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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted April 17, 2014
I recently went on my Third “Land of Lincoln Honor Flight” to Washington DC with lifelong Clinton resident and Vietnam Veteran, Dick Wagers. I would like to take a few minutes to thank those who made the flight and especially the return home celebration a huge success for Mr. Wagers.
It was a well deserved and long overdue welcome home which he fully deserved.
First and foremost our local law enforcement agencies, for making this happen. I can’t thank them enough in words here!! Many thanks to the Dewitt County Sheriff’s department and Sheriff Jared Shofner for giving me the idea of the law enforcement escort, and Chief Deputy Mike Walker for coordinating our Law enforcement escort from the Dewitt county line to the city limits of Clinton.
Also a equally large thank you to Clinton Police Chief, Ben Lowers, for coordinating the escort through Clinton to Mr. Wager’s house, and all the CPD Police officers, Dewitt County Sheriffs Deputies, Illinois State Police Trooper Young, and the Clinton Ambulance crew who participated in the escort throughout the parade route. It was truly an amazing experience. Neither I nor Mr. Wagers will ever forget!
I also owe a huge thank you to the Am vets members’ Jesse Owens and Darvin Volker, who got help from the Clinton Boy Scouts, and also my better half Leslie Bevins for putting approximately 1000 flags on the parade route. They also placed the signs Ms. Manning’s high school art class made up as well, which were superb homemade patriotic signs that required a lot of thought and planning.
Also Gordon Woods, at the Journal, and Jared and Seth at WHOW did an awesome job promoting the event as well and deserve thanks for helping get the word out!
Others I owe a big thank you to for taking a minute out of their busy schedules by changing their marquis signs to “Welcome Home Dick Wagers.” Namely: the Flower corner, First National bank, Clinton High School, The Shack, Walgreens, Hardees, the Lighthouse Thrift Store, and the John Warner Hospital for decorating the area in front of the hospital.
The following area schools deserve some thanks for participating in the mail call section of the trip. Tracy Manning at the Clinton High School, Katie Vogel at the Jr High Art Dept, Ray Karcher and the Clinton High school shop department, Janet Streight at Washington School, Principal Mary Deiner at Webster school, Principal Sue Fustin at Farmer city, and Jodi England at the Argenta-Oreana grade school for having our students do thank you cards for Mr. Wagers.
But moreover I need to thank the many people who stayed up late (around midnight) to salute Mr. Wagers arrival along the parade route. A special thanks to those who followed us to Mr. Wager’s house to personally thank him for his service to our country.
It shows we still have people in our community who are willing to make personal sacrifices like Mr. Wagers did, and all our veterans have so proudly done, and continue to do for us!! THANK YOU!
Dewitt county liaison for the “Land of Lincoln Honor Flight”
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted April 7, 2014
The Better Government for DeWitt County believes it is time for the County Board to act responsibly and make the decision to secure a location for our new animal shelter. The need has been known for years and the “reform group” of the county board threw out the plan to have the Morton Building Company do a turn key building for lease purchase for a new 4000 sq. /ft. shelter for $370,000. This action required a cancellation payment of $18,000 for design work.
They then spent a year redesigning and taking bids for a new shelter that was under 3,500 sq. /ft. for around $700,000. This was rejected as being too expensive and we paid another $62,000 for design work. We now have paid over $80,000 and still have no shelter.
Board member Danny Ballenger spent a week with local contractors studying the feasibility of purchasing the Black’s Heating building and converting it to a modern shelter. It has been conservatively estimated to be able to remodel for around $63,000 and be in the building in less than 90 days.
Not only do we get an animal shelter for our budgeted price but we also get a finished building that is over 2 times bigger than originally planned, but we also get an additional building that has over 4000 sq. /ft. As a bonus, these buildings will provide the county with needed document storage and a secure facility for the sheriff to use to impound vehicles.
We must act quickly as this property will not be available for long and we will be back to hiring another architect to design yet another building for an estimated fee of another $35,000. When will this ever stop?
Clinton, IL 61727
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted April 4, 2014
The county board is about to fumble away an opportunity to get a property to serve as the new animal shelter. The State Bank of Lincoln is about to take foreclosure ownership of the Black’s Heating and Air property. After years of study and wasting $80,000 of architect fees on a bid for the shelter that came in at $700,000, the county now has the chance to purchase a property and convert it into a first class animal shelter for around $400,000.
This property includes nearly 3 acres, 11,000 square feet of buildings, a full gravel lot with fencing, city water, sewer and natural gas. The Black’s property can be used to solve multiple problems for the county. It would make a beautiful animal shelter, have room to store court house documents in a controlled environment, and provide a secure evidence impound lot for the sheriff.
The Black’s site has been evaluated by local contractors and has been determined to be a sound structure that can be remodeled and ready for animals in less than 90 days. The existing building, the Haynes building and an additional lot could be sold to further reduce the cost of establishing the new site.
