'The Zone' is open for business in downtown Watseka. The 24-hour fitness center calls home in the former Napa Auto Parts building on Walnut Street. And the Watseka Area Chamber of Commerce welcomed owner Dan Gordon and staff with a grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony.
'The Zone' is a 24 hour fitness center offering the latest cardio equipment, circuit training, free weights, personal trainers, and fitness on-demand classes.
Gordon says 'The Zone' is not just a typical workout location..."we're in smaller communities, we have equipment not found in a small town gym and we're open 24-hours." Members can work out on their own time around the clock. Staff members are available 8a -7p Monday thru Friday and 9a –Noon Saturday.
Members earn a key-card and visit whenever around the clock.
Gordon owns four 'The Zone' locations in Illinois.
Flu Season coming on strong, hospitals restricting visitors
It looks like the flu bug is coming on pretty strong across Illinois this year. Stats from the state health department show more than 100 people have already been admitted into hospital intensive care units for treatment. No deaths have been reported. Officials are urging people to get a flu shot to help keep the bug at bay.
Area hospital emergency room visits show that the flu season is taking its toll. In a four-day span, December 7-10, Presence St. Mary's Hospital in Kankakee treated 40 patients that tested positive for flu. Melissa Tanner, hospital marketing coordinator, none of those treated were hospitalized.
Katie O'Grady, director of emergency services at Riverside Medical Center, reported "Within the past seven days, we've seen about five patients a day, testing positive for flu."
Several hospitals are also announcing they are restricting visitors due to the flu outbreak.
Watchdog group says closure of Dwight prison a failure
SPRINGFIELD — The Chicago-based John Howard Association says in a 40-page report Governor Pat Quinn's 2013 closure of Dwight Correctional Center did not improve conditions for the state's female prisoners.
The watchdog group said moving more than 1,000 female inmates into a former all-male facility in Lincoln hasn't lived up to assurances Quinn and his staff offered when the cost-cutting plan was revealed in 2012.
The prison watchdog group based its findings on three visits to Logan Correctional Center, which replaced Dwight as the state's main facility for medium- and maximum-security female inmates.
Quinn announced the closure of Dwight as part of a statewide money-saving plan. He said it would cost too much to upgrade the aging facility and that its closure would save $31.3 million.
But the Chicago-based organization found there are 1,985 inmates residing in a facility built to house 1,106.
State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, said the report validates concerns raised by opponents of the closure. "It is obvious the Department of Corrections lacks a long-term plan for facilities. I believe the closure of Dwight was a political decision," said Barickman, whose 53rd District includes Dwight. "It's frustrating to see."
The association suggests the General Assembly and governor provide IDOC with the money needed to repair and upgrade the facility and to hire adequate numbers of employees.
An autopsy was ordered to look into the weekend death of a Pontiac girl who died in a single-vehicle crash. The Livingston County Coroner's office and police continue to investigate the Friday death of 17-year-old Kimberly Blair.
Miss Blair was driving north of Fairbury near County Roads 2150 East and 1125 North when the accident occurred. The Coroner's office reports she was thrown from the car during the crash that happened at 3:13 pm.
South East Livingston County Ambulance Services, the Fairbury Fire Department and the Fairbury Police Department responded to the scene. The Livingston County Sheriff's Department is investigating.
GIBSON CITY — Just opened on November 24th, a lot of smiles surfaced in a hurry in the new OB unit at Gibson Area Hospital.
Three new babies arrived after months of waiting for the hospital's move into the new DeWall Maternity Unit. Hospital administrators and staff have waited to open the new addition, under construction as part of a major renovation since 2012.
Charlie Kate was the first-born in the new unit. The daughter of Brooke and Gordon Allen of Hoopeston actually started the labor process in the hospital's old OB unit.
Kristen Fredericks and Andrew LaMarr, of Piper City, also became new parents in the DeWall Unit. Their son, Layten Victor, was the second born that same day.
The honors for the third baby born were bestowed on Samantha Merrill and Ryan Mashburn of Fairbury. The Bloomington Pantagraph reports 'Baby Piper' is their second child.
Not to be forgotten however, is the last baby born in the old unit at Gibson Hospital. 'Baby boy Beau Fields' was delivered by hospital employee Rikee Fields and husband Casey. The Gibson City couple said they are not disappointed in their experience in the old unit because they were among friends and fellow co-workers who made bringing Beau into the world a special occasion.
Mom Rikee said, "We were excited at the potential to be the first birth in the new unit. But in the end, Gibson's OB is so remarkable it didn't matter—it was still a great experience. It is exciting to be part of history at this hospital that's growing and doing big things."
The Fields Family and the Allen Family were celebrated as parents of the "Last and First" babies. They received gift baskets a year's supply of diapers.