Lori Mitchell photo The Journal
Sheriff Gary Caruana, Village Administrator Tim Savage and Public Safety Coordinator Lt. Pete Dal Pra.

Recognition for jobs well done offered by Machesney Park mayor
By Bob Balgemann
Mayor Steve Johnson is continuing to recognize people in the village for their roles in making it a better place to live, work and play.
During the May 20 village board meeting he took time to say thank you to a wide range of people, including an incoming senior at Harlem High School, Winnebago County sheriff’s officials, and two long-time employees of the village.
Hannah Herrera has followed in the footsteps of her older brother, Abraham, in serving as a liaison between the high school and village. She is entering her senior year at Harlem and in 2019-20 will be serving her second year of providing the board and others with news of what’s happening at the school. Her brother also was liaison for two years and currently is in the Marine Corps.
Administrative Assistant Penny Olson and Public Works Director Chad Hunter were honored for their many years of service to the village.
Village Clerk Lori Mitchell, first elected in 2005, recalled commenting once on how she had been around here too long. “I remembered when I combed Penny’s hair in kindergarten for school pictures,” she said. Now Olson is in her 30th year of employment at the village.
Hunter has worked for the village for 20 years.
Mayor Johnson gave each of them an achievement award plaque.
He commended Hunter for his hard work and being out in the middle of the night dealing with various issues, such as snowfall, ice events and flooding. “I do appreciate all your efforts,” he said.
Hunter thanked the village for 20 years of employment.
“Especially on those cold winter nights when it’s snowing,” Clerk Mitchell interjected.
The mayor thought about Olson’s lengthy tenure and said, “Thirty years. Wow! How many (village) administrations have you been with?” he asked.
“Six,” she replied.
“That’s a statement right there,” he said. “The village has had a total of, what, seven?”
“Yes,” Olson answered.
“You probably could tell us quite a few stories,” Johnson continued.
“How much time do you have?” she asked in response.
“As much time as you want,” the mayor said.
Rather than providing any details Olson said a lot had happened in Machesney Park over those 30 years. “A lot of changes,” she said. “What hasn’t changed are the needs of our residents. And that’s what Chad and I have been here for. We have jobs to provide for them. We’ve been able to satisfy a lot of those calls. But you can’t make everybody happy.”
Flooding event
Next to be recognized were Sheriff Gary Caruana and, in particular, Lt. Pete Dal Pra for their responses to the extensive flooding in March.
In response to a report from the National Weather Service on the expected cresting of the Rock River, Johnson recalled the sheriff created a team to deal with related problems, not only in Machesney Park but elsewhere in the county. Lt. Dal Pra, who supervises the sheriff’s force that serves the village, became incident commander.
The lieutenant was presented with a plaque for exemplary service.
“Pete really stepped up,” Sheriff Caruana said. At the same time Dal Pra also was attending the School of Staff and Command at Northwestern University, with classes held two weeks each month between Feb. 4 and June 14, the latter being graduation day.
The sheriff commended Dal Pra for being able to handle all the homework generated by the school, his responsibilities as supervisor of the village’s law enforcement team, and duties as incident commander for the flooding problem.
Dal Pra had one other chore May 20, providing the board and others with a report on law enforcement activities within the village during the month of April. Over that time he said deputies made 528 traffic stops, 10 of them for DUI, made 713 community contacts, and tagged 20 vehicles for being inoperable.

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