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Looking back on 2013

Heavy rains throughout Bureau County caused a myriad of problem in April 2013. Gov. Pat Quinn declared 38 counties disaster areas, including Bureau County.
Heavy rains throughout Bureau County caused a myriad of problem in April 2013. Gov. Pat Quinn declared 38 counties disaster areas, including Bureau County.

Editor’s note: The following is another segment in an ongoing series as the Bureau County Republican looks back on some of the headlines from 2013.

April 2: Princeton corn and soybean farmer Jim Rapp donates signs from his farm for the new American Experience agriculture exhibition set to open in May 2015 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Tiskilwa farmers Jim and Sharon Covert host Smithsonian curators for a tour of area farms, so they could learn about farming in Illinois and see what items could be included in the American Experience exhibit.

April 4: The Manlius Village Board looks at the expense of moving playground equipment from the Bureau Valley School District into the village. With the lack of volunteerism and the extent of the project, the village board agrees to bid out the project. If the school can work with the village on an extended time, and if the village decides the cost of moving the equipment will be worth it, then the village anticipates the start date of the project to be in July or August.

April 6: Princeton Mayor Keith Cain and the Youth Service Bureau of Illinois Valley join efforts to proclaim April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The majority of child abuse cases stem from situations and conditions that are preventable, Cain says. Child abuse and neglect not only harm the child, but also increases the likelihood of criminal behavior, substance abuse and health problems, the mayor says.

April 9: Bureau County taxpayers will pay tens of thousands of dollars for today’s consolidated election, according to Bureau County Clerk Kami Hieronymus. Election supplies and programs, set-up costs, machine programming and election judges are some of the expenses. About 200 different ballot styles are needed, plus additional hours for her staff in preparing for the election and then on election day itself, Hieronymus says.

April 11: The numbers aren’t final, but supporters of the Hall High School referendum are cautiously optimistic the $32 million referendum was approved by voters on Election Day by a three vote margin. Spring Valley Alderman Walt Marini defeats current Mayor Cliff Banks and fellow alderman Jack Narczewski in a race for Spring Valley’s top seat. In Princeton, newcomer Ray Mabry and incumbent Bob Warren win the two open seats on the Princeton City Council, defeating incumbent commissioner Terry Madsen and newcomer Paul Breseman.

April 13: The DePue Citizens Group sponsors a community meeting with Illinois Environmental Protection Agency representatives to hear updates on the cleanup process of DePue’s Superfund Site. IEPA project manager Charlene Falco talks about the five operable units within the site, including the south ditch, phosphogypsum stack, the former New Jersey Zinc Plant site, off-site soils, and DePue Lake.

April 16: The LaMoille Fire Protection District adds a new ambulance to its fleet. Ambulance Director Sarah Stuepfert and her husband, Ed, who serves as LaMoille Fire Chief, bring home the new truck, which will replace LaMoille’s second outbound ambulance purchased around 1990. The $133,000 new purchase was made possible primarily through community donations.

April 18: The financial picture is bleak for the Princeton Elementary School District and getting bleaker, according to PES Superintendent Tim Smith. The PES Board meets in special session to hear an update from Smith on the growing financial needs within the district and what can be done about it. Looking ahead to next year, Smith says he wants to have a planned approach to capture savings for the district. The board will need to look at building use, the transportation program, and consider replacing retiring teachers with less expensive new teachers or not replacing the retirees at all, Smith says.

April 20: Even before the rains stopped, Gov. Pat Quinn declares 38 counties, including Bureau, as state disaster areas. Illinois has seen an incredible level of devastation, and reports indicate conditions will get worse in coming days, Quinn says. The Princeton Water Treatment Plant recorded nearly 6 inches of rain in two days. The heavy rainfall flooded basements, streets and roads, yards and fields throughout Princeton, Bureau County and neighboring counties.

April 23: Clean-up continues after heavy rains and flooding soak Bureau County, leaving hundreds of basements flooded throughout the area. The Bureau/Putnam County Health Department issues a health alert for residents as they clean flooded basements. Health risks include potential sewage infiltration and mold development from the moisture.

April 25: As area clean-up efforts continue from last week’s heavy rains and flooding, Bureau County ESDA coordinator Kris Donarski says Bureau County is in the process of assessing the damage to individual homes and businesses. Copies of the damage assessment forms have been sent to all village clerks and city clerks, she says.
Official results of the April 9 consolidated election are tabulated, with all absentee ballots received and counted. There were no changes in the final results. The big question of the April 9 election was the final outcome of the Hall High School referendum, which asked voters to approve $32 million in bonds to build a new school. The final vote went up by one on each side for the Hall referendum, resulting in 1,717 yes votes and 1,714 no votes for the new high school building.

April 27: The local Business Employment Skills Team (B.E.S.T.) program which covers four counties, including Bureau, is combining with a neighboring four-county workforce program. B.E.S.T. Executive Director Pam Furlan makes the announcement at the April Bureau County Board meeting, saying Gov. Pat Quinn approved the consolidation in February. Hopefully, the consolidation will be ready to go by July 1, Furlan said.

April 30: Four Bureau County libraries are among the 230 Illinois libraries to receive “Back to Books” grants from the state of Illinois. Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White makes the announcement, saying the 230 grants total more than $1 million. Bureau County recipients are Ladd Public Library District which received a $5,000 grant; Bureau Valley Community School District, $4,552; Princeton Public Library, $2,500; and the Richard A. Mautino Memorial Library in Spring Valley, $4,475.

May 2: A Bureau Valley South student wins the Bureau County Tar Wars tobacco-free poster contest and then turns around to win the state competition as well. Carson Fisher learns he was the state winner at Tuesday’s awards ceremony sponsored by the Bureau/Putnam County Health Department. Runners-up in the Bureau County contest were Max Wollerman, Jenna Nordstrom, both of Bureau Valley South, and Saylor Jildera of Ohio Grade School. Saylor learns her poster went on to win third place in the state contest.

May 4: Princeton Chamber of Commerce Director Kim Frey kicks off the Chamber’s annual meeting, stating the Chamber started relationships with 42 new and existing businesses and celebrated 12 ribbon cuttings. The Organization/Service Club Award is presented to the Princeton Jaycees. The Chamber Member of the Year Award is presented to Frankie Wolsfeld. Chamber Ambassador of the Year Awards are presented to Lori Frick and Kay Townsend. Penny Best is named this year’s Homestead Festival grand marshal.

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