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  • Parent Category: News

Audit next step for health department

A forensic audit appears to be the next thing on the drawing board for the Ford-Iroquois Department of Public Health.

The department's finances are the subject of the audit, which follow-up on the earlier allegations of fraud, awarding of contracts without proper bids.

Another issue surfaced this week when the Edgar County watchdog Group pointed another finger, claiming the department's tobacco coordinator—Julie Clark—misused funds for the tobacco program. Watchdog Kirk Allen offered to produce documents showing Clark misled the health department officials in her application for grants to subsidize the program.

The allegations were denied.

94.1 FM, WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Farm Progress Show ends with hopes for rain

DECATUR — Up until recent weeks, farmers across Illinois, including Lynn Rohrscheib of Fairmount, were optimistic about the possibility of a bountiful harvest.

For Rohrscheib and other growers this week at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, concern has grown about crops drying out before harvest is ready to start next month. It's like the water faucet for rain has been turned off and sealed shut, she said.

"Soybeans are hurting," said Rohrscheib, who serves as a director for the Illinois Soybean Association. "They need a drink. If we get rain, we'll be all right."

As for corn, analysts speaking during the Farm Progress Show, which concluded Thursday, appeared to think the crop is going to be sufficient as it heads into the final growing stages before harvest.

"Up until this last week, it's been fairly stress free," Emerson Nafziger, a University of Illinois crop production specialist, said of corn. "We've got a crop that has been now living on stored moisture for the month of August. We would still like more rain."

The weather over the next two weeks is going to be critical for the soybean crop, said David Hartke, a farmer from Teutopolis who serves on the United Soybean Board. Corn is already an improvement from the damage suffered in last year's drought, he said.

"If we get 1 inch of rain today, it would mean millions to the soybean farmers of the state," Hartke said. "My corn crop is six times better than last year. It's not going to be a bin buster like we thought three weeks ago."
Despite the setbacks and challenges presenting themselves, Nafziger isn't ready to give up on the harvest.

"More of the surprises at harvest will be positive than will be negative," he said.

The 2014 Farm Progress Show will be in Boone, Iowa. The event will return to Decatur for Sept. 1-3, 2015.

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  • Parent Category: News

Benton County gaining 22 new jobs >

Appalachian Railcar Services out of West Virginia, announced last week that they'll be building their newest facility in Benton County, Indiana.

The company is investing $1.4 million in leasing, constructing, and equipping the 8,000 square-foot facility in Earl Park. The company plans to bring existing rail up to industry standards. The company is going to do maintenance and storage of rail cars.

Benton County Economic Development Director, Kelly Kepner said. "Norfolk Southern had a three and a quarter mile, disconnected track and what they did is now they lease that track to ARS. Kepner said "we were the perfect fit for them."

Kepner said during the next two years, the company will provide 22 new jobs, ranging from secretarial work, to welding jobs.

"My understanding is they're going to be starting out with 8 to 10 jobs this year," Kepner explained. "I do know they already received over 40 applicants which is great. A lot of people that we are going to be needing for these jobs are going to be welders."

For an application, you can stop in the Benton County Economic Development office at the Benton County Courthouse.

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  • Parent Category: News

Cops out in force this Labor Day weekend

Illinois State Police will be joined by 400 local departments for extra traffic patrols over the holiday weekend.

The cops will be looking for drunk and distracted drivers, speeders, and seat belt violators. The enforcement detail will run through midnight Monday.

Shannon Alderman, the alcohol program coordinator for IDOT, says this is not about ticket revenue. "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is not about making arrests. We want motorists to drive smart to prevent those arrests from ever having to take place. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is about deterrence, it's about prevention, it's about saving lives," he said.

Alderman says these efforts are working, because fatalities caused by drunk drivers, especially at night, are declining in Illinois. There were 374 DUI deaths in Illinois in 2007. That number dropped to 233 in 2011. Between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m., DUI fatalities fell from 121 in 2007 to 71 in 2011. {IRN)

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  • Parent Category: News

Full weekend of Labor Day events >

In addition to the start of Illinois high school football this weekend, there's plenty of labor Day events in area communities.

There are boat races at the Kankakee River Regatta, Herscher has its annual Labor Day Celebration, including a Parade at 10:30 Monday morning. It's the 93rd 3-day run at Herscher.

The annual Kankakee River Regatta runs through Monday. Speed boat races on the Kankakee River always a big attraction.

High School football in Illinois kicks off tonight. WGFA sports features the Central Comets hosting Prairie Central. Kickoff at 7:45 pm.

Other games are 7 pm starts...Watseka hosts Robinson, Milford at Tri-County, Eureka at Iroquois West. Momence opens at Oregon, Herscher is at Westmont, Mac openbs at home against Hales Franciscan, Solorio Academy at Kankakee, T.F. North at Bradley-Bourbonnais.

The Threshermen's Reunion is at Pontiac, north on Route 23.

Hoopeston's Sweet Corn Festival runs thru the weekend, including the National Sweetheart Pageant.

Earl Park, Indiana is hosting the Earl Park Festival in Benton County.

94.1 FM, WGFA