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Peru Police Chief: 'We’re past the main crisis and now it’s restoration time'

Power is being restored in La Salle-Peru area, but fallen limbs will linger

It was a late night for Oglesby city workers – knocked off at 4 a.m., back at it after sunrise – but the hard work paid off: At noon Tuesday fewer than 10% of city residents were without power.

Mayor Dom Rivara urged any city residents concerned about a downed line or who still are without power to call City Hall, but he also said workers have made real progress in the roughly 20 hours since a high-wind storm blew through La Salle County, including Oglesby.

“We’re looking to have everything cleaned up within a day or so,” Rivara said. “It’s really gratifying. We wouldn’t have gotten the streets opened if it weren’t for the people of Oglesby working together.”

But Rivara’s pledge to clean up the city by midweek does not extend to chipping. Anybody hoping to get tree limbs and branches out of their yards quickly is urged to be patient, because Rivara said the scope of the problem is well beyond city capabilities, so he’d put in calls for outside service providers.

Oglesby was among the hardest hit Monday when ferocious winds (70 mph recorded in Mendota) battered Starved Rock Country and felled trees and utility poles within minutes. Much of Oglesby was blacked out and there were no working traffic signals along Richard Moyle Sr. Highway (the Oglesby spur) and two semis were overturned by gusts.

Rivara wasn’t the only to have observed cooperation and neighborly concern. The police blotters were empty in La Salle, Peru and Oglesby and Brent Bader, director of public relations and community development for La Salle, said he was heartened by reports of residents helping those in need amid the severe weather and ensuing loss of power.

“We have noticed the community coming together and helping each other where they can,” Bader said. “Neighbors helping neighbors is the kind of La Salle spirit we love to see.”

Bader urged residents to avoid calling 911 with routine concerns such as tree limbs – “There’s definitely a lot of stuff on the ground” – and to check Ameren’s outage map rather than call the city. Ameren reported 3,378 customers without power in the vicinity, as of 12:20 p.m. Tuesday, with no set times for restoration.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a long wait,” Bader said. “but it’s not a question that we at City Hall can answer right now.”

Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei said he’s grateful people have not blown up the city’s emergency line to inquire about downed power lines (none are hot, he emphasized) and the ongoing cleanup. Nevertheless, he joined other city officials in pleading for patience.

“The crews will be going street by street, block by block and we’ll get to you,” he said. “We’re past the main crisis and now it’s restoration time.”

Peru's electric department reported at 2 p.m. Tuesday there were 100 customers left without power, primarily because of property-specific issues such as fallen limbs.

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