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    Breese aldermen approved a tax increment financing inducement for the 12th Street Redevelopment Project Area at their Jan. 4 meeting.
    Last week's meeting, the first of the new year, was held using Zoom videoconference due to the increase in COVID-19 cases of late.
    Shelly Schadegg, the city's business administrator, explained that Sam Ramadan has signed an inducement to potentially induce the TIF "for potential development in the future."
    Ramadan is the owner of Triple Crown Developments of Fairview Heights and the Farm Fresh Market in Breese.
    No details were given on any potential development for that area, which includes two parcels of land straddling the 12th Street extension, approximately 11.92 acres and used now for commercial agriculture.
    In other news, Alderman Bob Berndsen noted city crews were busy the New Year's weekend with a pair of water main leaks, one at Walnut Street and South Broadway and a second, smaller leak half a block away.
    Electric Department employees had been removing Christmas decorations along Main Street.
    Berndsen also noted city crews have been taking down Christmas decorations at North Side Park.
    Public Works manager Don Voss said the department's next project will be getting "Welcome to Breese" signs erected.
    Voss said city water samples that were tested on Jan. 3 came back with a satisfactory result, "so that's all good."
    In public safety news, Police Chief Mark Berndsen told the council about an attempted break-in at Revermann's Shell, but nothing was gained.
    Berndsen said anyone with information about this incident should call the police department at (618) 526-7226.
    Health concerns
    Mayor Kevin Timmermann noted the COVID-19 positivity numbers from the Clinton County Health Department, following recent testing.
    Of 610 people who were tested, there were 218 positive results, which relates to a 37% positivity rate, he said.
    He noted the health department ran out of the rapid COVID-19 tests they had and were pushing to get more.
    The health department closed their weekly rapid COVID-19 test site, at the Clinton County Fairgrounds, until they can get more of the BinaxNOW rapid test kits.
    "You're right Bryan, this is real," Timmermann said, referring to Alderman Bryan Eversgerd's earlier comment that COVID-19 is real.

    Timmermann said HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital was full and that it could not take on any other patients. He works in the hospital's Facilities Department.
    He said if people have nothing to do, to stay home, to help lessen the chance of contracting and spreading the coronavirus.
    "It's hitting us hard right now," Timmermann said, and expressed concern that state government might revert to shutting down businesses, as was done in the early part of the pandemic in 2020, with the implementation of the Restore Illinois plan and its phases of restrictions with regard to mitigations.
    Praise for police
    Timmermann credited law enforcement for their response to the Dec. 29 standoff in rural Carlyle involving Ray E. Tate Jr., 40, of Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
    Tate is being held on first-degree murder in the Clinton County Jail in the killing that morning of Sean Riley, 38, of Cisne, a deputy with the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.
    Tate wound up in rural Carlyle, holding homeowner Leonard Cox and a man he'd kidnapped from the St. Peters, Missouri, area, against their will.
    Timmermann talked about St. Joseph's Hospital and other businesses having to go on lock down due to the police action.
    "My heart goes out to the family" of Riley, he said. Riley was buried on Jan. 4.
    He said that was a "a real test for a lot of lock-down programs" like those at the hospital and ShelterLogic in Breese, for example.
    Timmermann said he got his notification from Chief Berndsen about the incident and the hospital immediately took precautions.
    Timmermann thanked the police department, the Clinton County Sheriff's Office, Illinois State Police and other agencies "who made sure this felon was caught."
    Staying virtual
    Timmermann said the city's next two meetings — the Jan. 17 finance committee and the Jan. 18 City Council — will be conducted via Zoom until there is a break in the COVID-19 infection rate.
    In other business, the council approved:
    •The minutes of the Dec. 21 meeting.
    •The payment of bills and reports from City Collector Sandy Hemann and City Treasurer Robert Venhaus.