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Archive for May, 2011

La Salle Rotary Park committee wants to apply for another state grant

Posted by wlpo on May 31, 2011

A week after learning that La Salle Rotary Park was chosen to receive a $400,000 state grant, the committee developing the park wants to apply for a similar grant to fund a second phase of the park.

Bill Inman of Hitchcock Design Group, the engineering company that helped La Salle receive the grant through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, believes La Salle has a strong chance of receiving the next grant.

Gary Gearhart is president of the park development committee.  He updated the city council on the project Tuesday night.  He says he’s confident the La Salle Rotary Park Foundation will be able to raise the city’s match for the grant.  He also explained why the park committee would like to combine the 52 acre and 110 acre parcels that make up the park.

The grant application is due July 1.  Before then, two informational meetings will be held.  One will be Thursday, June 9 at Lincoln Junior High.  It will follow the Mapping economic development meeting scheduled for 6:30pm.

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United Way Children’s Book collection still accepting donations

Posted by wlpo on May 31, 2011

A library of titles has been compiled for the United Way’s Children’s Book Collection.  The local United Way began collecting new and used books May 1.  Already volunteers have been sorting and cleaning the books which will be given out to area grade school children on Saturday, June 18.

Each child will be able to choose two books to keep.  The book distribution is part of the Day of Action.

If you would like to donate books or money to the collection, contact Nikki Tonioni at the United Way office in La Salle.

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Blagojevich: He didn’t want cash for Senate seat

Posted by wlpo on May 31, 2011

CHICAGO (AP) – Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he wasn’t interested in taking campaign donations in exchange for President Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat.

In his third day on the stand, the ousted governor has begun addressing the most explosive allegation against him – that he tried to sell or trade Obama’s Senate seat.

Blagojevich told jurors at his corruption retrial Tuesday that supporters of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson had promised to do “accelerated fundraising” for him if he appointed Jackson.

Blagojevich said such a deal didn’t appeal to him and sounded improper.

He says he had no intention of appointing Jackson with or without the offer of money.

In his first trial last year, Blagojevich was convicted of lying to the FBI. He’s denied any wrongdoing.

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Woman considered critical following motorcycle crash near Starved Rock

Posted by wlpo on May 31, 2011

A motorcycle crash near Starved Rock State Park has left a woman in critical condition.

Police say the accident happened Monday afternoon on Route 71 in the curves east of the lodge entrance.  Police say Kathy Kelley of Creve Coeur was thrown from the bike after she hit a culvert.

Kelley was taken to Illinois Valley Community Hospital and then was flown to St Francis Medical Center in Peoria where she was listed in critical condition Tuesday afternoon.

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Hinkley man pronounced dead after being pulled from a swimming pond

Posted by wlpo on May 31, 2011

An autopsy could give investigators a better idea of what caused a 39 year old man to drown in a swimming pond near Leland.

Illinois Conservation Police were called to the Hi – Tide Campground south of Leland late Monday morning for a man that had apparently drowned.

Alexander Francis of Hinkley was later pronounced dead at Valley West Hospital in Sandwich. The DeKalb County Coroner’s office and the Illinois Conservation Police are investigating.  An autopsy was performed Tuesday.

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La Salle house fire considered suspicious

Posted by wlpo on May 31, 2011

A fire that charred a rental home in La Salle is considered suspicious.  Information has been shared with the State Fire Marshall’s office and La Salle Police Department.

The fire in the 1000 block of 2nd Street was called in shortly before 1:30am Tuesday.  Crews arrived to find heavy smoke.  Fire Chief Andy Bacidore says the renter wasn’t home and the fire looks to have started in the rear of the home.  They had it under control in about 40 minutes.  The Peru Fire Department also sent trucks.

The cause is being investigated.

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Plank Road Overpass Getting Demolished

Posted by wlpo on May 31, 2011

After a rainy week, crews will try again to tear apart the Plank Road overpass on Interstate 80.

“D” Construction of Coal City wanted to start tearing down the bridge last week but was washed out.  Crews will now start demolishing the overpass tonight if weather allows and finish up Wednesday night.  During the two nights, the Plank Road ramps will be a detour for interstate traffic.

All work at the Plank Road and I-80 interchange is expected to be done by this fall

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Worst Of Flooding Should Be Over

Posted by wlpo on May 31, 2011

Rainy weather has had the Illinois River rising and falling over the past several weeks and again, it appears to be falling.

As of late Tuesday morning the river at La Salle was just over 25 feet, or about five feet over flood stage.  A flood warning continues.

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Grand Bear Looking Abroad For Financial Help

Posted by wlpo on May 31, 2011

As its goes through the bankruptcy process, Grand Bear Lodge in Utica is getting a financing boost from foreign investors.

The lodge is set to receive 6 million dollars in funding from a federal program called “EB 5”.  Congress created the program in 1990 where foreign investors make available at least 500 thousand dollars and create at least 10 jobs in exchange for a 2-year conditional visa.  After the jobs are created and a 2-year probation period ends, investors and their families become lawful US citizens.  It’s something the Wall Street Journal has deemed “The Million Dollar Green Card”.

Grand Bear’s Joe Hook says the funding will help them “quickly exit their re-organization process” which is part of filing for bankruptcy.  He says with banks unwilling to lend, this foreign investment program is an “innovative way”
to get money where they otherwise may not have been able to.

Hook says he’s been studying this idea for two years and the money will preserve jobs at the resort.

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Illinois River Rising

Posted by wlpo on May 30, 2011

Flood warnings remain in effect for the Illinois River in La Salle and Ottawa.

In La Salle, the river is expected to rise to 25.5 feet by Tuesday afternoon before falling back below the 20 foot flood stage.  In Ottawa, the river is expected to rise two feet above flood stage Tuesday morning before falling.

A flood warning is also in effect for the Fox River in Dayton.

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