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Archive for March 10th, 2016

As Another State Raises Smoking Age to 21, a Similar Bill Still Sits in Springfield

Posted by wlpo on March 10, 2016

It turns out Illinois isn’t the only state looking to stop tobacco use by those 21 and under. Earlier today, California lawmakers passed a bill increasing the smoking age in that state to 21.

The Illinois bill was introduced in February by a group of Democratic state lawmakers. If passed, it wouldn’t just change the rules for cigarettes. It also raises the age to buy so-called “e-cigarettes” to 21.

This regulation comes because, according to the Illinois Coalition Against Tobacco, the “vast majority of smokers” start before turning 21. The bill has not yet been voted on in either house.

If California’s governor signs their bill into law, they will join Hawaii as the only states where you have to be 21 or older to smoke.

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Illinois Adds Jobs, but Doesn’t Lower Unemployment in January

Posted by wlpo on March 10, 2016

The unemployment rate for Illinois edged higher to start 2016.

Even though the state added 1,500 jobs for the month, it wasn’t enough to stop unemployment from going up 0.2% to 6.3%. Nearly 4,000 jobs were added in the Trade, Transportation, and Utility industry, while Government jobs were the biggest decliners, cutting about 2,500 jobs.

Nationally, the unemployment rate fell to 4.9%, which is 0.8%  lower than it was in January of 2015. Unemployment has gone up 0.3% over that same time frame in Illinois.

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Firefighters quickly take care of Cedar Point house fire

Posted by wlpo on March 10, 2016

A kitchen fire broke out Friday morning on the north side of Cedar Point.

Cedar Point, Oglesby and Standard firefighters were called around 10:20 for the fire at 112 Cedar Street. The fire was out in about 10 minutes and the last firefighter left the scene about an hour after showing up.

Nobody was hurt.

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Earlville named employee of the year at IVCH

Posted by wlpo on March 10, 2016

Someone who can make a complicated medical procedure easy to understand is a keeper.

Ultrasound Technologist Cindy Schlesinger is the 2016 Buckman Family Employee of the Year at Illinois Valley Community Hospital. Patient Representative Deb Puetz nominated Schlesinger saying she has a “gift for education and down-to-earth explanations.”

Schlesinger lives in Earlville and has worked at IVCH for 37 years.

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Presidential candidates visiting Chicago suburbs

Posted by wlpo on March 10, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) – The Democratic presidential candidates will hold separate campaign events in Illinois ahead of the state’s primary.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will hold a rally Friday night at a high school in Summit. Sanders will talk about his plan for tuition-free public universities, ideas on combating climate change and making health insurance coverage universal.

Hillary Clinton will appear at an event in Vernon Hills Thursday. Her campaign organization says Clinton will discuss her plans to “break down the economic barriers that favor those at the top and build an economy that works for everyone.”

At least three of the four remaining Republican candidates have also scheduled Illinois stops in recent days.

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Clean up day planned for Peru dog park

Posted by wlpo on March 10, 2016

If you struggle to keep your yard clean thanks to a dog, imagine the upkeep needed with a public dog park.

Volunteers are needed for a “clean up day” April 10th at Wiggly Field in Peru’s Veterans Park. You can help trim inside and outside the dog run, paint some benches and just help pick up. It’s been a full year since the last clean up day.

Going forward, the city may add more benches in the dog park and lay some concrete so your walk from the parking lot into the park isn’t so muddy.

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National fishing tournament coming back to Spring Valley

Posted by wlpo on March 10, 2016

While many enjoy fishing as a hobby, some try to make a living at it.

The annual Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit stop in Spring Valley is next weekend. The fishing starts Friday and continues into Saturday. But many competitors will be out staking their spot on the Illinois River early next week.

Teams of two will compete for thousands of dollars. Last year’s winning team took home nearly $18,000.

This is the first tournament of the Walleye Circuit in 2016. The Spring Valley Boat Club is the launch and weigh-in site.

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“Rock Star” finale has five singers vying for the big prize

Posted by wlpo on March 10, 2016

Who will be the Illinois Valley’s next “Rock Star”? The annual singing competition wraps up Thursday night at Starved Rock Lodge.

Five singers remain after last week’s third round. The finalists are: Hailey Shan of La Salle; Marie Collins of Spring Valley; T. J. Martin of Peru; Jennifer Peterson of Ottawa and Krissy Knutson of Mendota. Each performer will sing three songs tonight vying for the $500 grand prize.

The competition starts at 7 with the dining room opening at 5.

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IVCC president not sure how long school can cover MAP grants

Posted by wlpo on March 10, 2016

It’s getting harder for colleges to keep providing financial aid to students without state funding.

Last week, state lawmakers tried to override the governor’s veto of a bill funding grants that help pay for college. Schools like IVCC have been paying for these grants themselves. IVCC President Jerry Corcoran says it’s “too soon” to say whether they’ll continue doing that next school year without state funding.

Corcoran called the state budget problems disappointing. He said college kids could look to federal student aid as a possible alternative.

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Information sought about a break-in to Mendota insurance office

Posted by wlpo on March 10, 2016

An insurance office was ransacked in Mendota and investigators need your help finding out who is responsible.

Back on Sunday night, Mendota Police went out to the Kurt Bruno State Farm Insurance office after an alarm went off.  Officers say someone or some people forced their way in but didn’t steal anything.  They did leave behind a mess though.

If you have any information, call the Mendota Police or Mendota Crime Stoppers.

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