O’Fallon runs to honor Bereda Family

The candles for the vigil were arranged on the lawn of the cabin at Rock Springs Park in the shape of a cross.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Approximately 300 runners, walkers, and community members came out to Rock Springs Park on Friday evening to celebrate the lives of two children lost in a car accident back in July.

Christina and David Bereda, along with their three-year-old son Jordan, honored the lives of their five-year-old son Brennan and one-year-old daughter Finley. Prior to the start of the 5K run and walk, two trees were planted near the playground area of the park as memorials to the children.

Additionally a candlelight vigil was held following the race.

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District 90 Board debates role in school consolidation

The District 90 Board of Education recognized their Employees of the Month, sponsored in September by Visionary Wealth Advisors – Mike Clark. Pictured on left is Board President John Wagnon and the September Teacher of the Month Amanda Mellenthin. At right is Wagnon and the September Support Staff Employee of the Month Nancy Binder. (O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Nick Miller)

A discussion revolving around whether District 90 should contribute to the funding for a study on school district consolidation revealed mixed feelings as to the role of the school board in the process at the Board of Education’s September 19 meeting.

The resolution, put forth my Board Member Jason Boone, called for the district to give $1,000 towards the cost of the study that will determine the feasibility of consolidating the four area school districts in O’Fallon and Shiloh.

“I’d like our Board, based on the voice of the community and the interests the community has in consolidation, to lead this effort and be the first district to make a small contribution of $1,000 towards the study,” Boone said.

Boone stated that at the recent BEST Committee meeting Chamber President Paul Evans spoke about the committee of eleven the Chamber has assembled and the current status of the process. He then stated that Evans had asked the school districts if their boards would consider contributing towards the study.  However, Board Member Becky Drury disagreed with Boone’s report and said she remembered the meeting differently.

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Two Cents Worth – A few quick questions

Two Cents Column

We have been experimenting with new things at the Weekly and we have a question for our readers.

Do you listen to podcasts and, if so, what podcasts do you listen to?

What platforms do you listen to podcasts on? Apple iTunes? SoundCloud?

Please just drop me a line at Nick@OFallonWeekly.com and let me now!

O’Fallon Council approves water rate freeze for one year

Commercial project at Old Collinsville and Milburn School Roads approved on first reading

Chief Eric Van Hook introduced the City Council to the newest members of the O’Fallon Police Department. Three of the officers were sworn in on September 11, while the fourth is still taking part in the academy. Pictured from left: Mayor Herb Roach, Commissioner Gene McCoskey, Officer Justin Ellis, Officer George Fender, Officer Nicholas Luttrell, Officer Cloee Frank, Chief Van Hook, and Commissioner Horace Humphries. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

O’FALLON – Residents of O’Fallon and Fairview Heights will see some relief on their water bills for the next year, as the O’Fallon City Council voted 12-2 to approve a one year rate freeze.

The freeze, which will begin in October 2017, stops a scheduled 3.5 percent adjustment from taking place. Mayor Herb Roach and Public Works Director Jeff Taylor have both stated the goal of this freeze is to give the Public Works Department and Water and Sewer Departments time to finalize a plan to improve the city’s water and sewer systems using a surplus that has accumulated over the years.

Aldermen Jerry Albrecht and Courtney Marsh voted against the freeze. Albrecht expressed concern that the city is freezing rates right when they are planning for large water infrastructure repairs and replacements.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

Two Cents Worth – Bring Amazon to St. Clair County

Two Cents Column

Amazon is looking for a second home. The online shopping giant has put out word that areas should submit proposals as to why they would be a good location for their second headquarters.

St. Louis plans to submit a proposal. So does Chicago, along with quite a few other midwestern cities. And as I am writing this, I have learned O’Fallon plans to be among them.

Honestly, the point of this column originally was why Amazon should consider locating in St. Clair County. It should be a familiar tune to those of you who paid attention during our efforts to become the home for the NGA headquarters.

We have prime real estate off of a major highway that connects to many other major highways. We also just completed building a new exit (Exit 19) that could be utilized by all of those smiling Amazon trucks. Additionally, there is an airport sitting very close to the site I’m talking about that we’d be more than happy to let Amazon have free reign to use.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

Committee approves revised development at corner of Old Collinsville, Milburn School Roads

This was the original site map for the Old Collinsville Road / Milburn School Roads development plan. The only major change is the removal of the drive-thru.

