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News from the Illinois Valley

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Archive for June 24th, 2015

Woodhaven Lakes still closed to the public

Posted by wlpo on June 24, 2015

While patience may be running thin of property owners at Woodhaven Lakes, the resort community remains closed to everyone but staff and emergency personnel.

Staff at the campground say re-opening of Woodhaven Lakes won’t happen until police, firefighters and ComEd workers all agree it’s safe. Wednesday the main focus was to cut and remove trees to help widen roads at the campground.

If you have property at Woodhaven Lakes, you can keep up to date with the cleanup and recovery by clicking

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Flash flooding possible through Thursday morning

Posted by wlpo on June 24, 2015

When the ground is as saturated as it is now in the Illinois Valley, it doesn’t take much for flash flooding.

A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect through early Thursday afternoon. Some storms could stall out over an area and dump heavy rain.

Thunderstorms are expected to be out of the Illinois Valley by Thursday afternoon.

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New school year will bring earlier start to the school day at L-P

Posted by wlpo on June 24, 2015

Students at L-P High School will have to get up a little earlier when school starts back up in the fall.

The L-P Board of Education voted Wednesday night to shift the school day 15 minutes earlier. The school day will now start at 7:45 instead of 8, and will end at 2:40 as opposed to 2:55.

The change aligns L-P’s start and end times with other schools in the area, allowing them to enter into a nine-school agreement to combine for a bus contract with Illinois Central. Superintendent Steve Wrobleski thinks the new bus agreement can save them around $65,000.

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Tarps needed in Coal City before storm

Posted by wlpo on June 24, 2015

State Representative John Anthony is sending out a request.   Tarps are needed in large quantities  in Coal City.

They’ll be used to cover windows or other holes in buildings. The tarps will be accepted for the next several days,  but the need is particularly urgent Wednesday night into Thursday morning.  Other items needed: work gloves, contractor grade garbage bags, toilet paper, paper towels, push brooms, duct tape and cleaning supplies.

You can take all supplies including tarps to the Methodist Church.  Any church that wants to donate a meal,  may prepare the meal in the Methodist Church. Any group wishing to do so can schedule a time with the Methodist Church.  The Church’s number is 815 634-8670.  The Coal City Help Center is staffed 7 – 7  through next Wednesday.  Their number is 815-518-3047.

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No evacuation orders yet in Utica despite a rising Illinois River

Posted by wlpo on June 24, 2015

Village leaders in Utica are keeping an eye on the rising Illinois River.

The village put out a message urging property owners and business owners to stay alert and at least have a plan in place to evacuate if that’s deemed necessary at some point. As of right now, Utica hasn’t issued an evacuation order.

Just last week the village issued a mandatory evacuation order for homes and businesses in the southern part of the town. Thankfully the river never caused any property damage.

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Rising river causes road closures

Posted by wlpo on June 24, 2015

A rising Illinois River means Dee Bennett Road is closed again.

The road along the river between Ottawa and Utica was closed to traffic starting Tuesday evening. Ben Samek Road or County Highway 63 between Peru and Spring Valley is also closed to traffic again.

In La Salle, the entrance road into Lock 14 along the I & M Canal is also underwater and closed.

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Peru’s riverfront fireworks display in serious jeopardy

Posted by wlpo on June 24, 2015

It doesn’t look promising for the Peru fireworks display to go on as scheduled.

A special meeting has been called tomorrow night for the Peru Parks & Recreational Board. The only thing on the agenda is “cancellation of July 3rd fireworks”.

Last year, the fireworks along Water Street weren’t cancelled but postponed until Labor Day because of the high level of the Illinois River.

Thursday’s Parks and Rec meeting starts at 6:30 inside city hall. It’s open to the public.

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Latest on cleanup status at Woodhaven Lakes

Posted by wlpo on June 24, 2015

The clean up continues and there is no date set yet for Woodhaven Lakes in Sublette to reopen to anyone besides staff and emergency crews.

That’s the latest word from the campground staff. Staffers say there are still several safety concerns on the campground including fire hazards, electrical concerns, and insecure trees and debris.

Electricity is still out at Woodhaven Lakes and won’t be back on until firefighters give the okay to flip the switch. While property owners at Woodhaven are getting anxious, the latest update from the resort staff says they are not in a position to do “lot to lot assessments” and make calls to property owners at this time.

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Fourteen injuries blamed on Sublette and Coal City tornadoes

Posted by wlpo on June 24, 2015

The National Weather Service now says nine tornadoes touched down Monday night across northern Illinois.

The twister that hit Woodhaven Lakes in Sublette has been deemed an EF-2 tornado, with a peak wind gust of 130 miles per hour. That tornado was a half mile wide and is blamed for seven injuries.

Tornadoes near Mendota and Ottawa are considered EF-1 twisters with maximum winds between 90 to 105 miles per hour. The Mendota tornado was on the ground for about a mile and a half while the tornado north of Ottawa lasted around four miles.

The Coal City tornado was the strongest with an EF-3 designation. That twister got its start southeast of Morris and continued on for nearly 17 miles through Coal City injuring seven people. The top wind speed of the Coal City twister was 160 miles per hour.

Meteorologists think all the tornadoes came out of one super cell storm that stayed together for over two hours.

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The Illinois River continues to rise along the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on June 24, 2015

The Illinois River continues to go up after heavy rain on Monday.

The river in Utica at the Starved Rock Lock and Dam has gone up nearly a foot and a half in the past 24 hours. The river in Utica is now 10 feet above flood stage.

In Marseilles at the dam, the Illinois has gone up just over a foot in the past day putting it nearly three feet above flood stage. In La Salle the river went up a foot in the past day, now nine feet above flood stage.

Morris saw the biggest jump in the river level as the Illinois went up almost two and a half feet in the past 24 hours.

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