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Archive for August, 2012

Area Red Cross volunteer travels to help after Isaac

Posted by wlpo on August 31, 2012

Isaac wasn’t a hurricane for long but it still brought significant damage to parts of Louisiana.  American Red Cross volunteers are coming from across the country to help the people affected by the storm, including Joyce Cook of Kangley.

Sarah Stasik is the Executive Director of the Illinois Valley Chapter where Cook is a volunteer.  Stasik says Cook was asked Thursday to travel to Texas almost immediately after posting that she was available.

Cook will be handling client cases, interviewing the people displaced by the storm and finding out what they need.  She’s expected to be gone for two to three weeks.

In the past, local volunteers have traveled to help after Hurricane Katrina and with wild fires in California.  The Red Cross is paying for her travel expenses and meals.

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Closing Time Delayed For Dwight Prison

Posted by wlpo on August 31, 2012

Today is supposed to be closing time for the Dwight Correctional Center.  However a lawsuit means workers should still clock in tomorrow.

Governor Pat Quinn wants to close the women’s prison and transfer its inmates and workers elsewhere.  He set today as the closure date.

However the prison workers union AFSCME has sued to keep the Dwight prison open and the court has granted an injunction that stops the transfer of inmates.  AFSCME claims closing Dwight and Tamms Correctional Center will worsen overcrowding and leave guards facing “injury or death”.

Over 300 people work at the Dwight women’s prison including dozens who live in La Salle County.

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Peru Bank Robber Pleads Not Guilty

Posted by wlpo on August 31, 2012

The alleged Eureka Savings Bank robber has pled not guilty.

Vernard King of Peoria was arraigned yesterday in La Salle County Court.  King was arrested last Wednesday, a day after prosecutors say he walked into the Eureka Savings Bank near the Peru mall, handed a teller a note implying he had a weapon, and got away with cash.  During his arrest at a home in La Salle, King allegedly put up a struggle and was taken to Illinois Valley Community Hospital.

King is being held at the La Salle County Jail on 750 thousand dollars bond.  He’s also called a person of interest in a Peoria County bank robbery.

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Labor Day Construction

Posted by wlpo on August 31, 2012

As with any holiday weekend, the Illinois Department of Transportation is suspending construction wherever possible.

Traffic though will still be down to one lane in La Salle County on Interstate 80 just past La Salle and on Route 23 north of Ottawa for bridge repairs.

In Bureau County, one lane of I-80 is closed two miles west of Princeton and from Princeton to Interstate 180 for bridge work.  Also Route 6 over I-180 is down to one lane for bridge work.

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Westclox Arson Trial Starts

Posted by wlpo on August 30, 2012

The Westclox arson trial is officially underway.

Former La Salle firefighter Steve Smith took the stand yesterday in the aggravated arson trial against 17-year old Steven Gallacher of La Salle.  Smith testified how he was hurt just minutes into the New Year’s Eve Westclox fire.  It’s Smith’s injury that elevated the charge against Gallacher from arson to aggravated arson.

Gallacher’s bench trial is now on break until September 20th because of scheduling issues.  He’ll wait until then in jail on 250 thousand dollars bond.

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Drug overdose awareness purpose behind Peru walk

Posted by wlpo on August 30, 2012

Two local mothers who lost their sons to accidental drug overdoses want everyone to know that drugs overdoses are more common than you think.  They’re holding a Memory and Awareness Walk for Drug Overdose Awareness Day Friday evening along Peru’s riverfront.

Lori Brown lost her son Justin Pratt to a drug overdose last November.  Brown has publicized the walk on Facebook.  She expects about 150 people to participate.

If you would like to participate be at the Fourth Street Bakery in Peru by 5:30pm Friday for registration.  At 6pm the group will head west on Fourth Street to Calhoun Street to Putnam Street with a balloon release and speakers at Water Street.  There is no cost to walk.

An interview with Brown is available at the AM 1220 WLPO news page.

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Tri County Fair opens Friday

Posted by wlpo on August 30, 2012

Farm animals, carnival rides and grandstand events will fill the fairgrounds in Mendota this weekend.  Gates open at 3pm Friday for the annual Tri County Fair.

Some of the highlights include megacross racing Friday night, the truck and tractor pulls Saturday, and the demolition derby Monday.

You can also put your skills to the test during a hot dog eating contest, bags tournament, and the farmer Olympics.

It’s free to go to the fair but grandstand events are not.  It runs through Monday.

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Driver Identified In Marseilles Crash That Seriously Injured Young Girl

Posted by wlpo on August 30, 2012

More than two months after the crash, police have finally released the man’s name who hit 12-year old Jennifer Dennis in Marseilles.

According to Marseilles Police, Brandon Mumaugh of Marseilles was driving an SUV the night of June 12th when he hit Dennis who was walking along County Highway 15.  Dennis is still being treated for serious injuries.

Marseilles Police say a toxicology report on Mumaugh has been finished and sent to the State’s Attorney’s Office.  They’re still waiting for an accident reconstruction report to be finished before any kind of charges could be filed.

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Weger Up For Parole Again

Posted by wlpo on August 30, 2012

The man convicted in the “Starved Rock murders” is up for parole again.

73 year old Chester Weger had his 17th parole hearing yesterday in Springfield.  As has been the case for the past several years, La Salle County State’s Attorney Brian Towne told the prisoner review board Weger should stay in prison.

Weger was convicted in 1961 of killing a woman from Riverside.  Prosecutors think he killed two other women at Starved Rock but was only tried for one murder.

The vote to deny parole was 8 to 5 last year after being unanimous against the year before.  The board’s expected to give its latest decision on Weger September 27th.

Weger’s currently being held at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center.

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Tax Man Calling In La Salle County

Posted by wlpo on August 30, 2012

It’s that time of the year again, time to pay your property taxes.

The second installment of property taxes in La Salle County is due next Thursday.  If you have taxes automatically withdrawn from a bank account, they will be taken out next Thursday.  You can also pay by credit card at, pay by check and drop it off at your bank, a drive-thru drop box at the county complex in Ottawa or mail the check to the county treasurer’s office.

If you don’t pay property taxes before the deadline, a late fee starts adding up September 7th.

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