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News from the Illinois Valley

Archive for May, 2009

Utica house comes down during controlled burn

Posted by wlpo on May 30, 2009

A practice for the local fire department was entertainment for the people in Utica Saturday afternoon.

Children and their parents watched as about two dozen fire fighters with the Utica Fired Department performed drills on an old two-story home.

Chief Dave Edgecombe says they performed four drills inside the home on Route 178 before burning it down.

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Job gains seen in retail and hospitality

Posted by wlpo on May 30, 2009

La Salle County unemployment dropped slightly from March to April but remained much higher when compared to the same time last year. Unemployment was at 10.8% for April compared to 7.1% the same time in 2008. The Illinois Department of Employment Security released the latest numbers Friday.

It was a similar situation in Bureau County where April unemployment was at 9%, that’s nearly five points higher than the same time last year.

Putnam County unemployment is still dealing with the loss of Mittal Steel jobs. April unemployment was at 12.7%, nearly double the same time last year.

Overall, the Ottawa-Streator area unemployment was at 10.4%.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says though there have been job losses in manufacturing, construction and government, jobs were gained in leisure-hospitality and retail trade.

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Work begins to convert old Wal-mart into classrooms

Posted by wlpo on May 30, 2009

Work started this past week on turning the old Wal-Mart building of Ottawa into a temporary school.

Crews are fixing the Wal-Mart roof after it sprung some leaks. Once this is done in a couple weeks, Vissering Construction of Streator will go to work on the inside by building classrooms for 5th and 6th grade students who’ve been displaced from the flooded out Central Elementary.

Vissering is doing the job for $555,000, over $150,000 less than what the district estimated the cost to be. The total cost of making Wal-Mart a school is about $1 million.

Students will start attending the school in the fall.

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Burglary charges for man in La Salle

Posted by wlpo on May 29, 2009

Have you noticed anything missing from your garage? Police in La Salle arrested a man during the early morning hours Thursday they say broke into two garages.

Julius Roberts of La Salle is accusing of stealing things out of cars. He was charged with two counts of burglary, resisting police, and criminal trespassing. He was taken to the county jail.

Police have items they believe he stole from other garages. If you think it could be yours, contact the investigation department of the La Salle Police Department.

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Trails open at Catlin Park

Posted by wlpo on May 29, 2009

Catlin Park in Ottawa is drying up, but not enough to open all the trails.

Park officials are opening most trails Friday for biking, hiking and horseback riding. However some trails that are still wet will be marked with yellow caution tape. These trails are open only to hiking.

You could be arrested if you’re found doing something you shouldn’t be on the taped off trails.

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Route 351 is back to normal

Posted by wlpo on May 28, 2009

Things are back to normal on Route 351 south of La Salle.

A semi-trailer that was blocking the road has been moved. You can use the Shipping Sport Bridge as usual.

The truck’s trailer was blocking both lanes of Rt 351 for a while Thursday afternoon. It looked like the driver was trying to turn around and became stuck.

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Waltham Changing Bus Pickup

Posted by wlpo on May 28, 2009

If you live out in the country, the Waltham School District bus will still come to your house.

Superintendent Kristen School says new “bus stops or zones” are aimed at subdivisions, not at rural addresses.  She says the new bus pickup zones will only have some students walking a block or two. 

School says they were having issues going door to door in subdivisions with construction this past school year.  They also were having students changing where they were being picked up. 

Parents will find out where the “bus zones” will be when registering their kid in July.

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Big Project Planned At IVCC

Posted by wlpo on May 28, 2009

Calling it a “once in a lifetime opportunity”, IVCC President Jerry Corcoran told the trustees yesterday he wants to build a 30 million dollar Community Technology Center on campus.  He says they would combine plans for a Technology and Workforce Development Center and a Community Instructional Center by putting it all into one building. 

In meeting with state officials, Corcoran says he gained more state support by doing one larger building instead of two smaller ones.   The state would pay for 75 percent of the Community Technology Center, which would be about 23 million dollars.  This money would come from a capital bill that’s waiting for the governor’s signature.  The college would need seven million dollars for its share.  They’ve saved up so far about five million dollars.

The 74 thousand square foot building would house manufacturing and high-tech career classes along with offices for admissions, financial aid and counseling.  It would be built between Building F and the new parking lot.  Temporary buildings on the east part of campus would be torn down because of the new building.

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Update On Streator Crash That Killed Two

Posted by wlpo on May 27, 2009

A man from Streator who was involved in a fatal accident is out of the hospital.

45 year old Juan Mendoza has been released from St. Francis Medical Center.  He was taken there after a crash near Bluff and Bloomington Streets in Streator.

The 46 year old driver, Jaime Arevalo of Streator allegedly crashed into a tree.  Also killed in the crash was 24 year old Rafael Rico of Spring Valley.

The crash remains under investigation.

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Streator Plant Fined By EPA

Posted by wlpo on May 27, 2009

A glass plant in Streator has been fined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Owens-Brockway Glass Container is paying a 76 thousand dollar penalty for allegedly allowing excessive amounts of ash, dust and smoke from its glass melting furnace.  The EPA says the plant was violating the Clean Air Act.

As part of their penalty and settlement, Owens-Brockway is agreeing to put in new equipment to reduce ash, dust and smoke.

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