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Serving Ogle County since 1851

OREGON Republican Reporter

March 27, 2014 Volume 164, Number 15 - $1.00

Antique Show


What’s Cookin’

Mark your calendar! The Oregon Woman’s Club annual antique show is March 29-30. A6

Area businesses and government agencies continue to grow. C1-C20

Twenty-four teams are ready to show off their skills in the kitchen at a new fundraiser. A8

Rockford man arrested after March 22 fight By Vinde Wells Editor

A Forrestville Valley school bus and a pick-up truck collided last Friday afternoon in the 11,000 block of Pecatonica Road, northeast of Leaf River. The driver of the truck and the driver of the school bus along with two children who were riding in the bus were transported by ambulance to area hospitals. Photo by Vinde Wells

Four are injured in bus accident By Vinde Wells Editor Two school children and two drivers were transported to area hospitals March 21 after a Forrestville Valley school bus collided head-on with a pick-up truck northeast of Leaf River. Bus driver Marsha Birkholz, 64, Forreston, was stopped in the southbound

lane to let a rider off at 11461 N. Pecatonica Rd. when the northbound pick-up truck struck the front of the bus. According to a Rockford TV station, the truck was driven by Timothy Hilton, 28, Pecatonica, who was in serious condition. Two students, an 11-yearold and a 14-year-old, suffered minor injuries in the crash and were taken to the hospital.

Ogle County Sheriff’s Police at the scene said six children were on the bus when the crash occurred just after 3 p.m. School had dismissed early that day for spring break. The other four students on the bus were released to their parents. The Leaf River, Mt. Morris, Byron, Pecatonica, and Winnebago Fire Departments assisted at the scene.

Sheriff Michael Harn did not return numerous phone calls seeking further information about the crash. A spokesperson at the sheriff’s department said Tuesday that no one was available to provide information or a crash report. According to the TV station, the crash remains under investigation.

A Rockford man has been arrested in connection with a shooting in rural Ogle County over the weekend. Deputy Chief Dave Hopkins of the Rockford Police Department said Brandon McMahon, 20, has been charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm. Hopkins said McMahon, a parolee, is currently in the Winnebago County Jail on a hold for the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). McMahon was taken into custody in Rockford by Rockford police after the shooting, which occurred in the wee hours of March 22 at a residence on North Hoisington Road, northwest of Byron. Ogle County Sheriff Michael Harn did not answer his phone or return numerous phone calls seeking information about the incident. According to a Rockford TV station, Harn said the

Brandon McMahon

shooting occurred around 12:30 a.m. after two people got into a fight during a party. The victim, whose name was not released, was shot in the shoulder and was in serious condition, the TV report said. According to IDOC records, McMahon was paroled in July of 2013. He was sentenced to three years in the IDOC in 2010 after being convicted on several charges, including armed robbery (no firearm) and possession of a firearm by a gang member. All the offenses occurred in Winnebago County.

Special county board meeting fails to transpire By Vinde Wells Editor A special Ogle County Board meeting announced last week didn’t happen after all. At the regular meeting on March 19, board member Ron Colson, Mt. Morris, called for the special meeting under Rule 13 to discuss the location of the proposed sheriff’s administration building. Rule 13 allows eight board members to call for a special

meeting. Colson said eight members had agreed to the meeting, but he declined to identify them, saying they would be listed on the meeting agenda. Colson has opposed the new sheriff’s administration building being located on the present site at 103 Jefferson St., Oregon. He favors building it on the property the county owns on Sixth Street across from the judicial center. Colson first voiced his concern over the location at

the Jan. 21 board meeting because he said the property lies within the area designated for a Riverfront District in the City of Oregon’s Comprehensive Plan. He said the property is a key part of planned development to promote tourism in the city, which would also financially benefit the county. He asked for the matter to be on the Feb. 18 meeting agenda. However, the Executive Committee, which decides what goes on the

agenda, voted 6-0 against that. Members of the Executive Committee are board chairman Kim Gouker, Byron, John O’Brien and Greg Sparrow, both of Rochelle, John Finfrock, Mt. Morris, Don Griffin, Oregon, and Pat Nordman, Oregon. Board member Bill Welty, also a committee member, did not attend that meeting. Gouker reminded Colson March 19 that a special meeting could cost as much as $1,200 if all 24 board

members attend. Board members are paid $50 each for special meetings. Colson acknowledged the cost, but said he called the special meeting after the matter had been “blocked� from getting on the regular agenda. Gouker, however, disagreed. “It wasn’t blocked. It’s been discussed in committee,� he said. “We’re moving forward [with the building].� Colson said Monday

afternoon that he decided not to call for the meeting after all because too many board members could not attend. “There were too many schedule conflicts,� he said. Gouker sent out an email Monday evening to county board members and officials, as well as media, notifying them that the special meeting would not be held after all. The email also said Colson had filed neither a request nor an agenda for the special meeting with the county clerk by the March 21 deadline.

Cause of March 16 fire undetermined By Vinde Wells Editor The cause of the fire that destroyed Whiskey’s River Smokehouse, 123 N. Second St., Oregon, on March 16 has not yet been determined. Oregon Assistant Fire Chief Randy Travis said Tuesday that the cause of the fire, which was ruled accidental, remains under investigation. Investigators from the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) are working with local fire officials to pinpoint exactly how the blaze started. Fire Chief Don Heller said last week that it appears to have started in the basement. The cause of a March 16 fire that destroyed the Whiskey’s River Smokehouse at 123 N. Second Street in Oregon The building’s owner has yet to be determined. The fire has been ruled accidental. Photo by Earleen Hinton Kevin Wedel, who lived in

In This Week’s Edition...

Agriculture, A7 Church News, A5 Classifieds, B7-B12 College News, A4 Entertainment, A6

Oregon Library, A3 Oregon Police, A7 Marriage Licenses, A4 Public Voice, A8

Property Transfers, B6 Sheriff’s Arrests, B5 Social News, A4 Sports, B1, B2

the upstairs apartment, was not at home when the fire occurred. Two investigators from the OSFM and a dog went through the inside of the burned-out restaurant March 17. The restaurant, which has been closed for some time, is next to the Oregon Fire Station. Heller said a jogger saw smoke coming from the structure and flagged down an on-duty Oregon policeman who alerted the fire department at 8:20 p.m. Oregon firefighters were assisted at the scene by the Mt. Morris, Polo, Byron, Stillman Valley, Franklin Grove, Dixon City, and Dixon Rural Fire Departments and the Oregon Ambulance.

Deaths, B3 Carl E. Cline, Alice C. Hamilton, Clarice H. Himert, Paula K. Mason, Howard E. Mantsch, Thomas A. Myers, Helen M. Ports