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State Fire Marshall stresses fire safety; 2 Watseka residents critically burned

Space heaters and drop cords don't mix. That's the warning reminder from State Fire Marshall Kevin Smith following a house fire in Watseka Monday morning.

And Watseka Fire Chief Dave Mayotte adds, make sure those smoke detectors are installed and they work.

"If space heaters are being used, they have to be properly installed, properly wired, not run on drop cords," Mayotte told 94.1 WGFA News. "And smoke detectors have to be working, they'll save your life."

Mayotte said the smoke will kill you and put you to sleep before the fire ever bothers you. He said make sure the smoke detectors are in place, they work, and check them at least twice a year.

The veteran fire chief said "we got lucky today, everybody is still alive."

Mayotte refers to Monday's fire that chased a family of seven from their home on E. Elm Street. Two of the Alex Hagele family members were transferred to the Loyola Medical Center burn unit in critical condition. The other five were treated at Presence Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka.

One dog escaped with the family; another dog perished in the fire.

The family of Alex Hagele is staying with relatives.

The fire started in an upstairs bedroom from an overloaded drop cord plugged into a space heater. There were no working smoke detectors in the home to alert the residents.

Watseka Fire was on the scene for about four hours. A box-alarm brought mutual aide from Milford, Woodland, Crescent City, Martinton and IMH Ambulance.

94.1 WGFA

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            IDPH deems Carle Hoopeston Emergent Stroke Ready hospital

Hoopeston, Ill. – People in Vermilion and Iroquois counties who experience stroke symptoms have access to assessment and treatment at Carle Hoopeston Regional Health Center. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has recognized Carle Hoopeston's stroke services by designating the facility as an Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital. Emergent Stroke Ready Hospitals are hospitals that diagnose, treat and, have an established process in place to transport acute stroke patients to a higher level of care. as warranted.

Carle Hoopeston is one of 29 Critical Access Hospitals in the state to receive the Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital designation. As of Jan. 1, IDPH put out a new rule that if a hospital was not Emergent Stroke Ready, emergency personnel could not bring patients showing signs of symptoms of a stroke to that hospital.

To be designated an Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital by the IDPH, Carle Hoopeston had to meet several criteria, including: written emergent stroke care protocols, written transfer agreement with a hospital with neurosurgical expertise,Director of stroke care to oversee hospital stroke policies and procedures, Administration of thrombolytic therapy, ability to conduct brain image tests (e.g., CT scan) at all times, ability to conduct blood coagulation studies at all times, maintenance of a stroke patient log, available for review by IDPH or any hospital with a written transfer agreement.

Carle Hoopeston met all of the IDPH criteria and has had a strong stroke program in place for several years, so leaders at Carle Hoopeston applied for the state designation. The facility applied for the IDPH status in November and achieved that status last month. The Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital designation continues for three years.

"We are proud to be designated an Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital," said Harry Brockus, chief executive officer, Carle Hoopeston Regional Health Center. "If people come to our emergency room with stroke-like symptoms, they will have the quality care they need. If the condition requires additional support, we will transfer patients to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana where they will receive advanced stroke treatment. Carle Hoopeston offers these stroke services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."

Matthew Kolb, vice president of Carle Neuroscience Institute, commented, "For us to achieve our goal of reducing death and disability caused by stroke it's essential that we work together across the entire region. We have to be sure we're prepared to treat stroke patients no matter where they enter the health care system and it is important to bring emergency stroke expertise to rural areas. This designation by the IDPH shows that Carle Hoopeston is prepared. The more the system works together and the sooner stroke experts are involved in stroke treatment, the better chance people have for recovery."                    {INFO SUBMITTED}

94.1 WGFA

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Rensselaer Police investigate homicide case

Rensselaer, Indiana Police are looking for information concerning the death of 77-year-old Trula Alliss.

Investigators are calling the Rensselaer woman's death last Thursday a homicide investigation.

An autopsy Saturday determined the cause of death as blunt force trauma.

The death was ruled suspicious after police responded to a report of a woman dead inside her apartment.

Police believe sometime between 12 Noon February 3 and 5 pm February 5 someone entered her apartment. Police have not ruled out the possibility of a sexual assault. Police are waiting for lab results to confirm an assault.

There are no suspects at this time. Anyone with information is asked to call the Rensselaer Police Department at 219-866-7602.

94.1 WGFA

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Bourbonnais Mall losing Radio Shack

The Radio Shack outlet in Bourbonnais' Northfield Square Mall will be closing its doors. The Radio Shack company announced last week it's filing bankruptcy. The company announced 46 Illinois stores will be closed.

The Radio Shack store in Kankakee's Meadowview Shopping Center will remain open.

In Indiana --- 50 Radio Shack stores are slated to be closed. That includes 20 in the Indianapolis area. There's 108 Radio Shack stores across Indiana.

Money problems have plagued the company in recent years, including last March, when it announced it planned to close 1,100 stores.

94.1 WGFA

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Early voting underway in Kankakee County

                           Candidates Forum in Kankakee Tuesday evening

Voters in Kankakee County can begin casting those 'early voting' ballots today (Mon 2/9) for the upcoming February 24th primary election.

County Clerk Bruce Clark said the early vote continues thru Saturday, February 21st. Grace period voting will also be underway thru the 21st for those people who may not be registered.

There will be primary races in five of Kankakee's wards, the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th and 7th. Winners advance to the April 7th election.

The Kankakee County Chapter of the NAACP is sponsoring a public forum for the candidates Tuesday (2/10). It's set for 6 pm on the 4th Floor of the Kankakee Library. Candidates in contested-races for the City Council have been invited to participate.

94.1 WGFA