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Archive for January 4th, 2016

Low demand has Oglesby marijuana cultivation center sputtering

Posted by wlpo on January 4, 2016

Remember when cities across the Illinois Valley competed heavily to be the spot where medical marijuana is grown? At least so far there isn’t a whole lot of demand for the product.

According to the NewsTribune, Oglesby Mayor Don Finley says one marijuana plant is being grown at the large cultivation center near Love’s Travel Stop. He says that plant is just to meet state regulations and will eventually have to be destroyed because there aren’t enough patients needing it.

The state has said over 3,000 medical marijuana patients have been approved. Oglesby got one of 18 permits for cultivation centers across the state.

Green Thumb Industries built the expansive marijuana growing warehouse west of Interstate 39. They spent more than $2 million in building permits and predicted that the demand could get high enough to hire 100 workers.

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Man Suspected of DUI Drives Off Road, into Ottawa House

Posted by wlpo on January 4, 2016

Imagine waking up and finding not only an uninvited guest, but that they’ve parked inside your home.

Christopher Schaibley was arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly veering off the road and crashing into a house. He allegedly drove through to the inside of the Illinois Avenue house. Nobody was injured in the crash.

Schaibley was cited for Failing to Reduce Speed to Avoid an Accident as well as DUI.

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Van delivers meals before catching fire in Oglesby

Posted by wlpo on January 4, 2016

After delivering hot meals to Morris, a “Meals on Wheels” van caught fire while parked in Oglesby.

The Oglesby Fire Department was called at around 8:45 Monday morning about a van on fire in the Voluntary Action Center parking lot. The driver of the 2000 Dodge Caravan was already out of the van after making a delivery.

Firefighters had everything under control in about a half hour. The van was totaled.

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Busy La Salle County intersection the site of a fatal crash

Posted by wlpo on January 4, 2016

Two young women are dead after a crash at a dangerous northeast La Salle County intersection.

Twenty-three-year-old Jose Mendez of Woodridge was southbound on Route 71 north of Norway Saturday afternoon when he allegedly blew a stop sign and smashed into an eastbound car on Route 52 driven by 22-year-old Chanille Woods-Vallery of Harvey. Woods-Vallery was pronounced dead at the scene while her 21-year-old passenger Gabrielle Gibson of Matteson died at OSF St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa. A second passenger, 20-year-old Leanna Webb of Chicago was also taken to the hospital in Ottawa.

Mendez meanwhile was taken to Valley West Hospital in Sandwich along with his passengers, 21-year-old Luis Mendez and a 13-year-old girl both from Woodridge.

Jose Mendez was ticketed for disobeying a traffic control device. The crash is still under investigation by the La Salle County Sheriff’s Department.

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OSF completes phase out of St. Mary’s Hospital

Posted by wlpo on January 4, 2016

As of this morning, St. Mary’s Hospital in Streator is now OSF Center for Health in Streator.

New signage has gone up along with a new Facebook page for OSF Center for Health in Streator. The old St. Mary’s is now an all-hours outpatient, urgent care center.

Hospital Sisters Health System or HSHS gave up ownership of the hospital to OSF Healthcare. HSHS says it became 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. The old hospital could also still have an emergency room if the state allows it.

OSF officials say they’ve hired 65 percent of the old St. Mary’s employees.

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Stable gas prices ring in the new year across the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on January 4, 2016

What will 2016 mean for gas prices in the Illinois Valley? So far the price at the pump is similar to what it was at the end of last year.

According to, La Salle, Peru and Oglesby stations have the lowest gas in the valley at $1.79 a gallon. Stations in Princeton, Streator, Ottawa and Mendota are selling unleaded for $1.85 to $1.89 a gallon.

You need to head south for the cheapest gas. Taylorville gas stations have unleaded right now for $1.64 a gallon.

The average price of unleaded statewide is right at two dollars a gallon, which is only a penny higher than it was a month ago and twelve cents lower than a year ago today.

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Food pantry ready to serve again in 2016

Posted by wlpo on January 4, 2016

After a holiday hiatus, doors are back open at the Illinois Valley Food Pantry in downtown La Salle.

The pantry took a break from December 23rd through yesterday after serving over 400 families Christmas meals. The pantry now is open on its normal hours of 9 until noon on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday along with 11 until 6 on Wednesdays.

As always the pantry could use more volunteers, food donations and monetary donations. The pantry is on Marquette Street in La Salle.

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Substance abuse and depression talk at Mendota High School

Posted by wlpo on January 4, 2016

Do you know what signs to look for to know if your child is suffering from depression or substance abuse?

A discussion about these tough topics called “Hidden in Plain Sight” will happen January 20th starting at 6 inside Mendota High School. Members of CPASA, or Community Partners Against Substance Abuse want to talk about local trends and signs of depression or drug use with not only concerned parents but also kids.

For more information about CPASA and what they do, click Community Partners Against Substance Abuse

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Barns in Bureau County decorated with quilts

Posted by wlpo on January 4, 2016

Drive around downtown Ottawa and you’ll see murals celebrating historical moments. Drive around

Bureau County and you may run into barn quilts celebrating agriculture.
Last summer the group Barn Quilts of Bureau County debuted at the Bureau County Fair. Now over 20 barns have various themed quilts everywhere from Princeton and Tiskilwa to Sheffield and Ohio. The quilts generally run about 4 by 4 feet.

For more information or to check out the quilts, click Bureau County Barn Quilts

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Stamp collection includes ship carrying Streator discoverer’s remains

Posted by wlpo on January 4, 2016

While it may never regain its status as a planet, more love is being shown to Pluto.

The U.S. Postal Service is rolling out new stamps for 2016 and among them are images taken last year of Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft along with stamps with a picture of the spacecraft. The spacecraft is carrying remains of Clyde Tombaugh who is credited with discovering Pluto in 1930. He was born in Streator in 1906.

Other new stamps this year will pay tribute to Star Trek, Shirley Temple, pickup trucks, and the moon.

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