I would like to urge all voters to vote No, to not disconnect from the Port Authority. At the January Carroll County Board Meeting the Board voted 10 to 2 to not support the referendum to disconnect from the Port District.
By remaining connected to the Port Authority Citizens of Carroll County may be able use it someday to help stimulate economic growth, and create jobs. It is very unlikely that the Port Authority will ever create any taxes for the taxpayers of Carroll County. Please join myself and the majority of the other Carroll County Board Members and Vote No to not disconnect from the Port Authority.
Chairman, Carroll County Board
Usually a NO vote is a vote against a proposal. Not this time! A NO vote Tuesday on the Upper Mississippi International Port District is a vote to keep Carroll County IN the District. A NO vote is a vote to encourage economic development and job creation in Carroll County.
It just seems so strange to vote NO on an issue this is so important. The few people that want to remove Carroll County from the District worded the ballot to confuse the voter. Don’t let it confuse you. Please read the ballot when you’re in the voting booth.
On Tuesday be sure you vote. On Tuesday join with me when I vote NO to keep Carroll County IN the Upper Mississippi International Port District.
Say NO to Naysayers
Carroll County citizens should say ‘No’ to the naysayers by voting “No’ in the upcoming referendum to determine whether Carroll County should continue to participate in the recently created Upper Mississippi International Port District.
Making noise and making the ballot confusing should not be sufficient to trick Carroll County voters into forsaking a potentially critical economic development tool for the region. The ballot has been drafted so that a ‘Yes’ vote will mean ‘No’ to an important asset that other regions in the State wish they had and that took some considerable work to put in place. The Port Authority like all governmental entities, will need to be watched and made to serve the needs of its constituents. I think we are up to that task.
No one can tax you without your consent including and especially a Port Authority. That right for us to decide for ourselves on taxes was secured in the War for Independence. Port Authorities, in particular and as a fact of law, cannot tax you for anything until and unless they bring such a request to you in the form of a referendum. That’s the kind of referendum we should have before us now, not this one. I trust the citizens of Carroll County to intelligently make such a decision on taxes, if and when the need should arise.
Let’s not be bamboozled by naysayers looking for a ‘Yes’ vote to a no-win proposition that deprives this community of an important economic development tool. We are perfectly capable of deciding if and when to use it. If we forsake it, we are unlikely to get the opportunity to have such a valuable tool again .
Vote ‘No’ on Tuesday. Don’t throw a potentially useful and perfectly manageable baby out with the bath water. A “No” vote will keep this important and versatile economic development tool at work for us.
Owner/Operator, Palisades Golf Course
Board Member Savanna Chamber of Commerce
Keep Carroll County on the Map
For the past five years, quietly but with hard work and diligence, the Jo-Carroll Foreign Trade Zone and its Operator, Illinois International Trade Centers, have been trying to put the former Savanna Army Depot on the world map. It has begun to work.
The Zone is activated and tenanted by a growing local business. Danisco, the Danish owned food processor in Thomson, has applied for FTZ Sub-zone status for their manufacturing plant, enabling them to lower their costs of production, retain jobs and hopefully grow and continue to prosper in our community. The Zone Operator, Illinois International Trade Centers, now has four people full time employees. In February, we anticipate the use of the Zone by our first foreign client, a major manufacturer from Japan. FTZ #271, the Jo-Carroll Foreign Trade Zone, is getting on the map.
Creation of the Upper Mississippi International Port District in 2009 has gone a long way toward making our claim to be on that ‘international’ map more credible. The Port Authority provides a possible vehicle for maintenance and development of the necessary infrastructure at the Depot and in the region – removing that responsibility from the County, Washington Township or the City of Savanna; enabling us to grow jobs and to find new markets for our region’s products and keeping us on the world map. There are eleven such Port Districts in the State of Illinois, all of the communities that have them worked hard to get them and have been helped, not harmed, by their existence.
At our Jo-Carroll FTZ Board (comprised of your local leaders) meeting last week, the unanimous vote was to recommend that Carroll County continue to participate in the Port District and the Port Authority.
Throwing away such a potentially useful economic development tool as a consequence of fear mongering and ignorance is an insult to your intelligence and common sense. By all means only use the Port Authority if and when you want, but keep it in the tool box. Some of us might be put to good use - like enlarging Savanna Depot Park to a star on that map.
