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  • Utility tax I.JPG
    Utility tax back on Machesney Park agenda Monday night
    May 14, 2015
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - The 5 percent utility tax the village board imposed on homeowners in 2012 will get more discussion Monday night (May 18).
    Mayor Jerry Bolin will present a resolution during the village board meeting, which starts at 6 p.m., to put a referendum on the ballot as part of the March 15, 2016, primary election ballot.
    Voters will be asked if they want the tax to continue, increasing how much of the tax is used for road improvements from the current 55 percent to 100 percent.
    Right now the tax is set to sunset Dec. 31, 2019.
    But to get it on to the ballot the board will have to adopt the resolution.
    Last year, Bolin kept his election promise to revisit the tax.
    On Feb. 18, 2014, he called for a motion to have a referendum on continuing the tax placed on that year's election ballot. Trustee James Kidd made such a motion but it died for lack of a second.
    Those refusing to provide the needed second were trustees Robbin Snodgrass, Kate Tammen, Aaron Wilson, Tom Yoe and Erick Beck.
    And if February 2014 is any indication of how the board feels, there won't be any referendum this time around, either.
    This is a new day, however, what with two new trustees having been elected to the board. Terri Bailey and Steve Johnson took the oath of office May 4, after winning the District 2 and 5 seats in the April 7 election.
    Beck was re-elected in District 6, and he was one of four board members who voted in favor of the tax on Jan. 22, 2012. It was effective March 1.
    Bolin votes no
    Mayor Bolin was a trustee when the village board voted 4-3 to approve the utility tax.
    He voted no, he said during the May 4 meeting, for two reasons:
    1. He thought the people did not receive a sufficient explanation for the reason the tax was needed.
    2. He thought the tax should have been presented to residents in the form of an advisory referendum before going to the board for a vote.
    Beck is the only remaining trustee from that board and he voted in favor of the tax.
    Bolin took office as mayor on May 6, 2013. During his first eight months in office the utility tax was addressed to residents in three ways:
    1. The village newsletter and village website.
    2. Through the news media, with the Post Journal printing several articles that detailed improvements accomplished with utility tax revenue.
    3. He asked residents to contact their trustees and voice their thoughts or concerns.
    In that way, he said he felt residents had been well informed as to all aspects of the tax.
    Tax a necessity
    Today, Mayor Bolin said, "I believe the utility tax is a necessity to keep the village roads and infrastructure improvements moving at a pace to eventually overcome the prior years of insufficient maintenance," he said.
    "You can't overcome a deficit without a plan in which the deficit is erased by the plan. I believe the utility tax meets that requirement."
    He said he also believed residents should have a voice in any decisions on the fate of the tax.
    With two new board members in place, he said, "For the second time, I will address the utility tax to the board."
    In a follow-up interview, Trustee Kidd said he probably would make the motion to have the tax put to referendum.
    He said he thought the mayor's revisiting the tax May 4 should have been on the agenda, with a separate heading, not just brought up under administrative reports. "I think Jerry did a good job of revisiting the tax, but he wasn't transparent about it," Kidd said.
    In addition, he said the tax brings in about $1 million a year for the village. "Does this free up money for something else, like buying the J.C. Penney building?
    And in an unrelated matter, he renewed his call for a special election to fill the remaining two years in the village treasurer's term.
    Steve Johnson, who served as treasurer for 10 years, was forced to resign after being elected to the village board on April 7. Mayor Bolin appointed outgoing Trustee Tom Yoe, who chose not to seek re-election, and the board confirmed his choice May 4 in a 7-0 vote.

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    Two more seek 'bar boutique' licenses in Machesney Park
    May 14, 2015
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - The owners of two more establishments in the village are seeking "bar boutique" (BB) liquor licenses so they can open up video gaming operations.
    Lucky Slots is proposed for 8289 Burden Road, while Skyline Slots would be located at 7507 N. Second St.
    The village's liquor commission recommended approval of both requests in separate 3-1 votes, with Commissioner Robbin Snodgrass dissenting both times.
    In a related matter, the commission in another 3-1 vote recommended increasing the number of BB licenses allowed in the village from three to five. Snodgrass also voted no on that issue.
    Commission action came at its May 4 meeting. The village board is expected to consider all three recommendations at Monday night's meeting.
    Lucky Slots would occupy 1,200 square feet of space. Beer, wine and soda, along with limited mixed drinks, would be sold. No food would be available.
    Hours are proposed for 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
    The establishment's target audience is "people interested in playing video slots," according to the application. Owners anticipate low sales of alcoholic beverages.
    In a memorandum to the commission and village board Antonino Bilardello, president of Nino's Investments, explained why it didn't want two bathrooms, as required by ordinance.
    "The business that we are to open will have at most five video gaming terminals and a small bar that will seat 3-4 patrons," he wrote. "The maximum number of patrons allowed on the premises is not to exceed four times the number of gaming terminals. That would be a maximum of 20 patrons allowed ... at one time."
    He continued that from what they have seen while visiting other establishments, the average customer only stays 10-15 minutes. The average number of patrons at establishments they visited was about 10, he stated.
    After Commissioner Erick Beck questioned the request for one bathroom, fellow Commissioner Ike Trickie said, "A lot of it has to do with square footage. I will support this request for that reason."
    But Beck said when there was room for two bathrooms, it should be done. "This could be a precedent-setting decision," he said of allowing just one bathroom for both men and women.
    Planning and Zoning Coordinator Carrie Houston said the Alcoholic Beverage chapter of the Village Code states all premises with a liquor license should be supplied with separate and sufficient toilet arrangements for each sex.
    If the village chooses to allow the request, the regulation for two bathrooms could be waived as part of granting the BB liquor license.
    "Typically, the county building official only requires a second bathroom if occupancy exceeds 20 people," she said. "No more than 20 people are allowed on premises, according to the regulations of a BB license."
    Commissioner Snodgrass said she opposed the Lucky Slots request because such a facility with liquor and no food should not be allowed in that area.
    Lucky Slots is in village District 1, which she represents, and is close to a retirement community. "I believe residents would be very much against it," she said.
    In addition, Beck said he wanted to be sure there weren't any flashing lights, with "Slots Here" inscribed on the accompanying sign.
    Far less discussion accompanied the second request, from Skyline Slots on North Second Street. It would occupy 1,250 square feet of space and be open from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday. It would open at 11 a.m. on Sunday and some holidays.
    Beck raised the same question about signage.
    "We wouldn't be over the top or outlandish," applicant Kenneth Tyson answered. "We have no elaborate plans for signage."
    Village staff recommended approval of both requests.
    A BB license in Machesney Park is for 'bar boutique' gaming and allows video gaming terminals in a small, casual space "that has more of a lounge atmosphere, rather than a bar or nightclub."

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    Harlem-Roscoe battles blaze in Machesney Park
    May 7, 2015
    MACHESNEY PARK – Harlem-Roscoe Firefighters were dispatched to Product Road in Machesney Park for reports of a commercial building on fire with explosions on April 25.
    Fire Chief Don Shoevlin praised his personnel.
    "Excellent job on this afternoon’s fire,” he said.”From the dispatch, to the truck placement, to the initial attack, to the photographers, chaplains, two probies first fire, and let’s not forget our mutual aid companies.
    “Quick actions of our coordinated attack and MABAS request turned what could have been a much larger incident into a manageable one.
    “The results could have been much worse considering the fuel load of flammables that were in the units involved with fire. It was a six-unit building with fire involved or affecting three units and you didn't let it go any further.
    “We must not forget our change of quarter companies as they responded to two calls for us as we fought this fire. The results show how hard all of you worked.
    “Thank you for making HRFD who we are. A MABAS Box to the 2nd Alarm was dispatched bringing in help on scene and manning stations by surrounding departments. Thank you to all mutual aid departments that responded!

  • YAH button contest II.jpg
    Admission button for Young at Heart Festival is unveiled
    April 30, 2015
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - As has been the custom for the past 43 years, officials representing the Young at Heart Festival have gathered to unveil the admission button for the annual, Memorial Day celebration.
    That was done on April 20, a very un-springlike day, in the lobby at Harlem High School. And this year's winning artist is Stephen Cain, a junior at the school, who said his design embodied the most important features of the festival: the fireworks, rides and music.
    His design was selected from a field of 50 entries, students of high school art teacher Barb Kurilla. She is in her 13th year of working with festival officials on providing proposed designs.
    In all, Harlem students have provided the button design for the past 15 years.
    "They enjoy doing it," she said of her students. They look forward to it, too, not to mention having an opportunity to win the $100 cash prize.
    Presiding over the unveiling ceremony were Diana Johnson, executive director of the sponsoring Parks Chamber of Commerce, and the chamber president, Tammy Scott.
    This year's winner was chosen by members of the chamber's board of directors. "The board members love to select the winner," Johnson said. And, as is usually the case, "there was a heated debate among them" as they narrowed the list of entres to four finalists.
    The 44th button will join 43 others in a display at the chamber office, adjacent to Loves Park City Hall.
    Trickie Enterprises was announced as the festival's platinum sponsor for the seventh consecutive year.
    Among the dignitaries invited to attend was Machesney Park Mayor Jerry Bolin. "These youngsters do a great job," he said. "They all deserve to win but there can only be one winner."
    Loves Park City Clerk Bob Burden also was there, along with Heather Kelley, president of the Harlem School District 122 Board of Education and the high school principal, Terrell Yarbrough.
    Stephen said he comes from an artistic family and has been taking related classes during his two-plus years at the high school. "I found I had a passion for art in my elementary school years," he recalled.
    While he has time to decide on life after high school graduation, he said he plans to attend Rock Valley College for two years and then transfer to Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. He plans to focus on landscape architecture and is taking classes at the high school to prepare for that.
    Stephen's grandmother, Barbara Sams, was at the unveiling and said how proud she was of him. "It (art) has been an interest of his for quite a while," she said.
    She said Stephen's uncle is a poet while his grandfather works in the photography department at Ithaca College in New York.
    This year's festival will be held May 22-25, concluding with a fireworks display. Opening day ceremonies will hosted by longtime Loves Park Mayor Darryl Lindberg, along with the 2014 Young at Heart queen and her court and a variety of state and local officials. The colors will be presented by a unit consisting of Loves Park police officers and firefighters.
    The pageant will be held May 9, in the auditorium at city hall, with a fishing tournament on May 16.

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    Habitat for Humanity poised to build 109th home in county
    April 16, 2015
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Habitat for Humanity is an international organization that formed in the 1970s in Americus, Ga. It evolved from a group that decided poverty housing was an issue.
    More than 300,000 homes have been built in that time, with 108 of them in the Parks area. The local Habitat for Humanity organization was formed in 1988 and in 2015 plans to build its 109th home, this one at 57 Wilshire Blvd. in Machesney Park.
    Ninety-three of those homes were built in southeast Rockford.
    "It's a home-buyer program," executive director Keri Nelson said Monday morning, April 6. "We don't just give homes to people."
    She was at the monthly breakfast meeting of the Harlemites, graduates of Harlem High School who have been gathering the first Monday of every month since 1974.
    While explaining how the program works, she said participants pay a mortgage and put at least 300 hours of sweat equity into construction of the residence. "That's the downpayment," she said of the work they do.
    It's a learning process for some of the families as they pay back their mortgage over a period of time and participate in the closing, so they become familiar with how that works.
    "Ninety-nine are paying mortgages right now," she said. "We use that money to build the next home. So it is a self-sustaining program."
    A typical mortgage is $500 a month, compared with apartment rents that can run $650-$750 per month, she said.
    Qualifying criteria
    Candidates go through a screening process. "We pull a credit report, and they have to be in good standing," Nelson explained. A family selection committee will visit the candidates in their homes, to see if they in fact need a safe place to live.
    "I was blown away by some of the conditions I saw last year," she said. Those were her first visits and during that time she heard gunshots ringing out in some neighborhoods.
    "One mother said her son knew how to duck," she recalled.
    "This is a support system for these folks," she said of the Habitat organization. "It gives them a stable environment to live in; it provides safe, decent housing."
    Harlem High School students built an entire house last year and this time around will be joining others from the community in serving as volunteers.
    "It's really a great experience for our students and volunteers," Nelson said.
    She was a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity for 18 years, starting as a college student. "I never had to worry about where I was going to lay my head at night," she said. "But there are millions who do. I feel called to this ministry. It's Christ's work in action."
    Each Habitat house has three bedrooms and one bath, along with a one-car garage. Workers expect to frame the home in May 2 and be finished by Labor Day weekend.

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    Machesney Park's new budget touches many lives
    April 9, 2015
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - It has been said that most people around here are happy if their garbage is picked up on time and snow is cleared from their streets in a timely manner.
    The village is responsible for plowing residential streets with a private vendor collecting the garbage. But the village's annual budget, this year surpassing the $8-million mark because of additional street improvements, touches most every life among the 25,500 who call this place home.
    Snow removal is important, especially for those who work and want to get out of their subdivisions to main roads, which typically get more immediate attention.
    But the interior roads themselves sometimes can resemble a minefield, with chuck holes of all sizes and shapes. That's where the village's Build Machesney comes in.
    That road improvements program started in 2008 and resulted in about 36 miles of roadway being rebuilt or resurfaced. Voters in 2012 approved extending the penny sales tax increase until 2019, with many more miles of roads scheduled to be improved in that time.
    The program itself has been accelerated through a $3.5-million loan, in an effort to get a lot of work done ahead of expected cost increases now that the economy is improving. That loan also is the reason why the 2015-16 budget has jumped well over the usual $4-million range.
    Public Works Superintendent Chad Hunter has budgeted $500,000 for snow removal during the winter of 2015-16. "That covers an average year, with 17 snow events," he said.
    Some 3,000 tons of salt will be ordered, the same as this year.
    Nuisance animals
    There are many, lesser expenses in the budget that affect the quality of life in the village.
    What about animal control? Residents expect response when they call about animals running amok in their yards or neighborhoods.
    Machesney Park contracts with Winnebago County for that service and Mayor Jerry Bolin said there could be a 10 percent increase in that cost this year. The village is budgeting for a 5 percent increase.
    While most are fortunate enough to have one or more vehicles to get them to and from work and other destinations, some must rely on public transportation.
    The village thinks of them by allocating $176,400 to continue fixed route and paratransit service for another year.
    The public works budget has $52,000 for new traffic signals; $47,000 for mowing rights-of-way, partly to maintain visibility for those driving around town; $24,200 for three mosquito sprayings, which allow residents to enjoy their back yards during the summer months; and $25,000 for the removal of diseased ash trees and others considered to be hazardous to people.
    Many residents use Dennis Johnson Park, off Delta Drive, whose ownership is shared by the village and Harlem Township. The village is responsible for the popular path and this year has set aside $15,000 for maintenance, including $5,000 for new path lighting.
    This is the final year of the Illinois 173 widening project, with work moving east to just shy of the entrance to Rock Cut State Park. But orange barrels will continue to be in evidence west of Forest Hills Road, impacting businesses - and shoppers - along that part of the corridor.
    The village's community development budget has $15,000 for Shop Machesney promotions to help businesses as well as local and regional shoppers.
    Machesney Park Village Board members are due to approve the 2015-16 budget, on second reading, at their April 20 meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. The new spending plan goes into effect May 1.

  • City Council.jpg
    New police officer welcomed at Loves Park
    April 2, 2015
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – After approval by aldermen at the March 23 Loves Park City Council meeting, Mayor Darryl Lindberg swore in the newest addition to the city’s police department.
    Jerry Pyfer is a 2006 graduate of Harlem High School and replaces a position left vacant in 2009 at the retirement of Officer Randy Jones. Pyfer’s employment was effective March 24 and the new officer was set to travel downstate for three months of police training starting March 29.
    A resolution was passed authorizing construction engineering services not to exceed $299,120 for the Alpine Road reconstruction project between E. Riverside Blvd. and Rivington Road.
    A resolution was also okayed authorizing engineering services for the 2015 citywide street improvement program at cost not to exceed $36,400. Alderman Julie Hobel voted no on both resolution citing the fact that neither went out for bids.
    Mayor Lindberg noted that “We don’t get bids on professional services.” Attorney Gino Galluzzo stated that the city has a relationship with the companies involved “and bids are not needed.”
    An ordinance, second reading, providing for a Class E (packaged beer and wine) liquor license for Choices Natural Market in the 6700 block of Broadcast Parkway, was passed.
    Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of March 15-21. A total of 519 calls for service, 221 arrests, and 11 accidents were reported. On the weekly fire department report dated March 22, one fire call, one false fire alarm call, one carbon monoxide or gas leak call, and one assist police call were reported.
    Alderman John Pruitt gave the monthly building report for February. He noted that 45 building permits had been issued and $5,268 in permit fees collected.
    City Clerk Bob Burden reported that Motor Fuel Tax funds received from the Illinois Department of Transportation for the month of February amounted to $43,109.03.
    Water fund bills totaling $172,644.43, and general fund and all other bills coming to $131,925.83, as presented on March 16, were approved for payment.
    Mayor Darryl Lindberg announced that the council will hold a “Committee of the Whole” meeting March 30 for a police department presentation on changes to the city’s administrative towing ordinance.

  • Walking path.jpg
    Alpine Road service drive to benefit from path project
    March 26, 2015
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Service drives usually are in commercial or industrial areas. Their purpose is to make it easier for customers and clients to get to a particular building.
    Not so with the Alpine Road service drive. There only are houses along this short stretch of road, on the west side of Alpine. And those homeowners between Nelson Road and Juniper Lane will benefit from the multi-use path project that's expected to be done this summer.
    Village officials previously pledged to use utility tax funds to improve that portion of the service drive between Nelson and Roosevelt. But when they were successful in landing a $620,000 transportation alternative program (TAP) grant, a study determined the village could afford to rebuild the rest of the drive, south to Juniper near Schnuck’s grocery.
    That work will be at the same time as the multi-use path is being construction along the west side of Alpine Road from Lowe's to Juniper. 
    Planning staff recommended that the service drive be constructed at 25 feet wide, instead of the usual 30 feet. No-parking signs would be posted on one side of that drive.
    "Doing to should create a larger area in which to construct the path improvements and, ideally, we would be able to locate the path a bit further from Alpine Road, to provide separation of the Alpine Road traffic from the path," Village Engineer Chris Dopkins said.
    "Additionally, the project would realize a savings of approximately $15,000 without greatly affecting the road's ability to function," he said.
    Plans are in the final stages of completion, with a public bid letting scheduled to occur by April 8. The construction contract is expected to be awarded at the May 4 village board meeting.
    Officials believe construction will begin in mid-May and essentially be completed by the end of July, in advance of the start of the 2015-16 school year.
    Overall, this is an $840,000 project with the village required to provide a $220,000 match. Once completed, the path will connect the Rock River on the west with Rock Cut State Park on the east.
    "The project has been a high priority for the village," Mayor Jerry D. Bolin said. "This project also makes regional connection to the Illinois 173 corridor and completes a high-priority, missing link in the path network."
    Officials originally planned to have the path constructed from the entrance to Harlem High School south to Roosevelt Road. But when the TAP grant was obtained, it became possible to build it from Lowe's to Schnuck’s.
    The village and Harlem School District 122 have worked together on the project because some of the work will be done on district property.
    A goal of the TAP is to allocate resources to well planned projects that provide and support alternate modes of transportation, enhance the transportation system through preservation of visual and cultural resources, and improve the quality of life for members of the communities.
    In this case, safety of high school students will be enhanced because a small number of them no longer will have to walk along the shoulder of Alpine Road in order to get home after classes.

  • Harlem School Board_edited.jpg
    Harlem Superintendent Morris earns racial justice award
    March 19, 2015
    By Bob Trott
    MACHESNEY PARK – Superintendent Dr. Julie Morris, described as quiet, and having integrity and a laser-like focus on the whole child, was recognized at the regular Harlem School Board meeting Monday, March 9, for receiving a Racial Justic Award at a March 3 YWCA Leader Luncheon.
    Morris said later in the week that her efforts in that area were the result of mediation with a Concerned Minority Parents Group in 2008. Morris started as superintendent for the Harlem School District in October, 2007.
    The Harlem website said the award was a huge surprise for Morris, and was designed as a celebration for women in achievement. It added she did not even know she had been nominated in the racial justice category until she attended the event.
    This award recognizes those who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to promoting racial justice and are working toward the elimination of racism.  The racial justice honoree must demonstrate a commitment to racial equity and advocacy of fundamental rights of all races. Morris received the award for her ongoing work toward racial equity in the Harlem School District.
    Over the past four years. Morris has facilitated courageous conversations around racial equity while training with district administrators and the Pacific Education Group (PEG).  Her vision embraces the district mission of supporting all diverse learners in order for each to realize their unlimited potential, the website adds.
    Stakeholder engagement
    Director of Stakeholder Engagement Cathy Martin told the school board that, in 2010, Morris began to lay the foundation for systemic racial equity work. "She (Morris) understood that the journey would be long and arduous, and that it would take courage and perserverence," Martin said.
    Martin, who is retiring after this school year, said Morris' efforts in the racial justice area were based on The Way of the Warrior, as defined by spiritualist Angeles Arrien, and delineates four universal principles based on Shamanic Archetypes.
    The principles are:
    * The Way of the Leader, which is how a person shows up, or is present. In this case, it depicts Morris' calm demeanor and clear communication, which was evident early in her tenure as superintendent. Martin said Morris consistently addressed their concerns with racial, socioeconomic and cultural understanding;
    * The Way of the Healer, which involves paying attention to what has heart and meaning. This is perhaps the most-difficult part of Dr. Morris' personal journey, Martin said.
    "She has always had heart and meaning, but was reluctant to allow that piece of herself to be visible," the stakeholder engagement director said about the superintendent. What helped Morris there was a 2007 PEG training event called, Beyond Diversity.
    * The third principle, The Way of the Visionary, focuses on telling the truth wihout blame or judgment. The Way of the Visionary is expressed through personal creativity, goals, plans and ability to bring dreams and visions into the world.
    Martin reported, "Nothing illustrates Dr. Morris' Way of the Visionary better than her creation of the Stakeholder Engagement Department, whose sole purpose is to engage, in meaningful ways, internal and external stakeholders.
    * Described as perhaps one of the hardest principles to embrace is the last one, The Way of the Teacher. It is open to, not attached to, outcome. Dr. Morris emulates this Way through her commitment to process in all we do, for she understands that the process is often more important than the outcome, Martin said in her report.
    "Dr. Morris may not see the completion in her tenure in the Harlem School DIstrict, but she acknowledges that the work will go on, Martin concluded.
    "A long-range vision is in place to bring our schools' personnel, students and community to the Way of the Warrior and Courageous Conversations around race that will impact future generations, school and community climate and culture, and ultimately the academic integrity that all students deserve to enjoy."
    Boys' bowling
    Athletic Director Kurt Weigt reported the Harlem varsity bowling team was the NIC-10 champion and finished no lower than second in any tournament in the recently-concluded season. Throwing perfect 300 games at state competition was Sophomore Jacob Nimtz. The team placed second at state, and Nimtz was state individual and NIC-10 Conference champion. Nimtz' perfect games came on the final day of competition, Saturday, Jan. 31, at St. Clair Bowl in O'Fallon. Nimtz tallied 3,011, breaking the old record of 2,963 by Salem’s Alex Henseler in 2008.
    Nimtz' two perfect games led to his final pinfall (744-745-805-717). He also won the Lincolnshire Sectional individual title.
    Joey Heathscott, the Huskies’ lone senior, was 44th at state with 2,474. Other Harlem scores were: Collin Day, 56th, 2,386; Dawson Jones 2,325; Austin Bull 1,755; Kyler Gerl 381; Nick Howard 164 and Cole Damon 145.
    At the March 9 board meeting, members of the team shook hands with school board members and other Harlem officials. Team member Gerl was not able to attend.
    Human Resources
    The board met in a lengthy closed session, and then approved changes to the Human Resources Department.
    Superintendent Morris said after a previous school board meeting the changes will restore the department to its pre-2007 state. She said the changes made at that time had a lot to do with finances.
    Her statement to the board this year said that, to provide necessary support to the human resources department regarding new state and federal laws, and to bring the entire function of certified and support staff evaluation and discipline back, she recommended Harlem reinstate the assistant superintendent for human resources position.
    With the assistant superintendent in place, the director of human resources position will be eliminated and replaced with the human resources coordinator position. Morris also recommended changes in the area of payroll and professional development.
    Job description changes
    There are currently many overlaps in the duties of the director of curriculum and director of
    accountability and school improvement, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Barb Oles reported in a written statement. To make support from the district more efficient and responsive, the Harlem administration recommended job title and job description changes.
    Instead of having a director of curriculum and director of accountability and school improvement, administrators recommended having a director of elementary education and a director of secondary education, Oles' report said.
    Other business
    * Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Josh Aurand reported a federal reimbursement program will allow the district to save most wireless technology and Wide-Area Network (WAN) costs. The program is called E-Rate.  Aurand reported total recent expenses to the district totaled $3,122,202.50, including payroll expenses of $2,699,566.65.
    * Superintendent Morris reported the following recent personnel moves for the district: nine employments, four resignations, six sick leave requests, zero transfers within the district with an addendum of two transfers and five leaves-of-absence.
    * Upcoming meetings, involving school board members, are: policy committee, Monday, March 16; superintendent evaluation workshop (open session), Wednesday, March 18, in place of a quarterly board meeting; education committee, Thursday, March 26; regular board, Monday, March 30; business services committee, Wednesday, April 15; and discipline policy review committee, Thursday, April 29, each at 6 p.m.

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    Officials provide snapshot inside Harlem School District 122
    March 19, 2015
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Harlem School District 122 is all about helping educate boys and girls so they're well rounded and ready to be successful, productive adults.
    To accomplish that end, there's plenty going on behind the scenes.
    Members of the Harlemites, graduates of Harlem High School, were given some insight into that process March 2, during their monthly breakfast meeting at VFW Post 9759.
    The tour was conducted by Heather Kelley, president of the District 122 board of education, and Julie Morris, superintendent of schools.
    Kelley touched on the board itself, which is entrusted with making sure the district meets its multi-faceted goals while running as smoothly as possible. The board consists of seven members, with diverse backgrounds including a social worker, paralegal, manager of a transportation company and an engineer.
    All are designated as "master board members," she said, and they were recognized by the state in 2011-12-13-14 for "outstanding board governance." Only nine other boards statewide have accomplished that.
    The board has a vision and goals; it is guided by a long-range plan, she continued. They have a means of monitoring student programs, to be certain they're effective and meeting those goals.
    There is a code of conduct for board members.
    Kelley said the board is responsible for being sure buildings that house students, faculty and other employees are safe and operated efficiently.
    Safety always has been a priority but it has emerged as a primary focal point because of the horrific incidents that have occurred nationally since the shootings at Columbine in 1999.
    Parker Center and Olson Park Elementary School saw their entrances made more secure last year and more such steps will be taken this summer, at other buildings.
    There was an addition at Parker Center, the district opened the freshman campus off Elm Avenue and the community came together last year on a $700,000 project that saw artificial turf installed at the football stadium.
    "We developed a facilities plan five years ago," the board president said. "We looked at all buildings and parking lots. There are several improvements projects going on at any particular time."
    District 122 has encountered financial challenges, she said, because of the Great Recession that began in 2008. "We are turning the ship around," she said. "The (new) governor is committed to more dollars for education. We're hoping he holds true to that."
    Community connection
    Morris was appointed superintendent in 2007 and she talked about the importance of the school district connecting with the community.
    She recognized Cathy Martin, who organized the stakeholder engagement department. Morris noted that while many say that's important, they often think, "Well, we'll get to that."
    District 122 has done more than think about it and as a result, most schools now have several partners from the community and they work together to enhance the learning environment.
    While Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he supports additional funding for education, Morris said, yet educators "have be sure legislators do not lose the topic of educational funding."
    She said the state "has not done a good job" of filling in the difference between what the district is able to raise locally and what is needed to educate students. What the state has done, she said, is to reduce funding support and to cut grants.
    "(State) funding is not equitable or sufficient," she said. While she believed there were would be an increase in educational dollars, she also believed that would come at the expense of various services.
    "We are not going to let Senate Bill 16 drop," she said.
    That measure, which failed last year, would provide more equity in funding between suburban school districts and those such as Harlem 122.
    "Suburban schools have a larger funding base than we do and have more money than they need," Kelley said.

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    North Park Fire Dept. wants to add ambulance service
    March 19, 2015
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - The North Park Fire Protection District wants to begin providing ambulance to the estimated 15,000 prople it serves.
    Voters will be asked April 7 to approve a property tax increase of up to .40 to allow the department to purchase two ambulances and contract for paramedics and emergency medical technicians.
    That would cost someone with a house valued at $88,000 an additional $100 each year.
    North Park serves the south side of Machesney Park. Its boundaries are Minns Drive on the north, Highcrest Road to the south, the Rock River to the west and the Boone County line on the east.
    Here are a couple of the primary reasons for wanting to provide its own ambulance service:
    1. The department has first responders who  go to the scene of an emergency. But they are limited in what kind of medical care they can provide to a victim or victims.
    Having an ambulance with trained paramedics and emergency medical techniciams (EMTs) would enhance that level of care.
    2. Response time to an emergency is expected to improve.
    Fire Chief Joel Hallstrom explained that when someone calls 911 a private ambulance service is dispatched.  The ambulance is supposed to reach the scene of the emergency in eight minutes or less, 80 percent of the time.
    Eighty percent of the department's 1,500 calls a year are medical emergencies. Of the 255 calls when an ambulance was dispatched, 17 did not meet the eight-minute benchmark, said Assistant Chief Keith McDonald.
    Chief Hallstrom said it likely would be best to contract for paramedics and EMTs, who would be on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The department currently has quarters for the crews to occupy during their shifts.
    "The only capital costs would be the ambulances and equipment," he said. A new ambulance will run $185,000, with an additional $90,000 needed for equipment.
    If the referendum is approved, he said it would be about one year before tax revenue would be available. It would be up to the fire protection district's board of trustees to decide how much of the .40 tax would be levied in the first year. It could be less, but not more.
    Hallstrom said ambulance service would cost the department $650,000-$700,000 a year.
    Friends of North Park Fire, a political committee formed to promote the April 7 referendum, will be contacting voters in the coming weeks, encouraging them to keep their families in mind when they go to the polls.
    Members of the fire department may provide information about the referendum, but they are not allowed to voice an opinion on it. 
    The Friends organization held a fund-raiser Saturday afternoon at Rascal's Bar and Grill on Torque Road in Loves Park. Proceeds will be used to help educate the public on the issue and advocate a "yes" vote.

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    Village Clerks seek out young voters at Harlem High
    March 12, 2015
    By Melanie Bradley

    MACHESNEY PARK – Loves Park Village Clerk Bob Burden and Machesney Park Village Clerk Lori Mitchell teamed up to get Harlem High School students who will be 18 before the April election registered to vote last Friday.
    The duo set up a registration table in the Harlem cafeteria during lunch hours.
    "Getting people to vote is our mission," Mitchell said. "It's what we do.
    "It's always our goal to encourage residents to vote!  It is especially exciting to register new voters and encourage them to do their part in local government!
    "They can start doing their part by voting in the upcoming Consolidated Election on April 7."
    She said they were pleased with the response at Harlem.
    "We usually get about 15, but we've already had 11 in the first lunch hour."
    Both said the students were very enthusiastic about being able to vote for the first time.
    Harlem senior Monica Gross was among the teens who got registered.
    "I think it's important because it's our civic duty," she said. "It helps the government, locally and nationwide.
    "It's important to know about the candidates and not to just vote. You should voice your opinion about who should be running our government."

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    2015 Polar Plunge sets record raising over $117,000 for Special Olympics
    March 12, 2015
    By Marianne Mueller

    LOVES PARK - With warmer weather overhead layers of ice and snow were removed from Olson Lake revealing frigid waters. A total of 518 people were “Freezing for a reason at the 2015 Polar Plunge on Saturday, March 7.
    A beautiful opening ceremony featured Lisa Hodges of the Rockford Park District. Her voice carried over the entire grounds of Olson Lake as she sang the National Anthem.
    This year marked the tenth Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge in the Rockford area; setting records both in participation and in donations.
    Many plungers opted to create or to wear fun, or original style costumes. An eye-catching dragon entered the way via a team. Another cool looking unit cam in the form of a Polar Bear. Some dressed as Power Rangers, or ballet dancers. The Incredible Hulk was easily spotted through detailed make up. Others plunged in somebody’s name or had a catchy name for their team. Among plungers was the Rockton Fire Department.
    Debbie Kelly served as event organizer.
    Inside a warm tent friends gathered, relaxed or threw beach balls around at an after plunge party. Participants enjoyed refreshments and hot dogs courtesy of Kiwanis Club members.
    Special Olympiad Barry Tillema sent a positive message of what Special Olympics means. Every year he leads in stating the pledge, “If I cannot win, please let me be brave in the attempt."
    Top teams were recognized as Rockford Sam’s Club, Tutu’s for Taylor, Team Iddy Biddy Pool School and the Rockford Coppers. The top donors were Dave and Brook Klawitter.
    Forty-four teams plus individual plungers bravely took the challenge, all in the name of helping thousands of people who face challenges daily become champions!
    The first Special Olympics games began via Eunice Kennedy Shriver on July 19-20 at Soldier Field in Chicago. That was in 1968. Since then programs have witnessed great expansion. Over the years thousands of children or adults with intellectual disabilities have been helped through these efforts.  Caring, warm hearted teams and individuals came together rising over $117, 019 to keep Special Olympics programs and games going!

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    Third 'Know Your Neighbor' event brings large crowd to Harlem
    March 12, 2015
    By Bob Balgemann

    MACHESNEY PARK - A large crowd turned out Saturday at Harlem High School for a snapshot of the community in which they live.
    Booths were set up in hallways and in the vacated Commons, where students usually eat lunch every weekday. That space was occupied by businesses and organizations, each with a story to tell.
    Other booths displayed student projects, which told a story of their own.
    All of that was staged for the third year by Harlem School District 122. Those who put it together were pleased with attendance, even though it was relatively nice outside and people could have been doing something else.
    Students at Rock Cut Elementary School used cans adorned with their original artwork to tell stories of their lives. Stacks of cans were fashioned in the shape of totem poles, an age-old form of communication. Behind them were quotes written on pieces of paper that related student memories of their school.
    At the end of the day the cans, containing fruits and vegetables, were taken to the Northern Illinois Food Bank for distribution to families in need.
    Kelly Duncan, Rock Cut's ESOL - bilingual teacher, came up with the idea.
    "The whole school came together in a sense of community to do it," she said of the project. "We've had a different theme every year."
    Other student handiwork came from Loves Park, Maple, Marquette, Olson Park, Ralston and Windsor elementary schools, and the Parker Center. Harlem Middle School had a project as did the freshman campus and high school.
    Performances were staged by Puppets with a Purpose, Machesney Fine Arts, Luke Mohns, Ski Broncs, Rock Cut and Ralston choirs, Matthew Bork from Rockford University, No Joke Martial Arts and McNulty Irish Dancers.
    Forest City Dogs had demonstrations at their booth throughout the day.
    Event a partnership
    Forty nine businesses and organizations, plus the village of Machesney Park, partnered with District 122 on the event. They had booths from which they provided information on what they do.
    With the promise of warmer weather, at least for a few days, thoughts turned to spring and with that comes the annual Young at Heart festival adjacent to Loves Park City Hall. Two members of this year's royal court, Queen Megan Clarida and Petite Princess Madison Hawn, were among visitors to Know Your Neighbor.
    Longtime emcee Frances Williams was at the organization's booth and said it appeared this year's pageant would have a large field of candidates. "There are 14 already and it's just early March," she said with optimism.
    This year's pageant is May 9, with applicatiions due by April 10.
    Among the crafters at the event was Melinda Carlson of Rockford. Her specialty was earrings but not the conventional style. Her porcupine creations were made of actual quills, garnered from road kill and other sources in Alaska.
    That's where the three-year-old hobby began, while she was housesitting for a bush pilot from Pecatonica. She remembered being bored and looking for something to do, so the idea of porcupine earrings just "popped into my head."
    Her inspiration was jewelry made by the Athabascan Indians.
    Those earrings now are being sold in Fairbanks, St. Michaels, Md., Washington, D.C. and on Etsy, an online marketplace for artists. Locally, they're available at Summerfield Zoo, just south of Belvidere.

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    Man to serve time for sexual abuse charge
    March 5, 2015
    LOVES PARK – Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announced that on Feb. 19, 2015, Charles Weaver, 35, pled guilty to Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse in front of the Honorable Judge John Truitt.
    As part of his plea, Weaver was sentenced to 180 days in the Winnebago County Jail and 30 months of Probation.
    Weaver also is barred from having any contact with minors under the age of 18 and he is court ordered to register as a Sex Offender for the rest of his natural life.
    In August of 2012, Loves Park Police began investigating the behavior of Charles Weaver after a report he was engaged in inappropriate sexual acts with a minor.
    The victim was between 13 and 17 years old at the time. The incident occurred in Weaver’s home when the minor was visiting.  
    Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse is a Class 2 Felony that is punishable by a sentence of 3-7 years in the Illinois Dept. of Corrections or is probation eligible. It also carries a penalty of two years of Mandatory Supervised Release.

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    Harlem School Board approves four program changes, tables one
    March 5, 2015
    By Bob Trott
    MACHESNEY PARK – Program changes designed to bring the Harlem School District back to pre-2007 levels were approved at a regular school board meeting Monday, Feb. 23, with the exception of a restructuring of the human resources department, which was tabled.
    Prior to the vote on the changes, Board Member Patti Lawrence said she needed more time to read the human resources restructuring part of the program changes, and Board Member George Russell concurred.
    Board President Heather Kelley asked for a consensus vote, different then a regular yes-no vote, on the issue, and all board members except Kelley, said yes.
    The board later took a regular vote on the other four parts of the program changes, and unanimously approved them.
    The program changes are:
    * Increase breakfast and lunch prices, per federally-mandated guidelines, by 10 cents per meal for secondary students and five cents per meal for elementary students, for the 2015-2016 school year, with revenue of $22,097. This requirement will be reviewed yearly.
    * Add a district web specialist position to support a user-friendly, web-based communications presence that engages stakeholders toward student achievement, with an expenditure of $7,896.
    * Restructure Human Resources (the tabled item) by adding an assistant superintendent for human resources position and reinstate a .2 full-time-equivalent (FTE) to a payroll specialist position, making it 1.0 FTE, and restructure the remaining positions (expenditure of $2,072).
    * Add a truancy interventionist partner with the Regional Office of Education to employ a .6
    FTE truancy interventionist to focus on interviewing with chronic truant students at the secondary level (expenditure of $15,705).
    * Adjust the high school restructuring plan-adjust intervention classes, credit recovery options, transition planning and department chair duties with appropriate professional development included; add a 1.4 FTE ($63,216) of teacher time to necessary departments to allow each department chair a period dedicated to supporting teacher professional growth.
    Professional development and curriculum planning time will be provided to department chairs and intervention class teachers. Title II will pay $14,473 for professional development. The Education Fund will pay the remaining amount. This is a $72,720 expenditure.
    Total revenue for the changes is $22,097, and total expenditures $98,393, for a net expenditure of $76,296.
    $2.5 Million in Bonds
    Board members approved a resolution calling for issuance and sale of $2.5 million in General Obligation Limited Bonds for alteration and reconstruction of school buildings and installation of equiment for fire preventions, energy conservation and security.
    According to the approved resolution, the bonds are designated, “General Obligation Limited School Bonds, Series 2015,” and will be due and payable Jan 1, 2018, with an interest rate of 1.31 percent.
    Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Josh Aurand said projects funded through the bond issuance include replacement of part of the roof at the high school, and the complete roof at Windsor Elementary School.
    Dance Team Recognized
    The Harlem Varsity Dance Team was recognized for winning two straight NIC-10 Conference Championships in 2014-15. Coach Summer Henderson and the following team members were recognized: Kaylee Shaw, Madison Moore, Taylor Nuelle, Sydney Larue, Brianna Grable, Lauryn Johnson, Sara Holjan, Kurstin Frey, Shayla Conrad, Allyson Broshous, Brooke Kudzma and Jade Gough, most of whom were at the meeting.
    Bowling Team
    Members of the varsity boys' bowling team were on the agenda for Feb. 23, to be recognized for placing second at the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) State Championships in O'Fallon Jan. 30-31.
    They were unable to attend the Feb. 23 board meeting, so they will be recognized at the regular March 9 meeting.
    Head Coach is Nick Whitmire, and Assistant Coach Zach Kerby. Players are: Cole Damon, sophomore; Kyler Gerl, freshman; Nick Howard, freshman; Collin Day, sophomore; Austin Bull, junior; Dawson Jones, sophomore; Jack Nimtz, sophomore and state champion; and Joey Heathscott, senior.
    The team was NIC-10 Champion at both the varsity and junior varsity levels, and it placed second or higher in all tournaments during the season. Day and Nimtz bowled perfect games, and Nimtz and Jones tossed 800 series'.  In addition to being individual state champion and setting a new state record, Nimtz was sectional champion and NIC-10 Conference Most Valuable Player (MVP). The team claimed the conference title, as well.
    District Calendar
    Barb Oles, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, presented calendar amendments for the 2015-16 Harlem School District calendar, which was approved by the board Jan. 26.
    A memorandum from Oles said the changes were: to follow the language in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) pertaining to the teacher work year, and to include a change to the grading periods for kindergarten through sixth grade.
    Oles reported the CBA calls for 181 work days for teachers, and the previously-approved calendar had 180, so she called for an additional Professional Development (PD) Day, to make the total 181.
    On the K-6 change, Oles included that It is the recommendation of Elementary Harlem Assessment Team (HAT) members and teachers, who are piloting standards-based grading at the elementary level this year, that Harlem move to three grading periods per year, instead of four.
    Three 12-week grading periods will provide more time for students to demonstrate proficiency of the standards and for teachers to instruct, assess and gather evidence of student learning.
    Many elementary-age students need more time to grow and develop, and the longer grading period will give students that time.
    The change will also provide teachers with additional opportunities to meet the needs of individual students, based on their demonstrated abilities, the memo from Oles said.
    For the 2015-2016 school year, the end dates for each grading period will be: Oct.30, Feb. 12 and May 19.
    The amended calendar was approved unanimously by the school board Feb. 23.
    Other Business
    *Superintendent Julie Morris reported the following recent personnel moves for the school district: eight employments, nine leaves-of-absence, 10 resignations, no transfers within the district and four sick leaves. An additional move calls for employment of six credit recovery teachers at the ninth grade campus.
    * Board President Heather Kelley announced the following upcoming meetings: Regular board, Monday, March 9; policy committee, Monday, March 16; special board, Wednesday, March 18, with superintendent evaluation instrument and process with Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) Facilitator Laura Martinez; and education committee, Thursday, March 26, all at 6 p.m.
    The March 18 meeting will replace a quarterly board meeting. Board Member Russell announced the next business services committee meeting is set for Wednesday, March 4, and Board Member Lawrence said the next discipline policy review committee session is scheduled for Thursday, April 29, both at 6 p.m.
    The discpline policy review committee meeting is for discussion of third quarter data.
    * Kelley said a candidates' forum was set for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, March 2, at Harlem, at the Harlem Township building.
    * Russell and Kelley said they attended a recent career lunch meeting. Travis Turner of the board said he is contributing to the career lunch program by telling that group about his career.
    He has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Master of Business Administration and Certificate in  Financial Analysis.
    * An April 29-May 1 trip to Atwood Outdoor Education Center, for Olson Park Elementary sixth graders, was approved by the school board.
    * Two requests from the Harlem Varsity Cheerleaders, for use of school district facilities, were approved. One was for use of the ninth grade campus gym Sunday, April 25, from noon to 3 p.m. for fall cheer tryouts, and the other was for use of the same gym for choreography camp Sunday, Nov. 8, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    * The board approved the rental of property at 6441 Swanson Road to Curtis Greenlee of Caledonia, for Calendar Year 2015, for $4,000, and the school district will send Greenlee an invoice, if he chooses to farm the land.
    Also approved was a resolution amending prior continuing disclosure undertakings of the district.

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    Loves Park City Council denies video gaming license
    March 5, 2015
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – At the Feb. 23 Loves Park City Council meeting, aldermen, after some discussion denied approval of an ordinance, second reading, for a Class F (video gaming) license was denied.
    Alderman Mark Peterson noted that there was too much signage and windows were dirty at the Windsor Mini Mart, plus the business location was too close to a school.
    Alderman Clint Little noted that a fair chance should be given to the business owner to be approved for the license and that qualifications or specification met city ordinances.
    Aldermen A. Marie Holmes, John Pruitt, and Clint Little voted against the motion to approve.
    Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of Feb. 15-21. A total of 466 calls for service, 442 arrests, and 16 accidents were reported.
    On the weekly fire department report dated Feb. 22 one fire call, one public service call, one mutual aid call, one carbon monoxide or gas leak call, and three assist police calls were reported.
    Aldermen approved payment of $19,676.18 in water fund bills, and $96,368.45 in general fund and all other bills, as presented Feb. 16.
    A resolution authorizing the Young At Heart Parade along N. Second St. for Saturday, May 23 was approved.
    A resolution authorizing the purchase of a custom built external website with hosting fee and ongoing maintenance from Jumping Trout, Inc. of Loves Park at a cost of $5,130 annually was passed.
    A resolution was approved okaying the purchase of lighting equipment for the street department’s new truck for $873 from a Connecticut company and $550 from a Rockford company.
    A resolution giving the go ahead to seek negotiated bids for the purchase of traffic and street signage for public works was passed.
    A resolution authorizing engineering services for the upgrade of the city’s SCADA supervisory and control system of wells was approved with a Crystal Lake company at a cost not to exceed $61,910.
    A resolution authorizing a contract with William Charles Co. for Phase 1 of the N. Alpine Road reconstruction not to exceed $5,096,475 was passed.
    Ordinances, second reading that were approved included:
    --A Class E (packaged beer and wine) liquor licenses for Road Rangers in the 7900 block and the 8000 block of Forest Hills Road, and the 6000 block of E. Riverside Blvd. were approved.
    --A Class B (packaged all liquor) license for Prodavnica Mjesovite Robe, Inc. property in the 5400 block of N. Second St. was passed.
    The 2014 Young At Heart court – Kittra Love (Mini Princess), Madison Hawn (Petite Princess), Miranda Shoultz (Senior Princess), and Megan Clarida (Queen) led the council in the Pledge of Allegiance.

