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Archive for April 15th, 2013

Local School Administrators Vent About State Funding

Posted by wlpo on April 15, 2013

The ongoing battle of Chicago versus the rest of the state rages on when it comes to state funding of education.

After leaders like Governor Pat Quinn commented downstate Illinois schools were getting a “free lunch” with pension payments, Rezin says Republican staffers in the senate sifted through how Illinois spreads around its state education aide and they found Chicago schools are getting the “free lunch”.  She reported on her staff’s findings Monday in front of around 20 area school superintendents and principals.

Even though Chicago Public Schools only make up 18 percent of Illinois’ total student population, Rezin says they get nearly 800 million dollars more in state aide.  Rezin gave other examples of the state “supersizing” Chicago’s lunch saying while they only have 31 percent of the state’s eligible students for poverty grant money, Chicago Public Schools are getting 47 percent of all poverty funds.

A fired up Peru Elementary Superintendent Mark Cross said that Illinois is dead last in the country when it comes to state funding for education.  He says Illinois puts 60 percent of the funding burden on local taxpayers compared to the national average of 43 percent.

And for those of you who say cutting administrators will solve the crisis, Cross says it won’t.  He says administrative costs in the Peru Elementary School District account for 5 percent of total expenses.

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Injury Kept Ottawa Woman Out Of Boston Marathon; Morris Man Finished Just Before Explosion

Posted by wlpo on April 15, 2013

A blessing in disguise, that’s how Susie Walsh of Ottawa describes an injury that kept her from running this year’s Boston Marathon.

The 48-year old was supposed to wear number 19497 but had to pull out of this year’s marathon because of Plantar Fasciitis.  Walsh ran the Boston Marathon the past two years and thinks she would’ve crossed the finish line at least 20 minutes before the explosion occurred.  However she says she would’ve been on her way to her hotel which is adjacent to the first blast.

According to the marathon website, 42-year old Darrick Dudley of Morris finished the marathon just seven minutes before the first explosion.

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Sand Company Makes Huge Donation For New Utica Ambulance

Posted by wlpo on April 15, 2013

A fundraising campaign to buy a new ambulance for the Utica Fire Protection District got a huge boost from a local business.

Unimin Corporation in Utica is donating 75 thousand dollars towards the fire district’s goal of 150 thousand dollars.  Unimin Plant Manager William McTee says they planned to donate to the ambulance campaign but how much came into more focus after Utica firefighters put out a conveyor fire April 5th at the sand company.

The fundraising campaign started late last month and is already half way past the goal when you also add in 10 thousand dollars donated by people in the fire district.

Utica firefighters hope to replace their 17-year old ambulance by year’s end.

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Park Dedication Planned In Oglesby

Posted by wlpo on April 15, 2013

Oglesby’s newest park will be dedicated next month.

According to the NewsTribune, a ribbon cutting ceremony for McPhedran Park will be at 3 o’clock on Saturday, May 18th.  Mayor Don Finley says a few things at the park still need to be finished but they are minor things.  The park is off Oakwood Avenue on the northwest side of town.

The city received a state grant of over 200 thousand dollars for the park which includes a walking track, playground, fishing pier and exercise stations.

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Video Gaming Popular In The Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on April 15, 2013

What recession?  Between La Salle, Bureau and Putnam County, over 6.2 million dollars was wagered last month into video gaming machines.

Over 4.8 million was played last month in La Salle County, up from 3.6 the month before.  Bureau County video gamblers wagered 1.4 million in March compared to a million in February.  Video gaming wagers in Putnam County went up from 31 thousand dollars to 103 thousand dollars in March.

The gambling hotspots in the listening area continue to be Road Ranger’s in Mendota, Princeton and Ottawa with nearly two million dollars wagered combined at the truck stops in March.  Rounding out the area’s top five hotspots for video gaming is Shaker’s Lounge in Ottawa and the Illinois Valley Super Bowl in Peru.  Shakers gamblers wagered 518 thousand dollars last month on video gaming compared to 452 thousand dollars at the Super Bowl.

On a per-city basis, Ottawa leads the way locally in video gaming action with 1.3 million dollars gambled followed by Peru with 622 thousand dollars.

As a state, gamblers wagered 171 million dollars last month on video gaming and won 158 million.

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Peru Woman Sentenced For Dealing Heroin

Posted by wlpo on April 15, 2013

A woman who tried to sell heroin near the Peru police station is headed to prison.

39-year old Kimberly Robinson of Peru has been sentenced to four years in prison.  She was arrested three months ago at her home after police found 30 packages of ready to sale heroin.  Investigators say they had already bought drugs from Robinson the day before.

With good behavior she will be released from prison in 2015.

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Governor Admits He Procrastinates Filing Taxes

Posted by wlpo on April 15, 2013

CHICAGO (AP) – Gov. Pat Quinn says there’s nothing wrong with waiting until the last minute to file tax returns.

Quinn admitted to reporters yesterday that in the past he’s been guilty of coming right up against the deadline. Today is the final day to file 2012 returns. Quinn says it’s no fun to pay taxes, but it’s the price of living in a democracy.

Quinn has released his tax returns in years past. He said yesterday he plans to do so again soon.

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“Grease” Coming To Stage 212 This Summer

Posted by wlpo on April 15, 2013

Did you always want to be a “Greaser” or “Pink Lady”?  Here’s your chance to play one on a theater stage.

Stage 212 is holding auditions for the musical “Grease” Friday, May 3rd and Saturday, May 4th at the theater in downtown La Salle.  You’ll find out if you make the cut May 5th.

Director Phil Grant is looking for 15 main characters plus a large ensemble cast.  Adults and children are welcome to audition.  There will be a dance audition as part of the tryouts.

“Grease” will be performed at Stage 212 July 19th thru August 4th.

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Flooding Possible This Week

Posted by wlpo on April 15, 2013

Get ready for another rainy week in the Illinois Valley.

There is a chance of showers every day this week but on the plus side the weekend looks dry.  According to the National Weather Service, there is a chance of strong thunderstorms Wednesday night into Thursday.

The amount of rain this week could cause area rivers to once again rise near or above flood stage.

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