Kankakee Podcast

Pathfinder

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

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Society & CultureSociety & Culture

Episodes

#145: Aaron Clark on Healing a City: The Kankakee Forgives Initiative
6d ago
#145: Aaron Clark on Healing a City: The Kankakee Forgives Initiative
In this stirring episode of the Kankakee Podcast, Jake and  Aaron Clark take us on a profound journey through the heart of community healing with a pivotal discussion on the transformative power of forgiveness. They sit down with the very founder of the "Kankakee Forgives" movement, Aaron Clark, who details his deeply personal and impassioned quest to restore hope and address the cycle of violence that plagues Kankakee. We learn about Aaron's homecoming to a changed city, his initial efforts in youth engagement through Youth for Christ, and his evolution from truck driver to full-time advocate for family and youth empowerment.The conversation unveils the inception of "Kankakee Forgives" during a youth night that struck a chord of forgiveness among the students and paved the way for a large-scale community initiative. Stories of resilience resonate throughout the episode as Aaron shares the poignant narrative of a girl from the program caught in a shooting and the critical need for a community-wide response.But it's not just about the heavy moments. Aaron inspires with the simple yet impactful actions everyone can take to prevent violence and spread positivity. From waving and smiling to showing up for each other at community events, every gesture counts. With upcoming gatherings like the walk against gun violence and a youth storytelling event, "Kankakee Forgives" is driving real change.Just as Mitch's meme captivated the internet and brought light to our local plumber's life, Kankakee's journey through forgiveness is sparking hope and demonstrating the monumental power of community cohesion. Tune in to get a full dose of inspiration, learn how to engage with local projects, and understand that even in the face of adversity, Kankakee stands strong with the message that kindness can prevail.As we rally around our city's potential for rebirth and reconciliation, Aaron's story is a testament to what one person's vision can accomplish—truly, it's a master class in empathy and communal fortitude.---- Support the show
#144: Bernie Gorak II: The Journey Through Kenpo
Apr 1 2024
#144: Bernie Gorak II: The Journey Through Kenpo
In this martial arts-focused edition of the Kankakee Podcast, your guide through all things Kankakee, host Jake LaMore sits down with the esteemed Bernie Gorak II, a man who wears multiple hats as a martial arts instructor, pest control expert, and former truck driver. Hailing from a family with deep roots in the local area, Bernie shares his journey from the bustling streets of Chicago to the close-knit community of Bradley, and how he became a pillar in both teaching Kenpo and running a successful business.Dive into a conversation that paints a detailed portrait of commitment, as we learn about the rigorous and rewarding path to martial arts mastery. Bernie unravels the intricacies of achieving different belt levels, the discipline required for sparring, and the paramount importance of mindset in the practice of Kenpo. He shares stories of perseverance, like that of his student Paul, whose decade-long dedication is a testament to the transformative power of martial arts, despite a demanding work schedule.We explore how Bernie's approach to teaching has evolved over 30 years, highlighting his passion for longevity in the discipline—evidenced by students ranging from young children to a spry 75-year-old sparring with gusto. Experience the vivid scenes of local and national tournaments where Bernie’s students—propelled by his guidance—face off against diverse combat styles, bringing glory home to Kankakee.Beyond the dojo's walls, Bernie eloquently debunks common misconceptions about Kenpo, emphasizing its dynamic nature and effectiveness for self-defense. Plus, with the host's curiosity piqued, there’s a moment to unveil the everyday practicality of Kenpo self-defense moves for the uninitiated.Tune in for the enthralling tale of Bernie Gorak II, a man bridging the gap between tradition and adaptation, discipline and personal growth, right here in the heart of Kankakee. And remember, as we navigate each round of life, may we all bring the focus and respect embodied in the martial arts yellow pledge into our own daily battles.Celebrate your community and your potential for growth; join us for a session of life lessons and local pride, courtesy of the Kankakee Podcast. Support the show
#143: Finding Balance: Amy Kemp Talks Women, Careers, and Community
Mar 25 2024
#143: Finding Balance: Amy Kemp Talks Women, Careers, and Community
