June 2001.
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June 2001 news

June 4

Gerald and Doris Rients of Flanagan will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary at Mona's in Toluca on June 4. The family dinner will be hosted by their children. They were married June 3, 1951 at St. Paul's church in Minonk. Lorene Rients Weppler and Julius Folkerts were their attendants.

They are the parents of Steven of Pontiac and Howard of Towanda. A son Lee is deceased. They have four grandchildren.


The Minonk Fourth of July Committee has released the schedule of events for this year's celebration. This promises to be the biggest July 4th celebration yet with more events than ever. Events will begin with a hayrack ride at 6:00 p.m. Friday, June 29. Events are scheduled for each day from June 29 through the 4th culminating with the fireworks display at 9:00 p.m. Wednesday night.

A 3 on 3 basketball tournament will be held on Saturday at the Westside Park starting at 8:00 a.m. A bocci ball tournament will be held on Sunday, July 1, at 1:00 p.m.

A carnival and a beer tent will be set up at Veterans Park. Different bands will be playing at the beer tent each night. A car show will be held between 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday.

The parade will start at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 4. The theme this year is "Simpler Times". The rest of the day will be filled with the traditional Fourth of July events such as the 3-legged race, tug-a-war, watermelon eating contest, and cake walk.

For a complete list of this years Fourth of July events click here.


The Minonk-Dana High School graduating class of 1951 held their 50th reunion Sat., May 26th at Mona's Restaurant in Toluca,IL. Twenty-three former classmates and two teachers attended. Eighteen were accompanied by their spouse or a friend.

The evening was spent recalling events of their highschool years and becoming reacquainted with classmates some of whom they haven't seen for 50 years. High School picture buttons helped with identification.

People attended from Florida, Utah, Michigan,Wisconsin, New Jersey, Tennessee, St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois. Many of the group met for breakfast at Woody's Restaurant the following morning.


The remaining boxes of Minonk and MDR trophies have been retrieved from the bus barn and stored in a building in downtown Minonk. Volunteers are needed to help clean and restore the trophies and to take an inventory.

There are 45 boxes of trophies to be cleaned so many volunteers are needed. After the trophies are cleaned and inventoried, a place for their display will be determined.

If you wish to volunteer to help clean the trophies, call Bob Cufaude at 432-3029. Do your part to help find a final resting place for the trophies.


The Minonk City Council learned at its Monday night meeting June 4 that City Well #3 is still not free from contamination after weeks of cleaning and treatment. Public Works Supervisor Charlie McGuire reported that Meadow Equipment apparently did not treat the well as was originally intended. Instead of inserting the chemical treatment in 20 foot increments starting from the bottom, Meadow Equipment employees instead directed all of the chemicals to the bottom of the well. Tests for bacteria taken after this treatment revealed that bacteria was still in the well.

McGuire said that on advice from engineers Farnsworth & Wylie the city employees dumped a chlorine treatment in the top of the well in hopes of saturating the well with the chemicals all the way down to the bottom. Tests will be taken again this Saturday and again next Monday to determine if this treatment will eridicate the bacteria.

Mayor Spencer said that it may be advisable to hold up payment to Meadow Equipment if it can be determined that they did not treat the well with chemicals as specified in the contract made with the company.

McGuire stated that there remain other methods of treating the well for contanimation including air bursting the bacteria or installing a chlorinator at the pump house. The chlorinator treatment was not advised by McGuire since it would be very expensive. Alderman Dean Barth expressed dismay that Farnsworth & Wylie did not give the city other options to consider before.

The city council approved a request by Maxiis Internet to install two antennas at the top of the Minonk water tower in order to provide wireless internet connection to residents of the Minonk area. Maxiis representative Jeff McCaskey told the council that they would install the antennas and provide the city with a free computer and a free internet connection in exchange for using the water tower as an antenna base.

McCaskey said that the installation of a wireless connection for computer users will result in download speeds 20 times faster than through a telephone connection. The cost of the equipment for a user to hookup to the wireless connection would be $300 for equipment needed for the computer and $30 a month for a hookup fee which is $10 more than a telephone connection. McCaskey pointed out that the wirless connection would eliminate the use of telephone for an internet connection. McCaskey said they hope to have the wireless service ready by July 1. He indicated that Toluca and Flanagan are already hooked up for wireless.

The Seneca FFA Chapter asked the city to consider buying disease free elm trees for city-wide planting. Public Works Supervisor Charlie McGuire recommended that the city plant trees on the owner's side of the sidewalk in any tree replacement project so that the tree roots will not get into the sewer lines. Alderman Bill Koos recommended against planting elm trees along city streets since they get very big and can interfere with utilities. He recommended planting them in open areas. The council asked that a price be quoted on the trees before any decision is made on buying the trees.

