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Archive for March 26th, 2014

Local lawmakers react to Gov. Quinn’s budget proposal

Posted by wlpo on March 26, 2014

Before Governor Pat Quinn gets lawmakers to extend an income tax increase he will need to explain what happened to the money the increase produced. Quinn gave his budget address Wednesday. Republican State Senator Sue Rezin was listening and wonders where the billions of dollars in income tax revenue was spent.  She says Quinn said the extra income tax money would pay off old bills and balance the budget but that hasn’t happened.
State Representative Frank Mautino, a democrat, says he is not sure if he would vote to keep the increase.  Mautino is among the lawmakers negotiating the next budget and says as it sits, they’ll need to cut $1.9 billion from this year’s operations to make up for the loss of income tax next year.
Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan says he wants lawmaker to vote on making the increase permanent this spring.

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Red Cross fundraiser brings in nearly $54,000

Posted by wlpo on March 26, 2014

The donations for the annual Red Cross Have a Heart Dance and Auction have been counted. Sarah Stasik directs the Peru branch and says they raised almost $54,000 during the fundraiser Saturday night.  $5,000 of that came from a matching donation by the Miller Group Charitable Trust.
Stasik says she’s, “very pleased.” Money was raised during from the auctions, raffles, sponsorships and ticket sales.
Miller Group Media includes Classic Hits 103.9 WLPO, 99.3 WAJK, 96.5 The Wolf, The Newstribune, Agrinews and 815Life.com.

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Bureau County traffic stop tied to Quad Cities thefts

Posted by wlpo on March 26, 2014

Police officers never know what they’ll find during a traffic stop, especially on Interstate 80. During a stop Tuesday in Bureau County officers say they found $1200 worth of stolen children’s clothing with the security tags still attached.
A state trooper pulled over James McKinney of Davenport, Iowa for allegedly following too closely. Deandra Cooke of Davenport was arrested for possession of stolen property and was being held in the Bureau County Jail. McKinney was given a ticket for driving on a suspended license and released. Another woman in the car was arrested on a Will County warrant.
Police think the clothing was stolen form stores in the Quad Cities.

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Dalton Mesarchik Case Unsolved After Eleven Years

Posted by wlpo on March 26, 2014

It was eleven years ago today that 7-year old Dalton Mesarchik of Streator went missing.

The boy’s body was found the next day in the Vermilion River south of Streator. State Police Lieutenant Greg Lindemulder says the Mesarchik investigation remains a priority but there’s no new information.

The trooper says nearly two thousand leads have been investigated and 500 pieces of evidence have been looked at. Lindemulder says some leads have lead police to look outside Illinois for clues.

If you have information about the Dalton Mesarchik murder, there is a 50 thousand dollar reward.

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Early Release Proposal Could Benefit “Starved Rock Murders” Inmate

Posted by wlpo on March 26, 2014

There could be a new way for Chester Weger to get out of prison despite his life sentence.

A proposed law passed out of a House committee yesterday that says inmates over 50 years old who have served at least 25 years in prison should be eligible for early release. The bill’s sponsor Arthur Turner of Chicago thinks it would reduce overcrowding and save the state money with older prisoners costing more money to house.

Inmates like Chester Weger would still have to go in front of a Prisoner Review Board who decides whether or not the older inmate poses a public safety threat. If the prison board agrees to a release, they could make the inmate do community service or wear an electronic monitoring device.

Victim family members would also get a say before an inmate is released early.

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Union Group Working To Keep Building Trades At Ottawa High

Posted by wlpo on March 26, 2014

The Building Trades program won’t be going away at Ottawa High School if local laborers have their say.

Illinois Valley Building Trades Council President Steve Conrad says his group has had talks and will continue to talk with school board members and administrators about alternative options for building trades courses. He says board members and Superintendent Matt Winchester have been willing to listen and hopes they can come up with a compromise in the coming months.

Conrad sent a letter to the Ottawa High School Board a week before they cut Building Trades Instructor Dave Keely, asking the board to delay the decision. He understands they faced a deadline in letting teachers know whether they were being kept or not.

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