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Visions 2014

An outlook on 2014 and beyond

A SUPPLEMENT TO OGLE COUNTY N E W S PA P E R S

THURSDAY, MARCH 27 2014

Oregon Republican Reporter Mt. Morris Times Tri-County Press Forreston Journal


Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C2

Districts are balance funding cuts and athletics Area school continue to excel in sports By Andy Colbert Reporter When it comes to meeting their respective budgets, the overriding theme for area high school athletic directors is state funding, or lack thereof. “We’re fine, but you never know what’s going to happen with state funding,� said Terry Jenkins of Polo, the longest-tenured of Ogle County athletic directors. Forreston had a 30 percent cut in athletic funding last year, but have stabilized this year. Still, first-year AD Jim Kann echoed Jenkins’ comments. “The budget for next year is the same,� Kann said. “But, state funding can be an uncertainty.� Stillman Valley, the school that Kann graduated from, is suffering more financial woes than any other in Ogle County. A decision was made to eliminate all sports and activities at the middle school due to lack of funding. “It was a perfect storm,� Stillman Valley High School Principal PJ Caposey

explained. “Our property values went down 11 percent in five years, state funding is down to 89 percent, our enrollment is down and the landfill was over-assessed and we’re paying that back,� he said. The district was forced to pay Veolia ES Orchard Hills landfill $600,000 last year, $495,000 this year and $465,000 the following year, after landfill officials filed and won an appeal of its real estate taxes. The deficit for school year 2013-14 is $1.075 million and forecast for $1.4 million without any cuts. By cutting 24 positions within the district and other incidentals such as increased fees, change in bus routes, etc., the district should recoup about a million dollars. That still won’t be enough for a balanced budget, and Caposey realizes more cuts may be to be made, including the most sacred of all cows, a perennial state-championship football team and the rest of high school sports and activities. “We need to find a way to increase our revenue,� Caposey said. “If a referendum doesn’t pass, I The 2013-14 Lady Hawks pose with their regional trophy they won this season. The Lady Hawks have continued to don’t see how we can keep improve each year and are becoming one of the teams to beat in the region. Pictured in the front row are: Kelsey Turn to C3

Pudlas, McCahl Sanders, Emy Wright, and Kaitlin Oltmanns. In the second row are: Angela Nordman and Kimmie Janke. Back row: Kelci Foss, Kasey Lapp, Madeline Sanders, Samantha Lambrigtsen, McKaylee Beeter and Megan Boehle. Photo by Chris Johnson

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Stillman Valely seniors Bruno Herrera and Zac Hare raise the IHSA Class 3A football championship trophy following the overtime win in November this school year. Local schools continue to compete down state. Sterling Newman won the 2A state championship this year. Photo by Chris Johnson

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Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C3

Despite all the good efforts of our board in being fiscally conservative, we are at the mercy of the state. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the real wild card - how they will fund our district.â&#x20AC;? Mike Lawton Oregon AD

Districts work to continue all

extracurriculars From A1 high school sports going. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unbelievable.â&#x20AC;? It hurts Caposey at both a personal and professional level to say that. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Nobody believes in sports more than me. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in my blood,â&#x20AC;? Caposey said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the fabric of the community. At the end of the day, though, if we want to exist as a district, we must have a balanced budget.â&#x20AC;? For citizens of Stillman, Davis Junction and Monroe Center, a referendum will be a compelling issue, especially to those that share Caposeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s strong belief in the impact of Cardinal athletics. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The bottom line is that as administrators, we need to get as much information to community as possible,â&#x20AC;? Caposey said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Then it will be up to them to choose whether we have first-class sports or barely survive as a district.â&#x20AC;? Byron is not in the same dire situation as Stillman, but has budgetary concerns. Once the envy of other districts in the county for its tax revenue from the nuclear plant, the school board is now facing real financial problems For the first time in his six years as athletic director, Jeff Flater has been given some different parameters to operate under. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fiscal year 2015 could have budget restrictions,â&#x20AC;? said Flater, who recommended nine coaches and advisors be cut. Flater is attempting to be creative in alleviating financial uncertainties, such as cutting back on sporting events on Saturdays, so that the gym doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t needed to be powered back up, along with other deficit reduction strategies. Byron doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a booster club, but each sport has its own booster club. A booster club can be valuable for a school in helping maintain the athletic budget. Just ask Rochelle AD Kevin Crandall. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have had our athletic budget cut, but our booster club has stepped up and increased their funding, so we have not had any changes in how we operate,â&#x20AC;? Crandall said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Over the years, we have given hundreds of thousands of dollars for things like equipment, uniforms and scholarships,â&#x20AC;? said former booster club president Todd Smith, who personally has been able to provide $30,000 from his Rochelle High School sports website and photography enterprise. â&#x20AC;&#x153;To my recollection, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve never turned anything down.â&#x20AC;? About 10 years ago, the Oregon School District went through some rocky financial times. Since then, there has been more administrative stability and the budgets are quite

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healthy, as evidenced by an Illinois State Board of Education fiscal 3.65 rating on a 4.0 scale. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In my three years, we have been able to maintain and as a matter of fact, have increased participation in things like a chess club and health career club because of volunteers,â&#x20AC;? Oregon AD Mike Lawton said. Due to its facilities, Hawk athletics have the benefits of deriving secondary income from hosting a multitude of sporting events. Sports at Oregon have also benefitted from a cooperative venture with its local park district, an entity with a major funding source in the nuclear plant. Still Lawton warns about the future. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Despite all the good efforts of our board in being fiscally conservative, we are at the mercy of the state,â&#x20AC;? Lawton said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the real wild card - how they will fund our district.â&#x20AC;?

Above, area athletics programs raise awareness and money for various causes. All the volleyball teams host Volley For The Cure games where teams wear shirts in support of the cause and fans wear pink to raise money for breast cancer research. Here, Forrestonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Rachel Walton returns a serve early in the match. At left, the Forreston High School gym was filled with fans that traveled to cheer on the Marcos during regional basketball action Feb. 26. Pictured is Poloâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Max Simmons as he looks to pass the ball to a teammate during the regional semifinal game against Freeport Aquin. The fans in the region have been strong supporters of local athletics and try to keep the stands filled for every game. Photos by Chris Johnson

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Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C4

TIFs work best when property values are on rise By Vinde Wells Editor Tax increment financing (TIF) districts, a method of attracting businesses to town, have met with different results in two local communities. Polo, who first implemented a TIF district in 2008 has seen two businesses come to the community as a result. On the other hand, little or no growth has resulted from a TIF established in Mt. Morris in 2003. Nonetheless, the village board there is considering a second TIF district as a means to encourage its only grocery store to stay in town. Polo City Clerk Susie Corbitt, who works with economic development in that community, said establishing the TIF has paid off there. “Because of the TIF district we were able to get the Dollar General Store and the laundromat and car wash,” she said. “When I receive a call from a developer, the first thing they ask is if we have a TIF,” Corbitt said. “It’s a way for them [the business] to save money.” A TIF district is a method of financing economic development projects by freezing the equalized assessed value (EAV) of the affected area for up to 23 years. Taxing bodies then draw taxes from that frozen EAV, not from any increase in the EAV over the time period of the TIF. Taxpayers in the TIF, however, pay taxes on the EAV with its increases. The amount of taxes from the EAV increases (above the frozen level) go into a fund to be spent only on the TIF district. TIF districts can be used for redevelopment of blighted or conservation areas. The TIF Fund can be used for low-interest loans for businesses wishing to locate in the TIF district or for infrastructure improvements in the TIF district such as roads and sewer and water mains. If approved by the city or village board, businesses can use the TIF money for certain expenses including studies and surveys, development of plans, marketing sites, acquisition of land, demolition, reconstruction and repairs, some new construction, abatement of contaminants, and job training projects. According the state statutes, only municipal boards have the authority to establish TIFs. When a municipality is considering a TIF, a Joint Board of Review (JBR) must be established to review the plans. Once a TIF is established the JBR meets annually or as

