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Archive for March, 2010

Marquette Names New Principal

Posted by wlpo on March 29, 2010

Ottawa Marquette has a new leader to take them into a transition from being a high school to an academy.

Brooke Rick was appointed today as principal of Marquette Academy.  She’s the current assistant principal at Marquette along with being a volleyball coach.  She replaces Ron Spandet who is retiring.

Beginning the same day Rick changes jobs, Marquette will become an academy instead of a high school.  The academy will be K-12th grade with high school aged kids going to the Marquette building, middle school and elementary students going to the St. Columba building and early childhood programs being at St. Patricks.

A new board is also being selected to govern the academy instead of the current pastors’ board.

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Year Since Connollys Were Found

Posted by wlpo on March 29, 2010

Today marks a year since the bodies of two LeRoy boys were found near Hennepin.

A motorist spotted an abandoned car on a township road east of Route 26.  Investigators found 7 year old Jack and nine-year old Duncan in the car.  Their dad Michael Connolly drugged them both before hanging himself outside the car.  He had the boys after not returning them from a custody visit a few weeks before the bodies were found.

The mom is suing LeRoy Police for delaying the release of an Amber Alert for her sons.

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Few Days Left To Mail Census Forms

Posted by wlpo on March 29, 2010

Have you returned your census form yet?

According to U.S. Census website, 50 percent of Putnam County has returned their census information so far.  Grundy County has a 49 percent return rate, Bureau County 47 percent and then La Salle County at 46 percent.

Each county sits well above the state return rate of 38 percent and national return rate of 34 percent.  Census forms are due April 1st.  If you don’t turn them in by that date, census workers will start going door-to-door trying to get your information.

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Felony theft charge for woman accused of filing false report

Posted by wlpo on March 29, 2010

Sometimes the victim isn’t what they claim to be.  Police in Peru arrested a woman they say lied to police when she claimed her credit card had been stolen and a forged check deposited into her checking account.

Police say Samantha Galas of Peru and Dekalb filed a false police report in January.  She was arrested Friday on a warrant for felony theft after turning herself into the La Salle County Sheriff’s Department.  She was released after posting $3,000 bond.

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Spring Valley plans carnival for early June

Posted by wlpo on March 29, 2010

It’s barely spring, but they’re making summer-time plans in Spring Valley.  The city council plans to approve a permit for a carnival to be held in the 100 and 200 blocks of East and West. St. Paul Street.  It’s scheduled to be held through Thursday, June3 through Sunday, June 6.

          The Spring Valley City Council meets at 7pm Monday.

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Woman Falls At Starved Rock

Posted by wlpo on March 27, 2010

A 20 year old woman from Orland Park is in critical condition after falling last night at Starved Rock.

Cori Winchel was lifeflighted to St. Francis Medical Center after falling 25 to 30 feet from Wildcat Canyon.  Utica Fire Chief Dave Edgcomb says his department treated Winchel at the scene before Ottawa River Rescue took her across the Illinois River to be picked up by a helicopter.  Edgcomb believes she suffered a skull fracture.

Three others were in Winchel’s group.  They’re all from the Chicago area and were all ticketed for unlawful entry to a restricted area.

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EPA Sues Ottawa

Posted by wlpo on March 27, 2010

The Environmental Protection Agency has filed a lawsuit against the city of Ottawa.  But it’s actually a rare lawsuit that both sides are okay with.

Last October, the Ottawa City Council came to an agreement with the EPA to pitch in 150 thousand dollars for the cost of cleaning up a radioactive site near the Route 6 and 71 intersection.  When the sides started negotiating, EPA wanted the city to pay five million dollars.  Mayor Bob Eschbach says the city was able to bring down the city’s share because of the city’s ability to pay.  He also says the EPA is filing the lawsuit so they can actually carry out the consent decree or agreement with the city.

The EPA has been cleaning up numerous sites in Ottawa that used to be radium dial plants.  The city apparently used the site on Route 6 east of Ottawa as a landfill at one point.

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Mesarchik Investigation Continues

Posted by wlpo on March 27, 2010

The investigation into the death and disappearance of Streator’s Dalton Mesarchik has now reached seven years.

It was March 26th of 2003 when Dalton was first reported missing to Streator Police.  Seven years ago today his body was found in the Vermilion River south of Streator.  He was beaten to death.

State Police in Pontiac remain the lead investigator in the case.  Officials from District 6 say that around 17 hundred leads have been opened and investigated in the Mesarchik case.  Also over 400 pieces of evidence have been seized.

A 50 thousand dollar reward remains in place for information leading to the capture and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death.

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Plastics Company Moving Work To Ottawa

Posted by wlpo on March 26, 2010

West Virginia’s loss could be Ottawa’s gain.

SABIC Innovative Plastics, formerly GE Plastics is moving production of two resin products from West Virginia to their Ottawa plant on Canal Road.  The move means 80 layoffs in West Virginia but Mayor Bob Eschbach doesn’t know yet if it means more jobs for the Ottawa plant.  Regardless, Eschbach says the move can only be positive for Ottawa.

A SABIC spokesperson says the Ottawa plant can manufacture resin products at a lower cost than the West Virginia plant.

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Arson suspect charged with theft

Posted by wlpo on March 26, 2010

A woman from Ottawa charged with setting two houses on fire now is accused of stealing over 100 thousand dollars from her former employer.

42 year old Terri James was in court today where she was charged with a Class X felony of theft.  She’s accused of stealing over 100k from the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Ottawa between 2004 and this year.  James was the church secretary.  Because the alleged victim is a church and James was put in a trusting position, prosecutors are able to elevate the theft charge from class 1 to a class X.

Even after the new charge, Public Defender Tim Cappellini asked the judge to lower James’ bond from 200 thousand to 100 thousand dollars.  He argued James has substantial ties to the community, no criminal history and has very limited financial resources.  Judge H. Chris Ryan denied the motion and kept the bond at 200 thousand dollars.

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