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News from the Illinois Valley

Archive for August, 2014

Fireworks and music part of Labor Day weekend in Peru

Posted by wlpo on August 29, 2014

A party on Water Street that was delayed by flooding along the Illinois River will finally happen. Bring your family and lawn chairs to the Peru riverfront Saturday night for fireworks, music and food.

Traditionally, the Peru fireworks display is on July 3 but flooding along the river washed out the area from where the fireworks are usually launched. Police Chief Doug Bernabei also thought it was too dangerous to have people sitting so close to the swollen river.

You’ll find what you would normally see: a CSO beer garden, a kids’ area near Maze Lumber, and live music. The fireworks begin at dusk and will be synchronized to music on Classic Hits 103.9 WLPO.

You won’t be able to drive down to Water Street after 7:30pm. Parking won’t be allowed on a number of the streets on the way down to Water Street.

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People from Mendota and Amboy hospitalized following head-on crash

Posted by wlpo on August 29, 2014

If you were following the story about the head-on accident on Route 52, three people were taken to hospitals, including a four-year-old boy.

Police say Bennie Sumner of Mendota was heading south on Route 52 late Friday morning when he crossed into the other lane and hit Cyril Ward of Amboy.  Sumner was flown to OSF St. Anthony’s Hospital in Rockford and was listed as critical Friday night.  Ward was flown to Rockford Memorial Hospital and was listed in critical condition Friday night.  Brayden Ward was taken to Mendota Community Hospital.  His conditions was not available.

Lee County Sheriff’s investigators say they were looking into seatbelt and cell phone usage but they that don’t think drinking or speed were factors.

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Annual suicide prevention walk returns to Peru

Posted by wlpo on August 29, 2014

A walk around a lake to remember people who have killed themselves might sound like a downer, but it’s actually a walk filled with spirit and energy. The La Salle County Out of the Darkness Walk is Sunday, September 7.

Marissa Meznarich of Tonica and her family will be walking to remember her great-grandfather and two cousins. She says the walks is way to honor and remember your loved ones, and not to feel sad and upset.

The walk is at Baker Lake in Peru. Registration begins at 11am. The walk is at 1pm. You can walk with a team or on your own. Proceeds benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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

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Tri-County Fair time has arrived

Posted by wlpo on August 29, 2014

The fairgrounds in Mendota open at 3 Friday for the latest Tri-County Fair.

Grandstand entertainment Friday night is Megacross Racing. Saturday there’s two different truck and tractor pulls along with fireworks at dusk. Sunday brings more fireworks and a youth rodeo.

The Tri-County Fair wraps up on Labor Day with a demolition derby.

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Community and the governor tour JFK School addition

Posted by wlpo on August 29, 2014

There is one thing that certain about the new addition at Spring Valley JFK School- the roof does not leak.   A steady shower Thursday night didn’t keep parents and students away from the grand opening of the $17 million addition.  Even Governor Pat Quinn spoke and toured the new classrooms, gym, and library

Superintendent James Hermes says they are thankful to have received the grant.   He says they had nice buildings before but the addition allows them to satisfy all of their students’ needs.   He also likes the new entrance.

The entrance is large and has a lot of glass making it possible for school officials to see who is outside.  It also offers a modern touch and leads into a cafeteria the feels more like a great hall.

Fifth Grader Andrea Arteaga was impressed.  She says it looks like a junior high you would see in a movie.

The first day of school is September 3.

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Herman named IVCC head men’s basketball coach

Posted by wlpo on August 28, 2014

The new head men’s basketball coach at Illinois Valley Community College knows his way around campus. Former assistant, Chris Herman will take over the helm this season. The college announced the move Thursday.

Herman was an assistant for Tommy Canale for six seasons. Prior to coming to IVCC, he was an assistant at Pratt Community College in Kansas and worked under his father at Illinois Central College. He played basketball at Washington High School and Sam Houston State and Georgia College.

Herman says IVCC will play an attacking style defense and offense.

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Police and coroner investigate Ottawa man’s death

Posted by wlpo on August 28, 2014

One moment a young man was playing basketball with friends and the next he was being taken away by ambulance. The La Salle County Coroner is trying to pinpoint what killed 29-year-old Ronald Anderson Jr. of Ottawa.

Anderson collapsed in the gym of the Illinois Valley Y Tuesday evening and was pronounced dead at Illinois Valley Community Hospital.

Both Coroner Jody Bernard and Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei say there was no trama or foul play. An autopsy was performed and Anderson’s medical records were being examined.

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Local tuxedo shop going out of business

Posted by wlpo on August 28, 2014

Fifty jobs are being lost because of Jim’s Formal Wear closing in Ottawa.

The company says due to their contract ending with Jos. A. Banks, they had to make a difficult decision to close three stores including Ottawa.  Employees have been asked to stay on until the store closes at the end of the year.

Ottawa City Commissioner Jim Less says, “it’s extremely sad to hear the closing of another local business by corporate decision”.

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Letter from Peru superintendent goes viral

Posted by wlpo on August 28, 2014

First the Washington Post and now the Chicago Tribune has picked up a letter written by Peru Elementary Superintendent Mark Cross.

Cross wrote the letter directed at his district’s parents explaining how Common Core is threatening to destroy public education. In the first day of being up on the district’s Facebook page it reached over 9,000 people. The letter had over 50,000 views in under a week.

Cross thinks the message against Common Core struck a chord with people and that’s why its went viral. He says he didn’t do the letter to make a political statement.

You can see the letter on the Classic Hits 103.9 WLPO Facebook page.

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Open house for newest Habitat for Humanity home

Posted by wlpo on August 28, 2014

History has been made with Habitat for Humanity of La Salle, Bureau and Putnam Counties.

Enrique and Ashley Diaz and their two young boys are moving into the first ever rehabbed home within the local Habitat chapter. There’s an open house at the home on Hall Street in Streator from 5-7pm Thursday. The house has new electrical, plumbing, insulation, cabinets, air conditioning and appliances.

Applications are still being accepted for a family to move into a second rehabbed home in Streator on Shabbona Street. For an application click

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