Local News – 7/31/15

July 31st, 2015

*CPASA Family Fun Fest

The 1st annual CPASA Family Fun Fest is tomorrow (8/1/15). The event will take place at Zearing Park in Princeton from 11 until 6 and will feature a dunk tank, segway rides, bounce houses, a candy drop and live music. The Community Partners Against Substance Abuse is sponsoring the event. CPASA is 140 members strong currently and they are dedicated to promoting public awareness regarding substance abuse. Princeton Police Chief and CPASA member Tom Root (RUT) said, “We are trying to keep illegal drugs off the streets and out of the hands of those who would use them.” CPASA director Dawn Conerton said, “We created the Family Fun Fest to help sustain all that CPASA is doing in the community. We wanted a Community-oriented event where anyone can go and have fun as a family.”


*Tiskilwa Bottom Road Closed

The Bottom Road east of Tiskilwa will be closed to through traffic for the Tiskilwa Pow Wow Days 5K Run/Walk tomorrow morning (8/1/15) from 7:30 until 9:30. There will be access to Tiskilwa from County Road 1925 E. or County Road 2000 E. until the race is completed. Streets being utilized for the race include South St., Mound St., Bound St., and Pottowattami Dr.


*Red Cross Offers Blood Donation Opportunities For Summer

The American Red Cross is asking eligible donors to give blood. Donors of all blood types are needed, especially those with types AB, O negative, A negative and B negative. Upcoming Blood donation opportunities are at the Walnut Bible Community Church on Monday (8/3/15) from 1 until 6 in Bureau County and in LaSalle County, the Mendota Sweet corn Festival on August 8th from 9:00 until 2, the First Baptist Church in Ottawa on Thursday (8/6/15) from 1:30 until 5:30, The Farm Ridge Township Building in Grand Ridge tomorrow morning (8/1/15) from 8:30 until noon and at the American Red Cross in Peru on Tuesday (8/4/15) from noon until 5:30. And in Lee County, The Illinois Department of Transportation in Dixon on Friday (8/7/15) from 10:00 until 4:00.

Local News – 7/30/15

July 31st, 2015

*Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies at Starved Rock

Officials at Starved Rock State Park and Lodge gathered together for a ribbon cutting ceremony to re-open their two main parking lots which had been closed for two months due to repeated flooding. Superintendent Kerry Novak said, “This has been a major inconvenience to hikers and visitors, especially when the overflow parking lots reached capacity.” A ribbon cutting will take place at the entrance to the main parking lot of the Starved Rock Visitor Center at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow (7/31/15). To encourage everyone to revisit Trailheads Concessions sometime this summer, the Lodge launched The Great Getaway Giveaway Package. You have to go in person to the Starved Rock State Park Visitor Center and stop in Trailheads to register but you could win an overnight stay with breakfast and one lb. of fudge to take home! The deadline to enter is August 31.


*In reports from the Bureau County State’s Attorney’s office, 18 year old Jeremy Lucas of Princeton pleaded guilty to retail theft. He was ordered to pay $457 in fees and court costs and was placed on conditional discharge for 2 years. He will also serve 2 days in the Bureau County jail for the offense.

Thomas Cedric Strouse

July 31st, 2015

Thomas Cedric “Ced” Strouse, 85, of rural Buda, IL joined longtime buddy Burton Doty in heaven on Sunday, July 26,

2015 after dying at home surrounded by his earthly angels, Kelly Hechtner and her team, who cared for him for over

five years. The family expresses their gratitude to the team and Unity Hospice – Rochelle. Memorial visitation will be

held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 5th at Stackhouse-Moore Funeral Services, Sheffield. Private inurnment

services will be held at Oakland Cemetery, Princeton, IL with military honors. Memorials may be made to Mason

Memorial Public Library, PO Box 55, Buda, IL, 61314.

Born to Edgar M. and Jessie C. (Cecil) Strouse on October 22, 1929 in Elkhart, IN, Ced moved to his mother’s family

farm in Bureau County as a teenager. He received his accounting degree from Bradley University, served in the U.S.

Air Force as a cryptographer during the Korean War, and farmed with his brother Ted Strouse for decades. Ced had

been a member of Hidden Lake Country Club and Princeton Elks Club and past president of Sheffield Lions Club.

We’ll all miss the impish twinkle in his eye. It tickled him to drop just a subtle, harmless hint about someone at

Langford Pharmacy and observe how much a rumor spread and evolved. An avid golfer, fisherman, gardener, card

player and cigar-eating yet big-hearted fellow, Ced thrived on helping others.

