Serving Ogle County since 1851
OREGON Republican Reporter
January 2, 2014 Volume 164, Number 3 - $1.00
A New Year
The Lady Hawks finished seventh at Dixon by playing 2-2 basketball last week. B1
2013 has come and goneâ€”have a Happy New Year!
Some Ogle County credit card statements were altered. A7
Park district waiting for study results Archaeological survey is part of IDNR rules By Vinde Wells Editor Oregon Park District officials are awaiting the results of an archaeological survey before making any definite plans for newly acquired property along the Rock River near Daysville. Executive Director Erin Folk said Monday that the survey is part of the requirements set by the Illinois Department of Natural Resource (IDNR). The survey results, she said, will determine exactly what can be done on the 10 wooded acres recently donated to the park district by Craig and Bette Williams. The transaction was official on Nov. 25. The area will be kept as natural as possible, Folk said, to preserve the native plants, trees, and wildlife in the area. â€œWeâ€™re hoping to preserve the land and make it a natural space rather than a developed park,â€? she said. â€œWeâ€™re very fortunate to have this piece
of property. We donâ€™t have anything like it.â€? Preliminary plans calls for walking trails, a fishing pier, and possibly a canoe launch. The gift was an answer to the park districtâ€™s search for just the right piece of property. Park district officials learned sometime ago that they were required by the IDNR to replace the 6.3 acres on 10th Street that they sold several years ago to the Rock River Center because that property was originally purchased by the City of Oregon using an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant from the IDNR. The park district sold the property to the Rock River Center for $1 in 2007. The land must be replaced with property of equal or greater value, Folk said, and the property near Daysville will fulfill that requirement. â€œWe had been looking for property and when this became available it was an opportunity we couldnâ€™t pass up,â€? Folk said. The property will be called Jackâ€™s Landing, in keeping with the wishes of the Williamses, she said.
Two fires in Oregon cause little damage By Vinde Wells Editor
Bald Eagle Watching The Ill. 64 bridge over the Rock River in Oregon was a popular location Saturday to view bald eagles. Above top, a mature bald eagle flies off a perch in a tree near the bridge. Above left, an immature bald eagle soars over the bridge. Above right, a group of bird watchers have cameras and binoculars at the ready. Photos by Chris Johnson
Oregon School District employees to pay less for insurance premiums By Vinde Wells Editor Unlike most private and public employers, the Oregon School District will pay less for employee health insurance premiums in the coming year. The Oregon School Board approved a plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Dec. 16 that means the overall cost to the district will be 1.4 percent less than last year. â€œThat doesnâ€™t happen very often,â€? said Superintendent Tom Mahoney. â€œI was very pleased we were able to do this.â€? He said the decrease was accomplished through a competitive bidding process with Blue Cross Blue Shield
and another company. The district shares the cost of insurance with employees. In some cases, employees will also see a decrease in their premiums, while others will have a modest increase. The districtâ€™s portion of the health insurance cost will be $1.1 million under the new plan. For Oregon Education Association (OEA) members, the district pays 88 percent of the premium cost for an eligible employee, 84 percent for the employee and spouse, 84 percent for the employee and children, and 77 percent for family coverage. For Oregon Education Support Personnel Association (OESPA) members, the district pays
In This Weekâ€™s Edition...
