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Archive for February 23rd, 2015

Peru City Admin Task Force approved but not without a dispute

Posted by wlpo on February 23, 2015

A city administrator could be an asset or just another person on the payroll depending on who you ask. And it is a possibility that’s about to be explored for Peru. A group of seven men who hold management or administrative positions at several large companies in Peru make up the newly formed City Administrator Task Force.

Mayor Scott Harl said last month that a town with a $50 million budget could benefit from an administrator. Not every alderman agrees but they are all open to allowing the task force to research the position and offer a recommendation to the city council.

A resolution creating the task forced was approved Monday night but without the support of Aldermen Dave Potthoff and Rodney Perez. They wanted to see the position of city manager included as an option, but it wasn’t. A city manager is different than a city admin by state statute.

City managers can act independently from a city council, a point that has Alderman Mike Sapienza concerned. He voted in favor of the resolution and doesn’t want the position to be an option.

Harl says the work of the task force will be a long process taking many months but he says it can’t hurt and it isn’t costing the city a dime. Harl says he will not try to lead the group in one way.

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Annual IVCC Edible Car Contest returns Wednesday

Posted by wlpo on February 23, 2015

One of the most popular and tasty traditions is back for a tenth time at Illinois Valley Community College.  Student teams will battle it out Wednesday during the annual Edible Car Contest. Teams build cars made entirely from food. Past cars have included bodies made out of cucumbers and hot dogs and wheels made of cookies.

Teams are judged on things like speed, design and creativity. High school and college teams are welcome to compete. Last year Hall High School was the big winner among 26 teams.

For more information call Dorene Verucchi at IVCC. All cars have to be checked in by 11am Wednesday.

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Ottawa Pirate Nation reaches the final four

Posted by wlpo on February 23, 2015

Ottawa High’s student section is one of the eight best in the state according to the Illinois High School Association.

Forty schools were divided into Classes 1A/2A and Classes 3A/4A based on enrollment. Ottawa is a finalist in the 3A/4A competition.  The IHSA Student Advisory Committee picked four finalists for each group.  Streator and L-P were also vying to be a finalist.

Representatives from the “Ottawa Pirate Nation” will be at the Class 3A boys basketball championship game in Peoria March 21st to find out the overall winner.

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Vacant house catches fire on the north side of Streator

Posted by wlpo on February 23, 2015

Whenever a vacant house catches fire, plenty of questions arise.

Streator firefighters spent about four hours battling a fire in the 500 block of East First Street. The call came in just before 1:30am Sunday.

While the cause of this fire is unknown, Streator has had a history of intentional fires of vacant homes.

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Coalition of towns in the Illinois Valley going after money to fight floods

Posted by wlpo on February 23, 2015

Towns in the Illinois Valley don’t always work together but they are when it comes to being better prepared for the next big flood.

Cities along the Illinois River in La Salle, Grundy, Bureau, Marshall, Putnam and Stark Counties have formed the Illinois Valley Flood Resiliency Alliance. With the help of North Central Illinois Council of Governments and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the alliance is going after federal grant money. There’s about a billion dollars in money available but locals are competing against the rest of the country.

Senator Rezin started last year getting towns together to be more proactive with fighting floods. Forming an alliance or coalition was a first step in becoming eligible for the national grant program.

You can find out more about it at a meeting starting at 5pm Monday inside Ottawa’s city hall.

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Second trial starting for Oglesby eaglet handler

Posted by wlpo on February 23, 2015

Jury selection is underway in the retrial of baby eaglet handler Steve Patterson of Oglesby.

Patterson faces four misdemeanor counts of violating the conservation code after taking two eaglets after they had fallen from their nest along Route 251 west of Illinois Valley Community College. A trial last year ended in a hung jury.

Patterson says he was just trying to help the eagles. But La Salle County State’s Attorney Brian Towne says Patterson has a long history of nature violations including a conviction in Wisconsin for unlawful baiting of an owl.

Because of the amount of publicity surrounding the case, Towne thinks jury selection could take longer than the trial itself. Patterson is represented by La Salle attorney Tom McClintock.

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Latest video gambling numbers are in

Posted by wlpo on February 23, 2015

After leading the way in 2014 for most video gambling action in the Illinois Valley, Streator is in the lead so far for 2015.

According to the lllinois Gaming Board, $4.8 million was wagered last month at 23 different establishments in Streator. B & R Café had the most action with $626,000 wagered.
Just under four million was wagered last month in Ottawa. Suzi’s Slots and Fun led the way among 28 places offering machines with $489,000 wagered.

Just over $3 million was gambled in video gaming last month in both Peru and La Salle. The top gambling destination in Peru was the Clocktower Shell with $694,000 played while the Flying J truck stop led the way in La Salle with $792,000 wagered.

Other truck stops like Road Ranger in Princeton and rural Ottawa proved to be popular gambling spots with over $1.2 million wagered between the two of them.

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