Friday, April 2, 2010

County adopts new agricultural zoning regulation


special use ordinance enacted last year is the first of its kind in the nation to attempt to use market forces to provide an incentive for land conservation. The ordinance uses government’s power to control land use rather than to enact new taxes to pay for the purchase of development rights on farmland.

Designed to appeal primarily to landowners of large non-buildable tracts of land, the special use could also be utilized by established residents who desire to add an additional home for younger family members or even to provide living quarters for caretakers of elderly parents.

Twenty-five applications for the special use will be accepted this year.

The Belvidere Daily Republican. - County adopts new agricultural zoning regulation

Illinois' oldest building celebrates 200 years

Jarrot Mansion

Jarrot Mansion

This is the official website of the home of Nicholas Jarrot (1764-1820), a French-born entrepreneur and land speculator who also served as judge and local militia officer. Construction of the Mansion began in 1807, making it one of the earliest surviving masonry buildings in Illinois. The historic home is also notable for its use of American Federal architectural design, rather than the traditional French Colonial style common in the area.

Jarrot Mansion Construction

The Mansion is a two-story brick structure with a full cellar. The first floor is composed of a central hall, flanked on each side by two rooms. The second floor contains a ballroom with attached drawing room, a stair hall, and two other rooms. On the grounds is a stone spring house that dates from c.1810. In 1974 the Jarrot Mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places and received the extraordinary honor of being designated a National Historic Landmark in 2001.


Though generally closed for restoration, the Mansion is opened periodically for special events: “Autumn Open House” in September, and Fete du Bon Vieux Temps or “Festival of the Good Old Days” (Saturday prior to Ash Wednesday). Restoration efforts are assisted by the Jarrot Mansion Project, Inc., a non-profit organization.

Directions and Contact InformationCahokia, Illinois

The Jarrot Mansion State Historic Site is located near the intersection of Illinois Route 3 and Highway 157 in Cahokia, Illinois, and is just minutes from downtown St. Louis. For further information or to schedule a tour, call (618) 332-1782

Report: Giannoulias Family's Broadway Bank Loaned To Felons -

Michael Giorango. In 2004, Giorango and his new business partner, Demitri Stavropoulos, came to the bank for the loan even though they were about to start serving terms in federal prison,

Rep. Mark Kirk, was quick to slam Giannoulias for the revelations in the Tribune article.
"Since 2006, Alexi Giannoulias has falsely claimed that he and his family did not know that Michael 'Jaws' Giorango or Demitri Stavropoulos were organized crime leaders,"

Click on the following to read the complete story: 

Report: Giannoulias Family's Broadway Bank Loaned To Felons -

Robert Reich (No Jobs Recovery)

 March numbers are not good if you really look at them.

  • Since the Great Recession began, the economy has lost 8.4 million jobs and failed to create another 2.7 million needed just to keep up with population growth. That means we’re more than 11 million in the hole right now. And that hole keeps deepening every month we fail to add at least 150,000 new jobs, again reflecting population growth.

    A census-taking job is better than no job, but it’s no substitute for the real thing.

    Click on the following to read the entire article:  Robert Reich (No Jobs Recovery)

  • Boone County Journal Article on Grievances against Health Administrator

    The following is taken from this week’s Journal and is available at:

    Grievance Filed
    Naming Former
    Asst. Administrator
    of County Health
    By James Middleton

