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Archive for April 20th, 2012

Ill. unions: Quinn pension plan unconstitutional

Posted by wlpo on April 20, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Gov. Pat Quinn’s pension proposal is getting a firm “no” from major Illinois unions.

The “We Are One Illinois” labor coalition calls his proposal unconstitutional and unfair to workers.

The group said Friday that Quinn has made it much harder to work out a solution that public-employee unions can support.

Illinois has the worst-funded pension systems in the country.

The amount that state government must contribute jumps sharply each year, leaving less money for other needs.

Quinn wants to fix the problem by raising the retirement age for workers and making them contribute more to their pension funds. He also wants schools and universities to help pay pension costs.

The unions say this would violate the Illinois Constitution’s ban on reducing retirement benefits.

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Labor history programs planned for Sunday

Posted by wlpo on April 20, 2012

If you’ve been interested in learning more about local labor history, The Way We Worked Smithsonian exhibit and programs continue this weekend with activities in Ottawa and La Salle.

Hear “the History of Silica Sand in Ottawa” Sunday from 2-4pm at the Reddick Mansion.  Edmund Thornton, former president of U.S. Silica Sand, will talk about the sand industry’s long history in Ottawa.

Or visit the the Hegeler Carus Mansion where Ken Ficek, a retiree of Carus Corporation will talk about the Hegeler and Carus companies.  The lecture is Sunday from 4-5pm.  A $3 donation is suggested.

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Oglesby hosting electronics drop-off Saturday

Posted by wlpo on April 20, 2012

Your old TVs, computers and other electronic junk can be tossed out Saturday at a recycling drop-off in Oglesby.

You can bring items to the old dump parking next to Cookie Kingdom between 9am and 1pm.  It’s against the law to throw out electronics in the garbage.  Everyone in La Salle County is welcomed to leave items.

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Cellphone Store Robbed At Gunpoint In Ottawa

Posted by wlpo on April 20, 2012

Ottawa Police want your help in finding the man clad in camouflage that help up the AT&T Cellular Advantage store.

Employees of the store called the police shortly after 9:30am Friday.  They say a man wearing camouflage and a scarf or bandana over his face showed a handgun and left with dozens of smart phones.

He’s described as black, about 6 foot 2 and around 275 pounds.  If you have any information call the Ottawa Police Department.

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Law Hurts Local Attorney’s Chances Of Being A Judge

Posted by wlpo on April 20, 2012

With the odds already stacked against him, it looks like Ottawa Attorney Joe Navarro has lost any chance at running for circuit judge.

Illinois lawmakers passed a bill saying that when a candidate files as a Republican or Democrat in the primary election, they cannot then run as an independent during the general election.  Navarro was trying to run as an independent in November after he was thrown off the Democratic primary ballot because of a filing error.  State Senator Sue Rezin and State Representative Frank Mautino support the bill while Representative Pam Roth is against it.

Democrat Anita Kopko of Ottawa filed the objection that took Navarro’s name off the February ballot.  She faces Republican Troy Holland of Mendota in November.

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Cost Of Cigarettes Could Go Up

Posted by wlpo on April 20, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Gov. Pat Quinn says it’s time for Illinois lawmakers to “step forward” and rescue the state Medicaid system, even if requires some painful decisions like upping the cost of smokes.

Quinn wants lawmakers to approve his plan for filling a $2.7 billion hole in the Medicaid system. It includes reducing services for the poor, cutting payments to health-care providers and raising cigarette taxes by $1 a pack.

Republicans say they’re flatly opposed to the tax increase. But Quinn noted cigarette taxes were raised several times under past Republican governors.

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Eighth Anniversary Of Utica Tornado

Posted by wlpo on April 20, 2012

It’s been eight years since eight people thought they were seeking a safe shelter at the Milestone Tavern in Utica.  Unfortunately the old tavern couldn’t withstand the strength of a killer tornado.

Utica Mayor Fred Esmond says the village has rebounded well growing in population by 300 people, rebuilding a city hall, maintenance building and township hall.  The last real leftover project from the tornado is the Route 178 realignment which should be done this year.

The tornado had a path of damage for 16 miles, hitting Granville hard before Utica.  It damaged much of downtown Utica and around 100 homes.

Some people consider the death toll to actually be nine.  Two weeks after the tornado, the village clerk’s son was stillborn.  Stress from the tornado was blamed.

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La Salle County Man Admits To Having Child Porn

Posted by wlpo on April 20, 2012

A man from Leland admits he was trading child porn on the internet.

25-year old Ryan Theurer pled guilty to possession of child pornography.  He will be sentenced June 7th.  The prosecution is expected to ask for a couple years in prison.

Theurer was arrested in November as part of a joint investigation between the La Salle County State’s Attorney’s Office, Leland Police and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.  Prosecutors say they traced his IP address to someone looking to trade child porn.

Theurer is currently out of jail on bond.

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Rotary Park Groundbreaking In La Salle

Posted by wlpo on April 20, 2012

The hard hats and shovels were out on the east end of La Salle.

City officials and La Salle Rotary members did a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Rotary Park along the Troy Grove Blacktop.  Construction started immediately afterwards on the soccer fields and playground.  This phase hopefully will be done in the fall.

The first phase also includes a parking lot, fishing station and trails.  A later construction phase will include baseball diamonds.  The city worked out a deal with Illinois Cement for the land.

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