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Archive for February 6th, 2012

La Salle parolee accused of having a stolen Jeep

Posted by wlpo on February 6, 2012

A red Jeep parked on First Street in La Salle looked like any other car parked downtown, but to the police it was suspicious.

La Salle Police officers starting looking for the Jeep last Thursday after receiving word that a Jeep stolen out of Eureka could be in town.

Marshall Bernardini of La Salle was arrested for having a stolen vehicle after they found him at a near by apartment.  He’s on parole for residential burglary and burglary convictions and was returned to the La Salle County Jail.

Bernardini could be given charges in Bureau and Woodford Counties too.

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Man Sent To Ottawa Hospital After Rolling SUV

Posted by wlpo on February 6, 2012

You’ve seen this while taking an Interstate- a car weaving in and out of traffic.  People who saw a crash Monday morning on I-80 near Marseilles say that’s how a man was driving before he lost control of his car and rolled it into the other lanes of traffic.

Police say Russell Johnson of Batavia was thrown from his SUV.  They believe the crash happened while he was trying to pass another car.

Johnson was eventually taken to St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria where he was still being evaluated late Monday afternoon.

He has been ticketed for improper lane usage and not wearing a seat belt.

Police say Christopher Hetelle of Marseilles was driving the car Johnson hit while trying to pass.  Hetelle wasn’t hurt.

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Rollover Driver Found After Overnight Search

Posted by wlpo on February 6, 2012

Have you ever watch anyone drive a car across the Vermilion River?  A man that triggered a river search and rescue Sunday night in Streator says he was just trying to cross the river.

Joseph Kmetz of Streator told the police that he drove to the canoe launch but couldn’t make it across because the river was higher than usual.

Before they found him though, a search effort lead by the Reading Fire Department was looking for him.

Kmetz was ticketed for causing ruts in a park area and was given a court date.  He and a 22 year old man from Chicago were taken to St. Mary’s Hospital as a precaution.

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No Alcohol Action Tonight In Oglesby

Posted by wlpo on February 6, 2012

If alcohol delivery comes up at tonight’s Oglesby City Council meeting, it’ll be just for discussion.

The topic isn’t on the official city council agenda for this evening.  Last Monday, the council and police chief shared their opinions about Brady’s Liquors delivering alcohol to homes.  Opinions were mixed.

As of right now, the city doesn’t have an ordinance against it.

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No Cameras Yet In Area Courtrooms

Posted by wlpo on February 6, 2012

In case you’re wondering, there won’t be any cameras or other recording devices at Keith Mackowiak’s murder trial.

Late last month, the Illinois Supreme Court approved a pilot program allowing news cameras and recording devices in circuit court courtrooms.  Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan says the decision to allow recording devices in La Salle and Bureau County courtrooms hasn’t been made yet and won’t be made until the Mackowiak trial is over.

Judges will have absolute authority on whether to allow recording devices in their courtrooms.  Illinois was one of only 14 states banning recording equipment from courtrooms.

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Time To Start Seneca Murder Trial

Posted by wlpo on February 6, 2012

Jury selection begins today in the double-murder trial of Seneca’s Keith Mackowiak.

The 44-year old faces life in prison if convicted in the beating deaths of Catherine and Aloysius Twardowski of rural Seneca.  Mackowiak initially faced the death penalty until Illinois abolished it last year.

Mackowiak has been in the La Salle County Jail since he was arrested in July 2007, the same day the Twardowski bodies were found in their home.   Prosecutors think it was a burglary gone wrong.

If a jury is picked today, opening statements would start tomorrow morning.

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La Salle to talk chickens during committee meeting

Posted by wlpo on February 6, 2012

Chicken lovers in La Salle won a victory when the city council recently agreed to allow them to be kept as pets.  But the chicken discussion continues Monday when the Public Health Committee and Licenses Committee hold a joint meeting at 6pm.

If the committees reach a decision, the city council could vote on new rules during the city council meeting at 7pm.

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Firefighters thanked with a dinner

Posted by wlpo on February 6, 2012

New Year’s Day was a big day for football fans, but the firefighters that fought the Westclox blaze didn’t get to watch any games.  An estimated 40 departments and other emergency responders days at the old factory that started on fire on New Year’s eve.

Those firefighters were given thanks Sunday and with plenty of time to watch the Super Bowl.  An appreciation dinner was held at the Eagle’s in Peru.

Peru Fire Chief Jeff King says it was something they wanted to do.

About 300 firefighters and their families stopped by for chicken and music.  Peru Mayor Scott Harl and several of the aldermen also were there to say thanks.  Even Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger paid a visit.

Harl says they’ve received closed to seven thousand dollars in donations to pay for the dinner.  Any extra money will go into the fire department fund.

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