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  • Parent Category: News

Illinois Unemployment rises to 9 percent

The state Department of Employment Security says Illinois unemployment rose to 9 percent in January.

That was up from 8.7 percent in December and back to almost the 9.1 percent rate of January 2012.

Department Director Jay Rowell blamed the uneven recovery the state has experienced since the recession.

The number of unemployed people in the state rose by 4 percent to 594,800. The state added a relatively small 7,100 jobs in January.

The biggest job losses were among companies in the trade, transportation and utilities sector where the state lost a net 5,500 jobs in January. Government agencies also shed a net 1,500 jobs. Educational and health services employers added 5,500 jobs.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in January. That was slightly higher than December.

  • Parent Category: News

Ford-Iroquois Health Board given ultimatum, resign or be replaced

The wheel’s in motion for new direction with the Ford-Iroquois Department of Public Health.

The Iroquois County Board is poised to replace three of four members who serve the health board. The County Board Policy & Procedure committee today (Thurs) voted 6-0 to present to the full board next week (Tues) to ask the three Iroquois County reps to resign or be replaced.

County Board Chairman Rod Copas said “we need new direction.” He pointed to “accountability…and what’s best for the taxpayers.”

Vice-Chairman Kyle Anderson justified his committee vote, telling WGFA News it's obvious the members are going to be replaced anyway, so let's give them a chance to justify their past decisions.  Better communication, he said, could have prevented this.  But "it is what it is."

The committee motion was made by John Schure and seconded by Marvin Stichnoth. Also voting in favor were Brett Schmitt, Russell Bills, Shure, Stichnoth, Anderson and Copas.

94.1 FM, WGFA


  • Parent Category: News

Master Farmer award for Piper City's Ron Bork

Piper City farmer Ron Bork  has been named a Master Farmer.  The honors comes from Prairie Farmer magazine.

Bork farms in the Piper City area.  He's one of four Illinois farmers selected as 2013 Master Farmers by the magazine, which has been involved in the honor of honoring farmers since 1925.

The four will be honored for their exceptional community service and farming abilities at a ceremony March 12 in Bloomington.

Also receiving the award are Neil Fearn of Albion in Edwards County, Doug Scheider of Freeport in Stephenson County and Jim Sheaffer of Dixon in Lee County.

Candidates are nominated by farmers, agribusiness leaders and agricultural extension specialists from throughout the state.

Prairie Farmer first offered the award in 1925, when Editor Clifford Gregory established it as a way to recognize Illinois farmers for something more than just farming skills. Prairie Farmer sponsors the Master Farmer awards program to recognize farmers who excel not only in farming but also in community service, family commitment and leadership.

Some Master Farmers serve in state and national farm leadership positions.  Others chair prestigious boards or serve with honor at the highest levels of government.  Still others build their farms or businesses to regional or national prominence.

Bork’s ancestors have been farming in the Piper City area for more than 140 years. Bork was raised on the same farmstead he and wife Celia now call home. Like most farm kids, he pitched in his fair share with livestock, planting, harvest and detasseling duties in the summer.

After graduating from the University of Illinois in 1973, Bork taught agriculture at Cissna Park High School. It was there he met his wife, Celia, who was the music teacher.

In the early 1980s, a friend from Bork’s teaching days contacted him about a new business venture. He was looking for a partner to purchase an ailing Curtis Mathes (a consumer electronics retailer) franchise in West Lafayette, Ind. Bork packed up the family, which by this time included two little girls — Holly and Kathy — and headed to Boilermaker central.

In 1986, Bork finally got the call to come back to the farm. His father, Harold, began gradual retirement working with his two sons, Ron and Gene, until he died suddenly in 2002, a few days after harvest.

The Borks have dealt with a couple curveballs in recent years. The first came in 2009. In the rush of harvest, Ron and Gene got a call and learned a long-standing landlord suddenly wanted out of land ownership. With the threat of taking it to auction, Ron and Gene rushed to put together a bid.

They were able to buy the 400 acres, grain bins and the home that serve as the center of the operation. They were happy to own the farm where he grew up, but it was a lot to bite off financially.

The second surprise came the following year when Gene announced he was ready to begin retirement. Gene was much more flexible on the purchase terms. Ron and Celia completed the purchase last year.

This is how Ron Bork found himself as a sole operator farming more than 2,800 acres in 2011.

He needed help. Luckily he found Jon Clark, who was working for a local John Deere dealership. With a strong passion for farming, Clark jumped at the opportunity to work with Bork.

All together, more than 300 Illinois people have been named Master Farmer or Honorary Master Farmer, including the four named this year.

94.1 FM, WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

State Police District 21 Weather Related Crashes

Illinois State Police Troopers from District 21 handled numerous calls for service as a result of the winter storm that hit the District 21 area yesterday, March 5, 2013. Troopers handled numerous vehicles in the ditch, as well as, six property damage crashes and one minor personal injury crash.

An overview of the crashes includes:

3:11 P.M. Property Damage I 57 northbound at milepost 304.5 (Kankakee County)

4:00 P.M. Minor Injury Illinois Route 49 at Iroquois County 1250 North Road

4:14 P.M. Property Damage I 57 northbound at milepost 272.0 (Iroquois County)

4:46 P.M. Property Damage US Route 45 at Ford County 200 North Road

5:06 P.M. Property Damage I 57 southbound at milepost 261.5 (Ford County)

6:03 P.M. Property Damage US Route 24 at Iroquois County 200 East Road

11:56 P.M. Property Damage I 57 northbound at milepost 302.0 (Iroquois County)

94.1 FM, WGFA











  • Parent Category: News

Quinn: Any gambling revenue should go to schools

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Gov. Pat Quinn says that any state revenue from gambling should go toward education.

Quinn delivered a budget address today (Wed) that includes $400 million in cuts for schools.

But Quinn says any new gambling legislation must have ethical protections.

Quinn has vetoed two gambling expansions that lawmakers have sent him. Both bills proposed nearly half a dozen new casinos in the state, including one in Chicago.

Quinn is calling for a ban on contributions from the gambling industry, but lawmakers haven't been thrilled about it.

The Senate's executive committee was scheduled to look at another possible gambling expansion.