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Steve Eyrich is sworn-in as Ward I alderman by City Clerk Gail Lane during Tuesday’s Hoopeston City Council meeting.

The Hoopeston City Council filled a vacancy that had lasted for several months Tuesday night when Steve Eyrich was sworn-in as the new Ward I alderman.

Eyrich has lived in Hoopeston since 1960 and moved into Ward I a year ago. He graduated Hoopeston High School and from the University of Illinois before working for FMC for 26 years where he reached the position of senior manufacturing engineer. After FMC left town, Eyrich went to truck-driving school, drove for awhile then purchased his own truck. He’s been a member of the Star Lodge for more than 45 years and joined the Hoopeston Jaycees in 1977.

“In each of these organizations, he’s held about every office there is,” Mayor Bill Crusinberry said while introducing Eyrich as his choice to appoint to the position of Ward I alderman. “So I think he’d be a good person to fill this vacancy.”

The council approved Eyrich’s appointment to the position 6-0 with Alderwoman Lourdine Florek abstaining.

In a separate discussion, Alderman Jeff Wise discussed the city’s efforts to clear the snow heavy snow that blanketed the area Monday.

He said city crews were out most of the day on Monday and well into the morning hours on Tuesday and continued their efforts throughout the rest of Tuesday.

Wise expressed his appreciation to the parks and water department personnel who all chipped in to help the street and alley department clear the snow. He said this approach went over pretty well with parks and water department employees clearing snow in a few places that freed up street and alley workers to spend more time on the roads.

Wise addressed complaints from city residents about driveways being blocked by snow while the roads are being cleared.

He said there isn’t a solution for that as the city can’t clear everyone’s driveways.

Wise also addressed concerns about snow drifting in the alleyways. He said they had hoped the park department would be able to address this with their equipment, but there was too much snow for the equipment to handle.

Wise hopes they can make some progress on the alleys soon, but noted that he had contacted a few surrounding towns and asked how they handled alley snow clearance and reported that Watseka and Rossville don’t clear their alleys.

“Anything that we do is above and beyond,” Wise said. “We’re trying our best, so just work with us is all I can ask.”

Wise said he is looking into asking the park department to utilize some of its equipment to clear snow from city sidewalks in the downtown area and in some of the city properties.

Wise also said he is looking into the possibility of towing cars that aren’t moved from roadways one snow routes when snow routes are activated.

He said the city has gotten complaints from people about cars that are being snowed by snow plows.

Wise said the city has repeatedly asked residents not to park their cars in these locations when snow routes are activated and have consistently been ignored.

He hopes that these issues can just be resolved by asking the police to knock on doors during snow route activations to ask residents to move their cars, but, if this doesn’t work, then they will need to look at the possibility of towing cars.

In other business:

- Odette Hyatt-Watson, East Central Illinois Community Action Agency CEO, Zoom called into the meeting to discuss the services the agency provides to the Hoopeston community.

Watson announced that ECICAA would be at the Hoopeston Multi-Agency Feb. 26 to provide services to families that are in need.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Watson said they would be only meeting with families in need via appointment during the day. Appointments will start at 8:30 a.m. They either call the Multi-Agency at 217-283-5544 or call the ECICAA office directly at 217-554-9100 to schedule appointments.

She said these appointments are for families that are having difficulty as a result of the pandemic or are in need of assistance with their utility bills.

Hyatt-Watson said residents who are disabled or elderly and unable to make it to the appointments in-person can call and schedule home visits for assistance.

“We will come to them, we just need to get that telephone call requesting the services,” she said.

- Crusinberry announced the city would need to conduct a special meeting to approve a resolution to accept a grant.

The resolution to accept the grant for the city was voted down after Alderman Bill Goodwine raised concerns over some of the language in the resolution.

Crusinberry said he would see about getting some clarification on the language and said the council would need to meet again before the deadline for the grant passed.

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