Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Marquis Energy Supports Food Program for Students

Image credit: Putnam County Record
Marquis Energy LLC is helping combat hunger in students by contributing to a local non-profit whose mission is to provide needy children with snack packs on days when school is not in session.

Princeton Buddy Bags serves the local children in Princeton and Malden school districts, by providing breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks to students on weekends and school break days.

“Princeton Buddy Bags provides an incredible service to the families in our area,” Mark Marquis, CEO of Marquis Energy, said. “These students receive tremendous nourishment through this program, while taking some financial burden off the families.”

Marquis is thankful for the wonderful people at Princeton Buddy Bags who provide this service and wholeheartedly support this cause.

Marquis remains committed to bettering the community through service and producing homegrown ethanol for cleaner air and more affordable fuel.

With a production capacity of one million gallons of fuel grade ethanol per day, Marquis Energy is the largest dry-mill biofuels production facility in the United States.

Source: Putnam County Record


Hennepin Bridge Project Has to Span Red Tape

The village of Hennepin was hoping to be able to cut the ribbon for a new bridge onto the Marquis Oak Ridge Trail by the Fourth of July holiday, but there’s a substantial amount of red tape to be cut through first.

The village has the support of the land owners involved in the project, which will begin at the end of Third Street and span Coffee Creek. It will allow hikers and cyclists onto the new 2.7-mile trail, and hikers will also be able to continue on into the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge.

Additionally, hikers and cyclists could use the trail as part of a loop traveling back toward the village on state Route 26 and onto Hennepin’s new bike path on High Street.

Although Village President Kevin Coleman has previously said the Durley-Boyle Charitable Trust was amenable to the idea of funding the project, the solicitation of donations is also likely. However, no firm estimation of costs for the pre-fabricated bridge project is known yet.

During the Feb. 21 Hennepin Village Board meeting, village engineer Bill Shafer received approval for $15,000 toward continuing the permit process, which has likely become more complicated than expected.

Along with the concept plan and preliminary surveying work, there will also need to be an initial archaeological survey, soil cores will need to be taken, and there will also be a 90-day review period that will include work with the Illinois EPA, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Army Corps of Engineers.

“The archaeological survey isn’t expensive, but it takes time,” Shafer said.

There’s additional concern about impacting the habit of Indiana bats, an endangered species. Shafer said he’ll be contacting the Wetlands Initiative, the organization managing the refuge, to see whether any of their services could be used to help expedite the process.

“We’ll also need to determine that it won’t negatively impact the wetlands and we can’t do that until growing season, which will likely be April,” Shafer said.

“I know we were hoping to have it open by the Fourth of July, but that’s just not going to happen,” he added.

Board member Quentin Buffington said that the village had already approved $4,000 for the preliminary work and that with the additional $15,000 approved at the meeting, the costs were becoming a concern without a firm funding commitment from the Durley-Boyle Charitable Trust.

“I don’t think we want to be this financially deep into this project and then have the trust tell us it was more than they wanted to spend,” he said.

While no final costs are known, it was suggested it could easily approach $200,000, if not more.

Source: Putnam County Record


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Troubles Mount for Hennepin Mill Owner

Demolition firm wants its money from owner of former steel mill

Another company says it hasn’t been paid by Hennepin Industrial Development LLC, the owner of the former steel mill in Hennepin.

On Tuesday morning, Judge Steve Kouri granted Dykon Explosive Demolition Corp. of Oklahoma the ability to join ongoing litigation against Hennepin Industrial.

Dykon, a demolition firm, is represented by attorney Paul J. Yovanic, Jr. of Seyfarth Shaw from Chicago.

In May and June of 2017, Dykon entered into subcontracts with Marino Development for demolition at the former steel mill, according to the Dykon’s petition.

“As of this date, (Bill) Marino still owes Dykon $56,000 for the first subcontract and the full $98,000 for the second contract,” according to the petition.

Bill Marino, owner of Hennepin Industrial, did not return a call for comment.

Source: News Tribune


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Bicentennial Courthouse Addition in Putnam County

Image credit: News Tribune
An original 1860 portrait of Abraham Lincoln has found a permanent home in Hennepin.

To celebrate Illinois’ 200th anniversary, the Lincoln portrait was presented by the Illinois State Historical Society, Illinois Judges Association and local contributor Roger Bolin, a Hennepin attorney and president of the Putnam County Bar Association, Friday morning in Putnam County Courthouse courtroom in Hennepin.

The original portrait was made by famed photographer Alexander Hesler in Springfield on June 3, 1860, following Lincoln’s nomination as the Republican candidate for the presidency.

Presentation of the portrait was made by Roger Bolin, retired Circuit Judge Scott Shore and Illinois State Historical Society vice Stuart Fliege.

The Illinois State Historical Society and Illinois Judges Association are working to put a copy of this historic portrait in every Illinois courthouse, Shore said.

Bolin “stepped up to the plate and donated to purchase our copy. He’s a Lincoln enthusiast and scholar of all things history,” Shore said.

