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Archive for July 29th, 2016

Streator Teen Pleads “Not Guilty” to Using Brick as a Weapon During Fight

Posted by wlpo on July 29, 2016

A Streator teen has pled “not guilty” to charges stemming from a fight that allegedly took place in the city earlier this month.

Eighteen-year old Bailey Smetanko appeared in court Friday after a grand jury indicted him on two counts of aggravated battery. He was arrested after Streator Police were called about a ruckus that left a man bleeding from his head.  Witnesses said they saw Bailey Smetanko throw a brick at the man.

Smetanko remains in the LaSalle County Jail. He’d need to come up with $5,000 to get out.

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Statewide Unemployment Rises in June, Falls Across Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on July 29, 2016

Whether more people are finding jobs or fewer people are looking, the unemployment rate continues to fall in the Illinois Valley.

Over the past few months, unemployment in Bureau and Putnam Counties has fallen below the rate statewide. Bureau County’s unemployment rate fell to 5.8% in June from an even 6.0% in May. The jobless rate in Putnam County fell by about the same amount to 5.3%. LaSalle County still has the highest rate of unemployment at 6.4%, also falling 0.3% from June.

Statewide unemployment rose almost half a percent in June. It currently sits at an even 6%.

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La Salle Man Pleads Guilty to Sex Crime Involving Minor

Posted by wlpo on July 29, 2016

A La Salle man will be spending the rest of this decade in prison after pleading guilty to having sex with a minor.

Tony Thornton pled guilty in court Friday to aggravated criminal sex abuse, stemming from his arrest back in April. He was arrested back after a high-school girl told police she had been sexually assaulted by the 30-year old in February.

Judge H. Chris Ryan sentenced Thornton to 3.5 years in prison, as outlined in the plea deal.

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Peru woman okay after interstate rollover

Posted by wlpo on July 29, 2016

There’s a reason speed limits lower on interstate ramps.

Twenty-three-year-old Emma Grusk of Peru rolled her SUV after losing control on the Interstate 80 westbound on ramp from northbound Interstate 39. The crash happened just before 7:30 Friday morning.

Grusk was ticketed for improper lane usage but was not hurt.

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Illinois Valley runners head to Peoria to help kids

Posted by wlpo on July 29, 2016

Runners from the Illinois Valley and other parts of the state are running for a cause Saturday.

The annual St. Jude Run starts in places like Peru and Ottawa and ends in Peoria. Each runner raises money to donate to St. Jude’s efforts to treat children who battle diseases. Runners take turns going 3 to 6 miles at a time on their way to Peoria.

La Salle-Peru runners have raised over $50,000 and are taking part in the St. Jude run for the 31st year. Runners will also take off from Ottawa for the first time tomorrow.

For more information about the St. Jude run, click St. Jude Run

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Price at the pump continues to fall in the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on July 29, 2016

At this point, if you’re filling up for more than two dollars a gallon then you are overpaying.

According to GasBuddy.com, Peru has the cheapest spot for gas at $1.88 a gallon.  You can pay $1.89 in Streator with La Salle, Mendota, Princeton, Oglesby and Ottawa all having gas at $1.93 to $1.99 a gallon.

The statewide average for unleaded is $2.15, that’s down four cents from a week ago.

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Troubled intersection near Utica could see safety improvements

Posted by wlpo on July 29, 2016

You’ve unfortunately probably heard at least one story in the past few weeks about someone who has been hurt or killed at the intersection of North 33rd and East 8th Roads near Utica. If you think something should be done at the intersection, you may feel better knowing county officials are considering just that.

La Salle County Engineer Larry Kinzer says they are currently investigating “safety enhancements that will be most effective” in the area. He says the highway department is working with police and emergency crews, as well as accident recreationists, to figure out just what is contributing to a recent spike in accidents in the area.

That doesn’t mean you’ll notice any changes in the immediate future. Kinzer went on to say hasty changes could actually make the intersection more hazardous, so the department is being very thorough to make sure they make the most effective changes possible.

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Group of veterans thanked for their service in Ottawa

Posted by wlpo on July 29, 2016

Veterans packed Ottawa’s City Hall Thursday in a show of support for the men and women who have served in our armed forces.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger was one of the many in the standing room only crowd who spent time in the military. The difference was that he was also the one presenting the Congressional Veteran Commendation to the 8 veterans in the Illinois Valley who were chosen for the award. Kinzinger said he wants to call attention to the individuals he calls true heroes:

The veterans, who fought in World War II, Vietnam, and Korea, each had a short biography about their service read by the Congressman, who got choked up multiple times during the ceremony.

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Woman accused of elderly abuse at nursing home in Ottawa

Posted by wlpo on July 29, 2016

An Ottawa woman is in jail following a complaint of elderly abuse at the Pleasant View Nursing Home.

Ottawa Police say they received a report from a relative of a person staying at the home back on July 19th. After investigating, they arrested 35-year old Doris Burke at her home on Wednesday. Burke is charged with two felonies: aggravated battery and abuse of a long-term healthcare facility resident.

She was taken to the LaSalle County Jail where her bond was set at $15,000.

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