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Some construction suspended over holiday weekend


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois transportation officials say they're gearing up for busy roadways this Memorial Day weekend and have a plan to reduce congestion.

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced Thursday that non-emergency roadwork will be suspended to improve traffic flow at the unofficial start of summer.

Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider says the move helps ensure safety with the increase of motorists expected on the roads.

The suspension starts 3 p.m. on Friday through midnight Monday.

Transportation officials are urging motorists to obey posted speed limits and that posted limits are still in effect for construction zones even if there's no construction in the works.

  • Parent Category: News

Memorial Day Services planned for WGFA-listening area …

Area communities and civic organizations have listed their Memorial Day services for this weekend.

VFW Post 7450 welcomes the public to Legion Park in Watseka at 11 am Monday. Traditional events are planned including the presentation of colors and playing of taps.

The Sugar Creek Chapel at Stockland has its service Sunday, May 26th, at 2 pm. All veterans and the public are welcome. {note: Sugar Creek Bridge is out of service, follow signs after a left turn before the Milford viaduct).

Sheldon American Legion Post 393 conducts its service at 11 am Monday, May 27. It's at the Sheldon Cemetery. A balloon release is planned to honor veterans.

Memorial Day services are scheduled for Monday, May 27, in Danforth, Gilman and Onarga.

The service in Danforth starts at 8:30 a.m. The Danforth service is followed by a service at the cemetery on the south side of Gilman at 9:30 a.m.

At 10:30 a.m., the Onarga Cemetery will host its service.

The Iroquois West High School band will perform at each of the services.

The American Legion Byron A. Hickerson Post 432 of Buckley will hold Memorial Day services on Monday, May 27, at three area cemeteries.

There will be a short service at 9:30 a.m. at the Lisk Cemetery in rural Thawville. At 10 a.m. the Legion's honor guard will have a short service at the Ash Grove cemetery in rural Buckley. At 10:30 a.m., a service honoring the area's deceased veterans will be held at Woodland/St. John's Cemetery.

In case of rain, the services will also be held at the Legion post.

The Loda American Legion Post 503 is hosting a Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday, May 27, at Pine Ridge Cemetery.

Cissna Park American Legion Post 527 will hold Memorial Day services at 9 a.m. Monday, May 27, at the village park. Rev. Silas Montgomery, pastor at Christian Afterward, coffee and donuts will be served by members of the American Legion Auxiliary at the Legion Home.

The Cissna Park American Legion's drill team will hold a Memorial Day service at Rankin Cemetery at 10 a.m. Monday, May 27.

The Thawville American Legion post will host a Memorial Day service around 11:15 a.m. Monday, May 27, at Ridgeland Township Cemetery. The service will include music performed by the Iroquois West High School band.

The annual Gibson City Memorial Day parade will kick off at 10 a.m. Monday, May 27, from in front of the former Moyer District Library building. Services at the ceremony will feature the GCMS High School Marching Falcons,

Parade entries will begin lining up at 9:30 a.m. They will then make their way to Drummer Township Cemetery for special memorial services around 10:30 a.m. at the Drummer Creek Veterans Memorial in Gibson City.

Following the ceremonies in Gibson City, the Legion travels to Elliott Cemetery for the memorial services at around 11:30 a.m.
In the event of inclement weather, the services will be held at the Legion Post in Gibson City.

A Memorial Day service will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, May 27, at the Melvin Cemetery in Melvin.

There will be special music by the GCMS High School band and chamber choir.

In the event of rain, the service will be held in the Melvin Community Hall.

Paxton American Legion Prairie Post 150 will hold its annual Memorial Day observance at 11 a.m. Monday, May 27, at Glen Cemetery in Paxton.

The ceremony immediately follows the Memorial Day parade.

The Piper City American Legion post is conducting a Memorial Day service at 9 a.m. Monday, May 27, on the local bandstand.

Immediately after the service, additional services will be held by the post at Calvary Catholic Cemetery and Brenton Cemetery.

The Wagner-Davis Legion Post in Roberts will hold a Memorial Day service at 9 a.m. Monday, May 27, at the Roberts Gym. Coffee and rolls will be served afterwards by the Legion post's auxiliary.

The Martin H. Suntken American Legion Post 244 of Sibley will hold Memorial Day services at 11 a.m. Monday, May 27, at Mount Hope Cemetery in Sibley. The service will feature music performed by the GCMS High School band as well as the Legion unit's color guard.

