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Archive for November, 2011

La Salle Police say they found 681 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop

Posted by wlpo on November 29, 2011

When is a car worth $500,000?  When there is 680 pounds of marijuana stashed its trunk.  La Salle Police officers say that’s what their dog helped them find during a traffic stop on Interstate 80 early Tuesday morning.

Jared Craft and Kristina Walker of California were charged with cannabis trafficking, a class X felony.  They were being held in the La Salle County Jail, awaiting a bond hearing.

Police Chief Rob Uranich says the marijuana carries a $500,000 street value.

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Backers of a high-voltage transmission line to host business open house

Posted by wlpo on November 29, 2011

Building a 500-mile-long high voltage direct current transmission line is going to take workers, concrete, and even hotels. Representatives with Clean Line Energy and Kiewit will be in La Salle to talk to business owners about the Rock Island Clean Line.
It’s a transmission line that would start in Northwestern Iowa and connect to a line near Morris, carrying energy produced by wind farms. Plans call for the line to pass through Bureau and La Salle Counties.
If you have a business you think could get involved with the project, there’s a business open house scheduled for 4-6pm Thursday at the Lock 16 Visitor’s Center in La Salle. Another open house will be from 8-10am Friday at the Morris VFW.

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Headbutt Sends Ottawa Man To Prison

Posted by wlpo on November 29, 2011

Head butts are legal in the squared circle of professional wrestling but not in the real world.

Darrin Liedtka of Ottawa was given three and a half years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to aggravated battery to a police officer. As part of his plea deal, another charge of aggravated assault was dropped.

Liedtka admits to head butting an Ottawa officer last year during a struggle. He’s been in prison before.

Since Liedtka’s already spent over a year in jail since being arrested and the fact he’s eligible for good behavior time, he could be out of prison within a year.

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Most Homes Selling For Less Than Last Year

Posted by wlpo on November 29, 2011

If you’re in the market for a new home in the Illinois Valley, chances are the sale price is lower than last year.

According to the latest numbers from the Illinois Association of Realtors, the average price of homes sold in La Salle County last month was 100 thousand dollars. That’s about nine thousand dollars less than 2010. Homes in Bureau County are selling for an average of 84 thousand dollars, up about four thousand from a year ago. In Putnam County, the average selling price is 106 thousand dollars, 33 thousand dollars below the 2010 price.

Eleven counties in Illinois didn’t even have a home sold last month.

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Let The Campaigning Begin

Posted by wlpo on November 28, 2011

The first day of filing for the 2012 election had plenty of candidates signing up for La Salle County Board.

On the Democratic ticket, incumbents Stephen Abel of Mendota, Bob Greenwalt of Sandwich, Michael Kasap of La Salle, Lou Anne Caretto and Tom Walsh of Ottawa and Herman Bruns and Bob Jakupcak of Streator all filed.  Newcomers Joseph Oscepinski Jr. of Peru is going after the seat held by fellow Democrat Matt McLaughlin of Peru while Brian Dose of Ottawa is seeking the board seat currently held by Republican Randy Freeman of Lostant.

Besides Freeman on the Republican side, other incumbents filing for re-election are Joanne McNally of Mendota, Charles Borchsenius of Sheridan, Gary Small of Utica, Sandi Billard of Oglesby, Steven Tuftie and Arratta Znaniecki of Ottawa.  Newcomer Republicans running include ex-board member Allen Erbrederis of Somonauk and Tina Busch of Tonica and Tamra Bierbom of Utica.  Erbrederis is seeking the seat currently held by Charles Borchsenius while Busch and Bierbom are both going after Sandi Billard’s spot.

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House Fire In Princeton

Posted by wlpo on November 28, 2011

It only took about a half hour for a fire to cause thousands of dollars in damage to a home near Princeton High School.

Firefighters were called out to a single-story home at 225 Washington Court that was smoking just after 10 o’clock Monday morning.  The person living at the home got outside okay as firefighters brought the fire under control in around 30 minutes.  Princeton Fire Chief John Petrakis says the fire was centered in a hallway but there was plenty of smoke damage throughout.  He estimates total property loss at 150 thousand dollars.

Petrakis thinks the fire is accidental but the cause is still under investigation.  The Red Cross was called to help the person living at the house.

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Two Workers In Peru Busted For Underage Alcohol Sale

Posted by wlpo on November 28, 2011

The latest sting by state police to see if area businesses will sell beer to minors ends up with two arrests.

Peru Marathon employee Katherine Lowery of Peru and Sofia Cruz of Spring Valley while working at P &P Pantry in Peru are both accused of selling alcohol to minors. Both were released with court dates.

Troopers say 21 other gas stations, grocery stores and bars passed the compliance check in Peru, Mendota and Utica.

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Homes Not Flying Off The Market

Posted by wlpo on November 28, 2011

Know anyone who’s bought a house lately in the Illinois Valley? Home sales aren’t booming by any means.

According to the latest numbers, 68 homes were sold in La Salle County in October, up from 67 a year ago. Nineteen homes were sold in October in Bureau County, same as in 2010. Putnam County had seven houses go off the market in October, up from four last year.

The average sell price in La Salle County is 100 thousand dollars, about nine thousand below 2010. Homes in Bureau County are selling for an average of 84 thousand dollars, up about four thousand from a year ago. In Putnam County, the average selling price is 106 thousand dollars, 33 thousand dollars below the 2010 price.

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Troubled Teen In Princeton Shows Up In Court

Posted by wlpo on November 28, 2011

The teen accused of strolling into Princeton High with a loaded shotgun is done with mental tests and now faces the court system.

Blake Schmidt was in Bureau County Court Wednesday, officially being charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon. He had spent nearly a week undergoing psychiatric tests at a Peoria hospital after investigators say he brought a loaded gun into Princeton High School when classes were being dismissed November 16th. Schmidt never pointed the gun at anyone and wasn’t a student.

He’s do again in court for grand jury indictment and arraignment on December 14th. Schmidt’s bond is 25 thousand dollars.

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Two Area Courthouses Have White Powder Scare

Posted by wlpo on November 28, 2011

Could it be a copycat, the same person or just pure coincidence that a white powdery substance with a threatening letter has been sent to a couple area courthouses recently.

Early last week, investigators in Morris responded to an opened envelope with a white powdery substance at the circuit clerk’s office. The envelope included a threatening letter to a judge.

Just a week before that, police went to the downtown courthouse in Ottawa for a white powdery substance also opened in the circuit clerk’s office. That package also included a threat to an area judge.

In both cases, the powder wasn’t hazardous.

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