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LOCAL ENTERTAINMENT, A8-10
Thursday, February 13, 2014
SERVING DIXON AND THE SURROUNDING AREA SINCE 1851
DIXON SCHOOLS DIXON
Looking into the (distant) future Firm presents three options for revamping district BY MATT MENCARINI firstname.lastname@example.org 800-798-4085, ext. 529
Photos by Philip Marruffoemail@example.com
A large, inflatable rat stands along near the Bay Valley Foods plant Wednesday afternoon in Dixon, along with striking members of Teamsters Local 722. Three negotiating sessions with the Green Bay-based company have made little to no headway.
No weakening in Week 1 Union braves deep freeze; negotiations remain frigid BY MATT MENCARINI firstname.lastname@example.org 800-798-4085, ext. 529
DIXON – At 11 o’clock tonight, workers at Bay Valley Foods will have been on strike for a full week. During that time, members of Teamsters Local 722 have picketed outside the Dixon plant, in subzero temperatures, day and night. On Wednesday, a big inflatable rat made an appearance after Bay Valley Foods called in nonunion workers to run the plant, according to Steve Mongan, the president of Teamsters Local 722, which represents employees at Bay Valley Foods and elsewhere. Bay Valley Foods declined Wednesday to comment on negotiations.
Bundle up Click on this story at saukvalley.com to check out video of life on the picket line. Strikers on the picket line stay warm by keeping two small fires burning and by continually walking in front of the plant, workers outside the plant said Wednesday afternoon. People in the community have been supportive, picketers said, by honking car horns as they drive by and by dropping off food and coffee. The union has a warming station set up near Veterans Memorial Park, just west of the plant, Mongan said. WEEK CONTINUED ON A4
Members of Teamsters Local 722 picket Wednesday afternoon at the entrance to the Dixon plant. The union has a warming station set up near Veterans Memorial Park, just west of the plant.
DIXON – The Dixon Public Schools Strategic Planning Committee got a glimpse of what the school district could look like in 20 years. During a meeting Wednesday night, representatives from Arcon Associates Inc., presented possibilities about what the school district could do, from renovating buildings to building a new high school. The Strategic Planning Committee will get a presentation from another consulting firm, Green and Associates, Superintendent on Feb. 24. One Michael Juenger of the two firms could be chosen to do a master plan for the future of the district. The goal of presentation and discussion Wednesday night, Superintendent Michael Juenger said, was to consider what could be done with the schools in 15 or 20 years, not the immediate future. Steven Hougsted, of Arcon, said a big part of the process in the early stages includes reviewing many possibilities and determining which will work best for Dixon. Then the consulting firm and the district, he said, work together to determine how those possibilities can be implemented with the students and teachers. The Arcon representatives presented several options. FUTURE CONTINUED ON A4
ELECTION 2014| 71ST HOUSE DISTRICT
Smiddy, constituents all business
MATES SET TO TAKE ON STATE Fresh off winning the IHSA Northern Illinois Chess League Conference tournament, the Sterling High School chess team will take its fifth crack at the state meet this weekend in Peoria. Find out who is on the team and the expectations of coach Joel Penne on A5.
TODAY’S EDITION: 28 PAGES 2 SECTIONS VOL. 163 ISSUE 201
Minimum wage, taxes carry chatter during town hall BY PAM EGGEMEIER email@example.com 800-798-4085, ext. 570
STERLING – Raising the minimum wage, taxes and stimulating job growth generated some spirited discussion at a town hall with Democratic State Rep. Mike Smiddy on Wednesday night at Dairy Mart Plus banquet hall. Smiddy, of Hillsdale, brought up the topic of a proposed minimium wage increase, saying
BUSINESS ......... A13 COMICS ............. A12 CROSSWORD....B12
he strongly supports boosting it from its current level of $8.25. “Ideally, an increase should happen on the federal level, but I don’t think it will,” Smiddy said. “I support the governor’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.” Several in the audience of about 20 voiced their concerns about the impact that higher wages could have on small business owners. “I have a friend who is a small businessman, and he says that he’ll have to lay people off if the minimum wage goes up to $10,” Manuel Garcia of Sterling said. SMIDDY CONTINUED ON A4
DEAR ABBY ....... A11 LOTTERY ............. A2 OBITUARIES ........ A4
Democratic State Rep. Mike Smiddy held a town hall at the Dairy Mart Plus banquet room Wednesday in Sterling. Among the most-discussed topics were minimum wage, taxes and job growth stimulation.
