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Letter to the Editor from DeWitt County Board Chair and Co-Chair


Posted October 31, 2018


Dear Editor:


To the Residents of DeWitt County, 


It is hard to believe Election Day is upon us. November 6th is right around the corner.  We come to you as different people with different backgrounds and sometimes different views. But our common thread is that we are united in our vision for the future of DeWitt County. We love this County. It is where we have spent our lives giving back to our communities, raising our families, and trying to make it the best it can be for generations to come. 


Our bipartisan board has a lengthy list of accomplishments in the last four years. We have balanced the budget and done so while bringing our expenses in line with consistently diminishing revenues. Some of the Board’s accomplishments are:


    • Working with state officials and Exelon to pass the Future Energy Jobs Act. This bill kept the Clinton Power Station open and insured the continued employment for 750 people. 

    • We have gone from subpar to much needed state of the art animal shelter facilities. Soon the University of Illinois will be training students of their Veterinarian program at the new DeWitt County Animal Shelter.

    • This board developed the DeWitt County East Annex which houses the DeWitt County Ambulance Service next to the animal shelter. It is a benefit for all citizens of DeWitt County to have these centralized Emergency Medical Services.

    • Marina upgrades have been made including drafting and signing a new lease agreement for the marina, complying with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, a new septic system, and other projects in the works. 

    • Due to the aging of the county building, we have been modernizing the lighting, air-conditioning, roofing, and parking lot of the Courthouse and Jail facilities. 

    • We reached an agreement with the Landfill to keep toxic PCBs out, while at the same time recovering over a million dollars in tipping fees.

    • Four years of balanced budgets with the cooperation of elected officials and department heads. 


The future of this County is always our number one concern. 


We believe that what unites us as citizens is far stronger than the issues that divide us. As a county we continue to face challenges. As a board we have been transparent while supporting sound fiscal policies and promoted growth and prosperity here in DeWitt County. 


We understand that during some of our most partisan times as a nation, what we are asking is unconventional: to go beyond party lines and re-elect those that have delivered results as board members. 


We ask that you please re-elect these candidates so that we may continue to make a Better Government for DeWitt County. 


District B:








District D:








David Newberg, Republican                     

Chairman DeWitt County Board                                 

District C                               


Camille Redman, Democrat

Vice Chair DeWitt County Board

District A


Letter to the Editor: Progress Out of Fear is a Bad Choice for DeWitt County


Posted October 30, 2018


Dear Editor:


I cringe when I hear support for the proposed wind farm project based on the minimal economic impact it will provide to our schools. Tradewind likes to throw out lots of numbers without any context behind them so let me put in perspective exactly what we will gain while greatly jeopardizing the health, safety and welfare of those who will live near the turbines day-to-day. 

Yes, the school district will receive some monetary gain. But let's break it down.


What will be received won’t be close to the level of funding provided by the power plant. We need to stop comparing the two. One will not replace the other.. Those who say we need this project because the power plant may not be here in the future haven’t done the math. They are actually signing a deal that will put our schools in great financial danger if the power plant went offline.

The amount of proposed benefit from the wind farm (all projected at this point since Tradewind’s special use permit is alarmingly vague) would be approximately 5% of the district's operating budget. That's it. Again, this will not "save" the school district if things go bad. There are other ways to gain 5% that will not reduce property values or negatively impact health and quality of life of residents.

Wind companies have historically targeted areas with struggling schools to prey on their fears. And after operation begins and the money comes in, the school district still finds itself in bad shape. Because again, it's not that much money. Take a look at other school districts who were hoping to be "saved" by wind farms. It doesn’t work.

And let’s not forget that our tax dollars are paying for the subsidies that build these wind projects. Our money is making Tradewinds millions, but comparatively we will only see pennies come back to our community. In 2016 a proposed 1% sales tax that would have directly benefited facility upgrades for our schools did not pass. Yet, now we are desperate for additional funds? This doesn’t add up.

Progress is great and vital. But progress for the sake of appearance, or done out of fear, will not net a positive result. Instead, we need to be taking a holistic approach to progress for the county. This SHOULD be happening through the new comprehensive plan being developed right now for DeWitt County and soon to be voted on by our county board. In reality, allowing wind farms to surround our communities actually limits any future progress in those areas where they are built. And that will limit progress for 40 years!

Let's not handcuff progress, let's be strategic. I support the County Board candidates who have shown genuine interest in doing what is best for the county:

District B

Terry Ferguson

Christy Pruser

Travis Houser

District D

Nate Ennis

Melonie Tilley

Dan Matthews


Andrea Rhoades

Kenney, IL

Letter to the Editor: Misrepresentation of Better Government for DeWitt County


Posted October 30, 2018


Dear Editor:


It’s that time of year when election mailings are plentiful, along those lines I’m writing to clarify the position of Better Government for DeWitt County in regards to the recent direct mailings, letters, and advertisement in the local paper for the County Board races in District B and District D. 


In all of these ads the Better Government for DeWitt County logo was used in conjunction with a pro wind farm logo.  Let me be clear that Better Government has NO position on a potential Industrial Wind Facility and has committed to remain neutral on the issue.

The use of the Better Government logo by these County Board candidates was not only unauthorized but also very misleading to the voters that received the ad. 



Best Regards,
Tom Hieronymus
President- Better Government for DeWitt County
Farmer City, IL

Letter to the Editor Opposing Tradewind Energy Wind Farm Project


Posted October 29, 2018


Dear Editor:


I support truly renewable, safe “clean energy solutions" to replace our aging and rapidly closing power stations. However, the current and rapid build out of Wind Turbines from Sea to Shining Sea is destroying our Beautiful Country. All subsidized by our tax dollars. We're getting destroyed from within. This is absurd. 


For those few creative financial types out there, fresh out of a minimum security prison after that nasty Enron deal went south, here's the playbook behind this Wind scam. The production tax credit (PTC) or the investment tax credit (ITC) Then the fun starts. Securitization is the process by which contracts such as leases and loans are pooled and processed into financial securities which are then sold to investors. This will be substantially similar to the sub-prime mortgage meltdown.


Just to add a bit more ‘profit’ to this byzantine pyramid, renewable energy credits are traded like Al Gore’s “Carbon Credits”  Typically, all of this will be bundled and find it's way into our retirement accounts. Then, poof, it's gone. We got suckered. Didn't read the fine print, did we? Thought it was free and easy. Well, things are never quite that simple. We will reap the whirlwind, from this complex capital structuring scheme. I'm not making this up. But they seem to be. Sounds like Enron.


After massive foundations are implanted (forever) and Offshore scaled Turbines are obsolete in a decade or so, a new "disruptive" or innovative breakthrough technology will certainly emerge, and more quickly than imagined. I agree we need sustainable, clean carbon free and renewable energy. These Wind Farms are not farms; they are industrial pirates, threatening our National Security.

It is simply stunning to see how this sector is being 'securitized'.


Current 'renewable energy sources' have so many negatives, it is impossible to arguably defend their deployment. With such huge global impacts to our environment, critically important wildlife, public health, safety and welfare, property values, and the myriad of negatives all of us against these things are very well aware of, the "Environmental Lobbies" aren't doing their jobs anymore. They've been bought out apparently.


This isn't a Zero Carbon deal. We know that. Surely you know a good deal from a bad one, but Wind Farms off both coasts, Long Island, Block Island and all over the Heartland? Come on. This is looting the U.S. Treasury. If we don't stop Wind Energy Conversion, the only survivor that will utilize this energy will be artificial intelligence.


Bradley D. Barnes, MBA
Clinton, Illinois, 61727

Letter to the Editor: Stop the Bullying


Posted October 29, 2018


Dear Editor:




Bullying is in the news daily. Children are committing suicide over being bullied in school.  I am not going to discuss that today.  I am going to discuss the adult bullying going on.


