Year in Review – Kewanee Star Courier

January

U.S. Navy National Gaurdsman Javed Williams was one of eight U.S. military service personnel who were pall- bearers charged with carrying the late former President George H.W. Bush’s casket into the U.S. Capitol in December.
Williams is the husband of Kewanee native Desiree (Howell) Williams.
Two former high school track and cross country runners from Kewanee were the overall male and female winners in the 37th annual Run Your Ice Off 5K Monday afternoon.
Noah Dir (18:15) ran for the Annawan-Wethersfield Titans and Amber (Feurer) Buckley (22:41) ran for the Kewanee Boilers. A total of 164 finishers completed the 3.1 mile road race.
A Star Courier story reported in a three-part series on legalized gambling that $43 million was spent on legalized gambling in Kewanee in 2018.
The machines paid out about 92 percent of the amount wagered, or $39.65 million, in winnings to local players. That left $3.37 million in profits.
Of that, 30 percent, or just over $1 million, went to the state. The remaining 70 percent was split equally between the companies that own the gaming machines and the establishments where the machines are located.
The state sends one-sixth of the tax money it collects to the municipalities where the gaming machines are. Kewanee received $168,092 as its share of the video gaming tax receipts.
The Henry County Board names Aledo Administrator Erin Knackstedt as the new county administrator.
Kewanee Humane Society officials fended off allegations that a dog that died in its shelter’s care was because of misconduct. Officials said the allegations were based on “conjecture and speculation” and list a number of changes made to improve operations.
The Star Courier features Wethersfield standout athletes Brittney Litton and Tess Anderson.
Jury selection begins for the trial of Galva’s James E. Love, who was accused of murdering 19-year-old Xavier Hartman in late 2018.
The new 5,500-square-foot, $1.5 million Belle Alexander school addition opens. The new space created more teaching and office space, as well as new bathrooms.
Newcomer politician and write-in mayor candidate Brad Ahrens drops out of the race after a past felony conviction is disclosed. That after his candidacy was successfully challenged due to invalid signatures, forcing him to run as a write-in.
The Hog Days Committee announces in a Star Courier story that the 2019 event “Can’t Stop the Squealin’” would move the flea market back to West Park after a trial year that had the market on a lot east of downtown.
The Kewanee City Council OKs the purchase of automatic trash-lift trucks at $130,000 each and another $250,000 for accompanying collection bins. The move is expected to reduce workplace injuries for city workers.
Wethersfield Schools begin the construction of an Innovative Learning Laboratory, paid for with a $10,000 grant.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker is inaugurated as the new Illinois governor.
The city of Kewanee approves final details to allow the final construction phase of the new Kewanee Physical Therapy facility at 10th and Main.
City Engineer Dan Nobel retires. He later takes the same position with Stark County before retiring.
The KHS Theater Department presents the musical Mamma Mia.
The Department of Corrections tells the Star Courier that it will ask for increased funding the state’s 2020 appropriations process to begin expanding the Kewanee Life Skills Re-Entry facility. That funding was not approved.
The Henry County Board approves a change in its auditor, cutting annual financial review costs in half.
Miss Henry County Fair Jamie Franck, of Cambridge, is crowned 1st runner-up at the state pageant.
The trial of James Love begins in Galesburg. He is found not guilty of murdering Xavier Hartman.
The Star Courier runs a three-part series on Grover Zang, who built the recently restored horse stables on Route 78 south of Kewanee.
Gov. Pritzker declares the state a disaster after wind chills were forecast to dip to 35-55 below zero because of a winter storm.
The city of Kewanee allows Midwest Trailer Manufacturing to restructure the terms of a loan taken through the city’s revolving loan program.

 February

Sen. Chuck Weaver sponsors legislation to provide internet access for inmates at the end of their sentences who are training or applying for work upon release.
A Star Courier story reports that local business owners believe they will be adversely affected by the then-proposed minimum wage increase.
The Kewanee Police Department releases photos of two men believed to have stolen more than $12,000 in merchandise from the local Walmart. Police believed the men were the same two who committed eight other thefts at Michigan Walmarts totaling $90,000.
The Kewanee Park District first warns that a minimum wage increase could harm its programs and cause fee increases.
Henry County Emergency Management officials closed areas around the Hennepin Canal near Colona after an ice jam on the Green River caused flooding there.
The Kewanee City Council begins its budget-setting process with an eye on reducing health and self-insurance costs.
The Star Courier runs a three-part series on the number of solar projects popping up around Kewanee, including two large solar fields planned near Kewanee.
Area schools started making early adjustments to their schedules after winter weather led to several cancelled class days.
The Life Skills Re Entry Center gets $3 million in Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s first budget, which he declared “balanced” after the expected revenue of legalized cannabis, new taxes and borrowing. The money is not enough to expand the facility’s footprint, but will allow the hiring of more guards and the housing of more inmates.
Henry County’s Hillcrest Nursing Home in Geneseo cuts the ribbon on a new 4,000-square-foot activity and therapy addition.
Kewanee schools purchase five new buses at a cost of $73,000 each.

