Monday, December 2, 2013

Information on Obamacare at Manhattan-Elwood Public Library

In-Person Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace Counselors from the Will County Health Department will be at the Manhattan-Elwood Public Library Tuesday, December 3, 2013 from 6-7 p.m..  The Will County Health Department received a $400,000 grant from the State of Illinois to hire the In-Person Counselors, spread the word about the Health Insurance Marketplace, and enroll people in health care plans.  The Counselors will provide information on the Affordable Care Act---commonly known as Obamacare---and discuss Medicaid eligibility and tax credit eligibility.   People who attend the event at the library will also be able to schedule an appointment with an In-Person Counselor so that the Counselor can help you enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace.  

In-Person Counselors will be at the Manhattan-Elwood Public library on December 11, 2013 from 12:00 PM---7:00 to help people with online health care enrollment.  

To schedule an appointment or for more information, call the Will County Health Department at  815-727-5990.

Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace Presentation to be held at Manhattan-Elwood Public Library

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Wilmington Holiday Light Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting 2013

Here are some photos from the 2013 Wilmington Holiday Parade:

Wilmington Fire Department Engine with Christmas Lights

Window with Christmas Angel in a Wilmington Antique Store Window

People line the streets of downtown Wilmington to wait for the parade

Wilmington, Illinois will celebrate the Holiday season with a Holiday Light Parade and Tree Lighting on Saturday, November 30 at 5 p.m..  Following the parade, there will be an  ice carving demonstration and a performance by the Wilmington ShowCats under the gazebo.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Will County Farm Bureau Celebrates 100 Year Anniversary

By Mary Baskerville

The Will County Farm Bureau’s 100-year history was celebrated November 23, 2013 at the Weitendorf Agricultural Education Center on Laraway Road. Drawing farmers, county and state leaders, and agriculture educators and supporters together, the event included a display of farm life spanning the century.

Will County Board member Ken Harris said the displays were very interesting to him because as a County Board member it is helpful to gain information about agriculture and "understand the farmers and the people that are affected."  Harris is standing by a display of a John Deere corn husker and John Deere wagon holding ear corn.

Will County Farm Bureau President Tom Nugent welcomed keynote speaker Orion Samuelson saying that his reputation as the “voice of agriculture” for over a half-century on WGN Radio was vital in helping explain the role of farming to many.

Will County Farm Bureau President Tom Nugent (left) and Orion Samuelson at the  Will County Farm Bureau 100th Anniversary Celebration

Samuelson told the crowd of over 400 that as agriculture becomes more modern “the challenge becomes even greater.” He told the new generation of farmers to dream big dreams: “You can’t dream big enough.”  

Vast changes occurred during the past century, he said, with even bigger changes coming. Organizations like Farm Bureau help explain the role of agriculture: “We will lead the change.”

In 1918, there were 3,588 individual farms in Will County. By 2009, Will County’s population reached 685,251 and there were 877 farms.

The Will County Farm Bureau Centennial Committee was co-chaired by Tom Nugent and Jim Robbins. Members included Pat Bleuer, Jerry Davidson, Doug Erickson, Bob Fitzer, Glenn Fritz, Barbara Kestel, Roger Koehn, Gene Malone, Tom McCoy, Henry Meader, Johan Meier, Bob Muehling and Jim Schillinger.

Manhattan Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting in Times Square 2013

Manhattan will celebrate the Christmas Season with a Lighted Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting on Saturday, December 7th.  The parade starts at 6:00 p.m. and the tree lighting immediately follows.

The Manhattan Park District is sponsoring cookies, activities, and a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus for kids in the Program Center before the parade from 3:00--5:00 p.m. (sign up at Program Center).    There also will be live reindeer on Gustafson Street from 3:30--5:30 p.m..

On Friday, December 6th, the Lincoln-Way Central Madrigal Signers will perform at the Park District Program Center at 7:30 p.m..  Admission is free but you must register with the Park District by December 5th.

