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Archive for September 24th, 2015

Employment picture on the upswing in the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on September 24, 2015

Jobless rates across the Illinois Valley improved in August.

La Salle County’s latest unemployment rate was 6.2 percent, down from 6.4 percent in July. The jobless rate is almost two percentage points lower than what it was a year ago.

In Bureau County, the August jobless rate was 5.6 percent, down from 5.7 percent in July. The unemployment rate is nearly two points lower than last year.

Putnam County’s August jobless rate is 5.3 percent, down from 5.5 percent in July. Putnam County’s unemployment rate is also about two percentage points better than last year.

The state and national unemployment rate also went down from July to August.

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Driver crashes near Utica after passing out while driving

Posted by wlpo on September 24, 2015

There was one injury but a crash along Interstate 80 near Utica could’ve been a lot worse.

Thomas Stoll of Aurora says he was westbound on I-80 Thursday morning when he passed out behind the wheel. Stoll drove his van off the right side of the interstate, came back across both lanes of traffic underneath the Route 178 overpass before crashing his van into the median cable barrier.

He was taken to Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru. Nobody else was involved in the crash.

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Nelson resigns as Illinois Ag Director

Posted by wlpo on September 24, 2015

Illinois is looking for a new Ag Director.

The Governor’s office announced the resignation of Phil Nelson Thursday. Nelson, who is from Seneca, will remain on for 30 days to assist with the transition. No official reason was given for Nelson’s leaving.

State Fair Director Patrick Buchen is also stepping aside. In a State Journal Register story, Buchen is quoted as saying “I resigned because they fired Nelson and it’s just a bunch of bull crap”. Governor Rauner has appointed the Ag Department’s Chief of Staff Warren Goetsch as the Acting Director.

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Congressman Kinzinger reacts to seeing the pope

Posted by wlpo on September 24, 2015

The next time you see Congressman Adam Kinzinger, ask him about being in the same room as the pope.

The Republican says he shares Pope Francis’ optimistic hope that “we can follow the lead of great Americans like President Abraham Lincoln and ensure every individual has the opportunity to pursue their dreams.” Kinzinger says he was glad to hear Francis’ call to be “attentive to every type of fundamentalism.”

He thinks the pope’s approach of being humble and forgiving is “sometimes a much-needed lesson for many in Washington.”

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Highland Park teen listed in good condition after Starved Rock fall

Posted by wlpo on September 24, 2015

A teenager that fell nearly 30 feet at Starved Rock State Park is on the mend.

Eighteen-year-old Noah Schwartz of Highland Park is said to be in good condition at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove. He was flown there yesterday morning after falling near the Lover’s Leap.

He’s accused of climbing over a fence and going off the beaten path before falling. Schwartz was able to crawl back up to a deck where Utica paramedics took him to a Life flight helicopter.

He will be ticketed for hiking in a restricted area.

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Alleged meth lab uncovered in Spring Valley

Posted by wlpo on September 24, 2015

A weeks worth of investigating has led to a couple of meth related arrests in Spring Valley.

Wednesday afternoon, officers searched a home in the 200 block of West Fifth Street. Inside the house was allegedly about 5 grams of meth, things used to make meth, waste products from making meth along with other pieces of drug paraphernalia.

Jayson Morrison and Melanie Pries who live at the house that was raided were arrested for unlawful possession of meth with the intent to deliver. They were both taken to the county jail in Princeton.

While officers raided the lab, firefighters and paramedics were put on stand by as a precaution.

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Construction moving ahead on downtown Ottawa brewery

Posted by wlpo on September 24, 2015

Usually it takes a parade or construction to shut down lanes of traffic on the one ways in downtown Ottawa. But this week it was brewery equipment.

Semis the past two nights brought in fermentation tanks to be installed at the new Tangled Roots’ Lone Buffalo Brewpub on La Salle Street in the heart of downtown Ottawa. The tanks in total weigh about ten tons. One lane of La Salle Street was closed Tuesday and Wednesday nights for the tank deliveries.

The brewpub is on the east side of La Salle Street and will take up two storefronts. The full brewery is expected to open in November of early December.

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Rival Illinois Valley high schools will join forces in the pool

Posted by wlpo on September 24, 2015

L-P, Ottawa and Streator have had rivalries with one another for decades. However this winter, the three schools compete together.

Last night, the L-P School Board voted to establish separate stipends for a boys and girls swimming coach, another step in the development of a swim team co-op between the Cavs, Pirates and Bulldogs. The co-op will start with a boys’ team this winter and girls’ team next fall.

L-P will serve as the home district for the co-op, meaning they would host the meets and practices.

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