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Veteran’s Park Dedication Ceremony

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Brad Burgone stands by the sign he donated to Build Benld. The new sign was recently installed in front of the tank next to the Veteran's Memorial in downtown Benld.

 

Benld Mayor Jeff Hendricks and Build Benld Committee are holding a dedication ceremony for the new Veterans’ Memorial Park sign to be held on Saturday, January 21, 2012, at 11am in the Veterans’ Park in Benld.     

Public invited and refreshments will be served after ceremony.

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Progressive Club to celebrate 90th anniversary

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Benld Entreprise

The Wilsonville Progressive Club will celebrate and host a 90 year Anniversary Party on Saturday, May 11. The party will include a catered dinner, a live band, and fireworks.

Doors will open at 2 pm with a catered dinner being served at 4 pm.  The Shane Kessinger Experience (live band) will play at 5 pm, and a grand fireworks display will be held at dusk.

The Progressive Club was originally established in 1934 by the Progressive Miners and was located on the northwest side of Wilsonville’s main street. The Club moved to their new building in January of 1949 and today this is still the current location at 212 Wilson Street in Wilsonville.

Wilsonville was founded in 1917 when Superior Coal Co. Mine No. 4 was sunk and this was the most modern mine in the Superior field. At that time, the little settlement which grew up around the mine was called Wilson. One day a worker paused and asked, “What are we going to name this town?” President Wilson was in office, thus the town was then and there named Wilson until 1919 when it was incorporated and the name expanded to Wilsonville.

The Wilsonville Progressive Club is operated and maintained by an elected panel of trustees and loyal members.  The Club is open to the public and membership is always welcome.  The large outdoor covered pavilion and manicured grassy side lot offer an attractive and convenient venue for any event along with inside facilities. 

If you are interested in renting for any kind of event, call 217-835-3122 during open hours which are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 4 pm to close, and Sunday doors open at 2 pm.  Every Sunday afternoon at 4 pm is the Queen of Hearts drawing and the Club is on Facebook as well.

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Benld Council approves ordinance to require demolition permits

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Benld resident Frank Meredith appeared before the council to ask if anything could be done about parking in front of his home and littering.

Benld’s City Council on Monday night voted unanimously to adopt a new ordinance requiring the owners of properties within the city limits to obtain a $250 demolition permit before starting demolition or dismantling of structures.

In addition to the permit fee, permit holders will be required to post a $1,000 bond, which will be refunded upon proper completion of the demolition project, removal of debris and proper clean-up with no claims of property damage or injuries against the city. The city also may retain the bond if the project is not completed within a specified period of time. Permit holders will be required to submit photographs to document installation of proper fencing, and a city official must sign off on debris removal before final cover is installed.

The new ordinance appears to have been prompted in part by issues surrounding the demolition of a one-story brick structure directly across the street from city hall at 208 East Central Avenue, which remains a target of a public nuisance action. Attorney Jono Verticchio, who attended the meeting in the absence of City Attorney Rick Verticchio, said the property owners have been given 30 days to completely clean up the site.

“If it’s not done in 30 days we will get a court order to clean it up ourselves and put a lien on the property,” Verticchio said. That action could lead to the city taking possession of the property at some later date.

Ald. Jerry Saracco noted the building’s foundation is sound and wondered if it could be salvaged. Verticchio advised that if the city takes possession of the parcel, it could opt to leave the foundation in place.

Last month, the council directed the City Attorney to draft the demolition permit ordinance after noting issues with work being done at that time across the street. Aldermen complained that workers were doing demolition work after dark and had provided no fencing or barrier to protect passers-by. A partially demolished wall had collapsed during heavy wind, prompting the city to send in work crews to knock down the remaining structure as a safety precaution.

Following a 15-minute executive session with Verticchio to discuss pending legal actions regarding nuisance properties, the council voted to declare 703 North Main Street, 206 West Hickory Street, and 106 North Fourth Street as public nuisances. The action authorizes the city to give property owners 30 days to abate the nuisance, after which the city could pursue legal action if the properties are not properly cleaned up.

Verticchio reported a hearing has been set for a nuisance action against 615 South Eighth Street, and asked for updated photos and witnesses to present to the court. Aldermen reported the property owner has made progress toward cleaning up the property but is unlikely to complete the clean-up before the hearing.

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A public nuisance action against property at 407 North Fourth Street is progressing, although Verticchio said a Macoupin County Circuit Judge ordered the city to restore water service to the residence, ruling the water issue was unrelated to the nuisance complaint.

HOUSING INSPECTION AMENDMENT

Also on Monday night, the council voted to amend the city’s housing inspection ordinance to give the city authority to shutoff water service to rental properties whose owners fail to comply with housing inspection requirements. The ordinance also is amended to increase the cost of inspections from $ 75 to $100.