OPINION .............. A6 PLAN!T ................. A8 SPORTS ...............B1
Today’s weather High 36. Low 5. More on A3.
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FIRE & POLICE
Ogle County Sheriff Ricky Williams OF 2OCKFORD 4UESDAY AT 7INNEBAGO #OUNTY *AIL WARRANT FOR FAILURE TO APPEAR TAKEN TO /GLE #OUNTY *AIL AND GIVEN NOTICE TO APPEAR IN COURT Colin D. Hill OF 2OCKFORD 4UESDAY AT 7INNEBAGO #OUNTY *AIL WARRANT FOR FAILURE TO APPEAR TAKEN TO /GLE #OUNTY *AIL AND GIVEN NOTICE TO APPEAR IN COURT
Michael S. Anderson OF 3TERLING PM 4UESDAY AT Sterling Police &IFTH !VENUE AND TH 3TREET Tuy Hoang OF 3TERLING DRIVING WHILE LICENSE SUSPEND PM 4UESDAY AT ,OCUST ED ISSUED INDIVIDUAL BOND AND GIVEN NOTICE TO APPEAR IN COURT 3TREET AND %AST -ILLER 2OAD Christopher A. Mancera SPEEDING GIVEN NOTICE TO OF 3TERLING PM APPEAR IN COURT 4UESDAY AT ,INCOLNWAY AND %MERSON ROADS IN 7HITESIDE Dixon Police #OUNTY DRIVING WHILE LICENSE Shon M. Luster OF REVOKED ISSUED INDIVIDUAL $IXON PM 4UESDAY IN BOND AND GIVEN NOTICE TO THE BLOCK OF 7EST 4HIRD APPEAR IN COURT 3TREET ,EE #OUNTY WARRANT FOR Alexander M. Davis OF CONTEMPT OF COURT TAKEN TO 0ARIS PM -ONDAY ON ,EE #OUNTY *AIL )NTERSTATE IN ,EE #OUNTY Steven R. Hess OF NO VALID DRIVERS LICENSE ISSUED $IXON PM 4UESDAY IN INDIVIDUAL BOND AND GIVEN THE BLOCK OF 7EST 4HIRD NOTICE TO APPEAR IN COURT 3TREET POSSESSION OF CANNABIS ISSUED CITY ORDINANCE CITATION 17-year-old boy FROM $IXON PM 4UESDAY (APPY BIRTHDAY TO -ARLA IN THE BLOCK OF 3OUTH 3EIDELL "ILL -ACHEN %LMER (ENNEPIN !VENUE RUNAWAY 7ISE AND -ERLE -EURER ALL RELEASED TO HIS PARENT TODAY
Photos by Chris Johnson/Shaw News Service
A firefighter walks away from the rural Oregon home that was destroyed by a fire Wednesday afternoon. Personnel thought they were winning the fight momentarily, Oregon Assistant Fire Chief Randy Travis said.
Fire consumes home Owner: â€˜Everyone is safe. We will rebuildâ€™ BY CHRIS JOHNSON 3HAW .EWS 3ERVICE
A home in the 3000 block of North Blackhawk Road in rural Oregon was destroyed by a fire Wednesday afternoon. Firefighters responded to a report of smoke at the home owned by Greg Wessman shortly before 3 p.m. Oregon Assistant Fire Chief Randy Travis said they thought they had the upper hand on the fire before it flashed up. The walls and roof of the two-story home collapsed
during the efforts to extinguish the blaze. Travis said everyone got out of the house safe. Wessman was on the scene and had a positive outlook. â€œEveryone is safe,â€? he said. â€œWe will rebuild.â€? At least eight fire departments responded to the scene including Oregon, Mt. Morris, Stillman, Byron, Ashton, Franklin Grove, Ogle Lee, and Lynn Scott-Rock. They were assisted at the scene by the Oregon Ambulance.
Firefighters look on as the home collapses. All its residents got out safely, and homeowner Greg Wessman said, â€œEveryone is safe. We will rebuild.â€?