O’FALLON – A proposed development to be built at the intersection of Old Collinsville Road and Milburn School Road was given a preliminary green light at Monday evening’s Community Development committee meeting after a revised version was submitted.

The revised plan, which still calls for the construction of two retail buildings, removes the drive-thru from the proposed 4,800 square foot restaurant. In its place will be an outdoor seating area. The building has been labeled as fast-casual by the developer, David Glamer of Raven Realty IV, LLC.

Additionally, the new plan increases the amount of landscaping and moves the dumpster locations to enhance the appearance of the property and hide them away from view.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

Two Cents Worth – Come buy my stuff!

Two Cents Column

It’s a short column from me this week. Partially because I write my column to fit the remaining space after I lay out the rest of the page, but also because I’m swamped with stuff to do gearing up for the yard sale my wife and I are having this weekend.

We are part of the big Lebanon-wide Leon Church Memorial Yard Sale (see the ad with map and listings). So swing on by listing number four and take some of my stuff. I know we’ll have plenty of baby clothes, toys, and accessories since Maxwell has outgrown a lot of it.

Who knows what other treasures I’ll find in my garage, so come on by and say hello.

First Baptist Church hosts disaster relief training for interested volunteers

Dwayne Doyle introduces the program at the Illinois Baptist State Association Disaster Relief training session at First Baptist Church of O’Fallon. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

O’FALLON – Nearly 100 people attended a training session last week put on by the Illinois Baptist State Association (IBSA) to assist with disaster relief in Texas, Florida, and anywhere else they may be needed.

The Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief is the IBSA’s ministry for working with people in disasters. We partner with the Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief that is owned and operated by the North American Mission Board. The ISBA is the headquarters for all of the Southern Baptist churches in Illinois, of which there are about 975 to 1,000.

Dwayne Doyle, Director of Men’s Ministry and Mission Mobilization, explained that the job of the Disaster Relief teams is to go in to areas in times of distress and help in a variety of ways.

“The IBSA has multiple units working with disaster relief. They are specialized in child care, which takes care of kids allowing parents time to put their lives back together after a disaster; flood relief, which helps with restoration and cleanup; chainsaw teams, which go into neighborhoods and take trees out,” Doyle explained.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

O’Fallon takes first step towards one year water and sewer rate freeze

O’FALLON – O’Fallon residents are one step closer to having their water and sewer rates frozen for the next year following Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting.

A proposal to freeze the rates to spend down a surplus in the city’s water funds was approved on first reading. The plan will freeze the water and sewer rates for one year by forgoing the automatic Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment scheduled for October 2017. The automatic CPI adjustment will resume next October 2018 and continue annually. The CPI adjustment scheduled to go into effect in October 2017 would have been a 3.5 percent increase. This adjustment would have resulted in an approximate increase in revenue of $560,000 annually between both water and sewer.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

Officials kick goal to open first of new soccer fields at Sports Park

Mayor Herb Roach, various elected officials, and local children take part in kicking the ceremonial first goal to open the first soccer field completed as part of the Destination O’Fallon project.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

O’FALLON – The soccer fields being built at the Family Sports Park as part of the Destination O’Fallon project reached a big milestone on Thursday, as city and county officials came together to dedicate the first field to be completed.

Parks and Recreation Director Mary Jeanne Hutchison thanked and praised the work of the many contractors and developers that worked hard to ensure the opening took place near the end of the summer.

The field that opened Thursday is the first of eight all-weather lighted fields to be built.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

Two Cents Worth – We can’t do it without you

Two Cents Column

Last week we received a note here at Weekly HQ inquiring why we weren’t covering a specific sports team at OTHS. It ended up that we actually had a story about that team in that week’s paper, but I use this as an example because this is a common occurrence.

Sports parents understandably want to see their favorite team featured in the paper. That has been the case since the first school team took to their respective field. We get that and try our best to cover sports at OTHS, and when possible at other area schools. Unfortunately, because I have yet to perfect cloning technology, we just don’t have the manpower or resources to fully cover everything in a manner that makes everyone happy.

