Current risk to Illinoisans remains low, but state taking all steps to prepare
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is working with local, state,
and federal health partners to take all preventative steps available to limit the spread of
coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). While COVID-19 is not spreading in communities in
Illinois or the U.S., there is evidence of community spread in several countries around the world
and IDPH is committed to working across local, state, and federal agencies to ensure Illinois is
IDPH is currently conducting hospital assessments to determine all available capacity in the
event more people need medical care. IDPH is also assessing the availability of personal
protective equipment such as gloves, gowns, and masks for health care workers. Earlier this
month, Illinois became the first state to provide COVID-19 testing in-state and IDPH is
continuing to work on increasing capacity for testing to ensure rapid results.
“As additional cases of COVID-19 are diagnosed in an increasing number of countries, the
Illinois Department of Public Health is working with health care providers and local public
health officials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other state agencies to
coordinate a robust response and take every possible step we can to prepare,” said IDPH Director
Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Illinois has already led the charge, becoming the first state to be able to test
for COVID-19 at state laboratories. As we move forward, we are working across city, state, and
federal agencies to identify all available resources and ensure we are using every tool to keep our
Since January 2020, IDPH has worked closely with local, state, and federal partners to
successfully contain the virus in Illinois, with only two confirmed cases. Efforts have included:
- Implementing testing for COVID-19 in Illinois, becoming the first state to do so.
- Setting up a statewide hotline for questions about coronavirus
- Providing guidance and recommendations to local health departments, hospitals, EMS,
clinicians, and other partners in a variety of areas:
COVID-19 Preparations/ Page 2
o Assessment for COVID-19 in patients based on risk due to travel or close contact
to a confirmed case
o Evaluation and reporting persons under investigation
o Infection control practices
o Precautions for schools, universities/colleges, and students
o Prevention steps for caregivers and close contacts
o Specimen submission and testing
o Recommended strategies for personal protective equipment use
o Emergency department call triage
o Emergency Medical Services and 911 call center response
- Providing routine briefings to the General Assembly
- Communicating with the public by creating a coronavirus disease webpage, issuing news
releases, hosting press conferences, conducting interviews, and providing information on
While efforts to contain the number of COVID-19 cases will continue, Illinois will also utilize
community mitigation strategies. Community mitigation aims to slow the spread of a novel virus
in communities using nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) better known as “everyday
preventive actions” including staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, frequent
handwashing, and routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and objects.
In the absence of medications or vaccines, community mitigation measures are the first line of
defense against highly transmissible infectious diseases. Preventative actions should be
practiced by Illinoisans at all times, but especially as we continue to monitor potential spread of
a new virus.
For more information about how you can prepare for the spread of the virus and steps you can
take to stay healthy, visit https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/. While these
materials reference influenza, the information and actions you can take to prepare yourself and
your community still apply, for At Home, At School, At Work, and At a Gathering.
Watseka Police investigated a single-vehicle accident in the 300 block of West Mulberry at 9:20 p.m. According to police reports, a vehicle driven by Barbara C. Mayotte, 82, Watseka, turned too sharply while making a turn, striking a utility pole. No injuries were reported and no citations were issued. Damage was at more than $1,500.
Watseka Police responded to a report of theft in the 400 block of North Fifth at 9:20 a.m.
Watseka Police responded to a two-vehicle accident in the 100 block of West Walnut at 12:22 p.m. According to police reports, a vehicle driven by Izabelle R. Daniels, 18, Watseka, failed to yield for a vehicle, driven by Ronald P. Long, 68, Watseka, stopped in traffic. No injuries were reported and no citations were issued. Damage was estimated at more than $1,500.
Watseka Police responded to a report of reckless driving in the 1300 block of West Lafayette at 12:34 p.m.
Watseka Police conducted a traffic stop in the 300 block of North Fourth at 4:04 p.m. The driver was given a warning for cellphone use while driving.
Watseka Police responded to a city ordinance violation in the 300 block of North Third at 4:25 p.m
Watseka Police conducted a traffic stop in the 1000 block of East Walnut at 5:53 p.m. The driver was given a warning for lighting.
Watseka Police responded to a report of a reckless driver in the 1000 block of East Walnut at 6:45 p.m.
Watseka Police conducted a traffic stop in the 900 block of East Walnut at 8:33 p.m. The driver was given a warning for equipment.
Watseka Police conducted a traffic stop in the 1700 block of East Walnut at 8:42 p.m. The driver was given a warning for lighting.
Watseka Police responded to an activated alarm in the 300 block of East Walnut at 7:25 a.m.
Watseka Police investigated a two-vehicle accident in the 400 block of East Cherry at 9:07 a.m. According to police reports, a vehicle driven by Jo Anne McCord, 78, Watseka, stopped in the roadway to answer a phone call when she was struck by a vehicle, driven by Michael J. Handy, 42, Watseka, being backed out of a driveway. No injuries were reported and no citations were issued. Damage was estimated at more than $1,500.
