Friday, March 22, 2019

Thanks, Grant

Thanks, Grant

Grant Fredrickson passed away this week. He was a brilliant, kind, and funny man. Grant contributed to our community in countless ways. Mr. Fredrickson never seemed to have a bad thing to say about someone. The first time we met, he told me a story about the previous owner of the Metamora Herald. He told me he was the type of man who always left you feeling good when you parted ways. Grant told me he tried to emulate that behavior. I often think of this conversation and attempt to remember to keep this goal in mind while interacting with folks.

He was an inspirational fellow. Grant wrote a column for Courier Newspapers called "North of the Alley". In the final column, he wrote about one of his heroes who helped to develop the calculator: 

But he’s my hero in another way.  He was described as not only brilliant, but kind and with a good sense of humor.  If only I could be like him – brilliant, kind and with a humorous outlook on life.  For me, that’s the perfect man.

He definitely was like him. Thanks for everything, Grant. Rest in Peace.
Dave Tilley wants to be Spring Bay's Next Mayor

Dave Tilley wants to be Spring Bay's Next Mayor

Dave Tilley wants to be Spring Bay's Next Mayor, Metamora Herald

I am 51 years old, married 5 kids 4 Grandchildren. I have resided in Springbay for 4 years now. I grew up in Germantown Hills and went to Metamora High School, graduating in 1985.
I work as a Nurse at OSF, I am a volunteer EMT on the Springbay Fire Department, I also teach the EMT classes there, and I am a Combat Medic SGT with the Illinois Army National Guard. I have 17 years of combined active duty and national guard time.
John McCarty, our previous mayor, served the village of Spring Bay for many years and we all will feel that loss. I want to try to improve our village for our residents by applying for federal and state grants to improve infrastructures such as roads and sidewalks. I also want to help clean up the village as some properties are in a state of disrepair and pose health risks and lower property values. I feel that we could use the beautiful parks that we have to add a Frisbee golf course and use the parks for concert nights during the spring and summer months. I would also like to bring back our annual watermelon festival to bring the community together.
Global Climate Change Protests & Local Business

Global Climate Change Protests & Local Business

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository,  This image was originally posted to Flickr by Lorie Shaull at

In the spirit of  Women's History Month, I would like to speak about Greta Thunberg. She is a 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist that has started a trend, but unfortunately, the news of the global climate change protest was overshadowed by a horrific act of terrorism. However, on Friday, March 15th, 2019, millions of grade school, pre-teens, and teenagers marched in protest for the future of our planet. Their generation will face the most devastation from climate change and they would like us to do something about it now. 

Greta gave a powerful speech at the UN Climate Change COP24 in Katowice in 2018. This speech is so moving please watch, it is not very long, but the message is simple and clear. The time for change is now because it is already too late. Some damage we have done is beyond repair, but there is still hope and we can prepare better for the future. Greta has been protesting every Friday in the hopes of getting her government to take more action in making real changes. This video explains her reasoning behind skipping school

The kids are right! Politicians and many businesses are more concerned with their bottom lines than making changes that would help with climate change. They choose to make up excuses like " many jobs will be lost" this is a lie. More jobs will be created by becoming more green. Of course, it will take money to make these changes, but I have a feeling the money is there and we need to put it to good use, not golf trips, expensive curtains, desks, tables. Think of all the wasteful spending we don't know about. We could be doing so much more for the greater good with our tax dollars. The way of the future is wind and solar power. It is already happening and although some people may not be happy with locations of solar farms or wind farms they will continue to pop up.

In 2018, the Sol America Energy company purchased land in Eureka. They followed all the legal steps necessary to place a solar farm on that property, but one problem for them is the property is in a residential area. The landowner and Sol America Energy were well within their rights to do this, but residents in the neighborhood were upset and went to various board meetings to block this from happening. The Woodford County Board had the opportunity to vote about the permit Sol America needed, but they just let it die on the table. No vote. The business decided to go to court and this happened: “Woodford County’s denial of the subject special-use permit was arbitrary, unreasonable, bears no substantial relation to the public health, safety, and welfare, and violated Sol America Energy LLC’s rights to both substantive and procedural due process,” the judgment read. Judge  Charles Feeney[3]

What is the Woodford County Board doing to bring us into a greener community? We really must plan for and think about the future. How can we use this as an opportunity to do better/more than our parents? Why aren't we finding new and innovative ways to recycle one-time use materials? We need to do more. Thank you to Greta for speaking up and doing what you can to help out. Thank you to all the kids and adults who participated in the protesting. Thank you to all who are standing up and doing what is right!