Anyone with common sense would consider getting nearly 5 times the space for ½ the cost a no-brainer, but now the “reform group” wants to look at completely remodeling and adding on to the existing structure. Even if you use a cost of $100/ sq. ft., a figure ½ the bid cost of the new shelter, we would have over $250,000 the remodeled shelter. We would not be solving the problem of document storage.
The reform group has missed the estimated cost of previously bid projects by a factor of 2 as the animal shelter and dock 4 at the marina came in at 2 times higher than expected. Recently a sidewalk repair at the marina estimated at $33,000 came in at nearly $200,000. Their track record for getting work completed is not good.
We must act quickly to take advantage of the Black’s property as once it is sold we will be back to the drawing board for the animal shelter and will be faced in the future looking for room for court house document storage.
Please call your county board members and ask them to make the right decision concerning the needs of the county and proceed with purchasing the Black’s property.
Clinton Il 61727
Posted April 2, 2014
This is a station editorial, I'm Randal J. Miller, station president. And now, we present for your consideration, chapter 2 of our continuing series called “Axes to Grind.”
The latest run for axes to grind, continues to be the board of the city-owned Doctor John Warner Hospital. In their haste to push current C-E-O Earl Sheehy out the door April 30, the board at their March 31 meeting voted to enter into a management agreement with Alliant Management Services for some 160-thousand dollars, to manage the city-owned facility, despite the agreement not yet being finalized.
Also against the advice of Sheehy, was the hospital spending another 171-thousand dollars for a geriatric psych program.
The board and mayor Carolyn Peters, are now spending the 746-thousand dollar profit the hospital has earned so far in its fiscal year. At the same time they've gone to great lengths to try and prove that the profit Sheehy has worked to achieve is supposedly smoke and mirrors.
It's time to blow the dust off an editorial I did several years ago, and call for the Clinton hospital to be disconnected from the City of Clinton, establish its own hospital district which could be the Clinton Fire District or School District boundaries, and have an elected board. Considering who controls the hospital, the chances of that happening are slim.
But in my 6 years in Clinton, the hospital has constantly had all chiefs and no Indians, and it's happening again.
While we respect the people serving on the present hospital board, we're afraid that the axes they brought with them to grind, supplied by Mayor Carolyn Peters, have gotten in the way of simply overseeing the hospital. They want to use those axes to micro-manage, and in our view, this ain't good.
That's our opinion...we welcome yours. Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 31, 2014
To the Editor:
The Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau would like to extend their thanks to the Clinton Community High School and all the businesses and non-profit organizations who exhibited at the 2014 Business Expo. A wide variety of promotional items, samples and informational materials were distributed to the over 500 attendees.
The 2014 Business Expo held at the Clinton Community High School on March 26, featured 64 vendors from Clinton, Heyworth, Kenney, Bloomington, Normal, Springfield, Decatur, Mt. Pulaski and Farmer City. Many of the exhibitors held door prize drawings. We appreciate their continued support and generosity towards this event, which has helped to grow the Business Expo steadily year after year.
We would also like to offer a special thanks to State Bank of Lincoln for providing the free community shred and to Crossfit Influence for holding their demonstration class at the expo.
The Chamber would also like to thank Area Disposal for the donation of the residential trash cart given away as a door prize, along with CVS Pharmacy who provided the candy for the welcome table.
The Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau thanks our members and the community for their continued support.
Marian Brisard & Gabe Goldsmith
Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau
Clinton, IL 61727
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 21, 2014
We are fortunate to have a hospital in our community and I hope that it is here for generations to come. After reading the letter released by the medical staff, it concerns me that the hospital board has chosen not to renew the CEO's contract. Yes, there is always room for improvement but it seems that in the last 4 years there has been progress (even with all the challenges that Mr. Sheehy inherited).
The DJWH active medical staff which has served our community collectively for more than 50 years supports Mr. Sheehy 100%. They have confidence in him and a relationship with him that includes mutual trust and respect. Their letter to the hospital board and mayor thoughtfully outlined positive changes at the hospital during his tenure as well as serious issues that he has successfully resolved.
As a community we should be questioning the decision. Why a change in leadership? What will be accomplished? What will be the cost to the community? I have heard many reasons to keep the current leadership in place but few, if any, reasons from the Board for the change. What is really going on here?
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 19, 2014
I just want to say to the County Board that it is time come clean about the landfill issue. I have never spoken to anyone that is in favor of PCB’s being dumped in Clinton yet somehow the Board has made some shady deals to push this forward. What kind of motivation would make anyone support PCB’s above our aquifer?
