Channahon United Methodist Church

Channahon United Methodist Church is now able to build a fellowship hall, thanks to the generosity of parishioners and members of the community. The Channahon United Methodist Church was built in 1998. The fellowship hall was included in the original blueprints, but do to financial issues the building of the fellowship hall was put on hold. The fellowship hall’s purpose is to host events.

The church is well-known in the community for hosting a Turkey Supper, for the past 15 years the Channahon United Methodist Church has only been capable of seating 70 people at a time due to the lack of space. Once the fellowship hall is built they will be able to seat up to 200 people. The fellowship hall will be used for potluck dinners, youth groups, daytime events and concerts. The church also houses the Thrift Shop, which will soon have its own custom area and entrance. According to Pastor Steve Good, the Thrift Shop is one of the ways they reach out to the community and allow them to obtain their needs at affordable prices.

Finally after about 15 years, the congregation’s dream is becoming a reality. The official groundbreaking ceremony of the fellowship hall took place on Sunday, August 10. The congregation and the Channahon community have been behind the project wholeheartedly. Two separate cash gifts were the key components for the building of the fellowship hall. Aside from the two significant donations, the church’s parishioners have also been generous with monetary gifts and pledge to get the job done.

New System Allows for Better Detection

Six short-lived EF1 tornadoes which tore through northern Illinois during the last part of June might have been all but invisible to the National Weather Service had they not updated their systems earlier that month.

The closest touched down briefly between Plainfield and Romeoville. According to Matt Friedlein, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Romeoville office, the tornado was “embedded” in the storm front. Another tornado happened near Morris.

“All of the tornadoes happened in less time than the old radar scanning strategy takes,” Friedlein said.

Atmosphere scans by the weather service’s Doppler radar— the massive white bubble that towers over Lewis University Airport — once took about five minutes to complete. The Doppler — basically a rotating radar dish enclosed by the bubble — used to progressively scan the horizon from 0.5 to 19.5 degrees.

The Plainfield-Romeoville tornado was on the ground for less than three minutes, a short enough time to form and dissipate in-between scanning intervals.

The new system, which was installed in June at the Romeoville office, scans lower elevations every 1.8 to 2.5 minutes. The name of the new system is Supplemental Adaptive Intra-Volume Low Level Scan or SAILS. It emphasizes scanning at elevations 0.5 to 3.1 degrees, which is the area where tornadoes touch down.

According to Friedlein, air movement itself is invisible to Doppler, the radar can see which way raindrops or hail are moving within a storm.

The system was less than a few weeks old when it was put to the test for the two June 30th storms. The powerful bow-shaped fronts, known as derechos, caused widespread damage in Will and Grundy counties.

Also new for Doppler is a radial noise filter that removes solar interference known as “sun spikes” from radar images, according to the National Weather Service. Another new feature will enable the radar to automatically determine the best settings for viewing velocity data for the strongest storms in the radar’s coverage area.

But technology only can go so far. Forecasters still rely on weather spotters for data.

“The technology is great, but we’re not at a point where we can see everything 100 percent,” said Harold Damron, director of Will County Emergency Management Agency. “It’s definitely a combination of eyes on the street and technology working in concert with each other.  We get eyes-on reports from law enforcement, firefighters or other types of spotters stationed out there and feed them into the weather service. It allows them to correlate what we see with what they see on the radar.”

Jeremy Hylka, director of the Joliet Weather Center, agreed.

“As much technology as we have, nothing beats the eye from a spotter in the field,” Hylka said. “It goes without saying.”

One great advancement has been the ability to narrow down the geographic focus of weather warnings, Damron noted. In years past, severe weather and tornado warnings would be issued on a countywide basis.

Meteorologists now can define a specific warning area on-screen and issue a warning with the click of a mouse, Friedlein said.

The weather service now can issue Wireless Emergency Alerts to cellphone towers in an affected area, which in turn will broadcast an audible noise and warning text to all newer smartphones within its range.

Damron said he got a clear view of the limitations of the older technology during last year’s anniversary of the Aug. 28, 1990, Plainfield tornado, when he viewed a black-and-white radar image of the storm.

“It was just a shock to look at it on the traditional round radar screen,” Damron said. “It’s amazing how far we have come.”

Guilty!

Bethany McKee was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder. McKee was charged for the deaths of Eric Glover and Terrance Rankins of Joliet. Judge Gerald Kinney noted that although McKee was not present during the strangling of Glover and Rankins, she helped plot the robberies and also lured the two victims to the house where they were killed.

Glover’s mother, Nicole Jones, said she was worried and freaking out waiting to hear the verdict for over two weeks. Jones said it was difficult to hear the details of the murders and what the defendants did and planned to do to the victims’ bodies. Miner and Massaro allegedly had sex on the bodies after Glover and Rankins were strangled. The four being charged allegedly discussed wearing one of the victims’ faces as a mask and keeping their teeth for souvenirs.

Judge Kinney wants to take a closer look at the trial in order to give McKee’s sentencing. According to sentencing guidelines, McKee will likely be facing life in prison. Joshua Miner’s trial will take place next month and nothing has been said about Adam Landerman’s trial.