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Friday, December 20, 2013
SERVING DIXON AND THE SURROUNDING AREA SINCE 1851
DIXON SCHOOLS | LINCOLN ELEMENTARY CLOSING
Tough call to make
DIXON | THE CRUNDWELL AFTERMATH
$9.2M from sales on the way Check expected to arrive today, Mayor Burke said BY MATT MENCARINI email@example.com 800-798-4085, ext. 529
Alex T. Paschalfirstname.lastname@example.org
Lincoln Elementary third-grade teacher Shana Engelkes leads a lesson Thursday morning at the Dixon school. The school board voted Wednesday night to close Lincoln at the end of this school year.
District will shut doors Reaction: closure part after current school year of ‘never ending circle’ BY MATT MENCARINI email@example.com 800-798-4085, ext. 529
DIXON – Despite mounting financial pressures, the Dixon school board’s decision to close Lincoln Elementary was not made quickly or easily. Board members voted 4-2 during the third hour of their meeting Wednesday to close the district’s oldest building. John Jacobs and Terry Shroyer voted against the closing. Kevin Sward was absent. Josh Arduini, who voted to close the school, wanted to explore a ballot referendum to give Dixon residents the chance to vote on a tax increase to keep the school open. But as doubts arose on
BY MATT MENCARINI firstname.lastname@example.org 800-798-4085, ext. 529
whether the issue could be placed on the March ballot, and whether it would be successful, Arduini ultiMichael mately voted Juenger with Jim Schielein, Tom LeMoine and Pam Tourtillott. In October, Superintendent Michael Juenger presented the board with a proposal to close Lincoln as a way of addressing the school district’s $1.5 million deficit in the education fund for the 2013-14 school year. That would leave a fund balance of $1.4 million.
DIXON – At 2:15 p.m. Thursday, cars lined Lincoln Avenue, and parents stood on the sidewalk and talked as buses awaited the secondand third-graders’ departure from Lincoln Elementary. The afternoons filled with those sights and sounds are now limited in this part of Dixon, as the school board voted 4-2 to close the elementary school and relocate its students starting next school year. Closing the school is expected to save the school district approximately $246,000 in the education fund and $70,000 in the operations and mainte-
SCHOOL CONTINUED ON A5
Matt Mencarini gives his reaction on the vote and Wednesday’s meeting, A3. nance fund. The district is facing a $1.5 million deficit in the education fund for the 2013-14 school year, which leaves a fund balance of $1.4 million. John Brown, who attended Lincoln himself, was waiting to pick up two of his grandchildren Thursday. He lives just a few blocks from the district’s oldest school, he said, and doesn’t like the fact that younger and older students will be grouped together in the same building CIRCLE CONTINUED ON A3
District cuts ties with two VIVA! employees Decision a unanimous vote at board meeting BY MATT MENCARINI email@example.com 800-798-4085, ext. 529
DIXON – The Dixon School District rescinded agreements with two VIVA! Performing Arts employees who were charged last month with failing to report alleged sex abuse. The decision came in a unanimous vote during the school board’s regular meet-
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ing Wednesday night at Dixon High School. Robert Campbell, a vocal instructor at VIVA!, is charged with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against a former student. The school district rescinded his employment agreement. Tim Boles, the drama director at VIVA!, turned himself in to police Nov. 16, a day after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He is charged with failing to report sexual abuse allegations that had
been made against Campbell. The school district canceled the volunteer agreement for Boles. Campbell and Boles had been approved to work on the high school’s spring musical. Campbell had been paid by the school district for previous musicals. During the meeting, Superintendent Michael Juenger expressed a desire to continue working with VIVA! on other school performances, say-
