LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted November 15, 2018
On October 30, 2018 I received an invitation to attend a landowners meeting hosted by Tradewind Energy. From the letter (also enclosed with this email): “We look forward to sharing some new and exciting information regarding the Alta Farms Wind Project II and let you know what this means for you.” I RSVPed, and when I arrived at the meeting on November 14, 2018, I was told to leave by the Development Director, Tom Swierczewski. He informed me that Tradewind Energy already knew how I felt about the project, and that they had made a mistake in inviting me in the first place.
I have testified at hearings concerning ordinance changes for the County. My concerns were (and still are) related to setbacks from non-participating landowners, how wildlife and migratory bird routes would be protected, what impact what may be the tallest land turbine towers in the US may have on hunting access and agricultural practices such as aerial spraying, and the potential for light pollution and aircraft safety due to the proposed height of the nearly 600 feet proposed per tower. This tower height is what they have submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval. Their applications can be found under Interim and Determined Cases at this point. Only the meteorological towers have reached the determined stage as yet-https://oeaaa.faa.gov/oeaaa/external/gisTools/gisAction.jsp?action=showWtBuildOutToolForm . Tradewind Energy looks at most of these concerns as project killers, and thus I am the enemy now, I suppose.
On Tradewind Energy’s website, they state: “At Tradewind Energy, our commitment is to listen to you, answer your questions honestly, and partner with you to make each project a joint success. We take great care to engineer and construct our projects to minimize impacts and maximize benefits for all involved, giving careful consideration to the needs of landowners and communities.” https://tradewindenergy.com/wind-landowners/
It was obvious that this is not the case, and the manner in which I was treated after receiving their invitation in the mail, RSVPing and being told “We look forward to seeing you there”, and then being told very bluntly to leave, was crass to say the least. If they had made a mistake in sending invitations to landowners and residents that they had no intention of “sharing new and exciting information” with, then that was their mistake and they handled their response very poorly.
When this project was first proposed over 10 years ago, I attended the open house that was held in Heyworth. At that time the door was wide open. This time the door was slammed in my face. What a way to run a business.
Clinton, IL 61727
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted November 2, 2018
I have seen my name lambasted on Facebook for daring to point out the lack of evidence provided by the residents of DeWitt County who oppose the wind farms based upon my testimony at a County Board land use meeting. I based my testimony on scientific fact because I can practice based solely on proven scientific fact and not on fear, hearsay or what we in the health care community call “Dr. Google”.
I presented to the board evidence-based science which can be reproduced and dispels the notion that wind towers cause all sorts of health effects. In their article http://ijomeh.eu/Evaluation-of-annoyance-from-the-wind-turbine-noise-a-pilot-study,2025,0,2.html, Pawlaczyk-Luszczynska et al concluded that if you have a negative attitude towards wind farms or turbines you are more likely to report negative health effects.
In another research study of those who live around wind farms, Chrichton, Chapman, Cundy et. al stated in https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4227478/; “An analysis of the evidence concerning symptom reporting attributed to sound produced by wind farms supports the nocebo expectation hypothesis; that health complaints can be explained by the influence of negative expectations.”
None of these studies have found any direct link of a wind tower causing negative health effects. These symptoms were brought on by negative expectations which I normally see in patients with stress, anxiety and sometimes paranoia. I have yet to diagnose anyone with “wind turbine syndrome”. You may continue to throw your brickbats at me, however I do have scientific evidence on my side.
Sara O'Brien, RN, BSN, MSN, APRN, FNP
Wapella, Illinois 61777
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted October 31, 2018
To the Residents of DeWitt County,
It is hard to believe Election Day is upon us. November 6th is right around the corner. We come to you as different people with different backgrounds and sometimes different views. But our common thread is that we are united in our vision for the future of DeWitt County. We love this County. It is where we have spent our lives giving back to our communities, raising our families, and trying to make it the best it can be for generations to come.
Our bipartisan board has a lengthy list of accomplishments in the last four years. We have balanced the budget and done so while bringing our expenses in line with consistently diminishing revenues. Some of the Board’s accomplishments are:
• Working with state officials and Exelon to pass the Future Energy Jobs Act. This bill kept the Clinton Power Station open and insured the continued employment for 750 people.
• We have gone from subpar to much needed state of the art animal shelter facilities. Soon the University of Illinois will be training students of their Veterinarian program at the new DeWitt County Animal Shelter.
• This board developed the DeWitt County East Annex which houses the DeWitt County Ambulance Service next to the animal shelter. It is a benefit for all citizens of DeWitt County to have these centralized Emergency Medical Services.
• Marina upgrades have been made including drafting and signing a new lease agreement for the marina, complying with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, a new septic system, and other projects in the works.
• Due to the aging of the county building, we have been modernizing the lighting, air-conditioning, roofing, and parking lot of the Courthouse and Jail facilities.
• We reached an agreement with the Landfill to keep toxic PCBs out, while at the same time recovering over a million dollars in tipping fees.
• Four years of balanced budgets with the cooperation of elected officials and department heads.
The future of this County is always our number one concern.
We believe that what unites us as citizens is far stronger than the issues that divide us. As a county we continue to face challenges. As a board we have been transparent while supporting sound fiscal policies and promoted growth and prosperity here in DeWitt County.
We understand that during some of our most partisan times as a nation, what we are asking is unconventional: to go beyond party lines and re-elect those that have delivered results as board members.
We ask that you please re-elect these candidates so that we may continue to make a Better Government for DeWitt County.
RITA SUE WHITTED
David Newberg, Republican
Chairman DeWitt County Board
Camille Redman, Democrat
Vice Chair DeWitt County Board
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted October 30, 2018
I cringe when I hear support for the proposed wind farm project based on the minimal economic impact it will provide to our schools. Tradewind likes to throw out lots of numbers without any context behind them so let me put in perspective exactly what we will gain while greatly jeopardizing the health, safety and welfare of those who will live near the turbines day-to-day.
Yes, the school district will receive some monetary gain. But let's break it down.
What will be received won’t be close to the level of funding provided by the power plant. We need to stop comparing the two. One will not replace the other.. Those who say we need this project because the power plant may not be here in the future haven’t done the math. They are actually signing a deal that will put our schools in great financial danger if the power plant went offline.
The amount of proposed benefit from the wind farm (all projected at this point since Tradewind’s special use permit is alarmingly vague) would be approximately 5% of the district's operating budget. That's it. Again, this will not "save" the school district if things go bad. There are other ways to gain 5% that will not reduce property values or negatively impact health and quality of life of residents.
Wind companies have historically targeted areas with struggling schools to prey on their fears. And after operation begins and the money comes in, the school district still finds itself in bad shape. Because again, it's not that much money. Take a look at other school districts who were hoping to be "saved" by wind farms. It doesn’t work.
And let’s not forget that our tax dollars are paying for the subsidies that build these wind projects. Our money is making Tradewinds millions, but comparatively we will only see pennies come back to our community. In 2016 a proposed 1% sales tax that would have directly benefited facility upgrades for our schools did not pass. Yet, now we are desperate for additional funds? This doesn’t add up.
Progress is great and vital. But progress for the sake of appearance, or done out of fear, will not net a positive result. Instead, we need to be taking a holistic approach to progress for the county. This SHOULD be happening through the new comprehensive plan being developed right now for DeWitt County and soon to be voted on by our county board. In reality, allowing wind farms to surround our communities actually limits any future progress in those areas where they are built. And that will limit progress for 40 years!
Let's not handcuff progress, let's be strategic. I support the County Board candidates who have shown genuine interest in doing what is best for the county:
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted October 30, 2018
It’s that time of year when election mailings are plentiful, along those lines I’m writing to clarify the position of Better Government for DeWitt County in regards to the recent direct mailings, letters, and advertisement in the local paper for the County Board races in District B and District D.
In all of these ads the Better Government for DeWitt County logo was used in conjunction with a pro wind farm logo. Let me be clear that Better Government has NO position on a potential Industrial Wind Facility and has committed to remain neutral on the issue.
The use of the Better Government logo by these County Board candidates was not only unauthorized but also very misleading to the voters that received the ad.
ONCE AGAIN LET ME REITERATE THAT BETTER GOVERNMENT FOR DEWITT COUNTY HAS NO POSITION IN REGARDS TO A POTENTIAL INDUSTRIAL WIND FACILITY.
President- Better Government for DeWitt County
Farmer City, IL
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted October 29, 2018
I support truly renewable, safe “clean energy solutions" to replace our aging and rapidly closing power stations. However, the current and rapid build out of Wind Turbines from Sea to Shining Sea is destroying our Beautiful Country. All subsidized by our tax dollars. We're getting destroyed from within. This is absurd.
For those few creative financial types out there, fresh out of a minimum security prison after that nasty Enron deal went south, here's the playbook behind this Wind scam. The production tax credit (PTC) or the investment tax credit (ITC) Then the fun starts. Securitization is the process by which contracts such as leases and loans are pooled and processed into financial securities which are then sold to investors. This will be substantially similar to the sub-prime mortgage meltdown.
Just to add a bit more ‘profit’ to this byzantine pyramid, renewable energy credits are traded like Al Gore’s “Carbon Credits” Typically, all of this will be bundled and find it's way into our retirement accounts. Then, poof, it's gone. We got suckered. Didn't read the fine print, did we? Thought it was free and easy. Well, things are never quite that simple. We will reap the whirlwind, from this complex capital structuring scheme. I'm not making this up. But they seem to be. Sounds like Enron.
After massive foundations are implanted (forever) and Offshore scaled Turbines are obsolete in a decade or so, a new "disruptive" or innovative breakthrough technology will certainly emerge, and more quickly than imagined. I agree we need sustainable, clean carbon free and renewable energy. These Wind Farms are not farms; they are industrial pirates, threatening our National Security.