The tree lighting is a great way for the entire community to come together to celebrate.  Here is the scene from a previous Christmas Tree lighting in Manhattan:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Information on the Affordable Care Act--Obamacare--in Plainfield

State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, who represents the Illinois State Senate District 49, will host an info night on the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare, on October 2, 2013 in Plainfield.
State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant represents the 49th Illinois State Senate District
Please see the press release below from Bertino-Tarrant's office for event details:

"PLAINFIELD – Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) will be hosting a free informational seminar on the Affordable Care Act and how it will affect families, seniors and individuals on October 2, 2013 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Edward Plainfield Outpatient Center.

AJ Wilhelmi, former State Senator and Chief Governmental Relations Officer for the Illinois Hospital Association, will be presenting at the event.

“As we move closer to ACA implementation, many people are calling my office with questions about concerns such as pre-existing conditions, the effect on Medicare and even when the plan is scheduled to start,” Senator Bertino-Tarrant said.  “There are obviously a lot of questions out there, and this event is aimed at answering those questions.”

While the event is free to the public, space is limited.  Individuals interested in attending should contact Senator Bertino-Tarrant’s Plainfield office at 815-254-4211 or sign up via her website at

Affordable Care Act Informational Seminar
Hosted by: Senator Bertino-Tarrant
Presenter: AJ Wilhelmi
Date: October 2, 2013
Time: 6-7:30p.m.
Location: Edward Plainfield Outpatient Center
                    24600 W 127th St., Bldg A (lower level)
    Plainfield, IL. 60544"

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

JJC Farmers Market to Host Back to School Fair

Joliet Junior College Culinary Arts Professors demonstrate cooking with fresh ingredients at the JJC Farmers' Market
By Ann Baskerville
A $92,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Farmers' Market Promotion Program has allowed Joliet Junior College to create a weekly farmers' market on its campus.  According to the USDA website, the Farmer's Market Promotion Program:

"offers grants to help improve and expand domestic farmers’ markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agri-tourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities. Agricultural cooperatives, producer networks, producer associations, local governments, nonprofit corporations, public benefit corporations, economic development corporations, regional farmers’ market authorities and Tribal governments are among those eligible to apply. The maximum amount awarded for any one proposal cannot exceed $100,000. Over $9 million in FMPP grants were awarded in fiscal year 2012."

JJC Agriculture Professor Donna Theimer and Grant Writer Kelly Larson made the grant application and were very pleasantly surprised to learn their grant won JJC the funds needed to start the farmers' market.   One reason JJC was selected, according to Theimer, is that the government considers JJC's location to be a food dessert, meaning residents lack local access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  JJC was awarded the grant with the charge to accept the LINK card so that low-income residents can access the market, according to the USDA website.   Theimer is hoping JJC's "LINK students will come to the market and purchase fresh fruits and vegetables."  

Station at the JJC Farmers' Market where LINK funds can be exchanged for tokens that can be used to buy fruits and vegetables from vendors

 After learning of the grant's success, Theimer and JJC staff scrambled to put the market together.  Market managers from other towns freely shared contacts and tips on bringing farmers to the market.  Theimer remembers that other managers wanted JJC's market to be a success and "helped us with open arms, they don't see us as competitors."   Many connections were made when JJC staff attended the Illinois Specialty Crop Growers' Conference.   

The grant is for two years and the money is being used to pay a part-time market manager and a student worker.  Grant money purchased the tents, tables, and chairs used by the farmers.  After the grant money ends, JJC will support the market, according to Theimer.

Farmer and her produce at the JJC Farmers' Market

The Farmers Market is just one part of a growing horticulture and agriculture program at JJC.  JJC students are currently working on projects such as growing vegetables in a high tunnel--a structure which extends the growing season into the winter months.  Students have the opportunity to learn fruit and nut tree production and how to grow fruits hydroponically.  Students work with professors to grow 450 grape plants, whose fruits are then sold to Fox Valley Winery.  Just last week, the college approved a new program of study--Environmental Horticulture Production and Design--which may begin as early as Fall 2015.  As consumer interest in how food is produced grows, JJC is providing students with the education needed to fill jobs in the field of food production.

