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Kirk Announces Washington, Illinois, Mayor Gary Manier As His Guest for the Upcoming State of the Union Address

                Manier's Community Was Devastated in November Following Deadly Tornadoes

                         Pushes FEMA to Re-Assess Their Methodology for Distributing Aid

CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today announced that his guest for next Tuesday's State of the Union Address will be Gary W. Manier, Mayor of Washington, Illinois.

"Having seen firsthand with Mayor Manier the devastation that November's deadly tornadoes caused, it's time for a serious reevaluation of FEMA's methodology for providing Public Assistance," Sen. Kirk said. "Hundreds of families in Mayor Manier's community were displaced due to these storms, and FEMA should treat all communities fairly when a disaster strikes."

"I'm excited to have the opportunity to attend the State of the Union as Senator Kirk's guest," Mayor Manier said. "Senator Kirk toured our city a few days after the tornadoes hit, and continues to be a fierce advocate for our community's recovery efforts. I'm grateful for his friendship and help."

Earlier this month, FEMA declined to provide Public Assistance aid to Illinois communities impacted by last November's tornadoes, stating that the damage assessment did not meet federal standards and requirements for assistance. Senator Kirk, along with Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), sent a letter to FEMA on January 14, 2014, requesting a change in FEMA's disaster zone valuation. You can view the letter here.

FEMA's current determination of Public Assistance aid relies heavily on the "per capita" factor, which gives larger states like Illinois a severe disadvantage when determining aid. Due to Illinois' large, urban populous center, according to FEMA standards the state has to incur a higher level of damage in order to receive aid and assistance from the agency.   (Article submitted}

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Vigil Held For Purdue Student

(West Lafayette, IN) -- Students are in shock over the death of a classmate at Purdue University. More than a thousand attended a vigil for Andrew Boldt last night in West Lafayette. The senior engineering student was shot to death on campus around noon yesterday. Administrators say classes are cancelled today at Purdue. {Metro News}

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Judge Kick admonishes Kankakee County Board Chairman

The proposed-renovation of the Kankakee County Courthouse has taken different directions over the last several months. And now, the Chief Judge has taken issue with the County Board Chairman.

Judge Mike Kick claims in a letter directed to Board Chairman Mike Bossert that any plan to renovate the courthouse must meet the approval of the Illinois Supreme Court. And the judge states in an email, copied to area media, that Bossert has developed a plan in blatant disregard of the law without the judge's input or approval. Judge Kick states the plan disregards all past discussions regarding the renovation matter.

Kick demands a written plan for the courthouse renovation be presented to him for approval before any other courthouse renovation work takes place or any relocation of personnel occurs.

Judge Kick says refusal to follow the law will result in the issuance of appropriate orders making sure compliance is met.

The letter stems from a County Building & Grounds committee agenda on the renovation project and the remodeling of the courthouse basement.

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Paxton man charged following investigation into child abuse

The 20-year-old father of a one-month-old baby boy is facing charges of reckless conduct causing great bodily harm and endangering the life/health of a child. Tyler Schwing of Paxton was arrested following an investigation by Paxton Police.

Meanwhile, the baby boy is in the custody of the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services.

Additional charges are pending. The case remains under investigation.

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>>Suspect, Victim Identified In Purdue Shooting

(West Lafayette, IN) -- Classes are cancelled at Purdue today in the wake of yesterday's campus shooting. Police are identifying both the suspect and the victim as students at the school. Police say the victim was targeted by the suspect and this was "not an active shooter incident." The suspected gunman is being identified as Cody Cousins, a 23-year-old engineering student and the victim is 21-year-old Andrew Boldt from Wisconsin. He was a teaching assistant at the school. {Metro News}

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