Managing Member Illinois International Trade Centers
Operator FTZ #271 – The Jo-Carroll Foreign Trade Zone.
Importance of the Port Authority
After ten years and almost $19 Million of investment in the rail and other infrastructure improvements at Savanna Depot and the creation of over fifty permanent, well paid jobs; Riverport Railroad, LLC (RVPR) has begun to successfully invite industry to take a hard look at locating at the Depot.
A reality that concerns these prospects includes the fact that the governmental agency responsible for sewer, water and roads at the Depot, the Jo-Carroll Local Redevelopment Authority, is running out of money and is mandated by their charter to cease to exist when the last properties in their footprint are transferred. Washington Township, the City of Savanna and Carroll County have all expressed an understandable reluctance to take on these responsibilities.
The creation of Upper Mississippi International Port District and its related Port Authority gave some hope to RVPR and their prospective tenants that an appropriate tool may have been created to take on some of these ‘infrastructure’ responsibilities in an intelligent and effective way.
If Carroll County votes to withdraw from that entity before it can be determined if and how it might play this critical role in managing the existing and developing new infrastructure capacities at the Depot, an important opportunity will be lost and the prospective businesses discouraged. As a point of reference, the water and sewage treatment plant and a large amount of the infrastructure improvements are in Carroll County.
Savanna Depot Park is the largest contiguous tract of (undeveloped!) industrial zoned property in the Northwest quadrant of Illinois. It is adjacent to the largest and most cost effective interstate highway in the US – the Mississippi River. BNSF’s primary rail line connecting the Mid-West to ports and places in the Northwest (and from there on the great circle route to Asia) runs right through the property and connects with our Short Line Railroad at Robinson Spur on the Depot. We have made the Depot a Foreign Trade Zone and an Inland Port.
We have a real prospect of creating an additional three hundred permanent, high paid jobs at the Depot in the next three years. We need to be able to develop and manage the infrastructure at the Depot to support that development. We need to be able to effectively move products stored, value added or produced at the site to markets locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. What better partner could we have in tackling these issues than an effective bi-county Port Authority.
We urge the citizens of Carroll County to keep the dream alive by voting ‘No’ to withdrawing prematurely from this potentially important vehicle for driving development of the Depot, the region and our business.
President and CEO of Riverport Railroad, LLC
Consider This . . .
On January 5th, Chicago Tribune reported that all five Democrat candidates for the U.S. Senate seat support “a path to citizenship status for illegal immigrants.” On the Republican ballot, Congressman Mark Kirk was one of only 8 Republicans voting for CAP & TRADE, a disastrous legislation for Illinoisans. One of Kirk’s largest contributors, Exelon, will benefit from Cap & Trade -- not you -- your utility bills will “skyrocket” (as candidate Obama frankly admitted on the campaign trail, until he decided to keep mum).
Republicans Dan Lowery and Patrick Hughes lead the field of US Senate candidates, and Judge Lowery has credentials on our abused state and national constitutions.
For IL Governor, Adam Andrzejewski (An-Gee-EFF-Ski) is so clean he squeaks. His plan for state audits sounds dull, but will save the state millions, and can be implemented by a governor, whereas tax cuts cannot.
It’s that time of the year again. February 2 is Ground Hog Day. It is also Election day for the Illinois Primary. We in Down State Illinois have an opportunity to elect one of our own for Lieutenant Governor, Mike Boland. Mike has five opponents in the Primary, all from the Chicago-land area. Who do you believe would serve us best? Mike Boland has shown his dedication to the area as our State Representative.
To replace Rep. Boland will be a hard task. I believe Porter McNeil is the best candidate to do that. While all three candidates are well qualified for the job, I believe Porter McNeil would be more responsive to the voters in Carroll County, and has a much broader background in the political field. Porter has been to carroll County many times, and when he is elected, I am sure he will remember us.
An issue that will be on the ballot that will have an effect on all tax payers in Carroll County, but is not a Primary issue, is the right of disconnection from the Upper Mississippi River International Port District. This taxing authority was imposed on carroll and Jo Daviess Counties by state legislators that do not live in either county. The bill is too broad, and we do not need another taxing authority. I will vote Yes, to disconnect from the Port District.
Do not be a Ground Hog that stays in the burrow. Get out and vote.
Gerald L. Bork
Mt. Carroll, IL
From Some of Our On-Line Readers . . .