Clinton, IL 61727
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 15, 2014
I have been a member of the Republican Party in DeWitt County for over 40 years and I have to say I am very ashamed of the behavior and actions of those who now call themselves the Republican Central Committee. The Republican Central Committee has a set of bylaws set up that dictates in a Primary election they do not endorse or support any one candidate. Sherry Brown has broken that rule by sending the pamphlet in support of some candidates and not others. The pamphlet they distributed was a vulgar attempt to poison the minds of the people of DeWitt County. I think it’s time that the people of DeWitt County take back control of the county so we will no longer be the laughing stock of the state.
Wapella, Ill. 61777
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 14, 2014
Sherrie Brown has hijacked the DeWitt Co GOP. She has taken tactics that turned the village of Wapella’s government into a dysfunctional group and has succeeded in doing the same thing to the county.
As I am writing this letter Brown, Savage, Wissmiller, and Hoffman are meeting with Holt at Hardees having another one of their moments of transparency of government. By meeting together they are violating the “Open Meetings Act” as they are a majority of a quorum.
As informed by Pete Daugherty, Brown wrote the Election Guide sent out as a mailing paid for by the DeWitt County Republicans. Other members of the DeWitt GOP had no knowledge of this project. You might note the mailer had a fake return address.
Now she uses the DeWitt GOP as a platform to spread her lies. Her recent voter’s guide is an exercise in getting her way by telling even larger lies about her opponents.
Brown’s lies about my involvement in illegal meetings are blatant and unsubstantiated. I NEVER met with anyone at anytime to discuss the PCB issue and I challenge anyone to provide evidence of my participation in any meetings, secret or open, concerning the bringing of PCBs to DeWitt County.
Brown’s statement about my “documented lies” is equally false. The incident in question was relating to the availability of the zoning officer, who was Sherrie Brown at that time, to meet with the public. My statement on the issue was that I had several complaints about Sherrie not being in the office and put on the agenda that we needed to talk about office hours. We had discussed this previously and Sherrie asked if I had a complaint and I responded, “yes”. At no time did I specifically name the persons or was I trying to get her fired, her personnel record was clean. Nobody needed to know who made the complaints, as the issue was to make the office work better.
Brown’s claim of me making no bid deals to benefit my friends is slanderous and another one of her warped lies.
Brown makes statements about the Better Government Candidates that are lies. She assumes that if you are opposed to the secret meetings and dysfunction of the “Reform Group” that you are for poisoning our water. When she has no other argument, she always makes the point that anyone opposed to her actions is for dirty water. She fails to understand that there are other issues facing DeWitt County. For example they have spent 14 months and $80,000 on the animal shelter and have nothing to show other than 4 stakes in the ground.
The same thing applies to the group she has identified as being opposed to her leadership of the DeWitt GOP. The candidates running as non recommended by her in the supposed “Election Guide” are in fact very dedicated Republicans that want to make a difference in local, state and national politics. They have worked hard to assist candidates that they support for election and understand the need to grow the party. It is wrong that Brown has used local GOP funds to protect her leadership of the GOP and not use it to help elect Republicans in their race next fall. To Sherrie, protecting her control of the DeWitt GOP and county board is the most important issue. We have watched as the DeWitt GOP now has a mere fraction of support it once had on the local front.
Actually we all want to be represented by adults that can work to make things better for DeWitt County. VOTE FOR THE BETTER GOVERNMENT ENDORSED GOP CANDIDATES.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 13, 2014
As the March 18 primary election nears, I want to take a moment to explain why Better Government for DeWitt County (BGDC) supports the candidates we do — both Democrat and Republican.
The group was built on the premise of creating a functional local government by vetting good quality candidates with good intentions for the future of this great county with so much to offer.
Like our organization, our endorsed candidates also support clean water, and are each opposed to the Clinton Landfill’s desire to store large quantities of toxic waste over the Mahomet Aquifer. This has been our position from the very first meeting when we began to organize.
Put simply, those that claim we are anything else are telling lies. The lies and mistruth written and spoken by those against our efforts to establish an accountable and productive county government are nothing more than failed attempts at negative campaigning.
BGDC was opposed, however, to the DeWitt County Board breaking the landfill’s host agreement in the manner it was broken. The fight opposing the landfill’s interest to store the PCB’s/toxic waste were already being fought vigorously, so remaining neutral was in the county’s best interest. If you have a landfill in your community, a host agreement is your biggest asset as the host community. Without an agreement, you have very little local regulation, if any, over the site. Voting to risk losing $1.3 million in yearly revenue and the ability to monitor the landfill and its activities is not in the interest of the taxpayers of our county.
We must make changes in our county board structure, first by electing people that will work for you, not against you. With that, reinstituting committee structure gives voters better representation, and gets projects done faster for the good of the citizens. As it stands now, giving the power to one person — the board chairman — is highly ineffective. What have we accomplished? Nothing. This model of governing is a common way for the majority to stack the deck and have their votes determined before any reasonable board member can oppose, or before public comment can be made.
