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Archive for March, 2016

Rollover Crash Kills One on Interstate 39 South of Troy Grove

Posted by wlpo on March 31, 2016

A Shorewood man died in a rollover crash south of Troy Grove Thursday morning.

64-year old Wendell Mathison was going north on Interstate 39 when his car went off the road into the median where it rolled several times. Police responded to the crash just before 9:00. Mathison was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash is still under investigation by Illinois State Police, as the initial reason Mathison’s car went off the road is still unknown. We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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Illinois Valley Unemployment Drops Sharply in February, Still Lags Behind State

Posted by wlpo on March 31, 2016

Job hunters in the Illinois Valley were much more successful in February than January, but unemployment is still high in the Valley and statewide.

The unemployment rates for LaSalle, Bureau, and Putnam Counties all improved by about a point last month. LaSalle is still amount the 20 highest counties though, at 8.6% unemployment. Bureau is slightly better at 8.1%, and Putnam is the lowest at 7.7%.

By comparison, in February of last year unemployment in all three counties was around 7.3%. The Illinois Valley still has a ways to go to catch the 7% rate for Illinois. Unemployment across the country is even lower, at 5.2%.

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Bomb scare at the Peoria airport

Posted by wlpo on March 31, 2016

Props used to train for attacks at abortion clinics along with dog toys caused quite a scare at the Peoria airport.

At around 6:30 Thursday morning, a TSA agent found things in a checked piece of luggage that looked like parts of an explosive device. The area was evacuated and the Peoria Police bomb squad showed up as the airport came to a standstill and the passenger with the questionable luggage was detained.

According to the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office, three sticks were the label “dynamite” along the side, a mason jar of liquid and an aerosol can were found in the luggage. Eventually investigators found out the jar and can were used as training props for abortion clinics to train how to identify suspicious devises. The sticks were actually fetch toys for dogs.

The airport resumed its normal operations after about three hours of being shutdown.

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Armored van rolls east of Peru

Posted by wlpo on March 31, 2016

An armored van rolled Thursday morning on Interstate 80 between Peru and La Salle.

The van was eastbound just before 8 o’clock when it rolled. Two people in the van had to be helped out but didn’t need a trip to the hospital.

The van was heavily damaged but a Peru firefighter says money inside was contained and didn’t come spilling out.

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Illinois Valley farmland values hold fairly steady

Posted by wlpo on March 31, 2016

You never want to hear about your property losing value, but farmers across the state faced that fact in 2015.

According to The Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, the price of farmland overall fell by almost 10% in the state last year. The trend in the Illinois Valley is hard to find because LaSalle, Bureau, and Putnam Counties all fall into different regions in the society’s report.

The region with Bureau County and northwest Illinois was considered the most valuable farmland in the state, and “Average” land actually gained value. In total, the three zones that contain the Illinois Valley didn’t fall as much as other regions across the state.

The society says a number of factors ranging from things like weather and yields to interest rates could all have a say in what happens to farmland prices this year.

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Woman says she was robbed outside of Peru Mall

Posted by wlpo on March 31, 2016

A woman says she was robbed while leaving the Peru Mall.

Just before 9 Wednesday night, the woman and her husband from La Salle County tell police they were in the east parking lot of the mall walking to their car. As the woman opened her door, a man described as being 5’10 with a slim build wearing a black hoodie and black pants came up from behind and grabbed her purse off her shoulder. The woman screamed, getting the attention of her husband.

Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei says the woman tried fighting the robber off but he ran away into a truck with her purse. The husband gave chase but was unable to catch up with the robber.

Bernabei says the truck was an orange or red pickup and inside the truck was a second man. The alleged thieves took off towards Route 251. The suspects are said to be African American.

The woman was taken to Illinois Valley Community Hospital for minor injuries she suffered during the struggle. Anyone with information is asked to call the Peru Police Department at 223-2151.

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Outside shot of daytime storms in the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on March 31, 2016

March could end in a stormy fashion.

The Illinois Valley has been put in the “marginal risk” category for severe thunderstorms on Thursday. According to the National Weather Service, the best chance of isolated storms in the Illinois Valley is between 11am and 2pm.

A cold front is bringing storms into the Illinois Valley with a high temperature tomorrow expected to struggle to reach 50.

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Interstate 80 work part of 2016 construction season

Posted by wlpo on March 31, 2016

Warmer weather is here meaning its construction season.

Worked planned on Interstate 80 this spring and summer in the Illinois Valley includes resurfacing from Princeton west to Route 40 in Bureau County. You could also run into traffic headaches with workers painting overpasses on I-80 between Ottawa and La Salle.

When it comes to two lane roads, construction work is planned on Route 26 north of Princeton and on Route 6 east of Ottawa. Arguably the biggest project of the year has already started with replacing the Spring Valley Bridge. That project could take up to 3 years to complete.

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Teenage driver killed in crash on Route 52 near Serena

Posted by wlpo on March 31, 2016

Running a stop sign proved to be a fatal mistake for a teenager from Sandwich.

Just before four Wednesday afternoon, La Salle County deputies and state troopers were called about a crash on Route 52 east of Serena. A teenage boy driving a car was on a county road when he allegedly ran a stop sign at an intersection with Route 52. He hit an SUV driven by 66-year-old Sarah Coleman of Mendota.

The teen and Coleman were both rushed to OSF St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa where the teen was pronounced dead. Nobody else was involved in the crash.

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Leave your truck running and it may not be waiting when you get back

Posted by wlpo on March 30, 2016

One minute a man was filling up his truck with gas and the next minute someone was driving off with his truck.

That’s the scenario that played out Wednesday morning at Beck’s in La Salle. A customer left his truck running and doors unlocked at the gas pump when another guy is accused of seizing the opportunity to hop in and steal the truck. There was video of the suspect who police think is a man in his 20s, wearing blue jeans and a black and gray coat.

Police say the truck was last seen going west on Route 6. The stolen truck is a 2005 red crew cab Ford F150 pickup.

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