Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Chuck Sweeny’s take on the Orth-Beloit stop sign


  • Chuck Sweeny: A four-way stop, finally, at Orth and Beloit roads, plus Nik's Home Run set



  • By Chuck Sweeny
    Staff writer

    Posted Sep. 19, 2016 at 5:40 PM

    I shook my head in wonderment when I read about the two township governments in Boone County that were unable or unwilling to do much to make the dangerous intersection at Orth and Beloit roads safe, until a car hit a bus containing middle school students two weeks ago. Then the tune changed to, "By golly, we've got to do something!"
    The crash was recorded by a resident's surveillance camera. The driver of the car, who was turning from Orth Road onto Beloit Road, was ticketed. The bus traveling on Beloit Road hit the car, spun out of control and landed on its side. Twelve people, including 10 children, were injured. Thankfully, no one died.
    Since 2011 there have been 64 accidents at that crossing, in which traffic on Orth Road must stop while Beloit Road traffic sails through. This was a country crossing for many years, but it's getting busier and busier as the area develops. In 2015 alone there were 19 accidents. Yet that alarming number didn't provoke highway officials to make this a four-way stop.
    Boone County Sheriff Dave Ernest considers that crossing to be Boone's most dangerous intersection, our story said. Yet only the horror of school children getting hurt stirred the governments of Caledonia and Belvidere townships to action. Other minor steps have been taken, including cutting back trees and shrubs, installing reflective tape and boosting police patrols.
    Now, I want you to read the following paragraph, taken from the Register Star's news story reporting on the decision of Belvidere and Caledonia townships to make the crossing a four-way stop.
    "(Belvidere Township Commissioner Rich) Lee said the four-way stop had been considered for about three to four months but it took time to get everyone together from different jurisdictions. The intersection is under the jurisdiction of Caledonia and Belvidere township road districts, with three legs of the crossroads belonging to Caledonia Township."
    Time? What time did it need to take? We are not rebuilding the intersection or even installing traffic lights. We are just talking about a couple of aluminum stop signs and some red flags to put on top of them to let people know they're new. So why does it take months to get everyone together?
    Here's a suggestion from the real, nongovernment world: One highway commissioner phones the other highway commissioner and says, "Hey, I think we'd better put up stop signs on Beloit Road at Orth." And the other highway commissioner says, "Yeah. You provide signs, and we'll put 'em in."
That would make sense, but we're talking about townships, the governments closest to the people. They are so close they're right under our noses, and you can't see anything that's right under your nose.
Boone County is small in area and population. One combined highway department could easily handle all the roads and city streets, and it would save taxpayers money. Here's a road sign I'd like to see someone install in front of township, county and city buildings: "Start seeing taxpayers."
Nik's Home Run
Every year at this time I give a shoutout to the fall event called Nik's Home Run. It's a fun day of physical activity that gets under way this year at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at Rockford Rivets Stadium, rain or shine.
Nik's Home Run is a 7K race, a 1.5-mile fun walk and a silent auction. This is its fifth year.
The event is a fundraiser put on by the Nikolas Ritschel Foundation, a nonprofit providing life enrichment opportunities (think vacations) for cancer patients 18 to 24. The fundraiser was inspired by the life of Nikolas Ritschel, a Rockford teen who received a diagnosis of synovial sarcoma, a rare cancer, a month before his 18th birthday. He died a month after his 21st birthday.
Nik realized that many cancer patients in his age group were too old to take advantage of charities like "Make a Wish," which stops at age 18, and yet too young to have much of their own money. That's why this foundation was started in Nik's name by his mom.
Interested in taking part? If you want to run the race, take the walk or contribute, learn more at nikolasritschelfoundation.org.
Chuck Sweeny: 815-987-1366; csweeny@rrstar.com; @chucksweeny

Above is from:  http://www.rrstar.com/news/20160919/chuck-sweeny-four-way-stop-finally-at-orth-and-beloit-roads-plus-niks-home-run-set

Belvidere Township Supervisor Patrick Murphy dies




  • As a public servant and as a volunteer, Murphy remembered for his devotion to Boone County
  • Belvidere Township Supervisor Patrick Murphy. PHOTO PROVIDED



