Free Gardening Series at the Library
Meant for the novice, this gardening series will introduce you to basics in flower and vegetable gardening. All classes are held at the Warren County Public Library.
Saturday, May 20, at 2 p.m
Getting Down and Dirty: Maintain your garden. Learn about general care and when to harvest. Bring plants to swap and trade.
Saturday, September 16, at 2 p.m
Planning for Next Year: Share successes. Discuss fall work, and start dreaming about next year.
Classes are taught by Bill Wallace, a Master Gardener.
Ancestry.com Now Available at the Library
The Warren County Public Library and the Warren County Genealogical Society now offer Ancestry.com: Library Edition. Start searching billions of records and discover your family's story. Access is available only in the library, so stop by today!
Free Smoke Alarms Available
The American Red Cross and the Monmouth Fire Department are working together to ensure that every home in Monmouth has working smoke alarms.
Residents may request a smoke alarm installation appointment at getasmokealarm.org or text the word "Alarm" to (844) 811-0100; or call (844) 319-6560 and press 9. There is no charge for the smoke alarms or the installation.
The Red Cross urges residents whose homes do not have smoke alarms, or if the current smoke alarms were installed more than five years ago, to make an appointment. Residents who are unable to check their smoke alarm batteries are also encouraged to make an appointment.
“Smoke alarms cut the risk of death from a fire in half," said Amber Wood, Executive Director for the American Red Cross, serving the Quad Cities and West Central Illinois. “Working in partnership with local fire departments, we can help protect your family by installing smoke alarms and teaching your children what to do if they hear it."
Seven times a day someone in our country dies in a fire. The Red Cross has been working to reduce that number through its Home Fire Campaign, a nationwide, multi-year effort to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries. Launched in October of 2014, the Red Cross and thousands of campaign partners have helped save numerous lives through the effort, and the campaign is on track to install the one-millionth free smoke alarm sometime in October 2017.
Simple Steps to Save Lives
Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out. The Red Cross is calling on everyone to take two simple steps that can save lives: create and practice their home fire escape plan and check their smoke alarms. Other safety steps include:
- If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Local building codes vary and there may be additional requirements depending on where someone lives.
- If someone does have alarms, test them today. If they don’t work, replace them.
- Make sure that everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
- Practice that plan.
Red Cross Apps
You can download the all-inclusive Red Cross Emergency app which combines more than 35 emergency alerts to help keep users safe. And there is a special mobile app called Monster Guard that is designed for kids; it teaches them to prepare for emergencies at home by playing an engaging game. Users can find the apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
What You Can Do
- Visit redcross.org/homefires to find out more about how to protect yourself and loved ones from fire.
- Help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to disaster relief are used to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small.
New Weather Station at Monmouth Airport
The Monmouth Airport received a new weather station package that broadcasts local weather conditions to the public. The conditions include wind speed, wind direction, temperature, barometric pressure and humidity. The data is broadcast to the free Weather Underground website and is listed under the "Monmouth Airport" station.
Weather Underground has free smartphone apps for both iPhone and Android. The apps have helpful severe weather alerts as well as radar from our regional center in Davenport, Iowa.
Website Development Internship Program
Recognizing the importance of professional websites for local businesses and nonprofits, the City of Monmouth initiated a website development program a few years ago. This program pairs a Monmouth College intern with a local business in need of a new or upgraded website.
Interns usually work at City Hall for ten hours per week during the semester, and they meet with their clients multiple times, from simple fact-finding to hands-on training.
The intern learns the basics of website design before meeting with their client to develop a plan to create a new website. Over the course of a semester, the intern designs, develops and deploys a professional-grade website. The intern also trains their client on how to maintain and update the new website.
“This is a really great program,” says Paul Schuytema, Director of Community and Economic Development and creator of the program. “We take some really bright young students, but not necessarily the ones who already know the development ropes. We train and mentor them on the world-class Joomla system and then help them give the best possible service to their clients. In the end, the client gets a professional website at a great savings. And the student gets some real world work for their portfolio. It’s a true win-win.”
“Of course,” admits Schuytema, “there is another bonus. This is also an economic development program. We know that site selectors and potential new businesses check out a community first on the web. If we can help our businesses and nonprofits show off professional websites, the entire community exudes a higher degree of trust and professionalism.”
