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News from the Illinois Valley

Archive for February, 2015

Nature photographer overcome with emotion after acquittal

Posted by wlpo on February 26, 2015

Whether you think Steve Patterson should have been charged with wildlife code violations or not, there’s no doubting his passion for eagles.

Patterson was very emotional testifying during his second trial and broke down in tears again after he was found not guilty of illegally taking two eaglets. The Oglesby eagle photographer says two trials and $20,000 in legal expenses was worth it when one of the two eagles he helped was released back into the wild last month and the other is on the mend. Patterson says he didn’t need a not guilty verdict to confirm he did the right thing.

He says knowing eagles as well as he does, there’s no way he would ever leave two, eight-week old eaglets on the ground. Asked if he would do the same thing if the situation presented itself again, Patterson says he hopes when and if that happens a Good Samaritan Law will already be in effect.

He’s been taking pictures of eagles for a few decades mostly as a hobby but has also sold some of his pictures for profit.

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Necessity defense leads to not guilty verdict in Oglesby eagle case

Posted by wlpo on February 26, 2015

Was it necessary for Steve Patterson to break a law to prevent greater harm to a couple injured eaglets? A jury deciding his fate thought so.

After nearly two hours, a jury Thursday afternoon returned not guilty verdicts on charges of illegal taking of a bird of prey and illegal taking of a protected species. Despite admitting he took two baby eagles from their parents when told to stay away by law enforcement, the jury felt he acted out of necessity to save the eaglets lives.

Defense attorney Tom McClintock told the jury during his closing argument that the eaglets taken by Patterson from a fallen nest were “doomed to die” and he did the right thing by rescuing them, not “taking” them as the prosecution tried to prove. McClintock said conservation officers didn’t care if the eaglets lived or died and claimed the DNR stands for “Do Not Resuscitate”.

During his closing argument, Assistant State’s Attorney Zach Milus asked the jury to apply the law in their decision and not let sympathetic feelings factor in. Milus says Patterson had several more reasonable options and he didn’t act out of necessity because he waited to call for help hours after taking the eagles. Also he didn’t consider it all that dire of a situation when he did call for assistance because he kept information from those who could help.

Patterson’s first trial last year ended in a hung jury. He faced only fines if convicted.

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Office Depot to close Peru call center

Posted by wlpo on February 26, 2015

A call center in Peru will be closed by the end of the year. Employees of the Office Depot call center were told Thursday that the office would be closing in November according to an employee contacted Classic Hits 103.9 WLPO.

Office Depot spokeswoman Karen Denning says the closing is part of the Office Depot/OfficeMax integration. She says employees will have the opportunity to apply for work-from-home positions with Office Depot’s third-party customer service solutions provider or open positions at other locations.

The company announced last March that it was closing its call center Ottawa, putting at least 130 people out of work. The Ottawa and Peru call centers had been part of Office Max. The companies merged in November 2013.

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Illinois House Bill would further limit demonstrators at military funerals

Posted by wlpo on February 26, 2015

Illinois has a law limiting how close protesters can get to military funeral services, but a local lawmaker wants to make it tougher on protesters.

State Representative Frank Mautino, a democrat from Spring Valley, is supporting a bill that would expand the prohibited protest area to one thousand feet from a funeral or service and ban protests one hour before and one hour after services.

The Let Them Rest in Peace law was created after members of the Westboro Baptist Church began using military funerals to promote their agenda while deliberately offending family and friends of the deceased.

As it stands, protesters are not allowed within 300 feet of a funeral site, during a service and for 30 minutes prior to and following a memorial service.

The bill needs to be heard by the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee.

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Hundreds sign up to have heads shaved for good cause

Posted by wlpo on February 26, 2015

More than 150 people are expected to have their heads shaved for this year’s St. Baldricks event in Ottawa. Will you be one of them?

This is the 12th year for St. Baldrick’s in Ottawa. Between the Ottawa and other smaller St. Baldrick’s events throughout the Illinois Valley, organizers have been able to raise over $550,000 for children’s cancer research.

This year’s shaving event in Ottawa is at Jeremiah Joe’s on Saturday, March 21st.

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More measles cases pop up in Palatine

Posted by wlpo on February 26, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) – There’s new measles cases to report in Illinois.

Health officials in Palatine say customers of a Laundromat and patients at a clinic may have been exposed to virus bringing the number of measles cases to 15 in the state. Possibly exposed are people who were at LaRosita Laundromat in Palatine the morning of Feb. 16. Also possibly exposed are people who were at the Vista Clinic in Palatine on Feb. 19.

The Illinois measles count includes three adults and 12 infants.

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Latest Rock Star will be crowned Thursday night

Posted by wlpo on February 25, 2015

Who will be this year’s Rock Star? Find out Thursday night at Starved Rock Lodge in Utica.

Ryan Cocking of Peru, Scott Kratz of Ottawa, Haley Miller of Grand Ridge, and Brandi Thompson of Seneca are competing for the $500 grand prize. The finalists will sing one song of their choice, a song from their birth year and a freestyle song where they will find out the lyrics just before performing.

The Rock Star finals start at 7. Rock Star is sponsored by 99.3 WAJK, 96.5 the Wolf, Euclid Beverage and Starved Rock Lodge.

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Concert announcement coming Friday for the Bureau County Fair

Posted by wlpo on February 25, 2015

After a sold out Beach Boys concert last summer, who will play the Bureau County Fair grandstand this year.

Organizers of the fair say they have booked three artists for two concerts during this year’s fair. Normally the entertainment lineup at the Bureau County Fairgrounds includes only one concert.

The concerts will be announced Friday morning on 96.5 the Wolf and Classic Hits 103.9 WLPO.

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La Salle Alderman suggests extending the hours for alcohol sales

Posted by wlpo on February 25, 2015

Your neighborhood convenience store might be open around the clock but you can’t walk in anytime to buy a case of beer. In La Salle, stores can sell packaged liquor from 6am until 11pm.

Alderman Boo Herndon wonders if they couldn’t extend those hours to be more competitive with stores in Peru. He says with a new 24-hour Casey’s and a 24-hour Beck’s on the way, stores should be allowed to sell later at night.

Stores in Peru can sell package liquor from 6am until 2am the following morning Monday through Friday and until 3am on Saturdays and Sundays.

Herndon brought up the issue Tuesday night. The city council could decide to revisit their liquor ordinance.

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Colorado man accused of having more than 100 pounds of marijuana during I-80 stop

Posted by wlpo on February 25, 2015

For the second time in less than a week, police officers say they found more than 100 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop in Bureau County.

The latest arrest happened Tuesday on Interstate 80. Officers with TRIDENT arrested David Besser of Leadsville, Colorado for unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver, a class X felony. Besser allegedly had 108 pounds of marijuana in his car. He’s being held in the Bureau County Jail with his bond set at $1 million.

A man and woman from New York were arrested last Thursday for allegedly having 109 pounds of marijuana

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