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Cold weather means water main breaks, says public works director

By Jane Charmelo
LOMBARDIAN-VILLA PARK REVIEW
STAFF REPORTER

The freezing and subzero temperatures
have kept the Lombard
Public Works Department busy over
the last few weeks, village officials
emphasized at the Thursday, Jan. 4,
village board meeting.
Village Manager Scott Niehaus
stated his appreciation for the hard
work of the public works department,
saying that on Jan. 4 alone,
there were three water main breaks
and a possible fourth.
He deferred to the director of
public works, Carl Goldsmith, who
said that as of Jan. 4, the village
had dealt with 14 water main breaks
since Dec. 14 and five snow events.
“A staff of 52, give or take, with
engineers, have been battling all of
those elements,” the director continued,
adding that breaks on dedicated
rights-of-way and public property
were repaired by in-house personnel.
“We’ve not had to bring in contractors
at this point in time,” Goldsmith
said.
“In each case we try to minimize
the impact it has on the public,” he
continued. “That’s our primary goal,
and to provide services to the police
and fire departments so they can respond
to emergency situations.”
The director acknowledged that
public works employees face difficult
conditions in the cold, describing,
“We’ve got guys in water up to
their waist in many of these cases, at
3 in the morning.”
Goldsmith praised his employees,
saying, “I think they’ve performed
admirably ... a lot of opportunity to
show the skills and the ability that
the department has.”
The director noted that the village
will keep residents informed through
social media, and advised residents
who see icy conditions after a water
main break to contact the village.
“We have personnel on the clock
24 hours a day to make sure the public
is safe,” Goldsmith said, after
which he praised the board and village
staff for their support during the
last few weeks of water main breaks.
“We’ll continue to monitor the
situation as we need to,” the director
said, pointing to fluctuating conditions
from upcoming temperature
increases that could lead to further
complications. He added that employees
are equipped with remote
operating software to monitor the
system.
In other business:
• A resident request to lower the
speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph
on Grace Street between Madison
and Maple streets has again been put
on hold for further review, this time
back to the Public Safety and Transportation
Committee.
According to village documents,
the village received a request in
September 2017 from a resident to
reduce the speed limit in that area
from 30 mph to 25 mph, after which
the police department conducted a
traffic study—looking at speeding
in excess of 10 mph over the posted
limit, pedestrian activity, parking,
number of crashes and number of
“access conflicts” from driveways
and intersections.
One village memo describes that
before the traffic study was deemed
warranted, Police Deputy Chief
Thomas Wirsing consulted the Illinois
Department of Transportation’s
(IDOT) “Policy on Establishing and
Posting Speed Limits on the State
Highway System.”
Another village memo states that
the study “supported the resident
request to alter the speed limit on
Grace Street from Madison Street to
Maple Street to 25 mph.”
The issue was brought to the Public
Safety and Transportation Committee
at its Nov. 6 meeting, and at
that time the committee recommended
the board approve the reduced
speed limit.
At the Nov. 16, board of trustees
meeting, the issue was tabled and
referred back to village staff. At the
Jan. 4 meeting, it was referred back
to the Public Safety and Transportation
Committee “for further review.”
Committee Chair Dan Whittington
explained that the item is
scheduled to appear on the agenda in
February, as the police department is
doing another study to see if the 25
mph limit should be expanded a bit
further.
Wirsing stated in a memo that
part of Grace Street, between Maple
and Parkside/St. Charles Road, is already
posted at 25 mph.
• The village board voted to retain
the services of lobbyist Scott
Marquardt of Roger C. Marquardt &
Company for $2,000 a month, which
represents a 50-percent decrease in
the $4,000 per month paid in 2016.
Niehaus said the village approached
the company wanting to
retain its services, but was looking
to make cuts to help balance the
budget. At the same time, “we still
think there’s value there,” in having
a lobbyist looking after Lombard’s
interests.
The village manager explained
that Lombard benefits from “having
eyes and ears” in Springfield related
to issues of municipal revenue, “to
protect our interests.”
Also, someone with an ear to the
ground can inform the village about
grant and capital funding opportunities,
he continued, adding that it is
“helpful to have a lobbyist as an advocate.”
Niehaus cited as an example a
$500,000 grant the village was able
to obtain in order to expand Vista
Pond.
Additionally, “If we ever need
specific legislation—specific to
Lombard—it is helpful to have a
lobbyist,” he concluded.




