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News from the Illinois Valley

Archive for April, 2012

Unemployment Rates For Listening Area Get Better

Posted by wlpo on April 27, 2012

The unemployment picture in the Illinois Valley is improving according to state numbers.

La Salle County’s March jobless rate was 11.2 percent, down from 12.6 percent in February.  In Bureau County, the March unemployment rate is 9.8 percent, well below the 11 and a half percent figure in February.  Putnam County’s March jobless rate is 11.7 percent, down from 12.6 percent the month before.

It remains to be seen how the upcoming closings of Kmart in Peru and R.R. Donnelly in Mendota will affect local unemployment rates.

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Cemetery Fire In Princeton

Posted by wlpo on April 26, 2012

Firefighters in Bureau County spent their noon hour battling a brush fire at a cemetery.

The initial fire call came in right around noon for a brush fire in a culvert at the Oakland Cemetery on the southwest side of Princeton.  One firefighter said the fire was on both sides of a culvert.

Mutual aid was provided to Princeton by Bureau, Malden and Tiskilwa Fire Departments.

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ISU Police Cracking Down On Jaywalkers

Posted by wlpo on April 26, 2012

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) – Illinois State students are on notice: campus police are about to get tough – on jaywalking.

More than 30 percent of the people who took a campus survey said jaywalking is a serious problem. And police are taking it seriously.

ISU Police Chief Aaron Woodruff says fliers warning students are being handed out this week. Next week jaywalkers will get tickets and have to pay fines.

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Mass Text Message Scam Overnight

Posted by wlpo on April 26, 2012

Did you get woken up last night around one o’clock by a text message?  There’s a good chance you were one of many who were targeted by a scam.

A mass text message went out last night from a 312 area code number that said you’ve been selected to win a free Walmart gift card worth a thousand dollars.  The message then says to enter a code and click a website link on the text message.  Walmart is included in the phony website link.  The message tries to create a sense of urgency saying only 123 of these free gift cards remain.

This type of scam has also been going around with people getting cards in the mail.  If you got the text, just delete it.

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Route 178 Construction Nears Completion In Utica

Posted by wlpo on April 26, 2012

Yesterday was a big day for the Route 178 reconstruction in Utica.

Crews poured asphalt on the overpass over Interstate 80 yesterday.  Joe Spika with IDOT says this is last major part of the overpass reconstruction.  All that’s left now is some striping, painting, lighting work and seeding.

Also yesterday, Spika says they made a traffic switch opening up additional parts of 178 thru downtown Utica.  For the first time, you can drive across the new I & M bridge before being brought back on the existing stretch of 178 just south of the bridge.

The entire Route 178 project should be done by this fall.

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Sheffield Donation Jar Thief Pleads Guilty

Posted by wlpo on April 26, 2012

Stealing a donation jar isn’t serious crime but it’s definitely low.  A man from Iowa has pled guilty as a donation jar thief in Bureau County.

Andrew Noriega of Davenport pled guilty this week to misdemeanor theft and will be sentenced June 14th.  He was arrested in early January after he turned himself in.  The sheriff’s department released surveillance video from inside the Casey’s General Store right before he owned up to the crime.

Money inside the stolen jar was for new playground equipment at Sheffield’s Veteran’s Park.

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Big Decision Looming For Dwight Correctional Center

Posted by wlpo on April 25, 2012

An important vote on the future of the Dwight Correctional Center will happen next week.

The Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability will vote next Tuesday in Springfield on the proposed closure of the Dwight prison.  The commission’s recommendation is non-binding so Governor Quinn and lawmakers don’t have to agree with the recommendation.

The state commission will also vote on closing Tamms Correctional Center, Illinois Youth Center at Joliet, and Peoria Adult Transition Center.

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Notre Dame faculty want bishop to renounce remarks

Posted by wlpo on April 25, 2012

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – More than 130 University of Notre Dame faculty members have signed a letter saying the Catholic bishop of Peoria, Ill., should renounce remarks comparing the policies of the Obama administration to those of Hitler and Stalin or resign from Notre Dame’s board of trustees and board of fellows.

The South Bend Tribune reported Wednesday the letter to Notre Dame’s president and the trustees chairman urges them to distance Notre Dame from the remarks earlier this month by Most Rev. Daniel Jenky.

A university spokesman says it doesn’t comment on the personal views of board members other than to say they don’t necessarily reflect those of the university.

An aide to Jenky has said he was offering historical context and comparisons to prevent a repetition of historical attacks upon religions.

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Musical review scheduled for Prairie Arts Center

Posted by wlpo on April 25, 2012

Add a little song and dance to your weekend with a musical review at the Prairie Arts Center in Princeton.  “On the Corner of 42nd Street and Memory Lane,” includes numbers from “Cinderella,” “The Sound of Music,” and “Oliver!”.

Performances are at 7:30pm Saturday and at 3pm Sunday. Tickets are available at the door for $10.

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La Salle agrees to three-year contract with ambulance service

Posted by wlpo on April 25, 2012

It’s been a little more than a year since the City of La Salle hired a company to staff an ambulance service ran by the La Salle Fire Department.  So far so good if you ask Fire Chief Andy Bacidore and members of the city council.

Paramedic Services of Illinois has been resigned to staff the ambulance with six paramedics.  A three year contract was approved Tuesday night.

The city will pay $351,000 for the service in year one, $362,000 in year two and $373,000 in year three.

PSI also handles billing for ambulance calls.

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