County rezones land to allow for Bobcat dealer near Rieder Road

By Pam Funk

BELLEVILLE – At their October 29 Board Meeting, the St. Clair County Board unanimously approved the rezoning of seven parcels consisting of 124.66 acres that are all located north of I-64 and west and east of the new Rieder Road exit.  

A Bobcat equipment dealer will relocate to one of the parcels. Bobcat is purchasing approximately 15 acres and will construct a 30,000 square foot facility.  

O’Fallon provides water to the area, but Bobcat will need to install a septic sewer system to be used until O’Fallon is able to extend their sewer system. St. Clair County is currently exploring different grants and other financial sources and incentives to assist in extending the sewer system for this entire area.  

The Mid-America Airport Director and the Scott Air Force Base Planner neither have any objections to the rezoning, but have requested that they be allowed to provide input on any project that will be built in the area in accordance with the zoning rules in the Airport Overlay District.

The County utilized an FFA grant when land for Mid-America Airport was purchased.  The seven parcels approved for rezoning are part of that grant.  In order for the County to sell the land to developers for new developments that will use the land for purposes other than aeronautical uses, the County must obtain the release of the federally obligated property from the FAA.  The release of three of the properties was unanimously approved by the Board.

Mayor Roach provides updates on current and upcoming projects

O’Fallon Station  (Submitted Photo)

By Martha Stoffel

At last week’s quarterly Town Hall meeting, Mayor Herb Roach provided updates on several current and upcoming economic development projects. The downtown area is seeing several ongoing projects, with new construction happening for the first time in 50+ years. The O’Fallon Station should be completed mid-November, with a list of activities already planned for the winter months. The Outdoorsman expansion and the 1st Street Exchange retail building are currently be constructed across the street. With the completion of the parking lot at the O’Fallon Station, the mayor indicated 120 new paved and lighted parking spots will have been added downtown this year. This includes the new parking lot at City Hall and the converted bus lane outside of the Chamber Depot. 

Central Park Drive has several changes happening. Marcus Theater has started the construction on an expansion project, bringing an Ultrascreen theater to the east end of the existing facility. Meyer Honda is now Serra Honda, and the mayor mentioned the new owners have purchased 17 acres in that area for a new project. The old Gander Mountain building will be home to two new businesses at the first of the year, a Northern Tool and a currently unnamed fitness company.

Regency Park will see two new hotels and a new medical office building. Marriott Town Place Suites is currently being constructed behind Dewey’s Pizza and Bella Milano restaurants. Construction is projected to start this fall on the new Hampton Inn, to be located next to the Regency Conference Center. A medical office focused on cancer treatment services was recently approved by council across the street from St. Elizabeth’s hospital, next to Enjoy Church. 

Construction has started on the new HSHS Rehab Center at the McKendree Metro RecPlex site. Across Troy-Scott Road from the RecPlex, council recently approved a development known as Aberdeen Village that will include 244 two-bedroom townhomes and three commercial lots. A demo plan is in place for Southview Plaza, but a specific project has not been presented yet. The mayor mentioned some projects, whose plans are not public yet, are coming soon for the lumber yard across from Walgreens and the former Pizza Hut location. 

McDonald’s cuts ribbon following massive modernization project

 Gene Stanford, owner/operator of the O’Fallon, Illinois McDonald’s at 1610 W. Highway 50, held a grand re-opening of his restaurant on Tuesday, October 16 at 9:30 a.m. 

The O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce conducted a ribbon cutting during the ceremony.

The grand re-opening of this O’Fallon restaurant is part of McDonald’s goal of modernizing all 14,000 of its U.S. restaurants by the end of 2020 for a total $6 billion investment. In Illinois alone, 410 restaurants are being remodeled which is a $317 million economic development investment.

Owner/operators are transforming their restaurants to create a better customer experience. With this significant construction investment, the transformed restaurants will feature:

• Modernized dining rooms with globally and locally inspired décor, new furniture and refreshed exterior designs

• Enhanced customer experience with digital self-order kiosks that make ordering and paying for a meal easier. Kiosks empower guests to browse the menu, find options and tailor their meal just the way they want

• Remodeled counters allow for new table service that offers guests the opportunity to relax while their food is being made

• Bright and easy to read digital menu boards inside and at the drive-thru

• New designated parking spots for curbside pick-up through mobile order and pay

• Expanded McCafé counters and larger display cases

In addition to the investments to modernize the restaurant, McDonald’s has also introduced McDelivery with Uber Eats at more than 5,000 U.S. restaurants. The O’Fallon restaurant will start McDelivery on November 6.

Casa Maria Express celebrates ribbon cutting at location outside of Scott AFB gate

The O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce joined Casa Maria Express as they celebrated their grand opening! The business is located just outside the Shiloh Gate to Scott AFB at 817 Seibert Road, O’Fallon.  The business celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 4th.        

