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New first responders sworn in at board meeting

By Jane Charmelo

The Village of Lombard staff and board on Thursday, Dec. 7, welcomed new members of the police and fire departments, including two promotions within the police department, all of whom were sworn in by Village Clerk Sharon Kuderna.
Announcing new firefighter/ paramedic Kevin Matthews was Chief Rick Sander. Matthews, who has an associate degree and is working on a bachelor’s degree, came from the Warrenville Fire Department.
The fire chief also mentioned that during Matthews’ first day on shift, the firefighter/paramedic responded to a 2-11 fire.
Police Chief Roy Newton announced the promotion of two Lombard officers: Joe Grage, from sergeant to lieutenant; and Jim Kohl, from patrolman to sergeant.
Grage is a 1993 graduate of Glenbard East High School, and was a Police Explorer from 1991- 93. He is a graduate of Benedictine University with a BAM degree in Management, and worked as a Ducomm dispatcher for four years. Grage was also a CSO in Glen Ellyn for four years. He graduated from SLEA (College of DuPage Suburban Law Enforcement Academy) in 2001, and was hired by the Lombard Police Department in 2001.
Kohl is a 2002 graduate of Willowbrook High School, and a 2008 graduate of DePaul University, with a B.A. degree in Sociology. While in college, he worked as a 911 dispatcher in Rolling Meadows, and volunteered as a police cadet in Willow Springs, where he performed community service- and dispatch-related duties.
Kohl was hired by the Lombard Police Department in 2008, and finished his SLEA training in January 2009.
Three new police officers were also recognized, including Alex Martino, 25, a Westchester native and Nazareth Academy graduate, with a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement and justice administration from Western Illinois University. He formerly worked as a surveillance specialist for the FBI.
Joseph Stegeman, 25, is a native of Carol Stream, a Glenbard North High School graduate and has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Lewis University. He formerly worked for Whole Foods in Wheaton and was recently married.
Michael Vazquez, 25, a Chicago native, graduated from Roberto Clemente High School and has a degree in criminal law and justice, and psychology, from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He had worked as a juvenile justice specialist with the Department of Juvenile Justice in Warrenville.
All three are completing their academy training, according to Newton.
Newton announced just prior to the introductions that the Lombard Police Department was awarded the Gold Standard CALEA Advanced Law Enforcement with Excellence award of accreditation.
Called the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, the CALEA program maintains a body of standards for departments to follow. Newton said there are 484 such standards, and the police department received a 91 percent level of compliance.
The standards, he added, are reviewed by a team of similar, out-of-state, law enforcement assessors.
“This is the ninth time in 26 years,” the police chief emphasized. “Quite a mark for us.”
Newton credited the village staff and his department for the excellent rating.

In other business
• Trustee Bill Ware, chair of the Public Works and Environmental Concerns Committee, presented information on the village’s plan to begin replacing water meters throughout the village over a two-year period, stating that it is a mandatory program.
He said the initiative is meant to replace water meters that may not be working efficiently anymore, adding that over the last 25 years, the village is seeing roughly 6 percent water usage that is unaccounted for, with the village losing $440,000 in revenue annually.
The trustee said the new meters will reduce the unaccounted-for water usage, allow for on-demand reads and provide leak alerts.
Ware said roughly 10,500 water meters will be replaced, along with some 13,500 meter interface units. Residents will be receiving letters in the mail, and are asked to respond online or by phone to set up an appointment; the exchange should take between a half hour and 60 minutes.
“We ask that you bear with us,” he added.
Water Services Company will be conducting the change-outs, and will have identification, Ware emphasized, with President Keith Giagnorio noting that with utility company scams on the rise, “We’ve really got to get in front of that.”
The project was funded through a low-interest loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the trustee outlined, adding, “The good thing is this is no cost to the residents of Lombard.”
Village Manager Scott Niehaus called the water meter exchange “a monumental, massive project.”
 • The village board voted unanimously to deny a request from the Lombard Public Facilities Corp. (LPFC) to have the village pay “any shortfall” on the Hotel and Conference Center Series 2005-A and 2005-B bonds for Jan. 1, 2018.
In a memo from Niehaus, he outlined that while the shortfall amount is currently unknown, estimates are that the amounts will be $2 million (Series A) and just over $1.236 million, (Series B).
Finance Director Tim Sexton explained that back in 2003, the village created the LPFC as a separate legal entity for the purpose of “owning, constructing and operating a hotel and conference center,” but at the same time, maintained the option whether or not to appropriate future funds in the event of a shortfall.
Sexton said the project moved forward with positive projections from hospitality professionals; however, a financial recession proved otherwise.
He said that since 2012, the LPFC has been required to request appropriations from the village every six months, but the board has exercised its option to deny the request, and has not earmarked funds in the budget for the LPFC.

