DeKalb County News Briefs

Chronicle Media

As of Jan. 1, a new law names corn as at the official state grain.


Corn officially becomes state grain

Illinois has a state bird, a state tree and even a state song. As of Jan. 1, 2018, it will have a state grain: corn. The legislation was sponsored by State Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer of Jacksonville and was inspired by the Pittsfield High School agriculture development class, which did extensive research on corn’s impact on the state. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the legislation into law in August, and the law becomes effective Jan. 1.

As of February 2017, Illinois had 72,200 farms. Most farm acreage in Illinois is devoted to grain, mainly corn and soybeans.


City budget has $1.5 million deficit

The DeKalb City Council has approved a budget for fiscal 2018 with a $1.5 million deficit. The budget was passed by a 6-2 vote Dec. 11. The budget has $92.2 million in revenue and $93.7 million in expenditures.

The City Council also authorized the 2017 property tax levy, which will fund portions of the DeKalb police and fire pensions, but will not fund the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. These shortfalls, totaling about $518,000, will be made up by general fund revenues.

Police end some fingerprinting service

The DeKalb Police Department will no longer provide inked fingerprint services to the public. With its limited staff, the department said can no longer handle the high number of requests from students, banks, lawyers, hospital staff and other various other sources. Fingerprint services will continue to be provided only to city of DeKalb licensees and non-profit groups conducting business within city limits.

The department said the public should go to private companies that offer fingerprinting services, but declined to recommend one company over another.

Fire department gets high marks which might help insurance rates

A national rating system, which evaluates public fire protection services, has placed the DeKalb Fire Department in the top 4 percent of departments nationwide.

The Insurance Services awarded the department a Class 2 rating, evaluating the department, water system and emergency communications systems.

The high rating could mean good news for some local home owner and businesses who might see lower fire insurance premiums because of the rating. Insurance companies use these ratings to help establish fair premiums for homeowner and commercial fire insurance on properties located within 5 miles of a DeKalb fire station.

The new rating will take effect March 1. 

Local residents and business can visit with their local insurance agents to see how this rating might affect them.

City lists locations for warming shelters

DeKalb has a number of warming shelters when people who need to get out of the cold can find respite.

The DeKalb Senior Center at 330 Grove St., the park district’s Haish Gymnasium at 303 S. Ninth St., and the public library at 309 Oak St. are designated warming centers. Their hours are as follows:

  • Senior center: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Haish Gym: 6 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 6 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Thursday, 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Saturday
  • Library: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday

If those centers are closed, Hope Haven, 1145 Rushmoore Drive, is a no-turn-away shelter. To find a warming center or report lack of heat in a building, call (815) 748-2070 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or (815) 748-8460, ext. 9, after hours.


Music Boosters announce 2018 benefit

Mark the calendar for the Feb. 10 Sycamore Music Boosters fundraiser. The 10th annual event, “A Note to Remember,” will be held 7 to 11 p.m. at Blumen Gardens, 403 Edward St., Sycamore.

The event will feature music by the Karl Montzka Trio, Jazz in Progress, SHS Jazz Ensemble, Sycamore High School Jazz Choir and other SHS school ensembles. An hors d’oevures buffet and a coffee bar will be included and a cash bar will be available.

A limited number of tickets are available for the adult-only event at $30 apiece, and are available for purchase at all upcoming Sycamore school concerts, Sycamore High School main office, Northern Rehab Physical Therapy Specialists office in DeKalb, Kar Fre Flowers, Shawn’s Coffee Shop, via email at, or by calling Clare Dempsey at (815) 751-8388.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. More information and application forms are at

Education foundation wants to hire executive director

The all-volunteer Sycamore Education Foundation is hoping the hiring of an executive director will net more contributions. On its own, the foundation raised about $46,000 in 2016. Similar organizations increased their fundraising with the help of a full-time employee, and the foundation wants to do the same.

The foundation wants to hire an executive director for a salary of $50,000 a year for three years, and already has an anonymous donation to cover the first two years of salary. It wants to raise the balance so that it does not use foundation funds for salary.

The district will give a presentation to a group of potential donors in January to begin raising the rest of the necessary funds.


–DeKalb County News Briefs–