Friday, December 31, 2010

Essex, Illinois artist Jack Barker

As soon as I saw this photo of Essex-based artist Jack Barker, my immediate thought was, the American Pickers have to stop there!  Such cool stuff!!

Here is a PBS video which includes an interview where Jack Barker discusses some of his work (Barker's is the last interview):

Monday, December 27, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Farm Subsidies in Kankakee County

If you are interested in researching farm subsidies in Kankakee County, this website provides a searchable database of farm subsidy payments organized by state and county.

There is a lot of data on this site.  For example, according to this site, from 1995 to 2009, farms in Kankakee County received $188, 244, 365 dollars in Corn Subsidies.

Included in this total are: deficiency payments, direct payments, production flexibility payments, and other payments.

Subsidies to grain farmers have become a controversial issue in debates over food policy.  Those who argue against corn subsidies argue that these payments flood the food market with products made from corn that they argue are largely unhealthy.

Farmers and other supporters of corn subsidies point to high input costs such as land rent, fertilizer, and weed control chemicals and argue that subsidies are critical to ensuring farmers can produce the food that consumers want.  You cannot deny that the public continues to buy meat---most corn grown in the US is used for livestock feed--and other products that rely on corn.

The New York Times recently published a debate on whether farm subsidies protect national security.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Kankakee resident involved with Warehouse Workers for Justice

Will County, Kankakee County's neighbor to the north, is home to the largest inland port in North America.

In the past decade, Will County has become dotted with distribution centers and warehouses.  The Will County Center for Economic Development recently released a Will County Inland Impact Study Summary Presentation.

The group Warehouse Workers for Justice advocates for warehouse workers, focusing much of its work in Will County.

Here is a video of a Kankakee resident involved with Warehouse Workers for Justice explaining his experiences with warehouse work in Will County:

Given the tens of thousands of jobs in Will County related to warehouse work, it is likely many Kankakee County residents--like the man featured in the video--commute to Will County for work.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kankakee County Illinois Election Results

Looking for election results for Kankakee County races such as:
Nick Been v. Lisa Dugan v. George Ochsenfeld in the 79th State House Seat
Toi Hutchinson v. Adam Baumgartner in the 40th State Senate
Adam Kinzinger v. Debbie Halvorson in the 11th Congressional

Go to the Kankakee County Clerk Site:
Then go to the top of the page
Go to "election info"
Then go to "most current results"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Debbie Halvorson sign defaced on Route 45 near Manteno

Halvorson sign defaced on Rt. 45 near Manteno, Illinois.

This is ridiculous.  The elections are obviously very highly contested this year, but it is wrong to deface or destroy anyone else's property, period.  We have received reports from numerous other campaigns in the area that signs were stolen, knocked-down, or otherwise tampered with.

Is this the work of a few bad apples?  Teenagers having "fun"?  Maybe.

The point is regardless of how you are going to vote in the election, we are all citizens of this area and need to do our part to maintain law and order.

Nick Been--Republican Candidate for the Illinois 79th Representative District--"The Status Quo has to go"

Check out this video of Nick Been--Republican candidate for the Illinois 79th State Rep District.  Been is running against incumbent Democrat Lisa Dugan and Green Party candidate George Ochsenfeld.

Watch the video where Nick explains his position on taxes and business in Illinois:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Adam Baumgartner, Republican candidate for State Senate, 40th Distirct

Adam Baumgartner explained why he is running for the Illinois State Senate during the Tax Town Hall held by Adam Baumgartner and Nick Been.  The 40th State Senate District includes parts of Cook, Will, Kankakee, and Iroquois County.  Baumgartner's opponent is Democrat Toi Hutchinson.

Video where Adam Baumgartner explains why is running for State Senate and some of his positions:

Watch Debbie Halvorson and Adam Kinzinger debate

In case you missed Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson and Republican Candidate Adam Kinzinger's debate, you can watch a video of  the debate provided by the Ottawa Delivered Website.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

US Senator Dick Durbin to be in Kankakee area Monday, October 18th

US Senator Dick Durbin will be in the Kankakee are Monday, October 18th.

US Senator Dick Durbin is holding a rally for State Senator Toi Hutchinson Monday, October 18th at 6 pm in Bradley, Illinois.

For more information on the Early Vote Rally, visit 
Senator Hutchinson's website.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Debbie Halvorson believes no family farm or small business should ever be lost due to estate tax

Responding to a recent willcountynewsviewpoints post, Greg Bales--New Media Director for Debbie Halvorson for Congress--provided Congresswoman Halvorson's position on the estate tax--

"Congresswoman Halvorson believes that no family farm or small business should ever be lost because of the estate tax. That is why she is proud to co-sponsor H.R. 3905 the Estate Tax Relief Act.  

