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Archive for September 22nd, 2016

Unemployment Down from 2015 Levels, Flat Month-to-Month

Posted by wlpo on September 22, 2016

While unemployment rates in the Illinois Valley are flat compared to last month, they’ve improved quite a bit from this time last year.

Putnam County’s jobless rate is down almost a point when compared to August of last year. It fell three-tenths of a point from July’s rate to 5.2 percent.

Unemployment in Bureau County is down a half-point from this time last year, although it hasn’t changed compared to last month. The rate still sits at 5.8 percent.

LaSalle County’s unemployment has also fallen a half-point in the last twelve months, and is also down slightly from July. It’s still the highest in the valley though at 6.2 percent.

All three counties are improving quicker than the state as a whole. Unemployment statewide is at 5.5 percent, down 0.3 percent from August of 2015.

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Teen Pleads “Not Guilty” to Burglary, Home Invasion Charges

Posted by wlpo on September 22, 2016

A La Salle teen who is looking at possibly spending decades behind bars was in court with his lawyer Thursday.

Earlier this month, 18-year old Tyler Cannon was arrested after allegedly breaking into the home of an elderly couple and stealing from them.  During the alleged break-in, Cannon allegedly pushed an elderly man before running away.

Cannon pled not guilty Thursday to two felony counts of home invasion and residential burglary. The home invasion is a Class X felony which brings with it the possibility of 6 to 30 years in prison if he’s found guilty.  The residential burglary is a Class 1 felony that carries the possibility of 4 to 15 years.

He remains in custody at the county jail in Ottawa. He’d need to come up with $50,000 to be released.

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Three Arraigned for Allegedly Dealing Drugs in Ottawa

Posted by wlpo on September 22, 2016

Three people who were busted trying to sell drugs in Ottawa all had their first appearances in court with their lawyers today.

All three pled “not guilty” but 43-year old Louis Shaw of Ottawa faces the most time if convicted. He was charged with a Class X felony of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver after police found $30,000 worth of cocaine in his home.

Twenty-four year old Kjersten Minkler was also arraigned for the intent to deliver drugs. She was arrested after police found heroin in a car she was travelling in.

Also pleading “not guilty” was 24-year old Eric Canada, who was arrested after police say he allegedly sold drugs at an Ottawa motel earlier in the year.

The three still remain in custody, but all need different amounts to get out. Minkler needs $50,000, Canada would have to come up with $100,000, and Shaw has to have $200,000 to be released from the LaSalle County Jail.

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Fire department dinner raising money for scholarships

Posted by wlpo on September 22, 2016

Do you have a child dreaming of becoming a firefighter? Money will be raised Saturday for a scholarship benefitting L-P students who study fire science.

The Peru Fire Department’s drive-thru dinner is from 3 until 7 at the station. It’s an effort to raise money for the Gary Eccles Memorial Scholarship Fund. Two students receive the scholarship every spring.

Eccles is a former Peru fire chief who died from cancer in 2014.

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Staffing issues blamed for another Illinois Valley dining spot to close

Posted by wlpo on September 22, 2016

Good help is apparently hard to find anymore at least when you run a restaurant.

One day after news officially came out that John’s North Star in La Salle was closing at the end of the month because of staffing issues, along comes an announcement from Pagan O’Learys in Granville. A message on the Irish Pub’s Facebook page says “due to staffing issues Pagans will be closed until further notice.” The message also says “anyone interested in purchasing should call Janko Realty.”

In a related note, someone has apparently bought the former Amici’s Ristorante on 4th Street in Peru. The Coldwell Banker sign now says “sold” on it. The restaurant sale price was listed at $185,000.

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Route 251 dedication ceremony planned in Tonica

Posted by wlpo on September 22, 2016

Route 251 between Tonica and Mendota won’t just be Route 251 as of Wednesday.

State Senator Sue Rezin will join others in dedicating a stretch of Route 251 to the Witczak family who had seven brothers serve the country in either World War II or the Korean War. The highway between Tonica and Mendota will be called the “Witczak Brothers Memorial Highway.” A dedication ceremony will start at 10:30 next Wednesday morning at the Tonica fire station.

Seven sons of Thomas and Clara served in different capacities of the military. All made it back home from war but only Anthony is still alive.

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Driver and passenger okay after slamming into cows near Serena

Posted by wlpo on September 22, 2016

It’s hard enough to avoid deer on the road. A woman from Ottawa crashed into a couple of bovine while driving near Serena.

Deputies say 38-year-old Lisa Woods was on Route 52 Tuesday night when she hit two cows in the road. Both she and her passenger were okay. Their car was totaled. Deputies didn’t say how the cows fared.

In a bit of irony, also included in today’s La Salle County Sheriff’s report is a man with the last name of Holstein getting ticketed for speeding. Holstein is a breed of dairy cattle.

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L-P School Board says no more to “e-cigs” and “vaping”

Posted by wlpo on September 22, 2016

Do you think electronic cigarettes or vaping are a better alternative to cigarettes or in your mind are they all bad?

In an effort to be consistent across the board, the L-P School Board has officially banned electronic cigarettes and vaping devices from school property. School Superintendent Steve Wrobleski says there have been complaints of people smoking the E-cigarettes or vaping, especially at sporting events.

The Smoke Free Illinois Act banned smoking in public places in 2008 but it didn’t include E-cigarettes or vaping products.

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