O'Fallon Weekly May 23, 2018

Despite rain, community has fun at fourth annual NickFest Page 14 Missing O'Fallon man found in Arkansas River following search Wednesday May 23, 2018 Vol. 4, No. 5 $1.00 District 90 Board Member under fire for comments about library program Emails from Springer to superintendent cause increased criticism, calls for resignation By Nick Miller Weekly Editor Brennan Willis, 28, who went missing on Saturday evening in Little Rock, Arkansas, was found Monday afternoon in the Arkansas River. He was in town for a wedding. (Photo courtesy of Missing - Bring Bryn Willis Home Facebook page) By Nick Miller Weekly Editor O'FALLON - The search for a missing O’Fallon man in Little Rock, Arkansas, tragically ended Monday afternoon when he was found dead in the Arkansas River by local police. Brennan "Bryn" Willis, 28, was visiting Little Rock for a friend’s wedding. He was last seen Saturday evening at around 10:30 p.m. as he was leaving his hotel for a late jog. Fox 2 News reported that Willis and his brother debated go- ing to find a bar after the wedding ceremony, but chose not to. Instead, Willis went for his run. His mother reported that she received a phone call from him about an hour later. Willis also reportedly posted to Snapchat at around 11:30 p.m. placing him near Robinson Center. Willis had worked at the O’Fallon Parks and Recreation Department since 2009. Members of the Parks and Rec travelled down to Little Rock to assist the family with the search. Willis’s mother, Sue, teaches at LaVerna Evans Elementary School. A cause of death has not been revealed. Willis was recov- ered in a portion of the river located behind the Marriott Hotel near the Old State House in downtown Little Rock. Authorities responded after receiving a call at around 1:15 p.m. from a hotel guest who reported seeing him in the water from their window. Willis's family created a Facebook page, called Missing - Bring Bryn Willis Home, to aid in the search. Monday evening, the following statement was posted to the page: "Thank you all for your prayers, love and support over the last two days. It is with a heavy heart that we announce that Bryn has been found See “O'Fallon Man Found” on page 8 O’FALLON - A large crowd of parents, teachers, and residents descended upon the District 90 Board of Education meeting held on May 15 to express their displeasure with the statements made by Board Member Steve Springer at a recent City Council meeting about a program held at the city library. The library event focused on a book, “Justice Makes a Differ- ence: The Story of Miss Freedom Fighter, Esquire,” and taught children age five and older about civil rights, community service, and how to impact the world in District 90 Board Member Jason Boone (right) called for fellow Board Member Steve Springer to resign during the meeting held on positive ways. Springer however May 15. Additionally, Boone asked Superintendent Carrie Hruby to research whether the Board had the option to remove Springer. felt the event taught social activ- Springer has come under fire for comments made about a program at the O'Fallon Library and emails sent to the superintendent. ism and was indoctrinating the (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller) city’s youth. “I simply objected to the politi- pointed out that each of the booklets had a “When I spoke at the April 16 City Coun- cal overtones. My objection was and is that sticker on the back indicating the book was cil meeting, I was not objecting to a book, the presentation, as advertised, happened at a gift from the Metro-East Pachyderm Club, its subject matter, its author, or its presenter. an inappropriate venue and was aimed at an a civic organization that is aligned with the There was never any attempt to hinder or inappropriate audience,” Springer said. Republican Party. disrupt that library event,” Springer said. A long line of angry residents took Roskos also questioned whether or not Springer explained that his problem was advantage of the public comment portion Springer was objecting to the library’s the term “social justice” that was used in of the Board of Education meeting, with a program because of the race of the main char- marketing the event. Springer said he wanted great number calling on Springer to resign his acter, who is black. He asked Springer what to express his belief that the public library position. Springer was re-elected to his third was in the book that he objected to. should make presentations suitable for the en- term on the Board in April 2017 and won’t “What current preachings of social justice tire community and not sub-groups within it. come up for re-election again until the spring did you object to, sir? Civil rights, Brown However, during the second public of 2021. versus the Board of Education, desegrega- comment portion of the evening, Roskos Ray Roskos, who represents the district’s tion in schools, and women’s rights? Are you continued to argue that Springer was racist, teachers union and is a parent to two children kidding me? It’s 2018!” Roskos said. “People producing emails he had obtained from the in District 90, was the first to speak. Roskos of color all have the same rights you and I district through the Freedom of Information accused Springer of attempting to indoc- have.” Act. In the emails, which detail how the trinate children through his position as a Springer objected to the idea he is racist board member by giving junior high students and said he had no problem with the book See “District 90” on page 9 copies of the United States Constitution. He itself. Council gives early approval to car wash proposal By Martha Stoffel Weekly Reporter O'FALLON - Preliminary approval was granted for the development of a new large car wash on Highway 50. The Council approved on first reading an ordinance rezoning of the lot at 1701 West Highway 50 from B2 General Busi- ness District to B1 Community Busi- ness District. A proposal for a new car wash, known as Tommy’s Car Wash, will construct a new, 5,190 square foot tunnel car wash with 18 outdoor vacuum stations after demolition of the current structure previously used by Car Credit City. A Hampton Inn hotel project at 430 Regency Park has received approval from council of vested rights to proceed with final construction documents. City code has a provision if there are sub- stantial, unrecoverable costs outlaid by the developer on a project, they become vested in the project and don’t have to go back through the normal zoning and planned use process. In this case, the de- veloper has spent a considerable amount of money on engineering plans and even grading the land. In 2007, a planned use permit was approved for the construc- tion of the existing Hilton Garden Inn, the Conference Center and a Hampton Inn. Following completion of the Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center, plans were put on hold for the Hampton Inn due to the recession. Council approved two purchases for the Parks and Recreation department, a pre-driven bus and Perry Weather System for the Sports Park and Community Park. A 2010 International IC CE200 bus will be purchased for $40,000 from Southern Bus and Mobility. The bus has low mile- age (42,000 miles), an ADA accessible lift, and coach seating with seats belts. O’Fallon Parks and Recreation staff is hoping this particular bus will allow them to expand their program offerings, in addition to providing a better, long-term option for their summer camp program. The Perry Weather System is a mass See “O'Fallon Council” on page 9