Lincoln’s travels included visits to Putnam County. One such visit in September 1845 is well-noted, while campaigning for Congress. Lincoln, born 209 years ago next Monday, served four terms as a state representative, one term as a U.S. congressman and became the country’s 16th president in 1860.

Bolin asked that the plate note he’s donating it in memory of mentor and former senior partner, Walter Durley Boyle, Shore said.

Source: News Tribune


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hennepin Considers Biking Bridge to Dixon Waterfowl Refuge

Hennepin officials are considering the creation of a walking/biking bridge to the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge.

On Wednesday night, village president Kevin Coleman told the board about plans for the possibility of a bridge that would go over Coffee Creek from Third Street to the refuge south of Hennepin.

Coleman said he’s been discussing the idea for years with Paul Botts, president and executive director of The Wetlands Initiative, the nonprofit corporation overseeing the 3,000-acre Sue and Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge.

Bicycles would only be allowed on the Marquis Trail of the refuge, Coleman said.
Marquis Oak Ridge Trail in Hennepin open to public

The bridge would allow residents to bicycle or walk from the village to the refuge. The bridge still would be wide enough for emergency vehicles to get through. The board approved a motion to allow the village to work with Illinois Valley Surveying and Consultant, Hennepin.

The project wouldn’t be possible without Hennepin Marine Inc., Coleman said. The company owns the property where the bridge would be built, he said.

Coleman said he didn’t know the approximate cost of the bridge yet, and he said they’re working on where the funds will come from.

Source: News Tribune


Thousands of Waterfowl Highlight Area Christmas Bird Counts

Image credit: News Tribune
Thousands of waterfowl were counted in area Christmas Bird Counts this year before the Arctic blast hit Christmas Day, according to John McKee of the Starved Rock Audubon Society.

“Probably the most unusual waterfowl was at Hennepin Hopper Lakes. We counted 451 tundra swans. And we also had six trumpeter swans, which are becoming less unusual. They were at Swan Lake, which was appropriate,” McKee said.

The society held the Hennepin count Dec. 15, which includes Hennepin and Hopper lakes, and found 82 species, a record high for the 16 years of this count, McKee said. Volunteers counted 11,492 mallards, 4,852 Canada geese and 1,801 greater white-fronted geese.

“The Hennepin count gave us the most interesting stuff because it was still warm at that point and the weather hadn’t turned too bad yet,” McKee said.

Lingering late migrants included one eastern phoebe, four sandhill cranes, one gray catbird and one Harris’s sparrow, he said.

A week later, volunteers held the 49th annual count centered at Starved Rock State Park. Volunteers counted 11,607 common grackles, a species of blackbird.

“Probably the most unusual thing was a towhee. Six pelicans but pelicans have become pretty common. They were in backwaters of the canal over by La Salle. A nice flock of cedar waxwings, 25 of those,” McKee said.

The count on Jan. 1 at Illini State Park was a different story.

“The high temp that day was minus 6,” McKee said. “We had 53 species which is about average, maybe just a tad below average.”

The warm weather in the December counts produced scant numbers of horned larks. After the cold blast and snow, hundreds were tallied on the Illini count, McKee said.

At feeders, pine siskins were numerous.

“This has been a year of pine siskins, big time. We’ve had more than 100 at our feeders and have had for weeks,” said McKee of Ottawa. “There are hordes of them.”

The counts attracted about a dozen volunteers, which is about average, he said.

The National Audubon Society holds its Christmas Bird Counts Dec. 14 through Jan. 5 in the Americas. Within each count’s 15-mile diameter circle, volunteers tally numbers and species of birds they find in one day. Audubon and other organizations use the count data to assess bird populations and to guide conservation.

Last year, there were 2,536 counts held in Canada, the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean and Pacific Islands.

Source: News Tribune


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Interest in Solar Project Rises in Putnam County

While the spinning electrical turbines of the wind farms built in surrounding counties create sustainable energy, the harvests of Putnam County remain traditional — at least for now.

Jim Burger, Putnam County zoning officer, reported at the Jan. 8 Putnam County Board meeting that there’s interest in constructing a solar farm in the south end of the county, near Route 29 and close to Marshall County.

Burger said representatives from the unnamed company will make their presentation to the board at an upcoming meeting, and requested the board begin preparing a zoning amendment that would allow for its construction.

“The state grants they’ll be applying for need to be completed in 2018, so work wouldn’t even likely begin until 2019,” Burger said.

According to the Illinois Solar Energy Association website, there were more than 3,700 people in the Illinois solar industry in 2016, a 7 percent increase from 2015. They also estimate there will be an additional 5 percent increase in 2017. Illinois ranks 17th nationally for the number of solar jobs.

There are 233 solar companies within the state, the 10th most in the nation. While Cook County leads the state with 127 solar arrays, generating nearly 12,000 kilowatts of electricity, nearby LaSalle County generates more than 20,000 kilowatts with three solar installations.

Source: Putnam County Record