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Tickled pink about petunias

The petunia population is growing in Dixon. We're glad to see it. We also comment on the Black Hawk statue, Whiteside County comprehensive plan, and the big catfish tournament.

Published: Friday, June 13, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 8:12 a.m. CDT

At week's end, the SVM Editorial Board offers comments on several issues.

Say it with flowers. We join thousands of Dixon residents and area folks who are tickled pink at the return of pink petunias along some of the city's major streets.

The petunia plantings in the streetside flower beds along Galena Avenue and elsewhere lend support to the city's Petunia Capital claim to fame. We hope they successfully grow and add more blooms in time for the Petunia Festival.

A combination of events left the streetside flower beds empty for the past several years.

We congratulate and thank everyone involved in the planting and maintenance of the flower beds. They look great.

Statue concerns. Will our generation be the one that witnesses the fall of the Black Hawk statue near Oregon?

We certainly hope not.

The Black Hawk statue, aka the Eternal Indian, has stood watch on a bluff over the Rock River for 103 years, since it was created by sculptor Lorado Taft. But age and the extreme winter of 2013-14 have really done a number on the major tourist attraction.

A story this week revealed that the 50-foot-high concrete monolith statue is in worse shape than expected. Large chunks have fallen away from the right and left arms. Orange fencing was erected around the base to protect visitors.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and a citizens group have been involved in raising money and making plans for repairs.

The status of those plans recently changed from important to urgent. We anxiously await further word about the statue's future. Perhaps local residents should make a trip to Lowden State Park to enjoy it while they can.

A plan worth reviewing. Whiteside County's first comprehensive plan has been in the works for quite a while. It will soon be adopted (introduction is slated for next week at the Whiteside County Board meeting; formal adoption is planned for July).

The plan makes numerous recommendations about future progress and growth, along with preserving what makes the county special.

The final draft may be viewed online at whitesideplan.com.

Among the suggestions:

Expand use of Whiteside County Airport.

Promote heritage tourism.

Protect and preserve sensitive ecosystems.

Preserve rural cemeteries.

Develop countywide bike and pedestrian plan.

Encourage more collaboration and cooperation among governmental entities for economic development.

Plus other issues relative to entrepreneurship, subdivision construction, transportation and agriculture.

Public comments are still being sought. They can be shared at Tuesday's public hearing, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Law Enforcement Center in Morrison, or sent to Betty Steinert (bsteinert@whiteside.org).

Let them know what you think.

Go catfish! A tip of the SVM fishing cap to Joe Dyer and Dan Dippel for repeating their 2013 victory at Cabela's King Kat Tournament Super Event over the weekend.

Their 10 fish (four flatheads and six channel catfish) weighed a combined 72.5 pounds during weigh-in at Dixon's Page Park.

The 2-day event has become a June staple on the Rock River. We're glad that the fishery is continuing to recover from the fish kill of several years ago.

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