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Archive for March 14th, 2011

Route 6 to be resurfaced in Peru

Posted by wlpo on March 14, 2011

The “really good news” for Peru should make anyone who drives Route 6 through the Illinois Valley happy.

After months of writing letters to state and federal lawmakers, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Peru Mayor Scott Harl finally received the answer he was hoping for: Route 6 will be resurfaced sooner than later.

The announcement arrived in a letter Monday from U.S. DOT Administrator Victor Mendez.  In it he says IDOT has advanced the project schedule and they expect to go out for bids by this June.

The work would go from curb-to-curb, not just the driving lanes as was originally proposed by IDOT.

The news earned a round of applause during last night’s Peru City Council meeting.

Harl says the letter got on the right desk at the right time.  He believes the support of Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis helped persuade U-S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  LaHood and Ardis are apparently friends.

It’s not clear where the resurfacing work will begin and end.  The original project was supposed to go from Union Street in La Salle to the Spring Creek Bridge at the Spring Valley curves.

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Peru Mayor names choice for fourth ward seat

Posted by wlpo on March 14, 2011

An open fourth ward seat on the Peru City Council is a step closer to being filled.  Mayor Scott Harl has chosen a businessman and golf coach to finish the term of the late Ron Wren.

Jim Lukosus was chosen from a field of 11.  Lukosus says he had a lot of respect for Wren and thought he did a good job.  He says he’s lived in the fourth ward for 21 years and has own laundromats in several area towns.  He’s also the golf coach at Illinois Valley Community College.

He needs city council approval before he can be appointed.  A vote is scheduled for next Wednesday.  If approved, it will be his first time serving in city government.

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Flu Bug Hits Area Nursing Home Hard

Posted by wlpo on March 14, 2011

A recent flu outbreak at the La Salle County Nursing Home meant no new admissions.

Nursing Home Committee Chairman Gary Small says many people staying and working at the nursing home caught the flu last month and they turned away three people who were referred to them by area hospitals.  Small says public health officials didn’t think it was a good idea to bring new people into the nursing home with the flu going around.

The nursing home could’ve used the three people with just 64 of 99 beds filled right now.  Small says some jobs at the nursing home have been cut until the census goes back up.

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County Security Workers Get Raises

Posted by wlpo on March 14, 2011

One union contract down, still a half dozen more to go.

The La Salle County Board agreed to a new one-year contract for courthouse security workers with a 2.5 percent base salary increase.  They got a 1 percent salary jump last year.  There are five security workers covered in the union contract. It’s retroactive to December.

The county board is still negotiating five contracts involving AFSCME union members plus a contract for sheriff’s deputies and jailers covered by a union.  Well over 50 people turned out for an AFSCME rally before last night’s county board meeting.

AFSCME workers haven’t had a new contract since December while La Salle County’s deputies and jailers have been without a contract since December of 2009.

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Meth Lab Arrest In Earlville

Posted by wlpo on March 14, 2011

Area drug investigators say they’ve shut down a meth lab in Earlville.

Members of TRIDENT, Earlville Police and La Salle County Sheriff’s Office carried out a search warrant Friday at the apartment of Janece Johnson and Robert Swonke.  Inside, investigators say the found meth and meth manufacturing materials.  The State Police was called in to destroy the meth lab.

Johnson and Swonke are charged with methamphetamine production.  Both are in the county jail on 100 thousand dollars bond.

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Two Locals Stay Alive In Charity Bracket Challenge

Posted by wlpo on March 14, 2011

It’s onto the second round for 99.3 WAJK morning man Jon Shap and NewsTribune sportswriter Erik Hall.

Both won their first round matchups in the Peoria Chiefs promotion benefiting charities called “Media Madness”.  Shap is trying to win for Cops 4 Cancer while Hall is in it for Ladd Baseball.

Either Shap or Hall needs to get the most votes in five different rounds to win 500 dollars for their charity.  If they finish in the final four, their charity gets a hundred dollars.  If Shap or Hall win it all, they will also have a bobblehead made of themselves that will be given away to fans at the August 5th Chiefs game.

Voting for round two is now underway and goes until Sunday night.  You can vote as many times as you want.

Go to

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Temporary Traffic Backups On Interstate 80

Posted by wlpo on March 14, 2011

Signage work on Interstate 80 means traffic issues.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night’s this week crews will work on sign replacements around the I-80 and I-39 interchange.  Traffic will be stopped in the work area for 15 minutes to allow for the sign replacement.

All the work is supposed to be done by the summer.

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Union Plans Rally and Picket Before La Salle County Board Meeting

Posted by wlpo on March 14, 2011

It won’t be like Madison, Wisconsin but there is a picket and rally planned before tonight’s La Salle County Board meeting.

AFSCME board members are calling on people to picket and rally outside the Etna Road Governmental Complex starting at 5 and until the board meeting begins which is at 6.  The board is taking action tonight on collective bargaining agreements including the fraternal order of police.

The county board tonight will also vote on selling millions of dollars in bonds to fund their insurance trust.

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Utica Police arrest man for cannabis trafficking

Posted by wlpo on March 14, 2011

Normally you would find a spare tire and maybe an ice scraper in a car’s trunk.  Utica Police say they found 23 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of a Pontiac they stopped Saturday afternoon.

Police say they pulled over Kevin Johnson of Oroville, California on Interstate 80 because he was speeding.  He was arrested for cannabis trafficking was taken to the La Salle County Jail.

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Choices for open Peru city council seat narrowed to three

Posted by wlpo on March 14, 2011

The pool of people being considered to fill an open seat on the Peru City Council has been narrowed to three.

Mayor Scott Harl has interviewed over a handful of people who wanted to be appointed to the fourth ward seat that was held by the late Ron Wren.  Wren died in January.

Harl interviewed the people who turned in letters of intent.  He says he plans to talk more with Justin Loger, Jim Lukosus and Ed Mitchell Jr.

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