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News from the Illinois Valley

Police training could go state-wide

Posted by wlpo on February 7, 2016

Law enforcement officials in Lake County are undergoing training that Illinois could use as a statewide model to help officers identify suspects with potential mental health issues. The News Sun reports the training being offered at College of Lake County introduces officers to the signs and triggers of mental illnesses in an effort to diffuse situations that could turn violent.

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Violent crime surging in Rockford

Posted by wlpo on February 7, 2016

Rockford police say violent crimes surged last year in the northern Illinois city, driven by youth violence and crimes involving guns.

The Rockford Register Star reports Rockford saw nearly 2,500 violent crimes last year. That was 24 percent more than the previous year. Assistant Deputy Chief Doug Pann said Friday juvenile violent crime, including robberies and auto thefts, drove the big increase in the state’s third-largest city.

A gang of teenagers engaged in an increasingly violent series of armed robberies, car hijackings and auto thefts last spring and summer.  Arrests of juvenile suspects have filled the Winnebago County Juvenile Detention Center beyond capacity with juvenile detainees sleeping on mattresses inside a gymnasium.

Mayor Larry Morrissey and others question if those charged with gun crimes are facing stiff enough punishment.

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Kinzinger visits Peru church Monday

Posted by wlpo on February 7, 2016

Your area Congressman reads and discusses bills with constituents a lot, but a portion of his schedule Monday is for people too young to vote. 16th District Congressman Adam Kinzinger will visit the Pre K Head Start classroom in the First Congregational Church in Peru at 1:45pm.Monday.

He’ll visit with students and read them the book “House Mouse Senate Mouse”. The book explains how laws are made. The visit will be about 30 minutes. The church in on the Fourth street curve a few blocks west of Route 251.

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Midland students on the move

Posted by wlpo on February 7, 2016

It’s something a school superintendent doesn’t want to have to do. Move students around suddenly in the middle of the year. But, that is the situation at Midland Elementary School in Lacon after potentially hazardous lead paint was found inside and outside the building.

Kindergarten through 4th graders will have school starting Tuesday in the middle school in Sparland. Fifth graders will be shifted from middle school to the high school at Varna. School officials hope to have arrangements completed by Tuesday. All 3 schools have been closed since last Thursday.

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Shed and contents destroyed in fire

Posted by wlpo on February 7, 2016

30-thousand gallons of water was poured on a large tool shed fire on Hatton Road, outside McNabb Saturday night. McNabb Fire Chief Brad Popurella said 13 departments assisted in some way after his department was summoned about 8:40pm.

Popurella said the site was 2 miles west of McNabb and a mile north. The 75 X 150 shed was completely engulfed by the time firemen arrived. Water was trucked in from four counties, and the fire was not out until 11pm. By that time, the semi, implements and the structure itself were a total loss. No injuries occurred.

The loss is estimated at a half million dollars. Popurella says the cause is undetermine and a fire marshall will come to the scene. A house 50 yards to the south was saved from flying ash.

Departments as far away as Ladd and Peru assisted.

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Parkside 7th graders advance science projects

Posted by wlpo on February 7, 2016

Peru Parkside 7th graders love their science.  Results from competition Saturday at the school, show 10 students will be taking their projects to NIU in Dekalb for further competition. Peru Parkside school tweeted the information Saturday with pictures after the fair.

Names were not included. More information will be given on the school’s website Monday.

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Serena High in “Mascot Madness”

Posted by wlpo on February 7, 2016

The IHSA and “Comcast Sports Chicago” have commenced the first round of their “Mascot Madness” contest. Serena Huskers are in Round 1 against the Urbana University Illineks.

You can vote for Serena starting at Noon Monday at csnchicago.com/Mascotmadness. The contest will continue for 5 weeks as the brackets shrink. The polls will close at 4pm Thursday. Results will be posted at the above mentioned site by Friday night.

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Streator woman ticketed after accident

Posted by wlpo on February 7, 2016

A Streator woman had a sudden change of plans about 9am yesterday including a trip to the hospital. The Sheriff’s office said 22-year old Bailey Pooler was westbound on North 17th road, northeast of Streator, when her car went out of control, entered the north ditch, struck a culvert and came to rest in a field.

Pooler was cited for having no insurance, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, DUI and DUI over .08. She was taken to OSF St. Elizabeth Hospital in Ottawa.

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CAT worker hurt; unknown injuries

Posted by wlpo on February 7, 2016

The Peoria Journal Star says Caterpillar and OSHA are saying very little regarding a Caterpillar worker who was hurt about Noon Wednesday in Building SS. Brian Bothast with OSHA said they would not share information while they’re investigating the accident. Caterpillar spokeswoman Lisa Miller said the employee was painting track, but no details are available about the extent of the worker’s injuries or the employee’s current condition.

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IDOT and Amtrak negotiate contract

Posted by wlpo on February 6, 2016

Do you use Amtrak? Illinois Department of Transportation and Amtrak announced Friday an agreement to keep existing service levels on state-supported routes at a savings to taxpayers and at no change to fares. The agreement through June 30 – the current fiscal year – will cost $38.3 million compared to $42 million in the last fiscal year.

IDOT used credits – such as equipment upgrades – and negotiatiating a $2.7 million dollar reduction from Amtrak’s original request for equipment maintenance. All state supported daily round trips end in Chicago. In total, there are 4 routes originating in St. Louis, 2 in Quincy, 2 in Carbondale and 7 daily round trips from Milwaukee. Wisconsin routes are 75% covered by Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

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