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Archive for July 10th, 2015

IVCC board looking at an unbalanced budget

Posted by wlpo on July 10, 2015

The goal of any budget whether its running a home or community college is to not spend more money than you bring in. Illinois Valley Community College’s next budget though looks to be in the red.

The IVCC trustees Thursday night approved a tentative budget for the next school year with $33 million in revenues compared to $36 million in expenditures. To make up the deficit, the college will dip into cash reserves and also transfer money around.

Projected expenses are down nearly 6 percent from the last budget but the problem is that revenues are expected to drop by over 7 percent.

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Some closures to keep in mind when visiting Starved Rock this weekend

Posted by wlpo on July 10, 2015

While flood waters have gone down, there are still high water issues at Starved Rock State Park.

The main parking lot at the visitor’s center along with the picnic area and boat ramp is still closed. The Route 178 entrance to the park is open today but will be closed Saturday and Sunday for traffic control purposes. The Route 178 entrance to the park will also be closed next Monday thru Wednesday so crews can clean up debris.

While all hiking trails at Starved Rock are open, multi-use trails and the lower trail at Cascade Falls in Matthiessen State Park are closed because of wet conditions.

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Big disparity in gas prices across the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on July 10, 2015

Separated by less than 20 miles, gas prices differ between Ottawa and Streator by nearly 30 cents.

According to, the price at the pump today in Streator is $2.45 a gallon. The lowest gas in Ottawa is $2.73 a gallon. Prices in La Salle and Peru range from $2.51 to $2.55 a gallon. Princeton and Oglesby both have gas for under $2.60 a gallon.

Statewide the average price of unleaded is $2.91 a gallon, down a nickel from last week.

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IVCC board president defends handling of failed tax case amid newspaper attacks

Posted by wlpo on July 10, 2015

If you wanted heads to roll at Thursday night’s Illinois Valley Community College Board of Trustees meeting, you’re probably feeling disappointed.

A large crowd showed up at last night’s meeting spurred by newspaper advertisements ripping the college for its handling of a tax lawsuit with Putnam County and Marquis Energy, specifically retaining the services of attorney Walt Zukowski. The lawsuit was eventually dropped by IVCC but the cost to all sides was easily in the six figures.

IVCC Trustees Chairwoman Melissa Olivero wondered why so many people had taken an interest all of a sudden in the tax lawsuit when there were nearly 50 meetings while the lawsuit was ongoing and no one talked to the board. She went on to say “where I come from anyway, neighbors don’t attack neighbors in anonymous letters and ads”.

When it came time to address attorney Zukowski’s handling of the lawsuit, Olivero said the board is more than satisfied with his service and all his actions were at the direction of trustees. She added “we are not sure how Mr. Zukowski could have been better”.

Addressing Zukowski’s pay for the failed lawsuit, Olivero said the bills were spread out over a five year period and she argued strategies of Marquis Energy drove up the college’s legal bills by $260,000. Olivero told the crowd the college didn’t give up the lawsuit because it was wrong, but “we simply couldn’t afford it”.

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Bears kick in money to help Coal City rebuild after tornado

Posted by wlpo on July 10, 2015

In times of disasters, Chicago’s sports teams usually answer the call to help.

The Chicago Bears are donating $50,000 to the Coal City School District to help repair athletic facilities after the June 22nd tornado. When Coal City was hit by a twister in 2013, members of the Bears actually showed up in town to help with the clean up.

The White Sox donated funds to Streator and Utica after past tornadoes while the Cubs have raised money for storm victims in places like Washington and Kirkland.

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