It is simply stunning to see how this sector is being 'securitized'.
Current 'renewable energy sources' have so many negatives, it is impossible to arguably defend their deployment. With such huge global impacts to our environment, critically important wildlife, public health, safety and welfare, property values, and the myriad of negatives all of us against these things are very well aware of, the "Environmental Lobbies" aren't doing their jobs anymore. They've been bought out apparently.
This isn't a Zero Carbon deal. We know that. Surely you know a good deal from a bad one, but Wind Farms off both coasts, Long Island, Block Island and all over the Heartland? Come on. This is looting the U.S. Treasury. If we don't stop Wind Energy Conversion, the only survivor that will utilize this energy will be artificial intelligence.
Bradley D. Barnes, MBA
Clinton, Illinois, 61727
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted October 29, 2018
ARE YOU A BULLY?
Bullying is in the news daily. Children are committing suicide over being bullied in school. I am not going to discuss that today. I am going to discuss the adult bullying going on.
We have seen many examples of this nationwide with shootings and sending bombs in the mail. We, as adults, have set this in place. We make social media comments indicating that if you don’t believe as I do then you are an idiot.
I would like to bypass the National and state politics to address the local issues and bullying. Here in DeWitt County the Wind farm has touched off a storm of opinions. I have seen neighbor hating neighbor for their stance concerning the wind turbines. I have seen County board members being condescending to other board members and residents for their opinions.
I am seeing political signs being removed from public property and destroyed. In Farmer City one candidate’s signs were ALL removed, NO signs and other candidates’ signs removed. There was even a case of a YES sign moved to a cornstalk so that if a combine had run over it there could have been major damage to the combine.
These are all forms of ADULT bullying. We as adults must set the example for the kids if we can expect to help stop bullying among the kids. We must allow others to express their opinions. If the signs are not on your property then leave them alone.
STOP BULLYING NOW
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted October 27, 2018
I live in Farmer City and started attending county board meetings when I learned of their plans to bring industrial wind turbines to the western part of the county. I observed the board members hear, then dismiss the zoning ordinance changes recommended by the Regional Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals that would have exercised some reasonable control over the project.
One would expect that a tower could not be erected so close to a landowner’s property line that the safety perimeter recommended by the turbine vendor would overlap the landowner’s property. One would expect the board to limit the maximum height of the towers in consideration of the surrounding residents. Since the county board dismissed those recommendations, the county residents can now look forward to 600 ft. towers 660 feet from their property, with the whooshing noise, shadow flicker from the turning blades, and constant blinking red lights at night.
One needs only to listen to someone living in the teeth of the Macon county wind complex to understand what is coming to Dewitt county. The county board has upended a way of life that we came here for and stay here for.
The board members have no doubt done this because of the appeal of the bloated and unsubstantiated tax revenue projections that Tradewind Energy has submitted. I can’t speak to all of the claims, but I do know that state aid to the school district will decrease in proportion to the property tax gain from the project.
The Tradewind Energy Alta II complex will likely not be visible from my home in the country in the eastern part of the county, but phase two of the project will be, and more will come after that because of the decisions of this board.
I will vote for Travis Houser, Christy Pruser, and Terry Ferguson in District B, and urge others to vote for Melonie Tilley, Nate Ennis, and Dan Matthews in District D, for Dewitt county board with the hope that the county residents will be considered in future decisions.
Farmer City, IL 61842
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted October 18, 2018
As a past County Board member I am very concerned about the potential conflict of interest of Clinton School Board member Dan Matthews as he is currently running as an endorsed member of the anti-wind turbine faction for the DeWitt County Board.
Given the fact that the schools would gain tens of millions of dollars over the life of the wind farm, why would he as a school board member say NO to money that will help sustain the education of children in this county?
As a realtor, land developer, and contractor I have seen how important schools are to bring people into this community over my lifetime. This community is the perfect place to raise your children, and the fact that we have excellent schools at lower tax rates than all surrounding counties is a seller to most home buyers coming in.
Is Mr. Matthews like the group he is endorsed by, which is known as DeWitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines, willing to sacrifice the education of our children because they "do not like the way wind turbines look." Will he recuse himself whenever a vote on wind towers or solar farms comes up, because it will be a direct conflict of interest financially for our schools?
Does Mr. Matthews expect the taxpayers of this county to carry the burden of paying higher taxes for our school district because he voted NO on the millions of property tax dollars from wind energy?
For your information as the reader, approximately 65% of your property taxes go to the schools. The power plant currently pays 11 to 12 million dollars in property taxes a year to this county, of which 7 to 8 million goes to the Clinton School District.
With our school district facing loss of revenue with the impending closure of the power plant in the next few years, what does Mr. Matthews plan to do not only for our children, but you as the taxpayer who will be paying higher property taxes as a result of his actions?
Clinton, IL 61727
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted October 18, 2018
Since January, I have been walking door to door finding out what’s most important to my neighbors. If elected, I will continue listening and will voice those priorities on the DeWitt County Board.
Some of the issues that I’ve heard are important include: fiscal conservatism, transparency, and the local economy.
First, I believe we can cut taxes, hold the line on spending, and make county government more efficient. I have an Accounting degree and am excited to bring that skill set to the Board. Transparency is another key issue I’ve heard from my neighbors. We must hold all levels of government accountable for how our tax dollars are spent. And finally, we need visionary leaders that can bring new jobs and employers to DeWitt County. Our nation’s economy is booming, it’s time we see some of that growth here at home.
I’m the furthest thing from a one-issue candidate. I love our community and believe that we can make it even better.
I ask for your vote because I believe I’m the best person to represent District D on the County Board.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted October 16, 2018
Exercise your right to VOTE!
When you do, please seriously consider who you are voting for.
I suspect that some candidates are one issue choices. I say this because it appears that they are being supported by a very vocal group within the County. It is never a good choice to vote for a candidate like this, regardless of political affiliation. The County just experienced a situation where the Board was consumed by such ideologies. It didn't turn out well.
The other indications that the motives of these candidates could be suspect is that since they have been on the ballot, and knew that they could possibly be a part of the Board, I don't believe that any of them have attended a Board or Committee meeting.
It would only be logical that you would want to "get up to speed" as to what all of the current issues are the Board is dealing with, how the Board works, how the members interact, and what the protocol is for these meetings. Some of these candidates didn't even have the desire or dedication to take out petitions for candidacy and collect the required number of signatures to be placed on the ballot. It takes more than just one vote to represent the residents of DeWitt County.
It has been stated that the Board members are not listening to their constituents, but that would be wrong. It is the responsibility of the Board members to listen to all citizens of the County, not just those who are the most vocal. The votes that are cast by Board members should be done with the best interest of the majority of residents considered. The unpopular votes are naturally the most difficult but the standard stays the same.
I have never been questioned nor have I ever heard any other member of the Board criticized by another member for the vote they cast. Integrity is a value highly respected among Board members and neither politics nor agendas have been an issue.
The existing Board has accomplished much in the two years I have have been seated. We have had our disagreements at the Committee level as well as at the full Board, but we have worked together to ensure that all of the residents of DeWitt County have been represented fairly and justly.
We now have an animal shelter to be proud of, addressed all building maintenance, Marina, public safety, road and bridge, land use, and finance issues and the County budget only increased .01% for 2018.
With all of this in mind, when you vote, I would ask you to keep this Board intact so it can continue to move forward for the betterment of all the residents.
Please vote for the following, who are also endorsed by Better Government for DeWitt County:
Rita Sue Whitted, Cris Rogers, and Mellonie Tilley in District D.
Randy Perring, Terry Ferguson, and Christy Pruser in District B.
Lance M. Reece
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted October 16, 2018
The last few decades the 101st Illinois District has been well served by retiring State Rep. Bill Mitchell. I would like to thank Rep. Mitchell for these years of public service and for the many things he accomplished for the residents of the 101st District not limited to being instrumental in keeping the Exelon Power Plant open in DeWitt County in which so many quality local jobs could have been loss.
To the voters of 101st District, I encourage you to join me in voting for Dan Caulkins as our next Representative. I’ve been fortunate to get to know Dan and his lovely wife Jo over the course of the last year; I can attest that they are both outstanding and genuine people that I’m proud to call friends. There are many reasons why Dan Caulkins is the right choice for voters this election.
First of all, Dan Caulkins is in the race for the right reason which is serving his constituents. That is why Dan is term limiting himself to 6 years, he is not taking a salary, health insurance, or a pension.
Dan Caulkins also brings with him many years of experience as a successful business owner. This is the type of leadership we need in Springfield, someone fighting for lower taxes and less regulation to try and keep business in Illinois.
We can’t have more taxes as that will continue to encourage residents and businesses to continue moving to states that have more economic opportunity.
Please join me in electing Dan Caulkins as our next State Representative of 101st District along with supporting all of our Republican candidates at all levels of government as they fight to stop higher taxes and less regulation.
Dustin A. Peterson
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted October 4, 2018
I recently saw a letter posted where an employee of Trinity felt those opposed to an industrial wind complex in DeWitt County were posing a threat to his livelihood. I am confused by this statement because from the beginning Tradewind has never showed serious intent to employ any local business.
It is important to state that wind developers know the PTC will eventually end. They have had decades to develop a business model that would allow their companies to exist without this handout yet they have failed to do so. Their lack of action on this part is what threatens the long term opportunities for wind turbine component suppliers. Not the local citizens.
During the research, siting and survey processes I, along with others, repeatedly saw vehicles with out of state license plates. I know for a fact there are capable businesses with industrial wind complex experience that are locally owned and employ people in DeWitt, Macon and other surrounding counties that were never contacted by Tradewind. Why did they fail to hire those businesses and help provide an income to feed and house those local families?