Survivors include nephew Paul Strouse (Cindi Knickrehm), niece Lisa (Tony) Caramia, and grandnephews Cole

Hunton and Paxton Strouse. Ced’s parents, brother, sister-in-law Pat Strouse, and niece Kay Strouse preceded him in


Online condolences for Ced may be left at his obituary on

Billie Jessen

July 29th, 2015

Billie A. Jessen, 80 of Hennepin died on Monday, July 27, 2015 at her residence.

Service will be at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 30, 2015 at Dysart – Cofoid Funeral

Chapel, Granville. Rev. Mike Barclay will officiate. Burial will be at Riverside

Cemetery, Hennepin.

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at Dysart – Cofoid

Funeral Chapel, Granville.

Billie was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 1, 1935 to Floyd and Guistina “Jean”

(Actis) Brown. She married Gudmund “Sonny” Jessen on May 28, 1955 in Granville.

She graduated from Hennepin High School. Billie was Deputy Clerk for the Putnam

County Clerk for many years. Billie was also a legal secretary for Durley Boyle Law

Firm in Hennepin, a mother and homemaker.

Billie was a member of the Hennepin United Methodist Church and the Putnam County

Democrats Organization.

She is survived by one son, Craig (Amy) Jessen Sr. of Hennepin; two daughters, Debra

Jessen Holmes of Standard and Cheryl Jessen Keegan of Peru; six grandchildren,

Nicholas Keegan of Hennepin, Amanda (Jason) Scaggs of Hennepin, Craig (Bailey)

Jessen Jr. of Hennepin, Jeremy Jessen of Peru, Cody Jessen of Granville and Joshua

Jessen of Hennepin; two great-grandchildren, Jack Jessen and Presley Scaggs; two sister-

in-law’s, Delores Jessen of Hennepin and Ann Brown of Hennepin.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, “Sonny” in 2003 and her twin

brothers, Floyd and Harvey Brown.

Contributions may be directed to donor’s choice.

Pallbearers will be Nic Keegan, Cody Jessen, Jeremy Jessen, Josh Jessen, Craig Jessen Jr.

and Jason Scaggs.

Online condolences may be made to her family at

Local News – 7/29/15

July 29th, 2015

Depue Boat Races 2015

Thousands of people are visiting DePue this weekend for what’s become a much-anticipated tradition. This marks the 31st consecutive year of the Pro National Championship Boat Races at Lake DePue. Champs will be crowned in 19 classes at the event, which runs through Sunday and is sponsored by the DePue Men’s Club. Publicity Chairman Eric Bryant says 25,000 people attended last year’s races which drew nearly 200 boats from 21 States. Racing starts at noon on Friday (7/31/15) and Saturday (8/1/15) , and at 12:30 on Sunday (8/2/15). The event also features food stands, carnival rides and games, and a beer garden. Also free music and dancing when the racing is done Friday and Saturday night. Daily admission is three-dollars and WZOE-AM 1490 is broadcasting on-location from the boat races on Friday from 2 until 4.

Illinois House Votes To Stop Pay Raise – 7/29/15

July 29th, 2015

>>Flooding Worries Linger After Overnight Storms

(Davenport, IA)  —  A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect for more than a dozen counties in eastern Iowa and another seven in Illinois after another round of strong storms soaked the Quad Cities area overnight. The National Weather Service says the rain cooled things down, but it once again means flooding for some low-lying neighborhoods. Forecasters say it will take a bit to dry out, but today will be much cooler and a lot less humid.

>>Illinois House Votes To Stop Pay Raise

(Springfield, IL)  —  Illinois lawmakers might not see that pay raise after all. The Illinois House yesterday voted to suspend lawmakers’ 13-hundred-dollar raise because the state still does not have a budget. Lawmakers say they wanted to send the right message. But there are questions as to whether the vote will stop the pay increase or just delay it. The state Senate is expected to vote on the plan next week. Legislators make a base pay of over 67-thousand dollars in the state.

>>Illinois Increases Food Stamp Threshold

(Springfield, IL)  —  A family of four can now make just over 40-thousand dollars and qualify for food stamps in Illinois, Governor Bruce Rauner yesterday signed a new law that increases the income threshold. Illinoishad capped food stamps for families of four making under 32-thousand dollars. More than two-million people in Illinois are on food stamps.

