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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

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VA housing units at Danville to benefit homeless

A new 65-unit housing complex coming to the VA Illiana Health Care System Medical Center in Danville will provide housing and much more to homeless Veterans.

The VA in Danville is one of 34 sites selected nationwide to develop housing for homeless and at-risk Veterans and their families. The strategy will increase the department's available beds nationwide by over 5,000. The VA currently has 15,000 transitional beds available to homeless Veterans.

Diana Carranza, Acting-Director of the VA Illiana Health Care System, said " we going to be able to provide some comprehensive housing for the Veterans, but we're also going to be able to provide comprehensive medical services." She added, we are also going to be on the campus of Danville Area Community College. "That's the best of all worlds,'' Carranza said.

The Danville units are expected to be completed in about a year. Mercy Housing says the 65 units will include one, two and three bedroom apartments for homeless Veterans and their families.

94.1 WGFA

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Bomb threat at DMV in Bradley

Bradley Police and fire responded to a report of a bomb threat late this (Tues) morning at the Secretary of State office on Route 45/Kennedy Drive in Bradley.

Two separate threats were reported. The Kankakee County Sheriff's Department also responded. There was no injury. The building was evacuated. Illinois State Police issued the following report:

Preliminary investigation has indicated a bomb threat was given over the phone to the SOS facility in Bradley. The building was evacuated and all employees and customers were interviewed. The SOS facility was closed for the remainder of the day. This incident remains under investigation. No further information is available.

94.1 WGFA

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Homestead Restaurant for sale !

The well-known red barn restaurant on Kankakee's south side is for sale. The Homestead Restaurant's owner has announced his intentions to retire and sell the business.

Terry Linskey plans to close by late August.

The Homestead has been operated continuously by the Linskey family for the past 109 years. It's one of Illinois' oldest eateries. The Homestead is an anchor, according to the Kankakee Area Chamber of Commerce. It has long served as an entrance for the south side of Kankakee, and the familiar red-painted business along South East Avenue has attracted diners from all over.

The Linskey's, over the years, have used the voice of former CBS Channel 2's Bob Wallace to advertiser their restaurant name.

94.1 WGFA