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Archive for January, 2015

IDOT says it’s ready for storm

Posted by wlpo on January 31, 2015

The Illinois Department of Transportation says they’re ready for the impending winter storm. In Springfield, IDOT says crews spent Saturday pre-treating bridge decks and elevated driving surfaces that could develop ice. The agency reports 1700 trucks and 3700 employees statewide are ready to battle the snow and ice.

Some 10 – 14 inches could fall across far northern Illinois and Chicago, 8 – 10 inches across our area, 3 – 6 inches near Bloomington and Peoria. IDOT and the State Police strongly encourage “Super Bowl”partiers to have a sober driver to get you home.

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Blizzard warning in effect in LaSalle County

Posted by wlpo on January 31, 2015

While a Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 9pm Sunday for Bureau and Putnam Counties,  the National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Warning unti midnight Sunday in LaSalle County.

The Weather Service says 10 – 16 inches may fall across LaSalle County by Midnight with Northeast winds gusting to 45 mph. Visibility may be reduced to near “white out” conditions.   NWS says the wind and snow on power lines may lead to isolated power outages.

Similar conditions are forecast in Bureau and Putnam through the rest of Sunday.

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Two arrests made after apparent armed robbery at Grand Ridge Shell station

Posted by wlpo on January 31, 2015

Two men are accused of holding up the Shell gas station in Grand Ridge.

Around 10pm Friday, a Grand Ridge officer saw a car speed away from the gas station and a chase ensued. Deputies from La Salle County and Grundy County joined in and helped to eventually stop David Downey of Ottawa and Christopher Downey of Marseilles on the Grand Ridge-Mazon Blacktop east of Route 47.

The Downey’s were arrested for armed robbery and taken to the La Salle County Jail. They’re due in court Sunday morning.

Investigators say a weapon was displayed during the gas station robbery. Deputies aren’t saying what all was allegedly stolen from the Shell station.

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Senate president says to hold off on criticizing Rauner over salaries

Posted by wlpo on January 31, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) – Illinois’ Senate president says it’s important to understand the context of higher salaries given to a number of new Republican Governor Bruce Rauner’s top staff.

Democrat John Cullerton says he plans to “wait and see” what the overall budget of Rauner’s office is and “how it’s balanced before we look to criticize.” The Associated Press found annual salaries of 10 top staffers in Rauner’s administration outpace those of comparable aides to former Governor Pat Quinn by roughly $380,000 – or 36 percent.

Rauner says spending inside the governor’s office overall is currently less than under Quinn.
He has criticized spending and worker salaries while the state is in billions of dollars of debt.

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High school basketball museum opening in Pontiac

Posted by wlpo on January 31, 2015

PONTIAC, Ill. (AP) – A museum dedicated to Illinois basketball glory will open to fans by 2016.

The Basketball Museum of Illinois will be in Pontiac. The museum will house offices and the Hall of Fame for the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. It will be located inside the city’s Vermillion Plaza.

A June 2016 opening is scheduled to coincide with Pontiac’s Route 66 Convention. The city also is the home of the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum.

Museum officials want to collect photos of all 740 Illinois high school gyms still in use.

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Leigh joins the Cantlin Law Office of Ottawa

Posted by wlpo on January 30, 2015

It’s the end of an era for an Ottawa law firm according to one of its members. Attorney Keith Leigh of Pool, Leigh and Kopko and Jim Cantlin of the Cantlin Law Firm announced that Leigh has joined the Cantlin Law of Office of Ottawa.

Leigh says he reached out to the Cantlin Lawfirm after realizing he would need assistance since his partner Anita Kopko has a serious illness.

Leigh has been the attorney for the City of Ottawa for many years. He says the Cantlin Law Firm will now be the city’s corporate counsel.

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Super Bowl snowstorm headed towards the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on January 30, 2015

Snow won’t stop the Super Bowl from being played but it could prevent you from driving to a party. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Saturday night through Sunday night.

They are forecasting for up to eight inches of snow to fall south of Interstate 88. It’s supposed to begin snowing Saturday night.

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Gas prices rising in the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on January 30, 2015

The good times of paying less than $2 for a gallon of unleaded gasoline could be coming to an end.

According to GasBuddy.com, the price of a gallon at some stations in Utica, Oglesby, Mendota and Streator has already risen to more than $2 a gallon. You still can find find it for less in Ottawa, La Salle, Peru and Princeton. Stations in Wenona have the cheapest gas around at $1.71 a gallon.

The statewide average for a gallon of unleaded is $2.09. That’s up almost a dime from a week ago.

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Big money being played on gaming machines in the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on January 29, 2015

Many in the Illinois Valley like games of chance and the numbers are there to prove it when it comes to video gambling.

According to the Illinois Gaming Board, over $258 million was wagered in La Salle County on video gambling machines in 2014. Payouts were over $238 million.

In Bureau County over $42 million was pumped into video gaming last year with over $39 million paid out. In Putnam County just under $4 million was gambled with the payouts totaling over $3.5 million.

Streator leads the pack in the Illinois Valley with over $51 million wagered in video gaming machines last year. B&R Café in Streator saw the most action with $10.7 million played in its five machines. That was enough for the city to make over $189,000 as part of its share of the revenue.

Both Peru and Ottawa saw over $30 million played in video gaming machines last year while over $20 million was gambled in La Salle and Princeton. Even a village the size of Naplate had over $12 million wagered with video gaming.

Statewide, gamblers wagered $8.2 billion into video gaming machines in 2014. The state’s take of the revenue was around $164 million.

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Unemployment rates show improvement over December 2013

Posted by wlpo on January 29, 2015

In a year’s time the local unemployment rates have dropped nearly four percent. The Illinois Department of Employment Security Thursday released December’s unemployment numbers.

December unemployment in La Salle County was 7.8 percent, down from 11.5 percent in December 2013.

In Bureau County, unemployment was to 7.4 percent, down more than three percent from last December.

Putnam County unemployment declined by four points from December 2013 to 7.1 percent last month.

The Ottawa-Streator area unemployment went from 11.1 percent in December 2013 to 7.7 percent in December 2014.

The area saw new construction jobs, but loss jobs in government, manufacturing, and information.

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