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Archive for November 17th, 2015

Another hurdle cleared to close more than century old Streator hospital

Posted by wlpo on November 17, 2015

The state has given its blessing to close St. Mary’s Hospital in Streator.

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board voted to support the “discontinuation of St. Mary’s Hospital.” They made the decision after hearing from several people from Streator who put together a bus trip to be at Tuesday’s hearing in the Bolingbrook Golf Club.

Hospital Sisters Health System or HSHS is selling the hospital to OSF Healthcare. HSHS says it’s become too hard to recruit doctors to Streator and the number of inpatient admissions has gone down dramatically.

OSF has promised to continue using the St. Mary’s building as an outpatient clinic at least until they build a brand new outpatient clinic somewhere else in the city. St. Mary’s could also still have an emergency room if the state legislature allows it.

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Parole vote delayed for man convicted of grisly Starved Rock murder

Posted by wlpo on November 17, 2015

Chester Weger will have to wait longer than he expected to find out if he has won his freedom.

The Illinois Parole Board was supposed to vote tomorrow on whether or not to release Weger on parole. La Salle County State’s Attorney Brian Towne says the new date is December 17th.

Weger has been in prison since 1961 for killing a suburban woman at Starved Rock State Park. Two other women were also killed but Weger wasn’t convicted in their deaths.

He’s had 19 failed attempts to get out of a life sentence for murder. Weger is the longest serving inmate in Illinois.

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New cell phone tax being imposed in Ottawa

Posted by wlpo on November 17, 2015

Having a cell phone will start costing you more if you live in Ottawa.

Taking advantage of a new state statute called the Simplified Telecommunications Tax, the Ottawa City Council has decided to start collecting a five percent tax on all wireless phones. They could’ve chosen not to impose the new tax or tax the maximum allowed rate of six percent.

You already are taxed five percent in Ottawa for having a landline phone. Ottawa Mayor Bob Eschbach says with fewer and fewer people keeping landlines, their tax revenues have plummeted.

They can start collecting the wireless phone tax July 1st.

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Streator elementary teachers threatening to strike

Posted by wlpo on November 17, 2015

It looks like contract negotiations have broken down between teachers and the Streator Elementary School Board.

A majority of teachers voted Tuesday to go on strike. Jan Urbance, co-chair of the Streator Education Association says they will file an intent to strike next week. Salary and benefits are among the issues that need to be worked out.

The board in the last couple years has cut teachers, programs and closed Oakland Park Elementary School.

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Peru man running for Circuit Clerk

Posted by wlpo on November 17, 2015

    A Peru Precinct Committeeman and former business owner is running for Circuit Clerk.

    Greg Vaccaro, past partner of Apple Press Printing and past president of Horizon House and Peru Rotary is running as a Republican. Vaccaro believes the time spent on the boards of Peru Elementary Schools, Red Cross, Zoning Board and United Way has provided him with well-rounded experience in budgeting, personnel, insurance, publicity, purchasing, security and marketing.

    His goal, if elected, is to stay in touch with technology opportunities, keep the office efficient and help control costs.

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3 Democrats trying to unseat Kirk

Posted by wlpo on November 17, 2015

There are now 3 Democrats in the race to try to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk. State Sen. Napoleon Harris of Harvey, a former professional football player, has announced he’s challenging Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth and ex-Urban League CEO Andrea Zopp in the March Democratic primary.

Kirk is considered one of the most vulnerable senators seeking re-election in 2016.

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Important substance abuse talk happening at L-P High School

Posted by wlpo on November 17, 2015

Whether you call it a crisis or an epidemic, heroin overdoses aren’t going away without an open dialogue. Come talk about substance abuse issues Tuesday night as part of a community forum.

Police chiefs, school superintendents, hospital presidents and behavioral health officials will all be part of a panel with you welcome to be part of the the audience. The heroin discussion starts at 7 inside L-P’s Matthiessen Auditorium.

Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei says the talk isn’t about solving the drug problem, instead he hopes by bringing everyone together they can offer some outreach for addicts, their families or friends. Rod Thorson from the Classic Hits 103.9 WLPO morning show will moderate the forum.

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Police pensions could lead to property tax increase in Oglesby

Posted by wlpo on November 17, 2015

Whether you even use it, the Love’s truck stop is helping to keep property taxes down in Oglesby.

The city’s tax base has grown since the truck stop opened up in the past year. And whether you’re a fan or not, city leaders expect the medical marijuana cultivation center to help keep taxes down in the future.

According to the NewsTribune, paying police pensions could still mean a property tax increase next year for Oglesby. The city can’t really know how much they have to set aside for police pensions until the state gives them a figure.

The budget impasse is slowing the process down.

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Ordinance cracking down on off the beaten path truck drivers isn’t ready in La Salle

Posted by wlpo on November 17, 2015

Any potential crackdown on where semis can and can’t drive in La Salle will have to wait until December.

According to the NewsTribune, an updated ordinance regulating semis in La Salle won’t be ready for a few weeks. Problems have popped up recently of trucks clipping trees and power lines while going down streets not meant for semis. Some have also been spilling sand.

Truckers found driving off of designated routes face $75 fines.

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