It also would appear Tradewind never had any intent to utilize our local wind tower business, which makes no sense. This project could have been scaled from the beginning so that Trinity could have been a supplier. That hasn't happened. One of the things Tradewind keeps dangling in front of the board is the number of jobs this project would create. Yet they have failed to utilize local businesses that could certainly use the work with the current economy in Illinois.
Now this person wants us to re elect board members who have never questioned the lack of local businesses used by Tradewind; board members that did not work to ensure Trinity would be utilized on the project?
Have these board members also never driven down to the Macon County wind complex to see what license plates and companies are on site each time a turbine needs repair? I have made a point to drive by the site during 4 of the recent repairs. Surprisingly I rarely saw an Illinois license plate. So where are the 10 permanent local turbine technicians that project was supposed to create jobs for?
If these wind turbines are truly 'green' they would be employing local resources to eliminate the additional fossil fuel needed to transport out of state employees and out of state components to the site. It seems inexcusable that we would end up with wind turbines in our county where the towers are not supplied by a company right here which actively employees DeWitt County residents.
Posted October 2, 2018
As an employee of Trinity Structural Towers, I am deeply disturbed by the group DeWitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines. I’ve seen their billboard on Route 51 that says, “No Wind Turbines in DeWitt County”.
But upon visiting their Facebook page I learned they are advocating the elimination of the wind turbine subsidy, or Production Tax Credit, through mass post card mailings to the White House. Trinity is the leading manufacturer of wind towers in North America. By stopping this subsidy, employees like me will lose our job. Have these people even thought of what will happen to the employees and their families? Who will buy our groceries, pay our utilities, and ensure we have a roof over our head?
Am I to assume if jobs are lost at Trinity the DeWitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines will foot our bills, feed and clothe our children? Have they thought about how the loss of Trinity will negatively affect DeWitt County?
This November I’ll be voting for the county board candidates that are for jobs, economic stability, and who will do what is best for EVERY citizen of DeWitt County.
Vote for Cris Rogers, Sue Whitted, and Randy Perring!
Clinton, IL 61727
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted August 21, 2018
Over the last several weeks, its become apparent that there has been a shift from the leadership of DeWitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines concern for the “health, safety, and welfare” of DeWitt County citizens, to preaching how non-participating land owners should be compensated by the proposed wind farm.
The repeated theme of compensation has recently been brought up in sworn testimony before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), radio interviews, letters to the editor, and on the DeWitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines Facebook page. If leadership of this group is truly concerned about the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of this County; monetary compensation would NEVER be considered. As someone who works in healthcare, a person’s health and safety is NEVER for sale.
When the current County Board was standing against polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) going into the landfill, negotiating a monetary compromise for the residents’ health was NEVER an option. That same County Board that worked to keep the PCBs out of the landfill, ultimately protecting our water source, is the same County Board that is now looking after the health, safety, and welfare of ALL DeWitt County residents.
Isn’t it interesting how soon a majority of the members of the anti-wind tower group forgot that the current County Board protected us all from this scientifically proven carcinogen? Given their history, do you really think this same County Board would knowingly vote on something that would hurt their family, friends, and fellow residents? If the anti-wind turbine group is so worried about health and safety of all people in this county, why is it most of them never once showed up to meetings when our water source was threatened? Am I wrong in my assumption that to them wind turbines must be more dangerous than PCBs contaminating drinking water?
Regardless of what most of the anti-wind tower people say, it now appears that it has never been about the health, safety, or welfare of our citizens; it’s all about how much money this group can extort from the wind farm developers. So, the next time you listen to Dewitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines leadership and a few of their followers, you will eventually hear what it all comes down to “compensation, compensation, compensation.”
Wapella, IL 61777
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted August 15, 2018
I am writing this editorial concerning approval of the three remaining Wind Energy Ordinance changes that are to be considered in a special meeting of the DeWitt County Board on Aug 22, 2018. The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) studied six changes: noise limits, require IDNR wildlife recommendations be followed, electromagnetic interference, property line setback, shadow flicker limits, and aircraft detection lighting. Only the last three were recommended by the ZBA.
I encourage the County Board to approve the last three recommendations, but also to revisit the other three. During the ZBA hearing, it appeared to me that wording changes to the other three could be made by the Board to make them more legally palatable.
The County Board should give more consideration to the residents who live near the proposed wind turbine locations but do not receive any compensation for the intrusion on their personal and property rights. Contrary to the claims of the Wind Company, none of these changes will stop the construction. Non-participating residents could be compensated if they so desire for a closer placement of the wind turbines to their property. I encourage all residents of DeWitt County to attend this special meeting and speak your mind.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted July 21, 2018
I am writing to express my gratitude to the DeWitt County Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). As was mentioned in a previous letter, the ZBA met on Monday evening July 16, 2018, to consider six proposed changes to the zoning ordinances for Commercial Wind Energy Conversion (wind turbines). Following nearly three hours of testimony, thoughtful and probing questions by members of the ZBA, and much discussion, the board adjourned, having voted on only 2 of the 6 text amendments.
The board reconvened on Wednesday night, July 18, and spent nearly five grueling hours listening to additional research and testimony, asking questions and having thoughtful discussion on the remaining four text amendments. As the night wore on and fatigue set in, I struggled to stay focused. I remember looking up at the board as midnight approached, and the interest and attentiveness of the board was as strong as when the hearing had begun hours earlier. I can still see the image in my mind of ZBA members leaning forward in their chairs and intently listening as speaker after speaker testified.
Many in the community will understandably be disappointed in the outcome of votes, as much time and energy has been spent by passionate citizens on both sides of the proposed ordinance changes. However, I couldn’t be more pleased with the preparedness and effort of the majority of ZBA board members. They have a difficult job, and they exceeded my expectations.
Regardless of how you feel on the issues discussed at the July ZBA hearing, I encourage everyone in the community to thank our ZBA members for their service to our community. It would be a shame for them to feel unappreciated, because we have a group of people giving up their personal time and looking out for us. The ZBA board members are:
Don Fugate, Andy Hedrick, John Griffin, Sarah Owens, Steve Perring, Mark Sterr and David Waters.
To the members of the ZBA, I thank you for your service!
Waynesville, IL 61778
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted July 17, 2018
I am writing to express my disappointment in the ZBA board’s vote. Monday evening July 16, 2018, the DeWitt County Board’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) met to consider six proposed changes to the zoning ordinances for Commercial Wind Energy Conversion (wind turbines). The County Board’s Regional Planning Commission (RPC) approved this change and sent it to the ZBA. The first recommended change involved the absolute lack of any requirement in the Ordinances that the wind company adhere to recommendations of the environmental experts.
For example, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) submitted a letter to the Zoning Administrator outlining seven actions that need to be taken to provide barriers and protection from the wind turbine installation to surrounding environment, including wildlife. IDNR has no way of enforcing these, only the County Board can make these common sense recommendations a requirement. Some examples of the recommendations were to avoid siting wind turbines within one mile of Mettler Woods Nature Preserve, an Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) Site; requiring the applicant to document to the County its contacts with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service pertaining to potential adverse effects to Bald Eagles; to conduct three years of mortality monitoring to statistically quantify bird and bat mortality, by species, due to turbine operations.
These simple actions are not impossible, impractical or extremely costly to implement. However, as pointed out by the Audubon expert during the ZBA hearing, history shows that the wind companies will find a reason not to perform these simple actions unless they are required to.
It is very unfortunate that this panel of appointed citizens disregarded the RPC board’s recommendation and does not appear to respect our environment enough to ensure it is protected to the best of their ability. The vote to approve a change to the Ordinance to require the wind companies to adhere was six to one to NOT approve (Fugate,Griffin,Owens,Perring,Sterr,Waters-NO; Hedrick-YES). This vote was shocking, to say the least, for those of us who have worked with DNR experts to understand what is best for our community and the environment.
We have a growing population of Bald Eagles in this county that we should be proud to host. We have endangered and protected species of wildlife, native forests, and prairie in this rich agricultural area that we should do everything in our power to protect. Yet, we are once again at the mercy of the BIG CORPORATION (foreign owned and government subsidized by your tax dollars) with only a hope and prayer that our community’s wildlife and nature will be preserved and protected. And the wind company still refers to us as the “small group”, the vocal minority. Are you part of the silent majority, or should you speak out…
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted May 8, 2018
I am writing this letter to express my extreme disappointment with the DeWitt County Board. The Regional Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals were tasked with research and recommendations on ordinance changes concerning the wind turbines considered for DeWitt County. It was obvious they had done research prior to meetings and asked lots of questions. Both committees unanimously voted to recommend the ordinance changes.
At the April board meeting 6 0f the board members decided to vote against the recommendations of a height limit of 499’. Those board members were Lance Reece, Randy Perring, Jay Wickenhauser, Scott Nimmo, Cris Rogers, and Sue Whitted. Of these, Cris Rogers and Sue Whitted represent my district. I usually do not get involved in campaigns but this fall I will be actively campaigning against these two members. I can accept someone having a different opinion than I have but to blatantly disregard the recommendations of these committees is unacceptable.
I would recommend that all residents in DeWitt County look at this list and vote accordingly this fall.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted April 28, 2018
When the wind industry erected its first industrial turbine decades ago it began a learning process. As with any new endeavor mistakes were likely made from lack of awareness. Once the companies became aware of those mistakes they needed to make a decision. Correct the issue or choose to repeat the mistake. When it came to manufacturing or operational errors surely wind companies chose to not repeat those mistakes. That decision would be detrimental to the health of the company.
When the decision was made to start siting turbines in close proximity to people’s homes the wind energy development companies could say it was a decision made from lack of awareness. They could state they had yet to learn it could result in problems such as visual annoyance, noise disturbance and shadow flicker. We now know for a fact that these issues are real. Some wind companies have acknowledged these issues by investing in technologies to counter the effects while others have made their decision to continue with the ‘mistakes’ that are potentially harmful to the health and well-being of non-participating residents, but benefit the financial health of their companies.
