76 fuel pumps, 41 bathroom stalls and a beef jerky bar: Welcome to Wally’s – News – Journal Star

PONTIAC — The drive between Peoria and Chicago can be long, dull and devoid of convenient, clean places to use the restroom.

A new travel center in Pontiac purports to provide a solution to that last potential problem. Among other things.

Wally’s opened its first location earlier this month, at Interstate 55 and Illinois Route 116. It bills itself as “Home of the Great American Road Trip,” and a family-friendly one at that.

That friendliness extends to cleanliness, in the form of more than 40 bathroom outlets Wally’s President/CEO Michael Rubenstein assures will be hygienic.

“What’s the No. 1 thing that usually decides where to go on a road trip? Who has the cleanest bathrooms,” Rubenstein said.

Wally’s women’s restroom has 20 stalls, with floor-to-ceiling walls and doors. The men’s room has 10 similar stalls and 11 urinals.

“Just the size and openness of the bathrooms is really situated to the family traveler and to anyone looking to stop and have a good bathroom experience,” Rubenstein said.

The rest of the Wally’s experience includes 30,000 square feet of dining and shopping, as well as 76 fuel pumps outside.

Food options include bars for coffee, popcorn and beef jerky, as well as a carving station. None is part of a national franchise — all the food outlets are Wally’s-specific.

An 8,000-square-foot retail space offers proprietary shirts, hats, mugs, outdoors supplies and the usual items one might find at a truck stop.

But Wally’s isn’t a truck stop. That doesn’t mean truckers aren’t welcome, but Wally’s isn’t set up to accommodate tractor-trailers.

The differentiation from truck stops is by design, according to Rubenstein.

“They have showers on site and a separate truck entrance,” he said. “The maneuverability around a truck stop can be a little daunting for the family in the minivan, going down the road. That’s who we’re targeting.”

Originally from southwest of St. Louis, Rubenstein and Wally’s Chairman Chad Wallis have driven I-55 numerous times between their home area and Chicago. They noticed a family-oriented travel center didn’t appear to be along the route.

Pontiac checked a lot of boxes regarding an initial Wally’s location, Rubenstein said.

It isn’t too close to Chicago or St. Louis. Local officials were welcoming. And it’s along Old U.S. Route 66, which passes through Rubenstein and Wallis’ hometowns.

“The mother road of U.S. highways,” Rubenstein said. “It wasn’t intentional by any means, but when it kind of came together, it really made sense and got us excited.”

The investment in the Pontiac Wally’s is north of $20 million, according to Rubenstein. The current company headquarters is in Houston. That area is home to Buc-ee’s, a Texas-centric travel-center chain that offers similarly spotless restrooms.

Rubenstein acknowledged the Buc-ee’s-Wally’s comparison but suggested his concept has more of a Midwestern flavor. A second location is planned, as are others in major Midwest travel corridors.

The coronavirus pandemic helped delay Wally’s debut, first set for early July. But an apparent, COVID-inspired public preference for highway trips instead of

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House Approves Short-Term Bill to Avoid a Shutdown

The effort to stave off a shutdown less than six weeks before Election Day comes as the looming brawl over filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has further intensified partisan rancor on Capitol Hill.

Congress will ultimately have to return in a lame-duck session, the period between Election Day and the chamber’s adjournment at the end of the year, and approve the annual must-pass legislation needed to fund the government. Democrats had initially pushed to extend the short-term legislation into February, in the hopes that their party would capture the White House and Senate and be able to negotiate more favorable deals under a new president and Congress. But Republicans refused.

Democrats also agreed to exclude provisions that would have provided additional funds for election security and extended critical deadlines for the U.S. census to submit redistricting data.

The measure would prevent furloughs at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services by allowing the agency, which has seen a loss in revenue in part because of the pandemic, to raise premium processing fees. It would also extend funding for a flood insurance program through next September, as well as funding for a program for highway construction and maintenance.

The bill also included language that would prevent Medicare recipients from seeing a significant increase in their premiums partly because of measures taken by the administration to counter the effects of the pandemic. But it did not include any additional relief to help American families and businesses recover from the toll of the pandemic, despite growing pressure from rank-and-file members for negotiators to break a stalemate on a broader legislative package.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers urged their party leaders on Tuesday to keep the House in session until Congress approved another pandemic relief bill, writing in a letter that “our constituents do not want us home campaigning while businesses continue to shutter.”

