Showing posts with label businesses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label businesses. Show all posts

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Power Plant Site Could Be Redeveloped, But Coal-Burning Will End in 2019

Image credit: News Tribune
What’s next for coal-fired plant site, workers?

Coal appears to have no future in Hennepin.

Village, county and state leaders, along with displaced-worker assistance representatives, met Friday with the community relations team of Vistra Energy to learn more about company aims and plans in the retiring of the coal-fueled Hennepin power plant.

Caroline Atkins, manager of corporate affairs, and Brad Watson, senior director of community affairs for Vistra, outlined the background to the decision to close the plant and provided information as to the next steps.

Watson anticipates the plant being retired by the end of this calendar year.

Atkins emphasized Vistra’s present focus is the safe operation and decommissioning of the plant and assistance to company employees, considering the necessary transition they face.

She said they have retained the services of the outplacement firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. of Chicago to assist employees affected by the shutdown in finding jobs elsewhere. Watson said this will not be a group approach, but individualized guidance for each employee who wishes to take advantage of this service.

Furthermore, he said Vistra itself will assist employees with skill assessment, resume writing and developing interview skills; and for emerging entrepreneurs, the company will offer itself as a resource in the key elements of launching a business such as how to write a business plan. For the employee who decides to retire, they will assist them with that process also.

Additionally, Watson pointed out that Vistra is seeking to coordinate employee services with regional and local agencies, including Illinois WorkNet Center and BEST, Inc.

Regarding the plant itself, Atkins indicated that after the plant has been satisfactorily decommissioned, the company can look at what can be re-purposed, what remains as scrap, and how to best use the land — whether to sell or redevelop the site.

Though the decision to close the plant as a coal-fueled operation is final, Watson indicated that it is Vistra’s preference to redevelop the site as a solar and battery operation — which is doable at the Hennepin location. However, he said that could not happen without favorable action on the part of the state legislature on the Coal to Solar & Energy Storage Act of 2019. Without this, it would not be financially feasible for Vistra to make this investment.

Apart from this prospect, Vistra would consider whether the option existed for someone else to redevelop the sight — possibly selling the site to a liability transfer entity, thereby removing the asset from the company balance sheet.

Watson estimates an 80% reduction in tax liability once the plant has been retired.

According to Tamara Mehalic, Putnam County Supervisor of Assessments, Vistra’s 2018 tax bill for the plant and the immediate grounds upon which it rests totaled nearly $250,000.

Source: News Tribune


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Vistra Energy Announces Closure of Hennepin Power Plant

Four coal-fueled sites in Illinois will be shut down to meet pollutant standards

Hennepin residents and the rest of Putnam County learned Wednesday that the 66-year-old Hennepin Power plant, operated by Luminant, a subsidiary of Vistra Energy, will be closed, resulting in the loss of approximately 60 jobs.

If all goes according to plan, the 294-megawatt plant could cease operations by the end of the year.

According to the company's website, Vistra Energy and its subsidiaries have announced four coal-fueled electrical-generating plants, including Hennepin, will be retired in order to meet the requirements of the recently approved revisions to the Multi-Pollutant Standard (MPS) rule imposed by the Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB).

Without this rule change, according to the release, the company's entire downstate fleet was at risk of near imminent retirement. The company will close the following plants in Illinois: the Hennepin Power Plant, the Coffeen Power Plant, the Duck Creek Power Plant in Canton, and the Havana Power Plant.

Approximately 300 jobs will be eliminated across the four plant sites. Vistra is providing outplacement services and working with state workforce agencies to assist the employees impacted by the closures.

"Even though today's retirement announcements were inevitable due to the changing regulatory environment and unfavorable economic conditions in the MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator) market, they are nonetheless difficult to make," Curt Morgan, Vistra's president and chief executive officer, said.

"By far, the hardest decisions we make in our business are those that significantly impact our people. As always, we will do right by those who are impacted by this announcement. Our employees take pride in the work they do, and we appreciate their decades of service providing reliable and affordable power to Illinois, particularly in years like this one with periods of extreme cold and heat," Morgan said.

The four plant retirements are required by the revised MPS rule, which regulates emissions at eight power plants operated by Vistra subsidiaries.

