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Bureau County Republican

Recent news from Bureau County Republican


HSTP announces upcoming Transportation Committee meetings

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 21:15:00 GMT

OTTAWA — The Human Services Transportation Plan (HSTP) Region 3 (Bureau, DeKalb, Grundy, Kendall, LaSalle, Lee, Ogle, and Putnam counties) Transportation Committee meetings for 2018 have been announced.

The first meeting will be at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 26, at Mendota Moose Lodge 714.

Later meetings are scheduled for March 23 at the Kendall Area Transit VAC Office Annex; May 25 at Mendota Moose Lodge 714; July 27 at Bureau/Putnam Area Transportation System; Sept. 28 at Mendota Moose Lodge 714; and Nov. 30 at Lee-Ogle Transit Systems.

Individuals with an interest in public transportation are strongly encouraged to attend, especially human service organizations serving individuals who use public transportation.

The Regional Transportation Committee is responsible for the development and implementation of the Human Services Transportation Plan (HSTP).

The plan identifies transportation needs and develops solutions to improve transportation services for the general public. An emphasis is placed on seniors, people with disabilities, individuals with lower incomes, and veterans.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has formed an agreement with North Central Illinois Council of Governments (NCICG) for the purposes of preparing, implementing and updating the plan for Region 1 (Boone, Carroll, Jo Daviess, Stephenson and Winnebago counties) and Region 3 (Bureau, DeKalb, Grundy, Kendall, LaSalle, Lee, Ogle and Putnam counties).

For more information about NCICG, HSTP, or if special accommodations are needed, contact Kim Zimmerman at 815-433-5830.

Poise and elegance rewarded at pageantBrianna Legner, reigning Bureau County Fair queen, poses in her interview suit prior to competing in the Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Pageant in Springfield over the weekend. Legner, 19, the daugther of Dan and Sue Legner of Princeton, won the Best in Communication Skills Award at Sunday’s pageant. Alexis Benson, queen of the Marshall-Putnam Fair, won for best personal interview. Samantha Hasselbring of Cissna Park, who represents Iroquois County, was the overall pageant winner and was crowned the 59th Miss Illinois County Fair queen.

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 21:13:00 GMT

PRINCETON — 2017 Bureau County Fair Queen Brianna Legner has done a fine job of representing both herself and the county during her reign, and her performance at the recent Illinois County Fair Queen pageant earned her an additional accolade.

The well-spoken Legner, 19, was awarded the Communication Skills Award at the 59th annual pageant. She competed against 69 other county fair queens at the pageant held in Springfield, and she’s been enjoying her royal experiences.

“It’s been exciting, and I’ve gotten to do a lot of things which I hadn’t imagined I’d be doing,” Legner said.

“I didn’t realize how much there was to see and do at the Bureau County Fair until I became queen and was there all day,” she said.

Legner said she had fun during the state pageant and appreciated her new friendships with the other contestants.

“It was a tiring, but exciting weekend and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I wouldn’t have wanted to have been doing anything else. I met so many wonderful women, and I hope to be able to continue to grow my relationships with them,” she said.

She added her time as royalty has taught her how many people look up to their local fair queen.

“I think it’s special when people recognize me. It’s made me realize I’m not just representing the Bureau County Fair, but also the entire county and everything and everyone we have here. That’s an important thing, and I’ve loved being able to do it,” she said.

Samantha Hasselbring, 19, the 2017 Miss Iroquois County Fair Queen, was named the 2018 Miss Illinois Fair Queen. She will reign over the 2018 Illinois State Fair as well as the 104 county fairs.

The 163rd Bureau County Fair is scheduled for Aug. 22-26. For more information, visit

Brianna Legner, reigning Bureau County Fair queen, poses in her interview suit prior to competing in the Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Pageant in Springfield over the weekend. Legner, 19, the daugther of Dan and Sue Legner of Princeton, won the Best in Communication Skills Award at Sunday’s pageant. Alexis Benson, queen of the Marshall-Putnam Fair, won for best personal interview. Samantha Hasselbring of Cissna Park, who represents Iroquois County, was the overall pageant winner and was crowned the 59th Miss Illinois County Fair queen.

Media Files:

A bait-and-switch on state payments

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 21:13:00 GMT

PRINCETON — Legislators in Springfield may be congratulating themselves over a new school funding formula and their promise of fully funded general state aid, but they’ve pulled something of a bait-and-switch by failing to make their other mandated payments. “Not a dime of preschool education funding has been received yet this year,” Superintendent Tim Smith said at the Princeton Elementary School (PES) Board meeting on Monday. The state has returned to its routine of missed payments that schools became so familiar with during Springfield’s years of operating without a budget. As of Monday, Illinois owes the Princeton Elementary district $261,383 in preschool funding and also owes an additional $193,776 for transportation costs. The total of mandated funding owed by the state is $474,752. STEM Club Logan Junior High Principal Amanda Carr and 7th-grade teacher Julie Smith presented the PES board with their plans for a STEM Club for 7th- and 8th-graders, which the board later approved. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and the club will encourage students to explore their scientific interests in creativity, problem solving, teamwork, research and design. One of the club’s first goals will be to attend the upcoming STEAM Conference scheduled for March 13 at IVCC. The club will then be working toward building two competitive robot teams for the Botball Robotic Competition, which will be held on April 14 at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. Carr and Smith have acquired Allegion as a club sponsor, and they’ll not only be providing $1,500 in funding, but engineering assistance as well. The two robot kits cost $2,500, so additional fundraising will be likely be needed. The club is being capped at 20 students who will each be required to pay a $50 membership fee. Meetings will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. every Wednesday and then also on Saturdays as competition dates near. Parents will be responsible for transportation to events. “This won’t be a grade-based membership. I think it’s more fair for the students to have an opportunity if they’re interested because it may provide a spark for them,” Smith said of member requirements. Members will be accepted based on their applications and teacher recommendations. The new STEM Club is a pilot program, which means the teachers and staff involved won’t be receiving any compensation for their time. In other board news The board approved the Health-Life Safety Fund payment request to allow the district to pay for the recent water line repairs at Lincoln School out of that fund rather than from the Building Fund. No final cost on the repair was known yet, but Smith thanked the city and work crews for their help to repair the leak as soon as possible. “It was a significant repair, but not as bad as it could’ve been because the city and others involved responded to the problem so quickly,” he said. The board approved the district’s certified seniority list as well as the seniority lists for both certified and non-certified BEST personnel. The board approved keeping the book/technology fee at $90 per student for the 2018 fiscal year. The board also authorized preschool nurse Patricia Lebahn to be able to work four days a week in anticipation of being awarded a state grant that would extend the district’s preschool program. Lebahn currently works only two days a week. Comment on this story at[...]

Illinois Valley Democrats will meet Jan. 25

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 21:12:00 GMT

LASALLE — The Illinois Valley Democrats will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, at the LaSalle VFW, 2325 Donahue and 24th streets in LaSalle.

This meeting is to discuss the upcoming primary and the candidates. Food and drink will be available through the VFW. All are welcome to attend.

Princeton’s business districts recognizedThe Cabbage Rose fashion, accessories and gift shop at 956 N. Main St. is located in one of many vintage buildings in Princeton's North and South Main business districts. The city's listing on the National Register of Historic Places will bring with it more opportunity for the investment in and development and restoration of Main Street's classic buildings.Princeton's beautification efforts on North and South Main street have paid off with several new and popular businesses, including the Flour House, and the recent designation by the National Park Service that Princeton's Main Street is a historic district.Meadows Home Decor and Gifts at 501 S. Main St. occupies "The White House" building at South Main and East Marion streets in Princeton. Over the course of the past few years, Princeton's Main Street has been revitalized through the efforts of city leaders and a large group of dedicated volunteers.The Clark House is another of Princeton's historic buildings, and its residents live in the middle of the south end's Main Street business district, which has now been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.Downtown Princeton, shown during warmer days, has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which could help to attract visitors to the community and keep the shopping at Main Street businesses vibrant.Princeton Mayor Joel Quiram

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 21:06:00 GMT

PRINCETON — Princeton’s north and south business districts are now officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Michael Reynolds, director of the National Park Service, made the announcement Friday that the city’s application had been approved. “This is a culmination of many hours and determined effort of many individuals who made this happen,” Mayor Joel Quiram said in a post he placed on his Facebook page. This designation will now be used as a marketing tool to attract visitors interested in history and architecture. It will also allow for tax credits of 20 percent for anyone interested in redeveloping property along Main Street back to its historical significance. Frank Butterfield, director of the Springfield office of Landmarks Illinois, a statewide historic preservation organization, told the Princeton City Council in November that Princeton has 80 buildings eligible for the designation. He also said the common misconception about possible restrictions being put on buildings once they’re officially listed within the district is unfounded. Butterfield said having a building on the National Register of Historic Places actually attracts investors and makes renovations easier through the 20 percent tax credit. Quiram thanked the efforts of Pam Lange, who spent many months and hours on the project, Michael Zearing, Melissa Steele Wendt, Scott Mehaffey, Butterfield and Terry Tatum, a professor at the Art Institute in Chicago, who crafted and presented the city’s application to the Illinois Historical Sites Advisory Council. “Without the commitment and love for our community by these individuals to make Princeton the best it can be for present and future generations, this would not have happened,” Quiram stated. “It was a very time-consuming project,” said Lange, who reported that the Bureau County Genealogical Society and the Princeton Public Library also were helpful to her. Steele and Zearing worked together to compile the data on 89 properties in the two districts that was submitted with the application. Lange and Steele compiled information on the various properties in the 500 and 600 blocks of South Main Street, while Zearing worked on the properties in the 900 and 1,000 blocks of North Main Street. Other items added in the application were the fountain near the courthouse, brick streets, courthouse square and Darius Miller Park. Quiram also cited the efforts of the city’s newly formed Historic Preservation Commission in making this a possibility. Quiram said this would not have been possible without the efforts of members Ryan Keutzer, Steve Keutzer, Wendt, David Gugerty, Steve Esme, Dan Martinkus and Robin Swift. “Their role has been one of support in taking this project to the public and informing them of what it means to our community,” added Quiram. The Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources had approved the city’s application to be included on the National Register of Historic Places on Oct. 27. It was then forwarded to the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation of Chicago issued a $33,000 grant to initially finance the city’s application, according to the foundation’s website. The Cabbage Rose fashion, accessories and gift shop at 956 N. Main St. is located in one of many vintage buildings in Princeton's North and South Main business districts. The city's listing on the National Register of Historic Places will bring with it more opportunity for the investment in and development and restorati[...]Princeton Mayor Joel Quiram

Media Files:

Diacamba training will be offered Feb. 22 in Princeton

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:59:00 GMT

PRINCETON — Farmers raising soybeans in Bureau County who plan to use crop protection products containing dicamba in 2018 must be certified to do so.