Mandatory village-wide water meter replacement program begins

The Village of Lombard began its water meter replacement program the week of Dec. 11. The program will replace outdated water meters in residential homes and businesses with upgraded water meters throughout Lombard.
This program is mandatory for all residences and is necessary because the village’s water meters are over 25 years old and have exceeded their useful life expectancy. There is no cost to residents for this program.
The residential water meters that were recently tested, had an accuracy of 93.6 percent, which means that around 6.4 percent of Lombard’s water usage was unaccounted for, totaling an estimated $440,000 annual loss in revenue for the village.
The village will be replacing approximately 10,500 water meters and 13,500 meter interface units (MIUs) over the next 18 to 24 months for a total project cost of $3.78 million.
Funding for this project is provided by a low interest loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Public Water Supply Loan Program with an interest rate of 1.76 percent. The new water meters will decrease non-revenue water, increase water consumption accounting, improve water meter reading efficiencies, and provide real time information to residents about their water consumption.
The village has contracted with Water Resources, Inc., and its affiliated company, Water Services Company, to install the new water metering equipment, which requires access to residential and commercial properties.
Residents will receive a letter from the village requesting to schedule an appointment for the water meter replacement. You will only be able to schedule an appointment when you receive your letter with the unique registration number.
An anticipated installation map will be provided at www.villageoflombard.org/watermeters.
For more information visit www. villageoflombard.org/watermeters or contact Public Works at (630) 620- 5940 or via email at publicworks@ villageoflombard.org with any questions.

Lombard police arresting drunk drivers this holiday season: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

This holiday season, Lombard Police Officers will work around the clock to keep drivers and passengers safe as they search for alcohol and drug-impaired drivers.
From Dec. 18 through the early morning hours of Jan. 2, the Lombard Police Department is partnering with the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and local law enforcement agencies throughout Illinois in a year-end Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement.
“Now through New Year’s Day, motorists will notice increased enforcement watching closely for anyone who is driving impaired,” said Lt. Joe Grage. “It is vital that we keep our travelers safe, not just at the holidays, but every day. That’s why we’ll arrest anyone who chooses to drive impaired by alcohol or drugs.”
Officers also will be looking for, and ticketing, individuals who aren’t buckled up. It is the law in Illinois to wear your seat belt, no matter where you are seated in the vehicle.
The holidays are a special time, full of excitement and endless festivities. Too often, these celebrations bring higher numbers of impaired drivers to the roads, endangering other motorists. Drunk and drug-impaired driving is deadly.
Last year, 37,461 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States. Of those killed, 28 percent (10,497) died in crashes in which a driver had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) over the limit of 0.08.
“We are committed to doing whatever it takes to help save lives by keeping impaired drivers off the road,” said Grage.
Impaired driving offenders often serve jail time, lose their driver’s license, are charged higher insurance rates and pay unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towing, repairs and lost wages. The ultimate cost of impaired driving is causing a traffic crash that injures or kills.
The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement effort is made possible by federal highway safety funds administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Snowfall parking restrictions in Lombard

