The Watseka Area Chamber of Commerce welcomes businesses to showcase themselves next weekend at the "Hometown USA" Business Expo. The event is Saturday, March 12 from 9 am to 3 pm at Watseka High School.
There will be entertainment and demonstrations. Businesses will also offer prize give-aways. The event is open to the public and there is no charge.
For more information, call Amanda Hibbs at 815-432-2416.
Hoopeston National Sweetheart Pageant topic of Wednesday meeting
The city of Hoopeston's longtime tradition of hosting the National Sweetheart Pageant is the focus of a meeting this (Wednesday) evening. The Hoopeston Jaycees, who actually own/operate the Labor Day weekend event, are gathering to discuss options as to how the pageant may be able to adjust to keep the tradition alive.
Hoopeston officials with the National Sweetheart Pageant have been notified contestants and judges involved in the Miss America Pageant are now prohibited from participating in the Hoopeston or similar events.
Cliff Crabtree, and his wife Michelle, have served as the local pageant's executive directors for the last 10 years. They're frustrated with the sudden-change in direction they've been tossed into.
Cliff Crabtree said the local committee has received what he called a generic response from the Miss America people, after the Hoopeston connection inquired about the rules notice.
Questions include'how does the Miss America organization control girls' involvement in Hoopeston's event, when most of the contestants have already competed and were runners-up in their own state pageant' ?
Crabtree said apparently the signed contract girls must agree to, states Miss America rules, any connection to Miss America prohibits involvement in other national competition.
Crabtree said plans were underway for the 2016 Hoopeston National Sweet Corn Festival and the Miss National Sweetheart Pageant. Over the 70-plus years, several of the Hoopeston pageant women crowned Miss National Sweetheart have gone on to win the Miss America title.
The Hoopeston Jaycees are meeting to see what options can be pursued.
Police investigators are calling a rash of car thefts and vehicle burglaries 'crimes of opportunity.' And police advise the public to protect their property by making sure vehicles, garages, tool shed and homes are locked up.
Iroquois County CrimeStoppers continue to ask for leads concerning a series of thefts and vehicle-burglaries in Ashkum, Clifton and Danforth. Anonymous info can be passed along by calling 815-43-CRIME (7463).
Stolen vehicles have been recovered. Investigators say the vehicles entered or stolen have been unlocked or left unattended with the engines running.
Two Kankakee teens were arrested again last Friday for stealing another vehicle the night before from Ashkum. Since the beginning of this year, city police have recovered five vehicles in eastern Kankakee that were stolen from Ashkum.
On Feb. 19, city police arrested three juveniles and an adult for stealing two vehicles the night before from the 400 and 500 blocks of East Fine Street in Ashkum. Both vehicles were located in Kankakee.
Iroquois County sheriff's police also reported vehicle thefts from Ashkum in January and February. Both vehicles were recovered in the same area as the others in eastern Kankakee.
Besides the stolen vehicle, Iroquois County sheriff's police reported items were stolen from several unlocked vehicles in Clifton. Another unlocked vehicle in Ashkum had items stolen from it, too.
Since the beginning of 2016, the Tri-County Auto Theft Task Force has handled 32 stolen vehicle cases. Twenty-five of the stolen vehicles have been found. Almost all of the stolen vehicles were unlocked with keys inside them.
United Prairie LLC to acquire Northern Illinois Alliance
United Prairie LLC, a full-service agronomic retailer serving farmers in central Illinois, announced today it will acquire Northern Illinois Alliance, a retail agronomy joint venture between Illinois-based Elburn Cooperative and CHS Inc., the leading U.S. farmer-owned cooperative. The boards of the two entities recently voted in favor of the sale, which is expected to be finalized by March 1, 2016.
"Both Northern Illinois Alliance and United Prairie have similar approaches to meeting our customers' needs and we agree that doing what's best for them is our first priority," said Tim Gocken, general manager, Northern Illinois Alliance. "Coming together allows us to combine valuable technology and resources so we can continue to help our growers optimize their yields season after season."
"We are excited about bringing our two organizations together and building off of what each has started," said Tim Hughes, general manager, United Prairie. "It's in our farmers' best interests to grow this business. It allows us to be most efficient with our current resources, as well as invest in even more precision ag products and technology because we can utilize those over a larger footprint."
The pending merger of Elburn Cooperative and CHS on March 1 provided a unique opportunity to build out and strengthen the agronomic offerings for farmers in this area of east central Illinois. Northern Illinois Alliance brings 30,000 ton of dry storage, 15,000 ton of liquid storage and 50 car-rail siding, along with dry fertilizer blending services and 24-hour access for 32 & 28% nitrogen loading to United Prairie's current scope.
No interruption of service to customers is expected during the transition.
Olivet Announces Education Partnership with Chicago Cubs
Cubs second baseman and Olivet alumnus Ben Zobrist to serve as partnership ambassador
Olivet Nazarene University today announced a new partnership with the Chicago Cubs that makes Olivet the official education partner of the Cubs organization. Ben Zobrist, Cubs second baseman and a member of Olivet's class of 2004, will serve as the University's spokesperson.
Zobrist will appear in a series of promotional communications highlighting Olivet's new ONU Global initiative, a program that oversees the University's School of Graduate and Continuing Studies and administers non-traditional learning.
"We could not be more thrilled to announce this partnership with the Cubs organization and to find such an outstanding partnership ambassador in Olivet alumnus Ben Zobrist," said Ryan Spittal, ONU vice president for strategic expansion. "Ben is a man of faith and an outstanding example of a friend and teammate, and we are so glad to have him as an ambassador for Olivet and this partnership."
Zobrist, 34, was drafted in 2004. He played nine seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays and won a 2015 World Series ring as a key position player with the Kansas City Royals.
A native of Eureka, Illinois, Zobrist attended Olivet for three years. He played three seasons on the Tigers baseball team at pitcher, second base and shortstop before transferring to Dallas Baptist University for his senior year.
"I would not be where I am today without Olivet and the education the University provided," said Zobrist. "With the flexibility and variety in programs offered by Olivet's School of Graduate and Continuing Studies, now everyone can advance in both career and life by letting Olivet take them from where they are now to where they want to be."