Friday, February 12, 2010


By Kerr Yost

(Monmouth, IL) If you live in Monmouth, you’ve probably been aware - and sometime peeved - at especially loud whistles from passing trains. Many residents are asking why an ordinance isn’t in place declaring Monmouth a “quiet zone,” an area where trains are not allowed to blow their whistles.

Federal law requires trains to blow their whistle at every crossing and these whistles are louder today than they used to be. About 2-3 years ago, the Federal Railroad Administration raised the decibel level of whistles due to all the distractions people have today such as cell phones and iPods, according to Simon Cordery, professor of history at Monmouth College as well as a specialist on trains.

“There are some things that would have to be done in order for an ordinance to be passed,” explains Jan Helms, executive administrative assistant for Monmouth City Hall. “It’s not a quick fix kind of thing.”

Cordery agrees with Helms on the difficulty of passing an ordinance. “A few requirements have to be met in order to establish a quiet zone.” These requirements include closing grade crossings, putting in crossing gates and adding fencing to prevent cars from going around the gates. All of which would require substantial costs.

In Galesburg, the expense of passing an ordinance extinguished the hope of creating quiet zones. However, Barrington, IL, a Suburb of Chicago, successfully passed an ordinance in 2008 after countless residents complained about the noise and number of trains passing through the city.

Discussions were held in the past about the possibility of beginning the process to pass an ordinance in Monmouth, but complaints from residents about the trains diminished. Helms understands the concern many residents have with the train whistles. “Would the residents like them (train whistles) to stop? Definitely.”

By Derick Keist

(Monmouth, Ill.) The city is preparing to clear its streets of the 175 inoperable vehicles that have been identified in Monmouth. An inoperable vehicle is defined as one that will not start or is not licensed or registered.

City Administrator Eric Hanson warned that those who own an inoperable vehicle can expect to hear from the city soon. They will receive a notice to remove or store the vehicles. “It’s a problem that needs to be resolved,” said Hanson. “We’re hoping to put a good dent in cleaning up that problem by spring.”

Police Chief Brad Zeigler said if the owners do not take care of the situation, the city will eventually tow the vehicle to the junkyard.

According to Hanson, the city has a local ordinance in place that gives the city the ability to tag a vehicle and leave a notice alerting the owner to take care of the vehicle. After a set period of time, the city then has the right to tow the vehicle.

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