>>No Budget, No Video Gaming Money

(Springfield, IL)  —  The cash from video poker machines will stay in Springfield until Illinois gets a new state budget. The Daily Herald reported yesterday cities and towns got word this week that without a state budget the state will not be sharing any taxes collected from video poker machines. Video gaming was worth three-point-six-million-dollars to local governments last month alone. Lawmakers were supposed to have a budget by May 31st. The old budget expired July 1st.

>>No Foul Play In Missing Man’s Death

(Davenport, IA)  —  Police in Davenport say there are no signs of foul play in Jim Terhune’s death. Terhune is the disabled man who went missing last week. Police say in addition to the childhood injury that left his disabled, Terhune was a diabetic. Police found his body Saturday not far from where he went missing.

Rauner Could Be Making Plans For Possible Strike – 7/28/15

July 28th, 2015

>>Rauner Could Be Making Plans For Possible Strike

(Springfield, IL)  —  Governor Rauner’s Administration may be making plans to deal with a possible strike Friday by the state’s largest union.  The “State Journal-Register” reports that retired state workers are being contacted by their old employers to see if they’d be willing to work in case of a strike.  The Rauner Administration has been negotiating a new contract with leaders of AFSCME.  The union’s short-term contract extension is about to expire.  A spokeswoman for Rauner says the administration is pursuing all options.

>>Committee To Review Evidence In Sandra Bland’s Death

(Hempstead, TX)  —  A committee of outside attorneys is being brought in to review the case surrounding Sandra Bland’s death.  Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis announced yesterday that the committee will take a closer look at all of the evidence, including the traffic stop that led to her arrest.  The 28-year-old Naperville native was found dead earlier this month in a Texas jail cell.  Bland’s death was ruled a suicide, but those close to her question that ruling.

>>Man Killed By Car In Alton

(Alton, IL)  —  A man is dead after he was hit by a car in Alton.  Police say Lester Anderson was hit yesterday morning while walking along Route 140. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.  It’s not yet known if the driver will be charged.

>>Wisconsin Governor Makes Fundraising Stops In Illinois

(Undated)  —  GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker continues to work his way across to country to raise funds for his campaign.  Walker made several stops in Illinois yesterday including Chicago, Bloomington and Godfrey.  The Wisconsin governor is scheduled to be in Pennsylvania today before heading to Iowa later this week.

>>Car Smashes Into Winnebago County Animal Control Vehicle

(Rockford, IL)  —  Rockford police are looking for the driver who rammed his car into a Winnebago County Animal Control vehicle.  Officials say the man crashed into another vehicle yesterday before getting out and threatening the other driver.  He then got back into his car and slammed into the Animal Control vehicle nearby and drove off.  The man fled the scene on foot after crashing into a tree, which caused his vehicle to burst into flames.

>>More People Visit Illinois In 2014

(Springfield, IL)  —  More and more people keep visiting the state of Illinois.  Data released by The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity shows there were more than 109-million visitors last year, a three-and-a-half-percent increase from 2013.  Those same visitors also boosted state and local tax revenues by over 133-million dollars in 2014.

>>U of I Hires New Assistant Women’s B-Ball Coach

(Champaign, IL)  —  The University of Illinois is replacing one of the coaches at the center of a lawsuit against the school by former members of the woman’s basketball team.  The school announced the hiring of Jody Martinez as an assistant coach.  Martinez is filling the void following the firing of assistant coach Mike Divilbiss.  The team let the coach go following allegations that led to a lawsuit claiming that he and head coach Matt Bollant created a racially hostile environment.

Local News – 7/28/15

July 28th, 2015

*Millington Stabbing Update

A 16 year old Ottawa male has been arrested this morning (7/28/15) by LaSalle County Sherriff’s office investigators for the stabbing of two male party goers in Millington early Sunday morning. Both victims are believed to be in stable condition at this time.


*In reports from the Bureau County State’s Attorney’s office, 52 year old Donald Nelson of Tiskilwa pleaded guilty to driving while under the influence of alcohol. He was ordered to pay $2000 in fees and court costs and placed on probation for 2 years. He will also serve 10 days in the Bureau County jail for the offense.

31 year old Jerrica Whitford of Princeton pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. She was ordered to pay a total of $2189 in fees and court costs and she received court supervision for 2 years.

