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Social service help available at 211

February 11 is 2-1-1 Day.

In most of the nation, and half of Illinois' 102 counties, you can dial 211 for information about services such as utility and rent assistance, or suicide prevention.

"If you have a family, for interest, that is looking at having their power shut off," says Jarid (cq) Brown, spokesman for the United Way of Central Illinois. "and they need some utility assistance, they can call 211, and they'll immediately connect them with the government agency or with the local nonprofit who can provide some help."

Brown says while 211 is available in 90 percent of the nation, Illinois has been a late adopter and only has it in 51 of its 102 counties.

The Kankakee-Iroquois United Way unveiled the 2-1-1 service Wednesday in Kankakee. Local Director Nick Allen says the program links several resource agencies.

94.1 WGFA / IRN

  • Parent Category: News

Tension grips Vermilion County Board meeting

Tuesday night's meeting of the Vermilion County Board went with little said about the recent firing of former County Finance Resource Director Nikki Bogart. But the issue presented a noticeable tension among board members.

Bogart's dismissal from here job of seven years is now the subject of a grievance filed against the county.

Tuesday night's meeting was held just a day after Vermilion County Democratic Party Chairman Frank Wright lashed out at Marron claiming Bogart's firing was "very disturbing," a political move.

Marron said comments would be limited to the task at hand, after one board member's remark about the Bogart firing. Marron says that at the appropriate time and in closed session, Board members will be brought up to date regarding the dismissal of Bogart.

A statement released by Marron and Assistant State's Attorney Bill Donahue said it would be a disservice to the public to allow some allegations made by the County Democratic Party to go unanswered.

The statement went on to say Barbara Dreher resigned as Election Commission Executive Director after the Election Commission conducted an independent review of allegations of misconduct. The independent review stemmed from a violation of the directives of the Illinois Attorney General and State Board of Elections on the proper way to count absentee ballots. A subsequent investigation by the Vermilion County State's Attorney's Office concluded that improper procedures were followed, but there was no evidence of tampering with ballots.

The joint statement from Marron and Donahue also says Dee Ann Ryan resigned on her own as Executive Director of the Vermilion County Mental Health Board. And the statement notes Ryan resigned while Gary Weinard was still Chairman of the County Board, and not under Marron's tenure as Chairman.

''Actions taken have not been the results of politics,'' said the statement. ''Residents of the County need to know that personnel actions taken by the Chairman are vetted by both legal counsel and human resources before action is taken,'' said the joint statement. And the statement adds the ''notion...that women are being pushed out is ludicrous.''

94.1 WGFA

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Iroquois County casts "No-No" vote to night meetings

Iroquois County Board meetings will remain during the day on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. That, despite another attempt to conduct "night" meetings.

A 16-1 vote (Tues) approved the Policy & Procedure committee report, which leaves the meetings for 9 am on the second Tuesday of the month. A motion to separate the matter from the general minutes to vote separately was defeated 13-4.

Discussion surfaced in December when new board member Vince LaMie re-introduced the thought of holding "day meetings" to allow more people to see first-hand on what's happening in county government. The "night" meeting concept, supporters claim, also opens the door to letting more working people get involved by either attending meetings or seeking office themselves.

Most of the comments were against the "evening meetings" because it's a burden for elected officials to attend.

As pointed out in earlier published editorials, the public meetings are about transparency. Participation by officials is part of the job. Many of the officials' duties are about accommodating the public.

Early reaction following Tuesday's meeting brought a "selfish attitude" directed toward the county officials.

Three people told 94.1 WGFA News most all other government meetings are at night, including city council, village boards, township boards, school board meetings, park district and library boards.. Even non-profit agencies conduct evening meetings.

94.1 WGFA

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Bowen leaving Ford County Board

Former Ford County Board Chairman Rick Bowen plans to step away from county government in March. He's announced he'll be leaving the board.

Bowen's resignation comes after he won re-election last November but decided then not to seek the Board Chairmanship again.

Randy Berger is the new Board Chairman. He accepted Bowen's letter of resignation. Rick Bowen served as Chairman for six years before not seeking the top job when the Board re-organized in December.

The Board will now have to fill Bowen's seat, which is a 4-year term.

94.1 WGFA

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Annual Ag Day at Christ Lutheran High School set for February 20th

The University of Illinois Extension's Ford-Iroquois Office is all set for its annual Ag Day on Friday, February. 20. The program runs from 8 am until 3 pm at Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley.

"It's All Up in the Air ... Ag. Drones, Weather and More!".....this year's theme.

Registration, coffee and rolls, at 8 am. Several ve4ndors will have displays available.

Ford-Iroquois Ag Day is free and open to the public, but reservations are required and should be completed by February 18. Call the University of Illinois Extension office in Onarga at 815-268-4051 or register online at web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv.

94.1 WGFA