State Representative Josh Harms' legislative offices are collecting items for transfer to Sunday's storm communities. Donations can be dropped at either of the legislative offices in Watseka or Pontiac.
Plans are to make deliveries daily for the rest of the week to collection centers in Gifford, Coal City, Diamond and Washington....the hardest-hit areas from Sunday's storms.
Items needed are some of the usual things like: non-perishable food items, bottled water, large garbage bags, work gloves, cleaning items, toiletries, batteries, paper towels.
Donations can be dropped off at the Hartman Center on Walnut Street in Watseka or at Harms' Pontiac office at 311 N. Mill Street.
Residents of Gifford are determined to get back on their feet and rebound from Sunday's devastating tornado. Two hundred homes were destroyed or suffered severe damage. But the community escaped any serious injury.
The folks in the Champaign County community were told by Emergency Management Agency officials that three tornadoes touched down about the same time Sunday afternoon. One hit Gifford head-on. Buildings and homes were leveled. Reports of six people were treated for minor injuries.
The main road in Gifford was closed overnight (Sunday). Power was out and village officials said it was too dangerous to let people in and out. Recovery efforts picked up Monday morning.
The EMA officials reported six people were injured. There were 200 homes damaged and 20 destroyed.
Some residents spent Sunday night at a nearby resident home. The American Red Cross provided food and shelter.
EMA officials reported up to 200 first responders on the scene. Utility crews were busy Monday dealing downed power lines. Damage assessments were being compiled Monday.
Businesses and farm-sites were among the areas hit by the Sunday storms in Indiana.
Rensselaer, Kokomo and Lafayette are cleaning up from the high winds and tornadoes.
A portion of State Road 24 in White County was closed Monday morning.
The White County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that State Road 24 from County Road 300 West to 600 West is closed. Emergency crews are clearing downed power lines on the road. Drivers are advised to find an alternate route and avoid the area.
This portion of the road will be closed until further notice.
Despite relatively mild weather from last December through this past March, nine winter storms impacted Illinois. This included a spring snowstorm on March 24th which produced record amounts of snow greater than 18 inches deep in parts of central Illinois.
"Now is the time of the year to prepare for the impacts of winter storms. Snow has already made a visit to central Illinois which caught several motorists off guard. Waiting to prepare your home or vehicle until a day or two before the storm is too late" said Chris Miller, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Lincoln.
To help the people of Illinois become more aware of how to be prepared for winter and the cold weather, the NWS and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency has declared November 17 – 23, Illinois Winter Weather Preparedness Week.
"Check the latest weather conditions, forecasts and road condition reports for the entire route you plan to travel. It is also a good idea to let someone else know about your travel plans and routes in case you become stranded or delayed" Miller said.
"Recent snow storms which impacted central and southeast Illinois the past few years have really underscored the importance of having alternate heating sources for your home and a winter storm survival kit in your vehicle" said Miller. "I have spoken to many people who were caught in storms, wishing they would have had some items to help them while they were without power at home or stranded on the side of the road."
There are inexpensive things that people can buy to make sure that they travel safely during the winter. It is important to have a winter storm survival kit in each vehicle. The items in this kit will help in the event that you are stranded – even on a short trip.
35-year-old Aaron Bettenhausen is jailed in Will County on a $750,000 bond.
He was arrested Wednesday after police searched his residence and found videos of child porn. A Will County State's Attorney press release states Bettenhausen recorded video of a minor dressing in her home. Authorities reported other videos were also found in the home.