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  • Parent Category: News

Passenger Rail Station in Downtown Pontiac Opens

Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn was joined today by city officials and Amtrak to announce the completion of the new station in historic downtown Pontiac, the latest of several station improvements overseen by the Illinois Department of Transportation along the Chicago-St. Louis passenger rail corridor. The new station opens to Amtrak service beginning Tuesday, June 6.

“After years of construction along one of the busiest passenger rail corridors in the country, the benefits are beginning to show with beautiful new stations in our state’s great communities,” Secretary Blankenhorn said. “This building will become a centerpiece of downtown Pontiac and provide travelers a safer, more reliable and convenient option to get to where they want to go.”

The 1,350-square-foot building features a peaked roof, glass façade and modern facilities and amenities for passengers on Amtrak’s Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle. Features include connections to bicycle and pedestrian paths, free Wi-Fi and parking for both vehicles and bikes. Located at 711 W. Water St., one block south of the old station, the new depot follows the successful opening last fall of a new station to the north in Dwight.

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  • Parent Category: News

Update: Grant Park woman’s death may be linked to CO poisoning

The death of a 71-year-old grant Park woman in her apartment Monday may be linked to carbon monoxide poisoning, not an oxygen tank explosion, as reported earlier.

The Kankakee County Coroner’s office is investigating the death of Sharon Baker.

The coroner’s office did say early Monday that the woman’s death was discovered after an explosion and fire in her apartment in the 100-block of N. Griffin Street. She was found in the apartment’s front room.

Initial reports had Coroner Bob Gessner saying there was an explosion inside Baker's apartment, possibly related to an oxygen tank. Gessner later said there was no explosion.

An autopsy was scheduled Monday afternoon.

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  • Parent Category: News

Hoopeston native, Thad Matta, out at Ohio State

Thad Matta, a Hoopeston native, who coached Ohio State for 13 seasons is leaving his position as the program's all-time leader in wins (337) and games coached (460) in Ohio State history.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith announced Monday afternoon that Thad Matta will no longer be the Buckeyes' men's basketball coach.

The 49-year-old Matta, who previously was the head coach at Xavier and Butler prior to his stint at Ohio State starting in 2005, guided the Buckeyes to at least 20 wins in 12 consecutive seasons from 2005 to 2016.

Smith said after Ohio State ended the 2016-17 season with a 17-15 record, Matta's future was safe, but some of the offseason developments, like the departure of JaQuan Lyle and questions about Matta's health issues, led Smith to his decision.

"We've dealt with some major negativity in terms of recruitment, my future, all of those things," Matta said. "We were battling some things we couldn't overcome. As I told Gene, 'Hey, timing is never good for a coaching change.' The July period is a huge deal. I'm perfectly fine with it."

Matta will play a role in helping Ohio State find its new coach, Smith said.

"Thad has agreed to help in the search," Smith said. "We've talked about all that. It wasn't a singular conversation."
Whoever the Buckeyes hire, it'll mark the third new coach in the Big Ten once play starts in the 2017-18 season, joining Brad Underwood at Illinois and Archie Miller at Indiana.      {News-Gazette}

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  • Parent Category: News

Kankakee mayor’s choice could lead to first black police chief

Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong has tabbed an Illinois State Police trooper to be the next police chief in Kankakee.

The matter could be a hot issue at tonight’s city council meeting.Price Dumas is the mayor’s nomination.

If approved by the Kankakee City Council, Dumas would become the city’s first African-American police chief.Dumas is a former Kankakee city patrolman. He left the department and joined the ISP three years after he was one of five black Kankakee policemen who unsuccessfully sued the city in 2003 over alleged racial discrimination.

Mayor Wells-Armstrong has said she’s looking for someone outside the city department to change the culture of the department.

Dumas has been working as field training officer with the ISP. He’s a certified instructor for the State Police Academy. He’s also supervised recruits.

The mayor has also named Dumas interim-chief since Lt. Robin Passwater resigned as the department’s interim-chief. That happened after the mayor announced her choice would be Dumas for the chief’s job.

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  • Parent Category: News

Lake County, IN authorities investigate fatal hit-and-run accident

Cedar Lake, Indiana Police are investigating a fatal hit-and-run accident that left a Chicago man dead.Saturday night.

62-year-old Stanley Sellers died on impact, according to the Lake County Coroner’s office. It was just before 11 pm when first responders answered a call to the 12500 block of U.S. 41 for a pedestrian who had been struck by a vehicle in the southbound lanes. Police said the driver of the vehicle that struck Sellers did not stop after the crash.

Police said Sellers was in the southbound lanes of U.S. 41 and it is not known if he was walking in the roadway or attempting to cross it.

Family told police Sellers was in a vehicle with a friend when an argument resulted in Sellers exiting the vehicle and deciding to walk. Police said Sellers refused to get back in the vehicle and kept walking. The driver of the vehicle was not able to persuade Sellers to get back inside his vehicle, so he drove off.

Police said Sellers' sister also spoke to him on the telephone in an attempt to get him back into the vehicle and Sellers replied that he was OK. Police said it was the last time anyone heard from Sellers prior to being notified of the accident.

Cedar Lake investigators ask anyone with information to contact police at 219-374-5416, ext 126.

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