Sunday, May 1, 2016

Michiana reaction to GLB RR



Friday, April 29, 201

Friday, April 29, 2016




Michiana's Popular Farm Paper Since 1926



Farmers Oppose New Rail Line

by Stan Maddux

Published: Friday, April 29, 2016

Not all farmers support the idea of a new rail line getting built from Southeast Wisconsin to Northwest Indiana to by-pass the heavy train congestion in Chicago.
While quicker delivery of produce and other goods has its advantages, farming would become more time consuming and labor intensive on fields divided by tracks, not to mention lower yields from lost acreage to build the line on.
"If you had an 80-acre field, now you might have four 20-acre fields. It just depends on how the silly thing goes through there. It's just a total inconvenience," said John Coulter, 76, who raises pumpkins along with corn and soybeans on 4,500 acres.
Several of his fields along a six-mile stretch from north of Westville to Pinola are directly in the path of the rail line proposed by the Great Lakes Basin Railroad Corp.
Coutler said fields divided by tracks would require more access roads and experience higher crop damage from heavy machinery having to turn additional corners where the ground was sectioned off.
Irrigation systems operating on a center pivot would no longer be able to span entire fields and would have to be replaced with irrigators that can be physically moved back and forth across the tracks from field to field.
"You'd have to use hose poles and they only cover like 10 acres and then you have to take labor to move it to the next 10 acres, so you disrupt everything. You might have to move an irrigator six times with manpower to water the same amount of crop," said Coulter.
Farmers are among the people requesting LaPorte County oppose the idea of a new railroad like neighboring Lake and Porter counties have already done.
However, the LaPorte County commissioners on April 20 decided to remain opened-minded about the idea, citing major job creating potential.
"If this would ever happen, why would I take a chance in case it does brings jobs, in case it does bring investments. Why would I take a chance and throw that away? That's foolish and whoever says that I should say no is a fool," said LaPorte County commission president Dave Decker.
The line running from Wisconsin and west of Chicago would end at Kingsbury Industrial Park.
A second line branching off near Westville would run to nearby Pinola.
Train cars at those locations would then be diverted onto existing tracks operated by other railroads to continue on to their final destinations.
Because the plans were just recently unveiled, and the several year federal approvals process involved, the commissioners expressed a desire for more information before taking a formal stand.
The commissioners also adopted guidelines that include not running the line through an existing town or community to gain their support.
Steve Johnson lives on C.R. 50 South, close to where the rail line would run.
Among his fears are lower property values and ruining what's now a quiet, scenic area.
Johnson also questioned the accuracy of the railroad's projection that 280,000 long-term high- paying jobs would be created.
"Is there a comprehensive economic study or is one going to be initiated," he said.
Opponents were asked not to panic because the line may never come about and, if it does, it'll take five years or even much longer.
Commissioner Mike Bohacek, though, said he understands why people are upset this early in the process.
"Anytime anybody starts talking about a big rail project like this and they draw a map and they put the line through your house, I think I would be very upset and I am upset as a commissioner because I think the developer got a little bit ahead of himself," said Bohacek.
Bohacek went on to say that he wants more facts before deciding whether to follow suit with Lake and Porter counties.
"Just like a lot of the taxpayers are missing a lot of the facts, we're missing a lot of them too. To be for or against something when we have such limited information would be short-sighted," said Bohacek, who noted he is skeptical of the huge economic impact projections given by the railroad.
Coulter said the commissioners might have a different perspective if they were farmers and the route of the line went through a more heavily populated area.
"This thing is only going to cut through three townships in the county, which isn't very many votes. You can be for it real easy and still win the election so they're not going to pay much attention to a farmer's outcry," said Coulter.

Plote Case Delayed until October

It looks more and more that this case will depend on the will of the new States Attorney.

2014CH170  PLOTE CONSTRUCTION, INCLast Search  | Information  | Dispositions  | History  | Payments  | Fines & Fees  
04/29/2016  Record Sheet 8/21/14 - 8/29/16UNASSIGNED
04/25/2016  Status hearing set for 10/24/2016 at 1:30 in courtroom 2.UNASSIGNED
04/25/2016  SA Courier pres for Pl. Atty Andrew Fuller pres for Defs. Case comes on for status. Upon hearing arguments of counsel and reviewing briefs, Court hereby grants Def's request for stay. The hearing scheduled for 5-9-15 is stricken. Case cont to 10-24-16 at 1:30 p.m. for status on appeal. ORDERPJN
04/22/2016  Notice of Filing Boone County's Response to Defendant's Claim for StayUNASSIGNED
04/18/2016  Defendants Brief in Support of Objections to Proceed and Claim of StayUNASSIGNED
04/12/2016  Status hearing set for 04/25/2016 at 1:30 in courtroom 2.UNASSIGNED
04/11/2016  SA Courier pres for Pl. Atty Andrew Fuller pres for Defs. Case comes on for status. State represents that they are ready to proceed for hearing on 5-9-16. Def objects due to the filing of an appeal. Argument heard. Case remains set for hearing on 5-9-16 at 1:30 p.m. Case is also set on 4-25-16 at 1:30 p.m. for status on the appeal issue. Def has until 4-15-16 to submit a brief in its position. Pl has 7 days thereafter (4-22-16) to submit a response. ORDER Receipt for payment on contempt fine ($3000.00)PJN
03/18/2016  APPELLATE SCHEDULING ORDER Record on Appeal is due 5/6/16UNASSIGNED
03/07/2016  Notice of Filing Plaintiff's Answer to Defendants' First Request to AdmitUNASSIGNED
03/04/2016  Notice of Filing of Notice of Appeal Notice of Appeal 60.00

