A northern Illinois county known for its rich farmland faces questions about how some of that land is being used. Peat mining is a key industry in Whiteside County. Supporters say it provides jobs, and creates opportunities for more open water habitats. But some residents wonder if the payoff is worth it.
Whiteside County's new State’s Attorney is defending a meeting of the County Board’s Democratic majority. The meeting is being investigated by the Illinois attorney general following a complaint it violated the Open Meetings Act. The DeKalb State's Attorney has followed suit in a similar situation.
Meetings Under Review in Whiteside and DeKalb Counties
In Whiteside County, Sauk Valley Media is waiting to hear from the Illinois Attorney General’s office. At issue--whether members of the county board violated the Open Meetings Act. Late last month, members of the board allegedly threatened to call police when a reporter tried to cover a discussion over the selection of a new board chairman. Members contend it was a caucus gathering, not a public meeting.
The Whiteside County portion of a proposed wind farm near Deer Grove won approval Tuesday from the county board, while the Ogle County Board okayed a special-use permit for a wind farm near Baileyville.
Subject to conditions, Ireland-based Mainstream Renewable Power can build seven turbines in far southeastern Whiteside County. The board also approved two others, but officials said those need to get the nod from the Deer Grove village board.