Pulling the plug Workers demolish city power plant

Pulling the plug Workers demolish city power plant Two large backhoes resemble large dinosaurs as they chomped away at the solid brick walls of Vermillion's old power plant last week. by David Lias A structure that for decades helped light up the lives of Vermillion residents fell to the wrecking ball last week.

The Vermillion City Council decided in early 2001 to go ahead with plans to demolish the city's old power plant, located below the bluff in southwestern Vermillion.

Before the building was torn down, however, items of historical significance, such as electric meters labeled "City of Vermillion" were rescued, and the structure's interior and exterior was photographed.

The building had been vacant for approximately 30 years. It was demolished because soil in the area has been contaminated by diesel fuel.

The power plant was built by the city in 1931 at a cost of about $100,000. Diesel engines powered the plant's generators.

"It had four underground tanks, and each one held 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel," Harold Holoch, Vermillion's utility engineer, told the Plain Talk last year. "The tanks were removed in 1998, and a considerable amount of the contaminated soil, about 70 percent, was also


A majority of the remaining contaminated soil is underneath the east side of the power plant. It will be removed from the de-construction site to protect the city's water wells that are located nearby.

The power plant was last fired up in the early 1970s.

Today, the city receives its electricity from Missouri River Energy Services as its supplemental power supplier once the city exceeds its hydro-dam power allotment.

Three finalists for the position of Vermillion city manager will spend a day meeting city officials and visiting with the public on Thursday, June 27.

The community is invited to meet and ask questions of candidates James Patrick, Patrick DeGrave, and Michael Hays during open sessions scheduled at the Vermillion Public Library.

"The three gentlemen who have come to the forefront in our search for a city manager who will lead Vermillion into the future are all exceptional candidates," said Mayor Roger Kozak. "The community should take the opportunity to extend a welcome or at least catch a glimpse of the candidates during their scheduled public meeting time, if possible."

For more information, contact Mayor Roger Kozak at (605) 677-7050, or Bill Petracek, assistant to the city manager, at (605) 677-7087.

The three men will appear throughout the day June 27 at the Vermillion Public Library. Patrick will be present from 10:30 to 11: 30 a.m. DeGrave will meet the public from 1 to 2 p.m. and Hays' scheduled time at the library is from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

About the candidates

Patrick DeGrave

Patrick DeGrave began his career in law enforcement in his hometown of Racine, WI. In 1984, he received his associate degree in police science at Gateway Technical College, followed by a bachelor's degree in 1991 from Concordia University, where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in management and communications. He earned a master's degree in management at Cardinal Stritch College in 1993.

In 1994, he became the town administrator for Mt. Pleasant, WI and in July 2000 became town administrator for Menasha, a community of 16,300 in the central Wisconsin Fox Valley.

DeGrave and his wife, Sue (a high school classmate) have a son, John, 5.

DeGrave lists golfing and bowling as personal hobbies, and family interests include attending baseball games, riding bicycles and travel, with favorite destinations being Disney World and cruising the Caribbean.

Michael Hays

Michael Hays of Iowa Falls, IA, holds a B.S. in community and regional planning from Iowa State University (1980) and a master of public administration from Drake University (1985). Hays has held the positions of city manager in Kewanee, IL; assistant to the city administrator in Davenport, IA; assistant city manager in Johnston, IA; community development director in Newton, IA; and as associate planner for a regional council of governments. He is currently in his 11th year as city manager of Iowa Falls, IA, population 5,123.

Hays is married to Kim Johnson, an elementary and high school Spanish teacher. The Hays' have three children: Bryan, 11; Tucker, 9; and Kathryn, 4. Hays lists golfing and being a science fiction buff as personal hobbies, and enjoys activities with his family.

James H. Patrick

James H. Patrick, a native of Colorado, has a B.S. degree from Wheaton College, Illinois, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He holds a master's degree in systems management from the University of Southern California, and is a graduate of the UNC Economic Development Program.

Patrick retired from active duty in the United States Army with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He has since served as the Butler Township manager (Pennsylvania), was selected to serve as a board member of the Greater Hazelton Economic Development Corporation, and was a member of a Select Pennsylvania State Committee representing 1,456 townships.

He has been the city administrator for New London, WI and was also elected to two terms as president of the Waupaca County Economic Development Corporation. He has also been the city manager for Lebanon, OH.

Patrick lists several military and civic awards earned during his military and civic careers. He is married to the former Anita Kohler, originally from Johnstown, PA.

The Patricks have four children: John, 9; Austin, 7; Julie, 3; and an infant, Alma.

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