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State Fire Marshall investigating fires in Watseka, Hoopeston

A large tool shed was destroyed along with its contents Friday when fire broke out, north of Watseka. Several fire departments responded around the Noon hour. No injury was reported. The State Fire Marshall is investigating.

A passerby alerted 911 after observing the flames. The shed stood on the property of Jason Smith, just off Illinois Route 1 at 2327 North.

Watseka, Martinton, Ashkum, Beaverville, Concord, Danforth, Donovan and Crescent City fire all responded. IMH Ambulance was also on standby.


The State Fire Marshall is also investigating the cause of Friday afternoon's fire which heavily damaged a historic Hoopeston residence. The fire at the Dyer Mansion at 520 East Honeywell Avenue was discovered by a passing motorist, according to Hoopeston Police.
Hoopeston Firefighters called on units from Rossville, Wellington, East Lynn and Rankin Fire Departments to help extinguish the blaze.

No dollar amount on damage was reported.

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Road work begins on St. George Road in Kankakee County and U S 52 in Manhattan

Railroad crossing work on St. George Road is underway in Kankakee County. The crossing improvement will continue for 7-10 days, according to officials.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced that a resurfacing project on U S 52 between Gougar Road and Second Street in Manhattan will mess up traffic flow starting today (Monday). This will require intermittent lane closures, and the project should be complete by mid-October.

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Tippecanoe County agencies assisting ISP during I-65 detour

Law enforcement agencies now have what they call unlimited funds to step up patrols along the Interstate 65 North detour.

Local officials say the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute has given them the green light to use grant money from Operation Pullover to pay for increased patrols.

Lafayette, West Lafayette, Purdue University police as well as the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office are all participating.

The hope is the additional funds will help them handle the influx of traffic.

A spokesperson said he hopes they can limit reckless driving along the I-65 detour.

The increased patrols are expected to last until construction on the I-65 bridge over the Wildcat Creek is complete.

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Illinois fires Coach Tim Beckman

The University of Illinois has terminated head Football Coach Tim Beckman over how he treated injured student athletes.

Athletic Director Mike Thomas made the decision after he reviewed a preliminary report suggesting Beckman deterred the reporting of injuries of players, and that they keep playing despite injury.

"The findings the external reviewer shared in the briefing gave me enough information to take action, and I have done that," says Thomas.

Thomas says the timing is bad given the first football game is next Friday, but he says that didn't matter.

"The health and well-being of students is our top triority," says Thomas. "This decision was based on the health of our student athletes.

Thomas says players were mostly quiet upon learning that Beckman had been fired. Beckman will not receive the remaining $3.1 million on his contract, nor will he receive a $743,000 buyout.

Offensive coordinator Bill Cubit will take over. He's expected to be a candidate for the permanent job.               {IRN)

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Governor Rauner seeks SBA help from summer storms, flooding

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is asking the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for disaster assistance for people living in Iroquois and Grundy Counties affected by summer weather activity. If approved the SBA disaster declaration would enable citizens and businesses in those counties to apply for low-interest, long-term loans.

And people and businesses in contiguous counties, including Kankakee and Vermilion County, would also be eligible for assistance.

Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared Iroquois, Kankakee, Grundy, Vermilion, Champaign and 83 other counties a federal disaster area. It has allowed farmers to seek assistance because of the damage that occurred with summer floods.

Governor Rauner's Office says assessments found a total of 297 homes in seven Illinois counties were destroyed or sustained major damage from several storms over a six week period. About 1,400 other homes sustained less severe damage during the same time period. A high percentage of the damaged homes had insurance.

Federal, state and local officials from 23 counties also met to document storm-related expenses incurred by local governments to determine if the state and affected counties could meet thresholds for federal assistance. That federal threshold was not met.

''If approved, the SBA assistance could be a tremendous help to many people who are working to repair or replace their homes or businesses,'' says Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director James Joseph.

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