123 episodes

A podcast about the people and places of Kankakee County, IL. Hosted by, Jake LaMore.

Kankakee Podcast Pathfinder

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 26 Ratings

A podcast about the people and places of Kankakee County, IL. Hosted by, Jake LaMore.

    BONUS EP: Converge Conference

    BONUS EP: Converge Conference

    Focusing on community and connections, that’s what the annual Converge Conference is all about! This interactive leadership conference will happen Friday, October 13th, 2023 inside the former Love's Bookstore building on South Schuyler Avenue in Kankakee.

    Dr. Jeff Williamson of Converge joins us on this bonus episode of Kankakee Podcast to give us all the details about what to expect at this year's conference.

    The Converge Conference will not only include local keynote speakers and panels, but also breakout sessions that will take the content discussed and provide ways to immediately put it into action.

    Building stronger community and connections will take place through:
    + Creating ideas and products together
    + Focusing on community and what helps it grow
    + Discussing how we can be a part of building something new and better
    + Identifying “next steps” for personal and organizational growth

    Learn more and buy tickets at: https://www.convergegroup.io/resources/converge-conference
    Support the show

    • 20 min
    #117: Kankakee County Speedway

    #117: Kankakee County Speedway

    Jake LaMore is out and Bill Yohnka is in as your guest host for this thunderous edition of Kankakee Podcast! For several years now, Yonka has been the announcer for the races that take place every Friday night during the summertime at the Kankakee County Speedway. If you follow Bill on social media, you know just how passionate he is about those races.

    With Yonka in the driver’s seat, he guides us through the history of the speedway with flagman Jim Whittington. Then, the speedway’s current promoter, Billy Knippenberg, hops in the passenger seat and tells us how races almost came to a complete stop at the Kankakee County Fairgrounds in 2021.

    Strap in because this ride goes fast and could get a little bumpy!

    About Kankakee County Speedway

    The Kankakee County Speedway has endured multiple name changes over the decades, and believe it or not, its location has changed as well.  From its birth in 1940's, with no champions on record, racing was held at the old fairgrounds at Horse's Old Fair Park, on North Indiana Ave. by the Schuyler quarry next to Bradley. Prior to that, racing was contested throughout Kankakee County as early as the 1900's.

    Racing was held at the current Kankakee Fairgrounds Speedway from 1949-1959 on the half-mile.  However, at the conclusion of the 1959 season, the track closed due to a driver's strike for one year only to resume racing in the Kankakee area at Sugar Island Speedway in the early '60's.  Racing continued at the Sugar Island Speedway from 1961-1966, before moving back to the current fairgrounds site as Kankakee Speedway from 1967-1984 under Wayne Etzel and company.  Then from 1985-1987 it returned to Kankakee Fairgrounds Speedway under Glenn Moren, and from 1988-1999 it returned back to Kankakee Speedway under the Izzo Family.  From 2000-2004, the O'Connor Family promoted the Kankakee Motor Speedway, before the Osterhoff Family took over in 2005 when it was known as Kankakee Valley Motor Speedway.  Sherri Heckenast & Family took the reigns in 2006-2007 and returned it back to Kankakee Motor Speedway. Tom Smith promoted the facility from 2009 to 2021, Billy Knippenberg Jr. took over the reigns in 2022.

    Meet Your Guest Host

    Bill Yohnka, who many have dubbed “Mr. Kankakee,” currently serves as the Executive Director of the Kankakee Riverfront Society. Previously, he has served as Economic Development Director for the City of Kankakee as well as The Community Engagement Specialist for Kankakee School District #111. Yohnka is also a morning radio host for X-Country 106.5 FM on top of also serving as the announcer at the Kankakee County Motor Speedway. A lifelong Kankakee resident, Yohnka hopes to leave his hometown better than how he found it.
    Support the show

    • 1 hr 8 min
    #116: Kankakee County Museum, Kankakee State Hospital

    #116: Kankakee County Museum, Kankakee State Hospital

    One of the most famous urban legends in Kankakee’s history is that we had a choice between having the University of Illinois or the Illinois Eastern Hospital for the insane being built in our city. The legend claims the City of Kankakee chose the hospital over the university. However the question remains, is this urban legend actually true?

