Monday, December 24, 2018

Meet Grace, The White-Tailed Deer Who Loves People and Candy Canes

Image credit: News Tribune
It was near the routes 89 and 71 intersection in Putnam County where they first saw the police officer.

Not long after, squad car’s blue and red lights were on and Debra Moreland was pulling over to the side of the road. The lone passenger in her cargo van, a white-tailed deer named Grace, had caught the officer’s attention.

“She’s just standing in the back, looking out the window like she always does,” Moreland said. “And I’m thinking, ‘He’s going to pull me over. He’s going to pull me over.’ And sure enough, the lights came on. He came up and asked ‘Do you know you have a live deer in the back of your van?’”

Moreland, a rural Princeton resident, was transporting Grace to an event as part of her Furry Friends Traveling Petting Zoo. The officer was just making sure Moreland hadn’t picked up a deer she thought was dead only to find out it was still alive and a huge safety hazard to an unsuspecting driver.

But that was not the case. The 12-year-old doe is a popular guest among schools, nursing homes and other local events.

And around Christmas time, demand for Grace certainly increases.

“We’ve been busy,” Moreland said. “This year we did events for Granville, Walmart, Ace (hardware), Ladd, Starved Rock Lodge and Oglesby Elks.”

Do you know anyone who owns a pet deer? Debra Moreland dotes on her 12-year old deer Grace outside her home in rural Princeton. Moreland raised Grace from a fawn and travels with her to different events in the Illinois Valley through her Furry Friends Petting Zoo. The deer becomes a popular pet around the holidays.

Grace is not easily alarmed like wild white-tailed deer. She doesn’t dash away from humans but enjoys affection and being petted by her admirers, Moreland said.

“She’s very good around people,” she said.

But loud noises can be startling for the doe. Moreland said she takes precautions when traveling with Grace to avoid things like a truck horn that might send her into a frenzy.

“When a deer’s adrenaline gets pumped up, it’s tough to bring it back down,” Moreland said.

Dr. Bethany Sondgeroth of Bureau Valley Veterinary service said even if a white-tailed deer is farm-raised and was never born in the wild, they are still wild at heart.

“Grace is pretty unique in that she’s acclimated to people,” she said. “But they are still a wild animal even if they are tame and eat out of your hand. They will certainly buck and jump and kick if they are startled.”

Grace hasn’t had any instances of harming people, but she is one to try and eat out of your hand, Moreland said. She’ll sniff out food, even candy. Moreland says she has to keep a close eye on Grace so she doesn’t end up scarfing down decorative candy canes.

“She loves peppermint — anything sugary sweet,” Moreland said. “She’ll grab them off the (Christmas) tree if I’m not paying attention.”

While Grace does appear to have an appreciation for the holidays, don’t expect to see her flying away anytime soon like one of Santas reindeer. Moreland says Grace likes to stay put on the farm in Selby Township.

“(Deer) can run and jump so we knew we needed to have tall fences,” Moreland said. “But she’s never bothered to try and get out so evidently she’s content here.”

Moreland said even when a storm knocked a tree branch into the fence causing a breach, Grace stayed put. Moreland suspects growing up with dogs may have contributed to Grace’s friendly disposition.

“I got her when she was young and bottle fed her. They said if you do that she would tame down, and she has,” Moreland said.

Grace was a tame deer Moreland acquired from a farmer south of Hennepin, she said. Moreland got the proper registration through the state of Illinois to own her. Wild deer are not pets. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has a lot of rules and regulations on approaching wild deer, even if they are injured or orphaned.

“It’s against the law. You’re supposed to report them,” Moreland said.

But Grace’s contact with other deer (wild deer do come by the farm) are more non-interactions than anything.

“Being raised with dogs, I don’t know if she’s confused or not because bucks have come into the yard before. She doesn’t pay any attention to them,” Moreland said.

Last week on the farm, Grace was a little more preoccupied with eating greens than getting her picture taken. Peppermint is the only food she craves.

“She eats a variety of things,” Moreland said. “She loves watermelon, muskmelon and zucchinis.”

Moreland said she has heard of deer living up to 20 years old, and by all indications the 12-year-old Grace is still going strong.

“All the hunters I run into tell me she’s quite healthy,” Moreland said.

So, the plan is to continue their travels around the area, interacting with people who have never touched a deer before.

“She still hops right in the van for me. She makes it really easy,” Moreland said.

So, more interactions with befuddled police officers could be in store in the future.

Source: News Tribune


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Bicentennial Wine for Sale

The Village of Hennepin has bicentennial wine for sale. It is August Hill Winery and the variety is Trapolino.

The cost is $10 per bottle of $100 for a case of 12.

Thank you!


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Christmas Decorating Contest to be Held

Dust off your best outdoor Christmas decorations! Hennepin will be hosting a Christmas decorating contest.

Three winners will be chosen, and judging will take place on December 18.

Good luck, and we can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

UPDATE - Congratulations to the winners!

First Place: Harold & Amy Fay - $75
Second Place: Chuck & Donna Berry - $50
Third Place: Cecil & Etha Blankenship - $25


Monday, December 10, 2018

County’s Emergency Management Director Resigns, New Coordinator Named

Bob Cofoid announced his resignation Monday night as the director of Putnam County’s Office of Emergency Management.