needed. The JBR is comprised of a representative of each affected taxing body and a member from the public. A city or village board has the authority to dissolve the TIF district at any time. Once the TIF district ends, affected taxing bodies draw tax revenues as they normally would, on the whole EAV with any increases which have occurred over the years. When Polo School District officials objected to the loss of revenue the TIF district presented, the city council worked out an agreement that the school district would be exempted from the TIF district regulations, meaning it would continue to receive tax revenues with any increases. The Dollar General Store came to Polo in 2009, moving into an empty store front on Dixon Street (Pines Road). Corbitt said getting the store was a boost to the community after its only grocery store had closed. “It was a help after losing the grocery store,” she said. “Without a TIF I don’t think we would have got the Dollar General. They have a lot to offer and they’re always busy.” The TIF was also a help in getting a laundromat and car wash to locate on Division Avenue in an existing building. Christopher Eaton, Savanna, began construction in 2012 on property at 114 N. Division Ave., which formerly housed Karrow Plumbing & Heating. Eaton demolished a portion of an existing building, remodeled the rest, and also added on. The car wash is open and Corbitt said, the laundromat, also sorely needed in town, will open soon. The only glitch in the TIF is that with declining property values in recent years the fund is not growing fast, Corbitt said. “I wish we were getting more money in, but our EAV (equalized assessed value) is down,” she said. Declining and stagnant property values and lack of activity are the reasons Mt. Morris’ TIF has failed to thrive. “We’ve had very little effect from it,” said Village Trustee Mary Francis. “The reason for that is that there’s been very little development and activity in that area. The only way a TIF works well is when something happens to increase the value of that property.” The existing TIF district includes the area north of the tracks from the Kable News building and the Industrial Park on Hitt Street to McKendrie Avenue, as well as the Quad Graphics property.

The area outlined in red has been proposed for a new tax increment financing district in Mt. Morris. The area would include Sullivan’s Foods, the owner of which is considering expansion on the present location.

Quad Graphics closed its doors in May of 2012, and Kable News had moved most of its operations to Florida a few months before. The village board is presently considering forming a second TIF district as a means of keeping Sullivan’s Foods in town and possibly attracting more businesses to that area. Grocery store owner Scott Sullivan approached the board earlier this year and asked for the TIF district, as well as other incentives, for him to build a $3 million grocery store on the present site along Ill. 64. The proposed new TIF district would encompass approximately 15 blocks, including an area along Ill. 64 from Sullivan’s Foods to Seminary Avenue, then south three blocks to Center Street, then east two blocks to McKendrie Avenue and north two block to Main Street. The proposed TIF also includes the area between Ill. 64 and the railroad tracks to McKendrie Avenue and then north to include Witmer’s elevators. The village board discussed adding other areas to the proposed TIF, but no decision has been reached. The cost of establishing the TIF is estimated from $22,500 to $30,000 and would take several months to accomplish.

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Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C5

Municipalities benefit from gaming machines By Jeannette Mingus Revenue generated by video gaming machines throughout Ogle County appears to be exceeding expectations, especially for the City of Oregon where officials anticipated receiving $20,000 during the current fiscal year. Instead, the city has already received $31,159.47 from their portion of the tax imposed on video gaming machines, in what City Clerk Charlene Ruthe describes as an easy process. “The state has been fantastic about making the payments,” she said. The City of Polo is also benefiting, having received $8,506.81 since May 2013. Susie Corbitt, City Clerk, expects the monthly check values to increase in the coming months. “The process has been very smooth,” Corbitt explained, “and I expect to see the revenue increase since some businesses have just recently received their machines.” Proprietors receive licensing to operate the gaming machines through the Illinois Gaming Board

(IGB), and are limited to five machines per establishment. Additional rules limit the hours of operation and payouts are capped at $500, although no cash is actually dispensed from the machines. In some municipalities such as Oregon, an annual fee of $25 is charged per terminal. Unfortunately this fee can be difficult to collect at first. “I’ve heard from other clerks that the cities don’t always know that a business is getting a terminal,” explained Ruthe. It is easy enough to check up on however, as the Illinois Gaming Board provides a detailed monthly report of terminal locations and financial details. Interested parties may access these reports online at http:// www.igb.illinois.gov/ revreportsVG/Default.aspx. Once the machines are operational, the net terminal income is subject to a 30 percent video gaming tax and business owners are responsible for submitting the monthly payments to the State of Illinois. Five-percent of the net terminal income, or NTI, is passed on to the municipality

where the terminal is located, and 25 percent remains with the state. The remaining 70 percent is divided equally between the establishment’s owner and the owner of the gaming machine itself. While 5 percent may not seem like much, for a large city such as Rochelle it adds up quickly. According to City Clerk Bruce McKinney, the city received $59,847 in video gaming revenue during 2013. With two new businesses receiving licenses in February, this amount is likely to rise. In fact, the city has already received $14,696 this year. As video gaming continues to grow in popularity, most participating municipalities can expect to see an increase in revenue. The Village of Mt. Morris for example, began the fiscal year with three gaming machines and a tax payout of just $35.87 in May 2013. Nine months later there were 13 machines operating within the village and generating a February payment of $1,321.41 according to the IGB’s reports.

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Tera Frano tries out one of the video gaming machines at the Polo Room. The first in Polo, the machines were hooked up March 15, 2013. Photo by Vinde Wells

The Village of Forreston also saw a slow start, with 5 machines in operation in May 2013, providing a total of $684.24. By February of this year, revenue had nearly doubled as 8 terminals brought a payment of $1,291.90 to the village. In some communities however, the number of machines is decreasing. Gaming in the Village of Leaf

River has been reduced from three establishments to two, with a total of six terminals in operation in February generating revenue for the village of $367.87 according to the IGB. Additional Ogle County communities receiving video gaming revenue include the City of Byron with $12,323.97 received since July 2013 and the Village of Stillman Valley with $11,125.54 received

during 2013. The Village of Davis Junction can expect a payment of $706.05 last month’s revenue according to the IGB’s February report. At this time the Ogle County Board has not approved the licensing of gaming terminals in unincorporated areas, which means that no revenue payments are being received at the county level.


Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C6

Haldane Custom does towing, fixing, and cleaning By Chris Johnson Reporter From towing to a day at the spa for your vehicle T.J. Graden and the employees at Haldane Custom can do it all. Graden’s interest in repairing vehicles started when he was a teenager and got his first job. “I started working at Bumper to Bumper in Forreston when I was 15,” he said. Since 1992 he has been around body shops and continues to learn about his trade. Graden started the business in Haldane in 2004. “I was working at Dixon Autobody and had side jobs in my garage,” said Graden. “The building in Haldane came up for sale.” At that time he could not afford the entire building so he began renting a portion to start his business. He started with vehicle repairs and since then has added towing, routine maintenance including oil changes and tire rotation, painting, and full car detailing.

“We will do a simple wash and vacuum or you can have a full spa detail for your car,” he said. Towing vehicles has been an interesting endeavor for Graden and his employees. “I have never pulled a car out that was in a good spot and every call is different,” he said. “You have to handle some unique situations.” Knowing when the situation needs more experienced and specialized equipment is also required. “We have been to some jobs where when we got there was knew our equipment was not the best option,” said Graden. “We have formed a good working relationship with Maggio’s because of their knowledge in towing.” One tow that required a call to Maggio’s was when a car was in a creek. “We went to the scene and due to the layout of the bridge and creek we could not safely get the car out,” said Graden. “Maggio’s came out to help with a truck that was able to lift the vehicle out of the creek and place it on our flatbed.” The entire process for the

Rick Graden and Ron McDermott discuss the 1952 International truck now owned by Graden’s son TJ.

job was four hours but could have been longer if Graden did not ask for the help. “It is a neat relationship with Maggio’s,” said Graden. “You need permits for towing

in each county which they “When the call is west of have.” Polo they will call us and ask He said Maggio’s is a AAA if we can help,” said Graden. company and receives calls Another call that came in for tows and jumps. was when large wind turbines fell off a trailer in September,

2010 on Ill. 26. “These turbines required specialized equipment to lift and Maggio’s had the equipment,” said Graden. Turn to C7

Enrollment on the decline at local career center By David Giuliani Sauk Valley Media Bryanna Flynn and Cheyenne Hines, both juniors at Milledgeville High School, are clear about their career plans: They want to become registered nurses. This school year, they started with the certified nursing assistant program at the Whiteside Area Career Center in Sterling, a 15-minute bus ride from Milledgeville. “I wanted to get a head start so I don’t have to do that work when I get out of high school,” Flynn said. Hines said the program is good “hands-on” experience. According to the career center, Milledgeville has 26 students enrolled, which is expected to stay the same next year. In contrast, some schools plan to reduce the number of students they send to the center next year. As a result, the vocational school expects its lowest enrollment since 1971, the year most area school districts joined it. Whiteside Area Career

