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Kankakee County looks for revenue

Budget problems just won’t go away in Kankakee County. Officials are exploring new means of revenue, including a public safety tax and taking another look at county assessed fees.

Two studies have been initiated, one in the sheriff’s department for court services and another departments including the county clerk and recorder.

Finance Chairman Mike LaGuess explained other counties have conducted such studies to review revenues generated, but projected numbers are not available.

The committee also entertained discussion about an increase in its public safety tax.

Sheriff suggests citizens talk to county board members ......
Sheriff Mike Downey said as budget talks continue, citizens need to voice their concerns about public safety. Downey says the decision-makers need to be contacted by those people living in un-incorporated areas who will experience even more diminished police presence.

More budget cuts have been discussed. A proposed FY17 budget would eliminated up to one-third of the sheriff’s deputies.

Downey said “we in law enforcement don’t’ want that and the people don’t deserve that.”

The County Board’s proposed budget for the sheriff’s department patrolling of rural areas is being cut $533,000 to $2.3 million. The sheriff’s department has been hit hard in recent years, losing up to 15 deputies to lay-offs.

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Teenager faces 5-year prison term for Facebook bomb threat

A Rantoul teen could be looking at a five-year prison term for posting a Facebook bomb threat. Dakota DeGarmo allegedly posted the threat, directed at Rantoul Township High School.
School officials say DeGarmo is not and has never been a student at Rantoul.

He was arrested for disorderly conduct Thursday. He is being held in the Champaign County jail.

DeGarmo was expected to be formally charged Friday, Oct. 7.
He faces penalties ranging from probation to a prison sentence of two to five years if convicted.

Rantoul school officials and Rantoul Police worked with canine officers from Champaign and Macon County to search the high school but found nothing. Classes were held Thursday.

94.1 WGFA

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Indiana extends voter fraud probe

Newton, Benton, Jasper and Lake And LaPorte counties in Indiana are part of an Indiana State Police investigation into voter registration fraud. State Police have extended their probe to include 57 of Indiana’s 92 counties.

Further details as to why the investigation has been far-reaching are not disclosed in a statement from ISP.

State police began the investigation in September with only two counties, Marion and Hendricks, after detectives confirmed several instances of fraudulent voter registration forms being submitted. They said the forms had missing, incomplete and incorrect information.

A few weeks later, on October 4, ISP extended the search to include a total of nine counties.

Two days later, 57 counties are now included in the investigation. Spokesman Capt. Dave Bursten made the announcement Thursday, but he would not provide any details on the reason for the expansion.

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Kankakee officials meet with A-G over alleged voter fraud

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and U.S. Attorney James Lewis met with Kankakee County officials this week to address allegations of voter fraud and intimidation.

The meeting stems from earlier allegations of voter fraud and intimidating people in getting them to vote along with the interests of Chicago officials.

Madigan and Lewis issued a joint statement saying the meeting was to ensure a fair, open and legal election.

Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jamie Boyd was also part of the meeting. Boyd says the county clerk's office received complaints from people claiming they were offered bribes by "individuals from Chicago" in return for voting for Democratic candidates.

Lewis and Madigan said the two sides addressed that and allegations some minority voters were being subjected to unnecessary requirements and misinformation about their ability to vote.

The controversy is centered on race between Democratic state Rep. Kate Cloonen and Republican challenger Lindsay Parkhurst.

Meanwhile -- The Chicago Tribune has endorsed Lindsay Parkhurst in the race for the 79th House seat. The newspaper state’s while Cloonen has worked to distance herself locally from House Speaker Mike Madigan, she “walks hand in hand with him” in Springfield.

94.1 WGFA

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Garage Community Center relishing the blessings of Pastor Jim Small

It was the brainchild of a man, a Christian man who wanted to help the area youth. And Pastor Jim Small’s effort now finds several young people sharing in the concept of a ‘safe place to hang out.’

It was Pastor Small who took an idea, ran with it, gathered supporters, and opened what’s known today as the Garage Community Center in Gilman. Several other supporters, individuals and businesses, continue to generate interest and raise money to make sure the Gilman-Onarga area young people have that safe place to visit and have fun.

Since opening in June, 700-plus youth have visited the Friday Night Hangout after Iroquois West Road games . The Home games finds the young people gathering for the 5th Quarter at the Garage Community Center. And the end result, no doubt, will find Pastor Jim Small smiling down at the many people, in years to come, who will share in the glory of

Pastor Small died of cancer at this home Wednesday. He was 63.

Friends say Jim Small was quite a Christian leader, leading the Onarga Christian Church, serving as a Village Board member, helping manage the Prairie States Christian Camp, directing the start-up of the Youth of Christ organization, serving as chaplain at IMH and providing spiritual leadership for the IMH Hospice program.

Oh yes, Jim was also the 2015 Onarga Citizen-of-the-Year. Oh, how he’ll be missed !

94.1 WGFA