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Archive for May 7th, 2012

Peru airport farmland still causing a riff with the city council

Posted by wlpo on May 7, 2012

You could buy a lot of grass seed with $4,000, enough to plant 32 acres.  That’s how much farmland near the Illinois Valley Regional Airport is being used as a grassy parking lot for the July 13 Kid Rock concert.  And at least one alderman doesn’t like that the land isn’t being farmed and that the decision to do so didn’t receive approval from the finance committee or the council.

Alderman Dave Potthoff was stern with Mayor Scott Harl Monday night when he voted against paying for the grass seed.

Harl defends the decision to plant grass instead of rent the land for farming.  He says in order to have the concert they need space to park 10,000 to 15 ,000t people.  Harl calls it “progress in motion” and says they could ask the concert organizer to reimburse them for all of it or a portion of it with some of the expense being a donation from the city.

Merry Noonan of Lou’s La Grotto is the person behind the concert.  She has already held several concerts at the airport but this is expected to be the largest.  A cut of the proceeds will be used to buy new computers for Trinity Catholic Academy in La Salle.

The city council approved a contract with her last month.  In it the city will make 50 cents from every ticket sold.


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Oglesby Electric Bills Shooting Up

Posted by wlpo on May 7, 2012

If you live in Oglesby, better hope you don’t have to run the air conditioning much this summer.

As of June 1st, a temporary one cent per kilowatt surcharge is being added to electric bills.  Electric Commissioner Dom Rivara says this will add about 7 to 10 dollars onto monthly electric bills.  In total, he thinks the surcharge will generate almost 16 thousand dollars per month.  The extra fee will end December 31st or whenever an electric rate study gives the council an exact amount to raise rates.

Rivara says losing Buzzi Unicem as a major electric bill payer has made it hard to pay bills.  In 2007, Buzzi paid 3.6 million to the city for electricity.  Last year they paid 377 thousand dollars.

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Dems to appear first on General Election ballot

Posted by wlpo on May 7, 2012

Democrats in La Salle County have won the lottery, not that one.  The county clerk hosted a lottery for ballot positioning Monday and Democrats won.  That means all Democratic candidates will appear first on the November 6th ballot.

Early and absentee voting starts October 15th.

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Clean up continues at derailment site

Posted by wlpo on May 7, 2012

The railroad tracks that were the site of a freight train derailment by Toluca could be reopened by Tuesday morning.

Crews from Burlington-Northern Santa Fe have been working since Sunday evening to clear the tracks between Toluca and Wenona.  About 30 cars came off the track Sunday afternoon.  Luckily, it wasn’t hauling dangerous materials and nobody was hurt.

Strong winds from a severe storm that was moving through the area likely caused the train to derail.

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Autopsy doesn’t show foul play a cause of missing man’s death

Posted by wlpo on May 7, 2012

No trauma or sign of foul play- that’s the word from La Salle County Coroner Jody Bernard after performing an autopsy on the body of an Ottawa man.

The body of 36 year old Christopher Strobel was found Saturday morning in the Illinois River near Ottawa.  He had been missing for a week.

An autopsy was performed Monday.  Bernard says they’re waiting for complete autopsy and toxicology reports.   The Ottawa Police Department is still accepting information about Strobel’s disappearance and death.

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Area Congressman Takes Opinion To 60 Minutes

Posted by wlpo on May 7, 2012

Did you see your congressman on this week’s “60 Minutes”?  He was taking a controversial stand.

Republican Adam Kinzinger was on the long-running CBS show to defend two fellow Air Force pilots who are questioning the safety of a fighter jet.  Major Jeremy Gordon and Captain Josh Wilson are military whistleblowers speaking out about the safety of an F-22 Raptor. Their main concern is lack of oxygen in the jets.

Kinzinger says they should be protected.

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Electric Bills Likely Going Up In Oglesby

Posted by wlpo on May 7, 2012

The closing of Buzzi Unicem has hurt Oglesby in a number of ways including electricity bills.  People in Oglesby will have to pick up the slack by starting to pay more for electricity.

The Oglesby City Council meets tonight at 7 and on the agenda is action on a temporary electric rate increase.   The city buys its electricity from the state and then tries to generate revenue by selling the electricity to businesses and homes.  When Buzzi Unicem stopped, the city’s revenues from electricity sales went down yet the price for getting power from the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency has gone up.

Electric Commissioner Dom Rivara says the city “keeps kicking the can down the road” but has to make cuts and raise electric rates.  He wouldn’t say how much he wants to raise bills but says towns like Springfield and Batavia and companies like Ameren and Cornbelt Energy are all trying to raise their rates by around 10 percent.

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Water On Area Roads

Posted by wlpo on May 7, 2012

Be careful of water over roadways.

The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office has taken numerous reports of water on roadways.  Deputies say most reports are in rural Grand Ridge, Ransom, Seneca and Streator.  Specific roads that have had water over them include Route 170, East 22nd Road and North 17th Road.

A Flash Flood Watch continues for the listening area.

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Workers At Freight Train Derailment All Night

Posted by wlpo on May 7, 2012

Emergency crews worked well into the night at a train derailment east of Toluca.

A BNSF freight train derailed around 4 o’clock Sunday afternoon between Toluca and Wenona.  About 30 cars were affected and a hazmat team was called in as a precaution.  Investigators haven’t mentioned yet what the train was hauling but they have said there were no hazardous materials.

Denise Kozell of Wenona could see the derailment as she talked with AM 1220 WLPO.  She says it looks like the cars were peeled open with a can opener.

Most think the derailment happened because of high winds.


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