Several groups have joined together to offer an opportunity for farmers to take part in a certification class on Thursday, Feb. 22, at the Becker Building in Princeton.

Reservations are required by calling 815-875-6468 or by visiting and selecting the date. Space is limited.

The class begins at 8:30 a.m. and will conclude by 10. Farmers need to attend this meeting to receive certification for handling dicamba. There is no charge.

Illinois is following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) parameters as it relates to dicamba use in 2018. Applicators using dicamba-containing crop protectants must be a certified applicator to apply it. Those applicators must also prove that they have been to dicamba-specific training in order to apply the product. This session fulfills that requirement.

The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, County Farm Bureaus and their Growmark affiliates, Illinois Corn Growers Association and Illinois Soybean Association are working closely with the Illinois Department of Agriculture and University of Illinois to ensure farmers and other applicators have a broad array of training venues this winter.

Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association President Jean Payne cautions, “If you intend on applying dicamba, you need to get to a training session.”

Payne added: “It’s a mandatory requirement of the label. If you get caught applying this product without having training and keeping a record, there’s monetary penalties and ultimately you could lose your applicator license.”

Deficit reduction plan approved for LaMoille

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:59:00 GMT

LAMOILLE — The LaMoille School District has approved a deficit reduction plan, which should see the district with a balanced budget in three years.

Superintendent Ricardo Espinoza said that the initial portion of the plan is that, when people retire or leave the district, the district then would not fill that position, which helps save on payments and benefits.

“We will need to be at balance by year three,” Espinoza said. He continued, saying that, should the district keep constant in the plan, it should be at balance in three years.

Board President Jeff Pinter noted that the progress might still be impeded in the future, saying that “it could all change because, who knows what the state’s going to do?”

One concern the board has about reaching balance is that the state has historically been unreliable in its payments.

Espinoza expressed hope that a change in the funding model might help to eliminate some of the uncertainty.

Buddy Bags seeks sponsors to relieve hunger for students

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:59:00 GMT

PRINCETON — During the school year, a “Buddy Bag” may be the only food at-risk children receive on weekends or non-attendance days during the school year.

The goal of Princeton Buddy Bags is to bridge the gap when free or reduced school meals are not available. Hungry children perform worse in school.

This year, Princeton Buddy Bags is holding a “Sponsor a Child” fundraiser. The group spends $25 per child per month to fill bags with ready-to-eat meals, snacks and drinks. They are mailing out hundreds of letters to past donors asking them to sponsor a child for $25 a month for 12 months or help by making any monetary donation.

Anyone interested in making a contribution is asked to contact a board member, donate online at, or mail a check to Princeton Buddy Bags, 1810 Fletcher, Princeton, IL 61356.

Buddy Bags is a local, all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. They collaborate with Princeton School District, Malden School District, Princeton Christian Academy and most recently, Ohio School District.

They work with school administrators, teachers, local charitable organizations, churches and volunteers to assist the community by purchasing, packing and discreetly delivering meals.

For more information, visit

Midnight at the Masquerade

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:59:00 GMT

PRINCETON — While the annual fundraising events previously hosted by the Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce have provided guests with evenings of casino excitement, this year’s event will be a night of murderous mystery.

“Midnight at the Masquerade” will be a murder mystery event and silent auction held at the Princeton Elks Lodge this coming weekend.

The doors will open at 6 p.m. Saturday for complimentary appetizers and a cash bar, and the mystery begins at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $25 each, and they can be purchased at the Princeton Chamber of Commerce office in the Prouty Building at 435 S. Main St.

“This year we decided to change things up and create a mystery night of fun,” Kim Frey, the chamber’s executive director, said.

Frey said they’ve hired a company from the Chicago area that will bring six actors who will entertain guests as the murder mystery is unraveled.

“Attendees cooperate with each other and interact with the actors in order to solve a fictitious murder scene. The goal of a murder mystery event is for guests to gather clues provided throughout the plot and use them to figure out the identity and motive of the ‘murderer,’” Frey said.

The show will be two hours of interactive entertainment with surprises throughout the night. In addition to the show, several businesses in the community have generously donated many items and services that will be silently auctioned off with all proceeds benefiting the Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Dress for the event is business casual. Guests don’t have to dress up, but they’re certainly welcome to, and masks are encouraged,” Frey said. 

The proceeds will benefit a wide variety of programs the Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce offers its members and the community, such as the informational morning or lunchtime programs and networking opportunities, as well as the increasingly popular events on Main Street. According to Frey, each chamber program is designed to help maintain the consistent promotion of Princeton. 

The Princeton Elks Lodge is at 1105 E. Peru St.

For more information, call 815-875-2616 or visit

Comment on this story at

Members share takeaways from school conference

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:58:00 GMT

PRINCETON – Best practices, sleep deprivation among students, and school security were among topics discussed by Princeton High School Board members at the end of last week’s school board meeting. The impetus was an agenda item about the recent state school board conference and what local attendees took away from it. Colleen Sailer, board vice president, said she enjoyed an interactive session where attendees used clickers to respond to questions flashed on a screen. “Most of them you could get, but some of them, people were not getting, and they were like, ‘We don’t do it that way.’” She said the exercise was about best practices or recommendations that could be used for various situations that are encountered at school. “I found this to be very interesting, and I would like to watch it again just to see how they portrayed the answers,” Sailer said. Board member Gary Hanna said one speaker talked about how some young people don’t get enough sleep at night because of modern technology. “One of the things that they’re finding with teen suicides and some of the other things that are going on is sleep deprivation,” Hanna said. “These kids are staying up all night, they’re watching their phones, and the opinion of the instructor was that one of the best things you could do for kids is take their phones away at bedtime because they just get obsessed with that and what people are saying about them and to them,” Hanna said. Security at school buildings was the topic of another session. “It was a good reminder of some of the things that are going on,” Hanna said. He asked what procedures are in place if a student wants to tell someone about something that’s rumored to be happening. Board member Terry Smallwood said he believed it’s important for schools to have an “environment where the kids do feel comfortable to come to somebody here on the staff to discuss anything that’s going on, whether it’s something very serious or they’re having issues themselves.” Superintendent Kirk Haring said he believes that’s already the case at PHS. “I think that a majority of our kids have somebody that they feel comfortable confiding in,” Haring said. “We have all kinds of different things throughout the building posted. If you have issues, here are people who are trained in this. “I also think that Andy (Berlinski, PHS principal) and Jeff (Ohlson, assistant principal) have great rapport with the kids. … I think one of the great things about our kids is our kids are more willing to speak their mind. They’ll come in and share concerns,” Haring said. Board member Al Taylor brought up a session he attended about improving school security after hours. “Some of the questions this individual asked was, Who gets in your building after hours, how and why,” Taylor said. Another issue had to do with how entrances are kept secure. “This guy was talking about, don’t change your locks, don’t go to a card, don’t go to new keys, because it’s all going to be operated off your smartphone,” Taylor said. An additional question raised was how to keep in touch with students in an emergency who might be out of the building for lunch, for driver’s education, or on a practice field. [...]

Liberty Village adds Parkinson’s disorder program

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:57:00 GMT

PRINCETON — After identifying an increasing need in the community, Liberty Village of Princeton added resources and programming to help people with Parkinson’s and other neurological disorders.

Parkinson’s is a disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. There is no cure for Parkinson’s, but there are treatments that improve some of the symptoms, thus creating a much higher quality of life.

Liberty Village has therapists on staff that are certified in LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD Treatment. LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD provide an evidence-based treatment approach for people with Parkinson’s disease or other neurological disorders. The program focuses on voice, speech, and motor deficits. LSVT has been created from 25 years of scientific research.

Liberty Village of Princeton is offering free weekly fitness classes for people with Parkinson’s. The classes, beginning on Feb. 21, will be instructed by Bounce Back therapists. The classes will be every Wednesday from 5 to 6 p.m. in the community room.

Also, beginning Feb. 20, Liberty Village will host a Parkinson’s Support Group on the third Tuesday of each month at 1 p.m. in the community room. The support group will provide resources to help members learn more about how to live their best life with Parkinson’s.

For more information on any of these services, call Liberty Village of Princeton at 815-875-6600 or stop by for a tour.

People can visit Liberty Village’s website at People can also like Liberty Village of Princeton on Facebook for updates and information.

SRRC announces 2018 ambassador is Rainee Jonassen

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:46:00 GMT

OTTAWA — Starved Rock Regional Center for Therapy and Child Development (SRRC), formerly Easter Seals LBC, announced Rainee Jonassen is the 2018 ambassador. She is an adorable, smart, funny, lovable child who happens to struggle with Sensory Processing Disorder. Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD, is when the brain has trouble organizing information from the senses. Sensory processing issues can impact a child’s social skills. It can also cause difficulties in the classroom. Although every person is unique, people with SPD usually fall into one of two categories, hypersensitive or hyposensitive. Rainee has hyposensitive Sensory Processing Disorder. Hyposensitive (or undersensitive) children lack sensitivity to their surroundings. They might have a high tolerance for or indifference to pain. They may be “sensory seeking,” meaning they have a constant need to touch people or things — even when it’s not appropriate. They may also have trouble with personal space or be clumsy and uncoordinated. They might be constantly on the move and take risks on the playground, accidentally harming other kids when playing. Rainee’s parents, Shane and Jackie, saw signs from infancy. Like many children with SPD, Rainee needed to be held much of the time. By the time Rainee was 18 months, her symptoms became severe enough to affect normal functioning and disrupt everyday life. “When Rainee was 18 months we were concerned because she was constantly fidgeting, didn’t have an interest in playing, was not speaking much at all and rarely made eye contact, said Jackie. “She would constantly run into the couch or other things and spent hours lining up and organizing toys.” Her parents expressed their concerns to their pediatrician who referred the family to SRRC. Rainee began developmental and speech therapy and eventually attended toddler class in Ottawa. She also received OT services. Therapy depends on a child’s individual needs. But in general, it involves helping children do better at activities they’re normally not good at and helping them get used to things they can’t tolerate. “Rainee will lead a normal life, said Kelly Bault, developmental therapist at SRRC. “She will just have to work a little harder than a typical child. Kids don’t grow out of Sensory Processing Disorder; they grow into it, unless we spot it and treat it — the sooner, the better.” Rainee still has many problems daily, but they are a lot more manageable. She is now playing with dolls, socializing with other kids and even participating in a dance class. Without SRRC, none of this would be possible, said Shane. A few facts on Early Intervention and Sensory Processing Disorder: • Children’s brains are most pliable before the age of 7, which means you have a better chance of helping them overcome the problem at a much faster pace then you would have after the age of 7. Also by then some of the behaviors or issues can be very difficult to break. • Having a diagnosis can help families who are appalled, worried or at a loss as to what to do with their child. Getting them diagnosed and help early on helps families learn to understand the disorder and reasons for their behavior instead of just building up anger against the child as they get older and the behaviors don’t stop. • When children have SPD they often have many different symptoms of the disorder, early intervention will help to fix t[...]

