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News from the Illinois Valley

New fire station and rescue boat in the works for Ottawa

Posted by wlpo on December 13, 2016

A new fire station could be in Ottawa’s future.

The Ottawa City Council met last night to discuss a few items, two pertaining to the city’s fire protection. Fire Chief Steve Haywood explained the south side fire station handles 35% of all calls for the city, and mentioned the need for a bigger station.

Commissioner Tom Ganiere then talked about the fire department’s need for a new rescue boat, as the old one is “dead.” He said the city would need to decide in the near future about whether to purchase another boat for more than $35,000, so it can be ready for next boating season.

No formal action was taken at last night’s meeting.

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Schock pleads not guilty to 24-count indictment

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Former Congressman Aaron Schock has pleaded not guilty in federal court to misusing government and campaign money for personal use.
Schock appeared Monday in U.S. District Court in Springfield to be arraigned on a 24-count indictment. It includes allegations of wire and mail fraud and theft of government funds.
U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough set a trial date for Feb. 7.
The Republican from Peoria was a formidable fundraiser and a rising star in the GOP before news reports questioned his lavish spending to renovate his Capitol Hill office in the style of the PBS TV series “Downton Abbey” and scrutiny over travel and real estate deals.
The indictment includes nine counts of wire fraud, five of falsification of election commission filings, six of filing false federal income tax returns, two of making false statements, and one each of mail fraud and theft of government funds. A conviction on just one count of wire fraud carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

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Congressman Kinzinger Delivers 400+ Cards to Veterans Home During Day in Illinois Valley

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2016

Veterans from several generations of military service and potential future servicemen and women were both honored by a U.S. Representative Monday.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger first stopped at the Illinois Veteran’s Home in La Salle, where he delivered more than 400 cards to the veterans. He had previously put out the call to anyone in his district to make the cards for the veterans. The response was bigger than he expected, with cards being sent in from as far away as California.

After the event, he went to a reception in Ottawa for students he has nominated for acceptance into the military. Kinzinger said he enjoyed being able to honor both generations.

The Congressman’s day wasn’t solely about veterans, though. Between the events he stopped by Ottawa’s City Hall for a meeting of the Agriculture Advisory Committee.

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Donations for Princeton Toy Drive Accepted through Wednesday

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2016

You only have a couple days left to help fill the trucks in Princeton to help kids in need.

The effort is organized by the Princeton Elks and Prescott Brothers of Princeton as part of their 2016 Toy Drive. They’re looking to fill trucks in the showrooms of their West Peru Street locations with new, unwrapped toys.

If you’d like to contribute, they’re looking for toys for boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 12. They say there are more than 200 children in need in the area.

Donations will be accepted through Wednesday.

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November Meant More Tickets, Arrests for State Police

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2016

There were more people on the roads last month thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday. That meant state police were also much busier.

According to the latest numbers released, State Troopers with District 17 gave out 625 tickets in November, more than double the 286 they issued in October. There were also 13 alcohol-related arrests last month compared to 8 the month before.

Other criminal activity stayed constant. For the second straight month, 25 people were arrested by state troopers for criminal offenses.

Unfortunately, troopers had to handle 50 crashes in LaSalle, Bureau, and Putnam County in October. The good news is that none of those crashes were fatal, but it was the second straight month that number had gone up.

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Annual Wreaths Across America program to be observed in La Salle and Marseilles

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2016

At 11 o’clock Saturday morning, wreaths will be laid simultaneously on veteran’s graves in about a thousand locations in the United States. Two of those ceremonies are in the Illinois Valley.

In La Salle, a “Wreaths Across America” ceremony is at the veteran’s home. The other ceremony in the Illinois Valley takes place at The Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial. Wreaths for each panel of the wall will be laid.

The Wreaths Across America idea started in 1992 with wreaths laid at Arlington National Cemetery.

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Fundraising underway for Mendota Polar Plunge

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2016

What would you do to help Special Olympics? Would you raise $100 and then jump into Lake Mendota February 27?

That’s the requirement to be part of the Special Olympics Polar Plunge. If you raise at least that amount, you’ll receive an exclusive Polar Plunge sweatshirt. Prizes will be awarded to the top fundraisers and anyone can join and even form a team. Mendota Civic Center will host a party afterwards.

To find out more, go to Polar Plunge. The plunge is one of Special Olympics biggest fundraisers of the year.

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Hennepin library buys into Star Wars hysteria

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2016

For “Star Wars” fans, this just isn’t any other week.

The newest movie in the franchise “Rouge One” comes out Thursday night. The folks running the library in Hennepin are feeling the force. They are showing the previous seven “Star Wars” movies this week at the library.

You can check out episode one Monday afternoon at 4 with the next movie in the series being shown every afternoon at the same time until the sixth and seventh movies will both be shown on Saturday.

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Missing teen found safe according to Streator Police

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2016

In case you missed it, a missing teenage girl from Streator was found safe and sound.

Streator Police say 17-year-old Taylor Miller was found Saturday at a friend’s house. She was picked up by a deputy and returned to her mom.

Miller was reported missing after walking out of Streator High School last Tuesday. Miller’s mom praised the efforts of police in the search for her daughter.

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Would be candidates can now turn in election petitions

Posted by wlpo on December 12, 2016

The ballot for April’s election should start taking shape.

Monday is the first day candidates for jobs like mayor and city council can turn in their signed election petitions. Would be candidates have a week to turn in their paperwork.

The April election will include races for mayor, city council, school board, township trustees and community college boards. In the Illinois Valley, there will be mayoral and city council races in towns like Peru, La Salle, Utica, Mendota and Spring Valley.

Incumbent mayors in Peru, La Salle, Mendota and Spring Valley have all taken out petitions to run for re-election.

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