Erin Smith’s Fall Lakewood Letter

What follows is Lakewood Village President Erin fall letter:

From the President

Dear Neighbors:

Erin Smith

Erin Smith

I hope your summer was filled with family and friends and the great outdoors. We are fortunate that there are so many local activities in which to participate. The Village of Lakewood is a member of McHenry County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and I encourage you to pull up the website (www.visitmchenrycounty.com) to learn more about all our region has to offer, especially as we enter the beautiful fall season.

As always, I am excited to share updates with you about a number of our strategic initiatives.

Personnel

Both Chief Rawson and Water/Wastewater Operator Gary Zickhur have asked me to extend a thank you for the warm welcome they have received since joining our staff.

We continue to evaluate our staffing needs to insure that we are providing the best customer service possible in the most cost effective manner possible. Toward this end, we have determined that our building inspection services can most efficiently be provided by a hybrid approach that incorporates a part-time, in house building inspector with more specialized inspection services provided by a neighboring community. As such, we have approved an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Woodstock to provide these services.

We are currently in the midst of recruiting for a part time building inspector. He/she will be primarily responsible for plan reviews, issuance of permits, field inspections and code enforcement. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of three (3) years of experience in building construction, building trades, and/or inspections; two (2) years of related technical or college level courses; ICC Certificates preferred; IL Licensed Plumber preferred. More detail about the part time position is available on the front page our website.

Finances

Our first quarter financials have just been completed for Fiscal Year 2014 – 2015, and I am pleased to report that, overall, our revenues and expenditures are generally tracking with projections. Remember, however, how important it is to patronize our local businesses whenever possible so that the Village of Lakewood enjoys the benefits of the sales tax dollars.

Our audit for the Fiscal Year ending April 30, 2014 was recently completed and a presentation was made at our Board Meeting on August 26. A copy of the audit is available on our website. There are several important statements that can be made about our audit:

  • It is “unqualified” or, in lay terms, it is clean.
  • There is not a management letter, which means there are no concerns about the operations or oversight of our financial operations.
  • There is strict budgetary compliance. In other words, we live within our means.
  • Fund reserves are sufficient.

Infrastructure

Maintenance of the infrastructure that provides critical services to residents is one of the primary functions of a municipality. Even during the economic downturn, the Village of Lakewood has been able to continue to move forward on a number of important projects. Specifically:

Broadway Outfall Storm Sewer – The repairs have been completed. In coming years, we will continue to televise the system to determine future repairs and clean the pipe of tree roots and other impediments.

2014 Roadway Program – Minimal restoration remains but the project has been essentially completed.

Thank you to all of our residents for their patience during this busy construction season.

A public presentation about our 2015 Roadway Program was made at our Board Meeting on August 26.

As a reminder, this project will repave Lakewood Road from Haligus Road to Ackman Road and add bicycle lanes on both sides. Lake Avenue will also be repaved from Huntley Road to our western limits at Village Hall with bicycle lanes added. Please take the time to read the more detailed article included elsewhere in the newsletter or stop by Village Hall to review plans. As a reminder, 80% of this $2.4M project is funded with grant dollars.

East Sewer – The design plans are nearly completed, and we anticipate scheduling a public meeting to present the project within the next month or so. It is our goal to bid the project in December or January and initiate the project in February or March. We are also working to secure a low interest loan of 2.2% from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to pay for the project.

Special Service Area #1 (SSA #1)

A number of meetings have been held to explain the options related to the ongoing maintenance of the Turnberry Lakes. We continue to respond to inquiries from residents and await their direction.

RedTail Golf Club

Red Tail Golf Course

Red Tail Golf Course

It has been an especially challenging year at RedTail Golf Club with the sudden passing of our long time Course Superintendent Pat McDonagh. A golf outing has been scheduled for Thursday, September 18 at RedTail Golf Club and all proceeds from the event will be used for an educational fund for the McDonagh children. If you are unable to play but would like to make a donation, please contact any BMO Harris Bank and ask about the Pat McDonagh Children’s Educational Fund.