Casa Maria Express is a new extension of Casa Maria Mexican Grill in Belleville.  The popularity of the Belleville restaurant allowed owner Daniel Gonzalez to create a new venue to serve their food for lunch in a quick manner. If your time is limited during lunch, you can still enjoy the great flavors of Casa Maria!  Casa Maria Express serves street tacos, burritos, and bowls along with bottled beverages. Come taste the difference! 

For more information go to casamariamex.com or 618-416-2151

Shiloh committee grants special use permit to gaming cafe and bar

SHILOH – At the Shiloh Committee at Large meeting on Monday, trustees approved a special use permit application for a gaming cafe at 1231 Thouvenot Lane. 

The special use permit will allow liquor sales and five video gaming terminals at the location on Thouvenot Lane. 

Mayor Jim Vernier said he’s aware of other gaming cafe’s around the area and has not heard about any problems with them. 

“I can see where some people that don’t want to put up with the bar crowd might want to go there,” Vernier said. 

Vernier said that the occupancy of people allowed in the building pertains to the location’s square footage. 

O’Fallon City Council gives early approval to Italian restaurant

By Martha Stoffel

O’FALLON – At the City Council meeting on Monday evening, a zoning ordinance for a development known as Primo’s Italian Garage at 729 West Highway 50, Suite F was approved on first reading. The proposed business would be for a takeout and delivery Italian restaurant with alcohol sales, no dine-in option. 

At last week’s Community Development Committee meeting, questions were asked from committee members regarding the type of alcohol being delivered and precautions the company would take to not deliver to minors. The applicant, Ryan O’Day, explained the business would be selling bottles of wine only. The business would need the last four digits of the customer’s driver’s license number to place the order and require payment prior to delivery, per state regulations. O’Day also explained his drivers would be trained on assessment of the domicile once they arrived for delivery. 

Cambridge Capital Management celebrates new building with ribbon cutting

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce joined Cambridge Capital Management LLC to celebrate the opening of their brand-new building at 781 Sunset Blvd. Suite 100 in O’Fallon. They celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony on October 2. 

Cambridge Capital Management LLC is an independently owned and operated fee-only wealth management firm, with offices in O’Fallon, IL and St. Louis, MO.  In an industry crowded with mediocrity and clouded by conflicts of interest, Cambridge Capital Management LLC stands apart.  

Their approach is comprehensive wealth management that is held to the highest fiduciary standard which requires them to put the client’s interest ahead of their own at all times.  Cambridge Capital Management LLC does not receive compensation from any other source other than their clients.  

Not only does Cambridge Capital Management LLC help with your investments, but they take a comprehensive approach to your financial picture.  With the fee-only approach, you receive unbiased advice on your future goals, estate planning, cash flow, tax planning, retirement planning and much more. Cambridge Capital Management LLC works hand in hand with other professionals that impact your financial picture such as your CPA, attorney and banker.  If it has to do with your financial picture, they are there for you.  

For more information go to www.camcapmgt.com.  

First Command Financial Services opens new office in O’Fallon

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce joined First Command Financial Services Advisors Jill Pietrusinski, Steve Bione, John Kafer, Ashley Durbin, Jim Weger and District Advisor Alan Orr on Friday, Sept. 14, for a ribbon cutting ceremony for their new office at 639 N. Main Street in O’Fallon. 

In honor of the occasion, the team hosted Chip Payne, son of company founder Carroll Payne and a member of First Command’s Board of Directors, and Retired Chief Master Sergeant Kenneth J. McQuiston, a member of the First Command Military Advisory Board.

Since its founding in 1958, First Command Financial Advisors have been shaping positive financial behaviors for our Nation’s military families through face-to-face financial coaching. As the company celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, this new office will help them continue to carry out their Mission: Coaching those who serve in their pursuit of financial security.

O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber holds annual health fair

The O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce held their annual health fair on Friday, September 28. The event welcomed city employees for O’Fallon and Fairview Heights, as well as members of the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber, to meet with representatives from a variety of businesses within the health fields. Guests were also able to receive various health tests and assessments while at the fair.

The event, which is not open to the public, saw more than 230 guests come through.

(O’Fallon Weekly Photos By Nick Miller) 

Changes discussed to proposed new medical office building

A 3D rendering of the proposed medical office building to be located along Regency Park, next door to Enjoy Church.

By Martha Stoffel

O’FALLON – At the September 17, 2018 City Council meeting, an amendment to the ordinance for a Medical Office building, to be constructed at 301 Regency Park, was approved by council. The second reading of the ordinance came before the Community Development Committee Monday night that included the amended language giving the city the authority to require cross-access construction in the parking lot if deemed necessary by the city. 

