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Gas Leak likely cause of Indiana house explosion

An explosion leveled a Benton County home and may have been started by a gas leak.

The Fowler Fire Department got the call just before noon Wednesday at the 8900 block of County Road W. 44 North.
Smoke coming from the home could be seen more than 10 miles away. The explosion caught surrounding trees on fire.
The owner of the home, Lon Rhanor, was not in the house during the explosion.

Firefighters were able to put out those flames within 30 minutes.

No injuries were reported.

94.1 WGFA

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Arrest made for bomb scare at Bradley DMV

Illinois State Police are reporting the arrest of a 40-year-old woman for Tuesday's bomb threats at a Kankakee County Secretary of State office. Latisa Bellows allegedly placed two bomb threats Tuesday morning, making the calls to the State office in Bradley.

No injury was reported.

State Police Trooper Jayme Bufford said police identified Bellows through call records to the facility. Bradley Police and fire and Kankakee County sheriff's police responded to the call a little before 10 am.

A dozen employees and about 15 patrons inside were evacuated from the building on Blatt Blvd, just off Kennedy Drive. Two calls were made within about 10 minutes.

Bomb-sniffing dogs checked the driver services facility inside and out and an all clear was given by 12:30 pm. The DMV office remained closed for the rest of the day.  State Police picked up Bellows in South Bend, Ind.

94.1 WGFA

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WPD: despite rumors, no looting in Watseka

There was no looting in Watseka during the recent flood. In fact, Watseka Police say they were pleased with the actions of people in the community, most of whom obeyed the laws.

Police are trying to clear up misinformation that has been circulating in the public. Rumors had several houses looted during the flood. A press release states 'police assure the public there were no reports of houses being looted. The Watseka Police Department received no such reports during the flood.

Police did receive some reports of criminal activity that occurred during the flood period, however none were tied to any flood victims.

Watseka officers did write several tickets for disobeying traffic control devices, which were barricade violations, but police were pleased with the actions of people in the community who obeyed the laws and followed the curfews that have since been lifted.

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Disaster Emergency Declaration extended, debris removal underway

The City of Watseka and the Iroquois County Board have acted to extend the local Disaster Emergency Proclamation in the wake of the flooding.  The flood levels of Sugar Creek and the Iroquois River have receded.  Clean-up operations including debris removal have gone well so far, according to Watseka officials.

Mayor Bob Harwood reminds citizens the debris pickup is for those citizens in flood-affected areas.  it's not a city-wide pickup. 

City public works employees are being assisted by the Iroquois County Highway Department, Belmont Township and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Debris removal continues today.  The next pickup day is Friday, July 24th.  Pick-up dates next week are set for Monday 7/27, Wednesday 7/29, and Friday 7/31.  Removal of damaged household items will continue beyond next week.  A closing date will be announced later. 

Other related official information is posted at www.watsekacity.org.

94.1 WGFA

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DACC, KCC accept $25,000 rewards for manufacturing standards

The Illinois Manufacturers Association has recognized Danville Area Community College and Kankakee Community College for leadership in manufacturing opportunities. A $25-thousand dollar award was presented to DACC and KCC to help students interested in the field of manufacturing. Greg Baise, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, was present for a formal check presentation in Danville.

Baise said both community colleges were awarded the funding for meeting a series of set standards. They were also cited for 'performing at a high level of active engagement to foster greater educational opportunities within the field of manufacturing.

DACC President Dr. Alice Marie Jacobs says it was fitting that the presentation occurred in the Julius W. Hegeler II Advanced Technology Center. Dr. Jacobs adds each year hundreds of jobs in manufacturing go un-filled because companies cannot find qualified workers. She says Danville Area Community College is trying to help solve that problem.

Tracy Wahlfeldt, Executive Director of the Danville Area Community College Foundation, says sometimes a scholarship is the difference in whether or not a student can attend college. Wahlfeldt says Danville Area Community College awarded 440 scholarships this year and is on track to award even more this fall.

At KCC, Dr. John Avendano said "the Manufacturing and Industrial Tech Center is an excellent example of how KCC students turns community needs into educational opportunities." Avendano said several local manufacturers had vacancies for welders, millwrights and fabricators and they turned to KCC to help fill the positions. He called it a perfect fit.

94.1 WGFA