92.5 percent of the premium cost for an eligible employee, 60 percent for the employee and spouse, 60 percent for the employee and children, and 60 percent for family coverage. In another matter, the board approved spending $671,560 for additional Health & Life Safety work to the schoolâ€™s building. Mahoney said the amount is within the $7.5 million approved Oct. 21 for Health & Life Safety projects. The additional projects include more security cameras at various school entrances, repairs to the doors of the band room at Oregon High School, additional electrical outlets and upgrades to transformers at OHS and
Church News, A5 Classifieds, B5-B8 Entertainment, A6 Library News, A3
Two fires in Oregon early this week resulted in no major damage to structures. Oregon Fire Chief Don Heller said a skid loader caught on fire Sunday morning in a building at Blackhawk Lumber, 800 E. Washington St. (Ill. 64) and a conveyor belt caused a fire Monday morning at Unimin Corporation, 1446 W. Devilâ€™s Backbone Rd. No one was injured in either fire, Heller said. The cause of the skid loader fire has not yet been determined. The business has been closed for sometime. â€œNo one was around. It may have been a mechanical malfunction in a block heater,â€? Heller said. â€œItâ€™s under investigation.â€? The skid loader was destroyed, but the building
Oregon Elementary School, removing and replacing existing phone cables, and adding air-conditioning in six server rooms. The majority of the Health & Life Safety work â€” an estimated $7.1 million â€” will be for the new heating and cooling system. In October, the board hired Chevron Energy Solutions, Chicago, to oversee the projects, which will include installing geothermal By Chris Johnson systems to heat and cool Reporter Oregon High School and Oregon Elementary School, A house in the 100 block improving security at all the districtâ€™s buildings and of North Sixth street, owned by the Oregon Public Library repairing a water main. Estimates show that District, was demolished in mid December. Turn to A2 â€œThe house had some
Marriage Licenses, A4 Oregon Police, B3 Public Voice, B2 Property Transfers, B4
housing it was not damaged. The fire was reported around 9 a.m. Stillman Valley Fire Department was called for mutual aid. Firefighters remained on the scene for approximately an hour. A conveyor belt used to move sand got stuck and caught on fire at Unimin around 8:30 a.m. Monday, Heller said. The only damage was to the belt, he said. Mt. Morris, Byron, and Franklin Grove Fire Departments assisted at the scene. Heller said several more departments were called for mutual aid, but were turned back before they arrived. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire, Heller said, and remained on the scene for and hour and 15 minutes.
Oregon Library District demolishes home on N.6th
Sheriffâ€™s Arrests, B3 Social News, A4 Sports, B1 Stateâ€™s Attorney, B4
damage including water damage,â€? said board president Scott Stephens. â€œWe decided it made better financial sense to demolish the structure.â€? Stephens said the costs to repair the property were cost prohibitive for a rental Turn to A2
Deaths, B2 John D. Basler, Danny Beck, Helen M. Erdmier, Dorothy M. Hartje, John R. Heckman, Theodore R. Norris, Joan R. Strauss
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Oregon Republican Reporter, Thursday, January 2, 2014, Page A2
Ogle gets $150,000 grant for water, sewer projects Ogle County has been awarded a $150,000 state grant for water and sewer work where systems are at risk of failure. A press release from Governor Pat Quinn Dec. 26 said the county will receive an emergency set-aside fund grant. The money is earmarked for the design of a sewage treatment plant in White Rock Township to address sewage flowing into a creek that feeds the Rock River. Quinn announced $299,000 in state investments in northern Illinois to Rebel, now 12 weeks old, makes himself at home during a recent visit to the Ogle support critical public works County Newspapers office in Oregon. Photo by Vinde Wells improvements, part of nearly $2 million statewide to help rural communities improve their water and sewer systems. Carroll County will receive $149,000 for design sewer line and lift station improvements in Savanna.
Pup helps man over holidays
by direct application to the federal government. Most of the money is for design work on water and sewer lines, with a portion dedicated to emergency needs. The funds originate from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and are administered by the DCEO. â€œThese investments are crucial to healthy water services in communities statewide,â€? DCEO Director Adam Pollet said. â€œInvesting in sanitary public works projects will not only directly benefit health and quality of life, it will also help create job opportunities in these communities.â€? Statewide, investments totaling $1.996 million were made in 17 rural low-income communities, and with the required local matching funds the total expenditure will be $2.095 million.
Unemployment rates increase
By Vinde Wells Editor
By Pam Eggemeier Sauk Valley Media
An empty spot in a Mt. Morris manâ€™s heart was unexpectedly filled a few weeks before Christmas. Chris Corcoran keenly felt the loss several months ago of his 13-year-old golden retriever, Rusty. A rescue dog from a Rockford shelter, Rusty had been Corcoranâ€™s constant companion for a decade when he died last June. â€œHe was my best friend,â€? Corcoran said during an interview in August. A new furry friend came into his life on Nov. 11 when he adopted Rebel, an eightweek-old Labrador retriever puppy. â€œHe doesnâ€™t take Rustyâ€™s place, but he sure helps,â€? Corcoran said. â€œHeâ€™s a really good dog.â€? As if in response, the friendly pup snuggled into his new ownerâ€™s arms and nuzzled his face. Rebel was the last puppy in a locally-bred litter. The owner was moving and couldnâ€™t take the pup with her.
