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News from the Illinois Valley

Utica Veteran’s Parade set for Nov. 1st

Posted by wlpo on October 8, 2015

Mark your calendar for the next big parade in Utica.

The 9th Annual Utica Veteran’s Parade and Air Show is going on Sunday, November 1st. The parade down Mill Street will include military vehicles, veteran groups and color guards, a bagpipe group from the Chicago Police Department and several floats. In the sky above the parade will be a Lima Lima Air Show and a flyover by a World War Two torpedo bomber.

The parade gets going on the 1st at 1 o’clock. This year’s parade and air show is dedicated to retired military.

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New route for L-P Homecoming parade

Posted by wlpo on October 8, 2015

Because of construction, the L-P Homecoming parade will take a few extra twists and turns.

The parade starts Thursday at 4 o’clock on Schuyler Street in Peru. The route will quickly jet north at the police department on West Street before heading back east on Seventh Street. The parade will head south on Pulaski Street in La Salle before getting back onto Route 6 and then continuing into downtown.

You can hear L-P’s Homecoming football game tomorrow night starting at 7:15 on Classic Hits 103.9 WLPO. The Cavs take on the Ottawa Pirates.

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Mendota man arrested after injuring police officer following chase

Posted by wlpo on October 8, 2015

What’s a Chicago man doing in Mendota? Whatever the reason, he’s in trouble after injuring a police officer following a chase.

Just after one Wednesday morning, La Salle County deputies and Mendota officers chased after Jody Skowronski of Chicago. The foot chase began behind the Mendota Elk’s Club.

When he was tracked down, Skowronski fought with the officers. During the struggle, a Mendota officer was injured and taken to OSF Saint Paul Medical Center.

Skowronski was arrested for aggravated resisting and obstructing a peace officer, a class 4 felony. He was also wanted on warrants in Kendall County for retail theft and resisting a peace officer. Skowronski was taken to the jail in Ottawa.

The injured Mendota officer was treated for an injury to the lower leg and was released.

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Illinois Valley agency cutting business hours due to state budget impasse

Posted by wlpo on October 7, 2015

The state budget standoff is starting to affect businesses in the Illinois Valley.

The Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living announced that due to the budget impasse, the agency will be reducing their businesses hours.

Starting October 16th, IVCIL will start closing at noon on Thursdays and will be closed all day on Fridays. They will also be closed the three days before Thanksgiving and the three days after Christmas.

According to their website, the IVCIL is “a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities in opening doors to their independence.” They operate in Bureau, La Salle, Putnam, Marshall and Stark Counties.

IVCIL’s Mobile Meals program will continue to operate and deliver meals at their regular schedule.

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Grand jury indicts Spring Valley man on five burglary counts

Posted by wlpo on October 7, 2015

How many burglaries does someone have to pull off before they’re called a serial burglar?

Mason Hass of Spring Valley was indicted Wednesday in La Salle County Court for three counts of burglary and two counts of residential burglary. He was arrested last month by La Salle Police and at that time was thought to have played a role in 30 burglaries in La Salle, Bureau and Marshall Counties. Prosecutors now think Hass could’ve burglarized up to 75 homes and businesses.

He needs $10,000 to get out of jail. Hass is due back in court Friday in Ottawa.

More arrests are expected with the alleged burglary ring.

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Book published documenting history of Streator Fire Department

Posted by wlpo on October 7, 2015

A book seven years in the making about the Streator Fire Department has been published.

Shane Elko never was a firefighter but became interested in the history of the Streator Fire Department so he started compiling information about fires dating all the way back to 1887. Elko was about 90 percent done with the book “Dancing with the Devil: Stories from the Streator Fire Department” when he passed away last year. His family then approached firefighter Bryan Park and they finished the book.

Elko’s book goes all the way back to the 1880s and includes a chapter on the Kennedy Truck Body fire where two firefighters were killed.

The book is $12 and is available by clicking Streator Fire Dept Book

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Ottawa chasing down grant to redevelop riverfront and hopefully stop flooded basements

Posted by wlpo on October 7, 2015

Ottawa has gone after several grants over the years but nothing compares to their latest effort.

The city is one of 40 finalists across the country for a share of a billion dollars from the federal government’s “National Disaster Resilience Competition.” Through a partnership with the state, Ottawa hopes to get over $15 million in grant money while agreeing to fork over about $6 million for the local match.

The grant money would include around $9 million to develop the city’s waterfront. Plans are to build a marina and amphitheater where the old Central School once stood.

Other grant money would pay for sanitary sewer improvements. City Engineer Dave Noble says flooded basements of homes and businesses can’t continue happening and this grant money would go a long ways to fix the issue.

Other plans for the grant money would be to build a flood wall around the wastewater treatment plant and to develop the Harper’s Farm property east of town. The farm would include a compensatory store area for floodwaters along with hiking trails.

Noble says the grant application deadline is October 25th and the city should learn its fate in December.

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Big pot bust made on Interstate 80 near La Salle

Posted by wlpo on October 7, 2015

This big of a pot bust doesn’t happen very often. A man state police call a cannabis smuggler is accused of hauling over 100 pounds of pot through the Illinois Valley.

Thirty-six-year-old Thoai Minh Le of Garden Grove, California was pulled over Monday on Interstate 80 near La Salle. A trooper says after catching a whiff of marijuana, Le’s car was searched. Allegedly inside were four large suitcases stuffed with 106 pounds of pot.

Le was arrested with cannabis trafficking and possession of cannabis with the intent to deliver. Both charges are felonies that can bring as much as 30 years in prison.

Le is due in court Wednesday.

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Panel recommends Mautino for Illinois Auditor General job

Posted by wlpo on October 6, 2015

(AP) – A bipartisan panel has selected longtime state Rep. Frank Mautino to serve as Illinois’ next auditor general.

The Legislative Audit Commission voted Tuesday to recommend the Spring Valley Democrat to replace retiring Auditor General William Holland.

Mautino’s selection for the job of overseeing audits of state agencies must be approved by a three-fifth vote in the Illinois House and Senate.

Mautino has represented parts or all of Bureau, LaSalle, Livingston and Putnam counties since 1991. He’s served as deputy majority leader since 2011.

Holland announced in June he’ll retire Dec. 31. He’s served as auditor general since 1992.

The other finalists were Democratic state Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook, attorney Larry Sanders from Marion and Mary Modelski, who leads an audit division of California’s Alameda County.

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Car stolen in Mendota

Posted by wlpo on October 6, 2015

Mendota Police need your help to find a stolen car in Mendota.

Sometime between 5:30 and 9:30 last night, a black 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee was stolen from the 200 block of Ninth Avenue.

An automated call from the police department went out to Mendota residents shortly before 10 this morning advising them of the theft.

The car has an Illinois license plate of 399-7004. If you have any information on where the car is or about the theft, call the Mendota police department at 539-9331 or Mendota Crimestoppers at 538-7777.

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