Lombard Public Works: Avoid freezing pipes

Extreme cold can cause pipes to
crack and burst. To avoid this expensive
and damaging situation,
residents are reminded to leave their
water trickling, to open cabinets in
order to expose water pipes to warm
air, and to eliminate sources of cold
air.
If you experience frozen pipes,
shut off the water immediately. Do
not attempt to thaw frozen pipes
unless the water is shut off. Freezing
can often cause unseen cracks in
pipes or joints. Avoid the use of kerosene
heaters or open flames.
More cold weather tips can be
found at villageoflombard.org/winter.





‘Welcoming face and voice’ of Montini,
Mrs. Nancy Mack, dies


Montini Catholic High School recently announced the passing of Mrs. Nancy Mack.
Nancy, 81, who died on Jan. 3, was “the welcoming face and voice” of Montini as the school’s receptionist.
She served Montini in various roles for over 45 years. In addition to being the receptionist, she was the school’s bookkeeper, business manager and main office manager.
Nancy, who retired from Montini in 2016, received the Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award for her 45-plus years of service during the school’s Founder’s Day Award Presentations in May 2016.
Her husband, Richard, also worked at Montini for over 40 years. The couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last August. They have four children and four grandchildren. Three of their children: Gary (1976), Mary (Mack) Morgan (1980) and Carl (1983) all graduated from Montini. Two of their grandchildren—Jack Morgan (Montini Class of 2017) and Brooke Morgan (Class of 2019)—have either graduated from, or are currently attending, Montini.
A memorial gathering and prayer service were held Sunday. Interment was private. See Mrs. Mack’s obituary in this issue of the Lombardian.




Cullerton outlines new laws to benefit veterans

Starting the first of this year, there are new laws in place to better serve Illinois veterans.
Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, state Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is proud of the work the Illinois General Assembly completed last legislative session to serve and honor the sacrifices Illinois veterans have made for our state and nation.
The laws make it easier for veterans and military personnel to get cancer screenings, terminate their phone contracts during deployment, obtain specialty veteran license plates and more.
“Illinois’ heroes have worked to serve and protect our democratic values and principles. It’s important that we continue to honor the sacrifices they have made for us by implementing common-sense legislation to improve our military men and women’s lives,” Cullerton said. “I urge area advocates and organizations to familiarize themselves with them to better serve and educate our heroes as they return home.”
Cullerton served in the Army from 1990 to 1993 as an infantryman. He continues to use his military experience to champion legislation to help military veterans, personnel and their families. And believes we must continue to honor the work our military personnel do throughout the year.
“We have more work to do to guarantee our veterans and military persons receive the services and protections they deserve,” Cullerton said. “I remain committed to better serving our heroes and honoring the sacrifices they have made for our great nation. I will continue to work with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to better serve Illinois veterans and military members.”
DuPage County residents can read the list of laws to aid Illinois veterans that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, at http://bit.ly/2A6QktF.
Cullerton urges veterans, military personnel, service providers and organizations to reach out to his Villa Park Office at 630-903-6662 for further information or with any questions concerning the legislation or state services.




