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Iroquois Management Committee Moves Forward on Phone System Upgrade

It’s labeled a $70,000 cost, but could lead to a savings of $1,300 a month.  Iroquois County appears to be geared for a county-wide telephone system upgrade.

The County Board’s Management committee (Tues) OK’d Ruder Communication Technologies to work up specs for a project that’ll call for re-wiring and equipment.  Consolidating equipment data is expected to eliminate an archaic phone system that’s led to mis-labeled phone lines and billing problems.

Ford-Iroquois Public Health Administrator Doug Corbett has identified mislabeled connections have resulted in about $19,000 in overbilling.

The phone upgrade would provide for a single county phone bill instead of individual department vouchers.  An inter-office system would also link courthouse, administrative center office and other county offices in separate buildings.

Specs for the work may be ready by mid-April.  Bids would be due April 30th.


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  • Parent Category: News

Two Weekend Fatalities in Iroquois County >

Two separate traffic accidents claimed lives in Iroquois County Sunday.

30-year-old Dustin Nichols of Onarga was pronounced dead at the scene of a collision between his truck and an SUV Sunday morning.

39-year-old John Michael Worthey of Cissna Park died when his motorcycle collided with a deer.

The fatal accidents came on a  day when Iroquois County emergency responders were also participating in mock-disasters to hone their skills in a search and rescue operation.

Iroquois County Sheriff’s Police report Nichols died when his pickup was involved in a wreck at County Roads 1800 N and 500 E.  Nichols’ pickup collided with an SUV driven by 73-year-old Nancy Zachgo of Onarga.  Police report passengers in both vehicles were either treated and released at the scene or taken by ambulance to area hospitals.

Gilman Fire and Iroquois Memorial and Riverside Ambulance answered the call.

Worthey died in a collision between his motorcycle and a deer at County Road 1980 E and 1300 N. Sunday afternoon.

Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene by the Iroquois County Coroner’s Office.


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Iroquois County Emergency Responders Test Search & Rescue Operations

WATSEKA --- While emergency responders answered the calls to two REAL events Sunday….other fire, police, ambulance and emergency management personnel were practicing for what could be an actual event.

 mock drill involved a Search & Rescue.

The driver of the car in the mock-accident informed ambulance personnel that four other occupants were in the car.  That triggered an “open area search” by the fire and auxiliary police responders.

The exercise participants tested emergency management protocol, including paging, communication, mutual aide, incident command operations, and functions in the emergency operations center.

Watseka Auxiliary Police and Watseka Fire set-up the exercise involving a single-car rollover accident and the four missing occupants of the vehicle.  The mock-disaster scene was southeast of Watseka.

Emergency responders set up a staging area at the Iroquois County Courthouse.  After a dispatch from the county 9-1-1 Center, a MABAS 37 box alarm activated several participating fire departments.  The Mutual Aide Box Alarm brought responders from the Watseka, Milford, Martinton, Ashkum, Crescent-Iroquois, Stockland, and Woodland fire departments.  

Communication dispatch service from 9-1-1 and the Emergency Services & Disaster Agency were active participants as well.

River Valley Recycling and Pence Oil also provided assistance with the exercise.


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Unemployment Falls, Improvements in Area

New figures show unemployment rates improved last month across East Central Illinois. 

Kankakee County leads the state with an unemployment rate of 12.9 percent.  Despite that number, Kankakee County’ rate is below the 13.7% in February of 2011.

Rockford’s rate, usually the highest, is showing improvement.  Rockford’s rate dropped from 14.1 in February of 2011 to 12.8 last month. McLean County has Illinois’ lowest unemployment are at 7.5%.

Vermilion County’s February unemployment rate of 11.1 percent was down a half-percent from January’s 11.6 percent rate.  In Danville, the unemployment rate fell from 11.4 to 10.7 percent.

In Champaign County, the jobless rate fell from 9.1 percent in January to 8.4 percent in February.  It was 8.6 percent in February of last year. The City of Champaign saw its unemployment rate fall from 8.7 percent in January to 7.8 percent in February.  Urbana’s jobless rate fell from 9.6 percent in January to 8.6 percent in February.

In Iroquois County the jobless rate fell slightly from 10.7 to 10.6 percent. The Ford County rate fell from 11.8 in 2011 to 10.3 last month.  Livingston County is at 9.5, down from 10.1 a year ago.


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Kankakee Shooting Death Leads to Arrest in Chicago

The U.S. Marshall's Fugitive Task Force assisted Kankakee Police in tracking down a man accused of a shooting death in Kankakee earlier this month.

A 31-year-old Kankakee man was arrested Wednesday morning in Chicago in connection with the March 10 shooting death of Tyrone D. Kennedy Sr.

Arrested was Luther Starkey, according to John Gerard of the Kankakee Police department.  Assisting in the arrest was the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force.

Starkey was also charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting Tyrone’s cousin, Darrien Kennedy, 18, who survived but was seriously injured.

The shootings took place in the early afternoon of March 10 in the 900 block of North Harrison Avenue.

Starkey is being held in the Jerome Combs Detention Center.  His bond was at $200 - million.


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