Four months ago, tornadoes whipped through Central Illinois, ravaging communities like Washington and Gifford. As the towns rebuild, some lawmakers want to give businesses a break when fixing up their properties.
Rebuilding after a natural disaster can be expensive; insurance money only covers so much. A proposal making its way through the General Assembly could help ease that burden on businesses, by providing a property tax break.
Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) says this would help stabilize local economies.
Illinois officials say more than 2,000 people in counties declared federal disaster areas after tornadoes struck in November applied for federal assistance. Gov. Pat Quinn visited the central Illinois community of Washington on Tuesday.
His office says more than $1.6 million in federal grants and more than $5.6 million in low-interest loans have been approved. Washington was hit hard by one of the roughly two dozen tornadoes that struck on Nov. 17. Seven people died and thousands of buildings were damaged or destroyed.
State officials now say that at least 900 homes were either destroyed or badly damaged by Sunday's tornadoes. And that figure is likely to grow.
Patti Thompson is a spokeswoman for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. She says Wednesday the agency doesn't have anything close to a full count of the homes affected in Washington, which was hardest hit by the storms.
This has not been an easy week for the Washington, Illinois High School Football Team. Instead of just preparing for a playoff game this weekend, they have one of the largest distractions imaginable, an EF-4 tornado that hit their community.
The Washington Panthers are practicing at Illinois State University's Hancock Stadium in Normal getting ready for Saturday's Class Five-A Semifinal game in Springfield against Sacred Heart-Griffin. At least nine of the team lost their homes in Sunday's Tornado.
The mayor of the central Illinois community of Washington says more than 1,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed by strong storms.
Mayor Gary Manier says that figure includes homes that were totally destroyed as well as properties that received minor damage. Officials still haven't said how many people in the community have been affected by Sunday's tornado. Washington has about 16,000 residents and is about 10 miles east of Peoria.
The mayor of the central Illinois community of Washington says storms and tornadoes destroyed or heavily damaged between 250 and 500 homes in the Tazewell County community.
Gary Manier says hundreds of residents of Washington spent the night in shelters after a storm cut a swath of damage through the community of about 16,000 people that's about 140 miles southwest of Chicago.
It's not clear when they'll be allowed home.
One person in Washington died and a state official says at least 60 others were
The central Illinois community of Washington will be under a curfew for at least a week after a deadly tornado turned scores of houses into rubble.
Illinois State Police Trooper Dustin Pierce says Monday that the curfew will run from 6 p.m. until 7 a.m.
Authorities implemented the curfew in large part for safety reasons. With power lines knocked down and tons of debris from the hundreds of homes that were destroyed or badly damaged, authorities do not want people walking around _ particularly when it's dark.