MINONK – A crash near Minonk Wednesday claimed the life of a 20-year-old Kappa resident.
Spencer L. Kirwan was pronounced dead in the emergency room of OSF Saint James Medical Center in Pontiac at 1:46 p.m. according to Livingston County Coroner Michael P. Burke.
Authorities say Kirwan was operating a motorcycle and the crash also involved a pickup truck at the intersection of Illinois Route 251 and County Highway 2. The incident is under investigation by the Woodford County Sheriff’s Department.
An autopsy was ordered by the Livingston County Coroner’s Office.
PONTIAC – A special meeting of the Livingston County Board has been called for this Thursday (Aug. 21) at 6 p.m. at the historic Livingston County Courthouse in downtown Pontiac.
The group is expected to discuss and possibly consider a 90-day moratorium on the acceptance of wind energy permit applications. Board members will also discuss establishing a process for a review of the county’s wind energy ordinance. There will also be a public comment period.
EUREKA – GOP candidate for Illinois governor Bruce Rauner is racking up quite a few miles throughout the state.
His “Shake Up Express” visited numerous Central Illinois locations in recent days, including Eureka College, a restaurant in Normal and the Iroquois County Fairgrounds. The tour is visiting 38 counties on its first leg.
According to a press release from Rauner’s office, “the message from voters was clear – they want to shake things up and bring back Illinois.”
(Photo courtesy of Bruce Rauner's campaign for governor)
Students are headed back to school for a new school year and the Illinois State Police are reminding the citizens of Illinois to take the necessary safety precautions while driving through school communities.
Illinois State Police District 08 Commander Michael Welsh is urging motorists, cyclists, school bus drivers, students and parents about the increased vehicular traffic as well as pedestrian traffic in and around school zones.
“As schools across Illinois open their doors for a new school year, Illinois State Police want to remind the public that school zone speed limits will be enforced and drivers should pay attention to the pedestrian traffic and school buses with flashing lights and safety signals,” said Lieutenant Colonel Todd Kilby.
“Officers will also increase their presence to focus on school zone speed; electronic device and seatbelt violations and other forms of distracted driving,” he added.
These violations are serious and can result in hefty fines and possible license suspensions.
To be safe in school zones, motorists should follow these safety tips:
-Motorists must stop for red flashing lights when the stop arms are extended when driving behind a bus and when coming toward a bus on an undivided road.
-If the roadway is divided (two lanes in each direction) motorist traveling in the same direction as the bus must stop.
-Illinois State Police Safety Education Officers are available to provide educational presentations at area schools and throughout the community promoting safe driving habits.
Commander Michael Welsh added that District 08’s primary goal is to ensure the safety of our driving communities with vigilance and increase public awareness.
PONTIAC – Livingston County isn’t near any national borders, but members of the county board have approved a resolution requesting legislators act to secure the nation’s border.
Livingston County Board member Stan Weber noted that the borders of the country are being ignored and our elected officials should do something. Member Earl Rients had a different opinion on the matter and said he would vote “present,” because of a belief in freedom of religion.
“Our country was founded on Christian beliefs from the Bible. Basic human rights are important for our society,” said Rients.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, the Livingston County Board appointed Robert McCarty to the Mental Health 377 Board, Laura Leslie to the Mental Health 708 Board, Paul Gray to the Northeast Sullivan Mona Drainage District and Diana Trout Iverson to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Bridge petitions were approved for the Owego, Germanville, Charlotte and Dwight road districts. Also, the replacement and repair of timber piles in the Sullivan Road District was authorized along with an engineering agreement with Willett Hofmann and Associates to do timber pile analysis and come up with repair plans.
Action was also taken on a contract for auditing services with Mack and Associates.
Normal Fire Department announces visitation and funeral arrangements for Firefighter/Engineer Nick Whitfield, Jr..
At the request of the family, a semi-private visitation for family and friends will be held Monday, August 18, from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Carmody-Flynn Funeral Home, 1800 Eastland Drive, Bloomington, Illinois.
The funeral service, including US Military and Fire Department honors, will be held Tuesday, August 19, at 10:00 am at Eastview Christian Church, 1500 Airport Road, Normal, Illinois. A firefighter walk through will commence following funeral services. Class “A” uniform is requested, if available, for all fire personnel.
Interment will follow in Peoria, Illinois.
FAIRBURY – The Fairbury Fair may only last five days, but the behind-the-scenes work happens throughout the year.
