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Archive for July, 2014

A baseball tournament means more business in Peru and Oglesby

Posted by wlpo on July 31, 2014

 If parking lots at hotels and restaurants look busier than usual this weekend in the Illinois Valley it could be because of baseball.

 The Central Region Senior Baseball Tournament is back in Peru and Oglesby with nine teams including players locally from Ottawa and regionally from Michigan and Wisconsin. Opening ceremonies start at 6pm Friday in Washington Park in Peru with games going through Tuesday in both Peru and Oglesby.

 Oglesby Mayor Don Finley says with hungry teenagers this tournament is a boost to the economy.

 Finley says many volunteers put in time to make the tournament happen every year. He says they will start planning for 2015 right after this year’s tournament ends.

 For more about the Central States tournament, you can listen to an interview with Don Finley at the WLPO AM and FM news page.

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Operation Promise to take on bullies

Posted by wlpo on July 31, 2014

You’re ugly, you’re weird, and you’re going to be beaten up by a kid who has dedicated their life to ruining yours. Sound familiar? Maybe not if you were the bully.

Bullies aren’t new but a local effort to empower their victims is. Operation Bully is an offshoot of Operation Prom-Ise. Pam Paden is a parent that’s been involved with the anti-teen drinking movies and is excited to see them tackle what she sees as an equally serious problem.

Paden thinks it is important that children learn self-respect and how to confront their bullies, skills she says turned things around for her son when he was being harassed by a classmate.

Operation Bully is holding a public forum at 2pm Saturday at the Peru Municipal Building. It’s open to parents, students, teachers, social workers and even former mean kids. Paden says they plan to release a short film about it in 2015.

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

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Ottawa woman arrested on a cocaine charge

Posted by wlpo on July 31, 2014

You wouldn’t expect a knock on the door before at 8am but that’s what a woman in Ottawa received. Members of TRIDENT searched Wendy Budach’s home Thursday morning and arrested her for unlawful possession of a controlled substance, cocaine.

She was also give a lesser charge of possession of drug paraphernalia and was taken to the La Salle County Jail.

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Starved Rock’s loss is Matthiessen’s gain

Posted by wlpo on July 31, 2014

Trail closures at Starved Rock State Park have meant more visitors to the neighboring Matthiessen State Park.

Mark McConnaughhay is superintendent for the two parks. He says the 100 cars in Matthiessen’s parking lot on Tuesday were more than usual.

Trails have been closed at Starved Rock since storms on June 30th downed trees. McConnaughhay says the Starved Rock trail closures have “put more people on the trails at Matthiessen” than he’s seen in “quite some time.”

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Controversial act taken off upcoming concert lineup in Peru

Posted by wlpo on July 31, 2014

If you were in an “uproar” about the “Suicide Girls” coming to Peru in a couple weeks, you can rest easy.

“Concerts for a Cause” promoter Lou’s La Grotto has announced that the burlesque-style group won’t be part of the Uproar Festival at the Illinois Valley Regional Airport on Saturday, August 16th. No reason is given other than “due to unforeseen circumstances”.

Some people had approached city officials recently concerned that the Suicide Girls show wasn’t suitable for any concert-goer under 18. They’ve been replaced by a group called “Pop Evil”.

Tickets for the Uproar Festival are on sale at Lou’s La Grotto in Peru for $48. You can also call Lou’s to get tickets or go to their website.

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Racer on the mend after crash on Lake DePue

Posted by wlpo on July 31, 2014

The road to recovery will be a long one for a Texas man hurt in last weekend’s DePue boat races.

Sean McKean underwent surgery yesterday at St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria. He was flown there Sunday after crashing in a hydroplane race. Doctors had to remove a prop blade from his foot and ankle area. He also suffered two severed arteries.

Another racer from New York was hurt in the same crash but has been treated and released.

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Tiskilwa Pow Wow Days return

Posted by wlpo on July 31, 2014

It wouldn’t be summer in the Illinois Valley without Pow Wow Days in Tiskilwa.

The 38th annual festival gets going Thursday and lasts through the weekend. A beer garden gets things going today at 5 followed by a queen pageant, ice cream eating contest, live music and a pedal tractor pull.

The Pow Wow Days Parade is Saturday afternoon at 1. Earlier Saturday there’s a 5K Run.

For more information on Tiskilwa’s Pow Wow Days, click

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Second phase underway for La Salle Rotary Park

Posted by wlpo on July 31, 2014

Take a drive to La Salle Rotary Park and you will see a ball getting kicked around the soccer field and children enjoying the playground.

A baseball field, more walking paths and parking are coming soon.  The second phase of the park construction must be completed by the year’s end according to Mayor Jeff Grove.   That’s also when the city will need to pay for phase two.

A state grant is paying for up to half of the cost.  The match money is coming from donations to the park foundation though the fundraising goal hasn’t yet been met.

Most recently an anonymous donor said they are donating a U.S. flag,  state flag and Rotary flag plus the flagpoles.  You’ll see the flags when you enter the park.

Eureka Savings Bank has given $25,000 for a shelter and naming rights.   Toedter Oil is also giving $10, 000 for a scoreboard and naming rights.

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Crash on I-80 injures a Chicago teen

Posted by wlpo on July 30, 2014

It is easy to find yourself drifting into another lane when you’re on an Interstate. Investigators believe a crash Tuesday on I-80 happened after a man over-corrected after drifting into the eastbound passing lane.

Police say Willie Hooker of Chicago’s car spun clockwise and hit a guardrail. The impact caused a backseat door to open. 15-year-old Jessie Barron was laying down in the backseat and was thrown from the car.

Hooker and Willliam Epting of Chicago weren’t hurt but Barron was taken to the St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa. His condition isn’t being made available.

Hooker was ticketed for improper lane usage and a child restraint violation.


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La Salle teen killed in a sand mine crash was under the influence

Posted by wlpo on July 30, 2014

The investigation into a crash that killed a teenager from La Salle has been completed.  Zachary Behrens died on June 16 after he crashed through a fence at US Silica in Ottawa and ended up in the bottom of an old sand mine.   

La Salle County Coroner Jody Bernard says toxicology reports show the recent LP High School graduate was on LSD and marijuana when he died. An autopsy shows that he died from drowning in the water that was in the bottom of the pit.  His death is considered accidental.

His family released a statement saying they couldn’t have asked for a better son or brother.  They say Behrens was an honor roll student, enrolled in the Air Force, never got in trouble and had a bright and promising future. 

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