    Though reasons for the exit of the former assistant
    administrator of the Boone County Health Department were
    claimed to have been “personal,” documents disclose that
    other reasons could have contributed to the resignation of
    Stephanie Crawford. Last week The Journal was told by the
    remaining assistant administrator of the health department,
    Raymond Empereur that he was “not surprised” at her
    resignation and her reasons were “personal.”
    Materials received by The Journal, that resulted from
    a Freedom of Information request directed to the Health
    Department offer the potential for a different interpretation
    of the matter. Documents claim that there were questions
    held by some within the Boone County Health Department
    regarding the quality of the work product produced by the
    former assistant administrator. Further, the documents
    addressed to Mr. Empereur disclose that a number of
    employees produced what they described as “class action
    grievances representing all the undersigned both individually
    and collectively.”
    The author(s) of the three-page document of grievances
    indicated that “We, the undersigned employees of the Health
    Department wish to file an official grievance pertaining to
    the multiple violations of Section 8 of the Personnel Policy
    Handbook which will be outlined in this letter.”
    The author(s) further claimed that the group that signed
    the document had sought to discuss their concerns with Mr.
    Empereur but the author(s) added, “You, however, failed
    to respond to this request.” The author(s) further stated
    that they held a meeting with a supervisor who is now an
    acting assistant administrator, Lisa Gonzalez on March 3,
    2010 but, they also claimed, “She was unable to address the
    issues.” Ms. Gonzalez said, according to the author(s) of
    the grievance, to “submit their grievance in writing to the
    Public Health Administrator.”
    The grievances itemized in the document amounted to
    11 individual items. Many of the items suggested that the
    former assistant administrator had aided in creating a “hostile
    work environment.” The signatories to the grievance also
    expressed their concern for the overall public health of
    the Boone County community resulting from the loss of
    employees and the workplace environment they described.
    One of the items alleged that a worker at the Health
    Department might have grounds to file a claim alleging job
    Another item alleged that the former assistant
    administrator was not fulfilling a commitment for fulltime
    employment. The allegation stemmed in part from
    the former assistant administrator’s college commitment
    seeking a Masters of Nursing degree. Mr. Empereur said
    last week that the former assistant administrator pursued
    her educational commitment with the knowledge and the
    approval of the board.
    Another claim made in the grievance offered significant
    allegations regarding conduct that deserves further
    investigation to confirm or deny its veracity before being
    publicized. Though these allegations go to the public safety
    of the community, to announce these allegations without
    first obtaining third-party verification would be deemed
    Mr. Empereur said he was aware of receipt of the
    grievance document and said he had received the letter
    dated March 5 that was signed by seven employees of the
    Health Department. He added that the specifics of what
    was contained within the document were not immediately
    discussed between him and/or the seven who signed the
    One claim alleged that Mr. Empereur would not respond
    to oral requests made by the signatories. He told the
    signatories that they should present their grievance to their

    Continued on page 4

    immediate supervisor. In this instance, their immediate
    supervisor was Lisa Gonzalez who has now been elevated
    to serve as a co-assistant administrator with Bill Hatfield
    who serves in a similar capacity.
    Mr. Empereur also said he met with the seven signatories
    to the document on the day that Ms. Crawford issued her
    letter of resignation; March 17. He said that his purpose
    in meeting with them was to ascertain the nature of their
    grievance. He also said, “I responded.”
    Further, Mr. Empereur said that he and Ms. Gonzales
    met privately with each person that signed the grievance
    Mr. Empereur said that he offered a written response to