“It has been suggested by some that members of Congress are anxious to return to their districts to campaign in advance of the Nov. 3 election, even if that means leaving Capitol Hill without passing another Covid-19 relief bill,” wrote the lawmakers, led by Representative Jared Golden, Democrat of Maine. “We want to be very clear that we do not in any way agree with this position.”

A handful of moderate Democrats are also considering signing onto a Republican-led effort that would, if it gained the support of 218 lawmakers, force a vote on legislation to revive a popular federal loan program for small businesses, according to a person familiar with the plans, who requested anonymity to disclose details of private discussions.

Catie Edmondson contributed reporting.

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All The Best Kitchen Deals At Wayfair’s Way Day Sale

Updated 3 minutes ago. Posted 3 minutes ago

It might just be the right time to snag the Dutch oven you’ve been dreaming about.

We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed collects a share of sales and/or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

Happy Way Day, fellow shoppers! Today and tomorrow Wayfair is hosting an array of deals that I dare say are, *chef’s kiss* perfection — especially if you’ve been hoping to spruce up your kitchen before cooking up a storm this holiday season!

So, take a moment to check out all the kitchen deals Wayfair has *cooked up* just for Way Day:


47% off a Staub cast iron Dutch oven, because cooler temperatures are rolling in and you deserve only the best of the best to bake your bread (and other delicious treats!) in this winter.

Wayfair, Maureen from Boston, MA / Wayfair

Promising review: “Staub makes the most amazing cookware I’ve ever seen and used. I’ve collected three pieces and look forward to adding more. Well worth the extra, expense especially because I know I will never have to replace these pieces. The 5.75 qt size pot is perfect for batches of soups and stews.” —Donna from Panama City, FL

Price: $249.95 (originally $471, available in six colors)


52% off a 10-piece non-stick bakeware set from Farberware, so you can finally replace your current cookie sheet that is likely charred beyond repair.


The set comes with 10-inch x 15-inch and 11-inch x 17-inch cookie pans, two 8-inch round cake pans, two 8-inch square cake pans, 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan, 9-inch x 13-inch cake pan, 12-cup muffin pan, and a 9-inch x 14.5-inch chrome-plated cooling grid.

Promising review: “The best non stick bakeware I’ve ever used, it makes baking and clean up process so easy! Definitely a good buy!” —Shevonne from Houston, TX

Price: $47.99 (originally $99.99)


39% off a DeLonghi semi-automatic espresso maker that’ll save you both time and money since you won’t have to run out to the coffee shop every time you want to indulge in a high class beverage.


My sister’s DeLonghi espresso machine is her absolute pride and joy — it’s great quality and very easy to use.

Promising review: “This machine is simple but great. I really like how it works.It heats up super fast. It only takes about 40 seconds to heat up. I love how this machines uses grinds not cups or capsules! Cups and capsules can become expensive to use. This tiny machines makes an awesome shot of espresso! So far a perfect shot every time! I love making lattes. The frothier works perfectly. I save A LOT of money making my lattes and not going out to Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks for one.

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Park Commission Rose Garden is One of “Jersey’s Best”

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden
Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden (Somerset County Park Commission)

The Somerset County Park Commission Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden at Colonial Park (Parking Lot A) in Somerset, New Jersey, has been bestowed another honor, being named one of “6 whimsical N.J. Gardens that feel like a fairy tale brought to life” by www.jerseysbest.com.

The Jersey’s Best article noted that now is the perfect time of year to visit the gardens and get some fresh air following the months-long COVID-19 restrictions. When visiting the Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden or any of the other noted gardens, it is recommended that state public health guidelines and garden-specific rules be adhered to.

The Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden is one-acre in size and contains more than 3,000 roses of 325 varieties. The garden was named in honor of Rudolf W. van der Goot, the first horticulturist with the Somerset County Park Commission, as a tribute to his efforts in designing and developing the garden. The Rose Garden is located in Colonial Parkon Mettlers Road (Parking Lot A) in the East Millstone section of Franklin Township.

From late spring through fall, the roses present a kaleidoscope of color, form, and fragrance. Visitors can view popular modern hybrids, species, and various classes of Old Garden Roses. All roses are clearly labeled for easy identification and only roses that thrive in central NJ are kept in the rose collections.

The Rose Gardens also earned the 2015 World Federation of Rose Societies’ (WFRS) Garden of Excellence Award.

The five other gardens recognized by Jersey’s Best are: Deep Cut Gardens in Middletown Township; Duke Farms in Hillsborough; Greenwood Gardens in Short Hills; the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton Township; and the New Jersey Botanical Gardens at Skylands in Ringwood

The views expressed in this post are the author’s own. Want to post on Patch?

