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Archive for March 11th, 2010

Smith taken to prison after apparently trying to hang himself

Posted by wlpo on March 11, 2010

A week after being sentenced to life in prison and the morning he was supposed to be transferred to prison, Tony Smith  apparently tried to commit suicide.

Smith was sentenced last Thursday for the shooting death of his girlfriend Judith Berchtold in April of last year.

Marshall County Sheriff Rob Russell says a deputy found Smith hanging in his jail cell shortly after 5:30am Thursday, minutes after he was last checked on. Russell says they’re required to check jail cells every 30 minutes.

Russell says Smith was to be handed over to the Illinois Department of Corrections care later that morning, but instead Smith was taken to Perry Memorial Hospital in Princeton.

Russell says Smith was released from the hospital and taken to Statesville in Joliet.

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Man accused of injuring infant

Posted by wlpo on March 11, 2010

          A felony child abuse charge for a father accused of taking his frustration out on a baby girl.

          After receiving a tip, La Salle Police investigated Kyle Johnson and two infants apparently in his care. 

          Police say a doctor at Illinois Valley Community Hospital found non-life threatening injuries to Johnson’s seven to eight week old daughter.  The other baby was not hurt.

          Johnson’s charged with aggravated battery to a child.  Police say he admitted to hitting the girl in the abdomen while frustrated.  He was taken to the county jail.  The state department of Children and Family Services has been called.

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Pay Raises For Ottawa Cops

Posted by wlpo on March 11, 2010

Despite tough times financially, police officers in Ottawa are getting raises.

The Ottawa City Council has agreed to a new, three-year contract with officers represented by the Policemen’s Benevolent Labor Committee.  That’s all the officers except the chief and two captains.

Under the new deal, Ottawa cops get a two percent pay raise in year one and a three percent raise the next two years of the contract.  The two-percent increase will actually go back to May 1st since that’s when the last police contract expired.

Mayor Bob Eschbach says the council wanted no raise in the first year of the contract because of the economy.  Eschbach and the council gave in fearing they’d lose if the dispute went to binding arbitration.

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Heads Being Shaved To Fight Pediatric Cancer

Posted by wlpo on March 11, 2010

There’s going to be plenty of hair lost this Saturday in Ottawa.

The 7th annual St. Baldrick’s Day Fundraiser starts at ten Saturday morning at Jeremiah Joe Coffee in downtown Ottawa.  Over eleven thousand dollars has been raised online for the event and 184 people have agreed to shave their heads in supporting the fight against childhood cancer.  Some of the shavees will be from the Ottawa Police Department, Marseilles Fire Department and Deer Park School District.

The fundraising goal for the Ottawa event is 47 thousand dollars.  WLPO’s Chalktalk will broadcast live from Jeremiah Joe’s starting at nine with 96-5 the Wolf’s Cowboy broadcasting live starting at 11.

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Streator Moving Ahead With Business

Posted by wlpo on March 11, 2010

After taking time to mourn the loss of their mayor, the Streator City Council will try to carry on with business Friday.

The council has called an emergency meeting for Friday morning at 10 to select someone to fill the vacancy left by Ray Schmitt’s unexpected death.  The emergency meeting is in closed session.

The 68-year old Schmitt was in his third term as mayor in Streator.  He was rushed to St. Mary’s Hospital yesterday afternoon where he died.  A cause of death is being investigated.

City Manager Paul Nicholson called Schmitt’s death a “devastating loss to the community.”  He is taking up some of the responsibilities that Schmitt otherwise would’ve had.

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Peru mayor responds to Quinn’s budget proposal

Posted by wlpo on March 11, 2010

Proposed funding cuts made up the meat of Governor Pat Quinn’s budget address.  Quinn Wednesday outline where spending needs to be slashed, how much needs to be cut and didn’t hold back in describing the negative consequences.  A scare tactic to get an income tax approved- maybe, but it’s bothered at least one area mayor.

Scott Harl says Quinns proposed 30% cut to local tax money would cost Peru $227,000 during the next fiscal year.  Harl says Quinn has flip-flopped on a promise he made at the Illinois Municipal League’s Annual Conference last fall, during which time Quinn reportedly promised towns 10% of current tax revenue and 10% of money added with an income tax increase.

Harl says Quinn’s proposed cut would mean serious cuts in city services.

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