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Local News

  • Parent Category: News

Jobless rates worsen, rising in Kankakee, Iroquois, Ford, Vermilion counties

New unemployment rates show numbers on the rise in East Central Illinois.

Iroquois, Ford and Kankakee county jobless were all up in December compared to November and a year earlier.

Champaign County's unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in December, up from 7.4 percent in December 2012, according to data released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Vermilion County's rate was 12.2 percent in December, up from 10 percent a year earlier.

Statewide, unemployment rates rose in 10 of the 12 metro areas. The other metro areas where rates declined were Chicago and Davenport-Moline-Rock Island.

The number of nonfarm jobs in the Champaign-Urbana metro area dropped by 1,100 over the course of the year, while the number in the Danville metro area dropped by 100.
The Champaign-Urbana metro area includes the counties of Champaign, Ford and Piatt, while the Danville metro area takes in all of Vermilion County.

Here are the December unemployment rates for other counties in East Central Illinois and their change from a year earlier:

— Coles, 8.7, up from 8.
— DeWitt, 8.1, up from 8.
— Douglas, 7.9, up from 7.2.
— Edgar, 9.4, up from 9.1.
Ford, 8.7, up from 7.9.
— Iroquois, 8.4, up from 8.
— McLean, 7.1, up from 6.4.
— Piatt, 8.1, up from 7.3.

Unemployment rates also rose in the cities of Champaign, Urbana and Danville.

Champaign's rate climbed from 7.5 percent to 8.2 percent; Urbana's jumped from 7.8 percent to 9.1 percent; and Danville's leaped from 10.9 percent to 13.9 percent

  • Parent Category: News

Former Grain manager, farmer sentenced to prison

PEORIA - Two men formerly associated with Towanda Grain Company have been sentenced to six and ten years in prison.

Federal prosecutors report Central Illinois farmer 46-year-old Robert James Printz of Fairbury, was handed a 10 years prison term and former Towanda Grain manager 37-year-old Timothy Boerma of Lincoln was sentenced to six years in prison.

The Peoria Journal Star reports the pair pleaded guilty in May 2013 to operating a scheme which defrauded CNH Capital. According to federal prosecutors, CNH Capital provided Printz with a line of credit for his farming operation (from September 2009 to May 2010). They said in October 2009, Printz started to deliver grain to Towanda Grain as he reached the maximum on his line of credit.
Prosecutors said Boerma handled Printz's transactions and issued grain advance checks payable only to Printz, which was in violation of the CNH Agreement. Printz reportedly continued to get advances from Boerma at more than twice the value of the grain delivered.

According to Printz, he received $13.1 million from Towanda Grain but repaid only $6.1 million.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture suspended Towanda Grain's license in 2010 and later facilitated a sale to Evergreen FS.

  • Parent Category: News

Semi slows I-57 traffic in Kankakee County

District 21 State Police reported traffic was altered this (Thur) morning when a semi overturned in Kankakee County at Route 45/52. Traffic between County Roads 5,000 and 6,000 was a bit snarled from the accident.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Human remains found in Vermilion County

Vermilion County Coroner Peggy Johnson said (Thursday) that some remains found Thursday in the rubble of a house that was leveled by a fire were determined to be human.
Now, an autopsy is planned Friday morning.

Johnson reported people going through the rubble found the upper torso of a person buried deep below the debris in the basement.

Johnson thanked Steve Mason of the Illinois State Fire Marshall's Office and all the workers who assisted in digging through the rubble in order to bring closure to this complicated case.

  • Parent Category: News

Rep. Kinzinger joins House in passing first Farm Bill since 2008

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon) today voted in support of legislation to reauthorize and modernize federal farm and nutrition programs for five years. The legislation reduces fraud and abuse in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, streamlines agriculture programs, and results in $23 billion in taxpayer savings.

"After working on this legislation for over three years, I am excited to see Congress finally get this done to give Illinois farmers the certainty and predictability they deserve," said Kinzinger. "This long overdue legislation will allow growers and producers to plan ahead and make smarter decisions about future harvests, giving them more control over their businesses. It strengthens our farm safety net, helping farmers protect against natural disasters, and represents a big step forward for getting things done in Washington."

The bill's passage comes after a recent meeting of a new Sixteenth District Agriculture Advisory Committee established by Kinzinger to serve as a forum for local farmers to weigh in on policy discussions that affect them. Members of the advisory committee include farmers from all 14 counties of the Sixteenth District.

"I appreciate those who worked to push the Farm Bill across the finish line," said Emily Pratt, a crop insurance agent from Dixon and member of the committee. "It contains commitments to improving water quality and land conservation, as well as enhancing the safety net for our farmers and ranchers. This is a win-win for our nation, not only because of the policy improvements, but also because of the savings to taxpayers."

"It's about time! We've been working on this for over two years, and it's great to see a Farm Bill finally get passed," said committee member Monty Whipple, a farmer and President of the La Salle County Farm Bureau. "This bill maintains the best of the old policies, while eliminating direct payments to help reduce our federal deficit. I'm thankful for those on both sides of the aisle who worked hard to get this done."

The five-year reauthorization bill is the result of a conference agreement recently reached between House and Senate members. The legislation repeals or consolidates over 100 programs at the Department of Agriculture while enhancing insurance programs that protect farmers against losses due to natural disasters. In addition, the legislation closes loopholes and reduces fraud in the SNAP program to save taxpayers $8 billion, marking the first reforms to SNAP since 1996. Overall, the legislation results in $23 billion in taxpayer savings over ten years.

The bipartisan bill passed the House today 251 to 166. It now moves to the Senate, where Senators are expected to vote on the legislation shortly. If passed by the Senate and signed by the President, the bill will be the first long-term reauthorization of federal farm policy since 2008.