Hand home told police he looked out his window when he heard the gunshot and witnessed Nick Hand striking the victim in his body and head multiple times.

    Following Hand’s plea, he was given the floor in court to make a statement. He apologized to the court, to Bureau County Public Defender Mick Henneberry and said he “wanted to come back a better man and be there for his children.”

    This is not Hand’s first conviction. He carries a 2015 federal conviction for conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and multiple Bureau County convictions between 2001 and 2012, including theft, retail theft, driving under the influence and reckless driving.

Reuters National News

19 July 2019

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