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    Machesney Park ponders continuing community grants
    March 5, 2015
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Village officials have set the stage for discussing the proposed 2015-16 budget at a workshop Saturday morning at village hall.
    Village Administrator Tim Savage and Human Resources and Accounting Manager Michelle Johannsen gave village board members an overview of projected income and expenses during an informal meeting Feb. 17.
    The village apparently will continue funding most of the community grants, totaling $24,050. Ski Broncs, the competitive water skiing team in Rockford, would see an increase from $1,000 to $1,500. The Helping Hands Food Pantry and GPS Church Food Pantry each would receive $750, up from $500 this year.
    Here are the other contributions, which are the same as in 2014-15:
    Harlem Community Center summer parks program, $10,000; Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful Christmas tree recycling, $750, and luncheon, $300; Carlson Boys & Girls Club, $2,000; Harlem football National Night Out, $500; Young at Heart festival, $2,500; and Special Events, such as the new Machesney Park Festival, Rockford Marathon, Harlem High School boys track and girls track.
    In addition, the village will be in the second of a two-year, $25,000 commitment to the Reclaiming First initiative of the Rockford Park District. That effort is geared to improving athletic facilities, such as Sportscore I, in hopes of increasing the number of tournaments held there each year.
    Discussion of those requests is expected at Saturday's workshop.
    The discussion also will include the request from Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen that the village give $400,000, in installments of $20,000 a year for 20 years, to the $40-million hangar project at Chicago Rockford International Airport. That request was made at the Feb. 17 village board meeting.
    New expenditures
    Staff is proposing $300,000 in new, major expenditures from replacing trustee laptop computers ($3,500) to having a full-time public safety coordinator ($155,000).
    Revenue was projected to be flat in the new fiscal year, which will begin May 1. It is estimated to be $7.2 million, up $380,000 from this year.
    Sales tax income is estimated to increase by $77,000 to $3.27 million.
    Cost of a new contract for law enforcement services will increase 4.3 percent, Savage said. The village contracts with the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department and this year's cost was about $3 million.
    Trustee Erick Beck questioned the full-time public safety coordinator, which would cost an additional $75,000 next year. "The $75,000 is a lot of money," he said.
    There was a concern, Trustee James Kidd said, about the part-time coordinator only being able to work 600 hours a year. That meant two hours a day for village business and two hours for the rest of the county.
    But Beck countered, "It looks to me like the $75,000 is being shoved down our throats."
    Savage said having a full-time supervisor at the village substation was a goal of the new sheriff, Gary Caruana. "I think the increase in impound fees will help offset that" increase, from the current $30,000, the administrator said.
    The village has approved increasing from $200 to $350 the amount of money is takes to retrieve a vehicle from the impound.
    Renovating 10,000 square feet of space at the former J.C. Penney building, for use by the village's public works department, would cost about $7,500. Purchase of the building is in limbo during the due diligence period, which ends March 29.
    Another new expenditure would be holding a board strategic planning session, $10,000, primarily the cost of a facilitator. Johannsen said the session would have two parts: looking at the village organization and what the various roles are; planning for where officials want the village to be in the next two years.
    Other new expenditures include purchasing a backup generator for village hall, $15,000; new public works equipment such as a salt spreader, compactor and sweeper attachment, $15,000; new car to replace a 2005 Pontiac Bonneville with 91,798 miles on it; replacing the parking lot behind village hall, $50,000; and renovation of the village board room, $110,000.
    Employee salary increases would be 1.5 percent, with one-half percent, or about $10,000, put in a pool for merit raises. 

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    Fleeing DUI driver crashes car into guard rail
    Feb. 12, 2015
    LOVES PARK – On Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, Loves Park police officers were monitoring the Rock Cut Elementary School zone on Forest Hills Road.
    Just before 8 a.m., one of the two officers assigned to the detail went to stop a vehicle near Harlem Road and Forest Hills Road
    The driver accelerated eastbound to Perryville Road, where he turned right, disobeying the stop light and headed south.
    The officer terminated his attempt to stop the vehicle on Perryville Road around Nimtz Road, however the driver continued southbound at speeds estimated to be in excess of 100 MPH.
    After the pursuit was terminated, another officer on Mulford Road at Riverside Blvd. observed the same vehicle was now westbound on Riverside Blvd. and was still being operated at a high rate of speed, quickly approaching the intersection.
    In an effort to prevent a tragedy in the intersection, the officer activated his emergency lights to warn, as well as stop unsuspecting north and southbound Mulford Road motorist, who had the green light.
    As the vehicle approached the Mulford Road intersection, the driver turned right and headed northbound on Mulford Road, disobeying the red light.
    After passing a Mulford Road median, the driver veered to the left and began driving northbound, head-on toward southbound motorists. The officer was compelled to attempt to warn southbound motorists and to bring the driver to a stop. The driver passed several southbound cars on the far left-hand, southbound curbside lane of the roadway.
    The driver turned left onto Windsor Road and headed westbound. With the driver a distance ahead of the pursuing officer, the officer terminated this second attempt to stop the fleeing motorist, but could see as the driver disobeyed three stop signs, still going at a high rate of speed.
    Shortly after disobeying the third stop sign, the driver lost control of his vehicle and collided with a guard rail, which brought his car to a stop. As a fire erupted in the engine compartment of the vehicle, the driver exited the car and was taken into custody.
    Backup officers arriving on scene extinguished the fire. Loves Park Fire Department was dispatched to the scene, as a precaution, because the engine compartment was still smoking after the flames were extinguished.
    The driver was transported to the hospital by ambulance, where he was treated and released.
    The driver, Aaron E. Prock, 29, of Loves Park, was charged with Aggravated Fleeing to Elude Police, Aggravated Driving While Under the Influence of Drugs, Driving While License Suspended, Reckless Driving and Violation of the Hypodermic Syringe Act. He was also issued citations for speeding, stop sign violations, stop light violations and improper lane usage.
    Prock was previously arrested for Driving While Under the Influence in April, 2014, by Loves Park Police. That case is currently pending in court.
    The charges are merely allegations and the defendant is considered innocent, unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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    Loves Park Police Department highlighted at council meeting
    Feb. 12, 2015
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – At the Feb. 2 Loves Park City Council meeting, aldermen heard a presentation from Police Deputy Chief Mike McCammond and Chuck Lynde, along with Chief Rodney Scott on the department’s “2014 Annual Report.”
    For starters, the police department’s mission statement is as follows: “It is the mission of the Loves Park Police Department to enhance the quality of life in our community by building a partnership based upon fair, courteous, and efficient public service and respect.
    “We are committed to public safety and the prevention of crime and strive to continue to develop strategies to increase our effectiveness in assisting our community with problem solving. We nurture public trust and pledge to hold ourselves to the highest standard of performance, integrity, and ethics.”
    In 2014, the department logged a total of 523 “Part 1 Offenses” – a 23.5 percent decrease over the previous year. As noted, the “highest category, at 401 offenses is theft…Part 1 offenses are broken down into two categories – violent crime and property crime.”
    A total of 1,396 arrest were made in 2014 (an increase of 87.38 percent). There were 8,451 total citations and warnings issued during the year (a 6.65 percent increase in traffic contacts from 2013 were made).
    Total traffic crashes came to 771, resulting in property damage, personal injury, and “fatal crashes” – a 10.47 percent increase from 2013. Perryville and Harlem Roads had the most incidents. No fatal crashes were reported for the year.
    Calls for service totaled 22,820 calls in 2014. Officers made 184 DUI arrests for the year.
    Police Officer Aaron Johnson was nominated for the Loves Park Clifford E. Johnson VFW Post  9759 “VFW Officer of the Year” by his sergeant for his “outstanding work ethic.”
    He served in the Marine Corps prior to joining the force. In 2014, Johnson had 27 DUI arrests and 99 other criminal arrests. He was “also recognized for his positive interactions with the community and especially for youth.”
    Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of Jan. 25-31. There were 524 calls for service, 186 arrests, and 15 accidents reported. On the weekly fire department report dated Feb. 1, two fire alarm calls, two false fire alarm calls, and one carbon monoxide or gas leak call were reported.
    Aldermen approved payment of $36,532.24 in water department bills, and $255,783.19 in general fund and all other bills, as presented Jan. 26. Alderman Julie Hobel abstained on the motion to approve the general fund bills.
    Lori Gummow with Keep Northern Illinois Clean and Beautiful addressed the council and outlined what that organization is involved in and also gave an update on the annual Christmas tree recycling program. Unfortunately, not all residents seem to understand the tree program, as someone left an artificial tree and a mattress at Martin Park for the tree recycling program.
    Three ordinances, first and second reading, were approved:
    --A Class R1 (restaurant) liquor license for Second Cousins in the 6200 block of E. Riverside Blvd.
    --A zoning map amendment change from light industrial to single-family residential for property in the 2100 block of Rivington Road and a special use permit for a duplex at the same location.
    A resolution was passed authorizing the seeking of negotiated bids to design a custom built external website to replace and update the existing City of Loves park website.

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    Trauma kits now in all classrooms at Harlem schools
    Feb. 5, 2015
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Trauma kits are heading for a classroom near you. Actually, the goal is to have them in every classroom in Winnebago County.
    So far 621 such kits have been placed in all classrooms in Harlem School District 122, as well as in Hononegah schools.
    Basic medical materials in each kit, such as a tourniquet, can be the difference between life and death during a high-trauma incident.
    Three nurses working in the Mercy Health System at Janesville, Wis., had been involved in such situations during the Boston, Mass. Marathon bombing and attack in Oklahoma City, Okla.
    District 122 nurse Roni Sturm said statistics from such incidents, as well as war, show that tourniquets save lives. "Most injuries aren't fatal," she said, but death can occur because of blood loss.
    "Tourniquets stop the bleeding and give extra time for EMTs (emergency medical technicians) to arrive" and provide the needed assistance.
    The cost of such protection is $3 per kit.
    Materials are kept in a simple plastic bag and, beyond the tourniquet, include gloves, bandaging gauze and an Ace bandage.
    All of this started last year, when Winnebago County sheriff's deputy Scott Meyers heard about Mercy utilizing such trauma kits.
    He called those officials, obtained the information and suggested that a similar program be instituted locally.
    Rock Cut Elementary School Principal Mike Plourde said the sheriff's office used money seized from illegal drug activity to buy the kits. Training in use of the materials took place late last year at his school and others in the Harlem district.
    Initially, Sturm said volunteer firefighters here and in Roscoe-Rockton were trained in use of the kits.
    "It's simple," she said. The tourniquets themselves are made to let the user "know when it's tight enough."
    Harlem District 122 officials have thanked the sheriff's department and Meyers along with the program presentation and training.
    "These kits were provided free of charge to the schools, with no charge to taxpayers," said Julie Morris, superintendent of District 122.
    "Through the presentation, our educators have a clearer understanding of what to expect in the event of a traumatic incident and how best to handle the situation, should it occur."
    "While we hope never to need this training, we are empowered with the knowledge that our staff knows what to do should we need it," she added.
    "We appreciate the time and effort of the Winnebago Sheriff's Department in supporting the safety of our students."
    Introduction of trauma kits to District 122 schools is part of the ongoing effort to make students as safe as possible while in school.

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    YAH Pageant seeking contestants for 2015 event
    Feb. 5, 2015
    LOVES PARK – Young at Heart Pageant organizers are taking applications for the 2015 Young at Heart Pageant.
    The Pageant will be held May 9 at 4 p.m. at Loves Park City Hall Gym. This is the 43rd year for the Pageant. All entries must be received by April 10.
    The following are the divisions:
    Petite Princess  ages 6-8
    Junior Princess ages 9-11
    Senior Princess ages 12-14
    Queen ages 15-19
    This year’s Royal court has been very active. They have been in six area parades and so far have done twenty-two community projects in the entire area. Anyone desiring to enter the pageant must realize they are representing the area.
    They are to be a role model to others. Application blanks and information are available on our website, A $25 (non-refundable) registration fee is due at time of registration.
    Mail to: Frances Williams, 2750 N Mulford Road F-112, Rockford IL 61114.
    There will be four modeling and dance production rehearsal before the pageant.  
    The pageant is a lot of fun and scholarship money is given. Also T-shirts, flowers, trophies and crown for the winners. More information call (815) 670-5499.

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    City to have new communication system, services
    Jan. 29, 2015
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – At the Jan. 19 Loves Park City Council meeting, aldermen approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Darryl Lindberg to enter into a 60-month contract on a new phone service usage and telephone system per a contract at a cost not to exceed $591.99 a month – and not to exceed $44,693 over the 5-year life of the contract.
    IP Communications, Inc. of Loves Park will install and provide the service and equipment to all city locations, excluding phone equipment at Fire Stations No. 1 and 2, as those two locations recently had a new phone system installed. The city will pay 50 percent down with the remaining 50 percent due at installation. 
    An ordinance allowing for a Class E (packaged beer and wine sales at a fueling/gas station/convenience store) for Alpine Mart in the 7600 block of N. Alpine Road was passed.
    An ordinance providing for a Class F (video gaming) liquor license for Mabel’s Jackpot in the 5700 block of N. Second St. was also approved. Alderman Julie Hobel voted against the motion to approve it.
    Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of Jan. 11-17.  A total of 439 calls for service, 256 arrests, and 10 accidents were logged.
    On the weekly fire department report dated Jan. 18, seven false fire alarm calls, one public service, and one assist police call were reported for the week. The previous week’s calls included one fire call, four false fire alarm calls, one natural gas leak call, three carbon monoxide calls, and two assist police calls.
    The council approved payment of $18,782.81 in water fund bills, and $65,007.81 in general fund and all other bills, as presented on Jan. 12. Alderman Julie Hobel voted no on the motion to approve the general fund bills.
    City Clerk Bob Burden reported that the city had received $60,427.49 in Motor Fuel Tax funds from the Illinois Dept. of Transportation for the month of December.
    Mayor Darryl Lindberg made note of an article that appeared in the Jan. 19 daily newspaper that included an interview with Alderman A. Marie Holmes, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in the 1960s, including the Selma, Alabama “Bloody Sunday” march (March 7, 1965), noting that Holmes had quite an amazing story to tell. At the time, Holmes was a student at the University of Illinois.

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    Grace church outreach includes scouting, Pinewood Derby
    Jan. 29, 2015
    By Bob Balgemann
    ROCKFORD - There was more than a rematch of the Green Bay-Seattle professional football game happening at 2 p.m. Jan. 18.
    Many were glued to their television sets to watch the Packers and Seahawks vie for the NFC championship and berth in the Super Bowl on Feb. 1.
    But quite a few were at Grace United Methodist Church on McFarland Road to watch, and participate in, a Pinewood Derby competition involving the various dens in Cub Scout Troop 206.
    Troop 206 meets regularly at Grace, now more than 120 years old but with a relatively new sanctuary built in 1995. Many of its members reside in Machesney Park and Loves Park.
    The Rev. Pam Rossmiller, pastor, and volunteer Chuck Drewes also were at the church that Sunday afternoon, welcoming scouts, family members and friends to the derby. They didn't have to be there.
    But they chose to do that as part of the church's community outreach, which extends to neighboring residents and social service agencies such as Maya's House, Carpenter's Place and Rock House Kids.
    "The outreach and support of the community comes as we welcome the Cub Scout group to meet in our building once a week," Rossmiller said.
    "The United Methodist Church has a long and rich history of supporting scouts. The partnership has been wonderful. We have supported their fund-raisers, offered hospitality at their events and they have joined in our clean-up days and worshipped with us."
    Drewes stood at one of the entrance doors and greeted those who were in attendance. "We want people to feel welcome when they come in," he said.
    A busy place
    The church's fellowship hall was a busy place that afternoon with 10 scouts entering cars of various designs.
    They started by having their entries pass inspection that included being no more than 5 ounces in weight, no more than 7 inches long and having all fire tires touch the track surface.
    In addition, Den Chief Keith Yenney, who inspected the tires, said they had to be made in the USA and approved by Boy Scouts of America.
    "If one of the tires isn't touching the surface, it could be an unfair advantage for the car," said Scott Burkardt, assistant Cubmaster.
    He weighed the cars and found one of them was too heavy - by 100th of an ounce - evidence of how precise the checks were that day.
    Equipment at the three-lane track's finish line was sophisticated, as it announced the place winners, the lanes they were in and their exact times.
    Competitors were entered according to grade level, with two groups of Webelos, along with the Tiger and Wolf dens. Those finishing first and second advance to the council tournament, usually held in April in Pecatonica. The council's geographic area is huge, extending to LaCrosse, Wis., on the north, Huntley to the southeast and Dixon to the southwest.
    In addition, Best of Show awards went to Caydon Smith from the Wolf den; Gabe Smith from the Tiger den; Brydon Smith in Webelos 1 and Nate Smith in Webelos 2. Brydon and Caydon are brothers, as are Gabe and Nate.

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    Rockford man charged with Criminal Sexual Abuse
    Jan. 22, 2015
    WINNEBAGO COUNTY – Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announces that David Seaton, 51, has been charged with Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse.
    The charges stem from an investigation into inappropriate contact David Seaton had with a child under the age of 13. Seaton is a former Auxiliary Police Officer for the City of Freeport.
    Mr. Seaton’s wife has owned and operated an at-home daycare called Pam’s Daycare. 
    Aggravated Criminal Sex Abuse is a Class 2 Felony that is punishable by a sentence of 3-7 years in the Illinois Dept. of Corrections or Probation followed by Mandatory Supervised Release.
    Seaton is scheduled to be in court Feb. 4 at 9 a.m. in front of the Honorable Judge John Truitt.
    The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until or unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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    Loves Park Police arrest reckless driver
    Jan. 22, 2015
    LOVES PARK – On Wednesday. Jan. 14, at about 12:45 a.m., Loves Park officers observed a vehicle westbound on Riverside Blvd., approaching the curve just west of Clifford Ave. at a high rate of speed.
    An officer locked the vehicle's speed in on radar at 71 MPH in the 30 MPH zone.
    Officers attempted to catch up to the vehicle, however the driver continued accelerating away, into Rockford.
    It was reported that he crossed the center lane lines and was westbound, in the eastbound lanes as the driver maneuvered through a curve on Riverside Blvd.
    The driver of the vehicle made a U-turn at Rockton Ave., to head back toward Loves Park, when he was stopped by a Loves Park officer just arriving at the intersection.
    The officer asked the driver, Phillip R. Wardzala, 26, of Rockford, why he was driving so fast. Wardzala told the officers that he was just out "joy riding" and that speed "makes him feel alive."
    When the officer told Wardzala that he clocked the vehicle going 71 MPH in the 30 MPH zone, Wardzala reportedly told the officer that he was driving a lot faster than that.
    When asked how fast he thought he was driving, Wardzala told the officers that he was going "around 100 miles" an hour. Wardzala was also asked about driving in the oncoming traffic lanes, and he explained to an officer that it's hard to see the lines, when you are going that fast.
    Wardzala was charged with Speeding More Than 40 MPH Over the Speed Limit, Improper Lane Usage and Reckless Driving.
    The charges are merely allegations, and the defendant is considered innocent, unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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    Free pine mulch available at 13 tree recycling sites
    Jan. 22, 2015
    WINNEBAGO COUNTY — Free pine mulch is available, while supplies last, at 13 sites in Winnebago County.
    Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful annually arranges for real Christmas trees to be chipped at sites in Cherry Valley, Loves Park, Machesney Park, Roscoe, Rockton, Rockford and Pecatonica.
    Mulch availability is not guaranteed, and will be gone by March. Bring containers and shovels to retrieve the mulch. Sites are not staffed. The tree drop-off ended Jan. 15.
    For more information about this and other programs of the environmental non-profit, or to volunteer at a Recycle Center, email, “like” KeepNorthernIllinoisBeautiful on Facebook, visit, or call (815) 637-1343.
    2015 Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful free mulch locations: 
    Cherry Valley:  Baumann Park, entrance on South Walnut
    Loves Park:  Martin Park, north lot on Park Ridge Road south of Riverside bridge
    Machesney Park:  behind Village Hall, 300 Machesney Road
    Rockford:  Alpine Park, 950 South Alpine Road; Andrews Park, 800 N. Central Ave.; Blackhawk Park, 100 – 15th Ave.; Don Schmid Youth Sports Center, Riverdahl Park off Sandy Hollow; Gambino Park, 4400 block of Pepper Drive west of North Alpine Road; Levings Lake, entrance off Johnston Avenue.
    Rockton:  Boat ramp parking lot off Hononegah Road;  Williams Tree Farm, 4661 Yale Bridge Road. 
    Roscoe:  Valley View Farms, 6440 Belvidere Road. 
    Pecatonica:  Pecatonica Wetlands Forest Preserve, near picnic area, 4550 N Pecatonica Road. 

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    Time for residents to weigh in on buying Penney's building
    Jan. 15, 2015
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Now is the time for residents who have an opinion on the village proposal to buy the vacant J.C. Penney building on North Second Street to be heard. Village board members voted 5-2 Jan. 5 to approve a resolution calling for purchase of that building for $900,000. There is a 45-day due diligence period, ending Feb, 19, during which an appraisal and other information will be gathered. That also is the time when residents may weigh in on the acquisition by calling the mayor's office, 815-877-5432, or their individual trustee.
    Trustees James Kidd and Aaron Wilson voted against buying the building.
    Before the vote Village Administrator Tim Savage offered background on the proposal, including the reason why so many closed-door meetings were held. That was done, he said, "in order to negotiate a fair price..."
    Mayor Jerry Bolin called the executive sessions, which were allowed by state statutes for land acquisition, an "absolute necessity. Government is at an extreme disadvantage when negotiating a real estate purchase in public."
    While the public was not made aware of the proposal until Jan. 5, he said there would be plenty of time for them in the coming days to offer their comments.
    Savage said planned uses for the property are based on "a continuation of the success we have seen with previous redevelopment initiatives, and as laid out in the (Machesney) Towne Center Master Plan. These redevelopment successes include the renovation of the 110,000 square feet of retail space that (now) houses Big Lots and Burlington Coat (Factory), as well as the $7-million investment and renovation by Practice Velocity of the former Kohl's building that retained or created over 250 jobs."
    Plans for the Penney's building renovation, through private partnerships, call for the front half, or about 40,000 square feet, to provide in-line retail space. Portions of the rear would be utilized for office space.
    Space in the Penney's building once used for auto repair would house village public works employees, at a cost of about $10,000.
    "Our in-house estimates for construction of a 7,000-square-foot building north of village hall were coming in at nearly $600,000, with engineer's estimat4e coming in at over $900, 000," Savage said.
    He said the village offer of $900,000 for the building, which includes 11.2 acres of land, is "well under" the asking price of $1.2 million.
    In addition to the aforementioned uses, he said there is an opportunity to market a four-acre parcel for multi-family residential development. That is in keeping with the Towne Center Master Plan.
    Most of the funding for the purchase will come from the tax increment financing (TIF) district that includes the North Second Street corridor, from Illinois 173 south to Harlem Road.
    "Only that portion of the building used for public purposes, for example the public works garage, will be paid for by the general fund," Savage said.
    Trustee responses
    In follow-up interviews, trustees Kidd and Wilson discussed their reasons for voting against the purchase.
    Kidd said his primary concern was not informing the public before the Jan. 5 meeting. That could have been done, he said, without compromising the acquisition process and costing the village more money.
    Beyond that, he said information about the village buying the Penney's building was leaked to the media before the meeting. He said he got phone calls from newspaper and television reporters, in advance of the meeting, asking specifically about the Penny's purchase, when that information was not specified on the agenda.
    He also said he wondered why "we think we're better than private business when it comes to bringing in businesses? I have yet to see a plan to do that; so far all I've heard is words.
    Wilson said he hoped that in a year of two he would be able to say he was wrong in voting against purchase of the building. But as it stands right now, he said it could not support the proposal.
    "I have a tough time spending almost $1 million," he said. "It just feels that we're getting into the real estate businesses."
    He added, "If this is such a great deal, why aren't others jumping at it?"

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    Police make arrest in quadruple homicide case
    Jan. 8, 2015
    ROCKFORD – Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announces charges against a suspect in the recent quadruple murder in Rockford.
    Calvin L. Carter, 22, faces four counts of First Degree Murder. The charges stem from the shooting deaths of Martia Flint, 24, her sons Tyrone Smith III, 6, and Tobias Smith, 4, and Demontae Rhodes, 24.
    All four were killed Dec. 20 inside a home in the 3200 block of Montrose Avenue.
    First Degree Murder is a Class M Felony. If convicted it is punishable by a sentence of 45 years to Natural Life in the Illinois Dept. of Corrections. It also carries a penalty of three years of Mandatory Supervised Release.
    The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until or unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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    Jan. 8, 2015
    Rockford man tasered by Loves Park Police
    LOVES PARK – On Tuesday night, Dec. 30, officers investigated a complaint of an incident in the 700 block of Windsor Road.
    During the investigation, at around 10:30 p.m., officers went to a home in the 700 block of Island Ave., in Rockford, where they arrested Frederick F. Heuser, 44, of the Island Ave. residence. During the arrest a struggle ensued and a Taser was deployed.
    Heuser was charged with Aggravated Driving After Revocation, Violation of an Order of Protection, Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest.
    The charges are merely allegations, and the defendant is considered innocent, unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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    Loves Park Police arrest man asleep behind wheel
    Dec. 18, 2014
    LOVES PARK – On Sunday, Dec. 7, officers were dispatched to a call of a motorist asleep behind the wheel of his car at Harlem and Alpine roads. When officers arrived, they found the vehicle doors locked.
    Officers knocked on windows attempting to get the driver to respond to them for about 10 minutes, before they broke out a window. A Patrol Sergeant entered the vehicle and woke the driver, Gustavo Perez, 20, of Rockford.
    Perez was charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol & Operation of Uninsured Motor Vehicle.
    The charges are merely allegations, and the defendant is considered innocent, unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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    Joint effort should attract business to the area
    Dec. 18, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – A public hearing was held during the Dec. 8 Loves Park City Council meeting regarding “a joint application to the State of Illinois on behalf of the City of Loves Park and the Village of Machesney Park for creation of an enterprise zone.”
    Dan Jacobsen, Director of Public Works and Development for the City of Loves Park, addressed those in attendance.
    He explained that the zone will cover all commercial, retail, and industrial areas of both communities encompassing about 80 square miles.
    Tax abatement incentives, such as 10 percent in year one, then abatements followed yearly for 10 years by a sliding scale will be offered.
    The joint enterprise zone application must be filed in Springfield, per state statute, by the end of the year. An ordinance will be presented at the Dec. 15 meeting.
    The zone will overlay various Tax Increment Finance Districts and will not affect them.
    Mayor Darryl Lindberg noted that, “This is a great example of regional cooperation.” Jacobsen said, “As a border community to Wisconsin, we have to compete with that state for business – this will help to create jobs and wealth in our communities.” Additionally, an intergovernmental agreement will be needed between the municipalities
    Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of Nov. 30-Dec. 6. There were 396 calls for service, 160 arrests, and 15 accidents reported.
    On the weekly fire department report dated Dec. 7, two false fire alarm calls, one public service call, three carbon monoxide or gas leak calls, one assist police, and one smoke or odor investigation call were reported.
    During the week a total of 56-man hours washing, cleaning and decorating trucks for the Light Up the Parks Parade (Stations No. 1 and 2); another 56-man hours attending the parade; then another 50 hours removing Christmas lights from all the trucks and putting them away.
     A total of $12,123.33 in water fund bills and $135,203.02 in general fund and all other bills, as presented Dec. 1, were approved for payment.
    The council agreed unanimously to reappoint Webbs Norman to the Loves Park Civil Service Commission for a term to expire on Dec. 31, 2017.
    The first council meeting of 2015 is set for Monday, Jan. 5. The last meeting of this year is Dec. 22.
    An ordinance, first reading, providing for an amendment to a special use permit for a church to hold Sunday School and a gym in a single-family residential zoning district in the 5500 block of Windsor Road was approved.

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    Harlem students, township combine to play Santa for kids
    Dec. 18, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Harlem Township Assessor Mark Sorrentino summed it up best when he said, "This is one of the best days of the year."
    He was referring to the gathering the morning of Dec. 8 in the lobby at Harlem High School, where a huge collection of toys was put on display. That was the result of a combined effort by high school students and staff, along with the girls basketball team.
    A total of $7,600 was raised, $5,000 by students and staff with $2,600 by the basketball team.
    Student council members went to Target early Dec. 7 to buy toys for infants through those 13 years of age. The fruits of their labor were seen the next morning and after photographs were taken, the toys were driven to the township office, where they were distributed Dec. 15.
    Harlem senior Taelor Davenport, co-chair of the annual campaign, said her group had about $800 to spend on toys for infants. That was accomplished in about 20 minutes, she said.
    "They were basic toys, anything that made noise," she said of what was selected. And of the experience, she said, "It was a spending spree, but you're not spending it on yourself."
    "This warms your heart," school principal Terrell Yarbrough said before offering a few words to those who assembled in the lobby.
    He said he wanted to commend students and faculty for their efforts. Raising money for toys has been going on for 11 years at the school "and it gets better every year," he said.
    Co-chair Kaelynn Ghinazzi and senior Gabrielle Forsell also spoke, with Gabrielle giving a check for $2,600 to township supervisor Terri Knight.
    "I'm overwhelmed," Knight said. "This will make many families happy this year."
    "Once again Harlem High School has come through," Sorrentino said. "They are such a blessing. It will be a marvelous Christmas for a lot of people."
    The village of Machesney Park also had its collection of toys this year, in partnership with North Park Church of Christ and the Helping Hands Food Pantry. Those toys were distributed at the church.

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    Hundreds gather at Loves Park City Hall for Veteran’s Day ceremonies
    Nov. 20, 2014
    By Melanie Bradley
    LOVES PARK – There were few open seats and few dry eyes at this year’s Tribute to Veterans ceremonies at the Loves Park Municipal Center last Tuesday morning.
    The large audience was comprised of many Veterans and their families, local dignitaries and students from the Harlem School District, including almost 500 fifth graders, who were bussed in for the event.
    The Harlem Wind Ensemble played prior to the start of the ceremony and the Presentation of Colors by VFW Post #9759, followed by the singing of the National Anthem.
    Ralston Elementary School fifth graders Ava Akers and Tanner Sherbon led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the Invocation, which was given by Rev. Bobby Sheets, of Riverside Community Church.
    Loves Park Mayor Darryl Lindberg spoke about the pride he has in the Field of Honor and discussed the history of its development and construction, which began in 1994 and will continue into the future.
    Machesney Park Mayor Bolin talked about the history of Veterans Day and thanked the Veterans for their service.
    Harlem High School senior Michael Fenters was next to take the stage, sharing his essay on “What Veterans Day Means to Me,” and reaching out to the younger students in conveying the meaning of the day in ways they would relate to.
    He recalled attending the ceremony when he was a fifth grader and wondering why he should be there. “We come here to remember the struggles,” he said. “Our nation has gone through tough times, and we still do today.”
    Fenters has been among the Harlem High School students who have been documenting the memories of Veterans through the Harlem Veteran Project for the last few years.
    He appealed to the fifth graders to carry that project into the future. “Remember, that they have put everything on the line for us,” he said.
    “So know this, our Greatest Generation, that when the going gets tough, we will push forward because of your guidance. It is your blessings. It is the job you have done for our country that gives us our guidance today, and that will propel us to a better future.”
    The keynote speaker of the ceremony was Glenn Heidenreich, a former U.S. Navy Seal who served from 1979-1994.
    After discussing the reasons we celebrate Veterans, he talked about his service as a Seal and how the tough training and rigid discipline weeded out many who attempted the challenge and shaped him into the person he is today.
    “We must never forget why we honor the men and women of the Armed Forces,” he said. “Without their sacrifice, we would not be the nation we are today. We would not be the land of the free. We would not be the United States of America.”
    The Harlem Choraleers, directed by Kathy Broaddus, sang three songs during the ceremony, including “To Those Who Serve,” and “To the Heroes,” and joining the Wind Ensemble for “God Bless America.”
    Following the Retreat of Colors/Memorial Wreath, the group braved the chilly weather to gather outside at the Field of Honor for a three-shot rifle volley and Taps, played by Harlem students Nick McCormick and Katelynn Durnil.

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    Two of three Machesney Park incumbents running again
    Nov. 20, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Anyone wanting to be a candidate for election to the Machesney Park Village Board must file the necessary paperwork before 4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17.
    So far two of the three incumbent board members have said they would like fresh four-year terms. They are Kate Tammen in District 2 and Erick Beck in District 6. Incumbent Tom Yor has decided not to run again in District 5.
    So far one challenger, Village Treasurer Steve Johnson, has said he plans to run and that would be in District 2, currently occupied by Tammen.
    There will be a primary election Feb. 24, 2015, only if there are five or more candidates for any of those offices. If not, the general election will be held April 7.
    Beck is wrapping up his first term as a trustee.
    He and his campaign team were expected to be out last weekend, collecting the needed 27 signatures on nominating petitions.
    "I think I've represented the district well over the past 3 1/2 years," he said. And when it comes time to campaigning for re-election, he said, "I think people will remember the work I've done on their behalf when I'm at their door."
    He cited road improvements in District 6 as an example of work that was done during his first term in office. "I have tried to be a voice of reason," he said. "I think the village is moving in a positive way."
    Tammen also is finishing her first term, having won election by defeating longtime incumbent Jerry Lemmons.
    "I enjoy what I do," she said. "I enjoy the interraction with residents. I still go out and personally see what residents are talking about, to see what they're concerned about. I feel I'm a community advocate, not a politician."
    Yoe said after a recent board meeting that he made it known one year ago that he would not be a candidate for re-election. After being appointed to fill an unexpired term, he was elected to a four-year seat in 2011. Now, he said it was time for someone new to be representing District 5.
    Johnson said he decided to run because he believes he would be a good advocate for the village of Machesney Park.
    "I'd like to have a vote on the way the village is going to go," he said further. "This is an important time for the villkage in that regard."
    He said he would have to give up being village treasurer, but added that he would continue to keep an eye on the village's financial condition.
    It was a relatively controversy-free term, except for 2012 when the board voted 4-3 to approve a 5 percent utility tax. Former Trustee Steve Johnson in District 3 along with Beck, Tammen and Yoe voted in favor of the tax, which caused angry outbursts at the meeting when where final approval was given.
    The issue has drawn little interest since that time.
    Mayor Jerry Bolin kept his campaign promise by bringing the matter back to the board. In February 2014, he entertained a motion to have an advisory referendum on continuing the tax. Trustee James Kidd offered such a motion but it died for lack of a second.
    Kidd tried in September to have trustees discuss the future of the tax and asked for their feedback over the next month, with dialogue in October. But he said he did not receive any response.
    Earlier, an attempted petition drive by some residents to put the issue to referendum failed to get enough signatures.
    During the 2013-14 fiscal year the utility tax generated $1.243 million for road improvements. In contract, rebates totaling $1,746 were provided to qualified property owners to offset the cost of the tax.

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    Harlem's Choraleers a presence around the Parks area
    Nov. 13, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    LOVES PARK - The Choraleers practice daily in the Vocal Music room at Harlem High School. Before and after school hours, the 45 boys and girls who comprise this busy group may be found just about anywhere in the Parks area.
    Most recently they performed at the Field of Honor, next to Loves Park City Hall, on Veterans Day. Next up will be their Christmas concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 in the Viviene Peterson Auditorium at the high school.
    There will be a special Kaleidoscope concert at 7 p.m. Feb. 28, 2015, in the high school gymnasium, when every musical group in Harlem School District 122 will perform one selection.
    The Choraleers made their first appearance at a monthly breakfast of the Harlemites on Nov. 3 at VFW Post 9759 in Loves Park. They offered a variety of tunes including "Love's an Open Door," " I Can Go the Distance" and "Let it Go.'
    This is a group that combines singing with continuous motion. Sometimes the entire assembly is singing, other times it's a duet or a quartet.
    Selections range from Broadway shows, to Pop to more traditional music.
    Once known as an a cappella choir, the Choraleers has been around for a long time and is considered the top mixed, large choir at the high school.
    Auditions are highly competitive and usually number between 80 and 100, with 45 to 50 making the cut.
    Kathryn Broaddus is in her sixth year as director.
    Sophomore alto Jessi Krueger is one of the newer members of Choraleers, having joined two years ago. Her older sister, Hannah, sang with the group.
    The audition was "a little bit nerve wracking," she remembered, "but not too bad." While she felt being part of the choir would be enjoyable, it has wound up being better than she thought it would be.
    Also on dance team
    One who always has been interested in the arts, Jessi also is a member of Harlem's dance team and is in her seventh year of dancing. In addition, she hopes to be in the upcoming spring musical.
    Nick Johnson, a senior, has been around theater and music for many years, starting with the Fine Arts Academy at Machesney Elementary School. He has sung in many different choirs, including those at his church.
    "It (singing) feels comfortable for me, like I'm at home, almost," he said. "It's a perfect fit; I just fell into it."
    Singing lessons only came recently.
    "I feel you can always improve," he said of why he decided to go that route. "I have learned something new from everything I've been involved with."
    With graduation on the horizon, Nick said the fact this is his last year at Harlem hasn't quite set in yet. "It's liberating and sad at the time," he said.
    Of colleges, he said he's looking nearby and out of the area. "I will continue in theater and may end up majoring or minoring in that," he said.
    Another senior, Connor Johnson, no relation to Nick, has been singing since he was 5 years old and was part of the Rock Valley Children's Choir for eight years.
    He plans to participate in the spring musical, which will mean he's been in each of them during his four years at Harlem. He plans to join Nick and others from Harlem in auditioning for "Wizard of Oz," coming up at Studio.
    "I don't do plays," Connor said. "I like musicals; they're more fun. You get to act, sing and dance at the same time." He, too, started taking voice lessons two years ago from Sandra Cain, former vocal music director at Harlem.
    His post-graduation plans include looking at business or business/finance as possible majors in college. And he wants to continue to be involved with music.
    Right now he's considering the University of Wisconsin in Madison and DePaul University in Chicago.

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    Food for the Hungry Drive kicks off in Machesney Park
    Nov. 13, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - For the 46th year, the Food for the Hungry Drive is under way in Winnebago County.
    Sponsored by the Salvation Army and others, the effort started Nov. 3 with a proclamation issued by Machesney Park Mayor Jerry D. Bolin. It will continue through Dec. 12.
    Other sponsors are Kelley Williamson Mobil, Lamar Outdoor Advertisinig, Menasha Corporation, Maverick Media, Rockford Organized Labor and Rockford Public School District 205.
    The drive was described as one that benefits "those area families in need through the unselfish donation of canned goods and other non-perishable items by a concerned community ..."
    Donations of food may be made at village hall, 300 Roosevelt Road, at area businesses, churches, most public and private schools and at all Salvation Army locations around the county.
    Registration for the program begins Dec. 1 and will continue through Dec. 5 at various Army offices.
    Retired Lt. Col. Harry Smith, a former Salvation Army officer who now lives at Wesley Willows, accepted the proclamation Nov. 3 on behalf of the faith-based organization.
    Dollye Kozel, community relations director, said 3,000 families, or about 12,000 individuals in all, benefit from the food drive. School District 205 students bring in half of the food that is collected during this time, she said.
    Local labor unions have volunteered to sort through all the food that is received.
    In addition, the familiar Salvation Army kettles are out for what is the Army's biggest fund-raiser of the year. Kozel said this year's goal is $210,000.
    Bells will continue to be rung by volunteers until Christmas Eve.
    Parade, tree lighting
    The holiday season is a busy one in the Parks, with the annual chamber of commerce parade set to begin at 4:45 p.m. Nov. 23 on Clifford Avenue, off Riverside Blvd. It will turn onto Elm Avenue and continue north to the Machesney Towne Center, where it will disband.
    The Machesney Park tree lighting will follow - featuring a new, larger tree - in front of the Towne Center, formerly the Machesney Park Mall off North Second Street.
    In addition, Mayor Bolin reminded that the annual toy drive was under way.
    New, unwrapped toys may be dropped off at village hall and at some local businesses for distribution in mid-December at North Park Church of Christ on Elm Avenue.
    The drive was started by former Machesney Park Mayor Tom Strickland in cooperation with the church and adjacent Helping Hands Food Pantry.
    Harlem Township also is having its annual toy drive, conducted in concert with the Harlem High School Student Council and Harlem Middle School. Students will do the shopping and have a large display of toys in the lobby at the high school, before the treasure trove is delivered to the township office for distribution.

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    Same play, differing casts, next two weekends at Harlem
    Nov. 13, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - "Pride and Prejudice" will be performed this weekend (Nov. 7-8) and again Nov. 14-15 in the Vivienne Peterson Auditorium at Harlem HIgh School.
    It's fall play time again but this year the scenario is a bit different.
    The freshman-sophomore play will be this Friday and Saturday, with performances at 7 p.m. Then the junior-senior play will be put on the following Friday and Saturday, with performances also at 7 p.m.
    Juniors and seniors will be performing in the frosh-soph play and vice versa.
    Cost is the same for both: $7 for adults and $3 for senior citizens and students.
    "Pride and Prejudice" was written by Jane Austin in the early 1880s. The work was published anonymously because the subject matter was considered controversial and because authors of that time only were men.
    It tells the story of a time when a family with daughters lost its property to another relative if the girls weren't married by a certain age. This family has five daughters, all facing such a prospect if they don't take a husband.
    Christopher Engler and his wife, Kelly, are co-directors for both plays. He teaches at Harlem's freshman campus while she is an instructor at the main campus.
    He said "Pride and Prejudice" was chosen for this year's production because they "try to expose the kids to classic literature." In addition, Austin is his wife's favorite author, he said.
    Different kind of role
    Senior Blake Brewer portrays the father, the bread winner and responsible for seeing that his daughters find husbands.
    No stranger to the stage, he has been in three plays and one musical so far.
    "Portraying a character different than yourself and becoming that character" is something he said he enjoys. Being a villain is his favorite role because that's "the farthest from my personality."
    The father in "Pride and Prejudice" isn't villainous, though he does become upset with his wife (Bethany Noto) because of her "reactions to the littlest things." She's a bi-polar type as opposed to her more laid-back husband, he related.
    Blake is looking at attending either Bradley University or the Schaumburg Art Institute after graduation in May 2015. Either would be acceptable, he said, because he plans to remain in the fine arts field.
    Sophomore Ashley Werland has been on stage and behind the curtain since becoming involved with theater as an eighth-grader.
    This year she wasn't cast and while initially that was a disappointment, she has found the variety associated with stage crew as being a pleasant alternative. Beyond that, she said she was "not a fan of old English," which is the language of choice in the play.
    Co-director Christopher Engler said she was involved with "all things non-lighting."
    Earlier she added details to dresses that Kelly Engler made from scratch for the play.
    "I love anything that has to do with sewing and crafting," she said. "I like to make things, little bits of art, mainly jewelry."
    Now she can be found with script in hand, prompting an actor or actress, who has forgotten a line during rehearsal.
    With two years left at Harlem, she said she wants to make theater "a high school thing" and not continue after graduation.
    She does plan to try out for a part in the spring musical. "I enjoy fame, who doesn't?" she said of entertaining an audience. "But if I'm not cast, I will help out backstage." 

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    Machesney Park Clerk Lori Mitchell re-elected President of the Municipal Clerks of Illinois
    Oct. 30, 2014
    SPRINGFIELD – Machesney Park’s Village Clerk, Lori Mitchell, attended the Municipal Clerks of Illinois Institute and Academy in Springfield recently. The conference was attended by more than 160 Municipal Clerks from around the state who participated in this week-long educational seminar.
    This Institute and Academy provides Municipal Clerks the opportunity to learn and work together toward certification. The topics presented and the networking opportunities made this a most exciting learning experience.
    The long days began at 6 a.m. with breakfast and classes; and concluded late in the evening following networking opportunities. By Friday, most participants were exhausted and on brain-overload. 
    As President of MCI, Lori attended the Institute Classes along with the Year 1-2-3 Clerks and concluded her week with Academy Classes with seasoned Clerks.
    Lori has been through the certification process, having received her Registered Municipal Clerk Certification (RMC), her Certified Municipal Clerk Certification (CMC) and her Master Municipal Clerk Certification (MMC).
    This is an arduous process that requires three years of intense study just to receive one’s RMC. Once Certification is achieved, the educational opportunities continue with quarterly educational seminars along with regional meetings and the yearly international institute. Lori is thrilled to continue to learn and bring that education back to the Village to benefit the elected officials, staff, and residents and in Machesney Park.
    While in Springfield, Lori coordinated and moderated MCI’s Annual Meeting and Election of Officers for 2015.She was unanimously re-elected President of the organization.
    In addition to Lori, other local Municipal Clerks attending this Institute and Academy included Loves Park City Clerk, Bob Burden; Poplar Grove Village Clerk, Martha Suhr; and Rockton’s newly appointed Village Clerk, Chris Stewart.
    Mitchell thanks the community for the chance to participate in these educational and networking opportunities.Through her service as President of MCI, Lori feels she is helping her community and is working toward putting Machesney Park on the Illinois Municipal Map.

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    School buses look the same, but technology brings changes
    Oct. 30, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - School buses that are on the road this year look similar to the ones that transported parents of today's teen-agers. But what's on the inside is another matter altogether.
    Technological improvements, especially over the past 10 years, have increased the amount of information available to people such as Don West, transportation director for Harlem School District 122.
    Cameras, global positioning systems (GPS), you name it, all in the interests of keeping students and bus drivers safe and in providing information as to what's going on while thousands of young people are moved from one point to another and back again.
    Now, each the district's 75 buses has a camera on it. Same goes for GPS systems. But when it comes to the GPS, it's not just about finding a location. "It's so we know where buses are and where they've been," West explained.
    That stemmed from the off-season tornado in November 2010, which skipped through Caledonia and along the north side of Illinois 173.
    A bus on Harlem Road, near Argyle Road, overturned and there was confusion as to whose bus it was. In addition to District 122, Rockford School District 205 and Belvidere Community Unit School District 100 also operates buses in that area.
    Now all of the cameras in District 122 buses work. A district mechanic figured a way to connect the cameras with the GPS system, which tells district officials which cameras are functioning.
    In the past some school districts would have cameras on all buses but only a small number of them actually recorded what was going on. Not so in District 122.
    Tells a story
    In addition to locating a bus, West said a GPS system also will report how fast one has been going. Sometimes a resident will report a bus for appearing to speed down a residential street. The GPS will tell if that's true.
    "More often than not they aren't speeding," the director said.
    Future improvements could include installation of a camera on the stop arm, which is in the front end of each bus, to record when motorists drive past them.
    "We get that quite a bit during the year," he said of impatient drivers, who run the risk of endangering the life of a child who happens to be crossing the street.
    The city of Chicago has installed red-light cameras on some buses, which record the license plate number of a violator. The citation then is mailed to the owner of the offending vehicle.
    West said District 122 is working with District 205 and the Winnebago school system on possibly doing some of those improvements together. But don't look for any of that to happen in the next couple of years.
    The District 122 transportation department has 115 employees including drivers, bus assistants and mechanics.
    "They're busy all the time even though this is a fairly new fleet," he said of the three mechanics. Buses are replaced on the basis of age, not mileage, and having units with 100,000 miles or more on them is not unusual.
    "It's more of a salt issue than age," he said of why buses are retired. "I believe the quality (of workmanship) has improved."
    Buses work in two daily shifts. The morning tour can start as early as 7 a.m. and usually concludes by 8:30 a.m. Afternoon routes run from 2:15 until 4:30 p.m. After-school activity trips bring buses back around 5:30 p.m. at the latest, with some evening sporting events not ending until 10 p.m. or so.
    After-school work is a perk and West said to be eilgible, a driver must have been with the district for at least two years.

