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Deere expanding University of Illinois research center

By The Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN - Deere & Company plans to almost double the size of its on-campus research center at the University of Illinois.

The Moline-based company said Friday it is increasing the size of its John Deere Technology Innovation Center to 13,500 square feet. The company plans to be able to accommodate 50 interns as well as its staff.

The center is located in the university's research park.
Deere said in a news release that its presence at the university gives it access to experts in engineering, computer science and other areas.

Klaus Hoehn is a Deere vice president. He said the Research Park location also helps Deere attract top graduates.

  • Parent Category: News

Ford-Iroquois agency's actions inappropriate: audit reveals

A forensic auditor's report is confirming the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department's management committed several inappropriate acts using taxpayers' money.

Iroquois County Board Chairman Rod Copas calls it "criminal."

Findings revealed in the eight-page report prepared by Bellevue, Wash.-based CliftonLarsonAllen LLP were policy revisions made without the board's approval. Other finds revealed included inaccurate budgeting, violation of bid procurement laws, and the misuse of grant money.

Copas, who also serves on the health department board, directed the audit investigation with accusations, including fraud. Copas called for a forensic audit of 2012 actions. The audit was reported to cost an estimated $50,000.

The audit's authors also stated they were steered toward alleged wrong-doings and that, other inappropriate actions within the organization may not be revealed in their findings only because the accusers hand-picked issues of concern.

Media reports had revealed that the health department disregarded its own procurement rules when it awarded a $127,000 contract to a company owned by the husband of a health department employee. That award was allegedly without a proper bid.

The audit also pointed to the questionable legality of former health department administrator Doug Corbett's plan to pursue a home-health care office serving two neighboring counties in Indiana.

A Watchdog Group alleged grant money was obtained to cover a portion of employees' salaries when the said employees never did work related to the grant.
The report reveals forensic auditors saying all of the actions were improper, adding that they violated state law and/or the agency's by-laws.

An earlier investigation by the Illinois Attorney General's Office returned a ruling that "board action may have been questionable, but not intentional, and did not meet the criteria worth pursuing."

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Buckeye Oil Company says pipelines fixed, Route 113 to re-open next week

The Houston-based Buckeye Partners oil company says Illinois Route 113 in Bourbonnais will re-open next week. Repairs have been made to the 8-inch pipelines that broke underneath the route. The roadway is now being repaired for traffic to flow again.

Buckeye Partners announced Thursday evening that it completed permanent repairs to about 125 feet of two pipelines that spilled at least 1,500 gallons of gasoline in Limestone.

Environmental testing is continuing, including core soil sampling and air quality. There have been no environmental problems reported over the last week as a result of the gasoline release. Buckeye said it expects to reopen Route 113 "in the middle part of next week."

In a press release, company spokesman David Boone says the pipelines, which transport gas to and from Kankakee and Indiana, can carry up to 20,000 barrels of gas a day. That means up to 280,000 barrels didn't make their way to the two terminals in the seven days they were shut off.

Boone says "There's really no impact to the market."

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

RTA files suit again, more towns named in sales tax agreements

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is naming three more Illinois communities, claiming the towns are using phony sales offices which divert sales tax revenue away from Chicago's taxing districts.

The RTA is naming Morris, Savanna, and Genoa. The suit is similar to what was filed against Kankakee in 1999. The RTA seeks to end the agreements the three communities have in place.

The litigation against Kankakee has cost local officials more than $2.4 in sales tax revenues. Now, Kankakee officials are dealing with severe budget cuts and tax hiles to make up for the lost revenue.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Rep. Kinzinger to hold traveling office hours

OTTAWA - The office of Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon) will hold traveling office hours in April throughout the Sixteenth District. Staffers will be available to assist constituents on issues ranging from Veterans and Social Security benefits to Medicare and immigration issues. Constituents are encouraged to stop by with questions and concerns, and no appointments are necessary.

Those who cannot attend the traveling office hours, but have questions can contact the Ottawa District Office at (815) 431-9271:

The traveling office hours for April follow:

Ford County:
Piper City Traveling Office Hours
April 3, 2014
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Piper City Village Hall
133 E. Peoria St.
Piper City, IL

Melvin Traveling Office Hours
April 3, 2014
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Melvin Village Hall
303 N. Green St.
Melvin, IL

Grundy County
Gardner Traveling Office Hours
April 2, 2014
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Gardner Village Hall
Conference Room
302 N. Center St.
Gardner, IL 60424

Iroquois County:
Cissna Park Traveling Office Hours
April 3, 2014
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Cissna Park Village Hall
109 W. Church St.

Sheldon Traveling Office Hours
April 3, 2014
4:00 PM –5:00 PM
Sheldon Village Hall
165 W. Center St.
Sheldon, IL 60966

Livingston County:
Dwight Traveling Office Hours
April 2, 2014
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Dwight City Hall
209 S. Prairie Ave.
Dwight, IL 60420

Fairbury Traveling Office Hours
April 2, 2014
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Fairbury City Hall
201 W. Locust St.
Fairbury, IL 61739