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Central Illinois

Kevin W. Lyons
The Illinois Supreme Court announced Tuesday that Kevin W. Lyons, longtime state’s attorney for Peoria County, has been appointed a Circuit Court judge to fill a judicial vacancy in the 10th Judicial Circuit. Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride recommended Mr. Lyons to the Supreme Court after an extensive application and evaluation process. The Peoria resident Circuit Court vacancy was created by the 2010 retirement of Judge Richard Grawey and is temporarily being filled by Judge Glenn Collier who left retirement to fill the position.

Judge Lois Bell
Lois Arlene Bell, 49, of Winchester, passed away Saturday afternoon, July 2, 2011, at her home. She was born July 4, 1961, in Savanna, the daughter of the late Roger W. and Grace Schaible Bell. Lois graduated from United Township High School in East Moline in 1979 and obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1982. She then attended the University of Illinois College of Law obtaining her Juris Doctorate in May 1985. She was admitted to practice law and engaged in private practice of law from 1985 until 2002 in Winchester, primarily as Bell & Mann Law Offices with Richard E. Mann. While in practice she represented many individuals, banks, municipalities and other districts. In November 2002, Lois was elected Resident Circuit Court Judge for Scott County, a position she continued to hold. As Judge she presided over cases in Scott, Greene, Morgan, Jersey, Macoupin and Sangamon Counties. She was a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, ABA and PAD, and was a supported of Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation. She attended Lake Presbyterian Church in Osage Beach, Mo. Lois enjoyed traveling, boating on the Illinois river and Lake of the Ozarks, golfing, swimming, cooking, photography, gardening, reading and computers.

Richard Manzella
Richard M. “Rich” Manzella, 45, Normal, passed away on June 2 at Heartland Health Care Center in Normal, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Born Oct. 6, 1965, in Chicago, he was the son of Richard and Cathy Manzella. He married Veronica Harcar on June 15, 1996, at St. Stephen’s Church, Streator. She survives in Normal. He is also survived by his children, Matthew and Jennifer Manzella, Normal; his mother, Cathy Manzella-Hensley, Joliet; sisters, Lorrie (Grady) Bourland, Plainfield, and Julie (Ward) McCloskey, Marseilles; a brother, Joe (Linda) Manzella, Escondido, Calif.; maternal grandmother, Loretta Koren, Bolingbrook; father and mother-in-law, Andrew R. and Maria Harcar, Streator; a sister-in-law, Theresa (Tim) Graves, Streator; a brother-in-law, Andy Harcar, Streator; nieces and nephews, Emma Graves, Kyle McCloskey, Karlee McClosky, Miranda Bourland and Cody Bourland; a great-niece, Taylor Bourland; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. He was preceded in death by his father, Richard Manzella Sr.; stepfather, Paul Hensley Sr.; maternal grandfather, John Koren; paternal grandparents, Frank and Josephine Manzella; and an uncle, Frank Gluting. Rich was a 1984 graduate of Romeoville High School and a 1988 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received a bachelor of science degree in psychology.

