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Governor tours flood-ravaged Watseka, recovery efforts begin

• Information is courtesy of City of Watseka

Governor Bruce Rauner, Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director James Joseph, State Representative Tom Bennett and State Senator Jason Barickman toured Watseka Saturday.

Governor Rauner was given a map showing neighborhoods impacted by flood waters. The officials also toured some impacted areas and visited with evacuaed-residents still located at the American Red Cross shelter.

The Governor and IEMA will use the visit and other information presented to consider further action that might be taken to provide assistance to Watseka residents.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)IS NOT IN TOWN. Should anyone represent themselves as a FEMA representative, or that they work for FEMA, citizens should not allow them entry to your residence. Instead, call 911 and request police.

Damage Assessment teams covered most of Watseka Saturday. If a door hanger was left on your door, please follow the instructions. It's important that your information be collected to assist the State in decisions for future help.

Citizens should note that information material is available at City Hall, during normal business hours, to assist with debris clean-up, how to spot predatory contractors, clean up and mold issues. The City will not recommend contractors, however, the city suggests you use contractors you're familiar with and have done business.

Beware of contractors who show up at your door. In any doubt, call 911.

There is no longer a curfew in place.

NICOR and Ameren Illinois have policies they must follow when restoring your gas and electric services. The City can not overrule or change those company policies.

For official information concerning the flood event, please refer to www.watsekacity.org or the Watseka Area Firefighters Assocation or Watseka Police department Facebook pages.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Illinois Ag Director to tour flood damage in Iroquois County

Agriculture Director Phil Nelson will get a first-hand look at flood damage in Iroquois County Monday. Nelson and other officials will tour flooded farm fields and survey damage to farms.

The state's Ag director will then meet with local farmers and farm agency officials at the Lubben (Lou-bin) Family Farm in rural Watseka.

Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece tells 94.1 WGFA News area farm voices are invited to the Lubben (Lou-bin) farm at 10 am.

The Lubben farm is located at 2551 E and 2150 N. rural Watseka.

Officials say parts of the county received over 12 inches of rain in recent days. Estimates have 40% of the crops in Iroquois County are in standing water.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Gov. Rauner visiting Watseka

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is expected to tour flood-ravaged Watseka today (Sat). Rauner will meet with city and other local officials at the Trinity Church on East Walnut Street. The 12 Noon visit, most likely, will find the governor answering questions about how the state may help with clean-up and recovery efforts.

The flood waters from the Iroquois River and Sugar Creek affected over 60 square blocks of Watseka. More than 130 homes were affected.

Businesses and infrastructure has also been impacted.

Up to 70 evacuees have been cared for at the Trinity Church where the American Red Cross has provided sheltering and food.

Watseka Mayor Bob Harwood will unveil the city's plan for recovery next week. The Iroquois County and Illinois Emergency Management Agency will be involved in the recovery process.

Watseka has also lifted the curfew for the rest of the city.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Iroquois County crash claims life of former Champaign resident

A two-vehicle collision in Iroquois County Thursday led to fatal injuries for 24-year-old Stephen Montez of Cissna Park. He suffered injuries in a crash in rural Iroquois County. He died at Carle Hospital in Urbana.

Montez was airlifted to the trauma center from the site of the crash south of Onarga.

The Iroquois County Sheriff's Office reported Montez was eastbound on 700 N when his vehicle was hit by a southbound pickup truck pulling a trailer at the intersection of 1100 E. Sheriff's Police and the Champaign County Coroner's office are investigating.

The truck driver, 36-year-old Jeremy Chandler and his 3-year-old son, from rural Loda were reported in stable condition.

Cissna Park and Buckley Fire personnel had to extricate Montez from the wreckage. Chandler and the young boy were ejected from their vehicle. Police reported the collision occurred in the center of the intersection.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Paxton man's predatory sexual assault case ends in mistrial

The Ford County state's attorney's office plans to re-try a Paxton man in a sexual assault case that ended in a mistrial.

Ford County judge Matt Fitton declared the mistrial Tuesday when a jury was unable reach a verdict in the trial of 35-year-old Billy Stevens. He was charged with predatory criminal sexual assault. Stevens was arrested in February for allegedly sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl.

Judge Matt Fitton declared the mistrial in Ford County Circuit Court after the jury remained deadlocked after four hours of deliberation. A new trial date was set for October 13th.

Paxton Police and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Service.

94.1 WGFA