If you are a resident of this county, you cannot be satisfied with this circus, which is more dysfunctional than state government. If you’ve had enough and want to support change on the DeWitt County Board vote for BGDC-supported county board candidates . They are as follows:
District B — Terry Ferguson (R), Tom Pruser (R) and Randy Perring (D)
District D — Cris Rogers (D), Melonie Tilley (R) and Sue May Whitted (D)
Tom Jackson, Chairman
Better Government for DeWitt County
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 13, 2014
As we head to our local polling places on Tuesday, I want to remind my fellow taxpayers of just what we are facing now, and how we can change our course toward prosperity once again.
At the heart of our county’s dysfunction is David Holt, publisher of the DeWitt Constitution. Holt continues to deceive the public with his twisted and malicious lies to sell his supposed newspaper, all the while creating the chaos he and his followers love so much. Holt’s need to destroy good people’s lives stems from his vindictive anger toward the county that has convicted him of his crimes in the past. It is no wonder that some of his and the seven followers on the county board are endorsing candidates that have criminal records.
I urge you to go to www.judici.com, to see for yourself the criminal history of those endorsed by Holt and board chair Sherrie Brown. Are these the types of people we want making key decisions for us as taxpayers?
This group, along with members of the local WATCH organization, spread misinformation and outright lies about those that oppose how they are approaching the landfill issue. They all claim that anyone not in line with their thinking wants toxic water, which is so incredibly false. To think that people in this community want to poison the same water we drink is simply appalling.
No one wants toxic waste and we certainly don’t want toxic water. What we oppose, in comparison to WATCH, is taking the law into your own hands. Information has been submitted to the IPCB, IEPA and the USEPA, and is out of our hands. There are many people fighting to protect the Mahomet aquifer through the legal channels, and we should have stayed neutral as the landfill’s host community to abide by our contractual obligations.
Holt and his followers want you to believe that by breaking the host agreement with the landfill, that automatically means no toxic waste. Simply not true. What it will take is everyone working together in a professional manner, but our county board lacks leadership, transparency and the ability to work collectively for the people it represents.
I urge everyone to vote on Tuesday, March 18. Please support only those candidates that can work together to solve these problems and create a prosperous community once again.
Denise E. Torbert, Clinton on behalf of
Better Government for DeWitt County Committee
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 13, 2014
As I was sorting through my mail a few days ago, I came across the De Witt County Republicans “Election Guide,” though it was of no value whatsoever. It has wonderfully colored charts and diagrams depicting all of the candidates for the upcoming primary. I’m not a political person, but I didn't throw it to the side because I’m concerned about issues our county is facing. I wanted to know what types of obscure ideas were being presented by the chairwoman and those behind the scenes that help make decisions.
Apparently, if you don't vote for the people backed by the “De Witt County Republicans”, you are supporting landfill-backed candidates. I use the term “De Witt County Republicans” loosely in this way because I have since learned that only a few Republicans were involved, and some were even bashed in the party’s own election guide.
As for the main issues discussed in this publication, I've yet to meet a person in my 35 years of life that will say they are for toxic chemicals. No one is FOR a toxic chemical landfill, no matter what the county board’s majority, Republic Party leadership and “publisher” David Holt try to say.
In this flyer, Board Chair Sherrie Brown quotes Abraham Lincoln, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.” I find that quote from her to be very hypocritical. Brown and those that follow her are all for not raising taxes (Who wants to pay more taxes?), but she's also with a group of several others that contest paying theirs by filing a lawsuit against the county that they are supposed to be representing. This is all public information on the county website.
County Board candidate Jeff Gibbs, I believe, has a hidden agenda trying to take over the marina. Gibbs is only present at meetings concerning the marina. Also per the last board meeting, he stated that there was $2 million missing from the marina fund, yet was not able to disclose where he got that number.
In that same spirit, current board member Keith Koons had the audacity to place a bid on the construction of the new animal shelter. This a major unethical practice for someone that sits on the county board. He stated that he didn't have any advantage over the rest of the bidders, but it is still a huge conflict of interest. Advice from the state’s attorney was blatantly disregarded. Instead, he chose to go through a non-legal advising body.
My personal feeling is that I can't trust anyone that will hold personal grudges in deciding the fate of our county. So, if and when you read the flyer, just remember that the people destroying our county are the majority. We can change that.
The precinct committeemen representatives are the people that can help get the cynical majority and their disinformation out of control of the De Witt County Republican Party. All the candidates supposedly promoted by “landfill supporters” are clearly not because again, no one supports toxic waste. I also find it funny that leadership of the De Witt County Republican Party is afraid of the Better Government for De Witt County and its endorsed candidates, probably because this organization is bringing the best candidates from both sides the aisle together to take our county back from the cynical majority.