    On this monthly episode with the Kankakee County Museum, we get to the bottom of this urban legend and much more with Jack Klasey and Jorie Walters.

    About Illinois Eastern Hospital

    The Illinois Eastern Hospital for the Insane, now the Shapiro Developmental Center in Kankakee, was built in 1878 with the first patient being admitted in 1879. Kankakee was one of 16 communities that were being eyed for the construction of the hospital. It was awarded to Kankakee in 1877.

    By 1903, the original campus that consisted of 12 buildings had now multiplied to about 50 with a patient population of 2,300. In 1910, the name was changed to Kankakee State Hospital. Its peak in patient population was in the mid 1950s, housing approximately 4,500 people.

    In 1971, the patient population had dropped to about 1,500 people as mental health treatment options became more community based. By 1974, the Kankakee State Hospital became the Shapiro Developmental Center, named after former Illinois Governor Samuel H. Shapiro, an advocate for mental health patients and a resident of Kankakee. Today, the center houses approximately 500 adults with intellectual disabilities.

    About Kankakee County Museum

    The Kankakee County Museum, established in 1906, is one of the oldest historical societies in Illinois. Initially displaying artifacts and documents in various locations, it found a permanent home in 1948 with the construction of the Historical and Arts Building on Governor Small Memorial Park. The park's land was donated by the Small family as a memorial to the 26th Governor of Illinois, Dr. Abram Small's son, Lennington. The museum's exhibits, ranging from historic documents to Native American artifacts, were expanded over the years. Today, the Kankakee County Museum has grown to more than four times its original size, housing the Taylor One-Room Schoolhouse, the Column Garden, and the Let Freedom Ring Garden. The museum continues its rich tradition of showcasing art through the annual Art League Art Show and other periodic exhibits.

    Learn more at kankakeecountymuseum.com. Follow @kankakeecountymuseum on Facebook and Instagram.
    Support the show

    • 53 min
    BONUS EP: KVTA Little Shop of Horrors

    BONUS EP: KVTA Little Shop of Horrors

    A deviously delicious Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi smash musical, Little Shop Of Horrors has devoured the hearts of theatre goers for over 30 years. Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (Disney's The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast, and Aladdin) are the creative geniuses behind what has become one of the most popular shows in the world.

    The meek floral assistant Seymour Krelborn stumbles across a new breed of plant he names "Audrey II" - after his coworker crush. This foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore promises unending fame and fortune to the down and out Krelborn as long as he keeps feeding it, BLOOD. Over time, though, Seymour discovers Audrey II's out of this world origins and intent towards global domination!

    On this bonus episode of Kankakee Podcast, we dive into the Kankakee Valley Theatre Association’s production of Little Shop of Horrors with Director, Jordyn Ward!

    Performances will be at KVTA’s Black Box Theatre at 1 Stuart Drive in Kankakee this Saturday at 7pm, Sunday at 2pm, and September 23rd and 24th.

    Purchase your tickets at kvta.org or by calling the box office at 815.935.8510.

    Cast and Crew:
    Director: Jordyn Ward
    Co-Assistant Directors: Ivy Anderson & Pat Ward
    Vocal Director: Bruce Heyen
    Choreographer: Thomas McMahon
    Seymour - Kevin Soto
    Audrey - Anna Maria D’Ortenzio
    Mushnik - Paul Snyder
    Orin - Kyle Cassady
    Audrey II - Miles Kolby Meador
    Audrey II Puppeteer - Scott Christensen
    Doo-Wops - Aisa M. Rogers, Katherine Carl, Trinity Dunn
    Ensemble - Bryar Homan, Riley Lingo, Melissa Daniels
    Support the show

    • 34 min
    #115: Alan Webber, A.N. Webber

    #115: Alan Webber, A.N. Webber

    On today's episode of the Kankakee Podcast we delve into the rich history and evolution of A.N. Webber, the oldest logistics company in Kankakee. Our guest, Alan Webber, takes us on a captivating journey, starting with the company's humble beginnings in the 1930s, to today, where A.N. Webber has grown to operate a fleet of over 200 trucks.