The residents of DeWitt County are dealing with a company that surely knows siting turbines too close to people’s homes is a mistake. In fact this company offers financial consideration for participating landowners whose residence is closer than 2,640 ft. to a turbine. Why? What occurs within that 2,640 feet that participating landowners need to be compensated for?
Yet prior to our recent setback ordinance update the wind energy company would have willingly located turbines 1,500 feet from non-participating properties, stating that there are no health issues and accidents rarely occur. 3,800 blade failures in one year is not my definition of rarely. Safety incidents do occur and ignoring that fact is a mistake.
“…and a mistake repeated more than once is a decision.” - Paulo Coelho
To all the committee and board members of DeWitt County, please do your duty to protect our non-participating property owners, our wildlife and our county’s future. Allow us the chance to update our comprehensive plan to define where we want future industrial wind developments and where we don’t.
Please enact a moratorium on wind energy permits now.
Please do not allow Tradewind’s mistakes to become our decisions. This is our county, our home, and we will be living with these mistakes long after they are gone.
Wind Energy Development: Learning from Countries that are Getting It Right
Ireland has proposed new statutory guidelines for wind energy development. Key aspects of the proposal are more stringent noise limits, elimination of shadow flicker and increased setbacks. Yes, Ireland's government, along with governments in other model wind energy countries, acknowledges these are genuine concerns.
Their guidelines are supported by their “Code of Good Practice for Wind Energy Development”, which notes the importance of establishing dialogue and building trust from the very beginning of a project. It acknowledges long-term negative impacts on a community's economic, environmental or social situation can occur when community concerns are badly managed or ignored. These guidelines came about because Ireland realized that to protect their communities things needed to be done differently.
So how would the DeWitt County residents who will be effected negatively by the proposed wind farm feel if things had been done differently? If this wind energy company had notified all county residents at the start to gather feedback, answer questions and hear concerns. If rather than focusing on how updates to local wind ordinances may negatively affect their profit, they encouraged changes to ensure the safety and well-being of our non participating land owners in the farm's footprint; if they provided a gaurantee to follow all government agency recommendations to safe guard the environment and wildlife; if they listened to our concerns rather than telling us they weren’t valid?
These companies are coming into our central Illinois counties because they need our land to make money. If they are going to be allowed to do business here then we need to demand that they start doing it differently.
We need to place a moratorium on wind energy special use permits. This would give DeWitt County time to update our strategic plan, reevaluate our wind ordinances and make sure that we control the future of our county.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted April 9, 2018
Growing up I was told that by working hard you could achieve the goals you set in life. Our goal was obtaining the American dream.
Having a great wife to support me and kids to bring happiness to our life and eventually grandkids Life has been fairly good for us but we have worked hard to get where we are.living the American Dream.
Well my wife and I did this starting our American dream in 1973 by building our first home in Clinton.
Then we decided to dream a little bigger and built a couple others upgrading each time to what we thought was perfect for us. Then in the late 90’s decided our dream should move to rural Dewitt county so we purchased property in the country and built the home of our dreams again!
A place where we could spend time outside if we wished her in her flower garden and me not doing much of anything(except mowing) and enjoying the out doors.
Forward ahead to present days I’am in my late 60’s thinking of retiring sometime and enjoying life with my wife in our country setting.
Now in late 2017 after what they say has been going on for several years Tradewinds is wanting to invade our country setting with an industrial wind farm. Taking away the the fantastic sunsets that Mother Nature gives us and instead replacing it with hundreds of blinking lights,and possible health hazards.
This of course is denied by Tradewinds who will be giving the farm to an Italian company. They care nothing about our county or the people living in rural Illinois. Once they are finished ruining the county for the next 20-30 years they will pack up and leave and the rural home owners will be stuck with their mess for generations to come.
To make a long story short if you live in the rural part of Dewitt county and want to live the American dream you had better do it quick because it will soon disappear,along with your property value. Some say decline as much as 20-40 %. Tradewinds developer says it will come back in a few years after the towers are up.I personally find this statement very hard to believe.
It is happening all around us right now and they are using our tax dollars to do it.Country living will never be safe as long as this practice exists.
Dozens and dozens of Dewitt county residents are fighting right now to protect their American dream. Many have already talked before the county board and the zoning board to get the word out to protect their dream of life in the country.
Some counties are closer to winning the battle than Dewitt county,but what I have read it is an ongoing fight.
Dewitt county has several good people fighting hard to protect the rural population from the wind farms. Do what you can to support them before the American Dream is lost forever in this county.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted April 6, 2018
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, as the old saying goes.
I’m sure we’re all after the same basic financial objectives, return on investment. More typically, I would look at return on equity, but we’ll skip that.
Most of you would at least be familiar with buying CD’s or maybe even US Treasuries, and you wouldn’t run out right now and lock in a 30 year deal, if you knew that in the future, the returns would certainly be higher. This Tower offer is pretty much the same.
A land-owner could lock in now, a return on their farmland for thirty years.. You and I could estimate and probably agree on the present value of that average yield, in dollars, and add the present value of the tower income to that. That’s the maximum it would be worth.
But, let's take a more pragmatic, long term approach to economic development, versus our surrounding Counties, Some time back, rumors circulated that a large distribution center, such as a Wal-Mart, might be looking for a central location, which offered convenient access to multiple Interstates and highways.
A much more viable economic development strategy would be to maintain our County as a Sanctuary County, free from "Turbine Blight". These will not be shiny new white tall things for very long. Rust never sleeps.
Our county would be prime real estate if we were to remain the only wide open expanse of acreage, unencumbered by 30 year leases to unsustainable "Wind Farms" within central Illinois.
If we kept DeWitt County totally free of these 30 year encumbrances, on much of our available acreage that would be a “Gold Mine” in the making.
Compare our tiny little slice of Bald Eagle refuge in central Illinois area, versus the aftermath of this rapid expansion of tall unsightly Wind Farms. Unbelievably, the U.S. Fish & Wild Life Services exempted Wind Farms and gave them 30 years within which to kill the American Bald Eagle although it would be a Felony for you and me.
They want to deface about a third of the State with their Project. Their plan will obliterate the horizon for most of central Illinois, a vast agricultural flatland between St. Louis and Chicago.
Technology is changing fast. Hypothetically, what if Apple or Amazon needed a large tract of land, but desired one free of environmental clutter and potential health hazards as well. You, my friends, would be just about the best place to locate. But where would you get engineers for a scenario like that, the University of Illinois?
This Global Energy giant is steam-rolling across one third of Illinois, Forsyth, for example, has now found that they have little to no growth opportunities, with little more available acreage to offer to anyone. Let's view this for the longer term future of our county. This is a bad deal for the future of our County.
Bradley D. Barnes, MBA
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 21, 2018
When I think of National Agriculture Day and farming, I can’t help but reminisce about my days as a child, helping my father on the farm and doing my best not to slow the operation down. I can distinctly remember my father teaching me to shift gears and work the clutch the first time I drove a tractor. Those memories run deep, and now that I have two small children of my own, I want them not only to realize the enjoyment and responsibility that farming has brought to my family, but also understand the greater effect our business of agriculture has on the rest of the population.
As a young child, the majesty of farming lies in the thought of playing in the dirt for a living. But as a person grows older, a deeper, more fond respect begins to form for the men and women who choose agriculture as a career. You soon learn that no role in agriculture is too small to go unrecognized. Everyone from the vegetable farmer with a couple acres to the larger farms with thousands of acres each leave their individual imprint on the world of agriculture.
As my children grow, I want to teach them how it all ties together. From the seeds we plant, to raising a healthy crop, to the livestock and people that today’s ag products feed, producers and consumers are connected in a complex web. Many of you probably see the semis with funnel-shaped bottoms headed up and down Route 51 every day. These trucks are loaded with corn and soybeans, grown by local farmers, to be sent to processors like ADM and Tate and Lyle in Decatur. Eventually, they will be made into thousands of agricultural by-products, including food grade sweeteners, ethanol, biofuels and animal feed.
I think it is exciting that we can make what we grow here into a variety of things that are used around the globe. But despite the impressive reach of our farm products, the number of farms in the United States has been cut in half since 1950. This means that as the population grows, fewer farmers are challenged to grow more food on less ground than previous generations. It also means that we as farmers are responsible for making choices that are best for the land, and best for our ability to grow food that feeds your family and mine.
While these changes may continue to present a challenge for me, it will also be a challenge for my children, should they wish to farm. As generations become further away from farming, my kids will also have another responsibility: showing non-farm consumers how crops are grown and how many lives are touched by agriculture here in Central Illinois. As a relatively young farmer myself, I know I must take this challenge on as well, ultimately by giving my children – and anyone else who passes by – a front-row seat to the ins and outs of raising today’s crops and livestock.
So, as National Agriculture Week, March 18-24, is recognized, I’d invite you to reach out to a farmer you know, or even one you don’t. Take a visit to a local farm. You may be surprised at the willingness of farm families to give you a quick ride in a tractor or show you around!
Clinton, IL 61727
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 19, 2018
Dewitt County should stand against the development of a proposed wind farm by Trade Winds Energy, LLC in DeWitt County Illinois.
With regard to Bald Eagle Breeding and Research: From 2007 to 2012, a pair of bald eagles gathered at Clinton Lake each year to mate and give birth to eaglets. Clinton Power Station worked with IDNR to preserve their habitat as two or three eaglets were born each year during this period. The station also facilitated a study to track the breeding/birth cycles and raise awareness for bald eagles. This activity resulted in an Eagle Cam that captured the eagle family’s movements at Clinton Lake.
Since that time, there has been a significant resurgence of the American Bald Eagle in and around Clinton Lake, and their territory encompasses most if not all of the land proposed for the Wind Tower Farm proposed by Trade Winds Energy, LLC in DeWitt County Illinois.