It is always interesting for me to read this section of this paper online from here in Japan. I love that there is an online version, I think it’s great.
I’m quite taken by the commentary this week on abortion (Letters to the Editor, 1/20/10). The bells tolling in Savanna, the “choice” issue for the unborn, the violence of the procedure, etc.
While I’m not a proponent for it myself, personally I don’t think I could ever do it; that is my CHOICE, thank God I have that choice. However, I don’t feel I have the right to vote my beliefs, in this instance, for someone else.
I do feel there should be a limit, if a mother doesn’t know by 18 weeks that she wants to end the pregnancy, that is way too late. I agree that there should be a time limit/constraint.
I fear that there could be a day that one of my daughters could be raped by someone, anyone, and have to face the pain of enduring a truly unwanted pregnancy out of an act of such violence. I also think that there should be a restriction on using it as a form of “birth control” - but to ban it altogether, no way.
Greetings From Puerto Vallarta
Just to let you know that I read the PA every week online. It is the only way to keep up on what is happening in Carroll County.
Lake Carroll, IL
Wintering in Mexico
80 degrees every day
I am lovin’ how I can go to your website and “flip” newspaper pages! It’s great!
Thanks for the convenience!
Sr. V.P. of Economic Development and Member Services
Jo-Carroll Energy, Inc. (NFP)
In Support of the Eastland CUSD #308 School Referendum
Before the voters on February 2, 2010 is a referendum by the Eastland School District 308 for the voters to approve an authorization to incur bond debt in the amount of $7,000,000 to finance certain improvements to the high school. These improvements focus primarily on Physical Education with the construction of a new gymnasium, locker rooms and fitness center, but additionally provide for the improvement of existing gym, wood shop, ag shop and related classroom facilities.
The school district is in an enviable position with the tax revenue that is generated from Lake Carroll which is approximately 58% of the total tax collected by the district. With this amount of support and approximately 50 children from Lake Carroll, you may ask why I support this referendum.
The debt which will be incurred with this plan is being structured as long term debt. Now is an excellent time to borrow long term monies and the school has the opportunity to take advantage of low bond cost as well as certain Federal loan programs that have borrowing cost support. The debt incurred extends the current amortization of debt from 4 years to 20 years, but keeps the annual debt payment level with an anticipation of a 1.5% increase in assessed evaluation. While the assessed evaluation of properties in the district will most likely see a drop based on the 2009 sales realities, this effect will come into reality with the 2010 taxes payable in 2011. This anticipated drop in assessed evaluation would cause the debt service fund tax rate to increase slightly, but over the 20 year obligation of the debt service, the annual debt service is relatively level. This opportunity to lock in these low cost debt instruments may not be in place even six months from now, so now is the best time to make this commitment.
The current facilities which are the focus of the new construction or remodeling are outdated and date back to 1951. On a recent tour to the locker rooms I felt as though I was in a time machine that sent me back 50+ years. They are far from being inline with current usages and needs and need replacement. The gymnasium is small, has some safety issues and the access to bleachers is highly restrictive to the upper age group and those with mobility issues. The children of the district deserve a better environment and the class and scheduling availability this plan brings. In these economic times it is difficult to rationalize the expenditure of $7,000,000, but in reality this is the best time. The architects have made concessions and construction costs are low due to high competition for the few jobs that are out there.
Over the years there has been much discussion relative to redistricting. Eastland is one of, if not the wealthiest district in Northwestern Illinois. The surrounding districts of West Carroll, Pearl City and Chadwick-Milledgeville all have tax rates that range from 5.42% to 5.54%. Those rates are 67-70% higher than the Eastland tax rate of 3.25%. Redistricting can be either voluntary or involuntary. I believe that creating the best infrastructure in our district will in the event of any redistricting keep our primary tax dollars in our district instead of having to create expensive infrastructure in other districts. Let’s keep as much of our infrastructure and operational dollars in our own back yard.
The Eastland District 308 Board has enormous powers to establish and levy taxes on the assessed evaluation of the district. If this referendum is not approved, the Board can raise the tax rate and build a new construction fund and even utilize a portion of the approximately $4,000,000 operating fund balance to finance the school additions without a referendum This approach would have a significant effect on our annual tax bill with the structuring of this approach compressing the overall costs into only a few years. If this construction is done on a piecemeal approach, the costs will be higher and the disruption to our student environment more substantial.
