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Archive for February 10th, 2015

La Salle County crand jury indicts brothers accused in Shell station robbery

Posted by wlpo on February 10, 2015

Brothers accused of robbing the Shell station in Grand Ridge were among the people indicted by a La Salle County grand jury Tuesday.

David Downey of Ottawa and Christopher Downey of Marseilles are charged with armed robbery. Christopher Downey is also charged with aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude police.

Police say the brothers held up the gas station along Route 23 the night of January 30 and then lead the police officers on a chase.

The Downeys remain in the La Salle County Jail with their bonds set at $300,000.

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Plan unveiled to relocate part of Dee Bennett Road

Posted by wlpo on February 10, 2015

Dee Bennett Road between Utica and Ottawa is very scenic but it can also be very dangerous. The La Salle County Board is applying for a grant to relocate the road for safety and recreational reasons.

County Engineer Larry Kinzer has a plan to move a two-mile stretch of Dee Bennett Road to the north, eliminating curves and the danger of driving into cars parked along the river. The redesigned road would go from the Starved Rock Lock and Dam west to Route 178. The new stretch of road would be elevated to avoid flooding issues and the old stretch of Dee Bennett would be turned into a bike path. There would also be new parking lots.

The grant the county is applying for is for $700,000 and would cover the first phase of an engineering study. The county has to come up with at least 20 percent of the grant amount. They should find out about the grant by the end of the year.

Kinzer thinks the entire project could take seven years and cost around $11 million. He’s received several letters of support for the road relocation including from the village of Utica, Starved Rock State Park and the League of Illinois Bicyclists.

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Nelson receive committee approval to become the next Department of Ag Director

Posted by wlpo on February 10, 2015

A La Salle County farmer you might know is a step closer to becoming the head of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Phil Nelson of Seneca is Governor Bruce Rauner’s choice to be the new ag director.

Nelson went before the Senate Executive Appointments Committee in Chicago Tuesday along with State Senator Sue Rezin who testified on his behalf. The committee unanimously approved Nelson’s nomination. He still needs the full Senate’s approval.

Nelson served as the Illinois Farm Bureau President from 2003 to 2013.

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Items from former Hennepin steel mill being sold at auction

Posted by wlpo on February 10, 2015

An online auction is underway to sell off what remains inside the former ArcellorMittal steel plant in Hennepin.

Items up for bid include overhead cranes, refurbished motors, and many hand tools and toolboxes. A preview day was Monday. The auction opened Tuesday morning and continues through 10am Thursday. The auction is through Heritage Global Partners.

ArcellorMittal closed the plant in March 2009. The building was sold to IPS Steel last November.

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IV Regional Airport would be used by Exelon as an emergency staging area

Posted by wlpo on February 10, 2015

The La Salle Generating Station has operated for 30 years without a large-scale emergency. But if a disaster happens, Exelon will be allowed to use the Illinois Valley Regional Airport in Peru as an emergency staging area.

Peru and attorneys for Exelon are working on an agreement. The city would need to make available parking, a helipad and access to power. Chuck Studer runs the airport for the city. He says the agreement isn’t asking for anything that they can’t provide and there won’t be a cost to the city. He says the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics has already approved it.

Peru’s attorney, Doug Schweirckert says he has issues with some parts of the agreement. The council held off on approving it Monday night.

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Health officials participate in American Heart Month

Posted by wlpo on February 10, 2015

February is American Heart Month and the La Salle County Health Department is encouraging you to wear red on Fridays to show support for heart health. While it’s traditionally been considered as a “man’s disease”, heart disease is the number one killer of women in Illinois.

As part of American Heart Month, Illinois Valley Community Hospital is hosting their annual American Heart Month Program. There’s a free light dinner and presentation by cardiologist Dr. David Thompson.  The program is Thursday, February 26 at Celebrations 150.

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OSHA comes down on snowplow maker in Streator

Posted by wlpo on February 10, 2015

Alleged exposure to contaminants that can cause cancer has a Streator company facing steep fines.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is proposing over $43,000 in fines against Flink Company for what they call “eight serious violations”. OSHA claims workers at the company were exposed to an air contaminant known to cause cancer and irritate the skin and respiratory system. They say the exposure came during welding stainless steel that contained chromium metal.

Flink Company makes snow plows and spreaders.

An email was sent to the company seeking a response.

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Ottawa-based company will grow medical marijuana near Freeport

Posted by wlpo on February 10, 2015

One of 21 permits to build medical marijuana cultivation centers in Illinois is going to a developer from Ottawa.

In Grown Farms, LLC received the District 16 state permit and the company’s chief operating officer is Keith McGinnis. McGinnis and his company plan to build the cultivation center near Freeport.

He had applied for a cultivation center permit as well to build a cultivation center northwest of Ottawa. That permit went to GTI Clinic Holding, LLC. They plan to grow marijuana near Love’s Travel Stop in Oglesby.

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Peterson Lawyer calls murder for hire charge absurd

Posted by wlpo on February 10, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) – Drew Peterson’s attorney says his client didn’t try to hire someone to kill the prosecutor who helped put him in prison.

Steven Greenberg says charges against Peterson are “a bit absurd,” and that Peterson had nothing to gain by killing Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow. Peterson was in court Monday facing charges that say while behind bars, he solicited a person to find someone he could pay to kill Glasgow.

He’s been in prison since his 2012 first-degree murder conviction in the 2004 bathtub drowning of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

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City of Peru to receive old Washington School property after demolition

Posted by wlpo on February 10, 2015

For as long as you can remember, the tan brick, two-story Washington School building has overlooked Washington Park in Peru. Soon that sight will be only a memory. Peru Public School officials have been open about their plans to have the old building torn down after the addition and renovations to Northview School are completed.

What happens to the old schoolyard will be up to Peru city officials. The school district and city council have agreed that the 5.5 acre school property will be given to the city for $1 after demolition. The plan is spelled out in an agreement approved Monday night by the city council.

Superintendent Mark Cross says they think it’s the best decision for the city because the school district will pay for the asbestos abatement, demolition, and site work. The money for this is coming from approximately $1 million in bonds. Cross says the district will pay for those bonds using the money they save by refinancing the Parkside School construction bond debt.

The district will continue to pay off the Parkside construct debt using a half-percent sales tax. Under the agreement, the sales tax will not increase or be extended.

Alderman Dave Potthoff likes the agreement because it doesn’t create an additional cost to city and it doesn’t leave the city with an old building.

Alderman Mike Radtke says it’s hard to see a downside.

The school board will likely approve the agreement next Wednesday. Cross says Northview is scheduled to be ready for students in late August or early September.

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