The market is held on the Main Campus, 1215 Houbolt Road in Joliet, every Thursday from May 23 to Oct. 24 (except July 4) 3 to 7 p.m. in the area around the Greenhouse Facility, accessible directly from Houbolt. Visitors can park in the lot next to the Greenhouse, which is on the west side of Houbolt.

The September 12, 2013 market is the Back to School Fair and will feature kids' activities, face painting, arts and crafts, a fire truck, and a visit from the Hines VA Hospital Bus which will provide medical screenings.  JJC's technical programs will give demonstrations and provide info on college programs. 

CMAP Publishes Comments on the Proposed Illiana Expressway

CMAP--The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning--has released public comment CMAP received regarding the proposed Illiana Expressway.

CMAP received 965 comments on the Illiana.  169 comments supported including the Illiana Expressway in CMAP's GOTO2040 plan.  796 comments were opposed to the Illiana Expressway being included by CMAP in the GOTO2040 plan.

Read all public comments submitted to CMAP here (this is a large document and will take a few minutes to load).

Friday, August 2, 2013

Illiana Expressway Reps to Attend Will Township Meeting

According to the group No Illiana For Us, representatives from the Illinois Department of Transportation and consultants working on the Illiana Corridor Study will attend the Tuesday, August 6 Will Township Board meeting at 7 p.m..  The Will Township building is located at 30317 South Will-Center Road in Peotone.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Illiana Expressway Updated Map and Possible Road Closures

UPDATE: Maps and interchange drawings from the August 6, 2013 meeting at Will Township:

At the June 2013 Illiana Corridor Public Meeting in Peotone, study team members presented a map showing which roads crossed by the Illiana B3 are under consideration for closure:

Legend for B3 Illiana Expressway Map of How Roads will be affected by the B3, including roads under consideration for closure

Map of possible road closures along the B3 route for the Illiana Expressway

Map of possible road closures along the B3 route for the Illiana Expressway

Map of possible road closures along the B3 route for the Illiana Expressway

Map of possible road closures along the B3 route for the Illiana Expressway

Map of possible road closures along the B3 route for the Illiana Expressway 
Map of possible road closures along the B3 route for the Illiana Expressway

Map of possible road closures along the B3 route for the Illiana Expressway

Map of possible road closures along the B3 route for the Illiana Expressway

Illiana Expressway Meeting in Peotone June 18. 2013

There will be an Illiana Expressway meeting tonight--June 18, 2013--in Peotone at Peotone High School.  The meeting is from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m..  The Illinois and Indiana Departments of Transportation will be presenting refinements to the B3 corridor including interchange types and locations, local road connectivity, overpass and underpass locations, and more. A question and answer forum will be held at 6:00 p.m..

Friday, May 31, 2013

Senator Pat McGuire: Peotone Airport, Illiana Expressway, and Intermodal Facilities Put Will County on Top of "Economic Heap"

State Senator Pat McGuire (Democrat, Joliet) has released the following statement following co-sponsoring and voting for Illinois Senate Bill 20, a bill which gives the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) control over building the Peotone Airport and calls for the airport to be operated in a public-private partnership: "Thousands of area men and women will have jobs building this airport, and thousands more will have permanent jobs at it," McGuire said. "The synergy between this airport, the Illiana Expressway, and our intermodal facilities should put. Will County on top of the economic heap for a long, long time."

Proposals for the Illiana Expressway also include plans for a public-private partnership.   The B3 route for the Illiana Expressway, shown below, passes south of the proposed Peotone Airport's boundary:
Illiana Expressway B3 alignment and Peotone Airport Footprint Map

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Illiana Expressway Route 45 Interchange And Map

At a recent Illiana Corridor Public Meeting in Peotone, the Illiana Planning Group presented images of concepts for interchanges at Route 45/52:

Concepts for Illiana Expressway Interchanges at 45/52

Map of Illiana Expressway as it crosses Route 45 and 52 outside of Wilton Center
For an updated map of the Illiana Expressway and possible road closures, go HERE.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Joliet Junior College Farmers Market 2013

Joliet Junior College's first Farmers Market is Thursday, May 23, 2013 from 3p.m. to 7 p.m. in the greenhouse area off Houbolt Road.  The market will continue every Thursday from 3-7 until October 24th (except July 4). 