For the above reasons, I am supporting the Eastland School District 308 Referendum. I would rather enter into this type of plan with a full knowledge of current low construction costs and the long term financing effect on my taxes than a potentially much higher cost and disjoint approach.
William H. Jahnke
Lake Carroll, IL
Count us as “YES”
As we draw closer to voting on the referendum put forth by the Eastland School Board, we are excited for the opportunities and memories these facilities will present to our community.
Since moving to Lake Carroll 9 years ago with our 4 children, we have been blessed to be a part of the Eastland School District. We were a bit concerned at times about how prepared our kids would be academically for college. After all, we were moving out to the “boonies” from a larger metro area with numerous High Schools and College Prep institutions. But now that 2 of our kids have gone through the Eastland system and on to college, we can put those concerns to rest. Both are doing well academically and socially. We just can’t imagine raising our kids anywhere else.
We are voting “YES” on the referendum because we believe the improvements are needed, and the School Board is financing the project in a very responsible and prudent way. The current facilities are nearly 60 yrs old and were simply not built for the demands of students and faculty today. By voting “YES”, we can take advantage of the lower construction costs and historically low interest rates offered today. Since the bonds from the Middle School improvements will be paid off soon, the new bonds issued for this project will replace those maturing bonds keeping our property taxes essentially the same.
On the other hand--voting “NO” on this referendum could very likely increase our taxes. If these improvements are addressed on a “piece-meal” basis, they will need to be paid over shorter time frames than what is being proposed through this referendum. Costs for materials and labor will most certainly be higher if these projects are done “piece-meal” stretching construction out over a number of years rather than all at once.
The BOE has listened to a great deal of input from faculty, employees, administration, architects and community members on this project. They are tax payers in this district. They are aware of current economic conditions and that some are going through tough times. Most importantly, they are acutely aware of the current needs of our school district. Our BOE members have voted 6-1 that these improvements are needed and that the time to address these needs is now.
Please take the time to review the information at www.GoEastland.com and we hope you will join us in supporting the proposed improvements to your community.
Voting “YES” on Feb 2nd
Dan & Andrea Walker
Shannon, Lanark, & Lake Carroll property owners
Without Hesitation, a YES Vote
The Eastland referendum will get my support. I have been able to get involved with the preparation process and evaluate the pros and the cons. I have listened to and learned from school board members, architects, construction managers, teachers, parents, tax payers, homeowners, voters, and graduated students. But, undoubtedly, the $7 million asked for, at this distressed economic period, could be called ludicrous. What is the School Board thinking?
For me, what this School Board is thinking is to simply continue to provide those experiences and opportunities for our children in a safe environment - and do so in a fiscally responsible manner. Each of these curriculums this facility improvement affects offer classes where students have produced wonderful results, even though the results may not be easily measured. Where best to continue agriculture knowledge than rural Eastland? Shouldn’t physical education be emphasized even more based upon the growing evidence of our lethargic society? Isn’t it gratifying to see the confidence that theater, speech and band develop to allow students a dedicated area to perform without interruption? Why not continue the opportunity to learn woodworking techniques that other schools may not offer?
Moving to Shannon 26 years ago and raising two children, I have seen how they have matured into adults my wife and I are proud of. I see others children becoming contributing members of society, too. This all has been possible, in part, because of their education and life experiences at Eastland. These experiences were a result of the opportunities provided because of the caring, dedicated, efficient way Eastland gets the job done.
The pros of this decision simply outweigh the cons for me. This is not the same for everyone. I understand that. I do hope that everyone becomes informed through public presentations, web site: www.GoEastland.com, or by asking those in the know. As long as a vote is an informed one, our communities are better off.
Joseph J. Payette
A Chance to Make a Difference
It seems a rare occurrence in today’s society that we feel we make a difference. On a national level, we see our leaders committing extensive resources around the world. On the state level, we watch our elected officials manage our budget into billion dollar (double-digit) debt. Locally, the politicos debate over wind farms, mega-dairies, and prison expansion. Personally, I welcome the opportunity to make a difference in my home and in the Eastland school district – by voting yes for the Eastland school improvement referendum.
Knowing that my taxes positively impact the children in our communities is a comforting reward in an often-times thankless world. We have created and maintained a center of learning second to none in NW Illinois. It does take a community to raise a child, and what we’re doing cannot and should not be minimized. Continuing to improve our school system is something tangible for all of us to value every day – being able to see that what we’ve done is truly making a difference.