Special recognition is due to our General Manager of Clubhouse Operations, Chris Neuhart, and the staff at RedTail Golf Club for assuming additional duties during this time of transition and working to maintain the high standards set by Pat McDonagh. We are also grateful to Wintrust Bank and Kemper Sports for allowing the Superintendent at Turnberry Country Club, Jim Evans, and the Assistant Superintendent, Jon Evans, to provide assistance to our staff.

With the staffing changes, the focus of our capital improvement program has shifted this year. Rather than undertake a number of multi year projects, we will complete the repaving of the parking lot this month and defer the bunker renovations until next year. As a part of our continued ownership of RedTail Golf Club, a business plan was created and a commitment made by staff to report about its status. Please call Village Hall or review upcoming Agenda notices on the website to learn the date of this presentation.

Development

This is always my favorite section to write, especially when I can report that a new business is opening!

Confetti Gourmet is the newest addition to the retail center at Lakewood Commons. It specializes in cooking classes but will also offer “gourmet to go.” The grand opening is tentatively scheduled for September 27, and I hope you will join me in welcoming the newest member of our business community.

A national marketing effort is currently underway to find a buyer for Turnberry Country Club. It is being sold in conjunction with Lake Barrington Shores Golf Club. We appreciate that the current owner, Wintrust Bank, has been such a responsible business member of our community and made such an ongoing commitment to the facility during the past several years. Kemper Sports has also done an outstanding job of providing the daily oversight of the operations. Bids are due October 15, and we are hopeful that a successful bid will be submitted.

Orleans Homes is actively engaged in the Architectural Review Committee process and expects to break ground on its model home at Woodland Hills this fall. The developer at The Highlands at RedTail has started construction on eight (8) new units. There are also several new homes in various stages of review and construction.

We are currently exploring options to spur economic development in the Illinois Route 47 and 176 corridors.

Elsewhere in the newsletter is an article about our upcoming municipal election. I encourage everyone to become involved, whether it is as a candidate or simply as a knowledgeable citizen who chooses to vote. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with questions regarding any Village related matters.

Rauner Speaks to Business Folks

Sanguinetti facing left speaking in mike

Evelyn Sanguinetti

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner and his running mate Evelyn Sanguinetti spoke to a gathering of Chamber of Commerce members at the Dole Mansion in Crystal Lake late Friday afternoon.

Sanguinetti was the warm-up act as Rauner waited at the door of the meeting room.

Rauner started his talk by revealing,

“My friends are leaving the state [going] to Texas, Florida.]

“I’m not going to leave Illinois.”

He told the same story that he gave to an earlier joint chamber meeting at Turnberry Country Club about his daughter not wanting him to run for Governor because she didn’t want him to go to jail.

It again brought laughs.

“We have a system of corruption, of self-dealing and it’s horrible,” he said.

“Our current Governor is under Federal investigation.  I think he’s in big trouble.”

Rauner pointing Dole

Bruce Rauner

He repeated the same four goals he does in all campaign stops:

  1. Restoring the business climate
  2. Shrinking the spending, waste and inefficiency in Springfield
  3. Allowing each child to have a decent education, plus putting vocational education back in high schools
  4. Term limits for legislators

The last point garnered applause.

“We got to rip corruption out of Springfield,” was his follow-up.

Building on his first point, later he said that McHenry County was “a booming county.”

“I want to make every county like McHenry County.”

Rauner told of the three values his grandfather had taught him:

  1. Work your fanny off.
  2. Get a great education.
  3. Give back to your community.  (“To whom much is given, much is expected,” he quoted the Bible.)

“This is my ultimate way of giving back,” he said, pointing out that he would take no salary or pension.

He told of investing public pension money in his business life, saying the rate of return was 20% compounded over twenty-two years.

“The race is going well,” he observed.

“We’re leading in most of the polls.”

Rauner crowd 1 Dole

The crowd was responsive to Bruce Rauner’s talk.

He then emphasized voter turnout as the key.

“It’s all about getting out the vote in places like McHenry County.”

He predicted that the election would be decided by a few thousand votes.

Rauner stressed that Illinois must “become a two party state again.”

Young people in college and high school “realize Illinois isn’t a good place for them.”

