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Looking back on 2012

Published: Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 3:00 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 3:04 p.m. CDT

(Continued from Page 4)

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series focusing on the events in and around Bureau County in 2012.

June 2: The Princeton Elementary School year ends strong, in spite of continuing financial challenges, according to PES Superintendent Tim Smith. The state of Illinois still owes PES $292,010 in its education fund, including $167,455 in Early Childhood Block Grant money, with the remaining $136,131 owed in the transportation fund. Though the amount isn’t good, it’s better than what was owed a year ago at this time, Smith said.

June 5: Walnut Police Chief Tom Ptasnik announces his department is one of 12 police departments in Illinois to be awarded a $4,782 grant for the purchase of a new video camera. The grant was presented from the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. The Walnut Police Department also received a $2,500 grant from Northern Borders Pipeline Group, the company who owns the natural gas pipeline to the north of Walnut, to upgrade its computer system, Ptasnik announced.

June 7: The Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) continues to meet in DePue to discuss the village’s ongoing progress on the Superfund site clean-up issue. CAG members and other interested residents, including Illinois Environmental Protection Agency officials, are in attendance for the update. The meeting also includes a conference call with Nancy Loeb, legal counsel and director of the Environmental Law Clinic at Northwestern University, and CAG member and former DePue resident Jim Stowe.

June 9: Bullying isn’t limited to young people, according to Elaine Russell, executive director for the Princeton Park District. Russell informs the Princeton Park Board she has some concerns about bullying done by adults at the Metro Center. That bullying has been directed at her, her staff and even at other patrons, she says. In making the board aware of the situation, Russell says she wants to make sure she and the board are on the same page when it came to addressing the issue. In response, the board discusses updating the district’s code of conduct.

June 12: The Spring Valley Fire Department wants to sell its aging 1975 rescue truck for $10,000 on eBay. Spring Valley Fire Department secretary Patrick Watson says he had no takers when he went through the usual channels to sell the truck. However, a German car restorer, Axel Schmutzler, will buy the truck for his collection. Schmutzler and two colleagues will fly into Chicago and rent a vehicle for the trip to Spring Valley.

June 14: The Tiskilwa Village Board approves a motion to prevent minors from being around the beer garden area during Pow Wow Days, the village’s largest festival in August. The reason minors are in the beer garden area on Friday nights of the festival is a rodeo is held in an area connected to the beer garden. Mayor Randy Philhower says children need to be out of the beer garden area before 11 p.m., since the rodeo finishes around 9 p.m.

June 16: Dalzell Village Board members vote unanimously to reject Mary Noonan’s special use permit application for Concerts for Cause, following a recommendation from the planning commission. The commission stated several reasons for its recommendation, including the lack of formal planning, safety and liability concerns. Village President Gloria Orlandi says she is working with the village attorney to guarantee Noonan will not be able to petition for the concerts again in the future.

June 19: Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel says the first five months of 2012 were the warmest January-May on record in Illinois, with an average temperature of 48.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, the statewide average precipitation for the 2012 spring in Illinois was 7.71 inches, which is 3.65 inches below normal and the 18th driest spring on record. Bureau County Farm Bureau manager Jill Frueh says she knows Bureau County is behind in rainfall for this time of the year, but it does not seem to be a severe shortage yet, from what she is hearing from area farmers.

June 21: The report is back on the Darius Miller Park shelter in Princeton, and the recommendation is to tear the shelter down. Princeton City Commissioner Joel Quiram reports to the council on a recent study done by Key Builders which says the shelter structure itself is sound, but there is still quite a bit of work which will need to be done, including replacing the siding, gutters and concrete floor. After the presentation, the council takes no action on the recommendation to raze the shelter and build something new.

June 23: Superintendent Mike Struna says the 2011-12 fiscal year was bad in terms of revenue because the district received more than $430,000 less than last year. Part of that lost revenue is due to a 5 percent cut in general state aid, a drop in Hall’s enrollment figures, and the end of federal stimulus funds, Struna says. However, the good news is there was $119,000 in the working cash fund, up from $50,000 last year at this time. Also, local taxpayers will contribute an additional $150,000 this year, thanks to an increase in the district’s equalized assessed valuation with the Walmart Distribution Center coming on the tax rolls, Struna says.

June 26: Bureau County farmers participate in the first Tractor Trek from the Bureau County Fairgrounds in Princeton, traveling west to the Hennepin Canal and then on to Annawan and Cambridge to raise money for Ag in the Classroom programs. The Tractor Trek was a combined fund-raising effort of the Bureau County Farm Bureau Foundation and the Henry County Farm Bureau Foundation.

June 28:The National Weather Service issues a severe heat warning for all of Bureau County and the Quad Cities area. A dome of hot air is expected to build into the Midwest and continue at least for another day. The combination of temperatures in the upper 90s to just over 100 degrees will push the heat index reading well above 100 degrees, possibly reaching 110 degrees, throughout the day. Bureau County’s Emergency Services Disaster Agency Kris Donarski says people need to take the heat warning seriously.

June 30: The number of discipline issues at Princeton High School decrease significantly this past school year, according to Assistant Principal Andy Berlinski. The number of school suspensions goes down from 61 for the 2010-11 year to 27 for the 2011-12 year. Detentions go down from 622 in the 2010-11 year to 452 in the 2011-12 year. Overall total referrals do down from 1,088 in the 2010-11 year to 929 in the 2011-12 year.The improvements can be directly attributed to the student body at PHS, as well as the staff, Berlinski says.

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