The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Resident pleads to Oquawka Village Board

"Please, please get us water as fast as you can"

By Sally Day for the Quill

Residents remained calm during a Street and Water report in the early moments of Oquawka Village Board meeting on March 3, 2014. But that mood changed when water problems were discussed later. A very impassioned Jim Foster and his wife, Tammy, stepped up to the microphone and explained how his water troubles began as low pressure on February 15. He presented a time line of events as they unfolded in their lives over the past weeks. He noted that on February 17, he had called Mayor Sandra Moody, who hung up on him. Foster had also called the offices of State Senator John Sullivan, who offered to send people or equipment to Oquawka to help with the problem. The Fosters have spent time living in a motel and showering at Jim's brother's home in Burlington. He implored the board, "Try living like us."

He also mentioned that during this time he had been told that the lack of water at his residence was his responsibility and later that it was on the cities-end. He needed to know this so he could start working on the problem. He asked, "When are we going to get water?" At this time applause broke out in the room from the approximately 40 residents present. Channel 8 News from the Quad Cities was also present.

Foster thanked board member Troy Jern for his communication with he and his wife. He said he was not getting good communication with the remainder of the board.

He asked again, "When are we going to get water?" Hearing no response, he added, "Please get it to us as fast as you can!"

Resident and business woman, Sue Bigger was also on hand to discuss the water situation. Her daughter, who Sue mentioned is handicapped, has been without water for more than 2 weeks. She said there had been no communication.

Business owner, Ron James asked, "What are other cities doing?"

Mick Olson, resident stated, "I work in Galesburg and we have been without water at work for three or four weeks."

One visitor said, "We have to read about this in the papers. Please communicate with us."

One question posed was, "Why did we go to plastic pipes if they are so difficult to unthaw?" Board member Scott Ray answered that by stating, "There are three types of pipe you can use, copper, steel and plastic." He noted that copper if very expensive, the price of steel has gone up, so the logical material to use was plastic.

During his Water and Street Department Report, earlier in the evening, Jeff Peterson said there had been 40 resident's pipes thawed out and there were still 26 still frozen. He mentioned that thawing out the plastic pipes was not working out too well. It has been easier to thaw out the galvanized pipes.

MSA Engineer Jared Fluhr had been asked to speak to Lavediere, the construction company working on the new Schuyler Street Project. He asked them if there was a non-evasive way to thaw out the pipes.

So far, no one has heard back from Lavediere.

Resident Crystal Queen summed it up very nicely. She said she has been without water for three weeks. But, she said she was not there for her own needs, but for the needs of Senior Citizens. "Many of them have no family, no means," she stated. Queen works for the Henderson County Health Department, and is very aware of the needs of seniors. The Health Department has been helping out all they can. She asked the board, "Please step up to the plate, ask for help." She wants the board to accept help from other cities and other entities. Board member Jern told Queen, "Tell those people to contact the Fire Department. The Fire Department will do all they can to help."

Oquawka Police Chief Keith DeJaynes gave his report to the board. In it the following calls were noted: Battery, 1; Criminal Trespass, 2; County Sheriff's Assistance, 4; Ambulance Assistance, 5; Domestic, 2; Tavern, 3; Ordinance - Consumption of Alcohol in Public, 2; Golf Cart Inspections, 2; Traffic - Speeding, 2, Stop Sign, 2, Warning, 1, Traffic Accidents, 2; Other calls, 19; Warrants, 3. Also noted was the Police Department had used 159 gallons of fuel, clocked 980 miles, and received fines in the amount of $871.43.

Chief DeJaynes also noted that he had been approached to ask the board if residents living outside the village limits could get their golf carts inspected to legally drive them in town. Following a brief discussion, it was decided to table this issue until next month.

The Oquawka Fire Department Report was given by Troy Jern, Fire Chief. He reported 2 EMS Lift Assistance in the Village and 2 the Township; 1 EMS call in the Township; 1 structure fire; 1 public service call in the Village; 1 natural gas leak; 1 car fire in Village; and 2 motor vehicle accidents in the Township.

Resident and businessman Mick Olson reported on the Comprehensive Plan for the village. A committee was established during the meeting. It will consist of Nancy Bundy, Jason Howard, Scott Ray, Mick Olson, and Zoning Supervisor Bill Moody. The Comprehensive Zoning committee will hold a public meeting on March 20th at 7:00 p.m. at the village hall.

Lisa Ray and Yvonne Knapp addressed the board, pertaining to the grant for the Eagle Scout Project discussed at last month's meeting. Knapp, the Grant Coordinator, said she was aware that a big concern for the village is coming up with the money. The Midwest Bank of Oquawka has offered to loan this money if this is approved. Knapp said, "The village would not be out any monies." It was further noted that the Boy Scouts had raised over $13,000 for this project. Village Attorney Andy Doyle, when asked what he thought, said, "Kudos to these people. It is a win-win situation. Good job." Lisa Ray was named the contact person. The board passed a motion to authorize the mayor to sign a resolution of authorization for the Jared Guyton Eagle Scout Project.

In other business, the board:

Crystal Queen, explaining to the Board, the plight of seniors who are without water. Jim Foster is seated at left.

-by Sally Day for The Quill