Operation Safe Halloween October 8th, 2011
The Elgin Police Department will host Operation SAFE Halloween in the SWAN neighborhood on Monday, October 31, 2011, from 3-10:30PM. EPD is looking for a group of citizens to be our active eyes and ears and join with us to prevent problems and fight crime.
We are looking for residents who are willing to patrol the neighborhood on foot to watch for suspicious activity and other safety concerns. The goal is to get community members more involved in the safety of their neighborhood. The citizens on patrol project is also designed to thwart crime, gather information for police, and engage residents in the process of crime prevention.
Let’s build a safer community together.
Interested in joining the Halloween Citizens on Patrol?
When: Monday, October 31, 2011
3:00 – 10:30P ~ You can choose to work 3-7, 6:30-10:30, or both shifts
Roll Call (Orientation Meetings) at start of each shift (3P and 6:30P) – led by Lt. Ana Lalley.
You will be assigned a “beat” to walk in the SWAN neighborhood.
Where: Zion Lutheran Church, 330 Griswold
Roll Calls will be held at the church. Coffee and light snacks will be served.
Contact: Crysta Anderson by Friday, October 21, 2011, to sign up.
Grab a neighbor and help make our neighborhood safe.
Lt. Ana Lalley from EPD will attend our Monday, October 17 meeting to discuss the program in more detail.
Elgin October Happenings October 8th, 2011
A few selected Elgin events happening this month. What are your plans?
Listening Session with Mayor Kaptain
Join Mayor Kaptain for a Listening Session this coming Monday, October 10 at 7 PM at Zion Lutheran Church. Bring your ideas, questions or feedback.
Civil War Nurse Clara Barton
Historian Leslie Goddard will portray Civil War Nurse Clara Barton at the Elgin History Museum on Sunday, October 16, 2011 at 3 p.m. A high tea will be served as refreshments. Reservations are required. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 847.742.4248 to reserve your spot. Limited seating. $5 members, $10 non-member. See the full details.
Nightmare on Chicago Street
On Saturday, October 29 from 6-11PM the City of Elgin presents Nightmare on Chicago Street. The Zombies have taken over and Elgin is the last line of defense! Join the resistance! Chicago Street (between Douglas and Villa) will be closed for a live music festival, with local bands Kashmir and Arra, as well as theater performances, zombie walk, live burlesque show, a visit from WCIU-TV’s Svengoolie, costume contest and special offers from downtown businesses. $7 admission at the gate ($5 advanced tickets available thru area non-profits). 17 and older only.
Oktoberfest at Elgin Public House
Join Elgin Public House on Oct 8-10 for a wunderbar celebration of EPH’s Oktoberfest! Enjoy fantastic German fare, including Thuringer sausages, pork loin, goulash, spatzle and German potatoes. Of course, you can’t forget the bier! Great German beers available including Warsteiner Pilsner and Dunkel, Spaten Optimator, Ayinger Celebrator, and many more!
Fair Trade Fair
Zion Lutheran Church is hosting their annual Fair Trade Fair on Saturday, October 29 from 9-4. Stop by and hear about Cynthia Glensgaard’s experiences in Africa, see a spinning demonstration, sample tasty Fair Trade products, enter a raffle, and try a variety of baked goods.
August Meeting Minutes October 7th, 2011
- From 6:30-7:30 – The group attended an Open House at the completed Habitat House at 511 Washburn.
- Mike called the meeting to order at 7:30pm. There were 13 attendees.
- Minutes – July and August will both be presented September’s meeting.
- Treasurer’s report – Gene presented the report. One change was needed to change the line items of Trolley Tour to Garden walk. Andrew made motion to approve, Kathy seconded. Motion carried.
- Police Report – No police in attendance.
- Code Enforcement – Joe was in attendance. Things were moving slow right now as one person in the dept. is currently out. He also stressed importance of calling on anything that seems strange such as kids walking around with backpacks at strange hours.
- Zion Update – Kingdom Fest will be Sept 10th from 4-6pm.
- Mike talked about potential closure of route 31 for the sewer project. Options will be presented at the next council meeting on Aug. 24th.
- Dog park survey. The city has a one question survey on it’s webpage and Mike reminded everyone to go take a look.
- GPA Housewalk is Sept 10th and 11th. They are looking for docents and with that you get a free ticket to the tour.
- Lowrie’s Fun Fair is Sept 15th from 4-7pm and they need volunteers. The Curtin’s, Andrew, Marlene, and possibly Laura’s kids are able to help.
- Mike wanted to remind everyone to thank the city for Officer Grimm and her help in the neighborhood. The dog issue was back and she was a great help in getting a problem dog situation under control.