 OSF St. Luke Medical Center begins plans to celebrate its 100th year.

 Mayor candidates Robert Kuntz, Gary Moore, Steve Lemanski and Mike Yaklich met for a candidates forum sponsored by the Kewanee Chapter of the League of Women Voters. Councilman Steve Faber misses the forum after becoming ill prior to it starting.

 The East Street viaduct road is closed after ice makes the area impassable.

 Kewanee voters narrow the mayoral field to Moore and Yaklich, running as a write-in, following a runoff election leading up the general election in April.

 City officials devise a plan to move vacant lot mowing responsibilities to a private contractor to increase response times.

 Community Development Director Keith Edwards earns his residential inspection certification.

 March

The winter that kept giving gave Kewanee a rash of potholes when the snow subsided.

Rod Johnson, Kewanee’s director of public works, used the word “horrid” to describe the stretch of weather that started with a record blizzard in November and continued with a long string of snowfall and ice events.

“There just haven’t been any rest periods,” he said of his department’s almost non-stop battle with the winner of 2018-19. “We started in November and it’s just been full bore ever since.”

 East of the village of Tiskilwa in Bureau county, the southern bank of the Hennepin Canal ruptured, with the entire waterway diverted and spilling onto surrounding farmland. The breach apparently happened when a concrete culvert under the canal (designed to funnel north-to-south runoff water) collapsed, compromising the southern bank, said Keenan Campbell, director of the Bureau County Emergency Management Agency.

 Kewanee Police seize 21 grams of cocaine, a half-pound of cannabis and narcotics after arresting three residents in a drug bust.

 The chances of a dog park at Frances Park diminish after city council members said the tight budget likely wouldn’t support its construction. A park district idea to construct a dog park at Northeast Park was scrapped after running into similar funding and liability concerns.

 Ford dealership owner Kurt Gustafson announces the purchase of property north of the business that will be used to expand the dealership’s show space. Gustafson said he had worked out an arrangement with Prairie Chicken Festival organizers to make space for the annual event, which uses the former go-cart track slabs for its chalk art competition.Work to install new baseball diamond lights at Northeast Park starts, the $180,000 project funded through money derived from a judgment allowing the park district to use a larger share of the Baker Trust.

Galva schools add its first resource officer.
City officials are hoping that several recent economic development “bites” turn into something that can be reeled in to the local tax base.
City Manager Gary Bradley reported Tuesday that the city currently is working with three franchise businesses looking to locate in Kewanee, with one franchisee already signing an agreement with a franchiser for a development here.
“The city, the Chamber of Commerce and the Kewanee Economic Development Corporation are making progress with franchise businesses that look promising,” he told the Star Courier, noting that the businesses could start building before the end of the year if all goes well.
The bids for a major resurfacing project on a mile of East Street, scheduled for this summer, are under review after officials noticed a wide discrepancy between bids when they were opened last Friday.
Three bids were submitted for the work, but the low bid was only about a third of the amount of the high bid, leading state highway officials to believe the bidders had not understood the full scope of the bid.Galva Police are in the process of filing additional, drug-related charges against a pair of residents who they re-arrested on Monday as suspects in a multi-county burglary spree.
The couple was first arrested over the weekend by the Stark County Sheriff’s office for residential burglary, burglary, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of burglary tools.
They bond out for those offenses, but on Monday were arrested by Galva Police officers, assisted by Henry County investigators, who had found a trove of stolen items while serving a search warrant on the couple’s residence.
The city council considers adding a new heating system to the new Animal Control Facility, which cost nearly $90,000 to construct.
California-based Sunpin Solar Development, LLC, has signed an option and lease agreement that opens the door for the company to construct a solar farm on 136 acres of the Lininger Industrial Park, just west of Kewanee.
Kewanee Economic Development Corporation officials announced the agreement after months of discussions between the company, KEDC and city officials. The industrial park is owned by KEDC.
“The project installation will bring economic development dollars to Kewanee that will stay in, and be invested in, the Kewanee community,” said KEDC Executive Director Kathy Albert.
Wethersfield School Dist. 230 is losing its second principal in less than a year as elementary school Principal Jeanine Friedman announced her resignation at Thursday’s board meeting.
Friedman has been the principal at Wethersfield for 13 years and will finish out the school year.
The Kewanee High School football team is searching for a new head coach following Monday’s resignation of Tyler Nichols, who has led the Boilermakers since 2013.
The Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Club has announced that Everett Whitcher has been named the 2019 Outstanding Citizen.
Kewanee High School opens its new $1.5 million addition, which includes a new science classroom and dance and performance room.
The Friends of Johnson Park have gotten indication that a contract has been signed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to put a new roof on Ryan’s Round Barn and that work is expected to start this spring.
The trophy case at Kewanee High School has a new exhibit honoring Robert Westlund, dedicated Star Courier sports journalist and longtime Kewanee resident who passed away in 2010. The exhibit’s opening was held in conjunction with the KHS Boys Basketball Senior Night.
After months of knocking on doors and proverbially kissing babies, the candidates for Kewanee mayor and city council met face-to-face Tuesday at a televised League of Women Voters forum.

