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Archive for November, 2016

County Board Votes to Move Money for Highway Projects

Posted by wlpo on November 30, 2016

Do you ever have to move money from one account to another to make sure you can pay bills? The LaSalle County Board did that Tuesday but on a much bigger scale.

In preparation for the upcoming construction projects next year, the board voted to move $2.1 million. The money is being made available from the Motor Fuel Tax Fund.

According to LaSalle County Engineer Larry Kinzer, about $1 million of that money will go toward the projects themselves. The other $1.1 million will be used for payroll for the employees working on the projects.

Of the money going to payroll, a chunk of that will be going to Kinzer himself. The board also voted to use more than $126,000 of the Motor Fuel Tax money to pay Kinzer’s salary for 2017. IDOT will reimburse the county for half that amount.

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No Fatal Crashes in November on Illinois Valley Roads

Posted by wlpo on November 30, 2016

If you’re on the roads a lot in the Illinois Valley you’ll be thankful for this fact. There were no fatal accidents in LaSalle, Bureau, or Putnam County roads in November.

Despite that fact, LaSalle County is still among the 10 counties in Illinois with the most traffic deaths. So far this year 29 people have been killed in 24 crashes. That’s a five-year high for the county, and more than twice as many deaths when compared to all of 2015.

Bureau County has had 10 deaths in 10 fatal crashes in 2016. The number of fatal accidents is once again higher than the year before, when there were 8 of each.

The good news is that Putnam County roads have been very safe by comparison. Only one person has been killed in one crash in the county.

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LaSalle County State’s Attorney to Transition to Appellate Prosecutor’s Office

Posted by wlpo on November 30, 2016

After a rough start to the month, the LaSalle County State’s Attorney ended November on a high note.

Brian Towne lost his re-election bid against Karen Donnelly, who takes office today, but managed to quickly find new employment. According to the NewsTribune, he’s been tapped as the newest member of the Illinois Appellate Prosecutor’s Office.

The move means Towne will be called to handle cases, primarily in northern Illinois, where a prosecutor has a conflict or assist in cases that may be especially complex. He’ll bring his 24 years of experience as a prosecutor with him to the office.

It’s not the first time someone has hopped from a similar office to this level. Seven of the eight attorneys currently in the office were former state’s attorneys.

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New box store coming to Streator

Posted by wlpo on November 30, 2016

The Northpoint Shopping Center in Streator could soon be a busy place again.

The Streator City Council had a special meeting Tuesday night to talk about a Big R Store locating in the plaza. Plans are for the store to open up next year in parts of the old Kmart, CVS and Radio Shack buildings. This weekend a new movie theater is set to open in the shopping center.

To help attract the Big R to Streator, the city council has worked out redevelopment agreements using bonds and a TIF district. The closest Big R to the Illinois Valley is in Morris.

The company sells farm and livestock merchandise along with home and garden items, clothing and sporting goods.

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Miracle on First Street returning to La Salle

Posted by wlpo on November 30, 2016

Get out of the house with your children or grandchildren Saturday by taking a trip to downtown La Salle. Miracle on First Street is the city’s annual Christmas celebration.

You can have breakfast with Santa starting at 8 and take pictures with him at his workshop. There will also be carriage and fire truck rides, Christmas Family Bingo, and refreshments.

Miracle on First Street wraps up with an afternoon walk with Santa to city hall where the city tree is lit for the season at around 4:30. An “early bird drawing” for the city’s 50/50 will also be held after the tree lighting.

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Felony drug arrest made in Mendota

Posted by wlpo on November 30, 2016

A traffic stop in Mendota turned into a felony drug bust.

Officers pulled over 33-year-old Nathan Farley of Earlville Tuesday afternoon. He was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance along with driving with a suspended license and driving without insurance.

Farley was hauled off to jail in Ottawa.

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Two Hospitalized after Semi Jackknifes along I-80 in Bureau County

Posted by wlpo on November 29, 2016

Police are still trying to find out what caused a semi to jackknife into a median Tuesday morning in Bureau County.

According to the Illinois State Police, Charles Dunlap of Alabama was going west on Interstate 80 west of Ladd when his semi ran into the median. The reason is unknown at this time, but after the semi went into the median it jackknifed before coming to rest partially in the eastbound lanes.

Both Dunlap and his passenger, Gerald Zimmerman from North Carolina, would have to be taken to St. Margaret’s Hospital in Spring Valley. Dunlap would also be ticketed for improper lane use in the accident.

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“Discovery Recount” Requested in Race for County Board Chair

Posted by wlpo on November 29, 2016

Just when you thought you were starting to get past the excitement of the election, more drama pops up in one race.

According to County Clerk JoAnn Carretto, a petition for a discovery recount was filed in the race for County Board Chairman. The petition was filed by Republican challenger Don Jensen, who lost to incumbent Democrat Jerry Hicks by 293 votes.

Hicks was accepting of the move, saying Jensen “has every right” to ask for the recount, especially given the tight nature of the race. According to Illinois law, a candidate who loses a race can ask for the discovery recount if they get 95% of the votes that the winning candidate received.

Carretto says the recount will begin December 5th, and continue as long as need be to complete the process.

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Not guilty plea made in Deb Dewey case

Posted by wlpo on November 29, 2016

A court appearance Tuesday didn’t lead to any new charges against the man accused of trying to hide Deb Dewey’s body but a jury trial date did come out of it.

Sixty-six-year-old Clifford Andersen of Standard waived his right to a speedy trial and agreed to a May 8th jury trial date.  Andersen pled not guilty to concealment of a homicidal death.  According to an indictment, he buried Dewey on or about September 8th at a property along Route 71 in Standard knowing that she had been killed.

The concealment charge brings the possibility of two to five years in prison but it’s also a crime that’s probation eligible.  Andersen needs $75,000 to post bond.  He’s being held in the Peoria County Jail due to health issues according to Judd Mennie

Andersen was using a walker to get around inside the courtroom.

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Sales Tax Revenue for LaSalle County Continues Slide in August

Posted by wlpo on November 29, 2016

The rough trend in sales tax revenue that goes to LaSalle County continued in August.

According to the latest report, the county took in $225,000 for the month. That was a drop of $7,000 from August of 2015, and the fifth straight month that sales tax revenue fell compared to the previous year.

That amount was the least the county had taken in for the month of August since 2017. It was also the seventh of the eight months with data for 2016 that the revenue dropped.

So far this year, the county has taken in a little more than $70,000 less than it had in sales tax revenue through the first eight months of 2015.

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