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Kankakee Podcast

Arts & Culture Podcasts

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

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


Kankakee, IL


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






Episode 51: Mattea’s Joy - Jamie Freedlund

Most likely at some point in the last twelve years, you've heard or seen the name Mattea's Joy around town. What exactly is it though? Mattea's Joy is nonprofit organization here in Kankakee County that provides care, connection, and community for families navigating the challenges of having a hospitalized child. Founder, Jamie Freedlund, joins me on this episode of Kankakee Podcast to share the special story behind Mattea's Joy and to remind us to find "Joy in the Journey". Whether that...


Episode 50: Connect Roasters - Caleb Benoit

Did you know the coffee that's currently brewed for the professional baseball players in the Chicago Cubs Clubhouse comes from Bourbonnais? Connect Roasters right here in Bourbonnais manufactures coffee almost on a daily basis. They have also found several ways to give back to the community as well. Connect Roasters Founder, Caleb Benoit, who was born and raised in Kankakee County, joins us on this episode of Kankakee Podcast to explain the ins and outs of the coffee business. The Wake N'...


Episode 49: Emily LaVoie - Eating Psychology Coach

There are four different types of hunger. I thought there was only one. That is, until I sat down with Eating Psychology Coach, Emily LaVoie. Born and raised in Kankakee, Emily has always had a passion for helping people. While you may have met Emily through the fitness world, her main focus now is helping people improve their relationship with food. It may sound silly but after listening to this episode, I think you'll be blown away by just how much psychology there is behind eating...


Episode 48: Kent Wade Guest Hosts - Talks Juneteenth 2022

Since day one of starting Kankakee Podcast, I've always had the idea of having people "Guest Host" an episode every now and then. We are finally making that happen! I'm excited to welcome Kent Wade as our very first guest host. If you remember, Kent Wade, was a guest on episode three. It's one of our most popular episodes. Now, Kent is back to take over the show for one episode to explain the importance of Juneteenth and why it's a holiday every American should celebrate. He also gives us a...


Episode 47: Knack Brewing - Matt & Emily Strysik

For the first time in several decades, the City of Kankakee is now home to a brewery once again! After two plus years of planning and lots of hard work, Knack Brewing & Fermentations, has opened it's doors near of the corner of South McMullen Avenue and West Water Street. I was excited to sit down with the owners, Matt & Emily Strysik, to find out exactly what the knack is at Knack Brewing and Fermentations. Visit their official website: https://knackbrewing.com/ Facebook, Instagram, and...


Episode 46: Jake Vaughn - Patron Episode

When you pledge $100 or more per month in the Kankakee Podcast Patron Program, one of the many rewards you will receive is getting to be a guest on an episode. The first person to take us up on this was local musician, Jake Vaughn. This episode kind of ties in with our previously released episode with BBCHS Band Director, Bill Dyche. Jake was taught by Mr. Dyche in high school. Currently, you can find Jake playing around the Kankakee area at various events and open mics. He also works at...


Episode 45: Bill Dyche - Music Educator

After thirty-four years in music education, Bill Dyche, is setting down is conducting baton at the end of this school year. Bill has spent the majority of those years teaching band right here in Kankakee County. He arrived at Kankakee School District 111 in 1990. Eventually, Bill made his way to Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in 2006, where he has spent the last sixteen years as Band Director. Before making his way into the Kankakee area, Bill started his music teaching career in...


Episode 44: The Small Family - Kankakee County Museum

This Sunday, May 22nd, the Kankakee County Museum will be hosting their 32 Annual Rhubarb Festival from 10:00am until 4:00pm. One of the many things being celebrated that day includes the unveiling of the museum's latest exhibit about The Small Family. Jack Klasey and Jorie Walters join us on this episode of Kankakee Podcast to give us an overview of why the Small Family is such a prominent name in our county's history. More information on the 32nd Annual Rhubarb Festival:...


Episode 43: Jessica Bessette a.k.a. Bess Jess

Last week, we ran a "Nominate A Guest" contest. Listeners were invited to nominate a person, place, or topic in Kankakee County for our 1 Year Anniversary livestream on Tuesday, May 10th. We took all of your nominations, shuffled them up, and randomly selected one. The nomination who was chosen was Jessica Bessette, better known as Bess Jess on WFAV 95.1 FM and River Country 101.7 FM, 103.7 FM, and 96.1 FM! This ended up being kind of a reunion episode. Bess Jess & I hosted the Wake N' Jake...


Episode 42: Haylibug Lemonadez - Iva & Hayli Martenez

There aren't many people in Kankakee County that can say an Illinois State Law is named after them but Hayli Martenez can! Hayli's Law, which was signed into law on July 9th, 2021 by Governor J.B. Pritzker, states the Illinois Department of Public Health or any other local health department cannot regulate the sale of lemonade or nonalcoholic drinks by a person under age 16. Haylibug Lemonade Stand in Kankakee was started by Hayli and her Mom, Iva, in 2017. Local health department officials...