Attacking opponent Pat Quinn, the Republican said, “He’s corrupt just like Blagojevich.”

He stressed that he was not going to ignore Cook County.

He talked of his approach to the half million Greeks in the area and how Quinn’s “toughs” had tried to throw him out of the Greek parade.

Two to three African-American churches every Sunday hear one of his speeches.

One man stood up in the back of one and said that he had never voter for a Republican.

“OK, how’s that working out for you?” Rauner asked.

Another view of those attending.

Another view of those attending.

His follow-up is, “You know the guy in there now is failing.”

He said that often results in people taking a yard sign.

At an airport, Rauner reported going through the check point and putting his belt and shoes back on as four TSA employees came running toward him.

“This can’t be good,” he thought.

“All four of us are Democrats and we love your ads.  We’ll all going to vote for you,” one said.

In the question and answer period the first one was, “Why invest in Illinois?”

“I can’t make a great case right now,” He replied, but asked to be given 18-24 months.

He said he would target Workers Compensation, Tort Reform, environmental restrictions and labor [rules].

“You guys need more roads,” he added to applause.

In answer to how he would get legislation passed, he said he would get to know every member of the Illinois General Assembly “personally.”

Rauner + Evelyn Dole

Bruce Rauner and Evelyn Sanguinetti.

He mentioned knowing virtually of the Republicans already and, then, mention members of the Black, Latino and Downstate Caucuses, who have told him,

“We need a leader in Springfield.

“We need someone to take the arrows.”

Rauner also pointed out the leverage he would have if he were willing to spend less than what was appropriated.

That, besides the line item and reduction vetoes, Executive Orders, the ability to negotiate contracts with both employees and government suppliers make an Illinois Governor one of the most powerful in the country, he explained.

Rauner told of the large number of company owners who had told him, “If you don’t win, we’re out of here.”

He took my question (handed in on a card with no identification of who asked the question) about whether he favored lowering the corporate income tax.

“Yes,” he answered.

“I’m proposing overhauling the entire tax code in Illinois.”

He said he wanted “to study what well-run states do,”mentioning Texas, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia.

He talked about closing “special loopholes”

He mentioned that Illinois “taxes some things very highly and other things not at all.”

Rauner did not mention whether he was referring to the sales tax, which exempts services, or the income tax, which exempts retirement income.

He did say he wanted to “work the income tax down to where it was.”

“Local spending is out of control,” he asserted.

He also did not see the logic of Illinois having 7,000 tax district, 2,000 more than the next highest state.

“We don’t need that.”

He pledged to set up a task force of school superintendents and mayors asking them to suggest “how to rationalize local government in Illinois..

Rauner’s parting comment was that Illinois schools relied too much on property taxes.

He said education should rely more on the State.

Hammerand Holds Fundraiser

Reick Sign Franks + Madigan WL Rd corn

The corn in front of this sign linking Jack Franks to Mike Madigan doesn’t make it completely clear that Steve Reick in his opponent.

On my way to McHenry County Board member John Hammerand’s fundraiser, I saw another Liberty Outdoor billboard advising voters who vote for Democrat Jack Franks that they are voting for House Speaker Mike Madigan to continue his reign over the Illinois political arena.

Hammerand 9-14 Andy Glab + Steve Reick

John Hammerand chatted with McHenry Alderman Steve Glab and State Rep. candidate Steve Reick.

The event was held at the Old Mill Inn near the dam that holds back the recreational waters of Wonder Lake.

Hammerand + Prim WL fundraiser

GOP candidate for Sheriff Bill Prim was in attendance.

It’s a cozy establishment, now offering slot machines.

Hammerand 9-14 Walkup, Verr + Serwatka

McHenry County Board member Mike Walkup, McHenry Township GOP Vice Chairman Steve Verr and Grafton Township Republican Party Chairman Paul Serwatka were conversing as John Hammerand was selecting his food.

Former State Senator and McHenry County Republican Party Chairman Jack Schaffer was there.

Verr + Guanci Hammerand 9-14

Steve Verr greeted newly-selected McHenry County Ethics CommissionerJohn Guanci.

