We're from the government, and we're here to help. That was the message some Illinois Agriculture leaders delivered to people suffering from recent devastating floods in Iroquois County Monday.
Illinois Director of Agriculture Philip Nelson led a delegation to Iroquois County to check out flood damage. He says 2015 is the wettest year he has seen in the fields. "Make sure you keep good records," advised Nelson.
"Especially, going into harvest, what a particular field yields or doesn't yield. That'll start the process with the Farm Service Agency."
Home, business, and community damage is under the jurisdiction of the USDA Rural Development office, whose Illinois director, Colleen Callahan, found it hit close to home – as she is from Milford.
"I felt like I was standing in my own back yard," she said.
Nelson stresses this is almost a statewide crisis, with up to 30 percent of the crops threatened.
It's a historical first for Danville American Legion Post 210. Audry Morse, a Vietnam Veteran, was sworn in as the first female Commander of the local Post.
Commander Morse comes from a military family. Her son, U.S. Army Major Matthew Morse, administered the oath. And Tom Morse, husband of the new Commander, has served as the Commander of American Legion Post 210 over the past two years.
The new Commander says she hopes to make the American Legion post more family friendly.
Commander Morse is retiring from her job at the V.A. Illiana Health Care System Medical Center in Danville at the end of the month. She received congratulations on her position in a letter from Governor Bruce Rauner.
Some local legislators and Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer were also on hand for the history-making over the weekend.
Governor Bruce Rauner, Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director James Joseph, State Representative Tom Bennett and State Senator Jason Barickman toured Watseka Saturday.
Governor Rauner was given a map showing neighborhoods impacted by flood waters. The officials also toured some impacted areas and visited with evacuaed-residents still located at the American Red Cross shelter.
The Governor and IEMA will use the visit and other information presented to consider further action that might be taken to provide assistance to Watseka residents.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)IS NOT IN TOWN. Should anyone represent themselves as a FEMA representative, or that they work for FEMA, citizens should not allow them entry to your residence. Instead, call 911 and request police.
Damage Assessment teams covered most of Watseka Saturday. If a door hanger was left on your door, please follow the instructions. It's important that your information be collected to assist the State in decisions for future help.
Citizens should note that information material is available at City Hall, during normal business hours, to assist with debris clean-up, how to spot predatory contractors, clean up and mold issues. The City will not recommend contractors, however, the city suggests you use contractors you're familiar with and have done business.
Beware of contractors who show up at your door. In any doubt, call 911.
There is no longer a curfew in place.
NICOR and Ameren Illinois have policies they must follow when restoring your gas and electric services. The City can not overrule or change those company policies.
For official information concerning the flood event, please refer to www.watsekacity.org or the Watseka Area Firefighters Assocation or Watseka Police department Facebook pages.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is expected to tour flood-ravaged Watseka today (Sat). Rauner will meet with city and other local officials at the Trinity Church on East Walnut Street. The 12 Noon visit, most likely, will find the governor answering questions about how the state may help with clean-up and recovery efforts.
The flood waters from the Iroquois River and Sugar Creek affected over 60 square blocks of Watseka. More than 130 homes were affected.
Businesses and infrastructure has also been impacted.
Up to 70 evacuees have been cared for at the Trinity Church where the American Red Cross has provided sheltering and food.
Watseka Mayor Bob Harwood will unveil the city's plan for recovery next week. The Iroquois County and Illinois Emergency Management Agency will be involved in the recovery process.
Watseka has also lifted the curfew for the rest of the city.