A forum for comments about Naperville news and issues.

February 2008 Archives

As The Sun has dutifully reported, the proposed acquisition of the EJ&E by the Canadian National means one thing for Naperville - a ton of freight trains rolling through the city at all hours of the day and night. Forget the noise - although that's bad enough - but what about the increased safety hazards to cars, pedestrians and even school buses that have to navigate through the perilous railroad crossings? But help may be on the way. As an update to this story The Sun has exclusively reported that the Dupage Forest District is standing up to the powerful railway barons and drawing a line in the sand, or make that a forest preserve. The Canadian National needs a one-acre parcel smack dab in a DuPage forest preserve for a critical switching station. The District is saying no dice - we're not selling. Will this one acre make a difference in the long run to the acquisition? Who knows. But it's kind of nice to see that an organization dedicated to the preservation of green space is doing what they consider the right thing - saying NO WAY, we don't want your railroad. What do you think? The conversation is now open.

We asked before on another thread if Eric Hanson should get the death penalty, but now it's a reality after a jury took just 90 minutes to decide his fate. He'll be heading off to death row for the cold-blooded slaughter of four family members, where he'll probably spent at least 15 years (or maybe more due to the Illinois moratorium on capital punisment) before his sentence is carried out. Would a more fitting penalty be life without parole for the killer? Maybe he'd suffer more that way for his heinous crime. But, in broader terms, we'd like to ask: Does the state have the right to take a human life, even if that life belongs to Eric Hanson? His case opens the grounds for discussing whether capital punishment - banned in most European countries - is a fitting or even moral punishment no matter how evil the crime, or a throwback to the old days when it was an "eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." What do you think...and make no mistake, we have no sympathy here for Eric Hanson. We're just posing the question.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich has announced that NIU's Cole Hall - the scene of the horrific campus massacre - will be demolished and, ultimately, be replaced with another classroom building to be called Memorial Hall. To our knowledge, this is the first time the scene of a campus or high school tragedy like this has resulted in the destruction of a building. While we're not disputing the sincerity of the governor's proposal, the question must be asked: Is it a wise decision? First of all, would a lengthy demolition and then construction process serve only to prolong the lingering pain and dark memories for the students and faculty of NIU and, secondly, is it a wise fiscal decision in a cash-strapped state dealing with tough economic times? And just think, everyone who eventually walks into that new building will know exactly why it exists and how it got its name. Do we want that as a permanent legacy for NIU? You be the judge.

Naperville is known for its generosity, its willingness to help others less fortunate. We were reminded of this when we received a message recently from a Naperville native who is doing something good to help others. So we offer her a chance to talk about what she's doing, and what you could do to help.

Every so often we invite Potluck visitors to suggest topics. Typically we'll create threads based on your suggestions. So here's your chance to say what's on your mind, about any topic with relevance to Naperville. What do you want to talk about? What topics would you like to see discussed on this blog?

The Naperville Police Department complied with our Freedom of Information Act request for a report of the July 8, 2006 arrest of Basim Esmail, the liquor store owner behind the series of Napergate ads that ran in The Naperville Sun years ago. Here's a copy of what they gave us.

The City Council last week approved an increase of $120,000 to the money set aside by the city to cover litigation costs in the civil rights lawsuit that Councilman Dick Furstenau has brought against the city. The original funding for this lawsuit was in the $400,000 range and, well, just do the math...now it''s more than a half a million dollars. This comes at a time when the city is holding its annual operating budget workshops with the goal of trying to maintain a comparable tax rate to the past few years in the face of declining revenues such as the real estate transfer tax. Isn't it ironic that one of the overseers of the budgeting - the aforementioned Councilman Furstenau - is in a position of being a fiscal watchdog of city money while at the same time $500,000 (and counting) of Napervillians' taxpayer money is being diverted to defend the lawsuit that he himself brought on the city? Anyone have any ideas on this?

A report in Sunday's Sun revealed how several elected DuPage County officials have accepted campaign donations from Aramark, a company that has provided food service to the jail for years. Aramark is trying to keep the jail food contract, but has repeatedly failed to meet bid requirements. Yet county officials are giving Aramark chance after chance after chance to get the contract by changing the bid rules, saying it would save taxpayers money if Aramark gets the contract. Do you see anything wrong with this?

Naperville embraces the Big Brother era in earnest on March 1 when it begins operating red light cameras at two locations, the intersections of Fort Hill Drive and Aurora Avenue and 95th Street and Book Road. Are you going to change your driving habits because of them?

In the latest bizarre twist to the case of former Bolingbrook cop Drew Peterson, the death of his third wife - Kathleen Savio - has been officially determined a homicide by Will County authorities. Prior to this ruling the death had been classified as an accident, the probable result of a fall in the bath tub. Peterson - already a suspect in the disappearance of fourth wife Stacy Peterson - has been laying low as of late, pretty much shunning the media that he so actively courted just weeks if not months ago. What effect will this latest ruling have in the scrutiny of Peterson who is currently the subject of a grand jury investigation? The latest development doesn't seem to bode well for Peterson and is it just a matter of time before he is taken into custody? We'd like to know your thoughts on this mysterious case. Does it make Peterson look guilty and - let's not forget - whatever happened to Stacy Peterson? The conversation is now open.