    Alan offers an insider's perspective on the logistics world as he explains the difference between trucking and logistics, different terms within the industry, and how the path to becoming a truck driver has evolved. We also explore the future of trucking and Alan gives some tips on how drivers can best drive with trucks on the road.

    Tune in for an engaging conversation that uncovers the fascinating history and enduring values of A.N. Webber, a true Kankakee institution.
    Meet Your Guest

    A.N. Webber, Inc., born as a small-town trucking business in 1947, has grown into a multi-generation success story. From hauling stone to becoming a versatile logistics company, their journey embodies the spirit of family entrepreneurship. Founder Albert N. Webber Sr. laid the foundation, while his son Neal expanded operations, including work on the Interstate 57 project.

    Today, A.N. Webber, Inc. boasts a diverse fleet and offers comprehensive logistics services through A.N. Webber Logistics, Inc. CEO Alan Webber, also a writer, has written novels and opinion pieces for many years, and currently has a podcast. Explore their remarkable journey from humble beginnings to a thriving, multi-faceted enterprise.

    Rent your kids band and orchestra instruments from King Music online at https://www.kingmusiconline.com/t-rentals.aspx!
    Support the show

    • 1 hr 3 min
    #114: Josh Humphries, Hotter Than June

    #114: Josh Humphries, Hotter Than June

    On this episode of the Kankakee Podcast, Jake sits down with Josh Humphries, a member of the alternative rock band 'Hotter Than June.’ Josh takes us on a journey through the band's history, from its inception in 2005, their disbandment in 2008, and finally their eventual reunion just last year.

    Discover how 'Hotter Than June' found its way back together after a group chat message sparked conversations that led to the group’s revival. Josh shares insights into the band's evolving sound, their songwriting process, and offers a glimpse into their upcoming music release. The conversation touches on the band's transformation over the years and the creative processes that shape their distinct sound.

    As they wrap up, they dive into nostalgia, trading stories from the local music scene in the 2000s. The episode concludes with a special acoustic performance of the song Sweet Revenge by Josh. Tune in for an inside look at the band’s journey and their exciting future.

    Meet Your Guest

    Formed in 2005 in Bradley, Hotter Than June burst onto the music scene with fast success. However the band decided to take different paths in 2008, putting down roots and starting families. However, the music never truly left their hearts.

    Last summer, the band reconnected virtually, which eventually led to the band's reformation. Despite physical distances and busy lives, they have found new ways to create music, fueled by a shared passion for their craft.

    Hotter Than June is now back with a fresh sound that reflects their personal and musical growth. Their latest single, "Sweet Revenge," delves into life experiences, showcasing their evolved approach. This entirely DIY, virtual band showcases the joy of making and sharing music with the world. As they gear up for their first album release in 15 years, Hotter Than June invites you to join them on their musical journey.

    Be sure to listen to Sweet Revenge and Glass Water Pill Swallow available on all music streaming platforms!
    Support the show

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
26 Ratings

26 Ratings

Kathleen@ ,


Love the cast on Prohibition! Fun and interesting. Host has a wonderful radio voice and is great at his job.

Girl_Living_With_Purpose ,

Interesting Interviews and Insights

Jake has some wonderful guests on his show and represents Kankakee County well. He brings a fresh perspective and insight.

KankakeeBill ,

Mining great local stories

I love that Jake paints a interesting picture of the Kankakee area by the way he conducts interviews and the wonderful variety of community members he has on the program.

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

Audacy and Big Little Feelings
Unwell Network
This American Life
Glennon Doyle & Cadence13
Apple TV+ / Pineapple Street Studios

You Might Also Like

WBEZ Chicago
Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, Will Arnett
Science Friday and WNYC Studios
Mayim Bialik
The Bulwark Podcast