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Archive for December 12th, 2012

Controlled burn to close area of road near Utica

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2012

If you usually take 2803rd Road near Utica, a stretch of it will be closed Saturday.  The Utica Fire Protection District plans to have a controlled burn Saturday.  Because of that, 2803rd Road will be closed from 9th to 10th Road Saturday from 9-4.

If it’s raining Saturday, they’ll do it Sunday.

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Peru buying former King’s Inn with intentions of having it demolished

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2012

When you arrive in Peru off of Interstate 80 there’s a good chance you’ll see the ruins of old hotels.  One of them is the King’s Inn.  After more than 10 years of letters and litigation, the city is buying it to knock it down.

The city’s attorney Doug Schweickert explained the city’s long history with the property Wednesday night before the city council agreed to buy it.  He showed a letter written to a former owner that was dated October 3, 2001.  In it the city’s former Building and Zoner Officer Wayne Kasza complained about various building violations.

The building would eventually go through a couple of more owners but none Schweickert considered to be “responsible parties.”

Alderman Dave Potthoff was among the city council members who voted to buy the building, saying that the city needs to take control of the property to further development.

Mayor Scott Harl calls it the doorstep of the community.

The city is paying the tax scavenger SiteSale $27,717.89 for its tax certificate and paying the La Salle County Clerk nearly $9,730.85 for the 2011 real estate taxes.

Chamlin and Associates has been asked to draw up plans for demolition.  How much that will cost is unknown.  Luckily for the city, most of the asbestos have been removed.

Harl says they’ll be paying for the building and demolition using hotel-motel tax money.

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Groups file lawsuit over mine near Starved Rock

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Three environmental groups have filed a lawsuit claiming the Illinois Department of Natural Resources granted a permit for a sand mind planned for land adjacent to Starved Rock State Park without fully considering its effects.

The Sierra Club, Prairie Rivers Network and Openlands said Wednesday that the lawsuit was filed in Springfield.

The DNR in November granted a permit to Mississippi Sand LLC for the 80-acre open-pit mine. The mine still needs a permit from the state Environmental Protection Agency.

The suit claims the DNR failed to follow its own guidelines in considering the mine’s effects on vegetation, fish and wildlife, land values, air and water pollution and the local economy.

DNR spokesman Chris McCloud said the department hadn’t yet reviewed the lawsuit and declined further comment.

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Former Peru mayor wants his seat back

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2012

Not happy with the way Scott Harl is leading the City of Peru?  Take out the papers to run for mayor.  That’s what longtime-former mayor Don Baker has done.  Baker spent 44 years in office before loosing re-election to Harl in 2009.

Baker says he doesn’t like what Harl has done with the city’s property taxes and electric rates.  He also thinks Harl has put the city in debt.

Baker says he’s just starting to collect names for his petition.  He’s 83-years-old but says his head is still all right.

Mike Hart, a retired Illinois Department of Transportation employee is also challenger Harl in April.

Petitions for all races must be returned to the city clerk by December 26.  The election is on April 9.

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Barn Destroyed In Fire Outside Oglesby

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2012

It was a late night for area firefighters.

A pole barn was destroyed west of Oglesby along a county road south of Advantage Logistics.  Oglesby fire crews got the initial call around 10 Tuesday night and were on scene for about four hours.  Peru, Tonica and Utica fire departments also helped out.

Oglesby Fire Chief Ron Popurella says a semi parked next to the pole barn had minor damage but a nearby farm house was unscathed.  He doesn’t have a cause of the fire but says it’s not suspicious.

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Dwight Prison A Step Closer To Closing

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – More bad news for people working at the Dwight Correctional Center. The Illinois Supreme Court is siding with Gov. Pat Quinn in his effort to close the women’s prison and other correctional facilities.

In a split decision yesterday, the justices ordered the withdrawal of a preliminary injunction that had stopped Quinn from making the closures. Quinn had planned to close prisons in Tamms, Dwight and elsewhere since August in an effort to save money. The union AFSCME however stopped the closures by filing a lawsuit in Alexander County.

A judge halted the closure plan until an arbitrator decided if Quinn had followed proper procedures with the labor union in shuttering state facilities.

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Bad Weather May Have Caused Medic Copter Crash

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2012

ROCHELLE, Ill. (AP) – Rockford hospital officials say the pilot of its helicopter encountered bad weather and was trying to return to the hangar before it crashed in a field in Lee County, killing the pilot and two nurses.

The pilot Andy Olesen radioed to the hospital dispatch to report that he had “encountered some weather” while heading to another hospital to pick up a patient Monday night. Olesen and flight nurses Karen Hollis and Jim Dillow died when the plane crashed about 8:30 p.m. near Rochelle, about 70 miles west of Chicago. No patients were aboard at the time.

The hospital bought the helicopter in 1991, and it had a “perfect safety record.”

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Fight Looming Over Conceal-Carry In Illinois

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) – A federal court ruling tossing out Illinois’ ban on concealed weapons might end the last such gun prohibition in the country, but not without an expected fight.

The question is whether the battle will be an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or a legislative confrontation over the court’s order that Illinois adopt a law allowing concealed carry with “reasonable limitations” like other states have.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office says she is studying the issue, while gun control advocates quickly urged her to appeal Tuesday’s ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that Illinois’ ban is unconstitutional.

More certain is a confrontation over the order for the Illinois Legislature to come up with a law legalizing the concealed carry of weapons within 180 days.

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Thousands Losing Unemployment Checks

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) – About 90,000 people in Illinois will stop receiving unemployment benefits when a federal emergency program ends later this month.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced Tuesday that the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will expire Dec. 29. The program provides unemployment insurance benefits beyond the initial 25-week program administered by the state.

Illinois officials say after Dec. 29, an additional 2,800 people each week will complete the state program and be unable to collect federal benefits.

The department says the cuts come as unemployment claims remain 38 percent higher than before the recession.

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