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White House economists question if another relief package is needed before election

Some White House economists are questioning whether another coronavirus spending package is needed because its positive effects wouldn’t be felt until after the election, according to people familiar with the matter.

Alex Azar, Anthony S. Fauci, Mike Pence, Donald Trump, Jerome Adams posing for the camera

© Provided by Washington Examiner

“There’s a new consensus among the economists at the White House that there’s no sense in more coronavirus aid right now,” said Stephen Moore, an outside economic adviser to President Trump.

“It’s too late for that. The money appropriated won’t be felt until after the election. It’s too late to flood the zone with cash to make any difference now,” said Moore, who met with multiple senior White House economists on Monday.

Publicly, the Trump administration and lawmakers of both parties favor enacting more relief. But Congress has struggled to pass legislation. The parties are at odds over the cost of the bill. Republicans are seeking $1 trillion, while Democrats are asking for at least twice that amount.

Some in the White House have shifted because of the economic growth since the $1.7 trillion CARES Act relief package expired at the end of July.

“We went down the line, and all the White House economists said that the economy is picking up pretty well, it doesn’t need training wheels anymore. It’s doing just fine on its own,” said Moore, who is also a contributor to the Washington Examiner.

Multiple former senior administration officials also said that White House economists are increasingly doubtful about whether another package is needed.

“The recent data has been quite good, with aggregate consumer spending up and retail sales very positive. The White House sees that a lack of recovery doesn’t seem to be a problem right now,” said Casey Mulligan, former chief economist for Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers and an economics professor at the University of Chicago.

Mulligan said the narrative among economists at the White House has flipped, in private, over the past few weeks due to Trump’s recent executive orders and the economic growth that is occurring without further government aid. In August, Trump used a series of executive actions to suspend payroll taxes, extend unemployment benefits, slow evictions, and defer student loan payments.

Nevertheless, top administration officials are lobbying Congress for more aid, and the official position is that the administration favors relief.

“We would still like to pass needed relief for working families,” said a senior administration official. “The impediment to a deal isn’t the election but the speaker’s insistence on giving a trillion dollars to state and local governments, among other issues.”

Trump’s top economic adviser, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, said that he would like to see another relief package even if many sectors of the economy are coming back strongly.

“I don’t think the V-shape recovery depends on the package, but I do think a targeted package could be a great help,” Kudlow said on CNBC on Tuesday afternoon.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Jerome Powell appeared before the House Financial Services Committee during

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Best kitchen gadgets under $20

My kitchen is filled with workhorses that I take for granted: the wooden cutting board, balloon whisk, measuring cups, microplane and razor-sharp knives. But as I’m spending even more time cooking at home during lockdown, I’m coming to appreciate all the smaller extras that I don’t strictly need, but make my cooking life easier.

After singing their praises to family and friends, I thought I’d share them with you. These are all products I actually own and use in real life and that any home cook would be happy to have in their kitchen. They’re inexpensive, versatile, easy to clean and simple to incorporate into your cooking routine (no single-use utensils like an avocado slicer or tea infuser on this list, though no shade if that’s your thing). Here are the tools I never want to be without, and how they make the act of cooking more enjoyable. Who knows, you might find your new favorite kitchen gadget on this list!

Xujia via Amazon

The wide, saucer-shaped bowl, long handle and pleasant weight make these beautiful spoons perfect for almost everything — eating soup, curries, rice dishes, spooning yogurt out of the tub, spooning anything out of any tub, really. 

My Korean friend called them “jjigae spoons” to refer to the right utensil for eating a category of stew. In my family, they’re known as “life-changing spoons,” which is how I first convinced my family to adopt them. It’s what we still call them today. E.g., “Can you please set the table with the life-changing spoons?” I hardly ever use “regular” spoons anymore, unless all the jjigae spoons are dirty and I don’t feel like washing one. 

You can buy long-handled spoons online or in many Asian markets. My personal preference is to get a set with round handles, not the thin kind with the flat ends. Prices vary, but they’re not expensive either way — say $16 for a pack of 5 good quality spoons, or even $15 for a pack of 8.


Bench scrapers, also known as pastry or dough scrapers or cutters, are typically used to pry dough off a work surface, though I use mine multiple times a day for either scraping or lifting items from my cutting board to a pan or bowl. I used to use the side of whichever knife I had in my hand, but this useful kitchen tool shovels more diced onions at a time and is safer anyway. 