Media Files:

'A big noise – and silence'A small plane sits on the Rock River after it crashed Saturday, just west of Grand Detour. Photos by Earleen Hinton/ehinton@shawmedia.comEmergency responders remove power lines from the small plane that crashed on the Rock River on Saturday, just west of Grand Detour.Emergency responders and ComEd employees remove electrical lines from a small plane that crashed on the Rock River just west of Grand Detour on Saturday afternoon.Onlookers watch as a plane is pulled to shore Saturday near Grand Detour. The plane crashed earlier in the dayOgle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle watches as the plane is pulled up a nearby residents' boat ramp.A firefighter watches as the small plane that crashed on the Rock River earlier Saturday is loaded onto a flatbed tow truck.

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:30:00 GMT

GRAND DETOUR – A handful of local residents were outdoors taking advantage of the springlike weather Saturday afternoon when their chores were interrupted by a plane crash. Illinois State Police responded to a call at about 12:50 p.m. that a small plane had landed or crashed in the Rock River near Grand Detour. The pilot, David R. Manske, and his passenger, Jamie K. Nadowski, 60, both of Machesney Park, were taken to a hospital, but luckily escaped serious injury. No information on their flight plan was available Sunday. Jim Ross was working in his garage just north of the crash site when he heard the plane fly over his home around 12:40 p.m. “I was in the garage and I heard a plane flying by. Then there was a big noise – and silence,” Ross said. “Then a neighbor came by and said a plane was on the ice and to call 911. He had heard it too and drove over and saw it on the ice.” Ross walked south a few yards where he saw the pilot exit the plane and walk around a bit. Kelley Snyder, who lives just a house down from Ross, and almost directly across from where the plane came to rest, also heard a loud bang, but thought it was just a vehicle backfiring. “I heard a pop, pop and I thought it was just a Jeep or truck backfiring. I went outside a few minutes later and started playing with our dogs and tossing them balls down the hill,” Snyder said. “When I walked down our hill to get one of the balls, I saw the plane and at first I was, ‘Oh no, a plane crashed,’ and my first thought was that if it started to sink, it was pretty shallow there." Snyder said she then saw the pilot. “I yelled and asked if he was all right and he waved his arms," she said. Snyder’s son Dax, 12, was inside his family’s house and also heard a “snapping” noise. “I think that was when they hit the power wire,” he said. “It looked like the pilot was trying to get the lady out.” Ross watched as emergency responders wearing rubber suits dragged a rubber raft out to the plane to pick up the pilot and his passenger. The plane had become tangled in a power line during the crash, and ComEd workers had to cut power to a nearby home while they helped fire personnel to untangle the power line from the plane. After Manske and Nadowski were rescued, police and workers from Maggio Truck Center in Rockford were left with the task of figuring out how to get an 800-pound plane off the river. Using two tow trucks and a Fox Lake Fire Protection District’s Quad 2 Ice and Water Rescue Airboat, responders attached a winch line to the plane and slowly pulled it to the west shore and eventually up Snyder’s boat launch driveway and onto a flatbed tow truck. That process, watched by about 20 people, ended around 8 p.m. “I’m just glad they’re going to be OK,” Kelley Snyder said. Investigators are still trying to determine whether the plane was having mechanical issues or hitting the power line caused it to go down. The Federal Aviation Administration has been brought into the investigation. – Sauk Valley Media writer Pam Eggemeier contributed to this report. [...]A small plane sits on the Rock River after it crashed Saturday, just west of Grand Detou[...]

Media Files:

Princeton ag company takes its show on the road

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:29:00 GMT

PRINCETON — Agri­Energy Resources’ winter biological farming seminar series titled “What’s New in Weed Control, Disease Control” will kick off with a one-day seminar in Indianapolis on Feb. 6, followed by another one-day seminar in Des Moines on Feb. 8. Both seminars will feature the same information on building disease suppressive soils, controlling weeds without harsh chemicals, building soil tilth and organic matter, and increasing biological life in the soil. “We are excited to feature some experts in soil and crop health and share our discoveries with our guests,” Dean Craine, AgriEnergy Resources general manager, said. “It’s been a fun year experimenting with our products on different crops as we have seen consistent results,” Craine said. Michael Bomford, Ph.D., will speak at both seminars about exploring Disease Suppressive Soils and how to create them. Bomford is a faculty member in the Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond, British Columbia. His work focuses on organic and sustainable agriculture systems suitable for farms that operate with limited resources. Bomford has done extensive research in disease suppressive soils and will share his discoveries. He has a master’s degree in pest management from Simon Fraser University and a doctorate in plant and soil sciences from West Virginia University. He also spent 10 years at Kentucky State University concentrating on organic agriculture research, teaching and Extension. Michael Orzolek, professor emeritus of Vegetable Crops in the Department of Horticulture at Pennsylvania State University, will speak at the Des Moines seminar. Over the last few years, Orzolek has conducted extensive research on the effects AgriEnergy products have on several crops, and said he has been consistently blown away with the results. He will personally share his discoveries in Des Moines. Denny Wildman, a longtime follower of Orzolek and a consultant for AgriEnergy, will summarize Orzolek’s work and results in Indianapolis. Orzolek received a bachelor of science degree in biology from Alliance College, a master’s degree in horticulture from West Virginia University, and his doctorate in horticulture/botany from the University of Maryland. He joined Penn State in 1981 with a three-way appointment in extension, research, and teaching. Since retirement from the university in July 2012, he has kept active conducting applied field research from his new office at the Horticulture Research Farm in Rock Springs, Penn. He has conducted extensive research on stand establishment, plant nutrition, weed management, and tillage systems. A consortium of AgriEnergy Resources staff and associates will speak on compost, nutritional balance in the soil, tilth, residue management, biologicals, and other considerations for profitability. This group has a combined 200-plus years’ experience in biological farming and helping farmers raise the bar, and consists of Dean Craine, Ken Musselman, Gary Campbell, Eric Johnston, Alan Dale, Dave Visser and Reggie Destree. Both locations will feature a Weed Control Panel of local consultants and farmers. The Indianapolis panel includes Gary McDonald of Springfield, Tom Besecker of Greenville, Ohio, Cody Wilkin[...]

Seminar opportunity for area students

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:23:00 GMT

WALNUT — Walnut Rotary Club President Mary Beach Carl is encouraging Bureau Valley and Ohio high school students to apply for a full scholarship to attend Rotary’s 2018 World Affairs Seminar, set for June 23-29 at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis.

“Each year, Rotary’s World Affair Seminar brings together youth from around the world to broaden their understanding of international happenings and change their perspective on current events,” Carl said. “This year’s topic, ‘Innovation: Shaping the Future You Will Inherit,’ should be particularly appealing to our youth, who are growing up in a world constantly benefitting from new technologies and pioneering individuals who see new ways to address age-old issues facing society.”

“The World Affairs Seminar will permit scholarship recipients to engage in a stimulating discussion of world affairs and interact with experienced professionals, as well as discuss, prioritize and exchange ideas about global issues,“ Carl went on to say. “Furthermore, attendance at the seminar should add strength to attendees’ college enrollment applications because it validates the students’ leadership and negotiation skills. This seminar could literally change a young person’s life.”

Scholarships will be awarded to one Ohio High School student; another to a student at Bureau Valley High School. (If there are no applications from a district, that scholarship will go unawarded.) The application process is open to students who are in good academic standing and 16-18 years of age.

Interested students should review seminar information and complete the application form found at

Along with the completed application, which must include all requested signatures, interested students must submit a 300- to 500-word essay on why he or she wishes to attend the 2018 World Affairs Seminar.

All information (application and essay) may be submitted electronically to Charlie Gonigam at or Mary Carl at no later than Feb. 16, 2018. Delegates will be advised of their selection on or before 5 p.m. Feb. 28.

PCA will host annual Family Reading Night and open house on Friday

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:23:00 GMT

PRINCETON — Princeton Christian Academy will be have its annual Family Reading Night and open house at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26, at 21890 U.S. Hwy 34, Princeton.

This is an evening full of fun, reading and activities for the entire family. One activity will be each class presenting a display of their favorite book along with refreshments being served.

The open house is also an opportunity for those interested in the school to visit the classrooms and talk with staff. PCA offers a 3- and 4-year-old preschool program and grades K-8. For more information, call the school office at 815-875-2933.

Bureau Valley Schools announce kindergarten pre-registration dates

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:20:00 GMT

MANLIUS — Bureau Valley CUSD 340 has set the week of Feb. 12-16 for kindergarten pre-registration at Bureau Valley Elementary buildings in Walnut and Wyanet.

Parents may pre-register their child in the attendance center their child will attend between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on those dates. Children who will be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1 will be eligible to attend kindergarten in the fall. The pre-registration process is very simple and only takes a few minutes for parents to complete. Children are not required to attend the pre-registration process. Incoming kindergarten students will be able to meet their teachers and see their classroom at a Meet ‘n Greet in August.

Parents will be required to present proof of age (certified copy of birth certificate) at the time of registration. A certified copy of birth certificate may be acquired at the courthouse in the county in which the child was born.

A packet will be issued to parents containing some registration paperwork, a health form, dental form, lead screening verification, vision exam form and some informational sheets. All registration paperwork will need to be completed and turned in the week of Feb. 12-16. All health, dental and vision forms are due at registration in August. No fees will be collected until registration in August.

Pre-registration allows the schools to have an idea of the number of kindergartners to expect next school year so that a sufficient amount of supplies and books can be ordered for our students. Parents who are unable to pre-register their child during the scheduled times are asked to call the office to inform the school of their intent to send a child to kindergarten. School phone numbers are: BV-North Elementary at Walnut, 815-379-2900; and BV-Wyanet Elementary, 815-699-2251.

