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Archive for April, 2010

Peru Bank Robbery Trial Continues

Posted by wlpo on April 28, 2010

Closing arguments are expected tomorrow afternoon in the trial of a man accused of robbing Peru Federal Savings Bank last September.

36 year old Chad Diederich of Carbon Cliff is accused of stealing just over five thousand dollars from the bank.  He and a Rock Island man who is thought to be the getaway driver were arrested just minutes after the heist in Ottawa.

A state police crime scene investigator was called to the stand today.  He identified a robbery note found at the counter of Peru Federal Savings Bank along with a hat, khakis, bag, toy pistol package and over five thousand dollars that was allegedly found where Diederich was sitting in the alleged getaway car.

Diederich is defending himself.  He faces 4 to 15 years if convicted by a jury of aggravated robbery.  He has a prior conviction of aggravated robbery.

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Fire that destroyed Utica home considered accidental

Posted by wlpo on April 28, 2010

A blaze that left a home in Utica a total loss looks to be accidental.  Area fire departments were called to Isabelle Duffy’s home just after 2pm  Tuesday.  Investigators think it may have be sparked by rags that spontaneously combusted.

Utica Fire Chief Dave Edgecomb says a contractor was doing staining work at the house Monday.  No one was at the home when the fire was reported.  The state fire marshall’s office was part of the investigation.

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Another State Band Title for Ottawa

Posted by wlpo on April 28, 2010

The dynasty continues at Ottawa High School.

The OHS Band has been crowned state champions for the 14th consecutive year. The band won the Class A title with 1,209 points, 60 points better than runner-up Vernon Hills.

The scores include both solo and ensemble performances.

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Arthritis Walk fundraiser in Peru this Sunday

Posted by wlpo on April 28, 2010

You and your canine companion can walk for a cause this Sunday in the 2010 Arthritis Walk. The Arthritis Foundation has put together this event to raise funds to fight arthritis. Registration starts at 8:30 in the morning, the walk starts at ten and it’s about a mile around Baker Lake.

For your dog, there will be an American Fido Competition. The dogs will be judged on costumes, obedience and tricks.

The Arthritis Walk is sponsored by the Miller Group Charitable Trust. Miller Group Media includes AM 1220 WLPO, 99-3 WAJK, 96.5 The Wolf, the News Tribune and Agrinews. Last year about 15 thousand dollars was raised. You can register for the walk by going to the Arthritis Foundation’s website, which you can find on

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Man indicted on sex abuse charges

Posted by wlpo on April 28, 2010

A man accused of having sex with a 14 year old girl and trying to have sex with a 13 year old has been indicted for sex abuse charges.

Oephia Hampton of Spring Valley was arrested in March after police say he went to a parking lot along Shooting Park Road in Peru to meet with a 13 year old girl from La Salle.

At the time he was arrested for solicitation of a child, a class four felony.  Tuesday he was indicted for two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and three counts of predatory criminal sexual abuse.

Hampton remains in the La Salle County Jail where he’s being held with his bond set at $100,000.

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Blaze destroys Utica home

Posted by wlpo on April 27, 2010

Utica, La Salle, and Oglesby fire responded – Utica, La Salle, and Oglesby fire responded.

Two brick chimneys tower above the smoldering remains of home in Utica.  Fire departments from Utica, Naplate, La Salle and Oglesby went out to the house just after 2pm Tuesday.  They arrived to find smoke and flames consuming the two-story home.

Utica Fire Chief Dave Edgecomb says the woman owns the home, Isabelle Duffy, has been out of state and no one was home when it started.

La Salle Fire used their ladder truck to douse the flames that quickly ate through the roof.  Part of the home collapsed.

It’s unclear what started the blaze.  The state fire marshall’s office is being called to investigate.

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Operating budget and sewer work topics at Peru Council meeting

Posted by wlpo on April 27, 2010

They’re trying something new in Peru- an operating budget.  In the past, the city has based their spending on what was appropriated, but Treasurer Gary Hylla has drawn up a 2011 operating budget.

The city council could approve the budget Wednesday night, but before they can, a budget hearing is being held at 7:15pm.  The regular meeting will follow at 7:30pm.

The council could also approve a nearly $66,000 bid for sanitary sewer work.

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Smoking dust draws fire fighters to Peru plant

Posted by wlpo on April 27, 2010

Smoking dust had the fire department called to a chemical company on Water Street in Peru Tuesday.

Flint Hills Resources Plant Manager Brian Marchinkus says it was pretty minor, but employees followed procedure by evacuating the building and calling the fire department.  He says pipe fitters were grinding a pipe, preparing to weld when the dust began smoking just before 7am.

Peru and La Salle fire fighters went down to the plant that used to be called Huntsman Chemicals.  Peru Fire Chief Jeff King says they didn’t have to do anything; it was taken care of by the time they arrived.

The all clear was given and it was back to business as usual not even an hour later.

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Haunting Message Sent at L-P

Posted by wlpo on April 26, 2010

A funeral hurst parked outside L-P set the stage last night for “Operation PROM-ise”.

The event featured a video depicting L-P students getting into a mock car crash and speakers with relatives killed by drunk drivers.  L-P Senior Mike Bergagna played the role of a drunk driver on his way to prom.  In the video, his prom date was killed in the crash.  The video went on to show Bergagna arrested and sentenced to 13 years in prison for the crash.

The first victim impact speaker of the night was Nancy Burress.  Her 20-year old daughter Amanda Kapinski was killed in a drunk-driving crash in Putnam County in 1999.  When referencing the coroner telling her that her daughter was killed, Burress told the audience “everything changes with that knock on the door”.

The other victim impact speaker was retired Princeton Fire Chief Gary Hanna.  He showed raw video of an accident scene and funeral of his brother and nephew who were killed by a drunk driver in Bureau County in 1986.  Hanna was one of the first two on the scene not knowing his brother was among the victims.

Peru firefighter Rodney Perez organized “Operation PROMise”.  He says they plan on doing a similar program again and said they’ll be successful even if they just get one person to make a good decision and not drink and drive.

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Kinzinger Speaking At Tea Party

Posted by wlpo on April 26, 2010

The latest Bureau-La Salle Tea Party meeting will feature the republican candidate for the 11th Congressional District.

Adam Kinzinger will answer questions at the tea party’s monthly meeting tonight starting at 6 at Pitstick Pavilion in Ottawa.  Kinzinger says he sees it as another chance to talk at a public forum, regardless of what some people may think of tea parties.

He spoke at a tea party rally in Joliet April 15th and says each has its own flavor.  He says it’s incorrect to say the tea party is one major movement with a central leadership.

Kinzinger acknowledges he’ll probably be attached to the tea party now but says many of the members share his concern of government overspending.

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