Center has 646 students enrolled this year, but that number is projected to plunge 20 percent – to 515. Most of that drop is because Dixon and Rock Falls high schools will send fewer students to the center, which is next door to Sterling High School. In 1976, 1,498 students enrolled at the center, the most in its history. Some of the center’s roughest years followed the closing of Northwestern Steel & Wire mill in 2001. The number dropped to 555 in 2005. Because of a drop in general state aid to schools, Dixon and Rock Falls are now cutting the number of students going to the career center, said Kim Purvis, the center’s director. Both Rock Falls and Dixon have a number of vocational classes, which officials want to fill before sending students to the career center, Purvis said. “It’s financially the best option for the schools,” she said in an interview. “They’re still providing students with electives, but they won’t have to pay the tuition for the

students to come here. It’s all about money and the lack of money.” She said she understands the school districts’ decisions, “but it does limit student opportunities. WACC offers programs with working labs that most high schools cannot offer.” Dixon Superintendent Michael Juenger said some of the high school’s elective classes had not been filled. “We have some fine elective teachers,” he said. “There is a building trades class at Whiteside, but we have two industrial arts teachers, and we had the ability to offer that right here in Dixon. Let’s see what we can do to strengthen electives at the high school.” This year, about a fifth of the career center’s students come from Sterling High School, while 15 percent hail from Rock Falls, 13 percent from Dixon, and 6 percent from Newman Central Catholic High School. Other participating schools include Morrison, Amboy, Polo and Prophetstown. More than a fifth of the students are enrolled in

the health program. Other popular programs are early childhood (13 percent of students) and digital media arts (11 percent). The center also offers courses in auto service, building trades, computer technology, criminal justice, commercial foods, business, and welding and manufacturing. Career education often seems like a relatively easy place to cut, Purvis said. “Our schools have so many mandates,” she said. “They have to meet those obligations first.” She doesn’t expect further drops in the center’s enrollment. “I think it’ll level off,” she predicted. “The schools will run out of room. I don’t see how they can absorb all of those students back.” Most students, Purvis said, say they plan to go to college. “They’ve been trained to say that,” she said. “We have to help kids get to where they need to be. We see students go to college, graduate, and they are underemployed or unemployed and living with their parents.”

Enrollment by school 2013-14 2014-15 School enrollment projection Amboy 36 30 Ashton-Franklin Center 34 29 Bureau Valley 20 14 Dixon 82 43 Eastland 13 17 Erie 22 17 Faith Christian 5 1 Forreston 37 36 Fulton 14 11 Milledgeville 26 26 Morrison 34 38 Newman 39 40 Ohio 9 3 Polo 30 25 Prophetstown 15 13 Rock Falls 99 49 Sterling 131 101 *Total 646 493* * This total does not include the CEO program, which the career center expects will raise enrollment to 515.

Enrollment by course *Health 139, early childhood 84, criminal justice 71, digital media arts 70, auto service 61, computer technology 57, welding and manufacturing 56, building trades 48, commercial foods 37, CEO 23. Total 646 * Combines allied health and health occupations

Railroads move commodities at the intermodal By Kathleen Schultz Sauk Valley Media When it comes to rail traffic, no big changes are in the wind for the Union Pacific Railroad corridor through the Sauk Valley, said Mark Davis, UP’s director of corporate relations and media. The company recently finished a big study of what it needs and where. “We began looking 3 years ago at what corridors were going to handle what commodities,” Davis said. “We historically have always looked ahead, to determine if our infrastructure is meeting our growth, and in what corridors.” The railroad, which operates in 23 states in basically the western twothirds of the country, plans to spend about $3.9 billion on capital projects this year alone, up about $300 million from last year, Davis said. Most of that money, though, is going elsewhere – for maintenance, for 200 new locomotives, for UP’s computer-aided

movement system, and also for expansion, but primarily in the railroad’s southern territory. As can be expected, the type of cargo hauled, and where it’s headed, drives UP’s expansion plans. The demand for freight transportation is going to jump – from 17.6 billion tons carried nationwide in 2011 to a projected 25.1 billion by 2030, Davis said. The rail system in place in the Sauk Valley, however, is more than able to handle what chiefly rolls through the area – trains hauling intermodal containers and coal – for the foreseeable future, he said. “You’re a fortified area,” he said, “and it’ll be that way a long time.” These days, 42 trains a day move through the Sauk Valley. Regionally, that number jumps to 88 when you get closer to, say, Geneva and add commuter trains, he said. But given the infrastructure already in place, there’s plenty of room for more traffic.

Union Pacific moves 42 trains a day through the Sauk Valley, but given the infrastructure already in place, there’s plenty of room for more traffic. That’s why Union Pacific has no plans to add to its system in the region. “You’re a fortified area,” said Mark Davis, UP’s director of corporate relations and media, “and it’ll be that way a long time.” Photo by Philip Marruffo

“From 2007 to 2013, we invested more than $21.6 billion in our network and operations,” which included beefing up UP’s capacity for intermodal and coal traffic in its northern region, he said. In addition to intermodal shipping containers and coal, UP hauls agricultural, industrial and automotive products, and chemicals. The cargo that will be demanding more of the railroad’s time, though,

will be oil-industry related: fracking sand, moving from Minnesota to Texas, and pipe, which is made in the south and ships north, Davis said. So for the next few years, the railroad will concentrate on opening lines, adding bridges, and doing other enhancement projects in the southern states. For the reasons previously mentioned, Davis also doesn’t expect significant changes to or expansion of Union

Pacific’s Rochelle Global III Intermodal Terminal, either, which the railroad describes as “the industry’s finest stateof-the-art facility, designed to serve as a critical interchange hub and loading/unloading terminal for rail intermodal shipments moving through the western Iowa and Wisconsin.” “This expansive facility allows Union Pacific the necessary capacity to improve and expedite operations

for current shipments, as well as room for additional expansion to keep pace with the projected growth in what is forecast to be a robust intermodal market for years to come,” the company says on its website, www.up.com. The Rochelle intermodal terminal is one of four UP has in the state. The others are in Chicago, Northlake and, the newest, Joliet, completed in 2010.


Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C7

Towing has offered some interesting situations From C6 â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have done numerous tows from the area but this was a job Maggioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s needed to handle.â&#x20AC;? Graden said his employees assisted on the scene for the 12 hours it took to clear the road. Towing is needed year round and the weather does not always cooperate. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our guys have posted on Facebook the road conditions they faced while getting to cars in the winter,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I used to wait out storms but now that I own a business we are getting trucks ready and prepared to go out in the storms.â&#x20AC;? This winter had been especially difficult for the employees and trucks. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As soon as we got back we were heading out again,â&#x20AC;? said Graden. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It has been one of the coldest winters we have worked in.â&#x20AC;? Some calls require a good shovel and a strong back to dig out a car before they can be recovered. When towing vehicles it is difficult to know how to properly tow every vehicle. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fortunately we all have an app on our phones for towing,â&#x20AC;? said Graden. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It gives suggested ways to tow a vehicle to minimize any damage to the vehicle.â&#x20AC;? He said some cars need to be towed flat while others can be lifted and towed with two wheels on the ground. Another aspect of towing involves working with the local police and fire agencies. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We try to keep our percentage of missed calls low,â&#x20AC;? said Graden. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Ogle County dispatch will ask for tows and we always try to be available even in the middle of the night. We need to maintain a good relationship with the county.â&#x20AC;? This past winter a vehicle was disabled on the shoulder of the road and the driver did not have the money to pay for a tow. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A county deputy was on the scene and was going to be tied up so we offered to tow the vehicle as a courtesy to free up the deputy so he could respond to the other calls,â&#x20AC;? said Graden. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are some situations where it is a benefit to everyone to make it a courtesy tow.â&#x20AC;? Graden said he even offers some customers he knows the opportunity to come in a day or two after a storm to settle up the towing bill. Unfortunately some parts of towing are not easy. Anytime Graden has a call to a scene of a fatality it is difficult he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You are there for a job, but you know the victims are someoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family,â&#x20AC;? Graden said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You think about it and when you get home you give the kids an extra hug at night.â&#x20AC;? When the families come to collect belongings from the car they are emotional, he

