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Mayor commends CPD after incidents

  • Pictured is new Chester Fire Department auxiliary firefighter Aaron Gibbs (left) with Fire Chief Marty Bert. Gibbs was approved by the Chester City Council during Monday's meeting.

    Pictured is new Chester Fire Department auxiliary firefighter Aaron Gibbs (left) with Fire Chief Marty Bert. Gibbs was approved by the Chester City Council during Monday's meeting.
    Pete Spitler/Herald Tribune

By Pete Spitler
updated: 11/10/2017 11:56 PM

The significance of two major police-involved incidents in three days in the city wasn't lost on Chester Mayor Tom Page when he gave his report during Monday's meeting of the City Council.

"Where to begin?" he asked, settling into his chair.

In regard to Saturday's incident on Spring Street, during which Chester police officer Seth Buch was injured attempting to arrest a 17-year-old juvenile suspect, Page said he rode to the scene with Fire Chief Marty Bert.

"I appreciate the way the town comes together on something like that," he said.

Page then highlighted the police standoff on George Street, which started Sunday night and finally came to an end at 7:44 Monday morning after more than eight hours of negotiation between law enforcement and suspect Toby L. Latham.

Latham was taken into custody without incident and has been charged with falsely making a terrorist threat, a Class 1 felony, in alleged connection to the situation.

"I can't say enough thanks to our law enforcement," Page said. "My hat's off to our first responders."

The rest of the meeting was fairly routine. Alderman Mike Blechle noted he had spoken with some unhappy residents of Buena Vista Street who were displeased with the condition of the road during the resurfacing project.

Previously, city engineer Harold Sheffer said workers were to lay down rock so residents can access their homes and driveways.

"I'm going to try and get with Harold and see what we can do," Blechle said.

The council approved Aaron Gibbs as a new auxiliary firefighter. Gibbs replaces Jeremy Homan, who had previously resigned.

Fire Chief Marty Bert noted he had received five applications for the position and standard protocol involves Chester Fire Department personnel taking interested applicants out on a drill and then later voting on who is the right choice.

Bert also noted his department responded to six calls, none of any significance, for service in October with 98 calls for the year.


The following items were approved by the council:

• A raffle license for St. John Booster Club

• Payment of bills in the amount of $114,550.63

• Report of the Evergreen Cemetery clerk - three transactions for $725

• Levying $853,667.99 (4.99 percent increase) in property tax to be levied this year and payable in 2018. The council approved a levy of $813,954.57 last year and can't increase the levy by more than 5 percent per year without a required truth-in-taxation hearing.

"That doesn't mean that's what we're going to get," said city attorney Jeff Kerkhover. "That is just what we are extending for the tax levy this year."

• Richard Mueller planting a 2018 spring crop

• Mayor Tom Page's appointment of Collette Powley, Brandy Maes, Steve Jany, Sarah Roth, Jessica Bland, Chris Koeneman and Melinda Pierson to the Park Board

• Mayor Tom Page's appointment of Shane Wagner to the Beautification/Tourism Commission

• A $9,992.30 proposal from Korando Heating and Cooling for a new furnace/air conditioner for Chester City Hall. The current unit's parts are obsolete and the expense was previously budgeted.

• An ordinance authorizing the sale of two pallets of roller skates to Rhett and Cathy Rinne for $100. The pair, through Flex-Line Automation, had purchased the former Chester Skateland.

• An ordinance authorizing the sale of a Yamaha 4-wheeler for parts. Chester police officer Joe Crain, filling in for Chief Ryan Coffey, said the vehicle had been reported stolen and was recovered in St. Mary, Mo. The credit union didn't want the title and sent the vehicle to the CPD.

• Approving the city Christmas party for Dec. 8 at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

• Approve spending $1,840 for employee holiday gift cards ($50 each).

• Purchasing 40 flags for the Boy Scouts. The expense will come out of the Beautification/Tourism Commission's budget.

• Accept an insurance program by the Illinois Counties Risk Management Trust. The annual renewal is $378,105 and is down $10,297 from last year.