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News from the Illinois Valley

Archive for August 18th, 2011

Ill. judge rules against Catholics on foster care

Posted by wlpo on August 18, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – An Illinois judge has ruled that the state can stop working with Catholic Charities on adoptions and foster care placements.

It’s something the state decided to do in July after the not-for-profit agency refused to recognize Illinois’ new civil unions law.

In his ruling, Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Schmidt did not address the issue of whether a state contractor that refuses to serve gays and lesbians is violating the state’s new civil unions law.

He said only that no one, including Catholic Charities, has a legal right to a contract with the state government.

The state Department of Children and Family Services ended $30 million in contracts with Catholic Charities in four church dioceses in July, but Schmidt had temporarily reinstated them while he considered the case.

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United Way prepares for upcoming fundraising campaign

Posted by wlpo on August 18, 2011

Sometimes when you’re asked to donate money you hesitate because you don’t know where your money will be going.  An annual fundraising campaign by the United Way of the Illinois Valley distributes their donations among 18 local service organizations.

United Way Executive Director Julie Sloan says they want to bring in $345,000 this year.  She says that’s how much they’ll need to support places like the Illinois Valley Food Pantry, Horizon House and Lighted Way.

The campaign kicks off Thursday, September 1 with a party at Senica’s Oak Ridge.  After that teams will begin making calls and sending out letters asking for donations.

AM 1220 WLPO’s Lanny Slevin is the campaign Chairman.

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Contractor returns to Peru sewer project

Posted by wlpo on August 18, 2011

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel for people in Peru who’ve been sharing their neighborhood with torn up roads and an unfinished sewerage project.

Two weeks after pulling off of the job, crews with T.J. Lambrecht Construction returned Thursday.  To lure them back, the city took out a $2 million revolving loan and hand-delivered $855,000 check to Lambrecht’s office in Joliet.

The contractor thinks they’ll be finished by the end of September or early October.

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New Candidate For Lead Prosecutor In Hennepin

Posted by wlpo on August 18, 2011

There will be a contested race next year to be Putnam County State’s Attorney.

Brad Popurella of McNabb announced today he’ll run next year as a Democrat.  Current State’s Attorney James Mack is a Republican.

Popurella works at Raccuglia and Associates while also prosecuting real estate law and ordinance violations for La Salle.  Originally from Oglesby, Popurella was a law clerk in the La Salle County State’s Attorney’s Office from 1999 thru 2004.

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Troubling Graduation Rate For Hall

Posted by wlpo on August 18, 2011

Fewer students are making it through all four years at Hall High School.

According to the NewsTribune, 73 percent of students who started at Hall in fall of 2007 graduated this year.  That’s compared to an 88 percent graduation rate the year before.  The graduation rate hadn’t dipped below 75 percent in over a decade.

Superintendent Mike Struna said “I think we were turning the notch up on rigor, and we lost a few”.

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New Disability Housing In Streator

Posted by wlpo on August 18, 2011

A group that serves people with disabilities has had a busy week.

On Monday, a groundbreaking took place for a new group home for Streator Unlimited.  The home will have room for eight people.  A stimulus payment of 340 thousand dollars is paying for construction.

On Tuesday, Streator Unlimited had a ribbon cutting for a paper and hard drive shredding business.  This is being funded entirely by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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Tourism Booming In The Area

Posted by wlpo on August 18, 2011

2010 was a good year for tourism in the valley.

According to the state, tourism brought in 149 million dollars last year for La Salle County, an eight percent increase from the year before.  Bureau County brought in 45 million dollars via tourism last year, a jump of 10 percent.  In Putnam County, tourism was responsible for five million dollars of revenue, a six percent increase.

Illinois brought in 93 million dollars more in tourism in 2010 compared to 2009.

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