 April

Erik Dolieslager, a Kewanee native and 1994 graduate of Kewanee High School, was picked last week by Gov. JB Pritzker to serve on the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees.
Dolieslager, who now lives in Quincy, is the son of John and Judy Dolieslager of rural Kewanee.
Gary Moore picked up Tuesday where he left off in the runoff election, more than doubling his margin of victory over challenger Mike Yaklich.
Moore had 1,522 votes to capture 67 percent of the electorate. Yaklich garnered 647 votes for a 29 percent take. He won by a nearly 2-1 margin in the five-candidate runoff in February.
In the council race, appointed incumbent Councilman Chris Colomer joined new-comer Mike Komnick as the two top picks for council. With voters allowed to pick two of the five candidates, both winning candidates picked up nearly 48 percent of the vote.
The next two closest challengers were three- term incumbent Andy Koehler (860 votes, 38 per- cent) and Tim Hamilton (788 votes, 35 percent). Chris Wheaton picked up 134 votes, 6 percent of the total.
Local turnout was 26 percent.
Black Hawk College students are guaranteed acceptance into the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) thanks to a new transfer agreement between the schools.
The Kewanee Park District announces plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its formation, among them, reviving the Bakersville Halloween event.
Henry/Stark County Health Department officials say the department’s move to a new building in Kewanee will provide more space for services and better serve customers.
Renovation on a building at Burr Boulevard and Second Street — the former Save-A-Lot grocery store and LOTT sports training building — is expected to start in June or July of this year.
The $1.6 million project will completely gut the old store and remake it into office space for the many services the health department provides. The new building has about 2,400 square feet more floor space than the current building on Ill. Rt. 78.
KPD Sgt. Nicholas Welgat graduates from the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety, School of Police Staff and Command.
A Star Courier report shows that Kewanee leads the three-county area by far in the number of registered sex offenders living here.
The city is considering whether or not to provide ambulance service for the village of Neponset.
Kewanee Fire Dept. Chief Kevin Shook told councilmen Monday that he was currently running cost calculations to determine what type of fee structure would have to be in place for Kewanee to take on the extra load. “It obviously would have to be at a cost to cover our equipment and manpower,” he said.
The city council has granted two new liquor license requests, putting Kewanee near its limit of 50 establishments allowed to serve alcohol.
What a 12-by-30-foot mural honoring The Black Knights, will look like has been revealed.
The drum and bugle corps “put Kewanee on the map” between 1950 and 1965, making the finals in national competition nine times, with third their highest placing.
It will be the 18th mural painted in Kewanee since 2013 by the Walldogs.
The Kewanee Dist. 229 School Board voted Monday to employ Brad Swanson as the high school’s new physical education teacher and football coach.
Another Kewanee institution hit the 100 year mark this week. On Wednesday OSF HealthCare Saint Luke Medical Center celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the Kewanee Public Hospital.
A group of Henry County landowners has filed suit against the county, the county board and Avangrid Renewables challenging the construction of the Midland Wind Farm north of Kewanee.
A new principal is being introduced to Wethersfield Elementary School staff members and teachers this morning.
That’s after the Dist. 230 School Board, in a special meeting Wednesday, hired Gustaf “Gus” Elliott as the new WES principal. Elliott will assume his duties July 1.
The status of longtime Kewanee City Clerk Melinda Edwards has been in question since Monday, when the city council voted not to reinstate her.
Mayor Gary Moore con- firmed Thursday that Edwards no longer works for the city and the position will remain open until a replacement is found.
Business cards were passed and hands shaken as Sunpin Solar Development unveiled the details of its 125-acre solar farm to more than 60 local business and civic leaders Thursday.
Company officials said they are at the start of the process of building the 94,000-module arrays in Kewanee’s 136- acre Lininger Industrial Park, for which Sunpin has signed an option and lease deal with the Kewanee Economic
Development Corporation.
In fact, it could be up to 18 months
before the solar farm’s annual production of 25 MW of electricity can be channeled to the power grid as the company seeks a host of local, state and federal approvals, an interconnection agreement with Ameren and a buyer for its “green” power.
The Kewanee Police Department is actively seeking an area pastor for its newly conceived chap- lain program.
Trash collection practice continued on Friday at the Kewanee Public Works building as the drivers prepare to begin automated trash pick up next month.
Michael DeWalt was elected recently to replace Larry Lock as president of the Kewanee Historical Society. Lock has served as president since 2003.

