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Book published documenting history of Streator Fire Department

Posted by wlpo on October 7, 2015

A book seven years in the making about the Streator Fire Department has been published.

Shane Elko never was a firefighter but became interested in the history of the Streator Fire Department so he started compiling information about fires dating all the way back to 1887. Elko was about 90 percent done with the book “Dancing with the Devil: Stories from the Streator Fire Department” when he passed away last year. His family then approached firefighter Bryan Park and they finished the book.

Elko’s book goes all the way back to the 1880s and includes a chapter on the Kennedy Truck Body fire where two firefighters were killed.

The book is $12 and is available by clicking Streator Fire Dept Book

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Ottawa chasing down grant to redevelop riverfront and hopefully stop flooded basements

Posted by wlpo on October 7, 2015

Ottawa has gone after several grants over the years but nothing compares to their latest effort.

The city is one of 40 finalists across the country for a share of a billion dollars from the federal government’s “National Disaster Resilience Competition.” Through a partnership with the state, Ottawa hopes to get over $15 million in grant money while agreeing to fork over about $6 million for the local match.

The grant money would include around $9 million to develop the city’s waterfront. Plans are to build a marina and amphitheater where the old Central School once stood.

Other grant money would pay for sanitary sewer improvements. City Engineer Dave Noble says flooded basements of homes and businesses can’t continue happening and this grant money would go a long ways to fix the issue.

Other plans for the grant money would be to build a flood wall around the wastewater treatment plant and to develop the Harper’s Farm property east of town. The farm would include a compensatory store area for floodwaters along with hiking trails.

Noble says the grant application deadline is October 25th and the city should learn its fate in December.

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Big pot bust made on Interstate 80 near La Salle

Posted by wlpo on October 7, 2015

This big of a pot bust doesn’t happen very often. A man state police call a cannabis smuggler is accused of hauling over 100 pounds of pot through the Illinois Valley.

Thirty-six-year-old Thoai Minh Le of Garden Grove, California was pulled over Monday on Interstate 80 near La Salle. A trooper says after catching of whiff of marijuana, Le’s car was searched. Allegedly inside were four large suitcases stuffed with 106 pounds of pot.

Le was arrested with cannabis trafficking and possession of cannabis with the intent to deliver. Both charges are felonies that can bring as much as 30 years in prison.

Le is due in court Wednesday.

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Panel recommends Mautino for Illinois Auditor General job

Posted by wlpo on October 6, 2015

(AP) – A bipartisan panel has selected longtime state Rep. Frank Mautino to serve as Illinois’ next auditor general.

The Legislative Audit Commission voted Tuesday to recommend the Spring Valley Democrat to replace retiring Auditor General William Holland.

Mautino’s selection for the job of overseeing audits of state agencies must be approved by a three-fifth vote in the Illinois House and Senate.

Mautino has represented parts or all of Bureau, LaSalle, Livingston and Putnam counties since 1991. He’s served as deputy majority leader since 2011.

Holland announced in June he’ll retire Dec. 31. He’s served as auditor general since 1992.

The other finalists were Democratic state Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook, attorney Larry Sanders from Marion and Mary Modelski, who leads an audit division of California’s Alameda County.

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Car stolen in Mendota

Posted by wlpo on October 6, 2015

Mendota Police need your help to find a stolen car in Mendota.

Sometime between 5:30 and 9:30 last night, a black 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee was stolen from the 200 block of Ninth Avenue.

An automated call from the police department went out to Mendota residents shortly before 10 this morning advising them of the theft.

The car has an Illinois license plate of 399-7004. If you have any information on where the car is or about the theft, call the Mendota police department at 539-9331 or Mendota Crimestoppers at 538-7777.

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Man who fell out of moving bus dies a week after the accident

Posted by wlpo on October 6, 2015

If you’ve been following the story of a Spring Valley man falling out of a moving school bus, he has died.

Joseph Marchiando was pronounced dead Sunday night at OSF St. Francis Medical Center. He was flown there Saturday, September 26th after losing his balance and falling out the door of a moving school bus along Route 6 in Spring Valley.

The 48-year-old was part of a group that rented the bus to take them back and forth from a golf outing. Others on the bus say Marchiando was standing up talking to them when he fell down the bus’ steps.

The driver says she was slowing to make a turn and stopped the bus and called 9-1-1 as soon as Marchiando fell out.

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Church sign vandalized after controversial message offends some

Posted by wlpo on October 6, 2015

The debate over same-sex marriage has taken an ugly turn in Ottawa.

Last week, the sign out front of First Assembly of God Church in Ottawa read “Just because it’s legal, doesn’t make it right.” Not long after the message was displayed, Pastor Ron Johnson says someone vandalized the sign Friday night into Saturday morning. The vandalism done in marker included a pornographic symbol along with the peace sign, a heart and the message “hashtag pride.”

Johnson says the writing was done on both sides of their church sign and they did report it to police. He says the church’s message isn’t just about gay marriage but also issues like abortion and legalization of marijuana.

Johnson says the response to his church’s display has been mixed, but the majority seems to be in favor.

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No rush to open medical marijuana cultivation center in Oglesby

Posted by wlpo on October 5, 2015

Right now, the demand for medical marijuana in Illinois is lagging behind the supply. That’s why the Oglesby medical marijuana cultivation center hasn’t opened yet.

Oglesby Mayor Don Finley says he talked to the company last week, and they told him the facility is pretty much all done, but they haven’t been able to hire anyone or grow any marijuana because there simply isn’t enough people in the state for it. Currently, the state has only approved about 3,000 applicants for medical marijuana use. Finley says a number that small can be served by just one cultivation center.

Until Governor Bruce Rauner approves more applicants to use medical marijuana, the facility in Oglesby is at a standstill. Finley says more applicants are up for approval sometime later this month, and he hopes Rauner approves them.

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Heroin overdose forum planned next month in Peru

Posted by wlpo on October 5, 2015

Whether you call it a crisis or an epidemic, heroin overdoses won’t go away without an open discussion.

The Peru Police Department is hosting a heroin roundtable discussion Tuesday, November 17th at L-P High School. Police officers, school superintendents, hospital presidents and behavioral health officials will all be part of the panel with you welcome to be part of the discussion in the audience. Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei says brainstorming could lead to some solutions.

Rod Thorson from the Classic Hits 103.9 WLPO morning show will moderate the forum.

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Go back in history this weekend with the Shadows of the Blue and Gray

Posted by wlpo on October 5, 2015

The “Yanks” and “Rebs” will renew their hostilities again this weekend in Princeton.

After a year’s hiatus, the Shadows of the Blue and Gray returns to City County Park this Saturday and Sunday. The encampment opens Saturday at 10 with the Grand Entrance of Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln in the early afternoon before the first battle reenactment starts at 3. The first day wraps up with an evening dance and live music. Sunday’s battle reenactment starts at 3 followed by a parade and medical scenarios.

It will cost you $5 to check out Shadows of the Blue and Gray. Boy and Cub Scout troops are encouraged to camp out overnight with the soldiers on Saturday.

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