The original ordinance language stated a cross-access connection “will not be required unless mutually agreed to by the lot owner and the owner of the adjacent lot.” The amended ordinance now reads “will not be required unless at any such point in time where the City at its discretion, believes the cross-access is necessary, the developer will be required to construct the cross-access within an agreed upon timeline or mutually agreed to by the lot owner and the owner of the adjacent lot.” 

The applicant spoke to the committee asking for the council to approve the original ordinance, citing a cross-access connection would remove needed parking and put their patients at risk from traffic through the cross-access point. The medical office building will be providing cancer treatment services. If the council did not wish to return the ordinance to its original presentment, the applicant made a suggestion for a change that would allow the city to the right to require a cross-access connection should the planned use of the facility or ownership change.

The committee was unable to take action on any items Monday night because of the lack of a quorum. Staff indicated the amended ordinance language, as well as the language from the applicant, will be provided to the council at the next city council meeting. Council members in attendance at the committee meeting were favorable to the applicant’s revision.

Lebanon receives 2017-18 Fiscal Year Audit Report

By Annabelle Knef

A financial audit of the city of Lebanon shows that assets exceed its liabilities by $10.3 million

According to an annual audit provided by outside auditor C.J. Schlosser & Co. on Aug. 10, the largest portion of the city’s net assets reflects investment in capital assets, such as land, buildings, machinery, equipment and infrastructure, minus any debt to acquire them.

The report analyzes the city’s position through the end of the fiscal year, April 30, and shows that the city’s net position increased $409,580 over fiscal year 2017.

It further states that current assets – cash, investments and accounts receivable – increased $157,908 over last year.

Current liabilities, which include accounts payable, advance payments for water and sewer tap deposits and customer deposits, decreased $48,731, the report states. Also, long-term liabilities were down $364,701, “primarily” because of a decrease in the net pension liability and the retirement of debt.

Total revenues decreased $377,148 for the year ending April 30, which the report attributes to lower reported capital grant contributions for payments the state made on capital projects in the city. For instance, in 2017, capital grants and contribution revenue was $518,419, compared to $58,551 in 2018.

However, property tax and sales and use tax both increased in 2018 over 2017.

Property tax revenues in 2018 were $290,454, compared to $284,260 in 2017. Sales and use tax in 2018 were $621,937, compared to $602,439 in 2017.

The city increased expenses in governmental activities by $235,854 – the largest category of expense being public safety, according to the report.

In 2018, the city spent $2,207,913 on governmental activities; in 2017, it spent $1,972,059.

Counselors Associates cuts ribbon at new Shiloh location

SHILOH – The O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce joined Counselors Associates Ltd. as they celebrated their newest location, 1941 Frank Scott Parkway East, Suite C, in Shiloh. The business celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony on August 23.                

Kristin Kneedler, Founder and Executive Director, feels at some point in every person’s life, therapy can be helpful. She believes that people who seek therapy are engaging in a healthy, proactive approach towards their life, typically seeking to implement positive, lasting life change and growth. Kristin says, “Counselors Associates has a highly skilled team of clinicians available to help people who are ready to learn how to engage in their best life.” 

Counselors Associates Ltd. consists of an exemplary group of licensed therapists offering a variety of mental health services to children, adolescents and adults. Some treatment areas include: ADD/ADHD, Anxiety & Depression, Career Counseling, Grief & Loss, Infertility, Post-Partum Depression & Pregnancy Loss, Self-Esteem, Stress Management and Trauma. 

For more information, please visit www.counselorsassociates.com or call (618) 972-1568.

Is there a nurse in the house?

One of the many career development programs offered to nurses at HSHS is the HSHS Southern Illinois Division RN Residency Program. Since starting this innovative program in 2006, the overall goal of reducing RN turnover and increasing RN retention has been achieved. The most recent cohort, pictured above, began in July 2018.

Across the country, hospitals are facing a shortage of nurses, and that shortage is occurring locally as well.

HSHS Southern Illinois Human Resources Generalist Jill Wilson isn’t sure what the shortage is attributed to, but indicated that at St. Elizabeth’s “we have a lot of exciting opportunities  and technology for nurses in our new hospital that allow them to provide exceptional patient care”.

“We are looking for full-time nurses in a variety of units including the Emergency Department and Telemetry,” Wilson said. “The advanced technology at St. Elizabeth’s is impressive. Our nurses have the opportunity to build their skills and gain experience by working on the very latest technology, and to be part of a team that serves patients better than ever before.”

Wilson said that if a registered nurse has at least one year of hospital RN experience, they may qualify for a sign-on bonus up to $15,000 depending on the unit they are hired into.

“These are our two biggest areas of need,” Wilson said. “We’re offering a $15,000 sign-on bonus for positions in Telemetry at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s and a $10,000 sign-on bonus for the Emergency Department and other inpatient nursing areas, subject to eligibility requirements,” she said.