$50 to change the worldIn just a little more than two years, Lois and Duane Foote have transformed their idea for a free clothing ministry from a few simple items into a full-sized selection of clothing, furniture, household goods and more. They're also encouraging those from other communities and churches to visit the Closet of Hope if they are in need.The hard work of Duane and Lois Foote, along with their many volunteers, has allowed the Closet of Hope to grow from a small idea into one filling their church. Their work has also created a helpful network of like-minded individuals and organizations that spans the Illinois Valley.

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:13:00 GMT

TONICA — "Who wants to go to work?" the pastor asked as he waved ten small envelopes. Duane Foote raised his hand on that day, and approximately two years later, the fruits of his labors can be seen not only throughout his church, but throughout the Illinois Valley. Pastor Mark Nowakowski, of Tonica's United Methodist Church, had based his sermon that fateful day on the Gospel of Matthew and the Parable of the Talents. For those unaware of the finer details of the parable, talents were a unit of currency in biblical times. It's a story of three servants left in stewardship of their master's finances while he was away for an extended period. When the master returns, two of the servants had put the money to work and gave the master their profits and were rewarded. The servant who buried the money and did nothing beneficial with it was cast out and punished. "Each of those envelopes contained $50, and those taking them were free to use the money however they saw fit," Foote said as he surveyed what's known as the Closet of Hope, a free clothing outlet based in the church. "I'm not sure what everyone else did with theirs, but this is what I did with mine," he said. Foote used the original $50 to complete a job for another church. That work not only got him paid, but referrals for other jobs as well. "Before I knew it, we had $1,000, and I had to begin stepping back from those jobs so we could begin work on this," he said. Foote, with regular help from his wife, Lois, began collecting donations while also taking advantage of the closure of some local department stores to buy their clothing racks, and he also cleverly made some of his own. "We started with just some clothes and a few toys, but now we've grown to also include furniture and many other things a home needs," Lois said. While the Closet of Hope started out occupying a small area, it's since grown to include much of the church. The free clothing outlet is open from 2 to 8 p.m. on each Wednesday. The Footes and approximately 10 volunteers arrive several hours early on Wednesdays to move the clothing racks out of storage and into other rooms, hallways and the church's main areas. Compared to the thrift stores of the valley, the Closet of Hope is every bit their equal in regards to their selection of items. The items are also color-coded to help volunteers sort and cycle them so nothing sits unused for too long. "We started off having to ask people for donations and for the things they were unable to sell at their garage sales, but now they're calling us," Lois said. They've also built an informal network in order to work and trade items throughout the Illinois Valley and all of Bureau, Putnam and LaSalle counties, and even beyond. Help has also been received from local food pantries, police departments and several churches. While not a food pantry, the Closet of Hope occasionally does have some food items. "We don't charge for anything," Lois said. "If you need something, you're welcome to it, and it doesn't matter where you're from, what color your skin is, what church you go to, or even if you go to church. We're here to help peopl[...]

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North Central Illinois development group touts regionMeeting at the NCI Booth during the annual Commercial/Industrial Real Estate Conference in Chicago on Jan. 17 are Ivan Baker, NCI president, and Tim O’Neil of W.E. O’Neil Construction.

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:12:00 GMT

CHICAGO — More than 800 commercial and industrial real estate executives attended the 2018 Real Estate Forecast event in downtown Chicago on Jan. 17.

North Central Illinois (NCI) Economic Development Corp., based in Oglesby, was one of the primary sponsors of the event, and promoted the region at the exhibit hall and during the Industrial Development Panel.

“The market for industrial development in northern Illinois is great,” Kenneth Szady, national director for Marcus and Millichap, said.

This sentiment was echoed by more than two dozen real estate executives at meetings and break-out sessions, sponsored by the Illinois Real Estate Journal.

Dan Smolensky, principal of Taurus Modal Group, said: “Opportunities are tremendous. Vacancy rates are low, demand is high, and industrial development is hot in northeastern Illinois/metro Chicago.”

Executives pointed out concerns about taxes and uncertainty in the state fiscal climate. Yet, those issues are not countering the enthusiasm and optimism of the market.

“Companies want to be where the people are,” Tony Pricco, principal of Bridge Development Partners, said. “They are following the consumer market.”

As a result, communities and industrial sites located far from the population centers, or O’Hare, are having a harder time in attracting interest.

“But, rural and exurban areas can be aggressive with full-service properties, aggressive incentives, and labor skills to secure their fair share of this exciting industrial market,” Jeff Bennett, president of McColly Bennett Commercial, said.

North Central Illinois Economic Development Corp. is prominently being featured at regional industrial real estate events sponsored by the Illinois Real Estate Journal, CoreNet Global, Association of Industrial Real Estate, and Society of Industrial and Office Realtors.

“The Chicago region market is dynamic,” Ivan Baker, NCI president, said, “and we must be in front of the decision-makers and brokers in order to have our sites reviewed.”

The annual January Real Estate Forecast is one of the largest meetings of top northern Illinois brokers and developers.

Meeting at the NCI Booth during the annual Commercial/Industrial Real Estate Conference in Chicago on Jan. 17 are Ivan Baker, NCI president, and Tim O’Neil of W.E. O’Neil Construction.

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Those who share, saveSpring Valley Mayor Walt Marini joined the mayors and police chiefs of LaSalle, Peru and Oglesby, along with Spring Valley Police Chief Kevin Sangston, to announce Thursday that they intend to move forward with discussions to plan a joint police headquarters. This would allow the four cities to benefit from significant savings as well as share training and equipment costs.Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei reads from a press release announcing the possibility of Spring Valley, Peru, LaSalle and Oglesby sharing a centralized, newly constructed headquarters building in Peru. Seated at the table is LaSalle Mayor Jeff Grove (from left), Peru Mayor Scott Harl, Oglesby Mayor Don Finley and Spring Valley Mayor Walt Marini.

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:39:00 GMT

LASALLE — Organizations everywhere have been forced to realize that working together and sharing limited resources is a benefit that can’t be overlooked. The mayors and police chiefs of Spring Valley, Peru, LaSalle and Oglesby announced Thursday afternoon they’re moving forward with plans to share certain aspects of their law enforcement services. With the mayors calling it an “unprecedented and historic move,” the press conference was the official announcement that the successfully quiet discussions that have taken place between the four mayors and their police chiefs and city councils will now be moving forward publicly to further develop their plans. “Nothing like this has been done before, especially between four different cities in two counties,” LaSalle Mayor Jeff Grove said. Peru Mayor Scott Harl said the idea began to develop when his city began discussing the construction of a new police headquarters for its department. He said officials realized it would be a benefit to all the surrounding communities if they were able to share a newly constructed facility. The cities have already consolidated their dispatching services with the Illinois Valley Regional Dispatch Center based in Peru. The shared dispatch went live in 2016 after being planned since 2010. In a meeting with officers prior to the press conference, Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei assured officers from all departments this wouldn’t threaten either their jobs or their pensions. “This won’t result in less officers on the street. This isn’t a lay-off scenario, and it will have no bearing on pensions,” Bernabei said. “We all have the same needs. This would allow for an opportunity for better training and equipment if we’re all working together,” LaSalle Police Chief Rob Uranich said. Bernabei said their goal was to make it better for everyone, and that the departments involved won’t be in a position to grow unless changes are made. “We have a duplication of services which don’t need to be,” he said. Each department would maintain its own identity, but officers were told each city could benefit if they were allowed to share available officers and investigators. “Twenty years ago, this wouldn’t even have been a discussion, but we’re sharing schools and several other services, and this makes good financial sense,” Peru Mayor Scott Harl said. The projected savings are significant. While the consolidated dispatching was expected to save taxpayers more than $750,000 a year, the long-term savings of a shared police service was said to be $250 million over the next six decades. “I think that number is staggering,” Spring Valley Mayor Walt Marini said, adding that opportunities to control long-term pension costs are few and far between. Another number that will likely be staggering is the amount of details remaining to be worked out. Bernabei said they’re likely two years away from the approval of a plan for the construction of a new building. “The next phase is a site location committee, and it will be the first of many, many stages,” Bernabei said.[...]

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Residents can tour county jail to see conditions there

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:38:00 GMT

PRINCETON — Bureau County Sheriff Jim Reed announced in an effort to further educate county residents about the issues and concerns involving the deterioration of the existing jail, the Bureau County Sheriff’s Office will offer tours of the jail to residents of Bureau County.

The tours are limited to a maximum of 10 individuals, and people must be at least 18 years of age to attend.

The tours normally last around 45 minutes. The facility entrance is handicap accessible, however, most of the jail is not. A portion of the tour involves the use of stairs.

Anyone interested in touring the jail should contact the Sgt. Dexter Hansen, jail superintendent, by calling 815-872-3091, ext. 635.

Tour dates and times:

Wednesday, Jan. 24, 9 to 10 a.m. and 10 to 11 a.m.

Sunday, Jan. 28, 4 to 5 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 4 to 5 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 11, 9 to 10 a.m. and 10 to 11 a.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 13, 9 to 10 a.m. and 10 to 11 a.m.

Saturday, Feb. 17, 4 to 5 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 9 to 10 a.m. and 10 to 11 a.m.

Sunday, Feb. 25, 4 to 5 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 4 to 5 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m.

Saturday, March 3, 9 to 10 a.m. and 10 to 11 a.m.

Wednesday, March 7, 4 to 5 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m.

Sunday, March 11, 9 to 10 a.m. and 10 to 11 a.m.

Tuesday, March 13, 9 to 10 a.m. and 10 to 11 a.m.

Saturday, March 17, 4 to 5 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m.

If individuals cannot make any of the dates provided above and would still likea tour, call Sgt. Hansen at 815-872-3091, ext. 635.

Weaver serves up Civics After HoursState Sen. Chuck Weaver, R-Peoria, chats with Bureau County Treasurer Courtney Yates-Mabry at the Prouty Building in Princeton after Weaver hosted a town hall meeting there Thursday evening. About 40 area residents attended.Making a point to a crowd of about 40 constituents, state Sen. Chuck Weaver (right) speaks at a town hall meeting at the Prouty Building in Princeton Thursday evening. The Peoria Republican represents Princeton, Tiskilwa, Wyanet, Sheffield, Buda, Neponset, Manlius, Walnut, Ohio, LaMoille and other portions of Bureau County in the Illinois Senate's 37th District.

