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News from the Illinois Valley

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Archive for July, 2015

Parking lots back open at Starved Rock

Posted by wlpo on July 31, 2015

For the first time in almost two months, the parking lots at Starved Rock State Park are open to visitors.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday morning in the main parking lot at the Park to commemorate the re-opening of the lots, which had been closed since June 13th due to the flooding of the Illinois River.

Site superintendent at Starved Rock Kerry Novak said mud covering the parking lot was eight to nine inches thick in some places. Earlier this week, the Illinois Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources came in to help clear away all the mud and debris that had been left behind by the floodwaters. In all, Novak said 60-80 truckloads of dirt and debris were hauled from the parking lots.

The picnic areas and boat ramp are still closed at the park, with clean-up scheduled to start next week. All the hiking trails are open.

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Skydivers from around the world help break a record in Ottawa

Posted by wlpo on July 31, 2015

A world skydiving record was set Friday morning above Ottawa.

On their fourth day of attempts, 164 skydivers were able to stay together in a flower shape while plunging to the earth head first at speeds over 200 miles per hour. The previous head first or vertical skydiving record was set in 2012 with 138 skydivers.

Just to make sure the record was legit, videographers who happen to also be experienced skydivers flew above, below and beside the formation as they jumped out of a plan nearly 20,000 feet in the air.

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Illinois Valley hospitals teaming up to offer women’s health services

Posted by wlpo on July 31, 2015

While they compete for business, two of the remaining public hospitals in the Illinois Valley are partnering up for women’s health.

Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru has agreed to offer its OBGYN services to Perry Memorial Hospital in Princeton. IVCH’s four-session series of prenatal classes will start in Princeton on August 19th.

IVCH will also have office space in Perry for their gynecologists and certified nurse midwife.

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Gas prices trickling down in the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on July 31, 2015

Are you hitting the road this weekend? There’s not much difference in the price at the pump across the Illinois Valley.

According to, Princeton has the lowest unleaded gas right now at $2.39 a gallon. You can fill up for $2.43 to $2.45 a gallon in Ottawa, Oglesby, La Salle, Spring Valley, Mendota and Peru. Most stations in Streator are selling unleaded for $2.55 a gallon.

The statewide average price for gas is $2.65 a gallon, down a quarter from a month ago. Champaign has the lowest gas in the state at $2.20 a gallon.

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Championship boat races set to start on Lake DePue

Posted by wlpo on July 31, 2015

The engines will rev up for real today as the first round of Pro National Championship Boat Races happen today at Lake DePue.

The first race begins right at noon with seven different boat categories hitting the lake today. It’s $3 to watch the races.

In between races you can check out a beer garden and food stands around the lake. Later tonight there’s a free concert by “Last Call”.

This is the 31st year for championship boat races on Lake DePue.

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Ottawa doctor nears big career milestone

Posted by wlpo on July 31, 2015

Chances are if you’ve given birth in Ottawa, Dr. Vyas was the man who helped with the delivery.

As of Wednesday, the doctor was only 15 babies away from the milestone of delivering 5,000. Vyas has been delivering babies at the hospital in Ottawa since 1990 but he’s been at the job a total of 40 years.

Dr. Vyas road to becoming a doctor started with studying at Grant Medical College in India.

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Two people sent to hospital after crash near Lowell

Posted by wlpo on July 30, 2015

Two semi drivers were hurt after a crash north of Lowell.

It happened just after noon Thursday along Route 178. The crash heavily damaged two semis and closed down a stretch of Route 178 for about two hours.

Both Robert Anderson of Ottawa and Eric Arbo of Newark were taken to Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru with non-life threatening injuries. Anderson was blamed for the crash since he was ticketed for failing to yield.

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Fundraiser planned for family of Streator car crash victim

Posted by wlpo on July 30, 2015

Nearly two months after a Streator teen died of complications from a car crash, a benefit will help out his family.

The Leo Cardoza Family Benefit is this Saturday from 5 until 11 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Streator. The goal is to help Cardoza’s family pay for medical and funeral expenses. Tickets are $10 which includes food and drinks.

The 18-year-old was involved in a wreck along with two of his Streator High School classmates last November on a county road north of Streator. Ben Newton was killed during the crash while KeeganTerry survived and graduated this past May.

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Several charges against a La Salle man accused of fighting with the police

Posted by wlpo on July 30, 2015

Some arrests are harder than others.

Twenty-three-year-old Christian Hass of La Salle is accused of putting up a big fight with police on Wednesday. He was arrested not only for domestic battery and possession of pot and paraphernalia, but also for aggravated battery to an officer, resisting an officer and obstructing an officer. Hass was picked up at a home on 3rd Street in La Salle.

He was sent to the county jail.

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No arrests made yet in Mendota case where a teenage girl was attacked and robbed

Posted by wlpo on July 30, 2015

More than three weeks after an 18-year-old girl was attacked and robbed in Mendota, the Mendota Police Department has had no luck in finding out who is responsible.

The detective who spoke with Classic Hits 103.9 WLPO says the department has had no leads whatsoever in finding out who’s to blame for the July 7th crime, where a girl was pulled out of her car, beaten and robbed near Lake Mendota. Investigators have said they’re looking to talk with four white men.

The detective says police went door-to-door in the neighborhood for possible witnesses and have checked nearby businesses for video footage. There is a description of the suspects, but that information hasn’t been released to the public due to questions about its accuracy.

Police have said from the start they believe the story is legitimate.

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