Remember you don't have to vote a total of three; you just need to vote for candidates that will make our county better.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 13, 2014
The following is a letter written by the medical staff of the Doctor John Warner Hospital, and sent to the Hospital Board and Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters, on Tuesday, March 11. The medical staff provided a copy of the letter to dewittdailynews.com/WHOW/WEZC:
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 12, 2014
First, let me say that I am truly embarrassed for our DeWitt County Republican Party to be associated with the recently published voter's guide. The guide was produced without input from all Republican candidates, and again will splinter the party rather than uniting it.
I have been a lifelong resident of DeWitt County and a Republican just as long, and am ashamed of the reckless behavior of those that produced the guide. I WILL NOT, however, be drawn into the same negative tactics.
Have we really gone so far as to play dirty politics against our own party?
I respect myself enough, and am respectful enough of others, not to place blame or point fingers at specific persons. I do wonder, however, if those that produced this guide fear that I could smile, be courteous and have a professional, positive attitude. I care about my community and want the best for my friends, family and neighbors living in it, too. That is what I bring to the table and apparently that is troublesome to certain individuals.
Thank you in advance for heading to your polling place on March 18th to make the right decisions about a person's integrity and ability to lead our County out of this mess.
Let's make this a community we can be proud to call our home.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 11, 2014
With the upcoming primary election for DeWitt County Board members, I want to make voters aware of some of my researched knowledge about current Board members and candidates in the upcoming election. As a lifetime resident of DeWitt County, I continue to be very upset to see how Chair Sherri Brown and some of her followers within the current Board continue to endanger our County with irresponsible actions.
I live in District D and we deserve better representation than Doug Tucker and Pete Daugherty who are reckless in their actions and decisions while being part of Chair Sherri Brown’s irresponsible followers.
Doug Tucker owns no property in DeWitt County to the best of my knowledge. Thus pays no taxes to DeWitt County and has no incentive to make wise financial decisions for the DeWitt County tax payers. However, he does rent a boat slip on Dock 4 at the Marina. This is the dock Sherri Browns Reform Group wants to spend money to replace. His record of voting shows he goes along with nearly anything Chair Sherri Brown is in favor of; including breaking contracts and putting the County at risk for expensive law suits and loss of income to the County. There’s also no record found of Doug Tucker voting in DeWitt County.
Pete Daugherty has such a long list of questionable actions over his several years on the Board that I can only mention a couple within my limited space for this letter. In 2013 alone, Pete received $5970 (yes, nearly six thousand dollars) for vouchers he turned in for attending meetings as a County Board member. The $5970 was more than any other board member received to attend meetings (except Sherri Brown). Pete would have collected more but he had to return money to the county for turning in pay vouchers that were not legitimate county board meetings. That’s what happens when you have no committees and more meetings for everyone to attend (as they get paid for each meeting they attend---it’s not out of dedication or the goodness of their hearts to attend meetings).
Pete Daugherty recently entered into a financial agreement without authorization or any prior discussion at a County Board meeting when he hired a contractor for $2000 to do a cross section survey on county owned property; which would’ve only cost about $150 if discussed and done by a local business. He was lucky in that “after the deal was done” the Board decided to pay for it. I would’ve preferred Pete pay for it out of his own pocket since he individually entered into the financial agreement and maybe he would learn to stop acting alone.
As a past Board member myself, I also know of many instances when Pete Daugherty acted alone by making unauthorized contact with vendors and contractors for bids before posting a public notice. By acting alone, This type of action by Pete Daugherty continues to put the County at financial risk.
Melanie Tilley (District D) has a great record as past County Board Chair/Member and is a lifelong taxpayer/resident. Recently, after the resignation of a Board member left an opening, Melanie would have gladly taken that seat, but Chair Sherri Brown would not offer it to her. Instead, Chair Sherri Brown asked over a dozen people before finally assigning the seat to Doug Tucker who votes her way.
I encourage concerned citizens to attend County Board meetings and do their own research. We have well qualified candidates running in District D with Melanie Tilley, Sue May-Whitted, and Chris Rogers.
Clinton, IL 61727
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 10, 2014
Dear Mr. Miller,
I find your station editorial of last week stating that there is no role for DeWitt County or its residents in the USEPA's decision on the PCB landfill not only disturbing, but blatantly misleading to your readers and listeners.
As a member of the media -- particularly one with a federal license -- you owe your listeners and readers better research before stating facts which are either blatantly untrue or currently in dispute by legal authorities.
It is clear that you have blindly echoed the arguments of the prolandfill faction on this issue without any research of the facts or legal opinions on your part.
As a fellow member of the media, I can clearly say that the public deserves better research to be done before any such significant position should be taken by a member of the media.
I can say that with confidence, not only from my over six years of research and involvement on this issue, but also because your poorly research and presented editorial is in stark conflict with legal opinions of not only the career environmental attorneys for the regional coalition of cities and counties interceding in the issue but also the legal opinion of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the well staffed and career experience environmental law section of that state office.
While it is understandable that the landfill and its local supporters want to make the people believe that they have no rights, that is simply not the case.
