Thursday, July 30, 2015

Forest Preserve District of Will County Programs

Will County Forest Preserve Programs, from the Forest Preserve:

Forest Preserve District Offers Bird, Boat, Farm and Photo Classes

This year’s final two sessions of “Lake Renwick Bird Viewing” tours will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Lake Renwick Heron Rookery Nature Preserve, located on Renwick Road, 0.5 mile east of Route 30. On Aug. 16 the preserve, which was closed except for the tours as the birds were nesting, will reopen for general use from 8 a.m. to sunset through Feb. 28. Registration is not required for the bird viewings; the program is for ages 7 and older.

 – A “Riverview Farmstead Tour” is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13, at the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Riverview Farmstead, located on Book Road, south of Hassert Boulevard/111th Street. Discover how three generations of the Clow family built the early settlement farmstead into a commercial farm. Registration is required for this free, all-ages program; call815-886-1467.

MONEE – The Forest Preserve District of Will County will offer “Kayak Fishing 101” from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 14, at Monee Reservoir, 27341 Ridgeland Ave. Learn all about fishing from a kayak including the items you will need, safety concerns and registration essentials. The program is for ages 12 and older. Cost: $20 per person. Registration is required; call 708-534-8499

 – Forest Preserve District of Will County “Kayak Kollege” workshops will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m.on Saturday, Aug. 15, at Whalon Lake, located on Royce Road, west of Route 53. Participants must be age 12 or older; ages 12 to 17 must be accompanied by a registered adult. All equipment is provided, including life jackets. No previous experience is required. Cost: $20 per person. Registration is required; call 708-534-8499.
BEECHER – Watch as hummingbirds are banded by an Illinois licensed avian ecologist during a “Hummingbirds up Close” program from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, at Plum Creek Nature Center, 27064 S. Dutton Road. The program is being offered by the Forest Preserve District of Will County in cooperation with the Thorn Creek Audubon Society. Registration is required for the free, all-ages program; call 708-946-2216.
BEECHER – The Forest Preserve District of Will County will offer a “Summer Nature Photography” class from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. onSunday, Aug. 16, at Plum Creek Nature Center, 27064 S. Dutton Road. The program is recommended for beginners and for technology ranging from smartphone cameras to digital SLRs. Dress for the weather. The free program is for ages 16 and older. Registration is required; 708-946-2216.

Fishing for Trash” will be offered from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day starting Tuesday, Aug. 11, and ending Sunday, Aug. 16, at the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Monee Reservoir, 27341 Ridgeland Ave. Stop by the Visitor Center to pick up a garbage bag, fill it with trash and return it to receive a free gift. Registration is not required for the free all-ages program. 
For information on these programs and other Forest Preserve District offerings, visit

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Will County Board Extends Temporary Overweight Permits for Arsenal Road

At the July 16, 2015 Will County Board meeting, the board voted to extend issuing overweight truck permits for Arsenal Road.  The Board heard from people in the trucking and grain exporting industries who described their businesses and their use of Arsenal Road:

Sunday, July 19, 2015

DuPage A.M.E. Church Holds Prayer Walk in Honor of Sandra Bland

A silent prayer walk in memory of Sandra Bland was held today at her church, DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lisle, Illinois.

After the prayer walk, Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. James Miller was asked his thoughts on the fact that officials have already said Bland committed suicide.  Miller said:

"When you say what has happened before an investigation has been completed, you are tainting the investigation.  If you want to know Sandra Bland's character and personality, I invite you to her webpage and you will see she was strong willed and outspoken, but a Christian woman who was seeking reconciliation for this present age.  I'll leave you to your own conclusions."

Members of the church collected signatures in support of a petition asking the U.S. Justice Department to conduct an independent investigation into Bland's death.

"We're asking everyone who will to write Attorney Lynch, the Attorney General of the United States of petition the Justice Department for an independent, an independent and objective, thorough investigation," Miller said.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lincoln-Way School Board Votes to Close School to Reduce Deficit

At the July 16, 2015 Lincoln-Way School Board Meeting, the Board voted to stop consideration of two proposed deficit-reduction options: a tax referendum and cutting classes or extracurriculars.  The only proposed option remaining is closing a school.