So was newly-elected McHenry Township Republican Party Chairman Steve Rooney.

Hammerand 9-14 Schaffer, Walters, Reick

Jack Schaffer, Phyllis Walters, Steve Reick and an unidentified man were chatting.

Former Executive Director of the County GOP, Geri Davis, was in attendance, as was McHenry County Recorder Phyllis Walters.

Hammerand 9-14 Geri Davis + Cheryl

Geri Davis and Cheryl Hammerand look over a door prize.

McHenry County Board members Donna Kurtz and Mike Walkup were sighted, as was Hammeran’s running mate Chuck Wheeler.

Prim + Kurtz Hammerand 9-14

Bill Prim and Donna Kurtz were discussing politics.

Republican candidate for County Treasurer Glenda Miller drove over from Harvard.

Hammerand 9-14 Miller and Hammerand

Glenda Miller found something John Hammerand said to be amusing.

The slot machines drew the attention of a couple of those in attendance.

Slot machines WL

A couple of attendees found a diversion from the non-stop political talk.

One interesting tidbit came from a 94-year old woman who moved to Wonder Lake in the 1930′s. Her first tax bill was $5, the same as her subdivision dues.

Cheri Keaggy Concert in Crystal Lake Sunday Afternoon

Keaggy looking up palms pleading

Cheri Keaggy

Christian singer Cheri Keaggy will perform in concert at the First United Methodist Church of Crystal Lake Sunday afternoon at 3 PM. This will follow a weekend women’s retreat at the church, located at the corner of Dole and West Crystal Lake Avenue. Keaggy has been singing at First Church since the mid-1990′s, having performed at services as recently as this spring. The cost of the concert is $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

Schimpf Needs Help to Air Radio Ad

Paul Schimpf

Paul Schimpf

This came in from Republican Attorney General candidate Paul Schimpf today:

We are less than 50 days out from the November election and now is the time to get our anti-corruption message on the airwaves.  Last week, we taped a radio commercial that captures the essence of our campaign:  “Right now, politics is too important to leave to the career politicians and the insiders.”

You can go here to listen to it:  https://soundcloud.com/citizens-for-schimpf/60-sec-radio-ad-schimpf-for-il-atty-general

This message will begin to run shortly, but we need your help to maximize its air time.  We can defeat the Madigan Machine, but only if voters know they have a choice.  Please help us today!

You can donate online at this link:

https://schimpf4illinois.nationbuilder.com/contribute

Remember, Trust a Retired Marine, Not the Madigan Machine.

CL Secret Shopped Schemer Gets Almost Five Years

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

CRYSTAL LAKE MAN SENTENCED TO 59 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR SECRET SHOPPER SCHEME

ROCKFORD — A Crystal Lake, Ill. man was sentenced today to federal prison for mail fraud involving a secret shopper scheme. U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala sentenced MICHAEL S. MACKAY, 48, of Crystal Lake, Ill., to 59 months in federal prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.

In addition, Mackay was sentenced to pay restitution of $26,971.39 to the victims of his scheme.

Mackay pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud on June 13, 2014, admitting that from Sept. 2011 to at least May 16, 2012, he participated in a scheme to defraud victims into falsely believing they were hired to work as “secret shoppers” or payment processors.

According to the written plea agreement, after applying to work-at-home advertisements on the Internet, victims would receive a letter with at least one counterfeit negotiable instrument, such as a counterfeit money order.

The victims were instructed to deposit the counterfeit negotiable instrument in their financial institution, retain a certain percentage as payment for their services, go to the nearest Western Union and wire transfer the remaining proceeds as instructed.

The victims were also instructed to report their experience, believing they were hired as secret shoppers to evaluate local businesses, via email to an email address contained in the letter.

The participants in the scheme received the proceeds via the wire transfers before the victims learned that the money orders were counterfeit.

Mackay admitted that during the course of the scheme he received at least $2.5 million in counterfeit negotiable instruments in packages sent to Crystal Lake from New York, Nigeria, and Ghana, and other locations.

