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  • Parent Category: News

United Prairie LLC to acquire Northern Illinois Alliance

United Prairie LLC, a full-service agronomic retailer serving farmers in central Illinois, announced today it will acquire Northern Illinois Alliance, a retail agronomy joint venture between Illinois-based Elburn Cooperative and CHS Inc., the leading U.S. farmer-owned cooperative. The boards of the two entities recently voted in favor of the sale, which is expected to be finalized by March 1, 2016.

"Both Northern Illinois Alliance and United Prairie have similar approaches to meeting our customers' needs and we agree that doing what's best for them is our first priority," said Tim Gocken, general manager, Northern Illinois Alliance. "Coming together allows us to combine valuable technology and resources so we can continue to help our growers optimize their yields season after season."

"We are excited about bringing our two organizations together and building off of what each has started," said Tim Hughes, general manager, United Prairie. "It's in our farmers' best interests to grow this business. It allows us to be most efficient with our current resources, as well as invest in even more precision ag products and technology because we can utilize those over a larger footprint."

The pending merger of Elburn Cooperative and CHS on March 1 provided a unique opportunity to build out and strengthen the agronomic offerings for farmers in this area of east central Illinois. Northern Illinois Alliance brings 30,000 ton of dry storage, 15,000 ton of liquid storage and 50 car-rail siding, along with dry fertilizer blending services and 24-hour access for 32 & 28% nitrogen loading to United Prairie's current scope.

No interruption of service to customers is expected during the transition.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Olivet Announces Education Partnership with Chicago Cubs

               Cubs second baseman and Olivet alumnus Ben Zobrist to serve as partnership ambassador

Olivet Nazarene University today announced a new partnership with the Chicago Cubs that makes Olivet the official education partner of the Cubs organization. Ben Zobrist, Cubs second baseman and a member of Olivet's class of 2004, will serve as the University's spokesperson.

Zobrist will appear in a series of promotional communications highlighting Olivet's new ONU Global initiative, a program that oversees the University's School of Graduate and Continuing Studies and administers non-traditional learning.

"We could not be more thrilled to announce this partnership with the Cubs organization and to find such an outstanding partnership ambassador in Olivet alumnus Ben Zobrist," said Ryan Spittal, ONU vice president for strategic expansion. "Ben is a man of faith and an outstanding example of a friend and teammate, and we are so glad to have him as an ambassador for Olivet and this partnership."

Zobrist, 34, was drafted in 2004. He played nine seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays and won a 2015 World Series ring as a key position player with the Kansas City Royals.

A native of Eureka, Illinois, Zobrist attended Olivet for three years. He played three seasons on the Tigers baseball team at pitcher, second base and shortstop before transferring to Dallas Baptist University for his senior year.

"I would not be where I am today without Olivet and the education the University provided," said Zobrist. "With the flexibility and variety in programs offered by Olivet's School of Graduate and Continuing Studies, now everyone can advance in both career and life by letting Olivet take them from where they are now to where they want to be."

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Morocco structure fire under investigation

A Monday afternoon fire destroyed a trailer home on E. Washington Street in Morocco, Indiana. No injury was reported. The state Fire Marshall's Office is investigating the cause.

Newton County Sheriff's Department 9-1-1 dispatch center received an emergency call at 1:07 pm, according to Morocco Fire Chief Corrie Myers.

The Morocco Volunteer Fire Department with automatic mutual aid from Brook Volunteer Fire Department found the structure partially engulfed in flames with heavy smoke. The fire rapidly engulfed the entire residence, rented by Brandy Scholl. The occupants escaped without injury.

The home sustained heavy damage and is considered a total loss.

Lake Twp. Volunteer Fire Department, Newton County Ambulance Service and Deputies from the Newton County Sheriff's Department were also on-scene providing assistance.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Miss America Pageant puts brakes on Hoopeston’s Sweetheart Pageant

It's been a longtime tradition in Hoopeston. Now, the Vermilion County community is reeling from a recent decision by the Miss America Organization. And – the reaction is both anger and frustration.

The Miss America Organization says the contestants in its competition can no longer be involved in other such-competitions. And that means the popular National Sweetheart Pageant, held during the Labor Day Weekend in Hoopeston, can no longer welcome the young ladies who visit and participate in the annual Hoopeston pageant.

And there's a lot of questions as to why ?

As first reported in the Hoopeston Chronicle, organizers of the National Sweetheart Pageant in Hoopeston say they could be forced to make major changes since the Miss America Organization is no longer allowing those contestants to take part.

Many of the young ladies in Hoopeston's Sweetheart Pageant are runners-up in their own state competition. The Sweetheart Pageant has long been a stepping stone for girls competing to be Miss America.

The tradition dates back to 1939.

The Miss America Organization updated the contracts their contestants sign. The rules state contestants and judges will not be welcome in the Miss America Organization unless they're not tied to other competitions.

Cliff and Michelle Crabtree of Hoopeston have been the pageant's executive directors for ten years. They can't figure out or understand why the rules have changed, when the Sweetheart pageant has made sure it follows the rules.

Hoopeston's 73-year tradition is in jeopardy of being pushed aside by new rules that "seem to make little sense" to anyone.

Hoopeston organizers say they've made changes that benefit all concerned...benefitting the girls competing, the community and other volunteers.

A meeting this week will try to figure it out and get answers.

Nine girls who have taken part in the Sweetheart Pageant have moved on to become Miss America. Published reports claim there have been 90 Miss American winners, which translates into 10% have competed in the National Sweetheart Pageant.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Stockland house fire sends one woman to hospital, four pets killed

Sunday's high winds fueled flames that destroyed a house in Stockland.

The State Fire Marshall will continue an investigation into the cause, which may have been electrical, according to Stockland Fire Chief Dave Morgeson.

The rental property at 2836 E and 850 N was a total loss. Morgeson said the fire started on the porch and quickly spread inside. An explosion, which blew out the windows and helped the fire to spread, could have been caused by a propane tank or a gas grill.

The occupants, husband, wife and son, were home and able to get out. The woman was taken to Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka for treatment of smoke inhalation.

Two dogs and two cats died in the fire.

Stockland firemen received mutual aid from Wellington, Milford, Sheldon and Woodland.

94.1 WGFA