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Archive for June 10th, 2016

Governor Bruce Rauner Rejects $4 Billion Social Services Funding Bill

Posted by wlpo on June 10, 2016

Calling it a “check written from an over-drawn bank account,” Governor Bruce Rauner has rejected a bill that would’ve given money to social service agencies and providers who have been hurt by the budget stalemate.

The bill would have given nearly $4 billion dollars to groups that have not received funding in nearly a year. However, according to the governor, the vast majority of that money would have come from “general funds that the State does not have.”

Rauner vetoed the stop-gap measure and asked the General Assembly to work instead on passing a complete and balanced budget for 2016 and 2017. He said that would provide the social service agencies with “real funding, not empty promises.”

Illinois is quickly approaching a full year without a state budget.

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Streator Fire Crews Battle Garage Fire Early Friday Morning

Posted by wlpo on June 10, 2016

After spending a large part of the day fighting a warehouse fire, Streator firefighters were back at work Friday morning.

The department received a call shortly after 2 about a garage on fire on Lundy Street. Once firefighters arrived they were able to have the fire, which was in the front corner of the garage, under control in less than 5 minutes.

Ten firefighters were involved in getting the fire out; nobody was injured in the incident. The garage suffered smoke damage with moderate fire damage in the corner where it broke out.

Streator Police and the State Fire Marshal’s Office are still trying to figure out the cause of the fire.

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Allegedly Dealing Heroin to Undercover Cops Earns Ottawa Man Eight-Year Sentence

Posted by wlpo on June 10, 2016

An Ottawa man is the latest to be given a lengthy prison stay stemming from law enforcement’s crackdown on heroin in the Illinois Valley.

Thirty-three year old Marco Verucchi was arrested back in February. Police accused him of selling heroin to undercover officers. When he was arrested, he also allegedly had heroin in his possession.

Verucchi pled guilty to those charges on Friday. As a result, he was sentenced to 8 years in prison. That sentence was higher than usual for the charge, but Verucchi’s extensive criminal past worked against him in the deal. He was also given 6 years for the charge of possession of a controlled substance, but the two sentences will be served together.

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Man who Stole Pickup Truck in March Pled Guilty, Given 14 Years

Posted by wlpo on June 10, 2016

The La Salle man who stole a truck that was left running at a Beck’s in La Salle is headed to prison for more than a decade for his actions.

Thirty-one year old Ronald Catalanello Jr pled guilty today to hopping into another man’s pickup truck back in March after the owner left it unlocked and running at a gas pump. He also pled guilty to unlawful possession of a controlled substance, as he was accused of having heroin back in December.

For the stolen pickup truck, he was sentenced to 9 years in prison. The heroin charge added an additional 5 years. Judge H. Chris Ryan said the sentences will not be served simultaneously, meaning Catalanello will be in prison for about 14 years total.

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Pay raises handed out at IVCC

Posted by wlpo on June 10, 2016

It’s a good time to be president of Illinois Valley Community College.

The IVCC Trustees have approved a three-year contract with Jerry Corcoran. He is getting a 2.5 percent pay raise. Vice president’s Cheryl Roelfsema and Deborah Anderson are getting two percent salary increases.

The college isn’t only giving raises out to big wigs. All support staff, administrators and part-time faculty not part of a union deal are getting two percent raises starting in the fall.

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Jerry Long blames Rep. Andy Skoog for rowdy protest in Ottawa

Posted by wlpo on June 10, 2016

Is Democratic State Representative Andy Skoog partly to blame for Monday’s actions of a few vulgar protestors in Ottawa? His campaign opponent thinks so.

Republican Jerry Long put out a statement late Thursday night saying “Rep. Andy Skoog’s inflammatory language resulted in shameful, classless, uncivilized behavior in Ottawa this week.” Long says Skoog is using class-warfare rhetoric to stir up public animosity.

The union trucker goes on to say “there is no doubt that Rep. Skoog got the exact result he was hoping for. Now it has backfired.” In laying blame on Skoog, Long pointed to a photo of a man standing next to an Andy Skoog sign allegedly making an obscene gesture towards Governor Bruce Rauner.

Long says Skoog should apologize for the “consequences of his incendiary language.”

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Warehouse fire breaks out in Streator

Posted by wlpo on June 10, 2016

A warehouse fire proved to be a day long fight for Streator firefighters.

At around 4 Thursday morning, firefighters rushed out to McKernan Packing Company. Once inside, firefighters saw smoke throughout the large warehouse with the sprinkler system spraying water. For the next 10 hours or so, firefighters were spraying water on pallets full of boxes with plastic bottles.

Nobody was injured in the fire. The warehouse itself took on only minor structural damage.

The exact cause of the fire is under investigation.

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Gas prices on the rise in the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on June 10, 2016

If you find gas for under $2.30, fill up while you can at that price.

According to, the price at the pump has jumped up to $2.59 at some stations in La Salle, Princeton, Peru, Mendota, and Ottawa. In La Salle, the price from one station to the next on the same road varies by over 20 cents a gallon.

The average price statewide is $2.66 a gallon, that’s up 17 cents from a week ago.

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Fundraising tops $100,000 leading up to annual relay in Streator

Posted by wlpo on June 10, 2016

It’s relay for life time in La Salle County.

The annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society kicks off Friday night at 6 at Streator High School and ends Saturday morning at 6. There will be guest speakers throughout the night along with survivor and caregiver laps around the high school track. The always emotional luminary ceremony is at 9 tonight.

So far, nearly 300 people have signed up for the relay and have raised more than $100,000. To get more information or sign up for the Relay for Life of La Salle County, click Relay for Life of La Salle County

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Heat wave arrives in time for the weekend

Posted by wlpo on June 10, 2016

The heat is on in the Illinois Valley.

Friday’s high temperature is expected to top out in the low 90s but it could feel a few degrees warmer when you factor in the humidity. Saturday looks like an even bigger scorcher with it feeling like 100 when you include the humidity.

When it’s this hot remember to drink plenty of water and take frequent breaks if you’re outside. Also wear light colored clothes and don’t leave children or pets in hot cars.

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