The revised rule, which also calls for a reduction in annual mass caps for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, requires the company to permanently shut down 2,000 megawatts of capacity from the eight MPS group of plants by the end of the year, pending approval by grid operators, MISO and PJM Interconnection, and approval of the termination of certain tariffs by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In addition, the revised rule requires adjustments of these annual caps as additional power plant units are shut down or transferred. As a result, the retirement of the four plants will further reduce annual allowable sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions in the MPS group of plants, driving total allowable emissions down by 57 percent and 61 percent, respectively, from that allowed under the former MPS rule. While not explicitly required by the MPS, carbon dioxide emissions will also be significantly reduced by approximately 40 percent relative to 2018 levels.

The decision to retire the four plants resulted from a plant-by-plant analysis that evaluated several factors in making retirement decisions, including ensuring compliance with the new emissions caps set forth in the revised MPS rule, plant economics, federal energy regulations, and MISO market rules.

In addition, consideration was given to prioritize retirement of higher emitting plants as suggested by the IEPA and IPCB along with the other factors listed above that resulted in a balanced mix of higher and lower emitting plant retirements.

As part of the closure process, the company is filing the required notices with MISO, PJM, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If it's determined the units aren't needed for reliability, Vistra expects to cease operations at all four sites by the end of the year. The company will take the necessary steps to responsibly decommission the facilities in accordance with all federal and state regulations.

Mitigating the impact

Plant closures can have detrimental impacts to the communities in which they are located, the release stated, but Vistra stated it aims to mitigate this impact by growing its Illinois business with newer technologies.

To that end, the company stated it continues to strongly support legislation to provide a pathway to reinvest and repurpose its existing coal-fueled power plant sites into solar and battery energy storage facilities.

Vistra has a demonstrated a history of developing these new technologies in Texas and California and, through the Coal to Solar and Energy Storage Act of 2019, could do the same in Illinois.

This legislation would allow the company to reuse substantial transmission infrastructure and its existing footprint of available land at its coal-fueled power plants to develop renewable energy facilities, mitigating employment and property tax impacts to plant communities and helping Illinois meet its clean energy goals.

Vistra stated it is hopeful the Illinois General Assembly will take up the Coal to Solar and Energy Storage Act during its fall veto session.

Senator reacts to closure announcement

State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, in a statement, said the closure will have a large impact on the small community, which is located in the 38th Senate District.

“The retirement of the Hennepin plant was something I had worked for several years to avoid,” Rezin said.

“This plant provides a huge economic benefit to the region, and while the news is sure to be devastating to the hard-working employees and their families, it is my hope that our area employers will have their backs so that they can continue to live, work and raise their families here.”

Plant's positive impact over the years

The Hennepin Power Plant has made donations to the community in the recent past.

In April, Luminant bought four bullet-proof vests for the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.

At the start of 2018, plant manager Byron Veech presented a $1,000 donation to the Putnam County Food Pantry. Money raised by power plant employees was matched by the company and donated to the pantry.

At the end of 2016, the Hennepin Power Station donated $3,000 for instructional equipment for Illinois Valley Community College’s revitalized agriculture program.

In August 2015, Veech, representing the power plant, presented a $15,000 donation to the Putnam County EMS ambulance service to help fund new LifePak 15 cardiac monitors.

And the Hennepin plant received a top safety award this summer from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which gave the plant its Voluntary Protection Program Star Status certification.

Source: Putnam County Record


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Luminant’s Hennepin Power Plant Celebrates OSHA VPP Star Status

Image credit: Putnam County Record
Through a steadfast commitment to safety excellence, Luminant’s Hennepin Power Plant and its employees are proud recipients of OSHA’s prestigious safety award — the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Status certification.

Hennepin plant is the first coal plant in Luminant’s fleet and one of only a few coal plants in the entire U.S. to achieve OSHA VPP Star Status. The Hennepin plant team recently held a celebration event, featuring a VPP flag-raising ceremony and congratulatory remarks from company leaders and OSHA representatives. OSHA’s VPP program recognizes employers and workers who have implemented effective safety and health management systems, and maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries. In total, 12 sites across Luminant’s fleet have been awarded OSHA’s VPP Star Status certification.