I’ve also used straight-sided bench scrapers, but the offset design is much easier for sliding under a pile of chopped food. It’s equally adept at its intended purpose of working with bread and pastry dough. This Tovolo bench scraper is the one I use and costs around $10.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

My friend bought a fancy new dishwasher with built-in wine holders and gave me three purple silicone tubes that help keep your wine glasses safe in the machine. “Here, you like wine,” she said. “You should use these.”


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Helen Chesnut’s Garden Notes: Pulling horsetail weeds encourages new growth

Dear Helen: I’ve been pulling up horsetail plants on my property and putting them on the compost. When I mentioned this to gardening friends, I was told that, because the plants extract heavy metals from the soil, they are harmful additions to a compost heap. Is this true?


It is true that horsetail has been used to help remediate soils polluted by heavy metals. The plants’ extensive and incredibly deep roots are efficient at drawing metals from the soil. The amount of heavy metal in the plants will depend on how much is in the soil. The highest levels are found in areas where the metals have been mined.

I doubt that the soil in most home gardens will be heavily laden with dangerous metals, but if this is a concern the history of the land could be looked into. In benign soils, the plants extract and hold minerals that are useful additions to a compost.

Personally, because this is such an aggressive weed, I would treat the stems before composting them. Either soak them in bins of water for a week or lay them out in the sun on plastic sheeting to dry thoroughly.

Your email indicates that you don’t mind the horsetail on your property. Most gardeners regard the plants as pernicious weeds, almost impossible to control. Should you wish at some point to begin curtailing their spread, refrain from pulling the plants up or digging them. These actions prompt underground nodes of growth to sprout new plants.

A preferred control is to keep cutting the stems to the ground, beginning with the leafless, spore-bearing spring stems. Cut them before they can form and spread spores, which can germinate in moist soils. Then cut down the leafy stems that follow. Continued cutting will gradually weaken the roots.

If it suits the situation, an early summer cutting could be followed by covering the area with thick black plastic for a year. If you don’t like using plastic, another option is to cover a horsetail-denuded area with cardboard thick enough to hold together well for at least a year. Top it up with layers of newspaper if you wish. Then cover with a thick mulching material.

Dear Helen: In the last few years an Italian prune plum tree in my yard has produced only around 20 plums each year. The tree is an old one, dating back to the 1960s I think. I would be sad to lose the tree, but I fear it is in decline. What can I do?


Fruit trees, like most living things, have a finite life span. For prune plum trees, the average is 15 to 20 years, with 30 years being exceptional. Our damp coastal climate renders plum and other soft tree fruits susceptible to a number of diseases that can weaken a tree and further limit its productive lifetime.

My 40-year old prune plum tree still yields good crops of delicious plums, but parts of the tree are beginning to die

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White House Accused of Intervening to Keep Bolton’s Book From Becoming Public

WASHINGTON — White House aides improperly intervened to falsely assert that a manuscript by the former national security adviser John R. Bolton contained classified information in an attempt to prevent its contents from becoming public, a lawyer for the career official overseeing the book’s prepublication review said in a letter filed in court on Wednesday.

At one point, the aides halted a request from Mr. Bolton to review his account of President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine so he could release that section of the memoir during the impeachment trial, according to the lengthy account of the White House review written by Kenneth L. Wainstein, a lawyer for the official, Ellen Knight.

Mr. Wainstein said that his client had determined in April that Mr. Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” no longer contained any classified information, but the “apolitical process” was then “commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose” to go after Mr. Trump’s former aide and that the actions she was asked to take were “unprecedented in her experience.”

“She had never previously been asked to take the above-described measures, and she has never heard that predecessors in her position ever received such instructions in the course of their prepublication reviews,” the letter said.

The filing was an extraordinary twist in the legal saga surrounding Mr. Bolton’s book. The Trump administration sought to block Mr. Bolton from publishing the manuscript after the book was already published and has opened a criminal investigation into whether he unlawfully disclosed classified information.

But the letter called into question the premise of those efforts — that the book contains any classified information. Mr. Wainstein recounted a series of irregularities that he said were unlike any other prepublication review Ms. Knight had handled in her two years working at the National Security Council.

Political appointees in the White House directed her not to communicate with them in writing about the book, and proceeded to have a politically appointed lawyer — Michael Ellis, a former aide to Representative Devin Nunes, a close Trump ally and California Republican — conduct his own review of the book.

Mr. Ellis had no training in prepublication reviews at the time — he underwent it after he completed his review — and pronounced the book replete with still-classified information, a position the Justice Department then made in court seeking to block Mr. Bolton from distributing the book.

