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Local

Mayor makes appointment to fill 3rd Ward vacancy

Council will vote on recommendation tonight

STERLING – Mayor Skip Lee has chosen a replacement to fill the 3rd Ward alderman seat left vacant by the resignation of Mackenzie Hopping.

The mayor will recommend that the council approve the appointment of Josh Johnson to replace Hopping, who moved to Peoria in early August. Lee appointed Hopping to the council in October after the resignation of Bob Conklin.

While it is usually difficult to find people to fill council vacancies, there was quite a bit of interest in the 3rd Ward opening this time around, Lee said.

“We had six people who sent letters to express an interest in the seat, and then we met to discuss the candidates and conducted interviews,” Lee said.

Like Hopping, Johnson will bring a younger perspective to the council. He is the director of the Whiteside Area Career Center. He also serves on the Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and is a member of fundraising committee for the Dogwood Acres project.

The Dogwood Acres group is part of a millennial organization that is affiliated with the Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Sterling Main Street. The group is working in concert with the Sterling Park District to bring a dog park to one of Sterling’s parks.

The plan is for students at the career center to do some of the work, which would reduce the cost of the project.

Johnson is a native of Grant Park, a small town in Kankakee County. He received a bachelor’s degree in education from Olivet Nazarene University, and then earned an administrative degree in curriculum and instruction from Concordia University in Chicago.

His first teaching job was with the DePue school district. Four years later, he was named dean of students and athletic director at DePue. He then spent 3 years as high school principal in Prophetstown before moving on to the career center.

Johnson was also a member of the Army National Guard, serving as a military police officer in Europe, and later in New Orleans as part of the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

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