The council approved a quote from a local contractor to do straight line striping and turn arrow painting on the streets in the Caroline Development for $354.

Alderman Barth said that the city is waiting for a quote from a local mechanic on repairing the air conditioning on a 1988 pickup truck. Barth also indicated that a proposal for replacing the current 1 ton truck used for mosquito spraying will be submitted by July 2.

Sean Cunningham read a list of proposed ordinance changes for the city as proposed by the Public Safety Committee. The council approved the submission of the following ordinance changes: (1) Speed limits between 1st and 4th streets on Chestnut Street be decreased from 35 mph to 30 mph; (2) The burning law be changed to say that all fires must be extinguished by midnight. (3) Place a 4-way stop at 6th and Lincoln to replace the 2-way stop sign. The committee felt that this was needed because of the grade school pedestrian traffic and also because that corner has visibility problems.

The council approved a request by the Annual Dollars Against Diabetes campaign committee to allow the collection of money at the corner of Fifth and Chestnut streets. Alderman Barth and Matthew Fink voted against the request citing that it was too dangerous to allow collecting money from street traffic.

The council approved the appointment of Connie Jenkins, Marcia Stolz and Priscilla Ryan to the Filger Library Board.

The council voted to replace the brick sidewalk in front of city hall with a concrete walk.

June 11

John Harr of Lowpoint has started a pallet making business in the former Goodwin Bros. Ford garage building at Fourth and Chestnut. Harr and his wife Patty have been making hard-to-find oak pallets for 4 major customers. Harr says he can't make the pallets fast enough. Harr started the venture on a part-time basis but finds that the demand for his pallets has led to a full time operation and he expects to expand his operations as the demand increases.

Harr said that Minonk was the only place where he could find reasonable rental facilities for his new company, Priced Right Pallets. Their number is 309/432-3661.

June 18

the minonk city council learned at their regular monday night meeting that well # 3 is back online after months of treatment for bacterial infestation. bob kohlhase, a farnsworth & wylie representative, said that the epa allowed the city to start normal use of the well after the lastest test showed no significant colonies of bacteria.

Kohlhase said that the well probably became contaminated when the pump had to be pulled last December when an electrical malfunction occured. He theorized that in the process of pulling the pump that incrustation from the well casing may have been scraped loose and contained bacteria that fell into the water supply. He said if the pump needs to be pulled in the future, the well should be treated first to make sure bacteria cannot be introduced again during the procedure.

Kohlhase added that the project resulted in a clean well, albeit at a high price. Mayor Spencer asked Kohlhase about Meadow Equipment not following recommended procedures when cleaning out the well. Instead of treating the well from the bottom up in 20 foot increments, Meadow injected all of the chemicals at the bottom of the well. Kohlhase said he feels that the city has a legitimate complaint with Meadow on this performance and perhaps an adjustment in payment should be considered.

Finally, Kohlhase also felt that the city should contact ComEd about sharing expenses on the well treatment process since it was ComEd's fault that the pump had to be pulled. Because the pump was wired as an open delta system instead of a three-phase system, the pump had electrical problems and had to be pulled and the bacteria contamination was introduced during this procedure.

The council approved an IDOT Summer Road Maintenance Bid of $14,759 by the lone bidder.

Nancy Stock was appointed by the mayor to the Westside Park Pavilion Committee.

A proposal to have a partnership with the Village of Dana to provide police support was put off by the council until a later date. Alderman Bill Koos thought that Minonk had enough to handle by itself and couldn't afford the time and money to patrol other communities as well.

The council voted to pay the $250 deductable for water damage in Marilyn Hakes basement from sewer backup last winter. Alderman Koos made a motion that the Finance committee come up by September 1 with an ordinance that will cover city policy on water and sewer backup damage submitted by residents.

The council approved the removal of a tree from underneath the utility lines on the east ball diamond in Veterans Park.

The council approved the moving of a tree in the berm by Casey's store so that the store can expand their parking space that would include curbing.

Brush pickup will be the last Tuesday and Wednesday of June instead of the first Tuesday and Wednesday in July because the Wednesday in July falls on the Fourth of July.

Fire hydrants will be flushed the last week of June.

Mosquito spraying will be done next Wednesday night, June 20.

The council approved putting a stop sign at the alley behind Maple Avenue as it enters Moran Avenue.

Mayor Spencer said that three candidates for city administrator were interviewed Saturday and that the expects to make an appointment to that position in July.