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    City Council observes Domestic Violence Awareness Month
    Oct. 30, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – October is “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” in the city of Loves Park. Mayor Darryl Lindberg read a proclamation and presented it to 17th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Rosemary Collins during the Oct. 20 Loves Park City Council meeting.
    Some area facts include - through the Rockford Police Department, 3,859 domestic related offences were listed in 2013 with 905 total number of domestic related arrests.
    From the Winnebago County Sheriff’s office (including Machesney Park), there were 1,808 domestic related offences last year and 276 domestic related arrests. In Belvidere, there were 580 domestic violence calls in 2013 and 71 domestic related arrests.
    Lindberg and Collins both noted, “one in every four women will experience domestic violence in a lifetime.”
    In Illinois it is estimated that a domestic violence incident is reported every four minutes, 12 seconds.
    Eighty-five percent of victims are women, usually at the hands of someone they know. There is physical and emotional abuse.
    Also, most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police. Additionally, 30-60 percent of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household.
    Along the lines of abuse, one in 12 women, and one in 45 men have been stalked in their lifetime.
    Information provided by Judge Collins states, “If you suspect a friend or family member is in an abusive relationship, talking with them about it can be hard.
    The most important thing you can do is to let them know that they have support and options to leave the relationship. It’s important to remember that you can’t ‘rescue’ your friend (or relative) from an abusive relationship.
    Although it is hard to see someone you care about get hurt, ultimately the person being hurt needs to be the one who decides to do something about it. It’s important to support and help that person find their way to safety.”
    There are a number of avenues of help out there for people. Children’s Safe Harbor (supervised visitation and visitation exchange) at 220 S. Madison on Rockford’s near east side provides a safe place to exchange children for visitation or for supervised visitation.
    Its mission “is to lessen the harmful effects of domestic violence for both adult and child victims by creating a supervised visitation and visitation exchange program that is a safe and supportive environment in which abusive behavior is acknowledged, while promoting relationships between parents and children without risk of fear, intimidation and post-separation abuse.” The phone number is (815) 316-7772.
    A 24-hour domestic violence hotline called “Remedies” is also available at (815) 962- 6102 or go to for information. “Remedies  offers case management, education, advocacy, and emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence. All Remedies’ domestic violence services are free.”
    Remedies is a non-profit agency and helps over 1,500 area victims and their children of domestic violence every year.  There is also a Belvidere phone number, which is (815) 544-1866.
    In other business, Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of Oct. 12-18. There were 411 calls for service, 203 arrests, and 12 accidents reported.
    On the weekly fire department report a total of one public service call, one natural gas leak call, and one assist police call were reported.
    Aldermen approved payment of $11,083.88 in water fund bills, and $54,876.63 in general fund and all other bills, as presented Oct. 13.
    A resolution authorizing Fire Chief Phil Foley to spend the remainder of a $65,000 grant was approved. To date, $33,494 has been spent.
    Now $7,800 for windows, $7,800 for blinds, and $4,153 for furniture at Fire Station No. 1 will be utilized, plus $11,981 for furniture, and $6,191 on overhead doors at Fire Station No. 2 will be covered.
    A resolution okaying the purchase of new carpet for the newly named Alderman Richard Brinker Community Room in the city hall complex was passed. Carpet One will remove and dispose of the old carpet and install new carpet at a negotiated bid price of $4,531.
    A resolution authorizing professional engineering services for the extension of Interstate Blvd. and application to the IDOT EDP/TARP Program was passed for Fehr Graham Consulting Engineers to do civil engineering design at a cost not to exceed $93,050, and construction engineering services at a cost of $141,366.
    A resolution authorizing professional engineering services for modification to Water Wells Nos. 4, 5 and 6 at a cost not to exceed $28,900 was approved.
    Deputy Chief Mike McCammond addressed aldermen about the new police department website. There is a link to it from the City of Loves Park website, otherwise go to
    McCammond explained that this would allow for interaction between residents and police. Tips can also be left anonymously at the site. In the first five days of operation, 624 hits were recorded.
    Mayor Lindberg said the fire department is next for its own website.

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    Ralston School celebrates end of chemo for classmate Samantha Roberson
    Oct. 30, 2014
    By Melanie Bradley
    MACHESNEY PARK – Ralston Elementary School students and staff organized a special "Samantha Day" celebration for fifth grader Samantha Roberson on Friday, Oct. 17 prior to her 40th and final chemotherapy treatment on the following Monday.
    Samantha, 11, a student in Natalie Sommers' class, was diagnosed with Embryonal Rhabdomyo Sarcoma, a bone and muscle cancer, about a year ago. She's been fighting it with the spirit of courage and with a smile on her face ever since.
    She is the daughter of Rick and Karen Roberson.
    Samantha attends classes two or three days a week and has undergone radiation and chemotherapy treatments other days.
    "We want her to how how much the community and everyone here at school admires her strength during the very long struggle she has had to deal with over the past year," wrote Sommers in an invitation to the media to Samantha Day.
    Samantha knew something was going on that day at school, but she didn't know exactly what.
    All of the students received a blue helium-filled balloon, and each class marched through a line of police, firefighters and friends out into the school yard and formed a heart shape.
    Samantha was the last student to come out of the school and was overwhelmed by what she saw. She was greeted at the exit door by members of the cancer support group Pink Heals, who presented her with two bouquets of flowers.
    The walk through the supporters took her out to the group of students, where Principal Jason Blume greeted her and the group and said a few words about her bravery.
    Next, Machesney Park Mayor Jerry Bolin took the microphone.
    "I'm here to recognize a very special person in our community," he said. "This individual certainly is an inspiration to all ages. The bravery, the positive attitude, the fighting spirit, and never giving up hope. These are all the characteristics, testimony and inspiration that Samantha lives and gives to each and every one of us today.
    "Her teacher praises her saying 'She gives 110 percent all the time, and she's been my guiding light and has given me the ambition to come to work each day.'"
    He then presented her with a certificate of bravery from the Village of Machesney Park.
    "This certifies that Samantha Roberson is the bravest girl in the world," it said. "Bravery isn't measured in  action alone. It is believing in oneself that allows you to accomplish anything."
    Following a huge applause from the group, Administrative Assistant/Deputy Clerk Penny Olson then presented Samantha with a large gift basket.
    Principal Blume also presented a gift card to the family from the Loves Park Police Department.
    "This is a great symbol of this community, to come together to celebrate one of our own," Blume said. "It says a lot about the community we live in."
    Then it was the moment the children had been looking forward to, the release of hundreds of blue balloons. The royal blue color was chosen for two reasons, because it is Samantha's favorite color and because it's Ralston School color.
    The celebration wrapped up with a parade around the school's walking path, with Samantha leading the way in a vintage convertible Camaro, followed by Pink Heals motorcycles and a car and hundreds of students.

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    Fire Chief Phil Foley chosen Parks Chamber ‘Volunteer of the Year’
    Oct. 23, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – During the Loves Park City Council meeting Oct. 13, Mayor Darryl Lindberg congratulated Fire Chief Phil Foley for being chosen as the “Volunteer of the Year” at the Parks Chamber Annual Dinner event Oct. 9. Additionally, Lindberg noted that the Harlem School District was named “Business of the Year.”
    Alderman Clint Little also praised the department’s firefighters for the many volunteer hours they put in each year teaching fire safety to youngsters and assisting with various city events.
    The Annual Fire Association’s Pancake Breakfast is set for Sunday, Nov. 2 in the Alderman Richard Brinker Community Room in the city hall complex. Tickets are $5.
    Lindberg informed the council that the community development office was closed Oct. 13 due to a water leak.
    “A restoration company was called in, fans are going. Carpet will most likely have to be replaced. Insurance adjustors are due this week to look at the situation,” he said.
    Alderman Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of Oct. 5-11. There were 386 calls for service, 272 arrests, and 13 accidents reported. On the weekly fire department report dated Oct. 12, two fire calls, two false fire alarm calls, and two mutual aid calls were reported.
    City Clerk Bob Burden reported that the city had received $48,335.30 from the Illinois Department of Transportation for Motor Fuel Tax funds for the month of September.
    Aldermen approved an ordinance, second reading, for “an addendum to the MABAS Agreement (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System).
    Lindberg reminded the council that trick or treat hours in the city on Halloween, Oct. 31, would be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
    He also said citywide vacuuming did begin Oct. 13. Residents can call the clerk’s or the mayor’s office to see when their area is scheduled.

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    State’s Attorney Bruscato talks to kids about bullying in schools
    Oct. 23, 2014
    By Melanie Bradley
    LOVES PARK – Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato spoke to a large group of students about the problem of bullying on Wednesday, Oct. 15 at Loves Park City Hall.
    The presentation was part of the anti-drug Red Ribbon Week activities that will culminate this weekend at Boylan Catholic High School with a Wellness Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    The fair is designed to help educate youth on the many health concerns that can affect them and others in the community.
    Students from Rockford Catholic schools, St. Bridget’s Catholic School, Belvidere Middle School and Pecatonica Middle School were in attendance when Bruscato spoke last Wednesday.
    He opened the talk with a story about a boy who loved to learn, however, he was being tormented at school on a daily basis by other students, who called him names, shoved him around, etc.
    One day such an incident took place, and he dropped his books and eyeglasses. An athlete at the school who witnessed what had happened stopped to help.
    “There’s nothing you can do,” the bullied youth told his newfound friend. “They do this to me every day.”
    Their friendship grew, and when graduation day came, the bullied victim became the valedictorian of their school. In his address to the class, he talked about his good friend and the day they had met.
    He shared that on that day, he had decided to go home and take his own life, but one thing changed the direction of his life.
    “The moral of the story is that the impact of bullying is great, but the impact of helping is greater,” Bruscato said.
    Bruscato went on to discuss the various ways bullying occurs, not just at school but in social networks as well. Name calling and embarrassing insults are most common, but many times it also becomes physical.
    He pointed out that the escalation of bullying can lead to criminal charges. Bruscato shared some statistics about bullying.
    He said that 160,000 teenagers skip school daily to avoid bullying. Seventy-one percent of students say bullying is a problem at their schools.
    One in 10 students will drop out of school because of the problem, he said, which leads to more problems later in life, when without a good education, young adults are unable to earn a good living wage.
    Seventy-seven percent of students say they’ve experienced bullying. One in five admit to cyber-bullying others, and 43 percent report being cyber bullied, however, Bruscato believes that figure is actually higher.
    Bruscato said that when he was growing up, the attitude toward bullying was “It’s a part of growing up,” but that perception is changing.
    “People care now and understand the impact of bullying,” he said. “Find someone you trust that will help you. Talk to your parents, teachers, counselors, and find that trust point.”
    He also advised them to ignore the bullies when possible, and not to reveal personal information on social media. Never share passwords.
    Bruscato concluded his talk by pointing out that bullying occurs in all age groups, citing the problem between two Miami Dolphins football players that came to light last year.

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    Harlem High seniors look to rule homecoming - again
    Oct. 16, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - The beginning of their last year as Harlem High School students has begun, with the Homecoming celebration that's going on right now a highlight of the fall. It's an event in which the seniors have excelled for a long time.
    Now the Class of 2015 is about making sure they keep that tradition alive.
    Being the class with the most Spirit Points is a top priority. And with that comes having the best float. But the Junior Class is lurking in the shadows, plotting to be the primary presence when all is said and done.
    High on their priority list was winning the power puff football game, which was played Tuesday night on the new artificial turf field at Clyde F. Peterson Stadium.
    Junior Class President Chase Taylor was the head coach and his plan was to stop the Seniors' fabled running attack, led by soccer standout Emily Scott.
    "We will shut her down," he predicted. Results were not available at presstime.
    This year's Homecoming theme is Joke's on the J-Hawks, nickname for Rockford Jefferson, which will be Friday night's opponent for Harlem's sophomore and varsity football teams. The Juniors' float has a giant Huskie controlling a puppet dressed as a J-Hawk.
    Chase said the Class of 2016 is an active one and he expects it to win most of the events at the Mini-Olympics, which will be held tonight as part of the annual pep assembly.
    The senior class float was built nearby, also with a giant Huskie. This one was using a sling shot to tame a J-Hawk.
    "As seniors, we take this seriously," said Paige Gors, at whose home the float was put together last Saturday and Sunday.
    Freshman year is just fun, she said. Sophomores would like to have the best float, but aren't there yet. Juniors want to outshine the seniors and once students become seniors, well, they just have to be the best. "This is our last year," she said.
    Winning the float competition is important because that activity carries a lot of Spirit Points. "Seniors have won for at least six or seven years," Paige said. "So we have to keep up the tradition. The underclassmen want to win but the seniors get it done every year."
    Another senior, Brandon Benehoff, said Homecoming week is filled with a variety of activities such as dress up days.
    Tonight (Thursday) is another of the week's highlights with the pep assembly, crowning of the king and queen and the mini-Olympics. Friday, between the sophomore and varsity football games, the winner of the float competition will be announced, along with this year's Spirit Points champion.
    "The seniors usually win," Brandon said. There's more participation because "you only live high school once."
    Harlem's Dog Pound cheering section will be a presence Friday night, with all participants dressed in black and ready for a win. "We have a lot of confetti that needs to be shot off so we're hoping for a lot of touchdowns," said Jacob Polhill, president of the Senior Class.

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    Parks Chamber celebrates successes at annual dinner
    Oct. 16, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    LOVES PARK - Inclement weather notwithstanding, it had been a good year in Loves Park and Machesney Park.
    Members of the Parks Chamber of Commerce celebrated the successes of that time during their annual dinner Thursday night (Oct. 9) at the Forest Hills Country Club.
    While the winter of 2013-14 was bitterly cold, with more than enough snow, Mother Nature smiled on the 43rd Young at Heart festival Memorial Day weekend. In fact, it turned out to be a record event for the chamber.
    Chamber President Tammy Scott said the organization initially planned to give Harlem School District 122 a check for $10,000 toward its $700,000 artificial turf campaign. Given the success of Young at Heart, she was able to give Superintendent Julie Morris a check for $20,000 during the dinner.
    Putting an artificial surface on the multi-use field at Clyde F. Peterson Stadium, on the campus of Harlem High School, was one of the big successes so far this year.
    School Athletic Director Kurt Weigt remembered organizers "went public" with their plans one year ago, at the chamber annual dinner. At that point $426,000 had been raised for the project.
    So far, public and private support has generated $647,000 with $47,000 left to raise. "We wanted to build a sense of pride in the community," he said. "I think we accomplished that."
    Two of the primary financial contributors were Anderson Auto Group and the Harlem Fans Club, he said.
    Ribbon cutting for the newly crowned field was held Sept. 5, before the start of the varsity football game against Rockford East.
    Annual award winners
    There was more in store for District 122 at the dinner.
    Chamber Executive Director Diana Johnson said the organization once again would be giving two college scholarships, for $2,000 and $500, to Harlem High School seniors.
    And the high school was selected as the chamber's Business of the Year, with Scott presenting a plaque to Morris, school board President Heather Kelley and district stakeholder engagement Director Cathy Martin.
    That announcement was made by Doug Scott, chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission and husband of the chamber president, who served as master of ceremonies for the evening.
    He talked about the district being "a community cornerstone" since its founding in 1911. It has earned national recognition for its community involvement, from the nine elementary schools, the middle school and the high school.
    The high school's veterans documentary program was mentioned, through which interviews with veterans are video taped so their memories are preserved for all time. It started five years ago with World War II veterans and now has been expanded to those who served in the Korean War.
    Loves Park Fire Chief Phil Foley was honored as the chamber's Volunteer of the Year, for all of his work in the Parks area. That award was presented by Loves Park Alderman Greg Jury.
    He said Foley started a 40-year career in firefighting as a volunteer in 1965. He rose through the ranks to becoming chief in 1999.
    Foley received a standing ovation as he made his way to the podium, where he was given his plaque of recognition.

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    Loves Park honors late alderman Dick Brinker
    Oct. 9, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK - Former 3rd Ward Alderman Richard O. Brinker served on the Loves Park City Council for 36 years. He retired from that position in April of 2013 and passed away this past April.
    Mayor Darryl Lindberg recalls that his friendship with Brinker went back to the days when Lindberg was police chief. When Lindberg was elected mayor he appointed Brinker to the Finance and Administration Committee.
    On Sept. 29, the city dedicated the Loves Park City Complex cafeteria to the memory of Brinker, naming it the "Alderman Richard Brinker Room." Gloria Brinker, his widow, and other family members were on hand for the unveiling of the plaque.
    As written at the time of Brinker's passing, "He graduated from Rockford East High School in 1952, and Gloria, a Loves Park native, graduated from Harlem High School in 1954. The two met at a friend's wedding and were married in 1956.
    'We lived in Rockford for a year,' then, 'and moved to our current home (in Loves Park) in 1957,” said Gloria.
    The Brinkers had three children; daughter Darla Peterson (Eric), and sons Dale (Deb) and Dennis (Judy). There are seven grandchildren and one step-grandchild. Dale and Deb live in Antioch; Dennis and Judy live in Fishers, Ind.; and Darla and Eric are Rockford residents.
    Brinker retired from Chrysler skilled trades in 1995 and had said that he never considered running for public office. Some 38 years ago, however, Gloria recalled four men coming to see her husband about running for alderman. Dick gave it a try and won.
    There were many highlights Brinker recalled in his 36 years on the council. Some of those include: when Loves Park annexed Rock Cut State Park; the flood control project, a major undertaking, which Dick recalled "seemed like years to complete; "turning the old Marshall Junior High into the Loves Park City Hall complex; and bringing Napleton's into the city. He also had a good sense of humor, being known on St. Patrick's Day as "Dick O'Brinker."

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    Village to borrow money to accelerate road improvements
    Oct. 9, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - The cost of improving roads is increasing so village officials are looking at borrowing more than $3 million to speed up their road construction program, so they address as many needs as quickly as possible.
    Village Administrator Tim Savage explained since 2010, the second year of the Build Machesney program, officials have prioritized work based on pavement condition and drainage system access. Those in most need were reconstructed as rapidly as annual revenue would allow.
    For the first five years of Build Machesney, which coincided with the ongoing economic downturn, he said the village enjoyed relatively stable costs for the improvements.
    "On average, the year over year inflationary increases per mile of roadway completed was low compared to the increases the industry saw in the early 2000s," he said.
    Now that is changing.
    With the improved economy and related increase in construction activity, the village has begun to see construction pricing out-pace core inflation several fold, he said.
    He added that a conservative analysis of competitive bid results comparing last year to the current construction season show a cost increase of 14 percent.
    "While we do not foresee extreme increases like this each year going forward, we do see pricing on average increasing by at leat 5 percent annually," Savage said.
    "For example, the cost index published by the Engineering News Record shows Chicago-area pricing to be increasing at 5.4 percent annually."
    Given all that, staff is recommending an acceleration of the road improvement program in 2015. That would be accomplished by borrowing between $3 million and $3 1/2 million, due to a favorable lending market with rates around 3 percent annually.
    The next step is for the village board to direct the engineering firm to begin planning what work will be done. Then a borrowing package will be prepared for discussion early in 2015, with repayment not to exceed five years, or the balance of the life of Phase II of Build Machesney.
    Village Engineer Chris Dopkins said this approach would allow the village to essentially have resurfaced all of its streets by the end of 2017.
    A lot of surveying now needs to be done "before the snow flies," he said. "We want to bid projects early next year."
    Both the administration and finance (A&F) and public improvement and safety committees have recommended approval of borrowing the money and accelerating the construction program.
    A&F committee member Tom Yoe, who's also on the village board, said strongly supported the program as outlined by the administrator.
    "Economically, it makes sense," he said, adding that the village will likely will save money by going this route.

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    Korean War veterans bring special gifts to Machesney Park
    Sept. 25, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - About 11 months ago two veterans of the Korean War appeared before the village board with a special request.
    They were looking for financial assistance to bring commemorative medals from South Korea to the United States, in remembrance of the 60th anniversary of the end of the war.
    Coincidentally, the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers were scheduled to play football on Nov. 4, the same night as the next bimonthly meeting of the board. Staff members would be allowed to wear items of clothing to work that day, and to the meeting, showing their support for one of those teams.
    That privilege would cost participants $10 each, with proceeds going toward a fund established by the local Korean War Veterans Association to help bring the medals to this country.
    And so the medals did arive, nation-wide and locally, with each of the 82 members of the association receiving one.
    In a follow-up veteran Warren Ramsey, commander of association Post 272, returned to village hall Sept. 15. He was accompanied by the deputy commander, Bruce McDonald, and Machesney Park resident Arnie Cabello, recruiting liaison officer.
    Ramsey presented one of the medals to Mayor Jerry Bolin, along with a certificate of gratitude from the South Korean government for helping restore freedom to their country.
    In addition, he gave the mayor a copy of the 60th anniversary book, Korea Reborn, for placement in the local library.
    "Truly, it is an honor to receive this on behalf of the village," Bolin said. To the three men, he added, "But it is you who deserve the honor."
    The Korean War lasted 37 months, from 1950-53, with 32,000 American soldiers losing their lives. That compares with 35,000 deaths during the 11 years of the Vietnam War.
    Also Sept. 15, Bolin proclaimed that day as Tayato Thew Day in the village in recognition of the summertime achievement of the Harlem High School senior.
    He joined 35 other students from across the nation who gathered at Aberdeen, Md. for a week of hands-on research focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
    Members of Tayato's family were at the board meeting to hear the proclamation read and witness the mayor presenting him with a copy.
    In other business at the meeting the board:
    * Heard Public Safety Coordinator Rocco Wagner report that from Aug. 29 to Sept. 11 Winnebago County sheriff's deputies responded to 777 calls for service, made 180 traffic arrests, four of them for DUI, and 51 criminal arrests.
    * Heard Trustee Robbin Snodgrass congratulate Trustee Erick Beck and his wife, Pat, on celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.
    * Heard Village Treasurer Steve Johnson report Machesney Park's fund balance, or savings, had increased to $5.8 million during the 2013-14 fiscal year, which ended April 30.
    The general fund, which pays for day-to-day operation of the villkage, grew by $328,000 during that time, he said, showing that the village is in excellent financial condition.

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    Noodles coming to town; separated patio prompts debate
    Sept. 25, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Noodles Company plans to open a restaurant later in October in the Machesney Crossing shopping center at Illinois 251 and 173.
    General Manager Dean Merath from Milton, Wis., appeared before the village's liquor commission Sept. 15.
    He received a 4-1 recommendation for approval of Class C and Class P beer and wine licenses. Commissioner Erick Beck voted no.
    Class C allows consumption of those beverages in the restaurant. Class P allows consumption on a patio. But it was the patio, which would be located a short distance from the restaurant, that prompted limited debate among commissioners.
    Carrie Houston, the village's planning and zoning coordinator, was the first to express concern about the patio not being attached to the restaurant.
    Beck asked what would be done to prohibit people under 21 years of age from being in the patio area? And what about customers leaving the patio, drinks in hand? Merath said a Noodles employee would be out there "all the time."
    "Noodles' management will have to be vigilant," Village Attorney Tom Green said, providing additional emphasis to the concern. If underage drinking occurs in the patio area, the restaurant's liquor license would be at risk, he said.
    Still, Beck said, "I am opposed to these open-type scenarios. I will vote no for that reason."
    Liquor Commissioner Jerry Bolin said there would be a railing all the way around the patio. He asked if Merath knew how high it would be?
    "It's not indicated on the site plan," Houston said.
    Merath did not have that information.
    "I understand where Commissioner Beck is coming from," Bolin said. "There are the same type facilities in Chicago and I have not seen any problems in the time I've been around there. I have mixed emotions about it; I have concerns. But attorney Green made it very clear."
    Houston said the request complies with the comprehensive plan, which calls for corridor commercial uses on that property.
    While staff recommended approval of the request, the following conditions were attached and ultimately accepted by the liquor commission:
    1. Signs shall be displayed in the outdoor area stating that "no alcoholic drinks are allowed past this point," or that "alcoholic drinks may not be removed from the outdoor patio."
    2. Customers may not transort alcoholic beverages to the outdoor patio area. Noodles wait staff shall bring these drinks and service them to the customers seated in the patio.
    3. The patio must conform to the site plan drafted by Chiplan Design on April 28, 2014, which was submitted as part of the liquor license application.
    Village board action is expected at the Oct. 6 meeting.
    Merath said the restaurant is expected to open Oct. 26 or 28. It would serve 66 individuals indoors, with seating for 18 on the patio. Hours of operation would be 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily.
    Noodles is joining Kay's Jewelers in a new, three-tenant building at 1247 West Lane Road (Route 173), located next door to Taco Bell.

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    City of Loves Park to name a new police sergeant
    Sept. 18, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – At the Sept. 8 Loves Park City Council meeting, Mayor Darryl Lindberg announced that a new police sergeant to replace retiring “Sergeant Wheeler” would be announced at the Sept. 15 council meeting.
    “We will move quickly to make a promotion to fill that position,” he said.
    A resolution was approved “authorizing Mayor Lindberg to sign” an RMAP (Rockford Mass Transit District) resolution, which authorizes RMAP to the District as “a member of the RMAP Policy Committee and to make changes to the RMAP Cooperative Agreement to effectuate that addition.” New federal regulations are behind this addition to the committee.
    Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report. For the week of Aug. 31-Sept. 6, a total of 488 calls for service, 172 arrests, and 13 accidents were reported.
    On the weekly fire department report dated Sept. 7, one false fire alarm call, two mutual aid calls, one natural gas leak call, one wires down call, and one hazardous material call were received.
    On Sept. 2, Fire Chief Phil Foley attended a POW/MIA meeting on the annual ceremony and the coming of  “The Wall That Heels.” On Sept. 3, he marked the Arthur Anderson Field of Honor for the Wall.
    A total of $16,198.21 in water fund bills, and $100,018.67 in general fund and all other bills, as presented Sept. 2, were approved for payment.
    A resolution approving the Final Plat of The Stadium was passed.
    An ordinance providing for a Class R1 (full restaurant) liquor license for the Aero Alehouse in the 6100 block of E. Riverside Blvd. was approved.
    An ordinance, first and second readings, “providing for a Zoning Map Amendment from R1 (single-family residential) Zoning District to a CR (commercial retail) zoning district for property in the 500 block of Clifford Ave. was passed.

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    Hawk's View zoning case will continue Monday night in MP
    Sept. 18, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - A requested zoning change that would allow construction of duplexes along Forest Hills Road will be heard at 6 p.m. Monday (Sept. 22) by the Machesney Park Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z).
    The hearing will be at village hall, 300 Roosevent Road. The P&Z recommendation, should one be made, would be forwarded to the village board's planning and econonic development committee at its Oct. 6 meeting.
    This current request, from Hawk's View Inc., is that 2.87 acres of vacant land be rezoned from R-1, single family, to R-2, residential, which allows duplexes.
    An earlier public hearing before P&Z, held July 28, ended when the developer amended its original request, which was a change from R-1 to R-3, multi family, which includes apartments.
    There are homes on three sides of this property in village board District 1, whose trustee is Robbin Snodgrass. She recently met with residents of that area to discuss the concerns they expressed at the July 28 meeting.
    Staff recommended denial of the initial request. At press time, a revised recommendation for the R-2 zoning request had not been made.
    A request to change the land use from R-1 to R-3 was made in 2006, according to a report prepared by Carrie Houston, the village's planning and zoning coordinator. Due to opposition from nearby residents, the developed chose to leave the zoning as it was.
    In June 2006, the village's plat committee approved a tentative plat for that area, called Hawk's View Annex Subdivision, which included single-family lots on the 2.87-acre parcel, with multi-family between this parcel and Forest Hills Road.
    No final plat ever was applied for and the land in question remains vacant.
    Houston said the two criteria, which needed to be satisfied in order to obtain a zoning map amendment, had not been met. They were:
    1. Will the zoning map amendment provide for the citizens of the village adequate light, pure air and safety from fire and other dangers, to conserve the value of land and buildings, to lessen or avoid congestion of traffic on the public roads and to promote the public health, safety, comfort, convenience, morals and general welfare?
    In staff's opinion, that criterion was not met.
    "That type of use could negatively impact the values and the comfort of the surrounding residences," Houston write, in part. "Also, the traffic impact of a dense residential development accessed off of Forest Hills Road could affect the safety on this roadway."
    2. Will the zoning map amendment protect the character and stability of the residential, business and industrial areas within the village and to promote the orderly and beneficial development of such areas?
    Again, staff's opinion was the criterion had not been met.  
    "Though there is multi-family residential directly to the west, this property in question was platted and intended to be developed with single-family homes," Houston wrote. "Also, it abuts single-family homes in an established neighborhoods."
    In a follow-up interview, she said the requested change from R-3 to R-2 could have an effect on staff's recommendation.
    "New jobs are coming in, and there aren't a whole lot of duplexes" to provide for those who at this point "aren't ready for a single-family home," she said.

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    Pow/Mia Remembrance Ceremony and 'The Wall That Heals'
    Sept. 18, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK - Rockford Charter Chapter of VietNow members outdid their organization with this year's POW/MIA ceremony that took place a week earlier than usual due to VietNow bringing in "The Wall That Heals." The Wall is a half-sized replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington.
    Scores of people turned out for the ceremony Sept. 12, which due to inclement weather, was held in the gymnasium of the City of Loves Park Complex adjacent to the Arthur Anderson Peace Park Field of Honor. In good weather the event is held at the Field of Honor but cold and rainy weather Sept. 12 brought it inside.
    In addition, the coming of The Wall to Loves Park was a much-heralded event and drew many who lost a loved one or a friend in the Vietnam War. Its presence gave those unable to make the trip to Washington a chance to visit The Wall.
    The Prisoners of War/Missing in Action ceremony is held yearly thanks to the support of VietNow members and gives people a chance to remember those who not only gave their lives but those of all recent wars who became POWs or were MIA. Many veterans organizations also participated or were represented, such as American Legion Posts, the Korean War Veterans Association, Navy Club USA, the Winnebago County Veterans Association, VFW Posts, and so on.
    For starters the POW/MIA ceremony included some beautiful and stirring music by the Rockford Wind Ensemble under the direction of Bill Peterson. Music brought to the forefront patriotic feelings for attendees - and veterans who were present were honored with music appropriate to their various branches of service.
    VietNow member Bruce Jacobsen, who puts forth a lot of effort each year on the POW/MIA presentation, was honored by VietNow, which bestowed a lifetime membership on him.
    Area leaders were present and Mayor Darryl Lindberg noted how "very proud Loves Park is to host this event." He also made mention of the "Avenue of Flags" which accessed the Peace Park off of E. Riverside Blvd. It was a moving sight.
    Machesney Park Mayor Jerry Bolin thanked VietNow for bringing The Wall here and said, "We will never forget our POWs, MIAs and our veterans."
    Gold Star mother Angie White read two poems she had written "for those who died in captivity." She and her Gold Star husband, Jim, lost their 21-year old son, Kenneth L. White, who was killed in Vietnam on May 1, 1969. He was a 1967 graduate of Rockford West High School.
    After reaching Vietnam, Ken was promoted to sergeant in October 1968 and took command of his squad. He served with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. Shortly after being promoted he was wounded and awarded a Purple Heart. He then returned to action where he received two Bronze Stars for heroism in action. Ken served a total of 14 months before being killed in action at Hau Nghia Province, Vietnam. Besides his parents, a sister, brother and other relatives attended the ceremony Sept. 12.
    A couple of letters that Ken's parents received before he died relayed some of his feelings, ""I don't like this war, or what I am doing, but I do believe in what I am fighting for and I'll continue to fight as long as I have to. I have seen men die for their country because they wanted to keep America free for themselves and for their families.
    "What a price to pay - but it has been paid many times over here in Vietnam...I'll fight the best I can and so much as I can to help...and I know as I lead other men I'll be leading them for something great and precious to us all."
    The keynote speaker at this year's event was U.S. Navy Chief Jeremy T. Crandall, a native of Loves Park. He is currently serving as Chief of Security, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).
    Chief Crandall was recognized this year in Washington D.C. as "Military Times Service Member of the Year for the Navy."
    In 2001 he was one of 24 crew members of a U.S. spy plane that had to make an emergency landing in China. After 11 days they were released when China agreed to do so after a diplomat's letter was received saying that our country was very sorry that the event had led to an unauthorized landing and death of a Chinese pilot.
    Crandall's presentation included his devotion to Abraham Lincoln that he calls the "Vietnam Address," using 272 words and following along the lines of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which was given Nov. 19, 1863 at the Gettysburg Soldiers National Cemetery dedication. Crandall said he even named his youngest son Lincoln.
    The "Vietnam Address" follows:
    "Two score and nineteen years ago, our nation became engaged in a great war brought forth upon the continent of Asia, at a place called Vietnam. This war was fought by a brave generation dedicated to freedom, justice, and the notion that we should all live free.
    "We are gathered here today to determine whether our nation, which has overcome many challenges, can properly honor these brave service members. We are met here today on a field of honor, dedicated to the men and women who have sacrificed much for the good of our country. Though this field does not serve as the final resting place for those who gave their lives, it does serve to honor the dedication and sacrifice they so selflessly gave.
    "We cannot fully understand what they endured, what they sacrificed, what they gave, so we could live free. The world will little note, nor long remember what I say here today, but WE can resolve to never forget what they did for US. It is the responsibility of the living to ensure the legacy of our veterans is furthered, as a lasting testament to the struggles they so long withstood. We are now left with a great task remaining before us - the task of taking up this mantle of freedom, in recognition of their sacrifice for which so many gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that their sacrifice was not in vain - that this nation, under God, shall long endure - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
    State Senator Steve Stadleman was on hand at the ceremony and presented Chief Crandall with  a proclamation from the Illinois General Assembly "in recognition of his 2014 Navy Sailor of the Year" award.
    VietNow Chaplain Pastor Bob Theroux, gave an invocation and benediction at the ceremony. The Rockford Charter Chapter VietNow Color Guard presented the colors at the start of the event and gave a three-gun salute at the conclusion. Vicky Hastings and Paul Satzgiver with the Rockford Wind Ensemble played Taps. Scott Chachula sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "God Bless the USA" during the ceremony, and Gaia Galvan sang "God Bless America," and "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion. Galvan also played the keyboard in conjunction with cellist Luke Degner and guitarist Dave Ortman.

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    Recognitions, safer crossing of road highlight Harlem meeting
    Sept. 18, 2014
    By Bob Trott
    MACHESNEY PARK – Teachers, a bus driver, a school board member and the school board were recognized, and one parent of a student talked about making the trip to school safer at the Monday, Sept. 8 regular meeting of the Harlem School Board.
    Tom Kopinski said he has a child who is a student at the Harlem Ninth Grade Campus, and it's dangerous for students who come from the north and have to cross Harlem Road
     The problem is worst from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and it's difficult to cross the road in a vehicle, let alone on foot.
    Harlem School Board President Heather Kelley said the board's practice is to not get into a discussion of the issue during the meeting, but discuss it later with the person or persons who bring up the issue at the board meeting.
    Kopinski suggested school officials look at how the area is graded, and consider transportng the students in that area by bus.
    Board, Member Achievement
    The Harlem School Board will be receive an Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) Governance Award for the fourth straight year, at the IASB Kishwaukee District Fall Dinner Wednesday, Oct. 1, at Willowbrook Middle School on Prairie Hill Road, in South Beloit. The schedule for the event is: 5:30 p.m., school tour; 6 p.m., registration; 6:15 p.m., business meeting; and 6:30 p.m., dinner.
    Harlem Board Member George Russell will be recognized at the dinner for becoming an IASB LeaderShop Academy Fellow, according to a letter from the IASB.
    Russell completed seven leadership core workshops, including the required governance overview workshop (either “The Basics of School District Governance or School Board Leadership,” and five elective workshops to become a Fellow.
    The School Board Governance Recognition program acknowledges school boards that learn and practice effective governance behaviors outlined in the “IASB's Foundational Prnciples of Effective Governance.”
    A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new turf was scheduled for the first Harlem varsity home football game Friday, Sept. 5, but due to inclement weather, the ceremony was postponed until Friday, Sept. 12, in conjunction with a NIC-10 Conference game with Rockford Boylan. The ribbon-cutting was scheduled to be held after completion of the sophomore game, and before the start of the varsity game.
    The next regular board meeting, set for Monday, Sept. 22, will be preceded by a hearing on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Harlem School budget. Budget changes will be presented at the hearing, and approval of the budget is scheduled for the regular meeting to follow, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Josh Aurand reported.
    The budget has been on display since Aug. 21, and by the time the hearing and regular meeting are held Sept. 22, will have been on display the required 30 days. A slight budget increase is expected for FY 15.
    On Sept. 8, board members unanimously approved payment of recent bills. Aurand reported the followng expense totals for the district: payables, $380,725.40; voided checks, $7,414.95; payroll, $2,516,490.36; and total expenses, $2,897,215.76.
    Pledge of Allegiance
    Leading off the Sept. 8 regular meeting was a very young group of Harlem students, and this one, from Parker Center, was a little younger than most. Calling six students from Parker “a group of friends” was Parker Principal Amanda Hayes. The group of friends led the Pledge of Allegiance, and was congratulated with handshakes by the school board and others.
    Dan and Renata Sutter, who had two children, one at Parker Center and one at Ralston Elementary School, recognized employees of the Harlem Schools for their efforts. The Sutters have moved from the Harlem district to Reno, Nev.
    The Sutters credited Teachers Doris Scott (Ralston), Kristen Merrick (Parker), William Draugelis (known as Mr. D from Parker Center}; and Bus Driver James (Jim} Campisi in their e-mail.
    Upcoming Meetings
    Upcoming meetings for the school board include: policy committee, Monday, Sept. 15, and education committee, Thursday, Sept. 18, both 6 p.m. Board President Heather Kelley reported the board self-monitoring report showed five “satisfactories” for the Aug. 25 regular meeting.
    Other upcoming meetings for the board are: business services committee, Tuesday, Oct. 14, reported by Russell, who chairs the committee; and discipline policy review committee, Thursday, Nov. 20, reported by Committee Chair Patti Lawrence. Both meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m.
    Travel, Facility Usage
    The board approved a trip by the Harlem High School varsity dance team to the Peoria Civic Center next Jan. 30-31, for state competition, and use of the Harlem High School Commons Sunday, Nov. 23, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., for a vendor/crafter fair held by the Gifts Galore Shopping Event.
    Lecture Services
    Board members approved payment of $5,000, plus travel costs, to independent contractor Lee Ann Jung, for six hours of lecture services to be provided to the school district Sept. 26. Jung is a PhD and member of the faculty at the University of Kentucky College of Education. She is known for her work with children with disabilities.
    Superintendent Julie Morris reported the following recent personnel moves by the Harlem Schools: 14 employments, one leave-of-absence, six resignations, four transfers within the district and no sick leave requests.
    Closed Session
    The board held a lengthy closed session Sept. 8, and then voted to deny a grievance and deny a leave-of-absence.

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    Harlem Township, village officials helping people in differing ways
    Sept. 11, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - District 3 Village Trustee james Kidd and Harlem Township Assessor Mark Sorrentino saw differing challenges and responded without hesitation.
    Kidd noticed exits from his subdivision along Zenith Parkway and Delta Drive, onto Forest Hills Road, presented possible hazards to motorists because of the location of two new, solid white stop strips.
    Someone pulling up to either of the strips and looking left was not able to see oncoming vehiclesRe because of a heavy line of trees.
    One recent day Kidd happened to see someone working on the driveway at an apartment complex off Zenith Parkway. He stopped and asked the worker if he would contact his supervisor about the situation. That was done and quite a bit of trimming followed, opening up visibility all the way to Delta Drive.
    Stop lights also have been installed at that intersection in conjunction with improvements that occurred earlier this year.
    Kidd now plans to see about getting improvements for the intersection of Delta and Forest Hills.
    Assessor Sorrentino was at a middle school football game Wednesday night when a man was stricken with a medical problem of some kind and fell to the ground.
    Someone called 911 and Sorrentino immediately went to the nearest entrance to the parking lot, off Windsor Road, to await an ambulance and direct rescuers to where the man was located.
    The man had regained consciousness when he left the lot, in the ambulance.
    Sorrentino said he had been on the safety committee years ago, while working at Sundstrand. Part of his responsibility during an emergency was to see that rescue personnel got to the correct location. 

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    Machesney Park to recognize Harlem's Tayato Thew
    Sept. 11, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Harlem High School senior Tayato Thew will be honored by the village board Monday night for being one of 36 students nationwide who participated in hands-on research focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in Aberdeen, Md.
    The gathering was sponsored by Oak Ridge Associated Universities, which manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education for the U.S. Department of Energy.
    Also participating were the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and Naval Research Academy.
    Monday night, Mayor Jerry D. Bolin will proclaim Sept. 15 as Tayato Thew Day in the village of Machesney Park.
    Tayato said the 36 students were divided into groups of five or six. They worked on projects with military applications that also would be useful in civilian life. Three of the seven study areas were defense systems, robots and water quality.
    His group built robots. The first one had cameras mounted on it and it was able to pick up a foam ball, representing a bomb, and drop into a water bucket.
    Another robot was able to nativate what was supposed to be an enemy compound. It was able to make sharp turns and sense when things were in front of it.
    Such a robot would be helpful to firefighters by searching through a burning building. For police, it could scope out a building during a hostage situation.
    It was all about applying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to those jobs.
    Some visiting, too
    The students were in Aberdeen from July 19 to Aug. 1. While there they were able to visit the U.S. Naval Academy, Baltimore Science Museum with its special section on dinousars such as is at the Burpee Museum in Rockford. They also toured the Smithsonian Zoo and the Air & Space Museum.
    Tayato said it was great "to see the things you study in school."
    Beyond that they met some Department of Defense officials and FBI agents.  One of the DOD representatives worked with other countries on bio-threat reduction. Another official was head of education at overseas schools.
    In addition to seeing and doing all those things, Tayato said a highlight was "actually meeting all those kids my age from across the country who are interested in the same science, technology, engineering and math."
    As a student at Harlem, he is a member of National Honor Society and volunteers at the Discovery Center. He also takes judo lessons whem time allows.
    He currently is applying for admiission to the Naval Academy and the University of Illinois, in ROTC.  Tayato plans to study bio-med engineering, with his goal to help veterans who return from duty having lost limbs or who are paralyzed become whole again.
    His dad, who served in the U.S. Navy for 8 1/2 years, was diagnosed with ALS, known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, in 2003.

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    Extra application against mosquitoes ordered for city
    Sept. 11, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – With West Nile Virus being detected in Machesney Park in a June collection of a mosquito sample that tested positive, Mayor Darryl Lindberg requested an emergency expenditure of mosquito spraying in the city. 
    At the Sept. 3 Loves Park City Council meeting, Lindberg advised aldermen to help get the word out to residents.
    In the beginning of the fall months “some people are going to be sleeping with their windows open,” Alderman John Pruitt noted, “and some do not have a good reaction to the spray application.”
    According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, “the best way to prevent West Nile disease – or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.”
    In other business, aldermen approved payment of $72,287.22 in water fund bills, and $405,818.91 in general fund and all other bills, as approved for payment on Aug. 25.
    Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of Aug. 24-30. There were 541 calls for service, 190 arrests, and 19 accidents noted.
    On the weekly fire department report dated Aug. 31, one fire call one public service call, one mutual call, and three carbon monoxide or gas leak calls were reported.
    Four resolutions “demanding performance” under four different Bond numbers, for “public improvements” of Plat No. 4 in Keeneland Estates, Plat No. 15 in Kings Acres Subdivision, Plat No. 4 of Central Park Subdivision, and Plat No. 3 in Breckenridge Subdivision, were approved.
    The public works director got the go-ahead to seek bids for roof repairs at the street department building and was also authorized to purchase Illinois Department of Transportation approved street and traffic signage from an Indiana firm at a cost not to exceed $2,651.51.
    An ordinance, first reading, providing for a Class R1 (full restaurant) liquor license for Aero Alehouse in the 6100 block of E. Riverside Blvd. was approved.

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    City of Loves Park's ‘Beautification Committee’ reactivated
    Sept. 4, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – At one time, the City of Loves Park had a beautification committee and now, with new bus stop benches and planters being planned along N. Second St., Mayor Darryl Lindberg at the Aug. 25 city council meeting called for the committee to be “resurrected.”
    “The beautification committee will be an active committee,” Lindberg said. “Now that the city is replacing deteriorating old bus stop benches, a formal committee is being formed that will be headed by the city’s Director of Public Works and Development, Dan Jacobson.
    Interested city staff, including Aldermen John Pruitt and Greg Jury will be involved. City residents and other aldermen are also welcome and if interested can contact my office,” Lindberg added. That phone number is (815) 654-5030.
    The beautification won’t only apply to bus bench locations but will go beyond N. Second St. and could include entrance signage, and flowers “here and there,” which will all need to be maintained.
    In connection, a resolution was passed authorizing the city to accept donations regarding the “Bus Bench Project.”
    In other business, Michael McCammon was sworn as the city’s newest Deputy Police Chief. McCammond is a graduate of the Western Illinois University Law Enforcement program.
    Mayor Lindberg noted that McCammon “has been a good officer and Loves Park will have the best police department around!”
    The mayor made an announcement that city offices will be closed Aug. 29 and Sept. 1 in honor of Labor Day and that the first September council meeting will be held Sept. 2 at 6:15 p.m. because of that.
    A resolution authorizing up to $750 in material costs under the city’s RAMP Program was approved.
    A resolution authorizing Police Chief Rodney Scott to “engage Jumping Trout, Inc.” of Loves Park to build, design and maintain an external website for the police department was approved at a cost of $3,960, along with a $730 annual expense to maintain the website.
    On the weekly fire department report dated Aug. 24, four false fire alarm calls, two public service calls, one mutual aid call, one carbon monoxide or gas leak call, one assist police call, one wires down call, and one smoke or odor investigation call were noted.
    A resolution okaying an intergovernmental agreement between the city and the Rockford Mass Transit District (RMTD) for fixed route and para-transit services was approved with an estimated $244,077 cost for the period of July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015. Financial assistance through the State of Illinois will help offset the cost.
    A resolution giving the go ahead for public works to seek negotiated bids for purchase of a used dump trunk was passed.
    Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of Aug. 17-23. A total of 529 calls for service, 173 arrests, and 11 accidents were reported.

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    Harlemites misses breakfast for 1st time
    Sept. 4, 2014
    MACHESNEY PARK - Since 1974, the Harlemites has been meeting for breakfast the first Monday of the month. That means every first Monday, including New Year's Day and other major holidays.
    But it didn't meet Sept. 1, which coincidentally was Labor Day, because its gathering place, VFW Post 9759 in Loves Park, had closed temporarily the week before. Post officials could not be reached for comment on when it might reopen.
    "It's really a tragedy for us," said Bill Ryerson, master of ceremonies at the monthly events. He was optimistic, though, adding, "By October we'll be back in business."
    Members of the organization, mostly Harlem High School graduates, recovered in a short period of time during the summer of 2013 when its meeting place, Hawk's View Restaurant, closed. They landed at the VFW and were happy with the treatment - and with the food.
    Now they're once again looking for a new place to socialize and to eat.
    Among its previous gathering points were the Top Hat restaurant, which no longer exists, and Loves Park City Hall.
    The Harlemites was formed in 1974, during the 50th reunion of the Class of 1924, when the late Bill Burkman and others decided they needed to see one another more than during reunions.
    It has grown in membership to the point that 90-100 people usually turn out for the breakfasts. The organization has been a strong supporter of the high school and in 2013 received a Harlem Pride award for its efforts.