In this heartening installment of the Kankakee Podcast, host Jake LaMore engages in a poignant discussion with Amy Kemp, a guiding light for women navigating the balance between their careers and the unpaid labor of managing a household. In this episode, Amy not only delves into the inspirations behind her compelling book "I See You", she also announces an eagerly anticipated event on June 7th at the Majestic, where she'll offer deeper insights into her work. Listeners will get an exclusive peek at Amy's collaborative journey in bringing her book to life, from the stunning cover photography by Sarah Jane to the premiere hair and makeup by Nicole Marie's salon, all underpinned by a diligent support network.Amy unveils enlightening perspectives on the idea of natural genius, urging listeners to cherish and utilize their innate talents that often go unrecognized. With vibrant enthusiasm, she shares personal anecdotes, including her husband's touching reaction to the book and the influence it has wielded over her own life. The dialogue pivots to the pressing need for a supportive structure in the traditional work world, especially for women. Jake and Amy navigate these thought-provoking themes, revealing the universal relevance of Amy's book, which transcends gender-specific advice.During this episode, you'll also catch a glimpse of the audiobook recording experience, as Amy articulates the invigorating challenge of translating the energy of written words into the auditory realm. The conversation serves as a testament to the community spirit in Kankakee, showcasing how local talents and voices can amplify a powerful message reaching beyond the confines of our town.And if you've ever felt unseen or overwhelmed juggling the myriad roles of life, Amy Kemp's reflections on community, empathy, and breaking the metaphorical fourth wall assure you that you are not alone. Before you dive into your daily routine, set aside some time for this inspiring conversation and join us in championing the bold spirits that nurture the community. And remember, if a group of six comes together, a discount awaits you at the majestic gathering – let's connect and grow as a community! Tune in and let's navigate the currents of life together, right here in Kankakee. Support the show
2 People Stabbed in Manteno Thursday - Kankakee Podcast News - March 22nd, 2024
Mar 22 2024
2 People Stabbed in Manteno Thursday - Kankakee Podcast News - March 22nd, 2024
Welcome to Kankakee Podcast News, your source for the latest happenings in our community, brought to you by Nana’s Bakery and Cakes. I’m Jake LaMore, and in this week's episode, we’ll catch you up on what’s been going on around town as of Friday, March 22nd, 2024.We’ll start with some local news highlights, including incidents like the Manteno stabbing and the Kankakee police apprehension of individuals with firearms. It’s important to stay informed about what’s happening in our neighborhoods.We'll also touch on some concerning developments, such as the arrest of a Kankakee man for possession of child pornography, highlighting the efforts to keep our community safe.Shifting gears, we’ll share the outcomes of the recent Illinois Primary Election, spotlighting the winners and noteworthy results from the ballot.On the governance front, we'll discuss Bradley's decision to end its association with the Kankakee County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Bourbonnais's stance on the state grocery tax.Looking ahead, we’ll share some exciting upcoming events, like the launch of a new local podcast by an eating psychology coach and community gatherings such as Spring Fling and an Easter Egg Hunt.And before we wrap up, we’ll fill you in on what’s happening around town this weekend, from live music with King Music to family-friendly events like the Spring Fling and the Easter Egg Hunt at Northfield Square Mall.Stay tuned for our next episode, where we’ll be chatting with Bourbonnais resident and author, Amy Kemp, about her latest book, “I See You.” Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any of our future episodes!Thanks for tuning in, and have a fantastic weekend!Support the show
#142: Nina Epstein, Kankakee's First Female Mayor Reflects on Leadership
Mar 18 2024
#142: Nina Epstein, Kankakee's First Female Mayor Reflects on Leadership
On this heartening installment of the Kankakee Podcast, host Jake LaMore welcomes none other than the formidable Nina Epstein, a woman who's left an indelible mark on the city's political landscape. Known for her tenure as the first female mayor of Kankakee, Nina shares a candid recollection of her unexpected dive into politics and her transformation from a public relations specialist for the school district to a city council member to serving as mayor for eight years."I wasn't looking for the spotlight, but when the community calls, you answer." - Nina EpsteinJake digs deep into Nina's storied career, revealing her initial reluctance to step into the political arena, her frontline experience of handling the complex dynamics of city governance, and her insights on the societal responsibilities of the city to its citizens. The episode orbits around Nina's multifaceted journey – touching upon the challenges she faced during contentious campaigns, her commitment to education and skill development, and her critical views on issues like the social impact of gambling and property taxes."It's not about the noise; it's about the difference you're making in people's lives." - Nina EpsteinListeners are invited to explore the highs and lows Nina faced, from infrastructure projects to legal battles, from enhancing community pride to managing a significant change in city revenue. In an eye-opening conversation, Nina lays bare the nuances of public visibility, the profound support of her family, and the balancing act required as a public figure maneuvering through the fiscal tightropes of a small city on the rise."I feel a profound sense of gratitude for the chance to serve and for the layers of history we've added to Kankakee's rich tapestry." - Nina EpsteinAs we observe Women's History