Wilson said there are other benefits available for nurses seeking to further their education.

“We also have great tuition reimbursement options for nurses seeking to further their education,” Wilson said.

Wilson said that HSHS St. Elizabeth’s will be hosting a job fair on September 13 in the hospital’s board room with hiring managers in attendance.

“It’s a really good opportunity for nurses and certified nurse assistants to meet hiring managers in a ‘no pressure’ atmosphere,” she said. “They can see the hospital and get a feel for our culture.”

HSHS St. Elizabeth’s regularly posts job openings on its website, attends campus job fairs and speaks to schools about nursing opportunities.

Another area offering full-time employment is within the divisional Southern Illinois Division (SID) Float Pool. The SID Float Pool offers qualified, eligible RNs the chance to practice full-time for 10 to 12 weeks in a specific department based upon where they’re most needed.

Regina F. Peterson, DNP, RN, Director of Professional Practice and Development, Educational Services, RN Residency and the SID Float Pool, said nurses serving in different hospital roles fulfill a vital role within the health care system’s overall mission.

“Staffing nursing needs is always a big challenge,” Peterson said. “What we’ve found is that sometimes agency call-ins are not able to fit as well into our culture and mission. We need flexibility with regard to specific positions and locations, but we also want to welcome these floating nursing professionals into our family and our mission.”

“As a SID Float Pool RN, a nurse is assigned to a specific ministry within the Southern Illinois Division and to a specific department for no shorter than 10 weeks,” Peterson said. “Float Pools allow RNs to serve where they’re most needed.”

Wilson said that she would advise for candidates to apply to more than one nursing position at St. Elizabeth’s “if they are not sure which is the right fit for them.”

She also advised candidates to be prepared to talk about their work experience and to be able to “speak to their goals and what they are looking to achieve, not only in this position – but in the future.”

Wilson said that St. Elizabeth’s spends time developing in its current employees.

“Knowing their intentions is nice because then we can help them achieve those goals throughout their career within HSHS,” she said.

For more information, call (618) 526-6783, email SIDcareers@hshs.org or search hshscareers.jobs.

Medical office building approved by O’Fallon Planning Commission

A 3D rendering of the proposed medical office building to be located along Regency Park, next door to Enjoy Church.

By Annabelle Knef

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Planning Commission discussed a proposed site plan for a new medical office building to be located along Regency Park. 

The 30,882 square foot medical office building will be built 175 feet from the north entrance of St. Elizabeth’s hospital and 200 feet south of the Enjoy Church entrance. The building will house two medical offices, which the applicant, Justin Floyd of Green Mount Enterprises LLC, believes will meet a need for public use and compliment nearby land uses.

Assistant City Planner Justin Randall said that the site plan has the potential to provide cross access to the parcel that would exist to the south. 

“The parking requirements for a medical building of this size requires 139 parking spaces and all spaces must meet dimension requirements,” Randall said. 

Randall said that a landscape plan has provided, which includes the planting of trees along the street and a parking lot island. 

“They are proposing some signage on the front entrance and back,” he said.

The commission made a motion for the cross access easement and connection to the vacant property to the south to be “evaluated closer” at a future meeting. 

Roaming Riddle Mobile Escape Games celebrates ribbon cutting with O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce recently joined Roaming Riddle Mobile Escape Games as they celebrated their grand opening. As a benefit of membership, ribbon cuttings for home-based or mobile businesses are held at the Chamber office at 116 East First Street, O’Fallon. The business celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony on August 9.

Escape rooms are the latest entertainment craze taking the country by storm. The concept is simple: a group of people is “locked” in a room and have a certain amount of time to find the way out. Relying only on their collective wits, problem-solving skills and the information and items in the room, the group must discover clues, crack codes, solve riddles, and open locks to escape the room before time runs out.  

Roaming Riddle now delivers the escape room adventure directly to you. There is no need to travel to enjoy an exciting escape room experience.  Roaming Riddle brings it to you at the time and place of your choosing. Their mobile escape room is a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled, fully enclosed Escape Room Trailer – the only one of its kind in the St. Louis metropolitan area.  

Roaming Riddle’s current escape game is Submarine: Heroes Below. It is 1943 and you are a sailor on the USS Escape, the finest submarine in the US fleet. While submerged 200 feet in the North Atlantic, you find yourself surrounded by enemy warships at the surface waiting to take you prisoner.  You must guide your submarine to safety before the enemy finds you.

For any special event — birthday parties, team building, school events, anniversaries, graduations, wedding parties, fairs, block parties, game nights, church outings, just to name a few — Roaming Riddle delivers an exciting, beat-the-clock, escape room adventure right to your doorstep.  

For more information go to:  www.RoamingRiddle.com or call (618) 613-4044.