A significant number of residents of DeWitt County Illinois oppose the development of a proposed wind farm by Trade Winds Energy, LLC in DeWitt County Illinois.
I am among those who are opposed to the project as I believe it will impact the overall quality of life for those who live near the turbines. Additionally, not only does it create a problem known as “Infra-sound”, but also causes me nausea and a feeling of vertigo even driving by a large Wind Farm, even from a great distance.
We need to focus on creating an environment to attract sustainable economic development, including the creation of permanent job opportunities for local residents, while attracting homeowners who would rather enjoy the wildlife in and around Clinton Lake. We should maintain our uncluttered horizon, except for the flocks of Canadian Geese, migrating ducks, and the increasing sightings of our great Nations’ symbol, the truly amazing American Bald Eagle.
When it comes to the development of a proposed wind farm by Trade Winds Energy, LLC in DeWitt County Illinois, just say NO.
Let’s put this to a public referendum.
The bald eagle will continue to be protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act even though it has been
delisted under the Endangered Species Act
from U S Fish and Wildlife Services @
Under law (16 U.S.C. 668(a); 50 CFR 22). it is illegal to wound, kill, molest or disturb Bald or Golden Eagles
(16 U.S.C. 668c; 50 CFR 22.3)
The fine doubles for an organization
The 1972 amendments increased civil penalties for violating provisions of the Act to a maximum fine of $5,000 or one year imprisonment with $10,000 or not more than two years in prison for a second conviction. Felony convictions carry a maximum fine of $250,000 or two years of imprisonment
Bradley D. Barnes, MBA
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 1, 2018
During a state election time in Illinois when we are seeing a mass exodus of Legislators in our Illinois General Assembly and I see a small town local man who has the sincere passion to make our state a better place and to “put Illinois back to work,” I can’t help but think about the chorus line in Tim McGraw’s country music hit, “Humble and Kind;
“Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When those dreams you're dreamin' come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind”
……..then I think of Monticello’s Randy Keith.
Randy is a good ole small town country boy who retired after working nearly 40 years at Kraft Foods in Champaign. Randy is a true family man, a loving husband, father and grandfather and he LOVES to fish. Randy has sincerely served Piatt County in leadership since 2014, as the Piatt County Board Chairman.
And I feel Randy Keith has truly displayed the real meaning of “serving the people” of Piatt County through his leadership.
Especially now, when all we seem to hear or read about in “politics” in America is corruption, two words jump out at me that we desperately need in the political arena, and they are “service” and ‘integrity”.
And when I think of Randy Keith as State Representative of the 101st District in the State of Illinois, I think of “service & integrity”, while at the same time being very “humble & kind”.
I am voting for Randy Keith and I encourage you to do the same.
Monticello, Illinois 61856
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted February 28, 2018
I am writing to voice my support of Randy Keith, Republican candidate for the office of 101st State Representative. Randy has served on the Piatt County Board for the last 8 years, and I have had the privilege of working with him for the last 3 years. During that time Randy has held the position of Chairman of the Piatt County Board. I have been most impressed by Randy’s integrity and commitment.
When faced with problems large and small, I cannot count the times I have heard him weigh what is “best for the folks”, and remind those in attendance of that test. Randy’s real-world experiences as a factory worker, business owner, parent, grandparent, veteran and public servant give him the ability to look at multiple sides of an issue, empathize with those involved, and come to a fair, balanced conclusion.
I have watched Randy handle difficult, contentious situations with kindness and aplomb on numerous occasions. Randy possesses an uncanny ability to bring people of different groups, opinions and goals together to accomplish a task. We need selfless leadership with integrity in Springfield if our state is to weather these difficult times.
Randy Keith embodies the qualities of the leadership we need. His character and integrity will not fail the people of the 101st. Please join me in supporting Randy Keith for the 101st in the March 20 primary.
Farmer City, Illinois
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted February 23, 2018
I am writing to offer my support for Randy Keith, Republican candidate for 101st State Representative.
I have known Randy for more than 10 years, first when I was a member of the Piatt County Zoning Board, and more recently as a fellow Piatt County Board member. I have personally witnessed his hard work and dedication as he has worked through the issues facing Piatt County with great results.
Randy Keith has strong family values, and a positive view that reflects that of most of the constituents in our district. As our state representative, he will represent all people of our district honorably and ensure that our voices are heard in the State Capitol.
The people of our state are not just looking for answers, they are looking for the truth, and we can trust that Randy won’t lie or sidestep that truth. Randy has a common-sense approach and the motivation required to make a difference in the future of Illinois.
Please join me on March 20 in voting for Randy Keith as the Republican candidate for the 101st State Representative.
Randy D Shumard
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted February 18, 2018
I’am not usually into politics but after attending the last couple of land use committee
meetings it has aroused some interest in me.
Back in the early 1960 a company decided to start buying up swamp land in Florida keeping it secret as long as possible and ended up purchasing around 27,000 acres of land. Some of it very cheap until people caught on and then the price increased. They ended up purchasing 30,000 acres.
From that land this company built a theme park.
In 2009 I guess trade winds started leasing ground around a small community to start a theme park of their own on about 30,000 acres.
I guess you may say that I sort of like going to the park in Florida. Everyday around dark they light up Main Street with thousands of lights on the buildings and trees and it makes for a very nice evening at the park. If you decide to stay around between the hours of 8-10 depending on the time of year they have fabulous fireworks and light shows. They last around 15 minutes or so and everyone seems to enjoy them and always wish they lasted longer.
Back to trade winds theme park they want theirs to be bigger and more spread out covering the whole 30,000 acres (Florida’s park has only developed one forth of their land ) with towers up to 600 ft tall. Once the sunsets over the horizon and mother nature’s colors are gone they will also have a light display however theirs will not bring smiles to anyone’s faces unless you you like hundreds of flashing lights or are employed by trade winds and unfortunately will last way to long.
So I guess that the next time I visit my favorite theme park I will have to pick up a few pair of of the ears so I can cut them off and mount me a tiny windmill on top so I can sit on my deck and curse the flashing red pains in my _ _ _.
Like I said to start I’am not into politics but after ambush that Melonie took at the last meeting I had to give my opinion.
The motion to send wind energy ordinance revisions to full board with no recommendations or changes was a joke as everyone in the gallery knew as soon as he opened his mouth that there had been a private meeting before the real meeting started.
I know that is the way politics are run but when there is something as important as this that will effect this county for years to come you can’t get to much information.
I know I don’t need to worry because the chair person said she knows everything about the towers. She needs to share that information with the rest of the taxpayers in the county. I have read several articles and don’t think I could make a decision that would effect the lives of so many so please inform us.
As for Tom the head man with trade winds if you have been paying out two million dollars since 2009 and don’t know how many towers there are and where they are located if you worked for me you would be unemployed.
Trade winds a little bit of honesty would go a long way.
Clinton Il 61727
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted February 16, 2018
I am pleased to write in support of Randy Keith's candidacy for State Representative in the 101st District. I have observed Mr. Keith in his role as chairman while serving with him on the Piatt County Board. I am most impressed by his leadership ability. Mr. Keith has a talent for assessing a situation and moving forward decisively with what is best for the people we are elected to serve. Tough decisions must be made, and a good leader focuses on what needs to be accomplished while making sure those with differing points of view are included and given a voice. He is a Republican with conservative core values. Mr. Keith is extremely attentive to others' opinions, yet decisive when embarking on a course of action. He is never vindictive toward those opposed to his ideas and is always looking ahead. This skill set will serve him well in Springfield where he will reach across the aisle to achieve consensus on issues that currently divide the legislature.
As an individual who genuinely likes people, Mr. Keith will serve all residents. During this campaign, he has tirelessly worked to meet as many voters as he can. If elected, he will continue to interact with individuals and small groups of constituents to make sure their voices are heard and their concerns are addressed. Piatt County's loss of a valued county board chairman will be the 101st District's gain. It is refreshing that Randy has pledged to serve just two terms and then return home. During those four years, he will make a difference in changing "business as usual" in Springfield. I hope voters in the 101st District will join me in voting for Randy Keith on Tuesday, March 20.
Ray C. Spencer
White Heath, IL
Letter to the Editor
Posted October 3, 2017
I am writing this letter with a concern after attending the City Council meeting of October 2, 2017. At this meeting the Mayor orally put on file an Ordinance changing the Liquor Code. (It was not on the agenda prior.) He did state that the proposed ordinance was to allow liquor to be sold at our local theater. This change will be voted on at the Council’s October 16th meeting. I have appreciated the fact that I could take my grandchildren to the Clintonia Eagle and not worry about liquor consumption and the obnoxious behavior and language that sometimes accompanies this allowance.
The proposed ordinance allows for alcoholic sales during the same hours as our other venues in Clinton that sell alcohol. As a result, there is no restriction for the theaters that show children and youth rated movies, nor the free movies that are shown during the summer. With no restrictions, the guardians who bring the children to the free movies would be allowed to purchase alcohol.
For underage youth with older friends, when the lights are dimmed, who will monitor the theaters to make sure that those to whom the liquor was sold are the only ones consuming it?
In case you are not aware, several months ago, the Council amended the Liquor Code and the Video Gaming Code with no open discussion and mention of what was being changed. The original restriction of one bar license in Clinton to restrict the amount of video gaming coming into our community was changed to allow an unlimited number of bar liquor licenses to be issued. A bar or pour liquor license is required to apply for up to five video gaming machines and was thought to discourage mini casinos. Currently the only local requirement to have five video gaming machines in a storefront is that a physical bar is constructed and that a bar license can then be issued, whether the business sells alcohol or not. This change has caused the proliferation of video gaming machines in our community and it appears this trend will continue. The Council also changed the video gaming code to remove the local restriction that restaurants were not allowed to have the video gaming machines because they had not had the old illegal ones prior. The code was changed to allow any restaurant with a liquor license to have up to five video gaming machines.