Month, Nina reveals how competence, knowledge, and breaking barriers played pivotal roles in her ground-breaking service as mayor. She also discusses facing and overcoming the challenges of being a woman in leadership at a time when it was less common. The conversation casts light upon the vital need for communal trust, the incredible power of working as a united team, and the significance of nurturing a legacy of growth and development for Kankakee."I learned that leadership isn't about titles; it's about the legacy you leave and the lives you touch along the way." - Nina EpsteinJoin us as Nina reflects on her accomplished past and the profound lessons she carries into the future. The episode is not just a walkthrough of a political life story; it's an inspiring dialogue about perseverance, community empowerment, and the subtle art of effective leadership.Jake wraps up the episode with heartfelt gratitude towards Nina Epstein for her contributions to Kankakee's rich tapestry. Don’t miss the chance to hear it all unfold – charge up your earbuds, head over to your favorite spot, and treat yourself to a slice of Kankakee history with Nina Epstein.Remember, whether you're delving into local politics or joining the community's festivities, the Kankakee Podcast encourages you to stay engaged and informed. Here's to learning from the past and building a better future, together. --- Support the show
Kankakee Podcast News - March 15th, 2024
Mar 15 2024
Kankakee Podcast News - March 15th, 2024
Welcome to another exciting episode of Kankakee Podcast News! Hosted by Jake LaMore, this week's edition brings you a dynamic blend of local news, community updates, and a brand new segment featuring live music events brought to you by, King Music. Tune in as we delve into the heart of our vibrant community on this Friday, March 15th, 2024.Headline Highlights:- Skeletal remains in Pembroke Township identified- Vehicle theft in Kankakee leads to pursuit in Schererville, Indiana- Prominent community members passing away- Dismissal of assistant superintendent Cedric Lewis- Bradley Sports Complex development- Lease agreement with local farmer Bob Cole for solar array installation- Renovation of the Kankakee County Circuit Clerk's Office- Upcoming primary election day in Illinois- 25th anniversary commemorative ceremony for Amtrak derailment in BourbonnaisCommunity Updates and Initiatives:- Stay informed about the latest initiatives shaping our community, from the launch of Comcast Lift Zones to the upcoming opening of Green Releaf, a recreational marijuana retail site in Bradley.- Learn about the anticipated arrival of Nothing Bundt Cake in Bradley, offering a delightful addition to our culinary scene.- Embrace the spirit of unity and camaraderie as we celebrate the achievements of local sports teams and individuals who exemplify resilience and determination.Live Music Events Segment:- We are thrilled to introduce a new segment brought to you by King Music on Broadway in Bradley. Join us as we showcase upcoming live music events in the Kankakee area, highlighting the rich musical tapestry woven into the fabric of our community.Looking Ahead:As we conclude this episode, we invite you to join us in commemorating significant anniversaries and upcoming events that embody the essence of Kankakee's vibrant community spirit. Stay tuned for captivating interviews, insightful discussions, and engaging stories in our future episodes.Conclusion:Thank you for tuning in to this episode of Kankakee Podcast News. We are grateful for your continued support as we strive to inform, entertain, and celebrate the diverse tapestry of our beloved community. Remember to follow and subscribe to stay updated on all things Kankakee. Until next time, keep embracing the vibrancy and spirit of our community, and have a fantastic weekend!Support the show
BONUS: Under the Sea with KVTA: A Look at the 'Finding Nemo Jr.' Production
Mar 14 2024
BONUS: Under the Sea with KVTA: A Look at the 'Finding Nemo Jr.' Production
In this heartwarming episode of the Kankakee Podcast, host Jake LaMore dives into the whimsical underwater world of "Finding Nemo Jr." with luminous local stars Lupe, Courtney Stevens, and Holden. The trio, playing key characters from the beloved Disney and Pixar tale, reveal their captivating experiences of bringing the animated classic to life on the stage of the Lincoln Cultural Center.Courtney shares her enchanting connection to Dory, a role swimming with personal significance, as her grandmother adored the forgetful yet lovable fish. Holden discusses sinking his teeth into the role of Bruce, the shark with a sinister edge but an entertaining twist, while Lupe guides us behind the scenes of the Kankakee Valley Theater Association's 60th season and the enchanting blend of music, puppetry, and youthful energy that shapes their current production.The conversation ebbs and flows through laughter and memories, from a guest's remark about being born after the movie's initial release to the cohesive collaboration between cast members such as the dynamic Kyren, sparing no humor in his portrayal of Marlin. As they chart the milestones of their theatrical journey, we gain insight into the warming camaraderie that fortifies KVTA's tight-knit community, despite challenges like COVID-19.Sprinkled with delightful anecdotes from past encounters with Drive-In theaters to the creative flexibility of using projections over set pieces, the episode captures the resplendent spirit of Kankakee's local stage talent and their shared passion for storytelling. As Jake sends Courtney, Lupe, and Holden off with the traditional "break a leg," listeners will be left yearning to catch the magic in person.Join us in this enchanting dive where laughter, legacy, and a love for theater merge to create an unforgettable "Finding Nemo Jr." adventure. So grab your tickets, support local theater, and let's help make this wave of performances one for the history (puppet) books! Support the show