Which brings me to the point of the column this week… we need your help, sports parents. Whenever I attend a game – be it soccer, volleyball, cross country, etc – I see parents on the sidelines taking photos with nicer cameras than mine. Next time, consider firing off an email my way with a few of your better shots with a description of the photo, naming the players within it, and let me know your name so I can give proper attribution, and I’ll print it. This way you help us cover all of the sports in O’Fallon, giving us a well rounded newspaper, and you can guarantee that your kid’s team makes the paper.

I’m also open to folks who want to volunteer to write some short articles about their child’s team and their activities during the season. Both of my sports writers are college interns who put in a ton of work for us just so they can get some experience and because they love sports, no matter the level. If you would like to help out, I’m sure they would appreciate it.

So, please, let’s all work together to showcase every team and their accomplishments.

Commercial development, new subdivision sent to City Council for consideration

The site plan for the proposed commercial project to be located at the northeast corner of Old Collinsville Road and Milburn School Road. The 13,100 square foot building to the left is assumed to be designed to attract a national pharmacy, such as CVS, while the 4,800 square foot building to the right is seemingly built to suit a drive-thru restaurant. Both Planning Commission officials and City Council Members both expressed concern at the thought of fast food going in on that corner considering the prices of homes in that area. City Staff assured both committees that the developer is looking more at a fast-casual type of establishment, rather than a fast-food location. (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – Two developments, a new subdivision and a commercial project, were considered and pushed on for review by the full City Council at the Community Development Committee meeting Monday night.

The first project submitted by developer Denny Blumberg is a 33.4 acre subdivision located along Taylor Road north of Fire Department Engine House 4. The project, known as Park Bridge Station, includes 67 lots ranging from 10,000 square feet to 48,000 square feet in size.

The portion of the project considered by the committee was only the residential component of the total site, as Blumberg will be coming back or a neighborhood commercial project on approximately 3.50 acres at the corner of Venita Road and Taylor Road.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

Aldermen debate term limits for city officials

City Hall

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon City Council’s Finance and Administration Committee debated whether term limits were right for the city during their meeting Monday night.

The proposal was put forth by Mayor Herb Roach recently, stating that he heard from residents while he was walking door to door during the campaign that the city needed term limits.

City Administrator Walter Denton introduced Derek Sherman, a city intern from SIU Edwardsville, who produced a study looking at other Illinois cities that have implemented term limits. Sherman found that the most common method was to limit elected officials to three consecutive terms. He found 19 municipalities in Illinois, mostly located up north with ten located within Cook County, that have term limits.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

 

Two Cents Worth – Should city revenue be used for Homecoming?

Two Cents Column

Recently there has been talk about the city of O’Fallon possibly bringing back a city-sponsored Homecoming festival. The Mayor held a meeting on August 10 where 25 people, including the City Clerk and an alderman, attended. While the Mayor indicates there was a lot of enthusiasm for the idea and gives anecdotal evidence from his time campaigning for office as a reason to pursue the idea, we have concerns.

Our main concern is the potential use of tax dollars to pay for all or a portion of the festival. In his weekly column, the Mayor wrote, “I have stated that the City will look to have some of the funds from the revenue received from the electronic gambling machines placed into next year’s budget to help with getting the event started.” While he did go on to say that the city would also be looking for local businesses and organizations to assist in the effort, he clearly states he wishes to use city revenue to pay for a festival.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

UPDATED – O’Fallon schools to close Monday due to boil order

UPDATE *** St. Clare Catholic School and Good Shepherd Preschool have also cancelled school for Monday due to the boil order.

We have learned that robocalls have gone out to parents within the O’Fallon school districts alerting parents of tomorrow’s closure. End of Update

O’FALLON – District 90 announced Sunday night that due to the city boil order, their schools will be closed on Monday, August 28. Additionally, Districts 203 and 104 will close Monday as well.

District 90 post

The city boil order was implemented following a water main break in Fairview Heights at the intersection of Highway 50 and Mark Drive. City workers located and isolated the break at around 8:30 p.m. The city had to turn off the water system at 5 p.m. on Sunday.