This fall, the city councils of Sterling and Rock Falls met in a rare joint session to give final approval to a merger of their two fire departments.
Gary Cook is the Chief of the new Twin City Joint Fire Command. He says the merger was the logical end result of an organic process, one that’s been going on for some time.
“Our automatic aid agreement was signed 15 years ago. So we had since worked forward from that point. We’re polishing what we’d already been doing. We’re just taking to another level and making it better.”
We continue our series "Community Close-Up" in a town known for its sense of adventure. The founder of Polo named it after Venetian explorer Marco Polo. Today, the rural city of 2500 holds onto a strong bank of memories, thanks to longtime residents.
On a recent Tuesday, a dozen women gather for an hour-long exercise class inside the Polo Senior Center. They start with sitting exercises and bounce foam balls off of their knees.
Our series of Community Close-ups continues with a look at the City of Sandwich, Illinois. The city is perhaps best known for the Sandwich Fair, which bills itself as the oldest continuing county fair in Illinois. But what about the rest of the year? A place in the city’s downtown that has served as a focus of the community for generations. And it’s even older than the fair.
The fire destroyed the city's historical society. The second floor held vintage clothing, which could not be salvaged. Firefighters were able to rescue some items: papers, pictures and paintings. They arrived in various levels of disrepair at a nearby factory for "historical triage." Two boys are charged with starting the July 15 blaze.
Charlene Hanson now spends her days organizing black-and-white photos from Prophetstown's past at the nearby Penberthy factory. Box fans are set on full blast to dry out the hundreds of pictures in neat piles around her.
The LaSalle-Peru area is known for tourist attractions, namely Starved Rock State Park. It’s also home to a river rescue team that claims to be one of the oldest in the country. This volunteer group has served the community for more than 60 years.
We continue our “Community Close-Up” series with a proposed change to the educational structure in Freeport.
At Center Elementary School, some third grade students each have what are called “choice boards.” They get to choose when they will do each activity during the week, and then highlight each box when they complete a task.
As you head off Interstate 39 and drive west toward Mendota, the sign inviting you to the city’s annual summer sweet corn festival reminds you that you’re in farm country. The big Del Monte processing plant further in confirms that. But manufacturing has long been a big part of Mendota’s economy, too. So R.R. Donnelley was hailed back in 1992 when it bought a closed local printing plant, adding high-skilled, high-wage jobs to the community.