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Local News

  • Parent Category: News

Red Cross assisting 3 people after Kankakee house fire

The American Red Cross is providing help to three people following a Monday night house fire on South Albert Boulevard in Kankakee.

No one was injured. The fire did about $35,000 damage.

Firemen answered the call about 9:20 pm. Kankakee and Bradley answered the call.

The cause of the fire was probably electrical but it is still under investigation.

94.1 FM, WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

House explosion kills one in Lowell, Indiana

A dozen fire departments were on the scene of a house explosion in Lowell, Indiana Monday evening. One person was killed. Two firefighters were injured.

The Lake County Coroner's Office confirms one dead. Names and other info not yet available from local officials.
Debris is all that remains of a former house in the 100 block of East 181st Avenue in Lowell. Another house was engulfed in flames when firemen arrived after an explosion leveled the structure and damaged a nearby home.

One man was found dead at the scene of the explosion.
Lowell Fire reported a Lowell firefighter suffered a knee injury. Another firefighter may have been injured late Monday.

The two houses were relatively near each other, and no other structures were damaged.

Fire officials were investigating the cause and type of explosion that damaged the house. Surrounding residents had evacuated by the time officials arrived.

94.1 FM, WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Heat forces school closings, early dismissals

Another day of hot, humid and possibly record-breaking temperatures is forcing some school districts across Illinois to cancel classes.

The National Weather Service says temperatures Tuesday will climb into the mid to upper 90s across wide swaths of the state. And the heat index could make it feel even hotter. There's also an increased risk of grass fires.

Some schools are also closing early.

Kankakee School District 111 and Momence schools are closed today 9/10.

Watseka Unit Nine will dismiss early today (9/10 and Wednesday...Elementary students at 2 pm; Glenn Raymond Middle school at 2:15; High School at 2:11 pm.

Donovan Unit Three dismisses early today and Wednesday... Elementary at 2:15 and High School at 2:30.

Central Unit Four will dismiss early at 2 pm for Nash Middle school students and central High at 2:30 pm.

Herscher School District #2 will dismiss early today... Herscher Intermediate, Limestone Middle School and Herscher High at 1:15; Bonfield Grade school at 1:30 pm.

Bradley Elementary 61 will dismiss early too... Bradley central at 11 am; Bradley East at 11:30; Bradley West at Noon.

* Check your school district website for updates.

94.1 FM, WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Watseka porn suspect freed on bond >

The Illinois Attorney General's Office has provided more information about last week's arrest of a Watseka man facing multiple counts of child pornography.

As reported earlier on WGFA News, 41-year-old Brandon Shaw was named as part of Operation Glass House, a statewide initiative to apprehend the most active offenders who download and trade child pornography online.

Shaw was charged Monday with multiple counts of child pornography. He has since been released from the Iroquois County Jail having posted bond.

Shaw was charged with four counts of possession of child pornography and one count of dissemination of child pornography, each a Class X felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison.

Investigators for the Illinois Attorney General's Office, with the assistance of the Watseka Police Department and the Iroquois County Sheriff's Department, conducted a search of Shaw's residence in the 300 block of Cherry Street in Watseka and made the arrest last Thursday after evidence of alleged child pornography was discovered.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office reported this is the 47th arrest since Madigan launched Operation Glass House in August 2010. In 2010, the first year of the initiative, Madigan's investigations revealed a disturbing trend of offenders trading extremely violent videos of young children being raped. As a result, Madigan's office has focused on apprehending offenders who are seen trading and watching extremely violent videos involving children, including infants and toddlers.

Madigan's office, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, runs the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which investigates child exploitation crimes and trains law enforcement agencies. Since 2006, Madigan's ICAC task force has been involved in 612 arrests of sexual predators. The task force has also provided Internet safety training and education to more than 299,400 parents, teachers and students and more than 16,400 law enforcement professionals.

Iroquois County State's Attorney James Devine's office will prosecute the case.

94.1 FM, WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Arrests made after High-Speed Chase; crash injures Hoopeston officers

Two Hoopeston police officers were treated for injuries after crashing their squad car during a high-speed chase. The officer and an auxiliary officer, who was riding along, were treated at Carle Hoopeston Regional Health Center.

A 33-year-old Danville man faces several charges following the high-speed chase early Saturday. Hoopeston Police say Benjamin Hillsman was stopped for a routine traffic violation near the intersection of Illinois routes 1 and 9.

A Hoopeston officer approached the car and obtained the driver's licenses of both the driver and a passenger. But then police say the car that was stopped suddenly sped away. The Hoopeston officer started pursuing the vehicle shortly after midnight Saturday morning.

Police report the chase went southbound on Route 1 through Rossville to the Bismarck Road. It was there that police say the suspect's vehicle attempted to pass a southbound bus and pulled in front of a northbound pickup truck. Both the suspect's vehicle and pursuing Hoopeston squad car left the road. The squad car struck a tree.

The suspect's vehicle continued to flee and was finally stopped in Danville by Danville Police and Vermilion County Sheriff's Deputies. 33-year-old Benjamin Hillsman of Danville was arrested on charges of aggravated fleeing and eluding and reckless driving. Police also charged both with possession of cannabis over 5,000 grams after officers recovered a package allegedly thrown from the suspect's car during the chase. The package contained approximately 19 pounds of suspected cannabis.

Both Hillsman and the passenger were transported to the Public Safety Building in Danville awaiting the filing of formal charges by the Vermilion County State's Attorney.

94.1 FM, WGFA