Collision at railroad crossing in Onarga, no injury
A slow-moving railroad maintenance vehicle collided with a car in Onarga Wednesday. Iroquois County Sheriff's Police investigated on West Seminary Avenue, near Oak Street.
84-year-old Delozez Martinez was approaching the crossing westbound on Seminary Avenue. Police report she didn't observe the railroad vehicle headed north at a slow 5 mph speed doing maintenance work along the track. Police said the RR vehicle did have its warning lights and siren activated. The crossing gates and lights do not activate for this type of RR vehicle.
The RR vehicle hit the driver's sided of the Martinez car. No injury was reported and no ticket was issued.
Police in Hoopeston are encouraging residents to sign-up for an alert system allowing them to receive real time public safety messages. Police Chief Mark Drollinger says the department has partnered with Nixle to implement its own Community Notification System.
Drollinger says the system provides an avenue for Hoopeston area residents to receive information regarding localized emergency situations and other relevant community advisories.
Nixle offers all of those things at no cost to the City of Hoopeston or taxpayers.
Nixle alerts can be sent via Text, Email, Web, and the Nixle Mobile App instantly.
To register: Text your zip code to 888777 from your mobile phone. Visit www.hoopestonpolice.org and sign up via the Nixle Widget. Or sign-up and create a User Profile on www.nixle.com.
Gibson Area Hospital introduces new maternity unit
DeWall trust paves the way toward future
Gibson Area Hospital opened its new obstetrics unit, courtesy of an endowment from a trust set up by the late Earl and Laura DeWall of Gibson City.
The DeWall Maternity Unit was built in a 13,000-square-foot area on the hospital's second floor. The area includes 10,000 square feet of space above the emergency department that had gone unused for the past seven years, plus a recently built 3,000-square-foot second-floor addition.
The new OB unit features five private LDRP rooms (for labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum). Hospital CEO Rob Schmitt says the hospital's OB facilities are on par with new maternity units at other hospitals in East Central Illinois. And the new facility has already served more than a handful of new moms.
The old OB unit had been the only remaining inpatient care unit in the original 1952 hospital building. Also opening in the past week was a new surgery inpatient unit.
Both new units were part of a 16,000-square-foot renovation that began in 2012 under the appropriately named "Project 2012." The $5 million project was paid for, in part, by a multi-million-dollar endowment from a trust set up by the late Earl and Laura DeWall of Gibson City.
The name of the new OB unit — the DeWall Maternity Unit — and the photo of the DeWalls is prominently displayed in its lobby.
Trustees in Ashkum and Clifton approved new contracts with the Iroquois County 9-1-1 Board this week. The respective village boards signed their contracts with the Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB) for emergency communication dispatch service.
The Ashkum Board's agreement is for an annual fee of $1,200 dollars. The Clifton contract is for $1,800 dollars.
The village fees and police department fees are based on an annual review of the amount of communication services provided a year earlier by the 9-1-1 board.
The two communities and others and fire and police departments had received two different bills. That was because the Iroquois County Board also mailed out its own contract proposal, when the County Board was looking to take control and management of the emergency 9-1-1 system.
The county board's medaling in the emergency dispatch operations didn't go over well with the veteran members of the 9-1-1 Board. Several emergency responders voiced strong-concern of county board political control of emergency situations that first-responders say, they have more expertise about.
The Clifton-Advocate reports this week (Thursday) Ashkum Fire Chief Jeff Glenn told his village trustees former County Board Chairman Rod Copas directed the county board in cutting the size of the ETSB Board from 12 to six members, replacing veteran ETSB board members including himself, with loyal county board members who supported Copas' agenda.
Glenn said "I served on the 9-1-1 board since 1999 and politics has never been involved...until now." Glenn said the secret Copas plan to take over dispatching service seemed to go away when Copas resigned as County Board Chairman in mid-November.
Ashkum village trustee Ed Tholen said "it sounded like a power grab that didn't work."
Ashkum and Clifton area county board members Lyle Behrends, Kevin Hansen and Dan Rayman were all supporters of Copas.
Other village and city governments and fire and police agencies are in the process of approving their own dispatch contracts with the ETSB-911 Board.