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Local News

  • Parent Category: News

Vermilion County Board votes to limit public comment, public cries foul

Allowing people a voice in their government is the issue pressed in Vermilion County. Citizens are objecting after the County Board decided Tuesday evening to limit comments from the public at meetings to three minutes each, instead of five.

The new rule will find the public comment section of meetings limited to 30 minutes.

The Board's legal advisor said it just controls the time. Bill Donahue said the average person can get their point across in 3 minutes. A total of 30 minutes for public comment is adequate and more people can be heard with the 3-minute limit.

Donahue said the public can also submit comments or questions in writing by email, in-person, or by dropping it off at the county board office.

Vincent Koers of Danville resident Vince Koers said 'It's a sense of frustration because there is no other way to talk to the board ...other than the time that you give them. So cutting it down to 3 or even 1 minute you're destroying the purpose of the way government is supposed to work in Vermilion County.''

Despite objections the rule change was approved with 15 – 5. Five members were absent.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

AFSCME contract OK’d in Iroquois County

Early problems with "no lay-off language" in a contract for AFSCME employees in Iroquois County were resolved. And—the County Board Tuesday approved its new contract with the employees represented by the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees union.

Weeks of haggling ended. The County Board gave its approval with a unanimous vote. Board Chairman Kyle Anderson commenting that "it's nice to be able to work it out."

AFSCME waived the "no lay-off language" that had kept the matter unresolved. A few insurance issues were also worked out.

Union rep David Beck also said it was good to get this behind us and not the workers can focus on their jobs.

The contract is retroactive to April 2014. Employees see a 20 cent hike in pay the first year, 30 cents the next two and an additional 35 cent raise is tacked on December 1, 2016.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Joyce appointed to Iroquois County Board

Dan Joyce of rural Watseka was sworn-in Tuesday as the newest member of the Iroquois County Board. He represents District 4, having replaced Susan Wynn Bence who resigned to take a job with the Illinois Lt. Governor.

Joyce is a smal business owner, raises horses and cattle.  He says he looks forward to being a voice for district four.

The appointment has stirred some criticism.  Twice, Joyce lost election bids for the County Board.  The criticism comes from a few citizens and board member Larry Hasbargen of Watseka, who says voter approval should be recognized in making appointments.

"He's run and been rejected by voters twice before.  Now, they send him to us to appoint him to a position voters have said no to," Hasbargen told the board during public comment.  "This a slap in the face to voters that the board has no regard for their choices."

Hasbargen took issue with Joyce even pursuing an appointed-seat when  the voters rejected him.

GOP Chairman Shane Cultra defended Joyce's appointnment, saying Joyce had the support of precinct committeemen.  Cultra also took the blame for not letting candidates know about the perameters in place for consideration, the most important being the person had voted in three of the last primaries on the Republican ticket.

Joyce's appointment was approved by the board 12-4 with one member abstaining. 

94.1 WGFA

 

 

 

  • Parent Category: News

Rep. Kinzinger: “Illinois needs better business climate”

Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger says the state needs lawmakers in Springfield to come together and realize both sides will have to give-and-take to get results. The Republican told an Iroquois County Town Hall audience Monday "whether you're Republican or Democrat, we have to do something different."

Too many jobs have left or aren't coming to Illinois, he said, and it's not just losing to foreign countries like India, we're losing to our neighbors in Indiana and elsewhere.

Kinzinger points to several issues, adding, there's no room for partisan politics.

Making rounds in the district while Congress is in recess, Kinzinger met with local constituents at the Old Courthouse Museum in Watseka.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Dwight ceremony today welcomes Amtrak expansion

Residents of Dwight celebrate a groundbreaking for a new train depot today. There's also an announcement for the opening of a new section of its Pinecone Path.

The $3.77 million depot is being paid for through federal high-speed rail money. The village donated land valued at $100,000 as its share of the project. The approximately 800-square-foot depot will provide shelter and restrooms for Amtrak travelers.

It's part of the Amtrak project to improve the rail line from Chicago to St. Louis. The high-speed rail project includes upgrades to rails, crossings and signals.

Seven trains a day stop in Dwight – four northbound and three southbound.

The groundbreaking will take place at 2:30 pm. Ribbon cutting for the Pinecone Path extension will be at 3 pm.

94.1 WGFA