JJC received a $92,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) to establish the market.  According to JJC, the SNAP and LINK cards will be accepted as payment at the Farmers Market.

For more info and a list of vendors, go here.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Summer Courses and Activities for Kids at Joliet Junior College

Joliet Junior College is offering a wide-range of summer classes and activities for kids of all ages.

For Preschool Ages 3+, offerings include a Princess Tea Party, a Lightning McQueen story time and activity, Thomas the Train Story Time.

For Grades 1-2, options include 4 day "Flat Stanley" and "Happy Birthday Amelia Bedelia"camps.

For Grades 3-5, options include Golf Camp, Baking Basics, Learn to Sew for Kids, Crazy Contraptions, Junior Digital Photography, Computer Drafting for Kids, Astronomy Camp, Simple Machines, Drawing Camp, and more.

For Grades 6-8, options include Technology Camp, Young Crime Solvers, 3D Animation, CPR for the Dynamic Super Sitter, Gaming Camp, Engineering Camp, and more.

High School Students can take Introduction to Veterinary Medical Technology, Kids College Culinary Camp, and more.

For more information on all the programs offered this summer at JJC, go HERE.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Joliet-Area State Senators Vote Against Expansion of Gambling in Illinois

State Senators Pat McGuire and Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant voted against a bill allowing the construction of five new casinos in Illinois.  The bill--State Bill 1739--was passed by the Illinois State Senate on May 1, 2013.

Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant issued the following statement following her vote against the gaming expansion bill: “While I understand the revenue that gaming expansion can provide our state, especially in terms of education and social services, I am worried about the impact that this expansion will have on my community.”

Bertino-Tarrant fears the economic and local impact that increased gaming will have on residents of Will and Kendall counties.

State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) issued the following statement after he voted against gaming expansion yesterday: "We fought hard to keep the vote below the 34 needed to override a veto by the governor, and we did. I appreciate so many colleagues understanding that the market for casino gaming is limited. Allowing more casinos threatens communities like Joliet, which took the risk twenty years ago of bringing gaming to Illinois. I hope Governor Quinn realizes that and vetoes this bill--as he has its two forerunners."

The gambling expansion bill now goes to the Illinois House of Representatives for further action.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Illiana Expressway B3, Tier Two Public Meeting

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) are holding public meetings to explain "Tier Two"of the Illiana Expressway Study Process.

Now that Corridor "B3" and a no-build option have been advanced into Tier Two of the study process, the study team will focus on the land along the B3 corridor.  During Tier Two, the team will investigate where to locate interchanges and study environmental impacts.

The Illiana Corridor's website claims an Illiana Expressway "will reduce the strain of truck traffic on local roads, improve safety, cut commuting times, reduce congestion, and improve accessibility to jobs. Environmentally, it will help to reduce the number of travel hours and fuel wasted as a result of cars and trucks caught in congestion. IDOT and INDOT estimate the project will create or retain more than 9,000 construction jobs immediately, and more than 25,000 long-term jobs."

A group opposed to the Illiana--No Illiana For Us--does not agree with these claims and is trying to organize opposition to the Illiana.  More on "No Illiana 4 Us" HERE.

Two public meetings will be held, one in Illinois and one in Indiana:

ILLINOIS                                            INDIANA
Tuesday, April 16, 2013                  Thursday, April 18, 2013
5:00 - 8:00 p.m.                                5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Peotone High School                      Lowell Middle School 
605 West North Street                    19250 Cline Ave. 
Peotone, IL 60468                            Lowell, IN 46356

Officials from INDOT and IDOT will be on hand during the entire open house and a question and answer forum will be held each day at 6 p.m..

