Ottawa tornado cancels meeting between Rauner, rapper

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First responders worked their way through neighborhoods checking on Ottawa residents after a tornado moved through the area, February 28, 2017. | Allen Cunningham / For the Sun-Times

A meeting between Grammy-winning artist Chance the Rapper and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has been canceled because of severe weather.

They were supposed to meet Wednesday to discuss school funding in Chicago. Rauner will instead be touring areas of Illinois hit hard by a deadly storm.

The Chicago performer, whose name is Chancelor Bennett, said Wednesday on Twitter that the meeting was canceled, which Rauner’s officer confirmed.

Talk of the meeting sprung up after the first-term governor congratulated the rapper via Twitter for winning three Grammy Awards last month. Rauner said the state was “proud” the rapper was from Illinois. Chance replied that he’d “love” to meet with Rauner.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, left, and Chance the Rapper, right. | Maria Cardona/ Sun-Times; (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

Gov. Bruce Rauner, left, and Chance the Rapper, right. | Maria Cardona/ Sun-Times; (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

Communities across Illinois were cleaning up after tornadoes moved through much of the Midwest, killing at least three people, two of them in Illinois.

In southwestern Illinois, many residents were still without power in Randolph County. Golf-ball sized hail was reported in Edwardsville.

In the central Illinois community of Washburn, several homes were damaged. Resident Nelda Bezille tells the Peoria Journal-Star that her garage collapsed on her car.

The National Weather Service has dispatched survey teams to catalogue damage. Meteorologist Amy Seeley says the teams on Wednesday also will determine how long tornados were on the ground.

During a morning briefing in Ottawa, an emergency management official, Connie Brooks, said “the streets are not safe yet … the perimeter is locked down” and said Ottawa is not yet ready to handle an influx of volunteers.

About 9,500 customers were without power at the peak of the storm, a Ameren utility official said Wednesday. That number had dropped to about 2,000 by Wednesday morning, and Ameren hopes to have a majority of those customers restored by the end of the day.

Brooks said an emergency shelter had been set up at Ottawa High School, but no one stayed there Tuesday night.

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