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Archive for May 9th, 2013

Hell’s Kitchen Alum Will Cook At Ottawa Festival

Posted by wlpo on May 9, 2013

A chef who’s tried his hand at “Hell’s Kitchen” and has been a judge on the show “Rachel vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off” is coming to the Ottawa 2 Rivers Wine Fest.

Brad Miller will be at the festival on Saturday, June 8th for a food demonstration and prepping food for seven randomly selected festival-goers.  During a press conference Thursday, Miller says he’ll cook up a version of lobster tacos and do a liquid nitrogen demonstration with margaritas. He’ll stick around Ottawa on June 9th cook brunch at Heritage Harbor.

Miller graduated from Ottawa High in 2000 but now lives in Los Angeles and is the executive chef at The Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga, California.  Later this month he says he’ll be filming a pilot episode for a TV show on the Travel Channel.

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La Salle County Borrowing Millions To Pay For Insurance

Posted by wlpo on May 9, 2013

No one likes taking on more debt but most of the La Salle County Board thinks borrowing more money now means savings in the future.

The board Thursday afternoon voted 22 to 4 to issue up to $10.5 million dollars worth of bonds to finance the county’s self-insurance program.  Bond consultant John Vezzetti says the board is getting a locked-in interest rate of 2.75 percent which is the lowest ever for the county.  He also thinks the county will only need about 7 to 8 million dollars for the insurance program, not the full bonded amount.

Finance Chairman Arratta Znaniecki voted against the new bonds saying its “massive debt” and will mean an increased levy for taxpayers.  She also doesn’t want the county to be paying off three bonds at one time for their insurance trust. Znaniecki wondered why there was a rush to borrow more money since the insurance fund has nearly 11 million dollars in it right now that will cover at least five years of claims.

The county in 2004 approved an $8.5 million dollar bond for insurance and a 6 million dollar bond in 2011.  The bonds are paid back over 10 years.

Vezzetti says the county is saving 400 thousand dollars a year by being self-insured instead of paying a commercial insurance company.

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Princeton woman accused of selling heroin

Posted by wlpo on May 9, 2013

          An undercover drug investigation has a woman facing charges. Officers with TRIDENT arrested Vanessa Rodefer of Princeton Wednesday after they say she sold a small amount of heroin to someone working with TRIDENT. 

          Rodefer was arrested for unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and was being held in the Bureau County Jail.

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Illinois Senate OKs union-backed pension deal

Posted by wlpo on May 9, 2013

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – The Illinois Senate has approved a union-supported pension reform bill. But the measure faces an uncertain future in the House, where lawmakers passed a competing proposal last week.

The Senate voted 40-16 Thursday to advance the measure sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton.

The Chicago Democrat’s plan would give workers and retirees a choice in retirement benefits. He says it’s the only approach to solving Illinois’ nearly $100 billion pension crisis that will hold up in court.

But House Speaker Michael Madigan prefers his plan, which he says could save the state three times more money than Cullerton’s proposal.

Public-employee unions have said they will file a lawsuit if Madigan’s bill is enacted. They say it violates a clause in the state constitution that says pension benefits can’t be reduced.



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La Salle property owner to benefit from TIF district

Posted by wlpo on May 9, 2013

          For months you’ve watched the building at the northwest corner of First and Joliet Streets in La Salle be gutted and transformed.  While work continues, the owner of the property, Tom Arnold, and the City of La Salle have agreed to reimburse Arnold using Downtown TIF money.

          Arnold could be reimbursed for more than $401,000 over the next 17 years.  Several other property owners have taken advantage of the TIF district which was created in 2007.

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Candidates Line Up To Become Bureau County Sheriff

Posted by wlpo on May 9, 2013

Another man has thrown his law enforcement hat into the ring to become Bureau County Sheriff.

James Reed of Arlington is running as a Democrat to replace John Thompson who is retiring. Reed has worked in the sheriff’s office for 22 years, according to him he has worked in “nearly every position of the sheriff’s office”.  Right now Reed is a patrol sergeant.

Allan Beaber of Princeton and James Shipp of rural Princeton are running for sheriff as Republicans.

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La Salle Tourist Attraction Back Open After The Flood

Posted by wlpo on May 9, 2013

The water has receded enough for the La Salle Canal Boat to be back in business.

A boat ride was scheduled for Thursday and at least three more were set for Friday.  The canal boat was originally supposed to start up again May 1st but record flooding has kept the boat docked.

Making their return Wednesday were Larry, Curly and Moe.  The mules and the goat were staying on higher ground at Vermillion Stables until floodwaters came down.

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Medical Marijuana Step Closer To Happening In Illinois

Posted by wlpo on May 9, 2013

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – An Illinois Senate committee has approved a proposal that would allow the use of medical marijuana.

The Senate Executive Committee voted 10-5 Wednesday to send the measure to the full Senate. The proposal allows physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients who have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions. The measure creates a pilot program that limits the frequency and amount of marijuana patients can buy.

Medical marijuana consumers automatically consent to submit themselves to a sobriety field test should a police officer suspect they were driving under the influence of the drug. Some opponents say the test works for alcohol but not marijuana.

Supporters say marijuana can relieve continual pain without causing the harmful side effects of some prescription drugs.

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