Photo by Diane Cox
Jim Burris (left) and Wood River Public Works Director Steve Palen hold Burris’ awards for Illinois Groundwater Water Operator of the Year. Burris was recognized Monday at the City Council meeting for his achievement.
Council considers prohibiting leaf burning
The Wood River City Council is discussing options after being approached by residents requesting a ban on burning leaves. Communities such as Hartford, Bethalto and Roxana already have banned the practice.
“The council was approached by a woman named Jan from the Picker Avenue neighborhood requesting the ban on leaf-burning,” Wood River Mayor Frank Akers said. “She has some very severe health problems. On the days that leaf burning is legal, she generally leaves town and stays someplace else. During a pre-meeting, we discussed some of the health concerns that can be associated with leaf burning. We want the people to make their thoughts and opinions on the matter known. If they feel strongly one way or the other, we want to know about it.”
The council has not decided if it will make a decision for the fall 2015 leaf-burning season, but the topic could remain on the table for next year. Residents have the option to take their lawn refuse to the city dump for free during operating hours.
“So far the most information we’ve received is in favor of a ban,” Akers said. “We are already entering the leaf-burning season right now. We’re not sure if we should wait a couple of months and then deal with the situation; this is a brand new topic and we want to take the time to hear feedback from the Wood River residents before simply making a decision.”
On the topic of bans, the council took action to deter future pawnshop businesses within the city. The council passed a resolution to eliminate pawnshop operations partly because of law enforcement concerns. Akers said police believe it may give thieves fewer options for selling stolen items.
Wood River was home to two pawnshops in the past several years. Trader Moon’s was located near Fred’s Barber shop before closing its doors. The last pawnshop to leave the city was located across from Phil’s on Edwardsville Road.
Burris recognized as Groundwater Water Operator of the Year
The council recognized Jim Burris for being named Groundwater Water Operator of the Year at the state level.
“I’ve been working for the city of Wood River for 16 years,” Burris said. “I worked in Maryville after I graduated from SIUE; I found out Wood River had an opening and I was ready to come back home. I will definitely retire from Wood River.”
Burris was selected for the award after being nominated by Public Works Director Steve Palen and holds a Class A Water Supply Operator Certification. Burris is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the water plant, five wells and three water towers. He has instituted many safety improvements at the plant and has established training opportunities for his two full-time employees and three floating personnel.
Palen’s recommendation to the Illinois Potable Water Supply Operators Association states: “Jim’s hard work and devotion has been proven in the many projects he has undertaken in order to make the treatment process better and improved the working environment.”
Burris was selected from more than 4,000 nominations statewide. He now holds the highest professional honor in the industry.
“I’m one of the fortunate people to have a job that I love,” Burris said. “I’ve never had anything happen like this and the process to receive the award was quite involved.
“It’s a great honor and it feels very good to be recognized but more than that, it personally gives me motivation,” he said. “It shows that hard work pays off.”
Burris is a 1993 graduate of East Alton-Wood River High School and SIUE-Environmental Resources Training Center program.
The annual fall cleanup is scheduled for Oct. 26-30 for Wood River residents. The pickup day will occur on the same day as the trash pickup on residential streets.
To assure pickup, items must be placed at the front curb by 8 a.m. on trash pickup day. Trucks will not return after going through designated areas.
For information, call City Hall at (618) 251-3100 or visit www.woodriver.org.