Watseka Police assisted the Bradley Police Department in locating a wanted subject in the 500 block of East Oak at 9:22 a.m.
Watseka Police responded to a report of a suspicious person in the 200 block of West Hickory at 11:51 a.m.
Watseka Police responded to a report of a violation of an order of protection in the 700 block of East Locust at 1:26 p.m.
Watseka Police responded to a vehicle complaint in the 400 block of North Third at 2:44 p.m.
Watseka Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 300 block of West Hickory at 3:47 p.m.
Fatal Crash (Single Vehicle) WHERE: Old Route 45 @ 3000N Road (Iroquois County) WHEN: Saturday, February 22, 2020, 1:05 a.m. VEHICLE: Unit One: 2011 Toyota Camry DRIVER: Unit One: Gary D. Kleinert, 42, Chebanse PRELIMINARY: Preliminary investigation has indicated the Toyota was traveling southbound on Old Route 45 at 3000N Road. The Toyota went off the roadway and overturned. The driver was pronounced deceased on scene by the Iroquois County Coroner.
The Watseka Family Festival is proud to announce the headliner act for the 2020 Festival, August 27th-30th, country music artists NEAL MCCOY, who will perform Saturday August 29th, at 8PM. NEAL MCCOY has released fifteen studio albums! In 1993, he broke through with the back-to-back number 1 singles No Doubt About It and Wink. His success continued with two more platinum albums and a gold album, as well as six more Top Ten hits. Including Billy's Got His Beer Goggles On! Neal has been on 17 USO Tours around the world and continues to say it's one of the achievements he's most proud of. He is also the recipient of multiple Humanitarian awards from The Academy of Country Music, The Country Radio Broadcasters and The Masonic Grand Lodge. In 2016 Neal has again made a move to continue his patriotic values by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance "Live" on his Facebook page every morning. He's
reached millions of viewers all over the country and around the world. Currently he is at over 1500 days in a row and going strong.
The Watseka Family Festival is excited to have NEAL MCCOY. We feel this will be a big draw for our 2020 festival. Along with NEAL MCCOY, the festival committee is also proud to announce that we will have a COMPLETE CARNIVAL MIDWAY, along with musical entertainment by Nick Lynch Band, Holly Drive, and Rock America. Other activities will include craft vendors and food vendors, Toddler Olympics, Switch It Up Gaming Trailer, Slow Boys Tractor Show, a car show, cow chip bingo, kiddie pedal tractor pull, power wheels demo derby, sand volleyball tournament, bean bag tournament, face painting, Petting Zoo & Pony Rides, Beer Garden and much more! The Watseka Family Festival is a growing event to bring a weekend of fun filled activities and entertainment to our community. Like last year, the festival will be held at AMERICAN LEGION PARK in Watseka and there will be a $5 general admission gate fee, which will include all entertainment even NEAL MCCOY! Hope to see you there! Follow us on facebook for more information: watsekafamilyfestival
Central District of Illinois U.S. Attorney John C. Milhiser and FBI Special Agent in Charge Sean M. Cox, Springfield Division, announced that 15 Central Illinois men were arrested over the weekend related to an FBI Operation conducted in Kankakee County.
The operation was conducted with the help of the Bradley Police Department, the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office, and the Kankakee Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group.
The men have been charged in separate criminal complaints with attempted enticement of a child to engage in illegal sexual activity; some have also been charged with attempted sexual exploitation of children.
The complaints were unsealed on February 18, 2020, as each made their respective initial appearances in federal court in Urbana. Each was ordered detained pending hearings scheduled later this week.
According to the affidavits filed in support of the complaints, each of the men allegedly used various social media applications to contact and engage online with FBI covert employees posing as 14 and 15-year-old minors to make arrangements to meet the minor girl or boy with the intent to engage in sexual activity. Some of the men attempted to entice or coerce the minors to send them sexually explicit images.
As the men arrived at or near the designated address, in Bradley, Ill., they were arrested and taken into custody by FBI Special Agents; the Bradley Police Department; the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office; and, the Kankakee Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group.
The defendants charged in this operation with attempted enticement of a minor are:
- Joshua T. Koenig, 27, of Buckley
- Jody L. Lagesse, 45, of Kankakee
- Shane R. Ferris, 23,of Bourbonnais
- Nick Vincent Senor, 25, of Kankakee
- Dale Martin Alvin Scering, 26, of Bradley
- Robert Shawn Anderson, 50, of Paxton
- Bryan Rossi, 29, of Park Forest
- Timothy Lyle Dean, 37, of Bourbonnais
The defendants charged in this operation with attempted enticement of a minor and attempted sexual exploitation of a child are:
- Matthew T. Gribbon, 48, of Kankakee
- Ryan I. Woodruff, 21, of Kankakee
- Anmol Chugh, 28, of Saint Anne
- Kyren Williams, 30, of Kankakee
- Cole Montgomery, 25, of Danville
- Joseph Adam Longanecker, 40, of Manteno
- Jazzie Simmons, 28, of Kankakee
If convicted, for the offense of attempted enticement of a minor, each defendant faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison.
