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Local News

  • Parent Category: News

Van Voorst retires after 34 years on KCC Board

Hugh E. Van Voorst retires after 34 years of service to the Kankakee Community College board of trustees.

Van Voorst, a Union Hill resident, was a member of KCC's board of trustees from 1980 until 2014. During his tenure, he served as secretary from 1993-1995 and then chairman from 1995-2014.

"The current board of trustees would like to commend and publicly acknowledge Hugh Van Voorst's contributions to Kankakee Community College," said Jerald Hoekstra, vice chairman of the KCC board of trustees. "Hugh demonstrated exemplary leadership and acted in the best interest of the college and community."

KCC President Dr. John Avendano added, "Mr. Van Voost recognized and valued the difference that education makes for individuals and how educational attainment positively impacted the community as a whole. He interacted with the college's constituents and understood their needs and perspectives. His leadership influenced the growth of KCC in both its campus and in the number of programs and services offered."

During Van Voorst's time as chairman KCC's Riverfront Campus added facilities, including the completion of the Workforce Development Center, Heath Careers Center for Excellence. The college also added extension centers in the region – the North Extension Center in Bradley, the South Extension Center in Watseka, and the Technical Education Center in Kankakee.

"It's been a pleasure to work with my fellow board members and to be a part of this institution which has meant so much to this community," said Van Voorst.
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94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Paxton man kidnapped, robbed; three arrested

Five police agencies were involved in the arrests of three men now facing charges for the alleged kidnapping and robbery of a rural Paxton man.

The victim was beaten with a gun and baseball bat, and was threatened with death – by the assailants --- if he did not give them more money.

An investigation that included assistance by the FBI, the three men were arrested Wednesday in Paxton, Loda and suburban Berwyn.

25-year-old Rodolfo Cerritos of Paxton, 24-year-old Evigan Marcos of Loda and 22-year-old Eduardo Samano of Berwyn are charged with one count each of armed robbery, (Class X felony); kidnapping, (Class 2 felony); and aggravated battery, (Class 3 felony).

Cerritos and Marcos remained at the Ford County Jail on Thursday. The News-Gazzette reports Samano was in custody in suburban Berwyn.

The News-Gazzette reported, the victim reported to police that he was abducted by two Hispanic men December 9th. The kidnappers allegedly used a pistol and a baseball bat to force him into a vehicle by "hitting him in the head multiple times."

They then drove around Ford and Iroquois counties threatening to kill him and his family.

The kidnappers agreed to let the victim leave if he provided $800 in cash to them the following day by dropping it in a garbage can at the park in Loda. They had already allegedly robbed him of $300, several credit cards, a cellphone, two checks totaling $8,000, a GPS unit and external computer hard drive.

Cerritos was arrested by Paxton police, FBI agents and state police during a traffic stop on North Market Street in Paxton Wednesday. The third man was arrested in Berwyn.

In addition to the FBI's Champaign office and Illinois State Police, Paxton police were assisted by the Iroquois County Sheriff's Office, the Ford County Sheriff's Office and the Gibson City Police Department.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Summer cabin fire under investigation

The State Fire Marshall will investigate a rural Iroquois County fire that destroyed a small cabin in rural Ashkum Wednesday night.

Fire Chief Jeff Glenn reported what he classified as a "summer cottage" was fully-involved prior his departments arrival. The call was answered to 2518 N and 1500 E Road just after 11 pm. Mutual aid was provided by Danforth and Crescent City fire.

Glenn said the fire appears suspicious. The owner said the cabin's been un-occupied for some time and there was no utility or propane connection to the cabin.

As a result, area roads near the site, may be quite slick due to the water used by firefighters.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Barickman Legislation to Address State Police FOID Backlog

SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) plans to introduce legislation in Springfield protecting Illinois gun owners from a major delay by Illinois State Police in processing Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) renewals.

Currently, State Police has 30 days to process FOID renewal applications. Unfortunately, Senator Barickman says, many Illinoisans each year have had their FOID cards expire before State Police processes the renewal application. That leaves them in violation of state law, which requires gun owners to possess a valid FOID card.

Under Barickman's legislation, FOID cards would remain valid for six months following their expiration, as long as the cardholder has proof they have applied for renewal.

"Unfortunately, the State Police backup in processing these applications has left many law-abiding gun owners around the state in a lurch," said Barickman. "Hopefully, this legislation will ease the burden on them and encourage State Police to process these applications more promptly."

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Watseka: Step 2 in Comprehensive Plan Thursday evening

Public input is welcome again Thursday night in Watseka when the city plays host to its second meeting for the Comprehensive Plan. A 7 pm session is scheduled at City Hall on Brianna Drive.

Watseka Mayor Bon Harwood says the plan is about "your community." This second of a series of meetings encourages input about where the city may be headed in the future.

Harwood said "it's important to get people to attend and offer input. have a say in what we need to focus on." 

An Orland Park consulting company is heading up the effort to develop a plan toward future growth.

Mayor Harwood said preliminary plans developed from a first-meeting last Fall. Nothing is final. It's up the local people as to where the city should focus its attention.

94.1 WGFA