The Public’s Voice

opinion

Armstrong Response

The opinions expressed on this page are necessarily those of Aroundptown.com

In response to the letter written about me by the Fire Chief, Keith Crady and Ambulance Administrator, Julie Pope. I would like to take this opportunity to comment on the statements made about me.

Regarding my candidacy, in April of 2003, I was appointed by the Mayor to fill a vacant position for the Lyndon Village Board until the next election. I was elected by the Fire Department members as Fire Captain of Lyndon in September of 2003. Due to meeting conflicts, I was unable to stay as a trustee for the Village Board and fulfill my duties as Fire Captain so I relinquished my trustee duties.  Moving forward, in 2009, I was re-elected into the trustee position on a two year term.  During this term there was an ongoing investigation against Village of Lyndon by a former employee, which in turn, proceeded into a lawsuit. My term was shortened due to my feeling toward the investigation and felt it was necessary to step down.

In response to the accusations of the Prophetstown Main Street Fire, I was unable to attend due to a knee injury that I sustained the week prior. Due to policy of the Fire District, we are NOT to attend a fire with a known injury due to liability. I have been a dedicated fireman for the District over half my life and have been on over a thousand calls during my career. If it had been physically possible I would have been there fighting along with those dedicated individuals that fought that fire.  I did go to Prophetstown sometime that day to check out the fire along with the hundreds of other by-standers.  But, please don’t let Keith and Julie’s negative words about me take away from all the hard-working and dedicated men and woman who helped fight that fire for many hours. That is what should be remembered about that day.

As for the mutual aid Fire call in Erie, it was a semi-trailer that caught on fire on the interstate. The semi was carrying a variety of packages; majority of those packages were subjected to fire, heat, smoke and water damage making them unusable goods. I made the mistake of picking up a small notebook size laptop that was shoveled outside of the trailer, lying on the ground.  Knowing all the items were destroyed and going to be thrown away; I took the laptop and put it in the fire truck to see if it could still be used.  At this time, the Assistant Chief of Erie came to the truck and told me to put the laptop back; so I did.  After that, I talked with the Erie Fire Chief and apologized to him. He expressed not to worry about it.

As far as charges being brought against me, the Erie Fire Chief stated he never said that. I spoke with the Erie Fire Chief on March 22, 2017 and he explained that as far as he was concerned the incident was over the moment I put the laptop back and it was never spoke of again until now. As Keith and Julie expressed in their letter, Chief Crady was informed of the incident and that it was resolved. Three months after this incident, I was forced to resign by Chief Keith Crady who expressed, that I needed to be gone because of this incident.  Two week after resigning, I received a phone call from, Chief Crady stating, if I wanted to come back I would have to agree to a two week suspension; which I agreed too.  This incident has not been brought up for 2 years, which I presumed was over and done with.

In conclusion, I am proud to be a part of such an amazing Fire District community and that is why I am running for Trustee. To not only have their voices heard but also the community’s voice. Everyone has a past but that does not define who you are today. Today I am a dad, grandfather, uncle, friend, brother, son and fireman. I am here today to help people’s voices be heard to help make our community better not just for my family but yours as well.

 

Respectfully Yours,

Lyle Armstrong

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opinion

No To Armstrong

The Opinion's Expressed on this page are not necessarily those of Aroundptown.com
Submitted by Keith Crady  and Julie Pope

The following are the reasons we feel Lyle Armstrong should not be Trustee of the Prophetstown Fire Protection District.

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opinion

Park Board Vice President Responds

Prophetstown Park Board Vice President Tom Green has authored a letter in response to the recent criticism that the board has received in regards to the survey it mailed to residents asking for input on the district's operations and ideas for the district owned property on Grove Street.

My father is a wise man. He once told me that I would meet people who will never let a little thing like the truth get in the way of a good story. I’ve been reminded of these words over the last months and weeks while reading a series of letters to the editor published in the Echo.

The letters in question basically complain about the Prophetstown Park District Board’s decision to purchase the Jailhouse property five years ago for future potential expansion projects, including the possibility of building a community center on that site. Please understand, I have no problem with citizens who disagree with this decision. I also applaud people exercising their right to voice these opinions in public print, it’s what makes our
democracy so great. It’s unfortunate, however, when people attempt to further their cause through fabrication and personal attacks on honest people giving their time and talents for the benefit of others. For a long time, I chose to ignore these silly letters, believing that most people recognize them for what they are: works of pure fiction. Recently, I’ve been saddened to see the attacks and falsehoods contained in these letters dramatically escalate. It’s time the truth has it’s turn and it’s to that end that I submit this rebuttal to some of the most outrageous claims in these recent letters.

For starters, it has been claimed that this “rogue board” has “persisted with this reckless, ill-considered venture” to purchase a “$200,000 parking lot”. This is not true in every manner possible. All Park Board meeting minutes and financial reports are open, public, and completely transparent. These records will absolutely verify that the accusations in the letters are false in the extreme. They are posted online at www.prophetstownparkdistrict.com and
board meeting minutes (which the public is ALWAYS welcome to attend) are typically printed in the Echo. If you don’t have access to either of those sources, Park District staff will happily provide paper copies. I encourage all concerned citizens to look at these records and see the truth for themselves. In the meantime, let me summarize the history of the Jailhouse property purchase. As an aside, let me point out that the people currently serving on the board are, for the most part, NOT the people who voted to purchase the Jailhouse. Director Sommers-Buck
and commissioners Johnson, Weidel, and Cooper did not become part of the park district until
afterwards. I would insist that all future disparaging comments be directed at Jason Taylor and myself, the only two commissioners who actually voted on the purchase. Anything else would be a gross injustice to those who weren’t involved.