May

Funds have started arriving from the county’s new public safety sales tax, but the dollar amounts aren’t quite as high as expected.
Henry County received a payment of $103,500, which is below the expected monthly total of $110,000 to $140,000.
Former Stark County Board member Fulvio Zerla has filed a federal lawsuit against the county and Sheriff Steve Sloan claiming the sheriff violated Zerla’s free speech rights when he was a member of the board.
Kewanee City Manager Gary Bradley has been named the new chairman of the Henry County Economic Development Partnership (HCEDP).
Local farmers are growing concerned about the amount and endurance of recent rains, as well as longterm forecasts that are calling for a similar rain- fall pattern.
New View Furniture will be opening its door soon, and Chrissy VanDeVelde, creative director, said she believes the store will be a different kind of furniture store. “We want this to be a great experience for our customers,” she said.
Fire Chief Kevin Shook now heads up the city’s storm preparedness and response program after it was passed from Keith Edwards, the city’s director of community development.
Irving School teacher Angie DeVenney and Wethersfield teacher Tammy Jackson are selected as the Star Courier’s Teachers of the Year.
Rebuilding Together Henry County will soon have a home of its own.
The organization has purchased a lot in Atkinson at the corner of Church Street and Route 6 and will be building their own facility.
The Kewanee Park District Board Thursday unanimously declined an entreaty from the city of Kewanee to take over the ownership and mainte- nance of Francis Park.
Kewanee retail businesses reported nearly $200 million in sales in 2018, the highest total since 2009.
A lot of history tum-bled to the ground earli-er this month when the former Galva Police Station building, built in 1906, was demolished.
The city of Kewanee begins automatic trash pickup with new, provided containers.
The city council was warned Monday that it only has the space to store the sludge for the next month or so and that a plan needs to be made quickly to get rid of it. “That matter needs to be addressed soon or we will have problems,” said Don Bixby, an engineer for Chamlin and Associates.
What started as a one-shot celebration of the nation’s bicentennial in 1976 turned into a long-running annual event, but this year there will be no Fourth of July event at Francis Park.
Tribal officers and leaders from several Native American tribes gathered at Black Hawk East College Wednesday evening in to speak about a proposed wind farm and its impact on the Great Sauk Trail.

June

The owners of the Shell gas station and convenience store have asked city officials to consider approving a a combination liquor license that would allow the business to add gaming machines. The request was never voted on by the city council.
Geneseo’s Chamber of Commerce director has been hired as the new Henry County economic development director.
Henry County Board members question the validity of spending $15,000 a month in proceeds from the public safety tax for jail meals.
The Star Courier features a story on the battle local schools face in keeping kids from vaping.
Buffalo gnats make a memorable appearance in Kewanee and the surrounding area.
Abilities Plus celebrates 60 years of operation.
The First Baptist Church choir, using funds raised in the community, participate in a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York.
Mayor Gary Moore’s recommendation for a city clerk replotment passed unanimously Monday, but not without a council challenge to his proposal to change residency rules for non-union staff.
The council approved the appointment of Rebekah Jones to serve as clerk starting June 30. She replaces Melinda Edwards, who was fired by Moore in April.
Wayne Brau has accepted the position of Principal at Visitation Catholic School effective July 1.
The Kewanee Police Department is joining a new countywide task force designed to address the rising level of large-scale drug dealing in Henry County.
Former Boy Scout camps Martin’s Lodge goes up for sale.
A Bradford man who appeared in court on April 22 on felony charges of threatening a Kewanee police officer was sentenced to prison on Thursday.
Tyler J. DeMuynck, 29, pleaded guilty to Class 2 felony aggravated unlawful use of a loaded weapon, and a Class 3 felony charge of a felon with possession of a firearm. DeMuynck was sentenced to a concurrent term of 10 years in prison on each count, two years of mandatory supervised release, court costs and fees.
After months of planning, workers Tuesday got to the nitty gritty of the East Street road construction project.
A Kewanee man this week was given jail time and probation, and will be required to register as a sex offender, for an aggravated sexual assault case that dates back to 2016.
Phillip A. Murphy, 36, of Kewanee, will start a 60- day jail sentence Monday.
A recent cyber safety assessment of the Henry County voting system has revealed few problems needing to be addressed, according to the Henry County clerk/recorder Barbara Link.
The Stark County School Board fired Monday a bus driver and an aide who allegedly placed a plastic “screaming bucket” over the head of a seven-year-old disabled boy in what was described as “an inappropriate attempt to address a behavior problem.”
The board voted unanimously to terminate the employment of driver Al Curry, also the Stark County Board Chairman, and aide Kathy Webster.
Governor JB Pritzker on Thursday issued a new state disaster proclamation, adding Henry and Knox Counties to the areas directly impacted by the extensive flooding along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and its tributaries.
A Kewanee man was sentenced on Thursday to prison for felony home invasion and possession of less than five grams of methamphetamine.
Dallas R. Kuykendall, 24, was given six years in prison for Class X felony home invasion with a dangerous weapon, followed by three years of mandatory supervised release, court costs and fees. He was given a concurrent term of one year in prison on the meth charge, and 364 days in jail for misdemeanor criminal trespass to a residence.
A man was rushed to a Peoria hospital Monday morning after he reportedly was shot at a residence at 102 N. Vine Street in Kewanee.
A Kewanee man has been arrested and charged with Class X felony home invasion in connection to a shooting incident that occurred Monday at 102 N. Vine St. in Kewanee.
Sierra Brown, of Cambridge, becames the 60th Miss Henry County Fair Queen.
An informal reunion of the senior members of the Kewanee Black Knights Drum and Bugle Corps took place at the American Legion.

