A historic flood

countyThe rain came Wednesday afternoon and didn’t stop until hundreds of homes across Stark County were damaged, roads flooded, but thankfully, no lives lost.
To put into prospective the amount of rain Stark County received last Wednesday and Thursday, Tim Colgan of Wyoming crunched some numbers.
“One inch of rain on an acre is 28,000 gallons. There’s 640 acres per sq. mile, so 18 million gallons per sq mile times 288 sq. miles in Stark County. Now times by 5 for the amount of rain we received in inches and you get 26 billion gallons of water!!! At 8 lbs. per gallon, 208 billion lbs. of water running through the county.”
I started on my journey surveying the roads around 4 a.m. At that point, the roads that normally flood, like Duncan Road and 1050 E were still open. Two hours later that wasn’t the case.
The Wyoming Fire Department began responding to smoke investigation calls around 4 a.m. as well. They ended up pulling electrical service to dozens of homes throughout the day. Toulon, Bradford and LaFayette did likewise as water levels rose to meet electrical service panels in basements. Over 60 homes voluntarily had power disconnected by noon on Thursday.

Wyoming Attorney Fehrenbacher joins judicial race

Bruce P. Fehrenbacher has announced that he will seek to become the Republican candidate for Stark County resident Judge at the November, 2014 election to replace retired Judge Stuart P. Borden.
Fehrenbacher, age 57, opened his law office in Wyoming in 1984. He served as a Court appointed Public Defender in Stark County until 1994. He has represented the City of Wyoming, the Village of Bradford, and the Bradford and LaFayette Fire Protection Districts for nearly 30 years. He also represents the City of Toulon, the Wyoming, Toulon and Buda Fire Protection Districts, the Bradford Park District, the Wyoming Library District, the Bradford Rescue Squad, and the Townships of Essex, Osceola, Penn and Goshen. For more than five years he has been a top title insurance producer state-wide for Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund.

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.

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.”

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.