At any rate, about five years ago the Park Board was approached with an offer to purchase the Jailhouse for $113,000. After careful debate, the board decided this property was a great location for future expansion, most notably a potential community center. Since the current facilities have no more room to grow, it seemed like an excellent investment. The purchase was funded from two sources, a $53,000 savings CD (funded by the Don Hill estate) and a $60,000 loan from Farmer’s National Bank. This loan was for five years and will be fully repaid after one more payment.

Since the purchase, there have been two additional improvement projects made to the property, neither of which have cost the taxpayers any money. The first was the demolition of the old building at a cost of about $15,000. This project was paid for with funds from an auction of the restaurant fixtures, furniture, and other items contained in the Jailhouse building. Former director Tommy Barton and his staff deserve a great deal of thanks for the success of that auction. The second improvement was the removal of the building’s cement foundation and preparing the ground for temporary parking purposes. This cost $20,000 and  projects. That’s a total outlay of $148,000. The only portion of this total paid for by taxpayers was the $60,000 loan. I feel then as I do now that this was an outstanding, forward reaching purchase for the people of Prophetstown. That’s it. There are no secrets, no scandals, and
no abuse of the public trust.

I’ve thought about the community center issue a lot and have reached an important
conclusion. I really don’t believe anyone in Prophetstown is actually opposed to a community center. My wise father also once told me, “Son, it’s always about the money. The louder they say it’s not about the money, the more you can be sure it’s about the money.” Let’s imagine Bill Gates came to the next park board meeting, opened his checkbook and said he wants to build a community center on the Jailhouse site. If that happened I’m willing to bet it would
mean the end of the anti-park board letters to the editor. I don’t believe the people opposed to the community center are against it because they don’t want to see Prophetstown have this type of facility, and I doubt they actually believe the park board members “are acting like naughty children caught misbehaving” and “need to be sent a manual on ethical behavior”. Those opposed to a community center just don’t want to see their taxes go up to pay for it.

Here at last we find something on which we can agree. I would prefer my taxes not to go up, either. My mom, my mother-in-law, our sons, our aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and neighbors all live in Prophetstown and I would rather they not pay more either. Currently, our park district is in excellent financial health even though it bonds for far less than it’s allowed to. The public elects board members to steward the facilities and maintain fiscal
responsibility. Sometimes being fiscally responsible means spending money wisely and sometimes that means saying “no” to a project. I just wish we were debating the real issue here, which is not “Would Prophetstown benefit from a community center?” That answer is yes, of course it would. The real debate should be “Can we build a community center in a fiscally responsible manner?” Or, if you prefer, “Can we afford this?” That’s the question that should be asked by letters to the editor. Those are the types of questions that move a community forward.

Making things up that aren’t true and putting them in the paper only take us backwards. The park board meets the third Wednesdays of every month at 7PM. Please join us. Together, we’ll ask the right questions and together, we’ll find the answers.

Respectfully,
Tom Green

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Alumni Seeking Library Support

(Editor's Note) Prophetstown resident Pam Plautz is very active in the PLT#3 School District including organizing a Community Advisory Board that meets monthly to work toward a stronger relationship between the public and the PLT#3 Administration and Board.

“Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader.”

Written by Pam Plautz

We all know reading is one of the basic building blocks of education. It is why there is such an emphasis on books with young children.  But somewhere along the way, reading for pleasure diminishes.  Our lives get too busy with “stuff”.  Our schools get too busy with teaching so called critical thinking skills and preparing for high stakes tests. (my comment is aimed at public education in general)

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Park District Responds to Survey Criticism

My name is Karyn Sommers-Buck, and I am the Director of the Prophetstown Park District. I am writing this letter, to talk about the Park District, the vision for continued growth, as well as continued consistency in the facility and fields we currently have. 

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constitution

28th Amendment Needed

I read this proposal the other day for having a 28th Amendment added to our United States Constitution.  Hopefully it will get passed by 3 more states!  We need to have a Constitutional Convention to establish this 28th Amendment.

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the Citizens of the United States ..."

Governors of 35 states have filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon their states. It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention.

Thank you,

Terry L Gaskill, Cell phone 815-535-3665

Resident of Tampico, IL (Birthplace of Pres. Ronald W. Reagan)

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mikesmiddy

Your Chance

mikesmiddySeveral events come with the end of summer and the onset of fall and in 2016 that includes a major election year.

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small town

Summer Thoughts

Editor's Note- I am always looking for thoughts and opinions from residents in the area on topics of interest. Please feel free to contact me with yours.

I took a look at the calendar today and realized that summer is more than halfway over.  If you have students they will be back in school in 25 days!

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IMG_5432

The Greater Good

Part of the reason for starting my website was to make sure the residents of Prophetstown and other local communities are factually informed about events that may affect them.

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court house

The Public's Voice - Drug Court

Submitted by Bud Thompson
Editor's Note- I am always looking for thoughts and opinions from residents in the area on topics of interest. Please feel free to contact me with yours.
Whiteside County has a Drug Court. It is a team of professionals directed by Judge John Hauptman. They
select “clients” who are addicted to either Drugs or Liquor. Their goal is to help break their addiction and
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The opinion’s expressed on this page are not necessarily those of Aroundptown.com.