A forum for comments about Naperville news and issues.

November 2008 Archives

The Sun spoke with some shoppers who waited outside Best Buy for 25 hours just for a shot at the store's door-buster deals. Elsewhere in our nation, shoppers were trampled or shot in the scramble for holiday bargains.

Did you go to any special lengths to score a great deal on Black Friday this year, or in years past? Are you buying presents for your family, a little something for yourself, or hoping to profit by re-selling on eBay? Did you see anyone fighting over toys or otherwise acting badly? Is it really worth it to save a little money?

We'd like to hear your stories.

Happy Thanksgiving from those of us at The Sun. This is as good of an opportunity as any to remind people of the groundrules. We want to provide you with a forum to discuss the issues in our city, so we will not censor your comments. The two exceptions are if you use foul language or if the personal attacks get too brutal (i.e. wishing someone would die). When this happens your comment simply won't be published.

That being said, with great power comes great responsibility. Let's try to keep the conversation civil on here. When the debate devolves into a series of escalating personal attacks and name calling, it just gets away from the issues and creates a hostile environment for everyone. We all know how to disagree with someone without disrespecting them, and we encourage the bloggers to take the high road.

A group of developers who own property near the Route 59 Metra station are planning to meet with the city to discuss a plan to turn their land into between 170 and 180 commuter parking spots, which they will sell to commuters for $8,900.

The owners estimate that with a loan, the spots would cost an average commuter $30 a month, while the city charges $120 for residents and $145 for nonresidents every three months for a permit in its lot.

There is currently an estimated two-year wait for a permit at the Route 59 lot, and a 6 ½ and nine-year wait for a permit in the downtown lots.

With these factors in mind, do you think it makes sense to buy one of these spots if the plan is approved? Would you buy one? Do you think they will sell out, and if so, how quickly?

On the heels of naming a new city manager, the city of Naperville has moved to fill another long-vacant position, the role of fire chief.

Mark Puknaitis will manage a department of more than 200 employees and 10 fire stations, earning an annual salary of. $128,520. He takes over for John Wu, who left April 2.

While he is currently deputy fire chief in Oak Park, Puknaitis has lived in Naperville since 1991. He bested a field of 12 finalists for the post, including Acting Naperville Fire Chief Mike Zywanski and Assistant Chief Rich Mikel. What are your thoughts on the decision?

After several months and a nationwide search, the city of Naperville on Friday announced that Finance Director Doug Krieger was picked as the next city manager, replacing Peter Burchard, who left his post in mid-December of 2007.

Other local officials seeking the position included City Manager Pro Tem Bob Marshall, who will now return to his assistant city manager position, and Management Services Director Don Carlsen.

What do you think of the selection of Krieger for the post? Are you surprised the city didn't pick Marshall, who had filled the role since Burchard's departure? Do you think the nationwide search was necessary to find a candidate who already worked for the city?

DuPage County says it's going to experiment with a combination of salt and beet juice to help save money this winter when clearing roads of ice and snow. Sounds like a science experiment from junior high, but whatever works. And here in Naperville, we're all for saving taxpayer money.

Apparently the huge piles of snow from last year depleted stockpiles, causing salt prices to skyrocket. Last season, DuPage's highway department laid 33,000 tons of salt - 9,000 more tons of salt than originally planned. The Chicago area received 60.3 inches of snow from November 2007 through March 2008. The average is 38 inches.

Let's hope this winter doesn't bring that much of the white stuff. Officials say we won't, but county crews already used the mixture earlier this week, spreading about 2,500 gallons on the county's bridges, hills, curves and two-lane roads.

What do you expect this winter? Any better ideas than beet juice? How do you plan to prepare for the onslaught of freezing temperatures and snowstorms?

The city's Web site says that during construction on the intersection at 75th and Washington streets, motorists who live in that immediate area should use Modaff, Gartner and Olesen roads for north/south travel and Bailey Road for east/west travel as alternate routes. The projecct is slated to get under way sometime this month but will pick up steam sometime in March after the worst of winter is over.

A column Friday warned readers that traffic there, which already is difficult, will only get worse during the reconstruction project where lanes will be widened, turn lanes improved and a sound barrier installed for Maplebrook neighborhoods. But in the end, the headache should be worth the improvements.

Several readers expressed concern about taking any detour through neighborhoods where kids are walking to school and playing outside.

If you commute through this intersection, what are your detour plans? If you live in one of these neighborhoods, what is your suggestion for avoiding the area? What is your biggest concern about more motorists driving down your streets?

In today's Sun we report on those annoying campaign signs left standing in yards and along roadways since the election, nine days ago. Campaign signs should be removed within a week of the election, according to Naperville code.

We hear from code enforcement team supervisor Ann Michalsen, who says her crews expect to pull hundreds of signs this week in response to residents' complaints.

Candidates should know better. The good ones will typically go around after election day and pull all their signs, or they'll designate volunteers to do it for them. Candidates were sent letters, notifying them of the code. What's more, residents who still have campaign signs in their yards are subject to fines.

Some problem areas for signs have been along Route 59 at Aurora Avenue, and along Mill Street between Diehl Road and Bauer Road,.

What's your experience with campaign signs? Do you have any in your yard? Did you take them down before they became illegal? What did you did with the signs?