Attendees included: Hennepin plant employees and retirees; Byron Veech, Hennepin plant manager; Barry Boswell, Luminant senior vice president and chief fossil officer; Wayne Harris, Luminant regional vice president of coal operations; state Rep. Lance Yednock; representatives from the offices of U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger and state Sen. Sue Rezin; and OSHA representative Candra Jefferson.

Source: Putnam County Record


Monday, April 8, 2019

Chinese Manufacturing Execs Review Hennepin Site

Image credit: Putnam County Record
Chinese manufacturing executives from one of the 300 largest companies in the world toured the Hennepin area recently through an arranged site visit by the North Central Illinois Economic Development Corp.

During their five-day visit, the company reviewed two sites in Illinois for a new manufacturing operation.

Hennepin Mayor Kevin Coleman, Putnam County Board Chairman Steve Malavolti and NCI officials — Chairman Steve Aubry, President Ivan Baker and Manager Gina Czubachowski — joined other officials to welcome the executives and promote the region.

“Promoting the region for development and new, good-paying jobs is the goal of NCI,” said Aubry. “We made sure the team was in place to answer questions and that our presentations were professional and world-class.”

Only the NCI professionally promotes the three-county Illinois Valley region for new industrial development, according to the group. No other organization can or will do the promotion necessary to encourage regional development.

“Our North Central Illinois team made sure that our prospect knew the advantages and expansion opportunities available in our region,” Coleman said.

More visits are expected over the next few months as the corporate executives anticipate making a location decision this year.

NCI was recently one of only eight Illinois economic developers promoting to the world’s Top Site Selection Consultants at the annual Site Selectors Guild conference. The group also sponsored and promoted the region at the primary Chicago Marketing Event for 700 brokers, developers and real estate executives. For more information, visit

Source: Putnam County Record


Friday, March 8, 2019

Putnam County Historical Society Opens for Season

Putnam County Historical Society Pulsifer House and Agricultural Museum are open for the season.

The Agricultural Museum of the Putnam County Historical Society will be open the second Saturday of the month from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. beginning tomorrow in Hennepin.

Pulsifer House, the Society’s historic house museum will be open every Wednesday and Friday (except Good Friday and Black Friday) from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. beginning Friday, March 15 in Hennepin.

Source: News Tribune


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Putnam County Accepts Mennie Machine’s Solar Permit

A 13-17 acre solar project may be coming to Putnam County.

Monday night, Putnam County Board accepted a special-use permit for Mennie Machine on farmland off Route 71.

But just because the permit was approved doesn’t mean the project will happen. The state will hold a lottery drawing to choose what permits can go through with the plans.

Jessica Tyler with developer GEM Energy and Bill Mennie with Mennie Machine were at the meeting to answer questions.

Tyler explained the plan is for a community solar project, and “Members of your community, businesses, anybody within Putnam County, anybody within Ameren could then participate in the project.”
Not all solar projects will happen

Mennie Machine’s project is one of many names in the hat for Illinois solar permits.

A date hasn’t been finalized for the lottery, said Anthony Star, director for the Illinois Power Agency, but he expects it to happen the second half of March.

“We are still determining the number of projects that will be selected because it also depends on the volume of applications we get for distributed generation solar and some other factors,” Star said.

He said they’re working through details on how information will be released about who gets chosen after the drawings happen.

The deadline for the lottery is noon Wednesday.

Source: News Tribune


Thursday, October 18, 2018

IPS Steel Working to Get Rid of Asbestos at Former Hennepin Mill

Image credit: News Tribune
Demolition has begun at the former Hennepin steel mill, an attorney confirmed this week.

IPS Steel of Michigan, former owner of the mill, has the goal of demolishing and salvaging the entirety of the property as quickly as possible to ensure it’s free of asbestos, said IPS Steel attorney Andrew Bossory.

On Sept. 27, a judge granted a motion allowing IPS Steel of Michigan to enter into a demolition contract with Alessio and Sons Co. of Illinois, according to online court records.

IPS Steel is the mortgagee in possession of the mill, but Hennepin Industrial Development is still the owner.

The steel mill opened in the late 1960s as Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. It closed in 2009 and the property is now owned by Hennepin Industrial Development LLC. It previously operated under various names including ArcelorMittal and LTV Steel.