    the grievance letter presented on March 5. That document
    was presented to the seven signatories, according to Mr.
    Empereur’s recollection, either on March 23 or March
    24. He also suggested that work on the employment
    environment is ongoing but, for the most part, he suggested
    that the problem of the alleged “hostile work environment”
    disappeared when Ms. Crawford issued her resignation and
    her letter was accepted by the board.
    In the March meeting of the Boone County Board of
    Health, the status of the search for a new candidate to fill the
    vacancy left by Ms. Crawford’s resignation was discussed.
    Mr. Empereur discussed a new contract that would keep
    him associated with the Health Department, even though
    when Ms. Crawford resigned he was removed as an assistant
    administrator because his service as her mentor also ended.
    In the new contract, that requires approval by Boone
    County State’s Attorney Michelle Courier, Mr. Empereur
    would remain associated with the Health Department as a
    He added while explaining his duties, “Bill (Hatfield) and
    Lisa (Gonzalez) would remain and have been pre-qualified
    as co-assistant administrators.” They were granted that title
    after Ms. Crawford’s resignation and they indicated that
    they would retain that title until a new administrator was
    Mr. Empereur told the board members that they have
    information from the department policy manual that lists
    the process and the qualifications required to serve as an
    administrator. “These are the requirements and I recommend
    we post the position and begin recruitment effective April
    1,” Mr. Empereur said.
    He also said the department would perform an in-house
    review of the candidates that apply and proceed to the next
    step with those that were found to be qualified. Then, he
    added, “Those candidates would be brought to the board
    search committee for an interview and then a selection
    would then be brought to meet the staff.” He suggested
    that with the process beginning in April, an offer should be
    made in June and the new administrator might assume the
    leadership role in August.
    Board member George Sprecher questioned why
    many of the same people on the board also served on the
    search committee and various other Health Department
    committees. The Health Department search committee is
    made up of Dr. Kent Hess who led the search committee
    when Ms. Crawford was hired; Allen Sissen, Dr. Joseph
    Frost and Gary Turner are also members.
    Mr. Sprecher added, “We didn’t do a good job before.”
    The result of the previous search committee effort
    had job interviews conducted at Giovanni’s Restaurant in
    Rockford after which Ms. Crawford was hired. When her
    credentials were delivered to the State of Illinois, the state
    informed Boone County that she was not qualified to serve
    as an administrator unless a mentor was hired to oversee
    her work. It should be noted that Mr. Empereur was not
    involved and was not a participant in the search that resulted
    in the hiring of Ms. Crawford.
    The minimum qualifications as proscribed by the State of
    Illinois to serve as a public health department administrator
    calls for a master’s degree in public health and two years
    of full-time administrative experience in public health;
    or a graduate degree in a related field from a college
    or university and two years of full-time administrative
    experience in public health; or, a bachelor’s degree from an
    accredited college or university and four years of full-time
    administrative experience of which at least two years must
    be in public health.
    It should also be noted that Ms. Crawford holds a degree
    as a registered nurse and, according to Mr. Empereur,
    was pursuing a degree as a Master’s of Nursing when she
    resigned her post.
    The position of administrator is now listed on the
    website of the Boone County Health Department and an
    advertisement will soon appear in a Rockford newspaper.
    Similar advertisements will also appear on public health
    websites in addition to noted publications in the industry.
    For now, the work of the Health Department sustains with
    Mr. Hatfield and Ms. Gonzalez serving as co-administrators.
    It is presumed that after Ms. Courier evaluates the contract
    from Mr. Empereur, he will continue his work at the Health
    Department as a consultant.