A DuPage County jury has convicted Eric Hanson of Naperville of killing four members of his family after he stole about $100,000 from his parents. Should he get the death penalty?

Were you at the District 204 school board meeting last night to discuss the new boundaries? Our previous blogs on the issue have been pretty busy but we'd like to hear your impressions of last night's (Tuesday, 2.19) meeting.
What was your view on the public comment period of the meeting and do you think your voice was really heard? What about the board - were they really listening or did the boundary issue seem like a done deal before the meeting even started? And, if for some reason, you couldn't make it to the meeting but wanted to, you can make your voice heard here. Or, maybe you were there but didn't get a chance to speak. Well, you can do that right here as well. These school boundary changes appears to be a critical issue to Naperville as the city moves forward and we here at The Sun - as members of the community - are happy to have the opportunity to host this forum where you can speak your mind on this all-important topic. So, let's get the conversation going.

The American Civil Liberties Union on Monday said it has joined a lawsuit against Indian Prairie School District 204 on behalf of students who are suing the school district after one student was prohibited from wearing a T-shirt that read, "Be Happy, Not Gay."

The shooting deaths at Northern Illinois University renew the debate over gun control. A Sun editor offers his opinion about why access to guns should be restricted.

One aspect of boundaries being redrawn in Indian Prairie School District 204 is the notion of splitting schools: some kids from a middle school will go to one high school while some of their classmates will go to a different high school. Has your kid ever been separated from close friends because of splitting?

Denver's deputy manager of recreation and facility services has accepted the position as executive director of the Naperville Park District, the Rocky Mountain News reported. Daniel Betts started working for Colorado's capital city four years ago and his resignation is effective March 4, the newspaper reported.

State legislators including Republican leader Tom Cross made the rounds in Will and DuPage counties, trying to drum up support for a package of proposed laws they say will keep the Internet safe for children. The laws would be among the toughest in the nation.

An investigative piece in Tuesday's Sun reports how Naperville-area residents who paid thousands of dollars thought they would get a good piano in return, but instead the store run by the Biasco brothers went out of business. What's more, court records show the Biascos have a history of closing stores and never delivering pianos that people paid for, only to open up new stores under new names.

With all the attention on the election this week, few noticed the city council met. In what must have been a record-short 40-minute session conducted by a body known for often convening past midnight, the council continued discussion about taxing downtown restaurants in order to pay for a new parking deck next to the downtown library.

It's about to get more expensive to park your car in Naperville to take Metra trains to Chicago. Naperville says it's about time for a commuter parking fee increase.

This week the Indian Prairie School District 204 board is scheduled to announce boundaries for Metea Valley High School, which will require changes to the attendance areas for Waubonsie Valley and Neuqua Valley high schools.

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I saw this graphic on the front page of our sister publication, The Herald News, on Wednesday, and thought it illustrated well how voters rejected all but one of the tax-increase referendums in Will County on Tuesday.

As recently as a few days ago, DuPage County clung to its belief that it was the greatest Republican stronghold in Illinois and one of the nation's reddest counties by hosting not one but two of the GOP frontrunners for the presidential nomination--John McÇain and Mitt Romney. Then election day came, and for the first time in history more voters in DuPage picked Democratic ballots than Republican. What's going on?

Okay, it's time for the post-mortem. The results are in and who's happy, sad or mad? Dist. 203 got its referendum passed. To say that it was a hot topic in this forum in the weeks and months running up to the vote is a bit of an understatement. So, how do you feel now? Sure, property taxes will be going up. The question is, are those higher property taxes worth it, especially given the fact that as many have pointed out, the District had a ton of cash on hand already? Well, the voters answered that one. And what about the other races? Are you satisfied with their outcomes? Were the right candidates chosen? Did enough people vote? Did anyone get any kind of a mandate? These are all questions that The Sun would like to get your views on. So, let the conversation begin.

Naperville Mayor George Pradel has received a ticket after a snowplow he was driving collided with a vehicle driven by a 20-year-old woman. No injuries were reported.

Was Basim Esmail, the liquor store owner who orchestrated the Napergate series of newspaper ads in the 1990s, unfairly targeted for arrest and harassment by Naperville police in 2006?

Today's Sun editorial encourages Naperville School District 203 residents to vote for the tax-increase referendum. Here is my dissenting opinion about why they shouldn't.

In the wake of the big snow storm, a lot of Naperville-area people have noticed a sudden increase in potholes. Tell us about your experience.

In Friday's (2.1) Sun, editor/publisher Jim Lynch wrote a pretty stinging column where he basically called the Naperville Park Board "dysfunctional." Is the park board just a rudderless ship? Where is the leadership and is this the kind of board Naperville wants? Tell us what you think.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2008 is the previous archive.

March 2008 is the next archive.

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