Congressman to visit Orion

Mindy Carls

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, who represents Orion, will make his first trip here on Saturday, July 26, Village President Jim Cooper announced at the village board meeting on Monday, July 7.

Foster meet with village and Main Street Orion officials at 9:30 a.m., according to Cooper.

From 10 to 11 a.m., he will meet the public at Orion IGA.

Foster’s office asked what issues concerned village officials, and Cooper mentioned the 13th Avenue railroad bridge, which has been closed more than a year.

The village president also told Foster’s office about problems finding funds for unexpected expenses, such as repairing lights at Love Park.

Cooper asked if life-safety money might be available now, short-circuiting the years-long process of applying for grants.

Electrical problem

The lights at the ball diamonds and tennis courts in Love Park had to be shut off when someone was shocked, Trustee Mike Dunne said. He is chairman of the recreation committee.

Improper grounding appeared to cause the shock, the trustee said.

Denny Cooper, Ace Larkins and Dick Stiles Sr. volunteered to help fix the problem, but even with the donation of their labor the cost of repairs still will be substantial, Dunne said.

At the very least, a ground wire will have to run up a pole, Dunne said. Because additional work may be needed, he did not want to estimate the cost.

The village will turn the lights back on when it is safe to do so, the trustee said.

New convenience store

Workers are pouring concrete and putting bricks on the facade at Casey’s General Store, Cooper said.

The store should open by mid-August at the latest, he said.

Lots of rumors about restaurants inside Casey’s are floating around, but no one is saying what the truth is, Cooper said.

Casey’s will sell diesel fuel, the village president said.

Ground storage tank

The village’s new ground storage tank is in place, Trustee Mel Drucker said. He is chairman of the water committee.

An aerator was to be delivered and installed on Tuesday, July 8, he said.

Filling the tank was to begin later Tuesday, and water samples were to be sent Wednesday, July 9, or Thursday, July 10, to a lab in Peoria for testing, Drucker said.

As soon as satisfactory test results were obtained, the tank would be put in service, he said.

That would be something to celebrate with fireworks, the trustee said.

Water Superintendent Arnie Sandberg did a good job overseeing the water tank project, Drucker said.

The board voted to pay Putnam County Painting $7,640 for painting the outside of the tank, painting an intermediate coat between the prime and final coats inside the tank, and painting the aerator and shipping it to Orion.

Loose dogs

According to the leash law, dogs are to be tied up or confined at all times, Trustee Jamie Lawson said. He is chairman of the police committee.

A German shepherd bit the village’s animal control officer, Patti Hardi, at the corner of 11th Avenue and Eighth Street, Lawson said.

In the 100 block of Third Street, a couple of dogs were chasing children, he said. No bites were reported.

Cooper asked about the status of dogs in the village kennel on Fourth Street. He said they look like wonderful dogs.

The village had given Hardi a deadline for moving the dogs out of the kennel, he said. When she asked for more time to find homes for them, the village agreed.

They have been in the kennel 2 1/2 months, Cooper said. If Henry County picks them up, they will be euthanized at the end of seven days.

Hardi is paying for their feed herself, Village Clerk Lori Sampson said.

Drucker said he has no problem with having the dogs in the kennel as long as it does not cost the village anything, and as long as the dogs are not disturbing the neighbors.

Cooper said he would ask Hardi to work harder to find new homes for the dogs.

Weight limit

An Orion police officer pulled over a truck loaded with dirt on the Seventh Street railroad bridge, which is in Western Township, Lawson said. Burlington Northern Santa Fe owns the bridge.

The officer thought the truck exceeded the posted weight limits, Lawson said. Twenty tons is the limit for a single axle truck and 26 tons for a three-axle truck and trailer.

But the sign did not have a limit for the tandem-axle truck the officer pulled over, the trustee said.

The driver told the officer his truck weighed between 22 1/2 tons and 24 tons, Lawson said.

No ticket was issued, but now that there is a question about whether the 20-ton or 26-ton limit applies, the trucker has been going through Orion to avoid the bridge, the trustee said.

If the trucker has been using the bridge for years, why is it an issue now? asked Trustee Robert “Deano” O’Leary.

Lawson said the officer spoke to Steve Brandau, the head of Henry County’s highway department.

Brandau told him that even if the trucker had permission to use the bridge, it’s still not legal.

Cooper suggested asked the Illinois Department of Trans ?portation, which set the limits and posted them, to determine which weight limit applies for tandem-axle trucks.

In other business

• The Henry County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a break-in at the Orion Little League’s concession stand in Love Park, Lawson said.

• Mary Wigant weeded the perennial garden in the southwest corner of Love Park and brought in her own perennials, Dunne said. She also planted annuals in the pots at the picnic shelter.

• Street Superintendent Neil Dahl is doing the preliminary work for summer street projects, including 16th Street near Love Park and 13th Street between 10th and 11th avenues, Trustee Karl Kane said.