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Archive for July 17th, 2015

High water still causing some issues at Starved Rock State Park

Posted by wlpo on July 17, 2015

If Starved Rock State Park is part of your weekend plans, remember there are some parts of the park not open.

The main visitor’s center parking lot, picnic area and boat ramp are still closed until further notice. The Route 178 entrance into the park is also closed this weekend for traffic control purposes. All hiking trails are open.

If Starved Rock gets too crowded, feel free to check out Matthiessen, Illini or Buffalo Rock State Parks.

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Being under the influence of drugs during a fatal crash sends Peru woman to prison

Posted by wlpo on July 17, 2015

A Peru woman who admitted to driving under the influence when she caused a crash that killed a well-known teacher is headed to prison.

Sixty-year-old Margaret Insco has been sentenced to eight years in prison by Judge Cynthia Raccuglia after pleading guilty to aggravated DUI. She caused a crash on Route 251 in Peru last September that killed 57-year-old Kim Parsons of Spring Valley, a Streator Elementary School District Teacher. At the time of the crash, Insco was under the influence of amphetamine.

Her lawyer asked for probation while the prosecution asked for 10 years arguing that she’s had two prior run-ins with police for driving under the influence.

Insco has to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence but will get credit for over 100 days already spent in the county jail.

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IVCH offers its cafeteria as a cooling center

Posted by wlpo on July 17, 2015

If you know someone who is without air conditioning and could use a cool place to go during the hot weather, Illinois Valley Community Hospital is making their cafeteria available.

It’s being used as a cooling center for anyone who needs to get away from the heat this week. You’ll find the cafeteria near the hospital’s West Street entrance.

Dr. Wilma Hart-Flynn, IVCH’s vice president for patient care services says the heat and can be especially hard on anyone with asthma.

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No summer surge in gas prices across the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on July 17, 2015

If you’re heading out of town this weekend, gas prices are pretty fluid across the Illinois Valley.

According to GasBuddy.com, Peru has the cheapest gas in the Illinois Valley with prices ranging from $2.47 to $2.55 a gallon. On the high end of the scale is Ottawa, Mendota and Streator where the price to fill up ranges from $2.65 to $2.69 a gallon. You can get gas for $2.53 a gallon in La Salle, and Princeton and Oglesby both sit at $2.55 a gallon.

Statewide the average price of unleaded is $2.86 a gallon, down a nickel from a week ago.

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Dangerous heat settles in over the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on July 17, 2015

Be sure to drink plenty of water and stay in the air as much as possible the next 24 to 36 hours.

A Heat Advisory is in effect for the Illinois Valley through 8 o’clock Saturday night. The daytime high temperature Friday will reach the low 90s with the temperature Saturday in the mid-90s. When you factor in the humidity, it could feel as warm as 105 Friday and 110 Saturday.

Remember to check on elderly relatives and neighbors and don’t leave pets out in your vehicle.

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La Salle embezzlement trial put off until September

Posted by wlpo on July 17, 2015

An Oglesby woman accused of embezzling a million dollars from her employer won’t go to trial Monday as scheduled.

Fifty-seven-year-old Connie Steinbach was in court Thursday and had her jury trial put off until September 21st. She’s out of custody until then after posting bond.

Steinbach was arrested in November for allegedly stealing over a million dollars while working at JB Contracting in La Salle. This past Monday, her daughter, 29-year-old Ashia Kolodziej of La Salle turned herself in on a warrant for two counts of felony theft. She’s accused of taking part in the scheme with her mom and at one point having nearly $300,000 of the stolen money in her possession.

The alleged embezzlement happened between 2008 and 2014.

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Local bar owner weighs in on Happy Hour drink specials returning to Illinois

Posted by wlpo on July 17, 2015

The decision to bring back happy hour drink specials to Illinois was cause for celebration for many bar owners across the state, including ones in the Illinois Valley.

Jackie Mente, owner of MJ’s Pub and Grill in Oglesby, says the new law could help draw in crowds when bars typically aren’t very busy. Mente notes the new law does come with a few provisions, such as not allowing two-for-one specials and limiting specials to 15 hours per week.

Still, she thinks the law can only help bars like hers in the Illinois Valley drive up business.

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Lafayette Street replacement project to begin next week

Posted by wlpo on July 17, 2015

The long-awaited Lafayette Street water main and sewer replacement project in La Salle will start “hopefully next week,” according to city engineer Brian Brown.

La Salle has acquired a federal grant for the repairs that will be administered by the state’s Emergency Public Infrastructure fund. The grant will cover the water main portion of the project, while the city will pay for the sewer replacement.

The project will run two city blocks along Lafayette from Kilmer to Balbo Roads. Brown said construction shouldn’t take more than 45 days.

The replacement project comes after the water main froze along Lafayette in the winter of 2014, leaving people in the 1200 block without running water for six weeks.

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New baseball diamond for Peru?

Posted by wlpo on July 17, 2015

When Washington School is demolished in Peru, what do you think the city should use the open space for?

Jeff Shaw with the Peru Little League approached the Parks & Recreation Board this week about building a new baseball diamond where Washington School now stands. Shaw says 12-year-olds now are usually intimidated by switching to the big diamond at Washington Park. The new diamond would bridge the gap between a high school sized diamond and the current little league diamond on the south end of Washington Park.

Shaw says the proposed diamond could cost up to $200,000 on the high end. He plans on going after grant money and approaching other leagues in the Illinois Valley about interest in an “intermediate” league field.

The city is expected to take ownership of the Washington School property sometime next year after asbestos removal and demolition.

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Chicago-based company recalls nearly 2 millions pounds of chicken

Posted by wlpo on July 17, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) – If you cook chicken, it’s time to check your fridge and freezer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Chicago-based Aspen Foods is recalling nearly 2 million pounds of raw, frozen chicken products over concerns they might be contaminated with salmonella.

The federal agency says it determined that there was a link between the products and three people in Minnesota getting infected with salmonella. The agency says the products are stuffed and breaded and may appear cooked, but they are raw.

The chicken was shipped nationwide and has the establishment number “P-1358” in the USDA inspection mark. Brands associated with the recall include Kirkwood, Roundy’s, Safeway Kitchens and Spartan.

The Department of Agriculture said earlier this week that Barber Foods of Maine is recalling 1.7 million pounds of frozen chicken products over salmonella concerns.

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