In May, a judge ordered IPS Steel could take possession of the former Hennepin steel mill site and collect profits from it.

“This ruling is based on the filing of numerous liens against the property and not based on any other alleged defaults,” the May order said.

On Monday, when asked if IPS Steel wants ownership of the mill, Bossory said he couldn’t share a firm answer at this time.

Hennepin Industrial Development will continue trying to get back possession, said William Marino with Hennepin Industrial last week.

Source: News Tribune


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Zoning Officer: Demolition of Hennepin Steel Mill Starting Again

Image credit: News Tribune
Demolition will begin at the former Hennepin steel mill, a county official said.

Monday night, zoning officer Jim Burger updated the Putnam County Board about the steel mill’s situation.

IPS Steel of Michigan, a former owner of the steel mill who sold the property to Hennepin Industrial last year, was given the ability to demolish the plant from a judge, Burger said.

In October 2017, William Marino with Hennepin Industrial Development announced demolition at the site was halted.

In October 2017, Marino said Hennepin Industrial and IPS Steel came to a mutual agreement that demolition would be halted until further notice, as Hennepin Industrial was in the process of refinancing so it could close the loan of what was owed to IPS — approximately $14 million at the time.

On Sept. 27, a motion was granted allowing IPS Steel to enter into a demolition contract with Alessio and Sons Co. of Illinois, according to online court records.

After the meeting, Burger said he and members of IPS Steel talked in a meeting last week about the situation. He also attended recent hearings involving litigation with the mill.

Source: News Tribune


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Rescued Pieces of Steel Mill History Will Be Dedicated

Image credit: News Tribune
Those who hold the former Hennepin steel mill plant in their hearts will be able to view part of it for years to come.

A dedication of the new steel mill display will be at 1 p.m. Sunday at the awning next to the Ag Museum, 501 Old Highway 26, Hennepin.

In May, a pair of work rolls were transported from the former steel mill plant to the Putnam County Historical Society.

The rolls, which steel went through, had been on display outside the plant since the plant’s 30th anniversary. The rolls probably were built around 1995, said former steel mill plant worker Mike Black in a previous interview. Black will talk at Sunday’s dedication. He plans to talk about positive points, including what the rolls represent — the innovation of the plant, the customer service provided, the people involved and more.

He said he’s happy the historical society was able to save a part of history from being scrapped with the rest of the plant.

The rolls originally were transported in May, and since then, an awning has been added above as well as lights to keep the display lit at night,

There is also a plaque that has been with the rolls since the 30th anniversary of the plant and a memorial rock that reads, “In memory of the deceased brothers and sisters of U.S.W.A. Local 7367 and amalgamates.”

A new plaque with pictures and history of the plant will be placed behind the rolls and should be completed this week before the dedication, said Sid Whitaker, president of Putnam County Historical Society.

If interested in contributing to the project, donations can be directed to the Putnam County Historical Society, 327 Old Highway 26, Hennepin, IL 61327 with the note, “steel mill display.”

Ag Open house

The annual Agricultural Museum Open House of the historical society will be 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12, at 501 Old Highway 26, Hennepin.

The society rearranged everything in the museum to open up space, helping with organization, Whitaker said.

“It looks quite different,” he said.

Permanent displays in the museum include agricultural equipment and tools, wildlife, coal mining, early 1900s general store, post office, one-room school, farm kitchen and sitting room.

Military memorabilia have been moved to the Meeting House.

Tractor drive benefits FFA

The Putnam County FFA Alumni will hold a tractor drive before the open house to raise funds for the Bill Biagi Memorial FFA Alumni Scholarship. Registration for the drive will begin at 8:30 a.m. at museum. The tractors will depart at 9:30 a.m. and return at 12:30 p.m. for lunch. Cost of the drive is $40 per tractor. For information on the Tractor Drive, contact Brian Biagi at (815) 252-0474 or

Lunch is served

Everyone is invited to the open house and admission is free. Pork chop and BBQ lunches will be available for purchase at the Meeting House. Pulsifer House will be open for tours. The Agricultural Museum and the Meeting House are handicapped accessible. Pulsifer House (historic house museum built in 1844) will also be open for tours. Pulsifer House is not handicapped accessible.