We have seen many examples of this nationwide with shootings and sending bombs in the mail. We, as adults, have set this in place. We make social media comments indicating that if you don’t believe as I do then you are an idiot.


I would like to bypass the National and state politics to address the local issues and bullying.  Here in DeWitt County the Wind farm has touched off a storm of opinions. I have seen neighbor hating neighbor for their stance concerning the wind turbines.  I have seen County board members being condescending to other board members and residents for their opinions.


I am seeing political signs being removed from public property and destroyed. In Farmer City one candidate’s signs were ALL removed, NO signs and other candidates’ signs removed.  There was even a case of a YES sign moved to a cornstalk so that if a combine had run over it there could have been major damage to the combine.


These are all forms of ADULT bullying.  We as adults must set the example for the kids if we can expect to help stop bullying among the kids. We must allow others to express their opinions. If the signs are not on your property then leave them alone.


                STOP BULLYING NOW


                Kathy Evans

                 Clinton, IL



Letter to the Editor on DeWitt County Board Race and Wind Farms


Posted October 27, 2018


Dear Editor:


I live in Farmer City and started attending county board meetings when I learned of their plans to bring industrial wind turbines to the western part of the county. I observed the board members hear, then dismiss the zoning ordinance changes recommended by the Regional Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals that would have exercised some reasonable control over the project.


One would expect that a tower could not be erected so close to a landowner’s property line that the safety perimeter recommended by the turbine vendor would overlap the landowner’s property. One would expect the board to limit the maximum height of the towers in consideration of the surrounding residents. Since the county board dismissed those recommendations, the county residents can now look forward to 600 ft. towers 660 feet from their property, with the whooshing noise, shadow flicker from the turning blades, and constant blinking red lights at night.


One needs only to listen to someone living in the teeth of the Macon county wind complex to understand what is coming to Dewitt county. The county board has upended a way of life that we came here for and stay here for.


The board members have no doubt done this because of the appeal of the bloated and unsubstantiated tax revenue projections that Tradewind Energy has submitted. I can’t speak to all of the claims, but I do know that state aid to the school district will decrease in proportion to the property tax gain from the project.


The Tradewind Energy Alta II complex will likely not be visible from my home in the country in the eastern part of the county, but phase two of the project will be, and more will come after that because of the decisions of this board.


I will vote for Travis Houser, Christy Pruser, and Terry Ferguson in District B, and urge others to vote for Melonie Tilley, Nate Ennis, and Dan Matthews in District D, for Dewitt county board with the hope that the county residents will be considered in future decisions.


Patrick Ryan

Farmer City, IL 61842



Letter to the Editor on Potential Conflict of Interest by Clinton School Board Candidate


Posted October 18, 2018


Dear Editor:


Dear Editor,
As a past County Board member I am very concerned about the potential conflict of interest of Clinton School Board member Dan Matthews as he is currently running as an endorsed member of the anti-wind turbine faction for the DeWitt County Board.


Given the fact that the schools would gain tens of millions of dollars over the life of the wind farm, why would he as a school board member say NO to money that will help sustain the education of children in this county?


As a realtor, land developer, and contractor I have seen how important schools are to bring people into this community over my lifetime. This community is the perfect place to raise your children, and the fact that we have excellent schools at lower tax rates than all surrounding counties is a seller to most home buyers coming in. 


Is Mr. Matthews like the group he is endorsed by, which is known as DeWitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines, willing to sacrifice the education of our children because they "do not like the way wind turbines look." Will he recuse himself whenever a vote on wind towers or solar farms comes up, because it will be a direct conflict of interest financially for our schools?


Does Mr. Matthews expect the taxpayers of this county to carry the burden of paying higher taxes for our school district because he voted NO on the millions of property tax dollars from wind energy?


For your information as the reader, approximately 65% of your property taxes go to the schools. The power plant currently pays 11 to 12 million dollars in property taxes a year to this county, of which 7 to 8 million goes to the Clinton School District.


