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Archive for December 5th, 2016

New Officials in LaSalle County Sworn in Officially

Posted by wlpo on December 5, 2016

Typically you don’t want to hear a judge call your name in a courtroom. But it was the high point of a wild political year for four officials.

In front of a crowded courtroom in Ottawa Monday, three newly elected LaSalle County officials and one incumbent took their oaths of office. It was a new experience for LaSalle County State’s Attorney Karen Donnelly, Circuit Clerk Greg Vaccaro, and Recorder of Deeds Karen Miller. It wasn’t the first time for LaSalle County Board Chairman Jerry Hicks, who was also sworn-in Monday morning.

Before Judge H. Chris Ryan gave the official oaths, each new official had someone speak on their behalf. The themes in all three speeches were character, commitment, and enthusiasm.

New members of the county board would be sworn in later in the day, also by Judge Ryan.

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Streator Armed Robbery Trial to get Underway Tuesday

Posted by wlpo on December 5, 2016

A paroled murderer will be standing trial starting Tuesday morning, this time for armed robbery.

Fifty-one-year old William Webb has been in custody since being arrested back in August. He was taken in after allegedly shooting at a Streator police officer while trying to escape after robbing the south side Circle K.

At the time of his arrest, Webb was on parole for a murder conviction in Winnebago County. He’s been charged in this case with attempted first-degree murder, armed robbery, and aggravated discharge of a firearm.

Webb remains in the LaSalle County Jail, as he hasn’t been able to come up with the $200,000 needed to be released.

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Two Republicans, One Democrat to Take Seats on LaSalle County Board Monday Night

Posted by wlpo on December 5, 2016

Three men will attend their first meeting as LaSalle County Board members after taking their oath of office.

Judge H. Chris Ryan will swear in the two new Republicans and one Democrat, among the rest of the board, before the meeting starts Monday night. Five incumbents will also take the oath, having come out ahead in November.

New county board members for the GOP include Curtis Faber, who will fill the seat left by retiring Democrat Stephen Abel, and Timothy Geary. The new Democrat on the board is David Torres, who beat incumbent Sandra Billard.

The new members bring the balance to 18 GOP and 11 Democrat seats on the County Board. The Chairman remains a Democrat, as Jerry Hicks held on to his seat in a close race last month.

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State signs off on St. Margaret’s ER renovation and addition

Posted by wlpo on December 5, 2016

A big milestone has been reached with emergency room upgrades at St. Margaret’s Hospital in Spring Valley.

The state recently granted “Occupancy” to the second phase of the ER construction project. The work started last year and included two phases that renovated and expanded the existing ER. There are new exam rooms, support areas along with a much larger waiting room.

The project cost around $5 million.

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Board chairman race recount begins in La Salle County

Posted by wlpo on December 5, 2016

A recount is underway at the governmental complex in Ottawa.

Republican Don Jensen requested a recount after losing to Democrat Jerry Hicks last month by less than 300 votes in the race to be chairman of the La Salle County Board. 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.

La Salle County Clerk JoAnn Carretto says the recount will continue as long as need be to complete the process.

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Candidates begin process of getting on April ballot

Posted by wlpo on December 5, 2016

While it may be the last thing you want to think about, some folks in the Illinois Valley are geared up for the next election.

In April there will be mayoral and city council races in towns like Peru, La Salle, Utica, Mendota and Spring Valley. So far in Peru incumbent Scott Harl has taken out the petition to seek re-election. So far his only challenger is Jim Giordano who finished four out of four candidates in the 2013 election.

In La Salle, Mayor Jeff Grove is the only person to take out a petition to lead the city. In Mendota incumbent David Boelk is seeking another term but it looks like he’ll be challenged by Jesse Arellano.

Mayor Walt Marini has taken out a petition to run again in Spring Valley. Former alderman Jack Narczewski is seeking the mayor’s spot again after he finished third in the 2013 election.

In Utica, Village President Matt Jereb hasn’t taken out a petition to be on the ballot. Richard Maltas has taken out paperwork to run for village president.

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Wisconsin driver hurt after spin out near Oglesby

Posted by wlpo on December 5, 2016

As the snow began to fall, the calls started to come in with crashes.

Just after 10:30 Sunday morning Oglesby paramedics and state police went out to a crash on the Interstate 39 bridge over the Illinois River. Twenty-three-year-old Jonathan Gholson of Wisconsin lost control on the snowy road and crashed into a cement wall. He was taken to Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru.

Right about the same time, troopers and paramedics from La Salle were called to a crash on westbound Interstate 80. Traffic was backed up after the one-car crash just east of the La Salle exit.

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Sheriff’s office stays busy during wintry weather

Posted by wlpo on December 5, 2016

How well did you handle driving in the snow? The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office handled four crashes in a couple hours time Sunday afternoon.

The fender benders happened between 1 and 3:30 near Marseilles, Sheridan, Earlville and Streator. Thankfully none of the crashes left anyone injured.

In the crash near Earlville a 16-year-old driver slid off the road and hit a tree.

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Updated snowfall amounts across the Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on December 5, 2016

The first snowstorm of December was a doozy.

According to the National Weather Service, over 8 inches fell in Malden and Manlius.  Weather spotters in La Salle, Earlville and Princeton measured 7 inches while six inches fell in Mendota, Ottawa and Varna.  About 5 inches of snow fell in Streator, Marseilles and at the Classic Hits 103.9 WLPO studios in Oglesby.

The airport in the Quad Cities measured 10 inches while 6 inches fell at O’Hare and a little more than 5 inches of snow was reported at Midway.

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Tree of Hope fundraiser underway at Horizon House

Posted by wlpo on December 5, 2016

It’s good to remember all of your neighbors at Christmas, including the people who are clients of Horizon House in Peru. Hundreds of adults with disabilities get help through the Horizon House.

Horizon House is preparing to light its “Tree of Hope” in front of their building on Plank Road. The tree has long been a symbol of their annual fundraiser.

A bulb will be lit for every 50 dollars of money they receive and they want to raise at least 40 thousand dollars by Christmas. Donations less than 50 dollars will be added together.

You can donate money to their cause by sending it by mail or dropping it off at their office on Plank Road just north of Shooting Park Road.

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