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News from the Illinois Valley

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Archive for April 1st, 2014

More buses to be added to the NCAT fleet

Posted by wlpo on April 1, 2014

Getting around the Illinois Valley in a car is fairly easy- turn the key and go. But if you are unable to drive there is North Central Area Transit or NCAT. The public transportation service is popular enough that Ottawa is getting two more buses in addition to the six or seven buses Mayor Bob Eschbach says they already have. Though the service runs all over the county, Ottawa is the grantee for the federally and state funded program.

The city council briefly talked about the service Tuesday night. The city has received a $500,000 grant to build a bus barn. Eschbach says it will probably be another year before you see that. He says sizes of the buses vary and there is a demand for more.

If you would like to scheduled a ride with NCAT or learn more about the service that’s available to people of all ages, visit the NCAT site.

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Heritage Harbor wants a path connecting to the I & M Canal

Posted by wlpo on April 1, 2014

Riding your bicycle from the I & M Canal towpath to Heritage Harbor in Ottawa will be getting easier. Heritage Harbor has plans to create a path across the canal using gravel and a culvert.  Unlike the canal at La Salle, there isn’t always water were the path will go.

Ottawa Mayor Bob Eschbach says it would make it easier for people trying riding to and from the harbor and the canal. He says the city has applied for a grant to put a bridge there but in the meantime Heritage Harbor would like to use a gravel path.

The city council placed on file Tuesday night an agreement with Heritage Harbor. The city will apply for the necessary permits from Illinois Department of Natural Resources but the rest will be up to Heritage Harbor.

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IVAR’s biggest fundraiser is Saturday

Posted by wlpo on April 1, 2014

If cuteness could pay the bills Illinois Valley Animal Rescue would have it made but since that’s not they case they rely on fundraisers and donations. The shelter in La Salle holds its largest fundraiser of the year Saturday at Grand Bear Lodge in Utica.

The annual auction offers something for art lovers, sports fans and everyone in between. Heidi Milner is the volunteer organizing the auction.  She says the auction packages include art work, baseball tickets, a backyard fire pit, and more.  You can also buy raffles to win other items. The doors open at 4pm with the live auction beginning at 6:30pm. Food and drinks will be on sale. It’s free to get in.

Learn more about the auction and IVAR by listening to an interview that’s up at the WLPO AM and FM news page.

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St. Bede Academy to sign agreement with a Chinese high school

Posted by wlpo on April 1, 2014

Saint Bede Academy has had students from all over the world and soon it will have students in China. The Catholic high school is working with Kinglee High School in Zhenghou, China to have students studying in China. The school in China will also adopt some of the Saint Bede curriculum.

St. Bede Superintendent Ted Struck and officials from Kinglee High School will sign a formal agreement at 3pm Thursday in the academy’s auditorium.

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Wind helps field fire to spread in Spring Valley

Posted by wlpo on April 1, 2014

Over 100 acres of farmland and timber burned outside Spring Valley.

Spring Valley Fire Chief Todd Bogatitus says they were called to the field fire north of the Peru/Princeton blacktop shortly after 8pm Monday. The fire was spread by gusty winds and could be seen in Ladd.

Eventually several other fire departments helped Spring Valley. Bogatitus says they primarily used ATV’s because bigger trucks were getting stuck in the soft ground. They were able to keep the fire from spreading to a gas tank and barn.

The cause of the brush fire is under investigation.

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Circuit judge and former state’s attorney accused of drunken driving

Posted by wlpo on April 1, 2014

A La Salle County judge is accused of driving drunk and hitting a parked car.

Ottawa Police Chief Brent Roalson says Joe Hettel was arrested for DUI just after 10:30pm Monday.  He’s accused of hitting a parked car just north of the Norris Drive and La Salle Street intersection.  The car that Hettel allegedly hit was then pushed into a power pole, knocking some lines down.  Roalson says he wasn’t aware of any outages due to the crash.

Hettel was also ticketed for using his phone while driving and was released after posting bond.

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List names Marseilles as one of Illinois’ safest cities

Posted by wlpo on April 1, 2014

Do you think Marseilles is a safe place to live and visit?

Home security company SafeWise put out a list of the 50 safest cities in Illinois and Marseilles checks in at 32. In picking Marseilles, the list maker says “the snowy city of Marseilles has a strong community backbone that keeps this town happy and energetic, even in the face of tragedy”.

They point out that during last year’s flood, the American Legion of Marseilles hosted a pancake breakfast to brighten the spirits of victims and volunteers. SafeWise says Marseilles is one of the most optimistic cities in Illinois.

Factors like property crimes and violent crimes were factored into picking the safest cities. Far northwest Chicago suburb Round Lake Park was named the safest city in Illinois.

No other city in the Illinois Valley made the top 50 safest city list. To see the list, click

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Death being looked at in Marseilles

Posted by wlpo on April 1, 2014

A death is under investigation in Marseilles.

La Salle County deputies got a call just before seven Monday morning about a person found dead in rural Marseilles. No name has been released yet.

The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office and county coroner are investigating.

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