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Miss America Pageant puts brakes on Hoopeston’s Sweetheart Pageant

It's been a longtime tradition in Hoopeston. Now, the Vermilion County community is reeling from a recent decision by the Miss America Organization. And – the reaction is both anger and frustration.

The Miss America Organization says the contestants in its competition can no longer be involved in other such-competitions. And that means the popular National Sweetheart Pageant, held during the Labor Day Weekend in Hoopeston, can no longer welcome the young ladies who visit and participate in the annual Hoopeston pageant.

And there's a lot of questions as to why ?

As first reported in the Hoopeston Chronicle, organizers of the National Sweetheart Pageant in Hoopeston say they could be forced to make major changes since the Miss America Organization is no longer allowing those contestants to take part.

Many of the young ladies in Hoopeston's Sweetheart Pageant are runners-up in their own state competition. The Sweetheart Pageant has long been a stepping stone for girls competing to be Miss America.

The tradition dates back to 1939.

The Miss America Organization updated the contracts their contestants sign. The rules state contestants and judges will not be welcome in the Miss America Organization unless they're not tied to other competitions.

Cliff and Michelle Crabtree of Hoopeston have been the pageant's executive directors for ten years. They can't figure out or understand why the rules have changed, when the Sweetheart pageant has made sure it follows the rules.

Hoopeston's 73-year tradition is in jeopardy of being pushed aside by new rules that "seem to make little sense" to anyone.

Hoopeston organizers say they've made changes that benefit all concerned...benefitting the girls competing, the community and other volunteers.

A meeting this week will try to figure it out and get answers.

Nine girls who have taken part in the Sweetheart Pageant have moved on to become Miss America. Published reports claim there have been 90 Miss American winners, which translates into 10% have competed in the National Sweetheart Pageant.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Stockland house fire sends one woman to hospital, four pets killed

Sunday's high winds fueled flames that destroyed a house in Stockland.

The State Fire Marshall will continue an investigation into the cause, which may have been electrical, according to Stockland Fire Chief Dave Morgeson.

The rental property at 2836 E and 850 N was a total loss. Morgeson said the fire started on the porch and quickly spread inside. An explosion, which blew out the windows and helped the fire to spread, could have been caused by a propane tank or a gas grill.

The occupants, husband, wife and son, were home and able to get out. The woman was taken to Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka for treatment of smoke inhalation.

Two dogs and two cats died in the fire.

Stockland firemen received mutual aid from Wellington, Milford, Sheldon and Woodland.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Kankakee County: Rock Creek bridge closing

A bridge replacement project gets started Tuesday in Kankakee County. Motorist may want to note that Illinois Route 102 will close Tuesday for replacing the bridge over Rock Creek, 6.5 miles northwest of Bourbonnais.

The $2.1 million project is expected to be completed by September.

The project is located near Kankakee River State Park. The main entrance of the park can be accessed from the east, from Bourbonnais. Other western access points may be entered from the west.

The projects calls for the closing at Warner Bridge Road (County Highway 20) extending east to U.S. Route 45/52. Illinois Department of Transportation recommends drivers using the posted detour of U.S. Route 45/52, Illinois Route 17, Illinois Route 113 and Warner Bridge Road.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Goodland, IN woman killed, run over by skid-ster

The Newton County Coroner's Office and Sheriff's Department are investigating a fatal accident that killed a Goodland (IN) woman.

The victim was identified as 65-year-old Marcia Siegle ( Sea-gull). She suffered massive chest and pelvis injuries when a skid-loader operated by her husband backed over her Thursday morning.

The Coroner's Office reported it appears the woman was cleaning her car from snow while her husband was backing the skid-loader from a business garage on W. Main Street in Goodland. Siegle's husband was reversing the tractor when he accidentally backed over her; unable to see her while she was cleaning snow.

Siegle was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:37 am.
Goodland Fire and Police and Newton County Ambulance responded the 9-1-1 call just after 8 am.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Lake County Coroner reports 2 snow-related deaths

Two men died while shoveling the wet, heavy snow that fell in the area this week.

The Lake County (IN) Coroner's office reported a 65-year-old man from Dyer (William Kwasniak) and a 60-year-old Cedar Lake man (Randy Roeda) both died Wednesday.

The National Weather Service repored up to 15 inches of snow fell in the area.

94.1 WGFA