Karl R. Henze
As we approach February 2, Illinois primary election date, Illinois Republican voters have a large number of candidates to choose from for the Republican candidates for Governor. Bill Brady of Bloomington, is one of those candidates. He is a businessman who understands that jobs and holding the line on taxes is the way to get Illinois out of the current economic times. He also understands that prosperous agriculture and rural downstate is the engine that keeps the Illinois economy running. During the last 18 years he has served the state of Illinois as an elected official both in the Illinois House and Senate. He knows the legislative process and has stated, when Governor, he will meet with the leaders of the elected officials to balance our budget and pay down the state’s debt.
I had the privilege to serve with Bill Brady during the 10 years I served as Representative in the Illinois General Assembly. He can use his experience as a legislator and business owner to make Illinois a state we can all be proud of. I ask you to join me, on February 2, and vote for Bill Brady for Governor on the Republican ballot
I. Ron Lawfer
I am responding to the Jan. 20th article on feral cats and I just don’t know where to begin. A call to action comes up everytime someone gets “a bee in their bonnet” when a cat acts like a cat. First off I would like to remind everyone, that all three pet welfare orgs in this county are “NO KILL”. No kidding! Euthanasia can not be a cure-all everytime an easy fix isn’t handy. Since all three groups state in their by-laws that they are “no kill”, they would need to change their by-laws and also let the public know of their new stand. Since 87% of the country does not believe in the killing of animals, county residents have a right to know if one of the groups now supports death as a solution. Go to www.alleycat.org to get a better understanding of the correct way to deal with the feral situation.
In response to relocating the cats, where exactly are they going and would there be a responsible caretaker there? If not, how is relocation any different from random dumping. Knirlberger is making an assumption by saying we are encouraging people to bring their cats downtown. The numbers have been consistent year after year because the colonies are like a family and do want to welcome other cats to their area. I see the same faces day after day as I’m sure the Warfield’s do. Many people have indoor/outdoor cats and what you think is a feral may be someone’s pet.
Since Adrianne’s Angels started in April we have neutered 47 cats. I only had one litter of kittens in 2009 from Mt. Carroll. The rest of the kitten calls came from Savanna. If the city is going to contribute to the neutering of cats, I feel we should get “the most bang for our buck”. Eastland Vet Clinic is considerably cheaper than the Mt. Carroll Vet Clinic. I think HSCC President, Dr. Alan Schroeder should match Eastland’s price if he wants this business for his clinic. Why should we pay more for the same service?
Try also to have some compassion for these cats. They do not want to be homeless, starving, sick or freezing to death. Spay/Neuter is the only way to make this problem shrink.
On a happier note, Adrianne’s Angels would like to welcome two new Directors to our Board. Cindy Mierzwa owner of Fur The Luv of Dogs and Bill Walters of PAWZ, Mt Carroll. Check out our website at www.adriannesangels.org to learn more about our group.
The month of January is usually a time people make New Year’s resolutions. Why not consider being a volunteer for CASA? Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are trained persons, and are appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of a child in court. These children are at risk because of their circumstances, i.e. they are abused or neglected and have become wards of the court. CASA is the only program where volunteers are appointed by the court to represent the child’s best interest.
A CASA volunteer provides a judge with carefully researched background details about the child to help the court make a sound decision regarding the child’s future. The CASA volunteer reviews all records pertaining to the child and then makes recommendations on placement to the judge and follows through on the case until it is permanently resolved. This is the most important because the child’s advocate will be continually involved in the case until it is resolved. (The volunteer is the consistent person in all these proceedings and provides continuity for the youngster.)
CASA has been endorsed by the American Bar Association, The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Please consider CASA when making your New Year’s resolutions.
Ogle County Board Member
CASA Board Member, serving the children of Lee, Carroll and Ogle Counties
Thanks for your Help
A big Thank You to all of you who helped us let the wounded Veterans at Walter Reed Army Hospital know that we appreciate what they have done for us and our country. We sent 17 boxes of gifts to them this year. In addition to the actual gifts, we were able to buy $385 worth of clothing at Savanna Pamida from the money that was donated.
A special thank you to the Savanna VFW and THE National Bank (Downtown Mt. Carroll) for letting us place a donation box in their facilities. This made it much easier for people to donate. Also, thanks to Jason Johns for picking up gifts from the donation boxes when I was on vacation.