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Jamie Doyle Defeats Bill Borgo in Manhattan Mayor's Race

Jamie Doyle won election to be the Mayor for the Village of Manhattan today, April 9, 2013, according to unofficial election results on the Will County Clerk's page.

Village of Manhattan Mayor's Race (Unofficial) Vote totals:
Doyle--668 votes
Borgo-- 390 votes
Mike Adrieansen--360 votes
Don Hunt--22 votes

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bison at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Open House

The U.S. Forest Service will be holding an Open House on Wednesday April 3, 2013 for community members to come and learn more about the proposal to establish a bison herd on Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.  Staff and partners from the National Forest Foundation will be available to explain more about the proposal, the environmental assessment process, and answer questions.  The Open House will be held between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. at the Midewin Welcome Center--30239 S. State Route Illinois 53, Wilmington, IL.

The Forest Service at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (Midewin) is proposing to establish a small herd of bison on the Prairie and will be preparing an environmental assessment for Bison Herd Establishment in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  In partnership with the National Forest Foundation (NFF), Midewin is proposing to develop a bison grazing area on approximately 1,200 acres.  A herd of bison would be established and allowed to graze on an experimental basis, to determine the success of prairie ecosystem restoration using bison grazing practices.  Midewin officials believe establishing a herd of bison on Midewin would bring more visitors to Midewin. The proposed project site is located east of Illinois 53, in the pastures south of the Iron Bridge Trailhead and north of Prairie Creek.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"No Illiana Expressway" Group Forms--"From Lowell to Wilmington"

On February 25th, 2013, people living in and near the proposed path of the Illiana Expressway B3 met in the Will Town Hall to form a new group which hopes to draw members from Lowell, Indiana to Wilmington, Illinois and beyond.  The new group--No Illiana 4 Us--has a wide range of concerns about the proposed tollway: sprawl, pollution and lowered air quality, land taken off local tax roles, quick take eminent domain, how the tollway will affect North-South travel, what roads will be closed, school bus routes, and more.

Before the meeting started, people milled about and shared concerns: "Have you heard when they're going to start buying?"  "Have they been to your farm?"  When asked if he would "buy a farm down south" if the State took his land for the Illiana, one farmer replied: "if I go down south, they want $3,000 more an acre than what I'll get for my farm, I'll just quit."

Group Outreach Coordinator Anthony Rayson stated the group seeks to "coalesce pockets of resistance" along the B3 corridor into a bigger, more united group.

Virginia Hamann--who understands her 10 acre dairy farm would lose 7 acres and agricultural zoning based on the latest B3 alignment--stated: "Just because it doesn't go through your property doesn't mean  it won't affect your quality of roads will be closed and north-south travel will be affected."  Hamann stated that after speaking with Illinois Department of Transportation representatives she felt, "they have no regard for our zoning."  Hamann says her house was built in 1890 and she likes the character.    Asking whether her house could be saved,  Hamann stated she was told she could "buy it back at auction and have it moved."

The group then went on to discuss ways to include those worried about the State of Illinois' finances into the fight against the Illiana.  One audience member suggested advocating for a "No build option until the state has pensions and finances under control."  Another stated: "IDOT is telling a lot of lies just like they did with the airport, we need to band together."

Bruce Hamann, Will Township Supervisor, suggested the group challenge the claim that the Illiana will bring economic development to the region.  Hamann stated the "I-355 extension was not the economic boom everyone was told it would be.  Now Elwood is suing CenterPoint for it's failure to bring about things it promised, the hotels, the restaurants, the good jobs."  Hamann predicts that if the Illiana is built, a few people will get paid good money for the "prime spots" while everyone else will suffer a huge loss of value on their homes and land.  Hamann fears for farmers and homeowners who may have taken out mortgages based on values from a few years ago.  If the Illiana negatively affects values, farmers and homeowners could potentially owe more than they could sell for, depending on how the land was valued at the time the mortgage was signed.

