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Ford County’s Les Conkling dies, 82

                                                Republican leader

Leslie "Les" Conkling of Kempton, a former Ford County educator, coach and state representative, passed away on Tuesday.

The 82-year-old was a lifelong Republican. Friends and colleagues are remembering him as a genuine public servant who placed people before politics.

Ford County Republican party Chairman Tom Bennett said "He (Les) really was focused on the public and good government. he was the heart and soul of a lot of things that were going on in Ford County."
Bennett added, Les will be missed by a lot of people.

Conkling capped his political career as an Illinois state representative from 1991 to 1993 for the old 87th legislative district. But his ascension to the statehouse was preceded by a long record of public service in numerous roles.

He served as Ford County's Republican Party chairman from 1978 to 1998, the Kempton village board and fire department for more than 30 years, and retired in 1990 after a 30-year career in education as a teacher, coach and principal for both the Kempton-Cabery and Tri-Point School districts. He was the first principal for Tri-Point's newly consolidated high school in 1969.

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Smith gets 4-year prison term for domestic battery

Domestic battery has landed a Kankakee man in prison for four years. 35-year-old Allen Smith man was sentenced in Iroquois circuit court (Tuesday) to four years in prison for repeatedly punching a woman in the face.

Prosecutors said it happened in front of the woman's children at a rural Chebanse residence in March 2013.

Iroquois County judge Gordon Lustfeldt found Smith guilty of domestic battery during a bench trial on August 8th.

State's Attorney Jim Devine's news release stated witnesses said they saw Smith holding his girlfriend down in a chair and striking her in the face.

Iroquois County sheriff's police had been called to the couple's rural Chebanse address 14 times during an 18-month period, according to assistant State's Attorney Alex O'Brien. At the sentencing, O'Brien said Smith and the victim continued to live together despite being ordered by the court to stay away from each other.

"We are past the point of talking about rehabilitation," O'Brien said in the news release. "If nothing changes, nobody really doubts that we are going to be in this courtroom again, or in a courtroom in Kankakee, talking about new charges with another victim or maybe the same victim."
Smith has eight prior felony convictions and has been sent to prison six times. He has two prior domestic battery convictions.

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2 Illinois women die from West Nile virus

Two women with West Nile virus have died, becoming the state's first deaths from the illness this year.
One woman was in her 70s and the other was in her 80s, according to reports from the Illinois Department of Health. Another two Chicago residents with the virus have recovered.

Statewide, health officials have reported 15 human cases of West Nile virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.

Last year, 11 people died in Illinois after being infected by the virus and 117 Illinois residents were diagnosed with it.

The virus can cause fever, headache and body aches. People age 50 and older are at a higher risk for serious complications.

Health officials recommend removing standing water where mosquitoes can breed, using insect repellent that contains DEET and repairing torn screens on doors and windows to combat the virus.

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Illinois jobless rate continues decline

By The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD - Illinois unemployment fell in August to 6.7 percent, the sixth straight monthly decrease in the state's jobless rate, according to figures released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

The latest figure represents a drop from 9.2 percent one year ago and marks the largest year-over-year decline since 1984. The last time the rate was lower than 6.7 was in July 2008, when it was 6.6 percent.
There are 40,600 more jobs than one year ago, the department said.

"Five months of job creation coupled with increased help-wanted advertising indicate a bit of momentum as we head into the Fall," Jay Rowell, the department's director, said in a statement. "It is not surprising that fewer people are looking for work given retirement trends, although it does underscore that more needs to be done to give the long-term unemployed the skills necessary to secure meaningful employment."

The leisure and hospitality sector led the way last month, adding some 5,000 jobs statewide. Roughly 4,300 jobs were added in the trade, transportation and utilities arena, along with 3,300 in professional and business services.

  • Parent Category: News

DACC Hosting Annual College Day

Danville Area Community College plays host to its annual College Day Thursday. Representatives from over sixty different colleges/universities are on campus providing information and answering students questions.

DACC is hosting the 35th Annual College Day from 9 am until 11 am.in the Mary Miller Center Gymnasium.
Representatives from the Armed Forces will also be on hand.

A list of college/university reps includes the University of Illinois, Ball State University, Butler University, Eastern Illinois University, Olivet Nazarene University among others.

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