September 2001.
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September 2001 news

September 2

At a Tuesday night meeting, the city council will take up in executive session the placement of the new city well. The city was advised by engineers at Farnsworth & Wylie to place the new well in the Westside Park which is immediately west of the city water department. This proposal was met with objections because of the potential of having to bring in heavy rigs to do maintenance in the park.

The city was investigating the possiblity of purchasing some land immediatley south of the water works on West Fourth Street. The plan included putting in an access road to a farm field adjacent to the property. Larry Stith, who lives next to the proposed site voiced his objection to having a farm road put in next to his property.

Public Works Supervisor Charlie McGuire voiced his opinion that the Westside Park would be the best location since it is closest to the water works and would have fewer utility lines to contend with when running a line to the water works. McGuire said going south to the lot on West Fourth Street would require more work to run water lines. McGuire said if the park is not chosen, the city could also purchase a lot at the corner of Fifth and Jefferson for the new well.

Joe Limbaugh, a member of the Minonk 4th of July Committee, asked the city council for permission to move the annual July 4th celebration to Sutton Park. He said that Sutton Park would be an ideal spot for the celebration. Sutton Park is the strip of land than runs north from Seventh Street on the east side of Chestnut Street all the way to the curve at the north edge of town.

Limbaugh indicated that the annual event has outgrowned its current location at Veterans Park at the northeast edge of town. He said that the car show continues to grow and the carnival needs more space to put up the new rides that are now available. In addition, the number of people who come to see the fireworks continues to grow.

The 4th of July committee has begun planning for 2002 and needs to have the city's approval fairly soon since the infrastructure needs to be in place in order for the event to move forward. The committee meets bi-monthly until the end of the year and then every month until July. Limbaugh indicated that more parking would be available at the new site and public safety will be easier to accommodate. In addition, there could be additional revenues for local businesses that choose to stay open downtown during the 4th of July events.

Limbaugh said that the beer tent would be placed in the city parking lot across from city hall. The ground north of the medical building on Seventh Street could be used for parking. In addition, plans are to close Chestnut Street periodically at night in order to have the car show and teen dances, etc.

To plan for the event, Limbaugh requested the city to provide six picnic tables, a drinking fountain, a flag pole, and a power supply from one of the utlity poles. In addition, he asked the city to consider leveling the gravel at the city parking lot or even tar and chip the lot so that cleanup can be facilitated after the 4th of July events.

Limbaugh said that 2002 will be the best 4th of July event yet and said that the city has played an important role in helping with event and it is appreciated by the committee.

Mayor Mark Spencer asked Limbaugh to provide some costs estimates for the improvements so that the council could then make a decision on the request.

The city council approved the purchase of a new base radio used by the city workers as well as the ambulance squad, police and fire department. The current radio is not functioning properly and the ambulance squad can sometimes not be reached by the dispatch office in Eureka. The new radio costs $1973 and will give immdediate relief to the problem. However, the council may allocate more money in next year's budget to purchase a repeater for the radio that will eliminate the need for a telephone line that is costing the city $200 a month. The $7843 system will also eliminate the danger of a cut telephone line.

The council will take up in an executive session a City Liability Policy that will spell out guidelines for determining liability for water or sewer backup in residential property. The policy specifies that all liability claims are to go directly to the city administrator who will then forward the claims to the insurance company who then makes the final decision on the liabilty claims. The city council will no longer be involved in the decision-making process. Also, the city adminstrator said that he was advised by the city's attorney that the city council can override or change any ruling made by the zoning board if that board's decison is appealed by a resident.

City Administrator Trent Smith said that the city is adopting a new health insurance policy for city employees that will result in a 6% increase in premiums. The old insurance policy premiums were to increase by 38% and prompted a review of the insurance policies. The new policy eliminates the $200 deductable for office calls to a doctor and is replaced with a $20 payment for each call by the patient.

Alderperson Sherry Stalter requested the council to approve a transfer of $3000 from the dirt and lime fund to a fund for purchasing new playground equipment to be placed in the west side of Veterans Park. The total cost of the equipment is estimated around $12,000. The council approved the request.

Alderman Bill Koos recommended that the city officially give a name to Sutton Park so that it can be referenced when applying for grants. Mayor Spencer said he would contact the city attorney to determine the procedure for naming the park.

Ridgeview improved its record to 3-0 by defeating Fieldcrest 44-12 Friday night. Ridgeview outgained the Knights in total yards 416-182. Fieldcrest's Drew Glowacki ran for 65 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries while Shaun Manning completed 8 of 18 passes for 82 yards and one touchdown. Andy Swenson had a touchdown on a 33 yard reception for the Knights.