The ordinance basically requires landlords to have their premises inspected whenever a previous tenant moves out and before a new tenant moves in. The inspection, conducted by the city housing inspector, is designed to insure the properties meeting building codes and are safe for human habitation.

Doug Ratterman of HMG Engineers appeared before the council to report results of a street maitenance bid opening held last week.

Failure to comply can result in a $150 fine for a first offense, and a $300 fine for a second offense. For a third or subsequent offense, the fine increases to $500 to $1,000. In addition to the fines, the amended ordinance authorizes the city to shut off water service to the residence upon giving the landlord and tenant five days notice.

MOTOR FUEL TAX BID

On a motion by Ald. John Balzraine, seconded by Ald. Mickey Robinson, the council voted unanimously to accept of bid from Illiana Construction Co., Urbana, to supply bituminous materials for street maintenance. Illiana was the lower of two bidders, and agreed to supply 12,035 gallons of material at a cost of $3.17 per gallon for a total cost of $39,150.95 to be paid with motor fuel tax funds.

Doug Ratterman of HMG Engineers appeared before the council to report results of a bid opening held last week.

NEW MOWER

On a motion by Ald. Balzraine, the council voted unanimously to purchase a new X-Mark mower at a cost of $10,900 from Sievers Equipment, Carlinville. Mayor Jim Kelly said the new mower was the least expensive option available to the city.

The new mower will replace a piece of equipment the city has used for the past 22 years.

RENTAL AGREEMENT ADDENDUM

Council members voted unanimously to add an addendum to an agreement to rent city facilities to penalize renters who inappropriately fail to buy dram shop insurance for their event. The addendum is a response to renters who have apparently had alcohol at their event without buying dram shop insurance through the city. Under the new provision, event organizers who fail to buy dram shop insurance when such insurance is needed will lose their deposit.

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The addendum applies to renters to engage facilities such as the city park or civic center.

SURPLUS PROPERTIES

On a motion by Ald. Mickey Robinson, seconded by Ald. Dustin Fletcher, the council declared a 2010 Ford Crown Victoria, a six-inch water pump and a brush trimmer as surplus property and agreed to advertise the items for sale via sealed bids.

HEAD START TRAFFIC ISSUES

Ald. Norm Emmons reported he is continuing to seek solutions to traffic hazards at the Head Start School on Central Avenue. Emmons said the highway in front of the school is heavily traveled during times when parents are bringing young children to the facility in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon.,

Emmons thanked the Police Department for increasing police presence during critical times but he said more needs to be done. “We need to do something,” he said.

Ross Adden, a County Board member from Mount Olive who attended the meeting as an observer, recommended the city contact the County Clerk’s office about the availability of grant money for signage such as signs with flashing lights to alert motorists.

Adden also asked about details of the city’s ordinance governing the use of UTVs in the city limits, particularly the cost of permits. City Clerk Terri Koyne told him the city charges $100 per year for a permit and requires UTVs to be street legal.

Adden said the County Board is considering a county-wide ordinance and he wanted to collect information from individual municipalities.

“I told them (the board), ‘Let’s see what everyone else is doing first’,” he said.

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RESIDENT COMPLAINT

Benld resident Frank Meredith appeared before the council to ask if anything could be done about parking in front of his home and littering apparently associated with his home’s proximity to a bar. Meredith said he and his wife bought a home located diagonally across the highway from the Cabin bar and restaurant.

Meredith said patrons of the bar park along the road in front of his house and he has to deal with a large volume of litter, including a discarded Axe body deodorant can. He said he was concerned that someone might spray his dog in the face with the substance.

Mayor Kelly said the city probably could not address the parking issue since business patrons are allowed to park along the street, even though there is a vacant property nearby. “It’s the society we live in unfortunately,” Kelly said regarding the litter. “People have no pride and we can’t legislate that.”

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Local author publishes new book

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“Nothing Ever Happens Here and Other Stories.” an anthology of short stories by Dave Ambrose, Carlinville, is now available for purchase on Amazon.com.

The 388-page book contains 28 short fiction stories in the vein of the old Twilight Zone television series.

“These stories are neither science fiction nor horror, though they drawn on elements of both genres,” Ambrose said. “The stories go several steps further with memorable characters, suspense, flashes of humor and even religious allegory. Part nightmare and part fantasy, the stories focus on ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances.”

Ambrose said he will announce book signing events in Macoupin and neighboring counties in the near future.

“I’m really looking forward to hearing readers’ reactions as the book gets into more people’s hands.”

The book currently is available on Amazon.com.

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