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Archive for March 12th, 2012

Sheila Simon Tries To Slow Down Sand Mine Development

Posted by wlpo on March 12, 2012

Not even the lieutenant governor could sway the La Salle County Board.

Sheila Simon sent a letter yesterday to La Salle County Board Chairman Jerry Hicks asking him and the board to request a reclamation hearing about Mississippi Sand with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.  Simon argued demanding a hearing would show the board’s commitment to an open, public process serving everyone in the county.

Sand mine opponents also presented a letter from Simon back in January where she was concerned about the mine being so close to Starved Rock.  The board and Zoning Board of Appeals still approved the mine permit.

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County Board Says No More Hearings On Sand Mines

Posted by wlpo on March 12, 2012

Feeling 15 hours of hearings is enough, the La Salle County Board voted to not have additional hearings about sand mine reclamation plans.

Mississippi Sand and Illinois Sand Company both plan to fill in their pits with water and open it up to recreation once their done mining.  County Board member Russell Boe was one of 16 board members who said no to the hearings. He thinks Mississippi Sand’s reclamation plan is fine and those who are against the proposed mine near Starved Rock have had plenty of time to speak their peace.

After Environmental Services Director Mike Harsted said DNR hearings could delay mine construction, several board members said they were afraid the timeline was too open-ended and hearings could be dragged out.  Mississippi Sand President Tony Giordano says they want to start operating in October but potential hearings could’ve pushed them back to 2013.

Starved Rock Audubon Society President John McKee pleaded to the board to have as many hearings as possible on the mines because they stand to make billions of dollars while the county benefits little from it.  McKee says the handful of jobs and small tax base increase isn’t the best deal possible for La Salle County.

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Group of ESDA volunteers ready to serve in Peru

Posted by wlpo on March 12, 2012

The last time two cars crashed on the Route 251 Bridge in Peru police officers were needed at the crash scene and to redirect traffic on Route 251 and Route 6.  When that happens again officers will have help from the city’s Emergency Service Disaster Agency.

Commonly called ESDA, they are the modern day take on civil defense groups. Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei describes them as a jack of all trades that will provide traffic control for parades and other events and serve as extra help for the police force at the Central States Baseball Tournament.

Bernabei says less than one year ago the group was down to only a few members but after a push to revive it they now have 16 trained volunteers that are available 24-hours a day.

Bernabei says the volunteers are trained weather spotters who will be on watch when severe weather is predicted.  Nobody is paid.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, you may apply at the Peru Police Department.  An interview with Bernabei is available at the AM 1220 WLPO news page.

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Peru hires companies for curb work and the resurfacing of tennis courts

Posted by wlpo on March 12, 2012

The street in front of your house could have a luxury you don’t even notice- a cement fixture you take for granted.  Just about every street in Peru has curbs and nearly every year the city spends money on repairing them.

This year they’ve hired Ladzinski Cement Finishing to work perform $86,684 in repairs.

The city council approved the bid last night minutes after approving a $12,000 budget for the Municipal Band.

The city will also be putting $39,825 towards their tennis and basketball courts.  U.S. Tennis Court Construction Company has been hired to resurface courts at Washington Park, Sunset Park and 28th Street.  The money is coming from the Recreation budget.

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Large Pot Bust In Utica

Posted by wlpo on March 12, 2012

Another out of state driver is accused of hauling drugs through the Illinois valley.

Utica Police pulled over Eric Litwin of Massachusetts Saturday afternoon going eastbound on Interstate 80.  Officers say they found over 67 pounds of cannabis inside large duffle bags inside his car.  Police also took over six thousand dollars in cash.

Litwin was arrested for cannabis trafficking.  He was taken to the county jail.

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Police Looking Into Stolen Trailer From Peru Campground

Posted by wlpo on March 12, 2012

No arrests have been made after a trailer was stolen from the Tiki Campground in Peru.

Investigators say a man stole the trailer yesterday.  Earlier this morning, police got a tip about a black pickup with their suspect riding in it going westbound on Interstate 80.

State Police were called to help but as of now no one’s been brought into custody.

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St. Baldrick’s Fundraiser Off And Rolling

Posted by wlpo on March 12, 2012

If there are more shaved heads at Ottawa High School then normal this week, it’s because they went under the razor for a good cause.

Thirteen people shaved their heads over the weekend for St. Baldricks.  Around five thousand dollars was raised to fight childhood cancer.

Nearly 100 people are signed up so far to have their heads shaved March 24th at Jeremiah Joe’s in Ottawa.  There are other St. Baldrick’s fundraisers planned with the Mendota Fire Department, Wallace Grade School and at Senica’s Oak Ridge.

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Few Contests On Putnam County Primary Ballot

Posted by wlpo on March 12, 2012

Are there more Democrats than Republicans in Putnam County?  Or are Democrats just more interested in serving on the county board?

Voters next Tuesday in Putnam County are being asked to pick five Democratic and Republican county board members.  There are seven Democrats to choose from including board chairman Duane Calbow.  There are only two Republican’s on the ballot, Steven Malavolti and Matthew Leitch.

Besides the presidential race and 16th congressional race, Putnam County Republicans do have a race for judge.  Associate Judge Kate Gorman is taking on lawyer Matthew Hoppock in the 10th Judicial Circuit.  Both are from Washington.

There is one referendum question in Putnam County.  Granville like many towns in the area is asking voters if they want an “opt-out” electricity option.

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National Recognition For IVCC

Posted by wlpo on March 12, 2012

Does it seem like faculty and staff at Illinois Valley Community College is watching what they eat?  The college is getting recognition for its healthy ways.

IVCC has been named among the healthiest companies in America by the group Interactive Health Solutions.  The national health company says IVCC has created a culture of wellness that contributes to a significant decrease in employee healthcare costs.

Eighty-one percent of IVCC employees achieved or exceeded their wellness goals.

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What Will Voter Turnout Be In La Salle County?

Posted by wlpo on March 12, 2012

Do you plan on heading to the polls next Tuesday for the Illinois Primary?  If you believe in trends and stats, not many of you will vote.

La Salle County Clerk JoAnne Caretto says the number of people registered to vote in the county is down almost three thousand from the last primary. She thinks the number is down for a variety of reasons including people fed up with politics.

During the last presidential primary in 2008, over 24 thousand votes were cast for a voter turnout of 34 percent.  Breaking down the ballots, 57 percent who voted were Democratic and 39 percent were Republican.

Those numbers could be reversed next week with Republican’s having a presidential race instead of Democrats.

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