This bipartisan bill raises the estate tax exemption level from $3.5 million to $5 million and indexes the exemption level to inflation, which would prevent the estate tax from hitting small businesses and family farms. 

The legislation also reduces the top estate tax rate from 45% to 35%. These changes are phased in over 10 years to minimize the impact on the deficit. 

Congresswoman Halvorson believes that Congress should act on this legislation immediately in order to prevent the estate tax rate from rising back to 55% in 2011. "

With an exemption of 5 million and a hypothetical family farm of 300 acres which is valued at 10,000 an acre, that farm could be passed down without any inheritance tax because the 300 X 10,000 is 3,000,000, which is obviously under the proposed 5 million exemption.  

Monday, October 11, 2010

Halvorson and Kinzinger to debate tomorrow

Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson and Republican challenger Adam Kinzinger will participate in a debate tomorrow, October 12, 2010, at Illinois State University.

The debate will take place from 6-8 pm at the Bone Student Center-Brown Ballroom.

The race between the two for the Illinois 11th Congressional seat has been heated. 

If you want to listen to the debate, it will be streamed live by Bloomington radio station WJBC at

Monday, September 13, 2010

Halvorson, Kinzinger release statements on their debates for the 11th Congressional race

The 2010 race for the Illinois 11th Congressional District between incumbent Democrat Debbie Halvorson and Republican challenger Adam Kinzinger is heating up.

The 11th Congressional district includes Kankakee County:

Map of the 11th Congressional District of Illinois
Map from

Halvorson and Kinzinger are scheduled to participate in 3 debates.  The way the debates are described in press releases by the two campaigns is noticeably different.

11th Congressional District Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson released the following statement on her website regarding debates between herself and Kinzinger:

Halvorson Announces Debate Schedule

Halvorson will take part in three debates: She and her opponent will appear together before the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board on October 5th for a joint endorsement session that will be posted online, a second meeting at Illinois State University in Normal, IL on October 12th; and a third debate hosted by WCMY-AM in Ottawa, IL on October 13th."

Kinzinger's website had a much longer and more detailed description of the debates.  Press release regarding 11th Congressional District Debates from Adam Kinzinger's website:

"Sep 7, 2010
Halvorson dodges open debates

Incumbent not interested in standing before public

 NEW LENOX – Just as she dodged constituents and Town Hall meetings while supporting the massive federal stimulus bill and health care reform, Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson is once again doing her very best to avoid public contact by ducking open debates with Republican challenger Adam Kinzinger.
The incumbent Congresswoman waited two months and a Congressional recess to pass before agreeing to any joint appearances with Kinzinger, and then sought to hide her evasion with a press release Friday “announcing” her participation in three “debates.” But the statement fails to mention that two of the three meetings are closed to the public (Chicago Tribune Editorial Board – Oct. 5 and WCMY AM Radio, Ottawa – Oct. 13) or that Kinzinger had requested at least six debates to be held in every region of the District.
Under the Halvorson schedule, no public debates would be held in Bureau, Grundy, Kankakee, LaSalle, Livingston, Will or Woodford Counties – which combined account for more than 85 percent of the District.
“Congresswoman Halvorson has made it clear that she has little interest in debates, and even less in standing before the public,” said Kinzinger, who specifically requested a series of debates to be held during the six-week Congressional recess that ends September 10. “This is her opportunity to set the record straight and explain once and for all why she has voted for Speaker Pelosi’s agenda 93 percent of the time. There is still time to schedule more public meetings before Election Day, and I am hope the Congresswoman will reconsider.”
Kinzinger wrote to Halvorson more than eight weeks ago, requesting that their campaigns work together to identify mutually-acceptable dates, formats and sponsors for a minimum of six public debates in different regions of the 11th Congressional District. Kinzinger suggested the meetings take place during the Congressional Recess period in August and early September.
Halvorson ignored the request. When pushed by media she explained that she had a “huge job to do” in her official role before turning her attention to politics. The Congresswoman proceeded to fly-in House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer for a campaign fundraiser that very week. She then found time for three separate campaign appearances with Sen. Dick Durbin in early August, and to attend an Illinois fundraiser with President Obama.
In renewing his request for additional debates Monday, Kinzinger asked Halvorson to place the same priority on scheduling joint-appearances as she has on her negative campaign to discredit his challenge and save her job.
 “It is disappointing to have a Representative who is more interested in engaging in personal attacks and cheap shots than an open, honest debate in front of the people she represents,” Kinzinger said. “It speaks volumes not only about the Halvorson campaign, but about what is wrong with Washington today – and why it is so important to shake things up on November 2, 2010.”

kankakeecountynews will make sure to look for the Oct. 5th debates to be posted online and share them on this site as soon as possible so voters can get a chance to hear from both candidates.