#141: Scott Seaton: The Man Behind 5,500 Home Inspections
Mar 11 2024
#141: Scott Seaton: The Man Behind 5,500 Home Inspections
In this riveting episode of the Kankakee Podcast, host Jake buzzes in with home inspector Scott Seaton for an insightful conversation that's much more than skin deep. From his unexpected entrepreneurial leap to harrowing tales on the job, Scott divulges the rollercoaster ride of crafting a successful home inspection empire in Kankakee County, starting way back in 2007. But that's not all—Scott's yarn spins through laugh-out-loud homeowner encounters and wades into the tension of a life-threatening medical odyssey.Scott's homegrown business, built upon a staggering 5,500 inspections, is peppered with adventures like his first inspecting gig involving a semi-trailer and nonpayment. He lightheartedly recalls more than just foundations and fixtures as he teaches us why when selling your home, a pre-listing inspection is a must—to avoid those buyer-side surprises.Amid the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, Scott faced a menacing foe: his own health. The heart-pounding moment a stent was placed in Scott's artery has since reshaped his life. We learn from Scott's laughter-laced lessons on how, after a friendly challenge from his daughter to watch "Forks over Knives," he shifted gears toward a plant-based diet—a heart-healthy path he's walked for the past dozen years.Scott's story is one of humor, hardship, and heart—both in the literal and metaphorical sense. He shares tales that will prod you to peek more closely at the corners of your own home and lifestyle choices alike.Turn the lights on and check every nook and cranny of this episode; you're in for stories that'll entertain and inspire, proving once again that Kankakee's locals are as rich in character as they are in expertise. Remember, it's not just the homes in Kankakee that have stories to tell—so do our people.Before you step onto that property ladder or make any life-changing diet decision, you'll want to catch every minute of Scott's storytelling. Tune in and maybe, just maybe, you'll become a believer in the power of change, whether that's transforming your home, your health, or your heart.And let this be a reminder: whether you're taking on home improvements or facing down personal challenges, it's always wise to enlist the right support. In Kankakee, you're never inspecting alone.---- Support the show
#140: Building Resilience: Empowerment and Healing with JaHana; Guest Host Derek Grant
Mar 4 2024
#140: Building Resilience: Empowerment and Healing with JaHana; Guest Host Derek Grant
Join host Jake LaMore on this episode as we welcome the remarkable JaHana Holloway and guest host Derek Grant. In a heartfelt conversation, JoHanna delves into her personal journey, revealing the resilience behind her mission to empower the youth and the community with her innovative workshops and programs. Through "Empowered to Enlighten," she turns her own trials into a beacon of hope, teaching lessons on financial literacy, self-worth, and the magic of self-transformation.The dialogue takes a deeper turn as JaHana touches on coping with life's adversities, from surviving childhood bullying to harnessing the power of her faith. Derek, sharing his perspective as a previous podcast guest and creator of the Apply Pressure clothing line, brings insights from his own remarkable story of overcoming a suicide attempt. Together, they explore the profound effect of 2020's challenges, as JoHanna candidly discusses personal loss and starting anew, offering a testament to her unwavering strength.Listen as they discuss the value of true connections, the warmth of family ties, and the impact of teaching our children to dream. In true Kankakee spirit, this episode is a raw reflection of community, change, and the courage to shape legacies.JaHana's voice is a clarion call to look beyond life's hardships and find our true calling. The conversation with Derek reveals not only the weight of emotional burdens but also the incredible lightness of being that comes from forging meaningful connections and giving back.Tune in to one of our most inspiring episodes yet, where JaHana and Derek encourage us all to embrace life's experiences with strength and grace. Remember to spend quality time with your loved ones, chase dreams, not material possessions, and to always lead with empathy—lessons that resonate with the heart of Kankakee.If this episode moves you, be sure to reach out to JaHana on Facebook and watch out for her uplifting workshops. It’s time to heal, empower, and enlighten right here in Kankakee. Don't forget to celebrate life's joys with intentionality and to hold your cherished ones close. Support the show
#139: The Beginning of Pembroke Township with the Kankakee County Museum
Feb 26 2024
#139: The Beginning of Pembroke Township with the Kankakee County Museum
