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  • Parent Category: News

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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  • Parent Category: News

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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  • Parent Category: News

Water & Sewer rate Hike in Watseka; Taxpayers to pay annual increases >

A 5-2 vote by the Watseka City Council Tuesday has triggered annual water and sewer rate increases for local taxpayers.

Infrastructure break-downs appear to be reasons for new revenue to overcome repair needs.  But the No votes from Tim Mathewson and Mike Marcier finds both aldermen saying “tax hikes will hurt a lot of people,” and some research and a plan seems to be in order before decisions like a rate hike.

The rates will increase May 1 and each year after that thru 2-15.  Calculations spelled out at a February 21 meeting shows water rates jumping from $2.66 per thousand gallons to $3.16 per thousand in 2012; $3.26 per thousand in 2013 , $3.36 per thousand in 2014 and up to $3.46 per thousand in 2015.

Sewer rates will rise from $3.40 to $3.85 per thousand this year in May to $3.97 in 2013, $4.09 in 2014 and $4.21 per thousand in 2015.

Minimum water and sewer rates are currently at $50.54.  Over the next four years, the rate will jump to $58.18 in 2016. 


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  • Parent Category: News

Baier Funeral Home in Watseka to operate Crematory; first in Iroquois County >

WATSEKA --- Pending EPA approval, the Baier Funeral Home in Watseka will soon be the first funeral home business in Iroquois County to operate its own on-site crematory.

The Watseka City Council Tuesday night approved a special-use permit allowing the local funeral home to provide a business service that owner Roy Baier says finds growing numbers of families turning to…….

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Construction for the operation is expected to be completed in about two weeks.

Baier said he purchased a refurbished crematory-burner from a Kankakee funeral home.  Baier funeral home’s location at 2nd and Oak Street in Watseka has 7,000 square feet of garage space available, so the crematory business won’t be pressed for space.

Members of the city’s Planning Commission did their homework, investigating such an operation in Kankakee.  They found no problems with the operation.  Baier said at least three other employees in his business will be trained to run the equipment. 


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  • Parent Category: News

Weather Rocks WGFA-listening area

*  this story may require updating......

Heavy rain, hail and reports of funnel clouds prompted severe weather Watches & Warnings Friday in the Illiana area.  There were no injuries reported.  Several reports of funnel cloud sitings resulted in emergency weather alert sirens sounding in Iroquois County.

No damage has been reported.  The public reported funnels aloft near Lake Iroquois, near Route 45/52 and near Danforth.

Ford, Iroquois and Kankakee counties were under Severe T-Storm Warnings until about 7 pm.  The National Weather Service also issued Watches / Warnings in parts of Champaign and Vermilion counties.

 Multiple reports indicate that one person is dead and two others injured after a deadly tornado demolished a Southern Illinois home.  The tornado ripped through Opdyke this (fri) afternoon.  State officials say it appears the storm didn't leave too much physical damage.  The situation is being handled on a local level and no state aid has been requested yet. 


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