September 9

Jude Robert Freitag sentenced Fieldcrest High School teacher Judy McNamara to 20 months of conditional discharge for her conviction of slapping a student. McNamara was also fined $500 and ordered to perform 80 hours of community service.

McNamara was convicted on July 15 of slapping Jessica Imm of Toluca on January 15, 2000.

McNamara will not have to serve any jail time but she will have a permanent record. Defense attorney Paul Welch asked for court supervision because it has the option of removing the conviction from McNamara's record after completion of the sentence.

No announcement has been made yet by the Fieldcrest administration regarding the sentence.

Minonk resident Don Sweeney saw Air Force One and the escort jets fly over Minonk on the way back to Washington, DC in wake of the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington on September 11. Here is his account.

On a day when all flights were grounded nation wide, I was at the Shell station filling up like everyone else in town. On the western horizon, coming toward Minonk I,(along with several other people) saw several jet trails heading almost due east. I saw one large airliner which I believe to be Air Force 1, as CNN had just announced before I left the house that the President had just left Omaha. This large airliner had two small jets along it's port beam. As I watched, two more jets converged on them from the north and one converged on them from the south. The original two small jets did an immediate u-turn and the large jet continued toward Minonk with the three new "escorts" moving very fast to catch up as the large air liner did not slow down for the "hand off". They flew directly over the Shell station. Air Force 1 was so high we could not see anything but 4 streams coming from the engines. However as the escort passed overhead they were just low enough to see the sleek outline of Military fighter jets, and they were really hummin'. They were going so fast they appeared to be an inch ahead of their own con-trails as seen from the ground. By the time I got home all that was left was the con-trails to take a picture of.

Chenoa defeated Fieldcrest 22-20 at Minonk Friday night. Drew Glowacki scored two touchdowns and rushed for 110 yards for the Knights. Ryne Haag scored the other Fieldcrest touchdown on a 30 yard pass from quarterback Shaun Manning. Manning completed 6 of 12 passes for 157 yards while Haag caught four passes for 100 yards.

Fieldcrest is now 1-3.

The Fieldcrest School District enrollment increased from last year's total. The figures for each school are shown below:

High school - 362
Elementary South (K-4) - 249
Elementary West (K-4) - 125
Elementary East (K-5) - 154
Middle West (5-8) - 199
Middle East (6-8) - 159

The high school figures includes 129 freshman, 84 sophomores, 64 juniors and 85 seniors.

September 16

At its normal Monday night meeting the Minonk City Council voted to charge a $10 fee for sending out disconnection notices for water to a resident. City Administrator Trent Smith said that the city currently sends out 100 notices a year and is time consuming. The fee is intended to discourage residents from waiting to pay their bill until a disconnection notice is sent.

A request to annex a parcel of land to the city was submitted by John Durre. He wants to build on a lot that fronts the south side of First Street across from Maple Avenue. Durre wants the property to be annexed so that he can get city sewer and water. The council is taking his request into consideration and will make a decision soon.

City Administrator Trent Smith advised the city council to divert the proposed storm sewer that is to run along the old IC tracks from Seventh Street to First Street. Smith said that instead of running the sewer down the middle of the block it is better to move the sewer line 50 feet west toward the curbside so that future business buildings will not cover the sewer line. The council approved the change.

In other news, the council was told that the county will stripe old Route 51 from Route 251 to the curve north of Minonk. Previously, the city was planning on hiring the striping to be done.

Alderperson Sherry Stalter said that the Parks and Recreation Committee wants to officially name the land north of Eighth Street along Chestnut Street as Sutton's Park. The city administrator is looking into the procedure for the naming.

Alderman Dean Barth of the Adhoc Committee on Westside Park Pavilion said that there will be a meeting with architect Chuck Fischer on Wednesday, September 26, at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall to discuss preparing blueprints for the proposed Westside Park Pavilion.

Public Works Supervisor Charlie McGuire reported that the City of Minonk was taken off of the EPA's watch list for water quality. The city no longer has to provide water samples to the EPA. The city can go back to their normal water testing schedule

Fieldcrest Superintendent Michael Stagliano addressed the city council on his concern over the litter problem in Minonk. Mr. Stagliano said that as a new resident of the city the litter problem is especially noticeable. He said that he found the Minonk area a very friendly place and that Minonk has the potential to grow significantly. He is building a home in Minonk and wants to help make the city a better place to live.

