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Archive for October 2nd, 2014

Landlords hear proposals for La Salle rental rules

Posted by wlpo on October 2, 2014

You can find a decent place to rent in La Salle and while it probably won’t come with granite counter tops and an updated bathroom, it should be safe for living.

Chris Covert is the La Salle Building Inspector. He has seen a lot of properties that have electrical code violations, leaking roofs, and chipping paint and he’s proposing changes to the city’s rental rules to get landlords to make repairs.

Covert shared a few of his experiences during a special meeting about the rental ordinance Wednesday night. Covert says he holds rental units to a higher standard than owner-occupied houses.

Rental property owner, Frank Phelps of Mendota doesn’t agree. He believes if safety is the reason requiring inspections of rental properties, all homes should be inspected.

Covert is proposing that a rental be inspected in between tenants. Originally, he wanted to require that the inspections be done by someone who is licensed but he has backed off of that idea after hearing from rental owners who say that would be expensive.

Covert’s latest proposal would require an inspection in between renters but the inspection would be free. A landlord would only have to pay for an inspection if they are told to make a repair and don’t.

The city council will have the final say about any changes.

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New process to be used in removing coal tar in Ottawa

Posted by wlpo on October 2, 2014

Standing along the bank of the Illinois River in Ottawa you see grassy hills and a park, not an environmental hazard. Coal tar is buried nearly 20 feet below the surface. The contamination was created by a long-gone coal gasification plant and it must be removed if Ottawa is to redevelop the riverfront.

For the removal, the city, Nicor Gas, ComEd and the Illinois EPA want to use an experimental method dubbed STAR. The plan is to destroy the coal tar by burning it away underground. Traditionally, coal tar is removed through excavation and destroyed in a kiln.

Bernie Anderson of Nicor Gas says air will be pumped into the coal tar so it can burn. The gases released by the coal tar will be collected by pipes and treated before being released. He says they’ll be tracking the progress to make sure it’s working.

Officials say you wouldn’t be able to see or smell the experimental process.

The STAR process is scheduled to begin October 14. Anderson says it is expected to be completed in late November.

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2014 has been a deadly year on La Salle County roads

Posted by wlpo on October 2, 2014

With 2014 over two-thirds of the way through, fatal crash numbers in La Salle County are well above last year’s pace.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 17 people have died this year in crashes in La Salle County compared to 11 deaths all of last year. The numbers are better in Bureau and Putnam County.

Three people have been killed in Bureau County crashes this year, compared to six in 2013. And in Putnam County, nobody has been killed in a crash on state roads this year compared to two deaths last year.

Statewide, 657 people have died on state roads this year, 114 less than at this point a year ago.

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October means painting Ottawa pink

Posted by wlpo on October 2, 2014

Drive through downtown Peru and you’ll see purple ribbons for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Soon in downtown Ottawa you’ll see pink pumpkins in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

It’s the second year for the “Paint the Town Pink” effort in Ottawa. Next Tuesday, volunteers will gather at Jeremiah Joe’s Coffee to paint pumpkins pink in honor of someone fighting breast cancer or maybe someone who has lost the battle. The pumpkins will be placed throughout downtown Ottawa.

If you want to take part in painting Ottawa pink, be at Jeremiah Joe’s next Tuesday starting at 5:30.

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Stove fire damages south side Ottawa house

Posted by wlpo on October 2, 2014

A kitchen fire damaged a home on Ottawa’s south side.

Firefighters were called out to a rental home on Hiawatha Drive Tuesday afternoon. A woman living in the house was cooking when a fire broke out on the stove. The fire spread to the attic and into a wall between the bathroom and kitchen.

While nobody was hurt, total damage between property and contents loss is near $100,000. The home is owned by James Dalton.

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Severe storms possible across the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on October 2, 2014

Just because the calendar has turned to fall its not too late for severe weather.

The National Storm Prediction Center has the entire Illinois Valley under a slight risk for severe storms Thursday. The National Weather Service says the best chance of severe storms is from late Thursday afternoon through the evening. Heavy rain looks to be the biggest problem with an inch or more possible.

After the storms move out, a cold front moves in with the high temp Friday struggling to reach 60.

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