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Archive for January 3rd, 2012

Ottawa Hopes TIF Fills Empty Box Stores

Posted by wlpo on January 3, 2012

A longtime eyesore will be no longer on the north side of Ottawa.

Bill Walsh Automotive Group said they would buy the Value City property and open a new Ford-Lincoln-Kia dealership on the property if the city put the land in a TIF District.  Last night, the Ottawa City Council officially created the I-80 TIF.  It also covers the empty Walmart and Kmart buildings.

Bill Walsh Jr. says they’ll keep the existing building but make major renovations to the site.  He says it will be almost unrecognizable when they’re done.

Ottawa Mayor Bob Eschbach says the values of the empty box stores were steadily decreasing so something needed to be done.  A TIF could also make the area more attractive to potential businesses.

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Ameren Wants To Raise Rates

Posted by wlpo on January 3, 2012

You have heard the story before, a rate hike to pay for equipment upgrades.

Ameren filed a 10-year rate hike plan yesterday with the state.  The plan initially means a 10 cent average increase to monthly bills.  Over time, the increase would go as high as $2.80 more per month.

In exchange for higher rates, Ameren promises to improve service with upgrades.  They hope to create 450 jobs and reduce the number of power outages and how long they last.

If the rate hike is approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission, higher bills would start in October.

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Illinois official says December warmer than usual

Posted by wlpo on January 3, 2012

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) – Illinoisans wore galoshes more often than snow boots in December – and barely broke out the parkas.

State climatologist Jim Angel says the average statewide temperature in December was 35.7 degrees – almost 6 degrees above average.

That’s the ninth-warmest December since the state began keeping records in 1895. The highest temperature was 67 in Cairo on Dec. 5.

All that warm weather naturally meant less snow – although rainfall was above average, with 7.70 inches recorded at Brookport Dam.

The biggest snowfall recorded in December was 4 inches in Stockton in far northwestern Illinois. That compares to less than an inch in southeastern Illinois and 1 to 2 inches everywhere else.

Last winter, much of Illinois had gotten 10 to 25 inches of snow by mid-December.

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Peru fire suspect makes juvenile court appearance

Posted by wlpo on January 3, 2012

At least another two weeks in the county detention home for a boy accused of starting the fire at Westclox in Peru.  The 15 year old from Peru went before Judge Dan Bute in juvenile court Tuesday.  He’s charged with the class x felony, aggravated arson.

A temporary detention order was issued requiring the boy remain in the detention home until at least his next court appearance January 17.

If found guilty the boy could be held in a juvenile lockup until he’s 21 years old.

17 year old Steven Gallacher of La Salle has been charged as an adult.  He’ll be in court Thursday.

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Flare up had firefighters back at Westclox Tuesday morning

Posted by wlpo on January 3, 2012

Flare ups had firefighters back at the Westclox building in Peru late Tuesday morning.  Peru Fire Chief Jeff King says they no longer need to call in other departments for assistance because the heavy fire load was knocked down Monday.

King says they want to get the businesses in the other building up and running by the end of the week but first they need to collect physical evidence for the arson investigation.  Utilities also need to be reconnected to the front building.

After surveying the damage by plane Tuesday morning, he estimates half of the building was destroyed.   It also says more than two million gallons of water has been used since the Sunday morning.

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Injured Westclox Firefighter Released From Hospital

Posted by wlpo on January 3, 2012

The firefighter injured during the Westclox fire is back home and resting.

La Salle firefighter Steve Smith was released from Illinois Valley Community Hospital this morning after injuring his leg trying to attach a fire hose. He had surgery soon after the fire and is expecting a full recovery. Recovery could last 8 to 12 weeks with physical therapy after that.

Besides being a La Salle firefighter and EMT, Smith is also a guard at the Sheridan Correctional Center. The Marine spent time in Iraq.

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Record Breaking Fundraising Year For La Salle Light Display

Posted by wlpo on January 3, 2012

It was a record setting year for the Weber light display in La Salle.

For the fifth year in a row, Scott Weber put together a light show set to music on Mary Senica Court off Route 6. As in past years, he collected food and monetary donations for the Illinois Valley Food Pantry. Between black Friday and New Year’s Eve, Weber collected 83 hundred dollars and over 25 hundred pounds of food.

Pantry officials expect to collect the food from Weber today. Weber says he’s eager for it to happen so he’ll have more room in his house.

Speaking of room, Weber says he’ll store all his lights inside a 53 foot semi trailer.

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Grand Ridge Family Displaced By Fire

Posted by wlpo on January 3, 2012

Lost in the shuffle of the Westclox fire was a home being gutted by fire in Grand Ridge.

The home of Don Yacko at 635 Sylvan Avenue is a total loss after the Saturday fire. Yacko’s daughter, her boyfriend and four children were all displaced by the fire.

The family was provided a place to stay by the Red Cross. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office was called.

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Westclox Fire Contained But Not Completely Out

Posted by wlpo on January 3, 2012

Firefighters have contained the blaze that destroyed part of the massive Westclox building, but officials say it may be a week before it is extinguished.

Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei says the fire that broke out around midnight on New Year’s Eve at the Westclox complex in Peru is smoldering. He says the city’s fire department and departments from 15 other towns battled the fire with aerial trucks on Monday.

Bernabei says there is no danger of the fire spreading from the middle building to other buildings in the complex. The last of Westclox neighbors evacuated from their homes were allowed to return yesterday morning.

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Four Hurt In Two Area Crashes

Posted by wlpo on January 3, 2012

What’s your seventeen year old doing at two in the morning?

Holly Raymond of Ottawa was getting into a crash. Deputies say she lost control of her car on North 24th Road outside of Grand Ridge. She and her passenger were taken to Ottawa Regional Hospital.

A rollover outside Serena sent two people to the hospital. Deputies say Christopher Anderson of Ottawa was on East 23rd Road last night when he went off the road, over-corrected and overturned into a plowed field. He and his passenger were taken to Ottawa Regional Hospital.

No tickets were issued in either crash.

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