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STREATOR - In the interest of sharing the tourism wealth, the popular Heritage Tractor Adventure next week will swing by Streator only for lunch rather than stay for two days.

The 329 vintage tractors' June 11-13 tour will begin and end at the Grundy County Fairgrounds in Morris. The faster tractors will take a lunch break June 11 at Streator's Knights of Columbus grounds on Oakley Avenue. Those will include 220 ancient tractors that are able to achieve the breath-taking speed of 15 mph.

The slower tractors will bypass Streator on their way from Ottawa to LaSalle-Peru, stopping for lunch at an Ottawa park near the defunct Illinois-Michigan Canal that inspired the 150-mile ride.

As with the five previous years of the ride, it will follow as much as possible the 19th century, 100-mile-long canal from Chicago to LaSalle that once made water transportation to New Orleans possible by bypassing the shallower portions of the Illinois River.

Because it has become such a popular tourist draw, ride organizers attempt to vary the communities where much of the activity will be held, said publicist Mary Beth DeGrush. That does not mean Streator will be left out.

"Our (drivers of) tractors love Streator and the way they are treated," she said.

When the tractors begin pulling into Streator at 11:30 a.m. for the two-hour stop, visitors will have a chance to view the machines and take part in the $7 chicken dinner.

"We're just taking turns," said Ed Brozak, head of Streator's tourism bureau. The event will still give residents a chance to view the tractors and enjoy the food, he said.

Saving energy in Pontiac - Ecology students from Pontiac Township High School partnered with Mid Central Community Action and Pontiac Township to provide $10,000 in programmable thermostats and $5,000 in low-flow showerheads to about 100 families in the community.

As part of the project, the 40 students from Paul Ritter's class compiled a list of 11 tips to save energy that was distributed this week to about 4,000 homes in Pontiac. The project was a cooperative effort between the students, ComEd, Nicor Gas, Honeywell and Delta as well as the local agencies.

Coal mine history - The first Living History Day honoring coal miners will be from 9 a.m. to 5 pm. Saturday at the Toluca Jumbos, the old slag heaps dominating the city. The event, sponsored by the Toluca Coal Mine Preservation Association, will include a number of historical exhibits.

Wenona land purchase - A Chicago-area investment company bought 1,300 acres near Wenona's Interstate 39 interchange south of town. There are no immediate plans for the undeveloped land that was purchased, said L.B. Andersen & Co. officials in North Barrington.

Firefighter contract -The Streator City Council has approved a new, four-year agreement with the city's firefighters that calls for 2 percent to 3 percent adjustments each year of the contract.

College resignations -The president and vice president of Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby, serving Streator and Pontiac students, have resigned. President Larry Huffman is leaving after one year for unspecified personal reasons. Vice President Harriet Custer will leave after 10 years for a job on the West Coast.

Woodland fees - The Woodland school board approved in a split vote raising fees $10 across the board to cover rising costs. Athletic event costs in the South Streator district will remain the same, however.


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