Washington Tornado

Hannah Meisel/WUIS

  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.

Lee Strubinger/WUIS

UPDATE:  On Tues., March 4, FEMA denied Illinois' appeal for public assistance for nine counties.  

This week, Gov. Pat Quinn gave a keynote speech at a forum in Washington, D.C. on natural disasters. The governor says Illinois has suffered a record-number of incidents in recent years. And yet the state has come up short when it's sought help from the federal government. That includes a rejection following the outbreak of 25 tornados in Illinois at the end of last year — tornadoes from which the towns of Washington, Gifford, and others are still recovering.

Peoria Public Radio

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied a request for aid to local governments in Illinois after deadly tornadoes swept the state in November.  

FEMA sent a letter on Thursday to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency saying that damage after the storms wasn't severe enough to warrant federal help. The storms left at least 7 people dead statewide and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses.  

REO

Two Illinois rock groups will return to their stomping grounds to benefit those who had losses in last week's tornadoes.

Rock groups Styx and REO Speedwagon will headline a benefit concert to raise money for victims of last weekend's Illinois tornadoes.  

The bands, which both have strong Illinois ties, will headline the event called ``Rock to the Rescue Extends a Hand to Those in Need.'' The concert will be held at Bloomington's U.S. Cellular Coliseum on Dec. 4  

Tickets go on sale Saturday and cost between $28 and $58.  

Alex Rusciano WCBU

(AP) _ Federal assessments of tornado-damaged property in Illinois are to begin Thursday.
 
Gov. Pat Quinn's office says Federal Emergency Management Agency assessments
are necessary so the state can request federal assistance.
 
Five teams will look at damage to homes and businesses in Champaign, Grundy,
Massac, Pope, Tazewell and Will counties. Sunday's tornadoes destroyed hundreds
of homes and left six people dead in the state.
 
 The governor's office says federal and state emergency officials will meet with