For example, the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), under which the USEPA will review the landfill's application for the PCB landfill, requires that the USEPA take into consideration local and state disposal rules in issuing its authorization for the receipt of high-concentration PCBs at Clinton.
This federal deference to local and state rules was specifically inserted into the act in 1976 by Congress. It is also a clear exception to the usual precedence that the commerce clause of the Constitution gives the federal government. That subordination of federal authority has been consistently recognized by the federal courts as the exception that Congress intended it to provide states and local communities.
Where do those local and state disposal rules come from that USEPA has to respect in its authorizations for PCBs disposal?
Well some of them will come from from the local hearings under Section 39.2 of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act for the state permit and the local zoning hearing for a special-use permit for the federal PCB authorization, both of which have been skipped -- so far -- by DeWitt County authorities and the landfill.
Even the USEPA's Chicago office has commented upon the local zoning requirement, stating that the landfill can proceed with obtaining a special-use permit after the federal authorization is issued.
The legal argument and notice of seeking injunctive relief against the USEPA was that the USEPA would be in violation of federal law (TSCA) if it issues the PCB authorization before allowing local and state disposal rules to be defined first.
While that is a bit of the chicken-and-the-egg dilemma, the USEPA did not refute the need for its authorization to abide by state and local disposal rules no matter when in the process those rules are defined.
The people also clearly have the right to intervene based upon the contractual commitments made by the landfill and county resolutions that the landfill also made in order to obtain the 2002 siting for a "non PCB, nonhazardous-waste" landfill.
As codified county law, the commitments in that siting cannot be set aside by a contract, particularly one that has now been admitted to by former county board member Ed Young to have been negotiated in violation of the Illinois Open Meeting Act from 2005 through 2007 by the former finance committees of the county board.
Of course the legality of that contract, or at least some of its terms, is also now in dispute.
The people of DeWitt County also have a right, supposedly only through their elected representatives, to pursue the landfill's violation of its voluntary prohibition in the 2002 of its current receipt of hazardous, toxic MPG and other waste that the Illinois EPA previously only allowed to be disposed of in officially permitted hazardous-waste landfills.
Under the various solid-waste disposal acts in Illinois, the types of waste received in a county is controlled and regulated by the county, as well as the state. Those acts also require public hearings in order to set policy, not two years of now-admitted secret meetings resulting in a supposedly legal and binding contract.
Of course, it is also important to know that the Illinois EPA has stated that its intent is to reverse the 30-year law requiring local disposal approval under section 39.2. That admission of intent was made by John Kim, the chief legal counsel for Illinois EPA a few years ago. That intent is also reflected in the current legal battles, of which you have clearly taken the side of the state running roughshod offer DeWitt County and, in fact, all counties' residents' rights throughout the state.
While there was an attempt in 2007 and since by the prolandfill members of the DeWitt County Board to skip the state-mandated public hearing processes required under section 39.2 of the Illinois Environmental Act and other laws by having a series of unannounced, illegal meetings from 2005 and 2007, the only attorneys saying that that omission was legal are those of the landfill and, now, DeWitt County State's Attorney Karle Koritz.
It is understandable that the landfill attorney would take such a stand.
Why Koritz, who has no experience in these environmental issues, would pursue an interpretation contrary to the career environmental attorneys in the attorney general's office who have had a hand in crafting, interpreting, and administering this law for decades defines any reasonable explanation except two -- politics and money.
Koritz has admitted in his "legal counsel" memos to the board of the influence of the latter. The influence of the first on Koritz and your poorly researched station editorial is obvious, as well.
Dave Holt, Publisher
Central Illinois Media
The DeWitt County Constitution
Clinton, IL 61727-0031
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 10, 2014
I respectfully offer a differing opinion to Mr. Miller’s editorial dated March 6, 2014, in which he states “the County Board has no say over whether P-C-B’s can be stored in the Clinton Landfill.” What is at issue is Clinton Landfill, Inc.’s current application to the USEPA to accept Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) remediation waste in concentrations regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
In accordance with the Illinois Environmental Protection Act Section 39.2, landfills are required to obtain local siting permission in order to operate a landfill. This was done with DeWitt County in 2002 for Clinton Landfill #3. Pursuant to both state law and local ordinance, the landfill stated what wastes will and will not be accepted at the site. During testimony before the DeWitt County Pollution Control Site Hearing Committee on July 11, 2002, the landfill testified under oath that “Waste containing PCBs regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act will not be accepted.” The landfill again stated in its 2002 written siting application under the Operating Plan / Management of Special Waste “Special Waste shall meet the following criteria prior to acceptance: Does not contain a listed hazardous waste or PCBs at concentrations regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act.” Based on the hearing testimony and the written application, the County gave conditional siting approval to Clinton Landfill on September 12, 2002. One of the conditions of this siting approval gives the County the right to inspect for compliance with the terms of the siting application.
