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May open thread

1 May 2014 Elgin Illinois 112 Comments

May open thread. Picture coming soon! (or eventually)

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112 Responses to “May open thread”

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  1. Kevin Sherman says:

    In the last month, there was some discussion of Maker/Hackerspaces.

    Personally, I LOVE the idea and think that could be a great driver of innovation for businesses in the city. Offering the opportunity for people with ideas to make prototypes easily would be a real asset to the area, and not just for Elginites.

    Co-working spaces are super neat, but to seem to be relatively inexpensive to setup versus a makerspace. A makerspace needs a large amount of start up capitol because of the machines. Plus, it would likely need to retain/employ folks experienced in working on those machines for training and safety, and very robust liability insurance…

    I think it’s a great idea, it just needs money. And I totally agree that it could/should be run by a for-profit.

    Love the idea! Plenty of spaces for one too…

    • Kevin Sherman says:

      I meant to add that it might be the most cost-effective to develop a relationship with ECC to make certain facilities available to non-students at specified times of the day for a fee (much larger than what students would pay) and that might also then allow ECC to invest even more into their equipment. At least that might be a great way to gauge interest in the community…

      • RS says:

        Having taken classes at ECC I just can’t imagine that they would ever allow public access to their facilities. There are liability issues. There are training requirements for using the equipment. Even students do not just show up on the first day and start flipping switches. It’s not worth it to them at all to be doing this. And for people going in to use the space, it would not be convenient as you would need to clear out everything you were working on and take it home with you after every session. I’m sure no department has so much space that they can provide cubby holes or lockers. If I keep thinking about it, I’m sure I would come up with more objections. Basically ECC is a non-starter.

        It’s the same reason that ECC can’t be used for a community arts center. That’s another thing we need to work on, an arts center that includes a darkroom, pottery facilities, screen printing, etc. I would be happy to pay $100 a month for darkroom access.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          RS, I agree with your points on ECC. I’ve had auto classes, air conditioning, pottery, print making (and other classes that aren’t physical) and access to even the simplest machines is very regulated and controlled, with only the teacher being able to use anything of potential danger, all because of liability issues. Chuck

  2. Margaret Miller says:

    Rough-shod

    Pronunciation: rêf-shahd Part of Speech: Adjective, Adverb
    Meaning: 1. Of horses: wearing shoes with protruding nails to prevent slippage. 2. Brutal or brutally, without concern for others or their opinions.

    The Elgin City Council’s non required procedure to appoint someone to the vacant seat continues moving forward.

    It is my opinion that this politically appointed gift is not what is best for the citizens but in fact implies it will be best for the majority.

    How low can certain Council members, including the ring leader Mayor Kaptain, go in an attempt to maintain its majority?

    I look forward to voting these ramrodders out of office in the next election.

    • RS says:

      Initially I really didn’t like the idea of the council making an appointment. But now I think it’s not that big a deal for the single reason that whoever replaces Anna Moeller will likely share her viewpoints. If it was a different situation where one of the “conservatives” left for some reason, and the “liberal” majority appointed a person who shared the viewpoint of the majority, then it would be a problem.

      Similar things happen at the federal level. When a senate seat is vacated, the governor by convention if not law appoints somebody of the same party. Fair enough.

      I hope they choose a good candidate though. Maybe it’s best in this situation to appoint somebody who has not run for city council before. The idea being that people who did not win in a previous election have already been rejected by voters. Also they should do a good background check on whoever they pick.

    • James Madison says:

      MM, remember the old adage, “elections have consequences.” You can remonstrate and whine and hope for a different outcome but the bottom line is that the “know-nothings,” “do-nothings.” threesome on the city council are on the wrong side of history and the 6-3 votes of this council will become 7-2 or 8-1 votes after 2015. A city that has 40% of its residents of one ethnic persuasion will eventually rule the entire city, once an able and suitable leader mobilizes this group. Unfortunately for the Republicons, this demographic fact will rule the politics in the U.S. for the next century and beyond.

      • Cruex says:

        You could be right Mr. Madison. If that happens the Hispanic numbers will be close to 70% then as most able bodied Caucasians will flee the city. Then the Hispanics can fight over the scraps of Elgin. But until that day arrives the fact remains that most Hispanics in Elgin do not vote. I say it’s because they do not care especially the younger ones who Obama rushed to register in 2008. Affluent Hispanics also do not live in Elgin. They do what most rich folks do and follow the money by living in affluent towns proving again that it is easier to flee than it is to work and make a change.

        • still concerned says:

          Unfortunately Cruex is mostly correct. However, what we’d call “white flight” has been happening for some years now and accelerating. Just look at the ethnic makeup of our schools. Not that I am against any ethnicity, but when the overwhelming makeup of that ethnicity is extremely poor it does lower the per capita level of the community and that in turn does drive out or discourage high end retail and other development…which has also been happening over the years and is accelerating. Take a look at this map, click on Chicago and move it to center on Elgin. It’s quite discouraging to see such a wide spread level of poverty across the City…especially when you compare it to other cities in and around Elgin…even Aurora.

          http://www.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2014/01/05/poverty-map/

          • One Vote says:

            Do you think James Madison will stick around to pay for all this diversity?

      • paul says:

        Unfortunately for the dumorats “40% of its residents of one ethnic persuasion” are all religious conservatives who can least afford a high tax state and local government.

        JM, remember the old adage: if you were smart you’d be a Republican.
        But alas…

    • paul says:

      >>A 40-year-old man is dead… after a police pursuit ended with a suspect blowing a stop sign and hitting the minivan that the man was driving<>intersection of Liberty and Jefferson streets in Elgin<>Luellen faced charges of aggravated fleeing and eluding police in 2012<>Luellen was on parole for a prior aggravated fleeing and eluding conviction, according to a news release.<<

      Who was the judge who gave him parole?
      If fleeing worked before, do it again.

      • paul says:

        Dh had 2 reporters on that story. Wondered if they bothered to Google Luellen?

        From DH’s own data base: Clippings on 9 October 2003 A 23-year-old Elgin man was arrested after punching a 17- year-old boy in the face after an argument at 6 p.m. Tuesday over a baby that was left unattended, police said. Steven Luellen of 380 Jefferson Ave., Elgin, was charged with battery, police said. Luellen was released on recognition on the Carpentersville charge with a Nov. 13 court date in Elgin, but he was picked up by DuPage County police on an outstanding warrant.

        • Margaret Miller says:

          Paul,

          I would guess that he has had a difficult life.

          Perhaps a broken home, no father figure, hanging with the wrong crowd, could be drugs and alcohol addiction problems, his father didn’t love him, his mother didn’t love him, they got the wrong guy…

          Let’s try to be more compassionate.

          LOL, I can’t even keep a straight face as I type this.

          • paul says:

            Compassionate! I can’t get past thinking about the dead guy. That could have been you or I. My compassion extends to preventing the next victim.
            With a little more digging I found that Luellen looks just like Obama’s son if he had a son (surprise). In this post racial society that wouldn’t mean anything unless you are selecting a city council member who has to be selected on the basis of race.
            No, I’m not laughing, MM. I’ve had enough arguments with liberal democrats to know that is EXACTLY where this conversation goes - Luellen is indeed the victim.

  3. S.O.A. says:

    Interesting post last month OSITOB, who ever you are! What Mr. Prigge needs to do and should have in the past is form an alliance with candidates who are conservative. Perhaps Mr. Gavin and Shaw can, for good reason, persuade him to do this the next election, especially since Mr. Gavin may not run again! Mr. Prigge has said in the past that he will not form a political SLATE with other candidates. He may need to do this with two, not one during the next election if Mr. Gavin leaves. What I mean by this is, if Mr. Prigge continues on his path, continues to get re-elected the way he believes is the direction he is going, he will forever be the underdog with votes on the council. He appears to truly want to make a difference during his terms but will continue to be discouraged, and at times frustrated with the direction the city is taking, because his vote won’t count to make needed changes. Suggesting to voters that they take a close look at the ones who support the same ideas or beliefs is not enough. To gain strong support in the council, he needs to take a stand with Mr. Gavin and Shaw and form an alliance the next election, or forever be the minority in the council.

