Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hennepin & Hopper Lakes Opens to Fishing Tuesday

Image courtesy of the News Tribune
Hennepin and Hopper Lakes on the Illinois River will be reopened to public fishing under special rules Sept. 1-27, the first fishing allowed there since 2009.

Anglers will need a permit from The Wetlands Initiative. No fee will be charged. Applications will be available starting Tuesday by the boat launch. Anglers older than 16 also must have a state fishing license.

Fishing has been closed on the lakes since 2009 so that The Wetlands Initiative and DNR could reduce numbers of common carp and stock the lakes with native fish. Re-infestation of carp scratched a plan to reopen it in 2012.

The Wetlands Initiative waited for approval from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, according to a press release.

“It took much longer than we expected to get all the sign-offs needed in Springfield,” said Paul Botts, executive director of The Wetlands Initiative, which owns and manages the Sue and Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin and Hopper Lakes.

Fishing will be allowed from sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset Tuesday through Sunday, closed Monday. No gas-powered motors and no shore fishing are allowed. Kayaks and canoes are welcome.

“We've had so much interest and want to make sure the health of the lakes and the fishery isn't jeopardized, nor the experience of visitors who come to the refuge for hiking, birding or other activities,” said Suzanne Wagner, director of development and communications for The Wetlands Initiative.

The only live bait allowed is red worms, wax worms and night crawlers. You cannot use other animals or animal parts as bait including reptiles, amphibians, minnows, crayfish, leeches and cut bait.

Fishing is allowed only in a designated fishing zone south of buoys extending from the boat launch and north of buoys in the southern portion of the lakes.

The parking lot by the boat launch is limited to 40 vehicles with boat trailers, first-come, first-serve. When the parking lot is full, no more boats will be allowed. No alcoholic beverages are allowed.

Conservation officers will do spot-checks. State fishing regulations apply. State fines will be assessed for violations. Those who refuse inspection are guilty by default. Violators will have their Hennepin & Hopper permits revoked for one year.

Permits cover all immediate family members listed on the application. Children under 12 must be supervised by a parent or guardian.

Anglers must use a logbook by the boat launch, entering name, permit number, date and time prior to fishing. After fishing, anglers must log the number and sizes of each species caught and the number of species kept and released.

Fishing may be closed at the discretion of the site manager for special events and weather conditions. Final authority rests with the site manager.
Fish Limits

Here are the minimum size and daily creel limits at Hennepin & Hopper. Species not listed must be released and no other animals can be taken.

Bluegill — Any size, no limit.

Pumpkinseed — Any size, no limit.

Channel catfish — Any size, six fish.

Crappies — 9 inches, 20 fish.

Largemouth bass — 15 inches, three fish.

Muskellunge — 42 inches, one fish.

Northern pike — 24 inches, three fish.

Walleye — 18 inches, 3 fish.

Source: News Tribune


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hennepin Looks at I-180 Reduction

The talk of reducing Interstate 180 from a four-lane expressway to a two-lane highway has caused concern for many area villages.

On Wednesday, Aug. 19, Hennepin Village Board President Kevin Coleman said he has talked with many people about the interstate, including Congressman Adam Kinzinger and State Rep. Frank Mautino. He said the local politicians were aware of the situation and working on the issue.

Coleman said reducing the interstate wouldn't just impact Putnam County but other surroundings counties, including Peoria, which uses the interstate as a quick route to Chicago.

"You're talking a couple hundred thousand people, if not more," he said. "And it will affect the Peoria area as well."

Hennepin village engineer Bill Shafer said he had spoken with an Illinois Department of Transportation representative who told him the Interstate reduction was in the preliminary stages. He said there's a lot of maintenance work that needs to be done on the interstate, particularly on the river bridge, and the government is short on funds and looking at all options.

"If they are going to do something as drastic as that, he said there would be public hearings," Shafer said of the IDOT representative. "The probability of it actually happening are pretty slim. There would be quite a bit of an initial cost to make that conversion."