Charles Flack
Charles "Chick" Flack, 83, passed away last month at Wesley Village Rehabilitation Center in Macomb. Mr. Flack attended Macomb schools and graduated from Northwester University in 1951 and Northwestern University Law School in 1954. He joined his father and George B. Kerman in the practice of law in 1954 and practiced until his retirement from Flack, McRaven and Stephen's in 1997. Mr. Flack served in the U.S. Navy during World War II aboard the carrier USS Enterprise and USS Midway. Read the full obituary in the McDonough Voice.
Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride on Wednesday announced that seven candidates have applied to fill a judicial vacancy in the 10th Judicial Circuit. Under the Illinois Constitution, the Supreme Court holds the authority to fill judicial vacancies. Chief Justice Kilbride uses an extensive application, evaluation and interview process to make recommendations to the Supreme Court for judicial vacancies in the Third Judicial District. The process includes an opportunity for public comment, background checks by police authorities and with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. Chief Justice Kilbride will also use a poll of all attorneys residing in the 10th Circuit, which will be conducted by the Illinois State Bar Association over the next 30 days. The attorneys will be surveyed on their opinions of the applicants’ integrity, temperament, legal ability, management skills and other professional qualifications. Chief Justice Kilbride will appoint a judicial screening committee made up of representatives from the community, including non-lawyers as well as members of the legal profession to evaluate all of the information. The names of that committee will be announced at a later date. Attorneys whose applications were received by the deadline were: David B. Collins, David M. House, Kevin W. Lyons, Christopher S. McCall, Theresa B. Murphy, Leann M. Niebuhr, and Scott E. Umland.
The Peoria County Pro Bono Plan, a joint project of the Peoria County Bar Association and Prairie State Legal Services, Inc., presented their annual awards for outstanding contribution in providing free civil legal services to low income and elderly persons in the community at the Bar Association Law Day Luncheon on April 26, 2011 Rodney R. Nordstrom, of the law firm of Day and Day, received the award for Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. This award is given to an individual attorney who exhibits exceptional leadership and commitment in the provision of legal services on a pro bono basis. The law firm of Miller, Hall & Triggs received the award for Law Firm of the Year. This award is given to a firm that has shown an overall commitment and teamwork in providing pro bono legal services.
The Illinois Supreme Court announced Friday that Associate Judge Timothy M. Lucas has been appointed a circuit judge in the Tenth Judicial Circuit. Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride recommended Judge Lucas fill the Circuit Court vacancy created by the resignation of the Hon. James E. Shadid upon his appointment as a federal district judge for the Central District of Illinois. Under the Illinois Constitution, the Supreme Court is given the authority to fill judicial vacancies. An associate judge in the 10th Circuit since 2001, Judge Lucas has presided over a wide range of cases including misdemeanor, traffic, civil, probate, juvenile abuse and neglect and juvenile delinquency.
Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride of the Illinois Supreme Court and Chief Judge Michael Brandt of the 10th Judicial Circuit announced Tuesday a new mediation program to help ease the financial and emotional burden of homeowners, lenders and taxpayers caused by residential mortgage foreclosures in Peoria County. Chief Justice Kilbride said he is hopeful that the foreclosure mediation program will help keep some families in their homes and help prevent vacant and abandoned houses that drive down property values and destabilize neighborhoods. The Illinois Supreme Court approved the program which is modeled after one which began last June in Will County. Both programs operate with no expense to taxpayers and are sustained by an increase in filing fees paid by lenders seeking to foreclose. "This is an important step forward for those who have suffered the effects of our nation's economic crisis in Peoria," said Chief Justice Kilbride. "The Supreme Court has a keen interest in programs that have the strong promise of achieving timely and lasting resolutions to tough problems." The program in Peoria County not only mirrors the one in Will County, but comes after another mortgage foreclosure initiative was announced last week by the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court. On the recommendation of Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis, the Court appointed a special 14-person committee to study ways to ease the burdens of homeowners and to ensure fairness throughout foreclosure proceedings. It is anticipated that the Committee will propose procedures that can be implemented throughout the state. The Committee will examine the program in Will County and Peoria County as well as the one operating in Cook County, which is partially funded through county funds.
Robert G. Kirchner, 54, of Urbana passed away on Sunday, April 17. He was a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and had practiced in Champaign County for more than two decades.
"He was unique among the Champaign County Bar for how aggressive he was, what a bulldog he was," says fellow attorney Tom Bruno. "We lawyers have an ethical obligation to act in the best interests of our clients, and he would do anything to fulfill that obligation."
Funeral arrangements are pending at Renner-Wikoff Chapel and Crematory, 1900 Philo Road, Urbana. Read the full obituary in the Champaign News-Gazette

M. Carol Pope
Justice Carol Pope, currently serving on the Fourth District Appellate Court, has announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination to fill the vacancy created by the appointment of Justice Sue Myerscough to the Federal District Court. Justice Pope has served on the appellate court since Dec. 1, 2008. Prior to that she served for 17 years as the Resident Circuit Judge of Menard County in the 8th Judicial Circuit. Justice Pope also served as the Menard County State’s Attorney from 1984-1991. Justice Pope graduated magna cum laude in 1975 from the University of Illinois, where she was named to the Bronze Tablet, the university’s highest recognition of academic excellence. She obtained her Juris Doctor degree with honor from DePaul University College of Law in 1979 where she was Lead Articles Editor of the Law Review. Justice Pope, by the election of her peers, currently serves as Third Vice President of the Illinois Judges’ Association (IJA), an organization of over 1,100 active and retired judges. She will serve as President of the IJA in 2013-2014.