Classic Hits 103.9 WLPO

News from the Illinois Valley

Archive for April 20th, 2014

Business owner remembers the clean up after the tornado

Posted by wlpo on April 20, 2014

10 years after a tornado destroyed homes and businesses in Utica the village has new homes, businesses and the realigned Route 178. The average tourist probably doesn’t realized what’s missing.

Holland’s Utica Garage had been on Mill Street for years until April 20, 2004. The shop’s owner, Dennis Holland, closed and went home about 15 minutes before a tornado would leave his building in shambles.

The neighboring Utica Village building came down on his garage, the roof collapsed and one of the walls was gone. Holland, his sons and friends worked late into the night removing valuables. A friend stayed overnight in the shop to protect it from looters.

FEMA workers and even then Governor Rod Blagojevich arrived in the hours after the tornado but Holland says they didn’t really seem like they knew what they were doing. He credits the late Mayor Fred Esmond for helping the village.  He says it’s a sad thing to see your business go down in shambles but he didn’t expect any help rebuilding.

Holland wasn’t able to rebuild on his property which was on the 100-year-flood plain. He says he would have been required to raise his building seven feet and by that time there wouldn’t be much room left for a safety lane or garage.  He ended up building a shop on his land in Deer Park Township. His property was eventually bought by the village and is used for parking.

An interview with Holland is available at the WLPO AM and FM news page.

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La Salle boil order continues

Posted by wlpo on April 20, 2014

A boil order for a portion of downtown La Salle will be in effect until sometime Tuesday.

That word from the Water Department’s Jeff Bumgarner. Water tests are done by TEST of Peru. Bumgarner says they’re closed through the weekend. The earliest they can sample the water is late Monday with results not known till sometime Tuesday.

The boil order is in effect for everyone from First to Second street between Joliet and Gooding.

A water main break Friday morning had water gushing down Marquette street.


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Governor upset with Medicaid waste

Posted by wlpo on April 20, 2014

     Governor Quinn is promising tighter controls after a review found that the Illinois Medicaid program paid an estimated $12 million for medical services for people who were dead.

    Quinn told reporters yesterday he’s not happy with the findings and the state is on track to recoup all of the money. The Associated Press learned of the mistakes from an internal state government memo it obtained Friday through the Freedom of Information Act.

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Chicago experiencing violence

Posted by wlpo on April 20, 2014

    5 people have been killed and at least 13 others have been wounded in shootings across Chicago since Friday evening.

     The Sun-Times reports that 2 teens were shot around 10:30 a.m. yesterday at an apartment on the city’s South Side. A 43-year-old man was found with multiple gunshot wounds in an alley on the West Side earlier Saturday.

   And another man died after being shot following a car chase, also on the city’s West Side. No one was in custody last night for any of the shootings as Chicago police detectives continue to investigate.

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IDOT suspends road work

Posted by wlpo on April 20, 2014

      The Illinois Department of Transportation has suspended all non-emergency roadwork over the Easter holiday weekend to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow. The stoppage began Friday and continues through Sunday evening.

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10 years since Utica tornado

Posted by wlpo on April 20, 2014

    10 years ago it was a rainy day in Utica and and the area.  Before evening, it got a whole lot worse.

    Locals remember this day as the day of the Utica tornado which first dropped on Granville, but saved it’s most devastating punch for Utica.  Eight people died when the building known as the “Milestone Tap” came down on them.

    There is audio from former “Classic Hits 103-9 WLPO” voices in our newscasts today with more interviews tommorrow.  Interviews are posted at  The village will have a memorial services tommorrow.

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