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    SUGHED: Schoonmaker Park pavilion dedicated to Bill Burkman
    Sept. 4, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - William "Bill" Burkman has been gone for little over a year now, but his memory as an ambassador for goodness in the community lives on.
    Many of those who knew him gathered Aug. 28 at Schoonmaker Park to help dedicate a new pavilion named for him.
    Mayor Jerry D. Bolin presided over the ceremony, concluding with the crowd watching Bill Ryerson, a member of the Harlemites, and Diana Johnson, executive director of the Parks Chamber of Commerce, cut the ribbon to make the dedication official.
    A plaque attached to one of the rafters will be a constant reminder to those picnicking or just relaxing in the pavilion of what happened there that late summer day in 2014.
    "It's a beautiful day for this dedication," said Mayor Bolin, who remembered Burkman was 107 years and 10 months old when he died last summer. "He left a track record of community involvement."
    Burkman was a 1924 graduate of Harlem High School and a member of its first football team. He was the first president of the Harlem Alumni Association and was active in Roscoe United Methodist Church, serving as head usher for 30 years. In addition, he was a charter member of the Loves Park Lions Club.
    "He left a legacy of having lived a productive, worthwhile life," Bolin said. "This pavilion is a small token of recognition for what he gave to us."
    A number of members of the Harlemites, which Burkman co-founded in 1974, were there and they had plenty of stories to tell about the man they called friend.
    Bill Ryerson said Burkman was a regular at the Harlemites' monthly breakfast gatherings. Later, when he was unable to attend, he would always call and ask about the attendance. His closing remark was, "Isn't that something."
    Ryerson said if Burkman was there for the dedication and looked over the pavilion bearing his name, he probably would say, "Isn't that something."
    Burkman lived at Wesley Willows for 20 years, and Harlemite Delores Hall remembered he continued driving a car until he was 100 years of age. While at the retirement complex he regularly drove other residents to their doctors' appointments.
    Diana Johnson, who's also a member of the Loves Park Lions Club, remembered him delivering flowers to Park Towers "because he had a lot of girlfriends over there."
    The pavilion was built by Machesney Park public works department employees and given over to Harlem Township, which owns and operates Schoonmaker Park.
    Township Supervisor Terri Knight graciously accepted responsibility for the building and said, "It's a great honor to be here today for this dedication."
    Also in attendance were Harlem School District Superintendent Julie Morris, state Rep. John Cabello, R-Machesney Park, township Assessor Mark Sorrentino, township board member Arnie Cabello and Machesney Park Village Board member Aaron Wilson.

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    Car show to benefit Walter Lawson Children's Home
    Sept. 4, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    LOVES PARK - The Walter Lawson Children's Home off Alpine Road has been caring for profoundly disabled youngsters for the past 43 years.
    Whether it's classroom instruction, a field trip or taking time out for lunch, care in a home-like setting is provided by a professional staff for 97 residents of all ages.
    Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Central Christian Church at 6595 Guilford Road in Rockford will have its 10th annual car show. Walter Lawson Children's Home will be this year's beneficiary.
    The show will feature the usual lineup of classic cars and trucks along with a model car display. silent auction, door prizes, 80 awards and dash plaques. Past beneficiaries have been the Rock River Christian Camp in Polo and Carpenter's Place in Rockford.
    Walter Lawson Children's home is a skilled pediatric facility licensed and accredited by the state of Illinois. As such, it receives state and federal funding assistance. But as social worker Kimberly Waterson put it, "Fund-raisers are welcome. The community has been good."
    The home was built in 1971 on land purchased from Rolland and Gladys Olson. They asked that it be named for Gladys' father, Walter Lawson. It was a project of some parents, whose children were receiving treatment in Indiana, and a physician.
    The facility started as a residential home with additions following for a school and day training. Some residents attend classes at the home while others go to school in the Parks area.
    Parents do not give up guardianship of their children. Kids often go to their other home on weekends and for special occasions. "Families are very involved," said Jan Primuth, nursing director.
    Youngsters, referred to as "medically fragile," are wheelchair bound and can't move around on their own. Some have feeding tubes while others are fed by staff. Few are able to speak; they use an electronic device to help communicate.
    Yet they seem to be a happy lot, smiling, having a daily routine much the same as anyone else. Get dressed and eat breakfast in the morning, go to school, have lunch, return to classes and then dinner. There are activities in the evening.
    Once residents reach 22 years of age they leave school and go into day training. That program continues to encourage skill development in a newly constructed, highly specialized environment.
    Services include hydrotherapy - the home has an in-ground swimming pool - vocational and domestic training as well as community outings.
    There are 10 homes such as this in Illinois, with Walter Lawson the only one in the northern region. Others are in Chicago or southern Illinois.
    Primuth said the local home probably is Loves Park's best-kept secret. "It has been referred to as an orphanage, as a home for wayward children," she said.
    There are opportunities for volunteers at the home. Direct questions to executive director at (815) 633-6636.

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    New security improvements at Olson School, Parker Center
    Aug. 28, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Harlem High School still has an open- door policy when it comes to visitors at the main campus, which houses sophomores, juniors and seniors.
    One of the front doors is always open during the school day but once inside, there is no immediate access to the building. Mary Ness is at a table next to the entrance to the main office and guests first must check in with her.
    There is a new wrinkle this year in that visitors must give over a government-issued photo identification card, such as a driver's license, state ID card or a FOID card.
    It is run through a scanner that checks for any problems with the individual's background. It then is exchanged for a plastic visitor's tag that is worn during the time in school.
    Previously, most any form of photo identification was sufficient and left at the desk. But that, of course, didn't provide any information about the visitor.
    Scanning also is being done at other buildings in Harlem School District 122 with new, additional security measures having been taken at Olson Park Elementary School and Parker Center.
    Officials at Olson Park converted a closet into a cubicle, from which the driver's license check is made. Once buzzed in from outside the building, the individual puts his or her driver's license into a pass-through cabinet.
    The office secretary, seated behind a window made of bullet-proof glass, then runs the license through the scanner.
    If all is well, the visitor is buzzed in to the lobby area of the school, through doors also having bullet-proof glass.
    Alert is issued
    If there is a problem, an e-mail alert is immediately dispatched to the principal and, possibly, other school officials.
    “This is wonderful," Olson Principal Dyonna Johnson said. "It provides a simple, greater sense of security. I feel good about it."
    Olson Park houses students in grades one through six.
    A more extensive remodel was required to allow the security upgrade at Parker Center, home to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students 3-5 years of age.
    The main office was relocated a bit further inside the building, with a conference room used to allow space for the new window, pass-through cabinet and work space for the office secretary.
    In addition, there is a second set of doors here, also with bullet-proof glass. Space once occupied by the social worker and psychologist now is occupied by the principal and yet-to-be-hired procedural coach for special education. The social worker and psychologist have relocated to an area behind the former office.
    Principal Amanda Hayes, who just moved over from Marquette Elementary School, said previously there only was one set of doors. Once buzzed in, the visitor had access to the entire building.
    The changes have brought "a lot of positive feedback from parents," she said. "They feel their children are safer now."
    Recent improvements at the schools were made possible with a $177,000 state grant.

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    Second deputy police chief for City of Loves Park
    Aug. 28, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – At the Aug. 18 Loves Park City Council meeting, aldermen gave their approval to authorize Mayor Darryl Lindberg to appoint Michael McCammond as a Deputy Chief of Police effective Aug. 26. McCammond will receive a yearly salary of $82,620 along with clothing cleaning allowances and a schooling bonus.
    According to Police Chief Rodney Scott, McCammond has been with the department since 1999. He is currently the Administrative Sergeant. Prior to that, he served as a Patrol Sergeant and the Detective Sergeant.
    McCammond is a graduate of Western Illinois University and Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command. 
    Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of Aug. 10-16. There were 461 calls for service, 247 arrests, and 15 accidents reported.
    On the weekly fire department report dated Aug.  17, three false fire alarm calls, one public service call, one carbon monoxide or gas leak call, and one smoke or odor investigation call were reported.
    On Aug. 17 “MABAS Division 8 Water Rescue Team Training” was held at the Riverview Icehouse boat launch where both Illinois and Wisconsin “location dogs” that work from boats so divers can do recovery, which resulted in firefighters putting in a total of 16 man-hours.
    Aldermen approved payment of $15,303.81 in water fund bills, and $237,998.39 in general fund and all other bills, as presented Aug. 11.
    A resolution giving Fire Chief Phil Foley approval to seek negotiated bids for overhead door replacements at Fire Station No. 2, and furniture replacements for Fire Stations Nos. 1 and 2, was okayed.
    A resolution approving the city’s planning office to seek negotiated bids for concrete work for the bus bench project on North Second St. was approved.
    A resolution authorizing the planning office to seek negotiated bids for the purchase of 16 planters and eight trash receptacles for the Bus bench project was also approved.
    After going through the required bidding process, the William Charles Co., low bidder, received authorization for a contract for the 2014 citywide resurfacing and road repair project.  Total cost: $830,564.50.
    A resolution authorizing a contract for road repairs due to water main repairs was okayed, after sealed bids were opened with the work going to Sjostrom and Sons at a cost of $38.75 per square yard, not to exceed a total of $75,000.
    A resolution authorizing negotiated bids for the purchase of street signage and hardware was okayed.
    A resolution authorizing maintenance to various drainage areas throughout the city for road expenses for fiscal year 2015 not to exceed $38,000. was approved.

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    Governor Quinn announces $11 million for construction projects in northern Illinois
    Aug. 28, 2014
    FREEPORT – Governor Pat Quinn announced last week capital investments of more than $11 million for construction projects in Carroll, DeKalb, Kane, LaSalle, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago Counties. The investments will create jobs and improve transportation safety and efficiency.
    Funded by his Illinois Jobs Now! construction program, the projects are part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward.
    “These investments in northern Illinois are putting people to work, creating jobs that will help drive the local economy,” Governor Quinn said.
    “They are also helping to repair and maintain Illinois’ infrastructure to improve safety and efficiency throughout the region.”
    “These projects are great news for the working men and women of Illinois,” said Brad Long, President of the Northwest Illinois Building Trades.
    “More jobs will help improve the quality of life for them and their families, and will also benefit the local economy and the community as a whole. “
    The announcement follows last week’s news that Illinois’ unemployment rate declined in July to 6.8 percent from June’s 7.1 percent.
    During July, 11,200 new private sector jobs were added, including 3,900 manufacturing jobs. The state’s unemployment rate has fallen steadily since July 2013, when it stood at 9.2 percent, and has completed its steepest 12-month decline of 2.4 percentage points since August 1984.
    Since February 2010, Illinois has added 263,100 private sector jobs.
    Construction payrolls are up by 8,500 jobs since the beginning of the year, nearly four times as strong as the gain posted for this same period in 2013.
    Specialty trade contractors’ payrolls posted healthy gains for the third straight month, fueled in large part by Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program.
    The projects below will be managed by the Illinois Dept. of Transportation.
    Winnebago County
    Illinois Route 251will receive milling, patching, and resurfacing from Forest Hills Road to Illinois Route 173 in Machesney Park and on Harlem Road from east of Perryville Road to McFarland Road in Loves Park for $1,286,202 by William Charles Construction Company, LLC of Loves Park, the lower of two bidders.
    U.S. Business Route 20 will receive milling and resurfacing from Springfield Avenue to Day Avenue for $667,872 by Rock Road Companies, Inc. of Janesville, WI, the lower of two bidders.
    Illinois Route 251 will receive milling and resurfacing from Kishwaukee St. to east of 9th Street and south of Alton Avenue to South of Sandy Hallow Road in Rockford for $1,515,968 by Rock Road Companies, Inc. of Janesville, WI, the lower of the two bidders.
    Five intersections along WB U.S. Business Route 20 will receive traffic control upgrades for $107,621 by William Charles Electric, LLC of Loves Park, the lower of two bidders.

    HCC, heat, humidity welcome fall softball season
    Aug. 28, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Tree-shaded seats and picnic tables were sought-after commodities Sunday afternoon as Harlem Community Center began its fall softball season with games among 12, 14, 16 and 18U teams.
    Judging from scores in the various diamonds at the Wentland Sports Comlex there was a mix of close games and one-sided affairs.
    The season will continue until early October, when the annual tournament is held.
    There won't be any games this weekend, what with Labor Day falling on Sept. 1. But action will resume at noon Sept. 7, with games every hour and 45 minutes or so.
    HCC has four teams in the various age groups this year with Fraser, Brassfield, Osgood and Stein, with the latter changed to White, as in Ed Stein's daughter, Kim White.
    Stein was at her first game, keeping the scorebook, while the team ran into a top-notch Winnebago squad, the defending 16U champion, and lost, 18-1.
    Meanwhile, in an earlier 18U game, Harlem High School sophomore pitcher Erica Holden benefitted from a 24-run outburst as the Big Dogs from Rockford, consisting of girls 14 years of age and younger, routed the Belvidere Buzz, 24-3.
    The younger Big Dog team won the 18U title last year and is back for more.
    Holden, who pitched two of the game's four innings, helped her team's offense by going 3-for-4 at the plate. She had three singles, drove in three runs and reached base a fourth time on an error.
    White didn't fare as well as it was held to three singles by two young 'Bago pitchers: freshman Amanda Casey and sophomore Sam Russell.
    The locals scored their only run in the first inningwhen Darien Sturtevent singled, stole second and scored on a base hit by Lauren McMichael.
    A walk to Rachel White in the second inning was the team's only base runner until the fifth inning when Sturtevent (2-for-3) singled with one out. Kaley Murray walked, but both runners were stranded as the next batter grounded out to end the game.
    Afterward Ed Stein, who coached the summer league team bearing his name, reminded his former players of that season. They started out with a 1-4 record, then rebounded and wound up 7-5 to wind up in the championship game.
    While the players might have appreciated getting some ice cream, tney chose instead to cool off in a nearby swimming pool. Meanwhile, new head coach White said they have two weeks to work on what needs to be worked on. But mostly, she said they need players on the field.
    Her team only had nine players when Sunday's game started and when one of them got sick early in the game, they wound up having just two outfielders. Winnebago took advantage by spacing a number of hits during the game.
    Winnebago was paced by sophomore Dakotah Opsall (4-for-4) who had two singles, a triple and a home run.

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    Sheriff’s Deputies save sixth overdose victim with Narcan
    Aug. 28, 2014
    WINNEBAGO – During the week of June 9, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Deputies began carrying Naloxone, or more commonly known as Narcan, after receiving training in its administration, to help combat the growing numbers of heroin overdose related deaths in Winnebago County.
    On Wednesday, Aug. 20, at approximately 8:57 p.m., a Sheriff’s Deputy was dispatched to a 911 call in the 400 block of Huron Drive in Machesney Park, regarding an unresponsive female.
    Upon arrival at the scene, Sheriff’s Deputies determined that the 26-year-old female was possibly suffering from an overdose. She was unresponsive, and had very labored, shallow breathing.
    The deputy, who had been issued Naloxone and received training in its use, administered the dose in accordance to his training and established guidelines.
    Upon receiving the medication, the victim began to regain consciousness and her breathing returned to a normal rate and quality in less than a minute.
    An ambulance and crew arrived on scene a short time later and they assumed patient care.
    The patient was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation and treatment, but as she was being treated, she was beginning to talk to medical personnel.
    In the past, when a deputy arrived at a scene of an overdose, there was not much they could do until Fire or EMS personnel arrived as this drug could only be administered by trained medical personnel through an injection.
    Changes in Illinois law have allowed basic first aid trained responders, like Sheriff’s Deputies, to now administer the medication. The new method of delivery is through an “atomized” (mist) spray into the nasal passages of the patient.
    This incident shows that having deputies carry the medication with them is critical in Winnebago County. Though most of the unincorporated areas have full time medical personnel within their fire districts, they are subject to being on a prior call or a deputy may be closer and may arrive first on the scene and be able to administer the drug, if needed.
    This is the 6th incident where a Sheriff’s Deputy has used this life saving medication and training in the field for treatment of an overdose patient. Supplies for the kits that are being issued to deputies and the outlying police agencies are being provided by the Sheriff’s Office and were paid through the use of Drug Asset Forfeiture money. The cost of each kit is about $50.

    HCC crowns summer champions in baseball, softball
    Aug. 14, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Nine Harlem Community Center baseball and softball teams have received trophies for winning their portion of the post-summer season tournament held earlier this month.
    And not all of the winners were those who finished first in their respective leagues.
    For example Meyers, named for its head coach, took second place in the Coach Pitch Softball League. But it won the tournament by defeating the regular season champion, Shields.
    The rest of the girls' competition went more as expected.
    Gerloff finished the regular Pee-Wee season undefeated, with a 11-0 record, then won over the third-place team, Brummet (8-3), in the tournament.
    Lombardi also was perfect in the regular season, going 12-0 in Midget Girls play. They topped Lawver (9-3), the runner-up, to win the tournament.
    Belvidere had a tougher time winning the Galaxy Girls title, finishing at 8-4, one game better than Stein, which posted a 7-5 record. In the tournament finals, Belvidere broke open a close game to win, 14-4, with a six-run sixth inning.
    Stein fell behind O'Donnell, the Belvidere team, 8-0 after three innings in their title game. But they came back to make it a game, 8-4, in the sixth inning.
    They got their first run in the top of the fourth inning when Abbie Michowski singled down the left-field line to score Suzanne Russo, who had walked. That also was Stein's first hit of the game.
    Kara Blasi walked and Jordan Fountain singled to set the table for Darien Sturtevent, who was safe on an error to drive in Stein's second run.
    Two more Stein tallies were recorded in the sixth inning when Michowski (2-for-3) got her second single of the game and Evyan Sissum followed with a walk. They scored on a single by Blasi (1-1 with two walks) and a wild pitch, respectively.
    Defensively, Stein recorded an unusual double play in the fourth inning. With one out an O'Donnel batter lined to second baseman Russo. She alertly threw the ball to catcher Ahna VanderHeyden, who tagged out a runner trying to score from third base.
    Earlier, in the third inning, Stein third baseman Lauren McMichael made a superb catch of a popup by running hard to her right and snagging the ball just in front of a fence.
    Baseball champions
    Regular-season champions and runners-up played for all but one tournament title in each of the five baseball divisions. The lone exception was in Pee-Wee where the title winner, Elrod (10-2), played third-place Solano (7 1/2-4 1/2) for the championship. Elrod won.
    Crowell (8-4) was the runner-up during the regular season.
    There actually were two regular-season champs in the Coach Pitch competition, which had American and National divisions.
    Yalden won the American side with Nehmzow taking the National side, each with an 11-1 record. Nehmzow won the tournament.
    Peyton (11-0) handed runner-up Johnson (10-1) its only loss during the regular season in Midget play, and also prevailed in the tournament championship game.
    Myers (12-0) finished unbeaten for the summer by taking the Bantam title, and the tournament championship, from second-place Near (9-3).
    Dietz and Bohlin tied for first place in the Junior division with 10-2 records, but Dietz was awarded the title because of various factors. Dietz then defeated Bohlin for the tournament title as well.

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    Loves Park looking at telecommunications solution
    Aug. 14, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – At the Aug. 4 Love Park City Council meeting, aldermen authorized Mayor Darryl Lindberg to “seek bids for consulting services regarding the city’s phone system needs.”
    The council also approved a contract and equipment purchases for water treatment plant improvements at Well Nos. 4, 5 and 6 in two separate amounts not to exceed $548,500 and $308,500, lowest bids after receipt of sealed bids being received and opened.
    As Mayor Lindberg noted, “This will bring our water system up to where it should be.”
    Aldermen John Pruitt gave the monthly building report. For the month of June, the city issued 168 permits and received $19,032 in permit fees.
    In the absence of Alderman Clint Little, Alderman Greg Jury gave the weekly police activity report for the week of July 27-Aug. 2.
    There were 439 calls for service, 220 arrests, and eight accidents reported.
    On the weekly fire department report dated Aug. 3, two public service calls, one assist police call, one wires down call, and two smoke or odor investigation calls were noted.
    Aldermen approved payment of $12,039.99 in water fund bills, and $97,831.42 in general fund and all other bills, as presented July 28.
    A special event request from Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago-Rockford to hold a two-mile walk and 5K “Fun Run” at Aviator Stadium and on surrounding streets Sept. 27 from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. was approved with the specification that all safety issues first be addressed with the police chief.
    The council gave its okay to a variance “to widen a driveway” in front of a home in the 4800 block of Forest Hills Road in a single-family zoning district. Both first and second readings were approved.
    An ordinance, second reading, allowing for placement of stop signs and a crosswalk within the Inverness Subdivision was passed.

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    Machesney Park selects four for housing improvements
    Aug. 14, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Four residents have been chosen as possible participants in a home improvements program through the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
    They are Dennis Hardman on Mildred Road; John Anderson on Copper Drive; Don Heslop on Glen Forest Drive and Patsy Busby on Liberty Boulevard.
    Village staff now will determine whether they are eligible for the work, which could include window replacement, a new roof or other improvements. There are a number of guidelines that must be met, among them household incomes levels.
    Sixteen alternates also were chosen Aug. 4, at the start of the administration and finance (A&F) committee meeting.
    They are Robert Farrey on Mildred Road, Suzie Nguyen on Crystal Drive, Bruce Thomas on Mildred Road, Shelly Etheridge on Lotus Lane Frances Torres on Kingsley Drive and Robert Lintz on Gilbert Terrace.
    Also, Dixie Lee on Cadet Road, Annette Meach on Mildred Road, Wesley Chamberlain on Bluebonnet Drive, Mona Craig on Scott Lane, Heather Booker on Gilbert Terrace, Sandra Rucinski on Alpha Drive, Michael Lenz on Kinglsey Drive, David Beach on Ritter Drive and Mary Bernard on East Greenview Avenue.
    Should any of the top 4 not qualify village officials will dip into the list of alternates, starting with Farrey. There is hope for the alternates as in 2013, the 15th home on the list of 20 candidates received improvements.
    The village has been participating in this program since 2000. In that time 93 single-family, detached, owner-occupied houses have been improved with more than $3 million in grant money.
    This year Machesney Park received a $168,000 grant from the IHDA; a maximum of $40,000 may be spent on each house. Applicants number between 50-60 and 200 every year.
    Mayor Jerry D. Bolin called it "an honor and a pleasure" to be able to provide such assistance to homeowners in need.
    Burkman Pavilion
    Also during the Aug. 4 A&F committee meeting members approved a resolution dedicating the new pavilion at Schoonmaker Park to the late William R. Burkman.
    The village donated the shelter to Harlem Township, which owns the park, and it was put up earlier this summer. Burkman died in 2013 at 107 years of age.
    In the resolution he was referred to as a "local humanitarian who worked for the betterment of the Harlem School District and the Parks communities ..."
    Burkman was co-founder of the Harlemites, a large group of Harlem High School graduates that meets for breakfast the first Monday of each month at VFW Post 9759 in Loves Park.
    It was created in 1974, at the 50th reunion of the Harlem Class of 1924, when Burkman and others decided they needed to get together more than once a year.
    The Harlemites, which can have as many as 100 or more for a breakfast, continues to support the high school through the scholarship fund and other ways.

  • VietNow I.jpg
    Support given to Rockford Charter Chapter VietNow
    Aug. 14, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    ROCKFORD - To help offset the expense of bringing "The Wall That Heals" (Moving Vietnam Memorial Wall) to Loves Park Sept. 11-14, members of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Loves Park Clifford E. Johnson VFW Post No. 9759 attended the Rockford Charter Chapter VietNow meeting Aug. 5 and presented a check for $1,000 to that organization.
    Bringing the Moving Wall to Loves Park is an expensive undertaking, and the Ladies Auxiliary donation was much appreciated.
    Also at the meeting, VietNow member Dan Jensen handed over a $3,000 check for the Chapter to use for future activities and a scholarship fund.
    Jensen served in Vietnam in 1969-70 with the late Randy Furcell, who became a teacher and was very dedicated to giving support to deserving students through scholarships.
    Furcell's wife, Margaret, asked Jensen to give the check to the VietNow chapter.
    Another presentation was also included at the meeting Aug. 5. In the mid-1960s Jerry Wickham died in Vietnam and was afterward the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
    Thanks to funds donated in memory of Janet Wickam, Jerry's Gold Star Mother, Jerry's brother, Tom Wickham, was on hand to participate in a bugle presentation to the Rockford Charter Chapter of VietNow. Chapter President Rex Wright, noted, "The bugle won't leave our building except for funerals."
    This year's annual POW/MIA ceremony, which is held by the Rockford VietNow Charter Chapter, will be held in conjunction with the moving wall event that will be set up in the Arthur Anderson Peace Park and Field of Honor adjacent to the Loves Park City Hall Complex. The ceremony itself will start at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12.

  • Loves Park Police MUGSHOT.jpg
    Rockford man arrested at Loves Park motel
    Aug. 7, 2014
    LOVES PARK – On Tuesday, July 29, 2014, a Loves Park Police Officer was patrolling in the area of the 4700 block of N. Second St.
    While patrolling, the officer located a parked vehicle whose owner was wanted on a warrant. While trying to locate the wanted subject, the officer went to a hotel room near where the car was parked.
    The officer then spoke to the room tenant. While doing this, the officer could smell what he believed was the odor of burnt marijuana.
    After the officer entered the room, the officer located a 16-year-old from Chicago. Upon further investigation, the 53-year-old was taken into custody and charged with the following charges:
    Aggravated criminal sexual abuse
    Possession with intent to deliver less than 2.5 grams of Cannabis
    Driving while suspended
    Suspect charged: Renaldo D. Stone, age 53, of Rockford.
    Stone is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
    This is an ongoing investigation and the public is encouraged to contact the Loves Park Police Department with any information they may have regarding this investigation.
    Any questions regarding this release should be direct to Chief Rodney Scott at (815) 654-5015 or by email at

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    Machesney Park moves to renew law enforcement contract
    Aug. 7, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - The village since its inception in 1981 has believed in contracting for a variety of services, including law enforcement.
    That is done in an annual contract for patrol, investigations and other services with the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office. Some 28  sworn officers are assigned to the village including a detectives, a supervisory sergeant and deputies. There also is a part-time public safety coordinator, Rocco Wagner, who is a retired deputy chief of the sheriff's office.
    The village's administration and finance committee voted unanimously July 21 to recommend approval of renewing the contract. The village board was expected to consider the recommendation at its Aug. 4 meeting.
    This year's contract is for $3.143 million, compared with $2.995 million in 2013-14 and $2.939 in 2012-13. The contract will be retroactive to May 1 and expire April 30, 2015.
    Deputies and the coordinator work out of a substation at village hall, 300 Roosevelt Road. A secretary is based there weekdays to answer the phone and handle walk-in traffic.
    This year's force has a minimum of 28 deputies, one more than last year. Broken down that translates to 21 deputies, three entry level and 13 with at least three years' experience with the sheriff's office.
    In addition, there are two school resource officers, three detectives, one sergeant who spends 50 percent of his time in Machesney Park, and the coordinator. On Nov. 14, one more deputy will be added.
    Various salaries
    The coordinator is paid $30,134.31 a year, the same as in 2013-14. The sergeant is paid $78,650.46, with half of that being assumed by the village. Three detectives are paid a combined $412,356.59 a year, compared with $395,627.97 last year. The two school resource officers receive $208,272.05, compared with $199,512.54 in 2013-14.
    Thirteen of the deputies with a minimum of three years' experience are paid a combined $1.300 million, up from $1.245 million last year. The entry-level deputies' saoaries total $638,451.49, up from $538,607.43 one year ago. That's an 18.51 percent increase, largest among the various salary adjustments.
    The secretary's salary has been decreased from $43,164 to $26,996.04. There was no explanation July 21 as to why that occurred.
    Overtime is budgeted at $89,250, up from $85,000 last year.
    In all, pay and benefits amounts to $2.803 million compared with $2.629 in 2013-14.
    There are other costs as well, such as helping support the 911 dispatch center, $136,578, same as last year; records maintenance, $63,561, also the same; and report forms, $500, the same as well.
    New squad cars
    The new contract also requires

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    First Phase of Reclaiming First Construction begins
    Aug. 7, 2014
    ROCKFORD – Illinois Governor Pat Quinn joined local government, business, civic, and labor leaders last week in kicking off the first phase of construction for the region’s Reclaiming First initiative.
    Surrounded by youth from the region, the Governor helped “kick off” the expansion of Sportscore Two, 8800 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park, by kicking a soccer ball into a soccer goal net.
    Governor Quinn announced a $2.5 million investment of Parks and Recreational Facility Construction (PARC) funds to expand the Indoor Sports Center at the Sportscore Two complex.
    The Governor also announced that the Rockford Park District has been awarded the Tourism Attraction Development Grant (TAP) from the Illinois Dept.of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism in the amount of $641,899.
    The TAP grant assists in the development and improvement of tourist attractions in Illinois, thus increasing hotel/motel stays and providing economic impact for the state.
    The TAP grant will help pay for replacing natural turf with an artificial turf field at Wedgbury Stadium located within Sportscore Two, which is part of Phase 1 of the Reclaiming First project.
    Phase 1 is estimated to cost just over $30 million, and is part of a multi-year initiative to retain, regain, and grow the valuable amateur sports tourism market.
    Funding Sources (approximately):
    Municipal contributions $11.58 million
    Winnebago County - $7 million approved
    Village of Cherry Valley - $10,000 received; $600,000 requested
    Village of Machesney Park - $50,000 received; $550,000 requested
    City of Loves Park - $3.38 million approved
    Hotel tax $10.5 million
    Rockford Park District $6 million
    2014 Grant applications:
    State tourism grant of $641,899 - received
    Dept. of Natural Resources PARC grant of $2.5 million – received
    “We are thankful for Governor Quinn’s commitment to the Reclaiming First initiative, and his continued support of the Rockford region, which has long been recognized as a leader in the amateur sports market.
    "The grant announcement kicks off the start of several construction related projects that will be built by local contractors with local labor, financed by local banks, and provide a significant impact to the local economy through additional tourism and permanent jobs.
    "The multi-facility, multi-year project will stimulate our regional economy and provide world-class recreational facilities to our citizens,” said Rockford Park District Executive Director Tim Dimke.
    The modernization of Sportscore Two begins with upgrades to Wedgbury Stadium, making it the premier sports tournament destination.
    These improvements will exceed current industry standards, which will aid in attracting even more international and national competitions and tournaments.
    The new state-of-the-art facility will allow the Rockford Park District to seek a FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) certificate.
    FIFA standards for sports turf systems are designed to ensure that a consistent world-class standard of surface is available internationally.   
    Wedgbury Stadium Project Highlights:
    New synthetic turf field, highest quality in the market today, providing a more reliable playing surface that is less affected by weather. The turf does not have an extended recovery time for playability after rain, and it attains playability earlier in the spring and remains playable later into the fall.
    New lighting system – NCAA professional level
    New pathways and restroom building
    Upgrades to bleachers, press box
    “The recent approvals to move forward with phase one of the Reclaiming First initiative is a huge accomplishment for the Rockford region.
    "We are well on our way to creating more than 250 more jobs, and generating an additional estimated $15 million into the local economy by attracting more local, regional, national, and international sports events to our region.
    "We are moving in the right direction, and we thank all who have believed in the possibilities,” said RACVB President and CEO John Groh.
    Additional Sportscore Two/Indoor Sports Center (ISC) Improvements:
    Modernization of Sportscore Two – adding six turf and multi-purpose lighted fields, along with installation of turf and new lighting in the Wedgbury soccer stadium
    Expanding Indoor Sports Center - retrofit the existing structure from one to two indoor soccer fields. and expand the building to include three new indoor soccer fields, creating a total of five fields at one location
    Construction timeline
    At the June 10, 2014 Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners meeting, the Board approved a professional services contract with Sink Combs Dethlefs (SCD) for Wedgbury Stadium improvements.
    The Sink Combs Dethlefs team of design professionals was selected to create the overall design and prepare the plans for the Reclaiming First facilities, including Sportscore Two.
    The City of Rockford is overseeing design and construction of the downtown indoor sports complex.  Construction on Wedgbury Stadium is expected to be complete by fall 2014.
    More Information About Wedgbury Soccer Stadium
    Sportscore Two is home to Wedgbury Stadium, which seats 2,000 spectators, and has hosted IHSA State High School Soccer Finals, pro football games, National Rugby Finals, college rugby championships, professional soccer games with international teams from Mexico, and USSL W. League Soccer Men’s and Women’s Finals. The stadium is named in honor of Donald "Doc" Wedgbury's father, Russell.
    About Reclaiming First
    Reclaiming First is a community-wide comprehensive plan to enhance and enlarge the sports facilities in the Rockford area to reclaim the region’s dominance in sports tourism.
    The plan will retain, regain, and grow sports tourism in an increasingly competitive market vying for sports tourism dollars, and provide world class amateur sports tournament facilities for Rockford area residents.
    Amateur sports tourism at Sportscore One and Sportscore Two currently accounts for $15.25 million in income for the Rockford region that would otherwise not occur.
    Local municipalities receive an estimated $1.8 million in the form of direct additional general fund tax revenue from amateur sports tournaments.
    Further, income generated from amateur sports tournaments means local citizens are able to use these facilities at reduced or no cost.
    The Reclaiming First initiative includes board/council members and chief elected officials and staff leaders from the Rockford Park District, Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, City of Rockford, City of Loves Park, Village of Machesney Park, City of  South Beloit, Village of Rockton, Village of Roscoe, Village of Cherry Valley, and Winnebago County.
    For additional information on Reclaiming First, see
    Rockford Park District
    receives Lincoln Award
    The Illinois Office of Tourism also surprised the Rockford Park District with notification that the organization is the recipient of the Illinois Office of Tourism Lincoln Award for accomplishments made to the Illinois tourism industry. The Lincoln Award is an honor presented to the “behind the scenes stars of tourism.”
    The Rockford Park District was recognized for being a valuable asset to Rockford’s tourism effort in promoting the well-being and quality of life for its residents and helped spur statewide success bring a record 105.7 million visitors to Illinois in 2013. 

  • Vietnam II.jpg
    Class held for educators on ‘The Wall that Heals’
    Aug 7, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK - On Aug. 1, a class was held at the Regional Office of Education, which is located in the Loves Park City Hall complex.
    Much of the class was carried by Nancy Ryan, who is with the Barat Education Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) organization, established in 2000 (prior to the sale of Barat College to DePaul University).
    At that time, the Foundation was charged with the development and support of innovative educational programs and services that reflected the values and educational tradition of Barat College.
    Bruce Jacobsen, with the Rockford Charter Chapter of VietNow, spoke briefly at the start of the class and related how one of his teachers helped influence him in high school.
    Jacobsen said, “In 1963 Rockford Guilford High School World Geography teacher Benjamin Canter stood next to the world map on the south side of the room and introduced us to our next area of study.
    “He said, as he waved his hand over a section of the map and stopping at a point on it, ‘This six weeks we will be studying this part of the world, and we will be starting with this country. Most of you in this classroom have never heard of it, and most of the young men in this class will be going to visit it. It is called Vietnam.’
    “I entered the service about seven months later. When others asked why we were in Vietnam and asked us was it worth it, I already knew some answers because of that high school class.
    “I would later know how fortunate for me and my classmates to have had Mr. Canter as a teacher, who was studying for his masters at NIU in the Southeast Asian studies department.
    “This was and is one of just a few universities in the country on the leading edge of studies in that area. Because of that class, I and other surviving members of that class vividly remembered Mr. Canter and that day.”
    Following the Aug. 1 class, Nancy Ryan noted that it had been a positive and powerful presentation for the 10 educators who attended.
    “We were able to give them the strategies to engage their students to learn about the Vietnam War and other historical events where they can research their topics within a project-based environment.”
    In addition to Jacobsen and Ryan, Harlem High School teacher Nicholas Stange and one of his students were on hand to speak about the school’s veterans’ history project.
    Also, Jacobsen provided attendees with a glossary of terms connected with the Vietnam War, “a wonderful resource,” Ryan noted.
    As has previously been announced, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Traveling Wall is being brought to Loves Park by VietNow and other veterans’ organizations and will be located at the Arthur Anderson Field of Honor adjacent to the Loves Park City Hall building from Sept. 11-14.
    Over 58,000 Americans lost their lives during that war.

  • Coaches.JPG
    Role Reversal: Harlem High football coaces are reunited
    July 31, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - They've seen each other over the years, of course. They've communicated via e-mail and over the telephone.
    Now they're back together again on the Harlem High School football field.
    This is a story that goes back more than 20 years, to 1992.
    Mark Sorrentino was coaching the junior high school Huskies with his dad, the late Mario Sorrentino, while Jim Morrow was fresh out of Northern Illinois University and looking for a football job.
    Mark Sorrentino liked what he saw in this young man and so he offered to bring him on board - as a volunteer, assistant coach.
    Fast forward to 2014 and that same Jim Morrow is in his 12th year as head coach of the Huskies. Mark Sorrentino is in his second term as Harlem Township assessor.
    What's different about this year is the two have been reunited on the football field. And the roles are reversed with Sorrentino being brought in as a volunteer, assistant coach.
    The idea that he'd like to get back into coaching, possibly at the freshman level, came to him earlier this year, "I called Jim in the spring and mentioned that," he remembered. "He called me back and said he'd like me to work with the varsity running backs."
    It was a volunteer position, which was fine. And what an opportunity for someone who was a starting running back for Harlem in 1970.
    In addition to being a steadfast supporter of youth, Sorrentino also has been around decades of Harlem High School football.
    A big upset win
    Now 61, he was a regular for the varsity in 1970, before the arrival of state playoffs. That was the year the Huskies knocked off a highly acclaimed Rockford East team that was ranked No. 1 in the state.
    Members of that E-Rab squad included legendary running back Jerry Latin and quarterback Mitch Anderson.
    Nobody thought much of Harlem that season, he recalled. The players wore orange helmets and were called pumpkinheads. But the win over East made many sit up and take notice.
    Over the years Sorrentino became acquainted with various Harlem coaches. They included the late Roger Ostrom, for whom the touchdown bell at the football stadium was named.
    Ostrom was Sorrentino's sophomore coach in 1968 and remained around Huskie football for a long time, serving as a volunteer coach under Morrow until his death several years ago.
    "He did all the thkings you'd want a coach to do," Sorrentino explained. "He was encouraging, he made you feel that every moment on the field was a magical time."
    Another coach special in the annals of Harlem football is Ron Franiak, who now lives in Roscoe. "He was the same way" as Ostrom, Sorrentino said.
    "He left a legacy; he was someone who is remembered in a positive way. Franiak and Ostrom worked very well together."
    "They instituted in players what it meant to be a Huskie," he added. "It's more than just the team; you're representing the community." Now the community is giving back through the artificial turf campaign, which should result in a new surface on the football field being ready for the first home game of the season Sept. 5 against East.
    A proud tradition
    Sorrentino said he's proud to once again be part of a Harlem football team and all that tradition.
    And what is his job going to be?
    "It's his offense, his design," he said of coach Morrow. "I'm there to do what I think should be done within that framework." And, based on what he's seen and experienced over the years, to serve as a motivator as well.
    "Overall, Jim has surrounded himself with a quality and dedicated staff," he said. "Being a coach is a position of honor. I'm looking forward to working with all of them."
    Morrow said he was pleased to be reunited with Sorrentino. "He brings an enthusiasm and competitive nature to everything he does," the head coach said. "There are not a lot of people as passionate as he is about Harlem football."

  • Chop House.JPG
    New 'Chop House' restaurant gets two liquor licenses
    July 31, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Hawk's View restaurant closed last summer and remained vacant for almost one year. Now there's activity in the parking lot as workers remodel the inside space for the arrival of Prosser's Chop House, specializing in steaks.
    Prosser's is hoping to reopen Aug. 18.
    The village's liquor commission voted 3-0 July 14 to recommend approval of two required licenses: "R" for it being a restaurant and "P" because it has an outdoor patio.
    Prosser's also will have the five video gaming machines originally awarded to Hawk's View. For that, it will need a "G" license, but Planning and Zoning Coordinator Carrie Houston said it handled by staff, without having to go before the liquor commission.
    Issuance of the two licenses was part of the village board's consent agenda on July 21. No one asked for it to be removed for discussion, so it was unanimously approved along with six other items.
    Representatives of Hoffman House restaurant, which is leasing the building at 11189 Forest Hills Road, appeared at both the liquor commission and village board meetings, but none of them spoke.
    Houston told the liquor commission the request of Chop House was for licenses identical to what Hawk's View held while it was open.
    Class "R" allows consumption of alcoholic beverages for restaurants, where at least 50 percent of the revenue is from the sale of food.
    Chop House officials are estimating 70 percent of their business will be from food, with 30 from liquor sales.
    She said a "P" license allows on-premises consumption in patios.
    Outdoor music is OK
    Staff recommended approval of the request and the liquor commission concurred in a 3-0 vote. But commissioners did not agree with staff not wanting the restaurant to have live music on its patio, That's because the restaurant is in a residential area.
    Liquor Commissioner Jerry Bolin, who chairs such meetings, said he knew Hawk's View had outdoor music on its patio and asked if it had a special license to do so?
    Houston shook her head, no.
    "Could they (Prosser's) get a special permit?" he asked.
    Houston said she didn't know if the village had such a permit.
    Bolin then asked that the condition banning outdoor entertainment be removed from the recommendation and the rest of the commission agreed, 3-0. Commissioners Robbin Snodgrass and Kate Tammen were absent.
    The commission then voted 3-0 to recommend issuance of the "R" and "P" licenses.
    Prosser's will be operating out of an 11,900-sqare-foot, including a dining room, bar, kitchen and banquet room. The parking lot has 200 spaces.
    Plans are for the bar to open at 11 a.m. and close at 1 a.m. the following morning. Dinner will be served starting at 4:30 p.m.
    Michael Blair will be the manager, with Tanya French the associate manager. Staff for the restaurant is in the process of being hired.
    The liquor commission meeting started 10 minutes late because initially they were didn't have a quorum to do business.
    Village Clerk Lori Mitchell called the absent members to see if one of them could attend, so the required three would be there. One was able to make it in a few minutes and the meeting was called to order.

  • Abbott arrest MUGSHOT.jpg
    Machesney Park man arrested on child abuse charges
    July 31, 2014
    BELVIDERE - On Saturday, July 19, Belvidere Police Department detectives arrested a subject for Aggravated Battery of a Child.
    Dylan Abbott, 22, of Machesney Park, was charged with one count Aggravated Battery of a Child, a Class X felony. Abbott is currently being held in the Boone County Jail on a no bond.
    On Saturday night, July 19, Belvidere police responded to an emergency call regarding a seven-month-old child who was not breathing in the 2000 block of Davis Drive, Belvidere.
    The child was transported to SwedishAmerican Hospital in Belvidere by Lifeline Ambulance. The child was later transported and admitted to Rockford Memorial Hospital where the child remains in critical condition with a head injury. 
    Detectives arrested Abbott a few hours after the initial call. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible.
    Abbott, who is not the father of the child, is the boyfriend of the child’s mother. Abbott was watching the child as the mother ran an errand.
    A Class X felony is punishable by 6 to 30 years in the Illinois Dept. of Corrections.
    Members of the public are reminded that these are only charges and are not proof of the defendant’s guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial.
    The Belvidere Police Dept. encourages anyone having information on a crime or narcotic trafficking to call the Belvidere Police Dept. at (815) 544-2135 or CrimeStoppers at (815) 547-7867.

  • Marquette School I.JPG
    Northeast Church adopts Marquette Elementary School
    July 24, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Many members of Northeast Community Church no longer have children in school. But that doesn't lessen their interest in making a difference in the lives of today's young learners.
    Not long ago Shane Caiola was principal at Marquette and also was a member of Northeast church. He mentioned the need to spruce up the school a bit and that's all it took to launch a full-fledged campaign to improve the place.
    Some classrooms were repainted last summer. And this year a larger makeover is taking place with a dozen classrooms getting a fresh coat of paint and teachers getting their first-ever lounge.
    Well, they did have a small lounge in the past but shared it with other uses. Now one entire classroom-sized space has been dedicated for breaks.
    Once completed it will have a sitting area, three round tables with eight chairs each, a two-table serving area for food and a refrigerator.
    Until now, the lounge never had running water.
    A grand unveiling - hopefully a surprise - is planned for Aug. 12, the day before school starts. Until then, the room is being kept under wraps. Current Principal Amanda Hayes draws the blinds and puts posterboard over the window on the entrance door.
    About 20 parishioners were at the school July 12, continuing the work.
    Warren, Adam and Brad Vanderheyden had the arduous job of removing glue and particle board material from a wall that once held an instructional board.
    "It dates to the '50s (when the school was built) and it's never been painted, so it's brand new," Adam said. "I'd tell him (contractor) that he used too much."
    The men found every block had a glob of the material on it and there were 40 blocks. "The odds of it (board) falling on a child are slim and none, but what do we know?" he said.
    Former student helps
    In another room a former Marquette student, Brian Krutsch, was busy painting a well.
    "I was really a bad kid, but I had a great teacher," he said unabashedly. "I had a problem with reading and she (Mrs. Campbell) really helped me. Now I help others read. The nice thing about it is God has an eraser."
    He did tours in Iraq and also was in Desert Storm, said the former Navy Seal. "I have a herat for the homeless and the vets," he said. As for himself, the 60-year-old said, "I'm a work in progress."
    Jackie Bergener had children who attended Marquette in 1973-74. She was pleased to be helping out and said, "Children need a good place to learn. It's always good to help other people - especially kids."
    The liaison between Northeast church and the school, Sylvia Staley, taught in Harlem School District 122 for 32 years.
    In addition to painting and refurbishing the teachers' lounge, she said parishioners also tutor Marquette youngsters, as well as read to them and work with them in math and science.
    Once Caiola made the church aware of Marquette's needs, "we cast a vision for what we could do. Research shows that a school that's aesthetically pleasing gives students a good feeling. The teachers feel they're making a difference in the children's lives."
    Members of the church also spruced up the school's landscaping last year. "We had no idea this would go this far and this fast," she said.
    Current principal Hayes commended the church for its dedication to the school and its children. "It's funded by the membership - everything," she said of the improvements. "They're making a difference in the lives of our kids."
    In addition to all that, parishioners also provide clothing for the youngsters, such as coats and snow pants. "Anything we've asked for they have provided," she said.

  • Default image
    Machesney Park to have day-long festival on Saturday
    July 24, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - The community has come together to organize the Machesney Park Family Festival, a day filled with music, food, children's activities and flea-market type booths, and concluding with a fireworks display.
    It will be held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 26 in the parking areas in front of Big Lots and Bergner's at the Machesney Towne Center, formerly the Machesney Park Mall, off North Second Street. 
    Admission is free but tickets, priced at $1 each, will be required to purchase items on the grounds. Those tickets also will be used for a raffle of numerous items provided by businesses and others.
    Music will be provided at varying times by GateWay Performing Arts Group, Gina Meeks, New Life Band, Way Point, Alleluia Quartet. FirstBorn Ministries, Freddie Combs (from the X-factor), Epiphany and Haven Wells.
    Epiphany is providing the sound system for all of the groups to use.
    It is a cooperative effort with numerous agencies and organizations coming together to give the Parks area a festive, summertime event.
    The Rockford Park District is providing the stage for the entertainers, picnic tables and bleachers. A dumpster and other trash receptacles will come from Rock River Disposal.
    Pork chop sandwiches will be available through Parks Kiwanis and GiGi's Playhouse will have its traditional summertime lemonade stand on the grounds. GiGi's is an activities and educational center for those down Down Syndrome and is located across the highway.
    The North Park Fire Department will have equipment on display and provide an ambulance, should someone require medical attention. United Auto Workers will have a table for registration of voters.
    In addition, Winnebago County Animal Control and Paws Humane Society will be on hand with animals that are available for adoption. A variety of vendors also will have booths at the festival, selling a variety of items.
    Event-concluding fireworks are being sponsored by Trickie Enterprises and an anymous donor. Trickie, Ruby 10-Machesney, owner of the towne center, and the park district are gold sponsors for the event. Ruby 10 is allowing festival organizers to use the parking area free of charge.
    Silver sponsors are North Park Public Water District, Rock River Disposal and the UAW Community Action Program. 
    Having a festival of this kind was one of the goals of Machensey Park Mayor Jerry D. Bolin, who just began his second year in that office.
    He put together an events committee earlier this year and it met several times in the spring. But was not able to come up with a suitable event to start with.
    It was Bolin who came with the idea that is being held on Saturday. When the committee didn't want to move ahead with that kind of an event, some of the people initially contacted by the mayor wanted to proceed with it, anyway.
    So Bolin's wife, Lynda, agreed to organize the festival and she set up Friends of Machesney Park Inc., a non-profit, to serve as the sponsor. She said obtaining 501C3 status for the organization is in the works.
    It is hoped that this festival will become an annual event, she said, adding, "Everything is to promote Machesney Park."