For the offense of attempted sexual exploitation of a child, each defendant faces a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years in prison.
The Twin Lakes region in Monticello Indiana was shocked Tuesday when the California-based owner of Indiana Beach told community leaders the amusement park, open for nearly 100 years, would close.
“We didn’t see this coming at all,” Randy Mitchell, White County economic development director, said Tuesday afternoon.
That morning, Mitchell had met with White County commissioners and council members, to relay word that things were going well for the amusement park tucked along Lake Shafer, about 30 miles north of Lafayette. That was based on reports Mitchell said he received from Gary Fawks, the local manager of Indiana Beach.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mitchell said he met with Gregg Borman, senior vice president of operations for Apex, who told him that the company was closing Indiana Beach and three other amusement parks it owns across the country because of financial reasons.
California-based Apex Parks Group bought Indiana Beach in 2015 from Morgan Recreation Vacations of Sarasota, New York. Morgan Recreation Vacations
Apex’s purchase of Indiana Beach marked just the second change the park's ownership after the founding Spackman family sold it to Morgan. The sale included the amusement park, its campgrounds and hotel about 30 miles north of Lafayette.
Earl Spackman opened the amusement park in 1926. He initially called it Ideal Beach.
The park grew over the years as a place to lounge on the beach, go on the rides and attend big name concerts. In the 1940s, Spackman handed off the resort to his son, Thomas, who eventually changed the name to Indiana Beach.
Mitchell said he was told Apex would disassemble the rides this spring and take them to the company’s other nine parks in California and two parks in Florida.
The Watseka Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the New 2020 “Summer Showcase” event will be held Wednesday, June 3, 2020 from 5:30pm to 8:00pm in the First Trust parking lot on the corner of Third and Walnut Streets this event will replace the business expo. By being the voice of business, the Watseka Area Chamber of Commerce strives to help its members and potential members to grow and promote collaboration in Iroquois County as we celebrate 75 Years 1945-2020. We invite you to stop by the 2020 “Summer Showcase”. We are looking for businesses who would like to showcase their business booths are now available. The 2020 Summer Showcase is open to Chamber members and Non-Chamber members. Take advantage of the early-bird registration for a chance to get your booth rental for free. Participants will get an opportunity to win door prizes from our area local businesses along with a 50/50 drawing and much more! The public is invited to this free event. Save the date we hope to see you there! For more information on the 2020 “Summer Showcase” event please contact Amanda Hibbs at the Chamber office by calling 815-432-2416.
February is Business Emergency Preparedness Month for the Iroquois County Emergency Management Agency. All businesses, whether large corporations or small family shops, need to have a plan in case of a disaster. When thinking of how prepared your business is, consider the following questions: ? Do you have an emergency plan? If so, when was it last updated? ? Does your emergency plan include an evacuation strategy? What about sheltering in place? ? Does your facility have any safety equipment? If so, when was the last time it was checked? ? Besides cell phones and landlines, what communications does your business have? ? Does your plan address cyber security? When businesses are prepared for disasters, communities are able to recover more quickly. Not only do local businesses offer essential services to the impacted community, but they also keep people working and keep the economy moving. Iroquois County EMA would like to offer local businesses in Iroquois County a review of their emergency plans. After reviewing the plan, EMA will provide suggestions for improvement and a certificate of recognition for striving to be a prepared business. This certificate can be proudly displayed for customers to see, showing the business’s dedication to its employees and clientele. Preparedness starts locally, and a prepared business community is the best resource for a community in recovery. Visit www.ready.gov/business for free planning tools, and contact Iroquois County EMA at firstname.lastname@example.org or (815) 432-6997 to have your business emergency plan reviewed.
Watseka Police investigated a two-vehicle accident in the 100 block of East Cheery at 4:43 p.m. According to police reports, a vehicle driven by Robert C. Netzband, 20, Gilman, stopped for a stop sign and then continued through the intersection, striking a vehicle driven by Melody A. Lowery, 19, Watseka. No citations were issued and no injuries were reported. Damage was estimated at more than $1,500.
Wateska Police arrested Tompa R. Sears, 44, Watseka, in the 800 block of West Lafayette at 11:59 a.m. Police attempted to stop a vehicle sears was driving, and during this time police observed Sears throwing items out of the window of the vehicle, which they later recovered. Sears was charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of a hypodermic needle. Sears was transported to the Iroquois County Jail.
Watseka Police arrested Katina M. Martell, 38, Gilman, in the 400 block of West Walnut at 3:12 p.m. Martell was wanted on an Iroquois County warrant charging her with six counts of forgery. Once taken into custody, Martell was found to be in possession of an uncapped hypodermic needle, which she was chard for as well. She was transported to the Iroquois County Jail.