  4. Chuck Keysor says:

    Last Thursday, May 2nd, the guest on WRMN’s “Left, Right and You” was Councilman Terry Gavin. He was on for the full show to discuss the topic of replacing Anna Moeller on the City Council. Following is a link to Jeff Ward’s blogsite and the podcast of the May 2nd show. hopefully you will take the time to listen to this interesting discussion. Thanks, Chuck

    http://thefirstward.net/2014/05/01/the-5-1-14-edition-of-left-right-and-you/

  5. Margaret Miller says:

    This makes me wonder, which political half wants to move out.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/168770/half-illinois-connecticut-move-elsewhere.aspx

    Half in Illinois and Connecticut Want to Move Elsewhere

    Montana, Hawaii, Maine boast lowest rate of residents wanting to leave

  6. Chuck Keysor says:

    I think all Elginite readers will be interested in reading this Courier News article which tells who the 4 Republicans are who have announced that they want to run against Anna Moeller in next fall’s general election.

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/27253262-418/four-veteran-republicans-seek-43rd-district-statehouse-seat-once-held-by-keith-farnham.html#.U2gDy16RbLQ

    Chuck

    • RS says:

      Rauschenberger does not know how to run a campaign, and he’s old news now. He should retire permanently from politics. Wegman has probably been in office a hundred years already, and voters are not looking for that either. Don’t trot out the same old candidates every time! We need some fresh faces!

    • One Vote says:

      I’m not surprised that a Wegman is running. They always do. Penny became a Democrat so she could run for something. I wouldn’t vote for any Wegman.
      Steve Rauschenberger is washed up. He misspoke in an answer in a forum a few years ago. When I emailed him for a response he blew me off. Why send him back to his days with Doug Hoeft?
      Toby Shaw and Jeff Meyer are both viable.
      That’s my two cents.

  7. Chuck Keysor says:

    Jeff Meyer and Toby Shaw are certainly fresh faces. But I am concerned about Toby’s move here and wish that he had allowed himself to get firmly established on the council with some significant experience (like a full 4 year term) before looking to move on to higher places. I only hope that this does not prove to complicate his council re-election efforts next spring………………. Chuck

  8. Cruex says:

    Both Jeff Meyer or Steve Rauschenberger will easily beat Anna Moeller. Sandy Wegman would make it close. Toby Shaw has no chance and no business running for a state seat.

  9. Chuck Keysor says:

    Since we have been discussing this matter, here is a post from Councilman Terry Gavin’s Facebook page on the matter of filling Anna’s vacancy on the council. Chuck
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Terry Gavin Elgin City Councilman

    Yesterday
    .

    City Council vacancy:

    When Councilwoman Anna Moeller accepted appointment to fulfill IL. State Representative Keith Farnham’s term it created a vacancy on the Elgin City Council.

    For several reasons I’ve consistently objected to filling the vacancy: 1) There’s no legal requirement that requires us to fill the seat. 2) There’s only 11 months till the next municipal election where the voters can choose who they want to represent them. Letting 5 of 8 current Council members decide who gets the seat is wrong. 3) Historically over the last 18 years 4 vacancies have occurred & in 3 of those cases the seat was left vacant. As far as I know, having been on the city council in 1998 during one of the vacancies, the main reason was that those city councils could not unanimously agree on a acceptable replacement. 4) As any observer of the current council can tell you we’re philosophically divided 5 - 3 on tax & spend policies for our city. The 5 will surely choose someone that is in line with their policies & the appointee will be indebted to those people for the gift of a council seat. That fact is simply human nature & common sense. 5) Whomever is the appointee, if they run for election in April of 2015, will have the advantage of being an incumbent.

    I will continue to oppose this effort based on fairness & equity for our citizen tax payers.

    Terry L. Gavin
    Elgin City Council

  10. Margaret Miller says:

    Well, this sure is an interesting way of reporting opinion.

    http://www.ilnewsfeed.com/elgin/elgin-charter-school-group-files-application/

    Elgin licence propagandize organisation files application
    May 10, 2014 Elgin

    After scarcely dual years of research, a Elgin Charter School Initiative filed a licence concentration Friday with Elgin Area School District U-46.

    The concentration was timed to coincide with National Charter School Week.

    Charter propagandize proposal

    What: The Elgin Charter School Initiative filed a concentration for a licence propagandize focused on math and scholarship with Elgin Area School District U-46. If approved, a propagandize would offer kindergarten by second-grade classes in a initial year, and eventually enhance adult to eighth grade.

    Where: The due propagandize presumably would be housed on a former Fox River Country Day School campus, 1600 Dundee Ave., or choice former propagandize sites in Elgin.

    When: Elgin Area School District U-46 has 45 days to extend a open hearing; 30 days to describe a preference on a due school. The concentration also needs state approval.

    “This has been a prolonged road,” licence organisation President Karen Schock said. “We truly trust it’s going to be an exciting, artistic propagandize … an facile propagandize that has a math and scholarship focus.”

    U-46 has 45 days to extend a open hearing, and afterwards 30 days to describe a preference on a due school. The concentration also needs state approval.

    “We only perceived a offer this afternoon and will be reviewing it,” U-46 orator Patrick Mogge said.

    The licence organisation is seeking a city of Elgin’s capitulation to franchise a former Fox River Country Day School skill during 1600 Dundee Ave., for a school.

    The Elgin City Council has nonetheless to approve a request. Council members formerly voiced regard about a projected $1 million cost of repair buildings on that campus.

    “The city has taken a step back. They have to confirm what they are going to do with a property,” Schock said.

    Schock SAID a organisation also is deliberation other former propagandize sites in Elgin as an alternative.

    The 96-page concentration offers a extended demeanour during how a propagandize would operate, propagandize culture, academics, business plan, care plan, educational goals, and traffic with special populations.

    “Our propagandize will be managed by a principal,” Schock said. “The initial house is going to be doing a extensive volume of work during a initial year particularly.”

    The organisation motionless not to sinecure a licence government organisation to work a school.

    “There are many (charter) schools that have them and many that don’t,” Schock said. “You find all kinds of models with a licence school. We suspicion a income would be improved spent put into programs and for instruction materials, scholarship equipment, computers.”

    If approved, a propagandize would offer kindergarten by second-grade classes in a initial year, and eventually enhance adult to eighth grade.

    The due Elgin Math and Science Academy Charter School would use Expeditionary Learning curriculum, an proceed formed on certain training culture, best practices, and aligned with Common Core state standards, officials said.

    Expeditionary Learning allows students to spend a apportionment of any day dedicated to exploring real-life problems and solutions. All subjects are integrated into a speed experience. Students furnish presentations, booklets, videos or performances formed on their expeditions, officials said.

    Schock pronounced a initiative’s 12-member initial house consulted with a Illinois Network of Charter Schools and Expeditionary Learning, both nonprofit agencies, before submitting a proposal.

    “This has been a outrageous arc,” Schock said. “We started from what accurately is a licence school, visited other licence schools, looked during other programs, talked with other licence propagandize inhabitant organizations. We’re vehement about the subsequent step. It’s an ending, and a beginning.”

    Article source: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140509/news/140508273/

  11. Tim says:

    Warm weather is here!! Stop out and see lords park in rare form! Weed, loud music, broken exhausts and pit bull attacks. Just another summer in elgin! People will just abide and degrade any resource provided to then by this city. Typically the demographic that pays nothing in for such benefits. It’s really a shame that ordinary people can’t even feel comfortable going to a public park.

    • Tim says:

      Abuse*

      • Anonymous says:

        I’ll refer you to what I had posted earlier. Unfortunately the ship of Elgin continues to sink.

        Unfortunately Cruex is mostly correct. However, what we’d call “white flight” has been happening for some years now and accelerating. Just look at the ethnic makeup of our schools. Not that I am against any ethnicity, but when the overwhelming makeup of that ethnicity is extremely poor it does lower the per capita level of the community and that in turn does drive out or discourage high end retail and other development…which has also been happening over the years and is accelerating. Take a look at this map, click on Chicago and move it to center on Elgin. It’s quite discouraging to see such a wide spread level of poverty across the City…especially when you compare it to other cities in and around Elgin…even Aurora.

        http://www.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2014/01/05/poverty-map/

  12. Margaret Miller says:

    Dily Herald
    Article updated: 5/12/2014 1:22 PM

    Elgin Tower Building fire appears to be arson, manager said.

    Arson is suspected in a fire Sunday at the Elgin Tower Building, the building manager said. The glass front door was broken to gain access to the building, and items including a garbage can were on fire inside the elevator, fire officials said.

    Arson is suspected in a fire Sunday night at the Elgin Tower Building, the building manager said. The city of Elgin’s code enforcement department was scheduled to inspect the building Monday.
     
    It appears someone intentionally set fire in an elevator of the Elgin Tower Building Sunday night, the building manager said Monday.
    Neal Pitcher, who is out of town, said that’s what he was told by firefighter on the scene who spoke with Pitcher on the phone Sunday night. The arsonist broke the front door’s glass to gain access to the building, Pitcher said.