Ireta Merkley

July 28th, 2015

Ireta L. “Rita” Merkley
Age: 85
City: Princeton, IL
Time of Death: 8:00 p.m.
Date of Death: July 26, 2015
Place of Death: Liberty Village of Princeton

Services: Friday, July 31, 2015 / Grant-Johnson Funeral Home, Princeton at 11:00 a.m.
Officiating: Rev. Laura Tanner
Burial: Elm Lawn Memorial Park, Princeton, IL
Visitation: 4-7 Thursday, July 30, 2015 / Grant-Johnson Funeral Home, Princeton
Rosary Services:

Date of Birth: Janaury 14, 1930 / Spring Valley, IL / George E. & Clara Katheryn (Van Der Voorte) Rowley

Married: Frank P. Merkley / Princeton, Illinois / March 15, 1947
he survives: Frank P. Merkley – Princeton, IL

Survivors: Son – Lon (Jane) Merkley – Princeton, IL
3 Grandchildren – Dr. Michelle (Chris) Oliver – Athens, IL / Lance (Tabatha) Merkley – Lake Bruin, LA / Jarrod (Elisha) Merkley – Princeton, IL
4 Great-Grandchildren – Elana Martinez – Princeton, Il / Mason Merkley – Princeton, IL / Carter Merkley – Lake Bruin, LA / Alexander Oliver – Athens, IL
2 Brothers – Walter (Gladys) Rowley – Princeton, IL / William (Silvia) Nelson – Princeton, IL

Preceded in death: parents – George Rowley & Clara Katheryn Nelson / Daughter – Pamela Merkley

Employment: Self Employed as a busisness Women & Owner & Operator Old Times – Quilters Heaven and Lacery

Memorials: Illinois Valley Hospice, Illinois Community Hospital, Peru, IL / Princeton Fire Dept

Grant-Johnson Funeral Home, Princeton

Illinois Without Budget Nearly A Month Into Fiscal Year – 7/27/15

July 27th, 2015

>>Illinois Without Budget Nearly A Month Into Fiscal Year

(Springfield, IL)  —  It is nearly a month into the new fiscal year and Illinois still remains without an operating budget. The state Senate sent Governor Rauner a temporary spending plan two weeks ago even as Rauner claimed he wouldn’t sign a short-term budget. An Illinois appeals court ruled earlier this month that the comptroller’s office can still pay state employees even without a budget in place.

>>Funeral Held For Sandra Bland

(Lisle, IL)  —  Loved ones continue to mourn even as questions remain following the death of Illinois native Sandra Bland. Hundreds gathered over the weekend for Bland’s funeral at a church in Lisle, nearly two weeks after she was found dead in a Texas jail cell. Authorities say she hung herself with a plastic trash bag on July 13th, three days after she was arrested during a traffic stop in Waller County, Texas.

>>Possible Homicide in Marshall County

(LaRose, IL)  —  Charges could be pending following a possible homicide in Marshall County. Police found a man shot to death early yesterday in the driveway of a home in the village of LaRose. Police say a man believed to be the shooter locked himself inside the home until surrendering to authorities over two hours later.

>>Two Stabbed At Party in Millington

(Millington, IL)  —  LaSalle County authorities are investigating after two people were stabbed at a party.  The sheriff’s office says the two victims were wounded when several altercations broke out during a party early Sunday in Millington.  Both were taken to the hospital.  As of yesterday, their condition weren’t known.

>>Man Hit By Car In Rockford

(Rockford, IL)  —  A Rockford man is being treated after he was hit by a car.  Police say the 34-year-old was found seriously hurt Saturday night the near area of the 32-hundred block of 11th Street.  He was taken to the hospital with life threatening injuries.  The driver of the vehicle hasn’t been charged.

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>>Man Accused Of Trying To Lure Children With Candy

(Rock Falls, IL)  —  State Police are looking for a man who tried to lure children into his car with candy.  Police say the incident happened last Friday night to two young boys in Rock Falls.  The man is described as a black male with a medium build who is about six-feet one-inches tall.  He was last seen wearing a blue baseball hat and a plain white t-shirt.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Illinois State Police.

>>Budget Crisis Could Take Away Free ACT Tests

(Undated)  —  The pending budget crisis may force Illinois high school students to pay for the ACT exam.  “The Chicago Tribune” reports districts don’t know if the free college entrance exam will be given to juniors in the spring because of uncertainty about state funding.  Students could be prevented from taking the ACT even if funding is approved since the state’s contract with the testing company expired at the end of last month.