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Archive for September 26th, 2016

City leaders optimistic about reopening of Kaskaskia Hotel

Posted by wlpo on September 26, 2016

It’s amazing what a difference a million dollars in improvements can make.

With developers putting that money into a new garage roof, replica trusses and brick work on the Kaskaskia Hotel in the past year, the La Salle City Council has agreed to end all litigation against the developers. Both Mayor Jeff Grove and Alderman Tom Ptak say the improvements have gone above and beyond what the city asked for.

The reopening of the 100-room hotel is estimated to cost $30 million. Limberger is banking on a combination of foreign investments, tax credits, and taking on some debt.

The Kaskaskia timeline is to close funding sources and begin construction in the spring, hire hotel management next summer and finish construction in the summer of 2018.

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Candidates from Several Hotly Contested Elections Appear for Forum in Ottawa

Posted by wlpo on September 26, 2016

While your political thoughts were probably on the Presidential Debate Monday night, some local candidates were making an appearance earlier the day.

The LaSalle County Retired Teachers Association held a “Meet the Candidates” day Monday morning in the city. A number of candidates from both sides of the aisle were in attendance.

Among those who reportedly addressed the forum were State Senator Sue Rezin and her opponent Chris Benson and States’ Attorney Brian Towne and his opponent, Karen Donnelly. Also at the event was Jerry Long, who is running for the 76th District State Representative seat which had previously been occupied by current Auditor General Frank Mautino.

Many of the candidates chose to address the forum but reportedly left before the Q and A session could begin.

Most notable among those who did not show up was Long’s opponent for the 76th District seat, incumbent Democrat Andy Skoog.

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State Police Safety Check Saturday Leads to Six Arrests for Drugs and Alcohol

Posted by wlpo on September 26, 2016

You’ve probably run into a State Police roadside safety check if you’ve been out and about late at night. Have you ever wondered how effective they are?

A total of six people were arrested for drug and alcohol violations at a checkpoint that was set up at the Route 251 and North 25th Road intersection. The checkpoint was held in the “late evening hours” on Saturday, according to police.

Of the six arrested, 2 were busted for driving under the influence. They said the other four involved “other drug and alcohol arrests.”

Nine other tickets were also issued during the checkpoint by police, and fourteen written warnings were given out.

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Stretch of Route 251 to be Dedicated to Veteran Family

Posted by wlpo on September 26, 2016

While Veterans’ Day isn’t until November, a family of veterans from the Illinois Valley will be honored with a commemorative stretch of highway starting 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.”

The 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.

A dedication ceremony will start at 10:30 Wednesday morning at the Tonica fire station.

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Disaster drill in Bureau County involves dozens of first responders

Posted by wlpo on September 26, 2016

A mass shooting can happen anywhere, that’s why it’s important to be ready when needed.

First responders from throughout the Illinois Valley took part in an active shooter drill Saturday at the old Leepertown School in Bureau. Students from Putnam County, Hall, La Moille, St. Bede and Princeton played the part of shooting victims. Traffic signs around the drill warned drivers about what was going on from about 6 in the morning until 1 in the afternoon Saturday.

Quentin Buffington with the Bureau County Emergency Management Agency thought it was a successful drill.

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Buzz grows ahead of first presidential debate

Posted by wlpo on September 26, 2016

So what will you watch tonight, football or the first of three presidential debates?

The much anticipated November election is just six weeks away and you have a chance to check out presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debate tonight. The question is will you watch for entertainment value or to help make up your mind who you are voting for.

Janice Ryba and Rodney Perez answered that question on the WLPO Facebook page by saying they will watch but their minds are already made up. Wanda McNally called the race a mockery while Lewis DeVore thinks corporations and not voters will pick the next president.

The remaining two presidential debates will be on October 9th and the 19th.

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Fall weather arrives in the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on September 26, 2016

On the calendar, fall officially began last Thursday. It took a few days after for fall-like weather to arrive in the Illinois Valley.

A cold front blew in Sunday night and high temperatures this week are expected to be in the upper-60s to the mid-70s. Overnight temperatures could fall into the upper-40s or mid-50s.

The best chance for rain this week is tomorrow night with a slight chance of showers on Saturday.

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One hiker hurt Sunday at Starved Rock State Park

Posted by wlpo on September 26, 2016

There wasn’t a major fall but paramedics in Utica still were called out to Starved Rock State Park a couple times Sunday.

The first call for help came at 5 in the morning when a park security guard found an unresponsive woman in a car near Illinois Canyon.  La Salle County deputies also responded and arrested 19-year-old Katherine Alleman of Granville for DUI.  She was taken to the county jail.

Then at around 2:30 Sunday afternoon, help was needed for a woman who injured her ankle on the steps near Eagle Cliff.  She was taken to Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru.  The woman is from Chicago and she was on the marked trail.

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Putnam County man killed after being run over

Posted by wlpo on September 26, 2016

Tragedy struck Marshall County over the weekend.

Deputies were called at around 3:30 Sunday morning about a man being run over on a county road west of Henry. Twenty-two-year-old Austin Wright of Putnam was pronounced dead at the scene.

Thirty-three-year-old Michael Sprague of Sparland told deputies he noticed a car stopped off the road and then realized he had run something over. Deputies say Wright had gotten out of his car and was lying down on the road when run over by Sprague.

Investigators say they found alcohol in the victim’s car. Sprague has not been charged with anything.

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Kaskaskia Hotel progress on agenda for La Salle City Council

Posted by wlpo on September 26, 2016

Is enough progress being made at the Kaskaskia to have La Salle city leaders back off on litigation?

Representatives with the Kaskaskia Development group will be at Monday night’s La Salle City Council and give a presentation about work that’s being done to fix up the old downtown hotel. A website called “” features drawings and talks about restoring the Kaskaskia to a “boutique hotel, events and conference center, offering its guests the finest in service, surroundings and Midwest hospitality”.

The city has put pressure on owners of the building by taking them to court.

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