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Archive for July 19th, 2016

Illinois Valley gets Grant Money for Disaster Readiness, Response Efforts

Posted by wlpo on July 19, 2016

No matter which county in the Illinois Valley you call home, a new grant will help that county be better prepared in the event of a disaster.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency awarded more than $4 million in grants to some cities and counties in the state. The money is to be used for day-to-day operations of emergency response programs.

LaSalle County was the biggest beneficiary of the grant in the valley. Nearly $37,000 was awarded to the county. Bureau County will receive a little more than $21,000 from the grant while Putnam County gets $15,500.

The grants are funded through a grant given to the state by FEMA. The state then chose the 120 cities and counties where they wanted to distribute the money.

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Ottawa Public Works Director Retires Amid Accusations

Posted by wlpo on July 19, 2016

The City of Ottawa is officially in the market for a new director of public works.

The retirement of 64-year old Bob Shull took effect Tuesday, when Shull said in a letter to Ottawa Mayor Bob Eschbach that he would be “leaving the workforce” to “watch my grandchildren grow up.” Shull’s resignation came while he faced battery and disorderly conduct accusations.

Back in January, Shull is accused of creating a disturbance and “shoving” someone at a public works building. He is supposed to have a court appearance relating to the incident on Friday.

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Exelon Nuclear Generator in Marseilles To Conduct Safety Drills Wednesday

Posted by wlpo on July 19, 2016

If you live near the Exelon nuclear plant in Marseilles, you hope the crews working there know what to do in the event of an emergency. Wednesday, responders from the county, state, and Exelon will be at the plant to make sure they know their stuff.

Starting at 9:00, exercises that will test the emergency response plans that are in place for the areas around the LaSalle Nuclear Power Station will get underway. They’re expected to last until 1:00.

The drills are part of an annual process Exelon must undergo to keep their license to run the facilities in Illinois. It also helps examine the effectiveness of the Illinois Plan for Radiological Accidents, which lays out how state and local governments would respond in the event of an accident.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be on-hand to watch the drills. They’re planning to present their findings at a meeting in Ottawa on Friday.

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Ottawa man accused of harassing jurors

Posted by wlpo on July 19, 2016

Here’s a charge you don’t hear very often, harassment of jurors.

Sixty-four-year-old Richard Thompson of Ottawa turned himself in on a La Salle County warrant Monday for that charge. The warrant was issued back on Friday.

Thompson has since come up with the needed $10,000 bond to avoid spending time in jail.

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Motorcycle crashes over the noon hour at Starved Rock

Posted by wlpo on July 19, 2016

The curves in Starved Rock State Park have claimed another motorcycle.

Utica firefighters were called to a motorcycle wreck shortly after noon Tuesday. The dispatcher said there was one injury.

You’ll hear more details as they become available.

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Oglesby to ease folks into 9-1-1 consolidation

Posted by wlpo on July 19, 2016

Consolidation of Illinois Valley 9-1-1 centers is happening and it will mean less accessibility if you live in Oglesby.

According to the NewsTribune, the Illinois Valley Regional Dispatch based in Peru will go into effect September 1st. When that happens, dispatchers will be inside the Oglesby police station to handle your concerns but on weekdays only. There will be a telephone inside the police station to reach a dispatcher at all times somewhere other than Oglesby. Each city will still maintain its own police force to respond to calls in their city.

Illinois Valley fire and police departments are being forced by the state to consolidate their 9-1-1 dispatch centers.

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Ottawa benefiting the most from losses at the gambling parlor

Posted by wlpo on July 19, 2016

You’ve probably heard by now about the millions of dollars that go into video gaming machines in the Illinois Valley. Have you ever wondered how much of that makes it back to your city or village?

Halfway through this year, a few cities are at or above the six-figure mark. Ottawa leads the way, having received nearly $130,000 from gaming in the city. Streator isn’t far behind with a little more than $117,000. Peru’s share of video gaming funds is just a few dollars shy of $100,000.

Elsewhere in LaSalle County, the city of La Salle has taken in more than $81,000. In Bureau County, Princeton leads the way with a share of the proceeds topping $62,000.

Cities and municipalities’ share of gaming revenue depends on the amount lost on the machines. The owners of the establishments and the machines get a majority of the cash while the state gets 25% of all money lost, leaving the city with the remaining 5%.

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Illinois Valley senate candidate vows to give up pension and some salary if elected

Posted by wlpo on July 19, 2016

It’s a nice gesture but will it mean more votes in November?

Democratic state senate candidate Chris Benson of Ottawa says she will not accept a state pension if elected and will also give at least half her lawmaker salary to local charities. Benson says “I am running only to serve the people of the 38th District, so any good that I can do for the district with my take home pay is more of a reward than putting it in my checking account.”

Benson is already getting a pension from being a lifelong educator. She is trying to unseat Republican Senator Sue Rezin. Rezin beat Benson in the November, 2012 election by less than 600 votes.

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Over $70,000 raised at Mendota cancer benefit

Posted by wlpo on July 19, 2016

Dozens took the fight to cancer this past weekend as part of the annual Relay For Life of the Upper Illinois Valley.

Over 250 people took part in the relay at Lake Mendota, raising money for the American Cancer Society. Organizers say over $73,000 was raised with donations still being accepted through the end of August.

The relay in Mendota started in 2010 and is separate from the Relay for Life of La Salle County that happens in Streator.

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Spring Valley alderman misses court date in battery case

Posted by wlpo on July 19, 2016

If you’ve been following the story of a Spring Valley alderman getting arrested after a recorded argument, he was a no show for his trial.

Fifty-seven-year-old Chuck Hansen was arrested for battery earlier this year after allegedly kicking another man as the man filmed Hansen outside of a Spring Valley bar. The alderman had a bench trial set for Monday but according to the NewsTribune, there was a miscommunication. A warrant was issued for Hansen’s arrest but he’s expected to turn himself in and post the needed bond.

Hansen is charged with a misdemeanor. He was at Monday night’s Spring Valley City Council meeting.

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