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:38:00 GMT

PRINCETON — One side of South Main Street Thursday evening, it was Business After Hours, sponsored by the Princeton Chamber of Commerce and hosted by the Kramer family at The Kompany. On the other side of the street, it was state Sen. Chuck Weaver’s town hall meeting at the Prouty Community Building. Would you have called it Government After Hours? Politics After Hours? Civics After Hours? Whatever, the hour-long event, which began at 6 p.m., attracted about 40 area residents who were as interested in the Peoria Republican’s pronouncements about what’s going on in state government as Chamber guests were interested in tasty Kramer refreshments served across the street from 5 till 7 p.m. For his part, Sen. Weaver knows a little about serving up enticing morsels. The businessman owned and operated a chain of chicken restaurants for a number of years before turning to politics. But Weaver, who was introduced by Princeton Mayor Joel Quiram, focused his one-hour question-and-answer session on providing food for thought regarding the state government’s ills and possible solutions to them. Weaver, a senator since 2015 who said he is not up for election for 3 years, decried the polarization in politics and government. “The key is, we’ve got to have good, logical conversation with each other, talk about both sides of an issue so we can hopefully come to some conclusions,” Weaver said. “Social media’s hurting us as a citizenry because what happens is people are living in echo chambers. The rights all listen to the right, and the lefts all listen to the left, and then what happens is, you can’t go to the middle to solve a problem,” he said. A major problem facing Illinois is the state’s credit rating, which has tumbled from AAA in 1982 to BBB- in 2017, severely impacting the state’s finances. “Past bad decisions limit your ability for current good decisions,” Weaver said. Citing one example, he continued, “Who doesn’t want to do more for disabled kids? Who doesn’t want to do more? Because of this dynamic, we’re not going to be able to do more.” The state’s budget, fueled with last year’s income tax increase, is another problem. “After it was voted on and approved as a balanced budget, the reality was it’s 1.7 billion dollars short,” Weaver said. That means while state public schools will get $250 million more, and the road budget will be held steady, “Every other agency’s getting a 5 percent haircut because of that $1.7 billion,” Weaver said. Weaver, who said he visits one business a week in his district, said worker’s compensation is the biggest problem cited by business leaders. “Here’s what’s wrong with Illinois’ worker’s comp system. It’s a word called causation,” Weaver said. “What it means is, what was the cause of the injury? If any part of the injury happens on the workplace, the workplace pays all of it. That’s not fair. If I get hurt playing softball on a Sunday, and I go in and r[...]

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Schools feel the pinch of teacher shortages

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:37:00 GMT

PRINCETON — Illinois is losing more residents than anywhere else in the nation as many families leave each year for more prosperous and better-run states. This exodus is resulting in a lack of educated and qualified job applicants, and schools in particular are feeling the effects. The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools has been warning the state about this issue, and they’ve released the results of a teacher shortage survey of more than 500 school districts. The trends are troubling, showing that 78 percent of the districts identified a problem with shortages, and 89 percent noted they’re seeing significantly fewer applicants for positions. Additionally, more than half the state’s schools struggle with substitute teacher shortages, and only five percent reported no problems. “In the past, special education, ESL, ELA, math, band and science would get three to four applicants, and our K-5 positions would generate around 40-60 applicants,” Spring Valley Elementary School Superintendent Jim Hermes said. “Now we’re lucky if we have any special education or band applicants, and there’s very few ELA, math and science people. Our K-5 openings now see around five to 10 applicants,” Hermes said. More than 70 districts reported programs or classes have been canceled because of shortages, and some have converted to online education. Bureau Valley School Superintendent Eric Lawson reported they’ve been forced to utilize online instruction for their Spanish classes, and said it hasn’t been proved to be beneficial. Many districts reported having to shift teachers to other classrooms to cover absences or having to redistribute students. Some administrators have also had to begin teaching in place of absent teachers. The majority of the local school districts contacted, whether large or small, said they’re dealing with these issues and have noticed an extreme drop in applicants and a difficulty in acquiring enough substitutes when needed. “We’re seeing fewer and fewer applicants each year for teaching positions,” Tim Smith, superintendent of Princeton Elementary Schools, said. “The areas of science, math and special education have always been a difficult area to fill. However, it seems all of the other positions have fewer people applying as well,” Smith said. Hermes said legislators need to acknowledge there’s a problem and look to undo some of the changes they’ve made that have driven people away from choosing the profession. “I believe more teachers would be available if there was less red tape involved with licensure,” Hermes said. “It used to be teachers could teach across the curriculum. However, now teachers are very limited as to what they’re allowed to teach,” Smith said. “For example, a social studies teacher used to be able to teach courses like geography, world history, economics, American history, government, etc. Due to changes in licensure, a social studies teacher might be limited to American and world history. This causes the district to have to hire additi[...]

Hall looking for better return on working cash account

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:36:00 GMT

SPRING VALLEY — J Burt of Heartland Bank addressed the Hall High School Board of Education at Wednesday night’s meeting to discuss the board’s options for investing the working cash of the district.

Burt said he recommended investing the working cash in Heartland’s FDIC Managed Cash program.

The benefits of this include the ability to have liquidity of money, usually in one business day, and having FDIC insurance on every dollar of the investment.

Interest rates are currently 1.34 percent, but Burt expects the rates to increase three more times in 2018. Hall has been receiving approximately $3,200 a year in interest in its various accounts, but can expect to see $10,900 a year with FDIC Managed Cash, he said.

Hall has approximately $1 million in working cash to invest. No action was taken.

Interim Superintendent Jay McCracken presented the mid-year budget review and said 48.8 percent of the budgeted amounts have been spent as of Dec. 31.

“We are right where we want to be at this time of the year,” McCracken said.

Board member Jack Boroski recognized the Hall Devilettes and their sponsor, Lindsay Ferrari. The team will be participating in the 2018 National Dance Team Championship which will take place Feb. 2-4 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

“They’ve raised $20,000 to attend,” Boroski said. “The school hasn’t paid a dime for the trip. They work hard, and sometimes they don’t get the credit they deserve.”

In other business:

Assistant Principal Eric Bryant updated the board on first semester attendance rates and discipline.

Bryant explained that the biggest issue is unexcused absences, which affects both discipline and the attendance rate.

“This is an area we are always looking to improve on.  We have many repeat offenders,” Bryant said.

Other business:

• The board approved the 2018-19 school calendar.

• There will be a Hall Community Meeting scheduled in Ladd at the end of February.

• The IASB Spring Dinner meeting will be on April 11 at Senica’s Oak Ridge.

• The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 21 in the Hall High School Library.

Board sets graduation dateClaire Hamilton receives a January Student of the Month award from Princeton High School Principal Andy Berlinski at Wednesday night's PHS Board meeting. Other students of the month who were recognized at the meeting were Shaylynn Hartmann, Alex Janssen, Mikayla Wilhelm, Keegan Mall and Miranda Sorenson. Hamilton, Hartmann and Mall attended in person to receive their awards.

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:32:00 GMT

PRINCETON — Princeton High School seniors are barely two weeks into their final semester in high school, but they now know exactly when they’ll be handed their diplomas. The Princeton High School Board voted Wednesday night to hold graduation ceremonies at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 19, at Bryant Field. May 19 was the overwhelming choice of parents and students surveyed, Superintendent Kirk Haring said. “Parents, it was 80 percent on the 19th, students, it was 95-96 percent on the 19th,” Haring said. Other choices were May 20 and May 26. “Sunshine and 75 degrees would be perfect,” Haring said of the hoped-for weather for graduation, after last year’s rainy weather forced PHS to move the ceremonies indoors. Haring reviewed the district’s budget halfway through the fiscal year. PHS has received 82.31 percent of projected revenue, while expenses stand at 50 percent, he told the board. “Those numbers are very comparable to last year,” Haring said. “I feel very comfortable, very confident in where we are that we’re going to end the year close to where we anticipated being,” he said. One fly in the ointment is that the district has not received any categorical payments this fiscal year, including transportation. But, Haring stated, “As of right now, I do not have any concerns on the revenue side or on the expense side.” Principal Andy Berlinski reported that the registration process for the 2018-19 school year will begin soon. The Guidance Department will start meeting with incoming ninth-graders (current eighth-graders) next week. “The following week, we’ll have freshman visit night for those incoming ninth-grade students’ parents, on the 29th,” Berlinski said. Berlinski reported on activities on Institute Day and test prep procedures for juniors to get ready to take the SAT exam. “These individualized programs will provide specific paths for students to use to prepare for the SAT,” he stated in his report. The survey window for the Illinois 5 Essentials Survey, which parents, students and teachers were notified of in November, will close this month. “We look forward to seeing the results that come out of that survey,” Berlinski said. He added that results from the Illinois Science Assessment exam that students took two school years ago finally arrived on Wednesday. Berlinski said he would share more information next month after he’s had a chance to delve more deeply into the findings. “I’m happy to report our students scored above the state average at this point,” he said. Coaches named In other action, the board voted to name Brik Wedekind as head softball coach for the Princeton girls softball team. Wedekind, a member of the PHS custodial staff, also coaches football and basketball at PHS. Marty [...]

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Pre-school grant not a sure thing for elementary school

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:31:00 GMT

SPRING VALLEY — The Spring Valley Elementary School District recently submitted its Pre-School Grant application for the 2018-19 school year, board members learned at Wednesday’s meeting. However, Principal Michelle Nauman explained that the process is different for the upcoming school year, and there is the possibility that Spring Valley won’t receive the grant because the grant is now competitive. Nauman explained that the paperwork was difficult to fill out, and there was no help from the state since the grant is competitive. When asked about what will happen if Spring Valley Elementary doesn’t receive the grant, Nauman said that they would have to cross that bridge when they come to it. Nauman is hopeful because Spring Valley students meet many of the qualifications of the grant. Spring Valley will also be applying for the 21st Century Grant. “We will be working with the Regional Office of Education,” Nauman said. “If the grant is received, then the money can be used for after school programs, summer school programs, and parent workshops.” Nauman also discussed Illinois Science Assessment data.  She said she just recently received the 2016 assessment scores.  Students in grades 5 and 8 take the science assessments every year.  Nauman said the scores were a little lower than the state average. She will meet with the teachers to try to create a plan to improve the scores, especially for the ELL (English Language Learner) population and students receiving special education services. The 2018-19 calendar was presented but will not be voted on until February. The calendar has the first day of student attendance on Aug. 13. Superintendent Jim Hermes said, “We try to follow Hall as much as possible to make it easier for parents.” Hermes also discussed the budget to date. He said that they have received all of the tax money that he expects to receive. State aid is coming in with 45 percent of the total amount received to date, but grant money is slow coming in. Hermes said that 53 percent of the expected expenditures have been processed. Assistant Principal Ryan Geist presented the behavior and attendance data. Geist was pleased to announce that there has been a large decrease in negative behavior from last year. There were 678 behavior referrals at this time last year compared to the 364 this year.  Five new students registered since the last meeting. In other business: • The board approved Roenfeldt and Lockas as district auditor for FY 2018. This is the third year of the three-year contract. • The board approved the October School Board policy updates. • 2018-19 IESA participation was approved for scholastic bowl, boys and girls basketball and track. • On Feb. 1, there will be a Stone Jug BBQ fundraiser for the foundation. Contact the office for more information. • The school bus contract [...]

