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Resource Center to aid flood victims in Kankakee County

The Kankakee County Emergency Management Agency is stepping up to organize a resource center to assist flood victims.

Several organizations will take part Thursday. It's sort of a one-stop shop. The resource center will be available from 8 am 'til 6 pm at the Kankakee Valley Park District RecCenter (the former Armory) on N. Indiana Avenue in Kankakee.

The American Red Cross, the Volunteer Organizations After Disasters group, the Kankakee County Farm Bureau, insurance agencies.... will all be among 20 organizations offering help. Some volunteer groups will be also be available for debris removal and other clean-up.

EMA director Chad Gessner said any photos of damaged structures would be helpful for assessments. Many farmers are yet to complete damage assessments of flooded fields.

Residents have reported up to 5 inches of water in their basements, and roads throughout the county have been closed. The Kankakee and Iroquois rivers are being monitored.

The areas most affected by flooding include Aroma Park, Momence, Limestone and rural Pembroke.

Emergency responders are warning people to obey barricades on closed roads. The Kankakee River is also closed to recreational activity until further notice. Gessner said Conservation Police have already ticketed intruders who had to be rescued from the fast-flowing river. A person nearly drowned last weekend while kayaking near Momence.

94.1 WGFA

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Flooded fields force decisions for farmers

The clock is ticking for area farmers as the June flooding has forced some farmers to make important decisions about planting.

June 5 was the planting date for corn. For soybeans, it was June 20. The 25-day late planting period for corn ends today (Tuesday).

At Purdue's Center for Commercial Agriculture, Dr. Michael Langemeier said for every day a farmer plants during those 25 days, they see a one percent reduction in crop insurance coverage.

"It doesn't sound like much. But for corn, if you're planting [Tuesday], you're looking at a 25 percent reduction in coverage. However, you still have some coverage," said Langemeier. "And that's important to keep in mind."

Agricultural experts said this month's heavy rains have already cost $300 million in crop losses.

Langemeier said farmers who haven't planted yet — or have crops that are in poor condition because of flooding — have options which may include planting, replanting or planting an alternative crop. He stressed the importance of talking with your insurance agent to determine the best option.

94.1 WGFA

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Woman killed in I-65/U.S. 231 crash in Indiana

Indiana State Police report a two-vehicle crash Monday on an I-65 exit ramp left one person dead and two others seriously injured.

The crash happened just after 1 pm on the Interstate 65 exit ramp to U.S. 231 in Remington. Police said a car that exited I-65 ran a stop sign and was struck by a pickup truck northbound on U.S. 231.

45-year-old Michele Pavesich was a passenger in a vehicle driven by 43-year-old Benjamin Griffon of New Lenox (IL). Pavesich was pronounced dead at the scene by the Jasper County Coroner's Office.

Griffin and his eight-year-old daughter and the driver of a truck that was hauling ATV's were also injured when the car Griffin was driving ran a stop sign when exiting I-65.

The truck driver, 19-year-old Joseph Linback of Brook was not seriously injured.

Investigators believe that alcohol may have been a factor in the crash. Toxicology results are pending on the 43-year-old driver.

94.1 WGFA

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Iroquois County murder trial postponed

The scheduled murder trial of a Milford man will not go as scheduled this week.

52-year-old Danny Murphy is charged with 2-counts of first-degree murder for the beating death of David Garrett, also of Milford. A defense motion was granted by Judge Gordon Lustfeldt to allow defense attorney Dale Strough to arrange for an expert to get involved in the case.

Monday's trial date was pushed ahead with another court date set for July 14th.

Murphy remains jailed in Watseka. His bond is $1-million.
Murphy pleaded not guilty for the April 7th death of 48-year-old David Garrett. The victim suffered fatal injuries during the alleged altercation between the two men at a Milford home. Garrett died of injuries at Carle Hospital in Urbana after initial treatment at IMH in Watseka.

94.1 WGFA

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Iroquois County votes down AFSCME contract, 15-0

After discussion in executive session today (Mon), the Iroquois County Board voted 15-0, with four members absent, to deny ratification of a union contract with the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

Today's vote came during a special session of the county board. The matter will likely be going back to the Labor Relations Board, according to AFSCME representative David Beck.

Beck said the county employees have been in limbo waiting for a raise since 2010.

An Administrative Law Judge ordered the county vote to make good on the County Board's failure to act on the union contract, which was tentatively agreed on last February ( 2014).

The contract was never presented to the County Board for a formal vote, despite the fact the county's negotiating committee and AFSCME reached agreement. That agreement was thru mediation.

The county had stated its non-vote action was based on 'layoff language' it didn't like, so there was no violation of the Labor Relation Act. But the Administrative Law Judge ruled the County's negotiators had recommended an agreement, so the matter should have been presented to the full Board for vote.

94.1 WGFA