by Madelyn Fogarty
Community Encouraged to Attend January 27 Drug Abuse Forum
The Village of Dwight showed its support for the Dwight Economic Alliance by renewing its membership with the community improvement oriented group. At its January 11 session, the Board approved a contribution of $40,000 to the DEA.
“In roughly 20 months, the DEA has made significant stride and is moving forward to 2016 with momentum and passion that would not have been obtainable without the Village of Dwight,” DEA President Max Sulzberger told the Board.
Sulzberger outlined the 2016 goals of the DEA and its four major committees including Membership, Tourism, Events, and Community/Business Development. Currently, over 65 companies support the DEA initiatives, which have included, among other things, the restoration of the Ambler Station on Rt. 66 and the management of its volunteers to welcome visitors. The DEA is also responsible for the creation, organization and management of every community-sponsored event in Dwight with the exception of Harvest Days. He thanked the Village for its important continued support and encouraged interested volunteers to explore the many opportunities to get involved with the DEA and its initiatives.
Also addressing the board was Livingston County State’s Attorney Seth Uphoff. Uphoff talked to the board regarding an emerging and destructive prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse problem.
“Prescription drug abuse is an issue that is on the rise across the country and, here in our county, we are seeing more and more cases all the time,” Uphoff told the board. “We know that people who would begin abusing prescription pills often-times begin abusing other drugs and heroin is one of them.
Local law enforcement, the State’s Attorney’s Office, medical personnel, and various other groups are teaming together and will present a forum at Dwight Township High School at 6:30 p.m. on January 27. The community is invited and encouraged to attend this important event.
Republican State Repre-sentative Tom Bennett, representative of House District 106, was also present to talk with the Board about the state of government business in Springfield. According to Bennett, 237 bills were passed into law last year indicating some things are getting done, but he didn’t pull punches regarding the lack of a budget and the inability of the government groups at the state level to work together.
“We are months behind where we need to be,” said Bennett. “Springfield – well, let’s call it what it is – it’s broken. It’s just not there.” said Bennett. “We have work to do. We have serious work to do.”
Bennett encouraged everyone to contact their local representatives and senators to express their concerns.
In other business, the Board approved an IMRF Resolution naming Austin Haacke as an authorized agent for the Village. In December, the Board approved hiring Haacke, 23, of Dwight as the Finance Director for the Village with a starting annual salary of $40,000 plus benefits. Haacke is a DTHS Graduate and a recent graduate of Illinois State University with a degree in Financial Accounting.
Chief of Police Tim Henson reported on the active shooter exercise that took place at Dwight Grade School on January 2. Henson called the drill a “great exercise” which resulted in both positive and negative findings. Areas of concern that will be addressed to improve response time and efficiency include the radio system, number of interior building cameras, and window visibility.
In his report to the Board, EMS Director Al Metzke reported an increase of 98 calls over 2014 with a 2015 total of 1049 EMS calls resulting in 662 transports.
The board also:
• approved 2016 GLCEDC Membership at a cost of $8504.
• designated the Village Clerk and the Police Records Clerk as FOIA Officers for the Village.
• Approved a fund transfer of $43,273.28 from the General Fund to the Reserve for Capital Expenditures Fund for payment of four specified invoices.
The next meeting of the Dwight Village Board of Trustees will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, January 25, at the Public Services Complex.