O'Fallon Weekly March 20, 2019

Wednesday March 20, 2019 Girls Lacrosse dominates in season opener Page 14 Trains roll through town ...eventually CSX engines roll eastward to meet up with the assembled train cars outisde of town. (Photo by Scott Nauert) By Nick Miller Weekly Editor O’FALLON - Train enthusiasts and drivers were left wondering when the tracks running through town were going to be used during the first half of the weekend, as the planned CSX rail car movement from Shattuc and Aviston westward took a bit longer than originally planned. Approximately 210 cars were stored east of O’Fallon on the closed rail line. Late last year, the company was approved by the Federal Railroad Administration to move those cars west and store them elsewhere. Since the crossbars had been removed from all of the crossings, CSX had to work within fixed hours of the day and not exceed ten miles per hour. Ad- ditionally, CSX staff and police had to be at every crossing to ensure safety. Due to these restrictions, CSX moved the engine needed to pull the cars east on Wednesday, March 13. They planned to move cars from Shattuc to Aviston on Thursday, March 14, and then make the return trip west to Rose Lake on Friday, March 15. According to local train expert Steven Gilroy, there were questions about how well the plan would work from the start. “If you recall last time, the train stalled in Caseyville as See “Trains” on page 7 In This Edition Calendar..................................................2 News................................................... 3-7 Law & Order............................................8 Education............................................ 9-12 Health & Wellness ���������������������������������� 13 Sports................................................14-15 Community............................................. 16 Milestones.............................................. 17 Vantage Point......................................... 18 Lifestyle.................................................. 19 Fun & Games..........................................20 Marketplace...................................... 21-22 Bon Appétit............................................23 Vol. 4, No. 48 $1.00 City Council candidates get their time in the spotlight at forum The assembled candidates listen to instructions from the forum moderator. Pictured from left: Ward 7 candidates Brian Gibson and Nathan Parchman, Ward 6 candidates Casey Scharven and Tom Vorce, Ward 4 candidates Mary Lynam- Miller and Todd Roach, and Ward 2 candidates Robert Kueker and Jessica Lotz. A chair was prepared for Ward 4 candidate Sarah Atterberry who did not attend. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller) By Angela Simmons & Martha Stoffel Weekly Reporter Weekly Reporter O'FALLON - The O'Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce and O'Fallon Weekly hosted a candidate forum for contested city council races on Thursday, March 14. WARD 2 Jessica Lotz was selected to provide opening remarks for Ward 2, and she discussed why she would be the right fit for city council. “I have attended city meetings for two years, and I can see where my talents and interests align with what the city needs at this time,” said the O’Fallon native and OTHS graduate. Lotz discussed a decade of experience managing a large physician’s practice in O’Fallon, and related her professio- nal experience to the “Medical Mile” and specialty care coming to the area. “Having medical buildings isn’t enough. There are other infrastructure and commercial considerations to promoting our healthcare success.” Lotz’s husband, Craig, and her son, Ryan, are also active in the communi- ty. She said that her experience as the mom of a child that both uses the busy O’Fallon Sports Park and travels for games helps give her insight into what families want and need when they come to town for games. Bob Kueker has been the sitting alder- man for Ward 2 for the past four years. He and his wife are OTHS graduates, and he has served as a District 90 school board member and an O’Fallon Public Library board member, as well as other service positions. Kueker holds an MBA with a focus on accounting, and is a retired banker. He explained that he was fiscally conserva- tive, and “will make the best decisions to assure your money is spent in the most fiscally responsible manner.” He continued to explain that he has voted against increasing the city debt and vo- ted against the sale of the city water. Kueker was the first to answer during the random question round, answering “How can you help foster involvement of the residents in your ward in the day to day operations of the city?” He explained that he has held two ward meetings that have had low attendance, and he would consider advertising more, including possibly taking out paid ads to catch the attention of residents. He would also consider forming a Ward 2 Facebook page to allow for bringing in even more residents. Lotz was asked how she could balance the needs of the ward with the needs of the city. “I actually really enjoy the idea of being one of 14 elected officials. I think this balance to government is what keeps us on our toes and makes us more efficient. Being one of 14 allows you the opportunity to consider the best interests of the city as we move forward in certain things, but it also enables you to look at the residents who voted to elect you and figure out f this specific issue is something that will maybe disproportio- nately affect your ward more than other wards,” she said. Both candidates were asked why they felt they were more qualified than their opponent to be elected to city council. Lotz was first to answer. “I have worked hard to build O’Fallon through service to others. I enjoy seeing others succeed. I’m running for office because I want to continue that success. Most importantly, I’m an involved resident. Through my participation in the Chamber of Commerce where I served as the Vice President and ultimately the President, and working in various leadership groups, boards of directors, local fundraising committees and the PTO, I have worked hard to connect with residents and give back in meanin- gful ways. Being involved keeps me in constant communication with residents,” she explained, adding that she will be ready to go on day one since she has attended meetings for two years, and that her constant resident communication gives her a sense of what people want to see in O’Fallon. Kueker said “Going through all the phases of life in O’Fallon is a great advantage, even up to the retired person. I see what people need from young to old.” Kueker said that he also said that he has an insight into the sports park through his athletic granddaughter. He continued “I think the biggest challenge the City of O’Fallon phases is managing growth. We need to prioritize public safety, infrastructure needs, and maintain our future quality of life.” Kueker said that O’Fallon schools should also be a priority, and should be ever present in the planning of the city’s future. Both candidates were also asked about possibly expanding Seven Hills Road to help alleviate traffic concerns. Kueker answered first saying “Yes. I think it’s one of the priorities among many others. Seven Hills Road is the only intersector between Smiley and Scott-Troy Road, so it gets a lot of traffic. Granted some of it is at specific times, but always traffic, and it’s not fa- vorable for safety in my opinion. I think the speed limit is too fast. I’ve already talked to some of the city managers about reducing that speed limit to 30 miles an hour. It gives kids more time to get across, gives people more time to pull out of their driveways safely. I See “Forum” on page 5