Evanston man indicted in bank robbery BY CHRISTI WARREN CWARREN SAUKVALLEYCOM EXT
ROCK FALLS â€“ An Evanston man has been charged with robbing First Federal Savings Bank in October. Conrad J. Gonzalez, 46, was in the Ogle County Jail in Oregon on Wednesday after being charged with taking $1,870 in the robbery Oct. 30. The investigation was
handled by the FBI, Rock Falls Police Chief Mike Kuelper said Wednesday. Gonzalez was indicted in November. According to police, a man wearing a denim baseball cap, a gray Chicago Bears sweatshirt, and blue jeans entered the bank and implied, but didnâ€™t show, a weapon. Gonzalez was arrested in Evanston on two
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unrelated counts of theft over $500 on Nov. 5. Joe Pederson, an assistant U.S. attorney in Rockford, declined to comment on what led FBI agents to Gonzalez.
According to a news report from patch.com, at the time of Gonzalezâ€™s arrest in Evanston, he told police he was homeless. Gonzalez will appear in court next month.
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Cityâ€™s economic development leader retiring Henrekin says she is proud of effort with Sterling, Dixon STAFF REPORT firstname.lastname@example.org EXT
ROCK FALLS â€“ Sandy Henrekin, executive director of the Rock Falls Community Development Corp. since 2007, will retire next month. â€œWhile I will miss the RFCDC
greatly, and the work that we do, my husband and I are very much looking forward to the new opportunities for travel that retirement will bring to our lives,â€? Henrekin said in a statement released Wednesday. â€œWe have family living throughout the United States, and we also much enjoy traveling and showing our quarter horses.â€? Henrekin not only served as the executive director, but also was one of the previous charter members of the group, along
with other local leaders. The group started in 2002. Its president, Norm Deets, has worked with Henrekin since 2005. Sandy â€œSandy will be Henrekin sorely missed, and her qualities will be hard to duplicate,â€? he said in a statement. Henrekin said she was confident that support from the board of directors, along with
the city of Rock Falls, will be â€œan asset in attracting new talent to the executive director position.â€? â€œThe Rock Falls community has been my home for many years,â€? she said. â€œI ran my business here, raised my children here, and have now ended my career here trying to make a difference.â€? Henrekin said one of the projects she took pride in was I-88 West, a regional effort to promote economic development
along the interstate corridor. It includes development agencies in Dixon and Sterling. The groups â€œhave been working for many years now, marketing our communities as a region and working together in assisting our existing companies,â€? she said. â€œWe share in the successes and the disappointments, realizing that job creation or losses, anywhere in the region, affect us all.â€? Her last day of work will be March 14.
Fire department considers adding ambulance service Several firefighters are already EMTs or first responders BY VINDE WELLS Shaw News Service
Recent delayed responses to ambulance calls have prompted Oregon Fire Protection District officials to look into developing a publicly funded ambulance service through the fire department. â€œWeâ€™re just in the preliminary stages,â€? said Brian Stuart, secretary of the fire board. â€œWe have a moral and ethical obligation. Weâ€™re going to take care of our citizens and visitors the best we can.â€? Fire Chief Don Heller said that in 2013, the fire department was called
numerous times to respond when the Oregon Ambulance Service had no ambulance available or needed additional manpower. Several firefighters are already first responders or emergency medical technicians. â€œLast year we did 91 of those,â€? Heller said. â€œMt. Morris has come 50 times, and Byron has come several times, too.â€? Stuart, himself a fulltime Lombard firefighter, said Oregon is the only area fire department that does not have an ambulance service. The Oregon area is served by Oregon Ambulance Service, a privately owned ambulance service with a paid staff. â€œWeâ€™re the only ones not doing it,â€? Stuart said.
Give your input 4HE FIRE DISTRICT BOARD MEETS THE SECOND Wednesday of each MONTH AT PM AT THE ADMINISTRATION BUILDING 3 &IRST 3T /REGON â€œAnd itâ€™s becoming a bigger issue.â€? The situation became serious enough, Heller said, that Ogle County 911 operators asked for a procedural change that would get medical help on the scene faster. 911 Coordinator Sandra Beitel said several area fire departments, which, like Oregonâ€™s, are manned by volunteers in most cases, have difficulty getting a crew for their ambulances during the day when most of them are at work.