July

Secret Service Officer Technician Lauren Gunawan, a Neponset native, is one of the newest, and first female officers assigned to the elite, 14-member Motorcycle Support Unit which leads presidential motorcades through traffic in Washington, D.C.
The new Kewanee NAPA auto parts store had a “soft” opening Monday, which followed months of construction work at the former Tool Time Building, 221 S. Main St.
A former LaFayette couple pleaded guilty last week to charges that they allowed a profoundly disabled 22-year-old woman in their care to starve and neglected the care of an 18-year-old who was also mentally disabled.
Barbara Simoneaux, 47, and Dean Simoneaux, 62, now of Galva, pleaded in Stark County Circuit Court to counts of criminal neglect of dis- abled people as part of a deal with prosecutors that saw four other felonies and two misdemeanors dismissed.
The Star Courier features the Kewanee High School farm.
Jeffry Hawes, with 12 years on the faculty of the college’s vaunted agriculture department, was named executive dean of the Black Hawk College-East Campus.
Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore Wednesday declared the ambulance contract with Neponset valid and in full effect, pending a legal review by the city’s legal counsel.
Moore spent the day poring through council minutes and reviewing recordings of the meeting in response to a challenge of the validity of the contract leveled by Councilman Mike Yaklich at Monday’s meeting.The city attorney later affirmed the contract was valid.
The Prairie Chicken Chalk Art Festival kicks off.
The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat watch from Wednesday afternoon through Saturday evening for Henry County and much of the Midwest.
Temperatures are expected to hit the high 90s and heat index values going up to 110 degrees, with dewpoints in the low to mid-70s.
The Star Courier features KPD Chief Troy Ainley, who depending upon the support of loved ones to undergo a kidney transplant.
Kewanee’s Colton Mosleyis one of the top high school trap shooters in the country after placing 10th over- all out of nearly 1,700 competitors in the USA High School Clay Target League National Championships.
More than $1.7 million in damages have been claimed from Henry County flooding in 2019.
Councilman Chris Colomer blames Bock company for improperly managing the city’s sludge buildup issue.
A 16-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with a string of residential burglaries in the northwest and northeast areas of Kewanee over the past few weeks, police said.
Amtrak workers Wednesday afternoon stopped traffic at Railroad Avenue just east of the East Street viaduct to unload equipment to remove a locomotive engine left stalled there since Monday.
The shelter house at Windmont Park catches fire, causing severe damage to the structure and threatening the annual Christmas lighting event.
The Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Club has announced that Wanda VanUnnik, along with her family, have been selected as the 2019 Hog Days Parade Marshals.

