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News from the Illinois Valley

Hall superintendent warns of staff and sports cuts

Posted by wlpo on April 23, 2014

Another Illinois Valley school administrator is talking cuts.

According to the NewsTribune, Hall Superintendent Mike Struna wants about 228 thousand dollars in savings with next year’s budget. Those savings would come from not replacing some retiring teachers, replacing other retirees with teachers at the low end of the pay scale, cutting back on cafeteria and technology expenses, reducing hours for secretaries and cutting low participation sports like girls soccer and freshman football and girls basketball.

Struna says the biggest problem continues to be less state funding.

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Pricey improvements planned during summer break at L-P

Posted by wlpo on April 23, 2014

Summer improvements at L-P will include replacing some bathrooms that were built in 1927.

The L-P school board approved over $530,000 worth of Health and Life Safety fund money to replace bathrooms and a boiler along with repaving parking lots at Howard Fellows Stadium, the East gym and auto shop building. Since other high schools take auto shop classes at L-P, they will pay some of the cost.

The total cost of all the improvements came in about 87 thousand dollars below the engineer’s estimate. A $50,000 maintenance grant will also help towards the overall cost.

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Updated La Salle comprehensive plan approved

Posted by wlpo on April 23, 2014

A decision making guide for future land use is one way of describing La Salle’s updated comprehensive plan. After months of public hearings, a final draft Tuesday night received city council approval.

The plan was updated with the help of the Lakota Group consultants and includes guidelines for where to develop new housing and how to redevelop old neighborhoods.  It also suggests that industrial development be keep close to the interstates while commercial development is directed to downtown La Salle. Riverfront recreation areas and green space are also included.

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Grand Ridge farmer killed after being pinned by an overhead door

Posted by wlpo on April 23, 2014

A farmer’s death appears to be a freak accident.

59-year-old Steven Lehr was pronounced dead at his home early Tuesday evening in Grand Ridge. He was found pinned by an overhead door of an outbuilding on his farm.  An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

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Fire damages apartments and women’s clinic in Mendota

Posted by wlpo on April 23, 2014

The carpet has been ripped out of the Abigail Women’s Clinic. The ceiling will have to be torn out too. The medical and counseling center for women in Mendota was left with smoke and water damage after a fire Monday night.

The fire started in an upstairs apartment. Betty Pappas is with the clinic. She says many of their clients stopped by Wednesday to see if they would be open but given the damage and cleanup ahead she says it will be a couple of weeks yet.

The clinic offers free pregnancy tests and early childhood education help. It relies on donations. Pappas says she’s grateful for their volunteers.

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Ottawa Police convince man to not jump off bridge

Posted by wlpo on April 23, 2014

There were some anxious moments on the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge in Ottawa.

A man was threatening to jump off the bridge Tuesday afternoon before police were able to successfully talk him down after about a half hour. The scene caused traffic to be down to one lane on the northbound side of the bridge.

Ottawa Police haven’t released the name of the man who they talked down from jumping.

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Serena driver accused of causing fatal crash

Posted by wlpo on April 23, 2014

Drinking and driving can be a matter of life and death. Investigators are blaming a fatal wreck in Kendall County on a Serena woman.

Susan Bedenk was arrested for DUI after a head-on crash Monday afternoon near Yorkville. State Police say Bedenk was driving a car when she collided with a truck near the intersection of Route 52 and Brisbin Road. A passenger in the truck, 66-year old Susan Jones of Joliet was killed in the crash.

Additional charges against Bedenk are pending.

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La Salle to repair leaking water tower

Posted by wlpo on April 22, 2014

A leaking water tower will be drained and repaired in La Salle.  The tower on Ninth Street has a significant leak according to Public Works Superintendent Jeff Bumgarner.

He explained the situation Tuesday night to the city council.  An outside engineer inspected the tower and recommended it be repaired in one to two years. The tower will also be drained and painted.

Bumgarner was given permission to move forward with the repairs.  The work will be put out for bids.   Bumgarner thinks after it is repaired the tower should be in good shape for another 30 years.

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Peru hires Ossola for storm sewer seperation work

Posted by wlpo on April 22, 2014

Storm and sanitary sewer separation is on going in Peru. For several years, contractors have been digging up the old sewer pipe and replacing it with separate lines for storm water and wastewater from homes.

Work will continue this summer on the south side of Peru where engineers call “Area One.” The city council Monday hired J.W. Ossola for $944,000. They’ll be working in the area of the old Riverview Tavern along Center Street to West Street.

Ossola was also hired for water treatment plant piping improvements at a cost of $71,000.

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Group indicted for burglary in La Salle County

Posted by wlpo on April 22, 2014

One week after getting arrested for allegedly stealing from a parked car, four people were indicted for burglary. Amey McDonnell of Joliet, Derrick Aquino of Marseilles, and Jose Avila and Anthony Brito, Jr. of Ottawa were arrested after someone in rural Utica noticed a group of people trying to steal from their car and called the police.  They were indicted Tuesday in La Salle County.

La Salle County Sheriff’s Deputies stopped and arrested the four in Utica. They all remain in jail.

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