Police department in DuPage County
village to unveil new roadside drug test


ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK

An Illinois police department will be among the
first in the country to use a mouth swab drug-testing kit
that can detect if motorists pulled over on suspicion of
impairment have drugs in their system.
The suburban village of Carol Stream is slated to
be the first municipality in the state—and one of only
a few in the nation—to roll out the small and portable
tests manufactured by German biotechnology company
Protzek.
Tests—which will quickly determine the presence
and amount of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines
and methamphetamines, and opiates such as
heroin—will be performed on willing suspects
who have already been arrested and who consent to
testing. The results cannot be used against them in
court.
The procedure for the test will go as follows: an
officer will screen a driver who has been pulled over
for cause using a mouth swab, which will then be
tested by a mobile P.I.A.2 device. Subsequently, the
device will produce measurements of a drug present
in the driver’s system.
Officers in only four other states—Michigan,
Kansas, Colorado and California—have similar tests
at their disposal. Tests cost approximately $30 per
kit and funding will come from existing DUI Tech
funds.
That the test measures the amount of the drug’s
presence and not merely detects it is significant
because the state doesn’t recognize the presence of
controlled substances alone as sufficient evidence of
impairment. Marijuana, for example, can be detected
for days after it is used even if its effects have worn
off.
Sgt. Brian Cluever of the Carol Stream Police
Department’s traffic and safety unit said the goal is
to perform 50 to 100 sample tests. Cluever said if the
testing is proven effective, it can hopefully be used
by Carol Stream and throughout the state.
Since last year, the level of a driver’s impairment
must cross a defined threshold before reaching
illegality, necessitating more than just a mere positive
or negative test result.
According to state law, a blood, urine or breath
sample may be procured by police on suspicion that a
driver is under the influence. In the coming months in
Carol Stream, motorists suspected of being impaired
will also be asked for a swab.
The department already is known for its
aggressive drunk-driving enforcement. This, in part,
is why Judicial Testing Systems, the company that
distributes the system in Illinois, first approached
Carol Stream police.
According to the Governors Highway Safety
Association, for the first time, the number of drivers
involved in fatal deaths who tested positive for drugs
outpaced those who tested positive for alcohol.
Carol Stream authorities herald the Protzek test as
a greater means of facilitating enforcement against
driving under the influence.
“We want to give officers all the tools they need
to make sure they’re making the right decisions
and removing intoxicated drivers from the roads,”
Cluever said. “Once we have proven this in court and
it’s been proven in the scientific community to be
accurate and reliable, then there’s no reason why it
should not go statewide.”
Defense attorney Don Ramsell, who specializes in
D.U.I. law, is skeptical of the new test.
“They might just as well hand somebody a bag of
nachos and see if he eats it,” Ramsell said. “That’s
just as valid.”
Ultimately, the courts will make the decision on
the validity of the new test. In the meantime, the
verdict is still out.




Coal mining has a deep history in southern Illinois

Editor’s note: The weekly Illinois
Bicentennial series is brought to you
by the Illinois Associated Press Media
Editors and Illinois Press Association.
More than 20 newspapers
are creating stories about the state’s
history, places and key moments in
advance of the Bicentennial on Dec.
3, 2018. Stories published up to this
date can be found at 200illinois.com.