â€œThis is county-wide, not just for Oregon,â€? she said. â€œIf we get a call and get no response [from the ambulance service] in 5 minutes, we do a second tone-out and automatically send first responders.â€? The new procedure is for back-up calls only, she said, where the ambulance service has two ambulances and one is already out on a call. Stuart said the ambulance response time is especially crucial in a rural area like Oregon where the nearest hospital is a half-hour away. â€œThe wait for the ambulance plus the transport time can make a big difference for the patient,â€? he said. Betty Ferris, who with her husband Jim, manages the Oregon Ambulance
Service, said Monday that the service, which has two ambulances, has experienced no delays in response time. â€œWe are staffed 24 hours a day, and we have no problems,â€? she said. The number of people on the ambulance service fluctuates, she said, but noted thatâ€™s not uncommon. â€œItâ€™s everywhere; not just in Oregon,â€? she said. Currently, Ferris said, the 15 people on the staff include paramedics and EMTs of other levels. Heller, however, said the Oregon Ambulance Service has been unavailable on several occasions, including New Yearâ€™s Day, when it did not run at all. â€œWeâ€™re trying to figure out what we can do,â€? he said. â€œWeâ€™re not trying to
Lawmakers want to tweak concealed carry
Bustos staffer to hold office hours
Some would make it easier to acquire permit, some harder SPRINGFIELD (AP) â€“ Illinois lawmakers are considering a series of changes to amend the stateâ€™s new concealed carry legislation, even though the first concealed carry permits havenâ€™t been issued. Some of the proposals would make it easier to get a permit, while others would expand the list of locations where people would be allowed to carry weapons. Others would tighten restrictions, according to a report by The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers. State Rep. Bill Mitchell, a Forsyth Republican, wants to cut the number of required training hours
Rep. Brandon Phelps
Rep. Scott Drury
in half for people who want a concealed carry permit and eliminate a provision that requires concealed carry permit owners to undergo additional training when they renew their license. He also wants to allow some people with concealedcarry permits from other states to continue to carry the weapons in Illinois. But Rep. Brandon Phelps, a Harrisburg Democrat who was the chief sponsor of the original legislation, said he believes itâ€™s too early to tweak the law. â€œEverybody needs to
take a deep breath,â€? he said. â€œThis is monumental legislation. Letâ€™s let it go into effect and see what itâ€™s like before we try to change it.â€? He said he doesnâ€™t think many of the concealed carry provisions will get much traction during the legislative session. Still, Rep. Scott Drury, a Highwood Democrat, said he thinks the law should be changed. He wants to change what he says is ambiguity in the current statute to make sure concealed weapons arenâ€™t brought into businesses where thereâ€™s gambling or alcohol. â€œThe changes that Iâ€™m making are just technical changes to clarify the law where I think thereâ€™s vague language,â€? he said.
Illinoisâ€™ law bans carrying concealed firearms in places such as schools, child-care facilities, courthouses, public transportation, college and professional sports stadiums and in establishments where alcohol sales make up more than 50 percent of a businessâ€™ receipts. Illinois lawmakers have projected there would be 350,000 to 400,000 applications for concealed carry permits in the first year of the law. Residents could begin to submit applications last month and the first licenses to carry concealed weapons could be issued by spring, The state is the last in the U.S. to allow the practice.
put the Oregon Ambulance Service out of business.â€? Stuart said funding an ambulance service is one of the issues the fire board will face if it decides to go ahead. â€œA referendum is the best way. We can do it without one, but we canâ€™t impact fire services,â€? he said. Heller said the cost to taxpayers would be approximately 40 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation. â€œWe get 30 cents now for the fire department, and it would need to a little more than double to add the ambulance,â€? he said. That translates into an extra $200 per year in real estate taxes on a $150,000 home excluding exemptions.
DISCUSS JOB CREATION economic develop MENT AND OTHER ISSUES /FFICE HOURS ARE SET FOR THE SECOND AND FOURTH 4HURSDAY OF EACH MONTH "USTOS REPRESENTS THE TH #ONGRESSIONAL $ISTRICT WHICH INCLUDES 7HITESIDE AND #ARROLL COUNTIES