Storms
11:38 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

FEMA announces agreement for tornado inspections at Washington apartment complex

Hundreds of Washington, Illinois residents gather during a January 9th community meeting to learn the latest on recovery efforts following the tornado.

FEMA officials say they have a solution for apartment renters in the city of Washington following the November tornado.  Many of the 200 people from Georgetown Common apartments were denied by FEMA because inspectors couldn’t access the units and determine damage.  Donald Keldsen is FEMA’s federal coordinating officer for Illinois.  He says FEMA staff will reach out to apartment residents to better process applications:

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Peoria Public Radio News
7:51 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

PFD is responding to more broken water pipe and electrical issues

Chief Phillip Maclin handles fire prevention for the Peoria Fire Department. He's holding up the picture of the damage caused Wednesday at a West Ann residence while the maintenance person tried to thaw frozen pipes.
Credit Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria Fire Department has received nearly 50 calls for pipes that are breaking as they thaw. That means what people are using to thaw pipes is a point of caution.  

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Business
5:03 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Will Velveeta cheese survive football playoffs?

The soft processed cheese product Velveeta is manufactured at the Kraft Foods plant in Champaign. But can they make enough of it, in light of reports of a possible Velveeta shortage during the football playoffs? 

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State News
4:59 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Emanuel criticizes Rauner on min. wage stance

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is criticizing his close friend running for Illinois governor - after he back-pedaled his stance on minimum wage.  Bruce Rauner is a venture capitalist running for governor as a Republican.  Rauner recently changed positions on what Illinois’ minimum wage should be.  A month ago - Rauner said the state should reduce its minimum wage.  Now - he says the entire country should raise it.  Mayor Emanuel says reducing the minimum wage is a backwards idea.

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Code Switch
4:59 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

White House Picks Choctaw Nation To Fight Poverty In Oklahoma

Chief Gregory Pyle (left) and Assistant Chief Gary Batton stand in front of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma's Capitol building in Tuskahoma, Okla.
Larissa Copeland Courtesy of Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson declared his "War on Poverty," President Obama issued his own plan to combat poverty Thursday with the nation's first five "Promise Zones."

All "Promise Zones" will receive a competitive advantage when applying for federal grants, on-site support from federal officials, and, pending congressional approval, tax incentives for businesses hiring and investing in the community.

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Environment
4:52 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Natural Gas Boom Cuts Into Pennsylvania's State Forests

An oversized truck load slowly moves equipment along an icy mountain road in Pennsylvania's Tiadaghton State Forest.
Marie Cusick WITF

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 6:36 pm

On the side of a mountain road in Pennsylvania's Tiadaghton State Forest, I'm trying to avoid a steady stream of heavy truck traffic. Acres of freshly cut tree stumps stretch out in front of me.

Kevin Heatley lives in the area and has come to these woods for years to hike. He's an ecologist by trade and he's concerned about what he's seeing.

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Around the Nation
4:35 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

It's Not Magic On The Mountain, It's A Rain-Making Machine

A ground-based cloud-seeding tower at Alpine Meadows ski area near California's Lake Tahoe. It spits out silver iodide particles that are the right size and shape to help precipitation form.
Lauren Sommer KQED

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 6:36 pm

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Storms
4:34 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

FEMA denies public tornado assistance, state to appeal

Residents learn about recovery efforts at a public meeting in Pekin on Tuesday, December 17th.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied Illinois federal public assistance for communities hit by last November's tornadoes.  Local and state communities say FEMA dollars would help pay for debris removal and other publicly funded clean-up efforts. The state plans to appeal the decision. Jonathon Monken is the director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. He says an appeal gives the state and local communities another chance to calculate damage costs:

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It's All Politics
4:16 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Gates Memoir Could Prove Helpful To Hillary Clinton In 2016

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates writes in his new memoir that Hillary Clinton "is a superb representative of the United States all over the world."
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:34 pm

In his new memoir, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a fairly serious charge against Hillary Clinton that likely will hound her if she decides to run for president in 2016: that she admitted in his presence that there were political considerations in her opposition to the U.S. military surge in Iraq.

As soon as the first excerpts of Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War surfaced, many Republicans pounced on Gates' recollection of the Obama-Clinton Iraq surge conversation.

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Remembrances
4:02 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Amiri Baraka's Legacy Both Controversial And Achingly Beautiful

Amiri Baraka, shown here in 1972, was a renowned poet whose politics strongly shaped his work.
Julian C. Wilson AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 9:31 am

One of America's most important — and controversial — literary figures, Amiri Baraka, died on Thursday from complications after surgery following a long illness, according to his oldest son. Baraka was 79.

Baraka co-founded the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s. His literary legacy is as complicated as the times he lived through, from his childhood — where he recalled not being allowed to enter a segregated library — to the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. His poem about that attack, "Somebody Blew Up America," quickly became infamous.

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