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Archive for February 19th, 2014

Varsity Football Coach Resigns At L-P

Posted by wlpo on February 19, 2014

Joe Sassano has resigned as head football coach at L-P after seven seasons.

The L-P School Board accepted his resignation after a closed session Wednesday night.  Superintendent Steve Wrobleski says while he’s sorry to lose Sassano, he understands that family comes first.  He says a search for a new coach will start in the coming weeks.

Sassano had 27 wins and 38 losses in his seven years as varsity coach.  The Cavaliers struggled to just a 1 and 8 season this past fall.  He guided L-P to the playoffs in 2007 and 2009.

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Ottawa urges people to prepare for rain and snow melt

Posted by wlpo on February 19, 2014

Somewhere under a foot of snow is a storm sewer that will carry rain and runoff away from the street but only if it’s not blocked by snow.  City officials in Ottawa are asking that you clear snow and ice away from storm inlets near your home or business.

With heavy rain in the forecast and the ground still frozen, the storm drains will be one of the only places for water to go.   Rain is expected Wednesday night and Thursday.  The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch from Wednesday night through Thursday evening.

Flooding could affect low grounds, creeks and streams.

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Ottawa is asking for more time with state grants

Posted by wlpo on February 19, 2014

A flood watch used to mean trouble for people living along the Fox River in Ottawa.  These days the houses located in the area called “the flats” sit empty as the city waits to tear them down.

The city is using two grants from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to redevelop flood prone land and they’re asking for more time.  The grants were received in 2012.  The city council Tuesday night agreed to ask for an extra three month to demolish the homes along the Fox River and for an extra year to finish work along the Illinois River at the old Central School site.

The school was torn down last year but City Engineer Dave Noble says they need more time to receive “No Further Remediation” approval.  There had been environmental concerns.

The city is also returning more than $850,000 in grant money because the projects cost less than expected.  Initially the grants totaled nearly $2.9 million.

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Construction Work Continues On I-80 Around Utica

Posted by wlpo on February 19, 2014

Westbound Interstate 80 between Ottawa and Utica is under construction again so it may be a good idea to seek an alternate route.

Joe Speka with the Illinois Department of Transportation suggests Route 6.  Because of the forecast, he says crews won’t be working Thursday but there will still be east and westbound lane closures.

As for a timeline, Speka says they have about two weeks worth of construction left between Utica and the Bureau/La Salle County line.  After that, they’ll start resurfacing I-80 between Ottawa and Marseilles.

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Semi Crash Backs Up I-80 Traffic Near Utica

Posted by wlpo on February 19, 2014

All it takes sometimes is one accident to snarl traffic on Interstate 80.  That’s exactly what happened Tuesday afternoon near Utica.

State Police say David Kirk of Morris and Scott Drury of Wisconsin were both westbound on I-80 around noon when Drury failed to see traffic was stopped for construction.  Drury swerved his semi into the back of Kirk’s trailer.  Drury drove off the interstate and jackknifed.

He wasn’t hurt but was ticketed for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident.  Kirk was hurt and was taken to Illinois Valley Community Hospital.

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Heavy Rain Potential Prompts Flood Watch

Posted by wlpo on February 19, 2014

The wild weather week continues with the Illinois Valley being put under a Flood Watch.

The watch is in effect from late Wednesday through Thursday morning.  The combination of a half inch to an inch of rain and all the snow melting will elevate the chances of flooding.

If you live in a flood prone area, be prepared to move to higher ground.

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New Soda Tax In Illinois?

Posted by wlpo on February 19, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Getting your Pepsi or Coke fix could soon cost a little more.

State Senator Mattie Hunter wants to tax soft drinks as part of an effort to promote healthy living. She proposes a penny-per-ounce surcharge on sugary drinks that are sold in sealed containers.  Money generated from the levy would be used to pay for a variety of health services and educational efforts.

Other states have a similar tax, but previous efforts haven’t been approved in Illinois.

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State Lawmakers Looking At A New Restriction While Driving

Posted by wlpo on February 19, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – A state lawmaker wants to make it illegal for you to smoke in cars with children.

State Sen. Ira Silverstein says second-hand smoke in confined areas is dangerous for children. She says it’s a relevant problem because other states are considering the same proposal.

Under the bill, violators would be fined a maximum of $100, but police couldn’t pull you over only for smoking with children.

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