From the “Chicago Tribune,” South Elgin Parents Raise Money for Stadium

“High school parents dig deep to give kids a home-field advantage
With district strapped for cash, South Elgin High’s booster club has raised $500,000 to begin work on athletic stadium”

Here is a great quote:

“Cheryl Latsonas said the district had never had enough money for its daily operations, and she doubted that it ever would. An on-campus stadium, she said, would have a value beyond the balance sheet.

“This will create a connection with the school and really build team spirit,” she said. “(Athletes) want to play for the school at the school.””

I cannot think of a better education lesson for all of the kids to show them the value of money, hard work, community organizing, and what it truly means to live in a democracy. Good luck to the parents at South Elgin High in raising enough money. Into the future, after the new stadium is finished, it would be interesting to compare it to other high school stadiums to see if folks in South Elgin keep it cleaner and less damaged than other stadiums. There should be a sense of ownership–the stadium will be theirs, more like their own homes.

Blizzard of ’67: A Story

“I’m sorry,” Mr. Holtz said. “If I stop at the bottom of the hill, I don’t think I can get her moving again.”

“She” was a school bus, and at the bottom of the hill was a “T” intersection. Usually, Mr. Holtz stopped there to let me off for home, but this particular afternoon he swung left and continued to the top of the next rise before stopping. The right turn was not an option; it would have led to our house but also to a dead end in the brand-new subdivision.

The result was a walk of about three blocks, mostly uphill, wind whistling, snow already up to my waist in spots and still coming down fast. Ditches and the absence of sidewalks necessitated a slog up the middle of the street. It was probably fortunate that a plow did not come rumbling along. Continue reading Blizzard of ’67: A Story

Special Audit in Macoupin County

According to, the Macoupin County Board has voted for a special audit of the county clerk’s office.

The audit is aimed at determining if employees who no longer worked for the county have been allowed to stay on the county insurance plan and if the county has paid inaccurate amounts of payroll taxes to the federal government, among other questions. […]

“This is an unfortunate situation, but we have come to a juncture where it is absolutely necessary to obtain an independent audit of the way taxpayer dollars were administered by the county clerk’s office over the past several years,” [county board chairman Andy] Manar said.

Manar said the audit isn’t meant to point fingers, but rather to help the county “determine what wrong [sic] and put in place procedures to make sure these things do not happen in the future.”

Some of the discrepancies discovered by the newly-elected county clerk seem pretty serious. Refusing to point fingers may not be an option.

[H/T A.A.]

Rockford Approves Funds for Legal Second Opinions

Here’s an interesting nugget from a Rockford Register Star report:

ROCKFORD — Aldermen have adjusted the 2011 spending plan that they approved last week to give themselves $50,000 to hire attorneys or consultants in the coming year.

The idea, which was approved tonight with a vote of 8-5, stems from last summer’s bitter disagreement over whether the mayor has the power to appoint a department head and set a salary without the council’s consent.

Code interpretation
During that debate, a handful of aldermen disagreed with Legal Director Patrick Hayes’ interpretation of city code and sought their own legal advice. Ald. Carl Wasco, D-4, obtained a second opinion from Chicago law firm Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins, but there was no fund like the one created tonight to pay for the firm’s services.

According to a related article, it’s common for aldermen to request second opinions on legal interpretations. What’s unusual is bypassing city staff to obtain them. Continue reading Rockford Approves Funds for Legal Second Opinions

Re-forming the League of Women Voters Locally

As expressed by many in attendance at the DeKalb Area Women’s Center for the DeKalb County Candidate Debate night, there is interest in re-forming a local League of Women Voters locally. For those who are not already members, please join through: and clicking the Join Us button.

There will be a state-wide issues briefing on Saturday, February 5th in Chicago. See the above link for registration.

To start getting local folks involved, please complete this online form to indicate when you are available:

Many of the local election races have more than one candidate, and there is a need to host future debates. Please consider becoming involved! By the way, men are very welcome to join!

Freeport May Get to Vote on Home Rule

Journal Standard:

Census officials expect preliminary local results from the 2010 Census to surface in February or March of 2011. In Freeport, these results could push the population below a crucial threshold that determines whether the city qualifies as an automatic home-rule municipality.

Freeport Corporation Counsel Sarah Griffin confirmed Thursday that the impending census results could trigger questions about the status of home rule.

“If the numbers come in below 25,000 then the city clerk is required to certify a question on home rule for the next election ballot,” Griffin said.

The population of Freeport was counted at 26,443 during the 2000 census.

Update 1 p.m.: Freeport rejected the adoption of a city manager form of government for the second time November 2.

City Barbs Turns 5

Most blogs don’t last a year, but we’ve been here five as of today, tallying over 700 posts and nearly 4,000 comments.

Many thanks to CB contributors, whether you write for us or read us or send background, tips and juicy rumors to follow!

TN Homeowner Fails to Pay $75 Fee, so Firefighters Watch His House Burn

Firefighters watch as home burns to the ground: If you live on unincorporated land near South Fulton, Tennessee, and don’t pay a $75 per year fee to the city for fire protection, the firefighters are not allowed to save your burning house.

What a terrible policy. Because of it, a neighboring house also caught fire. To me, that’s a clear-cut case of reckless negligence on the part of the city. If someone dies it’s on them, too. Just goes to show we’re not the only municipality lacking competent legal counsel, common sense and empathy.

DeKalb Should Welcome Zombies

OK, I’m outing myself as a Halloween-o-phile. I’ve been thinking about this for a couple months.

zombie babyIf we want to get NIU students, local teens and hip families downtown, DeKalb should host a zombie walk during Halloween weekend. Locate zombie headquarters at the Egyptian Theatre to tie into its Amenti Haunted House, and develop fabulous downtown discounts for people dressing the part. Recruit bands to play “Thriller” and “Monster Mash.”

If this idea has legs (and/or braynz), remember where you heard it first. 😉