The State Fire Marshall was in Hoopeston Friday looking for the cause of a fire that left three families homeless. Fortunately, there was no injury.
The Red Cross was helping the victims make other living arrangements. The three families are counting their blessings after the house caught fire Thursday. The owner lived in the basement and the rest of the house was divided into apartments.
Fire officials reported everyone got out safely, including pets.
A cause wasn't immediately determined.
Hoopeston firemen were assisted by Wellington, Milford, Rossville and Rankin.
Ford County Fair Board does it again…big-name country music act set for summer fair
The 2014 Ford County Fair at Melvin has reeled in yet another high-profile country music act.
The fair recently announced on its Facebook page that it has secured the band Parmalee as a headliner for the concert it will host at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 24, at the fairgrounds in Melvin.
This year's event follows last year's appearance by country music star Dustin Lynch.
Parmalee is a semifinalist for 2014 New Artist of the Year at next month's Academy of Country Music Awards. Fair Board president Kirk Miller said "We're excited with who we've got. They're an up-and-coming name in Nashville, and I think the people in Ford County and surrounding areas will be happy with the show we put on for them."
Miller said the fair board is still trying to secure a second big-name band to co-headline this summer's concert. Tickets will be on sale in advance of the concert, but not until the fair determines the complete lineup.
The latest unemployment numbers are still bothersome. Some counties report an upward swing in February while others dropped somewhat.
Kankakee County's jobless rate climbed to 12.1%. That's the 12th highest among the 102 counties in Illinois. Champaign County and five other area counties saw slight improvements in their unemployment rate, compared with February 2013.
Iroquois and Ford County have numbers at 10.1 percent. Livingston and Will counties are at 9.7 and 9.8%. These four counties were higher in February than Janaury.
Vermilion County's rate was 12.8 percent, up from 11.9 percent in February 2013. In the Champaign-Urbana metropolitan area — which includes Champaign, Ford and Piatt counties — nonfarm employment was 1,700 higher than a year earlier.
Over the year, the Danville metropolitan area, including all of Vermilion County, had a net loss in nonfarm employment of 600 jobs.
The biggest losses came in manufacturing, professional-business services and government, with small gains in transportation-warehousing-utilities, retail trade and wholesale trade.
The University of Washington is reporting smoking has declined in Illinois, but not all counties are seeing the same kinds of reductions in the number of people lighting up.
Studies show there were marked differences throughout the state in the numbers of people who smoke, with the rates in counties ranging from nearly 15 percent on the low end in DuPage County to nearly 28 percent in Alexander County.
Champaign County had one of the lowest rates, at just over 17 percent, and Vermilion County had one of the highest at nearly 27 percent.
The percentage of Illinoisans who smoke fell from nearly 25 percent in 1996 to just under 20 percent in 2012. The research looked at both the overall prevalence of smoking, which included just social smokers, and daily smoking in all U.S. counties from 1996 to 2012. It found smoking has declined nationally, mostly in the last decade, but there were dramatic differences among communities, with the most significant smoking declines seen in more affluent counties and larger population centers.
It has been 30 years since the village of Clifton has updated its Code book. The code book is the collection of laws and ordinances that defines how a municipality will operate.
But Clifton is a step closer to getting that job done now that the planning commission has voted to recommend that the village spend $10,000 with a group called Municode to collect and update all the ordinances and put the code on the internet.
That process could take another year to comlete.
"The code needs a complete overhaul," said Clifton Planning Commissioner Larry Mahoney last night.
He was talking about the village code book for Clifton, last revamped in 1984.
Since then, by Mahoney's reckoning, it's possible as many as 125 or 150 ordinances have never been properly signed into law or collected in any code book that would be available to the citizens or to the village officers who are supposed to enforce it.
James Bonneville, a representative of Municode, said his group will work to make sure all Clifton ordinances are compliant with state statutes, that obsolete, redundant, or conflicting entries are identified so that the Village can make any substantive changes that they want to make.
The Planning Commission recommended the village hire Municode to do that work, which may take more than a year to complete and cost around ten thousand dollars.