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Cemetery work, a guilty plea, readying for growth

Reviewing top stories of the year, Part 3

The Paynes were named the 2018 Conservation Farm Family of the Year by the LaSalle County Soil and Water Conservation District. Jim Payne (center) leads Payne Farms, with help from sons Brian and Jimmy.
The Paynes were named the 2018 Conservation Farm Family of the Year by the LaSalle County Soil and Water Conservation District. Jim Payne (center) leads Payne Farms, with help from sons Brian and Jimmy.

This is the third and final part in a review of the top stories appearing in the Tonica News during 2018.

Sept. 7

Payne Farms, led by Jim Payne with help from sons Brian and Jimmy, is named the 2018 Conservation Farm Family of the Year by the LaSalle County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Putnam County State’s Attorney Christina Judd-Mennie adds three counts of murder to the charges against Richard Henderson, 26, of Standard. Henderson is suspected of killing 16-year-old Diamond Bradley, of Spring Valley, and leaving her body along a rural Putnam County road.

Sept. 14

The LaSalle County Board approves several solar farm proposals. Locations include East Eighth Road in Vermilion Township, East 17th Road in Earl Township, and East Seventh Road in Richland Township, as well as U.S. Route 34 in Mendota Township and North 46th Road in Meriden Township.

Sept. 21

The St. Paul’s Lutheran Church near Tonica celebrates its 150th anniversary. Founded in 1868, the church has many decades worth of memories, photos and memorabilia for the congregants to share in celebration of this milestone.

Richard A. Henderson, accused of the January killing of a Bureau County teen, announces in court he’s decided to waive his right to a jury trial. He’ll instead face the decision of a lone judge during his trial, scheduled to begin Dec. 17. Henderson was taken into custody on Feb. 5 after investigators linked him to Diamond Bradley through interviews, surveillance footage, and cell phone data.

Sept. 28

The Tonica School Board discusses suspicions regarding out-of-district students attending Tonica Grade School as though they reside in district, without paying the out-of-district tuition fees.

State Rep. Jerry Long gives his account of an incident that brought about harassment allegations, admitting he touched a former co-worker’s neck, but saying he doesn’t believe he did anything wrong.

Oct. 5

The Tonica Grade School Band takes delivery of its newly acquired musical instruments.

State Rep. Jerry Long releases an apology to a former co-worker who said she was physically harassed, among other complaints, leading the state GOP to pull resources from his campaign and ask for his resignation.

Oct. 12

A fundraising walk is scheduled at St. Bede Academy for two-year-old Everett Jamison, of Lostant, who has been diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy.

Lostant continues preparations to submit a new application for a $500,000 grant to help pay for its water tower project.

Oct. 19

The Tonica Village Board reports it is having to fight the construction of a beaver’s dam in Bailey Creek.

Oct. 26

Tonica Grade School staff and students enjoy a ball-spinning visit from the Harlem Wizard’s Jimmy “Live Action” Bosque before their game at L-P High School.

Nov. 2

Gov. Bruce Rauner announces the state recently acquired 2,629 acres of property in LaSalle County near Oglesby “to protect natural resources and expand recreation opportunities, tourism and economic development near Starved Rock and Matthiessen state parks.”

Nov. 9

Convicted murderer Clifford A. Andersen files an appeal to the Appellate Court in Ottawa. Andersen, 68, of Standard, was sentenced Aug. 24 to 60 years in prison for the murder of his sister-in-law, Deborah Dewey, of Ladd. He also was found guilty of concealment of a homicidal death during his two-week trial in July and received an additional concurrent sentence of five years in prison for that crime.

Nov. 16

While it was expected that Public Defender Roger Bolin would file motions in Putnam County Court for the upcoming bench trial of Richard A. Henderson for the murder of 16-year-old Diamond Bradley, the plea deal sentencing Henderson to 53 years in prison was a surprise.

The Tonica Telephone Co. continues its work to bring high-speed fiber optic services to the community.

Nov. 23

The Tonica Volunteer Fire Department’s annual Deer and Chili Night fundraiser serves 140 people, and a large amount of local hunters enter their trophies after a successful day. Twelve deer were brought to the department the evening of Saturday, Nov. 17, enough to make it noteworthy, but 11 of those deer were bucks. And of those 11, the majority were in possession of impressive antlers.

Nov. 30

Having received no results in its search for bus drivers, the Lostant School District is looking to turn toward contracted transport, according to Superintendent Sandra Malahy.

The Adventures of Backwoods Brock and the A-Team share their outdoor knowledge and love for hunting and fishing with those who don’t have the means or resources to do so regularly.

Dec. 7

A benefactor, Don Fike, president of the Donald E. Fike Family Foundation, announces his continued support of the Tonica Cemetery Association by pledging to match any donations made through the end of the year to help preserve and maintain the village’s historic cemeteries.

Dec. 14

The LaSalle County Highway Department announces plans to make $5.8 million in repairs to approximately 63.8 miles of roadway in 2019. In addition, $2.8 million is budgeted for bridge, culvert and draining projects across the county.

Dec. 21

The Tonica Village Board is looking to welcome a new Dollar General store. The village board, led by Bob Anderson in the absence of Village President Kevin Sluder, approves the project’s building permit, adding the addition to its slate of upcoming developments, which includes a new Casey’s General Store.

Dec. 28

The Tonica School Board approves a new tax levy, opting for the lowest presented option — an increase of 4.55 percent.

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