  • Harlem bowler.JPG
    Bowling, baseball give Lindsey Mason a year to remember
    July 24, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Lindsey Mason kept pretty busy during her senior year at Harlem High School.
    She was in her third season as a member of the varsity bowling team and while baseball pretty much is a guy's thing, she also was an integral part of the Huskie team.
    Bowling was something she had been doing since third grade and it commanded a lot of her time. "My parents bowled, so did my (older) brother," she said. "So I thought I'd give it a try. It was a good decision; I love bowling."
    This is a highly competitive sport at Harlem, home of numerous state championship teams. And when she emerged as a freshman, she wasn't sure if she would make the team.
    She did land a spot on the junior varsity 2 squad Then it was varsity the rest of the way, up until the 2013-14 season.
    The Lady Huskies went to the state during her sophomore, junior and senior years, and she was on all of them, though only bowling this past year.
    She improved this year, after going to bowling camp and participating in a lot of tournaments, mostly against NIC-10 bowlers, during the summer of 2013.
    So she started most of the games this past season and wound up with a 196 average, which was 14th among more than 70 individuals.
    That finish was significant because it gave her a spot in the season-ending Top 16 tournament, where she would go head-to-head against the cream of the crop in the conference. It was there that she enjoyed perhaps the most memorable moment of the winter.
    Continued improvement
    Lindsey improved on her regular season average by 11 pins and took third in that tournament, just 65 pins out of second place.
    She was in first place after the first day. "I knew I was doing pretty well," she recalled. "There was a little bit of pressure to maintain that, but I was just happy to be bowling well."
    Harlem had a total of six girls in the Top 16 tournament, which meant Lindsey would be going against five of them. Given her competitive spirit, she said, "I really wanted to beat my teammates, bad as that may sound." She did prevail against four of the five, which caused her to say, "I'm happy with that."
    Taylor Rush had the next best finish for Harlem, in seventh place.
    Graduation has come and gone since then. Now it's time to get ready to continue her education at Rock Valley College, where she plans to pursue a career in secondary education. She's not sure at this point which four-year school she will attend once getting her associate's degree.
    And what about bowling? RVC has a team so she plans to continue with her favorite sport. In a sense that's starting all over again as she will have to try out for the team.
    One thing that's in her rear-view mirror is baseball, though the memory will always be there. She was a team manager for three years and evolved as the keeper of the official scorebook. She enjoyed being on the team and the feeling was mutual.
    "It's rare to have a manager who understands the game as well as Lindsey did," head coach Doug Livingston said. "The players never questioned her scorekeeping because they respected her knowledge of the game. I also respected the time and commitment she gave to the program."
    Beyond that, he said it was impressive how she maintained a top 10 percent grade point average in the Class of 2014, while being involved with so many activities, including the Veterans Documentary Project.
    "She will truly be missed not only by the baseball program but at Harlem as well," coach Livingston said. "I was fortunate to coach her brother, Derrick, and they have been a big part of Harlem baseball."

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    Video and gaming with liquor licenses still an issue in Loves Park
    July 24, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – Video gaming and slots requests in relation to the city’s liquor licenses is still an issue. At the city council meeting July 14, aldermen sent a request for a Class A (tavern) liquor license for “Mexican Woman Gaming, LLC” dba “Island Inn” in the 7900 block of N. Alpine Road back to committee for six weeks.
    Codes and regulations committee chair John Pruitt noted that possible additional regulations may be needed in regards to close proximity to Class F liquor license holders’ establishments. Pruitt doesn’t believe that high gaming concentrations are an asset to the city, saying, “This might not be in the city’s best interests.”
    It was determined that a six-week moratorium be put on them while codes and regs looks further into the matter with recommendations being made at the August 25 council meeting.
    Alderman Clint Little doesn’t necessarily agree with the proposal that the licenses be limited further, saying, “I don’t like it, the fact that we are protecting profits of other businesses” this way. All aldermen, except Little and A. Marie Holmes, voted to send the Island Inn request back to committee and place the six-week moratorium on licenses so the motion was passed.
    In other business, Alderman Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of July 6-12. A total of 418 calls for service, 250 arrests, and 18 accidents were given. On the weekly fire department report dated July 13, three fire calls, six false fire alarm calls, three public service calls, two assist police calls, and one smoke or odor investigation call were reported.
    Firefighters put in 34 man-hours July 12 serving as an all-day safety crew at the Ski Broncs tournament July 12, then put in another 32.5 man-hours on the following day’s tournament. Mayor Darryl Lindberg noted that the Ski Broncs took third place in the Central Regional Tournament, which means they will participate in the upcoming Division One tournament in Janesville.
    A total of 44,175.23 in water fund bills, and $83,415.18 in general fund and all other bills, as presented July 7, were approved for payment with Alderman Julie Hobel abstaining from voting on payment of the general fund bills.
    A resolution authorizing negotiation of the city’s “Municipal Electric Aggregation Supplier” was passed. The city went the aggregation route within the past couple of years but charges have increased quite a bit. The City of Rockford and Loves Park are both now in the process of renegotiating. More on this in the near future.
    Arc Design Resources of Loves Park got the go-ahead in two resolutions passed for the company’s engineering services in relation to the 2014 citywide “Roadway Improvement Program” at a cost not to exceed $26,900 and at a cost not to exceed $146,800 for engineering services for the N. Alpine Road reconstruction from E. Riverside Blvd. to Rivington Road. Alderman Julie Hobel voted no on both resolutions.
    An ordinance, second reading, providing a Class R2 (recreational – full alcohol) liquor license for the Rockford Park District’s Carlson Ice Arena in the 4100 block of N. Perryville Road was passed.

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    Machesney Park man arrested on child pornography charges
    July 24, 2014
    MACHESNEY PARK ─ Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced charges against a Winnebago County man on multiple counts of distributing and possessing child pornography as part of “Operation Glass House,” her statewide initiative to apprehend the most active offenders who download and trade child pornography online.
    Jordan Stoltz, 23, of Machesney Park, was arrested after investigators with Madigan’s office and the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at his home in the 1000 block of Kingsley Drive.
    Stoltz was charged with three counts of distribution of child pornography, a class X felony each punishable by six to 30 years in prison, and three counts of possession of child pornography, a Class 2 felony each punishable by three to seven years in prison. Bond was set at $250,000.
     “The spread of child pornography online has led to an epidemic of child exploitation,” Madigan said.
    “These criminals are lurking behind closed doors, trading and downloading vile images of children being sexually abused.
    “What they may not realize, though, is that we can track what they’re doing online, and we will continue to be relentless in apprehending the state’s worst offenders for destroying the lives of these innocent victims.”
    This is the 62nd arrest of Madigan’s Operation Glass House that she launched in 2010 to investigate and arrest offenders trading child pornography online.
    The operation’s investigations conducted by Madigan’s High Tech Crimes Bureau have revealed a disturbing community of criminals who are trading and viewing extremely violent videos of children as young as infants being raped and abused.
    Madigan’s investigation was assisted by the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office, and the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case.
    “The Office of the State’s Attorney takes child pornography cases very seriously. These are not victimless crimes,” said Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato.
    “Every time someone looks at these types of images, the child becomes a victim all over again. It is our duty as a prosecutor to seek justice for the victims, and seek convictions against those who choose to trade and view child pornography.”
    In addition to Operation Glass House, Madigan leads the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
    The Task Force investigates child exploitation crimes and trains local and county level law enforcement agencies throughout Illinois to do the same. Since 2006, Madigan’s ICAC task force has been involved in 770 arrests of sexual predators.
    The task force has also provided Internet safety training and education to more than 367,400 parents, teachers and students and more than 17,500 law enforcement professionals.
    The public is reminded that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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    Session ends; legislative work continues for MP's Cabello
    July 17, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - The 2014 session of the Illinois General Assembly ended May 31, but that doesn't mean state legislators will be off duty until later this fall.
    That's especailly true of Reps. John Cabello, R-Machesney Park, and Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, who were just appointed to new task force that will address illegal gun trafficking in Illinois. They represent the Parks area, including Machesney Park, Loves Park, Roscoe, Rockton and South Beloit.
    The bipartisan task force is charged with developing a comprehensive plan, including legislative proposals, to disrupt the flow of illegal guns into the state.
    "Most gun violence throughout Illinois and the city of Chicago isn't caused by law-abiding gun owners," said Cabello, a Rockford police officer. "Rather, it comes from criminals who possessed firearms illegally."
    "As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I look forward to serving on the committee to put more tools in the hands of law enforcement to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, while continuing to protect the rights of upstanding gun owners."
    He added that he also sought the appointment "to be sure the task force isn't going to reduce the rights of people who are law-abiding gun owners."
    House Resolution 1188 declares an Illegal Gun Trafficking Emergency exists in this state and creates the task force to assess the following measures:
    1. Necessary levels of coordination, funding and interdepartmental and state/federal cooperation for effective gun trafficking interdiction.
    2. The legal framework necessary for getting guns off the streets, including the examination of current gun-running, straw purchasing and unlicensed dealer penalties and their interaction with city, state and federal policies.
    3. Feasibility of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and Department of Justice anti-violence programs that have worked in other simularly situated states and cities, including after-school programs and job readiness that are peer-reviewed and cost-effective.
    The task force will submit a report on its findings to the 
General Assembly on or before November.
    A few bills pass
    In an interview July 10, Rep. Cabello talked about the recently concluded session and success he had with the more than 40 bills he introduced for consideration.
    Normally, he said legislators are allowed to move two measures for considerationi by the Legislature. The rest remain in the Rules Committee.
    He said the point of introducing so many is that people in leadership read them and there's always a chance that some will generate interest. Then the proposal usually is passed along to another legislator - Cabello said he didn't care about getting the credit - and it receives consideration.
    Introducing so many bills could "start a conversation that otherwise might never have happened," he said.
    One of Cabello's bills that passed both houses and was signed by Gov. Pat Quinn allows the village of Machesney Park to extend a tax increment financing district along the Illinois 173 corridor for another 12 years.
    Sometimes keeping a bad bill from becoming law is a worthwhile endeavor.
    Cabello said a bipartisan effort was able to keep the 2010 state income tax increase from becoming permanent. But he added, "Unfortunately, I believe that will happen in January, during the lame duck session."
    He said only 60 votes will be needed for passage, instead of the usual 71, and it will be a time for leglsiators leaving office to vote without fearing of repercussions in their home districts.
    The annual veto session will be in November. 

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    School District 122 to register 7,000 students next week
    July 17, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - It's that time again. School will resume Aug. 13 and registration of all students for 2014-15 will take place Tuesday through Thursday (July 22-24) at Harlem High School.
    The high school will be open for registration from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.
    For those on vacation during that week registration will be allowed the end of July or early in August. But district officials are encouraging registration July 22-24, if possible, because lines later in the month actually will be longer.
    Actual registration time next week will be about 20 minutes, they said.
    Visit for last-minute information about registration requirements and other updates.
    Schools will be in session this year during the following hours:
    Elementary schools, pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. Early childhood morning, 8:10 to 10:40 a.m.; early childhood afternoon, 11:50 a.m. to 2:20 p.m. Kindergarten, 8:10 a.m. to 2:20 p.m. and grades first through sixth grades, 8 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.
    Secondary school, grades 7-12. Harlem Middle School, grades 7-8; ninth-grade campus, grade 9; and high school, grades 10-12, all from 8:35 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
    This is the fifth year for registering all students at the high school. Previously, that process took place at individual buildings, which led to multiple problems. So Superintendent Julie Morris proposed registering everyone at one location and, with minor adjustments, the new approach has worked well.
    She and Cathy Martin, director of stakeholder engagement, both said they had heard very little grumbling about the change.
    Information gathering
    Registration at HHS has evolved into far more than signing up students for the coming school year. It is a one-stop location for that plus being able to gather myriads of information pertinent to 2014-15.
    For example, the Rock Valley Credit Union will have a table at which parents may get information about its savings program for students. Various colleges and universities will be represented to talk about programs for both students and adults. The YMCA will have information about its before and after-school programs while Blackhawk Pre-School will be there as well.
    The district's human resources department will be on hand for those interested in being substitute teachers or filling in for other positions, such as bus drivers, paraprofessionals and secretaries.
    Also, the district will be recruiting volunteers for "I Read," a partnership between District 122, United Way and Rockford Public School District 205. Martin said that program is in its fourth year and currently has about 100 volunteers. It is for K-3 students and requires a commitment of 20 minutes each week.
    "Career people come in before work or during their lunch break," she said. "We're hoping for 150 volunteers by the start of the school year."
    "Registration has become an event," the superintendent said. "We make it more doable for parents and to have a more consistent process in place."  At the end of the three days "you don't realize 7,000 have gone through," she said.
    Plenty of staff, including the superintendent and principals, are there in part because they reconnect with co-workers, the school community, parents and students.

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    Bowling benefit planned to help Coach Melissa Re
    July 17, 2014
    LOVES PARK – Save the date - July 26
Join us at our bowling extravaganza Saturday, July 26 at Park Lanes Bowling Alley for an evening of bowling, raffles, silent auction, bake sale and more to benefit Melissa Re.
    Melissa was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in March of 2011. After eight months of treatments, including the removal of her left lung, she was declared cancer free. Unfortunately it returned in August of 2013.
    After going through chemo, it was determined that traditional treatment was not successful. Melissa is now participating in a trial drug study based out of Houston, Texas at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. This means she has to go to Texas every three weeks for tests and observation. We are asking for your help in supporting Melissa.
    Melissa has been a member of this community all of her life. Growing up she excelled in athletics through Belvidere High School, which she then continued to play while attending Rock Valley Community College, where she later earned her nursing degree.
    She has established her self as a nurse on the neuro intensive care trauma unit at St. Anthony's. But not wanting to leave sports behind, she decided to take a head coaching position as the sophomore girls basketball coach at Harlem High School, where she has been coaching for last seven years. Both her nursing and coaching have allowed her to help others. Now it's time for us to help her.
    The $25 admission will get you three games of bowling, shoe rental, unlimited pasta and unlimited salad. Registration will start at 6:30 p.m. with bowling at 7 p.m. The event will feature a Chinese raffle, silent auction, bake sale and 50/50 raffle.
    So come out and join us, July 26, for a night of fun to benefit our coach, our nurse, our friend Melissa Re.

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    Loves Park’s ‘DUI officer arrest rate’ recognized
    July 17, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – At the July 7 Loves Park City Council meeting, aldermen heard about the “Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists” (AAIM), which is a not-for-profit organization that was found in 1982 by the families of loved ones lost in drunk driving accidents.
    Its mission is to prevent deaths and injuries caused by intoxicated or distracted motorists and “to assist impaired riving crash victims and their families in Illinois.”
    In conjunction, AAIM has conducted an annual survey of Illinois police departments to determine how many DUI arrests they make and to give recognition to the most productive departments and police officers. It is funded through an Illinois Dept. of Transportation grant and close to 700 police departments were surveyed.
    Loves Park Police Chief Rodney Scott explained that the department had received notice from AAIM that the department excelled in locating and arresting intoxicated drivers during the 2013 calendar year.
    “AAIM has a ranking system that compares us with other Illinois police departments,” he said. “Specifically, the officers of the Loves Park Police Department were able to place us in the following rankings:
    * No. 2 in the state when comparing the DUI officer arrest rate (6.30)  (No. 1 finished at 6.43).
    * No. 4 in the state when measuring our improvement in total DUIs (208) compared to 2012’s final total (140).
    * No. 22 in the state when comparing total number of DUIs. 
    “This number actually compares us against large departments, who have many officers issuing DUIs. I feel this number is especially impressive when you consider the size of our department, and compare it to the many departments who are larger. These numbers, and ultimately the safety of our community, would not be possible without the efforts of our officers.”
    In other council business, Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of June 29-July 5. There were 460 calls for service, 159 arrests, and 10 accidents reported.
    On the weekly fire department report dated July 6, a total of two fire calls, five false fire alarm calls, one rescue call, one mutual aid call, one carbon monoxide or gas leak call and six wires down calls.
    A total of $$22,372.77 in water fund bills, and $139, 144.64 in general fund and all other bills, as presented June 30, were approved for payment.
    A resolution authorizing public works to seek sealed bids for the annual 2014 Maintenance Program and road repairs at various locations in the city due to water main breaks was approved.
    Two ordinances, first reading were okayed: one for the Rockford park District’s Carlson Arena in the 4100 block of N. Perryville Road asking for a Class R2 (recreational, full alcohol) liquor license. The other is a request for a Class A (tavern) liquor license for Island Inn in the 7900 block of N. Alpine Road.

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    VetsRoll trip returns, already working on 2015
    July 17, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    LOVES PARK - Plenty of the Harlemites who gathered for their monthly breakfast July 7 had heard about the VetsRoll program. By a show of hands, several had been on one of the bus trips to Washington, D.C.
    A face was put on the program that day when Mark Finnegan, the founder, talked about how putting each trip together is a year-round effort.
    They just returned in May and already are head-long into fund-raising for the 2015 excursion. That year the number of participants, mostly veterans of World War II but also from the Korean War, along with Rosie the Riveters, will have passed the 1,100 mark.
    Upcoming stops will be the Rock County Fair in Janesville and the Walworth County Fair. The latter, held in southern Wisconsin, has provided $45,000 for the trip over the past three years.
    Breakfast emcee Bill Ryverson, one of many Harlem High School graduates in attendance July 7, called Finnegan one of those people who saw a need in the community and did something about it.
    Finnegan said the idea came to him as a memorial to his grandfather, a veteran of World War II who died in 2000. It also was a ground version of the Honor Flight program in Dayton, Ohio, in which veterans are flown to Washington to see the various military memorials.
    VetsRoll was publicly announced March 17, 2010, before the first dime had been raised. Yet a registration deadline of May 16 was set.
    "The community picked it up," he said. There was a first trip that May, with 115 veterans and eight Rosie the Riveters, women who worked on the home front to benefit the war effort.
    "We raised $90,000 in 60 days," Finnegan recalled. "We left Beloit (Wis.) with nine motor homes and three charter buses."
    This year the caravan included 10 charter buses and one motor home. There is no charge for veterans; the organization has to raise $300,000 to make the trip happen each year. "The buses alone are $80,000," he said.
    The 2014 trip had participants from 21 states, with the oldest a 95-year-old veteran from Wyoming. There were 140 assistants, most with medical credentials, who paid $500 each for the trip.
    Four 2014 graduates of Harlem High School, who were involved in the veterans documentary, went on the trip as well.
    On its way back this year, and going through Belvidere, he said the entourage picked up an escort of 140 motorcycles. In Ohio, he said state troopers were seen at the various rest areas, standing beside their vehicles and saluting the buses as they passed by.
    "This trip captures what is good about America," Finnegan said.

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    New police officer is Harlem graduate
    July 10, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – At the June 30 Loves Park City Council meeting, Mayor Darryl Lindberg swore in the city’s latest police officer.
    Sean Kahly, a 2003 graduate of Harlem High School, served in the Army at bases in Alaska and Colorado from 2003 to 2012 in the position of a Military Police Officer so he comes with experience.
    Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of June 22-28. Reported were 504 calls for service, 290 arrests, and 12 accidents.
    On the weekly fire department report dated June 28, three false fire alarm calls, three carbon monoxide leak calls, one natural gas leak call, and one odor investigation call were reported.
    A total of $235,613.28 in general fund and all other bills, and $17,743.25 in water fund bills, as presented June 23, were approved for payment.
    A motion was approved for a special event permit for an outdoor party July 5 from 2 to 9 p.m. and with live music from 2 to 5 p.m. in the 6400 block of Park Ridge Road.
    A resolution was passed authorizing the public works manager to hire Décor-Cem to paint the exterior walls of Fire Station No. 2 at a cost of $5,260.

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    GPS church farmers market offers variety to visitors
    July 10, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - "When are we gonna get there?" was and probably still is a common question from children traveling with their parents.
    One of the most-asked questions asked at the GPS Faith Community Church farmers market off Illinois 251 is: "When wil you be getting corn?"
    Corn on the cob already is available at grocery stores in the Parks and elsewhere. But that's not from around here. They're asking about northern Illinois corn, whether it's from Gensler Garden, Susie's Garden Patch in Garden Prairie, even Twin Gardens in Harvard.
    The answer: later this month, possibly as early as July 21. Bottom line is "as soon as Mother Nature says so," said Susie Silberhorn from Susie's, which had a booth at the market to the left side of the church.
    Don't let anyone fool you right now and say they've got local corn, she cautioned.
    The market, in its first summer, opened in May and has steadily grown in the number of vendors who appear from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. every Thursday.
    There only were three to begin with and that made the organizers a bit nervous, said Lisa Short, market administrator. When it opened, there were nine. And now there are 22 on the roster.
    Variety of hats
    One of the helpers at Susie's Garden Patch is recognizable to those who shop at Schnuck's off Alpine Road in Loves Park. He's Bill "Onion" Taylor, who said he has about 250 differently decorated hats, for most every occasion and that means his part-time job at Schnuck's.
    He knows the produce business, having once sold onions at Rockford Speedway. And, hence, the nickname, which he's had for many years, he said.
    Another of the product booths was run by Larry Smith and his wife, Chris, from Machesney Park. "Picked this fresh three hours ago," he said, from their nearby garden. "No preservatives or artificial flavors," he said, quoting a sign in front of one of the tables full of greens.
    There were tables under the same tent with variety of jewelry, made by Chris Smith.
    There is much more here, including colorful hair flowers, Serendipity Soap and Such, whose pleasing scent carries into the walkway. Landscape Connection is a business but its booth offered flowers, hummingbird nectar, bird feeders, bird seed and more.
    Colorful sun catchers, the Woodford Street Baking Co., with a variety of original goodies,The Cravery cupcakes, Swedish Soul Fusion hot food, Laid from Scratch free-range eggsw and honey, and locally made Canola oil, were some of the others.
    "We're pleased by the quality and the mix," said administrator Short. "And they're the most wonderful people to be working with."
    The church also has a large community garden, nearby and hidden by a fence, with 20 raised garden beds. GPS sponsors a food pantry with another church, she explained, and also suppports the nearby Helping Hands Food Pantry in Loves Park.
    Church officials thought it would be nice of the overage from the community garden could be made available to others. And so the idea of a farmers market was born. Net proceeds, she said, will go into the Hope for the Hungry program.
    Plans are for the market to continue until mid-October.
    So far all is well. "God is good," Short said.

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    Rockford murder suspect Terence Doddy in police custody
    July 10, 2014
    BELOIT - Illinois State Police (ISP) confirmed last week that the nationwide manhunt to locate Terence Doddy, 36, of Rockford, who is a suspect in the murders of Tonya Bargman, 44 of Monticello, and Todd Hansmeier, 37, of Rockford, has ended.
    Police apprehended Doddy at approximately 11:23 a.m. on July 4, as he appeared to head in the direction of Wisconsin.
    The sightings began on Wednesday night (July 3) at approximately 8 p.m., when Doddy was spotted by an off duty Winnebago County police officer near Machesney Park.
    At approximately 11 a.m., on July 4, Doddy was spotted in Rockton after an ISP District 16 trooper observed the Gray Nissan matching the description of Tonya Bargman’s vehicle.
    ISP Air Operations also observed the area and provided aerial support on sightings and locations. Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the law enforcement alert (Rock Island County Sheriff’s, Beloit PD, Winnebago County Sheriff’s, & Rockford PD) in an attempt to apprehend Doddy.
    The pursuit lasted for approximately 25 minutes and traveled west of Beloit, south near Shirland., and returned North on County H into Rock County.
    The suspect traveled east on Hwy 81 at speeds up to 100 mph. Illinois State Police was the primary pursuit vehicle with Town of Beloit Police, Beloit Police, Winnebago County Police and Rock CountySheriff’s deputies assisting.
    Beloit Police were able to deploy stop sticks near Kenucane Road and Hwy 81. Doddy lost control after his tires were deflated and drove into the north ditch striking a embankment and two trees near 2935 W. Hwy 81.
    Doddy resisted arrest from officers and was taken into custody soon after the crash.
    Town of Beloit Fire Department transported Doddy to a local hospital to be treated for injuries sustained. Rock County Deputies will be guarding Doddy at the hospital and transporting him to the Rock County Jail until extradition could be arranged for Illinois authorities. 
    Rock County Sheriff’s Office investigated the accident portion of the event. Charges of Terence Doddy are as follows:
    Operating While Intoxicated (1st offense)
    Operating a Motor Vehicle Without Owners Consent
    Fugitive Complaint for Homicide and Aggravated Domestic Battery for Rockford Police
    “The cooperative effort and fast response of our District 16 troopers, Zone investigators and police partners in Winnebago, Rockford, Rock Island, and Beloit should be recognized as solid police work, said ISP Director Hiram Grau.
    “Our thoughts are with the grieving families who have lost their loved ones and our hope is that this arrest will bring some closure to their pain,” he added.
    Doddy remains in police custody in Wisconsin and a court date and charges are pending.

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    Rock Cut Elementary's bookmobile makes house calls
    July 10, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    LOVES PARK -  Rock Cut Elementary School is in the second summer of taking a collection of books into the neighborhoods where its children live.
    And there's good reason for it.
    Research dating back 30 years has shown students' reading ability regresses during the summer. In addition, that loss is felt by the students themselves, many of whom go several months without access to reading materials.
    One solution to that problem is as simple as taking books into the community. And so Rock Cut Elementary School is doing just that.
    The bookmobile, a white van provided by Harlem School District 122, ventures out every Wednesday for nine weeks, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. It is driven by one of the Rock Cut teachers, with an assist from two other teachers, and visits specific houses in four nearby subdivisions.
    While it doesn't play music as the popular ice cream trucks that cruise Loves Park and Machesney Park each summer, its arrival is anticipated by many children and their parents.
    A testimony to that is found in the following story.
    One Wednesday a family that was mistakenly missed got into their car and drove from neighborhood to neighborhood, until the bookmobile was located.
    More evidence can be seen in the enthusiastic faces of students when they approach the van. Once they arrive  they return the book(s) they took out the week before. Then they climb inside and peruse a vast array of offerings, There is a limit of three per child.
    There are "regulars" along the route, said this week's driver, Kelly Duncan, ESL-bilingual teacher at Rock Cut. If someone isn't home, a blue brochure is left at the front door with a "missed you" message.
    Varying number of kids
    Sometimes there are more kids than expected, as in one case July 2 when a sleepover the night before produced seven youngsters eager to grab a book or two. On other occasions neibhbors' children drop by to see what's available.
    And once there were two who weren't known to the school because their family just moved into town. They quickly became acquainted with the many treasures inside the bookmobile.
    Children know they get an incentive for obtaining, and returning, books. On July 2, it was a popsicle. Another time it could be bowling passes.
    Duncan was accompanied by Becket George, a second-grade teacher, and Becky Freehauf, who teaches third grade. Each wore a bright orange T-shirt inscribed with "Rock Cut Reads" on the front, along with a caricature of the school's mascot, a raccoon by the name of Rocky the Ranger.
    Families are reminded of each weekly bookmobile trek by an e-blast that is put out to school families the day before.
    "We tried 9 (a.m.) to 1 (p.m.) last year but found that was way too early," Duncan said. Even with the 10 a.m. start this year on July 2 some of the youngsters were still in their pajamas.
    The school's parent-teacher organization provided $1,000 each year, for additional books.
    One of the final stops in the first of four subdivisions was at the home of a family getting ready to go on vacation. "The kids wouldn't let us leave until they got some books," their mom said.

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    Harlem District 122 tries to make summer school fun again
    July 3, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - There was a time when kids went to summer school because it was fun. Then it became more focused on making up credits that were lost the year before due to failing grades.
    Now the fun is back; elementary and middle school-age youngsters are the beneficiaries.
    Since it's education there is an acronym involved and in this case it's SAIL, which means Summer Adventures in Learning. It's an appropriate name becase the "L" word (learning) is part of the four day-a-week program.
    Windsor Elementary School is the site of this year's first SAIL program and it's for children in first through sixth grade.
    Those involved experience learning through participation in a theme-based class that incorporates reading, writing and mathematics standards. Teachers prepared a wide range of opportunities that include math games, reading and writing, science, technology, physical education and more.
    Classes, which began June 9, meet from 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday. They end today, July 3.
    There were three options from which to choose in first and second grades.
    One of them was dinosaurs, which provided youngsters an opportunity to learn about prehistoric life. There were multiple hands-on activities and even a field trip to the Burpee Museum in Rockford, which has a special exhibit on dinosaurs.
    The instructor was Kelli Blank, kindergarten teacher at Parker Center. The class was fun for her, too, she said, because they were able to do more activities than during the regular school year.
    She said youngsters also "are engaged in reading, writing and math in a fun setting." They did research, in which three or four worked in a group to write a report on a particular dinosaur."
    Writing what they did
    Children often write in their journals about what they did in class that day.
    There is a play period during each four-hour session and while some enjoyed cards or time in the computer, others brought out the dinorsurs and created a village just for prehistoric animals.
    Kids in third and fourth grades learned about the Olympics; wrote and illustrated stories through a variety of art media and styles; or learned about life in theater and, at the end of the session, put on a play.
    Fifth and sixth-grade activities were more involved.
    One two-week session focused on non-fiction articles and books, while incorporating writing and math by doing experiments using the scientific method.
    Another class focused on staying fit during the summer by playing unique outdoor field day sporting events, cooking in the classroom and working together.
    The final class for that age group was a drama camp, in whcih students learned about that subject through improvisat5ional games, skits and puppetry. They were able to explore many aspects of drama, from set design to makeup.
    That 8 a.m. to noon session wasn't the end for many of the youngsters.
    Some were bused to the nearby Carlson Boys & Girls Club for lunch and afternoon activities, such as art, gaming, gym and project learn, all of which ended at 5 p.m.
    This partnership between District 122 and the Boys & Girls Club was new this year. It offered a varied atmosphere for the children while helping families where both parents work.
    The more traditional summer school (making up credits) is bgeing held at the high school, Monday through Thursday of each week.

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    MP accepting applications for housing improvement grants
    July 3, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - The village is now accepting applications from homeowners for funding to help improve where they live.
    All a homeowner has to do is come to village hall, 300 Roosevelt Road, and fill out a one page, pre-application with their name, address, number of people in the household and annual household income.
    Those unable to get to village hall should call (815) 877-5432 and an application will be sent in the mail.
    The deadline for applying is 4 p.m. July 27. A lottery drawing will be held before the start of the Aug. 4 village board meeting to select four homeowners and 16 alternates.
    Mayor Jerry D. Bolin announced Friday that the village had received a $168,000 grant for the coming year. This is federal money that flows through the Illinois Housing Development Authority and on to participating municipalities.
    He called it "an honor and a pleasure" to be able to provide such assistance to homeowners in need.
    The $168,000 should be enough to fix up four houses. But Tammy Scott, grants writer for the village, said expenses won't be known until the contractor starts to work in the residence.
    The village has participated in this program since 2000. In each of those years alternates on the list have wound up receiving home improvements because of problems with the applications that were initially chosen ahead of them.
    For example, just this past year six originally were chosen to participate in the program. Ultimately, the 15th on the list of 20 selected during the lottery ended up having their home improved.
    Overall, theirs was the 93rd house worked on during the village's lengthy history of putting $3 million worth of grant money to that use.
    Applicants have numbered between 50-60 and 200 a year.
    Among the eligibility requirements are seeking improvements to a single-family, detached home; owner-occupied as the primary residence; and located in Machesney Park. Applicants must be credit worthy.
    Total income limits are $23,350 for two in the household; $26,250 for three; $29,150 for four; and up to $38,500 for eight.
    The spirit of the program is to provide low-income persons the ability to bring their entire home up to property code standards. Luxury improvements such as hot tubs, pools and decks are not eligible.
    Mayor Bolin said he and the entire village board support Machesney Park's continued participation in this program.
    It all started when Linda Vaughn was mayor. Scott said the program was brought to her attention and that Vaughn and the board told her to check into it. Approval came a while later and the village has been involved ever since.
    Scott said the improvements have had a significant impact on many lives.
    In one case it saved a homeowner from losing his house insurance because the roof was in such bad shape. Another time, the residents drove right by their improved house because they didn't recognize it.

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    Agreeing to disagree on vote to retain township attorney
    July 3, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Harlem Township Attorney John Nelson and Trustee Arnie Cabello have exchanged letters with their views on the legality of a vote to retain Nelson and increase his rate of pay.
    Bottom line is they continue to agree to disagree on the issue.
    Nelson said the attorney is a township official. He or she is subject to being reappointed after each election by the township supervisor, with concurrence from the board of trustees. The board also sets the attorney's salary.
    If the board deadlocks on filling any vacancy of any township official, he stated that the township clerk, usually a non-voting member of the board, may decide the issue.
    That happened Oct. 7, 2013, when clerk Sheryl Crowley broke a 2-2 tie to uphold action at the Sept. 10 board meeting to renew Nelson's contract and accompanying pay increase.
    In his April 14 letter, Nelson reiterated his belief that the Oct. 7 action was legal. "If you (Cabello) believe that the interpretation of the law is wrong ... your remedy is through the courts," he wrote.
    But in the same letter he discouraged going that route. "It is my opinion that the best legal result (of legal action) that could be obtained would be a rollback of the pay increase that was enacted at the time of the appointment," he stated.
    "The cost of this kind of litigation could easily be in the tens of thousands, which hardly seems worth it."
    Not a town official
    Trustee Cabello stated in his letter dated June 9 that his research showed the attorney is not a township official.
    "This is the position I have reached after considerable discussion with several attorneys experienced in township statutes, as well as officials of the Township Officials of Illiniois (TOI)," he wrote.
    He attached letters supporting his position from Dwight O'Keefe, president of the Illinois Township Attorney's Association, and Jerry Crabtree, associate director of the TOI.
    "A township attorney is not an elected official," Crabtree wrote.
    "The only time a clerk is permitted to vote is when the board is replacing an elected position and there is a tie. Because the attorney position is not an elected position, this is not permitted."
    Trustee Traci Ort said as early as Oct. 7 that she was told by Crabtree that the township attorney was not an official "so the clerk does not have a vote." But Crowley said she talked with Crabtree, who told him something different.
    "The township attorney shall not be considered a township employee," O'Keefe wrote, quoting state statutes.
    The board initially voted 3-2 at its July 2013 meeting against renewing Nelson's contract. The issue, Cabello said at the time, was mnoney, not the man, was the issue.
    He and other trustees wanted to see if there was someone out there who would do the job for less.
    Cabello did agree with Nelson that it would not be fair for taxpayers "to be dragged into litigation that would only cost them more in terms of taxes to resolve a disagreement that, among reasonable people, can be easily resolved by my solution."
    His suggested remedy has two parts:
    1. Nelson would agree to advise the board that the township clerk does not have the authority to break a tie vote in the appointment of a township attorney.
    2. Reduce the township attorney's rates of pay to the same as they were prior to the reappointment issue. Since 2001, the attorney had been paid $200 per meeting and $150 an hour for work done outside monthly meetings.
    The proposed increase was to $275 per meeting and $175 for work done outside the meetings.
    Should the attorney agree to those points, Cabello wrote that he would "support the appointment of you (Nelson) as township attorney and entertain a reasonable increase in rates for your services."

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    Art competition wraps up at Carz R Us Automotive Shop
    June 26, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - The lobby area of Carz R Us Automotive Shop once again has taken on the appearance of an art gallery.
    Colorful drawings from students at Harlem District 122 elementary schools are affixed to the walls for customers and visitors alike to enjoy.
    There's something in it for the artists, as well.
    People come in and vote for the artwork of their choice. Voting ends Monday, June 30, after which they will be tallied to determine who wins which prizes. Every entry will get a prize. Those in the Top 5 will receive a little something extra.
    The business is on the south side of Illinois 173, just west of the intersection with Illinois 251. (Look for the red building).
    Carz R Us manager Matthew Aukes is no stranger to education. He taught band for six years in the south suburbs before leaving to partner with his brother, Ray, in the automotive repair and tire business.
    They have been in Machesney Park for six years, the last three at the current location. They initially started across the highway but had to move because of the improvements to 173.
    Looking back at his days working in education Matt Aukes said he wanted to do something for the 12 schools in Machesney Park. The art competition evolved from that wish and now is concluding its second year.
    But there's more.
    The Aukes' business has partnered with the Harlem School District in a year-round program that raises money for all extracurricular activities and electives. Here's how it works.
    Any person who mentions the Harlem Loyalty Program upon scheduling an appointment for work to be done on their vehicle, or upon speaking with the manager, will receive 5 percent off their service. In addition, Carz R Us will donate another 5 percent directly to the class of the month.
    "Once you are a member of this Harlem Loyalty Program you will always receive a discount and we will automatically make a 5 percent donation," Matt Aukes said.
    That program started in May 2013. From then until August 2013 it raised money that first month for the band, in June for visual arts, in July for libraries, in August for Habitat for Humanity, in September for athletics, in October for Christmas for Kids, in November for the Veterans Project documentary at the high school and in December for music.
    The program raised a total of $1,370 in 2013.
    Now the business has embarked on something new, in addition to continuing the 5 and 5 program.
    The Pick Up and Drop Off program is for staff vehicles at any of the 12 schools in the district, for any mechanical service done at the Carz R Us location.
    Also, $10 per oil change will be donated to whatever the School of the Month happens to be. That will apply to oil changes performed during a designated week each month.
    First up in 2014 was the freshman campus with Rock Cut Elementary School benefitting in February, Marquette Elementary in March, Parker Center in April and the high school in May.
    Upcoming will be Maple Elementary this month, the middle school in July, Windsor Elementary in August, Machesney Elementary in September, Ralston Elementary in October, Olson Park Elementary in November and Loves Park Elementary in December.
    Through May, those savings plans have brought in $903.40 for those schools.
    The programs are open to anyone and not restricted to parents of children in District 122.
    For all of its efforts on behalf of Harlem schools Carz R Us received a 2013-14 Harlem Pride award.
    Such recognition is afforded businesses, organizations, students and adults who go above and beyond in their support of Harlem High School.
    Beyond those beneficial programs, Carz R Us will have its third annual Customer Appreciation Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 13 at the business.
    There once again will be food, give-aways, kids' activities, a classic car show, live music and a blood drive.
    "It's just giving back to the community," Matt Aukes said.

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    'State of the Village' address notes progress over past year
    June 26, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Mayor Jerry D. Bolin has delivered his second State of the Village address, filled with accounts of positive steps that were taken during the past year.
    After taking office May 6, 2013, he said he analyzed the staff and work environment at village hall to be certain it was meeting high standards.
    The following areas were studied: safety, friendly demeanor, professionalism, fully staffed and non-hostile work environment.
    1. He found safety "needed improvement."
    Among the steps that were taken was to have a uniformed sheriff's deputy at all village board and committee meetings; added dead bolt locks where needed; and added faster-action door closing times. There was money in the new budget to hire one more deputy and purchase two squad cars.
    2. He said he found the attribute of "friendly demeanor" to be satisfactory for the most part. Yet he "could sense the tension from prior stressful provocation." As a result he said he "established a respectful and appreciative work environment."
    3. Professionalism? While he said he believed the necessary skills were present, they may have been restricted "becase of prior adverse conditions."
    That led to establishing the mindset of helping when and where it was needed. "Be proactive, learn the skills," he said. "Yesterday's skills are old news. Today's technology requires continual improvememnt. Share your skills with others."
    4. Fully staffed. There were several vacant staff positions when Mayor Bolin took office.
    He said a public works superintendent was hired, as was a receptionist/administrative assistant and a planning/zoning inspector.
    In addition, one member each was appointed to the planning and economic development committee, the public safety and improvement committee and to the planning and zoning commission.
    The village currently is looking for a new economic development coordinator.
    5. Non-hostile work environment, prior to May 6, 2013, needed improvement.
    He said he encouraged all staff to excel in their jobs with respect for all. He also encouraged everyone to use the proper channels, with micro-managing and egocentric tactics not satisfactory under his leadership.
    "Today, our staff and employee work environment are to the highest professional standard," he said.
    Community development
    Machesney Park is a leader in development and growth within this geographic area, Bolin said. Since May 6, 2013, it has attracted several businesses. Among them are:
    Meijer supercenter, opening in the spring of 2015; HMC Products, SCP Pool Company and TH Food, all at the Park 90 Business Park at Illinois 173 and Interstate 90; Hancock Fabrics, Chipolte Mexican Grille, Firestone Tire, Noodles and Company, Sleepy's Mattress, Kay's Jewelers, Mattress Firm and the U.S. Army training facility.
    In addition, he said several businesses have expanded, including Practice Velocity, Big Papa's Barbecue, U.S. Cellular, Field Fastener, Forte, Curtis Metal Finishing, Carz R Us, Trickie Enterprises, Jim Holder Heating and Air Conditioning, Machine Tool Builders and Alco Manufacturing Corporation.
    The following upcoming additions to Machesney Park's business community have been confirmed, he said. They are The Chop House steak house in the former Hawk's View Restaurant along Forest Hills Drive, being leased by Hoffman House Restaurant; Saws International and Salveo.
    The people's business
    In and around village hall Machesney Park has taken steps to be more efficient, while saving taxpayer dollars.
    Bolin said residential growth is returning with six zoning petitions and five subdivision plats having been submitted so far this year.
    The public works department is working to cut costs by taking on more projects, such as lawn mowing and seeking bids for garbage hauling, mowing, forestry and cleaning.
    Communication with residents has improved through the village's informational website, higher visibility on Facebook and participation in Twitter, and The Village Voice, the new village newsletter.
    There have been several town hall meetings to keep residents informed about upcoming projects in their neighborhoods.
    Financially, the village general fund as of April 30, 2014, end of the 2013-14 fiscal year, finished with 3.66 percent more money than the year before. The road fund's balance was 3.82 percent higher than in 2012-13.
    Sales tax from the Machesney Park Towne Center totaled $177,185.67, even with the departure of the J.C. 5 Star outlet store. But if that building remains vacant, the sales tax revenue could decrease to between $60,000 and $65,000.
    The video gaming tax, a new source of income for the village, is averaging $10,329.17 and amounted to $123,950.04 for the fiscal year that ended Ap;ril 30, 2014.
    Currently, there are 56 machines in 12 establishments in the village.
    Machesney Park is averaging $102,000 per month in revenue from the 5 percent utility tax, which was imposed March 1, 2013.
    Additional road projects have been made possible, and more are in the offing, because of this additional income.
    A rebate is available to qualified residents and so far $1,916.74 has been allocated to 34 applicants.
    Finally, in the four months that the village has been collecting the new hotel/motel tax, $1,628.03 has been realized.
    The mayor is continuing to ask that every individual resident, from the youngest to the oldest, do something this year to improve their neighborhood or their community at large. "There's nothing too small or too large to accomplish," he said. "Each achievement contributes to the success of our village and to the future for generations to come. We decide what that future will be by our actions of today."
    He asked for residents to "make an improvement in 2014 to our village" and to "join the Machesney Park 2014 team today." 

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    Monthly electric bills likely to increase in the Parks
    June 26, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - After two years of lower monthly electric bills, the kilowatt use rate likely will increase in July and be seen on local bills in August.
    Village homeowners in 2012 allowed officials to negotiate their kilowatt use rate through a third party. Since then they have enjoyed a rate of 4.68 cents per kilowatt hour.
    But now it's likely that the rate will increase to 7.59 cents unless something unexpected happens in the marketplace over the next couple of months.
    Here's a recent bill for a customer using 787 kilowatt hours in a month. The supply cost, at 4.68 cents per hour, was $36.83.
    But there was an additional delivery charge, which in this case was $38.80, plus taxes and fees amounting to $9.25, for a total bill of $84.88.
    With a rate of 7.59 cents the supply charge for 787 hours of usage would be $59.73, or $22.90 more, with the delivery charge, taxes and fees going up accordingly.
    There's a slight chance that the rate will decrease from the current 7.59 cents being seen in the marketplace, but it won't be close to the 4.68 cents.
    Machesney Park voters two years ago approved a referendum that authorized the village to negotiate kilowatt use rates for homeowners.
    The city of Loves Park currently has a rate of 4.66 cents and its contract expires Sept. 30. Dan Jacobson, director of public works and economic development, said they plan to partner once again with the city of Rockford on getting the best available rate for homeowners.
    But he, too, said a rate increase is expected.
    Here's what is happening in Machesney Park according to a report given by Village Administrator Tim Savage at the June 16 village board meeting.
    The anticipated increase has to do, in part, with demand factors and perceived market risks. There's fear of what might happen in the marketplace because of new federal regulations possibly leading to the closing of nuclear and coal-fired electric plants.
    He said the new, higher rate would become effective July 1 and that the village then would have 60 days to see if market conditions change and a lower rate becomes available. If not the 7.59, which he referred to as the "ComEd default rate," would remain in effect for the next 10 months.
    Near the end of that one-year period the village's consultant once again would have an opportunity to shop around for better rates for homeowners.
    Harlem Township recently locked in to a three-year contract with First Energy at 6.98 cents for the first year; 6.92 cents for the second year; and 6.85 cents for the third year.