    “The fireman I was talking to said (arson) is what he thought it looked like,” he said.
    Elgin Fire Department Battalion Chief Terry Bruce said the fire is under investigation.
    “I can confirm that upon arrival the glass door was broken prior to our arrival,” he said.
    The fire was inside the elevator and caused smoke damage to the lobby, Bruce said. It appeared miscellaneous items were on fire, including a trash can, he said.

    Fire officials were called at 7:48 p.m. to the building at 100 E. Chicago St. The fire was noticed by a passer-by.
    The alarm was immediately upgraded to a level 1 box alarm, which brought in fire officials from seven surrounding communities, fire officials said in a news release.
    The fire was under control within minutes.

    Firefighters checked the remainder of the building for occupants and any spread of the fire, finding none, Bruce said.
    A high-pressure ventilation truck from Wheeling was used to get rid of smoke that had spread throughout the building.
    The front door was boarded up Monday. Elgin’s code enforcement department will inspect the building and determine whether it’s safe for tenants to re-enter, Pitcher said.
    The Illinois State Fire Marshal also was at the building Monday, Bruce said.
    The 15-story building, which once housed 32 tenants, now only has three tenants left — Pitcher, an attorney and a building materials sales office, Pitcher said.
    “I don’t know (who could have set the fire),” he said. “Fortunately, they miscalculated. They didn’t realize the building won’t burn for anything. It’s all concrete, there is no combustible building materials like a new building would have.”
    The city of Elgin last year filed a lawsuit in Kane County regarding safety violations at the Tower Building, which has long-standing issues regarding its sprinkler system and elevator.
    City officials last month set a deadline of June 30 for the building owners to resolve safety issues. If the deadline is not met, the city will condemn it, Mayor David Kaptain said.
    Pitcher said it makes no sense to perform any work by June 30 because of a pending contract to sell the building to Wisconsin-based Gorman & Co.
    “They’re asking for hundreds of thousand of dollars of work, and all (work) would have to be ripped out as soon as the buyer of the building begins their work,” he said.
    Gorman wants to renegotiate the original $1.15 million sale price down to $625,000, Pitcher said.
    “We’re working with them,” he said.
    According to the Elgin Fire Department, the building’s safety issues were not an obstacle in fighting the fire.

  13. Harmony says:

    A high ventilation truck from Wheeling was called WHY? The building is empty? What is wrong with our fire department? Why must they call mutual aid for every call? This City has some serious management changes from the City Manager on down. All they had to is open windows what a joke.

    • paul says:

      MUCH much more to the Tower building fire story.

      >>The Gasthaus Zur Linde in downtown Elgin has temporarily closed.
      A note left by Gasthaus general manager Christy Orozco on the bar’s Facebook page May 9…

      >>Orozco said Monday the owner believes the city “is just paving a path to have us shut down by the time” that a deal goes through to sell the Tower Building to a Wisconsin developer.

      >>Orozco said. “We are all devastated about this, including our customers. Every employee of mine has two or more kids, including myself. Now we are all out of work.”

      2 days later someone sets fire to the Tower building. Coincidence!!!

      >>It appears someone intentionally set fire in an elevator of the Elgin Tower Building Sunday night, the building manager said Monday.

      >> Orozco said. “Why was the kid not charged for under age drinking?… It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

      Maybe because the kid was charged with 3 (THREE) felonies! For the same reason you don’t bother charging the bank robber with illegal parking.

      >> Sandoval, who Wolek said was a known gang member

      >>The other incident… a gang-related fight between the rappers and patrons that led to a gunshot and a gunshot victim — who had been rapping at the party and who did not recall where he had been shot

      http://couriernews.suntimes.com/27403669-417/elgins-gasthaus-pub-temporarily-voluntarily-closes.html#.U3IbY4FdWa8

      http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140512/news/140519625/

      • Gibster says:

        As a residential neighbor to the Gast Haus for over 2-years, they have a history of poor management with a revolving door cash under the table policy. Consistently operating DJ/House/Live Band music until 3am 7-days a week, often resulting in noise complaints after midnight a few times a week. Public drunkenness, Broken windows and other incidents occur often between the hours of midnight to 3am ALL days of the week.

        My opinion on the Tower Building Fire is that someone had a vendetta or grudge, the fact they blatantly broke the windows at dusk with plenty of daylight, traffic and potential witnesses - just a very Suspicious Act that not even a poorly run foundation would envision for insurance claims to replace the manual elevators.

  14. Margaret Miller says:

    Lot’s of smoke lately in Elgin…

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-tower-fire-halts-flights-in-and-out-of-ohare-midway-20140513,0,368030.story

    Cancellations, delays as O’Hare, Midway slowly resume operations

    By Jon HilkevitchTribune reporter
    5:20 p.m. CDT, May 13, 2014

    More than 600 flights were canceled and planes were delayed at least an hour this afternoon as O’Hare International Airport slowly resumed operations after smoke in a radar facility halted all planes coming in and out of the airport.

    The “ground stop” also affected Midway Airport, where approximately 75 flights were canceled and dozens of flights were “significantly delayed,” according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

    The ground stop was ordered around 11:30 a.m. after a faulty ventilation fan sent smoke through the terminal approach radar center in Elgin, which handles all commercial flights serving O’Hare and Midway airports.

    FAA workers were evacuated and operations were transferred to the FAA’s Chicago Center in Aurora, which usually handles just high-altitude traffic.

    The smoke was traced to a faulty ventilation motor and workers were allowed back into the facility around 1 p.m.

    The FAA did not immediately say when full operations would resume at the radar center in Elgin.

    The FAA said that, as of 2:55 p.m., the ground stop was still in effect for most Chicago-area airports, but that limited departures and arrivals were reinstated at both O’Hare and Midway.

    “The FAA is working to clear residual smoke from the radar room at the TRACON to allow air-traffic controllers to return to work safely,” a FAA statement said. No flights were allowed to depart, and flights bound for Chicago were held at their departure cities.

    More than 100 passengers waited patiently in line at the American Airlines ticket counter in Terminal 3 while others sat waiting in chairs and along the floor of the busy airport.

    Salim Cassim said he had been waiting for more than three hours to pick up his mother-in-law, who was scheduled to arrive at 12:30 p.m. on a flight from Detroit.

    “They keep delaying it, each hour,” he said, meaning that he was essentially stuck sitting in Terminal 3.

    For Jean Henderson, the ordeal capped off an otherwise “wonderful trip” to Europe, where she and her husband had visited their daughter.

    The couple’s flight from London landed at O’Hare at 10 a.m. They were supposed to board a Cleveland-bound American Airlines flight scheduled to leave O’Hare at 2:05 p.m., Henderson said.

    But they learned 10 minutes before their flight was scheduled to depart that it had been canceled and that they would have to wait until Thursday for a direct flight to Cleveland, where they live, Henderson said.

    Henderson, 66, said the couple’s travel insurance would cover the cost of the hotel. This was the first time she has bought travel insurance.

    “Am I ever glad we did that,” Henderson said.

    While annoyed that the airline had waited until the last minute to announce the flight cancellation, Henderson, a retired teacher, said she accepted the delays as part of the traveling process.

    “It’s just one if those things you can’t predict,” Henderson said.

    Astrid Henry, 47, a college professor from Des Moines, said the daylong — and still ongoing — ordeal she had endured at O’Hare was “horrific” and “freakishly weird.”

    “It’s just so random that these things would happen back-to-back,” she said, referring to the storm that likely halted her plane out of Chicago Monday night and the fire that left her still stuck here Tuesday afternoon.

    Henry and her husband landed at O’Hare Monday evening on a flight from Copenhagen, expecting to connect to Des Moines later that night. But the Iowa-bound flight was canceled, presumably because of the rainstorm that passed through the Chicago area.

    After many confusing encounters with airline personnel, the couple was eventually booked on separate flights home. Henry’s husband was confirmed on a noon flight Tuesday to Des Moines while Henry was confirmed on a 2 p.m. Tuesday flight to Cedar Rapids.

    Even landing at separate airports, the couple was just eager to get home.

    But at 4 p.m. they were still at O’Hare, their flights canceled because of smoke in an air traffic control tower. But, they were told, their luggage had made it to Des Moines.

    “Luckily we put toothbrushes in there,” Henry said, pointing to a small carry-on bag. “But that’s about it.”

    Having given up on the staff at their gates — “the people inside there are just in crisis management” — Henry crossed out of the secured area of the airport and jumped into line at the American Airlines ticket counter, hoping to learn when she and her husband would be able to return home.

    “All of our attempts to leave today have been canceled,” Henry said. “It’s bizarre that it was rain yesterday and now it’s a fire. It would be funny if it wasn’t so frustrating.”

