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How does cooperation work elsewhere?

ROCK FALLS – As part of my reporting on the mayoral race in Rock Falls, I asked the candidates their views on cooperation between the Twin Cities of Sterling and Rock Falls.

In Tuesday's race, two-term Mayor David Blanton is being challenged by City Clerk Bill Wescott.

I thought it would be important to get a third-party perspective on the issue and find out how cooperation between sister cities works elsewhere. So I called Greg Himelick, president of the Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, which serves the LaSalle-Peru region.

I asked Himelick about the relationship between those two cities.

Peru, he said, is a member of the Illinois Valley Chamber. LaSalle left the chamber 3 years ago.

"It should be important for them to work together on things," he said, but "the only thing they are really on together ... both are members of the Enterprise Zone."

"There's a lot to be gained" if communities such as LaSalle-Peru and Sterling-Rock Falls work together on economic development, he said.

A good relationship between Twin Cities is needed in our valley and his, he said.

"Same thing I preach here – the Illinois Valley Chamber of Commerce is for a region," he said. "From my perspective, it doesn't matter whether a business locates in Rock Falls or Sterling, it's good for the area.

"[It's] still residents of both communities working, securing jobs and everything."

Himelick also had a suggestion for the Rock Falls and Sauk Valley Area chamber of commerce: "They should disband the two of them and call them something else ... and work for the better of the area, and not just one city or the other."

Sauk Valley Media reporter Kiran Sood covers government and happenings in Sterling and Rock Falls. She can be reached at ksood@saukvalley.com or at 800-798-4085, ext. 529.

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