    Boone County Journal’s Article on Sheriff’s Patrol in Poplar Grove

    The article below is available at:

    Police Referendum
    Could Appear on
    November Ballot
    By Bob Balgemann
    Poplar Grove voters likely will be asked in November
    what level of police protection they want and how they’d like
    to pay for it. Village officials are working out the details that
    could lead to a referendum being placed on the November 2
    general election ballot.
    Research has determined the village does not have to
    pay for police protection, or have its own police department,
    once it reaches a population of 5,000 or more.
    But Village President Bradley Rightnowar said this
    week the general fund, which operates the village, no longer
    can afford to pay for police protection. Voters will have to
    approve some kind of mechanism to foot that bill, beginning
    at a time that has yet to be determined.
    The Boone County Sheriff’s Department is required by
    law to provide basic law enforcement services for Poplar
    Grove, as well as the villages of Capron, Caledonia and
    Timberlane, and the unincorporated area. But Poplar Grove
    is spending $160,000 this year for an additional 80 hours of
    patrol each week.
    The village’s proposed 2010-11 budget that takes effect
    May 1 will have $80,000 in it for extra coverage as officials
    renegotiate a new contract with Sheriff Duane Wirth.
    One of the questions the Administration Committee
    wants answered is what kind of crime problem, if any, exists
    in the village.
    Jay Akely, a former police officer with 22 years on the
    job, told the committee March 22 he thought “crime around
    here is almost non-existent.’’
    “Most of our problems are gang-related,’’ committee
    Chairman Kris Campbell said.
    “Or vandalism,’’ member Ron Quimby interjected.
    But Rightnowar said, “The seeds for violent crime are
    Akely said the city of Belvidere “puts a lot of resources
    into gang activity. A uniformed officer will have no effect on
    gangs. They (gang members) watch him go by with guns in
    their pockets.’’
    Committee member Judi Zangs asked about forming
    neighborhood watch groups, to which Akely responded,
    “That’s a great idea.’’
    There was some talk about starting such a program in
    Sherman Oaks subdivision, but no one at the March 15
    committee meeting knew if one ever was organized.
    “We could start at the Homeowners Association level
    and work from there,’’ Quimby said.
    Akely offered to help the village in any way he could.
    The planning process for a November 2 referendum
    would include two town hall meetings in June, one at
    village hall and one at Timber Pointe Golf Club, committee
    members agreed.
    A subcommittee, possibly including Belvidere Police
    Chief Jan Noble, will be formed to work out the details.
    Beautification Update
    Village Trustee Cliff Stetter updated the committee on
    the beautification effort, being led by his wife, Nancy, who
    chairs the Beautification Committee. The group has applied
    for a grant of $1,200-$1,500, which would buy fencing,
    hoses, rakes and water storage barrels. An informational
    meeting on the community garden, being proposed for Hill
    Street, across from the village hall, will be held sometime
    in April.
    Cliff Stetter suggested village trustees designate $107 of
    the salary they’re forfeiting due to the budget crunch as a
    donation to the village’s beautification effort. Each trustee
    is taking a $1,500 pay cut to help the budget. Immanuel
    Lutheran Church in Belvidere has asked Nancy Stetter how
    it can help the village’s beautification campaign.
    A plan is being developed to move about two dozen trees
    from the sewage treatment plant to the arboretum, proposed
    for the Boeing Trail water tower area, and along Hill Street
    from village hall north to State Road 173.
    Also March 22 the committee continued discussing a
    revised animal control ordinance, which Zangs wants to see
    focused more on “responsible pet ownership.’’
    “It doesn’t set a limit on the number of dogs you can
    have,’’ she said of her idea. “It just says a reasonable
    number. We need something. What we have doesn’t address
    reasonable pet ownership.’’
    That continues to be a work in progress as does a plan to
    have a fall festival, as a follow-up to last year’s successful
    sesquicentennial celebration held in October.
    Training Tower; Produce Stand
    Rightnowar touched on the county fire department’s
    wanting to construct a training tower at the station at
    Hill Street and S.R. 173. While he has not been officially
    approached about the proposal, he said, “I really don’t want
    it here.’’
    He suggested the tower be put near one of the village’s
    two sewage treatment plants. “I recognize it’s a needed
    thing,’’ he said. “I just don’t want it in our backyard.’’
    Rightnowar also mentioned the produce market at
    S.R. 173 and Hill Street, saying he had not heard from the
    operator, Dan Lane, who has been told by a judge not to
    continue operating the business at that location.
    “I wouldn’t be surprised if he started putting apples out
    there,’’ the president said. “That would be in contempt of
    court, which isn’t a happy place to be

    Boone County Health Department Posts Administrator Position

    Well this time it appears that the Health Department will post the position.  The picture is Raymond Empereur.

    March 2010

    Public Health Administrator

    image The Boone County Board of Health in Belvidere, Illinois, is accepting applications for a qualified Public Health Administrator to head the Boone County Department of Public Health. To be considered, candidates must have:

    1) A master’s degree in public health and two years of full-time administrative experience in public health, or; 2) A graduate degree in a related field, and two years of full-time administrative experience in public health, or; 3) A bachelor’s degree and four years of full-time administrative experience, of which at least two years must be in public health. To be considered, please send a professional resume and three personal references to Raymond W. Empereur, MPA, Administrative Consultant, Boone County Department of Public Health, 1204 Logan Avenue, Belvidere, Illinois 61008, in an envelope marked “Personal and Confidential” by April 30, 2010.

    The above is posted at the Health Department’s website on the employment tab click on the following:

    Plans for NDK in Belvidere at a ‘standstill’ after Dec. explosion

    Eighteen NDK America employees returned to work at the Crystal Parkway plant Monday, nearly four months after an explosion in the crystal manufacturing section of the building.

    “standstill” as they wait to see what the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board finds when its report comes out later this year

    NDK lawsuit update….June 18 status hearing

    A work plan was agreed to by our office, the state’s attorney’s office and the IEPA for NDK to have experts test for potential on-site soil contamination,” Mulford said. “It’s scheduled to get under way in the next few days; the case is pending on the testing.”

    Click on the following for more details:  Plans for NDK in Belvidere at a ‘standstill’ after Dec. explosion - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

    Belvidere School Receives $50,000 In Books -


    image Belvidere’s Washington Elementary took part in the 2010 Children's Choice awards. The students voted on their favorite titles and in return earned more than $3,000 books for their school

    Click on the following for more details:  Belvidere School Receives $50,000 In Books -