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Archive for August 19th, 2011

DCFS court ruling could bring local changes

Posted by wlpo on August 19, 2011

There’s a good chance you know a family or a child that’s receiving services through Catholic Charities.  The La Salle office serves 138 children.  That could be changing depending on what happens next between the Department of Children and Family Services and the non-profit.

A court ruling Thursday sided with DCFS who ended $30 million in contracts with Catholic Charities in July.  What happens next isn’t clear.  The Diocese of Peoria says they’re still reviewing the judge’s ruling before deciding what to do next.

Dave McClure of the Youth Service Bureau of the Illinois Valley says he would expect the ruling to be appealed.   Youth Service Bureau could be able to acquire the cases from Catholic Charities.  Last month they took over the caseload from Diocese of Rockford.  He says the majority of the 320 children involved kept their caseworker and that it has been a smooth transition.

At issue, is whether or not Catholic Charities should continue to receive state funding when they oppose the civil unions law and won’t place children with same-sex couples.

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Regional school chiefs sue to get paid by state

Posted by wlpo on August 19, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois’ 44 regional school superintendents have gone to court to get paid by Gov. Pat Quinn.

The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools filed a lawsuit in Sangamon County Friday seeking paychecks the Democratic governor cut off in July.

Bob Daiber is president of the superintendents’ association. He says Quinn’s action is “totally unfair.” He says the chiefs didn’t want to file a lawsuit but have “exhausted all options” in trying to resolve the issue with Quinn.

The elected school chiefs inspect local public schools, do employee background checks, certify teachers, operate area alternative schools and more. But Quinn calls them unnecessary bureaucrats and halted more than $10 million to operate their offices for the budget year that began July 1.

The superintendents have worked without pay since.

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Meeting planned to discuss the future of Ottawa’s Reddick Mansion

Posted by wlpo on August 19, 2011

Is there a certain point where money issues trump historic or sentimental value?

Economic development consultant Linda Miller told a crowd last night that she is putting together a redevelopment plan for the 155-year old Reddick Mansion in Ottawa. Miller says the mansion’s revenue is dropping significantly after tenants like the chamber of commerce moved out.  She also says mansion officials are charging too little for museum tours and membership fees.  Mansion President Diane Sanders told Miller they did make enough money last year to meet basic expenses but don’t have cash for big improvements like a new elevator.  The mansion needs an elevator to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Ideas Miller gave to make more money was to book more weddings and receptions, open a restaurant or coffee shop inside, rent out office space or make it a bed and breakfast.  The bed and breakfast idea drew groans from some in the audience.

Miller didn’t give a timeframe on when she would have a redevelopment plan ready for the Reddick Mansion.

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Woman Gets Probation For Animal Cruelty Charges

Posted by wlpo on August 19, 2011

Owning a house where several dead cats were found has a Marseilles woman getting probation.

50-year old Tamara Lemke pled guilty Thursday to two counts of animal cruelty.  A cleaning crew found several dead cats in a house just behind Tone’s Cones in Ottawa last year.  Police say 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.

Lemke will be on probation for two years, pay a fine and undergo a mental health exam.

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Restaurant Back In Business Weeks After Fire

Posted by wlpo on August 19, 2011

Just short of a month since a fire, a restaurant in La Salle is reopening.

Monari’s 101 opens back up today after an early morning fire on July 23rd.  A cleaning person at Monari’s discovered the fire before the business had opened last month.  La Salle and Peru Fire Departments went to building and were able to put out the fire that had spread up a wall.  A lot of water was left in the building.

Owner Earl Monari says they’ll mark their reopening with “fire martini’s” tonight.

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Cyclist Seriously Hurt In Streator

Posted by wlpo on August 19, 2011

When you were a little kid, you were told to get right back up after falling off your bicycle.  A man from Streator fell but couldn’t get back up.

Streator Police say Jeff Robinson fell off his bike Wednesday evening, hitting his head on the pavement.  He was taken to St. Mary’s and then flown to St. Francis Medical Center.  He was last listed in critical condition.

Officers say Robinson suffers from some kind of medical condition which caused him to pass out on his bike.

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Canal Firestarter Gets Jail Time

Posted by wlpo on August 19, 2011

A man accused of setting at least one fire on the I&M Canal in Ottawa will avoid prison.

52 year old Kenneth Johnson of Ottawa pled guilty Thursday to criminal damage to property and was sentenced to 78 days in county jail if he gets credit for good behavior.  He’ll also be on a year’s probation, undergo a mental exam and pay 120 dollars restitution.

He was arrested August 7th after several fires broke out along the canal.  During one of them, Ottawa Police say someone snapped a picture of Johnson setting a fire and riding off on his bicycle.

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