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Serving Ogle County since 1851

OREGON Republican Reporter

June 19, 2014 Volume 164, Number 27 - $1.00

Mix It Up

Field Day

Hot Rods Galore

The annual sidewalk painting event will be held Saturday at Oregon’s Mix Park. A8

A Mt. Morris couple invites guests to their berry farm June 21. A8

Power Tour cars created a parade atmosphere when the drove town last week. A9

Oregon Ambulance Service closes its doors By Vinde Wells Editor The sudden closing of the privately-owned Oregon Ambulance Service, Inc., has local fire and city officials strategizing to provide service for residents of the Oregon Fire District. Oregon Fire Chief Don Heller said he learned less than a week ago the ambulance service would shut down early Tuesday

morning. He said Betty Ferris, who manages the service with her husband Jim, informed the fire protection district’s board of trustees at its June 11 meeting. He said he immediately began contacting other area fire districts to enlist their assistance. The ambulance service, officially formed in 1971, is a not-for-profit corporation owned by stockholders.

Heller said the fire district will rely on mutual aid from neighboring fire departments to handle ambulance calls for the time being. “They all agreed to help,� Heller said Tuesday. “They’re going to help us out temporarily.� The district, which is bordered by 10 other fire districts, includes all of Oregon-Nashua Township and portions of Pine Creek, Pine, Rock, White

Rock, Rockvale, Marion, Grand Detour, and Taylor Townships. He said the district has been divided up in segments with each neighboring fire department covering the area closest to it. Mt. Morris and Byron have been designated to handle calls within the City of Oregon. He said Ogle County 911 will dispatch the fire departments according to

where the ambulance is needed. 911 Coordinator Sandra Beitel declined to comment except to say a plan was in place for handling Oregon calls. Oregon is the only fire department in the area without an ambulance service funded by property taxes. Ferris shed light Monday evening as to why the ambulance service is shutting down.

Fatal wreck on I-39 claims life Four cars, one semi collide north of Ill. 72 By Chris Johnson Reporter A Pecatonica man was killed Monday afternoon in a five-vehicle crash when the sports utility vehicle he was a passenger in was struck by a semi approaching a construction zone on Interstate 39. David E. Jones, 74, was pronounced dead on the scene. He was a passenger in an SUV driven by his wife Sara J. Jones, 71, Pecatonica. Three other people were injured in the accident which involved three more vehicles. Illinois State Police ticketed the semi driver, Jay S. Taylor, 55, Judson, Ind., for failure to reduce speed after he started the fatal chain reaction accident at 3:06 p.m. State police said Taylor was southbound on I-39 at mile marker 112 about a mile north of Ill. 72 when his semi truck and trailer rear ended Jones’ vehicle, causing it to enter the west ditch. According to the ISP crash report, Taylor failed to reduce speed for slower moving

traffic. At Ill. 72 southbound traffic enters a construction zone. Sara Jones was extricated by the Monroe Center Fire Department and transported to OSF St. Anthony’s Medical Center, Rockford, by Lifeline Helicopter. She was listed in critical condition Tuesday morning, according to a hospital spokesman. Taylor was transported to Swedish American Hospital, Rockford, by New Milford ambulance. Following the initial contact Taylor’s truck struck an SUV driven by William D. Young, 47, Owatonna, Minn. The SUV came to rest in the center median. Taylor’s truck then continued southbound and struck a passenger car driven by Carol L. Silvestri, 64, Downers Grove. The car was pushed onto the left shoulder. Finally, Taylor swerved into the west ditch where he struck a passenger car driven by Bernard C. Klotz, 71, Fort Myers, Fla. Klotz’s passenger, Penny E. Klotz, 69, Fort Meyers, Fla., was transported to Rochelle Hospital by Lynn Scott Rock Ambulance. Bernard Klotz, Silvestri, and Young were not

“The reason we are closing is financial because people aren’t paying their bills,� she said Monday night. “It’s because of lack of financial support and the economic times. We don’t get tax dollars. We are only supported by ambulance fees, memorials, and donations. Anyone is welcome to stop in later in the week and talk to me.� Ogle County records show Turn to A2