Over the last few years, interns have completed several new or upgraded websites, including the Buchanan Center for the Arts, the Warren County Public Library, the Mellinger Foundation, Lake Warren, and the Monmouth chapter of PUSH. The latest upgrade of the City of Monmouth website was also done through the City’s intern program.
“We’re quite lucky to have someone like Paul here at City Hall,” says Mayor Rod Davies. “He’s directly saved the City tens of thousands of dollars on our City websites, and this program brings those savings, as well as real results, to our local businesses.”
The websites are built on the Joomla content management system - an open source system that currently powers over 30 million active websites. Intern-created websites are hosted on the City’s hosting service, and the participant companies are billed the actual costs, with no markup. (Website hosting is $5 per month and is billed annually.
The costs run from $45-$350 to directly develop the website; and at the high end, this includes professional custom logo development through DesignCrowd.com. (The logo development project is also managed by the intern.) If the client needs a domain name, it typically costs about $15 per year.
“Our Monmouth College intern, Erin Willhite [pictured below], was exceptional in working with us through each step of the process—from developing a new logo, picking a layout, configuring all the information including our application download, to training us,” says Jackie Watson, data administrator for the Mellinger Foundation. “Through Paul and Erin's expertise, we can now keep our website updated ourselves. This program has saved the Foundation thousands of dollars, allowing us to pursue our mission and grant more scholarships to students. It was an educational perfect match!”
Prior to coming on board with the City in 2011, Schuytema was a software developer (for both his own company and for the University of Illinois) and website developer. He worked in partnership with the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (through a USDA RBEG grant) to develop a technology called BasicSite that allowed Schuytema to develop and deploy dozens of professional websites for regional businesses, communities and nonprofits, including sites for Warren County, the City of Wyoming, the Wyoming Chamber of Commerce, Cerar’s, the Warren County YMCA, Metalcrafters, Turnbull Funeral Homes, the City of Nauvoo, and the City of Havana to name just a few.
College for Kids: June 12-23
Monmouth College’s popular student enrichment program, College for Kids, will return for its 37th year, June 12-23.
The annual program, which serves the needs of gifted and talented children in the area, is open to qualifying students who will be in fourth through ninth grades in the fall. Tuition is $160, and a limited number of scholarships are available. The registration deadline is April 25.
Each student takes three classes, choosing from such subjects as fine arts, languages, computers, math, business, literature, writing, communication, logic, science and social studies.
Classes begin at 9, 10 and 11 a.m., and students move on their own from classroom to classroom within the college’s Center for Science and Business. In lieu of final exams, the last day of class is reserved for project-ending activities and an open house for parents.
Included among nearly 50 class offerings are “I Survived the Titanic,” the “Star Wars”-themed “In a Galaxy Far, Far Away,” “Worms” and “The Neuroscience of Zombies.” Monmouth College biology professor James Godde will instruct the latter class, which is one of 16 new course offerings. The college will also be represented among CFK’s teachers by faculty members Germain Badang, Kevin Baldwin, Tom Best, Wendi Bolon, Marjorie Bond, Jo Eary, Theresa Nelson, Tim Stiles and Jordan Van Dyke, staff member Marcie Beintema, current student Emma Vanderpool and graduates Amy Gustaf Freitag ’07, Pam Bowman Ide ’89 and Rik Williams ’15.
The College for Kids program draws more than 400 children annually, challenging students with collegiate experiences that are different from a regular classroom, according to director Kathy Mainz.
“Instructors use teaching methods appropriate to a college classroom, including discussion, inquiry, laboratory and hands-on activities,” she said.
Mainz, who also serves as the college’s biology lab manager, has more than 25 years’ experience working with gifted/talented students, and has directed Monmouth’s College for Kids program since 2008.
— Barry McNamara, Monmouth College
Students at last year’s College For Kids at Monmouth College decorate their rockets prior to launch. “Rockets Away” is one of nearly 50 class offering at this year’s College For Kids, which is scheduled for June 12-23. The registration deadline is April 25.
