March 2001.
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March 2001 news

March 5

U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood and area state legislators announced on friday, March 2, their support for plan d of the peoria-to-chicago highway. this plan would turn illinois 29 into a four-lane expressway from chillicothe to interstate 80. the plan would not be designated as an interstate highway and may still include some stops.

"After many years of meetings and planning we have agreed - and many communities and citizens have affirmed - that a four lane Illinos 29 expressway is the best option for the Heart of Illinois Highway," said LaHood. The cost of the project is estimated to be $500 million and could take more than 10 years to complete.

The other plans rejected included Illinois 116 to I-55 at Pontiac and Illinois 24 to I-55 at Chenoa. Both of these routes met much opposition from citizens living along these routes because of the amount of farmland that would be used up by the proposed highway. "We made the judgment that the Illinois 29 option was possible", said LaHood. "When you look at the record of the public hearings, you see people were upset with all of the proposed alignments."

Joseph Crowe, a district engineer with the Illinois Department of Transportation, said the project will now move into the engineering phase, which will be paid for with federal funds and money from Governor George Ryan's Illinois FIRST initiative.

State Rep. Keith Sommer, R-Mackinaw, said he supported the choice despite the fact that the Illinois 29 plan will most benefit towns west of the river, such as Sparland, Lacon and Henry.

"We don't want people to say they got their way and we didn't get ours," said Sommer. "This is just a piece of the overall transportation plan for the area. It's just the beginning.

Beginning March 1st, the Fieldcrest High School gymnasium, closed a few weeks ago due to vandalism and theft, will re-open for public use at two different times during the week.

The supervised gym will be available for public use on Wednesdays (7:00 to 9:00 pm) and Sundays (2:00 to 5:00 pm).

Supervisors will collect $1 from each patron to cover costs.

The Minonk Ambulance Squad will have a spaghetti supper on Saturday, March 10, 4-7 pm at the St. Patrick's School.

Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 7-12, and children 6 and under are free. The supper is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. Proceeds go toward the purchase of new equipment.

Courses through the "College of Fieldcrest" are, again, available to the public. Interested citizens may enroll at any of the district's offices. The fee for each course is $40. Each course is scheduled from 6 to 8 in the evening.

Seats for the following courses remain open: MS Word Level II (March 13, 20, 27, and April 3; FHS), MS Excel Level II (March 15, 22, 29, and April 5; Elementary South), Web Design (March 5, 12, 26, and 29), and MS Publisher (April 10, 17, 24, and May 1; Middle West).

March 12

Life Line Screening, a professional, non-referral vascular service, will be providing tests at Minonk City Hall on Tuesday, March 13. The tests offered are carotoid vascular test, adominal aortic aneurysm test, ankle brachial index test, and osteoporosis test.

These tests are helpful in determining if a person is at risk for strokes or heart attacks. Each tests costs $35 or all 3 vascular tests can be done for $95.

You must pre-register for the tests by calling 1-800-407-4557. You can also check out their web site at

March 12(continued)

Beginning March 4, Dr. Marissa C. Batayola, M. D., will be available to see patients at the OSF Medical Clinic 120 E. Seventh Street in Minonk. She joins Kim Nord-Bowman, family nurse practitioner. Dr. Batayola will focus on managing long term health care for adults, while Ms. Nord-Bowman places special emphasis on pediatrics.

Dr. Batayola will also be practicing in Pontiac. Those who want an appointment or just want to get acquainted should call 432-2515.

At its regular council meeting Monday night, March 5, the Minonk City Council scheduled a special work session with the Millenium Community Center Committee on March 15 at 7:30 pm at City Hall. The purpose of the session is to inform the city of the plans for a proposed community center. The public is invited to attend the meeting.

City Manager Phil Cotter indicated that a water leak has been corrected in the City's water system. Cotter stated that during the winter it was noticed that water usage increased by 50,000 gallons a day. A private contractor was hired to search for water leaks. A leak was found in a cracked water main on the east side of town. All of the water was running directly into a tile and draining into the city sewer system. Cotter said that the leak has been corrected and water usage is being monitored.

Tom Rossman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Rossman of Minonk, gave trick shot demonstrations in pool this weekend at the Home Show in the Interstate center at Bloomington. Rossman is known as "Dr. Cue" and is recognized as one of the top trick shot artists in the world.

He and his wife Marty spend 9 months of the year on the road giving over 200 shows and clinics. Their travels have taken them as far as Russia. Rossman started playing at the age of 10 and his competed in all levels of pocket and 3-cushion billiards in his career.

After being a collegiate champion from 1967-1972 he has been a professional pool player since 1977. He was the North American Professional Trick Shot Champion in 1997 and World "Artistic Pool" Champion in 1998.

In addition to his pool playing, Tom has written a best selling book on pocket billiards called "Rack Up A Victory" and also gives lessons and sells instruction videos. Tom and his wife Marty relax in their home in Cloberdale, IN when not on the road.

The trial of a Fieldcrest High School teacher accused of slapping a student will go on with the judge currently assigned to the case after a defense motion to remove the judge was denied this week.

