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  • Parent Category: News

Elks, Kiwanis clubs share honor in leading Watseka Christmas parade

The city of Watseka's annual lighted Christmas Parade finds two popular organizations sharing the honor of grand marshal. The Watseka Elks Lodge and the Watseka Kiwanis Club will lead the parade on Friday, November 28th.

The parade steps off at 7 pm, beginning at the Glenn Raymond School and following the usual parade route. Parade announcer will be Jake Ray of WGFA Radio. The announcer and parade judges will be stationed at Santa's House on Walnut Street.

The Elks Lodge and Kiwanis were chosen for parade marshal honors for their community service traditions, the Watseka Area Chamber of Commerce announced.

The Elks Coats for Kids program has distributed more than 150 coats per year to kids in need for the past three years. They host annual Bingo for Cancer Fighters, a fundraiser benefiting families affected by cancer, as well as a children's carnival.

The Kiwanis club also focuses on helping the children of the community from its annual peanut sales, serving lunch at the local fishing derby and volunteering in many area events.

Santa will be receiving children of all ages after the parade and will be in his downtown house from 10 am.'til noon Saturday, November 29, and again 10 am.'til noon Saturday, December 20.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Cloonen declared winner of 79th Illinois House District race

The hotly-contested race for the House seat in the 79th district goes to incumbent State Rep. Kate Cloonen. Provisional ballots counted Tuesday give Cloonen a 122 vote margin of victory.

The district includes Kankakee and parts of Will and Grundy counties.

GOP challenger Glenn Nixon says he'll seek legal advice about a possible recount.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

I-57 bridge repairs continue

The Illinois Department of Transportation reports the I-57 construction work in replacing bridges south of Chebanse and Clifton should be completed in about four weeks.

Meanwhile, motorists are urged to be aware of the construction work and construction crews.
IDOT reports work on the one-lane delays at the Langham Creek bridge, south of Chebanse, and at the overpass for the Canadian National Railroad, on the southern edge of Clifton, has include weekend work hours to move the project along.

The reconstruction of the I-57 bridges over the Kankakee River, a $19.3 million project, will continue to create traffic bottlenecks until "late 2015.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Kankakee shooting leaves 1 dead, suspect in custody

A 31-year-old Kankakee man was shot several times Monday by a gunman who is in police custody. Jermaine Burbridge is identified as the shooting victim. He was pronounced dead in the 600-block of N. Harrison Avenue.

Kankakee police have arrested a suspect who allegedly killed Burbridge, injured another person and took someone hostage.

The shooting, police report, was not far from another fatal shooting last week.

According to police, the suspect ran several blocks from the shooting before taking a hostage on East Willow Street. The SWAT team was called in to detain the suspect.

This homicide, the city's sixth of the year, and the 11th in the county, occurred in a home just north of last Thursday's shooting. 26-year-old DeArrion Harris was shot multiple times inside an apartment building across the street from a church.

Police made at least one arrest that day, but no one has been formally charged.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

High school students pitch new state legislation at Sen. Barickman’s Youth Advisory Council

Bloomington – Students from more than a dozen Illinois high schools are trying their hands at crafting new state legislation. It's all part of State Senator Jason Barickman's (R-Bloomington) "Youth Advisory Council."

Sixty-five high school students joined Senator Barickman at his first "Youth Advisory Council" at Heartland Community College on November 13. The Senator described the event as an opportunity to not only demonstrate to the students the significant role of government in their lives, but engage the young people in the legislative process.

"These students are the future leaders of our communities, our state and our nation," said Barickman. "The Youth Advisory Council was developed as a way to engage young people in state government, show them that their opinions and contributions are important, and that they can play a direct role in shaping public policy. What better way than to allow them to actually take part in the process of making laws? "

High school students from Central High School, Christ Lutheran, Cissna Park, Iroquois West, Milford, and Watseka were joined by other young people from throughout the 53rd District to learn about the functions of local and state government. The students were divided into smaller breakout groups to brainstorm specifically on legislation they believe is needed in Illinois. They were able to discuss relevant topics within their communities and come up with potential legislation to be considered by the General Assembly.

"Listening to these students work through these issues was eye opening," said Barickman. "As young people they have a different perspective, and I was impressed by how insightful and thoughtful many of their suggestions were."

Representatives from both state and local government also spoke to the group, explaining the role they play in their respective positions. Senator Barickman was joined by State Representative Dan Brady; McLean County Sheriff Mike Emery; Associate Judge William Yoder; Illinois Farm Bureau Legislative Director Kevin Semlow; and ISU Men's Basketball Coach Dan Muller. Students also learned about the legislative process and how a bill becoming a law in Illinois.
"It's really exciting, I mean to think that we can have a voice, and that our opinions can be heard, you know we're just high school kids," said Kristina Smith, a senior from Normal Community West. "But we got the chance to offer our opinion on something that maybe doesn't always get heard, so Senator Barickman got to hear that, and it was an awesome opportunity."

The Senator said he is planning for the students to return for a follow up Youth Advisory Council in Springfield during the Spring 2015 session, with hopes of filing a piece of legislation related to the discussions from Thursday's meeting.                   {info submitted}