Fire Department News
The Roseville Fire Department recently visited our dispatch center as part of an EMT training program that they have been hosting. The students were able to observe how an emergency call is handled in dispatch from start to finish. The dispatchers on duty were able to give them tips to improve communication response and what information they are able to relay, etc.
Kenny Helms, the director of information technology for the City of Monmouth, was on-site to show them the technology involved and discuss the future technology improvements for the center.
Almost all local EMT programs have sections on "communication technology," and we hope to use this and any future opportunity to streamline the dispatching process.
The Monmouth Fire Department received two new ice rescue suits and active shooter equipment—purchased with funds from the Illinois Public Risk Fund Grant Program. The IPRF Grant Program is designed to ease the burden of safety-related expenses. The grant covers training expenses, protective clothing, defibrillators, security cameras, rescue equipment and much more. Thanks to the grant, the MFD was able to purchase four EMS responder vests, eight tourniquets and bandages that will be used for active shooter responses to provide aid to victims.
The ice rescue suits are a huge upgrade to the old ones, which were at least 15 years old. Now they just need some ice to practice with them!
Coworking in Monmouth!
The City of Monmouth hosts coworking events at the Warren County Public Library on the second Thursday of the month. For people who have a home-based business or work remotely, coworking offers the opportunity to get out of the house and work in an upbeat environment with others. Sometimes a little noise is motivating! (And delicious Scots Roast coffee doesn't hurt.)
If you would like to join us for our next free event, please stop by the upstairs Community Room at the Library on Thursday, May 11, any time from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. There is WiFi, so you can work on your phone or laptop. You can do your regular work, of course, or get through your email, write a blog post, or update your social media sites.
The Story of Well 10
You may have noticed an odd piece of machinery on Jackson Avenue late last year (just behind Kunes Country Auto). That was the drilling rig for Monmouth’s latest deep well—Well 10.
Monmouth’s water has been coming from deep wells since the first one was drilled near the old fire station in 1925. Well 10 will be the sixth well that the City will have in current operation when it’s hooked up to the water plant on Harlem this summer.
Well 10 was drilled to a depth just over 2,500 feet, hitting the Cambrian Ordovician Aquifer System. Drilling down through that much bedrock took 8-10 weeks of continuous drilling.
So why did Monmouth need another well? Back in 2014, the City, in partnership with Woodard & Curran (the company that provides Monmouth’s Public Works services), performed a hydraulic modeling study to see how water flows through the City and where the current and future needs are.
There was both a current and a future need for more water on the north side of Monmouth. It was determined that drilling a new well was more cost-effective than bringing new water mains up from the wells on the south side of town. Also, a new well would give our water system more reliability and some much needed redundancy.
The well bore hole was drilled in decreasing diameters, starting at two feet wide, then down to 18 inches and finally 12 inches wide. The 24” and 18” wide shafts are cased in ductile iron piping to keep the bore hole open. The first 250 feet of the 12” section of the hole is cased in stainless steel.
The pump itself is a vertical turbine pump. The motor sits in a well house on the surface with a drive shaft that goes down 500 feet to the actual pump. The top of the pump is threaded and is connected directly to a stainless steel column pipe that takes the water to the surface.
When the drilling was completed, the well was flow tested. A test pump was installed, and the well was set to pump 1,500 gallons per minute (GPM) for 24 hours—this was to verify the well yield capacity and static water level in the aquifer. Water samples were also collected and analyzed per the EPA permitting requirements.
All of the pump test information and water analysis has been submitted to the Illinois EPA as part of the permitting process. Data on this well—flow, geology, water quality, and such—will be shared with numerous state and federal agencies to keep water supply information as current as possible.
When the permitting process is complete, the well will be sanitized and the raw water tested. Upon receiving satisfactory results of those tests, to be certain of the quality and safety of the new well, it will be hooked up to a water main to take the water to the water plant on Harlem, where it will be treated into fully potable water.
When online, the pump will operate at 1,000 GPM on demand. The three active north-side wells are computer-controlled through the City’s SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) system which is programmed based on our water system design and delivery demand.
— Paul Schuytema, Director of Community and Economic Development
The panels were installed by Precision Energy Services, which is based in West Burlington, Iowa, and specializes in renewable solar energy projects and emission control.
