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Accelerate 2016 fires up small business marketing

It was an opportunity to grow your business – learning best practices and new and better marketing techniques.

Accelerate 2016, the Small Business Conference & Expo at Kankakee Community College (Thursday) was designed to help business-owners see a new light and step up efforts to get on track. Start-up entrepreneurs and seasoned business owners all had opportunity to network and learn from those making it work.

Development, Management and Sales & Marketing sessions had participants in break-out sessions and hearing from experts on how to ‘build your brand,’ reinvent your business, and show others how to get ahead of the game.

Keynote speaker and best-selling author Summer Alexander talked about what she authored – “The Little Book of Big Marketing Ideas.”

Maureen McKenna, Senior Development Officer for CRF USA – Community Reinvestment Fund – working with several Kankakee area businesses to build relationships and focus on one-one-one contacts to get the message home.

McKenna tells WGFA News phones and emails and text messages don’t get it done......She says building relationships and showing customers they matter is what brings results.

McKenna said those driving the marketing messages have to have their own line-up in place.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Former park district official indicted for fraud

Former Kankakee Valley Park District executive director Roy Collins has been indicted for fraud to gain personal benefit. A federal grand jury indictment accuses Collins with defrauding the park district and a related non-profit organization.

The 46-year-old Collins of Kankakee is accused accessing park district equipment, labor and funds to benefit himself, including using park district equipment and labor to build a pond on his personal property. The indictment also claims Collins solicited an independent contractor to perform work for the park district and on his residence while suggesting the contractor falsely bill all the work to the park district.

Collins was employed as Executive Director of the Kankakee Valley Park District from 2011 to 2016. The park district works with the not-for-profit Kankakee Valley Park Foundation.

The charges stem from an investigation by the Illinois State Police, FBI, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation of the Inspector General.

If convicted, the offenses of wire fraud and mail fraud could carry prison terms of up to 20 years and fines of up to $250,000.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Iroquois County grand jury indictments

A Milford man who threw a hatchet and an arresting officer and a Watseka man who inflicted serious wounds on a female companion in a beating are among several people indicted by the Iroquois County grand jury this week.

29-year-old Kevin Funk faces an attempted murder charge for throwing a hatchet at Iroquois County Investigator Clint Perzee August 26th. Perzee suffered a broken arm, dislocated fingers and a lacerated arm when Funk resisted arrest for a Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault case.

Funk also faces indictment for the sexual assault and for Aggravated Sexual Abuse.

45-year-old Abacuc Rodriguez of Watseka was indicted for Aggravated Domestic Battery and Aggravated Battery. The assault against is female companion, Kelly McClanahan, resulted in a severe head injury and a hospital stay for the victim.

The alleged beating took place in a pickup truck driven by Rodriguez in rural parts of Iroquois County in August. After the beating, Rodriguez is said to have taken McClanahan to IMH, claiming the injuries happened in a boating incident. The victim was air-lifted to Carle Hospital in Urbana.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

9-1-1 Remembrance Day Sunday in Martinton

The Martinton Fire Station is hosting the 2016 9-1-1 Remembrance Day in Iroquois County Sunday.  The 4 pm event is sponsored by the Iroquois County Republican Women's Club.  The  5th annual event welcomes the public.

The event honors military, local dispatchers, EMS, Police, Fire and Coroner's office.  Sheriff Derek Hagen is the guest speaker this year.

94.1 WGFA



  • Parent Category: News

Nichols Paint & Fab settles into new location

It's like the new site had his name on it, waiting to happen.  And the new digs for Nichols Paint & Fab in Watseka is "just perfect.

Justin Nichols is all smiles, but very tied and sore having moved a lot of equipment from his former place of business on Walnut Stree to the NEW location at 110 S. 2nd Street, Watseka.  A spacious aluminum shed is 8500 square feet, compared to the 2,000 square feet he had to work in the last four years on Walnut Street. 

And he owns now, not renting.

"Yah, this is very nice, just perfect...sure nice to not throw money away renting," Nichols tells 94.1 WGFA News.  "There's so much space to spread out the equipment and tools; the work space is so nice."

Nichols Paint & Fab has earned a following, including top-notch prizes in competition restoring cars, trucks and motorcycles.  The business has flourished, growing from a hobby to a job.

"I can't complain doing what I love to do," Justin says.  His 3-person business may have to consider adding personnel.  His award-winning prizes from competition in several states is drawing more interest and jobs.  "The internet really helps and the competition gets the name around to people are reaching out to us," Nichols adds.

The restoration business hosted the Watseka Area Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours Wednesday.

94.1 WGFA