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Archive for January 25th, 2016

Peru ready for bids to redo controversial intersection

Posted by wlpo on January 25, 2016

The city of Peru is taking another stab at making the Venture Drive and 38th Street intersection more convenient while also keeping safety in mind.

Bids will soon be accepted to move Venture Drive about 170 feet to the west so that it will intersect with 38th Street in what is now the southwest part of the Goodwill/Hobby Lobby/MC Sports parking lot. When the realignment is done, you’ll be able to turn left onto 38th Street from Venture Drive unlike now where you can only turn right. The orange pylons at the intersection now will be replaced with a raised median.

Peru Engineer Eric Carls hopes to start construction on the realigned Venture Drive this spring with the work taking four to six months to finish. He says they still need to work out a land purchase agreement with Steak and Shake.

Carls says they’ve looked at about 10 other options including a roundabout intersection but it just isn’t feasible.

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Compton Man Arrested After Almost Tripling Speed Limit During Chase

Posted by wlpo on January 25, 2016

The hit-and-run chase and the chase where a man dumped pills out his window weren’t the only police chases in the Illinois Valley last week.

A Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy allegedly tried to stop John Henry from Compton for speeding just west of Paw Paw on Tuesday night. Henry hit the gas and tried to escape the deputy.

As Henry passed through the city of Paw Paw, a different deputy allegedly saw him going 87 in a 30 m.p.h. area. Henry then tried to elude both officers. After passing an ambulance and driving through several yards, Henry ran off the road at a curve and hit a tree.

He was taken to Mendota Community Hospital for minor injuries before being taken to Lee County Jail where he remains on $25,000 bond.

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Winter Weather Weekend Shortens Students’ Trip to Washington

Posted by wlpo on January 25, 2016

The record snowstorms in the northeast over the weekend cut an annual pilgrimage short for students from one Illinois Valley school.

As part of a longstanding tradition at Ottawa Marquette Academy, a group of 15 students and adults planned to take part in the 43rd annual “Rally and March for Life” in Washington D.C. Father Jacob Rose is the school’s chaplain and says the trip focuses on “the value of all human lives,” more than just the protest which takes place on the day of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

Rose said the group was smaller than in years prior, but that allowed for better communication. The group was able to visit the Holocaust Museum, among others, tour landmarks, and be part of a youth rally attended by 20,000.

The oncoming storm forced them to miss the main rally in order to get back safely. While they had planned on taking trains out and back, they had to rent vans to get back in time for class. Despite having to leave early, Rose still says the event was a “great and important experience.”

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Jeep catches fire in crash between Ottawa and Utica

Posted by wlpo on January 25, 2016

A man a long ways from home crashed his Jeep near Utica.

State troopers say 32-year-old Travis Smith of Murphysboro was westbound on Route 6 Sunday morning around 3 o’clock when he went off the road at a curve and hit a tree, setting the Jeep on fire. Smith was taken to OSF St. Elizabeth Medical Center with head and torso injuries.

Smith was arrested for DUI.

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Grand Ridge woman killed in rollover crash

Posted by wlpo on January 25, 2016

If you’ve been following the story of a fatal crash near Marseilles, the victim is a 31-year-old woman from Grand Ridge.

Nicole Vogel was killed Sunday morning just before 3 o’clock when her Volkswagen Jetta went off the road into a ditch and overturned. She was pronounced dead at the scene on East 22nd Road.

Nobody was involved in the crash.

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Deer harvest numbers up in the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on January 25, 2016

Overall 2015 was a good year for hunters and a bad year for deer in the Illinois Valley.

Counting all the different deer hunting seasons last year, 1,822 deer in Bureau County met their maker in 2015, up about a hundred from 2014. In La Salle County, 1,801 deer were taken down which is up about 50 from 2014. Putnam County hunters took down 748 deer in 2015, an increase of around 60.

Statewide, over 155,000 deer were hunted down last year, a jump of about 10,000. Fifty-four percent of all the deer killed last year were male.

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The cost of buying a house is up for most of the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on January 25, 2016

What do you think is the going rate for a house in the Illinois Valley?

According to the Illinois Association of REALTORS, the median sales prices of homes sold in La Salle County last year was $95,000. That’s up 8 percent from the median price in 2014.

The median sales price last year in Bureau County was $86,000, an 11 percent jump from 2014. In Putnam County, the median price of a home last year was $83,000, a big 30 percent drop from the year before.

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Union members converging on La Salle

Posted by wlpo on January 25, 2016

While Governor Bruce Rauner and AFSCME appear stuck on a new contract, workers in the Illinois Valley are coming together to talk about common issues.

The Illinois Valley Federation of Labor and AFL-CIO are hosting a Labor Summit on Saturday to talk about things that impact workers statewide. Dan Mercer is President of the IVFL and says whether you’re in a union or not, the support of unions is important.

Mercer says the summit is about learning how to best use your voice to help yourself. The event is free to attend and goes from 8:30 until 1 inside the Knights of Columbus Hall in La Salle.

The IVFL represents more than 8,000 men and women in the Illinois Valley.

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Cuts by Lutheran Social Services affecting the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on January 25, 2016

The fiasco in Springfield is hurting not only schools but also children and the elderly.

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois is laying off 750 of its employees and closing 30 programs due to being owed $6 million from the state. In the Illinois Valley, Community-based Counseling in Mendota is ending. That provides mental health counseling for children, adults and families.

Also getting the axe is In-home Support Services for seniors. Lutheran Social Services is cutting their Intouch Home Care for La Salle and Marshall County.

Besides mental health treatment and home care services, Lutheran Social Services also has to cut back on substance-abuse help and homeless shelters.

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Annual “hunger blitz” returns to stores in La Salle and Peru

Posted by wlpo on January 25, 2016

Knights of Columbus members from Utica are blitzing hunger and not quarterbacks the weekend before the Super Bowl.

K of C members will collect food Saturday from eight until four at Hy-Vee and Walmart in Peru and Illinois Valley Food & Deli and Save-A-Lot in La Salle. You’ll be given a list of food as you enter the store and just drop the goods off when you leave with K of C members.

Both food and monetary donations will go to the Illinois Valley Food Pantry. Last year’s “hunger blitz” brought in over 4,400 pounds of food and more than three thousand dollars.

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