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Local News

  • Parent Category: News

Farmland values increasing in Woodford County

While Illinois imposed a 10 percent hike in farmland assessments seen tax bills recently mailed to Woodford County residents, high grain prices have also helped drive up the price of farmland.

“We did see some land auctions in Woodford County that happened in early March, and we had some as high as $12,000 to $13,000 an acre,” said Dana Wiegand, vice president at First Farm Credit in Morton. “That is a substantial increase over the last 12 months.

{courtesy:  Bloomington Pantapraph}

Read more: Farmland values increasing in Woodford County

  • Parent Category: News

Ford County raises $82,200 for American Cancer Society

GIBSON CITY — The annual Ford County Relay for Life was held under clear skies at Gibson City’s North Park after a brief rain shower late Saturday afternoon.

Nineteen fund-raising teams were participating with an average of 10-15 members per team according to Amanda German, staff partner with the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) office in Champaign.

German said the Sibley Burr Oak Tractor Team was the largest team with over 50 members. That team and several others have fund-raising goals of $10,000 or more.
She also thanked the nearly 30 local business sponsors helping with various aspects of Saturday evening’s event.

German estimated the crowd gathered at the North Park to be about 500 persons for the food, activities, and ceremonies preceding the walk.

German said the ACS set this year’s goal at $80,000, but the local committee raised the goal to $90,000.  {courtesy of News-Gazzette}

Read more: Ford County raises $82,200 for American Cancer Society

  • Parent Category: News

State Police Posts Targeted for Closure, Ashkum, Pontiac Included

SPRINGFIELD - Despite getting a budget plan from the legislature last week that contains enough money to keep all 20 Illinois State Police communications centers open, Gov. Pat Quinn is still making plans to shutter 16 of the facilities.

In an email Thursday, state police spokeswoman Monique Bond said the consolidation effort is "moving forward" as part of a cost-savings effort.

In his February budget proposal, Quinn called for the closure of the communications centers, including those in Pontiac, Ashkum, East Moline, Carmi, Ullin, Metamora and Effingham.

Calls handled at those offices would instead by routed to dispatch centers in Du Quoin, Springfield, Sterling and Des Plaines. Officials say a new statewide radio system will allow them to cover the entire state without having to keep all 20 facilities open.

Quinn has not yet taken action on the General Assembly's spending plan. Bond said state police administrators have not established a timetable for the closures.

Opponents of the consolidation say workers in the four remaining offices won't have the detailed knowledge of all regions of the state that the current employees have.

"I've been traveling the state recently and haven't found one trooper who thinks this is a good idea," said Mike Powell, president of Illinois Troopers Lodge 41.

If Quinn ignores the General Assembly and moves forward with the closures, an estimated 40 employees will be laid off.   {Pantagraph}

  • Parent Category: News

Divers find body of missing man in Lake Shafer

WHITE COUNTY, Ind.  -  Conservation officers said they recovered the body of a 22-year-old man from Lake Shafer in White County around 2:15 a.m. Thursday.

Dive teams found the body of Okeen Rashawn Daley in six feet of water near the area of  "green can," which is just feet from where witnesses said they last saw him. Conservation officers said Daley was from Jamaica, but was currently working at Indiana Beach.

Investigators said 13 people were on board a pontoon boat around 7 o'clock Wednesday evening when they stopped in a shallow area.  A few of them jumped into the lake, but Daley went off into deeper water without a life jacket on.

Authorities said that's the last time he was seen.

Divers from the Monticello and Buffalo Fire Departments, the White County Sheriff's Office, and the Department of Natural Resources responded to the scene.

Officers said no foul play was involved. The exact cause of death will be determined after an autopsy has been performed.


  • Parent Category: News

Dozens of retirements could affect Illinois DNR


The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD — Dozens of pending retirements may leave some Illinois Department of Natural Resources facilities short of full-time employees, officials at the state agency said.

So far, 80 of the department's 1,100 employees have filed notice they intend to retire, The State Journal-Register in Springfield reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/LaS1sb). DNR spokesman Chris McCloud said the department has some sites with one or two employees. McCloud says if those employees decide to retire, "then there would be nobody there."

McCloud said the department is deciding what to do if that happens.

Read more: Dozens of retirements could affect Illinois DNR