Penalties for merchants who violate the
new ordinance will be a fine of not less that $100 or more than $400
for the first offense, and not less than $400 nor more than $750 for
a second or any subsequence offenses.
The council heard a presentation last
week from Kevin Riggins and Logan County Coroner Chuck Fricke about
the dangers of ephedra. Riggins' 16-year-old son Sean died of a
heart attack after taking Yellow Jackets, pills that contain ephedra,
caffeine and other stimulants.
City Attorney Bill Bates said he had
been contacted by some of the larger retailers that sell ephedra
products, who said they will need some time to get the products
behind the counter.
He said he told the retailers the
ordinance would not go into effect until it has been published in
pamphlet form, which will take about 10 days.
"They did not seem alarmed by that," he
told the council.
Kevin and Debbie Riggins and Fricke
have been campaigning since Sean's death to keep ephedra products
out of the hands of young people. Although ephedra products have
been implicated in thousands of adverse reactions and at least 100
deaths, it is still legal to sell them as "food supplements." The
products are used by young people to enhance performance for sports
events and for weight loss, and by adults who drive trucks or work
nights to stay awake, Fricke said.
Kevin Riggins told the council last
week that Lincoln could lead the way to regulating ephedra in
Illinois. Although there are bills pending in both the Illinois
House and the Senate to limit, or even ban entirely, the sale of
ephedra products, neither body has taken final action.
Riggins said he was happy the council
passed the ordinance. "Let's get this in place, take it one step
farther, go to the state and get it done," he said.
The Rigginses and Fricke are making
presentations at schools in central Illinois and beyond to alert
young people to the dangers of using the herbal supplement. They
have given programs at Lincoln Community High School, Chillicothe
High School and Whitney Young School in Chicago. They are scheduled
to go to schools in Decatur, Normal, Delavan, Mattoon, a community
near Effingham and several others, Debbie Riggins said.
[to top of second column in
In other business, the council agreed
to repair a sidewalk in front of a group home in the city, even
though they have just learned that the facility is exempt from
paying property taxes to the city.
The CILA (community-integrated living
arrangement) at 302 N. Sherman St., operated by the Charleston
Transitional Facility, asked for the sidewalk repair. The Charleston
firm has just been notified by the Illinois Department of Revenue
that it is exempt from paying real estate taxes, Bates said, because
it is a not-for-profit organization.
Bates said he submitted a letter to the
local Board of Review asking that the CILA's request for tax-exempt
status be denied. The board did deny the request, but the state
overruled the local board, he said.
Alderman Glenn Shelton, who lives in
Ward 4, where the CILA is located, said last week he was going to
vote against the request for sidewalk repair because he disagreed
with the state's decision.
"I didn't want to vote on increasing
the value of privately owned property that doesn't pay property
taxes," he said.
However, he told the council Monday, he
has changed his mind. "I will be voting yes on the petition. The
city and the ward I serve comes before my personal feelings."
Alderman Steve Fuhrer asked if the
construction work to build the CILA had damaged the sidewalk. Street
Superintendent Don Osborne said the walk was in bad shape before the
group home was built.
Fuhrer also reminded the council that
the time to vote on 0.5 percent city sales tax increase is coming
soon. He pointed out that the regular sales tax in
Bloomington-Normal is 7.5 percent, but the tax on food and alcoholic
beverages served in a restaurant is 9.5 percent. If passed at the
April 1 general election, the tax increase in Lincoln would rise
from 6.25 percent to 6.75 percent. There would be no tax increase on
food or prescription drugs or on vehicles licensed by the state.
also passed a motion recognizing former Ward 5 Alderman Michael T.
Montcalm for his service on the council from May 1, 1989, to Feb. 8,
2003. Montcalm resigned in February, saying he needed the time to
devote to his family.