In my opinion, the landfill’s application to the USEPA for approval to accept PCBs in concentrations regulated by TSCA does not comply with the terms of County siting application. I believe the County has the responsibility to investigate and enforce its local siting permit and require the landfill to withdraw its TSCA application until a new local siting process can be conducted pursuant to Section 39.2. This would require some action by the County State’s Attorney.
So the County does appear to have considerable say on whether PCBs can be stored in the Clinton Landfill. But don’t take my word on it or Mr. Miller’s opinion. Sharpen your own ax. When I heard the same arguments years ago, I went and looked at the 2002 siting application located in the County Clerk’s office. After reading the public testimony and application you can form your own opinion. Had the DeWitt County Finance Committee taken the time to do this in 2007, we probably wouldn't be arguing about this today.
EDITORIAL posted March 6, 2014
This is a station editorial, I'm Randal J. Miller, station president. There apparently has been a run on the sales of axes in DeWitt County over the past few months, because a lot of people in county and city government have an ax to grind.
It all started with the electorate listening to too few people in the fall of 2012, and electing a host of DeWitt County Board members on just one issue. While the County Board has no say over whether P-C-B's can be stored in the Clinton Landfill, apparently some people that ran for the County Board, thought they could change the minds of the federal and state governments, and ran on that platform. It got them elected, so they brought their axes to the County Board, and we see the result....a room full of people with axes to grind. And, in the year plus that they've been in office, DeWitt County government has turned into either entertainment at our expense....literally....or the laughing stock of Central Illinois. You get to choose whether it's one or the other, in the upcoming March 18th primary.
The sale of axes apparently has caught on now in Clinton City Government. Mayor Carolyn Peters, the former head of the city-owned Doctor John Warner Hospital board, has not re-appointed hospital board members that were on when she became mayor, and instead appointed her own hand-picked board members. These board members have come to board meetings with axes to grind, one of which is the hospital administrator Earl Sheehy whose contract was not renewed in late February. This after Sheehy has turned the city-owned hospital from a revenue deficit, to a surplus so far this hospital fiscal year, of some 790-thousand dollars. Several axes were used to get rid of him.
We don't know if there are enough axes in DeWitt County, to provide everyone with an ax to grind, but I sincerely hope the run on axes comes to an end, and soon, for the betterment of the citizens. It's the WRONG reason to serve in any public office.
That's our opinion...we welcome yours. Our e-mail address is email@example.com.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted February 11, 2014
In January the Clinton Chamber of Commerce and the residents of Clinton voted Dove as the Non for Profit business of the year!! We just wanted to thank everyone who supports Dove.
We at DeWitt County Dove would like to thank the Chamber of Commerce and the residents of Clinton for honoring Dove with this prestigeous award. Because of the wonderful support we receive from the Clinton community, we are able to serve those who are affected by domestic violence. Thank you very much!
Jennifer Tolladay (DeWitt County Coordinator)
Megan Neaville (DeWitt County Outreach Specialist)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted February 1, 2014
The Dewitt County Jail is staffed with professionals who are committed to running a safe, constitutional jail.
In the interest of fairness, it's necessary to point out that Mr. Pirlot's letter is full of lies. Mr. Pirlot was incarcerated for a domestic battery case. During the time he was incarcerated, he was criminally charged for damaging county property. Mr. Pirlot's "trustee" status was revoked because he violated numerous jail rules. In fact, Corrections Officers compiled 35 pages of disciplinary records against Mr. Pirlot. That is not "good behavior".
This Sheriff's Office was one of the first in central Illinois to establish a social networking policy to regulate employee use. Any violation of that policy is taken seriously.
Our jail also has an established grievance procedure for inmates to file complaints against staff, or for any other reason. Those complaints are carefully preserved, documented, and investigated thoroughly. The grievance process is one of the points inspected regularly by independent authorities, including the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Illinois Department of Corrections, and the Cook County Sheriff's Office.
Mr. Pirlot did not enjoy serving his sentence in our jail. I am fine with that. I'd be happy if he learned from the experience and did not return.
This Sheriff's Office has a professional, devoted staff dedicated to keeping the public safe. We will continue to concentrate on that mission.
DeWitt County Sheriff
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted January 30, 2014
My name is Justin Pirlot and I was recently incarcerated in the Dewitt Co. Jail in Clinton, IL. for 11 months. I am now currently released but despite my release I am writing you this to announce and plead my grievances about how all inmates locked up in Dewitt Co. Jails facility (federal detainees and state charged inmates) are being and have been treated unjustly by the disrespect of the correctional officers that are employed there whom work ethnics are highly unprofessional and inappropriate
Two and a half months out of my 11 month incarceration in the Dewitt Co. Jail I earned a trustee worker position due to my continuous good behavior; so therefore I was not a problem inmate.
