Current News: 12/17/14 (Click HERE for Archived News):
Local groups fund new Braille technology at Wesclin
From left, Wesclin special services coordinator Daralynn Gross, Trenton Knights of Columbus Council 2932 Grand Knight David Lanctot, K of C tootsie roll drive co-chairman Pete Schumacher, Wesclin student Lacey Weissenborn, Charlie Daiber of the New Baden Lions, Wesclin Braillist Megan Donjon, Wesclin Middle School principal Roger Freeze, and New Baden Lions President James Hauenschild with the Juliet Classic.
The combined generosity of two local organizations--one from Trenton and one from New Baden--have allowed the Wesclin school district to take a massive step forward in the way it provides services to visually impaired students. Donations from Trenton Knights of Columbus 2932 and New Baden's Lions Club enabled the district to buy a new Braille embosser that allows the conversion of computer-based documents to Braille.
Wesclin Middle School student Lacey Weissenborn demonstrated the machine and her Braille abilities for representatives from the two clubs on Monday as the district thanked the groups for their contributions. Wesclin Braillist Megan Donjon started the process of acquiring the embosser after observing one in the Highland School District.
The Juliet Classic will save many man-hours that had been expended in hand-Brailling documents for Lacey to read and study, according to Wesclin special services coordinator Daralyn Gross. At an estimated cost of $4,000, the equipment was out of reach from school district funds, but a large donation from the Knights of Columbus from their annual tootsie roll drive was enough to pay for about seventy-five percent of the machine, so Gross called the New Baden Lions to see if they would help. Vision issues are central to the Lions Club mission. "They graciously agreed to pay the difference," Gross said, "so now we have this wonderful piece of equipment that is all our own."
Prior to acquiring their own machine, the district had borrowed a machine on a rotating basis from the special education district to which it belongs, Belleville Area Special Services Cooperative (BASSC). The machine was old, and often didn't work, and was only available on a limited basis. The New Baden Lions had donated software and brailling paper in the past when Wesclin was using the borrowed machine.
The need for the equipment has become even more acute since Wesclin's special education department began exploring the possibility of acquiring it. According to Gross, two additional students with visual impairments have since moved into the district, guaranteeing many years of use for the embosser.
HERE'S SOMETHING YOU DON'T SEE EVERYDAY. A truck and trailer hauling this 12-foot diameter grain bin took out a light pole and temporarily halted traffic on East Broadway in Trenton when the bin came skidding off the back of the trailer. Local and state police arrived on scene in short order, and temporarily routed traffic through the Kaskaskia College Trenton Education Center parking lot. A skidloader was summoned with Scott Litteken aboard to push the rig into the parking lot where the bin was eventuallly restored to its original perch.
NB voters will decide home rule in April
New Baden trustees seem poised to pursue home rule status through referendum, as a means of enacting a crime-free rental housing ordinance that will require licensing of landlords and compliance with certain restrictions and regulations that provide for greater control of rental properties by the village.
The village's interest in home rule authority is strictly linked to its desire to enact crime-free rental housing. The latter is not available to muncipalities who do not operate under home rule.
The subject has been promoted without objection at several village board meetings. Trustees are expected to vote in January on whether or not to place the question on this spring's non-partisan ballot.
What is Home Rule?
At its most literal, home rule applies to the latitude local authorities have in enacting ordinances and codes, taxation, and other regulatory issues.
Home rule authority is automatically conferred among municipalities with 25,0000 or more residents, and smaller communities can enact home rule if a simple majority of voters approve it.
It has been explained this way by New Baden village administrator Lyndon Joost: Municipalities without home rule powers are restricted to doing only what the state specifically allows; home rule communities are able to do anything the state doesn't specifically prohibit.
Arguments against home rule tend to dwell on the increased taxing and regulatory authority endowed as part of a community's home rule powers. Indeed, New Baden's desire to impose greater regulations on landlords and renters is at the heart of the village board's initiative to gain home rule status.
Why Home Rule for New Baden?
The driving force behind New Baden officials' consideration of asking voters to approve home rule is the board's desire to establish a crime-free rental housing ordinance.
That desire is predicated on the establishment of similar ordinances in nearby communities. Nearby municipalities including Belleville, O'Fallon, Collinsville, Fairview Heights, and Granite City have all enacted crime-free rental ordinances, leading to the assumption from New Baden leaders that scofflaws from those communities will move to smaller communities without similar ordinances or the power to enact them.