But Mr. Ellis was wrong, Mr. Wainstein wrote. Rather than evaluating the book by prepublication review standards for writings by a private citizen, he essentially treated the manuscript as a government document being subject to a classification review.

But the two are very different, the letter explained, on matters like discussing a phone call between a president and a foreign leader. Mr. Bolton’s book contains numerous accounts of such discussions between Mr. Trump and his counterparts.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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Kitchen fire causes minimal damage to Hazleton home |

Hazleton firefighters made quick work of an accidental kitchen fire Tuesday afternoon.

They were called to 163 S. Wyoming St. for the flames and found smoke coming from inside the half duplex upon arrival, Fire Chief Donald Leshko said. The home is close to the intersection of East Birch Street.

The mother was cooking when the fire happened, called 911 and quickly got her children outside who were taking classes online at home through a local school, he said.

“Mom saw the fire, shut the stove off and got the kids out.”

“They knew what to do,” the chief continued.

Firefighters extinguished the flames, finding it began on a stove top and also found a melted bottle of cooking oil nearby. They also removed the stove top and took it outside and ventilated the home.

No injuries were reported and firefighters kept the fire contained to the kitchen. The woman living there said she would contact the landlord so repairs could be made.

Leshko said though accidents happen, always remember to be attentive while cooking and keep the area around the oven and stove clear.

— Amanda Christman

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Inside Bake Off star Laura Adlington’s home with amazing all white kitchen, huge garden and outside pizza oven

WHEN Laura Adlington isn’t busy baking tasty treats in the Great British Bake Off tent, she can sit back and relax in her picture perfect home.

The popular Channel 4 show returned to our screens last night and the 31-year-old from Gravesend impressed the judges with her very own Freddie Mercury cake.

Great British Bake Off star Laura Adlington has a gorgeous all white kitchen filled with everything she needs to create the perfect treat


Great British Bake Off star Laura Adlington has a gorgeous all white kitchen filled with everything she needs to create the perfect treatCredit: instagram.com/laura.adlington

But it’s not just her baked goods that look amazing as Laura also has a very lovely home too.

The baker has given a sneak peek into her beautiful home that she shares with her husband and police community support officer Matt.

Her kitchen boasts pristine white cupboards, matching utensils and wooden work tops.

The cooking space is decorated with fresh flowers and hand written cards that fit in perfectly with the simple yet stylish interior.

Laura is a digital manager from Kent


Laura is a digital manager from Kent Credit: Mark Bourdillon/ Love Productions
Laura loves to display her tasty treats in her kitchen


Laura loves to display her tasty treats in her kitchenCredit: instagram.com/laura.adlington
The garden is the perfect back drop for her Instagram snaps that show off her incredible cakes


The garden is the perfect back drop for her Instagram snaps that show off her incredible cakesCredit: Instagram

But arguably her garden is the most impressive part of their humble abode.

It features a gorgeous koi pond, lavish outdoor seating and their very own outdoor pizza oven.

Matt took to Instagram last year to share some before and after pictures of the space and captioned the post: “I started planning the garden just over a year ago and can now finally say that it’s finished!

“It’s been a lot of hard work but so worth it and Laura and I can spend the summer enjoying it.

Her garden has a range of gorgeous flowers and bushes


Her garden has a range of gorgeous flowers and bushes Credit: instagram.com/laura.adlington
The pair enjoyed their first pizza cooked in the oven back in May


The pair enjoyed their first pizza cooked in the oven back in MayCredit: instagram.com/laura.adlington
Matt and Laura can enjoy the sunshine on their outdoor table and chairs


Matt and Laura can enjoy the sunshine on their outdoor table and chairs

“The koi pond is 6ft deep and all the pipework and filters are hidden away.”

Laura’s passion for baking started when she was just eight-years-old, but admitted that it was only recently that she realised how good she actually is at it.

She loves creating things that show off her decorating skills and believes that she works very well under pressure.

Speaking about her time on the show, Laura said: “It was so surreal walking into the tent for the first time. My stomach was in knots and I was so nervous but excited at the same time.

The married couple have their own pizza oven outside


The married couple have their own pizza oven outsideCredit: instagram.com/laura.adlington
The garden has perfectly cut grass


The garden has perfectly cut grassCredit: instagram.com/laura.adlington
They have a fish pond located in the corner of the garden


They have a fish pond located in the corner of the garden Credit: instagram.com/laura.adlington
It seems that Matt has a passion for gardening


It seems that Matt has a passion for gardening Credit: instagram.com/laura.adlington

“It was a dream come true to finally be in ‘the’ tent. I kept pinching myself.”

Last night the first episode of GBBO

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