Gouker: Sheriff reports to voters By Chris Johnson Reporter

One vehicle rests next to a semi following a multiple vehicle accident on I-39 on Monday afternoon. A Pecatonica man was killed in the accident and his wife was listed in critical condition on Tuesday. Photo by Chris Johnson

transported to the hospital. The Illinois State Police District 1 were assisted on the scene by the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Ogle County Sheriff’s Police, the Ogle County Coroner’s Office, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Police, Illinois State Police District 16, New Milford ambulance, Lynn-Scott-Rock ambulance, Stillman Valley ambulance, and Monroe Center Fire Department. Southbound I-39 was shut down at Baxter Road in Winnebago County. The southbound lanes remains closed for several hours and traffic was detoured onto Ill. 251 around the crash scene. Traffic on northbound I-39

was briefly shutdown while the Lifeline helicopter was landing and taking off. The accident remains under investigation. This was the second accident on I-39 within a five mile area for the day. The Ogle County Sheriff’s Deputies and Lynn-ScottRock Fire Department responded to a two-vehicle crash at mile marker 108 northbound at 10:54 a.m. In the earlier crash, a northbound vehicle driven by Sharon Schwarz, 66, Franklin Grove, was slowing in traffic when her vehicle was rearended by a vehicle driven by Brandon Gerdes, 21, Minonk. A passenger in Schwarz’s vehicle, Barbara Schwarz, 41,

Franklin Grove, suffered a leg injury and was transported to Rochelle Community Hospital. Gerdes was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid a accident. A third accident occurred three miles south of the fatal accident on Tuesday shortly after 3 p.m. Details were not available at press time. This stretch of I-39 has had several accidents since IDOT began a roadway improvement project between Ill. 72 and Ill. 64. IDOT advises motorists to slow down and use extreme caution when driving through the work zone. Lane restrictions are part of the construction project.

Questions about whether the Ogle County Board could do anything about Sheriff Michael Harn accepting a second job were addressed Tuesday night. “I was asked about the sheriff,� said Ogle County Board Chairman Kim Gouker, Byron. “The situation is this — as an elected official he has a term until Nov. 30. The only one he reports to is the voters and they spoke.� Gouker said he reviewed the situation with Ogle County State’s Attorney Mike Rock. “Harn assured us he will do the job,� said Gouker. “We have no authority. We as a board can not change what has been appropriated for his department. We will monitor and make the best of it.� Gouker praised the work being done by employees of the sheriff’s department. “There are good people in the department,� he said. “Bad people are being arrested. The county is being Turn to A3

Community rallies to help family By Kimberly Watley Correspondent

Summer Fun Jennifer Fox was still smiling as the water was about to drench her Saturday afternoon at Oregon Park West during the Oregon Park District’s Slam N Jam event. More photos appear on B1. Photo by Chris Johnson

In This Week’s Edition...

Out in the country, on Leaf River Road, a charred pile is all that remains of the Beltran home. The family of six wasn’t home June 7 when a heating lamp for chickens, what fire investigators suspect, sparked the blaze. The community has rallied around Steve and Jenny Beltran and their four children, who are staying in a bunkhouse in Pecatonica temporarily. Forrestville Valley School Superintendent, Sheri Smith organized “Rally of Love� as a way to provide a central location for donations. “Everyone was asking what they could do. It made sense to do something for them here. The beauty of

Church News, A5 Classifieds, B6-B10 Entertainment, A6 Library News, A9

being in a small town is, people will step-up to help get them through this,� Smith said. School staff volunteered to accept donations, as well as brought in items. Coaches dropped off apparel and equipment for the children, Jeremy, 12, Julianna, 12, Matthew, 10 and Max, 3. Library aide Barbara Miller coordinated the volunteers, most of whom are school staff, and she said were quick to offer a hand. Jenny is a substitute teacher through the Lee-Ogle County Education Consortium, often in the school district. The children also attend school in the district. Smith created an online survey that lists all of the items received and still needed for the family. Much like a guest registry, it helps

Marriage Licenses, A4 Oregon Police, B5 Public Voice, A8 Property Transfers, B2

Steve Beltran holds the charred serenity coin that belonged to his late uncle. He found the coin while sorting through the burned remnants of his home on Leaf River Road. Photo supplied

limit duplicates. Pots and pans, dishes, clothing, toys, cash and gift cards were among the many items people brought to Forreston Junior-Senior High

Sheriff’s Arrests, B2 Social News, A4 Sports, A10 State’s Attorney, B3

School June 12. “If the school is open, people are welcome to continue bringing items after today,� Smith said. Turn to A7

Deaths, B3 Jennie M. Birkholz, Debra S. Ford, Ruth V. Nevenhoven, Willard G. Runte