Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Elwood Meeting on Truck Traffic and Road Restrictions

The Village of Elwood, Illinois is holding a special meeting July 23, 2014 at 7 p.m. to discuss "AN ORDINANCE REPEALING ORDINANCE NO. 1027 ENTITLED “AN

Elwood had passed an ordinance restricting truck traffic on certain Village of Elwood roads in an attempt to reduce the number of trucks driving through Elwood and using U.S. Route 53.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Secure the Border Rally held by Homer Lockport Tea Party

A group of citizens stood on the 127th Street bridge over I-355 holding signs reading "Secure Our Border", "Stop the Illegal Alien Invasion" and "A Nation Without Border is Not a Nation."  The rally was publicized on the Lockport-Homer Tea Party Website.  A woman named Stephanie from Lemont stated she organized the gathering because she felt something needed to be done to secure the border.  Stephanie stated "right now this country has a jobless situation, we have to straighten out our own country."  She stated she is not against helping children who have obviously suffered emotionally because of their experiences, but "it has to stop somewhere."

Will County Board Member Stephen Balich was also in attendance and stated we are experiencing "an invasion of the US by illegals" and that some of the unaccompanied minors could have gang affiliations and  "we have enough gang bangers already in the United States."  Balich went on to say the unaccompanied minors are "bringing diseases into this country....and they are coming to the Chicago area."  

US Senator Dick Durbin spoke recently on the issue:

People hold sign saying "Secure Our Border" on the 127th Street Bridge over I-355 in Lemont, Illinois 

"Secure our Border" Rally organized through the Homer Lockport Tea Party 

"Secure our Border" Rally organized through the Homer Lockport Tea Party 

"Secure our Border" Rally organized through the Homer Lockport Tea Party 

"Secure our Border" Rally organized through the Homer Lockport Tea Party 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

2014 Will County Threshermen's Show at Round Barn Farm in Manhattan

The Will County Threshermen's Association will host its annual Summer Show Thursday, July 17th through Sunday, July 20th, 2014 at the Round Barn Farm Park in Manhattan, Illinois.  Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children. 

Antique farming enthusiasts will display how steam-powered machines served the needs of farmers in the early 1900's by: sawing logs:

Separating wheat from chaff:

A wide variety of antique tractors will be on display:

Live plowing demonstrations are also planned:

The show is a great way to bring history to life for younger children.  For example, parents could create "where was it made?" scavenger hunt for kids.  Parents could ask their kids to look on each piece of antique machinery and write down where it was manufactured.

For a full schedule, go here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Illiana Expressway Meeting in Wilmington July 16, 2014

Will County Board Member Ragan Freitag is hosting a meeting on the Illiana Expressway at the Wilmington City Hall Wednesday, July 16, 2014 from 5-7 p.m..  The County's ombudsman will be in attendance, as will State Representative John Anthony (R-Morris).

"Residents have many questions about the proposed $1.3 billion Illiana project that will cut across Will
County and impact property owners in its path," said Freitag. "Elected officials at both the local and
state level should provide opportunities and forums for their residents' questions to get answered and
their voices to be heard. This is the purpose of next week's meeting in Wilmington."

According to Will County's Press Release on the meeting:
 "Last August, Will County appointed Michael Hansen to serve as ombudsman for the project and to
represent the interests of property owners affected by the proposed Illiana in dealings with the Illinois
Department of Transportation. The ombudsman's job is to facilitate clear communication between the
state and local residents. Since his appointment, Hansen has been attending informational meetings
like the one planned in Wilmington. Those landowners in the Illiana's path unable to attend next
week's meeting can contact Hansen at 815-744-9500, or"

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Will County Forest Preserve Paddling, Kayaking, and More

Here are The Forest Preserve District of Will County's planned activities for July 18 and 19, 2014, all info from the Forest Preserve:

Meet the Preserves” will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. on Friday, July 18, at the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Whalon Lake Preserve, 1490 Royce Road, Naperville. Find out more about your favorite preserve and about the Forest Preserve District in general. Learn about programs and events, and discover the best places to fish, bike or fly a kite. The free program is open to all ages. Registration is not required. For information, visit

Four one-hour sessions of “Paddle the Preserves” will be offered on Friday, July 18, at the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Whalon Lake, 1490 Royce Road, Naperville. Sessions will be held from 2 to 3 p.m.3 to 4 p.m.4 to 5 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. Equipment will be provided. The program is for ages 12 and older; ages 12 to 17 must be accompanied by a registered adult. Cost: $10 per person per session. Registration is required. Call 708-534-8499. For information,

Private Kayak Instruction,” is set for 2 to 6 p.m. on Friday, July 18, at the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Whalon Lake, 1490 Royce Road, Naperville. Let certified instructors tailor an experience specifically for you. All of the necessary gear and equipment is provided. The program is for ages 12 and older; ages 12 to 17 must be accompanied by a registered adult. Cost: $40 per person per hour or $150 for private groups of 10. Registration is required. Call 708-534-8499. For information, visit

