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Archive for January 7th, 2016

Ottawa Helping to Handle Holiday Tree Cleanup

Posted by wlpo on January 7, 2016

If you’re finally getting around to putting the holiday decorations away and wondering what to do about the tree, the City of Ottawa wants to help.

The city is continuing its tree disposal program through the 9th. If you live in the city you can leave your tree in the designated disposal area in the Riordan pool parking lot. On the 9th the city will also be providing bags for those wanting to use the chips for mulch.

Commissioner James Less is reminding those looking to take advantage of the program that the trees need to be ornament and light-free. The city is not charging for the service.

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Penguin Plunge returning to the shores of Ottawa

Posted by wlpo on January 7, 2016

If you’re going to jump into the river this time of the year, may as well do it for a worthy cause.

The fifth annual “Penguin Plunge” is Saturday at Heritage Harbor Marina in Ottawa. Each “plunger” is asked to raise at least a hundred dollars to take the plunge into the Illinois River. All proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The goal is to raise around 100 thousand dollars. Over $96,000 was raised at last year’s plunge.

You can take the plunge as a team or individually. Teams should have at least five members. Online registration is only available until noon tomorrow.

To register for the plunge, click Penguin Plunge

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Very first Mendota Sweet Corn Festival Queen dies

Posted by wlpo on January 7, 2016

A piece of Illinois Valley history has passed away.

Eighty-one-year-old Elizabeth “Betty” Gaude died New Year’s Day in California. Back in 1948 when she was Betty Mathesius, she was crowned the first ever Mendota Sweet Corn Festival Queen. For her efforts, the then 14-year-old Mendota High School freshman got a cardboard crown.

Both organizers of the festival along with the Mendota Area Chamber of Commerce posted Facebook messages mourning the death of the first ever queen.

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Countdown is on for the Bald Eagle Watch Weekend

Posted by wlpo on January 7, 2016

Drive along the Illinois River and you may just see a majestic bald eagle.

The 19th Annual Bald Eagle Watch Weekend is coming up on Saturday, January 30th and Sunday, January 31st at the Illinois Waterway Visitors Center, Starved Rock Lodge and Starved Rock State Park.

Besides bald eagle viewing there will be demonstrations on raptors and birds of prey, Native American dancers plus kid’s activities and demonstrations on how to photograph wildlife. The programs run from around 9 until 5 both days.

For more information on the Bald Eagle Watch Weekend click Bald Eagle Watch Weekend

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Another big year for Starved Rock State Park

Posted by wlpo on January 7, 2016

Despite flooding issues from time to time, Starved Rock State Park had nearly 2.5 million visitors last year.

According to the NewsTribune, the 2015 attendance is up 8 percent over 2014’s 2.3 million visitors, which was the previous highest-ever attendance. The park had more than 850,000 visitors between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That breaks attendance records for June, July and August.

Park Superintendent Kerry Novak says “for losing the summer as much as we did, that is incredible.”

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