The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

March 23, 2013

Time to renew FOID cards


DANVILLE — Has your Firearm Owners Identification Card expired? The last I heard, the Illinois State Police were running way behind on issuing new FOID cards because of an influx of applications after the Connecticut tragedy.

I talked with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Division of Law Enforcement and with Conservation Police Officer Bill Cottrell to get an answer as to how this would be handled through their agency. The answer I got refers only to the IDNR and not to any other law enforcement agency such as state police, sheriff, or city police.

Each CPO is equipped with a computer in their vehicle and anyone carrying an expired FOID card will be temporarily detained while a quick computer check is run. The IDNR realizes the problem and, if your name doesn’t come up as a felon, or with a history of violence or family violence, you will be released with no problem.

The IDNR does ask that you carry your expired FOID card with you and I would recommend that, if you have applied for a new one, you might want to make a copy of your application and your cancelled check and carry it with you.

Experiences with the dams

I spent the week talking with several area people who have had personal experience with the old power dam behind the Public Safety Building here in Danville.

Vern Ingalsbe of Danville was the chief engineer for the Central Foundry plant in Tilton for 30 years, retiring in 1980. Ingalsbe told me that the dam was critical to the plant’s existence as the water from the river was pumped into the plant to cool machinery and if the dam were destroyed, the pump station could not get the water the plant needed.

Ingalsbe repaired the dam was the responsibility of the Central Foundry Plant and General Motors purchased a 1-acre parcel of land on the south side of the dam along with an easement to get to the dam to repair it.

In August of 1970, General Motors completed repairs on the dam and Ingaslbe told me he used 370 pounds of a concrete and grout mixture to infuse into the cracks and porous areas of the dam. He also placed a 4-6 inch cap on part of the dam. General Motors had no problems with the dam for the rest of his employment with the company.

The dam was built in 1915 and is 231 feet long with a height of five feet eight inches. When the plant closed in 1995, General Motors deeded the 1-acre parcel of land back to the city of Danville.

Vince Koers of Danville was an industrial engineer with the GM plant after Ingalsbe and was involved with the dam when the plant considered building a generator there; a project that never happened.

Koers main concern is focused on the typical hydraulics at the base of a normal dam. He believes the dam is no longer normal and that the state and the city need to preserve the integrity of the base of the dam.

Koers told me in an e-mail that there is water moving under the dam and that underflow can be seen when water is not flowing over the dam to hide it. Koers considers this underflow to be an extremely dangerous situation to swimmers and inept canoeists.

In my interview with Ingalsbe, who supplied me with great pictures of the dam, I asked him what would happen to the river if the dam were removed. “The rivers would not be able to support canoeing, tubing or kayaking; a major tourism attraction to the Danville area.

The city has money in a Dam Modification Fund and that fund possibly could be used to correct problems and modify the dam.

Removing the Ellsworth Park dam would not affect the North Fork River very much; a drop of six inches to the water level is estimated. Removing the power dam may well make the boat ramp at Elsworth Park unusable.

More on the dams next week.

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Fridays and Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: