The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Board Approves Gaming In Stronghurst

By: Shirley Linder, Quill Editor

On a 3 to 2 vote, Monday, August 6th, the Village of Stronghurst board voted in favor of allowing gaming machines at the Feedlot Grill and Rivals on Main.

David Vancil, Jerry Nortrup, and Shane Reed cast the "yes" votes, while Bruce Caldwell and Mike Bohnenkamp cast the two "no" votes. Trustee Amanda Kane was absent again from the meeting.

The vote was taken after a lengthy discussion between council members Bruce Caldwell and Shane Reed.

Caldwell spoke regarding the figures presented last month from representatives of Accel Gaming as to income from surrounding towns of revenue to the villages. He compared Stronghurst to Gladstone who only shows a revenue of $1900 per year. Caldwell said he feels they are reverting more toward bars than they are toward restaurants.

Shane Reed responded asking," Well what do you consider a bar, Bruce, you consider that just sitting at a bar doing nothing. Yes, I was out the other night and yes I saw people with a drink in front of them and every one of them had a meal in front of them."

Caldwell replied, "That's fine. I have nothing against somebody having a drink."

Reed, "But who are we to dictate what they do, that's my problem."

Caldwell, "Dictate what who do?"

Reed, "Who are you to dictate that they can't go in there drinking? Are you saying you want a restaurant?

Caldwell, "That's what the 60-40 is to make sure it stays a restaurant."

Reed, " I'm not understanding you are calling it a tavern, not a restaurant, what's it going to hurt if someone is already in there if they are gambling? I'm just kinda curious about it-the state says it is okay."

Reed also said, "I don't understand; we've got to figure out a way to generate money that's the bottom dollar or we raise water bills. I'm not saying gaming is the solution, but we have to figure out a way to create some income other than asking our citizens over and over and over."

When voting, Mike Bohnenkamp stated, "I'm sorry guys I have to vote "no" too. I don't think $1900 is worth it. I'm sorry, but I think there is other ways, maybe, and no taxes or anything, but I have to vote "no."

Virginia Ross asked, "Can the ladies at Oak Wood gamble now? They told them they couldn't do it." Which brought a chuckle to the room and Mayor Schaley said no, I don't think so.

Sara Evans responded, "no you have to have a liquor license before you can get a gambling license."

David Knutstrom stated, "There's one left, right?" (Referring to a liquor license).

Then Knutstrom said, "Come on guys, we're going from restaurants, to drinking alcohol in this town which is unheard of, now we're going to gambling? We've lost it! My gosh, come on get your heads on. We're Stronghurst, this is a dry town forever and ever, until this year we decided to step on the other side of the fence here and try it out, thinking alcohol was going to bring revenue into this town.

"We are going to have two broke restaurants in this town and no liquor.

"No gambling machine is going to make it! Where is it going to end?"

This brought another lengthy discussion between Reed and Knutstrom, which ended with Knutstrom saying he was sorry for stepping out of line. Reed said, he was not stepping out of line it was his opinion and that's what he was there for.


Nick Wagner, MSA and representatives from Maguire Iron and Automatic Systems were on hand to report the progress of the new water tower and talk about a completion date.

It was reported that 99% of the electrical work is installed in the tower portion. Automatic Systems will be in town on August 20th to begin the switch over and do function testing. The final completion date is set at September 28th.


The police report for July included: 119.5 hours worked; 676 squad car miles; 1 traffic stop; 3 uniform traffic tickets; 1 notice to appear; 1 assist; 5 service calls; 1 arrest; and 28 business courtesy checks.


In other business the board:

Went into Executive Session at 8:25 p.m. for the purpose of possible litigation. No report was received my reporter on any decisions.

Present were:

Mayor Brendan Schaley; Trustees, David Vancil, Jerry Nortrup, Shane Reed, Bruce Caldwell, Mike Bohnenkamp, (Amanda Kane absent); Employees, Ronnie Gittings, Arbry Vancil, Hollie Allen, Attorney Bill Rasmussen; Guests, Virginia Ross, Sara Evans, Lori Taylor, David Knutstrom, Rob Root, Shirley Linder

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 4th at 7 p.m.

Note the change of date to Tuesday due to Monday Labor Day holiday.