said. Graden even recalled one person who pulled a rifle on him. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is one quote I always like to say about towing,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have not met one person excited to pay for a tow truck.â&#x20AC;? Graden opened a second location in Polo after the Wakenight Auto Sales lot at the corner of Division Avenue and Oregon Street became available. This location has allowed him to host an annual car cruise in Polo every summer. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think car cruises are neat because you see the customers outside of regular business hours,â&#x20AC;? said Graden. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It brings people to the community that may not of otherwise driven through.â&#x20AC;? The third annual Chandlerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Classic Car Cruise in memory of Jim Chandler, a local legend in hot rodding and pin striping, will be held on Friday, June 6. The event is at Haldane Custom Paint & Body, 602 S. Division Ave., Polo from 5 to 8:30 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As always the event is free because the dollar has been tighter and people are looking for local events that do not cost a lot of money,â&#x20AC;? Graden said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is designed to be a fun Friday night.â&#x20AC;? Everyone with hot rods, rat rods, classics and antique cars and trucks, and motorcycles are encouraged to attend. A food and drink stand will be available. This year Graden is

optimistic that more than 100 entries will participate in the event. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We spend all year with collision and putting cars back together,â&#x20AC;? said Graden. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is neat seeing all the old stuff that the owners take pride in.â&#x20AC;? For collision repair work, Graden has seen the total number of repairs decline over the past couple of years. He said insurance companies have increased the number of totals to cut their losses. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With all the electronics and sensors it does not take much to reach the threshold for totaling a car,â&#x20AC;? said Graden. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is a lot of work to fix a car where all the airbags were deployed.â&#x20AC;? Keeping up with the automotive advances is also Above, office manager Shellie Hudecek and owner T.J. Graden stand behind the an ongoing process. Auto counter at the Polo location. Below, cars are on display during last yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Chandlerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s makers are always adding Classic Car Cruise. new gadgets and unique parts that require training to know how to safely and effectively repair them. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You need to do your homework on these new cars to work on them,â&#x20AC;? said Graden. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fortunately the online resources help with the unique situations.â&#x20AC;? In the past a part may have been installed to try and remedy the problem, he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Now we can easily see if another shop has had the same issue and what was done to correct the problem,â&#x20AC;? said Graden. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It reduces the frustration with stubborn issues.â&#x20AC;?

           

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Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C8

Love of quilting transforms into area businesses By Vinde Wells Editor Two area women have put their love of creating quilts into developing businesses that use the Internet and computers to keep the ageold art popular with crafters of all ages and skill levels. Karen Borneman, who owns the Leaf River Quilt Company, 6679 W. Ill. 72, Leaf River, and Carol Bellows, owner of Creative Designs, 1310 W. Pines Rd., Oregon, both attest that modern technology is an important part of their businesses. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the five years Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been open, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the technology that has changed things,â&#x20AC;? Borneman said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People are getting their ideas from the Internet.â&#x20AC;? Hand sewing is fading from quilting, and alternatives are now available that eliminate cutting out the pieces that go into quilt designs. Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quilters can choose patterns and kits from Internet sites, Borneman said, and piece them together on computer-programmed sewing machines. And, instead of working

for days â&#x20AC;&#x201D;or weeks â&#x20AC;&#x201D; with a needle and thread handquilting their projects, all that work can now be done in a matter of hours on a longarm quilting machine, which Borneman and Bellows both have. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gone from Grandma sitting at the wooden quilting frame to machines like this,â&#x20AC;? Bellows said, gesturing toward her long-arm machine. Leaf River Quilt Company After years of sewing and quilting, Borneman opened her own shop five years ago in a brand new spacious building just outside her back door. The shop offers the latest fabrics, patterns, supplies, and know-how to turn out what could become an heirloom quilt. Borneman offers classes in not only quilt-making but also other projects like mittens and bags. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have younger customers, in their 20s, who like the bags and bright colors,â&#x20AC;? she said. Classes are kept no longer than one day, and are geared to customersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; interests and skill levels.

Carol Bellows watches her long-arm quilting machine work through its computer-programmed design at Creative Designs, Oregon. Photo by Vinde Wells

â&#x20AC;&#x153;It seems that everyone, no matter what age they are, is busy,â&#x20AC;? Borneman said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I try to do things they can manage in their time frames. I tackle

the difficult but I also like to do the basic.â&#x20AC;? Some of the most popular class projects are cloth bags made for various purposes. Borneman said a new fabric blend of 70 percent cotton and 30 percent linen is ideal for the large diaper bag

One Woman Quilt Show Carol Bellows, owner of Creative Designs, Oregon, is putting together a onewoman quilt show. The show will be held during Oregon Trail Days July 19-20 at Lowden State Park near Oregon. Bellows will feature at least 30 of the quilts she has made for her family and friends over the last 30 years, along with a description of each one.

Above, Karen Borneman stitches a customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quilt with her longarm machine at the Leaf River Quilt Company. At left, Borneman made this quilt from a pre-cut kit. Photo by Vinde Wells

she is currently offering in one of her classes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is the biggest bag Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve ever made,â&#x20AC;? she said, showing off the bright polka dot fabric used for it. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It would also be great to take to the farmerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s markets, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very comfortable to carry on your shoulder.â&#x20AC;? Borneman keeps up with fabric trends and innovations

in quilting patterns and supplies. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve expanded the fabrics as changes have come along,â&#x20AC;? she said. Some of her favorites are the batiks with their bright colors and bold designs. She also stocks kits for quilts and other projects. Turn to C9

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Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C9

Creativity is on display From C8 â&#x20AC;&#x153;The kits are boxed and ready to go. The pieces are laser-cut,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have lots of pre-cut fabrics.â&#x20AC;? For anyone cutting the pieces, shaped rulers help speed up the process, Borneman said. The fabric companies she works with are extremely helpful, she said, providing free quilt patterns on their websites. Once a quilt is completed, Borneman offers long-arm quilting to put the project together. The shop stocks batting of various sizes and composition to fit any project. For more information, call 815-738-2855 or visit leafriverquiltco.com. Creative Designs Carol Bellows made this bright quilt from scraps trimmed off other quilts when she Bellows offers long-arm squared them up for quilting. Photo by Vinde Wells quilting at her shop on Pines Road in Oregon. Her HandiQuilter 16 offers a vast array of designs and options for stitching the front, back, and batting of a quilt together. Bellows was keeping a close eye on her machine as Proudly manufacturing in it worked its way across a quilt, continuously repeating Oregon, Illinois, since 1946 a meandering design This cloth diaper bag displayed by Karen Borneman is programmed into its computer. one of the projects that can be made in a class at the â&#x20AC;&#x153;I never get too far away Leaf River Quilt Company. Photo by Vinde Wells from it,â&#x20AC;? Bellows said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I like to see how itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going together.â&#x20AC;? ooo&^gjj]klgfYmlgZg\q&[ge ooo &^gjj]klgfYmlgZg\q&[ge From hearts to horses, Bellows can offer customers hundreds of designs for the finishing work on their quilts. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This book has more than 500 designs,â&#x20AC;? she said pulling )(19k`9n]>gjj]klgf$AD.)(+( one from a rack. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And I have others.â&#x20AC;? The designs can be made larger or smaller to fit the K[`]\md] qgmj n]`a[d] Yda_fe]fl lg\Yq project and the length of the stitches can be varied. 815-938-3630 Bellows can also create stitching patterns using a Collision Repair & Truck Accessories laser light on the machine and record them to use again. Long-arm quilting wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Woods Equipment Company has been building part of her plan when she opened the shop to do agricultural attachments in Oregon, Illinois, since 1946, commercial embroidery when Leonard, Keith and Mervel Wood invented the almost two decades ago. first successful tractor-mounted rotary cutter. In 1994, â&#x20AC;&#x153;After seven years of doing Woods entered the construction industry and eventually commercial embroidery, I felt my business was at a expanded into the landscaping, grounds maintenance, standstill,â&#x20AC;? Bellows said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I and aftermarket parts markets. Today, we continue knew I had to expand or quit.â&#x20AC;? to serve all these markets from our headquarters on She extensively researched Illinois Route 2. long-arm quilting machines and bought one six years ago. She began taking quilts from Although Woods has grown and changed throughout customers in 2009 and so far From backyards to big leagues, count on me the past 60 years, we remain true to the tradition has done more than 550. to be there. I can help you get the coverage you of innovation and quality established by the Wood need and the discounts you deserve. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My 500th customer got a gift bag,â&#x20AC;? Bellows said with a brothers. With the ongoing support of our employees smile. and the community, we will proudly continue to be Adding the long-arm Stephens Insurance & Financial Services Inc made in America â&#x20AC;&#x201C; right here in Oregon, Illinois. Scott Stephens, Agent quilting to her business was a 500 Gale St Oregon, IL 61061 move dear to her heart. Bus: 815-732-6690 A quilter herself, Bellows occasionally has time to work www.woodsequipment.com one of her own into her work line-up. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I always have between 10 and 20 lined up to do,â&#x20AC;? she said, gesturing toward a rack holding 19. She made her first quilt in 1985 and since 2009 has made 47. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I just love fabrics,â&#x20AC;? Bellows said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My husband always teases me about buying perfectly good fabric, cutting it all up, and then sewing it back together. I see a lot of patterns I want to try. I just really enjoy what I do.â&#x20AC;? One of the most enjoyable parts of her business, she said, (in stock only - no special orders) is seeing what other people have created. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have some awesome customers,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have the pleasure of seeing some really beautiful quilt tops and quilting them with some beautiful designs.â&#x20AC;? Bellows got her love of quilting from her mother and grandmother and is, in turn, passing it along. featuring... â&#x20AC;&#x153;I taught my nine-year-old ALL NEW granddaughter to quilt,â&#x20AC;? she Cool ActionTM Cool ActionTM Dual EffectsTM Gel Memory Mem Foam said. Gel Memory Foam & Due uet TM Coil Bellows plans a one-woman quilt show this July at Oregon Trail Days featuring at least 30 of the quilts she has made over the years, many for family members and friends. 815-625-0129 s  7EST nd 3TREET 2OCK &ALLS ), For more information call -ON 4HURS  PM s &RI  PM s 3AT  PM s 3UN  PM 815-535-3432.