Each package contained counterfeit money orders and other negotiable instruments in amounts ranging from $500 to $2,000 each of which appeared to be issued by either the United States Postal Service, American Express, Capital One Bank, Citizens National Bank of Texas, First National Bank, or the Navy Federal Credit Union.

Mackay received emails from other scheme participants that contained instructions, a “secret shopper” letter, and United States Postal Service Express mailing labels.

Mackay then placed a “secret shopper” letter in a United States Postal Service express mailing envelope along with at least two counterfeit money orders to multiple victims throughout the United States.

Zachary Fardon

Zachary Fardon

Mackay received wire transfers of at least $10,000 from his victims and others involved in the scheme as payment for his role in the scheme before the victims learned that the negotiable instruments were counterfeit.

The sentencing was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Antonio Gomez, Postal Inspector-In-Charge of the Chicago Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Love.

Roskam Bill Against Sex Trafficking on Obama’s Desk

A press release release from Congressman Peter Roskam:

Roskam, Local Leaders Praise Senate Passage of Youth Anti-Trafficking Bill

Ways and Means Bill Would Make Critical Reforms to Foster Care System, Now Awaits President’s Signature

WASHINGTON—Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06) praised last night’s Senate passage of The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, which passed the House of Representatives in July. H.R. 4980, seeks to prevent child sex trafficking, focusing specifically on at-risk youth in the foster care system.

Peter Roskam

Peter Roskam

“The numbers are staggering–studies suggest a majority of trafficked children are either currently in the foster care system or have previously been in the child welfare system,” said Roskam.

“In the best of circumstances these kids face incredible adversity, and in the worst circumstances a pattern of childhood abuse makes them incredibly vulnerable to falling into the hands of human traffickers.

“This legislation, now on its way to the president’s desk, is focused on identifying and protecting those most at risk.”

“While we are tackling the crime of sex trafficking here in Illinois more aggressively than ever before, it is crucial that we provide additional protections and preventive resources for our most vulnerable children before they can be recruited or seduced into this cruel and demeaning cycle of violence,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

“I commend Congressman Roskam for his leadership on this important bill and for working closely with local prosecutors to ensure that important resources are being directed to strengthen resources for our children and families.”

“CAASE supports federal efforts to reform our nation’s child welfare response to minor victims of trafficking and believes this bill is an important step in the right direction,” said Lynn Johnson, Policy Director at the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE).

“Youth in foster care are particularly at risk of exploitation and are in desperate need of specialized services designed to meet their needs.”

H.R. 4980 would prevent sex trafficking of foster children by

  • documenting ongoing efforts to place foster children in permanent homes and implementing plans to rapidly locate a child missing from care;
  • requiring states to develop new systems to identify at-risk children and ensure relevant data is provided to caseworkers; and
  • encouraging states to involve children in developing their own case plans,
  • encouraging personal responsibility and growth.

Roskam, who serves on the Ways and Means Committee in which the bill was drafted is a cosponsor of The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.

“Through work at both the federal and local level, we can continue to press forward in the fight against the scourge of human trafficking,” said Roskam.

“I am honored to have worked with CAASE and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to raise awareness of this horrible crime in the Chicagoland area and appreciate their leadership and innovative approach to stamping out human trafficking. I am encouraged this bipartisan, common sense legislation is only one step away from being signed into law and making a real difference in the lives of foster care children.”

Reick Schedules Fundraiser Monday

Republican State Rep. candidate Steve Reick is holding a fundraiser in Woodstock Monday night.

It will be from 5:30 until kickoff at Coleman’s Tavern and Grill on Lake Street in Woodstock, just a bit north of Route 47.

It is probably the closest restaurant to opponent Jack Frank’s office.

Donations will be accepted.

Reick invite 9-22-14

Free Food Friday at CL Methodist Church

Free Food sign close-upThe Northern Illinois Food Pantry drops 5-6 pallets of food from local supermarkets at the First United Methodist Church in Crystal Lake each Friday.

Now that pre-school has started, folks interested should look for the tent in the back corner of the parking lot located at the intersection of West Crystal Lake and Dole Avenues.

The truck usually comes from9:30 to 10:30.

Numbers are given out in the order people arrive.