One of the owners of a local restaurant who regularly approached the City in the prior administration about changing the restaurant restriction, finally got his desire with the change of administration. He got his five machines, but they were not enough to keep him in business as he claimed.
I would like to see us as a community lean toward family friendly opportunities and activities and try to keep what we have. Will the next requests be made to allow open liquor in our parks and at the youth baseball league games? Will we need to offer a beer tent for Celebrate Clinton’s Fourth of July Celebration to draw more people to it?
Adults have the right to make choices on their consumption of liquor, but we still need to protect the children and youth of our community from the exposure at every turn and show that it is not necessary for liquor to be offered in every venue, business or event our city promotes to make it worthwhile.
Carolyn A. Peters
Posted September 20, 2017
This is Miller Media Group president Randal J. Miller, here to remininise about our 10 years serving our listeners and advertisers in Clinton, Monticello, Lincoln and the surrounding area.
It was October 16th, 2007, that I took over management, then ownership, of what was then WHOW AM 1520 and WHOW-FM 95-point-9.
In the 10 years that have ensued, we've installed new transmitters, remodeled the studios at the Big Red Barn, the moved the new transmitters into the Barn, then in spring of 2013 we remodeled the entire building.
In December 2008, WHOW-FM 95-point-9's call letters were changed to WEZC. And, in June of 2009, WHOW THE BIG 1520 AM got a new sister station, repearing WHOW's programming at 92-point-3 FM in DeWitt County.
We thank God for opening the door for our family to come to Clinton 10 years ago. We are blessed with countless friends, business relationships, and people that have been there for us in good and bad over this past decade.
There are 2 special relationships we've worked hard to build over the past 10 years, and that is with our listeners and our advertisers.
Every day, we strive to create compelling local content that attracts listeners. And, every day we offer the listenership we've worked hard to build, to local businesses in giving them an opportunity to effectively attract customers to their business.
As we begin the next 10 years of service, I want you to personally know how much YOU are appreciated, and that everything all of us at the Miller Media Group do every day, is to serve YOU.
THANKS for 10 great years...and here's to many, many more!
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted August 29, 2017
There have been a lot of rumors flying around about Senate Bill 31. Some have said it’s a Sanctuary State bill that looks to create so called “safe havens” for illegal immigrants, preventing our boys in blue from doing their jobs. This could not be further from the truth.
Chicago may want to be a “sanctuary” for illegals, but Governor Rauner stopped Illinois from becoming a sanctuary state. He fought to keep sanctuary language out of this bill and ensured that SB 31 have one purpose: assist law enforcement in fighting crime in our communities.
That’s why law enforcement supports the signing of SB 31. This bill encourages immigrants to cooperate with law enforcement. While local authorities continue to fully support and assist federal agents in detaining illegal immigrants who have broken the law.
The rumors of amnesty for illegals, sanctuary status, and federal interference are absolutely false. The liberal media doesn’t want to give Governor Rauner a win on this common sense bill – so they’re distorting the truth. Don’t buy into their bias. SB 31 is good for law enforcement and good for Illinois.
Clinton, IL 61727
To The Editor:
I have stayed pretty quiet about all the complaining going on, not because I have anything to hide or have done anything wrong, but because I know that whatever is said on social media automatically becomes true to some people no matter what facts they are presented with. I have just figured it is better to say nothing and try to ignore the worthless drama. I always try and be respectful to others and portray a Christian attitude, but that is really being tested with the comments being made. There is enough hate and discontent in this world, why do a number of you have to bring it into our community? It is such a waste of time and energy. A year ago I put out a statement in a local paper, and I invited anyone to come out and I would explain what we do here, but instead you would rather make statements on social media that are not true. You know how many people showed up to ask questions? Two. I have heard people say it smells to bad to visit. There are days we have between 50 to 100 people stop by here to do business. Some days it smells here, a lot of days it does not. It is a poor excuse to no come by. So, here are some statements that are NOT true.
1. I try and save money and not treat the waste water.
2. I don't run the aerators enough. They have been called regeneration pumps but I don't know what that is.
3. There was never a problem before I bought this business.
4. The smell is constant all year and covers the entire city.
5. The ponds are being overloaded.
6. I don't care.
Here are TRUE statements.
1. Since I have bought this company I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment and products to put in the water.
2. The aerators that were already on the lagoons were only able to be used when the temperature was above freezing. In the last 2 and a half years I have added 2 different types of aerators that run underwater and can be run all year. I run them constantly. The only time they might be shut off is if we are doing maintenance to them.
3. The previous owners had problems from time to time also, and it is documented. They had to constantly work on it to keep it in balance also.
4. The smell is not constant and does not cover the entire city. I will comment more on this later.
5. While we do wash more trailers and use more water than the previous owners, we probably put the same or less of actual product out in the lagoons. I have put tanks here on site to catch a lot of our solids. When we catch a certain amount then they are hauled off and disposed of. The lagoons have been here for a number of years and have accumulated sludge over this time. With the procedures I have put in place it has stirred them up and is taking a while to get them balanced again. Unfortunately there is a lot of trial and error that we go through.
6. The statement that I don't care is absurd. This is constantly on my mind. I have been seeking advice and purchasing products from 5 different waste water experts along with constant contact with the EPA trying to find a good solution. I am by no means an expert on waste water, but I am learning as I go.
I would like to return to the claims of the potency of the smell. I will not deny that there could be times that it can be smelled in town, in the spring, and depending on the wind. I can say for sure that a constant year round smell is not coming from H&M. I am in town everyday and all times of the day and night. I have smelled it around the schools on the west side of town very few times in the 4 years that I have owned this business, and that is it. I do business with multiple places around town and their consensus is the same as mine. I can say that I have been able to smell odors in town from other locations around town, and even as far away as Decatur at certain times. This is the affect of our way of life. Without these places that may cause an odor at times we would not have the communities that we do. It is a way of life. I would be pretty certain that any business owner would agree with me in saying that in no way do I want to be a nuisance to anyone with the work that I do. If any of you legitimately feel that I have ruined any of your days, I apologize. I will continue to work to solve this problem that I have until it is resolved. The problem is I feel most of the complaints are no more than a domino effect of face book. What is offensive to me, way more than any smell, is the way people can respond to a situation in such a negative way. Other people watch us, and more importantly our kids learn from us. What kind of lesson is learned from name calling and spreading hate?
Once again I extend the invitation to come talk to me instead of hiding behind a computer screen. Believe it or not, we grill lunch outdoors 4 or 5 times a week here. Come out, talk, have a hamburger, I promise not to poison it.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted December 14, 2016
This is an open letter to all area businesses that are not yet members of the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau:
Please consider joining Chamber members who pay their modest dues each year for the betterment of our community. The value of the Chamber was recently showcased in its relentless effort to keep Clinton Power Station open. The Chamber recognized this threat to economic stability in the area and had an undeniable role in the seeing the passage of the Future Jobs Energy Bill.
Also worth noting is that dues support Chamber sponsored activities such as Maydays, Business Expo, Farmers Market, Christmas Parade, Agri-Business Banquet, and the celebrated and award-winning Terror on Washington Street, to name a few.
I urge you to stop by the Chamber office today and pledge your support.
Francis Jackson, owner Big “D” Food and Liquor
Letter to the Editor
Posted November 15, 2016
The November veto session is the last chance for the passage of legislation that would save the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear power plants, which are threatened with premature closure due to their inability to compete with heavily subsidized wind and solar energy sources and historically low natural gas prices. The proposed legislation, known as the Future Energy Jobs Bill, would level the playing field by treating all sources of clean energy equally.
Closure of the Clinton and Quad Cities plants would cause Illinois to lose nearly a quarter of it’s clean energy — a change that would be the equivalent to adding about 2 million cars to the road. Closure of these two plants would result in the loss of about 4,000 jobs, which would be devastating for Clinton, the Quad Cities, and surrounding regions.
Please take the time today to contact the governor and legislative leaders to show your support for the Future Energy Jobs Bill. Failure to pass the legislation that will save these plants would not only have a negative impact on the economy, it would also be a major step backward for the environment.
To learn more about the Future Energy Jobs Bill and to send a message to your legislators please visit NuclearPowersIllinois.com.
Stefanie Ellis Wrage
Wapella, IL 61777
Letter to the Editor
Posted October 10, 2016
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I want you to take a moment and imagine this: every hour of every day, all you think about is pleasing him. You live in a constant fear of what will happen if you mess up, if you step out of line. You feel like he can hear every thought in your head, see every move you make, as if he is as much a part of your mind as you are. Every decision you make from the clothes you buy to the music you listen to, even the people you talk to are based on what he thinks. Maybe, you think, if you please him, you will finally be worthy of his friendship, his ‘love’.
Love is just one of the many reasons why victims stay in an abusive relationship. Other such reasons include money, children, love, religious and cultural beliefs, fear of retaliation, and fear of the justice system. Every 9 seconds a woman is battered in the United States. To put this into perspective, by the end of this hour long program 420 women will have suffered at the hands of their abuser. Every year more women are injured by domestic violence than muggings, rapes, and car accidents combined. Every year more than 10 million children witness domestic violence in their homes.
With alarming statistics like these, odds are, you likely know someone who is experiencing domestic violence. It could be a sibling, parent, friend, co-worker, congregation member, or student. I encourage everyone who reads this to please attend our annual Candle Lighting Ceremony that will be held on Monday, October 10th at 7:00 p.m. It will be held at the Lane Christian Church at 4794 Lane St, Lane, IL 61750. We will honor both the survivors and victims of domestic violence.