  • Jake Frisella.jpg
    Frisella remembered as a remarkable young man
    June 19, 2014
    By Tricia Goecks
    BDR Editor 
    BELVIDERE – When the call came in regarding an industrial accident at Ventra Assembly Plant on Tuesday, June 10, members of the Belvidere Fire Department responded. They quickly learned that the severely injured man was the son of one of their own.
    Jacob Frisella’s father Todd is a member of the Belvidere Fire Department. Fortunately Todd Frisella was not on duty at the time of his son’s accident.
    Jacob Frisella died of his injuries the following day. The band of brothers at the Belvidere Fire Department was shaken by the incident. “As soon as I found out, my heart sank,” Captain Al Hyser said.
    Pastor Allan Buss from Immanuel Lutheran church in Belvidere met with members of the fire department who were on the scene of Jacob’s accident as well as the members of Frisella’s shift.
    The Machesney Park man was a remarkable young man who was a motivational person for those around him. “Every day he quoted motivational things,” Todd Frisella said. “He was always pushing people to do their best and hit their goals.”
    “He was an inspiration to everybody because of everything he went through,” Jacob’s mom Shelly Caccio agreed. “He was driven beyond belief.”
    “He (Frisella) was really happy the way that Jacob was becoming such a fine young man and how he was developing into a responsible individual,” Hyser recalled.
    Jacob’s step father Rob Caccio described Jacob as the blueprint for all young men.
    Like the family members of many of the fire fighters, Jacob and his brothers were frequent visitors to the Belvidere fire station. Jacob stopped by to show his dad his newest car or purchase.
    Hyser recalled that when Frisella’s children came to visit, the younger brothers looked up to Jacob and were impressed with his love of cars, motorcycles and adventures.
    Jacob purchased and restored cars for resale.
    “If he could make money on it, he was flipping it. He liked to pay cash for everything,” Caccio said.
    Jacob was best friends with his mom. They spoke on the phone at least five times a day and exchanged text messages throughout the day.
    “We were inseparable,” Caccio said. “I don’t know any mothers and sons who had the relationship we did.”
    At one point, Jacob challenged Caccio to get a job at Ventra Assembly Plant. Through a temporary agency, Caccio worked at the plant for a six-week assignment.
    “I shared working there with him on the same machines as him. He had such a knack with all of the people there.”
    With every car that Jacob purchased, as soon as he got home, he would automatically flip the keys to Caccio for her to take the car for a spin. Shortly before his death, Jacob purchased a Mitsubishi Evolution.
    The Evo required a complete engine rebuild. With its parts and components neatly laid out in the garage, his friends Dino and Damir, the friends he affectionately called his brothers, have taken it upon themselves to complete the project.
    Chrysler employees from UAW Local 1268 have offered to assist Jacob’s friends with tools and advice to complete the work.
    A car rally is being planned in Jacob’s honor after the Evo rebuild is completed. Jacob’s ashes will ride in the front passenger seat as Caccio leads the rally.
    “We will take his car and go for a ride. I can hear him ‘hit it mom. Hit it mom,’” Caccio stated. “We had a blast in his cars. His final ride needs to be in his car with his mom. That is what he would have wanted.”
    Around the station, Frisella is known as someone who will go the extra mile for his friends and family.
    “He is one of the most giving individuals I have met in my life,” Hyser said. “He is so amazing to work with. One of the coolest things about him is that if something breaks, he can troubleshoot it, and everything will be working just fine.”
    Jacob took after his father’s mechanical aptitude. Although he struggled in school and was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Jacob was a quick learner and learned many skills by watching YouTube videos.
    “School doesn’t cater to people like him,” Caccio said. “Show him hands on and he had it. He was very smart. He just did not learn the way other people learned.”
    Jacob also inherited his father’s giving spirit. When the family looked at his driver’s license, they saw that he signed the card to be an organ donor. His lungs, heart, pancreas, kidneys, intestines and skin were donated.
    “Todd was really proud of the fact that he made that choice. It was on his license. He gave him memories to his parents to remember him by and now through organ donation he will live on through others,” Hyser said.
    Jacob leaves behind his mom and step dad Shelly and Rob Caccio, his dad and step mom Todd and Shelly Frisella as well as siblings Evan, Drake, Robbie, Spencer, Bryce, Haley, and Madyson.
    Visitation was at Fitzgerald Funeral Home at 1860 S. Mulford Road in Rockford on Wednesday, June 18. From 1 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. friends and family will share their memories of Frisella.
    The Belvidere Fire Department will do a walk through in their Class A uniform at the service. “We go there as one uniform family to support Todd and his family and to show them that we are all there together for him,” Hyser explained. “There is a void here. You can feel it. We are going to get through this together.”
    “Just like any big family we have our differences, but when it gets right down to it, we band together.”

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    Economic development 'wins' continuing for MP area
    June 19, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Officials of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) have delivered some good news to the village when it comes to economic growth.
    Michael Nicholas, new president of the organization, appeared along with Jimsi Kuborn, director of investor relations, at the June 2 village board meeting to provide an update on how things are going here and in the region.
    In Machesney Park, he said 11 potential projects surfaced in the past year. Five have been won, three lost and three remain under evaluation.
    Three of the five "wins" are known entities: the Meijer supercenter, bringing 250 new jobs and slated to open in the spring of 2015; TH Foods, 50 jobs, in the Park 90 business park at Illinois 173 and Interstate 90; and Practice Velocity, with 303 jobs, the high-tech call center planning a mid-July opening in the renovated Kohl's building behind the Machesney Towne Center.
    Meijer is investing $20 million in the project that includes a 192,000-square-foot building and a convenience store with gas pumps at 173 and Forest Hills Road, behind Blackhawk Bank.
    Nicholas also listed the 150,000-square-foot LandMark Group Companies' corporate center at Park 90, along with "one we hope will be announced soon."
    In addition, he said, "We will include all investing real estate brokers and all of the region's municipalities, including the village of Machesney Park, in our Business Attraction Leads/RFPs."
    Macneshey Park is paying $25,000 this year for membership in the RADEC, at the Captain's Table level.
    Worthwhile investment
    Mayor Jerry Bolin said membership in that organization "gives us an extra connection out there. They're going global looking for business and that's where we gain the biggest portion of our money's worth. They provide us with international information and contacts."
    In addition, he said village leaders want the community to be as attractive as it can be to new business and industry. Being represtented by the RAEDC is helpful since the village's community development coordinator, up until recently Greg Anderson, had a lot on his plate other than economic development.
    There were some 2013 announcements for Machesney Park including a 30,000-square-foot expansion at Curtis Metal Finishing, resulting in a $3-million investment. Also, Machine Tool Builders announced a $2-million project, resulting in the addition of 20,000 square feet to its building.
    More recently, on April 9, Midwest Aero Support Inc. (MAS), 1303 Turret Dr., announced the addition of a Laminating Technology heat and vacuum applicator machine to pereform repairs to laminate panels.
    That will allow MAS to perfform laminate repairs cost effectively with high wuality and quick turn times, according to a statement from Brian Hermann, director of business development.
    "MAS has been very successful at meeting the needs of our customers through a broad range of repair solutions," said company President Brent Johnson. "With the addition of laminate repair capability, MAS will soon become a 'one stop shop' for specialized interior needs."
    MAS will observe its 25th anniversary in December.

  • Development coordinator MUGSHOT.JPG
    Village hires firm to search for new development coordinator
    June 12, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - The village has decided to have Rockford-based Sikich LLP help find a new community development coordinator.
    The search is to find a replacement for Greg Anderson, who held that position for two years. He recently resigned and since has accepted a similar position in Brownsburg, Ind., near Indianapolis.
    Hiring an outside firm to fill a key administrative position is a change from how the village usually looks for new hires.  Village Administrator Tim Savage said for this position, "We feel it is necessary to utilize the services of a professional recruitment service."
    In a memorandum to the administration and finance committee and the village board, he provided background on the last search, when the village sought a replacement for Karen Lemmons, who resigned to take a job with the city of Tarpon Springs, Fla.
    "We just conducted a search for this position two years ago and during that process, we received only 25 applications with three applicants being viable contenders," he stated. "This was far below expectations."
    The village is looking for a "dynamic person" to take this job, he said, and believes "it is imperative to get the right message out about the type of candidate we are searching for, as well as the great career opportunity the village can provide to the right applicant."
    Machesney Park "is in the middle of some major growth opportunities and now more than ever is the right time to ensure that we get a quality individual ... and continue the village's growth," he wrote.
    Sikick quoted a cost range of $11,000-$13,000, at $165-$210 an hour, but didn't believe the cost would exceed $13,000.
    Savage said while Sikick and the other contender proposed similar rates, "Sikich was a little more flexible in their recruitment process, meaning the village can ultimately control the level of service and the cost of the services to be provided."
    The proposed timeline is to have an accepted offer within 60-90 days, he said, while remembering there can always be variables. The search will be only in the states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa and Missouri.
    What about Mullins?
    Before the unanimous vote of approval to hire Sikich, Trustee James Kidd asked if former Village Administrator Bob Mullins had been considered?
    Mullins served as administration and finance director for 10 years and was involved in the village's commercial growth over that time. He then became the first village administrator for about one year. He retired two years ago and subsequently ran an unsuccessful campaign for mayor.
    "My thought is Mr. Bob Mullins is experienced, gets around and knows the movers and shakers," Kidd said in a follow-up interview. "Why not him? Even temporarily while we look for a permanent replacement. We could be missing opportunities in the meantime."
    "It's a viable solution; all Mr. Bolin (Mayor Jerry) has to do is approach him," the trustee added.
    Bolin said during the meeting that Mullins had resigned as village administrator. But afterward he revised that to say Mullins retired.
    "He used to be in that position and didn't want ti any more,"{ the mayor added. "I think we owe it to the village to get the most qualified person possible."
    Mullins said June 5 that he was retired and planned to stay that way.

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    Harlem turf project offers opportunity to leave a legacy
    June 12, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    LOVES PARK  - The upcoming major improvement of the football field at Harlem High School is expected to be around for a long time.
    Artificial turf is the new surface that will replace grass it is expected to be finished in time for the first 2014 home game, to be played early in September.
    Ground-breaking ceremonies were held June 5.
    There has been a lot of talk about the $670,000 fund-raising goal and how the private campaign generated more than $400,000 of that amount.
    On June 2, longtime insurance agent Bob Shields offered a way for people to help with the project and leave a legacy at the same time.
    "I'm not here today to accept a check for 50 bucks," he told members of the Harlemites, mostly retired Harlem graduates who meet monthly for breakfast at VFW Post 9759 in Loves Park.
    "I'm not here for a donation. Some of us who are over 65 (years of age) are in a position to remember Harlem High School. We can leave a legacy. If Harlem has been good to you, think about making a commitment to Halem."
    The turf project was one possibility, he said. So is the school's schlarrship fund. "Now is a good time to make that decision," he said. "Don't let someone else do that."
    Personally, the 1965 grad said he "couldn't be more proud to be a Harlem Huskie. It changed my life."
    In addition to being involved with the turf project he spearheaded the longtime effort that resulted in building the new concession stand and baseball locker room on the grounds of the high school.
    High school athletic director Kurt Weigt said the turf project was historic for Harlem. He said $623,000 of the $670,000 has been raised since Jan. 27, 2014.
    The largest gift, he said, came from a Harlem alum who cared for the Harlem community. And that includes more than football. It also includes band, soccer and physical education, all of which will be using that field.
    He identified that donor as Brian Anderson, president of Anderson Auto Group. "I'm so pleased to have people like that in the community," Weigt said.
    In addition, $180,000 has come from the Harlem Booster Club and Harlem Fans Club, which will be paid over time. "We have received contributions of all sizes from all ages," he said. "This is a long-term commitment to the Harlem community. When I'm long gone we will still have a turf field."
    Weigt said the change in surfaces was a good deal for the school district.
    Currently, it costs about $30,000 a year to maintain a grass field. Artificial turf runs about $2,000, he said.
    One of the intangibles is the pride factor. "You will be as proud as you can be that you're a member of the Harlem community," he said.
    Turf fields already have been installed at Auburn and Guilford high schools, both in the NIC-10 along with Harlem.

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    HCC welcomes 59 teams, 900 players to summer of 2014
    June 5, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - It's that time again and Harlem Community Center stands ready to accommodate a large number of boys and girls for a summer of recreation.
    Opening Day festivities were held Saturday morning (May 31) with 59 baseball and softball teams, comprised of about 900 boys and girls, joining their coaches in marching into Harlem High School's football stadium. There, they were greeted by a large throng of appreciative family and friends.
    Among those leading the cheers and encouraging players and coaches to have a wonderful summer was Harlem Township Assessor Mark Sorrentino, HCC board member and longtime supporter of the almost 50-year-old community servant.
    He remembered going there when a youngster and enjoying what it had to offer. "This is a family and all of you are members of the family," he told those in the grandstand.
    Speaking of young people, he talked briefly about the new daycare center under construction along Forest Hills Boulevard, near the baseball and softball fields. It will be large enough to house 180 kids from youth through pre-school.
    But returning to Opening Day, he said, "This is one of my favorite days of the year, along with Christmas, Easter and Thnksgiving."
    Machesney Park Mayor Jerry Bolin also was part of the festivities, remarking how it was "a beautiful day to start this season." He asked the crowd to give all the coaches a big hand, which they did. And to the young players, he said, "I hope you all hit a lot of home runs, steal a lot of bases and come in first."
    Results of the recent sales of tickets by the ballplayers were made known, with Mayor Bolin drawing the lucky numbers for cash prizes. First place was worth $2,500; second place, $750; third place, $500; and fourth place, $250.
    Zephen Swain sold the most tickets. Spencer Scamp sold the winning ticket while Darrell Hereford sold the second place ticket and Dakota Pearson the third-place number. Each won a cash prize.
    Disagreeing with umpires' calls is as old as the game. Recognizing that could happen here during the summer, HCC Recreation Director Greg Wright put in a pitch for the local group of young umpires, some of whom may have gone through the school HCC started in 2009.
    "Show them you respect their work," he said. While asking that fans not yell at the umpires or disrespect them, he said, "If you have an issue, come and see me."
    When all was said and done, Sorrentino led the group in singing, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," signifying the start of another summer of baseball and softball at the HCC fields.

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    Two gaming liquor licenses per applicant
    June 5, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – At the May 27 Loves Park City Council meeting, aldermen approved a resolution “authorizing the city attorney to make necessary changes” to the city’s liquor code to allow for a maximum number of two Class F video gaming liquor licenses per applicant.
    An addendum put forth by Alderman John Pruitt went further to define the fact that the city will limit the number of these types of licenses to two per applicant.
    The city has received numerous requests for such licenses in the past months, most of them having been approved. There are both stand-alone and those associated with eating and drinking establishments.
    An ordinance, second reading was passed, allowing for a Class F liquor license for Paradise Slots in the 7200 block of N. Alpine Road. Alderman Julie Hobel voted no on the motion.
    An ordinance, first reading, requesting a Class F liquor license for Marty Gras Slots in the 300 block of E. Riverside Blvd. was okayed with Hobel voting no.
    In the absence of Alderman Clint Little, Alderman Greg Jury gave the weekly police activity report for the week of May 18-24. A total of 484 calls for service, 174 arrests, and nine accidents were reported.
    On the weekly fire department report dated May 25, four false fire alarms and one carbon monoxide or gas leak were reported. A total of 851.5 hours were noted in public relations, the majority of hours spent on the Young At Heart Festival.
    A resolution giving the okay to a contract extension for mowing services through KS Lawn Service was also passed, under condition that the same rates as previously charged would be billed - $15 an hour with a two-hour minimum per call, along with proof of insurance on file with the city.

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    City Council extends appreciation for police, fire personnel
    May 29, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – At the May 19 Loves Park City Council meeting, Alderman Clint Little, who heads the Police, Fire, Public Safety committee, made it a point to commend the city’s police and fire department members.
    He said, “This was Police Week at CherryVale, and our canine unit was there with Rico (the police dog). Our officers participated as they do every year and let people know that they are both a friend and protector to them.”
    He also noted that fire department personnel would be very busy during the Young At Heart Festival, not only being present but cooking up some good meals. Mayor Darryl Lindberg gave a big thank you to all the volunteers who make YAH the success it is every year, especially giving thanks to Alderman Marie Holmes, who spends hours on planning details.
    Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of May 11-17. There were 492 calls for service, 194 arrests, and 10 accidents reported. On the weekly fire department report dated May 18, three false fire alarm calls, one mutual aid call, one carbon monoxide or gas leak call, and one extrication call were reported.
    Council members approved a total of $33,055.88 in water fund bills, and $412,671.47 in general fund and all other bills, as approved May 12. Alderman Julie Hobel abstained from voting on both.
    Deputy Clerk Sheila Mills reported that the city had received $44,237.62 in Motor Fuel Tax funds from the Illinois Department of Transportation for the month of April.
    Approval was given authorizing the city treasurer to make payment to the Illinois Municipal League (IML) for conference and hotel reservations for the annual Municipal League Conference to be held in Chicago Sept. 18-20.
    A resolution was passed authorizing the public works department to hire up to six temporary seasonal employees from May 1-April 30, 2015. Wage rates will range from $8.50 to $11 an hour depending on experience.
    An ordinance, first reading, was okayed providing for a Class F liquor license for Paradise Slots in the 7200 block of N. Alpine Road. Alderman Julie Hobel cast the one dissenting vote on the motion to approve.

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    Young at Heart brings rides, food ... and nice weather
    May 29, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    LOVES PARK - One never knows what kind of weather will accompany the annual Young at Heart festival, a Memorial Day weekend tradition for the past 43 years.
    Rain, unseasonably cold, hot, nice. All are possibilities. But Mother Nature was kind to festival goers this year, not to mention the organizers who fret about whether this major fund-raiser for the Parks Chamber of Commerce will be successful.
    Mayor Darryl Lindberg, with an assist from Machesney Park Mayor Jerry Bolin and others, kicked off the event Friday afternoon, about an hour before the announced start time.
    The brief opening ceremony was attended by some of the people who make Young at Heart work, among them the chamber's executive director, Diana Johnson.
    It was a time of thanking all those folks, paramount among them Ike and Lisa Trickie, in their sixth year as platinum sponsors. They received a plaque in appreciation of their support.
    The 2014 festival court was on hand for its first official function. Winners of the pageant, held May 10, were Mini Princess Kittra Love, Petite Princess Madison Hawn, Junior Princess Natilyn Scott, Senior Princess Miranda Schoultz and Queen Megan Clarida.
    A color guard made up of Loves Park police officers and firefighters brought the American flag to the stage, where the court led the small group in saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Then Craig Carlson from Northwest Bank offered a stirring rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.
    As the festivities continued Mayor Bolin offered a preview of the fun times to come. "We're ready to party" the entire holiday weekend, he said. And he encouraged people to enjoy themselves and to be safe.
    Mayor Lindberg was expecting to introduce some state legislators, but reported they were still in Springfield "in a boxing match" over pension reform and other issues. While the 2014 session is supposed to end May 31, he said he expected lawmakers to continue working for a couple more weeks.
    The designer of this year's winning Young at Heart button, Harlem High School senior Elizabeth Schutt, was there and was introduced by Johnson.
    Others who were introduced included elected and appointed officials from the city of Loves Park and village of Machesney Park.
    There were words of praise for Skinner Amusements, which provided a wide variety of rides and concessions in the Midway.
    "Skinner Amusements has been here a long time," Lindberg said. "Pat Skinner is one of the best."
    Saturday was the big day for the event with a parade in the morning, live entertainment at night and capped by a $25,000 fireworks show.

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    City honors Salvation Army for its commitment to the community
    May 22, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – At the May 12 Loves Park City Council meeting, Mayor Darryl Lindberg presented a proclamation to Salvation Army Director of Community Relations, Dollye Kozel, declaring the week of May 12-18 as “Salvation Army Week” in the city.
    Lindberg noted that the Salvation Army has been providing services in the community for 127 years, and the proclamation recognized the organization’s dedication and commitment.
    Details were announced concerning this year’s Young At Heart Festival scheduled for May 23-26. This year’s Parade Marshall, Lindberg said, would be Helen Waddell Wyatt, a former member of the Rockford Peaches baseball team. She is an appropriate choice as the theme for the festival this year is “Celebrate Baseball – America’s Favorite Pass-Time.”
    Wyatt, whose hometown is listed as Lemoyne, Penn., played with the Battle Creek Belles in 1951, the Peaches in 1950-51, and the Springfield Sallies in 1949.
    YAH buttons can be bought at various locations, including city hall and cost $7 in advance, $9 at the gate. The buttons allow access all three days of the event.
    The parade will “step off” at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 24 from Woodward on N. Second St. going north and ending at MeadowMart.
    Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of May 4-10. A total of 471 calls for service, 216 arrests, and 13 accidents were reported. On the weekly fire department report dated May 11, one fire call, three false fire alarm calls, two mutual aid calls, one natural gas leak call, and one carbon monoxide or gas leak call reported.
    Aldermen approved payment of $25,293.39 in water fund bills, and $195,227.99 in general fund and all other bills, as presented May 5.
    An ordinance “declaring the intent of the city of Loves Park, Illinois to utilize funds in the Special Tax Allocation Fund for the Loves Park Corporate Center Redevelopment Project Area for future anticipated redevelopment project costs with in the project area” was approved.
    An ordinance allowing for a special use permit for “automobile sales and sales and installation services for audio/stereo equipment and accessories” in a commercial retail zoning district in the 7700 block of Forest Hills Road was also okayed.

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    Harlem replaces two principals, plans to replace stadium turf
    May 22, 2014
    By Bob Trott
    MACHESNEY PARK – Following a lengthy closed session Monday, May 12, the Harlem School Board appointed Matthew Cascio Harlem Middle School Principal and Dyonna Johnson Olson Park Elementary School principal, and approved measures concerning the upcoming addition of new field turf at Clyde F. Peterson Stadium, home of high school football games.
    The two new principals replace principals who wanted to return to the classroom, Superintendent Julie Morris said after the meeting.
    Cascio moves from the assistant principal position at Rockford Guilford High School to replace John Cusimano at Harlem Middle School.
    Johnson replaces Burt Townsend at Olson Park Elementary School. Superintendent Julie Morris said, after the meeting, that the move was made because Cusimano and Townsend wanted to return to the classroom.
    Turf Goal Nearly Reached
    Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Josh Aurand reported the district had raised approximately $620,000, or 90 percent of its goal, for the new turf. He said after the meeting that funding has come from contributions and from allocations of $10,000 to $15,000, typical yearly amounts budgeted for upkeep of the stadium.
    Bids approved by the board May 12, for the stadium project, were: $424,990 to Civil Construction, Inc., for high school site preparation, and $411,507 to Field Turf USA, Inc. for the new surface. The board recognized Athletic Director Kurt Weigt for being instrumental in the project.
    Plans call for the new turf to be installed in time for the first home game of the 2014 season for the Harlem High School varsity football team, against Rockford East. The contest is set for the second week of the season.
    Organizational Meeting
    Following the closed session and adjournment of the regular meeting, school board members held their annual organizational meeting. Members of the board were elected in 2013, and hold two-year terms, and there were no elections this year.
    Norm Alpers and Dennis Harezlak were appointed, at the organizational meeting May 12, officers for due process, expulsion and residence hearings. For each of those three activities, Alpers is the main officer, and Harezlak is the substitute.
    In addition, Human Resources Director Dani Hopkins was named Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) agent, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) compliance official and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) compliance official, and Superintendent Morris was named the Employer Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) officer.
    Appointed district complaint managers were Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Josh Aurand and Human Resources Director Hopkins. Aurand will also serve as appeals officer for free and reduced meals and district activity accounts manager.
    Morris, Aurand, Superintendent's Administrative Secretary and School Board Recording Secretary Kris Arduino and Administrative Assistant Mindy Schumacher were named Open Meetings Act (OMA) officials and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) officials.
    The above appointments and others approved by the board, at the organizational meeting, call for the officers to all remain the same as for the previous year.
    Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Aurand reported the following recent Harlem School District expenditure totals: payables, $827,302.21; payroll, $2,468,165.31; and total, $3,295,467.52. Payment of those bills was approved by the school board.
    Superintendent Morris reported the following personnel moves, which were approved by the board: seven new employments, seven leaves-of-absence, four resignations, 10 transfers within the district, 10 sick leave requests and one new position, a .3 hours-daily Full-time-
    Equivalent (FTE) elementary school music teacher to start next year.
    Also approved was an addendum of one transfer, from Harlem High School Special Education procedural coach to Harlem High School Special Education diagnostician, effective Aug. 12, 2014; and employment of a district extended school year coordinator, effective May 13 of this year.
    Science Olympiad Team
    Twelve members of the Harlem Middle School (HMS) Science Olympiad Team, which advanced to state competition, were introduced to the board by HMS Teachers and Team Coaches Denise Pape and Marla Price. This is the ninth time the team has advanced to state competition. The team had a total of 32 members.
    Pape described the Olympiad as a marriage of science, technology and research of the science world. She said this year's team earned medals at the Rockford Christian Invitational in January, Regional at Rock Valley College in March and state varsity event at the University of Illinois. This year's team had some new members and some who have competed for longer periods of time, Pape told the board.
    Pape described Price as new to the program. Pape credited all parents of team members with their contributions to a lengthy November-April season. "They (all persons involved) are very organized and dedicated to such a large task," Pape added.
    IREAD, Golden Apple
    Gordon Kaye, Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment Authority (RAVE) and SMG general manager, and his wife, Anne Kaye, United Way Volunteer coordinator, were recognized by Director of Stakeholder Engagement Cathy Martin. Martin said the Kayes' have been instrumental in their volunteer efforts toward the Harlem School IREAD program to help students, and are moving to the Denver, Colo. area to be closer to family members. RAVE is the private firm that operates the BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford Icehogs hockey team, Davis Park and Coronado Theatre. "They definitely will be missed," Martin said about Gordon and Anne.
    Also recognized by Martin were Harlem's 2014 Golden Apple Award Winner Carolyn Massier and Golden Apple Finalists Meghan Hembrough, Loves Park Elementary School first grade teacher; Kasie Kosinski, Machesney Elementary fourth grade teacher; and Sarah Shaw, Windsor Elementary fifth grade teacher.
    Young at Heart
    Harlem High School Senior Liz Shutt was on the agenda for winning the 2014 Young at Heart Button, but she and High School Fine Arts Teacher Barb Kurilla, who was scheduled to introduce Shutt at the meeting, did not attend. Board President Heather Kelley said the introduction will be rescheduled for the next school board meeting. 
    Brownie Troop 3440
    Seven members of Brownie Troop 3440, from Maple Elementary School, led the Pledge of Allegiance at the May 12 session.  Maple Principal Becky Girard said the Brownies earned a pin for leading the pledge, and previously were involved in planting a maple tree for Earth Day and releasing butterflies.
    Committees Approved
    Harlem School Board committees will remain the same. The following committees, with committee chairpersons listed first, were approved following the May 12 closed session:
    * Policy Committee, 16 members: Heather Kelley, board chairperson;  Larry Barger, board member; and George Russell, board member; Superintendent Morris; Superintendent for Curriculum and Instrictuion Barb Browning; Board Recording Secretary and Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent Arduino; Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Aurand; Harlem Middle School Associate Principal Dusti Adrian; Leah Krippner; Personnel Director Hopkins; Michelle Erb; Margo Sickele; Heidi Lange; Jeremy Bois and a rotating cycle of elementary principals;
    * business services committee, six members: board members Russell, Evelyn Meeks and Travis Turner; Morris, Aurand and Administrative Assistant Schumacher;
    * education committee, 13 members: Kelley, Meeks and Turner of the board; Morris; Browning, Administative Assistant to the Supeintendent and Recording Secretary Kris Arduino; Sickele; Erb, Terrell Yarbrough; Chad Dougherty; Harlem Director of Student Support Services Heidi Lange and rotating elementary principals;
    * discipline policy review committee, 20 members: board members Pattie Lawrence and Sue Berogan; Morris, Browning, Arduino, Girard, Weigt, Larry Smith, Krippner, Jason Blume, Shari Heller, Sickele, Erb, Brock Morlan, Jerry Harris, Don West, Lange, Beth Williams, Sharon Carlson and Michael Plourde. 
    * public relations ad hoc, eight members: Kelley, Lawrence, board member Bargerv, Morris, Aurand, Martin, Hopkins and Arduino.
    Upcoming meetings, presented by board members May 12, were:
    * business services committee, June 11; discipline policy review committee, June 30; regular board, June 16; policy committee, July 21; education committee, June 26, and third- and fourth-quarter regular board, Aug. 20, all at 6 p.m.
    Delegate Assembly
    Turner was named Harlem's representative to the 2014 Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) Delegate Assembly. He replaces Russell.
    Professional Development
    Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Browning reported the number of professional development specialists will increase from two to four at the elementary level, to bring students' success in the classroom up to the level the where it should be; and added the proposed 2015-16 school year calendar includes an increase in the number of School Improvement Project (SIP) days in conjunction with the added help in professional development.
    Other Business
    Also approved unanimously by the board May 12 were:
    * a bid of $398,995, plus an alternate of $7,250, for a total of $406,245, from Distinctive Roofing, Inc., of Rockford, for roof replacement at Marquette Elementary School;
    * a bid of $192,335 from Larson and Larson Construction, Inc. of Loves Park, for secured entrances at Parker Center and Olson Park Elementary School;
    * vacation days of June 24-27, 2014, for Superintendent Morris;
    * an alternate bid of $4,550 for the Maple Elementary School lighting project, to Wilson Electric Company of Rockford;
    * an agreement to pay a rate of .0628 for electricity, to Direct Energy, for one year;
    * a measure declaring certain Harlem School District property as surplus;
    * a request for student travel for the high school girls' track team, to the state meet at Eastern Illinois University (EIU) in Charleston May 22-24;
    * a request to use the high school main gym and fieldhouse for a Grades 3-8 basketball camp Sunday, June 15 and Sunday, June 29, each from 5-9 p,m.;
    * changes in the student dress code to reflect changes in what students are wearing, compared to two years ago; the changes came from the discipline policy review committee, chaired by board member Lawrence.

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    First Loves Park mayor honored at his 100th birthday
    May 15, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK- Loves Park City Council meeting, Mayor Darryl Lindberg read a proclamation declaring May 7 as “Homer E. Burton Day” in the city, the date of Burton’s centennial birthday.
    “The city is proud of its roots,” Lindberg said, and noted that the former mayor and himself were the only two mayors still living. The city incorporated on April 30, 1947.
    Information supplied by Burton’s daughter, Joyce Burton Walker:
    On April 26, a birthday celebration was held for Loves Park’s first mayor, Homer E. Burton. He was 100 years old and currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.
    Burton and his family visited Loves Park a couple of years ago, at that time visiting with late Joseph Sinkiawic, also a former mayor.
    As explained by daughter Joyce Burton Walker, her father was a very successful businessman here in the 1940s. The City of Loves Park incorporated in 1947 and Burton was elected its first mayor.
    He and partner, Norm Dreyer, owned the Burton and Dreyer “Joyce Ann Candies and Carol Ann Cookies,” which operated in a building is today a bowling alley.
    Due to health issues the family relocated to California in the 1950s where he started a cookie and candy brokerage business throughout the west.
    The family was involved in church activities in Southern California and a calling was accepted as the pastors of a church in Riverside.
    As Joyce noted, “In 1960 the door opened for a move to Las Vegas and H.E. Burton became instrumental in the development of Mortuary Pre-Need for Nevada and other states.
    “He retired in 2000. His wife Ruth Burton went to Heaven in 2003. His children - Joyce, Richard and Jeannine, and their families are very dear to him.
    “His main mission in life has been to serve his Lord and Savior, witness to others and to seek God’s Will for his life. His 100 years have been richly blessed. His actual birth date was May 7. Another celebration was planned in Canton, Georgia for May 3.”
    Burton was born in Louisville, Clay County, Illinois in 1914 and married Ruth Holland in 1936. The family relocated to Las Vegas in 1960.
    Another proclamation was declared for May 10, naming it “Letter Carrier’s Food Drive Day,” an annual event. This year is the 20th year for the food drive whereby letter carriers and volunteers pick up donated non-perishables for are food pantries. 
    Jerry Pyfer, letter carrier with the Loves Park USPS Branch was on hand to accept the proclamation. He noted that, “With this year’s expected donations we will have collected over 1,960,000 pounds of food in this area over the past 20 years. Getting into the summer months tends to be a slow time for the food pantries.”
    As is done each year, the mayor also proclaimed the month of May as “Motorcycle Awareness Month” in Loves Park.
    In other business, Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of April 27–May 3. There were 400 calls for service, 190 arrests, and nine accidents reported. On the weekly fire department report dated May 4 listing two fire calls, three false fire alarm calls, and one carbon monoxide or gas leak call.
    A total of $213,047.61 in water fund bills, and $204,073.83 in general fund and all other bills were approved for payment, the bills as presented April 28. Alderman Julie Hobel abstained from voting on payment of the general fund bills.
    Alderman John Pruitt gave the monthly building report for the month of April. A total of 105 permits were issued and $8,560 in permit fees were collected.
    An ordinance amendment concerning the regulation of storage of garbage containers (garbage cans) was passed. Alderman Little explained he would vote no  “because of one individual’s complaint, and because we already have an ordinance in place, this is not a public safety issue but merely ‘how it looks,’ and makes all residents responsible.” Apparently, there was a complaint of garbage cans being kept in the front of a garage that was not appealing to the neighborhood. The amendment was passed by the majority of aldermen.
    A Class B (packaged – all alcohol) liquor license, second reading resolution, for Windsor Mini Mart in the 1000 block of Windsor Road, was approved.

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    Harlemites celebrate an 87th birthday; meet new principal
    May 15, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    LOVES PARK - Ninety graduates of Harlem High School turned out May 5 for their monthly breakfast meeting at VFW Post 9759 on Windsor Road.
    The opening format changed a bit with the group standing and singing "Happy Birthday" to George Secrist, a 1945 grad who had turned 87.
    He was served breakfast by his nephew, Kevin Fisher (a Rockford East alum), and lastly enjoyed dessert - a piece of birthday cake.
    In addition, Secrist received about a dozen birthday cards and sat with a table full of his classmates.
    As is usually the case the breakfast included a guest speaker, this time the new Harlem High School principal Terrell Yarbrough. But he almost didn't make it.
    He said he had a conflict and was going to tell Delores Hall, who sets up the organization's programs, about it. But after seeing the expression on her face, he said he changed his plans and made it, afterall. "You do not want to disappoint Delores," he said.
    May is the busiest time of year at the high school with the Harlem Pride awards and Jazz Band Cabaret, Senior Awards Night, Prom and, finally, graduation on May 24.
    It also will herald the end Yarbrough's first year as principal, which was enjoyable yet challenging.
    There was a problem right off the bat when the school was forced to cancel the traditional Homecoming parade on Sept. 30. That was because of a state law requiring students to be in the classroom for a full five hours a day, in order for it to be official.
    It wasn't possible to arrange dismissal and meet that requirement, what with football fans beginning to enter the football field as early as 4 p.m. for the sophomore game.
    But he was able to settle in with continuing support from staff, students, parents and the community.
    "My goal was to build relationships with students, staff and the community," he said.
    Did that happen? "There's not a lot of evidence that I've been successful," he continued. "But it seems that every day I talk with someone who's excited about Harlem High School."
    He said he inherited school from longtime principal Joe Hazen that had a foundation of being successful. There are 500 seniors graduating this year, from an overall population of about 2,100, which Yarbrough termed "awesome."
    More students are taking advanced placement classes than ever before and they're scoring 3s and 4s, on a scale of 1-5, on the AP test.
    The artificial turf campaign is in full swing and supporters are hoping to have a new surface on the varsity football field in time for the fall season. Before being publicly announced, private fund-raising had generated more than $400,000, further evidence of community support for the school.
    Ground breaking is anticipated early in June, with construction wrapping up in August.
    Yarbrough is a native of Milwaukee who has been in Harlem School District 122 for six years, coming here from Beloit.
    Looking at the 2014-15 school year, he said, "We have work to do. We will continue to evolve to be the school we want to be."

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    Royal Court selected for 2014 Young at Heart festival
    May 15, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    LOVES PARK - Five girls were chosen during the 43rd Young at Heart Pageant on Saturday to represent the 2014 festival for the coming year.
    After a year's absence the Mini Princess competition was back with three contestants. The winner was Kittra Love.
    In addition, Madison Hawn was chosen as the Petite Princess; Natilyn Scott as the Junior Princess; Miranda Schoultz as Senior Princess; and Megan Clarida as the Queen.
    First runners-up were Peyton Johnson as Mini Princess; Melena Traverzo as Petite Princess; Zyann French as Junior Princess; Kaleigh Swafford as Senior Princess; and Alyssa LeCleir as Queen.
    Longtime emcee Frances Williams provided some interesting asides about a few of the winners and runners-up.
    Madison, the new Petite Princess, had been first runner-up for the past two years. The new Junior Princess, Natilyn, is a previous pageant winner. And Kaleigh, first runner-up for Senior Princess, also was first runner-up in 2013.
    Some specialty prizes also were awarded.
    The Most Photogenic were Haley Musgrave in the Mini Princess competition; Melena Traverzo as Petite Princess; Zyann French as Junior Princess; Samantha Snedigar as Senior Princess; and Megan Clarida as Queen.
    Williams said Melanie Bradley, editor of the Post Journal, chose the Most Photogenic winners.
    Those chosen as giving the best interviews were Kittra Love, Mini Princess; Madison Hawn, Petite Princess; Zyann French, Junior Princess; Miranda Schoultz, Senior Princess; and Melissa Riedel, Queen.
    Creative sportswear winners were Haley Musgrave in the Mini Princess event; Madison Hawn, Petite Princess; Zyann French, Junior Princess; Kaleigh Swafford, Senior Princess; and Megan Clarida, Queen.
    Those selected as best in the formal wear category were Haley Musgrave, Mini Princess; Madison Hawn, Petite Princess; Natilyn Scott, Junior Princess; Miranda Schoultz, Senior Princess; and Megan Clarida, Queen.
    Other candidates included Kalista Hicks and Brielle Brough for Petite Princess; Alexis Hagans, Lexis Romero, Ashlyn Johnson, Nakara Watson, Haleigh Zanoni and Aliah Peterson, Junior Princess; Brianna Brough and Torrie Rowell, Senior Princess; and Regan Youngberg and Shania Knutsen, Queen.
    Each of the Queen candidates was asked a different questoon at the end of their competition.
    Regan was asked what she would do if elected queen? She answered that she would spread the word about Memorial Day and what it's all about.
    The Young at Heart festival is held over Memorial Day weekend and includes a parade.
    Melissa was asked to describe her best friend. She said she actually has two best friends, who make her laugh and keep her on the right track.
    For Shania, the question was what advice would she give to a child? Be who you want to be, she answered, and chase your dreams.
    Megan was asked to tell of her favorite childhood memory. She said it was going to the park with her parents.
    And Alyssa's question was when was the last time she failed and how she handled it? She said she once told a secret she was supposed to keep and made up for it by telling her friend it would never happen again.

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    Harlem Pride awards go to students, adults, businesses
    May 8, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Twenty-five Harlem Pride awards were handed out Friday night (May 2) to a variety of people for going above and beyond in their devotion to Harlem High School.This is an annual occasion, recently held in conjunction with the Jazz Band Cabaret that follows the presentations. It was new principal Terrell Yarbrough's first year as "host' of the evening, replacing longtime principal Joe Hazen who retired last year.Awards were bestowed upon nine students for being involved in a variety of activities on behalf of the school.DeJowan Woods, better known as "De," won his second consecutive Pride award.He was a junior last year and a regular on the varsity basketball team. While going to a game he noticed an elderly fan was having difficulty getting into the gym. He stopped, made she she got safely inside and continued on to get ready for the game.This year he helped difuse a situation in which a teacher had encountered a threatening student.Other student award winners were Tyler Ellinger for his volunteer work with Rockford Special Olympics athletes.Jake Gregor set up a wheelchair basketball game during halftime of a Huskie varsity contest this past season.Seth McPeek found a wallet belonging to another student containing more than $100 and a gift card and without hesitation turned it in to the office.Taylor Mershon was recognized for her efforts at becoming an outstanding all-around student.Javier Montezuma Jr. has made substantial changes in his life over four years at Harlem. His first two years he had 72 referrals to the office and failed four classes.During his last two years he had no referrals and passed 19 of 20 classes. "His success will inspire future Harlem students," principal Yarbrough said.Austin Shanks genuinely cares for a student in the life skills and is always there for her.And Alyssa Sickler and Hailee Whitmire, student-athletes and longtime friends, organized a fund-raiser for the family of a staff member who died to help with medical expenses.Student groups The principal gave three Harlem Pride awards to student organizations.The Harlem Badminton League was an extra-curricular activity set up by senior Conner Wessman for all students to enjoy.Carol Johnson, student council advisor, was recognized for the emergence of The Dog Pound. This was a large assembly of student fans that sat in bleachers on the north end of the football field and showed their support for the football team. After home games football players joined those in The Dog Pound in singing the school song."They changed the complexion of fall sports," Yarbrough said.The student council was honored for continuing to paint parts of the football field with the Huskie emblem and letters in the end zone.Adults, businesses Businesses and others receiving Huskie Pride awards were Carz R Us, Matt Aukes; Grace Lutheran Church, Ed Goetz, Dick Dunphrey, Carl Freehaul and Mike Swanson; Midway Village and Museum, David Byrnes and Laura Forman; Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment (RAVE), Gordon Kaye; Rock Valley College, Lori Perkins; and Rock Valley Credit Union, Barb and Tom Churchill.Dianne Harrington received a Pride award for providing homeless Harlem families with food, school supplies and household goods.She said afterward that her work was being done through GPS Faith Community Church, 10714 N. Second St. in Machesney Park.Gail Derr was recognized for differing kinds of donations to the school.Paraprofessional Vickie Hauser who works in life skills is helping a child outside the classroom.Recent Harlem graduates Alexis Joyner and Mercedes Joyner have emerged as leaders at Rock Valley College.And Paul Lanman, husband of the late Pam Lanman, received a Pride award in recognition of his wife's efforts to keep Harlem hallways safe, which was cut short.

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    Life goes on for successful middle school bowlers
    May 8, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Harlem Middle School's boys and girls bowling teams only had two days to savor their successes in the annual Illinois Elementary School Association tournament.They were back practicing at Forest Hills Lanes on April 8, what with three conference matches left to be played. And then there was the Harlem Invitational, held April 26, along with the season-ending Top 16 tournament today (May 8) at The Cherry Bowl.But before they got down to business the teams unveiled the trophies they won April 5 in Joliet. The girls successfully defended the state championship they won in 2013, while the boys brought home third-place hardware.In addition, there was cake to help celebrate the successful two-day trip.Eight-grader Stephanie Richards finished third individually, improving on last year's eight-place effort.But her focus was on the team and how it came back from being 76 pins down with one game to go. "We made up 123 pins to win," she said.She said their parents tried to keep it from them, that they were losing. But they knew it, anyway, mostly because of the way the Minooka team was acting."I was nervous the whole time," she said. "We knew Minooka would be strong coming into the tournament but we were strong, too."Of her moving up in the individual standings this year, she said, "Oh, yes, it was a huge improvement."Conference finishesLeague play is over now and Harlem had another good year.Varsity girls teams finished first and third while the junior varsity also took first and third. The varsity boys team was fourth; the JV teams were first and third.Becca Hagerman finished first among all conference bowlers with a 192 average per game. Richard was second with a 170; Kayla Verstraete fifth with a 166; Treasure Childs, seventh with a 160; and Graci Cabello, ninth with a 158.On the boys side Noah Mandujano came in fourth, averaging 198 per game, followed by Kyler Gerl, 10th at 188; Nick Howard, 11th at 186; Darby Windsor, 12th at 185; and James White, 16th at 176.All of them will be participating in the Top 16 tournament.The April 26 invitational primarily featured Harlem and Freeport teams, though one team of fifth and sixth graders was allowed from Rock Cut Elementary School.Harlem once again enjoyed a measure of success with girls varsity teams placing first and third; boys varsity teams first and third, one of the boys JV teams, second, and the young Huskies, the fifth and sixth-graders, first.Sixth-grader Josh Roth rolled a four-game 798 series, averaging 199.5 per game, to lead all JV bowlers. That effort which would have earned him second place had he been bowling with the varsity team. He is the son of Tina and Mike Roth.Tournament resultsHere are the individual results from the tournament:Varsity Boys, Series, Kyler Gerl, 738, second place; Nick Newman, 727, third place; and Zach Zimmerman, 713, fourth place.Varsity Boys, High Game, James White 214, second place; Jared Ohman, 212, third place; Darby Windsor, 211, fourth place; and Noah Mandujano, 206, fifth place.Varsity Girls, Series, Becca Hagerman, 733, first place; Stephanie Richards, 686, third place; Graci Cabello, 645, fourth place; and Sydney Keller, 622, fifth place.Varsity Girls, High Game, Treasure Childs, 215, first place; and Delaney Lopez, 162, fifth place.JV Series, Josh Roth (sixth grader), 798, first place; Noah White, 503, second place; Kaeden Witt (sixth grader), 462, third place; Dustin Dahlberg, 411, fourth place; and D.J. Nobel, 388, fifth place.JV High Game, Ethan Pash (sixth grader), 206, first place; Aaron Rille, 144, second place; Alyssa Willard, 115, third place; Haley Schwartz, 111, fourth place; and Brent Garcia, 94, fifth place.Head coach Kelly Nimtz said she expected next year's tournament to have more area schools because the state tournament is being pushed back to April 17-18. That means the Harlem tournament will be held earlier in the season.Looking at the future of Harlem bowling, she predicted continued success at the middle and high school levels."My job as a coach at this level is to get the eighth graders ready for high school competition," she said. "The crop of eighth graders we have had this year will be great additions to our high school program."She said this year's seventh graders "are only going to get better and better and add in our sixth graders coming up, Harlem has successful seasons ahead in middle school and high school. We keep reloading!"She added that parents of those competitors are bowlers themselves, "and they are so supportive of their kids and all tghe kids. Harlem parents are the best!"

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    Terrang Trail homeowners may get sanitary sewer service
    May 8, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Terrang Trail is on a lengthy list of village streets scheduled for improvements sometime in the next seven years.But Terrang Trail, which extends east off Alpine Road, may get something extra in the installation of sanitary sewer service.Village Engineer Chris Dopkins mentioned that as a possibility during the April 21 village board meeting.When the badly pock-marked street, as well as Terrang Court, get new surfaces will depend on when Rock River Water Reclamation District does its project.Dopkins said the first step has been taken. The district surveyed residents in that area on whether they wanted water and sanitary sewer service and the results were favorable. While neighboring Centaur Drive has village water and sewer, Terrang Trail residents have well and septic.Dana Carroll, engineering manager for Rock River, said April 22 that sewer lines now were available because of the Roosevelt Road improvement. “The neighborhood in general has expressed enough interest” in receiving those services, he said.District officials now are determining the cost and how many people would be served by the utilities. Since residents of Terrang Trail, Terrang Court and Hans Lane would be assessed for the improvement, the next step would be having a neighborhood meeting to explain all of the details. Then a formal petition would be passed around to affected residents.Advance preparations probably will take most of the spring and early summer, Carroll said. He added it's very unlikely that the project would begin before next year.“It's possible for both to happen at the same time,” he said of the utility installation and road improvements.Concerning the utility work itself, he said, “My confidence level is high that there will be some kind of a project. The question is how much of a project it will be.”Dopkins said the Terrang Trail road improvement would be a step above the normal resurfacing, but not a complete reconstruction.Village assesses fine Also on April 21 the village liquor commission approved assessing a $3,000 fine against Ann-Lee Management, doing business as Legends Sports Bar and Grill, for two alleged violations of the municipal code dealing with liquor licenses.Village Attorney Tom Green said the company stipulated to the fine but not to having violated any village codes.In a follow-up interview, Village Administrator Tim Savage said an incident occurred between two customers inside the business on Jan. 13, 2014. Subsequently, village officials determined there had been two code violations:* The managing bartender responded inappropriately to the incident.* Employment records did not list the managing bartender as working for the business.Green said having the liquor commission handle the matter avoided going to an administrative hearing, where there would have been additional costs and possibly a higher fine.The commission's decidion, which was unanimous and came without comment from members, was final and not subject to concurrence from the village board.