Above disposition is from:

Vacancies on Volunteer Boards



Is there a reason to apply if you ever spoke up for Wind Power and/or you are not one of Bobby's Boys?



  • Boone County announces vacancies on volunteer boards

    • emailprint

    • Posted Apr. 29, 2016 at 2:00 PM 

      BELVIDERE — The Boone County government recently announced eight vacancies on its volunteer boards.
      The following boards have vacancies for five-year terms that end June 1, 2021: zoning board of appeals, building board of appeals, museum district and commissioners of the housing authority. The conservation district and building complex boards have vacancies for three-year terms that end June 30, 2019; and the ethics commission and agricultural conservation easement and farmland protection program have one-year terms that end June 1, 2017.
      Interested parties should send a letter and resume expressing their interest and qualifications by May 6 to Boone County Board Chairman Bob Walberg, Administration Campus, 1212 Logan Ave., Ste. 102, Belvidere, IL 61008.

    House Speaker Michael Madigan makes rare appearance in Joliet to address labor leaders

    JOLIET — Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan — arguably the most powerful politician in Springfield — made a rare appearance Friday night in Joliet to address labor leaders of Will and Grundy counties.

    And to give, as he called it, his “side of the story” as to why Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and a Democrat-controlled majority remain deadlocked in a 10-month budget impasse.

    “The governor's advocacy of these non-budget issues — workers' compensation, collective bargaining, prevailing wage – in my judgment, runs contrary to the core beliefs of both Democrats and Republicans,” Madigan said before a packed International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 167 West Banquet Hall. “Because advocacy of these issues would reduce wages for … middle class families and send injured workers to the emergency room and to the welfare program.”

    Madigan, who's served as speaker of the Illinois House for 31 of the last 33 years, was the keynote speaker Friday night for the Will-Grundy Central Trades and Labor Council AFL-CIO's 38th annual dinner. Local, state and federal elected officials from both political parties were in attendance.

    Madigan said he pledged from day one to work closely and cooperatively with Rauner, noting he has a long record of working with other governors — both Democrats and Republicans — but this time, things are different, he said.

    “Thompson, Edgar, Ryan. I've worked with a lot of governors. We've never had this difficult of situation. Never,” he said.

    Rauner, he said, is holding the budget hostage with the goal of stripping away union powers and collective bargaining rights. The Republican governor won't consider new revenue unless Democrats agree to his Turnaround Agenda.

    Faced with ballooning pension obligations and a $6.9 billion backlog for the current fiscal year – which started July 1 of last year – Madigan said it's impossible for Illinois to cut its way out of the deficit.

    “You take all of that, you add it up. It's very obvious that Illinois is awash in debt. The state is swimming in debt,” Madigan said.

    Charlie Hanus, president of the Will-Grundy Counties Central Trades Council, lauded Madigan for his support of union rights.

    “You look where we'd be at today without Mike Madigan there, that we'd be just a neighbor state. Right to work. Depressed wages. Everybody out of work. It'd be terrible. In the last line of the defense for many years has been Mike Madigan,” Hanus said.

    He also called on labor supporters and union members to retain seats in the House and Senate during the upcoming November election


    We gotta work our tails off this fall because if we lose the majority and let Rauner buy this election and we lose control, every one of us in this room, we're done. We're done,” Hanus said. “Everybody needs to put the wheel to the grindstone.”

    Will County Democratic Caucus Chair Herbert Brooks, D-Joliet, said it was quite the rare appearance from Madigan, but a pleasant surprise.

    “It is rare. We feel privileged to have him here tonight,” Brooks said. “I'm surprised he came.”

    The fact that Madigan showed up in Joliet on Friday night is “a real credit to the trades here,” Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk said.

    “He doesn't speak at a lot of events, but he came out to the trades in Joliet tonight to give a fair representation of how he sees things in Springfield,” O'Dekirk said.