Dove DeWitt County Coordinator
I read an article which states that the current Circuit clerk has a full time job which prevents her from being in the office during what any sane person would consider normal office hours. The duly elected clerk stated that she does come to the office several nights a week on sometimes on weekends. She is being paid a salary by the citizens of this county ($58,000.00 + a year). The county board chairman said he was aware of the situation. The clerk stated she had a legal opinion on the matter. What she does not have is any sense of decency or respect for the citizens who pay her salary. She should be asked to resign immediately. Those public officials who were aware of this might want to apologize to the citizens for this outrage. Monetary greed is more important than ethics and honorable elected service. Shame on you.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted July 8, 2016
We would like to thank the Clinton Rotary and the City of Clinton for our new pickle ball courts at Rotary Park. The courts are fantastic and more than we ever hoped for here in Clinton. The new playground equipment is also a great addition to the park. The park offers us a place to not only play pickle ball but to create new friendships and a sense of community. Come out and try pickle ball at our beautiful new facility..
Dick Graves, Jan Herzog, Bonnie Taylo, Rennie Cluver, Bill and Steph Boyd and all of our pickle ball players
Submitted by Stephanie Boyd, Clinton, IL
Another tragedy in the United States and another “pass-the-buck” to guns, people, Christians, conservatives, veterans, etc. Please note, the aforementioned are not the problem. The problem is the removal of God from our society. When God is removed Satan immediately fills the void. There is no neutral ground here. All of us do have the Truth, because since the creation, God’s existence is clearly seen, so we are without excuse, period. We have willingly excluded God’s existence from our perception of reality because God’s existence has serious implications on our lives. Since we don't want to change our morality and ethics, we have to reject God’s existence, which is a volitional act of our will. Our governmental leaders and the press have willingly suppressed and imprisoned the knowledge of God. These ungodly people have exchanged God’s Truth for Satan’s lie, and even worse, have condoned and encouraged this destructive behavior in our society. Until all of us face up to this truth and vote these godless men and women out of office our country will stay on the path of self-destruction. We have given over our sovereignty to the enemy and we're now being crushed and are slipping into a national anarchy as witnessed by the lies and cover-ups in the government and witnessed by the crime, stabbings, murders, and the listlessness of big populations on the dole in every city. Hardly a day goes by that we don't read of debauchery, crimes against women and children and corruption in industry, local, state and national government. We have become a huge welfare state taking from the productive and giving to the lazy idlers. It’s called legal plunder. This has to stop, and only a moral and educated populace can vote this incompetence out and replace them with men and women of character and honesty. It’s imperative we go back to the Constitution if this country is to survive.
Decatur, IL 62521
Many people in our community, and all over the world, have been personally affected by brain tumors. Kadence Taylor, Clinton Junior High honor roll student and cheerleader, has battled brain tumors on her cerebellum for the past six years. Last July, Weldon Springs Site Interpreter, Carol Thompson lost her fight to a stage IV glioblastoma.
More recently, Brian Kruse - father of the Clinton Community YMCA Arts and Humanities Program Coordinator, Monikka Fuller - lost his life to lung cancer that had metastasized to his brain.
“Today, nearly 700,000 people in the United States are living with a primary brain tumor, and approximately 78,000 more will be diagnosed in 2016. Brain tumors can be deadly, significantly impact quality of life, and change everything for a patient and their loved ones. They do not discriminate, inflicting men, women, and children of all races and ethnicities.” - braintumor.org
"The National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) is fiercely committed to finding better treatments, and ultimately a cure, for people living with a brain tumor today and anyone who will be diagnosed tomorrow.
The NBTS is strategically positioned at key junctions in the drug development pipeline to leverage their collective resources and knowledge for the greatest impact. From catalytic funding to intensive research collaborations to advocating for policies that impact those affected, they are ensuring change on every level."
Awareness, advocacy and research are essential in finding a cure for brain tumors. Currently, the National Brain Tumor Society is not formally represented in Illinois. Help to bring the NBTS to Illinois! Join us at the Clinton Elks, Wednesday, March 30 at 6 PM, in our fight against brain tumors.
As a group, along side the National Director of Field Operations for the National Brain Tumor Society, Craig Strenger, we will collaborate ideas to contribute to advocacy, awareness and fundraising throughout Central Illinois. If you have any questions, please email Lauren Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information regarding brain tumors or the NBTS, please visit www.braintumor.org.
I received written permission to use the information (verbatim) available from the NBTS website.
To the Editor:
A comment was made regarding my letter to the Editor today concerning “Better Government for Dewitt County” the comment was removed I am sure accidentally before I could respond. It would be impolite to not answer the question asked.
Steve Arteman asked me “Bill, are you running for a position? If not, why not?”
My response is I am an Activist, changing from Activist to Politician is what would be required, I have never considered myself a Politician, Political careers are a true labor of love. The mastering of the political process is usually looked upon as a lifelong commitment. On the other hand activism in my view is a responsibility of ever able American. Illinois finds itself short on Activist and long on Politicians, Illinois has the largest local government system in the history of the world, we have more elected officials then we know what to do with. Maybe in Illinois everyone thinks they do not have to be involved in activism since we have a Politician standing on every corner watching out for us. My belief is more Politicians don’t fix a broken government only activism can. Everyone needs to become involved, reach out to your elected officials and let them hear what you have to say.
Thanks Steve for asking, every little bit of activism helps.
To the Editor:
Election season is here again, but this Dewitt County election may not be an election that our nation was founded on. The people of this United States enjoy a two Party System, not a Single Party System. The Dewitt County Board race has been divvied-up by the combined parties before the primary, no reason for holding the primary election as no seats will be challenged. This election will be just a formality it will only take one vote in the primary to decide the final election. This primary will leave No Democrat or Republican running against each other in the main election. Voters will have no choice in elected officials for county board in this year’s election.
Question: Is “Better Government for Dewitt County” really a front for a Single Party System? Is combining the Democrat and Republican parties a good idea?
One-party governments justify themselves through various means. Most often, supporters of one-party governments argue that the existence of separate parties runs counter to government’s unity, it all just works better with one party, we can all get along that way. Others argue that only one party is the true leader of the people, and therefore its right to rule cannot be challenged. Governments ruled under the one party system will either straight out outlaw opposition parties or limit them to operate as a branch of the ruling single party.
Why do we the people of the United States have a two party system and not a single party system? First it allows two separate parties to make efforts to seize control of the government; a single party government always has control of the government permanently.
In a two party system each party creates its platform and recruits members including raising money for the support of its nominees and candidates that reflect its platform. Single party governments have no need for platforms or elections.
Party members in a two party system work within their own party during elections and in the government to get their policies implemented that reflect their party platform. Single party governments have no problem with implementing any policies as there is no opposition to its policies, as it has no other party or platforms to worry about.
At first glance single party system sounds pretty good, no back stabbing mudslinging name calling, the only drawback might be all the back slapping for a job well done.
Maybe we should look at some famous single party governments before deciding if we want to change to a single party system. Some of them include parties with the names “Peoples Republic” “Communist Party” “Workers Party” I think they are in countries named China, Russia and North Korea.
Choice is what a two party system gives us; a single party system takes choice away from us. I can live with rough and tumble elections like all Americans that love their freedom to choose.
I am writing to urge voters in DeWitt County to vote for Michelle Van Valey for Dewitt County Circuit Clerk in the upcoming Republican primary March 15. Her years of experience working in and around the courthouse are invaluable to our county government and to us as taxpayers. She embodies the positive changes our county has worked toward since being overrun by Reform Coalition members, including Circuit Clerk incumbent Pam Barnes.
Under Barnes, the circuit clerk's office has seen 12 employees leave the six-person office in the last three years. This instability only hinders growth of both the staff and making progress to better our community.
Michelle Van Valey will bring stability and customer service back to that office. She has the full support of Better Government for DeWitt County, a bipartisan group of local citizens, and an organization I am now proud to lead as chairman.. I want to encourage everyone to vote Van Valey March 15 to help bring positive change back to DeWitt County.
Better Government for DeWitt County Chairman
This letter is in response to David Newberg's letter recently directed at me and my candidacy for the office of DeWitt County Circuit Clerk. A few months ago Mr. Newberg came to my office and wanted to sit down and chat. He stated that he looked forward to working with me in the future now that he was Dewitt County Chairman. This would have been a perfect time for Mr. Newberg to describe to me how I had been rude with residents, but he failed to do this.
As Chairman of the DeWitt County Board I would have expected that if indeed people had come to him with a complaint that he would have had the common courtesy to tell me what the complaints were about but he decided to wait until a week before the election to bring this to the public's attention - great timing. Prior to meeting with the finance committee chairperson in November 2015 I was told that all departments were being asked to make substantial cuts. I promptly submitted a budget that was far more than the 3% cut suggested to help the county get back on its feet. I had nothing to do with the "reform coalition's" decision which led to Area Disposal's withholding their million dollar a year fee to the county.
I was not permitted to hire a 6th employee in my office because the county finance committee went against a memo from Judge Finson which stated that he was of the opinion that 6 deputy clerks were necessary in my office.. Something that Mr. Newberg fails to mention is the fact that I offered the county board an annual payment from one of my accounts to retain a 6th employee but they turned that down.
Therefore, I have had to do without a much needed 6th employee in my office. Before I took office, Lori Berger had 6 deputy clerks and 2 part-time clerks. We have faced high turn-over because times have changed. Most of my past and current employees consisted of single moms who struggled to pay their bills, provide a decent home and food for their children.
When I took office the employees starting pay was $9.50 per hour for a 35 hour per week pay period - after taxes and insurance deductions there's not much to take home to pay the rent, utilities and buy food. I researched this issue and presented the county board with all the necessary documentation and requested that the starting salary be raised to at least $10.00 per hour; I got it raised to $9.79 per hour which is where it is at to date. Try hiring and retaining an employee who has to be part attorney/part court liaison for that amount of money. The raise that my employees get is usually 3% per year which is barely enough to compensate for the cost of living. Most of the employees have resigned due to getting a better paying job offer. I don't blame them for that - they have children to think about.