Climbing the family treeBureau County Genealogical Society member Carol McGee displays a small portion of the impressive amount of highly indexed local information about Bureau County history. Within minutes, society members can access detailed information of birth, marriage, school, military, census, court, land and death records. The society also regularly hosts informational programs.Bureau County Genealogical Society member Esther Tracy conducts some historical research with the society's extensive microfiche files. More than 100 years of newspapers from throughout the county are accessible through the society, and they contain an enormous amount of historical information beneficial to anyone researching their family history.The Bureau County Genealogical Society is conveniently located in downtown Princeton on Main Street and is within a short walk to both the Bureau County Courthouse and the Bureau County Historical Society Museum.

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:28:00 GMT

PRINCETON — There’s nothing like icy, sub-zero temperatures to inspire an indoor project. One common thing we all likely have in our homes is an old photo album collecting dust on a bookshelf or forgotten in the attic. As old photo albums are brought out for review, they’re typically accompanied by favorite family stories. This may make older family members realize their past could eventually disappear if not properly documented. Younger family members, curious about their ancestors’ origins, may also have an interest in charting the past. But this can be a daunting task, especially when you consider how widespread the information can be and how deeply it could be hidden. Thankfully, genealogy has become one of the nation’s favorite hobbies, surpassed only by gardening. Carol McGee of the Bureau County Genealogical Society provided some tips for those beginning the journey through their family tree. McGee began researching her family’s history 30 years ago after finding pictures of her grandparents in an old trunk. “By researching old records and talking to relatives, I learned what difficult lives they had and how they managed to do the best with what they had,” McGee said. “Then I wanted to know more about my other ancestors, and I became addicted to adding to my family tree,” she said. She added that television programs about genealogy tend to make it look like a simple process. “These programs make it look like it’s quick and easy, but it can be quite challenging and time consuming,” McGee said. Beginning this process, however difficult, is better done sooner rather than later. “If the last person in a generation passes away and family members start to ask questions, there’s no one there to answer them,” she said. An interest in health history is another reason many get started with genealogy, especially if there’s an inherited disease. “Adopted people often want to know the health history of their natural parents, and this is usually the main reason they want to learn about them,” she said. McGee said beginners should obtain and fill out available pedigree and family group charts so it’s easy to organize what you know and don’t know. Interviewing relatives is a critical first step, and federal census records and obituaries are a good place to obtain information. “Always document your information by writing down the source and, if possible, take a genealogy class at your local genealogy society or attend a genealogical conference. Classes are also available online,” McGee said. Some of the challenges people can expect to face during research include the difficulty in deciphering old handwriting, seeing various spellings of names, and the use of nicknames. There may also be relatives who aren’t willing to share information. As earlier generations are researched, there will be fewer records, which can complicate a search. The[...]

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Jan. 25 meeting deals with organizing family records

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:27:00 GMT

PRINCETON — The Bureau County Genealogical Society has a program at its regular meeting on Thursday, Jan. 25, for those interested in learning about ways to preserve and organize family records, pictures and memorabilia.

The speaker is Penny Christman, who has chosen Wyanet as her new retirement home to be closer to family. Her career has included administrative and management positions in customer support, human resources and payroll.

She has combined this business background with her hobby of genealogy to create a new business called Preserving Your Heritage.

The meeting will be held at the Bureau County Genealogy Society library at 629 S. Main St. in Princeton. The public is invited to this free program, which will begin at 7 p.m.

Christman’s PowerPoint presentation will include details of three of her specialties — digital scanning of photos, documents, slides and negatives; displays and scrapbooks for heirlooms and memorabilia; and capturing genealogy data for family history.

Christman will also have some actual samples of her work from her own family history on display.

For more information about the program, call 815-879-3133 or stop by during the business hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The genealogy library is also open the first Saturday of each month during the same hours.

Those who work and are unable to come in during regular hours may call to set up another time.

SV-based DJ service honored

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:21:00 GMT

SPRING VALLEY — Guys on the Radio: DJ Service has been selected as a 2018 winner in The Knot Best of Weddings.

Only 3 percent of the approximately 300,000 local wedding professionals listed on have received this distinguished accolade.

In its 12th annual year, The Knot continues its tradition of supporting local wedding vendors with The Knot Best of Weddings 2018, an annual by-couples, for-couples guide to the top wedding professionals across the country. To determine the winners, The Knot assessed almost 3.6 million reviews across the various vendor categories — venues, musicians, florists, photographers, caterers and more.

“We are blessed to have an amazing team of professionals that strive to make sure every detail is covered to make a bride and groom’s special day stress free,” JC “Phillips” Heerdt, co-owner, said.

“Thank you to all of our clients who we have LOVED working with in 2017. You have made this a memorable year for us! We appreciate you having us as part of your special day.”

Owners Heerdt and Jon Shapiro started the business in 2011, and in 2013 were recognized by the Illinois Small Business Development Center as part of the 40 Under Forty class of leaders in the area.

Food service course offered

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:21:00 GMT

MENDOTA — A food service sanitation manager certification course will be offered from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at OSF St. Paul Medical Center, 1401 East 12th St. in Mendota. The test will be given at 4 p.m. on that Saturday. The cost is $125.

This is a state-approved, eight-hour course for the Illinois Food Safety Certification. All food service facilities are required to have certified managers. This course offers both renewal and new certifications.

For more information or to obtain registration forms, call David K. Williams at 309-203-8346 or email at

Travel Connections honored

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:21:00 GMT

PERU — Travel Connections, 1120 Peoria St., Peru, has been awarded the Golden Apple Award from tour operator Apple Vacations.

Golden Apple travel agencies are among the top sellers of Apple Vacations packages in the U.S. and receive extra benefits with Apple Vacations such as exclusive promotions, educational site inspections, cooperative advertising funding and more.

“Golden Apple travel agents deserve much of the credit for making Apple Vacations America’s Favorite Vacation Company by embracing our quality products, exclusive vacation flights and value-added incentives,” said Tim Mullen, president of Apple Vacations. “We are happy to award Golden Apple benefits to our loyal travel agent partners.”

Travel Connections is an accredited, full-service travel agency that was established in 2011.

JP Motors honoredJP Motors in Peru was recently honored by Mercedes Benz USA for 25 years as a dealer. Those present at the ceremony were Bill Toliver, Mercedez Benz technician; Steve Cooke, fixed operations manager; Carole Eich, Mercedes Benz sales rep; Mike Nolte, Mercedes Benz USA Central Region general manager; Joe Leydon, JP Motors president; and Scott Ansteth, JP Motors general manager. Leydon, a lifelong resident of the Illinois Valley, has been in the automobile business for 36 years.

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:21:00 GMT

JP Motors in Peru was recently honored by Mercedes Benz USA for 25 years as a dealer. Those present at the ceremony were Bill Toliver, Mercedez Benz technician; Steve Cooke, fixed operations manager; Carole Eich, Mercedes Benz sales rep; Mike Nolte, Mercedes Benz USA Central Region general manager; Joe Leydon, JP Motors president; and Scott Ansteth, JP Motors general manager. Leydon, a lifelong resident of the Illinois Valley, has been in the automobile business for 36 years.

JP Motors in Peru was recently honored by Mercedes Benz USA for 25 years as a dealer. Those present at the ceremony were Bill Toliver, Mercedez Benz technician; Steve Cooke, fixed operations manager; Carole Eich, Mercedes Benz sales rep; Mike Nolte, Mercedes Benz USA Central Region general manager; Joe Leydon, JP Motors president; and Scott Ansteth, JP Motors general manager. Leydon, a lifelong resident of the Illinois Valley, has been in the automobile business for 36 years.

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EWTN recognizes 15-year anniversary of WSOG Catholic RadioFr. Ronald Margherio with sports announcer Jim Enger, and Joan and Jim Perona on Dec. 13.Blessing of Station WSOG on Dec. 12, 2002.

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:21:00 GMT

PERU — A special Mass celebrated by Father Ronald Margherio, O.S.B of St. Bede, honored the 15th anniversary of the founding of WSOG Catholic Radio in Spring Valley.

EWTN stands for the Eternal Word Television Network and has been broadcasting Catholic television and radio programming for over 25 years. WSOG, which stands for "Witnessing the Spirit of God,” Is located at St. Bede Academy and covers the following counties in Illinois: LaSalle, Marshall, Northern McLean, Putnam and Woodford. Their call numbers are 88.1FM (operated by Spirit Educational Association), and was founded in 2002 by Judge Louis Perona.

The WSOG Studio was also rededicated to the late Judge Louis Perona and EWTN recognized the 15th anniversary with a plaque presented to Joan Perona, son Jim Perona Jr. and Jim Enger.

Fr. Ronald Margherio with sports announcer Jim Enger, and Joan and Jim Perona on Dec. 13.Blessing of Station WSOG on Dec. 12, 2002.

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District 17 state troopers handled 15,982 calls for service, aid in 2017

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 20:15:00 GMT

LASALLE — Illinois State Police District 17 announced that during 2017, troopers handled 15,982 calls for service and assistance. Of these calls, 1,849 were to help motorists whose vehicles were disabled on area highways.

Traffic enforcement activities resulted in 2,423 drivers arrested for speeding and 630 cited for seat belt violations. Arrests for driving under the influence totaled 93.

Troopers issued 4,820 traffic citations and 7,290 written warnings to motorists during the year.

District 17 troopers handled 493 traffic crashes within the three-county area of LaSalle, Bureau and Putnam. There were seven fatal crashes handled by District 17 troopers.