    Tribune reporter Kim Geiger contributed.
    jhilkevitch@tribune.com | Twitter: @jhilkevitch

    • One Vote says:

      Fun at O’Hare for sure. The Mrs. was going to Seattle last night and was delayed by the thunderstorm. She was to arrive at 10:15; actual arrival at 3:30 this morning.

    • paul says:

      MM, if your goal is to make this site a waste of time, you are doing a good job. And thanks for that important update on your Mrs., One Vote.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Good Morning Paul,

        It’s unfortunate that your contribution is one of only comment on what’s already posted and criticism.

        It may be nice to see a first item post from you so we can comment on something you think may be interesting.

        I hope your day turns out as well as mine started!

  15. One Vote says:

    Well, that didn’t take long.
    Lawrence Hall took over when the Larkin Center closed.
    Now they are leaving Elgin.
    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/27401260-417/lawrence-hall-youth-services-agency-is-pulling-out-of-elgin.html
    Mayor Kaptain wasn’t pleased about that.
    But the silver lining? Maybe Karen Schock can have the Rakow Building for her charter school.
    (Not my idea. Who would put a school next to a forensic mental hospital known for its leaky security?)

    • paul says:

      The silver lining is lower crime rate from shuttering the pockets of criminality surrounding Larkin Center group homes.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Paul, I agree on the crime matter connected with Larkin’s group homes. I have found that a couple of them are up for sale. But I have seen no indication that the two on W. Highland (510 and 518) are up for sale. Those two homes created a lot of crime in my neighborhood over the years. They had been the homes for the troubled teenaged boys. We are talking assaults, burglaries and robberies…..

        Two of my neighbors were knocked unconscious by a kid from 510/518, who jumped out of the bushes and hit them on the head. The fell on the sidewalk and got broken teeth, and they were robbed of their wallets and cellphones. The kid who did this had recently been convicted on assault charges, and was sent back to the group home while the judge was deciding what his sentence would be, so while the judge was twiddling his thumbs, two of my neighbors got beat up and robbed.

        The last crime I know of from those two homes was an armed robbery of the gas station on the corner of S. State and Walnut. If you or anyone else can find out if 510 and 518 W. Highland are being sold, it will be a happy day for my neighborhood! Chuck

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          Today I drove past 510 and 518 W. Highland, the former Larkin Center homes for troubled male teenagers. I was happy to see that both buildings are now up for sale. One of them had an addition put on the front, coming up close to the street, and it was a taxidermy store back in the 1960s. Then it was turned into an antique store maybe around 1970. It looks terrible, but at least it is no longer filled with criminals with idle hands…………. Chuck

    • RS says:

      Actually that might be a good idea to use the Larkin Center’s Rakow Building for the charter school. It’s a more central location within U-46 boundaries. It’s next to extensive playing fields, which I think is more important than having woods in the backyard (the case at the Fox River Country Day School site). Route 20 will be very convenient for transportation, especially if they open access to the site from State St.

      Security is a concern next to the mental hospital, but this is a good opportunity to push the fence all the way back to the other side of the Bertrand Goldberg laundry building. So we can finally establish the laundry building as a part of the sports complex (or the school), rather than a part of the mental hospital. Of course there should be a very good, very tall, high security fence. The road from the school should be extended to the laundry building.

      Since the Rakow Building has been recently occupied it’s going to require zero to little upfront investment, so really the charter school folks should be looking at this site, even if it’s just for a temporary location.

      But I don’t know the legal status of that building–if the lease automatically reverts back to Elgin or what now that Lawrence Hall is pulling out.

      • RS says:

        The laundry building if it’s incorporated into the Elgin Sports Complex could become an indoor skate park. I think there’s probably significant demand for that regionally. Of course ideally, a private operator will bid on it and it will be privately run as a for-profit operation. But we need to make the building available by providing an access road and clear separation from the mental hospital.

        I haven’t been inside the building, but from what I’ve read, the interior space is column-free, and the ceiling appears to be high, lending the space to a number of possible uses.

        Bertrand Goldberg’s laundry building is an important landmark of architectural significance and this would be a good way of preserving it.

      • RS says:

        Also, it could support indoor BMX. The Elgin Sports Complex already has outdoor BMX and indoor facilities would complement this nicely.

  16. Chuck Keysor says:

    ELGIN OCTAVE CANDIDATE WORKSHOP

    The Elgin OCTAVE will conduct a FREE “Candidate Workshop” explaining everything you need to know to run for Elgin City Council, Mayor or other local elected offices. The next Elgin City Council/Mayoral election will be held in April of 2015.

    The Elgin OCTAVE’s “Candidate Workshop” will be held on Thursday, May 29th, beginning at 7PM. It will be held in the basement of the Elgin Township Building, 729 S. McLean Blvd. This workshop is free and there is no need to pre-register.

    Even though the Elgin OCTAVE believes in less government and lower taxes, this workshop is open to anyone of any political persuasion. It is our hope to encourage a broad spectrum of candidates from which the electorate can choose.

    Attorney Jeff Meyer will explain the legal aspects of running for elected office. George Rawlinson will make a presentation on how to run a campaign and will cover typical campaign expenses. The workshop will close with a round-table discussion by Councilman Terry Gavin, Councilman John Prigge, former Councilwoman Brenda Rodgers and former Councilman John Walters. They will give their thoughts on what is involved in running for the council and they will take questions from the audience.

    Please pass the word to your friends, and post here if you have any questions. A copy of this announcement should be posted on our website, http://www.elginoctave.org this weekend. We held this workshop once before, in June of 2012 and it was well attended and we got good feedback from that, so we decided to do this again.

    Thanks, Chuck

    • Rosemarie Kahn says:

      Thanks for posting this opportunity!

      I would love to attend, however I will be out of town that week. :(

  17. RS says:

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/27438480-418/rosamaria-martinez-named-finalist-to-fill-elgin-city-council-vacancy.html

    The city council will be voting publicly in two weeks on appointing Rosamaria Martinez to fill the seat left vacant on the council when Anna Moeller left that body in late March to become 43rd District State Representative.

    Councilman Rich Dunne said it took the council less than 20 minutes in executive session to come to its decision, going around the room to discuss choices, then taking a tally. Dunne, Tish Powell, Carol Rauschenberger, and John Steffen favored naming Martinez the finalist, with Terry Gavin and John Prigge not in favor, and Toby Shaw abstaining.

    Looks like Rosamaria Martinez has been selected for city council. Discuss.

  18. SIE says:

    Did anyone attend this weeks council meeting?

    I just heard the townhomes being built along Toastmaster Dr. to finish out the Princeton West development will be Sec. 8 housing. Did the city council discuss this at this weeks or any meeting?

    I can’t find anything about it.

    • RS says:

      Section 8 has largely moved to a voucher system, so any rental is potentially Section 8. That’s why city council needs to tread carefully with the Tower Building. If they build in family units it’s going to become another low-income high rise. What they should do instead of the current Gorman plan is to create microhousing. Make all the units small, tiny. And it should be a “TechSpace” analogous to the “ArtSpace.” But instead of housing for artists this will be for startup employees (technology workers) and recent college graduates with computer science or related degrees. Any other kind of plan, with multiple bedrooms, etc designed for families will become a de facto Section 8 highrise in downtown Elgin.

      • SIE says:

        The area of the Tower Building is already a lost cause.

        This is in what was once one of Elgin’s nicest neighborhoods.

        3 bedroom townhouses are designed for families. So this will be another multi family low income project. As if the ones on Bode and Rt. 19 weren’t enough on the east side. Also the local school is already the most overcrowded in the district. Lets go ahead and add potentially a hundred or more students from this development to it.

        With these additional townhouses a small geographic area on a dead end street will have close to 700 townhouses. Other cities build nice neighborhoods. Elgin builds this??

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          SIE, not being flippant here, but many of Elgin’s neighborhoods were once the nicest in town, but are no longer. Even Sunset Park, as a kid in the 60’s it was very nice, and still seemed that way probably through the 80’s.

          But what really opened my eyes to the matter of how time changes neighborhoods, is my own neighborhood. As a kid in the 60’s, my neighborhood (around the now closed Grace Methodist Church) was pretty shabby, with plenty of hobos, tramps and assorted derelicts. When I bought my house in 1987, my friends asked why I wanted to move to such a junky neighborhood. I didn’t defend the neighborhood, except to say that is where I grew up.

