Monday, June 20, 2016

4th of July Celebration 2016

"Thunder on the Illinois", Hennepin’s 40th July 4th Celebration, will include many events during the day, culminating with a spectacular fireworks display over the Illinois River at 9:30 p.m.

View the 4th of July Poster here.
The day will begin at 8:00 a.m. with “Movin’ for Music,” a 5K run/walk sponsored by the PC Music Boosters, followed by a pancake & sausage breakfast from 8:00-11:00 a.m. at the Hennepin Pool.

The 13th Annual Cruise-In will be noon-4:00 p.m. at Ernest Bassi Park, followed by a pork chop dinner.

Water fights with the Hennepin Fire and Rescue Department will be at 12 p.m. along with inflatables at Walter Durley Boyle Park from 2:00-8:00 p.m. and skee ball from 1:00-9:00 p.m.

The bags tournament will begin with registration at 11:30 a.m.

The PC Community Center will sponsor BINGO in the park shelter from 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Several food vendors and beer gardens will be setup in the park starting at noon, including the PC FFA Alumni (scholarship fund) serving pork chop dinners.

On the Courthouse stage, the National Anthem will be sung by the PCHS chorus at 5:00 p.m., followed by a welcome from Mayor Coleman, presentation of the Citizen of the Year Award, and performance by the Panteras and Little Panteras. Don't miss the golf cart parade at 6:15 p.m.

Musical entertainment this year will be provided by the band "Three Day Weekend" from 7:00-9:00 p.m., and again after the fireworks from 10:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.

Bring the family and enjoy the 4th of JULY in Hennepin!


4th of July 13th Annual Cruise-In

Preparations are underway for the 13th Annual Cruise-In to be held during Hennepin's 4th of July Celebration. Please view the PDF below for more information, and share with your family and friends. See you on the 4th!

2016 Cruise-In Flyer

View complete 4th of July details here.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Pilot Chooses Not-So-Busy Interstate 180 for Emergency Landing

Image courtesy of the News Tribune
A private aircraft carrying lawyers from Iowa made an emergency landing at about 6 p.m. Tuesday on Interstate 180, the four-lane spur leading southward from Interstate 80 to Hennepin.

They were on their way from Newton, Iowa to Lorain, Ohio.

The lawyers were on a business trip, but one of the lawyers is a student of the pilot, Danik Kumar.

Kumar, 23, said has been flying since he was 15 and got his pilot’s license when he was 17.

He said the plane lost power but not all power, and then it lost oil pressure. He called Chicago and declared an emergency. He was told to divert to Illinois Valley Regional Airport in Peru, but then the engine seized, the oil shot out and the propeller stopped.

“I initially looked at Interstate 80,” Kumar said, but there was too much traffic.

Then he saw 180 and he initially thought it was closed because there was no traffic on it.

He said he lined up the plane according to the wind, maintained speed while gliding in and the plane smoothly landed pointing north in the northbound lanes.

“It went perfectly according to plan,” he said of the emergency landing.

He said the plan Tuesday evening was to tow the plane to Peru, and then “they will hitch a ride to Cleveland.”

“I will probably take off a few days to process what happened, but I will be right back flying again,” said Kumar, who works for and was flying the plane for an aviation firm in Ohio. “I’ve never really been in this type of situation before but I hope the insurance helps out.”

State police remained on the scene and kept just one lane of Interstate 180 closed until a wrecker could remove the aircraft.

Source: News Tribune


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Local Woman's Fantasy as Author Becoming Reality

Image courtesy of the News Tribune
Drea Damara plans to be a famous author one day, and she’s off to a good start, publishing “The Weeping Books of Blinney Lane” in 2015, and releasing her next thriller, “Chasing Vengeance”, on Saturday.

The 34-year-old Illinois Valley woman first had works of poetry published under her real name — a name she holds very secret — at the age of 19.

She then started writing fiction and took on a pen name to protect her privacy, just in case those books become popular.

The fantasy book focuses on a street of cursed shop owners of a Salem, Massachusetts, street, specifically a book shop owner, her nephew, and the special books in her shop.

“I’ve always come up with stories, I can’t stop,” Damara said. “I have the first two books of a spy trilogy completed and I’m working on the third.”

The Blinney Lane book is published through an independent publisher, and Damara said when the first book was written, it was written as a stand alone book, but because of the overwhelming success and positive feedback, she is planning on continuing the series.

While Damara said fantasy and fiction haven’t always been her go to genre, after writing the Blinney Lane book, she’s planning on staying with it, at least for awhile.

“I don’t know that I would specifically pick a specific genre to stay with. I have ideas for all kinds of things,” Damara said. “I always admired Mel Brooks because he produced movies in every kind of genre, and I thought wouldn’t it be neat if somebody could do that in the publishing world.”

Damara’s books are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and everywhere books are sold. For more information, visit, or look her up on Facebook,

Source: News Tribune


Friday, May 20, 2016

New Yard Waste Guidelines in Place

New yard waste guidelines are now in place. A site has been constructed at the south end of 2nd Street for Hennepin residents to deposit their yard waste (grass clippings and weeds) and tree trimmings (branches and twigs). All residents are asked to take care of their own yard waste and tree trimmings by depositing them at the site. The Street Department will continue to pick up limited amounts of debris from resident’s homes if they are deemed unable to move the debris themselves.