Lower rates could equal big savings

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:50:00 GMT

PRINCETON — From $1.8 million in Alternate Revenue Bonds issued in 2008, the Princeton Park District used the funds to develop 40 acres at Zearing Park.

Ten years later, the district might be able to refinance the remaining debt at a considerable savings.

At Monday’s Princeton Park District Board meeting, the board listened to Will Glass, an associate with First Midstate Investment Bankers, present information on how the district could take advantage of lower interest rates.

First Midstate Investment Bankers serves dozens of school districts, community colleges, municipalities, road districts, townships, counties and special taxing districts throughout the state.

In September, Glass said the remaining $765,000 in debt would be callable for refinancing if the board desired and the market continued as anticipated.

“We’re projecting a 3.5 percent interest rate. The current rate is 4.48 percent, so you’d save roughly one percent over the remaining five years of the bond,” Glass said.

A one percent savings would total $24,125 that the district could use for other projects or expenses, such as the upcoming Metro Center roof project estimated to cost approximately $600,000.

Work on the roof is expected to begin in 2019, and the district has saved more than $250,000 toward the project.

The board also discussed the merits and drawbacks of both extending and shortening the remaining time period to repay the existing debt.

In other board news:

• Princeton Park District attorney Bob Russell reported the Ace Distribution Center requested to have its property reassessed. He said Ace officials have asked to have the amount lowered by one-third. If allowed, Russell said the assessment would drop from about $9 million to $6 million. The board decided to speak with other taxing bodies to see how they are approaching the matter and may join in efforts to appeal the request.

• Administrative assistant Tammy Lange reported a recent surge in six-month memberships. She also said a Bureau County Metro Center special on six-month memberships will be starting on Jan. 22 and will continue through that week. The special is aimed to add a bit of incentive for those who’ve struggled to get their New Year’s resolutions off the ground and into the gym.

Snowblowin’ in the windThere was no school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but there was plenty of snow to clear from the sidewalks surrounding Logan Junior High School in Princeton before classes resumed on Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to warm by the end of the week, and rain is currently expected over the weekend.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:50:00 GMT

There was no school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but there was plenty of snow to clear from the sidewalks surrounding Logan Junior High School in Princeton before

classes resumed on

Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to warm by the end of the week, and rain is currently expected over the weekend.

There was no school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but there was plenty of snow to clear from the sidewalks surrounding Logan Junior High School in Princeton before classes resumed on Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to warm by the end of the week, and rain is currently expected over the weekend.

Media Files:

Historic designation decision approachingCity Clerk Pete Nelson (right) congratulates Dustin Schaill after Schaill took the oath of office as an officer with the Princeton Police Department at Monday night's Princeton City Council meeting.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:43:00 GMT

PRINCETON — The city of Princeton should hear early this year about whether the North and South Main Street commercial districts have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

David Gugerty of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission told the Princeton City Council on Monday that a decision is expected the first quarter of this year from the National Register of Historic Places, a federal program operated by the National Park Service in Washington D.C.

Gugerty added that the commission would also like to see a local historic overlay district be placed on the city’s land development code, and that the 20 percent tax credit for building renovations in historic districts was placed in the recent federal tax plan.

Mayor Joel Quiram said he understood the city of Princeton’s application is next on the list and will be considered soon.

In other business:

• Dustin Schaill took the oath of office as a police officer with the city of Princeton from City Clerk Pete Nelson. Schaill has been a deputy with the Stark County Sheriff’s Department since 2013 and had been a part-time Princeton officer prior to working in Stark County.

He will replace John Shofner, the department’s investigator, who is retiring the end of this month, Rachel Skaggs, city manager, reported after the meeting. An officer currently on staff at the Princeton Police Department will then assume Shofner’s duties as investigator, she added.

City Clerk Pete Nelson (right) congratulates Dustin Schaill after Schaill took the oath of office as an officer with the Princeton Police Department at Monday night's Princeton City Council meeting.

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Consultant to conduct training Wednesday for school district’s referendum campaign

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:39:00 GMT

MANLIUS — A Referendum Campaign Committee will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, at the central office building of the Bureau Valley School District.

Consultant Rod Wright will conduct a training session for committee members.

The Bureau Valley School Board voted at its December meeting to hire a campaign consultant, after voting in November to place a referendum seeking voter approval for a $12 million bond issue on the March 20 ballot.

The bonds, if approved, would finance two additions to the Bureau Valley High School building in Manlius, plus upgrades for school buildings in Wyanet and Walnut.

The office building is at 9068 2125 N. Ave. in Manlius.

Weaver invites public to town hall

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:39:00 GMT

PRINCETON – State Sen. Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria), who represents the 37th District in the Illinois State Senate, will host a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, at the Prouty Building, 435 S. Main St. in Princeton.

Weaver said he invites the public to come out, meet him, and give their input on issues that matter to them.

He said he would answer any questions or concerns they might have about state government.

Anyone with questions may contact Weaver’s Peoria office at 309-693-4921.

She’s Springfield bound: Fair queen heads to pageantBureau County Fair Queen Brianna Legner models her teal evening gown at a sendoff gathering at the Galleria in Princeton. Legner will compete with other county fair queens in the state pageant Thursday through Sunday in Springfield.Here, Brianna Legner wears her light blue onstage speech suit. The 2017 Bureau County Fair queen said she plans to give her speech at the state pageant on what it is like to be a redhead.A tan suit is what Brianna Legner, 2017 Bureau County Fair queen, will wear for the interview portion of the state fair queen pageant, which will take place this weekend in Springfield.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:39:00 GMT

PRINCETON — Brianna Legner will be spending the weekend in Springfield, competing with 69 other young women in the Miss Illinois County Fair Queen pageant.

Legner, the 2017 Miss Bureau County Fair Queen, modeled her wardrobe at her farewell sendoff at the Galleria in Princeton.

Legner, 19, is the daughter of Dan and Sue Legner of Princeton.

She competed in a field of 10 at her county level and will be competing in a field of 70 at the state competition.

The Miss Illinois County Fair Queen pageant will be held in Springfield Thursday through Sunday. Legner is number 58 and is in the evening group.

She has chosen to give her speech on being a redhead. She chose this topic because that is what people normally think of when they think of her. She says it is what makes her stand out and is a huge part of her life.

When asked what has been the most memorable part of her reign so far, Brianna said definitely the fair, and being a part of something so historical, because the Bureau County Fair is one of the oldest in the state.

“It’s really great to have people recognize me as their county queen,” she added.

Preparing for the pageant has kept her busy with mock interviews, working on her state speech, shopping for her wardrobe, and making numerous trips to the seamstress.

She said she looks most forward to meeting the other queens and spending time with the former queens who will be going to Springfield to help her get ready.

Bureau County Fair Queen Brianna Legner models her teal evening gown at a sendoff gathering at the Galleria in Princeton. Legner will compete with other county fair queens in the state pageant Thursday through Sunday in Springfield.Here, Brianna Legner wears her light blue onstage speech suit. The 2017 Bureau County Fair queen said she plans to give her speech at the state pageant on what it is like to be a redhead.A tan suit is what Brianna Legner, 2017 Bureau County Fair queen, will wear for the interview portion of the state fair queen pageant, which will take place this weekend in Springfield.

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IVCC trustees buy new academic planning tool

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:36:00 GMT

OGLESBY — The Illinois Valley Community College Board approved the purchase of a web-based academic planning tool for students Jan. 11 — an acquisition made possible, in part, by a gift from IVCC alumnae William and Dian Taylor of Winnetka. A $12,500 donation from the Taylors will help to buy a web-based College Student Planning module that will eventually replace Webadvisor. The $41,057 Ellucian program helps students and advisers define the courses and requirements they need to stay on track toward graduation. “Ellucian has not announced an end-of-life date for Webadvisor yet, but they have indicated their plan to replace it with Student Planning in the future. Implementing this now will give us a head start on the process,” IVCC President Jerry Corcoran said. Of the Taylors, Corcoran said, “Bill and Dian are among our most generous benefactors, and without their donation, this purchase may have stayed on the wish list for another year or two.” The Taylors, who attended LPO Junior College in the 1960s, fund numerous scholarships for students at IVCC and Northern Illinois University and have contributed $150,000 to IVCC fundraising campaigns. In other business, the board approved revised and new board policies involving employee classification, the hiring process for administrators and staff, alternative credit, Illinois Articulation Initiative, and the use of drones. The board also learned: • IVCC athletes earned an overall GPA of 3.07 in fall. “Our student athletes are students first; the coaches and programs staff should be commended for a job well done,” Corcoran said. • IVCC Agriculture Night is Tuesday, Jan. 23, at the basketball games vs. Kishwaukee. The women play at 5:30 p.m. and the men at 7:30 p.m. All district ag students and educators will be admitted free of charge. Concessions will benefit IVCC’s new student Ag Club. • Sauk Valley Community College will host the Illinois Community College Trustees Association regional meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 22. ICCTA’s Northwest Region includes Highland, Kishwaukee, Rock Valley, Sauk and IVCC. • Amy Woods has been hired as a financial aid adviser. • In a letter to the board, Disability Services Coordinator Tina Hardy announced the launching of YOU@IVCC, a new online portal designed to help students manage stress, set goals, find happiness and connect to campus resources. The site, found at, is available to anyone with an IVCC email. “I believe it will prove to be an extraordinary asset for students, faculty and staff,” Hardy said. [...]

Mush! Sledding without snow

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:36:00 GMT

The Free Spirit Siberian Rescue sled dog group visited Starved Rock State Park near Utica on Saturday for a series of seminars and demonstrations. The cold temperatures didn’t keep the lively group from attracting hundreds of spectators who enjoyed interacting with the dogs, including a popular puppy, and seeing them in action as they mushed through the park.