BUSINESS ......... A14 CHURCH............ A11 COMICS ...............B4
CROSSWORD....B12 DEAR ABBY ......... A8 LIFESTYLE ........... A7
ing that Campbell and Boles’ actions should not overshadow the work done by other VIVA! instructors. A warrant was issued Nov. 21 for the arrest of VIVA! President Curt Schmitt on a charge of failure to report abuse or neglect, a Class A misdemeanor that could result in a fine of $2,500. Schmitt, who has been out of the country, is expected to turn himself in to police today, Dixon Police Chief Danny Langloss said. LOTTERY ............. A2 OBITUARIES ........ A4 OPINION .............. A6
DIXON – The check is in the mail, quite literally. Dixon expects to receive a $9.2 million check in the mail today, said Mayor Jim Burke. The check, traveling standard mail, according to Burke, is for the city’s share of the proceeds from the sale of former Comptroller Rita Crundwell’s property. Rita The U.S. MarCrundwell shals Service moved that $9.2 million one step closer to Dixon’s bank account when it transferred the money to the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois on Dec. 13, the agency said in a news release Thursday. According to the Marshals Service release: The clerk of court for the Northern District of Illinois then issued the restitution payment to the city. The sale of five properties, a luxury motorhome, more than 400 quarter horses, a jewelry collection, and other personal assets brought in a total of $12.2 million. After court-ordered claims and expenses, the city will receive $9.2 million in restitution, the release said. Crundwell’s property was sold in December 2012. In addition to the proceeds from the auction, the city was awarded $40 million in an out-of-court settlement in September with its former auditors and Fifth Third Bank. The city has already received all its settlement money, Burke said, and the $9.2 million check will be immediately put into in interest bearing account. Burke received a tracking number for the check when it was mailed, he said. After paying its lawyers $10 million for the settlement, the city received $39.2 million as partial restitution for the nearly $54 million Crundwell stole from the city during 2 decades. Crundwell is serving a sentence of 19 years, 7 months in a federal prison in Waseca, Minn. In November, a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago unanimously affirmed the sentence after it was appealed by her lawyers. She will be at least 77 when she walks out of prison.
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Holiday movie marathon
COMMUNITY WATCH Were we in
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FIRE & POLICE Sterling Police
7ANT TO HEAR SOME LIVE MUSIC THIS WEEKEND 4HERE ARE PLENTY OF OPTIONS LOCALLY s !T #HAMPS ,OCUST 3T 3TERLING 4HE -ICHAEL $ "AND PLAYS TONIGHT AND 4HE -IGHTY 7HEELHOUSE PLAYS 3ATURDAY AT THE BAR s !T ,AMBS 4AP 7 3ECOND 3T 2OCK &ALLS +ILL "ILL %S PERFORM TONIGHT AND -ID 7EST -OBILE PLAYS 3ATURDAY AT THE BAR s !T ,ONG 3HOT "AR 'RILL 7 2OCK &ALLS 2OAD 2OCK &ALLS ,UNCH WITH 0EDRO FEATURING 3HANNON #ARROLL PLAYS TONIGHT AND 0IE &ILLER PLAYS 3ATURDAY AT THE BAR
4 See champions crowned
Go see â€˜Anchorman 2â€™
"EFORE BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL TAKES A BREAK FOR THE HOLIDAY THERE ARE SOME TITLES TO BE WON 4HE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IN THE &ORRESTON TOURNAMENT IS SCHEDULED FOR PM TODAY 4HE 7EST #ARROLL TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP WILL BE PLAYED AT PM 3ATURDAY 4HERE WILL BE SOME GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS DECIDED THIS WEEKEND TOO %ASTLAND PLAYS FOR A TITLE IN THE 0EARL #ITY TOURNAMENT AT TONIGHT !ND THE 0OLO TOURNAMENT TITLE GAME WILL BE PLAYED 3ATURDAY !LSO 3ATURDAY 3TERLING AND FIVE OTHER TEAMS PLAY IN THE 3TERLING 3HOOTOUT WITH TIPOFFS SCHEDULED FROM AM TO PM #HECK OUR 3PORTS SECTION SCOREBOARD ON " FOR MORE DETAILS