          Upon buying my house, and doing research, I found that my current house was built in 1883, and in 1929 a family purchased it, and spent $10,000 according to permits on file, to remodel the house. Further investigation showed that the cost of an average new house in 1929 was $7,000. I was amazed that someone would spend so much money on a house in such a neighborhood. So I asked some of the old-timers (80 and 90 year olds in 1987) at church (Grace that is) and they said with great sadness how the neighborhood had been really nice through the 1930s, and that there were doctors and lawyers living in our neighborhood, and that things really started to go down hill in the 1940s.

          The fact that it was already deteriorated and not full of activist/squeaky wheel home owners made it all the easier for the City to dump three subsidized high-rises into our midst.

          So even in the good old days, certain parts of town were sliding into disrepair and distress. The farther you slide, the fewer zealous/protective homeowners you have, and the easier it is for the City to dump more into the neighborhood, hastening the downward spiral. Princeton West is still at the top of the slide, but someday, it too will slip on down after the current concerned citizens give up and move on or die off. It is these larger forces at play that over-ride anything that calling in the Code Department can stop.

          Chuck

          • SIE says:

            Did the city hasten the deterioration of any of those neighborhoods by its own actions?

            By cramming in 700 townhouses in an area where less than 100 single family houses would have been much more appropriate, and with the latest 100+ townhouses being potential Sec. 8 rentals, Elgin did just that to this neighborhood.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        RS,

        Who would be paying for this micro housing exactly? Aren’t we already paying millions for renovations with the HUD boondoggle at 120 State Street? We already have subsidized artist housing and may be subsidizing the repairs for a charter school. When is enough…enough?

        We have a huge inventory of vacant properties for young entrepreneurs to rent. Why do we need to subsidize their living quarters and possible business locations? As I understand times have changed, I can still remember Microsoft and Apple started in their parents garages and on their parents dime.

        Elgin needs tax revenue coming in and fast (Hello…..Chamber, DNA and Economic Development)not this continual taxpayer spending on subsidized ideas.

        • RS says:

          The Gorman plan already involves millions of dollars from the City of Elgin. Tech microhousing would be no different financially from what they are proposing. It’s just a different kind of housing. It’ll be smaller units, but more units. Revenue-wise the building owner will probably come out equal.

          I certainly don’t think Gorman should be in any hurry. They should just wait for the tax buyer to take control of it and negotiate at that point. The building is condemned and has no current use. It could require millions just to make it usable at a very basic level. Nobody is going to hold on to it and continue paying taxes. The right price for the Tower Building is very close to zero. It would be unconscionable if “Stickling Foundation” gets anything more than that. They deserve an audit not a million dollar paycheck.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      SIE, I attended the session, and while I had understood in advance that Section 8 housing was the underlying issue, I did not hear that word at all in the public discussion. Most of the talking was done by the homeowner association’s president during recognition of persons present. He made clear that this is a complex legal issue. He did have a good show of support from his residents, and he made clear one point was that the people doing the construction, are messing up the privately owned street that is owned by the homeowner’s association. I didn’t take notes and was simply a passive observer. Hopefully you can watch the video. Chuck

      • SIE says:

        Thanks Chuck. I turned on the City Council meeting the other day but missed that portion.

        I did not realize any of the streets within the existing townhouse development were private. I thought the city maintained them. The townhomes on the west side of Toastmaster certainly don’t have private streets.

        We’re all getting construction traffic through our neighborhood. Having 700 townhouses at the end of a dead end street is just poor planning, plain and simple.

      • SIE says:

        I just watched the council meeting and what struck me the most was that the city had no idea this was even going on.

        How is that possible? How does someone come in and start building 100 rental townhouses without the municipality knowing? Didn’t permits need to be issued? Don’t inspections have to take place?

  19. RS says:

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140509/news/140508273/

    “The city has taken a step back. They have to decide what they are going to do with the property,” Schock said. Schock said the group also is considering other former school sites in Elgin as alternatives.

    Oh good. Hope they are looking at the Larkin Center Rakow Campus, because the sooner that’s re-occupied the less damage there will be to the building.

    This might also be a catalyst to opening up access to the sports complex from State Street. I can kind of see why they have no road there now–probably traffic reasons at the Rte 20 exit ramp, but they’ve had years to figure out a solution and they better have one at this point. It’s ridiculous that you have to cross town and go to McLean/ECC just to get into the sports complex.

    Hopefully we can finally deal with that and also open up access to the Laundry Building, turning that into the premier indoor skate park in the midwest.

  20. RS says:

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140425/news/140428688/

    The Elgin City Council will consider, possibly by June, whether to allow residents to keep chickens in their backyards.

    The city’s sustainability commission unanimously recommended April 8 that the city council allow the practice on residential properties, after a request by resident Christina Aagesen.

    This will be a big plus for Elgin. Backyard hens are a big trend now and I hope everyone on the council will get on board with this.

    • paul says:

      “This will be a big plus for Elgin. Backyard hens are a big trend now”

      So is heroin. Let’s legalize that too.

      “The city’s sustainability commission unanimously recommended”

      Given that backyard chickens have NOTHING do with sustainability the commissions recommendation on this issue is an excellent rationale for disbanding the city’s sustainability commission as being utterly useless.
      Actually WORSE than useless. Like backyard chickens, city’s sustainability commission is nothing but a fad.

      • One Vote says:

        All that pillow talk’s gotta find an outlet somewhere.
        What’s the point in being mayor if you can’t boost your wife’s pet projects?

  21. Margaret Miller says:

    Forgive me RS, I just couldn’t resist.
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/05/19/illinois-spending-1166-per-bird-to-bring-in-prairie-chickens/

    Illinois spending $1,166 per bird to bring in prairie chickens

    By Scott Reeder
    ·Published May 19, 2014
    ·watchdog.org

    The cash-strapped Illinois government has found a new use for its fleet of aircraft – flying birds into Illinois.

    I kid you not.

    State aircraft are flying to Kansas and transporting prairie chickens back to the Land of Lincoln.

    And at a time state lawmakers are looking at raising the state income tax, Illinois state employees have been hiking across Kansas trapping these chickens.

    Talk about fowl fiscal deeds.

    State pilots have flown between Illinois and Kansas not once, not twice but 14 times this year taking prairie chickens to downstate Jasper and Marion counties.

    “Illinois is the Prairie State and prairie chickens are an endangered species here, so we thought it would be a good idea to bring them back,” said Scott Simpson, site manager for Prairie Ridge State Natural Area in Newton, Ill.

  22. Margaret Miller says:

    http://www.rejournals.com/2014/05/21/entre-commercial-announces-medelas-expansion-into-elgin/

    Entre Commercial announces Medela’s expansion into Elgin
    May 21, 2014 | Staff Writer

    Entre Commercial Realty LLC represented medical device company Medela, Inc. in its new lease at 2768 Spectrum Drive in Elgin, IL. The building is 154,523 square feet of industrial space. Stockbridge Capital Partners, the landlord, was represented by Lee & Associates’ Steve Bass and John Sharpe. Dan Jones, Michael DeSerto, and Entre’s Dan Benassi represented the tenant in the transaction.

    Medela procured the facility in order to handle warehousing and distribution in an expansion from its’ McHenry, Illinois headquarters. They selected the building in Elgin because of its conveyors, warehouse equipment, and racking, which provided the company with a turnkey set-up.

    “We were pleased to find another location in the northwest suburbs for Medela,” says Benassi. “Maintaining a northwest location and easy access to I-90 and Randall Road, will allow for maximum efficiency.”
    The building is a part of the prestigious Northwest Business Park and includes ESFR sprinkler systems and 30’ clear height. It is cross-docked for convenient throughput.

    - See more at: http://www.rejournals.com/2014/05/21/entre-commercial-announces-medelas-expansion-into-elgin/#sthash.jvg4SRQL.dpuf

  23. RS says:

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/27564763-417/residents-taking-protest-vs-escalating-property-taxes-to-local-elected-officials.html#.U31VH-ZdW0Y

    A number of the residents who attended the two meetings on Monday live in the Highland Woods subdivision on Elgin’s far-west side.

    Brian Clark, a Highland Woods resident, said that his property taxes last year were $16,100. This year, the property taxes increased to $18,000.

    “Our home was one of the first homes in Highland Woods,” Clark said. “Nobody was aware of the high property taxes when they moved in. We could live practically anywhere else in the United States and pay half as much. We’re literally buying a car for the school district every year.”

    Clark moved into Highland Woods in 2007. He said at the time he was expecting to pay around $10,000 to $12,000 in property taxes. The tax rate has increased every year: 8.16 percent in 2008, 8.35 percent in 2009, 9.04 percent in 2010, 9.82 percent in 2011, 10.79 percent in 2012, and 11.92 percent in 2013.