The city voted Monday night to lease some land from the New Millenium Committee Center committee so that a government grant can be applied for in developing outdoor recreation facilities and parking spaces on the land. Neil Finlen, a Farnsworth & Wylie representative for the committee, said that the committee will lease the land for $100 a year until a park district can be formed, at which time the park district would take control of the land from the city.

Finlen said that the grant proposal must be submitted by July through the city. If the grant is approved, about $300,00 will be made available to the project with the other $300,000 being contributed by the New Millenium Community Center committee.

Alderman Dean Barth said that grants for an updated sewer system and a new well are more important to the city than a grant for recreational facilities. He said that the public has not been informed about the project yet and he didn't think it was appropriate for the city to get involved in a project in which the city had basically no control.

Alderman Koos wanted to make sure that the city would not be responsible for contracts undertaken on the project or in the enforcement of governmental policies. Finlen said the city would have no liability in the project. He indicated that the obtaining of the grant would give the community center the momentum it needs to elicit public interest and support. He also mentioned that the public will be given an opportunity to vote on a park district as early as next spring.

The council approved the request from the community center to lease the land at the north edge of town with Alderman Barth the sole dissenter.

Doug Melton of Farnsworth & Wylie told the city council that the Eighth Street sewer project was almost complete and all that remained was to the jet the trenches with water. The jetting was held off until Well # 3 could be brought back online. John Rupe, the contractor, will complete the project next week and will be responsible for hauling away the debris and excess fill used during the project.

Melton also indicated that Farnsworth & Wylie has completed the design of the main street sewer system which will continue on from the Eighth Street sewer system. The new sewer line would run from the corner of Eight Street south on Maple Avenue to Seventh Street and then west on the south side of Seventh to the former IC tracks along Chestnut Street. From there the line would run south to First Street. Melton was given approval by the council to go ahead and do a study on the easements that may be needed to complete the project.

Melton told the council that 4000 feet of sewer line has been televised and that quite a few problems, including blockages, leaks and cave-ins were found. He indicated that $5,000 of the allocated $12,000 for the project has been spent. He recommended that another $2,000 be spent to televise more sewer lines. He indicated that some of the sewer lines will probably have to be rebuilt.

Melton said that due to the new residential and commercial development in Minonk, that another well must be dug in order to meet EPA standards that dictate that all of the city's water needs can be handled with the largest well out of service. Currently, the city cannot meet its water demands with Well # 3 down. Melton said that a pre-application for a low interest loan has been submitted for funding the digging of well #4 that could cost well over $400,000.

June 25

At a meeting at City Hall Thursday night, Neil Finlen of Farnsworth & Wylie told the New Millenium Community Center Committee that a grant proposal for an outdoor recreational complex has been prepared and will be submitted to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by July 1. Finlen said that the committee should know by this fall if the grant proposal will be approved.

The final proposal is for a $560,00 grant that includes an eight track all-weather outdoor asphalt track encircling an athletic field that will probably be used for soccer. Also included are two asphalt parking lots, a jogging/bicycle path, a playground area with $20,000 of equipment and tennis courts. The jogging/bicycle path would connect with the linear park planned for the City of Minonk. The linear park would essentially be a walking/bicycle path that would run from the recreational complex at the north edge of town to the old Illinois Central Railroad right-of-way south to downtown Minonk. Long range plans would include connecting this path with both the high school and grade school.

The grant proposal was presented to the Fieldcrest school board at their Thursday night meeting. The board and superintendent Capasso were favorable to the proposal and indicated that the school district may be interested in using the facilities.

Finlen said that if the grant proposal is approved, construction of the recreational complex will probably be completed by next spring or early summer. He indicated that the earliest date for a park district referendum will be in the fall of 2002. If a park district is approved, the recreational complex would be run by the park district. In the meantime, the City of Minonk has signed an agreement to lease the land from the Community Center Committee until a park district can be formed. It is necessary for the city to lease the land since the city will be the govermental vehicle for submitting the proposal.

To see a layout of the proposed recreational complex, click here.


Rick Uftring announced plans to expand his company, Uftring Automotive, in the Caroline Development at the I-39 interchange. Uftring said that the building has been ordered and the materials should arrive in 6 weeks for construction.

The new building will contain 10 service bays 2 cars deep and one drive-thru service bay for oil and lubrication service. The 8600 square foot building is expected to be completed by this fall. Uftring said he will be hiring additional employees to meet the expected increase in business for his auto sales, auto repair and service and auto bodyshop.

To see a drawing of the new building, click here.


A city-wide garage sale has been set for Saturday, June 30 in Minonk. Anyone wishing to be included in the garage sale can register at Doc's Sweet Shop at 570 N. Chestnut Street. There is a $3 registration fee. The deadline for registering is June 22.


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