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Archive for April 21st, 2016

Kitchen fire destroys Marseilles home

Posted by wlpo on April 21, 2016

A pan of cooking oil that had been left unattended for moments was all it took to spark the fire that rendered a Marseilles house a “total loss.”

Firefighters from Ottawa, Utica, Marseilles, Seneca, and others spent hours Thursday afternoon fighting the fire on Bluff Street, which is believed to have started shortly after 11. A representative from the American Red Cross also made it out to the scene to help the displaced family find temporary shelter, among other things.

Fortunately nobody was hurt in the blaze. However the family’s pet python was found dead by firefighters.


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Jobless rates improve across the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on April 21, 2016

If you were looking for a job in the Illinois Valley last month you likely had more success than job hunters across the state.

LaSalle, Bureau, and Putnam Counties all saw their unemployment rates in March drop more than the rate for Illinois. Bureau County’s unemployment rate fell by 0.6% to 7.5%. LaSalle County still has the highest unemployment in the Valley at 8.3%, and Putnam’s 7.4% rate is the lowest.

While the numbers are headed in the right direction, all three counties still rank in the highest half of counties statewide, with LaSalle as the 14th highest. Statewide unemployment is considerably lower at 6.8% and the national rate is 5.1%.

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Woman accused of stealing thousands of dollars while working at Ottawa McDonalds

Posted by wlpo on April 21, 2016

An easy way to get fired from your job is to steal from your job.

Forty-six-year-old Cynthia Madonna of Streator was arrested at her home Thursday for felony theft. She’s accused of stealing more than $4,000 in cash from the Ottawa McDonalds while she worked there.

Madonna was taken to the La Salle County Jail with her bond set at $15,000.

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State looking to recoup thousands of dollars from Illinois Valley schools

Posted by wlpo on April 21, 2016

In Monopoly, you collect a couple hundred bucks because of a bank error in your favor. Schools, cities and townships in Illinois aren’t so lucky after benefiting from a tax error by the state.

Thanks to new software, the state has figured out that $168 million was over paid through the Personal Property Replacement Tax. The biggest beneficiary of the state’s error was Putnam County Schools who the state claims was over paid by $334,000. La Salle County got $218,000 more than they were supposed to with L-P, Ottawa Elementary and Ottawa High all getting $163,000 to $180,000.

Department of Revenue Director Connie Beard says they are sensitive to the impact of collecting the money and will work to establish a repayment plan.

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Home sales up for much of the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on April 21, 2016

Seen any U-Haul’s in your neighborhood recently? March was a good month for home sales in the Illinois Valley.

In La Salle County, 85 homes went off the market last month, up from 65 in February. The median sales price of a home was $84,000.

In Bureau County, 20 homes were closed on last month compared to 11 in February. The median sales price in Bureau County was $56,000.

Five homes were sold last month in Putnam County, down from 6 the month before. The median sales price of a Putnam County home was $97,000.

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State Representative Andy Skoog Files Bill to Prevent Governor from Cutting Agriculture Education

Posted by wlpo on April 21, 2016

As Illinois still works to put together a budget for this year, an Illinois Valley lawmaker is fighting some cuts that have been proposed for next year.

Governor Bruce Rauner has recommended getting rid of state funding for agricultural education altogether starting in 2017. In response, 76th District State Representative Andy Skoog has filed a bill he hopes would prevent that from happening.

Skoog’s bill, if passed, would give $1.8 million dollars to the State Board of Education for agricultural education.  It would also make sure to set aside a small portion of the state’s budget, when one is in place, for “Ag Ed.”


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New Ameren Bills To Provide Detailed Usage Information

Posted by wlpo on April 21, 2016

One benefit to using less of something is that you typically pay less for it. When it comes to saving power, one company is making that information easier to find.

Ameren has started sending out new bills that have more information on your usage. The new bills have graphs that help you see your energy usage over time, and also help you understand how much of your bill goes to gas and how much is for electric. If your house is locked in a battle over the thermostat, you can also see the average temperature of your place that month.

Ameren Illinois serves nearly 40,000 customers in the Illinois Valley.

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Annual Artifact Show to Deal and Display Pieces of Native American History

Posted by wlpo on April 21, 2016

Have you ever found a uniquely shaped rock and wondered if it was an arrowhead? If you’re still wondering you can get that and other items checked out at the 13th Annual Starved Rock Native American Artifact Show.

The event, at Celebrations 150 in Utica, will feature 100 tables of both artifact dealers and people just looking to display artifacts and tell you more some of the tribes in the Midwest. An archaeologist will also be there to evaluate your possible finds.

The show will last from 8:00 to 3:00 on Sunday the 24th. Admission is $2 for adults, and free for kids. All money raised by the show goes to the Illinois State Archaeological Society.

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State Organization Looks to Help 530 Veterans Between Now and May 30th

Posted by wlpo on April 21, 2016

An organization that helps veterans in Illinois has started a new campaign that could make them help more than 13 per day.

The Illinois Warrior Assistance Program started their “530 by 5/30” initiative Tuesday. This means the group is giving themselves until May 30th to assist 530 veterans with any number of emotional, medical, or legal challenges relating to their time in the service.

There are several qualifications for the program such as: being under 65, having a minimum 180 days of active duty service, and living in Illinois. If you aren’t eligible, the group will still provide you a source for follow-up care.

The Illinois Warrior Assistance Program is a confidential program provided by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. You can learn more about IWAP by clicking here.

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Mendota Teen Arrested No Stranger to Law Enforcement, in LaSalle and Aurora

Posted by wlpo on April 21, 2016

A Mendota teen who Aurora police were looking for was also no stranger to LaSalle County law enforcement.

Mendota Police arrested Antonio Enriquez last night after a traffic stop in the city. Already wanted on 2 warrants from Aurora, he was also arrested for DUI of Drugs, Possession of Cannabis, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and not having a valid Driver’s License.

Enriquez hasn’t had much luck with illegal substances around the cops. He was arrested in January for underage drinking and Obstructing a Police Officer after Mendota cops were called about a disturbance.

He posted bond and was, once again, released with a day in court.

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