Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Part 2: Most of the radium-tainted earth from decades-old manufacturing in Ottawa has been removed, but one major site still needs cleanup.

Ken Ricci refers to his purchase of a Geiger counter, a handheld machine that detects radiation, as a "God wink." The 91-year-old Ottawa resident picked it up at a garage sale in 1982. Soon after, he and a friend used it to find several hot spots of contamination throughout the central Illinois city.


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

The North Central Illinois Council of Governments is working with the mayors of Ottawa and Naplate to secure a disaster-relief grant. 

They're seeking funds from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to cover repairs to homes damaged in the February 28 tornado that hit the two municipalities. The Ottawa Times reports that at least 10 to 12 homes are either uninsured or underinsured, and both mayors need to fully document the necessary funds for repair and the homes that are damaged. 

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. 

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

Ottawa City Engineer Dave Noble says some of the tornado damage from February 28 could have been prevented if construction was up to code.