Posts Tagged Cherry Valley Fire Protection District

Cherry Valley Fire Protection District news

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The Cherry Valley Fire Protection District wants a proposed $2.25 million bond sale that will go before voters on the March 17 ballot. The owner of a $100,000 home will see a $22 annual increase in property taxes over the 10-year life of the bonds.

If voters approve the proposal, district officials will use the money to pay off debt related to construction of Station No. 2 at 4919 Blackhawk Road, $1.1 million; improvements to the district’s downtown administration building, $92,764; and purchases of two used firetrucks, $780,254; and a new ambulance, $300,000.  The district makes annual loan payments of $272,151 plus $77,163 per year in interest which prevent officials from being able to sock away money to pay for future firetrucks and building repairs.

The Cherry Valley Fire Protection District is a separate taxing body from the village of Cherry Valley. The district covers 30 square miles and serves a population of 31,000 people. Station No. 2 was built in 2001.

Like many fire departments around the nation, the Cherry Valley Fire Protection District found it difficult to attract and retain volunteer firefighters. To maintain an adequate level of protection for its 30-square-mile service area, in 2006 the district began to employ full-time firefighters but capital funding stopped. Two years later, the recession hit. The district’s two primary sources of revenue, property taxes and ambulance fees, have failed to keep pace with rising operating expenses.

The district’s operating budget has nearly doubled, from $2.3 million in the 2005-2006 fiscal year to $4.5 million this fiscal year. Of that amount, $2.3 million is budgeted for wages and benefits for the administrative staff, 15 full-time firefighters and 25 paid on-call firefighters. They have instituted several cost-saving measures which included streamlining the district’s fleet of vehicles by eliminating two rescue squads, one grass rig, one ambulance, one utility vehicle, and two trailers. The district’s remaining vehicles, however, are aging and often need costly repairs. Less than four years ago three fire trucks, purchased in 1988, 1997, and 2008, all broke down at the same time. Cherry Valley found itself leasing a reserve fire truck from Rockford at a rate of $500 a day until the trucks were repaired. Other cost-saving measures included elimination of two annual events — the vehicle extrication competition, which Cherry Valley firefighters hosted, and the district’s awards ceremony. The elimination of the two events saved the district about $30,000.

Public presentations about the referendum question are scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 27 and 2 p.m. Feb. 29

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Cherry Valley Fire Department news

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63-year-old Cherry Valley Fire Department Lt. Neal Johnson was struck while directing traffic on Newburg Road bridge Wednesday night as the Vets Roll convoy approached on I-90 at about 9:30 p.m.

The Vets Roll caravan was on one lane of the bridge, leaving the second lane open for normal traffic. Lt. Johnson was stopping the traffic on his side of the bridge when a van hit him. He was wearing a reflective safety vest at the time.

Lt. Johnson was taken to the hospital for several bone fractures, considered non-life threatening injuries. Johnson has been with the department since August 1988. The incident remains under investigation.

Vets Roll took 200 veterans from WWII and the Korean War Era by bus convoy to Washington D.C. to visit memorial locations.

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New area apparatus orders

  • Cherry Valley Fire Protection District – Pierce Enforcer PUC pumper, Cummins L9 450-hp engine; 1,500-gpm single-stage pump; 750-gallon water tank; 30-gallon foam cell; Husky 3 Class A foam system. 
  • East Joliet Fire Department – Ferrara Cinder rescue-pumper, Cummins L9 450-hp engine; 1,750-gpm pump; 750-gallon tank. 
  • Galena Fire Department – Rosenbauer Commander, T-Rex 115-foot articulating aerial platform quint, Cummins ISX15 600-hp engine; 2,000-gpm pump; 300-gallon tank. 
  • Grayslake Fire Protection District – Rosenbauer Commander top-mount pumper, Cummins L9 450-hp engine; 1,500-gpm pump; 750-gallon tank. 
  • Central Stickney Fire Protection District – Pierce Enforcer PUC 107-foot Ascendant aerial ladder, Cummins L9 450-hp engine; 1,500-gpm single-stage pump; 500-gallon tank; Harrison 8-kW generator. 

thanks Josh 

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Cherry Valley Fire Protection District news

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Cherry Valley officially has a new fire chief. After a 28 year career with the Rockford Fire Department, Division Chief Joe Corl is leaving one role to accept another as the fire chief of the Cherry Valley Fire Protection District.