- Mike brought up the idea of a Neighborhood Watch. He turned it over to Andrew as it was his idea. He wanted to start looking into possibility of starting a large program. Right now, the problem is that they are only one block stretches. During the last few weeks, Andrew has had broken bottles on his driveway and kids walking up it and standing there as well as the church had a downspout stolen. Questions were raised about how we could get something like this in place with so many rentals. Joe made the point that people who rent don’t want their belongings stolen either. Things that need to be looked into are cost for fliers, and the idea of doing back to back with English and Spanish and also if we could get street captains rather than block captains to cover a larger area and possible get more interest in more of the neighborhood. We need to look at having someone from the city come out and talk to the group.
- Kathy wanted to check if the new owner of the Habitat house would be interested in getting a plaque. She made a motion to spend the $50 for the plaque application if owner is interested. Denny seconded. Motion carried.
- The next Garden expo meeting was moved to Aug 25th at 7:30 at the Church.
Guest Speaker – None this month
The meeting adjourned at 8:40.
July Meeting Minutes October 6th, 2011
- Mike called the meeting to order at 7:01pm. There were 16 attendees.
- Minutes – May and June. Krista made a motion to approve, Gene seconded. Motion carried.
- Treasurer’s report – Gene presented the report. Andrew made motion to approve, Judy seconded. Motion carried.
- Police Report – Lt. Lalley and Officer Ross were in attendance. Andrew asked questions about how to handle things that are going missing from his yard, several solar lights have been taken. Gene asked about break-ins and had questions on how to handle and when self-defense comes in. Rep. Farnham asked what is being done with scams on senior citizens. The police dept has a senior liaison.
- Code Enforcement – Joe was in attendance. There have been a lot of calls on properties with junk accumulating on them. He has also been doing a lot of rental inspections. Krista had a question about people living in a tent in the backyard of a house. Joe will look in to that.
- Zion Update – No update.
- Community garden update – Stacey and her kids painted the garden and weeded it. Be sure to go check it out. Joe provided SWAN with a rain barrel that we can convert into a rain barrel.
- Elgin Alive – July 19th, Elgin’s Gov’t Past, Present, and Future.
- Elgin Business License – based on info that Mike has received, it appears as if SWAN would need a business license with the city. Mike made a motion to apply for that up to a cost of $40. Andrew seconded. Motion carried.
- The city had been working on plans for what direction to take with Phase 2 of the sewer separation project. A community discussion should have taken place, but the city changed the route of it from Moseley to Elm St. Mike’s concern is that is Elm gets redone, Orchard is still in worse shape and wonders if it would make more sense to go down Orchard to complete Phase 2 and the resurfacing of Orchard. Gene contacted the city about the possibility of resurfacing Orchard St. during this first phase of the separation, but has not heard anything back on their decision.
- The city just planted trees all across the city in the tree banks. If one is in your yard, get out and water it.
- Judy had questions about rumors of Elgin wanting to raise their property tax. She had questions on what the max could be. Rep. Farnham gave input on how the process works and what he is doing.
- National Night Out – Marlene let us know the Church Parking lot would be available. The group discussed the idea, and with it only two weeks out, decided it was best to hold off on it this year. Erin made a motion to start planning several months in advance next year. Gene seconded. Motion carried.
- Kathy wanted to know if we knew when the Habitat house on Washburn was going to be completed. Mike would contact Habitat to find out.
Guest Speaker – None this month
The meeting adjourned at 8:10.
Adams Street Infrastructure Project May 14th, 2011
The city has begun the Lord Street Basin Sewer Separation project that will help reduce local flooding and sewer backups. Full details on the project, including maps and timelines, can be found on the project website, which is updated weekly.
There will be a sanitary sewer extension underneath the sidewalk on the south side of Adams from approximately 325 to 609 Adams, and this will affect the parkway between the sidewalk and the street. Note that this is the area where most of the trees that are slated for removal exist. The affected owners have been made aware of this, as the city has acquired a 7 foot wide temporary right-of-entry permit work in the front yards beyond the sidewalk.
Otherwise, the locations that the contractor needs to lower water or sanitary sewer service lines will need to be dug up to perform the lowering.
If you live along Adams, you’ve seen the work. Specifically, the city must remove some trees along Adams in order to proceed. Contractors notified affected homeowners last week via hand-delivered letters and knocked on doors to talk to people if they were home.
14 trees have been identified along Adams for removal, and the city forester has recommended replacements at 26 locations. Some of the trees that are to be removed will not be replaced in the same location because they were under power lines or too close to sidewalks or driveways.
Trees were selected on several criteria, including the amount of pruning necessary to be able to install the large storm sewer pipe and sanitary sewer extension. If the required pruning was going to be drastic and detrimental to the tree, then the city recommended removal. Also, with the continuing threat of the Emerald Ash Borer, ashes requiring pruning were recommended for removal as the forestry department expects to remove ash trees within the next few years.