For more details on the open house, contact Luke Holly at or Sid Whitaker at or (815) 303-5104.

Donations can be sent to 327 Old Highway 26, Hennepin, IL 61327.

Source: News Tribune


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Man Doing Well After High-Angle Rescue at Hennepin Power Plant

Image credit: News Tribune
A Dynegy employee is “doing well” after being stuck on an elevator on the side of the smokestack at the Hennepin Power Station for several hours Thursday afternoon.

“I received an update that the employee is out of the elevator and doing well. All emergency responders have left the site,” said Meranda Cohn, a spokesperson for Dynegy.

Granville fire chief Ron Campbell confirmed the man refused medical treatment at the scene after he was brought down from the elevator, which was stuck about 200 feet above the ground.

Hennepin and Granville fire departments were dispatched around 1 p.m. to

the Dynegy-owned power station located at 13498 E. 800th St., Hennepin. Campbell said they cleared the scene by 4:19 p.m.

A MABAS 25 tactical response team were called due to the height of the rescue. Campbell said the power company also called in a crane from Imperial Crane to assist with the situation.

First responders reached the employee with a crane and brought him down in a basket, Cohn said.

The elevator, which was located on the outside of the smokestack, had a mechanical failure and became stuck, Campbell said.

The cause of the elevator malfunction is being investigated, Cohn said.

The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and Putnam County EMS also assisted at the scene.

“Plant and local emergency responders periodically conduct drills for high-angle rescues to be prepared for situations like the one today. The rescue was well-executed thanks to the invaluable training and partnership between plant personnel and local emergency response organizations,” Cohn said.

Source: News Tribune


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Judge Gives Possession to IPS Steel in Hennepin

Image credit: News Tribune
A judge has ordered IPS Steel of Michigan can take possession of the former Hennepin steel mill site, and collect profits from it. The current owner, Hennepin Industrial, is responsible for paying back its liens.

IPS Steel is a former owner of the steel mill who sold the property to Hennepin Industrial last year. IPS Steel filed for a motion of possession for the site, which isn’t the same as ownership. After a judge makes the order, the body given possession of the property will have possession of the mill until this case ends.

Judge Stephen Kouri filed the order Friday, giving possession of the site to IPS Steel.

“This ruling is based on the filing of numerous liens against the property and not based on any other alleged defaults,” the order says.

In court last week, Andrew Bossory, attorney for IPS Steel, said Hennepin Industrial hired multiple subcontractors to do work and hasn’t paid them. Hennepin Industrial has multiple liens against it, Bossory said, which is usually a document signed by someone to whom money is owed.

Bossory said these liens include about $92,400 to Tiger Demolition, $330,000 to R&M Metals, $98,000 to Dykon, $395,900 to American State Equipment, $16,500 to United Rentals and $86,000 to another group.

Source: News Tribune


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

EPA Responds to Hennepin Mayor and Checks Former Steel Plant

Image credit: News Tribune
On a request by the Hennepin village president, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency inspected the closed steel mill plant outside of town on March 9 for environmental hazards and contaminants.

“Our Bureau of Land staff will be meeting with Bureau of Air staff to discuss the findings and a final report will be completed,” said Kim Biggs, spokeswoman for the Illinois EPA. “There will be more information available in the coming days/weeks.”

The steel mill opened in the late 1960s and closed in 2009, and the property is now owned by Hennepin Industrial Development LLC. It previously operated under various names including ArcelorMittal.

The steel mill opened in the late '60s and closed in 2009, and the property is now owned by Hennepin Industrial Development LLC. While addressing guests last month at a business luncheon, village president Kevin Coleman said half of the building was torn down and several parties are involved in litigation over the site and its demolition. He also said he was worried about possible hazards and contaminants at the closed factory.

While addressing guests last month at a business luncheon, village president Kevin Coleman said half of the building was torn down and several parties are involved in litigation over the site and its demolition. He also said he was worried about possible hazards and contaminants at the closed factory.

This week Coleman said his worry came from his recent aerial views of the plant during a flyover. Among things he saw that prompted him to call the EPA, Coleman said, were waste treatment cells and materials lying on the ground.

“It was pretty awful,” he said. “In my position as the mayor I felt I could make a call and ask questions and hopefully get a response. I contacted the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in February.”