Family always comes first in my book. I care about my employees and this county. If that makes me unfit for office, then that's a sad commentary on life in DeWitt County. I firmly believe in a strong work ethic. Excessive absences, lack of attention to detail and using the county's computer to e-mail a lover explicit sexual content during work hours doesn't cut it with me and I have had to let employees go for precisely those reasons. I have a responsibility to the Court, constituents and the County. I am not going to retain an employee who exhibits a lack of commitment to their job just for the sake of retention.
I currently have the best staff I have hired yet. I have worked hard to bring about change already in my office. When I took office, I wasn't satisfied with the performance of the current collection agency that was based in Florida and went in search of a collection agency based in Illinois. I entered into a contract with Credit Collections Partners, Taylorville, Illinois and their performance has been outstanding. Credit Collections Partners has collected $27,156.79 in less than a year. That money is paid out to municipal, county and state in fines, fees and restitution owed to Dewitt County and it's citizens. The previous collection agency only collected about a 1/3 of that in prior years. I also painstakingly reviewed several divorce and family files and found several thousand of dollars that were owed to DeWitt County. Due to my efforts my hard-work has collected $42,671.96 for the county in unpaid Guardian Ad Litem fees.
I also recently signed a contract with the Illinois Comptroller's office to begin collecting unpaid fines, fees and restitution by intercepting tax refunds and state employee wages. I am the first DeWitt County Circuit Clerk to sign this contract with the Illinois Comptroller's Office. Yet Mr. Newberg states in his letter that I lack "oversight". Mr. Newberg I don't understand how you have failed to see the benefits of having an employee like me. Most people who have worked hard and stayed after hours several nights a week to produce what I have produced would be overjoyed to have me on their team.
I'm sorry I don't fit your criteria as a model employee. Instead, you have chosen my opponent who seriously lacks the experience to supervise an office of 5 employees, has no knowledge of the complex computer system of my office and who has already alienated herself with all of my employees by her remarks that they are rude to our clientele and don't have attention to detail. You have a serious lack of judgment.
DeWitt County Circuit Clerk
The election is coming fast and on March 15th, I urge all of Dewitt County to vote for change in voting Michelle Van Valey for Circuit Clerk. These local elections are very important to the citizens of Dewitt County. This is where your vote truly counts and your opinion matters. Mrs. Van Valey sincerely cares about the residents of Dewitt County. She makes it her mission to help out in the community anyway she can by volunteering her time to help others and organizations aimed to make a difference in this County. She also donates to several charities because she has a passionate heart and truly wants to makes positive changes in the community she grew up in and loves.
Michelle Van Valey is honest, hard working, dedicated, and truly knows how to manage an office. She has been with the Dewitt County States Attorney office for over 10 years and been a great asset to the courts and citizens over this time. She has had no problems learning new things as she has dealt with change herself in the transitions of new States Attorneys due to the former ones moving on. She adapted quickly and is very intelligent. I have no doubt that Michelle Van Valey will be able to turn the Circuit Clerks office into a smooth, friendly, and professional atmosphere.
It is no secret that the some of the past situations in the Circuit Clerks office have been met with discontent. We need a change and that change starts with your vote for Michelle Van Valey for Circuit Clerk.
I write this letter not as county board chairman, but as a concerned DeWitt County citizen.
The race for DeWitt County Circuit Clerk is an important one which affects us all. That's why I urge you to vote Michelle Van Valey March 15.
Incumbent Pam Barnes, a product of the failed Reform Coalition, is running under some misconceptions that I would like to clarify.
She claims she voluntarily reduced her budget when in reality, reckless budget tactics of the Reform Coalition forced our current board to cut her budget in order to right the ship and get our county finances back on the right path. She also claims she's running a more efficient office with one less employee, however, due to the budget cuts, Barnes was not permitted to hire a replacement after a recent vacancy.
Barnes lacks oversight of the office - something I feel is important when working for the taxpayers. For the last three years, we've faced high employee turnover in the circuit clerk's office, and often get reports of Barnes' rude interactions with residents when they visit the office.
Barnes is not the best fit for DeWitt County Circuit Clerk. As a republican, I support Michelle Van Valey because she has a wealth of county experience and a desire to bring about the changes needed in the circuit clerk's office.
Thank you Pam Barnes for running a Clean Campaign.. You're not the type of person to stoop to the level of running a negative campaign. Nor will you ever.
The sign that was posted in your office was in good humor and funny. Those that were offended should read it again because it's the truth. Like it or not.
The flyer that I received from your opponent's campaign also criticized you for hiring your daughter in law (my daughter ).Anybody who has worked with her knows how good of a worker she is. Voters should ask people who have worked with her at your office and RR Donnelley what kind of person she is. Then they will know the truth. All Ms. VanValey's campaign did is anger people who know her work ethics.
Bringing our grandson into it was pitiful. Shows voters desperation in Ms. VanValey's campaign. When Mr. Kammeyer was asked to remove our grandson's picture from Ms. VanValey's website, his response was to state he felt threatened and then after three attempts of requesting the picture to remove it the pictures were scribbled out, then when it started to become heated the post were all deleted.
I personally contacted Ms. VanValey asking her to stop attacking my child her response was -I didn't have anything to do with that. Really? And she wants to run a county office? Manage people? Ever hear of accountability? Parents or grandparents of a child in that position would not see that as being very professional. Simply might be someone with "keyboard courage " stirring the pot , but costing her votes. My daughter is not running for office so why is Ms. VanValey and Mr. Kammeyer attacking her? I would like to also mention that Ms. VanValey is also related to the "daughter n law" that she and her campaign manager are attacking, but where was that ever mentioned?
My family has never been into politics , never really cared about politics, for your opponent to drag my family members into an election is reprehensible, despicable and pitiful.
I have just finished reading my opponent’s flyer that I received today in the mail and I would like to set the record straight. David Holt was NEVER my campaign manager in my prior campaign. I managed my campaign on my own from beginning to end.
I hired my daughter-in-law in 2012; a full two years before she married my son and they were not even a couple when I hired her.
The DeWitt County Circuit Clerk’s office handles hundreds of cases being sent to the collection agency and occasionally a case may get mistakenly sent but corrected immediately upon notification of the error. Mistakes happen. No office in the county is immune to making mistakes.
When I first took office, the starting salary for a deputy clerk was $9.50 per hour for a 35 hour week (take home pay = $332.50/week). I tried to convince the County Board to raise their starting pay to at least $10.00 per hour but all the County Board was willing to pay was $9.79 per hour which is where the starting salary is at this date. It’s difficult to retain employees to work for this amount when they can go somewhere else and make more money.
The majority of the employees have left due to finding better paying jobs, one girl moved back home to Kankakee, and yes, I fired some employees due to excessive absences, failing to follow instructions after repeated training and one for improper use of her e-mail account during working hours. I had a couple of really bad years due to the fact that I wasn’t able to hire people with a legal background due to the salary being so low.
I believe that DeWitt County residents deserve conscientious, hard-working employees who have good attendance. I have had many DeWitt County residents and attorneys remark to me that they appreciate the courteous, respectful and competent help they receive from my staff. My current staff is the best staff I’ve had yet. You can sling mud at me all you want but please don’t criticize my employees because they don’t deserve it.
Before I took office I knew several of the past county board members; I count Keith Koons as part of our family because my daughter dated for several years and is now married to his nephew. I have known Pete Daugherty and Sherrie Brown for a long time. I’m not going to allow anyone to choose my friends for me – that would be puppetry.
The sign in my office was meant as a joke. If it offended anyone, I apologize. However, most people looked at it and laughed because they knew it was a joke or they didn’t notice it at all.
I am committed to running a clean, honest and honorable campaign. It’s disappointing that my opponent has chosen to do otherwise.
Libel is a published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation. The allegations that my opponent has made are irresponsible, incorrect and insulting.
So much for being competent and ethical.
The March 15 primary election is fast approaching, and I want to encourage DeWitt County residents to get out and vote for Michelle Van Valey for DeWitt County Circuit Clerk.
Since taking office, incumbent Pam Barnes has led an office wrought with dysfunction and questionable staffing decisions that affect the taxpayers. It's time for a change.
Hiring and training new people costs the county money and that's exactly what Barnes has done since she took office. Instead of cross-training employees and working to manage their workload, Barnes has fired or lost 12 employees in the three years she's managed the circuit clerk's office. Those employees that do stay are treated with disrespect and are ridiculed when seeking Barnes' guidance.
Barnes also seems to favor only family, as her daughter-in-law was hired, and shortly thereafter was promoted to bookkeeper. What's more distressing is the fact that Barnes and her daughter-in-law serve as the only two signatures necessary on county checks.
Barnes was supported by the Reform Coalition, which counts former board chair Sherrie Brown, and board members Terry Hoffman and Ron Savage as members. These people drained our county's coffers, putting us in financial crisis. Even though Brown, Hoffman and Savage currently sit on the county board, they refuse to work with other board members and are leaving their constituents underrepresented.
I urge you to help make DeWitt County government better by voting Van Valey March 15.
The current Democratic Party and debates remind me of going to a family gathering. One candidate seems to be the grandfatherly type who loved you as a child, still cares about your well-being, gave you straight answers when you asked him some of life’s toughest questions, and seems annoyed when he has to deal with stupidity.
The other candidate appears to be the aunt who occasionally comes to family gatherings. She’s nice enough, and very competent, but you don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling around her. She talks a lot about her career and what she has done.
The family knows not to mention her husband’s philandering when she is around. She remained the “good wife” and didn’t divorce him years ago. Some family members think that she made that choice to further her own career.
Darrell L. Sy
Fairview Heights, IL