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Archive for September 20th, 2011

Ottawa Looking To Expand Industrial Park

Posted by wlpo on September 20, 2011

If a new industry wants to move to Ottawa, the city will have land for them.

The Ottawa City Council approved an option to purchase 78 acres of land from Standard Bank & Trust Company.  The land is on the east end of the city’s industrial park.

The city has just exercised the option for the land, not actually purchased it yet.  They’re waiting to see if they get a two million dollar grant to develop the land and put in a new road, rail spur and water and sewer.

If Ottawa goes ahead with buying the land, it’ll be for 18 thousand dollars an acre.

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New I-80/ Rt 178 ramps scheduled to open Wednesday

Posted by wlpo on September 20, 2011

A sign that reconstruction of the Interstate 80 and Route 178 interchange is coming along, two of the new on/off ramps were supposed to open to traffic Wednesday.

Joe Spika with IDOT says the contractor still has some new pavement to pour on the east side of the overpass and hopes to begin demolishing the other half of the bridge after the first of October.

Spika says the job will extend until next year but the contractor is trying to get as much done before this winter.

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Coroner releases more information on Shepard family deaths

Posted by wlpo on September 20, 2011

Two months after a rural Grand Ridge mother and her two sons were found dead in their burned out home, investigators say they died from breathing in smoke.

The findings were released Tuesday by LaSalle County Coroner Jody Bernard.  Investigators believe that 36-year-old Jennifer Shepard set the family’s home on fire as part of a murder-suicide on July 14.

Shepard’s body and the bodies of 11-year-old Jordan and 9-year-old Jake were found in a bedroom.  The boys had also suffered stab wounds while Shepard had cuts on her arms.

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St. Bede Graduate, U.S. Marine killed during a helicopter crash

Posted by wlpo on September 20, 2011

Students and staff at St. Bede Academy are keeping a former Bruin and U.S. Marine in their prayers.  27 year old 1st LT. Thomas Heitmann of Mendota was one of two Marines killed during a helicopter crash Monday afternoon.

Investigators are trying to figure out what caused the twin-engine, two-seat AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter to crash during a training exercise at Camp Pendleton, California.

Heitmann graduated from St. Bede in 2002 where he ran track.

Capt. Jeffrey Bland of Champaign was the other Marine killed.

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Another Area School Misses Annual Yearly Progress

Posted by wlpo on September 20, 2011

Add Ottawa High School to the long list of school districts not meeting federal No Child Left Behind Standards.

52 percent of Ottawa juniors met or exceeded state standards in reading with 46 percent meeting or exceeding standards in math.  The benchmark percentage they needed to meet for annual yearly progress was 85 percent.

When it comes to ACT scores, Ottawa students averaged a 20.2.  That was the highest school average in the last five years but it still wasn’t good enough for federal standards.

Principal Mike Cushing says only one high school district in Illinois met or exceeded No Child Left Behind standards last year.

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Oglesby Takes Aim At Designer Drug

Posted by wlpo on September 20, 2011

Oglesby is the latest city to crack down on bath salts.

The city council has passed an ordinance making it illegal to distribute, possess, use, and deliver bath salts.  The ordinance says bath salts are designed to mimic cocaine, LSD or other methamphetamines and that they can cause paranoia, breathing difficulty and even death.

The state is banning bath salts January 1st but Police Chief Jim Knoblauch didn’t want to wait for the state to charge people with bath salts.  If you’re arrested for having bath salts in Oglesby, you could be fined between 250 to 750 dollars.

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Few Weeks Away From Walmart Opening In Streator

Posted by wlpo on September 20, 2011

After years of delays, a Walmart Supercenter in Streator is ready to open its doors.

The official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony is Wednesday, October 12th at 7:30.  The new Walmart is going up on the north side of town along Route 23 and Marilla Park Road.

Plans for the store were first announced in February 2007.

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