Mayor to head Public Works Department

Danville officials have decided not to fill the vacant Public Works Director job. The post became vacant when Doug Ahrens left to become Director of the Danville Sanitary District.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer will now head the Public Works Department.  Eisenhauer will have an office in the public works building and will spend half of his weekdays at the city’s Voorhees Street building. He said his role will be to mentor, guide, oversee and help develop the young department staff so that they eventually will be more prepared to step into the director role. The mayor said his phone numbers aren’t changing and he’ll be able to be reached no matter which building he’s working in. The public Works change was part of a new staff line up the mayor presented to the city council this week.



Pair escapes house fire

A woman and her 11-year-old granddaughter escaped a house fire early Wednesday in Belgium. When Westville firefighters arrived at 2:45 a.m. the pair was out of the house. Rayne Randle was in the home with her grandma while her parents were out of town. The 11-year old says she woke up in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke and ran out of her room to check on her grandma. She quickly realized they needed to get out. She ran to her aunt's home next door to call 911. Her grandma was taken to Presence United Samaritans Medical Center for smoke inhalation. The home was a total loss and the fire is under investigation. Westville, along with personnel from Catlin, Tilton, Lynch and Georgetown departments, fought the blaze.



Two Danville roads to have construction projects

Danville drivers will have two traffic issues to bypass in upcoming months. The Danville City Council has approved construction of a roundabout at Jackson and English streets. The project will be paid for by a combination of federal, state and local funds.  City officials hope the roundabout project will start in May and be completed by October.

That same timetable is set for closing of a portion of Voorhees Street. The council has authorized funding and construction engineering services for the Voorhees Street bridge replacement. The bridge, west of the Collett and Voorhees Street intersection, will be completely replaced.



Hospital Foundation heads seek details on funds

The Directors of the foundations at Presence United Samaritans and Presence Covenant are seeking a more detailed accounting of the assets raised locally.

The two hospitals will become part of the OSF Healthcare system on February 1st. Both medical centers operated fundraising foundations to support the ministries in the Danville and Urbana and surrounding communities.  Segregated funds have been maintained to ensure that funds raised by the local foundations would be used in the communities where the funds were raised and in accordance with both explicit and implied donor intentions.

In connection with the transition of funds from Presence to OSF, the foundation boards of the two medical centers have repeatedly requested information from various officials with Presence Health corporate offices regarding the exact dollar amount of foundation funds that will be transferred from the Presence system to the OSF system.  Only limited information has been provided to date from Presence that they consider to be restricted funds of the foundation. The foundations directors said in a news release that there is a significant difference between their invested assets and the details of the restricted funds provided by Presence, They say they have a responsibility to our donors to obtain the details of how the other funds were used, and feel a more complete accounting should be provided to ensure that.



Danville gets five probationary cops

Five new probationary Danville police officers have been sworn in. The swearing-in ceremony was held in the lower level City Council Chambers in City hall.  

The appointees are:

Joseph Moulton          

Brandon Phillips

James Rutledge          

Henry Schroeder

Scott Showers

The new officers will bring the Danville Police force up to 60 sworn personnel.  Each of the new officers will undergo about six months of training before their probationary period ends.



Local schools to get libary money

Five local schools will be getting school library grant money. State Representative Chad Hays announced that the state money is on its way to five locations in the 104th Legislative House District. The School District Library Grant Program is designed to help provide more library books and materials for students attending public schools in Illinois.

Danville District #118:  will get $4,220.25. The Oakwood School District will get $750. Rantoul City Schools District #137 will receive about 12 hundred dollars, Rantoul high school district will receive $750.  Westville School District #2 will obtain $949.50



Jerry Van Dyke passes away

One of Danville’s favorite sons has died.  Jerry Van dyke Passed away at his home in Arkansas. He and been in failing health since a serious car accident two years ago. 

Van Dyke won national acclaim for his work in Television and movies, but never forgot his local roots.  Over the years he was a frequent visitor to Danville and supported local programs including the Danville Tennis Club, the Red Mask players and the Fischer Theater.  Jerry Van Dyke was best known for his role in the television show “Coach,” for which was nominated for 3 Emmys. In a show business career that spanned some 55 years, he also appeared in a number of other TV shows and movies. His first TV appearance was as a comedian on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1962.