Deceased Mayor John McCarty on Ballot for Spring Bay Voters

Deceased Mayor John McCarty on Ballot for Spring Bay Voters

Deceased Mayor John McCarty on Ballot for Spring Bay Voters, Metamora Herald

 This article was put together from a social media post about the recently deceased mayor of Spring Bay. John McCarty was a well-respected man in the community and will be missed. The Herald is sharing this to help inform voters. We will gladly share any information given to us by any interested parties, whether you are running for office or not.
John McCarty moved to Spring Bay when he was 13 years old. His parents owned a grocery store and filling station for decades in town. John and his wife, Julia, bought a house in the Village of Spring Bay in 1970 and raised their four girls. Shortly after moving to the village, he became Mayor of the town.
Over the years, John was involved in several grants for the village. He assisted in the construction of the upper and lower parks, mowed and plowed snow for the village, and helped families over the years with the floodings. Mayor John had a passion for his community. He was involved with many organizations such as Spring Bay American Legion, Township Clerk, Jaycees, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Izaak Walton League, Ducks Unlimited and many more. He also enjoyed community activities such as the watermelon festival and 4th of July fireworks. John had also overseen many young adults on the work release program.
 To everyone living in the village of Spring Bay:  John McCarty's name is still on the ballot for village president. Per Woodford county clerk-registered voters can still vote for John McCarty. If John McCarty wins it creates a vacancy and the village board can appoint someone in John McCarty's place.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Welcome back, Spring!

Welcome back, Spring!

Welcome back, Spring!, Metamora Herald

Spring has sprung! Today is the spring equinox or vernal equinox. "The vernal equinox takes place on March 20 or March 21 and signals the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. During the vernal or spring equinox, the amount of daylight and darkness is nearly the same in length. (The word equinox comes from the Latin “aequus,” meaning equal, and “nox,” meaning night.)"

"For centuries, people have celebrated the vernal equinox. At the ruins of Chichen Itza, the ancient Maya city in Mexico, crowds now gather on the spring (and fall) equinox to watch as the afternoon sun creates shadows that resemble a snake moving along the stairs of the 79-foot-tall Pyramid of Kukulkan, also called El Castillo. On the spring equinox, the snake descends the pyramid until it merges with a large, serpent head sculpture at the base of the structure. While the Maya were skilled astronomers, it’s unknown whether they specifically designed the pyramid to align with the equinox and create this visual effect. At Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument in England featuring the remains of a circle of huge standing stones, druids and pagans congregate to watch the sun rise on the equinox and welcome spring. However, it’s unclear what, if any, meaning the equinox held for those who constructed the ancient monument, as they left no written record about why or even how it was built. Among various spring holidays is Nowruz, the Persian New Year, which starts on the vernal equinox. The centuries-old holiday is observed by millions of people around the world and lasts 13 days. In Japan, the day of the spring equinox is a national holiday called Shunbun no Hi. Some people commemorate the day by tending to the graves of their ancestors."

Friday, March 15, 2019

Sunshine Week Audit of Local Gov Websites

Sunshine Week Audit of Local Gov Websites

Sunshine Week Audit of Local Gov Websites, Metamora Herald

This week is designated as Sunshine week, culminating in National Freedom of Information Day on March 16. "Sunshine Week is a national initiative spearheaded by the American Society of News Editors to educate the public about the importance of open government and the dangers of excessive and unnecessary secrecy." "Sunshine Week coverage is a collaborative effort between the AP, Associated Press Media Editors and the American Society of News Editors, which launched the first national Sunshine Week in 2005. The week coincides with the March 16 birthday of James Madison, father of the Constitution and a key advocate of the Bill of Rights".
We at the Metamora Herald have decided to do an online "audit" of local government websites. The following is our assessment of how local units of government make public information available online and their sites usefulness. 

