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Archive for December 24th, 2015

Immigration officials help in drug arrest in DePue

Posted by wlpo on December 24, 2015

Drugs could have a DePue man getting sent out of the country.

Members of the drug team Trident along with Bureau County deputies and immigration officials paid 23-year-old Alan Cortes a visit on Wednesday. He was arrested for unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and a U.S. Immigration Detainer. Cortes is accused of selling heroin several times to undercover informants.

He was taken to the county jail in Princeton with bond set at $60,000.

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Winds gust to over 50 miles per hour but storms stay away from the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on December 24, 2015

The Illinois Valley avoided severe weather but there was plenty of wind on Wednesday.

According to the National Weather Service, there was 54 mile per hour wind gusts in both Peru and Ottawa at around 9 o’clock Wednesday night. At the same time 40 mile an hour wind gusts were reported in La Salle and Grand Ridge.

If you’re yearning for snow, there is a chance Monday.

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Horizon House Fundraiser has Especially Bright Christmas

Posted by wlpo on December 24, 2015

Around this time of year Horizon House is announcing how close they came to their goal, but this December was especially enlightening.

The “Tree of Hope” lit all 800 bulbs for the first time this year. At $50 per bulb, that means Horizon House topped $40,000 in donations for 2015.

Director of Development for Horizon House Carol Fesco says this serves as a reminder of how generous the Illinois Valley can be:

“It’s nice to know that people still remember those that might need a little extra help during the holidays,” Fesco says, “We’re fortunate to live in a community that’s very generous and helps the local charities that provide quality and vital services.”

Fesco says Horizon House is setting its sights even higher for 2016, and they may even need to plant a second Tree of Hope to accommodate the extra lights.

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Regional Economic Group Moving Forward with 2016 Launch

Posted by wlpo on December 24, 2015

An economic development group in the Illinois Valley has been receiving a lot of support.

The new Economic Development Corporation of North Central Illinois has raised more than $350,000 toward their $400,000 investment goal. The corporation’s coordinator, Debb Ladgenski, says the group hopes to raise the rest, but they’re still planning to launch in 2016:

“We are still seeking other investors and letters of commitment for three years and working with other companies,” Ladgenski says, “We’re definitely interested and willing to talk to other people and hoping that others will come on board but we are moving forward.”

The $400,000 would fund expenses for the EDC for the first 3 years. The EDC has received financial support from governments in the Illinois Valley as well as from private businesses.

Miller Group Media is among the businesses that have pledged financial support to the regional economic group. Miller Group Media includes WLPO, 99.3 WAJK, 96.5 the Wolf along with the NewsTribune, AgriNews and 815-Life.

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Home sales in the Illinois Valley slowing at the end of the year

Posted by wlpo on December 24, 2015

Barring a busy December, home sales will have slumped this year in La Salle and Bureau County.

Eighty-four homes were closed on last month in La Salle County, down from 107 the month before and 10 less than November of 2014. For the year, 966 homes have been sold in La Salle County, down eight percent from last year.

In Bureau County, just 11 homes were sold last month compared to 27 in October and 29 from November of 2014. For the year, 281 homes have been closed on this year in Bureau County, a four percent drop from last year.

Putnam County is the exception to the rule in the Illinois Valley with 69 homes sold so far this year, a 35 percent increase from 2014.

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Kentucky man brought back to Ottawa to face rape charges

Posted by wlpo on December 24, 2015

After doing hard time in Kentucky, a man charged with a 2008 rape in La Salle County is in Ottawa to face the music.

Sixty-two-year-old James Robinson Jr. is facing charges of fugitive from justice along with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and two counts of criminal sexual assault. He’s accused of raping a 17-year-old girl along the I & M Canal near Ottawa seven years ago. While Ottawa Police investigated, Robinson Jr. took off to Kentucky.

After being let out of prison for a separate charge earlier this month in Kentucky, Robinson was brought up to Ottawa. He was indicted Tuesday and is due back in court Christmas Eve.

Robinson needs $10,000 to get out of jail.

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Latest unemployment rates are released for the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on December 24, 2015

The Illinois Valley is trending with the rest of the state with unemployment rates worsening in November.

La Salle County’s jobless rate was 7.7 percent, up a full percentage point from October and about a half of a percentage point above what it was last November. In Bureau County, the November unemployment rate is 7.1 percent, over point higher than October and nearly a full percent above November of 2014. In Putnam County, the latest jobless rate is 6.7 percent, up almost a point from October but right at what it was last November.

Illinois’ latest jobless rate is 5.8 percent, up a half of a percent from October but just below what it was last year.

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New Mexico man accused of hauling marijuana through the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on December 24, 2015

The latest drug bust on Interstate 80 in the Illinois Valley involved a driver from New Mexico.

La Salle Police say they pulled over Frank Marzano Wednesday morning for speeding.  He was eastbound on Interstate 80 near the Interstate 39 interchange.  A drug dog allegedly led police to find a pound and a half of marijuana.

Marzano was arrested for unlawful possession of cannabis and taken to the county jail in Ottawa.

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