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Archive for July 5th, 2016

No Charges to be Filed Against Mendota Grad who Burned Flag in Protest

Posted by wlpo on July 5, 2016

URBANA, Ill. (AP) – An Illinois prosecutor says she will not file charges against a man whose flag-burning protest led to his arrest on Independence Day.

Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said in a statement Tuesday that she will not file charges against Bryton Mellott of Urbana because flag burning is “protected free speech.”

Pictures posted on Mellott’s Facebook page over the weekend showed him holding a burning American flag.  The message appears to have been removed, but a picture remains.

Urbana police were alerted to the post and say officers noticed commenters threatening Mellott and his employer. Police say Mellott was taken into custody out of concern for his safety.

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July 4th numbers at Starved Rock fall well below Memorial Day crowds

Posted by wlpo on July 5, 2016

While Starved Rock State Park was plenty busy this past weekend, attendance numbers are way down from Memorial Day weekend.

According to Office Coordinator Cheryl Barto with Starved Rock, over 68,000 people spent time at the state park between Saturday and Monday. Sunday was the single busiest day with over 25,000 visitors. The park had to be temporarily closed for about an hour Sunday afternoon because of the crowd.

Matthiessen State Park saw over 14,000 visitors between this past Saturday and Monday. The busiest day was also Sunday with a little less than 6,000 visitors.

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Two injured in crash along Route 251

Posted by wlpo on July 5, 2016

Two women from Streator were hurt in a crash along Route 251.

Tonica paramedics and La Salle County deputies were called to a two-vehicle crash Monday afternoon just before four at the intersection of Route 251 and North 20th Road on the north side of Tonica. Fifty-two-year-old Hanna Shin of Des Plaines collided with 61-year-old Georgene Simko of Streator. Simko and her passenger, 59-year-old Carolyn Simko also of Streator were taken to Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru.

Shin wasn’t hurt but she was ticketed for failing to yield.

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Semi driver hurt after rollover near Lostant

Posted by wlpo on July 5, 2016

A driver was flown to Peoria after his semi overturned north of Lostant.

The call about a tanker rolling over on Interstate 39 came in around 6 Tuesday morning. Almost immediately paramedics asked for a Life Flight helicopter after seeing the driver pinned inside the cab.

The driver was taken by an ambulance to Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru before being flown to Peoria. Because the semi crashed into the median state troopers didn’t close any lanes of I-39.

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Work behind schedule on busy Princeton rail crossing

Posted by wlpo on July 5, 2016

Work on a busy railroad crossing in Princeton isn’t done and that’s not sitting well with the mayor.

The Main Street or Route 26 BNSF crossing was closed last week for repairs. The work was supposed to be done in a week but it’s not. In fact according to Princeton Mayor Joel Quiram, the crossing is just as bad if not worse then before work began.

Quiram says the state has told him they will be back either this week or next to finish the work. If there are issues Quiram says the city will call the railroad and state to voice concerns.

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Help needed to pay for temporary dam in DePue

Posted by wlpo on July 5, 2016

With the 4th of July now in the rear view mirror, it won’t be long before the annual boat races in DePue.

Racing starts July 29th, no thanks to the state according to Publicity Chairman Eric Bryant. Bryant says the state has denied the village’s request for a permanent Water Control Structure so they are bringing in a barge as part of a temporary dam.

The temporary dam isn’t cheap so race organizers are asking for donations to help pay for it. Bryant says “we know this is getting old but at present there is not another solution.”

You can send a donation to “Save the Lake”, P.O.Box 500, DePue, Illinois, 61322.

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Fundraising underway for Mendota-based Relay for Life

Posted by wlpo on July 5, 2016

The fight continues against cancer with the annual Relay For Life of the Upper Illinois Valley.

The overnight event is back at Lake Mendota starting Saturday, July 16th and ending the following morning on the 17th. So far over 20 teams have signed up for the relay and have raised almost $60,000 for the American Cancer Society.

The relay in Mendota started in 2010 and is separate from the Relay for Life of La Salle County that happens in Streator. For information about the relay and how you can help or take part, click Upper Illinois Valley relay

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Alarming number of fatal crashes this year

Posted by wlpo on July 5, 2016

With half of 2016 now in the books, the number of people killed in crashes across the Illinois Valley is startling.

According to numbers from IDOT, 13 people have died in 11 crashes this year in La Salle County. At this time last year there were just 6 killed in 6 crashes. To put it in even more perspective, only Cook, Winnebago, Lake, DuPage, Will and St. Clair counties have had more deaths on their roads than La Salle County.

Bureau County has had nine people killed in nine crashes so far this year. At this time last year only two had been killed in two separate crashes.

Putnam County has had one person killed so far this year after having no deaths through half of 2015.

Statewide 489 people have been killed on Illinois roads through June, that’s 35 more than at this point a year ago.

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Could be a stormy week ahead for the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on July 5, 2016

After a quiet July 4th weekend weather wise, the work week could be a lot different.

The Illinois Valley is under a “marginal risk” for severe weather Tuesday night and Wednesday. Thursday could be the best chance for widespread storms with the risk elevated to “slight.”

Once the work week is over, the threat of rain is gone and the weekend should be sunny and dry with high temperatures in the low 80s.

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