Shafer said he didn't think it was something to get too excited about.

Village trustee Quentin Buffington said he also spoke with someone from the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the representative told him the decision wouldn't happen quickly.

"It's basically just a feeler, and he said any plans would be 10 years out. He said there are projects scheduled for the next few years to maintain it. There's no concern for at least five to 10 years," Buffington said.

Ongoing improvement projects in the village

Shafer updated the village board about the upcoming storm sewer project. As reported last month, the village is having drainage and water flow issues in the area near Sixth and Locust streets. Shafer said the tentative bid date on the project is Monday, Sept. 14. After the bids come in, he will give a recommendation to the board at next month's meeting.

Shafer said a possible gas line may be in the area where the project will take place, and he was investigating it further to ensure plans did not interfere with the gas line. Ameren is being called in to locate the gas line.

Shafer also reported Judd Construction of Hennepin had given estimates to lay asphalt on two alleys in the village. The board approved the cost of $7,545 to asphalt both alleys. One alley is located near Cyr Financial, and the other alley is located near Mulberry Street.

Scarecrow contest coming again this September

The village will be taking over the scarecrow contest this year. Last year, the event was sponsored by the Hennepin United Methodist Church. The village approved the $150 cost to sponsor this year's event. Village trustee Matt Dean, who will be chairman of the event, said the cost for the contest goes toward advertising and trophies for those who participate. He said last year's event had about 20 participants and a lot of positive comments.

Source: Putnam County Record


Donation to Help PC EMS

Image courtesy of the Putnam County Record
Dynegy Hennepin Power Plant donated $15,000 to the Putnam County ambulance service to help fund new LifePak 15 cardiac monitors.

The donation was given after PC EMS director Andy Jackson contacted the Hennepin plant about a possible donation to help replace two of the three cardiac monitors used by the ambulance service.

“We get funding through the county. It is not enough, so we have to have fundraisers and donations. There is no state or federal funding for us,” Jackson said.

“We knew the ambulance service was going to be down on the number of ambulances they had to respond. With our 24-hour-a-day operation, we felt it was necessary to have multiple ambulances available,” Byron Veech, managing director of Dynegy’s Hennepin plant, said.

Veech said he asked the corporate office for special funding to go above the usual donation level.

Source: Putnam County Record


Monday, August 24, 2015

Hennepin Says Good-Bye to Active Contributor Kuhne

The Village of Hennepin lost a longtime active citizen Thursday, with the passing of Marion Kuhne.

Kuhne was a World War II veteran who made his home in Hennepin, where he was active in the community, helping to organize the fire department for the village, serving as fire chief for more than 30 years, serving as president of the town board, and on the park district, where he helped to bring the indoor pool and meeting room to the community.

He was also an active member of his church, sitting on the board of the Hennepin United Methodist Church.

“He was an outstanding person willing to do anything,” said Gary Boggio, Kuhne’s longtime neighbor. “He was proud of everything he did. He was willing to help out the community.”

Kuhne also sat on Hennepin and Putnam County school boards, helping to consolidate the different schools into one unified district. He was on the zoning board and ambulance board and had driven an ambulance, and still was on the regional school board until this month.

“I don’t know of one (organization) I can say he highlighted, he hit on everyone of them when you talked to him,” Boggio said. “He always had story about every one of them.”

Source: News Tribune


Sunday, August 23, 2015

2015 Harvest Home Celebration to be Held September 19

Neon Lights
“Harvest Home Family Fun Run”

Friday, September 18, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Come and get your glow on at the first ever Harvest Home Neon Family Fun Run on September 18 at 7PM! Each participant will get a neon pack that includes:

  • Neon t-shirt
  • Neon glasses
  • Neon necklace
  • 2 neon bracelets

Neon paints and other items will be available for purchase at the event. This is a Fun Run of a 5K, not a race. There are no times and no medals. This event is to raise funds for Angel Gende and her family, as well as the Harvest Home funds and Roses from Linda - all great causes. We're looking forward to seeing you all decked out in NEON!

