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Celebrating. Remembering. Fighting back. These were key components of the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Iroquois County event on Friday-Saturday, June 14-15.

Celebrating took place through the more than 160 survivors and caregivers who began the walking part of the evening by making the first lap around the Watseka High School track. Remembering loved ones and friends was done as walkers passed the nearly 900 glowing luminaria that lined the darkened track during the Luminaria Ceremony at 9 PM.

Fighting back against cancer was part of the attitudes of 37 women and men who donated lengths of hair to help make wigs for people going through cancer treatment. Cancer survivors assisted in the cutting of hair, making this Ponytail Drive and Fight Back Ceremony a poignant part of the evening.

During the opening ceremonies, Ryan Rodgers, a newly-graduated senior from Monticello, Illinois, told the Relay participants about his experience with a summer research program sponsored by the Illinois Division of the American Cancer Society. As part of the 8-week program, students are assigned individual projects to research.

Rodgers worked on hydrogel research in which he and other students developed a Jello-like composition to use instead of a Petri dish for doing research on brain cancer. Research projects like this one are funded by dollars raised through Relay For Life.

Rodgers said, "This program is a great way for students to learn about what happens in a lab. I encourage high school juniors to talk to their school counselors to see if applying for an American Cancer Society summer research program might be for them."

As the Relay teams made their way around the track, their members were dressed to reflect the Iroquois County Relay 2013 theme of "10 Decades of ACS--Why Not Celebrate Big?" 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the American Cancer Society.

By the end of the event $127,115 had been collected to help in the fight against cancer. In Illinois, 72 cents of every dollar go to fighting cancer through research, education, advocacy and services for cancer patients and their families. 21 cents go to raise mission-critical funds, honor survivors and remember loved ones lost to cancer. 7 cents is for general costs and overhead. As of the end of 2012, the lifetime net contribution to Relay from Iroquois County was $1,771,994.

The top 5 teams in order of their earnings are: Wolfie's Walkers, a team formed to honor the memory of Jerry Wolfe, contributed $13,806.62. Tracy's Casey's Trotters, a team new to Relay from the Crescent City Casey's store, raised $10,379.94 in their first year. Pennies from Heaven, a team representing the Crescent City Methodist Church and a charter team of 13 years with RFL in Iroquois County, gave $9,519.28. The Survivors by Faith team from St. John's Lutheran Church, Ash Grove, supplied $8,623.96. Team Mara, a family team formed by the Ralph Buswell family in memory of family member Mara Verkler and a charter team of 13 years with RFL in Iroquois County, contributed $8,617.49. Business sponsors to Relay For Life gave a total of $43,405 in cash and in-kind donations.

Continuing information about the Iroquois County Relay For Life is available at the website www.relayforlife.org/iroquoisil.

Event Chairman Jean Lareau said, "This evening, this energy, and this event would not be possible without the support of volunteers, sponsors and participants from Iroquois County. I am grateful for your passion in helping us find a cure for cancer!"

94.1 FM, WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Onarga man hit by car in Rantoul dies

Rantoul Police continue their investigation of the death of a pedestrian who died after he was truck by a car outside a Rantoul restaurant.

71-year-old Vernon Haskins of Onarga died Thursday morning. The police report stated Haskins was a regular customer of the Hardee's Restaurant, where the accident happened around 8 am Thursday.

Rantoul police found Haskins on the ground . He was pronounced dead after be transported by ambulance to Carle Hospital.

Police report Haskins was struck by a car driven by 41-year-old Sidney Porter, who is an employee of the restaurant. Police said Porter was pulling his car into a parking space and apparently didn't see Haskins walking across the lot.

Porter was ticketed for driving with a revoked license.

94.1 FM, WGFA

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Storms leave wind damage in northern Illinois

Thunderstorms that punched through northern Illinois overnight Wednesday caused significant wind damage, mainly in rural areas west and south of Chicago.

Kankakee County was hard hit with at least three tornadoes confirmed by the National Weather Service.
A church under construction was torn down. And a horse was killed when a barn collapsed.

The National Weather Service says intense winds estimated to have reached 70-80 mph in some areas snapped large trees at their trunks or uprooted them entirely. Barns were destroyed in northern Kankakee County.

In Iroquois County, two funnel clouds were reported near Martinton. That prompted sirens to sound in Martinton and Donovan.

The storms that began Wednesday afternoon produced hail and heavy rain that caused some flash flooding. There were also reports of possible tornados from police and trained storm observers, including in the village of Paw Paw in Lee County and to the north in the Rockford area.  Nearly 11,000 customers were still without power Thursday.

Weather service meteorologist Richard Castro says Chicago was largely spared because the intense line of thunderstorms formed to the south and east.

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  • Parent Category: News

Ford County Board vote on administrator’s future pending >

A vote by the Ford County Board concerning the future of Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department. Administrator Doug Corbett could come next week.

Board Chairman Rick Bowen reports he may call a special meeting for next Thursday or Friday.

The Iroquois County Board this week (Tues) voted to recommend Corbett's firing. It's up to the Ford County Board and also the Ford-Iroquois Health Board to take the suggestion to the next step.

Corbett's been under the microscope since last fall when the health board was criticized for a proposed move to provide home health care in Indiana. That project has been scrapped. Corbett has also been under fire in recent months over a contract that his health board awarded to the husband of an employee.

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Condon Murder case proceeds; police cleared of illegal search

Iroquois County Judge Gordon Lustfeldt has denied a defense argument in the Andrew Condon murder case, claiming police information used to obtain a search warrant was based on false statements.

The judge denied what's legally called a Franks hearing to determine whether the police information to gain the warrant came from false statements.

Condon is jailed in Watseka charged with last October's shooting death of Jonathan Rubin. Rubin was the overnight attendant at the Gilman Shell Gas Station when he was shot multiple times inside the business, just off Route 24.

Condon was arrested and charged with 2-counts of murder.

Court records refer to a surveillance tape showing an argument between Condon and Rubin, but there's no audio providing exactly what was said during the confrontation. The tape however, does show a clear problem between the defendant and the clerk, Rubin.

The prosecution contends the defendant was verbally abusive to Rubin.
94.1 FM, WGFA