With our school district facing loss of revenue with the impending closure of the power plant in the next few years, what does Mr. Matthews plan to do not only for our children, but you as the taxpayer who will be paying higher property taxes as a result of his actions?



Dennis Rich
Clinton, IL 61727


Letter to the Editor: I'm Not a One-Issue Candidate


Posted October 18, 2018


Dear Editor:


Since January, I have been walking door to door finding out what’s most important to my neighbors. If elected, I will continue listening and will voice those priorities on the DeWitt County Board. 

Some of the issues that I’ve heard are important include: fiscal conservatism, transparency, and the local economy. 

First, I believe we can cut taxes, hold the line on spending, and make county government more efficient. I have an Accounting degree and am excited to bring that skill set to the Board. Transparency is another key issue I’ve heard from my neighbors. We must hold all levels of government accountable for how our tax dollars are spent. And finally, we need visionary leaders that can bring new jobs and employers to DeWitt County. Our nation’s economy is booming, it’s time we see some of that growth here at home. 

I’m the furthest thing from a one-issue candidate. I love our community and believe that we can make it even better. 

I ask for your vote because I believe I’m the best person to represent District D on the County Board.

Nate Ennis

Clinton, IL

Letter to the Editor: Get Out and Vote!


Posted October 16, 2018


Dear Editor:


Exercise your right to VOTE!

When you do, please seriously consider who you are voting for. 

I suspect that some candidates are one issue choices. I say this because it appears that they are being supported by a very vocal group within the County. It is never a good choice to vote for a candidate like this, regardless of political affiliation.  The County just experienced a situation where the Board was consumed by such ideologies. It didn't turn out well. 

The other indications that the motives of these candidates could be suspect is that since they have been on the ballot, and knew that they could possibly be a part of the Board, I don't believe that any of them have attended a Board or Committee meeting.


It would only be logical that you would want to "get up to speed" as to what all of the current issues are the Board is dealing with, how the Board works, how the members interact, and what the protocol is for these meetings. Some of these candidates didn't even have the desire or dedication to take out petitions for candidacy and collect the required number of signatures to be placed on the ballot. It takes more than just one vote to represent the residents of DeWitt County. 

It has been stated that the Board members are not listening to their constituents, but that would be wrong. It is the responsibility of the Board members to listen to all citizens of the County, not just those who are the most vocal. The votes that are cast by Board members should be done with the best interest of the majority of residents considered. The unpopular votes are naturally the most difficult but the standard stays the same.


I have never been questioned nor have I ever heard any other member of the Board criticized by another member for the vote they cast. Integrity is a value highly respected among Board members and neither politics nor agendas have been an issue. 

The existing Board has accomplished much in the two years I have have been seated. We have had our disagreements at the Committee level as well as at the full Board, but we have worked together to ensure that all of the residents of DeWitt County have been represented fairly and justly.


We now have an animal shelter to be proud of, addressed all building maintenance, Marina, public safety, road and bridge, land use, and finance issues and the County budget only increased .01% for 2018.

With all of this in mind, when you vote, I would ask you to keep this Board intact so it can continue to move forward for the betterment of all the residents.


Please vote for the following, who are also endorsed by Better Government for DeWitt County:
Rita Sue Whitted, Cris Rogers, and Mellonie Tilley in District D. 
Randy Perring, Terry Ferguson, and Christy Pruser in District B.


Lance M. Reece
District A
County Board

Letter to the Editor Supporting Dan Caulkins in the 101st State Rep Race


Posted October 16, 2018


Dear Editor:


The last few decades the 101st Illinois District has been well served by retiring State Rep. Bill Mitchell.  I would like to thank Rep. Mitchell for these years of public service and for the many things he accomplished for the residents of the 101st District not limited to being instrumental in keeping the Exelon Power Plant open in DeWitt County in which so many quality local jobs could have been loss.

