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Archive for October 20th, 2009

Teachers Find Plenty Of Support

Posted by wlpo on October 20, 2009

If the people who turned out for a community meeting about the Ottawa Teacher’s Strike were asked for a solution, it would be arbitration.

The majority of the crowd of a few hundred stood and cheered last night when an audience member said only way to go was arbitration with both sides seemingly at in impasse.  A panel of four Ottawa High teachers took questions and comments from the crowd which was primarily in the corner of the teachers.  

One audience member did question the teachers about asking for money and complaining about health insurance in the current economy.  Teacher Sue Williamson didn’t address the pay raise but said teachers are willing to begin paying for insurance.

When pressed why all teachers don’t get to vote on the board’s offer, Williamson said 35 percent of teachers would get a pay cut under the board’s proposal and that the overwhelming majority of teachers don’t want to vote.  Fellow teacher Brian Guenther says the original strike vote was in the “upper 90 percentile” in favor of striking and that teachers are still unified.

 The teachers urged the audience to call board members even though some accused them of dodging phone calls.

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Good Behavior At Strike Meeting

Posted by wlpo on October 20, 2009

If you were hoping for fireworks during last night’s community meeting about the teacher’s strike, you were disappointed. 

One Ottawa Police oversaw the meeting but other than a few people talking over one another, the meeting was uneventful when it came to unruly behavior.  Before the meeting started, a striking teacher asked that everyone’s opinion be respected and everyone be calm. 

Catching wind of the ruckus following the last negotiation session, one Chicago t-v station did make it down to cover the meeting.

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Ottawa Teachers Community Meeting

Posted by wlpo on October 20, 2009

*photo by AM1220's Jeremy Aitken.

*photo by AM1220's Jeremy Aitken.

Concerned parents, taxpayers and teachers packed the annex of the First Baptist Church in Ottawa Tuesday night.

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Peru man faces cocaine related charge

Posted by wlpo on October 20, 2009

A man suspected of selling cocaine has been arrested in Peru. 

Officers with local drug enforcement team TRIDENT arrested Luke Kaszynski in his home Monday.

They say they got an arrest warrant for him after he sold cocaine to a TRIDENT investigator.

Kaszynski faces the class 1 felony unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.  He was taken to the La Salle County Jail with his bond set at $40,000.

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Waste Water Plant to be covered by stimulus funding

Posted by wlpo on October 20, 2009

You’ve seen signs touting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act while driving through road construction sites, but not all of the stimulus money is being spent on road work.

La Salle is getting $15 million for an additional waste water treatment plant.  It’ll be on the east side of town near the Vermilion River.

Public Works Superintendent Sam McNeilly smiled as he announced the news during Monday night’s city council meeting.
          Crawford, Murphy, and Tilly is the firm overseeing the project. 

One fourth of the $15 million will not need to be paid back.  The rest will be paid back, interest free over the next 20 years.

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Teachers Want Community Input

Posted by wlpo on October 20, 2009

The teacher’s union has set up a community meeting tonight at six at First Baptist Church in Ottawa.  The church is on State Street on the south side.

In the latest teacher’s release, union president Glenn Weatherford says “one side of this dispute is trying, the other is not”.  Weatherford goes on to say “we’re doing our part but we can’t settle if the Board keeps walking out”.

Weatherford calls the strike a “crisis”.

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OTHS Teachers Want Protection After Strike

Posted by wlpo on October 20, 2009

Fearing that there could be fallout even after the strike is settled, the teacher’s want the board’s guarantee to not fire them because of the strike. 

The proposal reads the Board “shall take no reprisals against any employee for his or her actions or participation in the strike”.   The Board didn’t approve this stipulation or any full proposal from the teachers on Sunday night. 

Tomorrow would be three weeks since the strike began.

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Chief Explains Police Presence At OTHS

Posted by wlpo on October 20, 2009

Ottawa Police Chief Brian Zeilmann says the initial call  Sunday night was on behalf of board members who complained of people screaming and yelling and refusing to leave just outside the board room on the 2nd floor of the school.  He says his officers weren’t called to escort the board to their cars or because they felt threatened, just to help “keep the peace”.

Zeilmann says whenever there’s picketing or a meeting going on, the police department is very aware.  So far, Zeilmann says there have been no reports from either negotiation group of threats or property damage.

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Flu Closes Serena Elementary

Posted by wlpo on October 20, 2009

Serena Elementary School is closed today and will remain closed thru Friday.  Nearly 70 students and or staff members would’ve been gone yesterday because of being sick.  That about a third of the school’s population.

The other schools in the Serena School district including the high school remain open.

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