No new date for a final pretrial hearing has been set for Judy McNamara, a former girls basketball coach at Fieldcrest. When the trial does go forward it will be heard by Associate Judge Robert Freitag.

McNamara's attorney Paul Welcah of Bloomington, said Friday that he had received notice from Circuit Judge Donald Bernardi that his motion to remove Freitag had been denied.

Welch made that motion January 9, citing Freitag's prior working relationship with Woodford County State's Attorney Michael Stroh.

Freitag and Stroh worked together while both were assistant prosecutors with the McLean County State's Attorney office.

McNamara was charged last summer with aggravated battery. She was accused of slapping a 16 year old student during halftime of a basketball game January 15, 2000.

If convicted of aggravated battery, a Class 5 felony, McNamara could face up to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine. On Sept. 8, McNamara pleaded innocent to the charge.

A boil order for the City of Minonk that was effective March 12 ended on March 16. The order was issued so that city workers could do maintenance on the city's water system.

March 19

At a meeting at City Hall Thursday night, March 15, the New Millennia Community Building Committee presented its proposed plans for a community center to the Minonk City Council.

Committee president Ned Leiken said the project involves two phases. The first phase would include a 6 lane regulation size swimming pool, a gymnasium that would also be used for banquets and receptions, a second floor walking track, an exercise room, classroom, food pantry, craft room, kitchen and office. The second phase would be completed when funds become available and would include a 350 seat theater and more complete banquet facilities. The Farnsworth Group, architectural engineers for the project, suggested that a metal building be built in order to meet the requirements of a large building span at an economical cost.

The committee has been incorporated as a nonprofit organization and has purchased 10 acres of land at the curve on the north edge of Minonk. The first project would be to install a soccer field and a baseball diamond at the site. This project can be funded from a grant from the Department of Natural Resources.

Leiken said that funds in a trust from the sale of the Lida and Simater homes to Heritage Manor would be able to pay for the mortgage on construction of the building. The cost of the building is estimated to be around $2,500,00. Farnsworth representative Neil Finlen estimated the annual operating costs for the community center to be around $350,000.

The committee would like to submit grant proposals through the City of Minonk to help procure funds for the building of the outdoor athletic facilities, including bike trails. There are no grants available for buildings. Alderman Dean Barth questioned the appropriateness of having the city being the medium for the grants, especially since the city would have to write the grants but will not have control over any proceeds from the grants. Finlen replied that Farnsworth is capable of writing the grants for the group.

The committee indicated that the Fieldcrest school district will be contacted to see if they are interested in providing financial assistance in exchange for use of the facility.

The committee is recommending that a park district be established in order to provide some of the revenue to fund the operating costs. Even if taxed at the maximum rate allowed for a park district the increased tax on a homeowner with a $150,000 home would only be $60 a year. The committee indicated that it would like to put a referendum for a park district on the ballot for next year's elections.

Other sources of revenue for the operating costs would come from membership fees. In addition, it is possible that local hospitals may want to rent the facilities for their therapy services. Also, day care center services may also want to rent space in the facility.

The committee plans to make a formal presentation to the public in July. If the park district is approved next Spring, application for construction bids will be sent out. The goal is to begin construction in late 2002.

Committee member Bob Hakes said that the community center would be a tremendous asset for the community and would help draw new residents and businesses. Rosemary Oldenburg, another committee member, said that we need to do something for the young people in this community.

The Minonk Businessmen's Association met Monday, March 12, and discussed handing out brochures to Motel 6 customers, holding Friday evening fests and finishing painting the downtown buildings.

Motel 6 management has asked for brochures to hand out to its customers. The graphics arts class at Fieldcrest High School has been putting a brochure together.

Bob Hakes and Jack Jochums are forming a committee to hold Friday evening fests. The first one will be on June 15 from 6-10 pm and will include a theme, musical entertainment, wood carving demonstrations, face painting and ballon animals. The downtown businesses will remain open throughout the event.

If the June fest is successful, subsequent ones will be held in August and October.

Minonk Bowling Lanes, Thomas L. Janssen's law office and Kurt K. Nelson's optometry building will be painted by June, according to Jay Jochums.

The Fieldcrest Knights basketball team finished the season with a 12-14 record. The Lady Knights finished the season with an 8-20 record.

March 26

At its regular Monday night meeting, the Minonk City Council approved the payment of $4858.80 to Service Master for water damage cleanup to Minonk residents Elsie McNamara, Marilyn Hakes and Brian Brown. The city hopes to recover these costs from its insurance carrier but there is no indication if, in fact, that will occur according to City Manager Phil Cotter. Previously, the city had approved payment to Brian Brown for furniture damage as well.

Alderman Dean Barth, who voted against the motion, asked the council if people who had damage in the past could also seek compensation from the city for damages. Mayor Anderson said that it would have to be on a case by case basis. Barth replied that if the city has to pay Brian Brown for his damages then they should have to pay everyone for water damage to their basements. Councilperson Shelly Butler also questioned whether the city could set up some kind of policy so that future incidents could be handled easier. City Manager Phil Cotter re-emphasized that each claim would have to be handled on a case by case basis.

