Thomas Keith becomes Stark’s resident judge

Thomas Keith became Stark County’s resident judge as of Friday when he took an oath at the Stark County Courthouse, in Toulon.
Keith was sworn in by Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride of the Illinois Supreme Court. The procedure was witnessed by Keith’s wife Lynn, approximately 12 active and retired 10th Circuit District judges, and various members of the Illinois Bar Association.
Keith’s appointment satisfies the vacancy created when Judge Stuart Borden, of Wyoming, retired as the county’s resident judge for the 10th Judicial Circuit.
The courtroom was standing room only and the massive crowd of spectators and dignitaries overflowed into the hallway and adjoining stairwell.
During the ceremony, Keith’s “boss”, Prosecutor Darilynn Knauss complimented him by saying, “You (Stark County) are getting the very best.”

T.I.F. dominates Toulon City Council discussion

toulonPark project scrapped

The Tax Increment Fund (T.I.F.) garnered the majority of time during a two hour Toulon council meeting Monday evening. The council members discussed at length whether to reimburse the City monies borrowed for TIF projects, or not to do so.
The target quickly became funds previously allocated and approved by council vote, to spend on the City Park renovation project. That amount equaled $70,000 per year for a three year plan to total $210,000. Mayor Rick Collins stated at the time of the original vote that he opposed spending that much money on one project and he would make sure, while mayor, the project would not be implemented.
It seemed to ring true, as Councilperson Donna Lefler and TIF Administrator Teresa Macy voiced similar opinions, “We need to rescind the park approval.” Collins reminded the council members, “We must commit this money (approximately $75,000) by April 30th.” Otherwise, the money would be lost to the City’s TIF program.

After some confusion about how TIF functioned, with regards to reallocating money, the council discussed at length whether to repay the City the approximate $70,000 of the park money or to wait until July when new TIF money becomes available.

Heavy trash date set for Bradford

bradfordIn an abbreviated April 1 monthly village board meeting, the trustees approved the heavy trash pick-up days this year for April 22-26. Contact Village Hall 309-897-2071 for items not allowed to be placed out for pick-up on those days.
Supervisor of Maintenance James Chadwick requested of the board to change the maintenance department’s work hours to 7 a.m. through 3 p.m. and includes a 20 minute paid lunch break. Presently, the department works 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a one hour lunch break. The request was granted on a one month trial basis.
The board approved a liquor license for the June 1st Rescue Squad hog roast this year to be held at the same location as last year.
Also, liquor license renewals for Casey’s, Jd’z, My Place, and Rescue Squad were discussed. President Adam Wilson, who is the liquor commissioner, requested that these establishments provide a copy of their State license and dram shop insurance policy.

Has Bradford overpaid for police protection?

The News asked former Bradford Police Chief Dawn Dove for a statement a few weeks ago in regards to her resignation as police chief and received the following response from Ms. Dove, which explains her decision:

Mr. Ballentine,
In December of 2012, it was brought to my attention that there may be issues concerning the validity of payroll time sheets for the police department. Due to my position as Chief of Police, I understood that it was my obligation to investigate this matter. I obtained the relevant documentation in an effort to either disprove or substantiate these allegations. I personally reviewed all of the time sheet records and found numerous areas of concern.
On 01/11/13, I contacted the Village President, Adam Wilson, and requested a police committee meeting to address personnel issues with the Police Department and to forward a formal complaint requesting unbiased review.

New trash hauler begins in LaFayette

lafayetteBouchez Trash Hauling, of Victoria, began April 2 in the Village of LaFayette, replacing Murphy’s for weekly trash pick-up. The decision of the village board months ago to change companies was made as a cost saving measure.
As part of the new contract with Bouchez, there will now be a free spring clean-up. The board chose May 17 as this year’s date. Check with village officials for items that cannot be accepted for pick-up.
The board will be publishing an ad for mowing bids of village property in local newspapers, soon. Specifics will be within the published ad description.
The village board members would encourage everyone registered to vote to do so this Tuesday, April 9th. There are a number of village board positions on the ballot, such as president and trustees, plus the library.