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Iroquois County Board under fire following firing of Animal Control warden

Government operations in Iroquois County are being questioned. And – the dismissal of an Animal Control warden may be just the start of several other issues shedding a negative light, including violations of everyday policy.

State’s Attorney Jim Devine acknowledges in-house matters need to be rectified, mistakes need correcting, and perhaps, hidden-agendas need to go away. It’s all about open government.

The recent firing of animal control warden Jamie Fanning seems just the beginning of several problem matters that’ve escalated .....

"Again, we're back to same things we've talked about before --TRANSPARENCY," board member Sherry Johnson said. Just a few people keeping issues under wrap and then thinking they make all the decisions."

County Board members Johnson, Chad McGinnis and Larry Hasbargen pointed out several problems in basic policy as it relates to employee relations. McGinnis even claims Iroquois County’s own code is violated, showing the Animal Control Director wasn’t even properly appointed, let alone him firing an employee, who may or may not be considered a county employee vs a contractual-hire ? ........

Tuesday’s Tax Committee meeting was all but peaceful. Supporters of fired-warden Jamie Fanning were present. Fanning says her dismissal was retaliation over her making public harassment she had to deal with from her administrator, Dr. Haney Youseff. Youseff denied the accusations, say the firing was based on job performance.

Committee Chairman Marvin Stichnoth said the allegations and the county not following its policies will have to be reviewed by the state’s attorney.

Johnson and McGinnis question who made Stichnoth the authority to investigate anything ?

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

No policies, code violations set tone for Iroquois County meetings

The recent firing of an animal control warden in Iroquois County may be just the start of county board members questioning leadership, OR THE LACK OF, in government operations. (Tuesday’s) Tax Committee meeting has stirred up more questions and side-stepping answers.

Board members Sherry Johnson and Chad McGinnis pointed out several problems in policy when it comes to employee relations. In fact, McGinnis claims Iroquois County’s own code/by-laws shows the county doesn’t even have an Animal Control Director, let alone support any firing of a warden.

McGinnis referred to the county codes which calls for the animal control director to be appointed every two years. That wasn’t done, he said. “Our own rules aren’t followed and then just a few people think they make the rules and apply them,” McGinnis said.

McGinnis and Sherry Johnson once again called for transparency and inclusion for all concerned.
Tax Committee Chairman Marvin Stichnoth said the concerns will be turned over to State’s Attorney Jim Devine for review.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Road Commissioners worry about Harvest Emergency

Illinois' newly declared Harvest Season Emergency means farmers can add 10 percent more grain to their trucks to get their crops out of the field faster. But there is some worry about what more trucks with more grain may mean for Illinois' rural roads.

It's not just that grain trucks will now be able to haul 88 thousand pounds of grain at 55 miles-per-hour across rural highways in the state.

Whiteside County Highway Engineer Russ Renner said it's that there may be a lot more trucks carrying a lot more heavy loads.

Renner said heavier weights during a stretch of time will cause more stress on already-failing roads. Renner says Illinois' rural roads are already lacking, and a flurry of heavier trucks may lead to more potholes.

But bridges are something entirely different. Renner says the weight limit on a bridge is not a suggestion; he doesn't know how trucks will be able to carry more over some of the state's older bridges.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Senator Tammy Duckworth helps christen new flight facility in Kankakee

It was a ribbon-cutting event that brings new opportunity to the Greater Kankakee Airport. And Saturday’s event, according to Illinois National Guard Major-General Richard Hayes, moves the ‘guard’ into the 21st century.

A new Army Aviation Flight Facility was unveiled at the local airport. It’s a two-story, 185,000 square foot facility including hangar space designed for the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

Major-General Hayes told an audience of supporters ‘the training facility provides more room, room to grow for future needs.’ Hayesw said ‘we’re always looking for better ways to prepare for the war fight and domestic response.’

Included among the attendees (Saturday) was U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth. She herself, is a war hero. She’s a retired U.S. Army lieutenant-colonel and Iraq War veteran. Duckworth is the first female double amputee from the war, losing her legs and damaging an arm suffered in combat wounds when she was shot down. Yet, she continued to serve.

Saturday’s dedication at the Kankakee Airport now finds one of three Illinois National Guard units Duckworth once commanded now housed at the local airport.

The previous Army Aviation Support Facility at Midway Airport in Chicago became too cramped for space, leading to the move to Kankakee.

The Illinois Army National Guard Aviation Facility & Readiness Center is a $64.6 million project. It’s one of the largest projects for the National Guard to date. It will host 200 soldiers from several companies.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Gov. Rauner declares harvest emergency

Weather-related decision permits trucks hauling ag commodities to exceed gross vehicle weight limits, speed crop transportation

Gov. Bruce Rauner today declared a statewide harvest emergency to assist farmers and grain handlers who are grappling with the fallout of rain-related delays.

“Illinois is home to 72,000 farms on 26.7 million acres. We are among the top three corn producers in the nation,” Rauner said while visiting Stewart Farms in Yorkville Sunday afternoon. “Moving corn and other crops in a timely and efficient manner affects the bottom line of hard-working farmers. This declaration is an appropriate response to an urgent need.”

Under a new law Rauner signed Aug. 11, the declaration permits drivers of trucks carrying agricultural commodities over state highways to obtain a free permit to exceed gross vehicle weight limits by 10 percent. Further, local authorities may waive the permit requirement at their discretion. The emergency declaration is in effect for 45 days beginning today, Nov. 5.
The Illinois Department of Transportation already is mobilizing the permitting process and notifying law enforcement agencies throughout the state. More information is available athttps://truckpermits.dot.illinois.gov/.
“I would like to thank the governor for making this declaration today,” said Richard Guebert Jr., president of the Illinois Farm Bureau. “This harvest season emergency declaration will improve the transportation of our crops.”

According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Illinois corn harvest at the end of October was 17 percentage points behind the prior year and 11 percentage points behind the five-year average. The corn harvests in the Northwest, Northeast and East regions are especially hard hit. Harvesters of a variety of crops made up ground toward the end of October, but early delays still are causing backups in the transportation chain.

Jeff Adkisson, executive vice president of the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, also praised the governor’s action, noting that a bumper crop combined with the harvest delays to compound the situation.

“In years when harvest is better than anticipated, crops like corn and soybeans may need to be stored in piles outside of the traditional concrete or steel bins or tanks,” he said. “This declaration will allow grain elevators to transport commodities out of their facilities quicker, thus making room for grain stored on the ground to be moved to more suitable storage structures.”

Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Raymond Poe said the action will encourage the farming community.

94.1 WGFA