Once again, thanks to all of our county newspapers: The Prairie Advocate, Mirror Democrat, Savanna Times Journal, CC Review, and WCCI radio for their outstanding publicity of our project. We would not have been able to send so many boxes without your help.
And to all of you who made this a success based on your many donations of clothing, books, bath items, etc., we THANK YOU! Next year we will have a hard time surpassing this year!
John H. McConnel, Sr.
First Baptist Church
Mt. Carroll, IL
‘Yes’ For Eastland
Dear staff, parents, and community of the Eastland school district,
With recent discussion of the upcoming referendum, I wanted to provide the perspective of a recent graduate who completed classes in both the industrial arts and agriculture departments and participated in athletics.
The current ag classroom is not handicapped accessible. There are stairs into both the ag and wood shops and classrooms. Welding booths are right next to the cutting torch and right next to the tractor. Students have been dangerously working on the tractor when not two feet away another student could be cutting metal with the torch. The ag shop has a less than adequate ventilation system for the current welding area. The current woodworking area provides inadequate space and ventilation for students to safely or properly stain, varnish, or finish their wood projects. The current high school gymnasium is not designed for today’s athletic competitions. Existing bleachers are not properly equipped with aisles including handrails. The gym was constructed before the advent of girls’ athletic teams. When athletic seasons overlap, there are as many as four different athletic teams needing practice time on a given day. Scheduling under these conditions is difficult to manage.
New and remodeled facilities will greatly enhance the academic and extracurricular experience for Eastland students.
Eastland Class of 2009
Port District Means Jobs
Carroll County citizens will be voting in February, and one of the issues is yes or no for the Upper Mississippi International Port District. Our area has been struggling for years with our economy and jobs but finally we have potential of obtaining business and jobs for this area due to the Upper Mississippi International Port District.
At this point voting “NO” means we will keep the Port District. It is my understanding that the Port District will not increase our taxes so to me it is a win-win situation. So when you go vote, please think about the potential jobs we are needing and by voting “NO” will mean the port authority stays in Carroll County.
Dear Carroll County Voters,
In the primary election, Tuesday, February 2nd, there is am important non- partisan ballot for Carroll County voters to choose. This ballot termed “Propositions” does not require anyone to declare to be a member of any political party. In fact, a voter can choose to only vote on the proposition ballot.
This proposition reads: Shall Carroll County, Illinois be disconnected from the Upper Mississippi River International Port District? It is my hope that after reading this letter you will vote “yes” and Carroll County will, again, be safe.
Public Act 096-0636 / Senate Bill SB1784 is the name of the bill . I have read and re-read this bill. Here are some of the provisions in the bill.
Section 2: “Port facilities” includes the excavating, widening and deepening of basins, slips, harbors, rivers and navigable waters. Port facilities also means all lands, building, structures, improvements, equipment located on (port) district property. Remember the “Port District” includes ALL of Carroll and Jo Daviess Counties. One area of concern for myself was the people that live in the Riverview area; if the river was widened could it affect their homes?
Section 2: The bill also includes a “Public Incinerator” facility, which may include industrial wastes.
Section 3: There is created a political subdivision, body politic, and municipal corporation by the name of the Upper Mississippi River International Port District (UMRIPD) embracing all the area within the corporate limits of Carroll County and Jo Daviess County. This translates into the UMRIPD is it’s own government, not answerable to anyone else.
Section 11. The (Port) District may acquire real or personal property or any rights therein as is provided for the exercise of the right of eminent domain.
Section 42: Shall the UMRIPD be authorized to levy a tax at a rate not to exceed0.05% of the value of all taxable property within the Port District (Carroll & Jo Daviess Counties) as equalized or assessed by the Department of Revenue for the purpose of financing and maintaining utility and infrastructure costs of the District. This would need to be by referendum.
There are so many undetermined important details in this bill. Where will it be located? Who will supply the infrastructure to support it? How will it affect our wildlife, fishing, and water foul? Is the lock system able to handle the water traffic? Will increased and larger water traffic have a negative impact on the river, its’ shores, fishing grounds, and refuges?
Please join me in voting “yes” to disconnect from the Upper Mississippi River International Port District on February 2nd. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 815/244-9758.
Ronald L Preston
Carroll County Board,
Guest Commentary . . .