During winter weather events, parking on Village of Lombard streets is not allowed after 1 inch of snowfall.
When more than 1 inch of snowfall is experienced, residents and visitors are responsible for removing their vehicles from the street in order to create clear passage for snowplows. Violations may result in ticketing.
During non-snow conditions, residents requesting approval for temporary exemption of overnight parking restrictions may visit www.frontlinepss.com/lombard, select “submit” and provide vehicle information to request overnight parking approval, with a maximum allowance of four days per month.
If extended time is needed for long-term guest or home construction project, residents may call 630-873-4400 and ask for police administration. Requests may also be made during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. by calling the Lombard Police Department at 630-873-4400 or by dialing 9-1-1 after hours.
If 1 inch of snowfall has occurred or is occurring, the online portal will not be available and called in requests will not be granted.
Contact Avis Meade, communications coordinator, at 630-620-5718 with any questions

Glenn Westlake School’s Wildcat Band to perform at McCormick Place

Members of the Glenn Westlake Middle School Wildcat Band will perform for more than 17,000 attendees from around the world following a prestigious invitation to The Midwest Clinic, an international band, orchestra, and music conference.
Each year, the top ensembles are on display throughout the music conference to showcase the newest ideas and talent.
From students to professionals, performers have a chance to exhibit their skills to a supportive and enthusiastic audience with an interest in furthering music education. There will be individuals from all 50 states and more than 30 countries in attendance at this year’s conference.
The Glenn Westlake Middle School Wildcat Band will serve as the middle school clinic band. The objective of the Wildcat Band’s performance is to provide observers an opportunity to watch and listen to well-known clinicians working with various types of ensembles in an open rehearsal setting.
“An essential goal of these sessions is for conference attendees to gain insight and develop practical pedagogical skills they can use at home with their ensembles,” said Band Director Nick Martin. “It is an incredible honor to be invited, and it is truly a testament to the skills and abilities of our student musicians.”
The Wildcat Band will be partnering with Dr. Mary Land, assistant professor of music and director of bands at Young Harris College in Young Harris, Ga. Land serves on the board of directors for the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic and is also on the faculty of the prestigious Interlochen Arts Camp as the conductor of the Intermediate Division Wind Symphony.
The Glenn Westlake Middle School Wildcat Band’s performance/clinic with Land will take place on Thursday, Dec. 21, at 4:30 p.m. at McCormick Place.

Cullerton fighting ousted NIU president’s contract

State Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) recently said he is outraged that ousted Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker will receive another state contract from the university.
A judge ruled last month that the university violated the Open Meetings Act when it approved Baker’s bloated severance package this summer soon after he announced his resignation; therefore the severance package is now null and void. The board of trustees met on Thursday, Dec. 7, and voted unanimously in favor of a comparable contract for Baker.
“Failed administrators and executives shouldn’t receive golden parachutes for wasting taxpayers’ time and money,” Cullerton said. “Our state universities and community colleges need to stop abusing state funds. These dollars should go toward educating our children, not lining the pockets of ineffective administrators.”
Earlier this year, Cullerton was outraged that NIU had agreed to pay Baker $600,000 plus benefits when he announced his plans to step down this summer in the wake of the Illinois Inspector General’s investigation into illegal hires made by the university.
The inspector general’s report was publicly released on May 31. The report details hires made by Baker and his administration that were paid contracts over $20,000, which are supposed to be subject to competitive bidding in accordance to state law. The jobs were incorrectly classified to get past the requirement according to the report.
“State funds are not Monopoly money,” Cullerton said. “Our public universities and community colleges cannot collect $200 every time they pass go. We cannot afford to waste a single cent on failed administrators who betrayed the public’s trust and abused their great responsibility of educating the future leaders of our great nation.”
Cullerton has been advocating for reforms to adjust the manner by which public universities and community colleges negotiate severance agreements after reports of abuse at College of DuPage, NIU and the University of Illinois.
This year he is fighting for tougher regulations and transparency at public higher education institutions.
“Our public higher education institutions need to focus on finding ways to make college more affordable for students,” Cullerton said. “State funds are meant to educate our children, not for overpaid administrators to mismanage and waste. This legislative session I plan on tackling and putting an end to this academic culture that perpetuates backroom deals for high paid executives and bloated payouts for those who fail to do their job.”
Cullerton is working on tougher regulations to stop state universities and community colleges from paying out administrators while under investigation or if found guilty of university mismanagement.