Episode 41: Simon Topliss - United Kingdom to America

This is the first of a series I'd like to start doing on Kankakee Podcast where we talk with residents who were born in other countries but now call Kankakee County home. Simon Topliss was born in Harrogate, which is a town in North Yorkshire, England. So how in the world did he wind up living in Bourbonnais, IL for the past several years? Listen to find out! Thank you for your time and support of Kankakee Podcast, Simon! Much Love, Jake LaMore Have you joined our patron program...


Episode 40: Nell Clark - Kankakee County Museum

This month's episode with The Kankakee County Museum takes back in time to when Nell Clark ruled Kankakee's underworld. For about 50 years, from the 1890s to the 1940s, Nell ran a brothel in what is now City Tavern on 367 South West Avenue in Kankakee. Local renowned storyteller, Jack Klasey, explains to us why Nell's story is so notorious. On another note, The Kankakee County Museum's 32nd Annual Rhubarb Festival is coming up on Sunday, May 22nd from 10:00am to 4:00pm! Kankakee Podcast...


Episode 39: Jasmyne Humble - Communications Director of Kankakee County

Kankakee native, Jasmyne Humble, has played an intricate part in local government for a handful of years now. Humble worked for former City of Kankakee Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator. When Mayor Wells-Armstrong did not win re-election in early 2021, Jasmyne was presented with the opportunity to apply for the Communications Director position for the Kankakee County Board. Humble landed the role and has been working hard since then on getting the...


Episode 38: Rob West - Radio News Director

Rob West is one of the most trusted voices in Kankakee County when it comes to getting the most accurate and up-to-date local news. Rob is currently the News Director at Milner Media Partners in Bourbonnais, which is home to The Valley 92.7 FM, River Country 101.7 FM, 103.7 FM, and 96.1 FM, and WFAV 95.1 FM. However, long before his days at Milner, Rob built a name for himself working at WKAN reporting local news for several years. It was there they he learned from legendary Kankakee...


Episode 37: Aaron & Tocarra Robinson - Still I Rise

Still I Rise is a dynamic and innovative leadership development non-profit that empowers youth and young adults to create a positive change in society. The Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce presented Still I Rise with Non-For Profit of The Year Award in 2021. I thought it would be a good time to get to know the couple behind the hardworking organization, Aaron & Tocarra Robinson. We had a great conversation about how Still I Rise started and how we should all be more open minded in the...


Episode 36: Women’s History Month - Kankakee County Museum

It's that time of the month where we are joined by staff members of the Kankakee County Museum to talk about a particular subject in our county's history. We are lucky enough to have both Jorie Walters and Jack Klasey join us on this episode to celebrate Women's History Month. Jorie and Jack introduce us to three very important women in our county's history: Fannie Still, Eva Minor, and Mary Gallagher. Still was the first curator at the Kankakee County Museum. Minor was the county's first...


Episode 35: Matt Yeager (Singer/Songwriter)

Hey there! It feels so great to be back in the saddle of releasing new episodes of Kankakee Podcast. After being off for two and a half months, it's time to get back to business. Thank you for patience. I'm excited to welcome one of Kankakee County's most well known singer/songwriters and musical performs, Matt Yeager! Matt walks us through his humble beginnings of playing in punk rock bands as a teenager to his present day band, The South Side Social Club. Yeager was even kind enough to...


Episode 34: 10 Most Listened to Episodes of 2021

Here's who made the cut for the 10 most listened to episodes of Kankakee Podcast in 2021! Did your favorite make the list? Listen to this episode to find out! Special thank you to: Seth & Mary Burkey, Josh LaMore, Brianna Whittler, Franklin & Anna Weber, Dawn & Jim LaMore, Lizzie Yolich, Noble Dairy Queen Stores, KCC Foundation, Digital World Design, Kankakee City News, Kankakee County Museum, Veronica Featherston, Gorak’s Pest Control, Martial Arts Academy in Bradley, Brenda Whittler -...


Episode 33: Travis Garcia - School Resource Officer

I'm pleased to welcome the very first police officer to be a guest on Kankakee Podcast, Travis Garcia. Originally from Indiana, Travis made his way here about ten years ago and started working for the Bourbonnais Police Department. It wasn't too long after he started patrolling the streets that he became the School Resource Officer for Bourbonnais Elementary School District 53. There's no doubt in my mind that Travis is one of the most dedicated police officers in our county. I'm truly...


Jake LaMore Reads The Polar Express

I want to take this time to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting Kankakee Podcast and LaMore Media L.L.C. in 2021. I’d like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Growing up, one of my favorite Christmas books to read was The Polar Express. Now, the tradition continues with my son who is even more obsessed with it than I was. I know several people who listen to LaMore Media podcasts also have children. So my gift to you and your family this...