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Archive for October 29th, 2012

Arbitrator Says State Can Close Dwight Correctional Center

Posted by wlpo on October 29, 2012

A tough blow for people fighting to keep the Dwight Correctional Center open.

An independent arbitrator has ruled that the state has acted reasonably in trying to be fiscally responsible in closing Dwight and other prisons and detention centers.  The arbitrator says the state has taken necessary steps to insure the safety of inmates and prison during and after closures.  Governor Pat Quinn’s office has filed a motion in Cook County to affirm the arbitrator’s decision.

AFSCME also has filed a motion in Alexander County asking a judge not to dismiss his injunction that’s keeping Dwight from closing.  Governor Quinn wanted Dwight closed by September.

Over 60 people from La Salle County work at the Dwight prison.

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Anti-Sales Tax Movement On Facebook

Posted by wlpo on October 29, 2012

Despite plenty of signs going up supporting the school sales tax referendum, there are people trying to spread the word that the tax is a bad idea.

William Phelan of Streator has created a Facebook page called “Vote No on La Salle County Sales Tax Increase”.  He started the page late Friday and so far has 70 people “liking it”.

Phelan says the campaign for the sales tax is “misleading at best” saying it’ll raise the sales tax by around 14 percent and has no guarantee that property taxes will lower.  He sees it as just a way to get taxpayer subsidized revenue for local labor.

Phelan says if it was truly a tax increase for kids, then money would go to administrators, school board members and teachers to spend as they choose to help kids not be mandated for construction projects only.  At first he figured the sales tax question would fail easily but after seeing a bunch of signs and flyers in favor of the increase he became worried.

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TIF topic of special La Salle City Council meeting

Posted by wlpo on October 29, 2012

If you have an interest in the tax increment financing district being created for the LP High School athletic complex, the La Salle City Council will be talking about it Tuesday night.

They’re scheduled to approve several redevelopment plans and agreements for the TIF during a special meeting at 7pm.  They’ll also set the date for a TIF public hearing.

Before that meeting begins, the building codes committee will meet at 6pm to talk about abandon buildings.

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Granville man pronounced dead following Route 29 crash

Posted by wlpo on October 29, 2012

A man from Granville is dead after police say his semi went of the road just south of Henry.  57-year-old Gregory Tonioni was pronounced dead shortly after 11:30am Monday.

Marshall County Sheriff’s Department investigators believe that Tonioni was heading south on Route 29 out of Henry when he went into the ditch, hit several road signs, drove through a fence and finally stopped in a harvested cornfield.

The sheriff’s department and coroner are investigating.

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Man and woman arrested for burglary following a police chase

Posted by wlpo on October 29, 2012

Most thieves wouldn’t chose a Chevy mini van to be their get-a-away car but police say it was the wheels of choice for a pair from the Chicago area accused of stealing from several stores.

Shady Ali of Orland Park and Areil Gray of Chicago were arrested after allegedly leading police on a chase down Interstate 80 Saturday night.

Ali and Gray are accused of stealing merchandise from storage containers outside of Wal-Mart, Pomp’s Tire and LMK Fabrications in Ottawa.  Police say Ali was driving the van when officers tried to stop them Saturday night near Wal-Mart and Interstate 80.  Police say Ali lead them east on I-80 to Route 71 and Brown Bag Video in Ottawa.  Police say Ali drove around the business before returning to east bound I-80.

As the chase continued east on I-80 police say Gray tossed boxes of stolen items out of the van window.  The van slowed down after running over stop-sticks set up near the Marseilles exit and eventually crashed in the median.

Ali and Gray checked out at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Ottawa before going to the La Salle County Jail.  They faces several felony charges.

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Four Area Teens Hurt In Rollover

Posted by wlpo on October 29, 2012

Four area teens were hurt after a driver swerved to miss a deer.

Mason Lange of Tonica was on a county road southwest of Tonica early Sunday when several deer ran onto the road.  In trying to avoid them, Lange rolled into a ditch.

Lange and his passengers Daniel Nichol and Crayton Lange of Tonica and Sean Riordan of Spring Valley were all taken to St. Margaret’s Hospital.  No tickets were issued.

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Utica Plans Another Huge Veteran’s Day Parade

Posted by wlpo on October 29, 2012

Have you thanked a veteran lately?  You’ll have plenty of chances this Sunday in Utica.

The sixth annual Utica Veteran’s Day Parade is this Sunday starting at one.  It will feature several veteran’s units, Chicago Police Department Bag Pipe Band, and two different flyovers.  There will be a ceremony at Danny Carey Memorial Park once the parade ends.  It’ll include speakers, lying of a wreath and a gun salute.

If you are a veteran and would like to march, just show up Sunday morning.  There is a free veteran’s brunch from 8 until noon inside the Utica Community Center.

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Gas Prices Headed Towards Three Dollars A Gallon

Posted by wlpo on October 29, 2012

Three dollar gas is within an hour’s drive of most of the Illinois Valley.

According to, the price at the pump in Bloomington-Normal has fallen to $2.99 to $3.07 for a gallon of unleaded gas.  The cheapest in the Illinois Valley is $3.31 a gallon at Sapp Brothers in Peru and Casey’s and Shell stations in Spring Valley.  All stations in the area have lowered gas prices below $3.40 a gallon.

The statewide average price for a gallon of unleaded is $3.48, below the national average of $3.55 a gallon.

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What Superstorm Means For Illinois

Posted by wlpo on October 29, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) – Hurricane Sandy is causing some problems for air travel at Chicago’s two airports.

The Chicago Department of Aviation says about 100 flights at O’Hare International Airport were canceled yesterday, with some to the East Coast. Some airlines at O’Hare were also reporting delays of 30 minutes.

The delays at Midway International Airport were minor. About a dozen flights to the East Coast were canceled because of weather there.

Weather officials say the effects would be felt in Illinois too. The National Weather Service issued a lakeshore flood watch for tonight through Wednesday afternoon for areas bordering Lake Michigan. Officials expect winds of up to 60 miles an hour over the lake and big waves.

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Trial Begins For Accused Mass Murderer From Sterling

Posted by wlpo on October 29, 2012

MORRISON, Ill. (AP) – Attorneys are set to deliver opening statements in the second trial of a Sterling man accused in the 2008 killings of eight people in Illinois and Missouri.

Nicholas Sheley is accused of killing 93-year-old Russell Reed of Sterling and stealing from him.  Prosecutors allege Sheley killed Reed in his home and stole his wallet and car on June 23, 2008. His body was found in the trunk of his car three days later. Sheley has pleaded not guilty.

Jury selection ended Friday. Jurors include certified nursing assistant, a retiree and a farmer.

Sheley has already been convicted in the murder of a Galesburg man and faces trials in six other deaths.

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