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Local News

  • Parent Category: News

Illinois State Police Officers “Freezin for a Reason”

Ashkum, IL - Illinois State Police officers, their families, and local agencies participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge on March 2, 2013. The participants “plunged” into Manteno Lake, in Manteno to help support the Special Olympics Illinois. There were a total of 430 participants and raised $128,000.

The Special Olympics Illinois provides year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities by giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

  • Parent Category: News

Gilman candidates talk issues, seek votes for April 9th

Aging infrastructure and improving the business climate are the issues the mayor and aldermanic candidates talked about last night at a candidates Forum, sponsored by the Gilman Chamber of Commerce.

A sparse audience listened to the candidates comment about cleaning up aging buildings while attracting new business ventures.

Incumbent mayor Rick Theesfeld seeks re-election April 9th. He tells WGFA News he has served as mayor since 2009 and has served the council since 1991.  he looks forward to working for the community.

Andy Johnson was not present to participate in the question-answer period. But later, he said change is needed.

Johnson declined to elaborate on his ideas for improvement.

Other aldermanic candidates all shared ideas and comments about desires for growth, improving business and re-building infrastructure. The candidates expressed a spirit of cooperation and cited the economy as a major roadblock toward meeting their goals.

 

94.1 FM, WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Illinois Unemployment rises to 9 percent

The state Department of Employment Security says Illinois unemployment rose to 9 percent in January.

That was up from 8.7 percent in December and back to almost the 9.1 percent rate of January 2012.

Department Director Jay Rowell blamed the uneven recovery the state has experienced since the recession.

The number of unemployed people in the state rose by 4 percent to 594,800. The state added a relatively small 7,100 jobs in January.

The biggest job losses were among companies in the trade, transportation and utilities sector where the state lost a net 5,500 jobs in January. Government agencies also shed a net 1,500 jobs. Educational and health services employers added 5,500 jobs.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in January. That was slightly higher than December.

  • Parent Category: News

Ford-Iroquois Health Board given ultimatum, resign or be replaced

The wheel’s in motion for new direction with the Ford-Iroquois Department of Public Health.

The Iroquois County Board is poised to replace three of four members who serve the health board. The County Board Policy & Procedure committee today (Thurs) voted 6-0 to present to the full board next week (Tues) to ask the three Iroquois County reps to resign or be replaced.

County Board Chairman Rod Copas said “we need new direction.” He pointed to “accountability…and what’s best for the taxpayers.”

Vice-Chairman Kyle Anderson justified his committee vote, telling WGFA News it's obvious the members are going to be replaced anyway, so let's give them a chance to justify their past decisions.  Better communication, he said, could have prevented this.  But "it is what it is."

The committee motion was made by John Schure and seconded by Marvin Stichnoth. Also voting in favor were Brett Schmitt, Russell Bills, Shure, Stichnoth, Anderson and Copas.

94.1 FM, WGFA

 

  • Parent Category: News

Master Farmer award for Piper City's Ron Bork

Piper City farmer Ron Bork  has been named a Master Farmer.  The honors comes from Prairie Farmer magazine.

Bork farms in the Piper City area.  He's one of four Illinois farmers selected as 2013 Master Farmers by the magazine, which has been involved in the honor of honoring farmers since 1925.

The four will be honored for their exceptional community service and farming abilities at a ceremony March 12 in Bloomington.

Also receiving the award are Neil Fearn of Albion in Edwards County, Doug Scheider of Freeport in Stephenson County and Jim Sheaffer of Dixon in Lee County.

Candidates are nominated by farmers, agribusiness leaders and agricultural extension specialists from throughout the state.

Prairie Farmer first offered the award in 1925, when Editor Clifford Gregory established it as a way to recognize Illinois farmers for something more than just farming skills. Prairie Farmer sponsors the Master Farmer awards program to recognize farmers who excel not only in farming but also in community service, family commitment and leadership.

Some Master Farmers serve in state and national farm leadership positions.  Others chair prestigious boards or serve with honor at the highest levels of government.  Still others build their farms or businesses to regional or national prominence.

Bork’s ancestors have been farming in the Piper City area for more than 140 years. Bork was raised on the same farmstead he and wife Celia now call home. Like most farm kids, he pitched in his fair share with livestock, planting, harvest and detasseling duties in the summer.

After graduating from the University of Illinois in 1973, Bork taught agriculture at Cissna Park High School. It was there he met his wife, Celia, who was the music teacher.

In the early 1980s, a friend from Bork’s teaching days contacted him about a new business venture. He was looking for a partner to purchase an ailing Curtis Mathes (a consumer electronics retailer) franchise in West Lafayette, Ind. Bork packed up the family, which by this time included two little girls — Holly and Kathy — and headed to Boilermaker central.

In 1986, Bork finally got the call to come back to the farm. His father, Harold, began gradual retirement working with his two sons, Ron and Gene, until he died suddenly in 2002, a few days after harvest.

The Borks have dealt with a couple curveballs in recent years. The first came in 2009. In the rush of harvest, Ron and Gene got a call and learned a long-standing landlord suddenly wanted out of land ownership. With the threat of taking it to auction, Ron and Gene rushed to put together a bid.

They were able to buy the 400 acres, grain bins and the home that serve as the center of the operation. They were happy to own the farm where he grew up, but it was a lot to bite off financially.

The second surprise came the following year when Gene announced he was ready to begin retirement. Gene was much more flexible on the purchase terms. Ron and Celia completed the purchase last year.

This is how Ron Bork found himself as a sole operator farming more than 2,800 acres in 2011.

He needed help. Luckily he found Jon Clark, who was working for a local John Deere dealership. With a strong passion for farming, Clark jumped at the opportunity to work with Bork.

All together, more than 300 Illinois people have been named Master Farmer or Honorary Master Farmer, including the four named this year.

94.1 FM, WGFA