By Casey Bischel
OF THE BELLEVILLE NEWS-DEMOCRAT

Louis Joliet and Pere Marquette,
returning from an expedition on
the Mississippi River in 1673,
were the first explorers to
notice the combustible material
that would
shape the Illinois economy. The
coal just sat there on the surface like
low-hanging fruit near Utica along
the Illinois River.
The first mine appeared near Peoria
not long after, but it wasn’t until
1830, when coal from Belleville
found a market in nearby St. Louis,
that the industry took off, according
to Keith Weil and Alvin K. Grandys,
who wrote the 1976 Illinois Coal Digest,
a publication from the Illinois
Department of Business and Economic
Development.
Coal grew by leaps and bounds
over the decades. In the 1850s and
1860s, railroads opened lines to new
customers and the Civil War. Later,
Weil and Grandys write, the formalization
of geology and the appearance
of the steam engine made coal
easier to find and dig.
The mines attracted tens of thousands
of workers, many of whom
were exposed to the dangers of an
unchecked industry. As mine collapses
and explosions claimed hundreds
of lives, new vitality sprang into labor
unions that went on to fight for
better safety and health care.
Early mine collapses, the result of
apathetic owners, encouraged miners
to organize but still produced few
gains, according to Rosemary Feurer,
a history professor at Northern
Illinois University. Reforms went
unenforced, and even a nascent form
of workers’ compensation, the victory
of a particularly deadly episode in
Cherry, Ill., in the north-central part
of the state in 1909, barely compensated
widows from a legal judgment.
Every law “was written in blood,”
said Bernie Harsey, president of the
United Mine Workers of America
Local 1825 in DuQuoin.
Harsey also fought for a better way
of life for miners. In 1993, management
wanted to reduce health care
benefits, so the union went on strike,
and Harsey was out of work for six
months. If the strike didn’t happen,
he said, he didn’t think he would
have health insurance coverage.
Harsey, who started in the coal
industry in 1973, said he’s used between
$2 million and $3 million in
health insurance to cover his family
for everything from cancer to a kidney
transplant.
“We wouldn’t have that without
our labor disputes,” he said.
Health care was one of the items
that miners fought hardest for, and in
1946, John Lewis, the leader of the
United Mine Workers of America,
negotiated legislation that secured
cradle-to-grave health care coverage
for its members that was guaranteed
by the federal government.
Recently, that compromise came
under threat when Peabody Energy
filed for bankruptcy in 2016, the latest
in a series of coal companies to
fail. After a temporary stopgap that
saved health insurance for 22,600 retired
miners, their widows and children,
Congress finally saved the deal
in April 2017.
Today, the “Promise of 1946,” a
term the Krug-Lewis Act acquired
relatively recently, seems sacrosanct,
but miners at the time wouldn’t
have seen it that way, Feurer said.
Throughout Lewis’s tenure, the
UMWA grew closer to management,
and the organization became
more bureaucratic. Inspired by these
trends, a more rebellious wave of
labor action in the 1960s won the
Federal Mining Safety Legislation of
1974, an improvement to narrower
and weaker bills passed in 1951 and
1969.
For as much as miners sacrificed
for their benefits, others who weren’t
covered sometimes sacrificed just
as much, as companies pit workers
against themselves by bringing in
different ethnic groups to undercut
wages of more established groups.
The 1922 Herrin Massacre stands
out as the one of the most violent
episodes of labor violence in which
union members shot and killed 19
strikebreakers.
The first people to mine in Illinois
were slaves, Feurer said. Other
early groups to settle the area were
English, Scots-Irish and Irish, people
who’d struck out with the poor soils
of Appalachia, according to David
Conrad, a history professor at Southern
Illinois University Carbondale.
From 1890 to the early 1920s, eastern
and southern Europeans settled
the area next. After the Civil War,
African-Americans came north only
to find that “southern Illinois was not
greatly different,” Conrad wrote in
“Tell Me A Story: Memories of Early
Life Around the Coal Fields of Illinois.”
As evidence of coal’s importance
to the economy and culture of Southern
Illinois in particular, the first
mining union, the American Miners’
Association, began in West Belleville
in 1861.
Since then, Illinois has produced
many generations of miners, and today,
as a lack of opportunities clamps
down on the region, it ensures that
only an eager, if smaller, generation
will continue the dangerous work.
Only, they won’t belong to the
UMWA anymore, Harsey said. Not a
single member works in any mine in
southern Illinois.
About 98 percent of workers who
belong to the Local 1825 are retired
now. The other 2 percent, about 10
people, are waiting for work on the
inactive list. It’s been this way since
1997, when the mine reached the end
of its property and there was nothing
more to dig.
“We knew the day was coming,”
Harsey said. “You just get on with
life.”
The future of coal mining in Illinois
is bleak for workers, and although
many believe the industry’s
freefall began only recently, it peaked
in the 1920s, and has been declining
since, Conrad said.
In 1930, a whopping 185 coal
mines employed 51,200 people who
produced 52 million tons of coal. By
2015, just 19 mines employing 3,600
people produced 55 million tons of
coal, according to the Illinois Department
of Natural Resources.
While coal production varies from
year to year, the number of workers
has declined steadily. Technology
and natural gas, the two biggest
culprits for the industry’s current
decline, were blamed 100 years ago,
too, as trains became more efficient
and other fuels found new markets.
After Harsey’s mine shut down,
many workers were let go, but some
stayed on for the next five years to
work on land reclamation. Harsey
worked with the operating engineers’
Local 5 for 10 more years.
“For me, only working (seven or
eight) months out of the year, I was
more fortunate than the others,” he
said.
Local 1825 may be out of work,
but it still celebrates the history of
Illinois coal mining. Every year on
April 1, it gets together to celebrate
the victory of an 8-hour workday. In
2017, about 175 people showed up.