What about around town? Have you noticed signs along roadways during your travels? Have you contacted the city? What response did you get? Where do you still see campaign signs, anywhere in Naperville?

Among the ideas kicking around the Naperville City Council are the notions of electing council members by wards (instead of all at-large) and setting term limits for councilmen.

And the council decided to leave those decisions in the hands of residents. Meaning, if someone wants to initiate a drive to put those questions on ballots as a referendum, have at it.

I suppose while people are at it, if they wanted to repeal home rule they could start collecting petition signatures to have a referendum on that.

See how much power you have? Look at California, and all the ballot initiatives out there. Those are mostly grassroots efforts. If you want something done, get up and try getting it done yourself.

That said, what do you think of the notion of term limits for council members, or elected them by wards instead of at-large?

The City Council has decided to do nothing for now about the controversial Special Events and Cultural Amenities Fund and its revenue source--some $3 million in taxes on food and beverages sold in the city.

The city gives this money to charitable organizations, groups that do things like put on festivals or put up art works around town.

This concept of benevolent generosity is not unique to Naperville. In happier times, the city of Joliet used to give a share of its revenues from casino gambling to schools and nonprofit organizations.

Not any more. Casino revenues are way down, thanks to the indoor smoking ban and the overall sluggish economy. This year, Joliet pulled the plug on handouts.

In theory, the $3 million that Naperville gives away to do-good organizations is $3 million more that you, your neighbor and the guy down the street and the gal across town have to pay out of your own pockets to fund those essential services like police and fire protection.

Now, Naperville's a generous town, and time and time again the community responds when the call goes out for help. The thing is, it's one thing to voluntarily open your hearts and wallets and lend a hand. It's another when the city taxes you and forces you to give money to charity.

What say you? Is it time to abolish the Special Events and Cultural Amenities Fund, and return those food and beverage tax revenues into the general fund to offset the budget deficit and reduce the number of layoffs of public safety and other personnel?

The Naperville City Council voted Wednesday to eliminate 23 vacant positions to help close a budget deficit estimated at $11 million. We also learned that the number of layoffs will be more than previously thought ("upper 40s instead of 40), and that the cuts won't be made until January.

We also learned details about the 23 vacant positions that were eliminated.

Included in the list are three sworn positions in the police department, which include the department's third downtown beat officer, its second crime prevention officer and its domestic violence investigator. Six other positions - three in records and three in telecommunications - were also eliminated.

At the fire department, three positions were cut. The two sworn positions include an assistant fire chief and a firefighter/paramedic. The other is a technical services assistant.

Also eliminated were the jobs of community social worker and video production specialist from staff. Three positions in the city's finance department are on the list, including assistant finance director, financial reporting analyst and billing and collections supervisor. Six jobs in the city's Transportation, Engineering and Development group include a code enforcement officer, records technician, engineering technician, development planner, operations manager and project assistant.

In addition to the 23 positions in the general fund were three cuts in enterprise funds. Those come from the city's Department of Public Utilities. Two are in the electrical division - a senior engineer and journey-line electrician, along with a customer service representative from the water division.

Which of these cuts make the most sense to you? (And please, let's try not to all say video production specialist at the same time.) Which of these cuts most concerns you? This represents what may be only half the cuts--what do you expect to learn in a couple months when the layoffs are decided? Whose jobs will be gone then, and from what departments?

Now that U.S. Sen. Barack Obama has won a historic presidential election, what's next? Who will Gov. Rod Blagojevich appoint to replace Obama in the Senate--himself? Or maybe his most threatening opponent for governor--Attorney General Lisa Madigan? Or maybe U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., or Bill Daley, or someone else.

Use this thread to comment on Tuesday's election results, both national and local. What do you make of Darlene Senger's apparent narrow victory over Dianne McGuire? Did you expect Judy Biggert to win a sixth term in Congress?

And how about this--three Democrats were elected to the DuPage County Board! They include a 22-year-old who will represent Naperville.

Historic, indeed.

Use this thread to relate your experience on election day. When and where did you vote, were there lines, did you have to wait, did you vote early? Any problems with electioneering, or people accosting you with candidate materials outside a polling place? Any campaign signs placed too close to a polling place?

What about election night--how do you plan to spend it? Will you be watching TV? If so, what's your network of choice? Will you be checking for local results or other results online? What local races are you most interested in?

Finally, you may use this thread after results are in to comment on your reactions to elections--from the presidential race to any local elections.

The results are in showing how well students in Illinois fared on standardized tests. When you compare actual scores, as opposed to the percentage of students meeting or exceeding state requirements, Naperville School District 203's Kennedy Junior High in Lisle had the state's highest-ranking middle school outside of Chicago. (No. 7 overall.)

Madison Junior High also cracked the top 50, according to the Sun-Times criteria. Among elementary schools, Highlands in 203 was No. 13 and Clow in Indian Prairie School District 204 was No. 41.

Three Naperville High Schools made the top 50: Central at No. 12, North at No. 18 and Neuqua Valley at No. 24.

Naperville takes pride in all its schools. Did the number of schools ranked in the top 50 meet your expectations? Do you wish more schools were ranked, and ranked higher? Or do these rankings validate the excellence of Naperville schools? Do rankings like this matter much at all, anyway?

Naperville Potluck

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About this Archive

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

October 2008 is the previous archive.

December 2008 is the next archive.

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