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Serving Ogle County since 1851

OREGON Republican Reporter

January 23, 2014 Volume 164, Number 6 - $1.00

Bowlers Advance

Staying Healthy

Energy Award

Hawk bowlers advance to the sectional with a third place finish at the Dixon Regional. B1

Finding time to exercise can be hard but the rewards are worth it. A11

The Byron Forest Preserve’s Keller Education Center earns an award. B3

Delay sheriff’s building for tourism studies? By Vinde Wells Editor Concerns over tourism prompted a county board member to ask Tuesday that plans for a new sheriff’s administration building are put on hold. Ron Colson, Mt. Morris, filed a request with county board chairman Kim Gouker,

Byron, at the county meeting asking to be placed on the February agenda. His written request said he wants to introduce a motion to suspend the bid process on the sheriff’s new headquarters at 103 Jefferson St., Oregon. The county board approved seeking bids for the new building at its December meeting.

Gouker agreed to refer Colson’s request to the Executive Committee which sets up the board agenda each month. Colson’s request said he wants the building project sent back to the county’s Long Range & Strategic Planning Committee for further study. He asked for an analysis of the market value of the

property where the sheriff’s office now sits and the new one would be built because he said its part of the City of Oregon’s Comprehensive Plan for a Riverfront District. Colson said the property is a key part of planned development to promote tourism in the city, which would also financially benefit the county.

Gouker said that Oregon Mayor Tom Stone has voiced no objections to building the new sheriff’s administration building on the site. Colson’s request asked alternative sites be considered for the new building. He also asked that the Long Range & Strategic Planning Committee determine if architectural changes should

be made in the proposed building plan to allow for future growth needs of the sheriff’s department, coroner, 911 director, and Ogle County Emergency Management Agency director, all of which will be housed in the new building. Colson voiced displeasure with the process followed in Turn to A8

Winter taking toll on county road crews By Chris Johnson Reporter

Winter Work Dan Fichtner blows snow from his driveway on Fairgrounds Circle in Oregon Tuesday afternoon. About three inches of snow fell in the Oregon area Monday through Tuesday accompanied by sub zero temperatures and wind. Photo by Earleen Hinton

Park board agrees to issue bonds for projects By Vinde Wells Editor Improvements to recently acquired property and work on the heating and cooling system at the Blackhawk Center are on the list of projects the Oregon Park District plans to tackle in the upcoming year. Money to complete those and other capital improvement and maintenance projects will come from general obligation bonds approved by the park board last week. After the required Bond Issue Notification Act (BINA) hearing, the park board approved issuing $2

million in bonds at its Jan. 14 meeting. However, Executive Director Erin Folk said the board expects to spend only about $400,000 of that in the coming fiscal year, which begins May 1. “We don’t anticipate issuing the $2 million, but this gives us flexibility,� Folk said. The bond issue is a routine matter that occurs each year, she said, and the BINA hearing is required every three years. Although the complete list of capital projects is not yet complete, Folk said part of the money will be spent to

improve Jack’s Landing, the 10 wooded acres on Daysville Road recently donated to the park district by Craig and Bette Williams. The area will be kept as natural as possible to preserve the native plants, trees, and wildlife in the area, Folk said earlier this month. Preliminary plans calls for adding walking trails, a fishing pier, and possibly a canoe launch.

Another project will be the HVAC system at the Blackhawk Center. The good news for taxpayers is that the bond issue will not increase property taxes. In fact, park district taxes will go down slightly. “Our taxes this year are expected to decrease by $1.52 for the average homeowner in Oregon,� Folk said.

Winter is officially half over, but for snow plow drivers there has been no end in sight. At the Ogle County Highway Department, which maintains 270 miles of county roads, the employees have only had one day off since Dec. 8. “Our guys have been out daily dealing with the snow and ice,� said Ogle County Engineer Curtis Cook. “While we may not be getting much snow with each storm, the wind has been blowing and drifting. Our guys have been doing a fantastic job in these conditions.� This constant winter weather has led to a higher demand for salt and chips to help keep area roads clear. The roads in Ogle County are either maintained by the county, the townships, the state, or individual municipalities. Townships in Ogle County maintain 918 miles of roads. The Illinois Department of Transportation maintains Ill. 2, 26, 64, 72, 251, I-39, and US 52. Some of the main county roads include German Church Road, River Road,

White Pines Road, Lowell Park Road, Baileyville Road, and Mt. Morris Road. Montague Road is co-maintained between Winnebago, Stephenson, and Ogle Counties. So far salt supplies have been holding out for the county. “We are okay with our chip supply but our salt supplier is having a hard time getting all the salt to us,� said Cook. “We are expecting a delivery of salt this week from an order placed Dec. 20.� The highway department has salt orders throughout the winter because the salt needs to be stored inside a building. “We place numerous orders and we have 1,500 tons ordered that have not been delivered,� said Cook. Fortunately for the county, their storage capacity was increased after a winter 2009 shortage. “The county board allowed us to build a second storage building for salt,� said Cook. “Without is we would have been out of salt two weeks ago. Fortunately we have had enough salt so far.� With two ice storms this season, Cook said another ice storm would drastically impact the remaining salt Turn to A2

Board member asks for audit By Vinde Wells Editor A county board member’s motion to have a forensic audit of the Ogle County Sheriff’s Department’s expenditures was quickly quashed Tuesday because it wasn’t on the meeting agenda. Board member Richard Petrizzo, Davis Junction, made the motion under the “new business� section of the meeting. However, board chairman

Kim Gouker, Byron, told him the measure couldn’t be voted on because it wasn’t listed as an item on the agenda. Petrizzo asked it that rule could be waived in order for the board to act immediately. “Yes, but we aren’t going to when it involves spending taxpayers’ money,� Gouker replied, referring to the cost of the proposed forensic audit. Petrizzo said he was proposing the measure in

Cold Temps

Turn to A2 Sub zero temperatures returned to Ogle County Tuesday following a three-inch snowfall Monday night. Here, the sun sets on the Rock River just below the Oregon dam. Photo by Earleen Hinton

In This Week’s Edition...

Church News, A5 Classifieds, B8-B12 College News, A4 Entertainment, A6

Marriage Licenses, A4 Oregon Police, B3 Property Transfers, B7 Public Voice, A8

Sheriff’s Arrests, B6 Social News, A4 Sports, B1, B2 State’s Attorney, B7

Deaths, B6 John C. Anderson, Rita J. Blumeyer, Robert Dawson, Clifford W. Meyer, W. Walter Spangler