Old PCE issue

Coleman — who has been village president for 21 years and served on the Hennepin Public Water District board for about 28 years, chairman most of those years — remembers underground water contamination at the steel plant about 10 years ago, he said.

“Illinois Environmental Protection Agency helped us tremendously and pinpointed the location where this was coming from,” he said.

Referring to documents from the Hennepin Public Water District, Coleman said the water district received a letter in November 2009 from Illinois EPA that a contaminant posed a threat to public drinking water in Hennepin.

The contaminant of concern was tetrachloroethylene, aka perchloroethylene, perc or PCE. Tetrachloroethylene is used as a cleaner and solvent in dry cleaning fabrics and for degreasing metals.

The PCE was detected at more than 2.5 parts per billion, exceeding the Class I groundwater quality standard and warranting public notification. Some people who ingest water with PCE over long periods can experience adverse health effects, according to the EPA’s letter and notice from 2009.

“We were fortunate that our secondary well is three-quarters to 1 mile from the primary well,” Coleman said. “We were able to run our secondary well until they solved the problem.”

The steel mill had dumped this used solvent on steel mill land about a half-mile west of the plant, about 400 feet north of the water district plant, said Coleman, referring to a map.

This dump site had been cleaned up in the late ‘80s and early 1990s, Coleman said. However, by then, unknown quantities of PCE had seeped into the groundwater, he said.

The EPA installed a special recirculation pump at the water district plant in 2012, Coleman said. This continuous system pulls water out of the aquifer and aerates it, allowing the volatile PCE to evaporate and returning cleaned water to the aquifer.

Old Pickle liquor issue

In a separate incident, the Illinois EPA closed and plugged an underground injection well in 2014, which had been used by the factory to inject used pickle liquor deep underground. Pickle liquors are acid solutions used to clean metal.

Coleman said the mill’s underground injection well was so deep that it was far below the aquifer used for drinking water, he said.

Source: News Tribune


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Hennepin Church Celebrates 150 Years

Image credit: Putnam County Record
St. Patrick’s parish in Hennepin celebrated its 150-year anniversary on March 17.

The evening began with Mass and the baptism of its newest member, Silvia Anne Boggio, the daughter of Frank and Heather Boggio. Following Mass, the parishioners enjoyed a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dinner of corned beef and cabbage. A written history of the church, composed by lifelong parish member Terry Judd, was provided. Lifelong members who were in attendance at the dinner were honored.

The village of Hennepin has Catholic roots. It was named after Father Louis Hennepin, who first explored along the Illinois River under Robert de La Salle in 1680, nearly 140 years before it was incorporated. Missionaries of faith would visit the village at intervals depending on the needs of the community.

It was not until 1852 that the first Catholic building was erected and was named St. Anthony Church. In 1868 the church received parish status from the diocese of Chicago. There are no known pictures of the original St. Anthony’s. More than 50 years later in 1902, a second church was built. The Dore family donated the new church and it was renamed St. Patrick in memory of their ancestor Patrick Dore who emigrated from Ireland. The hall and church are still standing today.

The hall is now used as the public library and the church is a private residence. The current St. Patrick church was completed in 1990. Much of the furnishings from the old St. Patrick church building, including stained glass windows, side and high altars from the were incorporated into the new church. St. Patrick Parish is located on 920 E. Dore Drive with Fr. Patrick DeMeulemeester as pastor.

Source: Putnam County Record


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Judge to Decide on Damages in Marquis Versus Hennepin Industrial

Attorneys for Marquis Energy sought to settle the matter of legal fees today in the case of Marquis vs. Hennepin Industrial, but for now the judge sided with Hennepin Industrial and granted a continuance in the case.

Marquis seeks to recoup attorney’s fees to the tune of $117,700 from Hennepin Industrial for ongoing litigation related to railroad access on land owned by Marquis. The attorneys for Marquis were hoping Judge Stephen Kouri would side with them, but Kouri said he “reluctantly” granted a continuance because Hennepin Industrial’s previous counsel was allowed to withdraw from the case.

“I’ll grant the continuance, but not very long because it doesn’t need to be very long,” Kouri said to Hennepin Industrial counsel Dustin Jensen of Peoria.