In this captivating episode of the Kankakee Podcast, host Jake LaMore, alongside guests Jory Walters and Jack Klasey, journey through the fascinating history of Pembroke Township, unveiling the stories of its earliest African American settlers and their enduring legacy. We delve into the past, exploring how families like the Tedders set down roots and contributed to the fabric of the Kankakee community, touching on the possibility of Pembroke Township's role in the Underground Railroad.We highlight key figures like Virginia Porter, Kankakee County's first African American reporter, whose work illumines the genealogical threads of local Black families. Listen in on the engrossing tale of the Slowtracks’ arrival in Kankakee and the surprising role figures like Al Capone played in the African American music scene during Prohibition.As the episode unfolds, we confront the present-day realities of Pembroke Township—a region grappling with economic challenges yet rich with history and potential, underscored by poignant narratives within the Kankakee County Museum’s exhibit. We examine how past and present intersect, creating a story of resilience, cultural accomplishment, and community spirit.Tune in to discover the depth of Kankakee's African American heritage, the societal impacts over the years, and the inspiring individuals who have made Kankakee what it is today. Join us on the Kankakee Podcast for an episode that promises to both educate and inspire, shedding light on significant chapters in our shared history. Support the show
#138: Unveiling Alkebulan: Dr. Leonard Porter's Quest Through Black History
Feb 19 2024
#138: Unveiling Alkebulan: Dr. Leonard Porter's Quest Through Black History
In this episode of the Kankakee Podcast, host Jake LaMore is honored to feature Dr. Leonard Porter, an illuminating figure in the community, who shares his deeply personal and historical insights into the Black experience. From opening recovery homes to preserving the legacies within the Alkebulan History Center in Kankakee, Dr. Porter’s narrative traverses the painful memories of slavery, his family's experiences, and the transformative power of education and healing.Listeners will be riveted by stories of resilience, from Dr. Porter's grandmother's struggles with slavery to his establishment of a veteran's recovery home that has touched thousands of lives. The episode also sheds light on Dr. Porter's commitment to teaching, his immense contributions to mental health, and the pioneering work that led to ground-breaking community initiatives.Dr. Porter and Jake delve into the Alkebulan History Center’s captivating exhibits, like the Stereotype Room, and discuss the powerful artifacts that tell the untold stories of Black heroes. No stone is left unturned in this rich dialogue that explores the breadth of Black history, from tragedy to triumph.Tune in for an unforgettable journey through time with the Kankakee Podcast, where history is not just recounted but palpably felt through Dr. Porter’s vivid storytelling and Jake's engaging conversation. This episode is a profound celebration of Black heritage and the relentless spirit of discovery and education.Join us for a thought-provoking session that honors the past, informs the present, and inspires a united path forward. Get ready for an educational odyssey with Dr. Porter that promises to enlighten and affect hearts and minds.---- Support the show
#137: Kankakee's Crown Jewel: A Billion Can Story - ON SITE!
Feb 12 2024
#137: Kankakee's Crown Jewel: A Billion Can Story - ON SITE!
In this industrious installment of the Kankakee Podcast, our very own Jake LaMore dives into the mechanics of Crown Holdings’ impressive operation with esteemed guests Juan Guzman and Ray Garcia. As we peel back the aluminum curtain of the Bradley plant, we uncover the riveting journey of 12-ounce cans that quench the thirst of millions. This episode celebrates the mastery of manufacturing that takes place right in our backyard.From the clanking symphony of machinery that might be mistaken for disco beats to the delicate dance of printing and varnishing, Juan and Ray guide us through the plant's relentless pursuit to churn out 6 million cans daily. As Crown's human resources manager, Juan brings nearly a decade of expertise to the table, explaining how a focus on employee engagement and reducing equipment speeds has led to an astounding 2 billion cans produced annually. Ray, with his diverse background, shares insights into the plant's complex processes, from trimming to testing.This episode is a testament to Kankakee's industrious heart, as Crown Holdings artfully combines efficiency with environmental stewardship. We gain a renewed appreciation for the ubiquitous aluminum can as our guests highlight community efforts in recycling education – from school programs to reducing landfill waste, the commitment to sustainability is clear.Plus, there’s something quite personal for Juan – the pride in spotting and purchasing cans his plant produced, identifiable by their unique codes, right from the grocery shelf.So, pop a tab and settle in for an episode that delves deep into the elegant engineering and community spirit that keep our favorite beverages just a can away. Tune in for a glimpse into the ingenuity that powers Kankakee’s Crown Holdings and the daily lives of those who craft these containers with care. And remember, the next time you recycle that aluminum can, you’re part of a much larger story of sustainability and community pride. Support the show