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Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C10

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Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C11

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Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C12

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Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C13

Forreston Auto Body can tackle any car repairs By Chris Johnson Reporter A family business in Forreston continues to offer quality collision repair, painting, and after market upgrades for any vehicle. Emil Alich and his son Marty run Forreston Auto Body. Emil has been in business for 47 years and has seen the industry change. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have seen all of the changes,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The two biggest changes are the computerized engines and thinner sheet metal.â&#x20AC;? He said all cars now have computers that run the engines and monitor almost every part on the car. When something is not working he said a check engine light displays and gives customers a cryptic diagnostic. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The computers may tell you what system the problem is in, but they do not always give you the answer on how to fix a problem,â&#x20AC;? said Emil. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The answer to how to fix a problem has been learned with years of experience.â&#x20AC;? He said when cars are fixed after a collision the sensors on the car need to be checked to make sure they are working after the repair is completed. Fixing the cars has become harder over the years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With the thinner sheet metal we have found that it is harder to work on the part which may force us to replace the part,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Changing a quarter panel now may require the entire side of a car to be replaced where in cars 10 or 15 years ago we could patch the part.â&#x20AC;? Another change in automotive design added more plastic and non-metal parts to cars. â&#x20AC;&#x153;These parts can crack and the only way to fix it is to replace the entire part,â&#x20AC;? said Emil. The cold winter has caused

many vehicles to end up with cracked plastic parts when the vehicle sustains even the most minor of fenderbenders, he said. Back in the shop, Marty was working on a customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vehicle that sustained some damage to the rear metal panels. Fortunately the metal on this car could be replaced. Marty had already finished reshaping the rounded corner and was masking off the area to prepare for paint. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Matching the factory paint and finish can be a challenge because there are so many colors and styles used today,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You need to pick the right one or the job will not Marty Alich carefully masks the rear fender of a customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vehicle he is preparing for paint in the large full-vehicle look good.â&#x20AC;? paint booth Forreston Auto Body has in the shop. Photo by Chris Johnson The best compliment Marty can get is when a customer does not know where the repair was on their car. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is cool to see a finished project and know a customer FULL TIME is satisfied with the work,â&#x20AC;? 5 Generations AUCTIONEER & REAL ESTATE Marty said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You hope they of providing do not have to come back.â&#x20AC;? 2EAL %STATE s &ARM -ACHINERY s )NDUSTRIAL

%TC Insurance Services. He said repeat customers (OUSEHOLD s !NTIQUES come back to the shop because they appreciate the Serving Polo Joe Wegener AUCTIONEER: quality and care they put into and surrounding areas 2IĂ&#x20AC;FH  ([W  Â&#x2021;   ,/ /LF

the repairs. for 109 years. One of the challenges ZZZGMZDXFWLRQVFRP facing collision repair shops HPDLOGMZDXFWLRQV#FRPFDVWQHW Tammy Merdian & Robin Duncan is the increase in insurance totals after an accident. PASSPORT & FOID PHOTOS @ Ogle County Newspapers  . &RANKLIN !VE s 0OLO ), s    Turn to C14 !3&OURTH3T/REGONs  

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Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C14

Accessories are available From C13 â&#x20AC;&#x153;They total vehicles easily now,â&#x20AC;? said Marty. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Before they wanted to try and fix the vehicle. It makes it difficult for both the shop and the customers.â&#x20AC;? He said many vehicles could be repaired but the insurance companies have decided it is sometimes easier to not fix a car. While at the shop Marty had a customer stop in after hitting a raccoon on the way to work. He offers estimates for

â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are responsible for your vehicle from start to finish,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Marty Alich repair work and encourages anyone with vehicle damage to stop by for an estimate. Most repairs take about a week to complete. This time includes the time to order a part if it needs to be replaced and to paint the part to match the car.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;What we want our customers to know is we do all the work at our shop,â&#x20AC;? said Marty. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We do not farm out anything. We are responsible for your vehicle from start to finish.â&#x20AC;? He said every job is different and the estimate will provide the customer a better timeline for a fix. At Forreston Auto Body they also sell after market parts. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We sell a variety of parts,â&#x20AC;? said Marty. â&#x20AC;&#x153;These after market parts are a way to personalize your car and customize the vehicle.â&#x20AC;? A selection of parts that are sold at the shop include vinyl graphics, trailer hitches including fifth wheel, truck bed covers, running boards, custom fitted floor mats, and more. Almost any after market part for a vehicle can be purchased at the shop and installed by the Alichs. For an estimate on collision repair or for information on truck and vehicle accessories visit the shop at 109 N. Ash Ave., Forreston, or call 1-815938-3630.

Featured Speaker Harry Spell, President and owner of Art Casting of Illinois, Inc. was the featured speaker at last weekâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Oregon Rotary meeting. He discussed his philosophy of research into the domain of technology and the arts. He was introduced by Scott Stephens Rotary program Chairman for the day. Art Casting of Illinois, Inc. specializes in fine art sculpture. Photo by Stan Eden Subscribe to the Forreston Journal, Mt. Morris Times, TriCounty Press, or Oregon Republican Reporter. Call us at 815-732-6166.

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Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C15

Officials predict increase in public transportation By Kathleen Schultz Sauk Valley Media It ain’t your grandma’s little white bus any more. That’s the message local public transportation officials are trying to park in the psyche of Sauk Valley residents. Their success with that mission will dictate to a large extent what system ridership will look like 15 years down the road. The Lee/Ogle Transportation System, or LOTS, and Whiteside County Public Transportation are among 11 regional systems statewide. Both are enjoying an increase in ridership, due in part to rising gasoline prices and a rocky economy, but also because of more public awareness of what used to be popularly referred to as “the senior buses.” “Over the past year, Whiteside County Public Transportation has worked hard to ensure our residents are aware of our public transportation,” said Tori McDaniel, its executive director. “We have had a 16 percent increase in ridership so far this year, which is phenomenal,” she said. Looking further down the road, McDaniel said she expects annual ridership in her county to more than triple over the next decadeand-a-half, from about

39,000 a year in 2013, to more than 123,000 in 2030. Jamie Blatti, executive director of the Lee-Ogle Transportation System and administrator of the North Central Area Transit in LaSalle County, is equally enthusiastic about her agencies’ futures. Those little white buses “are more respected, and more treated like public transportation” than ever before, she said. LOTS ridership, which hit 120,000 last year, is projected to rise to 160,000 in 2030, she said. Passengers also are becoming a more diverse lot. In addition to people who have no access to personal vehicles – about 6.7 percent of rural households, the state estimates – riders include children of all ages who attend private schools, Sauk Valley Community College students, and folks on their way to job interviews, medical appointments, and out-of-town shopping centers – and, yes, seniors and the disabled. “We have a couple of riders who are fairly upper middle class; they park their Escalades when gas hits $4 a gallon,” Blatti said, noting that her passengers range in age “from infants to 104.” Also expected to change over the next decade is

the administration and coordination of the various transportation agencies, which will further streamline services, increasing access and making longer trips even easier. Local agencies already try to work together to meet riders’ needs – Blatti cited one instance in which a rider who needed to get to Princeton got halfway there in a Lee County bus, and the rest of the way in a Bureau County vehicle. But state and federal mandates are calling for further improvements. “The coordination is going to become even more important than it has been, and we will see more and more counties grouped together,” Blatti said. “One thing that I’m preparing for is to see Lee, Ogle, LaSalle, Whiteside, and Carroll combine into one transportation agency.” Funding the system will continue to be a challenge, she said. Federal, state and local monies, along with rider fees, keep the fleets on the street. The federal allotment, a component of the national gasoline tax, hasn’t risen in more than 20 years, which makes it difficult to increase services, Blatti said. State funds, which come largely from sales tax revenue, are required to go