Ashamed and Embarrassed
By J.D. Gundlach
I was born and raised in Savanna and love it here. My Father probably taught some of the City Council in High School. My mother probably took care of some of the others as a nurse in Dr. Hussey’s office. However, I have sat back and kept my mouth shut for too long. I was ashamed and embarrassed when I read some of the comments by Mayor Stebbins in the Carroll County Review on 1/13/2010.
How can you expect to receive grant monies when you criticize state and federal politicians out of one side of your mouth and then extend your hand and ask for money out of the other side? The City of Savanna desperately needs grant money for the big projects to which you refer. A lot of the problems we are having aren’t your fault. They should have been finished or at least started long ago. However, since they weren’t, it seems to me that developing a good working relationship with these politicians would better suit your purpose. I truly hope I’m wrong, but could you really blame a state or federal politician for not giving you grant money or at least taking time doing it when you just bit the hand that signs the request?
You mentioned that the hearing on the prison held in Sterling was “the worst politically run meeting I’ve been to.” Have you ever vido-taped any of your council meetings and sat back to review them? Some have been pretty scary!! You further mention “the state needs a plan.” So far about the only plan I’ve seen from you is harassment of local businessmen.
If the spying by the State Police from the back of your store during the David Allan Coe concert, put on by Kevin “Poopy” Promenschenkel, wasn’t harassment, it certainly was close to it. This was done because of the supposed “Criminal Element” Poopy may have hired. How many problems were there? Absolutely none! There are fewer problems at Poopy’s than there are downtown on a typical Friday or Saturday night. Poopy takes care of his own problems. I’m quite comfortable taking my entire family into Poopy’s even if the parking lot is filled with so-called “criminal element.” Maybe if some of those establishments where the problems do occur were closed for a week and they lost money they might start policing their own problems rather than risk being closed again.
Poopy is not allowed to serve alcohol on Christmas Day. According to the city council and a couple of outspoken residents I’m supposed to stay home with my family on Christmas. If my wife works on Christmas and my kids are spread out all over the country, why can’t I go to somewhere like Poopy’s to get out of a lonely house and have a drink? I’m as religious and God-fearing as anyone in this town. My grandfather was a Methodist minister and I don’t need the City Council or a few residents telling me what I should or should not do on Christmas Day. The way Kevin has been treated, I wouldn’t blame him if he refused to put on the Haunted Forest next Halloween. That project has grown every year since its inception. It would be a shame for those who contribute, those who participate and those who enjoy it to lose out because what some people perceive as a personal vendetta.
Kurt Dreger, another property and business owner in Savanna has a great working relationship and friendship with Senator Mike Jacobs. When Kurt requested $70,000 in grant money for a skate park, research had been done and specifications provided. The equipment was designed for a 100 X 50 foot concrete slab already existing on the property donated by the railroad for the exorbitant cost to the City of Savanna of $1.00 per year for the next 25 years. The application also included money for a fence. The equipment was to be shipped and installed free of charge. The Park has to be completed by June 30, 2010 or the grant money will have to be returned.
Kurt didn’t have to hire someone to write his request and he got it with no problem. Of course you already know this, because the City of Savanna had to sign off on it before the grant money could be issued. First, you put up the location “roadblock.” Some argued that the park should be located downtown behind some of the stores instead of on the property donated by the railroad. Would you want your children or grandchildren going to a skate park in the evening (no matter how nice the park) located just a few steps from where at least two (2) homicides occurred, or a block or two down when bars on both sides of the street empty and the patrons begin fighting in the middle of the street? I think not!
Now you’re putting up the concrete slab “roadblock.” Your “engineering study” said that putting a cap on the concrete pad was not a good idea. When was this study done? Why is it not a good idea? The slab located adjacent to Portland Avenue has been covered with snow and there are no footprints leading to it. It’s obvious that you don’t want the skate park. Probably because it was someone else’s idea. Why don’t you just come out and say it! There was no money in the $70,000 grant for an “engineering study”, a term you use a lot. If the park is going to be engineer studied to death, obviously it is going to cost a lot more.
There is nothing in Savanna for the youth to do. Maybe if they had something such as a skate park they would be too busy to be tagging buildings. At least in the original location, there are no stores to tag. This may be a moot point, however, because if no action is forthcoming on the skate park, I’m sure Senator Jacobs will be asking that the grant be returned or transfer it to another town. I’m sure they will have no problem doing something for their kids. If that happens, what are you going to do with the railroad property?