    “Since the property tax bills came out, I’ve been seeing homes going up for sale,” Clark said. “We don’t want to be taxed out of our homes. Why aren’t taxing bodies controlling their spending?”

    • Anonymous says:

      All those people moved out there specifically for the school district. Yep not every penny of their property taxes go to the school district but I bet a good portion does.

      If they want to keep their school district great you’ve got to pay. They could always move a few miles east and have lower taxes…and be in U-46.

  24. RS says:

    Abe Froeman’s will take over the old On The Side/Red Bar location on Grove:

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/27586276-418/honest-abe-another-eatery-set-for-downtown-elgin-site.html#.U31UEuZdW0Y

    In fact, cased meats are part of what Tomlin intends to offer at the eatery. The approach will be similar to the Links Taproom and Bangers & Lace in Chicago, both of which offer craft beer along with their varieties of encased protein.

    Garcia makes his own beer and wine, so that might be a venue option down the road, too.

    Tomlin also intends to have a variety of gourmet-style appetizers and unusual dishes ­— for the Elgin area at least — such as crawfish tacos, as well as gourmet popcorn for people out for a stroll on the new Riverside Drive Promenade behind Froeman’s. Still, Chooch’s Pizzeria will remain the only place on the walk with an outdoor dining area.

    Tomlin hopes to include on the menu some of the grub he and business partner Marty Hernandez had at Tommy Knuckles Tavern & Lounge, a place with an old-school Hollywood look they operated for less than nine months in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

    That establishment closed after this year’s Super Bowl to make way for Compass Bar. Tomlin said that the partners got an offer too good to pass up to leave the spot, where rent was $11,500 a month.

    Rent at the Elgin location — which can hold about 70 seated diners — will be $2,500 a month. Getting the location came from knowing what has been happening in downtown Elgin and a good bit of luck, Tomlin said.

    Sounds interesting. If it doesn’t work I hope they’ll be willing to re-tool the menu. I wish there was a soul food restaurant in Elgin…

  25. Cruex says:

    Not only have I lost respect for David Kaptain as mayor of Elgin but I have no respect for Rosamarie Martinez who went begging for a placement on the council. Begging is not the Army I know.

  26. RS says:

    I ran across this interesting bit of trivia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butter

    In the United States, butter is usually produced in 4-ounce sticks, wrapped in waxed or foiled paper and sold four to a one-pound carton. This practice is believed to have originated in 1907, when Swift and Company began packaging butter in this manner for mass distribution.[37]

    These sticks are commonly produced in two different shapes:

    The dominant shape east of the Rocky Mountains is the Elgin, or Eastern-pack shape, named for a dairy in Elgin, Illinois. The sticks are 121 millimetres (4.8 in) long and 32 millimetres (1.3 in) wide and are typically sold stacked two by two in elongated cube-shaped boxes.[38]

    West of the Rocky Mountains, butter printers standardized on a different shape that is now referred to as the Western-pack shape. These butter sticks are 80 millimetres (3.1 in) long and 38 millimetres (1.5 in) wide and are usually sold with four sticks packed side-by-side in a flat, rectangular box.[38] The shape was altered for the West Coast because of the higher average temperature; having a smaller surface-area-to-volume ratio allowed the stick of butter to remain on the counter longer without melting.[39]

    Both sticks contain the same amount of butter, although most butter dishes are designed for Elgin-style butter sticks.

  27. RS says:

    Noticed this in the news recently:

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/05/13/fbi-shooter-had-stormy-record-officer/7zJ1ha78Z0SpfDey0PBuJJ/story.html

    The Boston FBI agent who fatally shot a Chechen friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev in Florida last year had a brief and troubled past at the Oakland Police Department in California. In four years, Officer #8313 took the Fifth at a police corruption trial and was the subject of two police brutality lawsuits and four internal affairs investigations. He retired from the department in 2004 at age 31…

    McFarlane’s full name and birth date on records in Massachusetts and New Hampshire match that of the Oakland police officer who was involved in several controversies during his four years with that police force. He retired with a pension of more than $52,000 annually for the rest of his life.

    A quick google search shows it’s a big problem around the country.

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/disability-368870-police-retirement.html
    http://www.suntimes.com/news/watchdogs/13688838-452/10-days-in-the-police-academy-15-years-on-disability.html#.U36bW-ZdW0Y

    Would really be curious to see the pension stats on Elgin’s retired workers including those on disability pensions. Wonder if we have anybody who retired at 31…

  28. RS says:

    Tour the Armory:

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140522/news/140529571/

    What: Elgin Armory 75th Anniversary open house tour

    When: 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 27

    Where: 254 Raymond St., Elgin

    Details: Tour this art deco building completed for $125,000 in 1939 as part of a Works Progress Administration project and which has served as the longtime home of the Illinois National Guard.

    Information: Call SFC Terry O’Neill, SSG Michael Stuckert, or SSG John Yaeger at (847) 741-3697.

  29. SOA2 says:

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/27566293-418/city-council-finalist-martinez-i-am-an-elginite.html#.U3_UcChQaOI

    First, someone stole my name so that’s why the 2.

    Second, why do you suppose she felt the need to say “and I’m a Latina!”

    You KNOW why.

  30. Margaret Miller says:

    Hmmm, so was this the reason Dave Kaptain was in Springfield recently?
    Thanks again Anna!

    http://www.illinoisreview.typepad.com/

    Email reveals Quinn pressured mayors to lobby for his budget and tax hike
    SPRINGFIELD - Illinois taxpayer dollars appear to have been used to promote Governor Pat Quinn’s budget proposal that includes making the 2011 state income tax hike permanent, and those fighting the income tax hike are outraged.

    An email obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) shows that shortly after Governor Quinn’s March budget address, pressure started being applied to mayors throughout Illinois. Pressure to become “local ambassadors” for the Governor’s budget, which includes making the 2011 tax increase permanent.

    According to the FOIA communication, two members of the Governor’s staff - Cory Foster and Michael Richards - spoke with representatives of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and the Illinois Municipal League (IML), urging the organizations to have their members lobby on behalf of the Governor’s proposed budget.

    The email, circulated by the Anna Bicanic Moeller, Executive Director of the McHenry County Council of Governments, states:

    The Governor’s staff asked participants on the call to review the Governor’s budget with their members and seek their support. They also said they intend to enlist supporting organizations as ‘local ambassadors’ to build support for the budget and work it in the General Assembly.

    Americans for Prosperity-Illinois’ Executive Director David From, who has been leading an effort to stop the 2011 temporary tax hike from becoming permanent, wasn’t surprised.

    “Unfortunately, the taxpayers are the ones not represented on that phone call with the Governor’s office,” From said. “But the tax hike is unpopular, and it would make sense that they would need to apply pressure to get the Governor’s budget passed.”

    Burr Ridge Mayor Mickey Straub said that not only had mayors been asked to lobby for the tax hike, they’ve been threatened to have their state dollars cut if the tax hike isn’t passed. Senate President John Cullerton made it clear to DuPage County mayors that without their active support, the budget wouldn’t pass, and state support would be drastically cut.

    In Moeller’s e-mail, one IML representative asked the governor’s staff if the governor intended to return their local share back to the 10 percent from the current six percent budgeted for local municipalities. On the call, the staffers reportedly said they didn’t know, but would need to get back with an answer.

    Straub told Illinois Review that “Not only does the governor not intend to return to the 10 percent level in his 2015 budget, mayors were threatened that if the governor’s budget didn’t pass, local government’s cut would be zeroed out.”

    “I am not in favor of the tax hike, and I’m not in favor of arm-twisting. I have a hard time believing any promise attached to a threat,” said Straub.

    The governor’s office was contacted for a response concerning this report. IR spoke to Michael Richards, who refused to comment. Richards is no longer working for the governor’s Government Affairs office, he is working on the Quinn for Governor campaign. Neither the governor’s office nor Cory Foster provided a response.

    Still, taxpayer groups are tired of fighting taxpayer-funded lobbying efforts.

    “Taxpayer-funded lobbying is always distasteful, but it is particularly egregious when the desired outcome is even higher taxes,” Illinois Policy Institute VP Kristina Rasmussen told Illinois Review. “Enough is enough.”

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Thanks Margaret! That was a fascinating article, helping to show how the system works. Chuck

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Hi Chuck,

        I thought it interesting as well.

        The article notes this happened in March with no date associated to it.

        It also describes Ms. Moeller as the Executive Director of McHenry County Council of Governments. With that title and no mention of her Elgin Council member position or describing her as a runner up for the Rep of the 43rd district, should we assume that this is the same Anna Moeller who strapped Elgin with higher taxes? The MO matches pretty well.

