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Douglas named Watseka Police Chief

Veteran law enforcement officer Jeremy Douglas is the city of Watseka's new police chief. The 18-year member of the Watseka force was appointed Tuesday night by Mayor Bob Harwood with a 6-1 vote show of support from the city council.

Douglas was favored in a field of three final candidates. The consensus of the council was to stay with someone familiar with the community, although Mayor Hawood said the other two were also excellent candidates.

Alderman Marvin Purvis cast the lone No vote, saying Douglas will have his support, but he favored the idea of bringing some new ideas in from the outside. Purvis said he believes an outside perspective could also help the local officers.

Nonetheless, now-Chief Douglas said he appreciates the community support shown to him over the last few months.

Past police chiefs have had presence on patrol in addition to the administrative duties. Douglas says he won't hide in any office.

"I will be on the street. I like being on the street with my guys and mixing it up with the public," Douglas said after Tuesday's appointment. "I don't like sitting behind a desk, that's not me."

Mayor Harwood liked the outside candidates but also says he has complete confidence in Douglas. The mayor and Douglas will talk about some goals and future direction.

Douglas had been serving as interim-chief since former Police Chief Roger Lebeck retired in January. Chief Douglas also now sheds his past title of Sergeant.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Seeger High School coach dies in crash

The head wrestling coach and P.E. teacher at Seeger Memorial High School in Indiana was killed Monday evening when the vehicle he was driving crashed near the school in West Lebanon. Warren County Indiana Sheriff's Police say 61-year-old Thomas Cook was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police report Cook was northbound on Indiana Route 263. He was just a quarter mile south of the high school when his vehicle left the road and hit a ditch. Cook was ejected from the vehicle.

Monday was the last day of the school year for students who attend Seeger High.

In addition to being the head wrestling coach, Cook was also a former football coach. His wrestling teams have been very successful. Cook was earlier inducted into the Indiana High School Hall of Fame.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Joliet man identified…as yet another fatal crash victim on Rt. 113

A second fatal accident on Route 113 in the last 24 hours took the life of a 56-year-old Joliet man. Illinois State Police report Gregory Gramm lost control and hit a tree at County road 4000W.

Police and other emergency responders were called just before 7 pm Monday evening.

And it happened after three others died in a crash early Monday on Route 45 at the I-57 308 exit. Two Iroquois County men and a Kankakee resident died in a single-car crash about 5 am.

Kankakee County has recorded five fatalities in two days and six in the last eight days.

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  • Parent Category: News

Yet another fatal crash on Rt. 113 !

It happened again...another fatal crash on Illinois Route 113. Police and other emergency responders were called just before 7 pm Monday evening. It was the second fatal on 113 in the last 24 hours.

And it happened after three others died in a crash on Route 45 at the I-57 308 exit.

Kankakee County Coroner Bob Gessner reports a man's vehicle left the road and hit a tree at County road 4000W.
(Further details are unavailable).

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Layoffs: KC-CASA, ISAS hit hard by budget impasse

After nearly a year without money from the state, Kankakee County Center Against Sexual Assault (KC-CASA) and Iroquois Sexual Assault Services (ISAS) Board of Directors were forced to lay off staff and implement pay reductions for the remaining staff beginning in June. By taking this drastic step now the agency hopes to have enough resources to remain open through the state budget impasse.

KC-CASA and their satellite office in Watseka (ISAS) have gone from a staff of 15 to now a staff of just 7. While these staff reductions are temporary and directly tied to the State budget, they create limitations in services provided to survivors of sexual violence and the community as a whole.

KC-CASA/ISAS will continue to provide survivor services in Iroquois County through the 24-hour hotline, counseling, advocacy, and limited prevention education; however office hours will be reduced to 2 days per week (Tuesdays 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and Wednesdays 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.). During this temporary change, staff and volunteers from the Kankakee site will be servicing to Iroquois County.

Survivor services will also continue in Kankakee County through the 24-hour hotline, counseling, advocacy, and prevention. Staff reductions have resulted in a counseling wait list for victims of sexual assault and their significant others.
In the last year alone KC-CASA and ISAS have provided 950 hours of criminal justice advocacy to over 100 clients. The counseling program served 156 clients with over 1,200 hours of counseling and therapy. Prevention staff provided over 550 presentations and professional training to over 110,000 participants. Unfortunately, violence against women and children in our community has definitely not stopped. If the budget impasse isn't resolved soon, crucial services to victims of rape would be discontinued in Kankakee and Iroquois Counties.

KC-CASA will continue to service victims and families as long and as effectively as they can. Without a State Budget, victims suffer, families suffer, and communities suffer. Please consider advocating for the survivors KC-CASA and ISAS serve by calling the offices of Governor Rauner and Speaker Madigan to implore them to end the state budget impasse.

94.1 WGFA