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Serving Ogle County since 1851

OREGON Republican Reporter

New Preschool Parents in the Oregon School District have another choice of preschools this fall. A2

July 3, 2014 Volume 164, Number 29 - $1.00

I-39 Accidents

DUI Conviction

Accidents on I-39 were plentiful due to construction and increased traffic. A9

A Chana man received a 3-year jail sentence for a wreck with a Rochelle school bus. B2

Ambulance service contracted for Oregon Fire officials sign agreement with ATS By Vinde Wells Editor Oregon’s new ambulance service had been in business only about 20 minutes Tuesday morning when its first call came in. The crew from ATS Medical Services, Loves Park, responded along

with Oregon firefighters around 8:20 a.m. to a small, quickly extinguished fire at Oregon Rehabilitation and Healthcare. A few minutes earlier Oregon Fire Chief Don Heller announced that ATS and fire protection district officials have signed a 10-month contract for ambulance service in the fire protection district. “We entered into a shortterm 10-month contract for ambulance service until our referendum,� Heller said.

h7EENTEREDINTOASHORT TERM MONTH CONTRACT FOR AMBULANCE SERVICE UNTIL OUR REFERENDUM v— Chief Don Heller The move came just two weeks after the Oregon Ambulance Service, a notfor-profit corporation, closed its doors June 17 for financial reasons, leaving Oregon area residents without an ambulance service. Calls have been handled in the meantime by neighboring fire departments’ ambulance

services. “We are taxing out our neighboring ambulance services,� Heller said. “We’re running them to death.� The ATS ambulance and a full-time crew will be based at the Oregon Fire Station and answer calls from there. “When a medical call comes in and they [Ogle

County 911 telecommicators] tone out Oregon Fire, we will respond,� said Andy Schultz, ATS CEO and owner. The Oregon Fire Protection District is one of very few fire districts without a taxsupported ambulance service. Heller said fire district officials will place a referendum to tax for an ambulance service on the ballot either in November of this year or next April. “We hope that everyone supports us and votes yes for an ambulance service,�

he said. “Otherwise we will have no ambulance.� State law does not allow the fire district to provide ambulance services using tax dollars levied for fire protection. ATS will bill anyone who is transported in its ambulance, Schultz said. Since Medicare and Medicaid pay a limited amount for qualified patients, the fire district will cover any shortfall. Heller said that amount will Turn to A2

Trees, power lines fall in June 30 storm By Vinde Wells Editor Brigette Peterson, Oregon, was chatting with her sister in the kitchen Monday night when part of an oak tree crashed through the ceiling. A severe storm packing high winds, torrential rain, and small hail swept through town just before 9 p.m. bringing down trees and power lines and leaving most of the city without electricity for more than 12 hours. The storm uprooted a massive oak tree behind Peterson’s house at 410 N. Sixth St., and brought it crashing down on her grill and house. About two feet of one of its branches protruded through the ceiling above her kitchen sink. Peterson and her two children, ages 6 and 8, were in the kitchen when it happened along with her sister and niece and nephew. “We were actually in that room when it happened,� Peterson said Tuesday morning. “The sound was unbelievable. I’ve never heard anything like it. It sounded like every window in the house was shattering a once. “And then we had water pouring into the house everywhere, from the light fixtures, the ceiling, everywhere,� she said. The main thing, she said, was that no one was hurt. “I’m so thankful we were all fine, not a scratch,� said Peterson, who is expecting a baby in November. She called 911 for help and when the fire department arrived, firefighters told her the tree had landed on her outdoor grill, which was keeping it from coming down completely on the house. Firefighters shut off the electricity and natural gas to the 160-year-old house, and Peterson and her family left to spend the night in Rockford. Oregon Fire Chief Don Heller said trees and power lines were down throughout Oregon, with the most

damage between Eighth and Tenth Streets. He said the fire department answered 18 calls and stayed at the fire station until midnight after the storm had run its course. Heller said he drove down Fourth Street near McDonald’s to assess the storm as it was coming in, and when he tried to return a few minutes later the street was already blocked by a large tree. ComEd spokesman Dave Gross said Oregon was the hardest hit community in the Dixon area, which includes parts of Ogle and Lee Counties. “The damage is pretty widespread,� he said. “Oregon has been one of our main focuses.� Numerous ComEd and contract crews were in Oregon all day Tuesday to remove limbs and branches from power lines and restore service. ComEd’s website showed more than 4,000 Ogle County customers without power early Tuesday. Gross said Oregon-Nashua, Pine Rock, Pine Creek, Byron, and Grand Detour Townships were among the most affected townships in ComEd’s Dixon area. Oregon Street Superintendent Mike Bowers said he and his crew began putting up barricades Monday night, staying at it until midnight. They were back on the job early Tuesday morning cutting up trees and clearing limbs from the streets. “This was a pretty bad storm,� Bowers said. At Oregon Super Valu, a 13 and one-half hour power outage left employees throwing away fresh meat and deli items. “We lost our whole meat case and a lot of deli,� said store owner Jim Kauffmann. “Fortunately the freezers were fine. It’s tough to run a business without electricity.� A delivery truck that came

Above, a large oak tree rests on the home of Brigette Peterson, 410 N. Sixth Street. The tree fell on Peterson’s home while her family was in the kitchen addition when the tree fell. At right, Peterson holds her daughter Fallon and son Toryn as they look at the tree limb that poked through their kitchen ceiling. Below, a tree rests on power lines at the intersection of Madison and 10th Streets in Oregon. Photos by Earleen Hinton and Vinde Wells

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In This Week’s Edition...

Church News, A5 Classifieds, B6-B10 Entertainment, A6 Fines, B2

Library News, A3 Marriage Licenses, A4 Oregon Police, B2 Public Voice, A8

Property Transfers, B5 Sheriff’s Arrests, B3 Social News, A4 State’s Attorney, B3

Deaths, B5 Mary Jean Gipe, Harmine W. Scheffner, Roger E. Schultz