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Archive for June 3rd, 2015

Familiar face picked to lead Ottawa High School

Posted by wlpo on June 3, 2015

After early morning meetings and interviews this week, a new superintendent has been picked to lead Ottawa High School.

Current principal Mike Cushing will replace Matt Winchester as superintendent next month. Cushing got a three year contract that will pay him $135,000 a year. He’s been principal at Ottawa High School since 2010.

Cushing was picked from eight finalists. Board members Dave Keely and Andree-Marie Koban voted against the hire wanting someone not affiliated with the current administration to be the pick.

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Controversial “right to work” topic expected to draw a crowd at next La Salle County Board meeting

Posted by wlpo on June 3, 2015

Most meetings of the La Salle County Board, there are plenty of good seats available for the public. That may not be the case next Tuesday night.

After putting off a vote last month, the board is expected next week to give its official opinion on a pro-union resolution asking the county not to support a “right to work” ordinance proposed by Governor Bruce Rauner. The majority Republican board members were able last month to delay a vote with many arguing they needed more time to study the resolution. Other’s had issues with the resolution’s title of “To Protect the Middle Class”.

Back on Tuesday, Board Chairman Jerry Hicks says the finance committee passed a reworded resolution called “Resolution to Protect the Illinois Worker”. He expects this to get more bipartisan support.

Tuesday’s board meeting starts at 6 inside the Knights of Columbus Hall in Ottawa. Several union members are expected to fill the room.

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Longtime state representative says he feels good in battle with cancer

Posted by wlpo on June 3, 2015

Great news from State Representative Frank Mautino, he’s finished chemotherapy.

The Democrat from Spring Valley says he feels good and it’s on to the next phase. Mautino announced in March that he had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. The cancer was found during a routine visit to the doctor in January.

From the beginning Mautino has said he expects to make a full recovery.

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Popular Oglesby festival back with a full packed schedule

Posted by wlpo on June 3, 2015

A carnival is coming to Oglesby and if you can’t handle a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl anymore don’t worry; there will plenty of other entertainment for both children and adults.

Oglesby Summer Fun Fest, presented by 815 Life gets underway Thursday night near the Elk’s Lodge. You’ll find food vendors, rides, and a beer garden. Music will be performed by “Kiss Live,” a Kiss tribute band.

During the days there will be a craft and vendor show, city-wide garage sales, pony rides, and a petting zoo.

The Art Sarver Memorial 3 mile run is Saturday morning at 9. Also on Saturday, there’s a reptile exhibit on display from 3-6, and you can ride a mechanical bull from 7-11. Sunday, there’s a bags tournament starting at 11 and a beer and wine tasting from 4-7.

For a complete list of events, click

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Rita Crundwell case coming to Starved Rock

Posted by wlpo on June 3, 2015

A multi-million dollar scandal not far from the Illinois Valley is the topic of a luncheon at Starved Rock Lodge.

Former Dixon Mayor Jim Burke will talk about the Rita Crundwell embezzlement case after lunch Thursday at the lodge. Burke just started his fourth term when he says the city clerk showed him a secret bank account. After telling investigators about the account, Comptroller Rita Crundwell was hauled away in handcuffs. Burke plans to give a first hand account of the scandal that made national news.

If you want to hear Burke, its $20 if you’re a chamber member or $25 if not. That price includes a lunch.

You’re asked to register in advance. The event starts at 11.

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Court date and bond amount set for ex-Streator teacher who faces sex abuse charge

Posted by wlpo on June 3, 2015

A Streator teacher and coach facing a sex abuse charge is due in La Salle County Court Thursday.

25-year-old Rylee VanMelkebeke was arrested Friday at the high school for aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He has since resigned as a P.E. and driver’s education teacher along with giving up coaching football, girls’ basketball and girls’ track.

VanMelkebeke is accused of having sexual contact with a victim between 13 and 17 years old. He remains at the La Salle County Jail on $150,000 bond.

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Morris man accused of attacking and threatening Ottawa officers

Posted by wlpo on June 3, 2015

There’s never such a thing as a routine traffic stop for police.

Luke Williams of Morris was pulled over Tuesday morning by Ottawa Police and arrested for DUI. Williams wasn’t happy about it and allegedly spit on and at officers and became very combative. He was eventually taken to St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa where he then allegedly kicked an officer in the stomach and head butted another officer in the chest. Williams also is accused of threatening the lives of officers and their families.

He was eventually taken to the La Salle County Jail and arrested for aggravated battery, two counts of battery, resisting a peace officer and underage drinking.

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