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Archive for April, 2010

Ottawa School Bus Hit By Large Branch

Posted by wlpo on April 30, 2010

Strong wind’s yesterday led to a wild ride for middle school students in Ottawa.

Ottawa firefighters say the gusty wind knocked a limb down on a Shepherd Middle School bus, cracking the windshield.  The incident happened on Lincoln Avenue and View Street as the bus was taking kids home from school.

Twenty-two kids were checked out by ambulance crews.

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Severe Weather Possible Today

Posted by wlpo on April 30, 2010

The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for Bureau, La Salle and Putnam Counties until 8 o’clock tonight.

The weather service says the main threat with any storms today will be damaging wind.

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Ottawa Home With Several Dead Cats

Posted by wlpo on April 30, 2010

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Several Dead Cats Found in Ottawa Home

Posted by wlpo on April 30, 2010

Charges of animal neglect could be coming in Ottawa after at least a dozen dead cats were found in an empty house.

Ottawa Detective Dave Gualandri says he’s filing papers today with the state’s attorney’s office after a cleaning crew found several dead cats in a house at 502 Fillmore Street, just behind Tone’s Cones.  Gualandri says the home was in foreclosure and when the new owner hired a group to clean the house, they found dead cats and feces scattered around the house.

Gualandri says he’s talked to the woman who use to live at the house but won’t say if she faces possible animal cruelty charges.  The initial report about the dead cats was made Saturday.

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Man Found Not Guilty In Peru Bank Heist

Posted by wlpo on April 30, 2010

Despite admitting to a crime and being seen buying a toy gun at the Peru Walgreens and caught on surveillance taking money from Peru Federal Savings Bank, 36-year old Chad Diederich of Carbon Cliff was found not guilty of aggravated robbery.

A jury of seven men and five women deliberated for about three hours yesterday afternoon before saying Diederich wasn’t guilty of the September 4th robbery.  While defending himself in the trial, Diederich admitted to a crime but accused the prosecution of “overcharging” him, saying he never showed or threatened use of a gun, something that needed to be proven for an aggravated robbery conviction.

During closing statements, Diederich pointed out to the jury that nowhere in the bank surveillance video did he either point the toy gun at the teller or show he had one.  Diederich explained to the jury that in his mind the teller gave police conflicting statements about seeing a gun.

State’s Attorney Brian Towne said the teller must be the “world’s greatest guesser” since the gun description she gave to police matched the one Diederich bought at Walgreen’s.  He also asked the jury if Diederich didn’t use the gun during the robbery, why did he need to throw it out the window of the getaway car.

Diederich’s co-defendant, Richard Rigg of Rock Island accepted a six-year prison sentence in exchange for testifying against Diederich.  With the not-guilty verdict, Towne says he’ll “revisit” Rigg’s case.

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Ottawa HS students perform M*A*S*H

Posted by wlpo on April 30, 2010

One of the most popular television series of all time is the subject of the latest Ottawa High School play.

“M*A*S*H” will be performed Friday and Saturday  at 7pm  at the OHS Auditorium.  A cast of 16 boys and 16 girls will portray the story of doctors and nurses serving in the Korean War.

Sue Williamson is directing the play.  She says fans of the tv show will love the play.

Since the play is geared towards veterans, Williamson says during intermission and prior to the play starting they will show slides of area veterans.

Veterans along with seniors and students can get tickets for three dollars.  The cost at the door is five dollars for everyone else.

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Police think rollover crash was drinking related

Posted by wlpo on April 30, 2010

A rollover crash east of Tonica has left a man arrested for DUI.  Police say Jason Picatto of Utica had left the accident scene before La Salle County Sheriff’s deputies arrived Thursday night.

Police say they later found Picatto in Lostant.  He was arrested for DUI, leaving the scene, not reporting an accident and no insurance.  He was taken to the county jail.

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Ottawa man arrested for criminal sexual abuse

Posted by wlpo on April 29, 2010

A sex abuse charge for a man from Ottawa.  Police yesterday arrested Matthew Cavanaugh of Ottawa on a La Salle County warrant for criminal sexual abuse.  The investigation was done by the Peru Police Department.  The abuse is said to have happened in late February. 

 Cavanaugh was taken to the La Salle County Jail.

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Ottawa High Adding Girls Soccer

Posted by wlpo on April 29, 2010

Girl’s soccer players at Ottawa High School will soon have a team to call their own.

The Ottawa High School board this morning gave the go ahead to start a Girl’s Varsity Soccer team in the spring semester of next year.  Right now, over a dozen girls play with the boys on a co-ed team.  However interested players and their parents packed a board meeting earlier this month saying the numbers are in place to start a girl’s only team.

Superintendent Matt Winchester says cuts will be made in other sports to pay for the new team.  He says no extra money will be budgeted for girl’s soccer.

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Peru approves 2011 operating budget

Posted by wlpo on April 28, 2010

Are all of the city’s debts included in the budget?  Does the city need to spend four thousand dollars on T-shirts?  Just a couple of the questions asked during a budget hearing before Wednesday night’s Peru City Council meeting.

The city is making the change to an operating budget.  The budget begins May 1, the start of fiscal year 2011.

City Treasurer Gary Hylla, Mayor Scott Harl, and Clerk Dave Bartley fielded questions from three men in the audience.

One man drilled officials on expenses such as $5,000 for the volunteer economic development director and $18,000 for a new truck for the cemetery.

Officials explained how not everything in the budget would be spent and purchases would need council approval.

Hylla says it’s very close budget cash flow wise.  The city is projected to spend about $900,000 more than they’ll take in.  Hylla attributes it to loans and interest.

Harl says they went with a budget instead of an appropriations ordinance because this way they could call all of the department heads in and pick it to the bone.

The council approved the budget.  It’ll be revised in about three months after an audit by the city’s accountants.

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