        If this is the same Anna Moeller…should we also assume she had not received her political appointment yet and perhaps she was working hard to prove herself to obtain the said appointment?

        Maybe she already knew this appointment was in the bag for her?

        If so, I wonder if this was her test to pass the initiation to get the appointment or if this was her first test, knowing she had the appointment and was showing her appreciation of the gift and her worthiness to the Governor and the ever taxing Illinois Democrats.

        Either way, good information for Jeff and the GOP don’t you think?

        • Margaret Miller says:

          Let’s also not forget the information from the FOIA.

          The Governor was corralling Mayor’s in support of his plan to extend the tax hikes and appears to have been using taxpayer money to do it.

          Correct me if I’m wrong, isn’t Elgin Mayor Kaptain a member of either the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and the Illinois Municipal League (IML)?

          Didn’t Mayor Dave Kaptain declare recently that he was in Springfield?

          Maybe Mayor Dave Kaptain was one of those Mayor’s the Governor was urging through the organizations to have their members lobby on behalf of the Governor’s proposed budget.

          Mayor Dave Kaptain, another high taxing Democrat in my opinion.

          Interesting to also point out the close working relationship between Mayor Dave Kaptain and Councilwomen Moeller, now Rep. Moeller.

          Do you think Ms. Moeller called Mayor Kaptain or just sent him and email?

          • One Vote says:

            It IS the same Anna Moeller. Her day job is in municipal government. She used to be a village manager is LITH and an assistant in Lincolnshire I believe. Now she heads up an association for municipalities.
            That’s why her involvement (and feigned innocence) in the TLC case is laughable. Why would someone who knows local government so well call out the police chief to investigate a commercial RV on private property?
            To intimidate them, that’s why.
            At best such a case would call for a low-level code enforcement officer to check it out.
            That also explains why Cogley specifically indemnified Moeller and Swoboda in the settlement. He knows they both acted irresponsibly in targeting TLC. $240K is a cheap price to pay for their stupidity.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Margaret, I would think it would be appropriate to ask Mayor Kaptain about these issues. Maybe he will be forthcoming, maybe not. But it is worth asking him. You could also ask Sean Stegall as he would be fully aware of anything the Mayor is involved in. Such a line of inquiry would at least be the first step I would take assuming you don’t have any inside connections at the state level. Many of us will no doubt be interested to find out what you can learn. Chuck

  31. Job says:

    I saw that Anna Moeller voted against the Governor’s budget and her statement that she won’t vote for the tax increase.

  32. RS says:

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/27629737-418/plans-shaping-up-for-third-fourth-fest-in-hoffman-estates-as-elgin-plans-own-program.html#.U4OrAuZdW0Y

    Elgin’s own Fourth of July events

    After allotting money and staff for the first two years of the Fourth Fest, the Elgin City Council opted out of contributing to the 2014 event.

    Instead, the city is working with the Grand Victoria Casino to hold concerts on July 3-4 and fireworks on the Fourth, with the casino footing the bill for the pyrotechnics and music to be held at Festival Park, which is adjacent to the docked riverboat.

    This will be the first time in six years the city will hold an Independence Day fireworks display.

    In Festival Park, on July 3, Three Dog Night headlines with California Transit Authority featuring Danny Serpahine and Bill Champlin — formerly of Chicago — opening. Ticket prices range from $19 to $79.

    The July 4 concert and fireworks will feature Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Dennis DeYoung (formerly of Styx), and the Chicago 6. Ticket prices will be $5-$79.

    Residents should be able to see the fireworks from other vantage points along the Fox River including the recently completed Riverside Drive Promenade.

  33. RS says:

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/27706515-417/moeller-trying-to-stop-pensions-for-former-lawmakers-state-officers-who-face-charges.html#.U4YzJpRdW0Y

    ELGIN — State Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin) has proposed legislation to bar former lawmakers and elected state officials from receiving a taxpayer-funded pension if they are facing felony charges. Moeller said she believes its provisions would apply to her own predecessor, accused child-pornography user Keith Farnham of Elgin.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      Has Ms. Moller forgotten a fundamental right of Innocent before proven guilt?

      • RS says:

        Moeller said House Bill 410, filed Monday, would “prohibit members of the General Assembly and constitutional officers from collecting a pension if they have been charged or convicted of a felony in connection with their service as an elected official.”

        If an ex-lawmaker is found not guilty or not convicted of the felony they were charged with, they would be eligible to collect their pension, including pension payments that were frozen during indictment.

        • Margaret Miller says:

          RS,

          You should know me by now that I’m not happy with subsidizing pensions for convicted criminal behaviors.

          With that said, please don’t forget George Ryan is not the only one. Remember Jackson Jr. and Blago. With these examples. I have no issue with penalties. They have been convicted.

          Not just for charges.

          • RS says:

            So would you allow a charged child molester to remain a teacher, for example, until he’s convicted?

            Should Farnham still be working today as a legislator because he hasn’t been convicted yet?

          • Margaret Miller says:

            RS,

            Your being obtuse with my point.

            My only point is that you don’t punish until convicted. Innocent until proven guilty.

            In regards to your example of a child molester, of course that person should be removed or suspended, just as any police office may be accused of inappropriate behavior. They are placed on administrative leave, usually with pay, until proven and convicted. Then the unions kick in with their plan.

            Suspension with accusations and punishment when convicted.

          • RS says:

            “Suspension with accusations and punishment when convicted.”

            Suspending their pension payments is exactly what Moeller is proposing.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            RS:

            You are being obtuse again. If they are accused, suspension from their job not their money or pension.

            Once convicted, all funds stop.

            I don’t know how to make my position aqlny clearer than this!

    • paul says:

      BETTER idea. Propose legislation barring ALL former elected state officials from receiving taxpayer funded pensions. I didn’t realize being elected to state office was a career. I thought they were performing a public service - not lining their pockets.

      Given Moeller wasn’t elected to state office does that mean she isn’t eligible!!! Now that’s funny, MM.

      • RS says:

        That’s right, the General Assembly is not supposed to be a full-time job. Madigan makes more than a million dollars a year as a “well-connected” lawyer. Why does he need a state pension on top of that? Let him save and invest his own money for his own retirement.

        I was shocked to see MM defending legislator pensions.

        • Margaret Miller says:

          Correction RS,

          I wasn’t defending pensions, I was questioning why someone, who has not been proven guilty, maybe penalized on “charges”.

          Shouldn’t they be convicted and then penalized under the presumption of innocence?

          As an example, had Ms. Moeller been charged by TLC for defamation of character, she would not be eligible for a pension based on her premise.

          • RS says:

            No, they shouldn’t have any presumption of innocence. They’re not being thrown in jail. They’re just having their pension payments frozen. They still get it if they are eventually proven innocent, which is unlikely as charges are rarely brought if a conviction cannot be obtained.

            I don’t think legislators should get a pension under any circumstance. If this is one way to reduce the number of pension payments then you should be all for it unless you are a big supporter of pensions for legislators.

            Are you glad that George Ryan received $635,000 in pension payments in just three years before his conviction?

            If this bill was introduced by anybody else, I’m guessing you would be for it. Everybody should be for it, unless they are a corrupt legislator.

            I hope Moeller keeps these coming. Keep whittling away. Make more ex-legislators (and state workers) ineligible for various reasons. Push out a dozen of these bills and she’s well on her way to higher office.

          • RS says:

            For example, a few more ideas:

            - tax pensions (at a HIGH RATE, according to a special schedule)
            - prohibit inclusion of overtime pay in pension calculation
            - make ‘retired’ workers re-entering state workforce ineligible for new pensions

            And I’m sure we can all come up with a lot more, but let’s take it one at a time.

  34. RS says:

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/27710286-417/waltons-donate-30000-to-elgin-charter-school.html#.U4YzOJRdW0Y

    ELGIN — A $30,000 grant from the family that owns the Wal-Mart chain will help a proposed local charter school reach out to young families in the Elgin area.

    The Elgin Math and Science Academy Charter School (EMSA) received a Walton Family Foundation Public Charter School Startup Grant, which organizers plan to reach out to families in low-income neighborhoods.

  35. RS says:

    http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/04/29/2-investigators-state-police-retirees-draw-six-figure-pensions/

    Take John Lofton, for example. He was making a salary of $80,801 a year when he retired in 2002. He also got a check for $65,482 for overtime, CBS 2 has learned.

    Overtime payments boosted Lofton’s monthly salary of $6,800 by $3,100 a month for the purpose of pension calculations, an Illinois State Retirement System official says.