August

Local schools learn that a new Behind the Meter solar project will not be completed as quickly as hoped.
The Wethersfield Academic Hall of Fame will induct five alumni and one retired staff member this year. The ceremony and banquet will be held Saturday, Sept. 28, at The Kewanee Dunes.
Alumni to be inducted include Courtney Blake Hatchel, Dr. Scott Bialobreski, LTC Joan Hollein Sommers, Kevin Martin and Steve Looney.
Retired teacher Roger Johnston will also be inducted.
Tobi Matter of Woodhull won the 2019 Miss World Festival Pageant. Jr. Miss was Clara Kuelper of Rio. Little Miss was Evangeline Kuster and Mini Miss was Shae Robertson of Geneseo.
Roughly 400 workers will be needed to conduct the 2020 census for the Henry County area, according to U.S. Census assistant regional manager Jeanine Duson.
She said the area is in need of workers of all kinds to fill the positions that are required to get an accurate and complete census count.
The Old Franklin School is being sold at auction.
The Star Courier features Steve and Barbara Love, who rebuilt their lives together after Steve suffered a brain injury from a car accident.
Kewanee police make several methamphetamine arrests.
U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos unveils a Rural Green Partnership initiative that pairs up green jobs with Midwest agriculture states.
A mosquito carrying West Nile virus is found in Henry County.
Bureau County Sheriff announces the arrest of four people in Neponset who are charged with burglary and arson. Three were lated indicted.
Galva’s Back Road Music Festival starts.
It is announced that the annual Boss Glove sale is back and that it will have more merchandise than in past years.
Michelle Miller, who has earned the nickname “Farm Babe” from the 105,000 followers on her popular blog, is the speaker at the Black Hawk East Farmer Appreciation Dinner.
The Henry County Health Department begins proceedings to have the abandoned well at the former Kewanee Boiler Co. site properly sealed. The well is still unsealed.
Area pet owners worry about algae bloom warnings sent out by the IEPA.
The Star Courier gets local school leader reactions to a new law requiring LGBTQ information to be taught in the classroom. Leaders say they are waiting for guidance from the state for how the subject will be approached.
A leak is discovered at the Oasis Aquatic Center, prompting officials to close the pool season earlier than normal. The pool is expected to be re-sealed this year.
The Atkinson Fire Protection District celebrates its 75th year.
Rep. Dan Swanson is on hand to dedicate the newly renovated Ryan’s Round Barn.
The Kewanee Park District announces it likely will make cuts to cover the extra expenses incurred by the new minimum wage law.
Dozens of cats are taken from a Kewanee home.
The Star Courier features the Kewanee Fire Department’s many training requirements.
Wethersfield Schools hires its first resource officer, Kewanee Police officer Tim Pence.
Black Hawk East College dedicates its new equine facility.
The Star Courier features Anne Murchison and her 53 years as Hog Days volunteer.
A 281-pound crossbred barrow, shown by 10-year-old Vivienne Rash, of Kewanee, wins the title of King Hog.

September

Initial numbers show sales up for Hog Days vendors.
In a span of five days, the Kewanee Police Department handled three separate incidents involving the seizure of unlawfully possessed firearms. During these three events, four individuals were arrested for various offenses.
Gold Star FS constructs a new 8-story grain elevator midway between Kewanee and Cambridge.
The Henry County Mental Health Alliance starts a Coffee Talk initiative in the leadup to its October Mental Health Walk.
The Kewanee Police Department, along with local banks, are warning area debit card users to be vigilant following a rash of fraudulent purchases made in the last month.
The city of Kewanee could save up to $1 million over the next 15 years if a plan to convert several city buildings to solar power comes to fruition, said new Mayor Gary Moore.
A grant is used to create a butterfly garden at Wethersfield Elementary School.
Supt. Chris Sullens declared the district one of the “winners” over the first three years of the state’s new Evidence Based Funding formula.
Under it, Dist. 229 received an additional $1.2 million in 2018, $950,000 this year and expects an extra $830,000 in the com- ing school.
The League of Women Voters of the Kewanee area, along with the Kewanee Public Library, hosted an informational meeting at the library Tuesday night about the importance of getting counted in the 2020 U.S. Census.
The Henry County Humane Society has provided the Kewanee Fire Department with equipment designed to help save the lives of the area’s furry friends.
The four pet oxygen kits were purchased by the HCHS following the death of a dog in a Lake Street house fire last week.
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Kewanee will rededicate its chancel, marking the completion of a multi-year renovation project.
Delivery of the Star Courier is momentarily affected after contracted drivers quit.
A park district supervisor has accused Kewanee Park District Board of Commissioners President Jim Powell of exhibiting abusive behavior toward employees.
The accusations were leveled by park district employee Kayla Garms, a supervisor and cook at the district’s 19th Hole restaurant at the Baker Park Golf Course.
Hammond Henry Hospital officials announced the conversion of its clinic in Kewanee to an urgent care facility that includes walk-in patient access and imaging.
A man arrested during a traffic stop Saturday for not using his signal had an ounce of methamphetamine and nearly $9,000 in cash in his possession.
City staff Monday asked the council for guidance in adopting rules pertaining to outdoor-based wood boilers.
Director of Community Development Keither Edwards said the boilers had grown in popularity in recent years, though mostly in more rural areas of the county.
City Attorney Justin Raver says the city can turn off its public broadcast of city council meetings to accommodate specific speakers, but it cannot prevent the media or the public from recording a public meeting.
That opinion goes against assertions being made by Councilman Mike Yaklich, who at the last two council meetings has asked for ways around the Open Meetings Act to allow a direct conversation between councilmen and a Bock Inc. representative, the company the city contracts with to manage the wastewater and water treatment plants.
Volunteers start putting together the Bakersville Halloween event.

