Jan. 27 County Board briefs

Bid packages for construction of the new $130 million jail are scheduled to be opened March 17 at a special board meeting. Contractors may obtain a bid package at B & H Industries in Rockford, 1402 21st St. County officials touted the project as a boon for the construction industry. They claim as many as 1,200 construction jobs will be created.

Dr. Stephen Minore, president of Rockford Anesthesiologists Associated, warned County Board members that local physicians are leaving the community and Illinois in large numbers due to allegedly high insurance premiums. Several County Board members asked questions of Minore that implied the cause of the physician exodus was allegedly big-money settlements concerning medical malpractice lawsuits. A committee may be formed to examine placing caps on settlements.

President George W. Bush is also lobbying federal legislators for tort law reform concerning caps on medical malpractice lawsuit awards.

The board terminated an agreement with the Rockford Park District to store 2,596 military artifacts at Midway Village. The artifacts will be moved to Memorial Hall, where plans are to place them on display. The move is expected to save $8,400 per year.

In a party-line vote, Republicans passed a resolution 15-9 with four absent, urging Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich to veto a bill that would create four judicial sub-circuits in Winnebago and Boone counties. Republicans are against the proposal because they claim non-qualified judges may be elected to the bench.

Democrats favor the bill because they allege it would provide for more opportunities for minorities to be elected to judgeships. Other Republicans argued the Democratically-backed bill is a strategy to wrestle judicial control away from white, Republican circuits. The issue of judicial sub-circuits was the subject of the Jan. 19 article “No new judges for 17th Circuit.”

Homeland Security Grant funds were used to purchase a $27,600 thermal image camera from Environmental Safety Group of Willowbrook, Ill. Thermal image cameras have a variety of police and fire-fighting applications. They have also been used to obtain information to justify search warrants of suspected indoor marijuana growing operations.

$3.5 million from the county’s Motor Fuel Tax fund was approved to pay for engineering and construction of 1,600 feet of Perryville Road between Illinois Route 173 and Swanson Road.

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