Village of Rockton: minors may not own air-powered weapons, bows and arrows, or slingshots


The former Paperchine plant off Prairie Hill Road is being prepared for redevelopment. Photo: Google Streetview, Sept. 2007

At their meeting on Tuesday evening, Feb. 7, 2023, the Rockton Village Board of Trustees tightened regulations on weapons ownership by minors, prepared for water testing, and discussed redevelopment of a former industrial property. 

The board voted to amend Chapter 137 (weapons) of the Village Code of Ordinances. The chapter covers air rifles, blow or dart guns, paintball guns/markers, bows and arrows, and slingshots. 

Trustee Justin York said, “What this ordinance is basically saying is that anyone under the age of 18 shouldn't own a BB gun or any of these weapons.”

“This particular ordinance fell out of the ordinance book and we are just reinstating it,” Village President John Peterson explained.

Village Attorney Aaron Szeto said, “This was debated as a state statute, and is reported under code work.”

The board voted to hire 120 Water for professional services, 3M lead testing kits, and postcard mailings at a cost of $12,270. Trustee Jodi May explained, “This is to send letters to residents to let them know details about testing water.”

Trustee York gave the Rockton Police activity summary for Jan. 16-31. Officers issued 33 tickets and 37 warnings, equaling 70 traffic stops, and 20 snow parking tickets. They made eight criminal arrests and responded to five accidents, two resulting in injuries.

Rockton Police officer Michael Johnson was promoted to the rank of sergeant at the Village Administration meeting on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. Sergeant Johnson started with the Rockton Police Department seven years ago. During his tenure he has been a patrol officer, with special roles such as Field Training Officer and Acting Shift Commander. He has also worked as a firearms instructor.

Though no specific plans have been shared yet about the former Paperchine site at 1155 Prairie Hill Road, President Peterson said at the board meeting, “We have been working on the Paperchine site. Rockton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson is assuring hook up of water and fire suppression.”

Peterson added, “This has been approved by the County and it is good that we are already in the preparation stages.”

Paperchine, which manufactured papermaking equipment, was founded in 2000 by four Beloit Corporation executives and 41 employees. The company provided stock piping, customized design, mentoring, and customer support services, as well as a range of forming equipment reels, threading systems, nip shoes, transfer cases, coater lips, plus differential and hypoid drives. After years of mergers, Andritz purchased the company in 2017 when it had 180 employees worldwide. But eventually the business closed. 

The former Paperchine property is owned by Jim Athans. Last year, according to meeting minutes [PDF], the Rockton Fire Department told Mr. Athans that "the fire suppression system needs to be working properly before he can operate out of that building." Athans was the founder of Chemtool in 1963, but sold the company to Lubrizol in 2013.  Athans  owned the former Chemtool facility, which caught fire in 2021, but according to reports, doesn't own it anymore.

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