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Archive for January 27th, 2014

Retired judge’s report shines light on to Peru overtime questions

Posted by wlpo on January 27, 2014

A report into questionable overtime pay for two Peru Public Works employees claims that Mayor Scott Harl approved giving the employees the extra pay but without telling the city council.

The results of retired Judge William Balestri’s investigation were released Monday night.  Balestri was hired by the city council in November to look into the allegations.  In it Balestri says, “There was no great and widespread overtime abuse in the city” and says the reasons for the overtime were understandable but Harl didn’t follow proper procedure. He also doesn’t believe a crime was committed.

When asked if he agreed with the report, Harl says it is a very good report.  He says there are things he agrees with and things doesn’t agree with but it is Balestri’s opinion.

The report says Harl gave former Public Works Superintendent Gary Bleck permission to sign off on overtime for the General Foreman of Public Works.  This would involve one employee from May 2009 until February 2011 and for his replacement from March 2011 until August 2013.  According to the report, Harl believes he was within in his power to grant the overtimes hours.

The total in overtime pay and benefits was approximately 35 thousand dollars.

The report is being sent to the La Salle County State’s Attorney’s office.  Alderman Dave Potthoff says the public works department has initiated new steps to validate and document overtime hours.

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Wedron man dies after crash on Route 71

Posted by wlpo on January 27, 2014

If you were following the story about a crash that killed a man from Wedron, La Salle County Sheriff’s Deputies say his wife survived.

Police say 36-year-old Kevin Higgins was on the Wedron Blacktop approaching Route 71 Monday when he was unable to stop, slid into the intersection and hit a semi.

Higgins was pronounced dead at the crash.  His wife, Barbara was taken to St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa.  The man driving the semi, Glen Hearine of Bella Vista, Arkansas wasn’t hurt.

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Tonica Fire Station Becomes Shelter For Stranded Drivers

Posted by wlpo on January 27, 2014

If you get stuck in a ditch, the best thing to do is hold tight and wait for help.

Nearly 50 stranded people did this along Interstate 39 and Route 251 last night and were able to have a warm place to stay.  They all were given shelter, food and clothes at the Tonica Fire Station according to firefighter Rick Turri.

Turri says they helped small children up to adults.  No one was seriously hurt but some did have minor cases of hypothermia.

Turri says today firefighters are focusing on getting the cars started and sending people on their way.

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Amtrak Train Delayed In Princeton

Posted by wlpo on January 27, 2014

An Amtrak train headed from Chicago to Quincy was stuck in Princeton for a few hours.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Maglieri says the train run into a “propulsion issue” caused by the weather and was delayed in Princeton for three hours Sunday night.  The over 100 passengers stayed on the train before eventually arriving in Quincy around 1:30 Monday morning.

Train service between Princeton, Mendota and Chicago today has already been cancelled.

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Highways remain closed while tow trucks remove cars

Posted by wlpo on January 27, 2014

If you became stranded and had to leave your car overnight, there’s a chance it’s no longer where you left it.  Illinois State Police Trooper Craig Graham said Monday that they received 172 calls for help in the last day and a half.  Most of the calls were from people stranded.

Tow trucks have been removing many of the abandoned cars today.  If you need to find where your car was towed to, call the Illinois State Police District 17.

A few area highways remain closed.  They include Route 251 between Peru and Mendota, Route 71 from Norway and Newark, Route 92 from Ohio to LaMoille, and Route 34 from LaMoille  to Mendota.

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No Shortage Of Stranded Drivers

Posted by wlpo on January 27, 2014

Jackknifed semis, parents stranded in ditches with their little ones, just some of the mayhem brought on by the latest winter storm.

Sunday evening, police and ambulance crews responded to a crash involving two semis and at least three vehicles on Interstate 80 near the Marseilles exit.  There were many other calls of cars and even semis stranded in snow drifts.

State Police are tagging stranded vehicles and asking that if you get in a minor crash, get a ride from someone else and file a report within 10 days.

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Dangerous Wind Chills Back In The Valley

Posted by wlpo on January 27, 2014

Polar Vortex part two has descended on the Illinois Valley.

A Wind Chill Warning is in effect until noon Tuesday.  Wind chills are expected to be around 30 below or worse through Tuesday morning.

Regular high temperatures Monday will be around five below with it just barely getting above freezing Tuesday.  Wednesday brings a little relief with highs in the 20s and the wind will die down.

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Another Snow Day For Area Schools

Posted by wlpo on January 27, 2014

At this rate, many area kids will be going to school well into June.

Most if not all schools in the Illinois Valley are closed down because of yet another dangerous winter blast.  L-P, Ottawa and St. Bede are some of the high schools closed and both the Oglesby and Ottawa campuses of Illinois Valley Community College are closed.

Check for a complete list of closures.

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