The Village requests that residents put their yard waste to the back of the containment to allow the area to fill up from back to front. This site is under video surveillance and citations will be issued promptly to anyone abusing the area by dumping restricted items.

  • No yard waste in plastic bags is permitted at the site.
  • Branches must be no longer than four feet.
  • In addition, this site is not intended for a dumping site for entire trees. Residents are responsible for hiring a tree service for removal of trees. The site is intended for smaller fallen branches or pruned branches only.

Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
Hennepin Village Board of Trustees


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

New PCHS Principal and Assistant Principal Announced

The Putnam County CUSD 535 Board of Education has announced the hiring of Clayton Theisinger as the new PCHS principal for the 2016-17 school year. Theisinger is currently serving as an administrator at L-P Township High School.

Chris Newsome was also hired as the new assistant principal/athletic director at PCHS for the 2016-17 school year. He is currently serving as the technology director for Putnam County schools.

Source: Putnam County Record


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hennepin Awards Pair of Four Year Scholarships

Image courtesy of the News Tribune
The Hennepin Village board awarded the Adam and Ida Deck scholarship Nos. 91 and 92 Wednesday night at the board meeting, helping two more seniors from Hennepin and Hennepin Township attended college.

The Deck Scholarship, which started in 1974, gives $1,200 a year for first place and $1,000 a year for second, for four years to students, based on scholastic ability.

This year first place went to Lauren Bauer of rural Hennepin and second place was awarded to Ryan Friel of Hennepin.

Both Bauer and Friel will attend Iowa State University next year, with Bauer majoring in business management and Friel majoring in public relations.

The board also donated to local groups and charities, including $150 to the PC Community Center, $100 to the Special Olympics, $100 to American Red Cross, and $100 to the Marshall Putnam Fair Pageant.

The board also will donate $1,100 to Putnam County Educational Foundation on behalf of the Citizen of the Year.

The name of the citizen has not yet been announced.

Source: News Tribune


Superintendent McCracken Named ‘Superintendent of Distinction'

Jay K. McCracken, superintendent of Putnam County Community Unit School District 535 in Granville, has been named the 2016 Superintendent of Distinction by his colleagues in the Starved Rock Region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA).

McCracken will be honored at an awards luncheon April 21 in Springfield. State Superintendent Dr. Tony Smith is the featured speaker at the luncheon that will honor 21 IASA regional Superintendents of Distinction.

“I am honored to be nominated by my fellow superintendents, as they are a phenomenal group of dedicated professionals! The support among our Starved Rock IASA membership has helped all of us become more successful in meeting the ever-changing needs of our students,” said McCracken, who has been an educator 39 years, serving as a teacher, coordinator of professional development and dean of students before being named superintendent in Putnam County in 2008-2009.

Those nominating McCracken noted several accomplishments, including:

    -Implementation of a 1:1 technology program using Chromebooks for all students in grades 5-12 and classroom Chromebooks in grades 3 and 4.
    -Reactivation of the Educational Program Improvement Council (EPIC) to ensure cohesive curriculum decisions as well as utilizing Illinois Virtual School to allow students advanced courses that otherwise would not be available in a small- to medium-sized school district.
    -Implementation of PC College Start, a partnership program with Illinois Valley Community College that provides an opportunity for students to potentially earn an Associate’s Degree while attending Putnam County High School.
    -Commitment to Rising Star, a program dedicated to continuous improvement that includes school improvement measures and focused action items.
    -Use of Response to Intervention coaches in each building to help teachers provide focused support for students that need help in certain academic areas. Also, implementation of the PC Paws behavior management program that focuses on students’ social emotional learning.
    -A PC mentoring program that provides real support for new teachers. Regular times are embedded in the schedule for mentoring and teachers are paid for additional hours needed to implement the program with integrity. Professional development opportunities for all teachers and staff include early dismissal twice a month for internal professional development and staff is regularly sent for targeted training.

“Public education is facing some of its most difficult times, and that is when leadership is most important. These ‘Superintendents of Distinction’ were selected by their peers in their regions because of the dedication, commitment and leadership that they have demonstrated,” said IASA Executive Director Dr. Brent Clark.

The second annual awards luncheon is again being sponsored by Horace Mann, one of the nation’s largest insurers focusing on the needs of educators.

“Each year, educators face growing challenges, and this year is no exception. Despite those challenges, superintendents constantly find ways to make their school districts successful,” said Marita Zuraitis, Horace Mann President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are proud to recognize the ‘Superintendents of Distinction’ and applaud their efforts to provide outstanding educational environments for their students and their teachers.”

McCracken achieved his Bachelor of Science in Education from Northern Illinois University, his Master’s Degree from Aurora University, and his Superintendent’s Endorsement from Western Illinois University. He and his wife, Kimberley, have a daughter, Megan Rolfs (husband Brian) and two grandsons, Gavin and Aiden Rolfs.

Source: Putnam County CUSD 535