Update from City on Water Main Break and Boil Order

O’FALLON – The City of O’Fallon issued a press release at 8:40 p.m. indicating that while crews have managed to find and isolate the break in a water main that has caused more than 40,000 people to be without water, they have no timetable for when service will be restored.

“As of 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 27, 2017, crews from the City of O’Fallon have been able to successfully identify and isolate the break in the water main and begun repairs. We are not yet able to provide a timeframe for when the repairs will be completed and water service will be restored.

At 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 27, 2017, the City of O’Fallon’s water system was temporarily shut down to make emergency repairs to a water main at the intersection of Highway 50 and Mark Drive. After the break is repaired, water service will be restored to all O’Fallon water customers and the entire system will be on a boil order.

We will provide more information when it becomes available.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact O’Fallon Public Works at 618-624-4500 x 3, Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Emergency and after-hours contact number: 618-624-4545.”

The O’Fallon Weekly received a call at 6:15 p.m. from the city’s Code RED system indicating the water system was down.

Students take in the total(ity) eclipse experience


The moment of totality as observed from Freeburg High School. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Students from Carriel Junior High school observe the beginning of the eclipse through their safety glasses. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

FREEBURG- Nearly 800 students, teachers, and chaperones from O’Fallon set up camp on the baseball fields of Freeburg High School to view the Great American Solar Eclipse on Monday.

The field trip, which according to Carriel Principal Ellen Hays is the largest they’ve ever taken, was designed to give students the opportunity to see the eclipse in totality, where the moon fully covers the sun. Hays said the schools had planned on using the eclipse as a learning opportunity, but had initially discounted the idea of a field trip.

Students from Fulton Junior High School take notes about their observations as the eclipse begins. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

“Last year, when the teachers started to say we needed to do something for the eclipse, I said ‘Ok let’s start planning something on site.’ They said we needed to do a field trip and I told them that wasn’t possible with 700 kids,” said Hays.

It was only two weeks ago that plans began to form for Monday’s excursion. Hays said it all began when teachers Amanda Mellenthin and Angie Piening attended a training workshop at the Regional Office of the Superintendent.

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Two Cents Worth – A great example of how school should be

Two Cents Column

With two weeks to plan, teachers and administrators at District 90 organized a field trip for nearly 800 students to Freeburg High School to watch the solar eclipse in totality. I tagged along on the trip so that I could cover the event with a local tie.

What I saw was a perfect learning environment. From the moment the students arrived, they began documenting the stages of the eclipse. Then at the moment of totality, the sheer excitement of those students to watch a wonder of the cosmos was almost more impressive than the eclipse itself.

District 90 should be commended for making the effort to take these kids to see the eclipse how it needed to be seen. They found a way to take an event and make it into a learning experience the kids won’t forget.

And maybe, instead of having the government force standardized test after standardized test onto school districts, perhaps districts should be encouraged to do things like Monday’s trip more often.

Just my two cents worth…

Intersection of Old Collinsville and Ashland closed

O’Fallon, Illinois – Due to a water main break, the intersection of Old Collinsville Road and Ashland Avenue will be closed until further notice. There is a marked detour route on Perrin Road and Oulvey Drive.

At this time, no water customers are affected by the water main break and there is no boil order in effect.

We will provide more information when it becomes available.

Two Cents Worth – Take time to soak in the memories

Two Cents Column

At first it was so quick, we barely noticed it. Then it happened more frequently and it became impossible to miss. The distances began to get larger and you could tell the bravery was building.

This past weekend my son, Maxwell, took his first unaided steps. He started by crossing our living room from the coffee table to the tv stand. Then after doing that a while, he decided he’d cross from the tv stand to the couch, which is about twice as far a length than what he had previously attempted.

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 – What a weekend… Or “I hate moving”

Two Cents Column

I really hate moving. I truly, truly hate it.

I moved a lot in a brief period of time while in college and just after I got out of college. Only within the last seven years or so have I settled into one spot.

So when it quickly came together for us to move offices this past weekend, I was hit with multiple emotions. I was thrilled to be moving to a larger space so we could spread out and have a bigger office. On the other hand, I hate moving.

I’ll admit that the move threw me off pretty bad this week. I pushed off a lot of things I should’ve done over the weekend. So if I caused you a delay, I apologize.

More on the new space next week.

Two Cents Worth – Plaza poses problems

Two Cents Column

We were disappointed to hear that the Downtown Plaza portion of the Destination O’Fallon project has potentially been hit a major snag caused by a high pressure gas line that runs under where the pavilion was planned. We also have a few questions about this…

First, was it known to the city that the gas line was there when they picked that site for the proposed all-weather pavilion? If yes, then why is it a concern now when it wasn’t then? If no, why not?

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 PD partners with Texas Roadhouse to raise money for Special Olympics

O’FALLON – If you’re looking for a good lunch on Thursday, the O’Fallon Police Department are asking you to consider coming by Texas Roadhouse to eat and support the Special Olympics.

The annual benefit lunch will take place from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. All of the lunches served will be free to guests, with only a donation towards the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics requested. One hundred percent of the donation will be given to Special Olympics Illinois.

Lunch will include a pulled pork sandwich, corn, fresh bread, and a non-alcoholic beverage.

