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Archive for January 16th, 2012

First week of Westclox fire racked up 588 overtime hours for firefighters

Posted by wlpo on January 16, 2012

The next time you have to put in a long week at work remember the firefighters in Peru.  In the seven days after the start of the blaze at Westclox, 17 firefighters put in 588 overtime hours.

The fire was reported minutes before midnight on New Years Eve.  Fire Chief Jeff King says the total number of hours exceeds 1,000.  Peru firefighters are paid $10 per overtime hour.

Peru isn’t on the hook for paying departments that provided mutual aid.  While the cost is high for the city, much of the food and drinks for the firefighters were donated.

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Ottawa firefighters called to hotel after ceiling collapsed

Posted by wlpo on January 16, 2012

A close call at a hotel in Ottawa after a ceiling collapsed into the indoor swimming pool.  Firefighters were called to the Holiday Inn Express on Stevenson Road shortly after 2pm Monday.

Firefighters had to sift through pieces of ceiling to make sure nobody was in the pool.  The collapse damaged the sprinkler system, forcing the hotel to close.  The city’s building inspector was on site trying to figure out what caused the collapsed.

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Pro-life group plans candlelight vigil

Posted by wlpo on January 16, 2012

Abortion rights remain a divisive subject.  The January 22 anniversary of Roe v. Wade is being marked with a pro-life candlelight vigil across from Planned Parenthood in Ottawa.

Illinois Valley Citizens for Life is staging their event next Sunday at 7pm outside of the La Salle County downtown Courthouse.  Signs and candles will be provided on the corner of Main and Court Streets.

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Westclox will be the topic of the La Salle History Club meeting

Posted by wlpo on January 16, 2012

A destructive fire has left many people remembering the old Westclox factory.  Learn more about Westclox and its impact on the Illinois Valley when the La Salle History Club meets Wednesday evening.

John Piano will be the featured speaker.  The presentation is at 6:30pm at the 9th Street Parks and Rec Building.

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Man Burnt During Princeton Garage Fire

Posted by wlpo on January 16, 2012

A garage was totaled and a man was burnt during a fire in Princeton.

Fire crews responded to the garage fire Saturday afternoon at 4:30 at 517 North Chestnut Street.  A man working inside the unattached garage sustained burns to his hand and was taken to the hospital.  No firefighters were hurt.

They fought the garage fire for about 20 minutes.  Fire Chief John Petrakis says the fire was tough to fight because of poor access to water and freezing temperatures.

The garage is a total loss with estimated building and contents damage at 75 thousand dollars.  The cause of the fire is undetermined.

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Governor Signs Leepertown Annexation Bill

Posted by wlpo on January 16, 2012

The door’s been opened for Leepertown Elementary to close and merge into the Ladd School District.

The governor has signed a bill that both the House and Senate unanimously approved allowing schools to annex into another district even if they don’t share a border.  Leepertown officials want to close and join up with Ladd even though the districts don’t share a boundary.

Before Leepertown mergers with Ladd, voters in both districts first need to approve the idea.  State Representative Frank Mautino was the bill sponsor.

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Group Wants Name Change For Bureau County Creek

Posted by wlpo on January 16, 2012

Did you know there was a Negro Creek in Bureau County?  There’s a movement to change name.

A half dozen people met this past Saturday in DePue to try and come up with a list of possible names to replace Negro Creek.  Phillip Mol of DePue is leading the charge and established a Facebook group called “Let’s Rename Negro Creek”.

The creek was actually known as a far more derogatory “n word” before the change to Negro.  Mol and others have talked to the U.S. Geological Survey about changing the name.  They need to come up with a name of historical significance to the area.

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Widow Of Ottawa Dentist Suing After Fatal Crash

Posted by wlpo on January 16, 2012

An accident that killed a longtime Ottawa dentist is going to civil court.

Dr. John Harbeck was killed October 11th when he was hit by a grain truck driven by Everett Olmstead of Earlville.  Harbeck was on a bicycle ride just north of Ottawa.

Olmstead was ticketed for improper passing but is now being sued by Harbeck’s widow in a wrongful death lawsuit.  Circuit Judge Joseph Hettel will handle the circuit court case.

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Organization says teens benefit from being tried in juvenile court instead of adult court

Posted by wlpo on January 16, 2012

The fire is out and the smoke has cleared at Westclox.  It’s been just over two weeks since two teens were arrested for aggravated arson in the New Year’s Eve blaze in Peru.

A 15 year old boy is being tried as a juvenile and a 17 year old, Steven Gallacher, is being tried as an adult.  Some people in the community want them to receive the most severe punishments possible.

Elizabeth Clarke, President of the Juvenile Justice Initiative in Evanston says teens that are treated as juveniles are less likely to be in trouble again than teens tried in adult court because juvenile court is more likely to look at the underlying issues.

While a tough punishment is initially satisfying on a knee-jerk level, Clarke says in the long-term communities are safer if teens are treated as juveniles.  She says the adult court will focus on punishment and the teens will come out without education or jobs skills.

She also says it costs less to treat a teen with an individualized plan than to keep them in prison.

The teens accused in the Westclox fire make court appearances this week.

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