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Dateline Dixon: Warming centers could have been ready in minutes

I don’t think I’m breaking this news to anyone, but it was cold on Monday, and it was cold Tuesday. 

While the cold was more severe than it usually is for the first week of January, in Dixon, another element made Monday that much more newsworthy: a power outage.

At 6:10 a.m. Monday, a downed wire knocked out power to about 1,305 Dixon customers, according to ComEd. The power wasn’t fully restored until about 11:30 a.m, Police Chief Danny Langloss said.

During that time, the police department lobby was open as a temporary warming center, if needed. And police officers were out on the streets, Langloss added.

“Our patrol is out and really just looking for anyone that needs assistance,” he told me Monday morning. “In this weather, somebody can be in trouble in just a few minutes, if they don’t have the right weather gear.”

I spoke with Langloss several times Monday morning, monitoring the situation and getting updates on whether the city would open a warming center, which, Langloss said, could be up and running within 15 minutes.

A warming center, he said, would have been set up at one of the local schools. But the police department never saw a need for it, Langloss said, as no one went to the police lobby or called the police station for information about shelter.

Also on Monday, Lincoln Avenue Church of God, 704 S. Lincoln Ave. in Dixon, said it had opened its doors as a warming center.

Letter to the superintendent

In a letter dated Jan. 2, Dixon Mayor Jim Burke urged Dixon Public Schools Superintendent Michael Juenger to create a “community-wide task force” to find a positive use of the Lincoln Elementary School building.

The school board voted 4-2 last month to close the school and realign where the district’s students attend class. That decision was made to help in addressing the district’s $1.5 million deficit in the education fund for the 2013-14 school year.

The Northwest Territory Historic Center used to be a Dixon public school building, Burke said in the letter, an example that some positive can come out of a problem.

In his letter, Burke offered to assist Juenger. However, the recent lawsuit settlement and Crundwell restitution funds the city received are not part of that offer, Burke said Tuesday.

Juenger has read letter, he said, but isn’t in a position to comment on it or possible plans for the school building at this time.

Sauk Valley Media reporter Matt Mencarini covers government and happenings in Dixon. He can be reached at or at 815-284-2224, ext. 229. Follow him on twitter:

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