 October

Dr. Rick Cernovich and Jim Hornback were named this year’s Honorary Boilermakers during last week’s Kewanee High School Homecoming Week activities.
The Star Courier features local funeral homes and how they handle unclaimed ashes.
The Star Courier features Marshall and Berdine Martin, Purdue professors who also spend time teaching at Black Hawk College East.
South Street Center, which houses the Senior Center and community events, starts a renovation project that includes repaving the parking lot.
More than 500 area junior high students gath-ered in the Wethersfield School gym for a one-day workshop on bullying presented by the Henry County Mental Health Alliance.
The first weekend of Bakersville is canceled due to rain and is rescheduled.
A Las Vegas businessman hopes to save the century-old Franklin School building from the wrecking ball. But James “Cleen Rock One” Steinke says restoring the school building will be a monumental — and extensive task.
Steinke, who owns three tattoo businesses in Las Vegas (including one on the Strip), acquired the Franklin School property a few weeks ago. He hopes to develop the building into some sort of business location. He’s also looking into turning part of the old school into an apartment.
The committee that coordinates the annual holiday lighting at Windmont Park announced that it would be putting out a much smaller lighting display this time around.
Bob Neirynck, co-founder for the Windmont lighting, said the shelter house fire this summer has held things up, making it difficult for the lighting volunteers and committee to sort through the equipment. The committee would later decide to pull off a full lighting of the park.
The Star Courier begins a series on area fruit orchards and farm stands.
A Kewanee manufacturer is partnering with a leading maker of air-conditioning products to create a safer environment for industrial workers by using safety mats.
In its Burlington Avenue plant, ATEK Corp. makes press brakes, which are machines that bend metal into shapes needed for assembly.
The Illinois Army National Guard received notification that approximately 335 Soldiers from the 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry Regiment, headquartered in Kewanee, will deploy to Africa for missions in Tunisia, Cameroon and Djibouti, in the summer of 2020.
The Wethersfield School Board recently received its 2019 state report card and was happy with the “grade” of “commendable” the district received under the new ESSA, or Every Student Succeeds Act.
After more than half a century of keeping Kewaneeans’ cars on the road, John Johnson has retired from the auto repair business. Johnson has turned over the Pearson Auto Service business to Phil Slusser Jr.
A woman was found dead over the weekend in a Henry County Jail cell, according to authorities. Teresa Marolf, 61, of Geneseo was found unresponsive about noon Saturday in a solitary hold- ing cell at the jail in Cambridge, according to a news release from the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.

 November

The Star Courier reports that a local undercount in the census could risk $1 million in state and federal funding.
During a routine check of terminal equipment on Wednesday, a Save-A-Lot employee discovered a skimmer attached to the equipment’s pin pad.
Everett Whitcher, Save-A-Lot owner, said the Kewanee Police Department was immediately called. “I am confident that we caught it within hours of it being put on there,” he said.
Officials from Black Hawk College and National Louis University in Chicago recently signed an agreement for four online bachelor’s degree path- ways for BHC early childhood education students.
A Trump Administration ruling could solve a problem Kewanee has with getting rid of the stuff that reverse osmosis removes from the city’s drinking water.
A few dozen residents attend the city forum on allowing a recreational cannabis store in Kewanee.
The city starts repairs at the East Street viaduct.
Mark Mikenas, executive Director of the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce, said he plans to start up a Queen of Hearts raffle in a few weeks, but doubts that the grand prize will reach any- thing near the record sums in other small towns.
Black Hawk College will host its first-ever IHSA Hunt Seat Equestrian Show at the college’s East Campus near Kewanee.
More than 60 residents battled the cold, snowy weather to recognize those who have served in the military at the annual Veteran’s Day Service at the American Legion Monday. Students, faculty, veterans and guests filled Moss Gym for the Wethersfield School District’s annual Veterans Day program.
A new billiards parlor will be able to open in downtown Kewanee, following City Council action Tuesday to update an old ordinance regulating such businesses.
Mark Burbank Is opening a nine-table pool center at 224 W. Second St.
The KHS Color Guard wins three of the four competitions the band entered in 2019.
The city council considers adding regulations for home-based wood boilers.
Former members of the Kewanee Ballhawks met at Cerno’s Bar and Grill Wednesday to reminisce about their glory days. The reunion also allowed the mural artists a glimpse into the lives of one of the most elite softball teams in Illinois history.
Christmas came early this year for the Henry County Humane Society when a local memorial fundraiser group bestowed the organization with $10,000.
The loudest ovation at Saturday’s Annawan-Wethersfield playoff game came before the game started.
Fans of both the Titans and the Morrison Mustangs cheered as Adam Cernovich flew his Coast Guard helicopter over the stadium just as the last note of the national anthem faded away.
The flyover came as Cernovich, a lieutenant commander in the Coast Guard and a Kewanee native, stopped in Kewanee over the weekend during a coast-to-coast flight of his chopper.
The recent legalization of marijuana in Illinois and the national attention given to painkiller addiction have drawn the focus away from the real problem drug in parts of the state and in Henry County – methamphetamine. In Henry County, the Star Courier reported, the drug once thought to be trending out of fashion has again surged in popularity.
Applications are being accepted for the sixth Fast Pitch competition for residents and business owners in Henry, Stark, Mercer, Warren, Henderson and Knox counties.
The Star Courier reported on Kewanee Dist. 229’s efforts to navigate the state’s teacher shortage.
Extra revenue from an expected jump in this year’s tax base will be eaten up by rising expenses elsewhere, said Dist. 229 Superintendent Christopher Sullens.
The full local impact of the sale of one of Boss Manufacturing Company’s divisions this week isn’t yet known, though company officials have confirmed its Kewanee headquarters will continue its 126-year run here.
As the Annawan-Wethersfield Titans racked up victories on the gridiron this fall, the Wethersfield FFA’s trap and archery teams were also having one of their most successful seasons ever – taking six first place titles, one second, one third and one fifth place in five competitions between Sept. 7 and Nov. 9.