The judge advised Jensen that any written answer to the defense motion must be entered at minimum a week in advance of the April 17 hearing to allow the time for Marquis attorneys to respond.

On that date, the judge is prepared to hear arguments from Roger Bolin and Chicago attorney John Gekas on behalf of Marquis. Should attorney fees be awarded, upon payment the case could be dismissed without prejudice.

Source: News Tribune


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


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


Friday, November 10, 2017

Marquis Energy Goes to Germany for United Nations Convention

Marquis Energy LLC’s chief executive officer is speaking at a United Nations convention.

Early Thursday morning, Marquis Energy tweeted that Marquis Energy’s CEO, Mark Marquis, is speaking at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to discuss the benefits of biofuels to the environment.

The Hennepin-based company, the largest dry-mill ethanol facility in the United States, has been tweeting and retweeting on its Twitter about Mark Marquis’s trip to Germany.

The company has joined with other ethanol producers and their industry trade associations to form the Climate Ethanol Alliance, said Danielle Anderson, executive assistant/director of public relations and political affairs for the company.

“Our attendance at this conference allows us to share ethanol’s many benefits with all corners of the globe,” said Mark Marquis, CEO of Marquis Energy.

The climate change conference is in Bonn, Germany. Leaders of national governments, cities, states, businesses, investors and others are gathering to speed up work on climate action to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, according to the United Nations.

The United States indeed does have a delegation at international climate talks in Bonn, The Associated Press noted, even though President Donald Trump has promised to withdraw the U.S. from the 2015 Paris climate pact where nations set their own goals to reduce the emissions of heat-trapping gases. Because of legal technicalities America can’t get out until November of 2020.

This year is the first time ethanol (biofuels) has been represented at the convention, Anderson said, and they’re happy to talk about the benefits of their renewable fuel.

She said ethanol significantly reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle tailpipes. Ethanol is a U.S. homegrown fuel that provides the nation with more energy security and a more affordable choice at the fuel pump, she said.

Anderson said regular gas is almost all blended with 10 percent ethanol. She said more gas stations are adopting higher blends of fuel, such as E15 and E85.

Source: News Tribune


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hennepin Steel Site Salvage Halts Over Legal Issues

Image credit: News Tribune
Demolition at the old steel mill site has been halted until further notice by Hennepin Industrial Development, owner William Marino says. The halting of demolition follows IPS Steel of Michigan filing a complaint saying Hennepin Industrial has violated a contract.

Marino said Hennepin Industrial Development and IPS Steel of Michigan came to a mutual agreement on Friday that demolition will be halted until further notice, as Hennepin Industrial is in the process of refinancing so it can close the loan of what’s owed to IPS — approximately $14 million.

IPS, former owner of the site from 2014 to January 2017, filed the complaint in federal court in Peoria against Hennepin Industrial Development, Marino Development and William Marino. The amended complaint was e-filed Oct. 12.

Hennepin Industrial, the owner demolishing the old steel plant and salvaging scrap metal in Hennepin, purchased the property from IPS this winter, on seller financing.

IPS states in the complaint that there has been a breach of a contract out of the sale to Hennepin Industrial at the purchase price of $20 million.

When IPS purchased the property in 2014, the purchase price listed on the deed was about $13 million, according to a past article from the NewsTribune.

“We disagree with everything in the complaint,” Marino said. “We look forward to an amicable solution and moving forward with the project.”

IPS in the complaint says it provided money for the sale to Hennepin Industrial with the expectation there would be repayment from the salvage and sale of the scrap metal on the property. IPS has a security interest in the scrap metal on the property, the complaint says.

The complaint says Hennepin Industrial has failed to meet the payment obligations, and “has stolen valuable scrap metal, and has, through subterfuge and deceit, deprived IPS of the benefit of its bargain causing substantial damages.”

The complaint says Marino estimated the scrap value on the property at $34 million. It states Hennepin Industrial agreed to an initial earnest payment of $250,000 and an additional $4.75 million due at closing in January. IPS says Hennepin Industrial agreed to pay minimum quarterly payments of $3.75 million plus accrued interest, less any payments made to IPS as part of revenue sharing.