Friday, September 3, 2010

St. Anne Grade School Band performs at Pembroke Community Days Parade in Hopkins Park, Illinois

The St. Anne Giants Marching Band from St. Anne Grade School in St. Anne Illinois performed at the Pembroke Community Days Parade in Hopkins Park, Illinois. Despite the heat, the band put on a great show!

Here is a video of the St. Anne Illinois Grade School Marching Band-

More photos from the Pembroke Community Days Parade in Hopkins Park, Illinois:

Pembroke Township Fire Department at Community Days Parade

Pembroke Township Community Days Parade in Hopkins Park, Illinois

Thursday, September 2, 2010

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars used for Sandstone Hills Housing in Hopkins Park, Pembroke Township, Kankakee County, Illinois

Sign for the "Sandstone Hills" Housing Project in Hopkins Park, Illinois carried in the August 28th, 2010 Pembroke Township Community Days Parade in Hopkins Park

The project was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and was supported by Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson.  According to Halvorson's website

"3/19/10 - Halvorson Supported Recovery Act Helps to Fund New Affordable Housing in Hopkins Park

Working to bring affordable housing options and needed jobs to Kankakee, Rep. Debbie Halvorson (IL-11) joined State Senator Toi Hutchinson, State Representative Lisa Dugan, Mayor Samuel Payton, and other local officials and community members at the ground breaking of Sandstone Hills, a single-family rent-to-own community of 29 homes made possible by federal Recovery Act funding.

"A critical part of the American Dream is the opportunity to have a home our families can call their own," said Halvorson. "The funding provided by the Recovery Act I voted for will offer an opportunity for families to purchase homes they can afford, at a time when they need help the most."

Funding for the Sandstone Hills development was provided through a combination of $6.34 million in federal Recovery Act funding, and over a million in funding from the State of Illinois. The funding, fought for by Halvorson, will create an estimated 75 jobs and create greater economic development for the Hopkins Park community. Sandstone Hills will fill a need for affordable housing in a critically underserved area, where low-income and rural populations lack affordable housing choices.

"I want to thank Congresswoman Halvorson for standing up and supporting the Recovery Act", said Jacquelyn Sneed, a Pembroke Township resident who is leading the project.  "Without the Federal Recovery Act, there is no way this project would have happened.  Hopkins Park needs affordable housing and by supporting the Recovery Act, Debbie Halvorson helped address this critical issue in our community."

A longtime supporter of affordable housing for Illinois families, Congresswoman Halvorson has helped deliver nearly $750,000 in Recovery Act funding to help families in need access affordable housing, and will continue to fight to make housing more accessible for all of her constituents."

Here is a photo of the Sandstone Hills Housing taken August 28, 2010 in Hopkins Park, Illinois:

New Sandstone Hills housing development funded by the Recovery Act in Hopkins Park, Illinois, Pembroke Township, Kankakee County.

 Video of construction of the new Sandstone Hills housing development funded by the ARRA, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:

More photos of Hopkins Park, Illinois:

Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary from Kankakee, Illinois at the Pembroke Community Days Parade in Hopkins Park, Illinois.

Church in Hopkins Park, Pembroke Township, Kankakee County, Illinois

Gas Station in Hopkins Park, Pembroke Township, Kankakee County, Illinois.  One of few stores in Hopkins Park.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Kankakee County June 2010 Unemployment Rate

The June 2010 unemployment rate for Kankakee County was 12.6%, a 1.1% increase from June 2009.  For a detailed map of unemployment by county throughout Illinois, check out this New York Times interactive unemployment by county map.

As you can see on the map, nearby Iroquois County had an unemployment rate of 9.3%, a .7% increase from June 2009.  Will County had a 11% unemployment rate in June 2010, unchanged from June 2009.

Tractor Show at the Momence Gladiolus Festival

The Tractor Show at the Momence Gladiolus Festival featured many beautifully restored tractors of a variety of makes.  Here are some pictures from the show:

John Deere 4020

McCormick W-6 at Momence, Illinois tractor show

Farmall H Tractor in Momence, Illinois

Farmall Tractor at Momence Tractor Show

Farmall M at Momence Tractor Show in Momence, Illinois

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2010 Momence Gladiolus Festival

Photos from the 2010 Momence Gladiolus Festival in Momence, Illinois:

Beautiful view of the Kankakee River from the Momence Island Park in Momence, Illinois.

 Items for sale at the Flea and Craft Market at the Momence Gladiolus Festival in Momence, Illinois

Food and Crafts at the Momence Gladiolus Festival in Momence, Illinois

Glass Vases for sale at the Momence Gladiolus Festival in Momence, Illinois

Pink Depression Glass for sale at the Momence Gladiolus Festival in Momence, Illinois.