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News from the Illinois Valley

Mendota restaurant giving up long tradition of being alcohol-free

Posted by wlpo on March 3, 2015

Video gambling is impacting people’s lives in a lot of ways. It’s also helping to have a longtime “dry” restaurant in Mendota now serving up alcohol.

According to the NewsTribune, Ziggies Family Restaurant received a liquor license Monday night from the Mendota City Council. Alderman Randy Morris says the restaurant has been liquor-free as long as he can remember. He thinks the restaurant owners will now go after a video gambling permit.

Even though Ziggies is open 24 hours, they will have to stop selling alcohol at 2am.

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Jury selected for Ottawa home invasion trial

Posted by wlpo on March 3, 2015

Ten women and two men will decide the fate of a man accused of robbing an elderly Ottawa woman after tying her to her bed.

Richard Felton of Chicago who also at one point had a Tonica address faces a home invasion charge. He’s accused of leading a group of people in going to a 92-year-old woman’s house in Ottawa on August of 2013 and binding her to her bed in order to rob her.

Opening statements are expected to begin Tuesday in front of Judge Cynthia Raccuglia. Felton also faces an eventual attempted murder trial for allegedly shooting one of his alleged partners in the Ottawa home invasion.

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Oglesby marijuana cultivation center is going forward

Posted by wlpo on March 3, 2015

A medical marijuana distribution center is still a go in Oglesby despite the developer voluntarily giving up a permit to build another cultivation center elsewhere.

Oglesby Mayor Don Finley says he talked with officials from Green Thumb Industries and they told him metal has been ordered for the Oglesby cultivation center and ground should be broken within the next week depending on the weather. Finley says GTI has also asked for temporary power for the construction site by next week.

GTI made the news recently by deciding not to pay a $200,000 fee for a cultivation center permit they were awarded in Dixon. It apparently was a business decision and not a sign the developer has financial issues.

The planned Oglesby cultivation center will be south of Loves Travel Stop along Interstate 39.

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Drew Peterson back in court for allegedly trying to hire a hitman

Posted by wlpo on March 3, 2015

CHESTER, Ill. (AP) – Drew Peterson returns to court Tuesday on charges of trying to hire someone to kill the prosecutor who helped put him in state prison.

Peterson was charged last month with soliciting to find someone he could pay to kill Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow. The former Bolingbrook police sergeant has been in prison since being convicted of killing his third wife. His fourth wife disappeared.

The murder-for-hire charges were filed in Randolph County, where Peterson is an inmate at the Menard Correctional Center.

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St. Bede team to compete at science and engineering sectional

Posted by wlpo on March 2, 2015

Basketball isn’t the only high school activity with a sectional competition. The St. Bede Academy World Youth in Science and Engineering team will be at Illinois Central College Thursday to compete at the sectionals.

They were the highest scoring team at the regional competition last month at Illinois Valley Community College.

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Mix of rain, sleet and snow predicted for Tuesday

Posted by wlpo on March 2, 2015

Be prepared for a mix of rain, snow and ice. The National Weather Service is predicting that a wintery mix will start falling on the Illinois Valley before sunrise Tuesday morning.

Most of Illinois is included in a Winter Weather Advisory from 3am through 12pm Tuesday.  Not a lot of accumulation is expected but it will still affect driving conditions.

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Bureau County official to begin involvment with regional emergency dispatch center

Posted by wlpo on March 2, 2015

Call 911 in Bureau County and you’ll be connected to a dispatcher with BuEComm, the agency that fields all emergency calls in Bureau County.

The board members of BuEComm are closely watching the development of a dispatch center that would handle all emergency calls for La Salle, Peru and Oglesby.

The board decided last week to have four members on the Illinois Valley Regional Dispatch Center planning committee according to BuEComm Director Diana Stiles. She says the board is exploring the option of the regional dispatch center because the state is trying to consolidate services.

As for now, BuEComm will continue to handle all of Bureau County’s 911 calls.

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Alleged heroin dealers stopped in Peru make initial court appearance

Posted by wlpo on March 2, 2015

A man and woman picked up for allegedly dealing heroin in Peru have to come up with big cash to get out of jail.

Wilfredo Candelaria of Peru and Nora Toovey of DePue were both in court Sunday being charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Their bond was set at $1 million each. Both are due back in court Thursday.

Candelaria and Toovey were pulled over Friday night at 6th and Fulton Streets in Peru. With the help of a drug dog, Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei says officers found over 100 separate packages of heroin and a small amount of crack cocaine and paraphernalia.

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Long break before spring break for much of L-P

Posted by wlpo on March 2, 2015

How does a five-day weekend sound right before spring break? It’s what some students are getting at L-P High School.

Monday is Casimir Pulaski Day which has L-P closed. Then on Tuesday and Wednesday, only juniors will go to school for testing. Freshmen, sophomores and seniors won’t be back in class until Thursday. All L-P students then get a full week off starting March 30th for spring break.

Pulaski Day is an optional school holiday. Many schools are in session today.

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Students and staff at Seneca High help fight childhood cancer

Posted by wlpo on March 2, 2015

Students at Seneca High School have gotten the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser off to a good start in La Salle County.

Thirteen people went under the razor Friday at the high school to benefit childhood cancer research. Donations for the Seneca event are near $2,000.

Nearly 50 people have signed up so far to have their heads shaved at the annual St. Baldrick’s event at Jeremiah Joe’s in downtown Ottawa. That fundraiser is on Saturday, March 21st.

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