By the way, whatever happened to the grant money that was supposed to be used for boat docks? I see we have a new ramp which we certainly didn’t need. Dominic and Maria’s is one of the best restaurants in the area, but with all of the traffic in the summer, there is never anywhere to park. Why not construct city parking lots behind the Stores on Main Street? At least all of the traffic would have some place to park.
When was the “engineering study” completed for the medical building, purchased for the new city offices? First the City of Savanna bid $75,000 for the building and then paid $125,000. Extra money had to be paid for asbestos abatement. Now another “engineering study” is being done for working on the interior design. Where is all of this “engineering study” money coming from? Being a retired Police Officer, I’m well aware that the Police Department needs more space. However, I’m also well aware of the monies necessary to create an environmentally controlled room in which to store evidence and a reinforced area in which to hold prisoners. Like the skate park, if it looks like the cost may become prohibitive are you going to scrap this project also?
Take a trip south on Route 84 through Albany, IL and some of the towns south or through LeClaire, IA. The city officials in these towns had a plan. These towns are beautiful and they have and will continue to attract growth. Some locations in Savanna are just as bad if not worse than they were 50-60 years ago when I was growing up. Obviously the economy is a good part of the reason there has been little change in the housing market. Another contributing factor just might be that no one wants to move here or build here because Savanna has little to offer. I always believed that elections were held to put individuals in office that would work for the voters that put them there, not march to the beat of their own drums. However, we will have nice new City Offices. Maybe this will attract new residents and developers.
Being conservative is one thing, doing nothing is an entirely different story. Now is the time to stop complaining in the restaurants, bars and grocery stores and step up to the plate. Direct your comments/criticism to these people who can do something about it, if they just will.
By Jim Sacia, State Representative 89th District
As I begin my eighth year as your State Representative, I find myself being somewhat reflective. I’ve had some successes and I’ve had some failures. All in all, the privilege of serving you still rates at least a 26 on a scale of 1 to 10.
With our state facing the worst financial crisis in its history, each and every one of the 177 members of the General Assembly must give that issue our undivided attention. That being said, I’m compelled to comment on two very polarizing issues that have created anger from people whom I believe, but for these issues, would be very different folks.
The first issue is horse slaughter. The very term makes some folks actually shudder. For the past three years, horse slaughter has been banned in the U.S. following the closing of the Cavel Plant in DeKalb, Illinois, the last facility in the country that processed horses. Those who would have you believe that humane termination of horses in this country is not acceptable have created a monster. Just as many unwanted American horses are still being slaughtered after the closing of Cavel, but now, nearly 100,000 each year are shipped to Mexico for slaughter. The horses are packed in trailers and forced to travel over forty hours to the border. Once in Mexico, it’s another eleven hours to the slaughter plant. Is that humane?
When the ban was being debated in a House committee last year, I asked the lobbyist for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), “How can you allow this?” She responded “We believe in responsible horse ownership.” Hello! How can that possibly be an answer?
I have spent my life raising, showing and loving horses. Nine horses still have a very good life on the Pecatonica farm Jenny and I call home. Don’t even try to defend shipping horses to Mexico to me. Horses, like every other living thing, at some point, face an end of life issue. My horses will never go to slaughter, but it needs to be an option for others. It’s time to bring it back in America. And yes, I have reintroduced the legislation.
The second polarizing issue is the proposed Bos Dairy. A.J. Bos plans to bring 5,000 milk cows to the dairy county known as Jo Daviess. Did you know that Jo Daviess has lost more than 11,000 milk cows in the past twenty years?
After listening to what some of the anti-dairy folks have been saying, I now believe I have a better understanding of how McCarthyism took off in the 1950’s and witchcraft consumed people centuries ago. Misinformation and half-truths repeated often enough to enough people are eventually accepted by some as fact. The truth is that A.J. Bos and his family are as fine a people as I’ve had the privilege to meet. They know how to build a state of the art, environmentally sound facility and they have been doing just that. There is little doubt this will be a class operation in Northwest Illinois.
I have traveled the nation and visited ten state-of-the-art large dairies built in the past ten years. Every one is a show place, and is environmentally sound. Yes, the Bos Dairy will be as well.
As always, you can reach me, Sally or Barb at 815/232-0774 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit my website at www.jimsacia.com. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.