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Serving Ogle County since 1851

OREGON Republican Reporter

Regional Action The wrestling regionals are Saturday. Girls basketball regionals start Feb. 10. A12, B2

February 6, 2014 Volume 164, Number 8 - $1.00

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Two Percent Raise

The deadline to register to vote in time for the primary is Feb. 18. A10

Several Ogle County officials received a two percent pay hike on Jan. 21. A2

$509 million tax assessment set for Exelon By Vinde Wells Editor The Ogle County Board of Review (BOR) chose the middle ground last week when it set the assessment of Exelon’s Byron Generating Station. After hearing appeals from attorneys for both Exelon Nuclear and the Byron School District Jan. 30, the BOR upheld the assessment of $509,444,605 set last fall by Supervisor of Assessments Jim Harrison. Exelon Nuclear officials appealed that assessment, claiming the plant’s value should be set at $252,937,302, just 49.6 percent of Harrison’s number. Byron School District officials, on the other hand, set the plant’s value at $730 million in their appeal. The appeal is for the generating station’s 2013 assessment, which affects taxes payable in 2014. The assessment is slightly higher than the $499 million set by Harrison in 2012. “I bumped it up based on the assessments of other nuclear plants and the likelihood that a license extension will be granted,� Harrison said Dec. 6. Exelon has applied for a 20-year extension to its current licenses, which expire in 2025 and 2027. Both Exelon and Byron school officials also appealed last year’s assessment, and the BOR upheld Harrison’s number at a hearing held a year ago. Both appealed last year’s BOR decision to the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board, which has not yet made its ruling. Exelon paid more than $32

million in real estate taxes last year to 11 taxing bodies, which include Ogle County, Rockvale Township, Byron School District, Oregon School District, Oregon Park District, Byron Fire District, Rock Valley College, Byron Public Library District, Byron Museum District, Byron Forest Preserve District, and Kishwaukee Community College. The Byron School District received the largest share of that money — $18.4 million. The value of the Byron Generating Station has frequently been disputed throughout the history of the facility. Spelling bee winner fifth grader McAuley Humphrey was all smiles after she won the bee. Photo by Chris Johnson A four-year agreement between the taxing bodies and Exelon for the plant’s assessment expired at the end of 2011. The agreement, approved in November of 2010, set the assessed value of the nuclear plant at $450 million By Chris Johnson to the final two rounds were for 2008, $460 million in Reporter expunge, bulwark, shiatsu, 2009, $470 million in 2010, pontiff, nigh, and insinuate. and $480 million in 2011. Battling through a variety In round 6 one of the final Besides setting the plant’s of challenging words, four four spellers missed a word value, the agreement settled spellers emerged from leaving only three in the a lawsuit and numerous tax the field of 25 Friday final round. appeals filed between 2005 afternoon during the Oregon Only Humphrey spelled and 2008. Elementary School Spelling her word right. Commonwealth Edison, Bee. Hearing the final word, which formerly owned the Fourth grader May she took a deep breath and plant, filed its first tax in Hernandez, fifth graders spelled confidently the 1989 when the assessment McAuley Humphrey and winning word. was more than $1 billion. AlexaLin Moses, and sixth “Propulsion,� Humphrey The following year, the grader Jacob Davis were the said. “P, r, o, p, u, l, s, i, o, n, affected taxing bodies final four spelling during the propulsion.� formed the Ogle County competition. A split second later the Intergovernmental Agency Throughout the day, judges confirmed she was Board to fight the tax appeals. challenging homonyms the winner of the spelling bee The first multi-year and words requiring and will represent her school agreement, approved in early capitalization had knocked at the regional spelling bee 1998, set the assessments for out other spellers, but these in Dixon on Thursday, Feb. 1997-2004 at $471 million four overcame these difficult 20. and settled a decade of Humphrey smiled and Fifth graders Adam Thorsen and Adam Glendenning words. lawsuits and tax appeals. Some of the final words turned to her classmates and Turn to A2 smile as they anticipate the start of the annual spelling that were missed leading up friends and smiled. bee Friday afternoon. Photo by Chris Johnson

Humphrey wins OES spelling bee

Landmark may reopen soon under new owners By Chris Johnson Reporter Pending any unforeseen hurdles, Maxson’s Riverside Restaurant will soon have new owners and be back open for business. Frank and Nancy Semmerling, Riverwoods, were in Oregon Jan. 30 to attend the meeting of the Ogle County Liquor Commission, which was considering their application for a liquor license at the Oregon landmark. “I spoke to the sheriff (Michael Harn) and there are no felonies in the background check,� said chairman Kim Gouker, Byron, who also chairs the county board. Gouker also talked to state’s attorney Mike Rock to verify the rules about residency did were followed.

“Correct,� said Rock. “I looked at the ordinance about being residents. It applies to individuals. They are applying as a corporation. Residency should not be a bar.� The liquor commission agreed to prorate the license. With the issuing of a liquor license the Semmerlings will still need to apply for the state liquor license. The Semmerlings are in the process of buying the restaurant and its riverboat from current owner Rich Wiesner, Oregon. “We are hoping to learn a lot from the Wiesners,� said Frank Semmerling. “We are looking to open in March.� He said the closing on the property was scheduled for this week. “Once we close we will Maxson’s was closed in October after Rich Wiesner, Oregon, retired. Frank and Nancy Semmerling, Riverwoods, Turn to A2 are in the process of purchasing the business. Photo by Earleen Hinton

In This Week’s Edition...

Birth, A2 Church News, A5 Classifieds, B7-B12 College News, A4 Entertainment, A6

Fines, B5 Library News, A3 Marriage Licenses, A4 Oregon Police, B6 Public Voice, A10

Property Transfers, B5 Sheriff’s Arrests, B6 Social News, A4 Sports, A12, B1, B2 State’s Attorney, B4

No Deaths There were no obituaries reported this week.