Page 1

Serving Ogle County since 1851

OREGON Republican Reporter

January 2, 2014 Volume 164, Number 3 - $1.00

Dixon Tourney

A New Year

Altered Records

The Lady Hawks finished seventh at Dixon by playing 2-2 basketball last week. B1

2013 has come and gone—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. “We’re hoping to preserve the land and make it a natural space rather than a developed park,� she said. “We’re very fortunate to have this piece

of property. We don’t have anything like it.� Preliminary plans calls for walking trails, a fishing pier, and possibly a canoe launch. The gift was an answer to the park district’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. “We had been looking for property and when this became available it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,� Folk said. The property will be called Jack’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. “That doesn’t happen very often,� said Superintendent Tom Mahoney. “I was very pleased we were able to do this.� 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 district’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 Week’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 school’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. Devil’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. “No one was around. It may have been a mechanical malfunction in a block heater,� Heller said. “It’s under investigation.� 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 — an estimated $7.1 million — 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 district’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 “The 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

Sheriff’s Arrests, B3 Social News, A4 Sports, B1 State’s Attorney, B4

damage including water damage,� said board president Scott Stephens. “We decided it made better financial sense to demolish the structure.� 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