94.1 FM, WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Jobless rates drop compared to last year

Illinois unemployment by metro area

Metropolitan Area -        April 2013       April 2012

Bloomington-Normal            5.8                 6.2

Champaign-Urbana             6.6                 7.1

Chicago-Joliet-Naperville     9.3                  8.8

  1. 8.9                  9.1

Davenport-Moline-Rock Isl. 6.2                  6.8

  1. 10.3                 9.5

Kankakee-Bradley               9.8                10.6

Lake-Kenosha, IL-WI          7.7                  8.1

  1. 7.9                  7.2
  2. 9.9                 10.9
  3. 6.4                  6.8

St. Louis (IL-Section)           7.4                  8.6

Source: Illinois Department of Employment Security

Iroquois and Ford County unemployment rates dropped slightly last month, down from figures in April 2012.

Kankakee County unemployment is listed at 9.8%.  That’s down from 10.6 in April of last year.

The Bloomington area still tends to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state in large part because of the types of employment you have there,” said Greg Rivara, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, citing larger firms and jobs tied to higher education. “You have entities that tend to weather economic downturns better than others.”

The Bloomington-Normal area’s unemployment is at 5.8%, down from 6.2 in 2012.

Retail trade has been down statewide, and Rivara speculated inclement weather may be one factor.

Other counties and their April 2013 (April 2012) rates include: DeWitt, 7.3 percent (7.5); Ford, 6.8 percent (7.9); Iroquois, 7.2 percent (7.6); LaSalle, 9.7 percent (10.2); Livingston, 7.4 percent (7.4); Logan, 7.3 percent (7.2); Tazewell, 7.7 percent (6.9); and Woodford, 6.6 percent (5.8).

9.4 FM, WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Barickman Votes to Stop Automatic Electric Rate Hikes

State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) voted to stop customers of Commonwealth Edison and Ameren from facing steep, annual electric rate hikes.

Barickman joined ten other Senators who voted against Senate Bill 9 May 21. The measure passed the legislature initially in March, but was vetoed by Governor Pat Quinn on May 6. The legislation essentially overrides an Illinois Commerce Commission decision to stop $100 million dollars in rate hikes for ComEd and $50 million for Ameren customers.

In his veto message, Governor Quinn said, "Senate Bill 9 continues a troubling pattern of departing from more than a century of regulatory oversight of utility company monopolies in our state."

Barickman agreed and on Tuesday he voted to uphold the veto when the bill came back before the Senate.

“There is a process in place for utility companies to go to the ICC, ask for a rate increase, prove their case, and hold public hearings, all before increases can be granted,” said Senator Barickman. “Essentially, the legislature just decided to strip the ICC of its oversight authority. This will cost consumers dearly.”

The retroactive rate hikes are tied to a 2011 bill to override the ICC and allow the power utilities to drastically increase rates to pay for a new “smart grid” power system.


94.1 FM, WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

State Police issue Holiday Advisory


State Troopers to Strictly Enforce Speeding, DUI, Seatbelt and Distracted Driving

Ashkum – Illinois State Police District 21 officials are reminding motorists to take the necessary safety precautions for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend travel.  The Memorial Day holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods for motorists and thousands of drivers are expected to hit the roadways and interstates. 

In addition to the statewide Click it or Ticket safety campaign, beginning on Friday, May 24 through Monday, May 27, District 21 will push for zero fatalities by enforcing the four most common traffic violations (Fatal Four):  Speeding, DUI, seat belts, and distracted driving. 

Seatbelt enforcement details and speed patrols will be a top priority for law enforcement statewide.  “District 21 Troopers will have an increased presence throughout the holiday weekend and will be placing a special emphasis on enforcing the "Fatal Four" stated Captain Bridget Bertrand.  "Along with the increased police presence, we are reminding motorists to exercise due caution when approaching stopped emergency vehicles and obey the "Move Over" law.  This law requires motorist to yield to all stationary emergency vehicles displaying oscillating, rotating or flashing lights, along with changing lanes (when safe), reduce speed and proceed with caution" stated Captain Bertrand. 

 Driving under the influence is still the number one cause for traffic crashes and fatalities, especially during holiday celebrations.  Drinking and driving is a deadly combination and law enforcement officials are stressing the importance of designating a driver. 

 State Troopers will continue to enforce all traffic violations during the holiday weekend.  Law enforcement officials also stressed the importance of motorcycle safety and proper protective gear.

 The Illinois State Police are responsible for the public safety of more than 20,000 miles of the state’s roads and highways.

94.1 FM, WGFA