Corrections watchdog: More needs to be done for criminal justice reform

ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK

While there were some major criminal justice reform measures passed and signed into law for the new year, an independent corrections monitor says much more needs to be done to lower the state’s prison population.
Gov. Bruce Rauner set a goal when he took office in 2015 to decrease the state’s prison population by 25 percent by 2025. Some movement has been made in that direction, but criminal justice reform advocates say there’s a lot of work to do.
John Howard Association Executive Director Jennifer Vollen-Katz said a couple of measures allowing former offenders to get professional licenses is a good start.
“We all know that getting a job is one of the biggest indicators on getting somebody to succeed upon release from prison,” Vollen-Katz said.
But she said the number that’s impacting is small and lawmakers are merely nibbling around the edges with other reforms. And there are instances Vollen-Katz says the state is going in the other direction.
“There was the bill that passed that increased enhancement for people who are convicted of a weapons offense for the second time,” she said. “That was a step in the wrong direction in terms of changing our sentencing structure.”
To address the state’s sentencing structure, Vollen-Katz said “give judges discretion in deciding sentences so that we can consider all the factors in making sure that the people that need to be put away longer are, and the people that don’t, and there are many more of them, are not.”
Meaningful criminal justice reform is hot political potatoes, so many lawmakers are apprehensive to address it, she said.
Vollen-Katz also said much more needs to be done to address the conditions inside Illinois prisons for those suffering from mental illness.
“The circumstances they live under are inhumane and unacceptable,” she said.
Here are some of the laws impacting crime and punishment that took effect Jan. 1:
Mental Fitness Report to the Courts (SB 1276/PA 100-0424): Reports about individuals adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity will be made every 90 days to reduce administrative burden and focus resources in other areas.
Inmate Training Dogs for PTSD Veterans (HB 2897/PA 100-0384): Illinois Department of Corrections inmates can be taught to help train service dogs to help veterans with post traumatic stress disorder.
CJIA Inventory (HB 3879/PA 100-0307): The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority can take inventory of what law enforcement agencies, county sheriff offices, and court systems are using predominantly paper systems.
Juvenile Expungement Expansion (HB 3817/PA 100-0285): Two years after a juvenile delinquency case is closed the record is automatically expunged. Homicides, felony sex offenses, certain bodily harm offenses, forcible felonies other than burglary and weapons offenses are excluded from expungement.
Immediate Sealing of Records (HB 514/PA 100-0282): Records from individuals who are acquitted or a case is dismissed with prejudice may be sealed immediately after the case is disposed.
DOC content controlled tablets (HB3712/PA 100-0198): Corrections officers shall provide inmates with content controlled computer tablets to be used for educational and visitation opportunities.
Restorative Justice Training for DJJ Personnel (HB 3165/ PA 100-0157): Department of Juvenile Justice personnel are required to undergo training focused on having a victim, offender and community explore restitution.
Unfit to Stand Trial Placement (HB 649/100-0027): Inmates who are unfit to stand trial are to be transferred from county jails to Department of Human Services mental health facilities within 20 days.
Bail Reform Act of 2017 and State RICO Extension (SB 2034/ PA 100-0001): Alleged offenders have a right to counsel at a bail hearing. It also extends Illinois’ RICO Act another five years and expands existing laws regarding threats to public officials.

 
   
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