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Archive for September 21st, 2012

IV Chapter of the American Red Cross merging with Bloomington chapter

Posted by wlpo on September 21, 2012

Changes are coming to American Red Cross chapters in Illinois and the Illinois Valley Chapter won’t be an exception.  Some of the responsibilities of the chapter based in Peru will be overseen by the Bloomington chapter.

IV Chapter Executive Director Sarah Stasik says she found out Wednesday that the American Red Cross of the Heartland Chapter will be the main office and Peru will be a branch office.  Stasik says local services like disaster response and training and Mobile Meals will continue, but one full-time position is being cut.

The Peru chapter will no longer have an executive director but instead a branch manager.  The chapter will keep its name, office and board.  She believes that their disaster response area including La Salle and Putnam Counties will remain the same.  Stasik says the changes are for financial reasons and will take effect November 5.

She says the changes could affect their fundraising efforts.


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Investigators release name of I-80 crash victim

Posted by wlpo on September 21, 2012

A day after a crash on Interstate 80 snarled traffic near Morris, the name of the man killed in the accident has been released.

41 year old Norman Hargus of Lenoir, North Carolina was driving a semi.  Grundy County investigators believe Hargus didn’t realize traffic was stopped due to construction and hit a car and another semi.  He was pronounced dead at the scene Thursday.

An autopsy was performed Friday.  Toxicology test results are pending.

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Police find stolen items in Manlius

Posted by wlpo on September 21, 2012

Antiques and collectables stolen from a home in Bureau County have been found and man arrested.  Sheriff’s department investigators say they found $60,000 worth of collectable fishing equipment after searching a home in Manlius Thursday.

Michael Ratajcak was arrested for residential burglary.  Police believe he took the items from another home in Manlius last Friday.

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Prison Time For La Salle Purse Snatcher

Posted by wlpo on September 21, 2012

A convicted La Salle purse snatcher is headed to prison for a long time.

39-year old Christopher Coleman was given 23 years in prison after being found guilty of two counts of robbery.  He admitted to knocking down women outside a couple bars in La Salle and stealing their purses last November. He had just been released from prison.  Coleman claims he did it to feed a cocaine habit.

The sentence was made worse because Coleman has prior convictions of theft and reckless homicide.

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Video Taped Confession Shown During Westclox Arson Trial

Posted by wlpo on September 21, 2012

A confession video highlighted the second day of trial for a La Salle teen accused of setting the old Westclox building on fire.

A 30-minute video of Steven Gallacher describing how he started the January 1st fire was shown in La Salle County Court Thursday.  The 17-year old talked about he and a 15-year old boy from Peru just got bored, walked down to Westclox, opened a window, lit a piece of cardboard on fire and ran.  Gallacher and the younger teen were arrested the morning of the fire.

Gallacher’s aggravated arson trial is now done until October 10th because of scheduling issues.  He picked a bench trial with Judge H. Chris Ryan.

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Fundraiser For Burned Magnolia Firefighter

Posted by wlpo on September 21, 2012

An area firefighter hurt in a workplace explosion is still recovering in a hospital.  A couple churches are doing what they can to help.

The United Methodist and Crossroads Community churches of Magnolia are co-hosting a pancake and sausage breakfast fundraiser for Joseph Smith who is assistant fire chief in Magnolia.  The breakfast is next Saturday at the United Methodist Church.  Donations will go to Smith’s family.

Smith and Roger Conrad of Streator were working at Dauber Company in Tonica August 13th when they were burned in an explosion.

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