June 28 County Board notes

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118366526011284.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘Dr. Kris Tumilowicz parades the Colonial Cup before the Winnebago County Board, who honored the Rockford IceHogs June 28. Tumilowicz said the IceHogs got out of the UHL just in time.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118366519818942.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘23-year-old Kyle Logan (R-3) is sworn in to replace Dave Krienke (R), who was elected Roscoe Village President.‘);

Still no vote on proposed drive-in

During public participation at the June 28 Winnebago County Board meeting, board members heard more arguments against a proposed outdoor theater in Seward Township.

Mike and Mia Kerz, who were denied a similar request to re-open the Sunset Drive-In on Samuelson Road in Rockford, lost a couple more weekends of potential business this summer when votes on their requested special use permit and related variance were laid over.

Traffic safety concerns appear to be the major stumbling block for the Kerzes in winning enough board votes to move ahead with the theater on the site of the former Ironwood Golf Center.

Merrill Hubble, who lives about half a mile north of the proposed site at Conger Road and U.S. 20, said he moved to the area 15 years ago from Rockford for “country living.”

“To put an outdoor theater in the midst of our precious land is just not right,” Hubble argued. “Would this be a neighbor you’d welcome in your back yard?”

In addition to increased traffic at the intersection and arterial roads, Hubble alleged litter from people going to and from the theater would be a problem, and that security is a big concern.

“It would be difficult, if not impossible, to monitor and police illegal activity such as underage drinking and illegal drugs,” Hubble pointed out. “The reality is those individuals will then get in their cars and travel our roadways and highways.”

Another nearby resident, Mike Johnson, explained how he was able to change the mind of a Pecatonica woman who was very much in favor of the drive-in.

“As we talked about it, she didn’t buy any of my arguments against the theater, until we got to the traffic portion of this item,” said Johnson, a former outdoor theater projectionist and cousin of County Board member Pete MacKay (R-5). “She said, ‘Well, the County Board has taken care of this, haven’t they, so that nobody’s gonna get hurt?’ and I said, ‘No, nothing’s been done there. It will take accidents before any action is taken.’”

When the issue came before the Board later in the evening, Tom Owens (R-1) indicated he’d also had a change of heart.

“When I started thinking about putting 300 cars onto Route 20, full of family members, I got second thoughts,” Owens explained. “I just cannot justify putting that many people in danger, trying to cross a four-lane highway regulated only by a stop sign. If this had been a situation where we had a stop light, it’d be entirely different.”

Imagining hundreds of cars backed up at the intersection late at night, Owens concluded, “We’re just asking for a disaster.”

Rick Pollack (R-13) made a successful motion to lay over the matter until a highway engineer can weigh in on the issue.

MacKay, an opponent of the proposed drive-in, said, “I’m glad that Mr. Pollack brought it up, because the traffic aspect of this—which is a public safety issue—has not really been adequately looked at.”

Colonial Cup tours County Board chambers

Culminating in winning the Colonial Cup championship at the end of their eighth and final season in the United Hockey League (UHL), the County Board honored the Rockford IceHogs and former owner Dr. Kris Tumilowicz.

Parading the coveted Colonial Cup before the Board, Tumilowicz said the IceHogs may have bowed out of the UHL just in time.

“Maybe we got out when the getting was good,” Tumilowicz explained, “‘cause maybe you’ve heard that the United Hockey League is kind of on life support.”

The IceHogs’ move to the American Hockey League (AHL) as a Chicago Blackhawks affiliate seemed to have been quite a blow to the UHL. The UHL’s remaining six teams have since re-organized themselves in the former International Hockey League (IHL).

The Quad City Mallards, rivals in the UHL, also made the move to the AHL, where they’ll face off against the IceHogs as the Quad City Flames. The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Calgary Flames relocated their Omaha, Neb., farm team to Moline for the upcoming season.

Resolutions approved

A Resolution Authorizing Allocation of General Capital Funds for a Net Motion Software and Server for the Sheriff’s Department was amended to instead be funded by the 1 percentage point Public Safety Tax (PST).

The purchase, which would enable deputies to stay connected to the station through mobile computers in squad cars, was originally to be paid for out of a $300,000 allocation for computer replacement.

Arguing such an expenditure is for public safety, Democrats, along with Pete MacKay (R-5), were able to cast enough votes to fund the purchase out of the PST.

Before the purchase gets a go-ahead, an ordinance to amend the budget must be passed. That vote is expected at the next meeting.

A Resolution Authorizing Execution of an Agreement with Robert A. Lindstrom for consulting services related to the Freedom Field program was approved in the amount of $20,000.

A Resolution Authorizing Execution of an Addendum to the $135,000 agreement with Foley & Lardner, LLC for Consulting services was also approved. The measure ensures work will continue on rail projects.

Resolutions Authorizing the Extensions of Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreements for Police Services with the villages of New Milford and Machesney Park were also passed.

New business

Pearl Hawks (D-6) introduced a resolution whereby the County Board would ask the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to rule out turning portions of West State and Mulberry streets into one-ways. The resolution cites increased traffic on residential streets will pose a safety issue. Dorothy Redd (D-6), L.C. Wilson (D-12) and Angie Goral are co-sponsors. The resolution was referred to committee.

The Rockford City Council passed a similar resolution June 18.

Minority policy to be reviewed

As inmates are being transferred to the recently-completed Winnebago County Justice Center, George Anne Duckett (D-12) requested a report about how well the county’s purchasing policy regarding minorities was adhered to during construction. L.C. Wilson (D-12) applauded the strides made toward diversity in county government, but agreed departments should be checked to see if they’re “up to par.”

Harlem Toll violations slashed

Doug Aurand (D-3) applauded the Sheriff’s Department and County Highway Engineer Joe Vanderwerff for cutting toll violations in half on the Bauer Parkway plaza in the last month.

Appointments and re-appointments

Kyle Logan’s appointment to replace County Board Member Dave Krienke (R-3) was approved. Krienke stepped down after being elected village president of Roscoe.

After his swearing in, Logan said, “I just look forward to working with the County Board and the chairman to make sure we take the taxpayers’ money and put it to good use.”

Dennis Roop was re-appointed to the Loan Review Committee for a four-year term expiring October 2010. Roop is vice president of commercial business development for Riverside Community Bank.

Fire deaths hit home at County Board

The Winnebago County Board joined Pete MacKay (R-5) in extending prayers and condolences to the family of Mary Ann Aiello (R-9), whose two nephews perished in a house fire June 25 in Cherry Valley Township.

from the July 5-10, 2007, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!