A Whiteside County Public Transportation bus makes a stop at Sauk Valley Community College while a Lee County Public Transportation bus picks up students. Photo by Phil Marruffo

up 10 percent every year, though. “Generally speaking, because of the 10 percent increase in funding, we try to increase ridership by 10 percent every year; that’s what the state likes to see,” she said. “The kicker to this is that our vehicle procurement program is about two-and-a-half years in arrears.” Both she and McDaniel are encouraged by the changes that they have seen, though, and by those they anticipate. They hope to see more people take advantage of the system. Within the next few years, Illinois residents “will have access to transportation that covers every square inch of the state ... without ever stepping foot in your car,” Blatti said.

Projections for Lee-Ogle and Whiteside transportation systems Lee-Ogle Transportation System 2013 2030 Annual ridership 120,000 160,000 Vehicle miles 800,000 1,200,000 Vehicle hours 24,000 36,000 Number of vehicles 29 45 Expenses $1,200,000 $2,000,000 Whiteside County Public Transportation 2013 2030 Annual ridership 39,251 123,179 Vehicle miles 257,070 806,796 Vehicle hours 15,000 56,561 Number of vehicles 13 41 Expenses $597,309 $1,874,612

Sources: Jamie Blatti, executive director of the Lee-Ogle Transportation System and administrator of the North Central Area Transit in LaSalle County, and Tori McDaniel, executive director of Whiteside County Public Transportation.

To catch a ride

Go to lccoa.com/transportation/ or ridewcpt.net/ for hours, fees and more information on the Lee/ Ogle Transportation System or the Whiteside County Transportation System. Both agencies also have Facebook pages.

Rural public school districts could win $25,000 grant The deadline is fast approaching for farmers to nominate rural public school districts to compete for a grant of up to $25,000, through America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. Nominations will be accepted until Sunday, April 6. Eligible farmers can nominate their school district by visiting www.GrowRural Education.com or by calling 1-877-267-3332. Grants are awarded based on merit, need and community support. The more farmers who nominate a school district, the more it demonstrates community support and can strengthen the school district’s application. This year, the program has expanded to 18 new counties, for a total of 1,289 eligible counties across 39 states. School administrators in nominated districts will have until April 21 to submit their applications online. The application website is also equipped to help answer specific questions about the Grow Rural Education program overall and assist with the grant writing process. “As we work to grow our next generation of farmers, building a strong math and science foundation is vital,” said Linda Arnold, Monsanto customer advocacy lead. “Working together with

farmers and rural school districts, we are building relationships that benefit the community, with the ultimate goal of improving education.” The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council, a group of approximately 30 farmers from across the country, will review and select the winning grant applications. Advisory Council members were selected based on their passion for farming and education, as well as experience in rural school districts. Last year, more than 73,000 farmers nominated 4,024 school districts, resulting in $2.3 million in grants to improve math and science education in 181 districts across the country. The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program is part of a broad commitment by the Monsanto Fund to strengthen farming communities. America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education launched in 2012, after a successful pilot in Minnesota and Illinois, and has since awarded nearly $5 million to school districts across the county. For more information about the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program and to view the official rules, a list of eligible states, counties and CRDs, go to www. GrowRuralEducation.com.

Early completes course Lindsey Early, Polo, recently completed the course work and earned the license to become a service assistant in the office of local COUNTY Financial Representative Jeanette M. Linker. As a service assistant, Early can provide clients with information about auto, home, and farm insurance policies. “The work Lindsey has completed to become a service assistant makes her more knowledgeable about the products and services available to our clients,”

Linker said. “Working together as a team, we will be able to serve our clients even better.” To become a service assistant, Early completed required property/casualty classes and passed the state exam Early joined Linker’s office in 2013 and looks forward to better serving the Polo area clients.

New Business Cindy Hunter tries her hand at espressos during one of her first shifts at Ten Pennies Cafe. The cafe in Oregon at the corner of Madison and Fourth Street opened in February. Photo by Chris Johnson

Local business named in USDA program First Farm Credit Services has been named to the Preferred Lender Program from the United States Department of Agriculture – Farm Service Agency through 2019. The status, which is the highest designation a lender can hold in the guaranteed farm lending program, allows 1st Farm Credit Services to add flexibility to loan applications and servicing requirements. The program means 1st Farm Credit Services can work with more farmers

who would not be served under conventional methods. Lenders with preferred status have broad authority in making and servicing Farm Service Agency guaranteed loans and can utilize their own underwriting and servicing policies. “1st Farm Credit Services will continue to use program to serve young, beginning and small farmers who are in need of financing,” said Gary J. Ash, president/CEO of 1st Farm Credit Services. “The status allows us to retain our commitment

to serve our client-owners with world-class service and diverse products.” The Association, which serves more than 11,000 farmers and agribusiness clients in Illinois, was first named to the status in 2004. Since then the association has made more than 470 loans with a $152 million commitment. Currently, the association has more than 400 guaranteed loans through the program for a total of $126 million. Many of those loans are with young, beginning or

small farmers. 1st Farm Credit Services leads the industry in agriculture loans, risk management products and various services such as crop insurance, loan and lease options, as well as agricultural real estate appraisals and title agency operations. The cooperative serves 42 counties in the northern half of Illinois through its 16 local offices. On the web at www.1stfarmcredit.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Crull joins law firm as associate

Klein, Stoddard, Buck & Lewis, LLC, Sycamore, is pleased to announce that Attorney Russell A. Crull has joined the firm as an associate. Crull practices primarily in the areas of family law, personal injury, agricultural Linker and Early serve law, civil litigation, trusts and clients from the COUNTRY estates, and real estate. office at 301 N. Division He is a graduate of Western Ave. Illinois University, B.A,.

2009, and Northern Illinois University College of Law, J.D., cum laude, 2013. While not in the office, Crull enjoys spending time outdoors and volunteers as a board member of the Blackhawk Chapter of Ducks Unlimited. His interest in waterfowl habitat preservation led to a published article in the Kane County Bar Journal relating

to government flooding of an Arkansas Wildlife Area. Crull looks forward to serving the legal needs of Sycamore and the surrounding communities. He is willing and able to accept cases and referrals in DeKalb, Kane, Lee, Ogle, Winnebago, Boone, LaSalle and Kendall Counties.

Russell A. Crull


Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C16

The economic impact of area airports examined By Kathleen Schultz Sauk Valley Media If all goes as planned, by the time 2030 rolls around, Dixon Municipal Airport will have a longer runway and a bigger hangar to accommodate larger planes and, it is hoped, attract more business to the area. The airportâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 5-year plan calls for tearing down one of the hangars and building a larger one, while its longerrange plan calls for building a new, 5,000-foot runway, airport board member Al Hill said. The goals are in response,