“These panels are expected to produce enough energy to fully power the factory. On sunny days, they will receive enough credit to compensate for cloudy days,” said Wade Woodward, Director of Zoning and Building Inspector for the City of Monmouth.
According to the Cornelius website, the company aims to “manage our own facilities, products, and processes, with programs to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions providing environmental and cost-saving benefits.”
City Receives Grant to Eliminate Zombies
The City of Monmouth has received a $25,000 grant to demolish abandoned (“zombie”) homes in our community.
“I was so pleased we received the grant,” said Jan Helms, executive administrative assistant for the City. “These abandoned homes are not only eyesores but also have health and safety hazards.”
Vagrants, Vermin and Varmints, Oh, My!
Helms applied for the grant because Monmouth has issues with foreclosures and abandoned homes. Zombie houses attract pests and vermin and may appeal to squatters and vandals.
“We have identified 27 abandoned properties in various stages of disrepair, so we need all the financial assistance we can get,” she said. “The City of Monmouth has been actively pursuing the demolition of unsafe, unsecure structures for several years. We focus on renovation when possible, but sometimes demolition is our only recourse.”
The funds from this grant will allow the City to demolish several moderate-sized homes during the next year.
The grant is from the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s Abandoned Residential Property Municipality Relief Fund, which was created in 2010 with the passage of the Save Our Neighborhoods Act. Funding for the program comes from foreclosure filing fees and is available to municipalities with problem residential properties.
The City is also applying for a grant to help with housing rehab and a free Savings Through Efficient Products (STEP) program to make City-owned buildings more energy efficient.
New High School Course: Warren County CEO
The City of Monmouth is thrilled to announce that the Warren County CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) course will be available for Monmouth-Roseville High School and United High School juniors and seniors, beginning in fall 2017.
“I traveled to Carthage to see the student business trade show that was the culmination of Hancock County’s first year of the program,” said Paul Schuytema, Director of Economic and Community Development for the City of Monmouth. “It was amazing to meet the young business owners—high school students with smarts and poise who could shake your hand, look you in the eye, and explain their business models. That’s when I knew that we had to bring this program to Monmouth.”
The CEO program is much more than a textbook course. Students are immersed in real-life learning experiences with the opportunity to take risks, manage the results, and learn from the outcomes. They learn confidence-building skills like speaking in front of groups and targeted skills like writing successful business plans.
CEO is a business education program, teaching students how to think like business owners. The class meets off-campus in local businesses for 90 minutes each school day. Students dress in business casual attire every day and learn proper workplace behavior.
Each student receives a mentor from the business community. In the first semester, students create a class business. During the second semester, they have the opportunity to start their own business. The final event of the school year is a trade show, where they showcase their student businesses.
Students receive high school credit and dual credit with Carl Sandburg College.
“The kids who do this program have an advantage over everyone else in high school,” said Schuytema. “It is also good for Monmouth. This program gives students the skills we need here and shows them the opportunities that already exist in our area. If they decide to create their own business here, they’ll already have a terrific network of contacts.”
This program is available through a partnership with the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship. There is no cost to our schools or students for this program! All expenses are paid by businesses and foundations.
You can read more about this innovative program here.
Thank you to the founding sponsors:
· City of Monmouth
· Mellinger Foundation (in honor of former Trustee and Scholarship Committee member Mary Frances Miller)
· Midwest Bank
· Monmouth College
· MTC Communications
· Security Savings Bank
· Tharp Brothers Underground Utility Service
Landlords and the Illinois Lead Poisoning Prevention Act News
Illinois has new amendments to the Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, which went into effect on January 1, 2017. The amendments are about mitigation notices for lead paint hazards. While the Zoning Department does not inspect for lead, landlords should be aware of their responsibilities to provide their tenants with certain disclosures.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, "Lead poisoning, the number one environmental illness of children, is caused primarily by lead-based paint in older homes. While Illinois has made great progress in recent years, we maintain one of the highest rates in the nation for the number of children with elevated blood lead levels. The most common exposure to lead by children is through the ingestion of paint chips and contaminated dust from deteriorated or disturbed lead-based paint in homes built before 1978. About 75 percent of Illinois homes built before 1978 contain some lead-based paint" (IDPH website).