Being a trustee worker consists of being Dewitt Co. Jails janitor / maintenance person where we have the privilege to roam around freely pretty much the entire jail to perform our work duties. And along with them responsibilities we are constantly in the presence of the correctional officers whom work in that facility. So the information and accounts thereof that I am about to disclose and provide you with are not frivolous accusations and are in fact accurate and honest (camera footage will support a lot of what I am about to reveal – specific times and dates of each incident).
On Thursday Febuary 7, 2013 at 10:00 pm. a correctional officer was sitting at the control desk in inmate housing browsing the internet on the computer and on her facebook page messaging when she’s suppose to be observing the pods (that’s where inmates are housed) for the security of that facility and for the safety of inmates.
At around that same time and date (feb. 7, 2013 at 10:00 pm.) a correctional officer was in her office with the door closed, sitting in her chair with her feet on her desk asleep.
And also at around that same time and date, a correctional officer that works in the jails main central control room was sitting there watching a television program on the 42” flat screen t.v. that is in the central control room, while at the same time she was watching t.v. she was also on her facebook page on the computer… So when she’s occupied with doing non-work related things, how is she monitoring and maintaining all the security camera monitors for the safety and security of the entire Dewitt Co. Jail facility…?
On Saturday febuary 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm, a correctional officer was sitting at the control desk in inmate housing browsing the internet on the computer paying absolutely no attention to his surroundings nor to any inmate movements or activities…
Monday febuary 11, 2013 at 5:12 pm. a correctional officer was seated at the control desk in inmate housing browsing the computers internet while her co. worker working with another officer, was sitting next to her text messaging on her cell phone…
I do understand that these times and dates are months + old but I can keep going on and on because these few incidents that I just revealed are a “EVERY SHIFT” and “EVERY SINGLE DAY” occurrence and has been for years! Every single correctional officer employee that works in Dewitt Co. Jail ( first shift, second and third shift) sit around their entire shift text messaging on their cell phones, browsing the computers internet, getting on their facebook pages, watching movies on the computers, playing computer games, watching youtube videos, etc… When they have a sworn oath, a moral obligation and a ethic responsibility to conduct and foresee the safety of all inmates held in that jail and for the security of that facility.
I also have somewhat up-to-date times and dates of these same officers constantly doing the same non-work related pass times (and these are 3 months later… A every shift and every single day occurrence). And there are security cameras facing all around the officers control desk in inmate housing observing the officers conduct so all you have to do is go back and review all the camera footage and you will witness for yourself exactly everything I just attested to and more.
May 1, 2013 at 12:15 am. a correctional officer was browsing the internet and watching movies on the computer in inmate housing throughout her entire shift.
May 3, 2013 at 4:15 pm. a correctional officer was browsing the internet throughout her whole shift.
May 5, 2013 at 4:15 pm. a correctional officer again was watching movies on the computer and text messaging on her cell phone in inmate housing during her shift.
May 9, 2013 at 9:20 pm. a correctional officer yet again was text messaging on her phone while also watching movies on the computer in inmate housing.
May 13, 2013 at 4:15 pm. a correctional officer was browsing the internet throughout her entire shift yet once again.
May 15, 2013 a correctional officer was on and off the computers internet in inmate housing throughout his entire shift.
That same day (May 15) a correctional officer was on the computers internet browsing his facebook page and also watching Youtube videos.
Like I previously said, all this is a every single day, and every single shift occurrence, which ceases to stop even though it all has been brought to the attention multiple times to the Dewitt Co. Jails Administrator Mrs. Betty Smith (and if she denies any knowledge of knowing, that means she’s failing to do her job. And if knowing, she fails to do her job. So either way, she is failing to do her job as a jail administrator). Ms. Smith is suppose to be in charge of that entire facility but yet throughout her entire shift she coups herself up in her office browsing the internet on her office computer and getting on her facebook page and text messaging on her cell phone… Jail administrator Ms. Betty Smith will tell you that there is no internet access hooked up to the computers throughout that entire facility but all you have to do is go back and check the camera footage or just check the history box in every computer and all the proof will be right there that every officer on every shift are not doing their jobs and are indeed jeopardizing the safety and the security of that entire facility.
And not just the facility; also compromising the safety and security of that surrounding communities. A few years ago a federal detainee inmate escaped out of Dewitt Co. Jail (which was all over the news) because the correctional officers at that time were not doing their jobs in the same manner(s) which I just revealed that these correctional officers now are not doing theirs. Just the total disrespectfulness, unprofessional manner in which them correctional officers address inmates and how they talk/treat to inmates is going to one day cause a huge uproar/riot within the walls of that facility. So far they have been lucky that it has not happened yet. But one day their luck’s going to run out and they’re going to come across disrespectfully to an inmate housing unit full of inmates who have had enough of their unprofessional conduct and whom have absolutely nothing to lose because they’re facing life in prison anyway ( a man can only take so much because every man has a breaking point).