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Local News

  • Parent Category: News

Jobless rates improve in May

Iroquois, Ford, and Livingston county unemployment improved in May. And the Bloomington-Normal metro area had the lowest unemployment rate among metro areas in the state during May.

The jobless rate for McLean County dropped to 6 percent in May, down from 6.4 percent from a year earlier, according to data released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

"This is really good report. You have two consecutive months where the rate is falling in every metropolitan area. That doesn't happen very often," said Greg Rivara, spokesman for IDES.

Iroquois County in May was 6.4%, down from 7.2 in 2013. The Ford County jobless number in May was at 5.6%. That's' down from 6.9 last year. Livingston County was listed at 6.9%, down from 7.8 in 2013.

The Illinois jobless rate dropped to 7.5 percent in May, compared to 9.2 percent a year earlier. The national unemployment rate also decreased to 6.3 percent from 7.5 percent during the same time.

Of the 102 counties in Illinois, 99 of them saw jobless declines in May.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Police pushing for safe July 4th holiday

Area police agencies are gearing up for the July 4th holiday launching their holiday traffic enforcement program. Police departments will be focusing on both drunk and unbuckled drivers.

State Police will push the intensified enforcement effort emphasizing late-night hours as statistics show a disproportionate number of traffic deaths occur late at night and involve a drunk driver and/or unbuckled motorist. The crackdown is part of the statewide, Independence Day Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket effort.

City and village police and sheriff's police will join Illinois State Police in a statewide enforcement effort that runs through July 6th.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Arkansas man arrested after high-speed chase

                                     3-county chase ends in Rantoul

A 37-year-old Arkansas man is jailed in Pontiac after a high-speed police pursuit that ran across three counties. Michael Gathing of Fayetteville (AR) was stopped and apprehended Wednesday in Rantoul.

Police reported Gathing allegedly stole a vehicle in Kankakee, then robbed a Gilman gas station, before leading authorities on the get-away chase. He was stopped near Rantoul when police used stop-sticks to flatten the tires of Gathing's car.

Kankakee Police reported a Kankakee resident, Ivy J. Anderson, notified police about 2 am that his SUV had been taken from his home. Anderson told police Gathing, a former friend who had been staying with him, took the keys to the SUV and left in it.

Later that morning, Gathing then allegedly committed a "strong-arm" robbery at the Shell gas station in Gilman.
Paxton Police reported Gathing left the gas station heading westbound on U.S. 24 toward the Livingston County towns of Forrest and Fairbury. As Gathing entered Forrest, Fairbury police patrolling the area tried to make a traffic stop, but Gathing fled south on Illinois 47 toward Gibson City.

A high-speed chase ensued, Bane said.
Ford County sheriff's deputies and Gibson City police joined Fairbury police in the pursuit. A Paxton police officer "cut him off," forcing Gathing to head southbound on I-57.

Rantoul police and the Champaign County Sheriff's Office were able to stop Gathing's vehicle using "spike strips" about two miles south of Rantoul.

Around 3:45 a.m., Gathing was taken into custody by Fairbury police.

The Livingston County State's Attorney's Office is reviewing the case.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

K4 Wind farm ready go forward

It's been in the works for some seven years, but now, the K4 wind farm appears ready to take off. But the once-talked-about four-county wind farm operation is just two counties now—Kankakee and Iroquois.

A 103 wind turbine farm will span Otto and Pilot Townships in Kankakee County and Milks Grove Township in Iroquois County. Construction is likely to start in August, according to Turner Hunt of Vision Energy of Cincinnati, OH.

EDF Renewable Energy would own the wind farm property. Vision Energy and Orion Energy Group were two previous owners. Both companies, Turner said, will be involved in the ownership transition.

The plan for the K4 project originated in 2007. It was to include property in Kankakee, Iroquois, Livingston and Ford counties. Nearly 300 turbines were to be built over 32,000 acres. The current blueprint only includes Kankakee and Iroquois.

Hunt reported delays over the years were due to declines in the energy market and radar concerns with the Department of Defense.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Haley Brokate named 2014 Ford County Fair Queen

MELVIN --  A 17-year-old paxton teen is the new queen of the Ford County Fair. Haley Brokate was crowned Monday night at the fairgrounds.  She was the judges choice over six other contestants. Haley is the daughter of Wayne and Michelle Brokate.  Miss Brokate will be a senior this fall at Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School.

17-year-old Sydney Porter of Paxton was named 1st runner-up.  16-year-old Mercedes Wise of Loda was 2nd runner-up.  Miss Congeniality went to 17-year-old Tamberly Lough of Gibson City.

The new queen was crowned by outging 2013 Fair Queen Kristen Batte of Paxton.

94.1 WGFA