The O’Fallon PD would also like to invite business owners who want to treat their employees to a free lunch to take advantage of their delivery service. Either bring your employees to lunch and make a donation to Special Olympics, or if you can’t make it out of the office, the O’Fallon Police Department can arrange to have a Police Officer deliver lunch to you. Contact Detective Brian Gimpel at bgimpel@ofallon.org to set up your delivery.

The O’Fallon Police Department has participated in this event in years past. Last year the department brought in approximately $8,700, which was the second highest total in the state.

Two Cents Worth – What happened to common sense?

Two Cents Column

Sometimes the inspiration for this column comes to me at the last minute when I need it the most.

As I was surfing around online, I came across a Washington Post article detailing how there is a a large group of viewers who were upset that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps didn’t really get into a pool and race a real Great White Shark, as they thought was being advertised for a Discovery Channel special for Shark Week.

Yes, there are people in America who believed that a very successful Olympic swimmer was going to get into a pool with a real life, potentially man-eating shark and race it.

What is wrong with us, people? Have we lost the ability to use common sense?

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

Council approves city funding for school consolidation study

Ellie Seiferth, an incoming sixth grade student at Faith Baptist Academy School, served as the Mayor for the Day on Monday. Ellie got to talk to various department heads, tour city buildings, ride in both a fire truck and police car, and help run the meeting.
“Ellie is one very sharp young lady. She had a ton of good questions,” said Mayor Herb Roach.
“My favorite part was when I got to ride inside the fire truck and the police car. When we were in the police car, right in front of us was a hit and run,” Ellie said.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

O’FALLON – The City Council approved a motion proposed by Mayor Herb Roach to spend up to $7,500 towards the cost of a study to determine the viability of school consolidation in O’Fallon.

When asked to clarify the scope of the project, Roach detailed what he believes the study would look at.

“I have been told the study will look at a number of things, which would include consolidation of all of the districts, even including Shiloh. Also it will look at the possibility of just elementary districts and, if not with the Shiloh district, with just Central and District 90. What the final is I’m not sure, and I do know they have an estimate on the cost of [the study] to be $15,000,” Roach said.

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 PD help community beat the heat with ice cream

Officer Adam Taulbee answers questions from a young resident at the Cones with a Cop event. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Police Department held another of their regular outreach events last Wednesday, this time featuring ice cream cones from I Scream U Scream.

The Cones with a Cop event is designed to allow residents to get to know and interact with the police officers in a comfortable setting and encourage dialogue. Nearly 90 ice cream cones were handed out during the hour long event.

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 – Rep. Greenwood, your constituents would like a word with you…

Two Cents Column

O’Fallon has three different state representatives. One of them is LaToya Greenwood from East St. Louis. She also happens to be my state rep.

Needless to say I was extremely disappointed, but not surprised, when she voted to approve the 32 percent tax increase the General Assembly shoved down our throats. However, what has taken me back is how she has gone out of her way to avoid hearing from her constituents who wish to vent about her vote. Or at least me.

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

Community honors Graham for 20 years as mayor

Former Mayor Gary Graham (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Funds raised will be donated to O’Fallon Parks & Recreation Foundation

O’FALLON – City dignitaries, business owners, residents, and well wishers came together last Thursday evening to celebrate 20 years of service for O’Fallon.

Former Mayor Gary Graham and his wife Lucia were the guests of honor at a reception held at the Regency Conference Center. The ball room was packed with people ready to thank the Grahams for their dedication to the city.

Gary, who was elected mayor in 1997 and recently retired from the position, was humbled by the adoration.

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

OFPD, Major Case Squad accepts donation from local Walmart

Pictured in the front row, from left: Lt. Rob Schmidtke, Det. Kathy Effan, Sgt. Craig Koch, Walmart St. Louis District Manager Craig Ledbetter, Officer Dan Wunder, Walmart Regional Loss Prevention Manager Deanna Decourcy, and Captain Jim Cavins. Back row, from left: Collinsville Police Chief Steve Evans, Lt. Dave Matevey, Collinsville Assistant Chief Rich Wittenauer, Captain Kirk Brueggeman, and Det. Carl Walker. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

O’FALLON – Representatives of the Major Case Squad, of which the O’Fallon Police Department is a proud member, received a donation from Walmart on Friday.

The $3,000 donation is associated with the Major Case Squad’s annual golf outing, which raises money for training and equipment. Training includes sending officers to the International Homicide Investigator Association’s national conference, the Southeast Regional Homicide Investigators conference, and the Missouri Highway Patrol Homicide conference. Additionally, funds go towards equipment upgrades, such as new laptops.

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

CSX cuts line at Caseyville… again

CASEYVILLE – The CSX train line running through Caseyville and into O’Fallon to the east was recently cut again by the company, signaling a halt to train traffic along the track.

Earlier this past May, O’Fallon residents were surprised to see a train slowly coming though town after the track had been cut and service suspended in August 2015. At the time CSX had indicated they were planning to store empty train cars along the line and that the train that came through town was hauling close to 300 cars to be stored further east.

City officials in O’Fallon expressed their frustration regarding the lack of notice by CSX about the train to the Illinois Commerce Commission, which regulates train travel in the state.

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