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Archive for February 16th, 2012

Mackowiak Says He’s Sorry In Confession Video

Posted by wlpo on February 16, 2012

“You don’t know how sorry I am” and “I swear to god I never meant for this to happen”.  Fateful words of Keith Mackowiak during an emotional confession played before the jury at his murder trial.

After nearly 50 witnesses, the prosecution showed a third and final jailhouse interview where Mackowiak says he acted alone in killing Al and Catherine Twardowski.  He explains how he hit Catherine once in the head with a shovel and nailed Al several times with the shovel and at least once with a hammer.  Mackowiak says Al “fought like a pit bull” and that he was the most courageous man he ever met.

While he says it’s no excuse, Mackowiak says he “lost his mind” because of smoking crack cocaine and drinking heavily.  He says he came to Seneca before the murders to rob former friend Matthew Roos and restart disputes with other people in town.  He says he got wrong directions from friend David Dulabhan and ended up at the Twardowski’s instead down the road at Roos’ house.

The trial will resume Tuesday morning with the defense expected to start calling witnesses.  It’s not known if Mackowiak will take the stand.

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Spring Valley Elementary receiving $12.2 million for school addition

Posted by wlpo on February 16, 2012

The kids that were attending JFK School in Spring Valley when administrators started planning a building addition have finished high school if they haven’t already finished college.  The district has been waiting for the state to release money for school construction.

State officials  announced Thursday that Spring Valley and 30 other schools would finally be receiving money for construction projects.

Superintendent Jim Hermes says they started planning for an addition in 1997.

The district will receive $12.2 million.  That will be added to the $5 million the school has already bonded for.

Hermes says the addition will double the size of JFK allowing them to have all of their students in one building.  Lincoln School would close.

The money is coming from the state program Illinois Jobs Now!  The addition has already been approved by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Capital Development Board.

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LPHS students let the board know they’re unhappy with the cutting of two positions

Posted by wlpo on February 16, 2012

Just like students fill the bleachers at basketball games, a group of students filled the first two rows of chairs before the LPHS Board of Education Wednesday night.  And they weren’t there to cheer; rather they wanted to let the board know that cutting the positions of truancy officer and interventionist was a bad idea.

Nadia Valentine, a junior, read a letter to the board saying social worker Stacey Andrews and truancy officer Jean Ganze are important to the students.

Senior Mercedes Henry says Andrew and Ganze make a big difference to the students.   The students wonder with out these people where would teens go for help.

The jobs are being cut in part so a fifth guidance counselor can be added to the staff.  The school board approved the changes last month.

Superintendent Steve Wrobleski says since then he’s talked to the students.  He says the school will still have social workers and the five counselors will have the training to talk with students about their social and emotional needs and their career and education needs.

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Ottawa bartender accused of selling cocaine

Posted by wlpo on February 16, 2012

A great tasting mix drink and a perfectly poured draft makes a great bartender, but a man in Ottawa isn’t getting attention for his knowledge of liquor but accusations that he was selling cocaine.

Myron Leslie of Ottawa was arrested on drug charges Wednesday at the Right Downtown Sports Bar on Court Street.  Investigators say over the past month he sold cocaine to people working undercover with the narcotics police.

Police say he had $800 worth of cocaine when they arrested him.  He was taken to the La Salle County Jail.

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La Salle city office to be closed on Friday

Posted by wlpo on February 16, 2012

If you need to pay your La Salle City utility bill, you won’t be able to pay at city hall Friday.

The comptroller’s office including the counter where you pay bills will be closed for ongoing building work.  You can still pay your bill at area banks.

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Confession Video Up Next In Seneca Murder Trial

Posted by wlpo on February 16, 2012

DNA evidence dominated testimony Thursday morning at the Keith Mackowiak murder trial.  Forensic Scientist Dave Turngren testified that jean shorts taken from Mackowiak after the Twardowski murders had the DNA of Al Twardowski.   Mackowiak’s and Twardowski’s DNA were also detected on a torn shirt cuff.

As for the alleged murder weapons, Turngren says they found Al Twardowski’s DNA on a shovel but there wasn’t enough evidence left on a hammer.

Mackowiak is accused of killing Twardowski and his wife Catherine in July 2007.

The last prosecution witness, lead investigator Detective Dave Guinnee is testifying Thursday afternoon.

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Plenty Of Problems With Hall High School Building

Posted by wlpo on February 16, 2012

The ball appears to be in the court of the Hall High School Board.

Board members were given a 200 page report last night from a suburban architect firm hired to study the aging high school building in Spring Valley.  According to the NewsTribune, the report suggests that the buildings roofs, flooring, windows, and hot water system all be replaced.  There are also issues in the building with plumbing and technology.

The Hall High School Board is expected to vote on the next step in the planning process.  They’re deciding whether to renovate the current high school or try to build a new one.

Architects are expected to give cost estimates of the various options next month.

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Several Years In Prison For Admitted La Salle Sex Offender

Posted by wlpo on February 16, 2012

A couple decades in prison are in the future for a La Salle man with a history of sex crimes.

James Madonna was sentenced to 27 years yesterday by Judge Cynthia Raccuglia after pleading guilty a Class X felony of sexual assault.  Several other charges were dropped including an arrest last year where he was accused of exposing himself to a group of junior high students.

Madonna pled guilty to molesting and assaulting a girl between 2003 and 2009.  He had a prior conviction for sexual assault in Bureau County.

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Foreclosures Shoot Up In Illinois

Posted by wlpo on February 16, 2012

Illinois home foreclosure activity rose 14 percent in January compared to the previous month as lenders resolve paperwork problems that had slowed the process.

A report by RealtyTrac shows Illinois with 14,349 foreclosure filings last month. Filings include default notices, auction-sale notices and bank repossessions.

The filings represent one in every 369 housing units in the state. That rate is also 9 percent higher than in January of last
year and seventh-highest nationally.

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