The members of IPS include Ishvar Sutariya of Michigan, Pravin Sutariya of Michigan, Bharat Sutariya of Missouri, Pravin Monpara of Pennsylvania and Blue Steel Industries in New Jersey.

Sellers want their money now

In January, Hennepin Industrial signed a promissory note — a contract with a promise to pay a certain amount of money on demand by a certain time or over a period of time — and security agreement related to the seller-financing, according the complaint.

The note from January stated the agreed upon seller-financed amount was $17.5 million with a 10 percent interest rate compounded quarterly, according to the complaint.

The note said the creation of a joint bank account to deposit all gross revenue earned from the property was required, according to the complaint.

The complaint says IPS could withdraw 80 percent of the deposits from the account on a weekly basis.

Source: News Tribune


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Board Asks for Breakdown of Bids for Salt Storage Shed and Foundation

The construction of the new Putnam County (PC) salt storage shed has been tabled by the county board until the itemized bids for its planned concrete work are reviewed.

PC highway engineer Pat Sloan said the old shed in Hennepin, which he estimated was in excess of 50 years old, suffered severe storm damage earlier in the year, and its demolition was recently completed.

The county only received two bids for the concrete foundation work, the lowest at approximately $54,000. Board member Luke Holly questioned why there were only two bids and suggested the county find a way to increase the amount of bidders for future projects. He said only receiving two to three bids per project has become typical.

“I think for this amount we should re-bid,” Holly said.

After the board failed to make a motion to approve the existing bid, discussion began about the possibility of re-bidding the work. Sloan said it was getting late in the year; that re-bidding wouldn’t likely result in a lower bid; and added for the work required, which includes a reinforced, 8-foot thick floor and 1-foot thick walls capable of withstanding 100 mph winds, the bid seemed reasonable.

Rather than delaying the job with the proper, yet lengthy re-bidding procedures, PC Board Chairman Steve Malavolti suggested the board review the bids in an itemized format, so they could see the line by line costs involved. The board then approved the tabling of the discussion until its next meeting.

Sloan said the low responsible bid for the building portion of the project was approximately $30,000, and the costs were reduced by the design work being completed in-house by structural engineers.

Two remaining road projects which are scheduled for completion soon are repairs to the McNabb blacktop and work to correct the areas of Bottom Road which get washed over during heavy rains.

Source: Putnam County Record


Friday, August 4, 2017

New Judge Requested in Dispute Over Railroad Access at Hennepin

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A judge will continue to allow Hennepin Industrial Development LLC the right to access, use and repair the railroad tracks owned by anyone with a claim to the land below the crossties until a reassigned judge can schedule the matter for a hearing at the earliest possible date.

Circuit Judge Thomas Keith on Thursday in Putnam County ordered that his previous order issued on July 25 will remain in effect until the reassigned judge can schedule the matter for a hearing.

The order, set to expire Aug. 4 (today), went into effect after Hennepin Industrial complained that someone from the neighboring Marquis ethanol plant property blocked the tracks by piling sand and gravel on them. Some track was cut, Hennepin Industrial Development said in its initial complaint against Marquis Energy.

On Wednesday, Marquis Inc. filed a motion for a substitution of judge. In the motion, it states that under Illinois law, substituting a judge in any civil action is allowed when a party timely exercises its rights. It also states each party is entitled to one substitute of a judge as a right.

The matter has been referred to Chief Judge Paul P. Gilfillan for reassignment.

Lawyers from Marquis Energy had argued that their client did not own the land where there’s a dispute over access to the tracks that lead to the Norfolk Southern line.

The blockage obstructs Hennepin Industrial’s ability to move large quantities of scrap metal, the complaint states. Hennepin Industrial intends to load approximately 100 rail cars per month over the next two to three months to ship out for recyclable metal.

Two additional defendants were added to the case. Now the three defendants are Marquis Inc., Marquis Energy and Marquis Management Services Inc.

During Thursday’s hearing, it was said that Marquis Inc. is the owner of the land being discussed.

Michael J. Scotti III is the attorney for Hennepin Industrial Development.

John Gekas is the attorney for Marquis Inc.

Hennepin Industrial Developent says it has priority rights under a railroad easement dating back to previous owners that allow it to traverse the adjoining piece of land northeast of the mill site.

Source: News Tribune