Chief Coral says the first things on the docket will be replacing some equipment, a maintenance program, and working hard on recruiting part time firefighters.

District Chief Michele Pankow a 24-year veteran of the Rockford Fire Department has been named the new division chief of operations for the Rockford Fire Department.

thanks Dennis

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Cherry Valley Fire Protection District news

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Rockford Fire Department Division Chief Joe Corl has announced he will be retiring in January and will be taking over as fire chief for another Stateline community.

Corl will be accepting the position of fire chief for the Cherry Valley Fire Protection District in neighboring Cherry Valley.

Corl has served on the Rockford Fire Department since March of 1989, most recently serving as the Division Chief of Operations. He will retire from his position in Rockford on January 27, 2017 and assume his new duties in Cherry Valley on January 30.

District Chief Michele Pankow, who has served on the Rockford Fire Department for over 24 years, has been named as the new Division Chief of Operations. Chief Pankow will take over full responsibilities for the position on February 3, 2017.

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Cherry Valley Fire Protection District news

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A contract for fire chief was offered Friday by the Cherry Valley Fire Protection District, Gary Maitland, president of the district’s board of trustees said today.

The name of the finalist is not being released until after the candidate passes background and physical tests, as he is expected to do, Maitland said. His name may be announced at the trustees’ Dec. 7 meeting, and he likely will begin work in January.

The new chief will replace Craig Wilt, who retired in May after 44 years with the department. Interim Chief Doug Hayes did not apply. Maitland said two candidates from within the department were among the finalists.

All the candidates were male. Eight underwent an assessment, and four were interviewed by trustees. All were from Illinois. The finalist has more than 20 years of experience in firefighting.

Trustees haven’t finalized a salary, but the job was advertised for $95,000. The new chief likely will have a 2.5-year contract, as the district wants to get the contract in line with the fiscal year.

The district covers 35 square miles in the Village of Cherry Valley and unincorporated Winnebago County, serving 21,158 residents. There are 19 full-time employees; all are firefighters and paramedics except one, who holds only firefighting credentials. The district also pays 40 volunteer firefighters when they are on a call or at training.

The district has two fire stations with an annual budget of $3.4 million, which comes from taxes and ambulance service calls.

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Cherry Valley Fire Protection District news

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A firefighter was sentenced Monday to probation for four years after pleading guilty to charges of theft of more than $10,000 from the fraternal organization affiliated with Cherry Valley Fire Protection District.

In addition to probation, Nicholas Homerding was ordered by Winnebago County Judge John Lowry to pay $16,225 in restitution to the Cherry Valley Firefighters Association.

Homerding had previously served as a board member and treasurer for the association that raised several thousand dollars a year to pay for t-shirts, student scholarships, and annual picnics for the firefighters.

He embezzled the money between Jan. 1, 2013, and July 1, 2015. The association has since tightened its bylaws to require the signatures of two board officers on any check.

Homerding, a Rockford resident, was a paid on-call Cherry Valley firefighter. He was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the case after being indicted in February. He has since been fired from the department and ordered to have no contact with the Cherry Valley Firefighters Association.

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Cherry Valley Fire Protection District news

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Three Cherry Valley Fire Protection District engines all wound up in the shop [at once]. “Everything broke at the same time, it seems,” said Allen Geeser, battalion fire chief for the district. One of the district’s trucks was in the shop for scheduled service. Then the oil pump went on another, and the springs and rear axle went on the third.