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    Harlem soccer team serves pancakes to help turf campaign
    May 1, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    LOVES PARK - Members of Harlem High School's girls soccer team were up bright and early April 19 to help out the artificial turf campaign at their school.They served pancakes and bused tables from 7 to 11 a.m. with all proceeds going to toward the $670,000 project that will bring a new surface to the football field on which they play home games."The VFW gave everything so it's 100 percent profit," head coach Brad Heidenreich said.And there was a $230 bonus as well. Post Commander Adam Abdul won the 50/50 drawing and immediately gave his winnings - $230 - to the girls for the fund-raiser.Josh Aurand, assistant superintendent of Harlem School District 122, said the campaign had reached $540,000 as of April 24. That amount includes $10,000 given by the village of Machesney Park. The city of Loves Park was scheduled to act on a $10,000 donation earlier this week.The goal is $670,000 and the deadline for raising the full amount is May 9."We have the current canpaign totals on our website (, which will change as we receive pledges," Aurand said. Team on a roll Since the fund-raiser the Lady Huskies have improved their record to 11-1 overall and 5-0 in the NIC-10. Most recently their senior goal keeper, Alyssa Sickler, recorded her fifth consecutive shutout, 2-0, Friday night in a non-conference game with Marian Central, Woodstock.During that streak Harlem has defeated DeKalb, 1-0; Moline, 2-0; Belvidere North, 5-0; Belvidere, 9-0; and Central.During the fund-raiser Sickler said she and other seniors were "hoping our last year will make more history than we already have. Winning conference is definitely in our thoughts."While this team has a lot of experience, she said a number of freshmen are "a big deal, a great addition. Everyone is contributing."Classmate and close friend Hailee Whitmire recently was commended by coach Heidenreich for becoming an integral part of the team this spring."I pushed myself," she said. "I played club and switched to a team with better competition. I wanted to prove that I could do better."During the fund-raiser members of the team were wearing T-shirts specially made by their coach to celebrate the April 10 win over Boylan, first in the 27-year history of the Harlem soccer program.The shirts bore the inscription, "Beat the Streak," on the front. On the back it stated, "We 'Did it, 4-10-14."The five-shutout string has followed the 2-1 shootout win over Boylan.In the most recent win Harlem received goals from Emily Scott and McKaela Schmelzer.They'll be back in action tonight (May 1) at Rockford Auburn, with varsity action beginning at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday they will be at the Lady Pretz Cup in Freeport, with a field that includes Hampshire, Libertyville, Marian Central, Sycamore and Woodstock.The showdown with Hononegah is May 8, one week from today, on the road at 7.

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    A farewell to former 3rd Ward Alderman Dick Brinker
    May 1, 2014
     By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK - The City of Loves Park has lost one of its diehard supporters. Richard "Dick" Brinker, former Third Ward Alderman, passed away April 25. Brinker served as alderman for 36 years, having retired from the City Council April 29 of last year, stating at the time that he was then free to actually "retire" from city service. He and wife Gloria have been Loves Park residents for about 55 years.Upon hearing that Brinker had passed away, Mayor Darryl Lindberg said, "We were always very proud and grateful to have Dick as a city servant. First of all, he was a good friend and this is a tremendous loss to Loves Park. We were friends for over 35 years going back to when I was police chief."Upon becoming mayor, Lindberg appointed Dick as chairman of the finance and administration committee."He was a great family man and anything we needed, he would always be there to help us out."Lindberg also recalled how involved Brinker was with the Loves Park Lions Club as a long time member, the Harlemites, and the yearly Young At Heart Festival.Fifth Ward Alderman A. Marie Holmes sat next to Brinker for a total of over 20 years on the city council."We were long time friends," she said. "You never know who you are going to meet in life and we became great friends. Our families shared a lot over the years, and it was through Dick that I became good friends with Gloria. He has surely been missed on council this past year."Brinker, always an avid reader, graduated from Rockford East High School in 1952, and Gloria, a Loves Park native, graduated from Harlem High School in 1954. The two met at a friend's wedding and were married in 1956."We lived in Rockford for a year," Gloria explained, "and moved to our current home in 1957."The Brinkers were parents to three children; daughter Darla Peterson (Eric), and sons Dale (Deb) and Dennis (Judy). There are seven grandchildren and one step-grandchild.Dale and Deb live in Antioch, Dennis and Judy live in Fishers, Ind., and Darla and Eric are Rockford residents.Brinker retired from Chrysler skilled trades in 1995 and said last year that he never considered running for public office. Some 37 years ago, however, Gloria recalled four men coming to see her husband about running for alderman. Dick gave it a try and won. There were many highlights Brinker recalled in his 36 years on the council. Some of those include: when Loves Park annexed Rock Cut State Park; the flood control project, a major undertaking, which Dick recalled "seemed like years to complete; "turning the old Marshall Junior High into the Loves Park City Hall complex; and bringing Napleton's into the city. He was also in possession of a good sense of humor, being known on St. Patrick's Day as "Dick O'Brinker."A year ago, Brinker's wish was, "to take it easy, travel a bit, and visit with the kids and grandchildren, as long as our health holds out." Unfortunately, time was not in the cards. The city has lost an immensely supportive resident.As of press time, a visitation was being planned at Delehanty Funeral Home for Thursday, May 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. with a tentative funeral service set for Saturday, May 3, 10:30 a.m. at Grace Lutheran Church.

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    Parks Chamber unveils new Young at Heart button
    April 24, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - The Parks Chamber of Commerce officially displayed the 2014 button for the 43rd Young at Hearts Festival Thursday morning at Harlem High School.On hand for the announcement were officials from the chamber, city of Loves Park, village of Machesney Park and Harlem School District 122. And this year's winning artist, Elizabeth Schutt, was available for interviews and to accept a $100 check from the chamber.Chamber board members selected her creation from among 50 entries.After graduation in May she plans to attend Rock Valley College and major in art. Her next stop likely will be Northern Illinois University but that's not definite at this point.Elizabeth said she had been interested in art all of her life. She participated in the fine arts program at Machesney Elementary School and has been involved ever since.Her inspiration, she said, comes from personal experiences. And when she's at work, she enjoys listening to a variety of music, especially classical and opera. "I also sing opera," she said.The fact that this is her senior year really "dawned on me recently," she said. "I'm excited to leave but then I think, 'Oh, my gosh, I'm leaving.'"This is the 12th year students of high school art teacher Barb Kurilla have submitted designs for Young at Heart. She said she is amazed how "they come up with something new every year."Diana Johnson, executive director of the chamber, welcomed a large turnout to the ceremony. While they weren't able to attend, she announced Ike and Lisa Trickie of Machesney Park as the event's platinum sponsor for the sixth consecutive year.Longtime Loves Park Mayor Darryl Lindberg heralded the button ceremony as the first official event of the upcoming festival. Young at Heart is held over the Memorial Day weekend on grounds surrounding Loves Park City Hall.He said it had been guaranteed by Machesney Park MayorJerry Bolin that the weather would be perfect. "If not, talk to him," he said.Machesney Park is a partner with the city in the event and Mayor Bolin also was at the button unveiling. "I can't believe this is the 43rd year," he said. "It's a family event and I hope everyone will attend."Young at Heart is the primary annual fund-raiser for the Parks chamber. It offers music, food and rides.The chamber each year has a pageant and the current court consists of Petite Princess Elenita Romero; Junior Princess Kira Daehne; Senior Princess Cassandra Melton; and Queen Danielle Gouchenour. The actual competition usually is held a couple of weeks before the festival.In addition. the a Service Above Self award is presented to someone who has gone above and beyond in serving the community.

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    No state multiplier for 2015 Harlem Township tax bills
    April 24, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - This year's property tax bills are a thing of the past when it comes to having, or not having, a state multiplier. A new tax bill should be received by property owners sometime in May, with the usual installment dates in June and September. So it's too late to make any inquiries with township Assessor Mark Sorrentino's office. But 2015 is another matter and all those details currently are being worked out. Sorrentino told the township board at its April meeting that there won't be a state multiplier this year, for 2015 tax bills. To determine if a multiplier is applied state officials look at home sales in the village and in Winnebago County, he explained. If they determine there is a significant difference between home prices and assessed values, a multiplier is applied to equalize the value. That occurred for the 2014 tax bill, the first time in the four years Sorrentino has been in office. But there won't be one this year and he said, "That's good news."What it means is that sales values and assessment values are more in line with one another.There will be a multiplier from the county, however, and it's lower than last year. Tentatively it will be 2.7, which means property values once again will be reduced. County multipliers in recent years were 4.04 in 2010; 4.44 in 2011; 4.00 in 2012; and 5.71 in 2013.A lower multiplier could lead to some tax bills being lower than the ones that will be received next month. But whether that happens will depend on new rates for taxing bodies on one's bill, such as School District 122, the county, North Suburban Library District and others. The school district takes about 70 percent of a property owner's taxes.Too often a homeowner complaints to the assessor's office that his or her assessment was lower yet the tax bill went up.It is suggested that property owners determine the taxing bodies on their bill, give them a call or attend one of their meetings and see what their proposed tax rate is for next year.Enough of those inquiries will give a resident an indication of what his or her tax bill will be in 2015.Speaking of inquiries it's almost time to take any questions or concerns to the assessor's office. The new assessed values for property in Harlem Township should be available early in August.Once assessments are known, Sorrentino invites residents with inquries to drop by his office in the township building behind the Machesney Crossings shoppint center for a talk. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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    Comcast volunteering to benefit Northern Illinois Food PantryBy Margaret DowningReporter
    April 17, 2014
    LOVES PARK – Comcast representative Joan Sage was present at the April 7 Loves Park City Council meeting to receive a proclamation from Mayor Darryl Lindberg declaring April 26 as “Comcast Cares Day” in the city.That day is when thousands of local Comcast employees, friends and families will participate in the largest corporate day of service in the country by volunteering their time to local non-profit agencies.Locally the Northern Illinois Food Bank will be one site being helped. Sage said, “This is the 13th year we have been involved.” Aldermen were invited to participate.Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly fire department report dated April 6. There was one fire call, one false fire alarm call, one mutual aid call, one carbon monoxide or gas leak call, and one assist police call reported. The weekly police activity report was not available.Alderman John Pruitt gave the monthly building report for the month of March. A total of 54 permits were issued and $3,032.25 in building permit fees was collected.City Clerk Bob Burden reported that the city had received $38,370.70 in Motor Fuel Tax funds from the Illinois Dept. of Transportation for the month of March.A total of $29,258.62 in water department bills, and $156,176.46 in general fund and all other bills, as presented March 31, were approved for payment. Alderman Julie Hobel abstained from voting on paying the general fund bills.Mayor Lindberg advised aldermen that yard waste pickup would start in the city April 11.A resolution authorizing the city to spend funds “at the same rate as the 2013-14 Appropriation Ordinance” until the new 2014-15 ordinance is approved was passed with Alderman Julie Hobel casting the one no vote.The city treasurer was authorized to hire Beggin, Tipp and Lamm, LLC, Certified Public Accountants to perform the city’s annual audit for fiscal years 2014 through 2016. By going with the same firm for three years the city will save money by locking the price in place for that time period. The same firm did the last audit.A resolution was approved authorizing the city treasurer to hire Timothy W. Sharpe, Actuary in Geneva, Ill. to provide actuarial services for the city in regards to police pension funding. According to John Danielson, treasurer, the city saved about $20,000 by going this route rather than using the State of Illinois Actuary.A resolution okaying engineering services for Alpine Road improvements/repairs at a cost not to exceed $29,800 was passed with Alderman Julie Hobel voting against the motion.A resolution approving proposals to clean Water Tower No. 2 and No. 3 was approved at a cost not to exceed $4,260 on No. 1 and $6,100 on No. 2.Public Works received the go-ahead to seek sealed bids for the painting of 525 fire hydrants in the city, half of the total hydrants in the city – the other half having been painted last year.A resolution to seek negotiated bids for wall preparation and painting at Fire Station No. 2 was approved, as was the seeking of negotiated bids to repair cement block walls in the street department building.An ordinance, second reading, amending a section of the city’s code of ordinances regulating permits for overweight vehicles was approved, which Alderman Little explained “will bring the city in line with state regulations, plus we’re doing a little house cleaning” in the ordinance.An ordinance, first and second readings, was approved “establishing a non-home rule municipal retailer’s occupation tax and non-home rule municipal service tax.”

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    Armed robbery suspect arrested in Machesney Park
    April 17, 2014
    MACHESNEY PARK – On Friday, April 11, at approximately 1 p.m. the All Credit Lenders, 7900 N. Second St. Machesney Park, was robbed.A white male entered the business armed with a handgun and demanded money.An investigation was initiated by Winnebago County Sheriff’s Detectives and reviewed with the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office and resulted in the issuance of an arrest warrant for Christopher D. Fuller, 35, of Machesney Park.Fuller was taken into custody without incident on the evening of April 11. He has been lodged in the Winnebago County Jail on a charge of Aggravated Robbery. His bond is set at $75,000.A toy handgun was recovered near the scene of the robbery.The charge against Fuller is merely an accusation. He is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in court.

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    Rock Cut Elementary teacher among 2014 Golden Apple winners
    April 10, 2014
    STATELINE – Golden Apple Foundation is very pleased to announce the five Golden Apple Recipients for 2014.The teachers, who were surprised in their classrooms today by Golden Apple Foundation Board Members and Sponsors, principals, superintendents, family and representatives from the media, are:Carolyn Massier - Rock Cut Elementary, Loves Park, Second Grade - 9 years teaching experienceSarah Meyers - Fairview Early Childhood Center, Rockford, Autism PreK - 6 years teaching experienceJoshua Rollins - Washington Academy, Rockford, Fifth Grade Gifted - 7 years teaching experienceErin Salberg - Rockton Grade School, Rockton, First Grade - 8 years teaching experienceAmanda Schieshe - Washington Academy, Belvidere, Third and Fifth Grade Engineering Technology - 8 years teaching experience These distinguished PreK-5th grade teachers were among twenty outstanding finalists representing the public and non-public school districts of Winnebago and Boone County. Since January, all twenty have participated in a rigorous selection process. Collectively, 320 observations were conducted in their classrooms over one month by trained Golden Apple community volunteers. In the final stage, finalists were interviewed by teams of Golden Apple Foundation volunteers. The newest Golden Apple teachers will be welcomed to the 18th Annual Excellence in Education Banquet with a Red Carpet Arrival on Friday, May 2nd at the beautiful Radisson Hotel. Excellence in Education will be celebrated and each Golden Apple Teacher will be honored and presented with a cash award and a professional development stipend from Golden Apple Foundation, a desktop computer for their classroom from Rockford Computers for Schools, a laptop with computer software compliments of Entré Computer Solutions, and the Terry Ingrassia Professional Development Scholarship compliments of Rockford University.They will also be inducted into the Golden Apple Teacher Academy where they join 165 members in continuing to positively impact the education profession through mentoring and professional development of teachers from Winnebago & Boone Counties. Each of the five will be featured in a televised special compliments of WREX.Next year, teachers in 6th-12th grades in both public and ISBE recognized non-public schools in Winnebago and Boone Counties will be eligible for the award.For more information or for reservations for the 18th Annual Golden Apple Banquet held on Friday, May 2, 2014 contact the Golden Apple Foundation office at 226-4180, at, or register online at

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    Registration for April 26 Great American Cleanup™ now open
    April 03, 2014
    LOVES PARK – Coordinating Agency Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful’sExecutive Director Lori Gummow announced last week that the 26th Annual Great American Cleanup™ will be held Saturday, April 26 in Northern Illinois.Volunteer registration is now open for both Winnebago and Boone County collection routes with a choice of 20 equipment pickup locations.The Great American Cleanup™ is the region-wide litter collection involving more than 1,000 citizens from all municipalities, agencies and service organizations in Winnebago and Boone County.Individuals and teams from businesses, civic groups, churches, youth, or neighborhood organizations can select specific routes or be assigned to a targeted area.Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful and its partners provide safety and litter-collecting equipment at strategic staging sites the day of the event, which is to be returned at the end of the collection. The bags of litter are retrieved within the next week by participating contractors. “Last year we had more than 1,200 volunteers clearing more than 300 miles of roadside,” said Frank Manzullo, Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful Great American Cleanup coordinator.“We hope to attract even more volunteers this year,” he added. “Now that the snow has melted, we need to improve the image of our neighborhoods and event venues.“As the Stateline welcomes visitors to its spring and summer events we want them to know that we take pride in our community,” Manzullo said.Preregistration for the event is required. Volunteers should register by Friday, April 18. On Saturday, April 26, a designated team coordinator may pick up supplies at one of the 20 distribution sites between 8 and 9 a.m. and bring them to their assigned team cleanup location.The sites are listed at* Team members meet at the start of the route, receive their supplies and pick up litter between 9 a.m. and noon.Complimentary water and snacks, courtesy of event sponsors, are also provided to the volunteers.The Great American Cleanup™, a nationally-organized anti-littering campaign, was originated by Keep America Beautiful in 1985. The effort has been endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.It has grown into a catalyst for change, becoming the nation’s single largest volunteer community improvement program. Removing litter and debris ensures resident safety and gives best impressions during the rest of the year.Cooperating partners and local sponsors of this year’s Great American Cleanup™ in Northern Illinois include Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful; Burger King; the City of Rockford; Don Carter Lanes; Frito-Lay; McDonald’s; Mid-West Family Broadcasting; Pepsi Cola of Rockford; RK Dixon; The Rock River Times; Rock River Trail; Rock Vally Culligan; Winnebago County; the Winnebago County Highway Department; the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department; and 23 WIFR Gray Television Inc.Organizations, groups or individuals interested in participating in the 2014 Great American Cleanup ™ may call Frank Manzullo at Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful at (815) 637-1343 or register at Oak TreesIn an additional effort to beautify Northern Illinois, in honor of Arbor Day free oak trees will be available, in limited quantities, at select distribution sites and at the Rockford Park District Trolley Station, 324 N. Madison St., on Saturday, April 26.The grant from the Living Lands and Waters project requests the trees be planted within sight of the Rock River.

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    Bates family donate farm safety equipment to Rockton Fire Department
    March 27, 2014
    By Jean Seegers Reporter
    SOUTH BELOIT – Rockton Fire District personnel and firemen from Rockford, Cherry Valley and Boone County gathered Saturday morning, March 22, at Demeter Grain, Equipment and Storage, 4739 Prairie Hill Road, South Beloit.The firefighters came together for a training simulation of the Great Wall of Rescue. The equipment is used for rescuing victims trapped in grain bins. Kirsten Kniss, representing Great Wall Rescue in Lanark, Ill., demonstrated the adaptability and practicalities of the metal partitions as a tool in rescuing victims of farm accidentsRockton District Fire Chief Kirk Wilson announced the donation of two units of Great Wall Rescue equipment to the department by the Bates family.Roger and Judy Bates own and operate a farm in rural Rockton. The rescue wall system was instrumental in saving Roger Bates' life last January.Another key factor in his rescue was the quick thinking of his 20-year-old grandson Mike. On Jan. 31, 2014, Bates climbed a ladder to the top of his grain bin to loosen some clumps of corn. He fell into the large bin while the auger was running.The 78-year-old farmer was submerged up to his neck in the corn and could not move. His grandson reacted quickly by shutting off the auger and immediately called 911.Rockton Fire and Rescue units and several area fire departments responded and arrived on the scene within minutes. Efforts to extricate Bates using wet dry vacuums were less than effective.The Orangeville Fire Department rescue division specializes in farm accidents. They arrived on the scene with the Great Wall of Rescue. The interlocking panels were inserted around Bates and the corn was sucked out through a tube.After five tense hours, the bin had been emptied, and Bates climbed the ladder and embraced his grateful family.Chief Wilson said Bates was very fortunate. Nearly all such accidents result in the victim suffocating. The Bates family decided to donate two Great Wall of Rescue units, valued at $3,000 to the Rockton Fire District as a gesture of their gratitude and to help future accident victims.Bates personally thanked the fire departments as well as the Salvation Army who were on the scene assisting the rescuers and family throughout the ordeal.Wilson took the opportunity to present a plaque to Mike Bates Jr. for his bravery and quick thinking."If it weren't for you, your grandpa wouldn't be with us today," he said.

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    Township prevails in $5.3-million market value reduction
    March 20, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann Reporter MACHESNEY PARK - Harlem Township Assessor Mark Sorrentino had some good news - from a governmental viewpoint - for the township board at its monthly meeting.He told trustees that his office had prevailed in a requested market value reduction of $5.3 million submitted by Petry Development for property in the township. That resulted in a property tax savings of $176,000 for local taxing bodies, such as Harlem School District 122, Winnebago County, Rockford Park District and, to a lesser extent, the township.Petry sought the reductions for improved property, with homes on them, and vacant lots."Four attorneys were present, two from the school district," Sorrentino said. "It was a three-hour hearing. Our evidence was well prepared and strong. Their approach and methodology were inappropriate.""It was a tremendous effort, a good team effort," he said, adding that he brought his deputy assessors to the hearing "so they could see how it worked."Earlier, he said the developer's appeal used an income approach, which was based on market rent as opposed to market sales in the vicinity. "That's not fair," he said. "They should not get a discount because it's a rental."Countywide, he said Petry's requests sought $25 million in market value reductions.Township Attorney John Nelson asked the assessor if he thought Harlem Township was bouncing back as far as the economy was concerned.While the answer was yes, Sorrentino thought the there would be another negative multiplier from the county, when assessments are figured for next year. "I hope it's four or less," he said.Overall, he said "good things" are happening. The list included the multi-million-dollar Woodward Governor expansion at Harlem and Perryville roads; upcoming construction of a new Meijer supercenter at Perryville and Illinois 173; and construction of three new buildings on the northeast corner of 173 and Interstate 90."Woodward is in Harlem Township so it will help those taxing bodies," he said. The impact on the township itself will be minimal "because we don't have that high a tax rate," he said. "But every dollar helps."Sixty-two percent of a township property owner's taxes go to School District 122, he said.Salt almost goneAlso at the township board's March 10 meeting Road Commissioner Rick Thompson said he was "within a snowfall or two" of running out of salt. "We exceeded our salt use, as did everybody else," he said. "We used over one million pounds, which is about twice as much as we normally use. But we can get more if we need it."His 2014-15 budget was approved by the board that night and will include dollars for an overlay - oil base with three-eighths inch chipped pea gravel - for Brown, Picken and McMichael roads. Those are subdivision streets near the Boone County line.In addition, the road department plans to spend $80,000 on a new dump truck that, of course, will have a snow plow. Delivery is scheduled for August, Thompson said, "so we'll have it in time for next winter."

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    Kody Walsh found guilty of murder, fleeing in jury trial
    March 13, 2014
    WINNEBAGO COUNTY – Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announced that on March 3, Kody Ryan Patrick James Walsh, 24, was found Guilty of First Degree Murder, Aggravated Fleeing to Elude a Police Officer and Aggravated Unlawful Restraint after a jury trial in front of the Honorable Judge John Truitt.The jury also found that the allegation that the murder was accompanied by exceptionally brutal and heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty was proven.The jury also found the allegation that during the commission of the murder, the defendant personally discharged a firearm that proximately caused death was proven.During the early morning hours of September 9th, 2012 Walsh shot Lori Daniels, 36 in the head twice while inside a car traveling from Rockford to Beloit along I-90. Afterward, Walsh forced the driver of the vehicle to go to Beloit at gunpoint.He then fled back to Winnebago County where he led officers on a high speed chase involving several law enforcement agencies.Walsh exited the vehicle and fled from officers on foot after discharging a weapon in their direction. He was eventually arrested in Memphis, Tenn. after a high speed chase that ended in a car crash and foot chase by members of the West Memphis Task Force. First Degree Murder is a Class M Felony that has a sentencing range from 20 to 60 years in the Illinois Dept. of Corrections.The penalty range is enhanced to 45 years to Natural Life when the defendant personally discharges a firearm that proximately causes death. Aggravated Fleeing to Elude a Police Officer is a Class 4 Felony with a sentencing range of between 1-6 years in the Illinois Dept. of Corrections based upon the defendant’s prior criminal history. Aggravated Unlawful Restraint Using a Deadly Weapon is a class 3 Felony with a sentencing range of 2-10 years in the Illinois Dept. of Corrections based upon the defendant’s prior criminal history.Sentencing is scheduled for April 7 at 9 a.m. in front of the Honorable Judge John Tuitt in Courtroom D of the Winnebago County Criminal Justice Center.

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    Frigid temperatures don't deter Polar Plungers at Rock Cut
    March 06, 2014
    By Rhonda Mix Reporter
    LOVES PARK – Some people might call it crazy, especially with the wicked winter weather the Midwest has been having this year.Yet hundreds of Boone and Winnebago residents braved the cold Saturday and headed out to Rock Cut State Park's Olson Lake to take part in the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge – a statewide event wherein participants jump into frigid lakes as part of a fundraising event for the Special Olympics.It was not only Boone and Winnebago counties that participated. People also traveled to the event from towns and cities across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.While onlookers watched, 448 participants lined up at noon and waited for their turn to race or dance into the arctic lake.In order to have a go at hurdling themselves into the water, individuals as well as teams wearing creative and festive costumes, were required to raise a minimum of $75 in donations. Payton Rink of Roscoe, and her father, Shawn, said they were taking the plunge for family friends.“It's for a good cause,” said Payton, who had participated in one other Polar Plunge. “It'll be bad getting dressed after though,” she added, laughing.“The water is not the bad part,” said Shawn, adding that this year's plunge was his fourth. “It will be the wind and the air after.”“It's going to be terrible,” said Austin Jacobsen, a Rockford resident also plunging for his fourth year. “Every year it gets colder and colder.”Though the wind was whipping and the air was chilling to the bone, the enthusiasm of all attendees – whether onlookers or participants – provided a warm and motivating atmosphere. Some people too afraid to brave the water themselves were lucky enough to have a family member volunteer to go in their stead.“This is my first time jumping,” said Rockford resident Jimmy Dulca. “I'm jumping for my wife. She works for the Easter Seals and is too scared to jump herself.”Several tents were provided for people to escape the cold, including a tent where participants were invited to attend the after-plunge party and enjoy a free lunch.Plungers received special sweatshirts and people who raised more than $500 were entered in contests, one of which included a prize which was probably most welcome at this time of year – a four-night trip for two to toasty Cancun Mexico.All proceeds from the event benefited Special Olympics athletes in Illinois.Perhaps the best reward for participants was the knowledge that they were sacrificing themselves to the elements for good reason.“It is fun and it's for a good cause,” said Jacobsen. “It also gets everyone aware of helping out people with disabilities.”The event raised more than $114,000 for the Special Olympics.

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    Ribs become pork chops as villagescales back first summertime event
    February 27, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann Reporter
    MACHESNEY PARK - The village's new events committee initially agreed that a three-day rib fest should serve as the inaugural summertime event, probably sometime in July. Village Administrator Tim Savage brought that idea to the village board at its Feb. 3 meeting, looking for $30,000 in seed money. But the matter was laid over for two weeks so trustees could be given more information. The committee met again, on Feb. 11, and decided it would be better to have a two-day festival, featuring pork chops that would be grilled by the North Park Fire Department and Harlem-Roscoe Fire Protection District. That reduced the needed money to $12,000.After discussion Feb. 18 the village board voted 7-0 to approve the event, along with spending the $12,000 to help get it off the ground.Mayor Jerry Bolin, who chairs the committee, told trustees that churches would participate in providing music. In addition Pistol Pete, a rhythm and blues performer from Rockford who has moved to a Chicago, may return and put on a show. "By special request," Savage said after the meeting.During the committee meeting member Ike Trickie said he thought the matter was being rushed a bit, what with summertime a few months away.Another member, Nina Jacobson, mentioned legalities associated with the name, "Ribfest," which had been sold the now defunct On the Waterfront festival in Rockford. She thought it should be rebranded and have a new name.After more discussion the consensus was to plan a two-day event, featuring pork chops grilled by local fire departments, and local talent providing most of the entertainment.Festival dates were proposed for July 26-27.The committee will meet again March 4 and members have some homework to do before that time.Among the upcoming action items will be a name for the pork chop festival; names of people to chair the various portions of the event; and having a Ferris wheel and some kiddie rides at the event. Trickie said his company would provide a stipend with which to hire someone to coordinate the festival. Committee member Tommy Meeks will contact Pat Giblin to see if whe would be interested in doing that.

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    Fire truck, ambulance collide while enroute to emergency
    February 20, 2014
    LOVES PARK – On Wednesday, Feb. 12, at about 3:40 p.m. a North Park Fire Dept. truck and a Lifeline ambulance were involved in an accident in the 2200 block of N. Alpine Road. There was heavy damage to the ambulance, and moderate damage to the fire truck.It was unknown if there were any injuries. The two emergency vehicles were both in route to emergency calls, but it was unknown if they were in route to the same call.Traffic was backed up on Alpine Road for a long period of time, because the two emergency vehicles were blocking part of the road. Then shortly after the first accident, at about 4:20 p.m. a Loves Park police squad car was hit from behind at the intersection of Forest Hills Road and Riverside Blvd. The damage to the vehicles was minor.

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    Science Olympiad team prepares for regional tournament
    February 20, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann Reporter
    MACHESNEY PARK - Harlem High School's Science Olympiad team has been involved with quite a few tournaments this year, in preparation for the upcoming regional at Rock Valley College.Not long ago 600 students were on the Harlem campus for an event featuring 17 teams from 11 schools. More recently Harlem was in two tournaments leading up to the March 15 regional, a prelude to the state finals.Advisor Natalie Bader said they mostly have finished in the middle of their competitions so far this year.But Harlem has enjoyed plenty of success at the regional and this year will be vying for its eighth consecutive championship.Members of the team are building projects, such as a magnetic levitating car, a boomilever and the scrambler, a car with an egg in front.And they're researching topics for the testing side, essentially classroom work for those who aren't adept at building things.Senior Alex Pacheco is a builder. He and his teammate, Austin Jaraczewski, have built a Rube Goldberg-type device for the Mission Possible category. It has a start task and an end task, with energy transfers in the middle.A random collection of golf tees, marbles and paper clips is dropped a funnel. That action trips a mouse trap, which will mix baking soda and vinegar together, which will inflate a balloon that pushes two wires together to ignite an ignitor, which drops a weight that turns on a lightbulb."The end task is turning on the light bulb," Alex explained. "How you get there is up to the team, with a maximum of 15 steps."The more steps a team uses, the more points it gets, he said. And he and Austin plan to conjure up more steps before the regional.Fifth year for AlexThis is Alex's fifth year in Science Olympiad. "A friend told me about it and, coincidentally, he left but I stayed. It was a good decision. It probably helped me get into MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)." He plans to major in physics.Sophomore Brandon Chiodini is building a magnetic levitating vehicle, powered by a propeller. The vehicle will float and proceed to the other end of a track, with time being one of the disciplines that results in points."It's a fun way to put my skill set to work," he said of his involvement with Science Olympiad since eighth grade. "There aren't too many opportunities for that away from the classroom." He also enjoys competing with others having the same interests.Kierin Jackson-Ramos is a senior who competes in testing because she's better at that side of the competition than the building side.This is her first year in Science Olympiad and joined because "I thought it would help me stay up to date with science. I've learned a lot. And I don't have to worry about a grade."She has received a scholarship to the University of Minnesota, where she plans to major in linguistics, and will be part of the honors program.Another newcomer to the organization is Josiah Wolf, just a freshman, though he participated at Harlem Middle School while in seventh and eighth grades. He also golfs and plays tennis, so "this keeps me busy during the winter months.""I've always been interested in science and math," he added. "It's also challenging." While building is more fun, he said, "I enjoy studying for the tests." So far he has participated in six competitions, winning five medals.

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    Loves Park Police undergoing leadership changes
    February 13, 2014
    By Margaret Downing Reporter
    LOVES PARK – With the retirement of Loves Park Police Chief Jim Puckett, who has moved on to a position with the Winnebago County Sheriff’s office as the Facility Security Director reporting to Sheriff Dick Meyers, openings needed to be filled in the city’s police department.Before a packed council chambers, Former Deputy Chief Rodney Scott was sworn in by Mayor Darryl Lindberg as the new Police Chief at the Feb. 3 council meeting.Former Sergeant Chuck Lynde was sworn as the new Deputy Chief, and Detective Shane Lynch was sworn in as a sergeant. All three men began their law enforcement careers with the Winnebago County Sheriff’s office.Scott became a Loves Park patrol police officer in 2001, moving up to detective in 2007, and then Deputy Chief in 2009 when Puckett filled the Chief’s job upon Patrick Carrigan’s retirement. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.Lynde started at the sheriff’s office in 1982 and came to Loves Park in 1986 as a part-time officer, becoming full-time in 1988. He was designated the first “canine officer” in 1992, and was promoted to sergeant in 1997. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Staff and Command.Lynch started at the sheriff’s office in 1996, became a Loves Park police officer in 2000, and a detective in 2005. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science.In other business, aldermen approved a resolution authorizing the mayor “to negotiate a fireworks display with Central States Fireworks, Inc. and to accept donations to help offset costs – and to establish a separate account within the City to disburse funds for the fireworks show to be held during the Young At Heart Festival at the end of May. The Parks Chamber has designated city hall grounds once again as the location for the festival.A resolution authorizing the public works department to seek negotiated bids for backflow inspection/prevention testing equipment was approved.A resolution authorizing an easement grant for the extension of a parking lot on city property in the 4900 block of McFarland Road was approved.Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly fire department report dated Feb. 2. There were four fire alarm calls, one public service call, one mutual aid call, seven carbon monoxide or gas leak calls, one wires down call, and two smoke or odor investigation calls reported. The weekly police activity report was not available.A total of $34,998.35 in water department bills, and $202,632.79 in general fund and other bills, as presented Jan. 27, were approved for payment.The mayor advised aldermen that a “Transform Rockford” meeting was upcoming at Harlem Senior High School and anyone interested in attending could do so, as these efforts will or can affect the whole area.According to the Transform Rockford website“By applying strategic planning processes used successfully in businesses, our community will develop our vision – together – for the future as well as strategies and detailed plans to achieve that vision. Every individual, through a public process, will be asked to provide insight, input and commitment to this transformational endeavor. Then, using the vision as a guide, an aggressive implementation plan will bring our collective vision to reality.”Its mission statement is as follows: “The Transform Rockford mission is to facilitate the creation and implementation of a strategic plan by the community for the purposes of dramatically improving the social and economic well-being of the community and its residents.”

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    'Go Red for Women' promotes awareness of heart disease
    February 13, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann Reporter
    MACHESNEY PARK - Thirty-five staff members from Harlem District 122 schools and the administration center wore red Friday morning, joining a national campaign to raise awareness of heart disease among women.That affliction is the No. 1 killer of women, claiming more lives than all of the cancers combined. Yet, according to many, it is something they don't often think about.Ryan Monroe, new wellness coordinator for the school district, came up with the local event in concert with Dani Hopkins, human resources director."We wanted to have an event for it," he said. "This came to mind." He added that as far as he knew, this was the first such gathering ever held here.One of the women attending the 7 a.m. assembly was Pam Cook, who works at the administration center. “Heart disease is called ‘the silent killer,’ which is why a lot don't think about it,” she said. "This brings awareness, which is good," she said.The American Heart Association launched the National Wear Red Day on Feb. 7, 2003. Through research and education, the Go Red for Women organization reports there have been considerable strides in the improvement of women's health nationwide.The organization made the following points:* Since 2003, 34 percent fewer women now die from heart disease, saving 330 lives every day.* More women are taking ownership of their health by developing healthy lifestyles. For example, 37 percent are losing weight, 43 percent are checking their cholesterol, more than 50 percent exercise more, 60 percent have improved their diets, 33 percent have developed heart health plans with their doctors, and 15 percent have quit smoking.Despite those improvements, the association stated that heart disease still kills 1,100 women each day.Following Friday's event participants had breakfast in the school's Commons, consisting of oatmeal, fruit and a yogurt parfait bar.

    Outgoing Police Chief Jim Puckett honored Jan. 31
    Febuary 06, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK - The gymnasium at the Loves Park City hall complex was heavy with area law enforcement and municipal officials, city employees, friends, and area residents Jan. 31 at a program and reception that honored Chief Jim Puckett upon his retirement after 35 plus years with the department.
    Everyone present was there to give their best wishes to Puckett and many heartwarming comments and remembrances were conveyed. Two daughters, a granddaughter, a baby grandson, and son-in-law also attended the event.
    Puckett is a lifelong resident of Loves Park and a graduate of Harlem High School. He also served in the Marines, including time in Vietnam. He began his career with the City of Loves Park in 1978 when then Police Chief Darryl Lindberg, hired him as a police officer. He moved up the ranks in the department and served as deputy chief under Chief Patrick Carrigan.
    Carrigan retired in 2009 and Puckett was moved into his position as Chief, with Detective Rodney Scott, who also started out as an officer, becoming Deputy Chief. Scott has now been named the new Loves Park Police Chief.
    Several persons made comments and several honorary plaques were presented to Puckett during the program. Puckett may have retired from Loves Park, but he now has a new position and title. His new boss, Winnebago County Sheriff Dick Meyers, hired Puckett, who began his new job as "Security Director" of the Winnebago County Sheriff's office in downtown Rockford on Feb. 3.
    As director of security in various county buildings, Puckett now has the job of overseeing security at the Justice Center, the Winnebago County Courthouse, the entrance to the Public Safety Building (PSB), the county administration building, and the new Juvenile Courthouse, formerly the old Federal Courthouse. Puckett says he is looking forward to some new duties and to working with Meyers.
    Chief Rodney Scott, a Loves Park police department employee for 12 years, stressed Puckett's dedication, leadership skills, and the fact that Puckett "always places others first. He always wanted to be involved and has consistently demonstrated his sincerity and respect for his officers."
    Scott also had good words to say about Chief Puckett's positive attitude, saying, "He leads from the front. He is always right there for his officers."
    Mayor Darryl Lindberg noted in speaking of Puckett, "This is both a bittersweet and a congratulatory time for the City of Loves Park. We are going to miss him." He remarked how many of the city's employees have gone to hold good positions with other agencies and said he it is good know "our people are in demand."
    Fairly new to the position of police chief in 1978, Lindberg recalled how Puckett was the second officer he hired to the department, saying, "We had 33 officers at that time. It's kind of strange to think that 36 percent of our current officers were not yet even born then!"
    Sheriff Meyers praised the leadership under Puckett and said, "We have had and continue to have tremendous inter-department cooperation," and recalled time Puckett was Chairman of the Integrity Task Force.
    Puckett gave his thanks not only to his fellow officers, but also to his wife and family, support staff, to the mayor and aldermen and city employees, noting how grateful he was for their friendship and loyalty. "I have never taken my job for granted and have always honored my badge with the greatest respect."

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    ‘Catholic Schools Week’ declared in Loves Park
    January 30, 2014
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK - At the Jan. 20 Loves Park City Council meeting, Mayor Darryl Lindberg declared the week of Jan. 27-Feb. 2 as “Catholic Schools Week” in Loves Park.
    This year’s theme for the National Catholic Schools Week 2014 is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” The annual observance starts the last Sunday in January and runs through the following week.
    Schools typically celebrate the event with Masses, open houses, and other activities for students, families, parishioners, and the community at large. 
    St. Bridget volunteer and parent, Patti Bishop, says, “We are grateful the City of Loves Park can again join in our celebration and proclaim the week of Jan 27-Feb 2nd as Catholic Schools Week in Loves Park.
    This year’s theme encompasses several concepts that are at the heart of a Catholic education. First, schools are communities - small families in their own right, but also members of the larger community of home, church, city and nation. 
    “The students at our school represent many different civic communities including Loves Park, Machesney Park, Rockford, Rockton, Roscoe, South Beloit, Belvidere, Caledonia, and even Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
    “The school’s new logo features a swirl of colors interacting around a cross, which is at the center of all Catholic education. The vibrancy of the colors and the movement and shadows in the logo portray the inner-connectivity and community life that are present in our Catholic schools. Faith, knowledge and service are three measures by which any Catholic school can and should be judged.
    “The 384 St. Bridget students and 30 faculty/staff members along with over two million other Catholic school students enrolled in 6,685 Catholic schools throughout the United States, will use this week to celebrate the uniqueness of the faith-filled education they receive and the ways in which Catholic schools prepare students to make a difference in the world around them.”
    Besides Patti Bishop and St. Bridget’s student council members, Mrs. Jill Deckard, 5th grade teacher and Student Council Moderator, and Father Keith Romke, associate pastor, also attended the meeting.
    St. Bridget’s new pastor, Monsignor Dan Deutsch, was not able to attend due to being on a vacation but said he was very disappointed to miss the council meeting.
    The school was opened in 1955 and has been serving the area ever since and provides education for pre-school through eighth grade. Students are community minded and are involved in various projects during the school year, including the Food Pantry, Rescue Mission, homeless teens, Carpenter’s Place, and Park Towers.
    Scheduled activities during the week for St. Bridget students are: Sun. Jan. 26 – School Open House with a Skate Party that evening; Monday, Jan. 27 – “Duct Tape Day” at school; Tues. Jan. 28 – “Neon Day.” Wednesday, Jan. 29 is “Holiday Day” where students dress like their favorite holiday or wear holiday colors, plus a free hot lunch is offered and no homework that day.
    St Bridget “Spirit Night” at basketball games is also included that day and by wearing St. Bridget clothing, students get free admission. Thursday, Jan 30 is “Pajama Day” and students bring their slippers and favorite pillow to school.
    At 2 p.m. popcorn and drinks at classroom parties is on the agenda. Friday, Jan. 31 western wear, class day, or dress as a famous person is scheduled. There will be an 8 th grade vs. faculty volleyball game at 2 p.m. Face paint or hair coloring is prohibited at the events.
    In other business, aldermen approved payment of $13,381.54 in water fund bills, and $44,423.43 in general fund and all other bills, as presented at the Jan. 13 council meeting. On the motion to approve payment of the general fund bills, Alderman Julie Hobel abstained from voting.
    Resolutions were passed appointing Loves Park Police Deputy Chief Rodney Scott to the position of police chief effective Feb. 3; Sgt. Charles Lynd to the position of Deputy Chief Feb. 3; and Shane Lynch to sergeant Feb. 3. The changes come about due to the retirement from the police department of Chief Jim Puckett, who will be moving on to a position with the Winnebago County Sheriff’s office.
    Mayor Lindberg advised the council that Loves Park Police Officer Mike McCammond was named “Officer of the Year” at the annual Clifford Johnson VFW Post No. 9759’s annual event honoring first responders.
    A resolution authorizing reimbursement to the Regional Office of Education for the purchase and installation of windows in the Regional office test center at a cost of $12,345 was approved.
    A resolution authorizing the emergency replacement of a wall-mounted air conditioning unit in the server room at city hall was passed at a cost not to exceed $844, L&M Sheet Metal to do the work.
    An ordinance for a special use permit for a fitness center and health club in a light industrial zoning district at 8174 Commerce Dr. was approved.
    An ordinance for a special use permit for “the number of accessory structures permitted exceeding 120 square feet” in a single-family residential zoning district in the 500 block of E. Grand Ave. was okayed, as was a variance in the “maximum allowable accessory size permitted” at the same location.
    Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of Jan. 12-18. There were 344 calls for service, 107 arrests, and 20 accidents reported. On the weekly fire department report dated Jan. 19, three false fire alarm calls, one public service call, and three carbon monoxide or gas leak calls were reported.

    GiGi's Playhouse receives national exposure on NBC
    January 23, 2014
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESENY PARK - GiGi's Playhouse is quite well known in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Now it's on the map nationwide after a segment on the NBC Nightly News television program in December.
    "The national office in Hoffman Estates has received a lot of response," said Paula Capone, executive director of the Machesney Park playhouse at 8801 N. Second St. "There was so much that they had to switch to a bigger server."
    Founder Nancy Gianni told the story of GiGi's to a national audience. She remembered when her daughter was born with Downs syndrome 11 years ago.
    She said she went from panic to understanding to wanting to create a place where her daughter - GiGi - and others could spend time together.
    Today, there are 20 such playhouses internationally with the most recent facility opening in August 2013 in Mexico. Another is being proposed for Madison, Wis.
    The Machesney Park GiGi's opened Jan. 8, 2011 and observed its third year of operation two weeks ago. This playhouse now serves about 200 families - including the young, old and in-between - from this area as well as Rockton, Roscoe, South Beloit, Belvidere, Poplar Grove, Monroe Center, Wis. and Paw Paw.
    Capone told the story of a teacher at Poplar Grove Elementary School who had two children with Down syndrome in her class. She started a penny fund-raising drive for the playhouse, which soon became schoolwide and ultimately raised $1,200.
    GiGi's is starting its third year locally by adding a mathematics program to its list of learning activities. There are some tutors but more are being sought. The playhouse also has a literacy program and help with homework that includes fun time and a snack.
    Other activities in the planning stage are a theater troupe for pre-teens and teens; a kinder-music program; and cheerleading.
    All kinds of social gatherings already exist for children, teens and adults.
    Teen-Tastics is for those 13-19 and Capone remembered a special time over the recent holidays when the group traveled in a limousine bus to sing Christmas carols at the Walter Lawson Home for Children on Alpine Road
    Then they went to see the Festival of Lights in Rockford and array of Christmas-related blowups at the Trickie residence in Machesney Park. They concluded the evening with a stop at Jerry's Pizza.
    "They just warm my heart," Capone said of those involved with Teen-Tastics. "The whole night was magical to me."
    GiGi's also offers Family Fun Night for the entire family, Friday Friends for those 18 and older, Learn & Play Saturday swim lessons, open play and more.
    This playhouse has a number of goals, among them, "Walk in our doors and find a place where you feel like you belong, meet new friends, nearn something new and have lots of fun."
    Capone became GiGi's second director July 29, 2013, after spending 20 years in a variety of capacities with the YMCA of Rock River Valley.

  • Chief retiring I CHIEF JIM PUCKETT.JPG
    January 16, 2014
    Loves Park Police Chief announces retirement
    LOVES PARK – Loves Park Police Chief James Puckett has formally announced his intention to retire on Feb. 2.
    Police Chief Puckett has been an outstanding employee of the City of Loves Park since 1978 when he was hired as a patrol officer. 
    Since that time he has served our community as a detective, sergeant, deputy police chief and chief.
    His resignation culminates 36 years of faithful service to Loves Park and he will certainly be missed. Chief Puckett has been offered a position by Sheriff Meyers as Facility Security Director for the Sheriff’s Department. 
    In order to provide a smooth transition for this very important position, it is my intention to ask the City Council to approve hiring our Deputy Police Chief, Rodney Scott to fill the Police Chief vacancy.
    Deputy Chief Scott is a very highly qualified individual who has been in a command position for several years.
    If approved, he will assume his new duties following his swearing in which will take place at the February 3 City Council meeting.
    At that same meeting it is my intention to ask the Council to promote Sgt. Charles Lynde to Deputy Chief. Sgt. Lynde is also highly qualified to fill this spot and would also be sworn in on Feb. 3.