Superintendent Tingley presented options for attendance boundaries and school closures.  The Board asked for more information on bus travel times for each of the options.  The Board also discussed the possibility of bringing in an outside consultant to analyze the situation.

The Board will discuss which school to consider for closure at the next meeting.

Video of public comment from a father of a Lincoln-Way student and a Lincoln-Way teacher:

New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann on supporting all Lincoln-Way Schools:

The Lincoln-Way Board of Education discusses budget reduction options:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lincoln-Way School Board to Discuss Deficit Reduction, Possible School Closing

Taking action on deficit reduction options is on the agenda for the July 16, 2015 meeting of the Lincoln-Way School Board.  The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Lincoln-Way Central Fine Arts Center.

Lincoln-Way was placed on the State of Illinois Financial Watch list in March of 2015.  The School Board must turn in a budget reduction plan to the State by September 2015.

Deficit reduction options that have been discussed include closing a high school, a tax referendum, and cutting classes and extra-curriculars.  Check out the July 16, 2015 Lincoln-Way School Board Meeting Agenda and information on the district's financial situation:

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Plainfield Police Post Photos of Airsoft Weapons, Highlight Split-Second Decisions Officers Must Make

The Plainfield Police Department has posted a statement and pictures on its Facebook page regarding a recent police call in Plainfield.

Statement on the Plainfield Police Facebook page:
"Are these weapons and gear real or fake?
After looking at them for a few minutes you may be able to realize that all this gear is related to Airsoft activities but imagine being a police officer and coming upon a group carrying these items and you have to decide in a second or two whether they are real or fake?
Members of our department faced this exact scenario this past Friday when they were dispatched to a call reporting people running around near a residential area carrying rifles and other weapons. When they arrived, officers made contact with two (2) of the offenders relatively quickly. While they were still trying to determine if the weapons were real or not a third offender began to approach the officers in a tactical manner, partially hidden by nearby brush, with his weapon pointed in the officers direction. Another responding officer saw the third offender from a distance and drew his weapon to possibly engage the subject and prevent the subject from harming the other officers. This officer took a calculated risk and gave the offender a verbal warning to drop his weapon. If he had been wrong this situation could have proven fatal to the offender or officers.
Thankfully, the third offender did drop his weapon and was taken into custody without further incident. As it turns out, these were three teens with Airsoft items and thankfully no one was injured.
We highlight this incident to remind parents that do decide to purchase these items or allow their children to play with these items to make sure they are clearly marked as non-deadly weapons and to also make sure parents are aware of where they are participating in these activities.
This is a scenario that could have been unbelievably tragic and would have stayed with all the people involved and many more for the rest of their lives."

To see the photos, go here

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Would a Houbolt Road Bridge Help Will County Traffic?

At a June 17, 2015 of the Elwood International Port Authority, Salvatore Di Bernardo, Executive Vice President of Ciorba Group, Consulting Engineers, gave a presentation on a Houbolt Road Bridge over the Des Plaines River.  After the presentation, audience members working in the logistics and rail industries in Will County and Village of Elwood officials discussed how a potential Houbolt Road Bridge might affect truck traffic in Will County:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Federal Judge Rules Illiana Tollway's Approval Invalid

The Environmental Law and Policy Center issued the following release today after a ruling by Federal Judge Jorge Alonso:
"Chicago—The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois issued a strong decision declaring the federal and state transportation agencies’ approvals of the proposed Illiana Tollway to be illegal.

“The Federal Court decision is a big victory for the Environmental Law & Policy Center and our clients and for sensible transportation planning and priorities,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “We are very pleased the Federal District Court has ruled in our favor, which should bring the boondoggle proposed Illiana Tollway to an end.”

The Federal District Court held that the Federal Highway Administration’s and Illinois Department of Transportation’s approvals of the final Tier One Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) were “arbitrary and capricious and in violation of NEPA” (National Environmental Policy Act). 