    Lofton’s current pension, with COLAs, is now $134,026, compared to that $80,800 annual salary when he retired.

    This helps make sense of the enormous amount of overtime that Elgin public safety workers earn. Are they doing it to boost their pension payments?

    So little data on Elgin pensions. It seems like Elgin Octave has no interest at all in Elgin’s pension system, even though it’s probably the biggest drain on the city’s finances.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Hello RS: Speaking personally, I agree with you on the matter of the pensions in the State of Illinois 100%. I’ll send you an email, to follow up on a discussion we had on this matter once before. Chuck

  36. James Madison says:

    Dear John Prigge and all his followers:

    Joseph Welch to Joseph McCarthy, 1954, ” Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

    James Madison to John Prigge, 2014, Mr. Prigge, ” Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

    The answer was loud and clear in the Council Chambers on Wednesday, May 28, 2014.

  37. paul says:

    paul to james Madison, 2014: Jimmyboy, you have no sense of decency. You have no decency.

  38. RS says:

    i didn’t know there was a rugby team. nice job, guys.

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/27710729-418/elgin-rugby-club-river-rats-take-state-title.html#.U4fl2pRdW0Y

    ELGIN — Elgin’s high school, club-level River Rats rugby squad brought home its first state championship Monday beating a team from Springfield 31-24 to capture the D2 State Shield crown.

  39. RS says:

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/27741473-418/pointed-words-precede-martinezs-appointment-to-elgin-city-council.html#.U4fl3ZRdW0Y

    Mayor Dave Kaptain noted that the state’s rules allowed the council to make the appointment.

    He called out Prigge for his lack of participation in attending community events or serving on committees, and said he saw a lack of respect during candidate interviews. And Kaptain said Prigge also showed a lack of respect for the purpose of executive sessions by running to the media after the meeting where four finalists were named before the other applicants could be notified by the city.

    Ouch.

    • still concerned says:

      While I agree that the friction between Prigge and Kaptain (and other council members)has escalated to a potentially harmful (to the city) level…there was one comment made by our Mayor I take issue with. Kaptain stated that the majority rules (in making their appointment of Ms. Martinez) and that, “is democracy.” Well that really is not how I would define democracy. To me democracy means that people have the chance to vote and elect our leaders…not have them appointed via a secretive backroom process that had the appearance (hope I am wrong) of having the selected candidate’s ethnicity trumping some other candidates who may have been more qualified then she. This whole debacle has left me with a sour taste in my mouth!

      • RS says:

        Someone should bring in a “reset” button before they start installing bullet-proof barriers between the councilmen.

        I think the Martinez thing is overblown. If the sides were reversed (with a conservative majority being able to make the pick), I doubt that they would hesitate to make an appointment. And the people protesting would be the liberals. So just forget about it. It’s fine. Let it go. There shouldn’t be any hard feelings over this.

  40. RS says:

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/27752981-418/elgin-putting-out-another-rfp-for-day-school-property.html#.U4flyZRdW0Y

    So Wednesday, the council decided to advance a job order allowing more than $600,000 of the work on the gym and pool building, the administration building and a dining hall. In the meantime, with a RFP being capped at 90 days, the council could assess if any interest existed for the property and then decide on options for the buildings.

    I admit I have no idea what “advance a job order” means but it kind of sounds like they are going to spend $600k on this. Is that a wise decision, considering all options, including demolition/abandonment are on the table?

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      RS: You are correct, they are going to spend $600K. The amount John Steffen originally proposed would have been closer to $1million (but less) and would have used up all of the City’s current budget for property acquisition. Terry Gavin blanched at spending so much money, and so John Steffen amended his motion to spend the money to fix the roofs on what the council felt were the three most important buildings.

      I agree with you on this, this seems dicey not knowing what will happen to the property. And since they are capping the “RFP” process at 90 days, to find out what the market may propose for the property, spot tarring or tarping suspect roofs for 90 days would have incurred almost no expense. As presented by Rich Hoke, it sounded as though the work was for complete re-doing of the roofs. He did not indicate that they had solicited bids for temporary patches that would last for just a year. However, I did not read the council “packet” which may have clarified what was actually being done for $600,000. However, it would seem pretty intuitive that for 3 buildings, $600,000 is not a simple temporary patch job.

      Chuck

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Rick, I am told by a reliable source, that the council only approved getting bids for the repair work. The $600,000 figure was staff’s estimate for the work. And this was a discussion at the Committee of the Whole, so even on that basis alone, no actual expenditure could yet have been authorized. Sorry for the error, Chuck

  41. Margaret Miller says:

    Thank you for your service.

    http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/latest-national/military-casualties/53288-laotian-born-navy-veteran-from-elgin-honored-as-illinois-veteran-of-the-month.html

    Laotian-born, Navy Veteran from Elgin Honored as Illinois Veteran of the Month

    29 May 2014 05:50
    Written by Press Release
    Category: Military

    Chicago—(ENEWSPF)—May 29, 2014. In a simple and moving ceremony at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, Mr. Chindavanh Keomuongchanh was honored by Erica Borggren, Director, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) as the Veteran of the Month for June 2014 at the Elgin Veterans Memorial Park.

    “In their military service, Chin carries forward a tradition of both immigrants and Asian-Americans making a difference in ever expanding roles over the decades,” said Borggren, “And back here at home, he is a wonderful example of what veterans bring back to our communities in terms of a lifelong commitment to serving others.”

    In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, Keomuongchanh and his family fled Laos to avoid persecution by the ruling Communist government. He and his family arrived in Illinois, where he completed high school and then enlisted in the U.S. Navy for a career spanning three decades, including deployments to the Indian Ocean, Western Pacific, Mediterranean, and Persian Gulf Theaters, culminating with his retirement as a Petty Officer 1st Class in logistics. He earned numerous awards and decorations for his service, including the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, five Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, two Joint Meritorious Unit Awards, the Southwest Asia Service Medal with two Bronze Stars, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, and Expert Rifleman and Pistol Medals, and the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist Designator.

    Since his honorable discharge from the Navy, Keomuongchanh has continued to serve through a wide variety of roles, organizational memberships, and community activities, including by spearheading an extensive advocacy effort to gain recognition for the Laotian veterans who fought and died alongside U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War. His efforts helped inspire state and local lawmakers to proclaim July 19th as Lao American Veterans Day in Illinois. He has also been very active in Elgin and in the Laotian-American community, including serving on the Board of Directors as a Civic Engagement Program Director for the Lao American Organization of Elgin and helping launch a number of community health projects to increase awareness and promote prevention strategies for cancer, hepatitis, and other ailments.

    Erica Borggren, Director, IDVA, presented the award, which includes a framed proclamation as well as a State Flag, on behalf of Governor Pat Quinn.

    Source: Illinois.gov

  42. James Madison says:

    ILLINOIS PASSES SAME DAY VOTER REGISTRATION BILL.

    The fifth largest state in the nation passed one of the most impactful progressive voting reforms last week, a move that will likely result in hundreds of thousands of new voters.

    On Friday, both Illinois legislative chambers approved HB 105, a bill that allows state residents to register to vote on Election Day. The Land of Lincoln had previously cut off voter registration three days before Election Day.

    The bill passed by wide margins; 39-17 in the Senate and 64-41 in the House. It now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn’s (D) desk, who is expected to sign the legislation.

    Election Day registration is, in many ways, the anti-voter ID. Voter ID laws, which have been en vogue among conservatives recently, could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters (though different studies have reached different conclusions regarding how many voters will be disenfranchised by voter ID, even conservative estimates suggest that 2 to 3 percent of registered voters will be impacted). Election Day registration, on the other hand, tends to boost turnout between 7 to 14 percentage points, according to scientific studies. These gains come predominantly from the very groups that voter ID tends to discriminate against: minorities, young voters, and low-income Americans.

    There are a few reasons why Election Day registration has such a significant impact on turnout. Requiring people to register before they actually cast a ballot presents an extra hurdle to voting that necessarily depresses turnout. In addition, many Americans don’t begin paying attention to an election until just before Election Day, at which point it is too late to register in many states. Finally, nearly one in eight Americans move in an average year. Unless they remember to update their voter registration before Election Day or live in a state with Election Day registration, they can’t vote.

    Election Day registration has grown increasingly popular in blue states recently, likely in response to the rash of voter suppression laws since 2010. In the past two years, four other states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, and Hawaii — have enacted Election Day registration, bringing the total number of states to 13, plus the District of Columbia.

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/06/02/3443622/illinois-election-day-registration/

  43. RS says:

    June open thread is up, by the way.

    http://elginite.org/blog/2014/06/01/june-open-thread-5/

    Please make all new posts there.

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