Mr. Stagliano said that he would provide the resources of the Fieldcrest school district to aid the city in its cleanup indicating that students held for detention will not sit in a classroom but rather will be put to work cleaning the streets. He also suggested that the city look into hiring a retired person to do routine and periodic cleanup in the city. He indicated that other cities already have such programs.

City Administrator Trent Smith presented a proposed revised fee schedule to be considered by the city council. The proposal was originally developed last year and Smith wanted the council to make a decision on the new fees. The proposal included raising the building permit fee from 2 cents per $100 of valuation of the building to be 12 cents per square foot of building space and to also increase the extension fee to $40. Smith felt that the 12 cents per foot was too high and would result in a fee of $240 on a 2000 square foot building. The proposal was turned over to the finance committee where a new fee will be determined.

Heritage Manor in cooperation with the City of Minonk held a "Coast" Day ceremony on Thursday, September 20, at Veterans Park in Minonk. "Coast" stands for "Citizens of America Stand Together". The purpose of the ceremony was to provide support for the American Red Cross for the disaster relief in New York City and the Pentagon.

Prior to the ceremony there was a line of people a half block long waiting to buy a balloon for $1 and to also buy items from the bake sale that followed the balloon line. Over 900 balloons were sold and $2305 was collected for the Red Cross.

The ceremony started with a prayer by Reverend Dan Gansch-Boythe of the United Church of Christ. Jim Meyer of the Village Aires then sang our national anthem. That was followed by The Pledge Allegiance to the Flag led by the local cubscouts and brownie troops.

Mayor Mark Spencer gave a speech in which he cited that our generation has a chance to be the next greatest generation in reference to the "Greatest generation" tag that has been applied to those who fought in World War II. He mentioned that the name of Minonk means "good place" and the fact that so many people showed up for the disaster relief benefit indicates that Minonk also is a place for good people.

Next, a military color guard held a ceremony. That was followed by several patriotic songs sung by the Village Aires who were bedecked in stars and stripes vests for the occasion. Reverend Harry Sanders of the Bapstist Church gave a closing prayer.

The Village Aires sang a closing song after which everyone released their balloons into the sky. The hundreds of balloons drifted toward the northwest over the city cementery.

An estimated 400 people showed up for the ceremony which was planned just a few days prior and was initiated by workers at the Heritage Manor Nursing Home. Those who planned the event are to be commended for their dedication and hard work in organizing the event. In addition, the citizens of Minonk should be proud that we are the first community to hold such an event.

To see more pictures of the ceremony, click here.

Fieldcrest scored six straight touchdowns Friday night to beat Tri-Point in a game at Piper City. Shaun Manning tossed four TD passes to pace the victors. Ryne Haag caught three touchdown passes for 7, 38, and 50 yards while Tyler Sunken caught a pass for 38 yards.

Jeff Crone returned an interception for 83 yards and Jordan Castrejon made the remaining touchdown on a 53 yard run. Drew Glowacki carried the ball 18 times for 73 yards.

The Knights are now 2-3 overall and 1-0 in the Midstate Conference.

September 23

There will be an open house for the 100th birthday of a former Minonk resident. Blanche Stepler lived in Minonk from 1972 until 1996 when she moved to Lexington to live with her daughter, Nelda Parker (former Minonk resident). She attended the Baptist church in Minonk.

Her great-grand- daughter, Teresa Hastings (Hinkle) and great-great-grandson, Jacob Hastings are now living in Minonk. Her grand-daughter, Phyllis Parker-Hinkle and husband Dave Hinkle are also former Minonk residents.

The open house is Sunday, September 30, 2001 from 2 to 4pm. It will be at the Church of Christ Uniting in Lexington, IL, located at 108 N. Pine St., one block north of the corner of Main and Pine.

We received an email and pictures from Mary (Warnke) Ling who lives near the crash site of Flight 93 that went down near Pittsburgh on September 11. Here is her account.

"To introduce myself, I am a 1st cousin of Jari Lynn Oncken, living in Somerset, PA. My home was near Washburn and have many dear family and friends in Woodford Co. I enjoy Minonk Talk very much and thank you for this website. My home is 8 miles west of Shanksville and the location of Flight 93 crash. I am fairly sure that a few minutes before the crash, I saw the plane flying east over my house. Needless to say this tragedy has hit us all in so many ways. The FBI finished their work Monday, and now we can drive fairly near the site, even though the Coroner is completing his work. Until the area is reaclimated to its natural state, it is fenced in and off limits. I also attached a picture of one of the temporary memorials, located where the news media, Red Cross and Salvation Army worked long and tireless hours, serving the State Police, FBI, and many volunteers for 2 weeks. God bless the heros on Flight 93, and everyone who gave their life in rescue efforts."