Media Files:

Ag group encouraged to use its voiceDistrict directors elected Saturday at the Bureau County Farm Bureau's 103rd annual meeting in Princeton are (from left), front row, Tony Stirling, District 4; and Evan Hultine, at large, and back row, Rex Elmore, District 3; Cam Howey, District 2; and William Anderson, District 1. Also elected, but absent from the meeting, was Brian Carlson, at large. It was announced that Jim May, who served six years as a District 4 director, has retired.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:34:00 GMT

PRINCETON — Of the Bureau County Farm Bureau’s three-part slogan, “Value, Voice, Vision,” the “voice” segment took center stage at the group’s 103rd annual meeting Saturday at the Elks Lodge in Princeton. The county’s congressman and state representative were on hand to encourage farmer members to share their voices on upcoming legislation and issues. The local Farm Bureau’s FB Act program, created by the group’s Young Leaders, was touted as a model to boost farmers’ voices in Washington and Springfield. And successful Bureau County Farm Bureau initiatives continue to promote the county’s voice in the statewide Farm Bureau organization. Meanwhile, the local Farm Bureau elected six directors — William Anderson, Cam Howey, Rex Elmore, Tony Stirling, Evan Hultine and Brian Carlson — to two-year terms, bid farewell to one retiring director, Jim May, and heard a report on ongoing efforts to modernize the organization. U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, encouraged Farm Bureau members to raise their voices when issues important to agriculture are at stake. “You guys are extremely important for your voice in Washington, D.C., to be heard,” Kinzinger said. “Don’t assume, because I vote pro-ag, that you don’t need to call the office and tell us (on) different issues that come up, how you want me to vote,” he said. “I don’t necessarily need it because I need you to convince me, but it’s always nice to be able to say, ‘Wait, here’s what I’m hearing from my district.’” Kinzinger said the issue of trade was a concern, in light of President Donald Trump’s statements about possibly pulling the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement. “We are going to continue to encourage the president — he’s done a lot of great things for this country — but we’re going to encourage him to continue to be supportive of trade and exports because that’s essential for ag. That’s essential for the economy, all in all,” Kinzinger said. State Rep. Dan Swanson, R-Alpha, reinforced the thought about communicating with elected lawmakers. “You really need to understand how important your voice is to us in the House, Senate and also in Washington, D.C.,” Swanson said. He warned that some lawmakers in the Illinois Legislature want to reopen the Livestock Facilities Management Act for possible changes, though they provide no specifics. “That’s not a good enough reason to try and change that act that’s been protecting our pork producers and protecting our environment,” Swa[...]

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Facing the challenges together

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:15:00 GMT

OGLESBY —With ice and snow still covering the Illinois Valley, spring planting may not be at the front of our thoughts, but being aware of 2018's upcoming agricultural challenges and program developments is necessary if farmers wish to have a successful year. With that in mind, the University of Illinois (U of I) Extension, which serves Bureau, LaSalle, Marshall and Putnam counties, is inviting farmland owners, operators and others in the agricultural industry to attend an upcoming seminar at Illinois Valley Community College on Jan. 25. The seminar will provide in-depth and unbiased, research-based information regarding the economic agricultural outlook for 2018 and current ag leasing options. The program will be presented by Gary Schnitkey, a U of I professor of agricultural and consumer economics and Extension specialist. "Landlords on Class A, top-producing soils are going to more cash-rent leases with very little change in the amount of rent paid. Class-B soils cash rents are moving slightly lower in our area," Daryle Wragge, Extension program coordinator for Ag and Natural Resources, said.  Crop-shares, flexible leases, cost centers, price projections and returns to land will also be covered. "Crop-share leases are at a stable rate, and some interest is developing in variable cash- rent arrangements. Land is still extremely competitive in our area, even though profit margins are lessening," Wragge added.        Additionally, Jonathan Coppess, a clinical assistant professor of law with the U of I, as well as the policy director of the Bock Agricultural Law and Policy program and Extension specialist, will be speaking about information on the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) crop insurance options reflecting 2018 pricing and risks. Wragge's outlook for price improvements is currently minimal, but he added the overall outlook depends greatly on the supply factor supported by three years of record production from all major grain producing areas of the world, including the United States, which is unprecedented in the history of crop production record keeping. "This world production is due for a problem somewhere, and this supply situation can be used up rather fast. Four-dollar corn and ten-dollar beans is a goal that could be achieved if and when a problem of production arises, but hopefully it's just not here," Wragge said. Some of the risks Wragge is expecting area farmers to be facing this year include high seed costs; no or minimal government payments; adverse weather and growing conditions; resistant weed control; low profit margins; and the high costs of land rentals or purchases. [...]

Local banks will sponsor agricultural business conference

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 20:57:00 GMT

MENDOTA — First State Bank in Mendota, Pioneer State Bank in Earlville and H.F. Gehant Banking Co. of West Brooklyn announce a special conference for area farmers. The 19th annual Community Bank Ag Conference will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, at the Mendota Civic Center. Starting off the program will be Parry Dixon, an economist at ADM Corporate headquarters in Decatur. He joined ADM in 1984 and is responsible for economic analysis, in addition to price forecasting for commodities. Prior to joining ADM, he worked for a large brokerage firm in Chicago and has more than 40 years of experience in agricultural economics. He has a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Brigham Young University, and master’s and doctorate degree in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois. Following Parry will be John Cantlin of John Cantlin & Associates. He is a 1970 University of Illinois, College of Agriculture graduate and a 1977 John Marshall Law School graduate with a J.D. degree. He has been in private practice since 1977 with offices in both Ottawa and Earlville. He has been actively involved in the family farming operation throughout his legal career. After a noon lunch, Aaron Hager will kick off the afternoon sessions. He is an associate professor of extension weed science in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. He attended Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and received a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science in 1991, his master’s in weed science in 1993 and completed his Ph.D. in weed science in 2002. As an associate professor of weed science at the University of Illinois, he is responsible for weed biology and management research in corn and soybean production systems. His research focuses on examining the biology and management of weed species that are common in Illinois agronomic crops. Closing the session will be Linda Henkel, senior director, Global Quality Systems Global Supply Chain and Sustainability; McDonald’s Corp. She is responsible for leading and managing a team that establishes Global Quality Systems programs, systems and tools that help in delivering consistent, high quality products for McDonald’s customers every day. Her team maintains the product lifecycle management system that captures information about McDonald’s food, including nutrition and ingredient information. She earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science from University of Illinois. With 31 years of experience with the McDonald’s corporation, and extensive travel around the world, she still enjoys helping out on the family farm near West Brooklyn. Area farmers are encouraged to contact any of the listed financial institutions prior to Saturday, Jan. 19, to confirm res[...]

Remy named Heartland Bank & Trust’s retail managerTim Remy

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 20:48:00 GMT

PRINCETON — Heartland Bank and Trust Co. announces that Tim Remy has been named retail manager in the Princeton North location.

Remy is located at the bank’s 2101 N. Main St. location. He is responsible for ensuring value and top-of-the-line service to bank customers and overseeing retail employee development and training.

Remy has 30 years of banking experience, working for banks and credit unions in the Quad City area as a branch manager.

Remy enjoys working with the United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Junior Achievement. Originally from Dubuque, Iowa, Tim makes his home in Eldridge, Iowa, with his wife, Donita, and his children, Matthew and Elizabeth.

Tim Remy

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CWU will hold annual meeting Jan. 27

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 20:43:00 GMT

PRINCETON — The annual meeting of Church Women United will be at noon Saturday, Jan. 27, at Open Prairie United Church of Christ, 25 E. Marion St., Princeton (located behind the Apollo Theater). Women from throughout Bureau County are invited and encouraged to attend. Those attending are asked to bring a salad to pass. Board members of CWU will provide the desserts.

CWU owns and operates The Closet, a resale shop at 2026 N. Main St., Princeton, where all proceeds, minus expenses, are donated back to community organizations. The Arukah Institute of Healing is one of the recipients receiving funds this year. Sarah Scruggs, executive director of Arukah, will be the speaker. Arukah’s mission is to bring accessible and relational holistic mental health care to communities.

Sen. Weaver to host coffee chat Jan. 26 in WalnutSen. Chuck Weaver

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 21:06:00 GMT

WALNUT — State Sen. Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria), who represents the 37th District in the Illinois State Senate, will host a coffee chat from 8 to 9 a.m. Friday, Jan. 26, at Konz Restaurant, 112 S. Main St. in Walnut.

Weaver’s coffee chat is a chance for constituents to ask questions and offer suggestions about state government. There is no set topic.

The event is free and open to the public. 

Sen. Chuck Weaver

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Events sought for BC Tourism Guide

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 21:06:00 GMT

The Bureau County Tourism Committee seeks information by early February on events happening around the county in 2018.

Any event information will be placed in the Bureau County Tourism Guide. There are 10,000 copies of the guide printed the first week of March. They are distributed all around the state at visitors centers and locally at businesses throughout Bureau County and beyond. Event information will also be on the committee’s Facebook page and its website at

All kinds of events will be listed from parades to festivals, 5K races and fundraisers plus local outdoor activities like fishing tournaments, cross country skiing and hunting. If communities are planning special events to commemorate the state of Illinois’ 200th birthday event in 2018, the committee will also list them in the tourism guide.

Send event information to Kathy Bauer, 205 S. Fifth St., Princeton, IL 61356 or email to People may also call 815-866-3606 in the evenings with event details.

Village president sets goals for 2018

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 20:55:00 GMT

WYANET — Five goals are on Wyanet Village President Bruce Hand’s list for the village as the new year unfolds. In an interview after Tuesday night’s village board meeting, Hand said he hopes that the village receives a grant for which it recently applied. The grant would make it possible for the village to accomplish the first goal on the list, which is to reline the remaining sewer pipes with fiberglass. Hand explained that the current sewer pipes are more than 80 years old. Relining them will give them 60 to 80 more years of life. The second goal is to finish the shed to store salt. The concrete floor needs to be poured. Hand explained that they now are able to house the salt on their own property instead of sharing with the township. “It’s just more convenient to have it here, plus we now have a backhoe to load the salt with, which has made this possible,” Hand said. The third goal is to remove the house that used to be home to the police department. The house sits north of the village hall. Hand said that the village needed 10 feet of the land that the house sits on for the water tower, but the homeowner wouldn’t sell just the land. It was cheaper to purchase the house and the land instead of moving the water tower. Last year the board decided to move the police station out of the house because of deteriorating conditions. The Wyanet Fire Department is currently using the house for training purposes, and when they are finished, the house will be removed. Hand hopes to use the space in the future for a new village building. The fourth goal is replace several more fire hydrants. Six have been replaced to date. A few years ago, a company that the village contracted advised the board that 11 of the hydrants were leaking, so the board has replaced two to three a year. The fifth goal is to replace the seat on the board that was left empty with the unexpected passing of trustee Marilyn Johnson. Hand said he has talked to a few residents, and whomever is appointed will serve a 15-month term. “We are in no rush to make an appointment,” Hand said. “Marilyn will be very hard to replace, and to be honest, it’s still too painful for the board.” Hand said that at this time, there are no major equipment needs, and he was proud to say that all equipment purchased in the past couple of years was done so without loans needed. [...]