Summer Campfire Fun” will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, July 18, at the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Plum Creek Nature Center, 27064 S. Dutton Road, Beecher. Play games, sings songs and listen to stories around a crackling fire. Dress for the weather. Don’t forget, you can spend the night in the Goodenow Grove campgrounds. Registration is required for the campfire; if you plan to spend the night, camping reservations must be made two business days before your arrival date. Call 708-946-2216. For information, visit

Sign up for “Kayak Kollege” to learn the sport of kayaking. The workshop will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 19, at Monee Reservoir, 27341 Ridgeland Ave., Monee. U.S. Canoe Association certified instructors will teach safety and the basics. The program is for ages 12 and 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. For information, visit

Monee by Moonlight” is scheduled for 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 19, at Monee Reservoir, 27341 Ridgeland Ave., Monee. Relax and paddle the calm waters of Monee Reservoir by moonlight in a kayak or canoe. Look for nocturnal creatures, then relax around a campfire and enjoy a glass of local wine. Previous boating experience is required. Boat rental preferences are based on a first-come, first-served basis based on registration. The program is for ages 21 and older. Cost: $12 per person. Registration is required. Call 708-534-8499. For information, visit

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Loyola Sells Donated Land to State of Illinois for Peotone Airport

By Ann Baskerville

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation's South Suburban Airport Land Acquisition webpage, Loyola University Chicago has sold 90.72 acres to the State of Illinois for the Peotone Airport.  The parcel is located at Egyptian Trail and West Eagle Lake Road and was sold for $900,000.

The land was donated to Loyola by the late Mary and Anthony Rudis, well-known conservationists and airport opponents who were some of the largest landowners in the Airport Footprint.  As this 2004 Chicago Tribune article discusses, Mr. and Mrs. Rudis donated the land without restrictions on its use.

Will County News contacted Loyola for comment on the decision to sell the land and received the following response from Steve Christensen, Communications Director for Loyola:

"When the University was originally notified of this bequest, we considered using the land for an ecology station. Since that time, the University acquired nearly 100 acres in Woodstock, Illinois (home to our Retreat and Ecology Campus), that is more suitable for this use, as it includes rare acres of wetland and numerous species of trees. Therefore, upon the death of Mr. Rudis, the University made the decision to liquidate the land to the State with proceeds committed to the construction of the Quinlan School of Business's new building (John and Kathy Schreiber Center) on our Water Tower Campus."

Maps of Peotone Airport--also known as the South Suburban Airport--boundaries and land purchases:

Map of Peotone Airport--aka South Suburban Airport--land purchased by the State of Illinois, early 2014

Illinois Department of Transportation South Suburban Land Acquisition Status Map 2012
For an updated Peotone Airport Land Purchased Map, go here.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wilmington, Illinois 4th of July Fireworks Cancelled Due to Storms

Due to recent storms and damage at North Island Park, Wilmington, Illinois has cancelled fireworks scheduled for July 5th, 2014.  There will be a fireworks display held on July 25th during the Catfish Days Festival.

This 4th of July, let's bring back Made in the USA:

Please remember firework events are subject to change by the organizations organizing the event.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Services in Manhattan

Members of Lincoln-Way ROTC and Manhattan American Legion Post 935 conduct Memorial Day Services at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Manhattan, Illinois

Members of Lincoln-Way ROTC and Manhattan American Legion Post 935 conduct Memorial Day Services at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Manhattan, Illinois

Sunday, May 18, 2014

National Weather Service Chicago Urges Citizens To Practice Weather Awareness

By Ann Baskerville

Meteorologists and support staff at the National Weather Service Chicago's Station in Romeoville, Illinois monitor weather conditions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to inform more than 10 million citizens in 23 counties of severe weather threats.  Matt Friedlein, Lead Forecaster for NWS Chicago, said that while technological advances have allowed for greater radar precision and more methods of relaying warning information since the Romeoville station opened in December 1991, the NWS Chicago's core mission remains the same: spreading the message of weather awareness and informing the public of severe weather threats.  

Friedlein said weather awareness begins with citizens remaining aware of weather conditions capable of producing strong storms and tornadoes.  Using advanced computer models to analyze weather data, meteorologists can recognize the potential for severe weather in a region days in advance.  For example, five days prior to the November 17, 2013 tornado outbreak in Illinois weather experts warned of atmospheric conditions creating the possibility for severe weather in the Midwest region.  By November 15, scientists warned more specifically that the Chicagoland region was at risk for severe storms.  The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center---based in Norman, Oklahoma---publishes forecasts on its website that include a rating of risk potential for severe storms.  Friedlein said a potential for severe weather in the region, "does not necessarily mean you cancel plans, but it does mean you need to have multiple means to hear a warning, such as public radio, outdoor warning sirens, TV, a NOAA weather radio, and texts and calls from family and friends."  

