The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

February 24, 2013

Westville native promoted to two-star general

— After almost a decade of leading Florida National Guard Airmen through one of the most militarily turbulent periods in recent history, a Westville native has left his mark in Florida and is working in the hub of the nation’s military strategists.

Brig. Gen. Joseph Balskus, commander of the nearly 2,000 men and women of the Florida Air National Guard (FLANG), passed command of his organization to Brig. Gen. Robert Branyon during a ceremony in Florida in late November.

After relinquishing the prestigious command, Balskus was promoted to the rank of major general. He also was awarded the Florida Cross for his distinguished service to Florida.

Since the change of command, Balskus transferred to Washington, D.C., to take a position as the military assistant deputy chief of staff, Strategic Plans and Programs, headquarters, United States Air Force. In this capacity he is working in the inner-most circle of strategic planning for the Air Force.

Balskus is a graduate of Westville High School and Eastern Illinois University. As well as serving as the Florida Air National Guard commander, he has held the position of the Florida National Guard’s assistant adjutant general for air since 2006.

“It has been an amazing ride,” Balskus said during an interview in November, speaking of his tenure at the helm of the FLANG.

Balskus began his military career by joining the United States Air Force in 1979. He graduated from Officer Training School as a second lieutenant in 1980 with the honor of Distinguished Graduate.

He was assigned as an air weapons controller while on active duty and served in Osan, Korea, Homestead, Fla., and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. He was combat qualified and worked extensively with the F-4C Phantom, the F-15 Eagle, and the E3A (Airborne Warning and Control System). Following in-residence Squadron Officer School, Balskus was assigned as an associate professor of aerospace studies at the Citadel, Military College of South Carolina from 1984–88.

In 1990, after serving eight years on active duty and two years in the Air Force Reserves he joined the Florida Air National Guard. Balskus has commanded at every level with squadron, group, and state positions.

Text Only
Local News
  • Auditions set for musical

    August 23, 2014

  • Program helps Hoopeston Area students HOOPESTON — Karla Coon, the director of Danville Area Community College’s Hoopeston site, and high school principal Larry Maynard presented a new idea to the Hoopeston School Board at Thursday’s meeting.Project Future: Creating the Dream is an extrac

    August 23, 2014

  • Watseka man arrested in shooting incident HOOPESTON — A shooting has taken place in Hoopeston for the second time in as many years.City police officers responded to a report of gun shots just before 2:30 a.m. Friday in the 500 block of East Seminary Street.Chief Mark Drollinger said officers

    August 23, 2014

  • Homeless veterans project hits snag DANVILLE — A $17 million project to house homeless and at-risk veterans was not awarded 65 project-based Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.“We’re trying not to make it a dead i

    August 23, 2014

  • City officials to discuss video gaming cafes DANVILLE — Five to six outside developers have approached city officials about the possibility of opening video gaming cafes. Members of the city council’s Public Services Committee will discuss the issue Tuesday.Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said he’s seek

    August 23, 2014

  • Mildred Christine Utesch Mildred Christine Utesch, 83, peacefully passed away Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. She was born on Dec. 25, 1930, in Georgetown to Andrew and Arzella Acord. In 1951, she married William Albert Utesch, and together they raised their children, William Edwa

    August 23, 2014

  • Police, Fire Reports

    August 22, 2014

  • Donate tennis shoes Sunday

    August 22, 2014

  • Tilton board approves new TIF district

    Village trustees took the first step Thursday toward enticing more economic development in the village by approving an agreement with Moran Economic Development of Edwardsville to create a second tax increment funding district.

    August 22, 2014

  • New program to help Hoopeston Area students

    Karla Coon, the director of Danville Area Community College's Hoopeston site, and high school principal Larry Maynard presented a new idea to the Hoopeston School Board at Thursday's meeting.

    August 22, 2014

Spring 2014 Photos

Buy these photos and more via Smugmug

AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
NDN Video
School serves diabetic girl trashcan pizza Battle of the Butts at the 2014 MTV VMAs! Four-Year-Old Reviews Exclusive Restaurant's $295 Fixed Price Menu Mariah Orders Nick Cannon to Stay Quiet About Divorce Details U.S. Military Strategy Against ISIS The London Zoo holds its annual animal weigh-in VIDEO: Goliath Grouper eats shark in one bite Rapper Almost Walks Off CNN Over Ferguson Coverage 2 American Ebola Patients Released From Hospital Whoa! Jimmy Fallon Shaves Jared Leto's Beard US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Reggie Jackson's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Amazing Encounter With Sea Otter Caught on Video Motorcyclist Sticks Landing Sicilian hilltop homes on sale for one euro Are Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon Breaking Up? Joel McHale Interviews Chelsea This 'Breaking Bad' Reunion is the Most Hilarious Thing You'll See All Day! President Obama talks about who James Foley was Nicki Minaj Unleashes Her 'Anaconda' On the World
Must Read