 December

The Star Courier features Central teacher Marc Nelson and his ongoing efforts to use his art to teach students about social justice around the world.
Dave Clarke tracks down the Kewanee Kid.
After receiving overall good marks on the state report card, lower-than-expected math scores is cause for concern and a renewed focus.
The Kewanee Police Department has finished a month-long effort to ensure sexual offenders are where they say they are.
The KPD, which in November teamed up with officers from Geneseo, Colona, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, the Illinois State Police and the U.S. Marshall Service, conducted a sweep of sex offenders’ addresses throughout Henry County. Two arrests were made during the check of dozens of area addresses.
After lower-than-expected scores, Dist. 229 say state report card results are misleading and don’t include important school success indicators.
The city is told it could save up to $1 million over the next 25 years by installing a new solar system on some city buildings.
The city council sponsors a second forum on allowing a recreational cannabis store in Kewanee.
Peoples National Bank will have a backup generator in the city parking lot behind its Tremont Street building, after City Council approval Monday of an easement for the project.
The Kewanee Park District voted to raise user fees on many of the park district’s programs and services at the monthly board meeting Thursday.
Local businessmen Scott Packee and Tony Segura have secured a state license for a cannabis sales business, and they want to operate it in Kewanee. The two said at the city’s second community forum on the issue that all they’re waiting for is a city ordinance allowing such a business.
Despite promises of added tax revenue, Dist. 229’s school board Monday instructed its superintendent to send a letter to city officials lodging their concerns and opposition over the possibility of a Kewanee dispensary.
The head of the Kewanee teacher’s union called out school leaders this week for the more than $20,000 the district spent to attend the recent Illinois Association of School Boards’s joint annual conference in November. Board members defended the annual trip as providing the district valuable information.
A Kewanee man on a snowmobile was arrested at 10 p.m. Tuesday for taking a county deputy on a chase that started at Columbus Avenue and Helmer Street after the deputy saw him riding on a city street.
A presentation by the Housing Authority of Henry County says legal cannabis will now be allowed at Fairview Homes or other properties the authority operates.
The city passes an ordinance allowing recreational cannabis to be sold in Kewanee.
The Central Steamer Gym was bustling with activity last week as over 80 volunteers, mostly school students representing various clubs and sports, got to work build- ing the boxes for the Good Fellow’s Christmas baskets, an annual charity event in Kewanee since the late 1950’s.
The pine tree on the “S” curve at the north end of Tenney Street is apparently dying and was not outfitted with Christmas lights this year.
The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation has named Galva as one of 20 small to mid-sized towns and cities across America to win a Levitt AMP Grant Award of $25,000 in matching funds to present a free concert series at Wiley Park.
Wethersfield High School’s ag mechanization class begins work on a donated Model T.
Mikenas opened his annual report to the council with the news that in the third quarter of this year retail sales in Kewanee were up 1.3 percent over last year.
The Star Courier features how the new recreational cannabis law will effect local businesses.
Source: https://www.starcourier.com/news/20200125/year-in-review

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