Illinois Prarie District Public Library
minutes posted quickly, agendas posted in advance of meetings, information for board members distributed digitally and shared with the public. very good access on site.

MTHS School Board
minutes posted directly, agendas posted on site before meetings. good access on the website.

MGS Board of Education
minutes & agendas posted online. good, basic information on site.

G.Hills District #69
Agendas posted in advance. Great website with lots of information.

Riverview Consolidated
Minutes and agendas available with other public information. Good access.

Village of Germantown Hills
Agendas and minutes of board and committee meetings online.

Village of Metamora
Minutes and next agenda made available. FOIA request information is available to assist information seekers.

Village of Spring Bay
Easy to use site with minutes of past meetings. Decent site.

None of the local townships have an online presence that could be identified. The Township Officials of Illinois website Woodford county section lists links for Metamora and Worth, but nothing for Spring Bay. The Metamora link gave a message "website not available".  Worth township has a site that is "under construction" with some contact information. Most recent minutes posted are from 2016.
What exactly does a township do? The Illinois State Comptrollers website has some information about the history of township government in Illinois. The over 1400 townships in Illinois operate "as modern as any and more progressive than most" as "the closest level of government to the people". Our local townships do good work but could use an update of their public face. A modern and progressive government needs to to be open and share information with constituents.

ADDWC Recycling Finished in Metamora April 1

ADDWC Recycling Finished in Metamora April 1

"The world is currently producing nearly 300 million tons of plastic each year - a significant amount of which will end up in the oceans. Unfortunately, although plastic is a useful product, many of these products are created for single-use - with an estimated 50 percent of plastic used once and thrown away. (1)  Now it is becoming more expensive to recycle. Why are we still producing petroleum-based plastics that are not biodegradable?  Why do Corporations that have made billions of dollars while polluting the environment not want to spend money to clean up the mess?

There are many places now that have recycling programs available and ADDWC is an excellent example of the future of recycling. Their program incorporates recycling while also giving job opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities. However, it takes quite a bit of money to run this organization and, unfortunately, the price of recycling certain materials is rising. This creates difficulty in making this a profitable endeavor. By recycling plastic ADDWC is losing a large amount of money every year. This income helps to make the charity feasible.

The ADDWC must raise their prices to offset the balance of this large annual deficit. They have contacted the local surrounding areas to inform them of this increase and gave them an option of
paying the additional cost, paying the regular cost, but not recycling plastic, or to cancel the service.
Here is an excerpt from the minutes of the Metamora Village Board meeting:

"Mayor Maurer presented a notice from the ADDWC stating they are raising their cost of trailer
pick-ups for the recycling trailers. They now charge $20.00 per trailer every time they dump, but
as of April 1, the cost jumps to $38.00 per trailer. An example given was the bill for the 4
the qtr. of  2018. They dumped the trailers 54 times at a cost of $1080.00. With the new rate, 54 dumps will be $2052.00. That is the cost for one quarter only. The cost will almost double and the concern is a lot of people that do not live in Metamora use the recycling trailers and our residents are
paying the bill. Now that PDC/Area Disposal offers a recycling program to residents, the need for the
trailers has lessened. The subject will be on the agenda for more discussion and action at the
next meeting."(3)

I will spare you the suspense until the next meeting, the board voted to stop the service 5 to 1. The contract will end on March 31st, 2019. So if you want to pay an additional fee on top of what you already pay for garbage removal you can still recycle. I contacted PDC/Area and they told me that I would get a 95-gallon toter with the recycling service. This convenient program available to most residents, but I am left feeling guilty about the people who work for ADDWC. It would be a shame if this organization failed from lack of support.

And how do we go from using plastic so much to little or not at all? Is this even possible now? We have become so dependent on it for almost everything we use in our daily lives. Think about all the products in your home right now and how many of them came with plastic. Soda, laundry detergent, dish soap, shampoo/body soap, food containers and on and on. How do we escape this dependence? I really do not like using bar soap but I will if it would help. I can't do it all alone though. I have started using my plastic grocery bags to make mats for homeless people. It is time-consuming and hard work but when I have finished it will have used 500 or more plastic grocery bags and provide someone a little comfort. (anyone else interested in doing this? contact me at )