June 24, 2012 10:42PM
Tim Wilmott, president of Penn Faming, talks to local leaders and longtime employees at the 20th Anniverserary of the Hollywood Joliet Casino, formerly the Emperess. | John Patsch~For Sun-times Media
Updated: June 25, 2012 12:50PM
State Sen. Pat McGuire found it odd the way news came out last week that Gov. Pat Quinn had made a “final decision” to close Illinois Youth Center-Joliet, Dwight Correctional Center and five other state facilities for adult prisoners and youth offenders.
The news came through a leaked memo circulating among prison officials, and, McGuire noted, the memo wasn’t even dated. He heard the decision to close Joliet was final on a radio news report late Tuesday night.
Quinn’s budget spokeswoman, Kelly Kraft, said the memo was not intended to be an announcement that the decision had been finalized. Instead, it was a necessary notice to wardens and supervisors regarding layoff procedures that will have to take place.
Even so, it’s the first 10 words in the memo, “Please be advised that a final decision has been made …,” which made it statewide news.
It’s becoming a very mixed blessing for employees at IYC-Joliet that the center is slated to close Oct. 31, two months after other prisons and youth centers will close.
Sharon Konopka, president of the union that represents about 225 IYC-Joliet workers, said they are worried that the state will force them to wait last before seeking openings at other state facilities.
“If we wait,” she said, “that reduces the job opportunities for people in Joliet.”
Hiding in the john
The 20th Anniversary party at Hollywood Casino Joliet, created an opportunity for interesting reminisces about the old riverboat days when Illinois casinos ran up and down the river for three-hour cruises.
Tim Wilmott, president of Penn National Gaming, which owns Hollywood, and the first general manager at Harrah’s Joliet, reflected back on the “sweeps” that used to done to make sure customers were out at the end of one cruise before the next one started.
“You had to go into the rest rooms and into the stalls to find people who were standing on toilets crouched down so you couldn’t find them and ask them to leave,” he said.
Louis Joliet Mall again
The Westfield name has been taken off of the signs at the mall. So, it’s simply Louis Joliet Mall again, which seems to have pleased people, said Jill Madison, marketing director at the mall.
“They’re definitely noticing,” Madison said.
The mall staff has stayed, she said. Kim Knuth remains general manager. “Nothing really changed except the name,” Madison said.
Kevin Medows has joined the Joliet Public Library as deputy director.
Medows replaces Dianne Harmon — sort of. Harmon was promoted from deputy director to director in July 2011. So, she’s Medows’ boss. The deputy position was vacant since Harmon became director.
Bob Okon contributed to Pulse.