Fair board president Leroy Rodriguez appreciates the hard work put in by volunteers day in and day out to make the annual event a success.
“Actually, we start working on the Fairbury Fair after we get done this year,” Rodriguez said during the fair’s opening day Wednesday. “We go down to Springfield and we take a lot of time and even a lot of hours. I want to thank everybody for that.”
This year’s Fairbury Fair runs through Sunday and includes two nights of stock car racing, redneck olympics, a 5K run, and a new kid’s bags tournament. The talent show is planned for Saturday and a community worship service Sunday morning will feature acapella group, The Blend.
Other Sunday highlights include an antique tractor display at noon followed by horse games near the grandstand. Also, the fair is holding a drawing for free tickets to Disney World or Disneyland. Children’s names can be entered to win at the main gate each day.
For more information, log on to: www.fairburyfair.com.
(Above photo shows children enjoying the petting zoo at the Fairbury Fair on Wednesday morning)
PONTIAC – Residents of southeastern Livingston County flooded the Livingston County Board Room on the second floor of the historic courthouse in Pontiac Thursday night.
Over 100 people, mostly against the proposed Pleasant Ridge wind farm, attended the monthly Livingston County Board meeting. Board chairman Marty Fannin decided not to place a wind farm moratorium on the agenda, despite prior requests from members of the public. He said he wants to make sure the proper processes are followed.
“Everyone will have the opportunity to have their voice heard,” Fannin explained.
According to county officials, no wind energy company had officially applied for a permit as of Thursday night’s meeting. Zoning Administrator Chuck Schopp said Invenergy could file an application at the end of the month.
Marcus Maier of Forrest was the first of several audience members to address the board during the public comment portion of the meeting.
“I’m here to call for a reality check. I’m asking you to please do your homework, investigate for yourself,” said Maier.
Maier raised several questions about the costs and benefits associated with government subsidies for wind power.
Dieter Elbert, also of Forrest, stated wind farms are about two things: money and politics. He said it is time to let the tax credits expire and invest in new technologies rather than wind energy.
“Wind power is not a sustainable business,” he said.
Kelly Kinate of Fairbury expressed his frustration with the Ag and Zoning Committee for not moving forward with restrictions on a potential wind farm.
“You took an oath of office to represent the people in your district,” Kinate told the board.
Nelson Zehr of Fairbury lives on a multi-generation farm south of town and said his family’s roots run very deep in Livingston County. He asked board members to give consideration to those landowners who have already signed contracts but no longer wish to participate.
“The sentiment of many participating landowners is changing,” Zehr said.
Rebekah Fehr of Fairbury, who is part owner of 160 acres of land within the proposed wind farm area, urged the county to revisit the wind farm ordinance and make revisions to it. She said it is time for the county to do its homework and appoint a special committee to review the matter.
Board member Carolyn Gerwin submitted a petition to the County Clerk and gathered signatures calling for a special meeting on Thursday, Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. in the board’s regular meeting room to discuss a 90-day moratorium on the acceptance of wind energy applications. A public comment period is also on the agenda.
County board member Bob Young suggested a change of venue since the county meeting room was almost filled to capacity with interested citizens. Chairman Fannin has not yet announced a different meeting location, although it is possible.
Peoria, IL – Recently area Law Enforcement took a report of a phone scam where the person purported they were from Southend Enterprises. They explain to the victims they have detected a virus in their home computer. The scammers then asked for money for their "cleaning" service which is done remotely. The phone number the scammers are calling from is a 210 area code.
If you have been the victim to this scam or a similar scam, contact the Illinois State Police District 08 Headquarters at 309-383-2133 or your local police department.
SPRINGFIELD - As always, there is plenty to do at this year's Illinois State Fair in Springfield which is currently underway.
The annual event at the state fairgrounds runs through Sunday. Today (Wednesday) is Governor's Day and tomorrow is Republican Day. Futures for Kids day is planned for Friday. This year's fair also includes the usual livestock shows and numerous musical acts performing at the grandstand.
(Above photo courtesy of Karen Harms)
FARMER CITY – It’s the type of small town radio station that makes corporate program directors cringe, but it has worked for Larry Williams the past 18 years.
“Lonesome Larry” was the main voice and owner of The Whip radio station (WWHP 98.3 FM) in Farmer City until the station was recently sold and switched formats.
Friends and loyal listeners showed their support for The Whip and Williams by attending a daylong outdoor party over the weekend near the Farmer City radio station, which operates out of a small house on Main Street.
