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  • Parent Category: News

Manteno names new Chamber Director

Sarah Marion is on the job in Manteno. She started her new position this week as executive director of the Manteno Chamber of Commerce. She's also event planner for the village.

Ms. Marion holds a BA degree in corporate communications and public relations from Northern Illinois University. She worked in public relations before earning her Master's degree in teaching from National Louis University in Chicago.

She's lived in Manteno since the age of 5. She says she's looking forward to promoting her community.
Marion spent the last six years teaching first grade at Manteno Elementary School.

Marion replaces Staci Wilken, who recently was named executive director of the Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

She worked in public relations a few years before earning her master's degree in teaching from National Louis University in Chicago. After that, she taught at Manteno elementary.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Kankakee river trail gains national recognition

A website has been created to encourage exploration of a new national water trail in Indiana and Illinois.

Kankakee County leaders have stepped up to promote the attractive sites along the Kankakee River, extending into northwest Indiana. The local website launched is www.kankakeeriverwatertrail.org 

Last week's designation of the 133-mile Kankakee River Water Trail in northwestern Indiana and northeastern Illinois stemmed from efforts of the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association.

The national designation may lead to boat launches, campgrounds and a portage service around dams at Kankakee and Wilmington. Boy Scout Troop 319, out of St. George, is helping with public service projects along the waterway.

Troop leader Mike Casagrande hopes the national recognition will interest more people and groups to get involved. Casagrande plans to seek more grants for future development.

Economic development leaders are hailing the news. Tim Nugent is president of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County. He says the region's leaders must take advantage of the national water trail to promote tourism.

The national scope of the project was heightened when the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis announced the designation last Friday.

The Kankakee River now is one of just tyhree water trails in Illinois to receive such a designation.

U.S. Representatives Robin Kelly and Adam Kinzinger are both in support of the trail and the opportunities it creates.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Kankakee firemen battle early-morning blaze

An unoccupied apartment home was destroyed and two neighboring houses were damaged when an early-morning fire broke out today (Tuesday) in Kankakee.  Firefighters answered the call about 4:20 am.  The fire activity closed down W. Station Street at S. 5th Street.

No injury was reported.  The cause was under investigation.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Paxton man’s death investigated, found dead at Champaign motel

The Champaign County Coroner's Office is investigating the apparent hanging death of a Paxton man, found dead in a Champaign motel room Monday night.

52-year-old Timothy Donley was discovered at the Days Inn, according to Coroner Duane Northrup.

A press release states Donley died from "asphyxia due to hanging."

It was just last month when Donley was placed on probation and ordered by the court to undergo psychiatric counseling after an ordeal in connection to a 14-hour standoff he had with police outside his home last October.

Donley's death remains under investigation by the Champaign Police Department and the coroner's office.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Strawberry Jazz Fest draws a crowd in Kankakee

It was the largest turnout in the 32-year history of the Strawberry Jazz Festival.  Sunday's crowd was estimated at more than 5,000 for the annual event.  Small Memorial Park was packed with people who gathered for the one-day event featuring art, musical entertainment, food and shopping opportunities.

Vendors totalled over 100, according to organizers.  The vendors fee ($60) goes toward the James F. Carlson Scholarship, helping kids attend summer art camps and classes offered by the Arts Council.

Co-Chair Dee Cook said this event is the Kankakee Community Arts Council's way of giving back.

94.1 WGFA