LaSalle County

LaSalle Flooding Victims 'On Their Own' To Recover

Oct 10, 2019
LaSalle County Emergency Management Agency

There's been heavy flooding throughout northern Illinois in the past few months. State officials requested federal funding to help with flood relief efforts. Not all counties will get assistance. LaSalle County is looking to find alternative ways to assist those affected. Fred Moore is the deputy director of LaSalle’s Emergency Management Agency.

Overdose Awareness To Take International Stage

Aug 29, 2019

International Overdose Awareness Day is approaching on August 31. Cities around Illinois are preparing for events intended to remember those who’ve died of an overdose and educate community members. 

Events range from marches to public training on how to use prescription drugs like Narcan, a brand of Naloxone, that block the effects of opioids. 

Image courtesy of Pixabay

 

A recent LaSalle County prostitution sting made statewide news when it led to the arrest of prominent local officials. Then-mayor of Sandwich Rick Olson and a hospital executive were among those arrested for soliciting prostitutes.

 

But the case also shined a light on the county's growing struggle with drugs and the opioid crisis. The investigation focused on the link between prostitution and the use of illegal drugs in the area.

 

 

Wikimedia

An emerging health care approach factors in the lasting effects of trauma.

In 2016, the Winnebago County Health Department asked the community about top health concerns so it could put together a Community Health Improvement Plan. Several issues made it to the top of the list.

Cynthia Hall is the Department’s Director of Strategic Initiatives. 

“And they told us three things," she explained. "Mental health was one of them. Maternal and child health was another, and violence was the third.”

Steven Depolo / Flickr

Hepatitis is a well-known disease of the liver and for which people receive vaccines as children. But the shots only combat the A and B variants. In this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Chase Cavanaugh has more on Hepatitis C and how it’s being managed across northern Illinois.

Hepatitis C attacks the liver just like variants A and B. But the virus is unique enough that no one has developed a vaccine yet. This means much more work needs to be done to screen for cases and get patients into treatment programs.

Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers

Northern White Sand terminated a lease with a LaSalle County barge loading facility along the Illinois River.

The company shuttered its Utica mine in March of last year and wanted to renegotiate the lease, citing a struggling business climate. However, the County held them to the original terms, which would have required a payment of at least $90,000. Board Member Tom Walsh says the effects on the County are limited. 

CREDIT "COURTROOM ONE GAVEL" BY FLICKR USER BETH CORTEZ-NEAVEL / (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois Supreme Court won’t decide on the legality of LaSalle County's SAFE unit until at least September.

The LaSalle County State’s Attorney’s Office declined to say whether it’s investigating a drug-forfeiture task force.  

Current State’s Attorney Karen Donnelly filed a lawsuit alleging that her predecessor “criminally misused public money” under the SAFE task force.  This group was run by predecessor Brian Towne’s office but later disbanded after Donnelly was elected earlier this year.  

Flickr User Doug McAbee/CC 2.0

High winds caused a variety of damage in several areas of northern Illinois yesterday. 

Splintered trees and pieces of sheet metal littered ditches along the 7900 and 8000 blocks of North Rockton Avenue in rural Rockford, the Rockford Register Star reports. The winds were also strong enough to rip part of the roof off of a large shed.

ComEd also reports almost 1,200 customers are without power in the area.  

Illinois Has Second Wettest April On Record

May 2, 2017
WUIS

Last month was the second-wettest April on record for Illinois. Average state precipitation came in at about seven inches.  

State Climatologist Jim Angel says much of it came in the last seven days, particularly in downstate areas such as Carbondale and Murphysboro. Gov. Bruce Rauner activated the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate relief efforts. 

The Illinois River rose to around 14 feet over the weekend due to heavy rainfall. The National Weather Service predicts it could crest as high as 20 feet Monday. 

As of Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service reports Ottawa received the most rain, at 4.5 inches. It was followed by Oglesby, at 4.44 inches, and LaSalle, at  highest precipitation, at 4.37 inches. 

Flickr user / Images Money "Healthcare Costs" (CC BY 2.0)

Tighter controls are recommended for a checking account controlled by the LaSalle County State's Attorney's Office.

The account, which holds proceeds from drug forfeitures within the county, has been under scrutiny following allegations that former State's Attorney Brian Towne's administration used the funds improperly.

Election cycles always mean a turnover in county officials. Some of these new public servants may see this as a clean slate, but many have to deal with issues from a previous administration. 

The new LaSalle County State's Attorney campaigned against and eventually shut down a program established by the person she defeated for the job. 

WUIS

The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to review the Rock Island Clean Line project.  

The proposed power line would transmit electricity generated from wind farms beginning in northwest Iowa through Illinois' Bureau and LaSalle counties.

Starved Rock State Park

Conservation police are expected to issue a record amount of tickets at Starved Rock State Park.  

The LaSalle News-Tribune reports the previous record was 1,484 tickets in 2014.  Now, officials say they're  on pace to issue 1,568, more than three times the total in an average year. 

 The company behind the Rock Island Clean Line plans to appeal their case to the Illinois Supreme Court.

The project would transmit electricity from northwest Iowa to a converter station in Grundy County.  Parent company Clean Line Energy wanted to use eminent domain to secure property for the project in LaSalle County. 

Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers

The LaSalle County Board voted 20-6 Monday to extend a moratorium on any new high-capacity wells in the area.  It effectively bans the creation of any new sand mining operations, which require large amounts of water.   

The moratorium was supposed to expire today, but the Ottawa Times reports board members want to wait for the results of a water study from the U.S. Geological Survey.  The group says the study is set to finish in late September.  

The moratorium remains in effect until the County Board's next meeting Nov. 3.  

The LaSalle County city of Marseilles has issued a voluntary evacuation because of rising floodwaters.

Emergency officials don’t expect the river to rise to levels that would require a mandatory evacuation. But under their flood plans, once the Illinois River hits flood stage, 19 feet, people in areas damaged by floods in 2013 are advised to leave their homes. Or at least keep a close eye on the rising water.

They were notified by automated phone messages.

NIU Center for Governmental Studies

The mining industry’s economic impact on LaSalle County is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

A number of local governments across Illinois are getting money to inspect pollution-control facilities and to investigate complaints about illegal dumping.

LaSalle County Is Getting Another Sand Mine

Feb 7, 2014

The latest project was approved by the village of Utica. The decision could spur legal action from opponents.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

LaSalle County business leaders are looking to a simple idea with a great slogan to turn their economy around.

Village of Schaumburg IL

Municipal aggregation when it comes to electricity took a while to catch on.  Now, it is on the ballot in about 200 communities, including in rural areas of LaSalle County. Businesses and households can become their customers individually. But with voters' approval, communities can also do it collectively for residents.  There are now 30 alternative suppliers.