Although he was a clown — both as a Danville student and an adult — he was a good guy, according to local people who knew him. Whenever Van Dyke returned to Danville, he charmed people with his approachable, easy-going manner.

Jerry’s older brother – world famous Dick Van dyke – said Jerry was the funniest person he ever knew.  



Man killed in Oakwood truck accident

A Jacksonville man died Tuesday night after being hit by a tractor trailer while walking in a gasoline station lot just off Interstate 74. Vermilion County Coroner, Jane McFadden identified the victim as 47 year old Kevin Edwards.

According to a preliminary investigation, Edwards, also a semi driver, was in the east parking lot near the diesel fuel pumps when the driver of a tractor trailer and semi pulled out from the fuel pumps and struck Edwards. The semi dragged the victim onto Oakwood Road to the Interstate 74 eastbound ramp.

The report said the semi driver — a 45-year-old Martinsville, Ohio, man — thought his vehicle had mechanical problems and pulled over on the ramp. A witness then alerted the driver that he struck a pedestrian in the parking lot. State police and the Vermilion County coroner’s office are still investigating the accident. No charges have been filed at this time.



War Museum to hold USO fundraiser

The Vermilion County War Museum will host its 2nd annual USO Show Charity Fundraiser on Saturday January 27th.  The evening will be filled with various forms of entertainment including music from “The Mike Ellis Band” and comedian Dan West. There will also be silent and live auctions.

The event will be held at the American Legion Post 210 in Danville. Doors will open at 6:30 with the event starting at 7:00pm. Period dress is optional.

Tickets are available by calling 217-431-0034 or by emailing . Tickets are $20.00 for a single and $30.00 for a couple. 



Funds released for removal of local dams

The city of Danville has been notified that the state has finally released funding to remove two dams.  So the projects to remove the Ellsworth Park and Danville dams will move forward.

The two dams were deemed safety hazards and the city council voted to remove them in 2014.  The Illinois Department of Revenue agreed to remove the dams and pay for the projects.  However, the dam projects were part of a review process ordered by Governor Bruce Rauner when he took office.  That review has now been completed.  The state has authorized some 2 million dollars for the dam removals. The General Assembly appropriated funds for the Danville dam removals through bond sales that are part of the Jobs Now program.  The state plans have been to remove the Ellsworth Park dam first, followed by the removal of the dam behind the Public Safety Building. 




Study shows embankment eroding along river

An engineering study has confirmed that the embankment separating the Middle Fork River from millions of cubic yards of potentially harmful coal ash is eroding at an average of more than 2 feet per year. That is prompting local river advocates to call for swift action to protect the waterway. The News-Gazette reports that Stantec Consulting Services states that in some places, the embankment is only 19 feet wide. Stantec says that means some of the sections could be gone in 8 years. Stantec did the study for Dynegy, which owns the fly-ash pits that were left over from the coal-burning process at the shuttered Vermilion Power Station just upstream from Kickapoo State Park. The Houston-based company wants to stabilize the existing embankment between the river and the coal-ash pits and then cap the pits with an earthen layer. But the report says the embankment already is too narrow for heavy equipment to be used.

Local river advocates are pressuring the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to hold a public hearing on the issue. If the agency does not, they will organize one in the spring. They argue that contaminants in the fly ash — like arsenic, mercury and lead — are already leaching out of the ponds that are not lined at the bottom. And for the ponds to remain in the flood plain of the river means risking long-term contamination to the river and underground water supplies, they contend.



Farm Bureau honors local leaders

The owner and General Manager of WITY radio, David Brown, has been honored by the Vermilion County Farm Bureau. He received the Spokesperson of the Year Award.  The Farm Bureau says David has expanded local farm coverage and works with local Farm Bureaus to feature their programs and activities. He also promotes the special ag events in the area.

The bureau also honored Dane Darr with the Distinguished Service Award for 2017. Dane has been active in Vermilion County Farm Bureau since he was 16 years old.  He has served on a variety of state and local Farm Bureau groups, The Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award winner is Michelle Lawhorn, a first grade teacher at Mark Denman Elementary School in Danville. While her students don’t have much exposure outside the city of Danville, she hosts them on a farm visit every year so they can experience the different agricultural landscapes, farm animals, and equipment.





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