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  • Parent Category: News

Kankakee distributor warehouse closing, 46 lay-off notices

The ill effects of the economy again hitting Kankakee with the announced closing of Space Center Distribution Chicago. The distribution warehouse on E. Willow Street plans to close March 31, laying off 46 workers.

Kankakee Mayor Nina Epstein said she is optimistic another company will rent the facility.

The mayor tells the Daily-Journal, "a lot of these companies are dealing with the global economy. What happens in China can affect us here." Epstein said 'the facility is in good shape, and she's sure someone will want to put it to use.'

The Grundy Livingston Kankakee Workforce Board, as well as the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County, plan on hosting a job fair around late January or early February for the laid off workers.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Tornado Watch issued in Illiana

Strong storm activity this (Wednesday) morning has prompted the national Weather Service (NWS) to issue a tornado Watch for parts of Iroquois, Ford, Livingston and Vermilion counties.

A strong T-storm was spotted near Saybrook and affecting the Gibson City area. Winds were expected to reach up to 60 mph...affecting the communities of Piper City, Chatsworth, Fairbury, Forrest, Saunemin, Melvin, Roberts... the T-storm warning was issued until 10:15 am.

A TORNADO WATCH is in effect until 5 pm today (Wednesday). A Tornado Watch means conditions are favorable for the possible development of tornadoes.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Foster mom's murder conviction appealed

A former Cullom woman serving a life prison term is asking the Illinois Appellate Court to reverse her conviction for the 2011 killing of her 4-year-old foster daughter. The defense argues the conviction of Heather Lamie should be reversed because of errors during her trial.

The 32-year-old Lamie was convicted of the May 4, 2011 beating death of Kianna Rudesill. The victim and her sibling had been placed with Lamie's family in 2010.
Heather Lamie is serving life in prison for murder.

A Bloomington defense lawyer argues the state failed to link the child's injuries to Lamie and the evidence against her "was so unreasonable, so improbable, and so unsatisfactory as to create a reasonable doubt that she was responsible for the death of Kianna."

Text messages exchanged May 3, 2011 between Lamie and her husband Joshua in which he told his wife to "beat her (Kianna's) ass" should not have been used as evidence, stated the attorney in his argument. The use of the message "fueled the fire when trying to find someone to blame" for the injuries."

In their appellate brief, Livingston County State's Attorney Seth Uphoff and the office of Illinois State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor argued that the evidence was overwhelming against Lamie who was the only adult with the child at the time she was injured.

Lamie's conflicting statements to police and her admission that she was frustrated with the child on the day she was hurt were considered by the jury, the state argued.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Rantoul names new Police Chief

Erman Blevins is the choice for Rantoul. He'll be the new police chief.

The 47-year-old Blevins will succeed Paul Farber. The village board made its choice Monday night, concurring with Mayor Chuck Smith.

Blevins has served as commander of records and administration for the Carpentersville Police Department. The mayor said Blevins' ability "to function inside a police department was more appealing."

"He brought a sense of energy and stability to the office," Smith said. "I think he's also offering a new vision and guidance to the command situation."

Blevins said he will give the Carpentersville department 45 days notice and expects to begin his duties in Rantoul on February 9.

Andy Zinke, who spent 25 years with the McHenry County Sheriff's Office, was also among the two finalists for the Rantoul job.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

GCMS School District names new Superintendent

Current Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley principal Jeremy Darnell will become the district's new superintendent, effective July 1.

The 41-year-old Darnell. A 7-year GCMS Middle school Principal, was chosen by the school board in a unanimous vote. He'll assume the post being vacated by the pending retirement of Anthony Galindo.

Board members expect to approve Darnell's contract, salary and benefits at their January meeting.

The district received 10 applications for the position.

94.1 WGFA