Rockton snuffs out smoldering smoking ban

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-116309673718009.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘Village Trustee Dennis Meade's (pictured) plan coincides with a similar proposed smoking ordinance in Beloit, Wis.’);

After the Rockton Village Board shot down an ordinance to ban public smoking in August, the issue was up for vote once again Nov. 6, which had some in Rockton fired up.

“I thought recently we beat this so-called dead horse to death,” resident Bruce Callihan argued, “and it’s on the agenda again. Sounds like overtones of forced government to me.”

Callihan reported to the board an informal poll he’d taken in local taverns just prior to the board meeting. He said of the 51 people he’d asked, 48 were smokers.

Village Trustee Dennis Meade’s plan coincides with a similar proposed smoking ordinance across the border in Beloit, Wis., but both smokers and non-smokers seemed unified against the proposal.

“We don’t need to make this a law that we now have to spend time, money and energy to enforce,” explained trustee Scott Wallace. “Just ‘cause everybody else is wrong doesn’t mean we have to be.”

Trustee Terri Flodeen and newly-appointed Larry Saline concurred small businesses have enough challenges without placing further restrictions on them.

Trustees Dave Winters and Lester Peterson, who are not smokers, also spoke against the ordinance.

Resident Jean Kohler blasted Meade’s repeated attempts to pass the legislation and said the ordinance does not represent the wishes of most in the community.

“Some people hate smoking, but they hate the government telling them what to do even more,” Kohler said. “You might want to keep that in mind if you hope to be re-elected using this issue.”

Meade, who is up for re-election in April, offered no defense for his proposal during discussion. Meade’s motion couldn’t manage to draw a second from other board members, so the issue was extinguished without ever coming to a vote.

Meade, however, was able to gain support for a resolution to request the Winnebago County Board to amend special use permits for planned community developments (PCDs). The resolution would allow for residents within a mile and a half of PCDs to file legal objections.

The Roscoe Village Board approved a similar resolution Nov. 2.

From the Nov.8-14, 2006, issue

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