Judge Jorge Alonso determined that IDOT’s plans to build the Illiana Tollway was based on analyses that are “fatally flawed.” He said the agencies used a circular logic to make their initial case about how the proposed Illiana Tollway will lead to population growth and traffic demand. They assumed traffic growth would be the same regardless of whether the costly proposed new Illiana Tollway was ever built. The Court remanded the EIS and ROD to be redone in accordance with the decision and applicable law. 

Today’s Federal Court decision forces the Illinois and Indiana Departments of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to go back to the drawing board.

“IDOT, INDOT and FHWA need to go back to square one, or not at all,” said Learner. “It’s time for Gov. Rauner and the federal and state transportation agencies to bring the proposed Illiana Tollway to an end. We need to close this sad chapter in Illinois transportation politics and misplaced priorities. The Illiana Tollway is a fiscal boondoggle, contrary to sound regional transportation policy, and would degrade the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.”"

Read the judge's summary opinion here.  

Houbolt Bridge Presentation on Agenda for Elwood International Port Authority Meeting

A presentation on a "Houbolt Bridge" is on the Agenda for the June 17, 2015 5:00 p.m. meeting of the Elwood International Port Authority.   The Elwood International Port Authority meets at the Elwood Village Hall--401 Mississippi in Elwood.

The Houbolt Bridge has been proposed as a way to route trucks from the Elwood and Joliet Intermodals onto I-80.  It has been suggested that a Houbolt Bridge would relieve traffic on Laraway, Route 53, and other roads.

Here is the agenda for the meeting, from the Village of Elwood's website:


Wednesday, June 17, 2015
5:00 PM
(limited to two (2) minutes per person)

  1. ICC Update
  2. Traffic Patterns
  3. Seasonal Issues
  4. Elwood International Port Directional/Way Finder Signs
  5. OJT (On the Job Training) Hiring Grant Nisha Floyd
  6. Houbolt Bridge Presentation:
6a. ENGINEERING: Salvatore Di Bernardo, PE Executive Vice President CIORBA GROUP, Consulting Engineers

6b. ENVIRONMENTAL: Stacy MeyersPolicy Coordinator OPENLANDS

Friday, June 5, 2015

Traffic Problems Continue as Illiana is Put on Hold

By Mary Baskerville

MANHATTAN—The governor’s announcement to suspend work on the Illiana Expressway puts Manhattan in the position of waiting for transportation solutions.  “The problem is all the towns and municipalities are caught in this tug-of-war between the governor and the legislators,” Mayor James Doyle said.

“With everybody—it’s wait and see.”

The Illiana would help relieve heavy truck traffic through the center of town, Doyle said. Meanwhile, the Village of Manhattan continues to see about a ten percent increase in heavy truck traffic travel on U.S. Route 52 in the wake of the closing of Walter Strawn Drive in Elwood, he said.

Citing a lack of money, the governor’s office said in a news release Tuesday that the Illiana would be taken off the current multi-year plan list. The release went on to say: “It is the determination of IDOT that the project costs exceed currently available resources. The Department will begin the process of suspending all existing project contracts and procurements.”

Speaking after the regular village board meeting, Doyle said the governor’s action doesn’t necessarily kill the Illiana:   “It’s taken off the list—but the study still counts. If they would have discarded the study, then it would have been dead for sure. But since the study is not discarded, if they come up with funds, if they figure out a way, they could put it back on the list.”

The stop on the Illiana “is putting the congestion back on I-80 and 55 and 53—and they are already hazards now,” Doyle said. “They are bottlenecks for trucks, and there are more accidents than ever before.”  

The village had been in favor of the Illliana and wanted to see an interchange at Cedar and Wilmington-Peotone Road, he said. 

A hold on the Illiana does not change Manhattan's planning:  “For right now, it doesn’t change the planning,” Doyle said. “We can’t stop trucks from using the state truck routes.”  

There have been no recent truck counts through town, but the village will enforce weight limits and speed limits: “We want the residents to be safe.”