Hickerson joins Orion board

Mindy Carls
Jim Hickerson, right, was installed as the newest member of the Orion village board on Monday night, Aug. 16. He joins Steve Newman, left, and Mike Dunlap, center, as a trustee. Also on the board are Village President Jim Cooper and trustees Bob Mitton, Neal Nelson and Mel Drucker.

The Orion village board is back at full strength.

Jim Hickerson took the oath of office as a trustee during the board meeting on Monday, Aug. 16. He replaces Ryan Hancock, who moved outside the village limits.

Also attending the meeting was one of Orion’s newest employees, office assistant Erin Lange. She observed village clerk Lori Sampson.

The board approved Trustee Neal Nelson’s proposal to pay $3,900 to Hutchison Engineering for a study of building a sidewalk along 15th Avenue from Fifth Street to Eighth Street near the soccer fields behind the bus barns. Construction funds would come from a Safe Route to School grant.

Nelson said the village engineer, Shane Larson, recommends the village apply for a $250,000 grant to build more sidewalks. The village would spend $80,000, as well as $40,000 for engineering fees.

The trustee to meet on Wednesday, Aug. 18. The grant application is due Sept. 30.

Nelson announced Seventh Street has been paved but would remain closed until the asphalt cooled. He asked police to write tickets to drivers who speed on the newly renovated surface.

Six new decorative street lights have been installed on Fourth Street along village hall and the west side of Central Park, Nelson said.

New flashing signs to caution drivers to watch for students were used for the first time on Monday, the first day of school, he said. The OMS signs worked as programmed, but the C.R. Hanna signs did not. Signs are programmed to flash on school days, including half days and early out days, but not on holidays or in summer.

In other business

• Orion resident Jenny Eckhardt presented more information about a dog park and splash pad she would like to see in Love Park, which she said had room in the northeast corner for both. Board members would like to know how much community support there is.

• Steve Newman, the trustee in charge of police, said the car stolen in Orion earlier this summer has been found. Twelve- to 14-year-olds are suspected of using it during a crime spree that included a drive-by shooting.

Newman said residents need to lock their cars, garages and doors.

• Trustee Mel Drucker said Miller Excavating & Trucking will bring a full crew to Orion after Labor Day to begin the three-week water main replacement project.

• Village President Jim Cooper expressed disapproval of the release from federal prison of former Dixon city comptroller Rita Crundwell after serving only eight years of her 19-year sentence for stealing almost $54 million.

• Landscape waste disposal dates for the fall are 8 to 10 a.m. Saturdays, Sept. 18; Oct. 2, 16 and 30, and Nov. 13, as well as 1 to 3 p.m. Mondays, Sept. 20; Oct. 4 and 18, and Nov. 1 and 15. Orion residents may bring landscape waste, except grass, to the disposal site on Fourth Street across from the sewage plant.