Shiloh's elected officials recently authorized a home-rule referendum for this spring as well, presumably with similar intent to New Baden's.
New Baden's percentage of rental housing is in line with regional averages. The 2010 census showed that about 27 percent of New Baden's 1,333 housing units are rental properties, although later data collected and analyzed by New Baden police sergeant Scott Meinhardt indicates that by 2013 that ratio had grown somewhat. The statewide rate for rental housing is 32.5 percent, and in the St. Louis metropolitan area, 29.4 percent.
As Joost points out in his fact-finding report to the village board on the subject, "It is important to have housing stock available for all income levels, including young people as they start life independent of their parents' homes. With our proximity to Scottt AFB, rental housing also helps us to attract the transient military population to our community. But those who choose to live rental units also deserve the benefits of crime free neighborhoods."
What is Crime-Free Rental Housing?
The stated intent of such local legislation is to protect the community from the criminal element and preserve property values through a partnership between community leaders and rental property owners.
The ordinance can be crafted, within legal constraints, to suit the needs and desires of the particular community, but there are certain elements that should be present for effectiveness.
Landlords will be required to apply for and maintain licenses to rent property in New Baden, and they will pay an annual fee, usually assessed on a per-unit basis.
Occupancy inspections are already required in New Baden, but the crime-free ordinance is likely to include some language related to the environment of the property.
Rental contracts will likely include some language that allows for eviction based on criminal activity, and may confer the authority on the village to enforce those clauses in some cases.
Because the ordinance will by necessity impose new restrictions and regulations on landlords, it is likely to be opposed in some quarters. Administrator Joost suggests the village would solicit input from a range of groups and interests in crafting the ordinance initially, and bear in mind the balance between individual rights and the commonweal.
The village must also consider the cost of operating a crime-free rental housing program, which can include additional police salaries, inspection costs, administrative and supply costs, and equipment purchases. The fees to landlords, therefore, should be designed to cover the costs of the program.
Ultimately, New Baden's voters will decide whether home-rule and crime-free rental housing are in the community's future. Expect to see one or more educational initiatives on the subject between now and April 2015.
Wesclin board fills soccer coaching posts
The same duo who coached Wesclin's boys soccer team to a regional crown this past fall will also coach the girls soccer program this spring.
Terry Calvert will be the new girls' varsity soccer coach, and Shawn Petroski will be the new junior varsity coach, following the Wesclin school board's approval as part of its consent agenda of personnel items Monday night.
Trustees approved the hiring of Jessica Anderson as an individual care aide. Anderson has been serving as a substitute in the position since the beginning of the school year.
The district will hire Christine Krausz as a new Title I reading and math aide. The new position is funded by the district's federal Title I allotment. This year, the district's Title I funds will increase from about $100,000 to about $155,000. The expenditure of Title I funds is restricted by federal law, and cannot be used for other purposes.
High school English teacher Jessica Pilgreen was granted maternity leave.
Wesclin insurance costs will drop slightly in 2015
The increase in property value for Wesclin school district was offset by reductions in workers' compensation costs and the elimination of builder's risk insurance since the completion of the new high school.
Wesclin business manager Paul Tockstein explained to board members that the value of the school district's property increased from about $26 million to about $53 million, fueling a premium increase from $83,400 to $107,158 in the district's property and casualty coverage.
The district was able to mute the impact of the additional property value by increasing its property deductible from $1,000 to $2,500 per claim. Based on its claim-free recent history, Wesclin's worker's compensation insurance premiums will drop from nearly $49,000 last year to about $44,000 in calendar 2015. The builder's risk insurance that was necessary during the construction of the new school cost the district about $22,000 in 2014 but can be eliminated for 2015.
The net effect of the premium changes is a savings of a little more than $3,000. The combined premium for 2015 will be $151,146. The district uses Illinois Public Risk Fund (IPRF) for its worker's compensation insurance, and Selective Insurance for property and casualty coverage.
In other business from Monday night's Wesclin school board meeting:
Trustees approved a local property tax levy exceeding last year's by about ten percent, but the district is highly unlikely to receive that amount, since estimates for the equalized assessed valuation (EAV) predict modest increases. The district will experience some gain in local property taxes based on the expiration of New Baden's original tax increment financing (TIF) district, and the higher levy request reflects in part the district's desire to capture those additional revenues, which would not, on its face, increase taxes for individual property owners. Property taxes are based on property assessments and the tax rate rather than the overall dollars levied by a taxing body. New construction, for example, would increase the district's overall assessed valuation while not increasing the tax burden for any individual.
