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News from the Illinois Valley

Archive for January 26th, 2016

Illinois American Water Adds to Customer Base With Water District Purchase

Posted by wlpo on January 26, 2016

A week after applying to raise your rates, Illinois American Water could lower rates for some of their newest customers.

The utility announced today they have purchased the Dana/Long Point/Reading/Ancona Public Water District’s water system. Bruce Hauk, president of Illinois American Water, says the move means those in that district will have “a long-term, reliable water supply for years to come.”

For the 150 customers in Streator, the purchase will also mean savings. They will no longer have to reimburse the District for the water system, so those affected by the change will see their bills drop by about $45 per month.

The sale was approved more than a month ago but didn’t close until today. The District’s going to be added to Illinois American’s Streator service area, increasing their lead as the largest investor-owned water utility in the state.

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Illinois Valley YMCA Charity Events Mean Free Training For Cancer Patients

Posted by wlpo on January 26, 2016

If you or someone you know is battling cancer, an Illinois Valley center is looking to make you as strong as possible for that fight.

Personal training classes at the Illinois Valley YMCA are currently free for all cancer patients. That includes the opportunity to meet with a personal trainer to discuss exercise options and opportunities at the YMCA.

Instead of having to charge patients, the programs are being paid for by the “Illinois Valley YMCA Strong Kids Campaign” and the “Get Your Rear in Gear 5K.” Learn more by calling Cami Loving at the YMCA at 223-7904.

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Spring Valley Woman Dies After Being Hit By Car Thursday

Posted by wlpo on January 26, 2016

A Spring Valley woman who was hit by a car last week died Tuesday morning at a Peoria hospital.

Nicole Leeper was pronounced dead just before 3 at OSF St. Francis Medical Center. The 33-year old Leeper was in a car that allegedly hit a deer last Thursday just west of Spring Valley.

According to the Bureau County Sheriff, she had gotten out of the car to possibly move the deer when she was supposedly hit by a car driven by Gary Talsky of Spring Valley.

Leeper was taken to St. Margaret’s Hospital in Spring Valley before being taken to St. Francis. No charges have been filed and an autopsy will take place Tuesday afternoon.

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Ottawa High senior pushing for an outdoor graduation ceremony

Posted by wlpo on January 26, 2016

When the weather is nice, is there a better graduation setting than Howard Fellows Stadium at L-P? King Field at Ottawa High School provides a nice setting along the Illinois River and Senior Lindsay Wheeler thinks Ottawa High should follow L-P’s lead and have graduation outside.

Wheeler told the Ottawa school board Monday night that the ceremony should be exciting and engaging, not uncomfortable and overheated. She says every year in Kingman Gym someone falls ill. Wheeler said last year it was 10 to 20 degrees warmer in the gym than outside.

In polling seniors, Wheeler says they voted overwhelmingly in favor of having graduation outside. She did acknowledge the cons that come with it however. Weather is always a factor, so is increased costs and an unpredictable P.A. system.

The school board applauded Wheeler but didn’t take any formal action on her idea.

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PR firm releases response on behalf of Frank Mautino

Posted by wlpo on January 26, 2016

Auditor General Frank Mautino has released a statement through a public relations spokesman on recent accusations about improper campaign spending.

An email from Ryan Keith of RK PR Solutions in Lincoln was sent out Tuesday morning. In the message, Keith mentions that Mautino’s “Committee for Frank J. Mautino” fully disclosed and reported all spending by the campaign in compliance with Illinois campaign finance and disclosure laws. He goes on to say that Mautino’s reports fully detail campaign expenditures that were made to help defray the “standard, reasonable expenses incurred while Frank performed the governmental and public service duties of serving as state representative of his large, mostly rural district”.

The statement finishes with saying that upon his nomination as Auditor General, Mautino closed out his campaign committee at the end of December. So-called watchdog groups have recently questioned Mautino’s spending on things like dinners and car repairs along with raising funds late in his time as state representative to pay off campaign debts.

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State Representative candidate wants answers from Frank Mautino

Posted by wlpo on January 26, 2016

Current Republican lawmakers and at least one aspiring Republican politician are piling on calls for former State Representative Frank Mautino to provide details about campaign funding.

Jerry Long of Streator who was beaten by Mautino in the last election but is now running against Mautino’s Democratic replacement Andy Skoog says he stands with Republican Senators Sue Rezin and Jason Barickman in “asking Mautino to answer these questions about campaign funds in a prompt fashion”. Long goes on to point out he’s now running against Skoog who was “highly recommended and endorsed” by Mautino.

When spoken to by Classic Hits 103.9 WLPO last week, Mautino talked about the questioning of raising campaign funds just before becoming Auditor General. He did not however talk about allegations of overspending on things like car repairs and dinners.

Mautino says he had until January 1st to close out his state representative account which he did and paid every vendor that he owned money to. He says donations that came in late last year were when he was still a candidate for re-election and not officially the Auditor General.

A group called the “Edgar County Watchdogs” has put up a new story for the last few days calling for Mautino to turn over cash receipts. The group says if he can’t produce receipts, that’s reason enough for him to resign.

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What’s left of closed Oglesby cement plant being auctioned off

Posted by wlpo on January 26, 2016

Have any use for equipment used in a closed cement plant? An auction of things inside the shuttered Buzzi Unicem plant in Oglesby is going on today.

You can bid on everything from conveyor systems, electric motors and air compressors to ladders, hardware and forklift attachments. An auction company out of Michigan is in charge of the sale.

Buzzi Unicem closed down cement operations in Oglesby in late 2008. The plant got its start as Marquette Cement Company in the late 1800s before becoming Lonestar Industries.

You can check out the auction items in person by putting on a hard hat and steel toed boots before going into the closed plant.

For more on the auction, click Buzzi Unicem Auction

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Civil court trial underway involving fatal bar fight in La Salle

Posted by wlpo on January 26, 2016

More than eight years after a Utica man was punched and killed in a bar fight, his family’s lawsuit seeking unspecified damages is finally moving forward.

Court proceedings started Monday in the case of Hometown National Bank versus Bryan Tomaseski, Two Fools Bar and the bar’s owner Dan Burke. The bank is in charge of the estate of Andrew Sibley who was punched by Tomaseski in 2007 outside of Two Fools. The punch followed a scuffle inside the now closed bar. Sibley fell to the ground after the punch, hit his head and died the next day.

Tomaseski pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was given three years in prison although he was let out well before the full three years.

Two Fools is now called 516 on 1st Street in downtown La Salle.

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