If you have any questions, contact TJ Hodges at (217) 417-2677 or Matthew Dean at (815) 303-3536.

Home Grown
“Celebration of our Roots”

This year’s theme revolves around the celebration of where we call home. Dress your best and deck your floats in black & gold, corn stalks, broom corn, and get ready to kick off Hennepin’s second annual Scarecrow Decorating Contest!

This year there will be a CASH PRIZE for the best Golf Cart/ATV - $30 for best in show and a $15 runner up. This includes all carts and ATVs not towing a trailer/float. There will also be trophies for the best float that interprets “Home Grown”. At the end of the parade there will be a trophy for the Best Dinner Call so start working on your “Dinner's Ready” cry!

Parade is open to all businesses, groups, organizations, public, and politicians. Farm implements are welcome and encouraged to attend as are livestock walk-throughs or horse drawn/horseback entries.

"Scarecrow Contest"

The best scarecrow and runner up will receive a cash award for residential category and a trophy for business/organization category for the top three entries. First prize will be $50, with two runners up that will receive $25 each. Rules will be posted around town. Judging will take place on Friday, September 18, Harvest Eve.

  • All scarecrows are asked to be decorated appropriately and also be maintained.
  • Please have them up on the week of Harvest Home and no later than Friday the 18th.
  • If you are able to, keep your scarecrows up through Halloween, but once the scarecrows start to deteriorate we ask that they be removed.
  • Place scarecrows on the address side of your house in your yard so they are visible.
  • Businesses and organizations are asked to theme decorate the scarecrows towards their purpose.

If you have any questions in regards to the fun run, parade, or contests, please refer to posters at the Hennepin Food Mart, North Central Bank, Hennepin United Methodist Church, or Country Stop Restaurant.

Email Matthew Dean with any questions or call (815) 303-3536. Thank you!


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Virtually Unchanged 1837 House For Sale in Hennepin

Images courtesy of the News Tribune
If you are a history buff looking for a project, a ride to Hennepin might be worth your time. There, three blocks away from the historic Pulsifer House is another all-brick home from the 1800s waiting to return to glory.

The home, located on Mulberry Street and owned by former Hennepin resident Diane Capitani, was built in 1837. Capitani and her father, John Novak, bought the home in 1990 with the idea of restoring it with historical accuracy.

After the death of her father in 1995, Capitani still wanted to restore the house, but because of family health issues, she is now selling the house, originally owned by E.G. Simpson, a relative of the Pulsifer family, for $99,000.

The house has electricity run to it, as well as water, and is partially heated, but has no bathroom or kitchen.

“At one point I had talked to somebody that said he could probably do this (restore the home) for $100,000,” said Capitani. “The floors are solid.”

According to Capitani, the house may have been visited by Abraham Lincoln.

“I got some old stuff I kept rummaging around in,” said Capitani. “With it is this old letter that indicates that Abraham Lincoln had dinner in the house when he argued in the Putnam County courthouse.”

Because Capitani currently lives in Wilmette, Quentin Buffington, who lives in Hennepin, is the caretaker of the home.

Buffington demonstrates how easily the original pocket doors still slide

Buffington said the house has been mostly unchanged since it was built.

“With the exception of replacing a few bricks and stones, it’s pretty much the original,” said Buffington.

Buffington even showed working pocket doors that date back to the original construction.

“They open without any problems. The mechanism that opens them still works,” said Buffington.

According to Buffington, the house only has a few layers of paint, and the original layout never has been changed.

The house is also full of rarities for its time, with access to the basement and attic inside the home, and closets throughout.

“This house was built by craftsmen,” said Buffington. “One of the contractors I know said to build a house of this volume of masonry, is hundreds of thousands of dollars to recreate today.”