The press release said the grants are part of Quinnâ€™s agenda to create jobs and bolster the stateâ€™s infrastructure while improving health and safety in Illinois. â€œThese projects are vital to central Illinois and support basic community needs,â€? Quinn said in the press release. â€œInvesting in infrastructure in Carroll and Ogle Counties is creating jobs and providing a foundation for a healthier and safer Illinois.â€? The investments were made under the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)â€™s Community Development Assistance Program, which targets areas with populations of less than 50,000 that are outside of urban counties. Larger towns and cities are eligible for similar funding
Chris Corcoran, Mt. Morris, holds Rebel, his new Labrador retriever puppy. Photo by Vinde Wells
An animal lover, Corcoran was more than pleased to help out and readily took Rebel home with him. The dog has settled in the routine at his new home, playing with the other dogs and gnawing on a few things he shouldnâ€™t. â€œHe likes to chew belts and cords,â€? Corcoran said with a rueful chuckle. Rebel goes most places with his new owner and even sleeps with him. â€œHe likes to be rocked to sleep,â€? Corcoran said.
Besides Rusty, Corcoran has rescued numerous dogs and cats over the years and urges everyone to consider shelter animals when choosing a pet. â€œTheyâ€™re good animals that are just waiting to go home with you,â€? he said. Pets are also a good solution for anyone who lives alone, Corcoran believes. â€œFor people who are lonely, get a dog or a cat,â€? he said. â€œAnimals are great companions. They lift your spirits.â€?
District demolishes one rental home From A1 east side of Sixth Street next to the Oregon Post Office. property. The Oregon Public Library Library officials had owns the vacant lots on the
planned to build a new library on the site, however a referendum last year was rejected by the voters.
Unemployment rates were up throughout the Sauk Valley in November, despite holding steady statewide and dropping nationally during that period. The jobless rate in Illinois was 8.3 percent last month, the same as it was in October. Nationally, the jobless rate dropped to 6.6 percent, from 7 percent, during that period. Bureau County saw the greatest increase in the area, jumping from 8.1 to 9.0 percent from October to November. Lee Countyâ€™s jobless rate rose to 9.0 percent in November, up from 8.3 percent the previous month.
Ogle, Carroll and Whiteside counties all experienced a 0.5 percentage-point increase in November. Year over year, jobs were added in seven of the 12 metropolitan areas tracked by the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The Rockford and Peoria metro areas were among those that lost jobs since November 2012. The IDES attributed the November job losses to â€œa temporary slowdown in global manufacturing demand.â€? The metro areas experiencing the most significant job losses have large agriculture-related manufacturing employers such as John Deere, Caterpillar and ADM. Seasonal cutbacks in
manufacturing operations are not uncommon at the end of the year, and oftentimes ramp up again after the holidays. â€œManufacturing, farm employers and construction can have big seasonal swings this time of year,â€? said John Thompson, president and CEO of Lee County Industrial Development Association. â€œThey use seasonal shutdowns to adjust production schedules at the end of the year.â€? Local companies do not report layoffs to his office. County and city officials are notified if they are of the mass variety and require official public reporting under provisions of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.
Geothermal work to begin in Feb. From A1 operating the new system, even with cooling included, will cost less than what the district is now spending, Mahoney said. Digging the wells for the geothermal systems is expected to begin in February, with the other work scheduled to start after school is out.
The projects will be completed by the time classes start next fall, Mahoney said. The junior high in Mt. Morris cannot be included as part of a Health & Life Safety project, Mahoney said, because its heating system, installed in the early 2000s, is too new and still works. The Health & Life Safety process only allows for
replacement of equipment that has functioned for the duration of its useful life or has a catastrophic failure, he said. However, he said district officials are considering options for air-conditioning at the junior high and plan to install a cooling system in time for the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.
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An eye exam is a good idea, especially if things are starting to look a little fuzzy around the edges.
Dr. Kurt K. Nelson Optometrist