La Salle County Sheriff’s Office gets $4,500 grant to deliver aid

In another item, county now has reduced say over solar farms

La Salle County Sheriff's Chaplain Dave Van Laar (left) and board member Pamela Beckett (D-Ottawa) celebrate Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, the $4,500 grant the sheriff's office was awarded to expedite relief services.

When sheriff’s deputies find a La Salle County resident in need of help, there is no shortage of shelters and assistance funds. What the county lacks is a means of coordination.

The chaplain for the sheriff’s office means to fix that.

Monday, Dave Van Laar told the La Salle County Board the sheriff’s office has obtained a $4,500 from Women Inspired Network of Starved Rock Country Foundation to establish a program linking relief agencies with persons in need. La Salle County Board member Pamela Beckett (D-Ottawa) announced the award.

“So what I’ll be able to do with this (grant) is to help the person with immediate help, with immediate needs, so we can put them in the right place,” Van Laar said, noting the sheriff’s office began this initiative two years ago. “With this, our budget went from zero to $4,500.

“This has cost the county nothing so far.”

County board says no to 2 solar farms

Separately, board members denied approval of two solar farm petitions in Farm Ridge Township – even after learning Springfield has diminished the county board’s say in the matter.

The board was discussing the disputed petition – Farm Ridge Township officials opposed it at an earlier proceeding – when county attorney Pat Herrmann advised the board they are effectively required to approve any such petition as long as the project meets statutory criteria.

That’s the result of a new law (Public Act 102-1123) meant to advance green energy but which in turn supersedes the authority of the state’s 102 counties, which can no longer impose moratoriums, for example.

Board members were none too pleased to learn their regulatory control was diminished.

“So eventually we could be nothing but solar across the county?” said Tina Busch (R-Tonica). “When is enough enough?”

Chairman Don Jensen (R-Deer Park) somewhat reluctantly chimed in, breaking a 12-12 tie to deny one of the twin petitions.

Board approves union contract

Finally, the board emerged from brief closed session and approved a collective bargaining agreement between the Metropolitan Alliance of Police (MAP) Chapter 366 (Corrections), the county and the sheriff. The agreement includes 3% raises for the first year of the five-year agreement and 3.75% increases for the remaining four years.

In other matters, the board:

Approved a petition to by Martin Garcia Perez and Olga Perez Perez to develop a 20-site campground in Mission Township

Approved a special permit for a mobile home park in Fall River Township

Approved, with conditions, a petition by the Charles Holzwarth Trust to establish a private commercial airport (for an aerial sprayer/crop duster) in Osage Township

Next meets Jan. 11, 2024