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Illinois’ budget impasse threatens closure of Ford County Public Health Department

The state of Illinois' ongoing budget impasse is coming ever so close to home. The lack of a state budget and non-payment of reimbursements to agencies may force the closure of the Ford County Public Health Department.

Administrator Lana Sample informs the County Board there's already a hiring freeze, keeping two recent full-time vacancies open, and she's considering furloughs to limit paid work weeks to four and maybe three days.

Many health departments in Illinois are struggling financially as a result of no state budget. Among county health departments participating in a recent statewide survey, 36 percent said they had cut staff, office hours or programs as of the start of November.

Some health departments are suing the state to try to force the Legislature to appropriate funding on their behalf, and it appears the Illinois Public Health Association may join in that effort, too.

The Paxton Record reports, should the health department close, restaurant inspections would go away, there would be no well or septic inspections, and may senior citizen services and elder abuse programs would not be available. Several other health services would be hurt too.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Gang-related shootings in Kankakee, another one Wednesday

Kankakee Police Chief Larry Regnier tells the Daily-Journal "it's kind of a tit-for-tat situation," rival gangs shooting at each other. And another incident happened Wednesday.

Chief Regnier said the rival gang war's been going on since last fall.

Four shootings in Kankakee over the weekend resulted in one 18-year-old male being shot in the back. Two other shootings involved vehicles being shot up.

And Wednesday's shooting wasn't too far away from Kankakee Junior High School.

No one was injured, but a victim's car was hit several times on South Hillcrest Avenue. Police said the driver refused to cooperate or identify any possible suspects.  Wednesday's shooting temporarily put the junior high school on lockdown.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Kankakee Police Department's detective bureau at 815-933-0426 or Crime Stoppers at 815-932-7463.

94.1 WGFA

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Brown, Lebeck recognized for Iroquois County 9-1-1 service

Danforth Fire Chief Jason Brown and Watseka Police Chief Roger Lebeck are being praised for their knowledge and leadership in serving the Iroquois County 9-1-1 Board.  Both men are retiring from the local Emergency Telephone System Board (911).  

Brown has served on the board of directors since January 2010.  Lebeck has served since January 2004.  9-1-1 Coordinator Nita Dubble states, 'both will be greatly missed.' 

Brown has provided fire knowledge and communication expertise. He said "it was an honor to serve on the 911 board.  It's was an eye-opening experience of what it takes to properly run a 9-1-1 system."  Brown said he wishes people coud,get an opportunity like he had to see and realize how difficult a job it is.

Lebeck is retiring as Watseka Police Chief January 11th (2016).  He'll step away from 24 years in law enforcement, having provided policing know-how and vital radio communication knowledge that sets the tone for 9-1-1 emergency operations. The retiring chief said "the likes of much-needed experience in emergency response situations has been replaced in recent months, for ill-reasons and with little thought."  He said citizens need to "pay attention to what's been going on."

The 9-1-1 Board presented Brown and Lebeck with appreciation certificates. 

94.1 WGFA


  • Parent Category: News

Employees recognized for longevity in Newton County Sheriff’s Dept.

Newton County, Indiana Sheriff Tom VanVleet is recognizing three employees in his department with longevity awards. The sheriff said "we are lucky to have these dedicated employees and sincerely appreciate their commitment to Newton County."

Radio dispatchers Amy Sickles and Lisa Brown and Correctional Officer Jeff Hayles were recently presented longevity awards. Sickles and Brown received certificates for their nine and seven years of service, respectively. Sheriff VanVleet said "they're the lifeline on the other end of the phone when calls come in for help.

Correctional officer Hayles was recognized for 10 years service. The sheriff said Hayles has the responsibility of maintenance of the inmate population and handles security at the jail.

VanVleet extends a big thanks to asll his employees for their hard work and dedication.

94.1 WGFA

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I-65 to be widened in Lake County

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announced a $70 million plan Tuesday to widen Interstate 65 throughout Lake County to three lanes in each direction from Merrillville to Lowell.

Pence said the project is part of his Major Moves 2020 highway program, which he says is fast tracking the widening and rehabilitation of heavily-traveled highways across the state. It's similar to the improvement program in Tippecanoe County.

The Governor made the announcement in Merrillville.

The plan calls for a budget of $70 million with funding provided from the Major Moves 2020 program, which Pence said has since been increased in the most recent biennial budget.

94.1 WGFA