Cofoid shared the news by reading a prepared speech Monday night during the Putnam County Board meeting.

“I’ve enjoyed 20 years plus of being part of the emergency management and worked with very capable staff,” Cofoid said, and the past years have given him opportunities to learn, gain knowledge and build relationships.

He said he’s pleased to help during the transition time and work as a volunteer in the future.

“I’m very grateful and thank you,” Cofoid said.

He stated the letter was dated Nov. 28 and his last day as coordinator was Dec. 1.

Cofoid was honored with a certificate of appreciation by the board.

“I want to thank you for all the years of service you’ve given to the county,” said board chairman Steve Malavolti.

Under Cofoid’s leadership, the county was able to receive grants that helped the office, Malavolti said.

“The county board thanks you for a job well done and your devotion to service the county,” Malavolti said.

Chauntelle Biagi-Bruer will take over as coordinator; she previously held the assistant coordinator position.

With the start of the new year and new budget, the Emergency Management office will be only be open one day a week for the public, Malavolti said.

With the new budget, the coordinator's salary went from $18,819 to $15,000 a year. The assistant coordinator's salary went from $10,140 to $3,819 a year.

There were additional cuts, but the office saw a total cut of $46,140.

Cofoid declined to say why he’s resigning.

He remains the county’s death investigator.

Source: News Tribune


Saturday, December 1, 2018

Hennepin Holding Payment on Street Project

The main east-west route in the village got an overhaul and new pavement more than a year ago, but the job’s not done, Hennepin officials say.

Hennepin Village Board this week reiterated its position that the earthwork along the street has not been completed, and is withholding about $29,000 from Advanced Asphalt, said village president Kevin Coleman.

The contractor did re-seed the berm along the road in spring and then “a gully washer” washed that away. Some hydro-seeding work was done this fall, but the stretch east of 11th Street has not been restored, Coleman said.

Source: News Tribune


Monday, November 12, 2018

Merkel, Smith Finish Second in Illinois Walleye Trail Tourney

Bob Hausler of Plano and fishing teammate Chris Clemmons of Aurora edged out Gary Merkel of Arlington and his fishing buddy John Smith for the 2018 title in the five-tournament Illinois Walleye Trail series.

Both teams finished near the top in each of the four qualifiers, including Saturday’s Hennepin Marine tournament and Sunday’s championship meet, both at Hennepin.

However, Hausler and Clemmons took first place in Saturday’s event. With the points tight on Sunday, Hausler’s team brought in 8.28 pounds of fish, and Merkel and Smith had a 7.27-pound total.

Adrian Cliffe and Brent Nix of the Quad Cities took first place and earned big-fish honors Sunday. It was their second win, as they also took first place and weighed the biggest fish on Oct. 21 at Barto Landing in Spring Valley.

Dave Puetz and Jason Thies took second on Sunday and Keith McAlpine and Tom Wagner secured the third spot, said tournament director Adam Sandor.

Cliffe and Nix won $1,550 for the event victory on Sunday and their 10.15-pound basket, plus $825 for the 4.54-pound fish. Puetz and Thies brought in a bag of fish weighing 9.84 pounds and McAlpine’s team had 9.78 pounds.

As Sunday was Veterans Day, IWT thanked veterans in the field for their service, including Bob Jones, David Hall, John Smith and David Gossar.

Source: News Tribune


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Hennepin Proceeds With Plan for Security Camera Installations

During the Oct. 17 Hennepin Village Board meeting, members were in agreement in continuing their exploration of possibly installing security cameras near the village’s few exits and entrances.

“If a child were abducted, God forbid — you can’t put a price on that,” member Lynn Haage said in regards to residents concerned with the cost of such a project.

The board was in consensus to first buy a single camera in order to allow Rocket Communications to determine the potential system’s bandwidth and configuration requirements.

According to member Quentin Buffington, the 12-megapixel camera will have high resolution, a 160-foot range, infrared capabilities, and a cost of approximately $1,000 to $1,500.

The system would feed into the sheriff’s office and would be monitored only if needed. Powering the system individually proved cost-inhibitive, so the village will be seeking ways to piggyback onto existing locations with power where they can and then entering into agreements to pay the cost differences.

Source: Putnam County Record


Complete Forms Soon to Get Christmas Baskets

The Putnam County Food Pantry, in cooperation with local schools, organizations and churches, will again be preparing Christmas baskets for Putnam County families in need.

The baskets will contain the makings of a Christmas breakfast and dinner, toys and clothes for the children, and gifts for senior citizens.

The baskets will be ready for pickup between 8 and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15 in Bonucchi Hall at the Granville United Church of Christ, upstairs from the food pantry.

All families wishing to receive a basket must complete and return the request form or call Gayle Reno at 815-866-6484 by Sunday, Nov. 11.

Participants are asked to please include a specific wish list for your children, including what type and names of books, music, activities, toys, or jewelry they like, and specify if their ears are pierced or not.

Forms are also available at the food pantry for clients who receive food on Saturday mornings. Please don’t fill out duplicate forms.

Regular clients of the pantry won’t receive a basket unless a form is completed.

Baskets will be delivered only to those who are shut-in or have no access to transportation. Deliveries will be made the morning of Dec. 15.

Source: Putnam County Record