Airports by the numbers Below are the number of jobs created and the economic impact of a variety of area airports, according to a study released In December 2012 by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Jobs created includes those created by capital improvement projects and visitor spending. Dixon Municipal Charles R. Walgreen Field Total employment: 59 jobs Total economic output: $5,492,600 Erie Airpark Ultralight Flightpark Total employment: 9 jobs Total economic output: $332,400 Ogle County Airport in Mount Morris Total employment: 6 jobs Total economic output: $94,600 Rochelle Municipal Koritz Field Total employment: 86 jobs Total economic output: $7,858,700 Whiteside County Joseph H. Bittorf Field in Rock Falls Total employment: 57 jobs Total economic output: $5,466,600

in part, to requests from those doing business in the area who would like to fly their corporate planes into Dixon, rather than land at Whiteside County Airport in Rock Falls, which already has such a runway, Hill said. That same type of expansion also is going on in Ogle County, where the city of Rochelle broke ground in October on a $1.5 million project that will extend the Rochelle Municipal Airport runway to 5,000 feet. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also due in large part to the eight or 10 Fortune 500 companies that, while not headquartered in Rochelle, do business in the city and need to be able to land their corporate jets, airport manager Mark Delhotal said. Having a runway that size, which can accommodate small to mid-size planes, is attractive to businesses looking for new locations, Delhotal said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The increased runway length will allow aircraft from across the country to fly directly into Rochelle instead of neighboring airports, which will allow more opportunities for businesses to be based in Rochelle,â&#x20AC;? Delhotal said at the groundbreaking. Given the economic boom it is experiencing, the city is buying land and preparing for another airport expansion, which likely will be needed in the next few decades, he said. While building a new hangar is quite doable within the next 5 years, Dixon is at the beginning of the process to build a new runway, which he hopes to see completed well before 2030 rolls around, Hill said. How much money it will take, he was not sure. A project study must be commissioned first, and officials already know that they will need to buy or trade land for the runway, and move a road out of the

way. Dixonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s share of those costs, though, should be only about 5 percent to 7 percent â&#x20AC;&#x201C; most of the rest of the money will come from federal aviation fuel tax revenue and Illinois Department of Transportation funds, he said. Whiteside County Airport officials donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t expect to see a big boom in traffic over the next decade and a half, or much of a need for expansion, officials for the Rock Falls facility said. That, in part, is because nearby Rockford Chicago International Airport, which touts itself as Chicagoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s third airport, and Quad Cities International Airport handle the bulk of area cargo shipping. And unless the area becomes a bigger business center, or tourism becomes more of a draw, passenger traffic isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t likely to pick up anytime soon, either. There is, however, money to be made elsewhere. Folks may be surprised to learn how versatile the Whiteside County Airport is, thanks to its longerthan-average runway for a facility of its size, according to Mike Dowell, manager of the county-owned facility in Rock Falls. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Anything that Midway can land, we can land,â&#x20AC;? Dowell said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the long and short of it.â&#x20AC;? Although that makes the area more attractive to some businesses that might be thinking about locating in the area â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it was a plus when landing the Walmart Distribution Center â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the real growth potential might lie in getting more tenants and selling more fuel, Dowell said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I know in the past that the airport has played prominently in some of the local companies being here, but that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really help with tenants and rentals,â&#x20AC;? he

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This North American AT-6G Texan nicknamed â&#x20AC;&#x153;Prime Timeâ&#x20AC;? flew over the Ogle County Airport July 4 during the fly-in breakfast. These planes were manufactured during World War II. Photo by Chris Johnson

said. Whiteside, Dowell said, is a good place to park a plane. It easily can accommodate â&#x20AC;&#x153;90 to 95 percent of all the business aircraft out thereâ&#x20AC;? in the region, and aggressive marketing in the suburbs could be the key to growing its revenue, he said. The pitch? Move your aircraft to Whiteside County and your fuel costs will be cut in half. Move your aircraft to Whiteside County and your hangar rental will go down 60 percent. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think we can do more, be a little bit more proactiveâ&#x20AC;? going after such

business, Dowell said. Airport board member Ed Maris agrees. In the 25 years heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been on the board, he said â&#x20AC;&#x153;there hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been a big waiting listâ&#x20AC;? for hangar space. There wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be much growth in air traffic unless growth comes elsewhere to the region â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a big company moves in that wants to ship products locally, for example. Even if the Sauk Valley were to become a bigger tourism draw, other amenities â&#x20AC;&#x201C; such as hotels â&#x20AC;&#x201C; would have to accompany growth for the airport to

benefit, Dowell said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t happen downtown, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not necessarily going to happen here,â&#x20AC;? he said. Along those lines, another way Rochelle found to increase its revenue: In 2012, the city brought the $2 million Chicagoland Skydiving Center to the airport. Between the skydiving school and the on-site restaurant, the Flight Deck Bar & Grill, upward of 1,000 people spend their weekends at the airport in the summer months, Delhotal said.

Local airports host a variety of events throughout the year. At the Ogle County Airport they host multiple fly-in breakfasts that have become popular. This fly-in was held last year on July 4. Photo by Chris Johnson

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Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C17

KSB hospital opens new Intensive Care Unit By Matt Mencarini Sauk Valley Media The new and old intensive care units at KSB Hospital are separated by one floor and 30 years. After nearly 18 months of planning and construction, the public had its first look at the facility last month. The new ICU, which emphasizes patient and family comfort and work efficiency, cost the hospital $2.8 million. The new ICU has twice the space, more technology, more efficient work spaces, and an isolation room to prevent airborne diseases from spreading. It will be open to patients in about a month, after it receives final approvals from the state, said hospital President David Schreiner. While doing the research and planning, the hospital determined it didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need to expand its current ICU capacity, Schreiner said, so the new third floor facility will have six patient rooms. The old ICU, on the fourth floor of the hospital, will be turned into administrative meeting space, officials said, because the cost of renovating it for other medical uses would be too expensive. The new ICU is one floor closer to the emergency room and has an elevator dedicated to making

patientsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; trips more private. They previously used public elevators in the hospital. Each of the six ICU patient rooms can be customized to fit the needs of patients and their families, said Val Pfoutz, the ICU director. That customization begins with the instrument panels, Pfoutz said, which not only are more ergonomic for the staff, but also allow the patient to move around the room with greater ease. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Everything moves with the patient,â&#x20AC;? she said. Linda Clemen, chief nursing officer, said thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an emphasis for a family to stay with their patient for extended periods of time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pushing for familycentered care is kind of a new concept to help with healing,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Historically, you might be able to come back every hour for 15 minutes. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re encouraging [family members] to stay with their loved one and be a part of the process and part of the plan to care.â&#x20AC;? To be more accommodating, rooms have more space, chairs, and even a bed that can be folded out of the couch area. The cords and wires for equipment is off the floor, making it safer for the staff and the patient. Rooms also have a lift system to make moving the patient easier and safer. The lifts are connected to

KSB ICU Director Val Pfoutz describes a lifting system used in the hospitalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new intensive care wing. KSB has just finished the wing and is waiting for approval from the state to begin accepting patients. Photo by Alex Paschal

the ceiling, so a patient can be moved to the toilet, to the closet or even to a more comfortable position in bed without the help of several nurses or family members. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s full-room coverage,â&#x20AC;? Pfoutz said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Obviously, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a safety concern. And our staff loves these lifts.â&#x20AC;? Decentralized nurses stations are near all rooms, where nurses can see their

patients and respond quickly. Patient medication is also stored in those individual stations. LED lights in the hallways are more energy efficient and easier to place in the cramped ceiling panels. The floor pattern was even picked with the patient in mind. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our designers told us that if you have long, uninterrupted space, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

more difficult for people with mental status changes,â&#x20AC;? Schreiner said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s confusing if you have all [the same] color flooring.â&#x20AC;? The hallway in the ICU has a look of hardwood floors, but with large beige blocks leading to each room. Each of the rooms also has a new call system to go along with the phones that medical staff members have on their

hips. That system can alert specific response teams or hospital specialists that they are needed in a specific room in the ICU. Nurses can also set up reminders to check in on patients. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just reminders for the patients,â&#x20AC;? Pfoutz said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So we can get them the care that they need â&#x20AC;&#x201C; better outcomes.â&#x20AC;?

