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Allhands seated as new Watseka mayor

John Allhands was sworn-in (Tuesday) as Watseka’s new mayor. He succeeds Bob Harwood, who served two terms. Harwood did not seek re-election.

Allhands was a winner in a four-person contest April 4th. He served as Ward 4 alderman and says he’s ready to step it up and keep the city moving forward.

“A little more landscaping, green it up a bit,” is what Allhands would like to see downtown. “The Watseka Area Chamber of Commerce has done a nice job in recent years keeping the business-front looking good. Maybe a little more grooming would improve the downtown appearance.”

The mayor plans to meet with a landscape architect next month to get some ideas.

Allhands said it’s all about “generating some new energy,” he adds, all the council members have some good ideas and he’s looking forward to getting input from citizens too.

Mayor Allhands was sworn-in by Iroquois County Clerk Lisa Fancher. The mayor also praised outgoing mayor Bob Harwood and city officials for their dedication to the city’s well-being.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Update: CSL employees treated at ER after chemical spill

Two employees of CSL Behring were taken to the emergency room following what the company described as a "small chemical spill" Wednesday morning. The employees were checked out “as a precaution,” according to a company spokesperson.

Bourbonnais Township Fire personnel were dispatched to the Route 50 location for what was reported as a small chemical spill in a warehouse.

The spill was first reported at 10 am. Several emergency vehicles arrived at the facility.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Sheldon man dies in Indiana accident

A single-vehicle traffic accident in Newton County, Indiana killed a Sheldon man Tuesday night. 64-year-old Jack Kiifner (Keef-ner) was driving eastbound on Route 24 when his vehicle hit a utility pole. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Catholic church merger causing confusion, mis-information in Kankakee

While three Catholic churches in Kankakee are merging under the name St. John Paul II, no decision has been made as to which churches might close for good, or even how the diocese might use those buildings.

No decisions, yet, says the Rev. Santos "Sunny" Castillo.

Responding to rumors and mis-information, Castillo Tuesday was busy with damage control.

"From what I have heard, the people speaking on Facebook don't go to our churches," Castillo said. "The rumors they are spreading on Facebook are a disservice to the cause we are trying to serve here in Kankakee."

Those rumors revolve around whether St. Rose of Lima or St. Teresa will close. However, Castillo said the parish council has not been talking about closing one of those two churches or St. Martin of Tours.

Castillo said the parish council is looking at ways to utilize all three church buildings. By July 1, the parish will know which church will host services.

During a meeting with parishioners held April 21, Castillo presented two proposals.

One proposal suggested making St. Rose the main church and St. Martin a satellite site, while closing St. Teresa. The other suggested making St. Martin the main church and St. Teresa a satellite site, while closing St. Rose.

"We still have to find out how to best develop the life of our new parish," Castillo said. "There has been no mention of any church closing at this time. Those were just proposals. We feel we have time to make a decision on how to use the buildings we have."

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

First area death due to carfentanil, powerful opioid

Kankakee County Coroner Bob Gessner is reporting that the overdose death earlier this month of a 38-year-old Kankakee man was due to carfentanil. It’s a synthetic opioid that officials in states across the country say is linked to many other overdose deaths.

Gessner said toxicology reports received Monday confirm that the man, who was found dead in his home on May 4, was the victim of the powerful narcotic.

The man's death came at a time... when first responders saved six people from overdoses during a 24-hour period between May 4 and 5 using Narcan, a drug which reverses the effects of a drug overdose.

One other person, a 42-year-old man from Bourbonnais, died of an overdose on May 4, but Gessner has not released any information on that death.

Since Dec. 1, 2016, the start of the county's fiscal year, there have been 24 drug overdose deaths.

Gessner said many are a result of heroin and fentanyl, another synthetic opioid.

Carfentanil is never prescribed to humans and is used to tranquilize large animals. Experts say carfentanil is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine and 100 times more powerful than fentanyl.

94.1 WGFA