Deb Vaughan of Sodhexho Food Service presented the district with a check for $500, the results of the company's Healthy High School Challenge, which encourages students to make nutritious meal choices.
Trustees approved by 6-1 vote a new policy that allows for the availability of alcohol at off-site fundraisers staged by organizations affiliated with the school district. In some ways, the measure makes what has been past practice school policy. Many school organizations have staged fundraisers in the past in locations where liquor is available. Jerry Hatt was the lone dissenting vote on the policy, with Sandy Padak, Kent Jeanneret, Steve Buzzard, Brian Kunz, Karen LaCaze, and Randy Schorfheide all voting in favor.
New Trenton youth center has a name
Tiffany Weekley's submission of "Base 215' has been named the winner in the naming contest for the new youth center in Trenton, being operated at 215 East Broadway by Grace Community Baptist Church.
'The Base' is where kids will meet to hang out, which Tiffany combined with the address of the youth center to formulate the winning entry.
About 30 names were submitted from students in the Trenton area ages 11-18. Grace Community Baptist pastor Bob Marsh said the youth center has proven a popular hangout since its opening. "We thank everyone who submitted names for consideration," said Marsh. "It shows that we have great interest in the youth center." Marsh said more than 75 young people have been served since the youth center opened.
Businesses have also shown support for the youth center, Marsh said. "Trenton IGA gave us a pool table prior to opening," Marsh said. "Guaranteed Electric has agreed to donate and install a sound system throughout the center. And Perm-A-Green has generously offered to provide free snow removal."
Time Marches On
H.C. Koennecke, who formerly conducted a saloon business here for a number of years, has again embarked in the business, opening up at his old stand on the corner of Main and Front streets the first of the week.
A grand ball will be given at Turner Hall next Saturday evening, for which an admission of 35¢ will be charged, ladies free. Good music and plenty of it will be furnished.
A.M. Leonhard, the genial cashier of the Farmers Bank on Tuesday departed for Houston Texas, where he met his wife and daughter.
The bazaar and supper given by the Frauenvorein of the German Evangelical Church at Turner Hall last Thursday afternoon and evening was fairly well attended and about all the articles on sale were disposed of.
A dance will be given Nagele's Hall in New Baden Saturday evening.
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Ritchie and daughter Jean of Virden, visited with home folks here this week.
Thomas Montgomery and Leroy Vaninger returned home Wednesday after a few months trip to Nebraska and other western states.
The free talking movie picture show at the Royal Theatre Monday night was well attended.
Shortly after 2 o'clock Monday the roof on the A.W. Carter building on Broadway was notice to be on fire. Firemen responded promptly and put out the fire before much damage was done.
Joseph Meyer, former well know resident of the Locust Grove district, died at his home in New Baden Tuesday from a lingering illness.
Mrs. Jacob Metzger had the misfortune to fall on some ice in her yard Monday and suffered painful injury.
The Nut House Club is making arrangements to hold its anniversary dance at Turner Hall.
The Trenton Community Club may disband. The officers are getting tired of being at the hall and no other members being present.
The local Post Office will remain open Sun., Dec. 24 and Mon., Dec. 25. The mail truck will deliver mail on Sunday. There will be no rural delivery on Christmas Day.
Trenton native Joseph E. Ragen was profiled by the St. Louis Globe Democrat for the carefully tended garden and grounds at the Joliet Stateville Prison.
The Trenton Tigers turned up for the Clinton Conference Cage Tourney by trouncing the Breese Cardinals. Eagle-eyed Sickle Gruender scored 14 points for the Tigers.
Hostesses for the Trenton Woman's Club Christmas meeting will be Ida Pfeiffer, Marie Brefeld, Elinor Zahn, Lena Wolf, Billie Meyer, Marcella Mannhard, Edna Kraemer and Bess Mann.
The Trenton Junior Chamber has erected a hut for Santa Claus at the City Park.
Miss Pam Pahlman has been elected secretary of Woody Hall at SIU Carbondale.
Earl Bauer of Central TV and Appliance Co., Trenton returned Saturday from a two week training course in Detroit, Michigan.
Campbell, Clark and Brede scored in double figures in Wesclin's 69-67 loss to the Minutemen of Bunkerhill.
Contracts have been awarded for construction at Monterey Coal Co. #2 Mine at Albers.
