An investigation continues after a 46-year-old man’s body was removed from the Kankakee River (Sunday). Michael Howard of Kankakee was pronounced dead at the scene at 2:25 pm.
Several emergency vehicles blocked traffic at River Street and South East Avenue. Initial reports indicated Howard was recovered from inside a vehicle that ran off South East Avenue and plunged into the water.
Details of the crash are still being pieced together. Kankakee County Coroner Bob Gessner said Howard was wearing a seatbelt. State Police said there was no sign the driver tried to stop before the crash.
Downtown Kankakee is boasting its ‘shining star,’ the Merchant Street Music Fest today (Friday) and Saturday. Thirty-five different bands offer a variety of musical entertainment, food vendors and crafts and art displays.
94.1 WGFA is broadcasting ‘live’ to get the event underway. (WGFA’s Don Elliott will anchor the broadcast from 4 -6 pm).
The annual MSMF is at the newly-named Festival Square. The former Depot Park, surrounding the historic railroad depot. It’s the site for many community events.
Kankakee Mayor Nina Epstein says the square is a symbol of community, bringing people together.
The mayor credits past administrations for getting the MSMF concept moving forward and putting the community on the map in a positive way.
The mayor said Kankakee may not be a retail center anymore, but “we are an arts & entertainment district.”
Kankakee, Vermilion County jobless rates improve New numbers from the Illinois Department of Employment security show both Kankakee and Vermilion counties have continued improvements to their jobless rates.
Vermilion County’s unemployment rate of 7.1 percent for June was down from 7.3 percent in May.
Kankakee County’s number in June was 6.1%, down from 6.6% in June of 2015.
In Champaign County the unemployment rate rose slightly, climbing from 5.1 to 5.4 percent.
Bourbonnais woman killed in I-80 crash after watching son's Little League game
A Bourbonnais woman is dead, killed in a traffic accident on I-80, after watching her son play Little League baseball.
37-year-old Jamie Leech was on her way back from Moline after watching her son play in a state Little League tournament. She died in a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 80 near LaSalle early Thursday morning.
Illinois State Police at Peru report Leech lost control and rolled her vehicle several times before landing in a ditch. It happened around 6:40 am.
Leech’s son is a member of Bradley-Bourbonnais American's All-Star squad that has been participating in the Little League 9-10 State Tournament.
The tournament games have been postponed indefinitely.
Birkey’s Farm Store Inc. to acquire Farm Pride equipment
Birkey’s Farm Store Inc., a full-line Case IH and Case Construction dealer, has agreed to acquire the Farm Pride network of equipment dealerships.
Farm Pride is currently located in Arthur, Shelbyville, Casey, Newton, and Mattoon. The acquisition is expected to close in mid-August.
“This is a great opportunity for Birkey’s to expand our dealership operations into contiguous territory directly south of our existing footprint,” said Mike Hedge, president and chief executive officer of Birkey’s Farm Store Inc., which has stores throughout Illinois, including in Gibson City.
“We look forward to developing relationships and serving the needs of customers in the Farm Pride territory with the same high level of service that our customers have come to expect from us over the last 62 years,” Hedge added.
Birkey’s Farm Store Inc., founded in 1954, is headquartered in Champaign. The Birkey’s network serves the Illinois communities of Annawan, Bloomington, Galesburg, Gibson City, Henry, Hoopeston, Macomb, Mattoon, Oakland, Polo, Prophetstown, and Urbana, as well as Williamsport, Ind.