In an interview this week new Fieldcrest Superintendent Dr. Michael Stagliano says he is excited with his new position and looks forward to the challenges and the opportunities in the Fieldcrest community. Dr. Stagliano is impressed with the friendliness of the community and he and his wife Bridgett are making a long term commitment by building a house in Minonk because of its accessability.

He indicated that even though he will live in Minonk he emphasized that he will be involved in all of the communities in the Fieldcrest school district. He feels that it is important for him to be involved in community activities, especially since the school system is a vital and integral part of the community. He found it unusual for Minonk to not have any active social organizations such as a Rotary Club.

Dr. Stagliano says there is a lot of potential for the Fieldcrest school district and plans to move Fieldcrest to a stronger curriculum. He also feels that it is important to teach students to become contributing members to society in addition to mastering their studies. In keeping with this philosophy, Dr. Stagliano has already began a drive to clean up the litter in the city of Minonk. Being a newcomer to the community he was struck by the general state of dishevelment in the city, especially at Woody's Truck Stop at the I-39 interchange. He already has addressed the Minonk City Council on the need to establish a regular litter cleanup program.

Regarding the status of Fielcrest teacher Judy McNamara who was convicted of a misdemeanor for slapping a student, Dr. Stagliano indicated that she is currently teaching P. E. courses. In order for her to return to coaching she will have to fulfill certain obligations of an agreement between her and the school board. She has until the second week in October to decide if she will agree to fulfill those obligations.

Dr. Stagliano is sympathetic to the Minonk and MDR trophy issue that has been simmering for over a year. Since Toluca and Wenona have found a place for their trophies he feels that it is important for Minonk to have a place for their trophies as well. He feels that it is appropriate to display some of the more significant trophies from Minonk's past in the Fieldrest High School gymnasium. "A sense of tradition is important to the school district," said Dr. Stagliano. "Heritage and culture are very important to a community. Sports is the thread that ties all things together and surpasses class and economic boundaries. It is important to have a legacy that ties the present with the past. All achievements, whether academic or sports should be recognized and displayed."

He recognizes that it is impossible to display all of the trophies. He recommends that a citizens committee and the school board jointly select the significant trophies that should be displayed at the gymnasium.

Dr. Stagliano feels that the Minonk community is primed for growth and sees great potential for the community as well as for the school district. He said that the growth of the community and the school district is intertwined and he looks forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

Homecoming was celebrated this weekend at Fieldcrest. The activities started Friday afternoon with a pep rally at the high school from 1:45 - 2:15 p.m.

The homecoming parade started at 3:15 at the high school parking lot. Friday night the Fieldcrest Knights beat Gridley 41-12 in the homecoming game. At half-time the king and queen along with the court was presented. In addition, the Fieldcrest High School band put on a show for the fans.

The 2001 Homecoming King is Tyler Sunken and the Homecoming Queen is Amy Pelz. Freshmen attendants were Staci Hovey and Justin Arndt, sophomore attendants were Lindsey Kolb and Jacob Peters, and junior attendants were Sarah Harms and Jamie Buss. The senior court members were Ashley Flahaven, Jessica Imm, Ashlie Kolb, Amy Pelz, Drew Glowacki, Kyle Lutz, Tyler Sunken and Andy Swenson.

The homecoming dance was held Saturday night at the high school gym. The theme was "Safari Nights" with entertainment provided by DJ Justin Orbutt.

A budget of $6.7 million was approved the Fieldcrest school board at the monthly board meeting on September 20.

The education fund has a deficit of $270,076 and the building fund has a deficit of $218,542 while the bond and interest fund amounts to $544,542 and the working cash fund has $61,458. The education fund is 80% of the total budget.

Superintendent Stagliano said that the school district will spend $7,035,883 this year even though the budget is only $6,765,807. The district has one year of reserves left to cover the deficit.

In other news, the Elementary West building is 90% complete and that bids for the Fieldcrest South addition must be received by October 2 in the office of Russ Middleton, the school architect.

The Fieldcrest Knights won their homecoming game over Gridley 41 to 12. Quarterback Shaun Manning passed for four touchdowns while completing 8 of 11 passes for 161 yards. Drew Glowacki rushed for 127 yards on 19 carries. Tyler Sunken caught 4 passes including 1 touchdown.

The Knights are now 3-3 overall and 2-0 in the Midstate Conference.

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