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    Liquor commission rejects bid for bar boutique license
    December 12, 2013
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - The village liquor commission is recommending denial of a requested bar boutique (BB) license to allow operation of five more video gaming machines in town. With that comes the recommendation against creation of a fourth such license.
    Officials of Scorchy's Slots next will appear before the full village board Monday night, where final action is expected.
    A BB liquor license is relatively new and allows on-premises consumption of alcoholic beverages in an establishment where there primarily are just the five video gaming machines.
    The machines are the primary source of revenue, with alcohol bringing in about 10 percent. There is no musical entertainment and no food other than pre-packaged snacks.
    The request is for a former deli in a strip center at 7916 Scott Lane, on the southwest corner of Harlem Road.
    First on the commission's agenda was the request that a fourth BB license be approved.
    There was immediate opposition to that action with Sandra Much, 7909 Scott Lane, saying she had the signatures of 81 people on a petition objecting to the business in their neighborhood.
    She said the front of her house faced the parking lot and expressed concern about noise, smoke and garbage coming from patrons.
    "In the summer I like to have my windows open, and smoke will be coming into my home," she said.
    Much turned to Ike Trickie, one of the liquor commissioners, and asked if his removing snow from that parking lot would put him in a conflict of interest with this issue?
    He replied that he didn't believe one had anything to do with the other. "I've been plowing it since 1977," he said.
    Not in residential area
    Gunnel Stewart, 7906 Scott Lane, said her bedroom is within 100 feet of the place where the business would be located.
    She also expressed concern about noise and smoke, along with squealing tires from patrons as they left the lot.
    "Businesses like this should not be next to a residential neighborhood," she said.
    James Marsili, one of the officers in the company, said they wanted to provide a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere for their customers. "I don't think the noise level will be an issue," he said.
    "There will only be five terminals in the building, so that limits the number of people who can be in our establishment. These establishments are not causing a disturbance. We are strong advocates of moderation. It's not a bar; it's a respectable establishment."
    Commissioners addressed questions to the Jacob Marsili, 21, who would be the general manager, about his age and whether he had ever run a business before.
    The vote on creating a fourth BB license failed, 3-2, with commissioners Erick Beck, Robbin Snodgrass and Kate Tammen voting no. Commissioner Trickie and Liquor Commissioner Jerry Bolin voted yes.
    Given that, the request for ussiance of a BB license was denied, 5-0.
    Snodgrass said she would vote against issuing the license because of the 81 signatures and other phone calls and contacts from people about the gaming issue as a whole.
    Some who contacted her were concerned that the money being spent on such machines could better be spent on food for children.
    Beyond that, Beck said the way the building sits on the property is not conducive to this kind of business.
    Bolin said he personally visited the area two times and felt the establishment would be too close to a residential area, along with a church being across the street.
    Staff recommended approval of the request as long as it met all applicable zoning, building, health and fire codes. Residents are located to the north and south of the proposed location, with a church on the east and a restaurant and auto repair shop to the west.
    Planning and Zoning Coordinator Carrie Houston said the request complied with the 2010 comprehensive plan, which calls for neighborhood commercial service and retail uses in that area.
    As proposed, hours of operation would be 9 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday. The machines would be located in a 1,000-square-foot space.

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    Mayor pleased with new location for Machesney Park tree lighting
    December 05, 2013
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - Mayor Jerry Bolin is happy with the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, held this year at the new entrance to the Machesney Towne Center.
    "I thought it went very well," he said in a follow-up interview. "I was very pleased with it. There was a very good crowd considering the weather."
    Weather is one of the uncertainties that accompany any outdoor activity this time of year.
    In recent years it has rained, and there has been snow on the ground for the tree lighting and visit of Santa Claus. This year it was just cold, with a slight wind and a temperature in the low 20s.
    The tree lighting previously was held outside Machesney Park Village Hall at 300 Roosevelt Road. Trees planted by elementary school children were decorated by current students. One of the decorated trees also had lights, which came to life with the flip of a switch.
    Beforehand, village employees served hot chocolate or coffee from a table near the main entrance to village hall. And those who turned out for the festivities could duck inside to get warm, if need be.
    This year the event was held in an open area with a tent set up as a wind break, but it didn't afford any warmth. There was plenty of parking, which sometimes was a problem at village hall.
    Same day as parade
    Another change was with the date of the event. It usually was held a few days after the Christmas parade, sponsored by the Parks Chamber of Commerce. This year it was on the same day, after the parade, and it probably will remain that way in the future.
    Santa Claus was there and, as always, was very popular among children. A long line of youngsters quickly formed upon his arrival and, one by one, they told him what they would like to see under their tree Christmas morning.
    The tree for this year's ceremony, standing 16 feet tall, was acquired from St. Albin's Nursery. "We hoped for a bigger one but settled for this one," Bolin said.
    Some of the curious wondered if the tree would remain there and be used for future lightings. The mayor said it would stay put until spring. Then, a decision will be made as to whether it stays there or is relocated to the northeast side of the towne center parking lot, where the village wants to put in a bandshell.
    Improvements to the towne center are continuing, primarily redoing part of the ring road that circles the property off North Second Street.
    Village officials are continuing to market the six outlots, which front Second Street, and hope to find a tenant for the former JC's 5 Star Outlet store, which is being vacated as the popular shopping destination closes soon.

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    Harlem School Board goes along with school board association no votes
    November 21, 2013
    By Bob Trott
    MACHESNEY PARK - No was the word as members of the Harlem School Board concurred Tuesday, Nov. 12 with the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) on many resolutions to be considered at an IASB Delegate Assembly Nov. 23.
    The school board also concurred with the IASB on many “yes” recommendations.
    Among recommendations of no from the school board and IASB committee were measures concerning:
    * charter schools being required to refund state monies for enrollment of a child when that child leaves;
    * lobbying of the state to develop laws, rules and standards that all school board members shall follow, and if broken, shall cause board members to be subject to disciplinary action, including removal from office. 
    Among measures receiving “yes” recommenations from the school board and IASB were:
    * one that would amend language to allow school boards to support mandates for time requirements and appropriate exemptions for Physical Education in Grades K-12;
    -a resolution that would call for each local school board to have the right to determine its curricular content, including mandated curriculum from the Common Core Standards;
    * a measure calling for objection to the Prevailing Wage Act, which says all Illinois public bodies shall not pay less than prevailing hourly wages for school district work, but there was one dissenter, Board Member George Russell, Harlem's delegate to the Nov. 23 session.
    Closed session
    After a fairly-lengthy closed session, the board appointed Aaron Guske technology director for the district. He replaces Paul Sizek, who had served in that capacity for several years and left to take a position in the Chicago suburbs. Guske becomes technology director after serving as Harlem's Information Technology (IT) systems administrator.
    Also after the closed session, the board approved a tentative agreement with the Food & Nutrition Services Employee Group, for 2013-16.
    In separate action following the closed session, the board voted to expel two students for the remainder of this school year, and transfer them to alternative programs. Parents of the students were offered the possibility of probation agreements with the district, if done so before the end of the work day Wednesday, Nov. 13.
    School Board
    Members Day
    The school board Nov.12 approved a resolution proclaiming Nov. 15 a School Board Members Day to honor citizens who devote so much of their time and energy for the education of Harlem students.
    Reading a proclamation of the special day was Superintendent Julie Morris, who said board members do such things as: offer efficient operation of the district's business, adopt public policy, donate countless hours without receiving compensation and have a direct impact on the quality of life within their community.
    Members of the board: President Heather Kelley, Vice President Larry Barger, Secretary George Russell, Patti Lawrence, Evelyn Meeks, Travis Turner and Sue Berogan were included on the resolution.
    Payment of bills totaling $6,117,064.53 was approved by the board. Reporting other recent financial statistics, including payroll of $5,140,386.79 and payables of $976,677.74, was Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Josh Aurand.
    Upcoming meetings
    Board President Heather Kelley reported she received two very satisfactory and four satisfactory reports on how the board conducted business at its Oct. 15 regular meeting.
    Kelley also reported the board's next policy committee meeting is set for Monday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m., and regular meeting Monday, Dec. 9, also at 6 p.m. The next education committee meeting is Jan. 23, 2014, at 6 p.m., the board president reported.
    Board members approved first and second readings of school district policies Nov. 12.
    Board Member Russell reported the next business services committee meeting is Thursday, Dec. 4, at 6 p.m., and Board Member Lawrence reported the next discipline policy review committee session is Jan. 30, 2014, at 6 p.m.
    Proposed Committees
    Appointments for Harlem School Board committees for 2013-14, proposed, are:
    Policy - Heather Kelley, chairman; Larry Barger, board member; George Russell, board member; Superintendent Morris, Kris Arduino, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Josh Aurand, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Barb Browning, Dusti Adrian, Leah Krippner, Dani Hopkins, Michelle Erb, Margo Sickele, Director of Stakeholder Engagement Cathy Martin, Heidi Lange, Jeremy Bois and elementary pincipal (rotation cycle);
    Business Services - Board Members Russell, Evelyn Meeks and Travis Turner, Superintendent Morris, Assistant Superintendent Aurand and Mindy Schumacher;
    Education-Chairman Kelley; Board Members Meeks and Turner, Morris, Assistant Superintendent Browning, Arduino, Sickele, Erb, Terrell Yarbrough and Middle School Principal John Cusimano;
    Discipline Policy review: Superintendent Morris, Browning, Arduino, Maple Elementary Principal Becky Girard, Kurt Weigt, Larry Smith, Krippner, Jason Blume, Jeremy Bois, Shari Heller, Sickele, Erb, Brock Morlan, Jerry Harris, Rodney Scott, recently-hired Transportation Director Don West, Heidi Lange, Beth WIlliams and Sharon Carlson;
    Public Relations Ad Hoc - Kelley, Board Member Lawrence and Board Member Barger.
    Adequate yearly progress
    The Harlem School District did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as a district for the 2012-2013 School Year (the AYP Target for 2013 was 92.5 percent of students meet or exceeding standards on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) and Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE) in the areas of Reading and Math. The district is required by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to regularly update ts District Improvement Plan (DIP) and School Improvement Plans to address these areas, using the continuous improvement planning process.
    Improvement plans
    Board members approved a District Improvement Plan (DIP), including a Rock Cut Elementary School Restructuring Plan and Maple Elementary Corrective Action.
    School Improvement Plans (SIP's) were approved for: Parker Center, Loves Park Elementary School, Machesney Elementary, Maple Elementary, Marquette Elementary, Olson Park Elementary, Ralston Elementary, Rock Cut Elementary, WIndsory Elementary, Harlem Middle School and Harlem High School.
    Tax Levy resolution
    The Harlem School Board Tuesday, Nov. 12, approved the 2013 tax levy resolution and certificate of tax levy resolution.
    Also, the following special taxes will be levied, by resolution approved by the board: 
    * a $1,4 million special tax for Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) purposes;
    * $370,000 for fire prevention, safety, energy conservation, disabled access, school security and/or specified repair; 
    * $3.45 million for the Special Education Program;
    * $400,000 for leasing education facilities and/or computer technology purposes.
    Surplus Property, Facility Use
    Property no longer used by the school district, much of which is computer equipment, was declared surplus by action of the board. Items declared surplus are offered to the public for sale.
    A request from Boys Club Baseball to use the Harlem Ninth Grade Campus Gym for pitching instruction on the following dates: Nov. 17; Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29; Jan. 5, 12, 18 and 26; Feb. 2, 9, 16 and 23; and March 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, was approved by the board.
    No price increases
    Board members renewed an agreement with Kelley Williamson for fuel and related items for the Fiscal Year (FY) 14 School Year, with no price increases. Also renewed with no price increases was an agreement with DLA Architects for the the FY 14 School Year.
    Report cards
    The following have new report cards in the Harlem district: Harlem School District, Harlem High School, Harlem Middle School, Loves Park Elementary, Machesney Elementary, Maple Elementary, Marquette Elementary, Olson Park Elementary, Parker Center, Ralston Elementary and Windsory Elementary.
    Harlem's new website says full report card information can be obtained by going to
    Superintendent Morris reported the following personnel moves for the district: seven leaves-of-absence, four transfers within the district, three sick leave requests, 37 employments and one new addition. An addendum had one resignation and five employments.

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    'Grocery Grab' winner gives prize to Helping Hands pantry
    November 14, 2013
    By Bob Balgemann
    LOVES PARK - First-place winners in the Loves Park Lions Club's annual "Grocery Grab" have three options as to what they do with their prize.
    They may keep all the grocery items they're able to load in their carts, to a maximum value of $1,000, during a frantic two-minute shopping spree at Valli Produce off Alpine Road. They may get a gift card worth up to $1,000. Or they may donate the money to a charity.
    This year's winner, longtime local resident Sharon Glawe, chose to give the $1,000 to the Helping Hands Food Pantry on Elm Avenue in Loves Park. "I've been giving to them for years," she said.
    A sore hand kept her from pulling items from shelves and putting them in her grocery carts Saturday morning (Nov. 9). Helping Hands volunteer Jose Loredo did that for her and easily selected $1,000 worth of products in the allowable time.
    Mayor Darryl Lindberg was the official starter and time keeper. It was he who started the Grab five years ago "and we kept it going," said Vic Nelson, secretary of the Lions Club.
    Glawe said beforehand that she and Loredo had a plan. Loredo said he was at the store earlier, to map out the route.
    First stop was laundry detergents, where he yanked bottle after bottle of Tide, worth $15.83 apiece, off the shelves. Some packages of coffee were collected on the way to the poultry bin, where more than 10 turkeys were collected.
    Then, seemingly a matter of moments after the spree had begun, Mayor Lindberg blew his whistle to signal an end to the two minutes. 
    The carts filled with products were taken to cashier Fran Palazzolo, who rang up the items. It wasn't long before the $500 plateau was reached and passed. Then $800.
    "You won't need it all," observed Tom Walker, managing director of the food pantry.
    A few seconds later a hearty round of applause broke out when Palazzollo announced the $1,000 mark had been achieved. Quite a bit was left in remaining carts.
    Matter of coincidence
    The Loves Park Lions Club sold 500 chances at $10 each for the Grab. The drawing occurred Nov. 6, with Glawe's name selected as the primary winner.
    She said it was strictly by chance that she bought one of the tickets. She happened to be having breakfast at Pat's Diner and was getting ready to place some money in the restaurant's jar, which holds donations to the Helping Hands Food Pantry.
    High school classmate John Myers happened to be there, too, and he asked her if she would buy a ticket for the Grocery Grab. "I asked how much it was and he said $10," she recalled. "I happened to have $10 in my hand so I bought a ticket."
    The second prize, a $100 Visa gift card courtesy of Rock River Disposal, was won by Terri Bailey with Karissa Swanson claiming the third prize, a $50 Visa gift card from U.S. Bank. They both were at Saturday's Grab to receive their rewards.
    Timing can be everything and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, Glawe said she was excited to be able to give $1,000 to the pantry.
    "We always need it right now," Walker said of cash donations.
    Valli Produce did more than just provide the facility for the Grab. The store donated $750 or the $1,000 prize with the Lions Club providing the balance.
    "They're just good people," Mayor Lindberg said of the folks at Valli.
    For the Lions Club, the Grab is a major fund-raiser, with the proceeds used to help local visually and hearing impaired residents.

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    Fourth Pasta Ball benefits Helping Hands Food Pantry
    November 07, 2013
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - About 250 people filled the Forest Hills Lodge Nov. 2 to show their support for the Helping Hands Food Pantry on Elm Avenue in Loves Park.
    The fourth Pasta Ball featured 105 silent auction baskets, numerous door prizes, and entertainment from a Chicago-based comedy improv group.
    All of that was put together for the food pantry, which in December will observe its 10th anniversary. It is serving a record number of families - 750 over the last two months - totaling 1,133 individuals.
    Ron Kellett, president of the organization's board of directors, thanked those who were present for supporting the faith-based pantry. It's a place that fills a need and provides hope in the community, he said.
    "We've had a good night thanks to you," he said.
    One of the major needs of the pantry - a walk-in cooler - was realized because of residents Marty and Mary Gregory, he said. Now the pantry will be able to supply the hungry with milk, cheese and other dairy products.
    The pantry was established in December 2003 in the back of a small garage on the property of North Park Church of Christ. That first month 78 families came through its doors.
    Two years later some local contractors asked pantry officials if they'd like a larger building. The answer was "yes," and from that offer came the current 30-by-50-foot building housing a "client choice" pantry. That means people take what they want rather than being given a large box of food, likely containing items they don't want.
    Initially, the pantry was open once a month. Starting in September 2010 it was open once a week and that continues today.
    Kellett said the pantry has no paid workers, meaning every dollar it receives goes toward purchase of food from the Northern Illinois Food Bank. The church does not charge rent and pays the organization's electric, gas and phone bills.
    The first Pasta Ball brought in $12,000. It 2011 the revenue increased to more than $25,000 and last year it rose to more than $27,000. He said it would be a while before they knew how much was generated by the fourth event.
    Sponsors for this year's ball were Field Fastener, platinum; North American Clutch and Driveline, diamond; OSF St. Anthony Medical Center and Noah's Ark Waterproofing, silver; and Fleet Lift Truck Service and Gleason Cutting Tools Corporation, bronze.
    Table sponsors included Gibson Real Estate, Fleet Lift Truck Service, Roger's Drywall, IBEW Local 15, Harlem School District 122 Retired Teachers, Halo Cupcakes, Gregory family, Riverside Community Church, Seifert family, Kellett family, Fidder family and Youssi family.

  • Mayor Lindberg MUGSHOT.JPG
    MAYOR DARRYL LINDBERG Illinois Municipal League President
    October 31, 2013
    Loves Park Mayor Darryl F. Lindberg elected IML President
    SPRINGFIELD — This past week in Chicago, the Illinois Municipal League held its 100th Annual Conference. Over 1,500 mayors, council members, and local officials attended the conference recognizing IML’s “Century of Service to Illinois Municipalities.”
    The IML Conference is the gathering place for education, in-depth working sessions, and learning about new laws and responsibilities for municipalities and municipal officials. It is also where a new president is elected to lead the IML’s 1,124 municipal-membership.
     On Saturday, Oct. 19, the IML membership elected 36 Vice Presidents to take a leadership role within the statewide organization. Mayor Darryl F. Lindberg of Loves Park was selected to serve as the organization’s President for the next year.
    Also elected during the Conference were Mayor Jerry Daugherty of Mascoutah as First Vice President and Mayor Dale B. Adams of Rockton as Sergeant-at-Arms.
    Speaking during the official “passing of the gavel” ceremony, Mayor Scott Eisenhauer of Danville, the outgoing IML president, said, “I have the privilege of passing on the gavel to not only a great friend, but a great leader who has great passion for this organization.”
    Accepting the gavel before the overflow crowd Mayor Lindberg said “I am proud to stand before you at the start of my presidency of the IML. It’s the proudest moment of my career, and I owe it all to you, my fellow municipal officials, who made this possible by your dedication and willingness to support the IML. You recognize the importance of this great organization.”
    Lindberg went on to say, “When IML sends notices and asks for your help, we as municipal officials must take action so our municipal voice is heard loud and often. That’s the only way we can succeed for our citizens.
    IML is the unified voice for municipalities and a gathering place to share problems, share ideas and work together to better our communities.”
    Mayor Lindberg was elected mayor of Loves Park in 1997. Prior to his election he served as a police officer, then Police Chief, serving for 18 years. Lindberg continues to serve in various professional, community, and civic organizations.
    He is married to wife Judy and has two married children, two grandsons and four granddaughters. 

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    Leaf vacuuming underway in City of Loves Park
    October 24, 2013
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – At the Oct. 14 Loves Park City Council meeting aldermen received the leaf vacuuming schedule that was set to go from the week of Oct. 14 through the week of Dec. 2, weather permitting.
    The schedule showed the week of Oct. 14 as “all of city limits.” The weeks of Oct. 21, Nov. 4 and 18 – west side of N. Second St. from Peachtree Court “to the point.” Also, Alpine Valley, Forest Hills Road to Venus, and Juniper Lane south to Windsor Road.
    For the weeks of Oct. 28, Nov. 11 and 25: the east side of N. Second St. to Forest Hills Road, Anna Road south to the point, and the east side of Forest Hills Road.
    For the week of Dec. 2 - “all of city limits.”
    Mayor Darryl Lindberg read a proclamation declaring the month of October as “Domestic Violence Month” in the city. Last year in Illinois a total of 342 cases were reported.
    Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of Oct. 6-12. There were 429 calls for service, 184 arrests, and 10 accidents reported.
    On the weekly fire department report dated Oct. 13, three false fire alarm calls and one assist police call were reported.
    A total of $5,039.66 in water fund bills, and $163,885.28 in general fund and all other bills, as presented Oct. 7, were approved for payment.
    Alderman Julie Hobel made a motion to amend the general fund bills by removing one line item due to a “competitive pricing “ issue. There was no second to her motion to amend the bills. Hobel said she would vote yes to pay the bills though in order that all other vendors would get paid but wanted her reservations on record.
    Alderman John Pruitt gave the month building report for September. A total of 89 building permits were issued and $10,725 in permit fees were collected.
    Two variances for property in a commercial retail zoning district at 6101 N. Second St. were passed. One variance was for a required side building setback and the other was in regards to the number of required parking stalls at the site.
    A driveway addition variance was also approved for the front of a residence in the 700 block of Renrose Ave. that is in a single-family zoning district.
    Mayor Lindberg advised aldermen that city street paving of various roadways was set to commence Oct. 15, depending on rain. The city had hoped to have to begin sooner and Lindberg said he did speak with a representative of William Charles Co., who promised the paving project would be expedited.

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    Miss Illinois brings 'don't text, drive' message to Harlem
    October 24, 2013
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK - The reigning Miss Illinois dropped by Harlem High School Thursday afternoon (Oct. 17) and brought with her some sound advice: don't text while you are driving.
    Brittany Smith showed two videos to a driver's education class, taught by Brad Heidenreich, which focused on the dangers of texting while driving and speeding.
    After the videos the suburban Elmhurst native encouraged students to resist picking up the cell phone while behind the wheel. "Say 'no' to the phone," she said. "You can call them back. We're talking about a life."
    Sending a text message while driving means taking one's eyes off the road for 3-to-6 seconds, she said, more than enough time to suddenly be involved in a crash.
    The first video included two real-life stories.
    A woman talked about her daughter who was killed in a crash that occurred while she was texting her boyfriend.
    Another example was of a young driver who was texting and when he looked up the next thing he saw was a bicyclist crashing into his windshield.
    Two examples of distracted driving. Two instances of trying to multi-task while driving a 3,000-pound or more vehicle that resulted in death.
    "No text is worth dying over," Smith said.
    Car crashes claim the lives of more teen-agers than anything else, she said. "Something like that can happen in a split second," she said. "It's not an accident because accidents can be prevented."
    Speed dangerous, too
    The second video dealt with speeding, which not only can kill but maim someone for the rest of his or her life.
    During the question and answer period that followed Smith said she had been involved in a crash her senior year at York High School. It was a fender-bender that happened while she was deleting a text message from her phone.
    "I was very fortunate," she said, adding that she made a pledge never to do that again.
    Former Harlem High School teacher Paul Perrone, who coordinates programs for the Red Ribbon organization in Rockford, reminded what was stated in one of the videos, that so many young people think they are immortal. As for people in general, he said, "We never think it can happen to us."
    He asked the students if they would continue texting after seeing the videos?
    One answered it didn't matter what they said because it wouldn't happen to her.
    He asked the students if any of them had been involved in a crash? Again there was one response, from a girl, who provided an example of being distracted by driving. She and her boyfriend were arguing when he drove through a stop sign. Each was injured in the wreck that ensued.
    A question came from the class instructor, who asked students how many of their parents texted while driving? Most hands went up.
    "What would it take so you don't do that anymore?" asked Perrone, who coordinated bringing Miss Illinois to the school.
    There was no response.
    Heidenreich said in a previous interview that in recent years a focus of the driver's education program has been on the dangers of distracted driving.

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    MP to change location of annual tree lighting
    October 17, 2013
    MACHESNEY PARK - The village's annual tree lighting ceremony will be in a different location this year.
    Mayor Jerry Bolin said the event would be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 24 at the new entrance to the Machesney Towne Center, formerly the Machesney Park Mall, off North Second Street.
    The annual parade will be held as usual, going down Elm Avenue, with the tree lighting to follow. He said Machesney Elementary School was being invited to lead in the singing of Christmas carols, adding that he hoped churches also would participate.
    He said the tree would be live, or artificial, depending on what can be found.
    Meanwhile, the tree next to village that was used in lightings of years past may be decorated, with children from Marquette Elementary School being invited to do the honors.
    Meanwhile, contribution is to the annual toy drive being sponsored by the village, in conjunction with North Park Church of Christ, now are being accepted at village hall, 300 Roosevelt Road. The distribution of toys will take place in mid-December.

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    Machesney Park Village Clerk Lori Mitchell elected president of the Municipal Clerks of Illinois
    October 10, 2013
    SPRINGFIELD – On Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, Machesney Park Village Clerk Lori Mitchell was elected President of the Municipal Clerks of Illinois at its Annual Meeting in Springfield.
    Lori will represent the approximate 1,300 Municipal Clerks throughout Illinois during her tenure as MCI President.
     “As an officer of MCI, building relationships and mentoring each other, along with increasing our knowledge base, has always been my foremost goal,” Mitchell said. “That objective will be re-doubled as I continue to serve as MCI President.”
    About MCI
    In 1965, a group of Clerks attending an Illinois Municipal League Clerk’s Workshop initiated our State Organization – Municipal Clerks of Illinois (MCI).
    The immediate goal of the organization was to pursue State legislation that would upgrade the professional and educational opportunities for the Municipal Clerks.
    By 1967, legislation had been approved entitling the Governor to appoint three Clerks to consult with the Trustees of the University of Illinois to plan the Clerks' Training Institute held in 1976 at the University of Illinois.
    Since that time, collaborative educational opportunities have improved tremendously. In addition, the relationship with the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC) has provided Illinois Municipal Clerks the opportunity to participate in education and networking with clerks throughout the world.
    Today, MCI membership is sought by clerks throughout Illinois and the certification of Registered Municipal Clerk (RMC), Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC) and Master Municipal Clerk (MMC) bring a level of respect to the Municipal Clerk unsurpassed by many other municipal offices.
    Lori has achieved each of those certifications and brings Machesney Park residents a wealth of knowledge about the important role of municipal government. She looks forward to leading MCI during the next year.

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    Clothing drive Oct. 12 benefits environmental programs
    October 03, 2013
    LOVES PARK — Clothing donated to the Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful Fall Clothing Drive from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, will help fund environmental programs of the non-governmental non-profit agency.
    The expanded drive now takes place at 11 Winnebago and Boone County sites, including the parking lots of all 10 Rockford area Schnucks and Belvidere Township Building, 8200 Fairgrounds Road.
    The new sites include the Schnucks stores at East State Street, Charles Street and Rockton Avenue, Rockford. There will no longer be a drop-off at North Main and Riverside, Rockford.
    “We encourage residents to bring bags of clothing left over from garage sales, closet or estate clean-outs,” said Lori Gummow, Executive Director of Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful.
    “We appreciate donations in any condition, which may include accessories such as purses, hats and shoes, soft-sided luggage, throw rugs, linens and stuffed toys,” Gummow added.
    Shoes should be tied together in pairs or kept together with a rubber band. Items should be in plastic bags weighing no more than 10 pounds. Boxes and hangers are not accepted. 
    The clothing and accessories contributed are re-used by redistributing them in the United States or Third World Countries. Items that can no longer be worn are repurposed into such products as carpet padding, insulation and polishing rags.
    “We are grateful for the time more than 140 volunteers donate to make the process as convenient as possible,” added Gummow. Volunteers are still being recruited for most locations.
    To register, call the Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful office at (815) 637-1343 weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or send an email to coordinator Martha Byrnes at
    For 25 years Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful has been improving Northern Illinois Stateline neighborhoods by reducing waste, reusing and recycling resources for future generations.
    Their mission is “To improve our environment through education, public awareness and community involvement.”
    For additional information, visit the website,, or the Facebook page “Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful.”
    Locations of Clothing Drive drop-off sites:
    Belvidere: 8200 Fairgrounds Road, Belvidere Township Building
    Cherry Valley: 2206 Barnes Blvd.
    Loves Park:  1810 Harlem Road
    Rockford: 3134 11th St.; 2514 S. Alpine Road; 2642 Charles St.; 6410 E. State St.;
    2601 N. Mulford Road; 3150 N. Rockton Ave.; 1715 Rural St.
    Roscoe: 4860 Hononegah Road

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    Bonding with comrades a big part of serving in the military: Silver Star recipient speaker at annual POW/MIA event
    September 26, 2013
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK - Keynote speaker at the Arthur Anderson Peace Park Field of Honor event Sept. 20, hosted by the Rockford Charter Chapter of VietNow, was Silver Star recipient Richard Bennett of DeKalb, who served in Afghanistan, and received the medal for running  "35 meters" to cover the body of an injured medic during an attack, then bringing him back to safety.
    Bennett joined the Army in 2008 and said he recognized early on "the quality of self-service that is inherent in those men and women who serve in our country's military."
    One very important facet when in the service he experienced was how members of a platoon bond. "You never forget the faces of those in your platoon. I grew up with three sisters but now I have brothers," he stressed.
    He noted how, after being slightly injured during his first mission, that he was sidelined for a month and was given the duty of being the contact for those out in the field.
    One incident, in which a service person was killed in action and his body had to be left behind in a truck in order for rest of his buddies to be saved, stuck in Bennett's mind and resulted in nightmares of seeing the dead soldier's body alone in the abandoned truck.
    As time went on Bennett saw himself as being outside of the truck rather than in it with the body.
    Eventually the body was recovered and returned to his family but the image stuck.
    Bennett eventually became a squad leader and finally came to realize the importance of his nightmares and said, "The nightmare scenario came from service people being separated from their brothers."
    Bennett also mentioned the importance of House Resolution 231 that was established earlier this year, of a Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. This Select Committee's purpose is to investigate all unresolved POW/MIA cases, hold hearings on POW/MIA issues, and look for ways to better identify, search for, and return remains of fallen service members.
    Currently there are more than 83,000 Prisoners of War (POW) or Missing In Action (MIA) who are either unaccounted for or still missing. Bennett said, "Finding the lost should be of most importance - never leave a fallen comrade."
    The ceremony in Loves Park is an annual event and is held to remember those service people held as prisoners of war, and those missing in action, past and present.
    National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed each year in this country on the third Friday of September. Observances are held across the country, including at military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools and veterans' facilities.
    This observance is one of six days throughout the year that Congress has mandated the flying of the National League of Families' POW/MIA flag. The others are Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day.
    The flag is flown at major military installations, national cemeteries, all post offices, Veterans Administration medical facilities, the World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the official offices of the secretaries of state, defense and veterans affairs, the director of the selective service system and at the White House. 
    The ceremony in Loves Park included music, a reading of POW/MIA names and bell ringing, a candle lighting ceremony, a missing man table ceremony, the playing of Taps, and a three-gun volley salute presented by the Rockford Charter Chapter VietNow Color Guard. Fellowship. Refreshments followed in the Loves Park City Hall complex. 
    Representation of area veterans groups at the ceremony is quite evident every year. Honored guest included Gold Star parents Jim and Angie White, and Gold Star wives Carolyn Montgomery and Lynn Berg, all of Rockford. The recognition day is described as "a day set aside to honor and remember American's POWs/MIAs, those returned and those still missing and unaccounted for from all of our nation's wars.
    Master of Ceremonies was Mike Parker, an Army veteran and Loves Park native, who is a life member of Vietnow. Parker welcomed and introduced guests and attendees. He mentioned that over 100 people were involved in the event, and thanked Bruce Jacobsen of Vietnow for all the time and effort he put into getting it arranged.
    This year's event was dedicated to the memory of Dorothy Boyer, who passed away in May at the age of 92. Boyer's son, Green Beret, Alan Lee Boyer, went missing in Laos in March of 1968 and she never wavered in giving her support to POW and MIA issues.
    Loves Park City Mayor, Darryl Lindberg, also spoke and recalled being on the original board with businessman Art Anderson in planning the Field of Honor that is adjacent to city hall grounds, which now holds the Gold Star memorial, the Korean War vets memorial, and the main memorial honoring our country's service personnel from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf/Middle East.
    Machesney Park Village President, Jerry Bolin, also spoke to the assemblage and referred to not forgetting our POWs and MIAs.
    As Lindberg said, "Both Loves Park and Machesney Park have about an equal population of around 25,000 people, and we are referred to as 'the Parks.'
    During the Sept. 20 event, the symbolic Missing Man Table Ceremony was presented by Angie White and assisted by Lynn Berg.
    Retired Loves Park businessman, Lee Hartsfield and WW II Navy veteran, read a poem he wrote about "not forgetting" our country's POWs and MIAs. Hartsfield provides American flags at the Field of Honor on several national holidays each year for veterans and those who might wish to get one.
    Singer Becky Boyland of Rockford sang beautiful renditions of the "National Anthem," "God Bless America," "Pray for this Land," (which she wrote), and "Letters from War."  The audience, which was a good size, participated in singing "God Bless the USA," which was led by Douglas Mark.
    Reading of Names of Illinois Servicemen listed as Prisoners of War or Missing in Action from the Vietnam War era was presented by Warren Ramsey and Don Allen. Bell tolling was done by the Major General John L. Borling Division of Sea Cadets.
    A replica of a Vietnam prisoner cage was also on display.
    Rockford Chapter Vietnow Chaplain, Pastor Bob Theroux, gave the benediction, and the Rockford Charter Chapter Color Guard presented a three-gun salute. Drummer was Billy Hartenberger. Paul Saltzgiver and Matt Maurizio, Rockford Wind Ensemble, played Taps. 

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    New city employee will earn $30,000 a year
    August 29, 2013
    By Margaret Downing
    LOVES PARK – At the Aug. 19 Loves Park City Council meeting, aldermen approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Darryl Lindberg to fill a “replacement secretary/utility position” in his office effective in September.
    Juan Terre, who is bilingual, was hired at $30,000 a year. The mayor said he needed a person to help out the city hall part-time custodian as needed, which explains the title of the job.
    Fourth Ward Alderman Julie Hobel voted “no” against the measure, stating, “I’m voting no because I believe this money could have been better spent by hiring a professional consultant for suggestions on how to cut spending in all departments.
    “I am also voting no because the position was not advertised to the public in a fair manner.”
    First Ward Alderman Clint Little also voted against the resolution citing the fact that, “The city has gotten by for three years without filling this position, in which the vacancy was not filled at a time that cutbacks had to be made.
    “Now that the city is coming out ahead is not a reason to be spending. I also agree with Alderman Hobel, that qualifications should be considered in filling a position rather than one person appointing the candidate.”
    After the subject had been broached July 22, Mayor Darryl Lindberg had something to say about this issue.
    In regard to the unfilled mayoral secretarial position, that spot has gone unfilled since a retirement in June of 2010. It came at a time when the city was having some shortfalls in revenue so has gone unfilled since then with the mayor and his assistant picking up that work in addition to their regular work.
    Mayor Lindberg explained that he and his assistant, Gail Daughtry, can no longer deal with the increasing workload, “We can’t do it anymore, it is an unfilled position and we’re going to fill it.”
    In relation to Hobel’s suggestion that the city hire a consultant, the mayor noted, “It doesn’t make any sense when we can do that just fine in-house. Concerning our legal staff, we get really good results. We watch our billings and we are not overcharged. The city has used them for years and years.” Lindberg said he spoke to several aldermen and none saw a reason for that.
    In other business, the okay was given for Fire Chief Phil Foley to replace phone systems at Stations No. 1 and 2 at a cost not to exceed $6,900 from a communications company on  Windsor Road.
    Alderman Clint Little gave the weekly police activity report for the week of Aug. 11-17. There were 483 calls for service, 207 arrests, and 14 accidents reported. On the weekly fire department report dated Aug. 18, two fire calls, one false fire alarm call, and one odor investigation call were reported.
    A total of $8,953.14 in water department bills, and $147,203.64 in general fund and all other bills, as presented Aug. 12, were approved for payment. Alderman Hobel made a motion to remove “one line item” for lack of competitive pricing but the motion failed for lack of a second, with all aldermen voting to okay payment of the bills, as Hobel noted she would vote yes so all the other vendors would be paid.
    A resolution was passed authorizing the mayor to seek negotiated bids for the resealing and restriping of the parking lots and drives surrounding the Loves park Municipal Building.
    A special event permit allowing a weekly farmer’s market in the south parking area and south grassy area of Loves Park Scuba at 7307 N. Alpine Road, each Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. until Dec. 1 was approved.

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    Harlem approves teacher contracts with two step increases in three years
    August 29, 2013
    Harlem approves teacher contracts
    with two step increases in three years
    By Bob Trott
    MACHESNEY PARK - "A step is $700,000, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Josh Aurand and Superintendent Julie Morris said about Harlem's three-year contract settlement with its teachers, approved by the school board Monday, Aug. 19.
    They said the contract gives Harlem Federation of Teachers' members two step increases in a three-year period, which will end in 2016.
    There were no dissenting voters among the school board, which consists of: Sue Berogan, Travis Turner, Heather Kelley, George Russell, Larry Barger, Patti Lawrence and Evelyn Meeks.
    "We're very pleased with the outcome," Superintendent Morris said after the revised special meeting, which included a closed session for discussion of the contract settlement.
    The settlement ends negotiations on the present teachers' contract, which started in March and involved a lot of hard work, Morris added. The district has approximately 540 teachers, Aurand told the press Aug. 19.
    In August, 2010, the Harlem School Board approved a three-year contract with its teacher’s union that ended this summer. That contract included a two-year pay freeze for many of the teachers' base salaries.

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    Harlem School District 122 begins a new year
    August 22, 2013
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK – A new school year began Aug. 14 at elementary schools, the middle school and high school in Harlem School District 122.
    Initial enrollment numbers were not available as the district continued registering students through the end of the week.
    It marks a year of transition at Harlem High School where a new principal, Terrell Yarbrough, has replaced Joe Hazen, who retired last summer after 12 years in that position.
    Yarbrough previously served as principal at Machesney Elementary School and before that was assistant principal at Harlem High for two years.
    Originally from Milwaukee, he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and his master’s degree and principal’s license from Marquette University, also in Milwaukee.
    After beginning his administrative career in Milwaukee, he relocated to Beloit, where he served as dean of students and then as an assistant principal.
    The village’s public safety coordinator, Rocco Wagner, is reminding motorists to be aware of school zones. There, lower speed limits are in effect “on school days when school children are present.”
    While no school hours are posted, motorists are asked to be mindful of the lower speed when they see children on sidewalks or in the case of Harlem High School, walking along the side of Alpine Road.
    Wagner also cautioned students and the general public against texting while driving.
    Then-Mayor Tom Strickland issued a proclamation Sept. 17, 2012, in concert with the start of the 2012-13 school year, urging drivers to pledge not to ext while behind the wheel.
    “Text messaging is the main mode of communication for most American teenagers, with half of them sending between 21 an 70 texts a day,” the proclamation read, in part.
    “Ninety percent of American teenagers expect a reply to a text message within five minutes. In an AT&T survey, 43 percent of American teenagers admitted to texting while driving, even though 97 percent knew it was dangerous.”
    Another study showed those sending text messages while driving “are 23 times more likely to crash,” according to proclamation.
    Brad Heidenreich, a driver’s education teacher at Harlem High School, said part of the instruction over the past five years has focused on various distractions that can affect a person while driving.
    The state Legislature during its recently concluded session passed House Bill 1247, which forbids use of a cell phone while driving, unless it’s hands-free. That bill was sent to Gov. Pat Quinn on June 19, meaning he has until Aug. 19 to take action on it.
    This would be considered a moving violation, with the first offense costing the individual $75.

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    Governor signs Hotel Tax bill
    August 15, 2013
    Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was in Rockford last week to sign Senate Bill 1859, which will increase visitor spending by $16 million, generate $1.9 million in new revenue, and create more than 400 jobs. nomic benefits. The bill amends the Counties Code to allow the Winnebago County board, with the consent of  municipalities representing at least 67 percent of the population of Winnebago County, to impose  a tax of up to 2 percent on local hotels. Revenues collected would be used solely for sports, arts, or other entertainment or  tourism facilities. 

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    New Executive Director hired for Rockford Region Economic Development District
    July 25, 2013
    ROCKFORD — The Rockford Region Economic Development District (RREDD) is pleased to announce that Dana L. Hoefle became the executive director for the organization effective July 15, 2013.
    RREDD is a nonprofit agency focused on economic development planning; this includes planning for job creation and growing community wealth in Boone and Winnebago counties.
    The bi-county structure allows the region eligibility for federal grants from the Economic Development Administration, a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
    Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen, serving as the 2013 governing board chair of RREDD stated, "We are pleased to welcome Dana to our organization.
    Her knowledge of our region and passion for building on its strengths will be instrumental in helping us achieve continued success."
    Boone County Board Chairman Bob Walberg added, "Her knowledge and dedication make her an asset not only to our organization, but to the region as a whole. I look forward to watching our region grow as a result of her skill and experience."
    Hoefle, a native of the Rockford Region, reflected upon this opportunity saying, "I am very invested in seeing this area live up to its true potential, and I believe that economic development is one of the few focus areas that has the ability to create far-reaching and long-lasting improvements for us all. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to use my experience to work with such an impressive organization."
    Ms. Hoefle graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor's degree in Community Health.
    She also received her master's degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Policy Administration from the University of Illinois in Chicago.
    Involved in the community to which she serves, Dana is a member of IGNITE Young Professionals and an Advisor for the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, as well as serving on the Board of Directors for the Rock River Valley Pantry.

    A.B.A.T.E. volunteer injured in car-motorcycle crash
    July 25, 2013
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK – Village Trustee Erick Beck pointed to the podium on the other side of the room during the July 15 village board meeting.
    On May 6, he said his son, Greg, stood at that podium to accept a proclamation on motorcycle awareness from Mayor Jerry Bolin.
    Greg placed a sign with the inscription, “Start Seeing Motorcycles,” in front of the podium.
    A little more than two months later, about 9 p.m. July 12, just three days before the board meeting, Erick Beck said Greg was injured when a car pulled out in front of his motorcycle at the intersection of North Second Street and River Park Road.
    “He laid down his bike” and tried to slide away from the car, Erick Beck told the board, staff and those in the audience. Later, in a follow-up interview, he said one of the car’s front wheels wound up on his son’s left arm.
    Greg was taken to Swedish American Hospital with injuries to his shoulder and leg, Erick Beck said, along with having road rash, a bruised kidney and bruised ribs. While he’s recovering, he’ll probably be out of work for a couple of weeks.
    The trustee’s purpose for bringing that information to the village board meeting was to implore people to drive safely all the time, ‘not just in neighborhoods where there are children.”
    He reminded everyone that the difference is a 3,000-pound car and an 800-pound motorcycle.
    Someone took a photograph of the wreck with a cell phone, he said, and soon it was on Facebook. “People take a picture and, boom, it’s news,” he said.
    Greg Beck was and still is active in A.B.A.T.E., which stands for A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education.
    The mission of A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois is to preserve the universal right to a safe, unrestricted motorcycling environment. It also strives to propose and advocate actions that can be taken by elected and appointed officials to protect and conserve the natural resources of the state of Illinois.
    Also, the organization works to influence state, national and worldwide political actions in favor of motorcycle nights. It also conducts programs to educate drivers, seniors, legislators and motorcyclists.
    A.B.A.T.E. originally was started by Easyriders magazine in 1971. It was incorporated in Illinois in 1975 and currently has 12,000 members and 60 chapters throughout the state.
    Greg Beck is a member of the Kishwaukee Valley chapter, which includes Winnebago and Boone counties, and he does a lot of volunteer work.
    For the past two years he worked as activities director, setting up fund-raisers and other events. He’s stepping down from that job, not because of the crash but because his son in an incoming freshman at Harlem and a member of the football and baseball teams.
    His son likely will be playing for both the freshman and sophomore teams, which means a lot of trips to games, including Chicago this fall for a freshman contest.
    “I’ll still be involved,” Greg Beck, now 41, said. “I’ll go on runs when I can. We have a big one in October that a friend, Ed Triplett, and I started four years ago. The idea is to raise money for the Safety Net program. We have a Safety Net officer who actually goes into schools and talks to kids.”
    Meanwhile, he continues to rebound from the accident, which he said left the motorcycle totaled. “I feel that I will, but I won’t know until I do it,” he said. “I’m in the market to buy one.”
    He’s been riding motorcycles for about seven years, after starting out on mini-bikes as a youngster

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    Machesney Park seeking state grant for boat ramp project
    July 25, 2013
    By Bob Balgemann
    MACHESNEY PARK – The village is pursuing a $200,000 grant through the state Boat Access Program for improvements to the old boat ramp area, along the Rock River at 7930 Shore Drive.
    Submitting an application was recommended for approval by the administration and finance committee, at its July 15 meeing. It will go before the full village board for consideration on Aug. 5.
    Village Engineer Chris Dopkins explained that the village first applied for a grant through the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in 2006. The goal was to acquire the property at 7930 Shore Drive, immediately south of the old boat ramp.
    He said the village received funding in 2007, and proceeded with demolition, grading and seeding.
    In an effort to make the area more conducive to boat loading and unloading, he said another grant was sought to acquire properties to the north and south of 7930 Shore Drive.
    No more money was received, however.
    Dopkins said those funds come from the Marine Motor Fuel Tax, which is generated by boat and canoe registration fees and fines. Income is determined by how much money the state receives in a given year.
    Due to the economic downturn, the state didn’t fund any boat ramp grants in 2008. But it requested that the village resubmit its application in 2009 and, after no funding was received that year, again in 2010.
    Since then the village has received money from the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to acquire the property to the north, and potentially to the south, of the launch site.
    Now, Machesney Park is required by the 2007 grant to develop the DNR-acquired property into an operational boat ramp, the engineer said. That needs to be done in the next two years to remain in compliance with the grant.
    To do that work the village plans to apply for the Boat Access Program grant, which would reimburse redevelopment costs of up to $200,000, Dopkins said. The village won’t be required to match any portion of the grant amount.
    Staff is recommending the application, he said, “so we can finish what was started in 2007-08.
    Lawn mowing questioned
    During the public comments portion of the village board agenda on July 15, Shore Drive resident Nick Chabucos suggested the village is violating its own ordinance by not keeping up with mowing of vacant lots it owns along and near the Rock River.
    “It’s almost waist high in some cases,” he said of grass and weeds. “Come down Shore Drive and see.” He added that his own trustee does not visit that area “to see what’s going on.”
    He said there’s standing water in ditches that is breeding mosquitoes.
    “We never had that problem when there were houses,” he said, referring to the village’s ongoing buyout of houses damaged or destroyed by the June 2008 flood.
    Mayor Jerry Bolin said July 19 that some of what Chabucos said, about the vacant lots not having been mowed for a month, was true. But he added that was because of excessive rainfall, in which water overflowed some portions of the riverbank and was on that property.
    “You can’t mow when that happens,” he said. “To say we’re not doing anything is not accurate.”
    He said the village had pumped out some of the ditches but that the water level in that area continues to be high.
    The mayor, Village Administrator Tim Savage and the new public works superintendent, Chad Hunter, did meet last week to talk about Chabucos’ claims.
    “We will be watching it more carefully,” Bolin said, adding that the mowing schedule will be adjusted, if necessary.
    “I welcome comments,” he said. “That’s what we’re here for.”