  • Posted Sep. 19, 2016 at 9:37 PM

    BELVIDERE — Whether he was serving Belvidere Township or devoting time to the community's youth and the elderly, Belvidere Township Supervisor Patrick Murphy touched the lives of many.
    Murphy died Friday after complications with a cyst, friends said. He was 67, and leaves behind a legacy in Belvidere, serving as alderman, mayor and with various public boards, while also providing opportunities for residents.
    "He was a strong, dedicated leader," County Board Chairman Bob Walberg said. "He was always well-meaning, he was sincere and loved the community. He always tried to do what was right."
    Murphy worked until his final days. On the township website, he posted a statement in relation to the Sept. 7 collision involving a school bus at the intersection of Orth and Beloit roads.
    "Belvidere Township was saddened and appalled to learn about the accident at Beloit and Orth roads involving a school bus, which resulted in the injury of several children. I am thankful that there were apparently no serious injuries," Murphy wrote. "We are continuing to work with the Road District, the Sheriff's office, Caledonia Township and others to determine if we need to do a traffic study of this particular intersection and other intersections that may need additional traffic control devices, or whether there is anything else that we need to be doing to improve the safety of all drivers."
    A four-way stop sign was installed at the intersection today.
    Murphy served on the board of directors for the Boone County Council on Aging Keen Age Center. The 12,800-square-foot center opened in 2001, and offers volunteer and professional services. Murphy was crucial to the center ever happening, Executive Director Joe Fortmann said.
    "In short, there would be no Boone County Council on Aging if not for the vision and actions of Mr. Murphy," Fortmann said in an email. "He saw the need and took the action necessary to get the Keen Age Center building project under way and complete."
    Richard Nelson, a Belvidere Township trustee, served on the board of directors for the Keen Age Center, then later reconnected with him when they served the township together.
    Murphy served on the I.O.U. Club, which host events for Belvidere youngsters such as the Halloween Parade and the Easter egg hunt.
    "He always had Boone County seniors and children in his heart," Nelson said.
    Murphy made it possible for the Flaming Monkeys 4-H FIRST Robotics Competition Team in Belvidere to use the basement of the community building for space.
    "Patrick not only supported our local teams, but was a champion of FIRST, as evidenced by him being awarded the 2014 Rock River Off-Season Competition 'Make It Loud' award, presented to individuals who do the most in the community for spreading the word of local teams and FIRST," the Flaming Monkeys posted to their Facebook page Friday evening.
  • A video posted to the Flaming Monkeys Facebook page in 2014 shows team members dumping a bucket of ice water on Murphy as part of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
    Debbie Carlson, a former trustee, said she has a photo of Murphy dressed as Santa Claus for Christmas. In the 1980s, they worked together to bring the recycling center to Belvidere.
    "Eventually it was taken over by local recyclers, but the true grassroots of it was the city and township of Belvidere," Carlson said, adding he "showed good stewardship.
    "He cared about the community," she said. "He was an advocate for many different organizations to do good things in the community, and provide tools do to something."
    Adam Poulisse: 815-987-1344;


Above is from:  http://www.rrstar.com/news/20160919/belvidere-township-supervisor-patrick-murphy-dies



Patrick J. Murphy thumbnail

Patrick J. Murphy

January 5, 1949 - September 16, 2016

Patrick J. Murphy, 67, of Belvidere, passed away suddenly, September 16, 2016. He was born January 5, 1949 in Ottumwa, IA, son of Ted and Mary (Darner) Murphy. Patrick graduated from Ottumwa High School in 1967, and went on to attend the University of Iowa. He was a prominent member of the community. Patrick was the Belvidere Township supervisor, served as Mayor of Belvidere, and was a devoted IOU member; he belonged to numerous boards and committees within the community and state. Patrick loved helping people, and being involved in the community. He loved his grandchildren, and adored music. His positive aura was infectious.

Patrick is loved and missed by his children, Ryan (Dominika) Murphy, Tim (Lindsay) Murphy, Sean Murphy; grandchildren, Patryk Murphy, Solomon Murphy, Mila Murphy; siblings, Deborah Dyer, and Robert (Sharon) Murphy; 25 nieces and nephews; mothers of his children, Lori Murphy-Remiker, and Pam Murphy. He is preceded in death by his mother, Mary Williamson, father, Ted Murphy, stepfather, Brick Williamson, sister, Phyllis Murphy-Acton, and niece, Kathy Murphy.

Funeral Service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, September 24, 2016 at the Belvidere Community Building, 111 W. 1st Street, Belvidere, IL 61008. A visitation will be held from 3:00-8:00 p.m., Friday, September 23, 2016 at the Belvidere Community Building. Burial will take place in Belvidere Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the family for a fund to be established at a later date. To light a candle or share a condolence, please visit www.AndersonFCS.com.