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Serving Ogle County since 1851

OREGON Republican Reporter

Touch-A-Truck Children of all ages will be able to see trucks of all sizes during at this June 14 event. A9

June 12, 2014 Volume 164, Number 26 - $1.00

Misuse of Stations

Memorial Walk Register now for the 12th annual Lois Nelson Memorial Walk on July 4. A7

Illegal dumping may mean the demise of Ogle’s recycling stations. B3

Police: No sign of bear

Statue in worse condition than first thought More details to come at press conference By Vinde Wells Editor Repairs for Ogle County’s best-loved statue can’t begin soon enough. Frank Rausa, Sterling, who is heading up the effort to repair the 103-year-old world renowned icon, said Tuesday that testing last fall and this spring shows that the Black Hawk statue is in worse shape than was originally feared. “With all the testing that we did we found the damage is a lot worse than we thought,� he said. “We are hopeful that we will get started [with repair work] this summer.� Orange fence went up early this week around the base of the concrete statue that overlooks the Rock River at Lowden State Park. The fence, Rausa said, is there partly to protect visitors in case pieces of the statue fall off. He said he is in the process of scheduling a press conference soon to outline the extent of the damage and the plan for repairing and restoring the statue. Over the years due to time and weather conditions, the statue has developed cracks, and large pieces of its concrete surface have dislodged. The folded arms of the 50-foot monolith have been especially affected. Large

chunks have fallen out of the elbow of the right arm and from underneath the left arm. A team of experts spent nearly a week in October examining the damage to the statue and performing tests. Engineers used high-tech scanners which allowed them to see inside the concrete to assess its condition and to determine the amount and location of steel reinforcing. The locations of the steel were then marked on tape placed on the statue’s hollow interior. Another crew scanned the statue with rotating lasers to create an exact 3-D model of the statue. The testing, which also included ground-penetrating radar work and ultrasonic tomography, was finished Oct. 11. The experts returned in April to take more samples. What they discovered was not good, Rausa said. Directly below the folded arms of the statue, the external finishing coat of concrete — its outer surface — has separated two inches from the inner surface. In fact, it was too fragile to do some of the planned tests, Rausa said. “The damage that has taken place in the past year is extensive,� he said. The cold and snow last winter took an additional toll. The experts saw significant changes in the statue’s condition just from October until April, he said. Created by sculptor Lorado Taft in 1911 as

911 caller said she saw a “good sized� bear By Vinde Wells Editor

A fence has been put up around Blackhawk statue in preparation of restoration work that will hopefully be started this summer. Photo by Chris Johnson

a tribute to all Native Americans and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the statue is situated on a 125-foot bluff. It draws thousands of visitors each year. The statue is under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Rausa is a member of the Friends of the Black Hawk Statue, an organization that has been working to secure funding for the repairs. He said that, ironically,

federal grants for restoration projects dried up about the time the statue was approved for the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. Rausa said earlier this year that the price tag for the study and repairs had risen to $700,000 and could go even higher. More than half the money already raised for the project came from a $350,000 grant the IDNR received from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The rest came from donations, as well as funds raised during the annual Oregon Trail Days festival held at Lowden Park since 2010. A large contributor was the Jeffris Family Foundation, Janesville, Wis., which gave a $150,000 matching grant. Recently the Chicago Black Hawks hockey team got on board with what Rausa said is a sizable donation, although he declined to specify how much.

Deputies were unable to find any sign of a black bear reported roaming in western Ogle County Monday evening. After a woman called 911 to report seeing a “goodsized� bear shortly after 8 p.m., Ogle County Sheriff Michael Harn said he and deputies patrolled the area but could not confirm the sighting. “We checked the area and found nothing,� Harn said. “I’m not 100 percent sure it really was [a bear]. We haven’t had any other sightings.� He said the woman said she first saw the bear on the side of Ill. 64 west of Mt. Vernon Road, and then it ran into a nearby field. In recent months a black bear has been sighted in JoDaviess and Stephenson Counties. More recently one has been photographed in backyards in the Roscoe area. Harn said a bear was videotaped Tuesday still in the Roscoe area. “So it couldn’t have been that one,� he said. The report of the bear sent campers at Rock River Christian Camp, 16486 Ill. 64, inside for the evening. Camp manager Dan Augustine said evening activities were moved indoors as a precaution after Turn to A2

Family loses their home, possessions in June 8 fire No one home at time of blaze, but dog missing By Vinde Wells Editor

from at least 11 area departments battled the fire, which was reported by a passing motorist at 1:50 p.m. “The house was completely engulfed in flames when we got there,� Lamping said. Tankers and firefighters were called to help from the Mt. Morris, Forreston, Polo, Oregon, German Valley, Byron, Stillman Valley, Pecatonica, Freeport Rural, and Lynn Scott Rock Fire Departments. One firefighter was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion but did not require hospitalization. Lamping said Sunday that the family’s dog had not yet been located. He said it was not certain whether the dog perished in the fire or escaped from the burning house.

No cause had yet been determined Tuesday for a fire June 8 that destroyed the home and possessions of a Leaf River family. Leaf River Assistant Fire Chief Josh Lamping said the Office of the State Fire Marshal is assisting with the fire investigation at the home of Steve and Jennifer Beltran, 9458 N. Leaf River Rd., approximately two miles north of Leaf River. He said the couple and their four children were not at home when the fire started. The family had gone to a parade in nearby Firefighters from several area departments battle the blaze June 8 that destroyed the home of Steve and Jennifer German Valley. The Red Cross is assisting Beltran on North Leaf River Road. In the foreground is Byron Assistant Chief Orin Snodgrass. Photo courtesy of Almost 100 firefighters the Beltran family. the Mt. Morris Fire Department

In This Week’s Edition...

Church News, A5 Classifieds, B8-B12 Entertainment, A6 Library News, A2

Marriage Licenses, A4 Oregon Police, B3 Public Voice, A8 Property Transfers, B6

Sheriff’s Arrests, B5 Social News, A4 Sports, A12, B1 State’s Attorney, B6

Deaths, B2 Adam Diddens, James J. Kaney, Clark M. Miller, Margaret A. Messenger