Two Wilmington alders--Darla Neises and John Persic were at the meeting, saying they "support you" and "the city council voted to back the No Build option." Persic stated he "gets calls all the time" from constituents saying "there's a truck with a red stripe taking pictures of my house."  The Illiana Corridor Planning Team has stated in the past that all consultants and contractors working on the project are supposed to knock on doors to let residents know study team members will be surveying or taking pictures for the purpose of the study.

Neises stated that in her ward, "most of the people don't want it, there's a tone that it will affect their way of life."  Furthermore, Neises said, "We are keeping an eye on Ridgeport--the end point of the Illiana--and keeping an eye on their promise to bring us jobs and revenue."

The next meeting of "No Illiana For Us" is Monday, March 11th at 7 p.m. at the Peotone Township Office Building, 8212 W Kennedy Road, Peotone, IL, 60468.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Group Against For Profit Immigrant Prison in Joliet Hosting Fundraiser

A group opposed to a possible for-profit immigrant detention center in Joliet, Illinois is hosting a fundraiser Friday, March 8th in Joliet.  The event held by the "Concerned Citizens of Joliet" will be held at Azteca de Oro Hall, 1013 Collins Street in Joliet and will go from 6 p.m. to midnight.  ICE--U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement--wants to build an immigrant detention center for illegal immigrants awaiting deportation near Chicago, Illinois and Joliet has been mentioned as a possible location.  The private corporation--Corrections Corporation of America, CCA--would build and manage the facility under a government contract.  Tickets are $5 per person and $15 per family.

Co-Sponsors and Supporters of the event include:

ICIRR (Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights)(La Coalición para los Derechos de Inmigrantes y Refugiados Del Estado de Illinois)

Diocese of Joliet Office For Human Dignity (La oficina “Por La Dignidad Humana” de la Diócesis de Joliet)

Collins Street Neighborhood Council (El concejo de la comunidad de la Calle Collins)

Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project (Proyecto de Inmigración Suburbana Del Suroeste)

Mt. Carmel Church of Joliet (Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Monte Carmel y Grupo Nuevos Horizontes de Joliet)

Sacred Heart Church (Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón)

Mt. Zion Tabernacle

MAC ‐Mexican American Coalition of Will County    

FEDECMI ‐ Casa Michoacán

Spanish Community Center (El Centro Español Comunitario)  

Pax Christ ‐ Illinois, USA and Seed Planters
Families United for Education (Familias Unidas por la Educación)

The Universalist Unitarian Church of Joliet

St. Patrick Church of Joliet (Iglesia San Patricio de Joliet)  

St. Johns Church of Joliet (Iglesia San Juan de Joliet)

Monday, March 4, 2013

American Pickers in Joliet!!

Be sure to tune in to American Pickers tonight--March 4, 2012---at 8 P.M..  The pickers will be searching for antique treasures in Picker Mike Wolfe's hometown of Joliet, Illinois.  Mike is from Joliet and got his start picking and learning about bikes and other antiques in Joliet where he picked items and resold them.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Can The Illinois Department of Transportation Use Eminent Domain for the Peotone Airport?

Can the Illinois Department of Transportation use eminent domain to force landowners to sell their land to the State for the Peotone Airport?  That question will come before a judge in Will County Court tomorrow, February 26, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. in Joliet, Illinois.  The Illinois Department of Transportation's  right to use eminent domain at Peotone prior to an FAA record of decision is being challenged in Will County court by a Chicago law firm, Ryan and Ryan. 

Ryan and Ryan are representing Carolyn and Richard Barbour, landowners in the proposed airport's footprint.  The lawsuit argues the State does not have the right to use eminent domain to gain ownership of the Barbour's land because IDOT has not received Federal Aviation Administration "FAA" approval to create and construct the Peotone Airport.  Susan Shea, Director of Aeronautics for IDOT, will be required to testify.

For more on the "Peotone Airport", visit Peotone Airport News.