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No murder charge in death of homeless man’s killing

                   Murder rap dropped against reported-suspect

Kankakee Police on Friday announced a murder charge against a homeless man in the death of another homeless man had been dropped.

A 27-year-old man, considered a suspect in the beating death of 46-year-old Walter Baker, has been cleared in the investigation. Police reported erroneously that Mario Martinez-Castillo was charged in the murder. Castillo is now being held for a possible immigration violation.

Walter Baker's body was found behind a dumpster along Brookmont Boulevard. Police reported he was an apparent beating victim.

94.1 WGFA

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Lake Village, IN woman dies of accident injuries

A 51-year-old Lake Village, IN woman died Tuesday of injuries suffered in a crash with a semi in Newton County, IN. Tammy Ann Rendant paased away at Riverside Hospital, a day after he pickup truck was hit by an eastbound tractor-trailer at State Road 10 and State Road 55.

Sheriff's Police reported the accident happened just after 3:30 pm Monday. A Texas truck driver, 54-year-old Larry Jeffers, failed to stop at an eastbound intersection. The semi hit the driver's side of the Rendant pickup. Police said the pickup had the right-of-way.

The semi continued and hit another car driven by 24-year-old Telisha Howard of Lake Village. No other serious injury was reported.

State police and the Sheriff's Department are still investigating the crash.

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Kankakee River closed due to flooding

High water is posing a risk so the Illinois Department of Conservation has closed the Kankakee River. Dangerous conditions on the water will restrict boating and other activities until further notice.

Flooding warnings remain in place along the Kankakee and Iroquois Rivers. Excessive rains have brought more than 5 inches of rain in recent days.

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Jobless rates improve in May

Iroquois, Ford, and Livingston county unemployment improved in May. And the Bloomington-Normal metro area had the lowest unemployment rate among metro areas in the state during May.

The jobless rate for McLean County dropped to 6 percent in May, down from 6.4 percent from a year earlier, according to data released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

"This is really good report. You have two consecutive months where the rate is falling in every metropolitan area. That doesn't happen very often," said Greg Rivara, spokesman for IDES.

Iroquois County in May was 6.4%, down from 7.2 in 2013. The Ford County jobless number in May was at 5.6%. That's' down from 6.9 last year. Livingston County was listed at 6.9%, down from 7.8 in 2013.

The Illinois jobless rate dropped to 7.5 percent in May, compared to 9.2 percent a year earlier. The national unemployment rate also decreased to 6.3 percent from 7.5 percent during the same time.

Of the 102 counties in Illinois, 99 of them saw jobless declines in May.

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Police pushing for safe July 4th holiday

Area police agencies are gearing up for the July 4th holiday launching their holiday traffic enforcement program. Police departments will be focusing on both drunk and unbuckled drivers.

State Police will push the intensified enforcement effort emphasizing late-night hours as statistics show a disproportionate number of traffic deaths occur late at night and involve a drunk driver and/or unbuckled motorist. The crackdown is part of the statewide, Independence Day Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket effort.

City and village police and sheriff's police will join Illinois State Police in a statewide enforcement effort that runs through July 6th.

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