Barnacopia features a variety of farming history By Matt Mencarini Sauk Valley Media When you walk inside Barnacopia, before you get to the old-time diner or the replica downtown Polo or the bed and breakfast in the silo, you walk over the first tractor Gary Bocker ever rode. The red and white 1946 Ford is set into the floor, underneath glass, and looks as if it never spent a day in the fields. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just one of the many pieces of family history Bocker, 68, has in Barnacopia, the barn he started building 20 months ago for weddings, receptions and other events. But thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plenty of local and farming history to go along with the family history, which includes his 66-year old wife Judyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first car, a red 1962 Corvair. High on the rafters on the third floor is an old bell from a schoolhouse, which used to be on Westbranch Road, just a few miles from Barnacopia, which sits next to the Bockersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; home on state Route 64, about 7 miles north of Polo. He built the barn, in part, to house all his antique tractors, which include a John Deere 730, the last two-cylinder model tractor the company made, and a tractor from the first 10 series the company ever made, which was a six-

cylinder. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of the reasons I did this is because I wanted my grandkids to see how farming used to be,â&#x20AC;? Bocker said while walking among the eight tractors on the first floor. In addition to the tractors, the first floor has the seating area, bathrooms designed to look like downtown Polo, and the kitchen, which serves ice cream, the only food itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s licensed to serve, although people renting the venue can have caterers come in and use the kitchen. A walk up the stairs, or a ride in the elevator inside a silo, takes you to the second floor, where thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a movie theater, a chapel and among the nearly eight cars, an old state trooper patrol vehicle. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was just going to be a barn to show people stuff,â&#x20AC;? Bocker said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;About halfway through we saw how much A line of people waited to enter Barnacopia during the grand opening open house last fall. Photo by Chris Johnson money we were spending, and (then) we put a bed and breakfast in.â&#x20AC;? The third floor has the game room, which includes a John Deere pool table, and the best view the 18-foot fan on the barnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ceiling. There are two rooms in the bed and breakfast, which is in a silo next to the barn. The top floor of the silo, which is one of the unfinished aspects left, will be a library, Bocker said.

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Visions

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Page C18

Mobile business delivers quality This time last year, Sean Considine was celebrating after the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl Now Considine is staying busy with an innovative mobile meat business that makes stops in Dixon and Byron. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the only one of its kind in the state, he says. After an 8-year career in the NFL, the Byron native retired from the game to spend more time with his family, shortly after his team won the Super Bowl. With business partner Headonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Meat and Catering in Creston, he bought a customized refrigerated trailer from which he sells fresh meat, outside of the brick-and-mortar butcher shop under the name Headon and Considineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Market. The meat is cut at the butcher shop that morning and brought to customers in the refrigerated trailer. New York strip steak, filet mignon and jalapeno burgers are just a few examples of the fresh meats that can be seen through the windows of the trailer. Not many people have experience with a door-

to-door meat salesman, Considine acknowledges. The idea is to tap into the farmerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s market craze by bringing the butcher shop to its customers. Considine came up with it after reading about the growing popularity of farmerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s markets. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think anybody has come at it with fresh meat,â&#x20AC;? Considine said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We had to jump through a lot of hoops to get licensing from the state, and they said our business was one of a kind.â&#x20AC;? The business does not come without an expression of Considineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s love for football. The exterior walls sport illustrations of Considine in his Ravens uniform, along with team logos of the Byron Tigers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Philadelphia Eagles and Ravens (teams Considine has played for) and a Super Bowl ring. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s considering taking his mobile meat business to events and tailgate parties, starting with Northern Illinois University football games. The biggest public misconception is that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a sandwich shop, Considine said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We get some of those

Sean Considine organizes fresh meat in his mobile truck last fall while parked in Dixon. Considine has teamed up with Headonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Market in Creston to bring fresh meat to other markets. Photo by Alex Paschal

folks,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Word is starting to get out, and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re getting repeat customers, which is a good sign.â&#x20AC;? The best part of the gig is that he gets to go home to his family at the end of the day, Considine said. Go to www.headon. com, search â&#x20AC;&#x153;Headon and Considineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Marketâ&#x20AC;? on Facebook for more information.

Ryan Marshall of DIxon stops by to visit the Headon and Considine mobile meat market during itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s weekly stop in Dixon last season. The truck is bringing in fresh meat from Headonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Market in Creston to area locations. Photo by Alex Paschal

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W E â&#x20AC;&#x2122; R E H E R E , F O R YO U.

Sauk Valley Media

Areaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best in patient safety We at FHN are committed to a safe patient experience, and are proud that FHN Memorial Hospital was recently recognized for a second year for our patient safety record by the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest independent, non-profit product- and service-testing organization. In their second U.S. study, in which safety scores were calculated for nearly 2,000 hospitals, only 6% nationwide â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and only four hospitals in Illinois â&#x20AC;&#x201C; earned a score as high or higher as FHN Memorial Hospital, which scored higher than any other hospital close to the communities it serves.*

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Providing Excellence in Planter Performance DÄ&#x17E;Ć&#x161;Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x152; ^Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x152;Ç&#x20AC;Ĺ?Ä?Ä&#x17E; ^Ĺ&#x161;Ĺ˝Ć&#x2030; ^Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x152;Ç&#x20AC;Ĺ?Ä?Ä&#x17E; Î&#x2DC; /ĹśĆ?Ć&#x161;Ä&#x201A;ĹŻĹŻĆ? 'Ć&#x152;Ĺ˝Ç Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x152; DÄ&#x17E;Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x;ĹśĹ?Ć? ĎŽĎŹÍŹĎŽĎŹ Î&#x2DC; &Ĺ?Ä&#x17E;ĹŻÄ&#x161;sĹ?Ä&#x17E;Ç ZÄ&#x17E;ĨĆ&#x152;Ä&#x17E;Ć?Ĺ&#x161;Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x152; ĹŻÄ&#x201A;Ć?Ć?Ä&#x17E;Ć?

It is our goal to offer our communities the best possible healthcare services we can provide, and recognition such as this confirms our commitment to your confidence in our processes and capabilities. Whether you need surgery, cancer treatment or other specialty care close to home, a hand in welcoming a new baby into your life, help in handling a chronic health condition, or emergency care, choose the best in the area for patient safety: FHN.

* Within a 50-mile radius of Freeport

For more information, visit www. fhn.org or call 1-877-6000FHN (1-877-600-0346).

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12 Financial Resolutions for 2014 Instead of hauling out those familiar New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s resolutions about eating and exercising more, how about focusing on something else thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also very good for you LQ WKH ORQJ UXQ" :H¡UH WDONLQJ DERXW \RXU Ă&#x20AC;QDQFLDO SODQ ² \RXU Ă&#x20AC;VFDO KHDOWK LI \RX ZLOO :RUNLQJ ZLWK \RXU Ă&#x20AC;QDQFLDO DGYLVRU VWDUW WKH 1HZ <HDU ULJKW E\ UHYLHZLQJ DQG UHYDPSLQJ \RXU Ă&#x20AC;QDQFLDO SODQ With that in mind, here are 12 suggested resolutions, that LI IROORZHG FRXOG KHOS \RX JR D ORQJ ZD\ WRZDUG DWWDLQLQJ \RXU Ă&#x20AC;QDQFLDO JRDOVÂŤ  *HW \RXU EDODQFH VKHHW LQ RUGHU E\ HYDOXDWLQJ \RXU DVVHWV DQG OLDELOLWLHV &RQVLGHU ZKDW \RX ZLOO QHHG WR UHDFK \RXU UHWLUHPHQW SODQQLQJ JRDOV DQG DQ\ DGMXVWPHQWV \RX PD\ QHHG WR PDNH WR JHW WKHUH  5HYLHZ \RXU EXGJHW DQG VSHQGLQJ KDELWV 'LG \RX JR off track during the year?  5HYLHZ WKH WLWOLQJ RI \RXU DFFRXQWV WR HQVXUH QR FRPSOLFDWLRQV ZKHQ LW FRPHV WLPH WR DGGUHVV \RXU HVWDWH  'HVLJQDWH DQG XSGDWH \RXU EHQHĂ&#x20AC;FLDULHV  (YDOXDWH \RXU FDVK KROGLQJV DQG ZKHUH \RXU UHVHUYHV DUH ORFDWHG ,W¡V ZLVH WR KDYH DW OHDVW VL[ PRQWKV RI HDVLO\ DFFHVVLEOH OLYLQJ H[SHQVHV VHW DVLGH  5HYLVLW \RXU SRUWIROLR¡V DVVHW DOORFDWLRQ DQG GHWHUPLQH

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BUILDING PORTFOLIOS ISNâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;T THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE DO. BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS IS. Planning and investing for your future, your family or your business doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to be complicated. Especially when you have someone you trust, who has taken the time to get to know you and your specific situation, helping guide you along the way. We start by listening to your needs, then delivering the quality, sophisticated advice you expect and deserve. Ensuring that we deliver not just any plan, but the right plan for you. LIFE WELL PLANNED.

Kelly Johnson, CFPÂŽ Financial Advisor

Lavonne Berkeley

Client Service Associate

Virtus Capital Partners, LLC // 117 S. Lafayette St. // Byron, IL 61010 T 815.668.8062 // f 815.915.0000 kelly.d.johnson@raymondjames.com // virtuscapitalpartnersllc.com

Š2013 Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. 13-BDKMT-1098 ICD Relationships 1/4 page EG 6/13

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