To the voters of 101st District, I encourage you to join me in voting for Dan Caulkins as our next Representative.  I’ve been fortunate to get to know Dan and his lovely wife Jo over the course of the last year; I can attest that they are both outstanding and genuine people that I’m proud to call friends.  There are many reasons why Dan Caulkins is the right choice for voters this election. 


First of all, Dan Caulkins is in the race for the right reason which is serving his constituents.  That is why Dan is term limiting himself to 6 years, he is not taking a salary, health insurance, or a pension.


Dan Caulkins also brings with him many years of experience as a successful business owner.  This is the type of leadership we need in Springfield, someone fighting for lower taxes and less regulation to try and keep business in Illinois.


We can’t have more taxes as that will continue to encourage residents and businesses to continue moving to states that have more economic opportunity.

Please join me in electing Dan Caulkins as our next State Representative of 101st District along with supporting all of our Republican candidates at all levels of government as they fight to stop higher taxes and less regulation.


Dustin A. Peterson
Clinton, IL 

Letter to the Editor Opposing Wind Farms


Posted October 4, 2018


Dear Editor:


I recently saw a letter posted where an employee of Trinity felt those opposed to an industrial wind complex in DeWitt County were posing a threat to his livelihood. I am confused by this statement because from the beginning Tradewind has never showed serious intent to employ any local business.


It is important to state that wind developers know the PTC will eventually end. They have had decades to develop a business model that would allow their companies to exist without this handout yet they have failed to do so. Their lack of action on this part is what threatens the long term opportunities for wind turbine component suppliers. Not the local citizens. 


During the research, siting and survey processes I, along with others, repeatedly saw vehicles with out of state license plates. I know for a fact there are capable businesses with industrial wind complex experience that are locally owned and employ people in DeWitt, Macon and other surrounding counties that were never contacted by Tradewind. Why did they fail to hire those businesses and help provide an income to feed and house those local families? 


It also would appear Tradewind never had any intent to utilize our local wind tower business, which makes no sense. This project could have been scaled from the beginning so that Trinity could have been a supplier. That hasn't happened. One of the things Tradewind keeps dangling in front of the board is the number of jobs this project would create. Yet they have failed to utilize local businesses that could certainly use the work with the current economy in Illinois.


Now this person wants us to re elect board members who have never questioned the lack of local businesses used by Tradewind; board members that did not work to ensure Trinity would be utilized on the project? 


Have these board members also never driven down to the Macon County wind complex to see what license plates and companies are on site each time a turbine needs repair? I have made a point to drive by the site during 4 of the recent repairs. Surprisingly I rarely saw an Illinois license plate. So where are the 10 permanent local turbine technicians that project was supposed to create jobs for?


If these wind turbines are truly 'green' they would be employing local resources to eliminate the additional fossil fuel needed to transport out of state employees and out of state components to the site. It seems inexcusable that we would end up with wind turbines in our county where the towers are not supplied by a company right here which actively employees DeWitt County residents. 


Megan Myers
Clinton IL

Letter to the Editor: Support Pro Wind Farm County Board Candidates

Posted October 2, 2018


Dear Editor:


As an employee of Trinity Structural Towers, I am deeply disturbed by the group DeWitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines. I’ve seen their billboard on Route 51 that says, “No Wind Turbines in DeWitt County”.


But upon visiting their Facebook page I learned they are advocating the elimination of the wind turbine subsidy, or Production Tax Credit, through mass post card mailings to the White House. Trinity is the leading manufacturer of wind towers in North America. By stopping this subsidy, employees like me will lose our job. Have these people even thought of what will happen to the employees and their families? Who will buy our groceries, pay our utilities, and ensure we have a roof over our head?


Am I to assume if jobs are lost at Trinity the DeWitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines will foot our bills, feed and clothe our children? Have they thought about how the loss of Trinity will negatively affect DeWitt County?


This November I’ll be voting for the county board candidates that are for jobs, economic stability, and who will do what is best for EVERY citizen of DeWitt County.


Vote for Cris Rogers, Sue Whitted, and Randy Perring!




Frank Igaravidez
Clinton, IL 61727

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