Buffington has shown the house to four different people, but so far no one has decided to take on the historic project.

“If I had the money and the time, I would happily take this project on,” said Buffington. “It’s a piece of history. You can’t replace this.”

Source: News Tribune


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I-180 in Danger of Shrinking to Two Lanes

Image courtesy of the News Tribune
A proposed cost-saving measure by the federal government could cost Putnam County, and surrounding areas, big.

The Putnam County Board received correspondence from U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) about the possibility of Interstate 180 being reduced to two lanes. Kinzinger is against the reduction.

County board president Duane Calbow and the board on Monday said the reduction would impact the marketability of the county for economic growth.

Hennepin mayor Kevin Coleman agreed.

“I think it’s a foolish thing to do,” said Coleman. “The Economic Development Council from North Central Illinois has been working for more than a year trying to develop a three-county economic develop council for Bureau, La Salle and Putnam counties, which includes over 150,000 people.

“In the three counties, Hennepin’s north side is one of the most favorable industrial sites in the state of Illinois,” Coleman said. “To market this area, we are using the rail service, the river service, and the interstate service to its front door.”

“Interstate 180 is part of what drew us here in the first place,” said Dana Gustafson, executive assistant at Marquis Energy. “It is such a logistical advantage of Putnam County and this enterprise zone we are in.”

Marquis Energy is expanding, and after expansion is complete, the plant will be the largest dry mill ethanol facility in the world. With that expansion, up to 500 trucks a day will enter the plant.

“We have a concern that it’s going to hurt the marketability of the Hennepin mill area,” said Scott Stavrakas, president of the Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development. “We are very close to putting some things together there, and anything that takes away accessibility will hurt our efforts to get that facility up and going again.”

Coleman said reducing the lanes will be detrimental not only to possible future growth, but also current businesses operating near the interstate, including Washington Mills, Consolidated Grain and Barge, and Marquis Energy.

“Taking the interstate service away from this is a blow to the Economic Development Council. It’s a blow to any type of economic development in our region,” Coleman said. “It would cripple not just Putnam County but the three surrounding counties, and probably Marshall County.”

“We think it would be detrimental to creating jobs in the area,” Gustafson added. “For the potential to redevelop the steel mill site, or develop the current open acres in the enterprise zone, taking away from current logistical advantages doesn’t help the case for business wanting to come here. It could negatively impact drawing jobs to the area.”

Source: News Tribune


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Day to Celebrate Families

Eric Ciucci Tribute - A Day to Celebrate Families
A day full of fun for the whole family!
Mark your calendars for September 26th at Walter Durley Boyle Park!
Stop by North Central Bank or contact a committee member for your dinner tickets.

11:00-11:30 AM Registration for Bags Tournament
$20 Entry Fee – Open to all Ages
11:00-11:30 AM Registration for Golf Cart Race
$10 Entry Fee – Must be a licensed driver
to participate No 4 Wheelers Allowed
11:00 AM-3:00 PM Refreshments Available for Purchase
(Hot dogs, Chips, Popcorn, Soda/Water)
11:00 AM - 9:00PM Beer Tent
11:30 AM Golf Cart Races
Noon-4:00 PM Bags Tournament
Noon-5:00 PM Silent Auction (Open to All Ages)
Noon-5:00 PM Children's “Brown Bag” Auction
(Children Ages 4-12)
Noon-5:00 PM Inflatable Bouncy Houses
1:00-4:00 PM Face Painting
1:00-4:00 PM Children’s Games (Children Ages 4-12)
4:00-7:00 PM BBQ Pork Sandwich Dinner
Adults $8.00 Children 4-12 $6.00
5:30 PM Silent Auction / Children’s Brown Bag Auction
Winners Announced
6:30 PM 50/50 Beads Game (Open to All Ages)
7:00-9:00 PM Music and Dancing

** All proceeds from the day's activities will benefit the Putnam County Educational Foundation (PCEF).