Freidlein urges citizens to prepare by thinking about how plans might shift in response to a severe weather threat.  For example, think about how a tornado watch or warning would prompt you to change plans regarding the commute home or picking the kids up from school.  A tornado can happen in the Chicago metro area and a majority of tornadoes develop in the afternoon and evening, overlapping with peak commuting times.  Everyone has experienced a Chicagoland traffic jam and can imagine why it is vital to do everything possible to avoid sitting stuck in traffic during a tornado or severe weather.  If you are caught by severe weather or a tornado while in your vehicle, the National Weather Service keeps recommendations for action here.

During times of increased threats, severe weather warning operators at NWS Chicago monitor evolving storm systems using radar and reports from on-the-ground storm spotters.  During times of severe weather, NWS Chicago's radar scans the atmosphere more quickly, Freidlein explains: 

Once NWS Chicago identifies a severe storm or tornado either on radar or through a storm-spotter report, the warning is issued over NOAA radio in less than a minute.  
Weather Radio Station at NWS Chicago

NWS also maintains on-line chat rooms that allow community emergency managers, media meteorologists and storm spotters to communicate in real time, which also helps to spread warnings.  Each spring and autumn, NWS Chicago meets with media to brainstorm the best ways to work together to inform the public of weather threats.  NWS Chicago enjoys a "great partnership" with broadcast meteorologists, Friedlein said. NWS Chicago takes its partnerships seriously since weather safety often spreads person to person.  For example, Friedlein relayed the story of a six year old who had learned tornado safety at school and told her family "we learned to go downstairs in a tornado warning."  That six year old's family lived in Washington, Illinois and their house was destroyed by the EF-4 tornado that ripped through the town.  

The six year old knew to get underground as soon as the warning was issued instead of waiting to visualize the tornado.   Friedlein shared that severe weather social science research shows: "people tend to want to verify the threat; seeing is believing and they want to see the threat."  When a tornado is on the ground, however, "you don't have time to see it and then take cover" Friedlein said.  That is particularly true when storms are moving quickly, such as the November 17 storms which moved at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.  It is vital citizens seek shelter immediately when a warning is issued and do not waste time trying to verify warning information.  According to Friedlein, over the last 20 years in Northeastern Illinois, on average, each county was under a tornado warning for one hour each year and each county was under a severe thunderstorm warning for 9 hours a year. 

In addition to radar, NWS Chicago relies on trained storm spotters to provide in-person reports of severe weather and tornadoes, reports that can prompt a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning.  Storm spotters who have completed the NWS's storm-spotter training volunteer to watch storms on the ground and phone-in reports to NWS Chicago.  Some spotters report using Ham radio.  During severe weather events, a volunteer often comes into NWS Chicago to take reports at the Ham Radio Station, pictured below:
Ham Radio Station at NWS Chicago
Friedlein said the spotters "are our eyes and ears, we can't see what's on the ground." Spotters provide reports that allows NWS to issue warnings that include statements such as "spotters have confirmed a tornado on the ground."  These first-person verified warnings resonate strongly with the public.  

During the November 17, 2013 tornado outbreak, members of the public using Twitter received tweets relaying those reports of tornadoes on the ground.  Friedlein stated NWS Chicago assigned a staff member "as the dedicated person monitoring social media" and updating the NWS Chicago Twitter feed because meteorologists "were expecting multiple tornadoes and we knew there would be a large flow of information" coming in through social media.  While the NWS Chicago does not routinely have a dedicated social media staff, advanced forecasts of conditions very favorable for multiple tornadoes allowed NWS Chicago to add extra staff for November 17th.  NWS Chicago also staffed more meteorologists November 17th to attend to the Center's duties to monitor conditions at airports and conditions on Lake Michigan.  

Whether citizens monitor weather conditions by listening to a NOAA radio, local media, social media, NWS products, or simply by keeping an eye on the skies, the message is clear: remain aware of the potential for severe weather and make sure you have the means to hear a warning.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Joliet Junior College Police Department Raises Funds for Special Olympics Illinois

 The Joliet Junior College Police Department recently held a spaghetti dinner to raise money for Special Olympics Illinois.  

Police Officer Randy Graves said he would like to thank the JJC Police Department, the entire JJC educational community, and cafeteria for their overwhelming support of Special Olympics Illinois: "During this fundraiser, we sold out of spaghetti in the first hour of the event; we then served mostaccioli; moved on to pasta shells, and finally bow tie pasta to feed our supporters. We sold more dinners during the first hour than we did in last year's entire Inaugural Event!  Thank you everyone for contributing to the success of our Special Olympics fundraiser!"  

Joliet Junior College Police Officers and volunteers serve spaghetti dinners to raise money for Special Olympics Illinois. 

Jeanne Lindholm, Records Department, JJC Police Department and Daryl Parsons, Department Secretary, JJC Police Department sell Torch Run Merchandise to raise funds for Special Olympics Illinois

Helping to sell dinner tickers were: Seated, L to R: Barb Courter, Plainfield  School District 202 Vocational Coordinator and Dee Graves, Plainfield School District 202 Assistant Director of Student Services;  Standing L to R: JJC Police Chief Pete Comanda, P.O. Regan Ready, and P.O. Randy Graves.

Joliet Junior College Police Officers hold a spaghetti dinner to raise money for Special Olympics Illinois