“Most of our audiences have been musicians. I’ve been blessed to have a lot of great shows and we put on a lot of great concerts in Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal,” said Williams.
Williams plans to take the “Whip” name with him as he leaves since he describes the term as a community made up of a group of folks who don’t really believe in categories of music. He is looking forward to retirement since he has gone 18 years without a day off.
“I think it’s time for like a week’s vacation and then I’ll try to start something different,” he joked.
Lonesome Larry’s vision of a non-format station lives on through the internet, as he plans to operate an online radio station from an old church building in LeRoy which he owns. He hopes to turn the facility into a center for the performing arts.
“I’m going to do a little Internet radio show there and hopefully we’ll stream some shows and possibly videos in the future,” Williams said.
Anyone wishing to listen to the new venture or stay updated on what Williams is doing should log on to: www.backlandradio.com.
The Whip was famous for the sound of a whip cracking at the top of each hour and a line which said, “Playing the best in blues, bluegrass, alternative and traditional country, rock, gospel and American Roots music.”
See a video clip of Larry's final day on the air HERE.
DWIGHT – The same handgun a man used to kill himself is apparently the weapon used in the June murders of two Dwight residents.
Authorities say the gun was found at the location where Joseph Sipple committed suicide in late June. The weapon had apparently been reported stolen during a residential burglary incident in Morris. An investigation has revealed Sipple played a role in an August 2013 residential burglary at the Denker home in Dwight.
The deaths of Kelli and Donna Denker of Dwight remain under investigation.
Normal Fire Department Investigators have determined the fire at 802 S. Grove Street accidental in nature.
Investigators discovered the origin of the fire in a stud space in the wall in the basement level of the home. The fire was caused by heat from the process of installing a new water spigot in the same area earlier in the evening. The heat ignited the paper-backed insulation in the stud space which smoldered undetected until neighbors were alerted to the fire just before 9:30pm.
Damage is estimated at $31,000. The home is insured.
FAIRBURY - A nice crowd was on hand Sunday for the Family Fun Day to benefit four-year-old Brynlee Gerber who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in March.
The benefit was held from noon to 6 p.m. at Fairbury's Sunken Park and featured a food stand, kids games, horse and buggy rides and live music.
Brynlee is the daughter of Andrew and Carlee Gerber of LeRoy.
PONTIAC - Strong storms which impacted Pontiac late Friday afternoon forced organizers to cancel the remainder of the 2014 Livingston County Relay for Life event at the Pontiac Township High School track.
Pontiac had heavy rain wind and some hail was reported by weather observers in the area. There was some talk over the weekend that the event may be made up somehow, but details were sketchy. Fundraising totals are also expected to be announced sometime in the near future.
SHERIDAN - The Illinois State Police, Dwight Police, Morris Police, Fire Departments from MABAS Divisions 15 & 25 and the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office are conducting a large scale ground search in the Village of Sheridan located in LaSalle County.
The purpose of the search on Sunday is to locate any evidence that may assist in the Denker homicide investigation and recent burglaries in Grundy County.
The ground search will begin at 8:00 a.m. and law enforcement, and fire officials want to alert the residents and local communities about the ground activity and first responder presence in the area. The 26 acre site is not being disclosed for security reasons and the search area will be cordoned off with an established perimeter to ensure the area is restricted to law enforcement and fire personnel only.
It is expected that the ground search will last for approximately five hours. More than 100 law enforcement and fire personnel are expected to work in the area.
BLOOMINGTON – 4-H is a life-changing experience. Just ask Jill Parrent of Normal and Cameron Parks of Bloomington.
The two were crowned king and queen at this year’s McLean County Fair in Bloomington. Parrent is from the Green Leafers club and Parks is from the Homespun and Stylistics clubs. Both agree that 4-H allows members to gain life skills.
“It’s one of the highest honors you can receive throughout McLean County and even in the state to be able to represent and show the younger members what you can accomplish in 4-H,” said Parrent.
“It’s an extremely humbling opportunity and I’m just looking forward to an amazing week,” added Parks.
Parrent grew up around 4-H, since her mom and all of her cousins were also involved over the years. She has done woodwork refinishing, yeast products and visual arts. Parks enjoys food nutrition, health, sewing and visual arts.
The two will be busy now that they have officially been crowned. In addition to wandering around the fairgrounds this week, they will help with the Recognition of Excellence award ceremony and take part in a number of local parades to promote 4-H.