The council approved the payment of $1500 to Farnsworth and Wylie for inspecting the condition of the Young's Chevrolet garage which is adjacent to city hall. Alderman Spencer indicated that the council is interested in the purchase of the building for storage use of city equipment. The building is to be auctioned off on April 7. Aldermen Barth and Wayne Tucker voted against the motion. Both felt that the building was in too bad a condition to warrant its purchase and renovation.

The council also approved the payment of $5,000 to Leak Detection Services, Inc. for detecting water leaks in the city's water lines. The stopping of the leaks reduced the water usage by 50,000 gallons day. This reduced water usage enables the city to be able to take well # 3 offline so that it can be cleaned and repaired while letting wells # 1 and 2 perform the pumping.

The City Manager estimated that the cost to the city for the annual city spring cleanup on April 10-11 will be $4,500 to $5,000.

Meadow equipment, who replaced well #3 last December, felt that there was too much voltage fluctuation to the pumps. The council approved the payment of $3149.42 to ComEd for installing a larger transformer to correct the problem.

The council was informed by City Manager Phil Cotter that unless the city appoints a private company to test the city's water periodically, the EPA will do the testing for a sum of $7,000 a year. The council approved the selection of PDC of Peoria to do the testing at a savings of $13,000 over 3 years versus allowing the EPA to do the testing. The contract runs for 3 years.

The mayor wanted to assure the public that the city crew will be doing its best to repair the large number of potholes that have occured this year due to the extreme weather conditions this winter.

City Manager Phil Cotter indicated that the city will be trying some new computer software for its accounting systems. The vendor of the present software is no longer supporting city accounting systems.

Cotter also suggested that the Finance Committee be given the authority to determine TIF elgibility for those businesses who want to apply for TIF money.

In replying to public comments, Mayor Anderson indicated that the drainage problems at First and Chestnut are being addressed and will be corrected this summer when the sewer projects are completed.

Also in reply to a public comment, the Mayor indicated that he was aware of the litter problem at the Shell Truck Stop and Restaurant at the I-39 interchange. Also, it was confirmed that there is no requirement that the owner of the complex must provide landscaping to the area.

The Fieldcrest baseball team lost its season opener to Bradford-Henry by a score of 4-3 on Monday, March 19. The Knights managed only two hits. Ryne Haag struck out six and drove in a run for the Knights.
Sauder & Ripple, Inc., an implement dealer north of Minonk, is having an open house this Saturday, March 31, from 2 - 4 p.m. to celebrate their 50th year of business in Minonk.

Jack Sauder describes himeself as "probably the oldest continuous businessman in Minonk." Fifty years ago, he bought 48 percent of Minonk Tractor and Implement Company. A year later Lynn Rippel became his partner and together they bought the remaining part of the business which they owned on a 50-50 basis for years.

Ripple ran the car dealership and Sauder handled the farm machinery. In 1959 they ran out of room at their original location at the north end of town and built the present headquarters on the northwest side of Minonk.

Business has been good. Sauder today holds the distinction of selling more Glencoe equipment that any other dealer in the world. He has become one of the best-known and respected implement dealers in the state.

Sauder & ripple has not sold cars since 1978 when Rippel moved that part of the business to LaSalle. Instead, the farm implement line has been expanded and included lawn and garden equipment.

While earlier days didn't leave much time for travel and other pursuits, Sauder has turned much of the management of Sauder & Rippel over to this son-in-law, Frank Kandel, who has been with the firm since 1982.

The biggest changes that Jack remembers have to do with farms and the implement business. "Back then we had a lot of 80 and 160 acre farms. A farm with 320 acres was about the biggest."

He said the most popular tractor they sold in 1951 was the Allis-Chalmers Model WD, with about 33 horsepower that sold for $2,100. He compared that to nowadays. The farms are much bigger and the average tractor will have about 250 horsepower and cost around $110,000.

On his long and successful career, Sauder says, "I guess I stayed in the business because I like it."

Fieldcrest beat Midland 7-3, March 27, at Varna.
Fieldcrest overwhelmed Peoria Christian Friday, March 30, at Peoria by a score of 17-1. Ryne Haag had 11 strikeouts for the Knights and also had a two run homer. Andy Craig had three hits and 6 RBIs including a grand-slam homerun and a triple. Eric Joop and Kyle Lutz each had two hits.

Midland pitcher Ashleigh Davis struck out 15 while holding the Lady Knights to just two hits as Midland beat Fieldcrest girls softball team 7-0 Tuesday, March 27, at Varna. Fieldcrest pitcher Jennifer Lutz allowed only 1 hit while the defense committed 3 errors.

The Lady Knights were handcuffed by Streator pitcher Wendy Niebuhr who struck out 19 and issued no walks and gave up only two hits in Streator's 7-0 win over the Knights on Wednesday, March 28, at Minonk. Lindsey Weld had a triple for Fieldcrest. Amy Breyne had the other hit. Ashley Kolb was the losing pitcher.

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