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Local News

  • Parent Category: News

Iroquois County’s 9-1-1 struggles with finances…. Emergency responders balk about political involvement by County Board Chairman

A room full of fire and police, and other emergency responders have taken issue with Iroquois County Board Chairman Rod Copas' call to 'dissolve the ETSB (Emergency Telephone System Board).'

Copas addressed an audience in Watseka Tuesday night, reading from a prepared letter about his plan to dissolve the ETSB and allow the 9-1-1 Board to manage the system.

But Cissna Park police chief Dick Corke said that's just putting the control of this into one person's hands, referring to the County Board Chairman. It's politics and it doesn't belong here.

9-1-1 Coordinator Nita Dubble has explained the two governing boards go hand in hand. The discussion about the emergency system is fueled by the loss of landlines and that means revenue, which she said has nothing to do with how the boards work together to handle personnel and equipment............. # 61

It was pointed out 'there's no cost savings to combining the two boards, which has professional emergency personnel making decisions.

There was also more discussion about a public safety tax to generate monies for the 9-1-1 system. No decisions were made.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Black ice triggers roll-over crashes

Illinois State Police officials are urging motorists to use extreme caution while traveling today (Tues). Icy roadways were making travel dangerous this morning. Several slide-offs were investigated yesterday and last night by troopers from District 10 at Pesotum and District 21 at Ashkum.

There were reports of 60 stranded vehicles along I-57 in Iroquois County. Fifteen motorists spent the night at a warming center in Gilman. The American Red Cross worked with Gilman Mayor Rick Theesfeld in setting up the warming center.

Since 7:00 a.m., this morning, Troopers handled 8 rollover crashes. Several motorists are also in the ditches and medians. Officials urge motorists to slow down. The temperatures were still below freezing earlier and black ice was causing problems, according to state police.

All secondary roadways in the districts are ice covered and treacherous. Interstates 57, 72, and 74 have frequent patches of ice, sometimes not immediately visible (black ice).

A complete list of road closures can be found on the Illinois Department of Transportation website www.illinoisroads.info and www.gettingaroundillinois.com or 1-800-452-4368.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Kankakee losing revenue; tax-sharing companies pull up stakes

Kankakee Mayor Nina Epstein tells the Chicago Tribune it appears all of the Kankakee tax-sharing deals are in jeopardy. That's a reported $4 million in revenues.

Two companies have cancelled their contracts with Kankakee. This comes after the state of Illinois changed its rules on how sales tax rates are calculated. The city's contracts, most of them anyway, have been with Internet-based firms.

Plans for Kankakee are to cut about 10% of its city budget to make up for the loss in sales tax revenues.

Kankakee COUNTY has also announced cuts of $35 million to its annual budget.

Larger companies had set up shop in Kankakee where the state's sales tax was much cheaper than Chicago. The two companies that ended the Kankakee arrangement were able to work around $4.3 million in local sales tax since 2006 by using Kankakee's lower 6.25% tax.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Watseka fire destroys house, Red Cross assisting

A house fire in Watseka Sunday evening destroyed a structure and displaced four people.

Fire Chief Dave Mayotte reported the fire appeared to have started in the kitchen near the stove, but the cause is still under investigation. A neighbor alerted authorities when smoke and fire was showing from the rear of the house at 115 S. Sheridan Avenue.

No one was home at the time. Watseka fire answered the call at 5:51 pm. Mutual aid came from a MABAS box alarm. Firemen from Woodland, Crescent City, Milford and IMH Ambulance.

The American Red Cross was notified to assist two adults and two children who lived at the single-story house. Mayotte declared the house and contents a total loss.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Weather conditions deteriorating, caution advised

                                      Motorists Urged to Reduce Speeds & Slow Down

Ashkum, IL- Illinois State Police District 21 covering Kankakee, Iroquois and Ford Counties are reminding drivers to take precautions as they travel.

The Illinois State Police are advising motorist to be cautious while traveling today. Hazardous travel conditions with drifting snow and ice is expected. Interstate 57 is currently experiencing light to moderate snow with patches of snow and ice throughout Kankakee, Iroquois and Ford Counties. Secondary roads are also snow covered and icy.

Motorists are advised to be cautious while driving near and around snow plows. Motorist should also be cautious, slow down, and move over for emergency vehicles assisting motorists on the roadways.

The Illinois State Police are asking drivers to monitor changing weather conditions, limit their travels, and be prepared to allow plenty of time to reach your destination. Drivers are also encouraged to put extra water, food, and warm clothing their vehicle. Please contact your nearest police department if you vehicle becomes disabled or involved in a crash.

94.1 WGFA