Congratulations to the Wesclin Junior High Warriors and Coach Steve Lane for winning the Belle Valley Tourney.
Mrs. Margaret Williamson of Trenton has been hired as a teacher's aide in the Summerfield school to replace Mrs. Christine Lanning.
Gary Hegger of Aviston has been promoted to senior project manager of Murphy Co. Mechanical Contrators & Engineers.
Suzan Kampwerth and William Brown were united in marriage on Oct. 27 in St. Mary Church, Trenton.
Stephen J. Glanzner, died Dec. 11 at the Hospital where he was born, St. Joseph at Highland. Steve was an honorary member of the Sugar Creek Ambulance Service, Trenton Fire Dept. and Trenton ESDA, as well as, honorary mayor.
New Clinton County Board members seated last week included Dean Kuester, new board chairman Wilfred Hilmes, Tom Mensing, Bob Wilton, Tim Hoerchler, Bill Winkler and Henry Jansen.
Angie Zahn has returned to her Trenton Real Estate office after attending a course of advanced education for the professional designation of GRI.
Former Trenton resident Deb Duing has begun singing with area band No Left Turn.
Stephanie Hardin, Cheryl Haas, Angie Kapp and Todd Fischer were citizens of the month at Wesclin Junior High School.
Elvera E. "Vera" Deimeke, 79, of Trenton died Thursday, Dec. 8 at St. Joseph's Hospital in Breese.
Delora E. Milina, 82, of New Baden died Saturday, Dec. 10 at her home.
Trenton police Sgt. Mark Shilli resigned last month to take a position with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Jennifer Renner, daughter of David and Marie Renner of South Holland, was married to Nathan Haselhorst, son of Daniel and Barbara of Trenton, on June 25.
Joel Zahn was one of nearly 300 soldiers returning from Fort Drum, New York after 13 months of service in Iraq.
Jonathan Bair was awarded for academic excellence and work ethic at Ranken Tech. College's Founder's Day ceremony.
Schoendienst-Jeffries - Obit
Stella A. Schoendienst-Jeffries, 89, of New Baden, died Thursday, December 11, 2014 at Clinton Manor Living Center in New Baden. She was born October 3, 1925 in Aviston, daughter of Fred and Theresa Rohling, nee Schrage, and they preceded her in death. She married Julius Schoendienst on October 29, 1947 at St. Francis Catholic Church in Aviston and he died January 6, 1972. Other precedents included a sister, Pauline Renschen; a brother, Edmund Rohling; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Paul Renschen, Alma Rohling, Andrew Schoendienst, Eugene and Loretta Schoendienst, Loretta and Victor Billhartz, Elmer Schoendienst, and Mary Schoendienst; and her former husband, Marcellus Jeffries. Surviving are brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Albert "Red" Schoendienst, Joseph (Irene) Schoendienst, Vera Schoendienst, Laveta Schoendienst; nieces and nephews and many, many friends. Stella and her husband Julius owned and operated Schoendienst Tavern in Aviston and managed Carbondale Bowl in Carbondale. She retired from JC Penny in Fairview Heights. She was a member of the Auxiliary to Aviston American Legion Post 1239. There will be a Funeral Mass of Christian Burial Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 11 a.m. from St. Francis Catholic Church in Aviston with Fr. Daniel Friedman officiating. Interment will follow in St. Francis Cemetery, Aviston. Friends may call Thursday, December 18, 2014 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at St. Francis Catholic Church in Aviston. Memorials to Hospice of Southern Illinois or Clinton Manor Activity Fund will be received at the church or through Moss Funeral Home in Breese.
Condolences to mossfuneralhome.com
Gherardini - Obit
Audrey Sue Gherardini, 78, of Hoffmann, died Saturday, December 13, 2014 at St. Joseph's Hospital in Breese. She was born October 6, 1936 in Hoffmann, daughter of Edward and Emma Tyberendt, nee Eikhoff, and they preceded her in death. She married Dwain Gherardini on May 5, 1957 in Hoffmann, and he survives at home. Her daughters, Lisa (Dave) Fuehne of Centralia and Angie Krebs of Breese survive, along with grandchildren, in-laws, other relatives, and friends. The funeral was this morning (Wednesday) from Trinity Lutheran Church in Hoffmann. Interment Trinity Lutheran cemetery. Memorials to Christ Our Rock Lutheran High School or Mater Dei High School will be received through Moss Funeral Home in Breese.
For full obituary and condolences, mossfuneralhome.com
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