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  • Parent Category: News

Manteno railroad proposal raises questions, impact on land

A proposed 278-mile rail line, affecting the Manteno area, is raising a lot of questions and concerns. The Great Lakes Basin Railroad line would take in in some 41 miles in Kankakee County. Its concept is to alleviate rail congestion in Cook County.

A public hearing on the proposal about 300 people to the Manteno Sportsmen's Club Monday evening. The federal Surface Transportation Board conducted the meeting.

The proposed terminal line would circle around the south suburbs and include the Wilmington area of Will County and northwest Indiana near LaPorte.
Information provided shows the Great Lakes Basin Railroad is an $8-billion project that's privately funded.

The Kankakee County Farm Bureau is opposing the project, right now. Director Chad Miller said the railroad would erase 998 acres of farmland.
The project plan shows a rail switching and maintenance yard, east of Manteno, would consume another 15,036 acres, or 23 square miles. Miller said that would equate to just less than 5 percent of the county's 342,000 acres of farmland. It would amount to about half of Sumner Township.

94.1 WGFA


  • Parent Category: News

Governor Rauner announces SBA assistance approved for Christian, Iroquois Counties for December floods

Residents and Businesses in Christian, Iroquois and Contiguous Counties Can Apply for Low-Interest, Long-Term Loans to Boost Recovery

Governor Bruce Rauner (Thursday) announced the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved the state's request for assistance to help people and businesses in Christian and Iroquois counties recover from severe storms and floods that occurred in late December.

In addition, people and businesses in counties contiguous to Christian and Iroquois counties, including Ford, Kankakee, Macon, Montgomery, Sangamon, Shelby and Vermilion in Illinois and the Indiana counties of Benton and Newton, also are eligible to apply for low-interest, long-term loans made available by the SBA declaration.

"This assistance will help many people and businesses begin the next phase of their recovery from this disaster," said Gov. Rauner. "I want to thank members of the Illinois Congressional delegation for their strong support of this request."

To be eligible for an SBA declaration, at least 25 homes and/or businesses in a county must sustain major, uninsured losses of 40 percent or more. A damage assessment conducted in February identified 33 homes and six businesses in Christian County and 22 homes and five businesses in Iroquois County that met the criteria.

More information about the disaster loan program and details about a Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) will be announced by the SBA in the near future.

{Info submitted} 94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

9-1-1 dispatchers praised; Iroquois County Board & FOP head to arbitration

While telecommunicators in 9-1-1 centers are being touted this week as 'heroes behind the scene,' their wages are an issue for the Iroquois County Board.

An arbitrator is the next step in ongoing negotiations between the county and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). The FOP represents the nine radio dispatchers employed by ICOM.

Contract negotiations with the dispatchers date back to July of 2014. That's when the ICOM Board started working on a new contract. Following the break-up of the former ICOM / 911 set-up by the past county board, negotiations resumed with the County Board in January of 2015.

A mediator met with the two sides 6-7 times over several months. Negotiations are now headed to arbitration.

Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz says telecommunicators are critical to every aspect of public safety. He said 'they hold one of the least visible, yet most stressful jobs in public safety.'

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Watseka Fire Chief named 'Illinois Chief of the Year'

Watseka Fire Chief Dave Mayotte is the Illinois Fire Chief of the Year.  The honor comes from the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association.

Mayotte will be officially honored at the Association Convention in East Peoria May 25-27th.  Mayotte has served as chief for 15 years.  He's a 30 -year veteran firefighter. In addition to his chief duties locally, he's a professional firefighter with the Tri-State Fire Protection District serving areas of Burr Ridge, Darien and DuPage County.

Mayotte said he's honored with the recognation and expresses his gratitude to his department members and the area firefighting units. "It takes good people and support from the all the departments," he said.  

Mayotte is also a trainer with the Illinois Fire Service.  

94.1 WGFA 

  • Parent Category: News

RP Lumber Company airs grievances with Watseka leaders

A proposed Watseka lumber yard was about ready to pull the plug on its plans to locate in the city after airing problems with efforts to ready its building and open for business.

RP Lumber's Jason Plummer told the City Council's Public Works committee (Tuesday night) the company has never had to jump thru so many hoops in prepping its plans to do business. Plummer was obviously disturbed and let the council hear about the many issues that slowed the company from opening in the former Kaper's Lumber yard business site, on Watseka's east side.

Plummer said a red flag Stop Work Order was recently put on the building.

Council members listened, asked questions and made it clear to Plummer and other RP Lumber reps they want to make it all work.

Aldermen John Allhands and Mike Marcier said it all sounds like "communication problems" between those officials handling building permits and approving work-orders.

Mayor Bob Harwood agreed, adding that the Stop Work order would be rescinded. The mayor said the two sides can certainly sit down and work together.

Those involved met with the city officials privately after the meeting. Progress was made to get the project back on track.

Plummer called Watseka "part of the heartland of America, this is the kind of place we want to be in and do business."

RP Lumber is located in several Midwest communities and has plans in the works to open facilities in several other towns. Plummer said the company should employ 8-10 people and generate up to $4 million in revenues.

94.1 WGFA