So for $500 a day, Cherry Valley is leasing a reserve fire engine from Rockford. The Rockford City Council Monday approved a short-term contract so the village can use a truck from the city’s reserve fleet.

“In order to ensure adequate protection for citizens of Cherry Valley, we graciously accepted an offer from the City of Rockford to loan us apparatus,” said Geeser.

Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten said the city has several reserve engines, … but they aren’t typically leased to other departments.

“When I heard they didn’t have any engines, I called up last Wednesday and said we have one I think you could use,” Bergsten said. “We just wanted to make sure they had the same level of fire protection.”

The fire engine breakdowns in Cherry Valley are likely to bring an equipment review for the person hired to replace Chief Craig Wilt, who retired May 24.

“One of the things we’re going to be asking the new district chief to do is to put together an apparatus plan,” said Gary Maitland, president of the fire protection district’s board, who noted the district’s fire engines were purchased in 1988, 1997 and 2008.

He said it may be time to start planning to replace the 28-year-old engine with a new model that could cost from $450,000 for a base model to about $600,000 for one with with all the bells and whistles.

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Crash victim thanks firefighters and paramedics that saved his life

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Cody Drummer couldn’t remember most of the people who saved his life after he was pinned under a garbage truck last November, but he still wanted to meet and thank them … and recently he got that opportunity.

He was in the car with his family, and thought they were going to lunch. Instead, they pulled into the parking lot of Cherry Valley Fire Protection District Station 2 in Rockford. Drummer was helped from the back seat into a wheelchair while about a dozen local firefighters and paramedics waited.

He shook their hands and thanked them for playing a vital role in saving his life.

Drummer, of Rockford, was joined by his mother, and his wife of nine months, Cassidy. The couple are expecting a baby girl in June.

“In the first days after Cody’s accident, there were a lot of times that I sat next to Cody’s bed, praying that the Lord would give us an opportunity for this to happen,” she said, fighting back tears. “It just means the world to us. These people will always have a place in our hearts.”

“That means my baby (will) have a dad, so I’m just really thankful,” his wife Cassidy said.

On Nov. 9, Drummer was driving a garbage truck along Baxter Road when a pickup crossed into his lane and collided with his truck, pushing it on its side.

A second passenger in the garbage truck was OK, but Drummer was pinned underneath. A Maggio’s tow truck lifted some of the weight off him as Cherry Valley firefighters spent about an hour cutting him from the wreck. He was then airlifted to the hospital. The Cherry Valley, New Milford, and Stillman Valley fire departments responded.

“I just wanted to thank them,” Drummer said. “They didn’t have to sign up for this job. They do this because they love saving people. They’re heroes, basically, and I just wanted to thank them.”

With his left leg in a splint and neck in a brace, Drummer was wheeled around the fire station parking lot so that he could express his gratitude. Before he arrived, a LifeFlight helicopter similar to the OSF LifeLine that airlifted him from the accident scene landed in the parking lot so he could see the aircraft up close.

Among those he met was Steve Reuss, a firefighter and paramedic with Cherry Valley who was the first to speak with Drummer. Reuss then transported the critically injured driver of the other vehicle to the hospital. A medical condition apparently caused him to lose control of his truck; he is recovering from his injuries.

Reuss said this is just the second time in 20 years he’s been able to follow up with someone whose life he saved.

“This is nice,” he said. “Doing this long enough, you don’t get to see people, you don’t get to know how they ended up. Nowadays, with all the [privacy], you can’t really follow up on anything. You never really know how they’re doing, unless you read it in the newspaper or their obituary.”

Lt. Lane Person of the Stillman Valley Fire Department was at the scene of the accident; he also works for a private ambulance company in Loves Park that has taken Drummer to his appointments in Rockford and Madison, Wisconsin.

“I feel great,” he said. “I’m extremely thankful for all this, and it makes me even more excited that I’m still here to be able to be with my wife and family.”


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