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News from the Illinois Valley

Peru getting help from other police departments for Black Friday security

Posted by wlpo on November 27, 2014

If you’re going shopping in the next day or two, expect to see plenty of police presence.

Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei says from the time when stores open Thanksgiving evening thru Friday night, as many as eight additional officers will be watching over the big box stores and Peru Mall. Those off-duty officers are on top of police who were already scheduled to work. Bernabei says off-duty officers from La Salle and Spring Valley are even helping Peru during the Black Friday event. Stores are paying for the extra police presence.

Bernabei says he’s hoping for a “busy shopping time but a boring time for police” in the next couple days.

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Shoppers gearing up for Thanksgiving night deals

Posted by wlpo on November 27, 2014

Do your Thanksgiving plans include shopping? If you have the energy to fight the crowds after feasting, plenty of stores will open for business on Thanksgiving evening.

Kohls, Target, Walmart, Dunham’s Sports, Staples and the Peru Mall are opening at six Thanksgiving night. If your not a fan of shopping on Thanksgiving you’ll applaud Menards and Farm & Fleet since they are both closed the entire holiday. Both open with holiday deals Friday morning at six.

Rob Edwards from 96.5 the Wolf will broadcast live from Farm & Fleet in Ottawa Friday morning at six.

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Latest unemployment rates released for the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on November 27, 2014

The local unemployment numbers don’t look so bleak if you compare them to last year’s numbers. The October unemployment rate in La Salle was 7.9 percent down from more than 11 percent the previous October.

Bureau County’s unemployment rate was 7.6 percent, down from 8.8 percent last year. Putnam County October unemployment was 6.6 percent, down from 9.3 percent last October.

The Ottawa-Streator area unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, down from 10 and a half percent in October 2013.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says jobs were gained in transportation-warehousing and professional business services. Jobs were loss in manufacturing and wholesale trade.

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Chicago’s Archbishop backs President Obama’s immigration stance

Posted by wlpo on November 27, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) – Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich is praising President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. But he says the church must continue to push for comprehensive reform for all.

Under plans Obama announced last week, nearly 5 million immigrants illegally in the U.S. will be eligible to avoid deportation and sign up for work permits. Cupich says it’s “a time for momentary celebration.”

He says it’s also time to mobilize communities to help people affected by Obama’s actions. Cupich says the Archdiocesan Office of Immigrant Affairs and Immigration Education will prepare parishioners to help immigrants realize the full benefits of the executive order.

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Peru house fire keeps area departments busy Wednesday afternoon

Posted by wlpo on November 26, 2014

Fire and smoke have damaged a home in Peru. The fire at the two-story house on Fifth Street not far from Peru Catholic School was reported just before 1pm Wednesday.

Peru Firefighters received assistance from La Salle, Spring Valley and Oglesby Fire Departments. They were able to pack up and leave by 3pm.

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Think small business when shopping Saturday

Posted by wlpo on November 26, 2014

You don’t have to leave the dinner table early on Thanksgiving to go Christmas shopping at a small business. Small Business Saturday has been growing in popularity in the past few years.

It has definitely caught on in La Salle where it’s something that’s promoted by the La Salle Business Association. Leah Inman of Inman Electric says about 30 businesses are participating, mostly stores and services you’ll find downtown. Many of the businesses have planned 10 or 20 percent off sales for Saturday.

Inman say when you spend money with a local business, more of your money stays in the community.

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Numbers released for the first weekend of firearm deer season

Posted by wlpo on November 26, 2014

Are deer getting smarter or are there fewer hunters looking for the big prize in the Illinois Valley?

Whatever the reason, numbers are down in the Illinois Valley during the first part of the firearm deer season. Hunters brought down 540 deer last weekend in La Salle County, almost 50 less than a year ago.

In Bureau County, 676 deer were shot down compared to 730 last year. Hunters in Putnam County brought down 240 deer last weekend compared to 278 last year.

The second part of the firearm deer season begins next Thursday.

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Gas going down, not up ahead of busy holiday travel days

Posted by wlpo on November 26, 2014

Good news if you’re hitting the road for the holiday. Gas prices in the Illinois Valley continue to go down.

According to, prices in La Salle and Peru have fallen to $2.57 a gallon at some stations. Prices are still higher in Ottawa with gas going for $2.73 a gallon. Prices in Streator have jumped up to $2.87 a gallon. Earlier this month Streator had the lowest gas prices in all of Illinois.

The average price for gas in Illinois right now is $2.89 a gallon, down eight cents from a week ago.

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A former employee is accused of stealing $1,000,000 from a La Salle business

Posted by wlpo on November 26, 2014

A crucial part of running a business is having employees you can trust. A former employee of J.B. Contracting in La Salle is accused of stealing more than $1,000,000 over the course of six years.

Connie Steinbach of Oglesby turned herself in at La Salle County Sheriff’s Department Tuesday afternoon.  The investigation began on October 27 after someone from the construction company went to the La Salle Police. Investigators believe between January 2008 to October 2014, Steinbach wrote company checks for personal use and changed company records to make it seem as if the money went to legitimate customers.

Steinbach was charged with two counts of Class X felony theft and was released after posting bond.

Police say their investigation isn’t over because they’re trying to determine where the money was spent.

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Man arrested in La Salle after allegedly receiving marijuana in the mail

Posted by wlpo on November 25, 2014

Any package being sent through the U.S. Postal Service is going to be inspected, including a packaging with 12 pounds of marijuana.

A man with a California address is facing a felony drug charge in La Salle County after police say he receive more than 5000 grams of marijuana in the mail Friday.

Joseph Larabee was pulled over and arrested at Ninth and Joliet Streets in La Salle by members of TRIDENT. He was being held in the La Salle County Jail with his bond set at $500,000.

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