While removing trees isn’t ideal, it’s a necessary part of the infrastructure improvements. The trees being removed are low quality, with shallow root systems that interfere with infrastructure. Many of the involved are ash trees that are highly susceptible to the emerald ash borer. Route 20 serves as a formidable boundary and therefore places Adams St. on the edge of distinct habitat. It is well documented that plants located on the edge of a habitat are much more likely to succumb to disease or attack.
While removing trees may be a detriment in some instances, the curb-to-curb construction will certainly improve the overall appearance of Adams St. Plus, after the project, the city has proposed planting more trees than will be removed. These trees will be high quality and appropriate for their setting and for the region.
Please feel free to contact Eric Weiss, Water Operations Engineer with the City of Elgin, if you have any questions or concerns about how this affects your specific home or block. You can reach Eric at 847-931-6159 or via email.
Save the Route 20 Bypass March 31st, 2011
Press Release from the Committee to Save Route 20 Bypass:
The Committee to Save Route 20 Bypass has announced its slate to run for the Elgin City Council. Council candidates Mike Curtin and Mike Robins have been selected to represent the citizens of Elgin who are in favor of preserving Route 20 Bypass as a direct and unimpeded path for vehicular traffic through the City of Elgin.
If elected, this slate will work within the Elgin City Council to allow the Illinois Department of Transportation to carry out its long range plans to improve Route 20 Bypass so that it will be better able to handle the ever increasing traffic flow to and from Elgin’s western developments.
Early in 2011, there were discussions on the Elgin City Council about spending roughly $98,000 to conduct a study of the proposal to effectively convert Elgin’s portion of Route 20 into the equivalent of Randall Road. The motion to spend $98,000 for this study was tabled and will not be brought up for a vote by the council until after the April 5th election.
This proposed change to Route 20 Bypass would reconnect the portions of the City that were separated when the Route 20 Bypass was constructed in the late 1950s. The proposed change would allow businesses to be built along Route 20. Route 20 Bypass would effectively become stop and go traffic instead of a high-speed transportation corridor. This would be best visualized as being a new Randall Road with all of its businesses and stoplights.
The Committee to Save Route 20 Bypass believes that it is in Elgin’s best interests to keep traffic freely flowing so as to logically match the needs of Elgin’s westward expansion. Let IDOT carry out their long-range plans to improve the traffic throughput of Route 20 Bypass, and eliminate the present congestion problems which exist along this vital corridor. The committee thinks that the taxpayers of Elgin should SAVE the $98,000 that would be spent to study the proposal that would evaluate turning Route 20 into another Randall Road.
The Committee to Save Route 20 Bypass is NOT for and NOT against either candidate for Mayor, because either man may win this election. The committee feels the best way to preserve the Route 20 Bypass is to have two people be elected to the Council who are opposed to this proposition.
The Committee to Save Route 20 is NOT against the other council candidates. But the committee was clear that both Mike Curtin and Mike Robins had clearly and uniquely articulated their desire to Save The Route 20 Bypass as key parts of their campaigns. It is for this reason that these men were asked to be our slate and to provide a clear choice for the voters of Elgin on April 5th.
The Committee to Save the Route 20 Bypass consists of: Tom and Linda Conro (who are from the NOSEE neighborhood that is along the eastern part of Route 20 Bypass), Crysta Anderson (who is part of SWAN, that is along the western part of Route 20 Bypass) and Michael Gibbons and Chuck Keysor (who are with the Near West Neighbors Association).
The Committee to Save the Route 20 Bypass became concerned that the issue of turning Route 20 Bypass into another Randall Road had not gotten any attention during this present election cycle. And because there are clear differences between the candidates on this issue, we felt we had to do what we could to raise the profile of this vital issue.
And the Committee to Save the Route 20 Bypass felt it was important to offer a pair of candidates which the average voter could use to let City Hall know how they feel about this issue. In effect, voting for Mike Curtin and Mike Robins will be serving as a referendum on this issue. If people don’t like the idea of turning Route 20 Bypass into another Randall Road, they can clearly send this message to City Hall by electing Mike Curtin and Mike Robins to the council.
The Committee to Save the Route 20 Bypass charter says they will:
- Save Route 20 Bypass as a means of quickly getting to the western parts of Elgin
- Save the tax payers of Elgin $98,000 to study turning Route 20 into a new Randall Road
- Encourage the State of Illinois to make their long planned improvements to Route 20
- Support Mike Curtin and Mike Robins to carry this message onto the Council
What do you think about the issue? Regardless, be sure to vote on April 5.
Inform Yourself: Elgin Elections April 5 March 26th, 2011
Elgin’s municipal elections are just a couple weeks away! Early voting continues through March 31. Cast your vote at several sites around town, including Gail Borden Public Library (evenings), City Hall (day), and others. For full details on times and locations, visit the Kane County Elections site. You can also see a sample ballot.
Thanks to our fabulous volunteers, the March 2 forum co-hosted by SWAN and Near West Neighbors was a great success. We recorded all the questions. View them for yourself to see how the candidates answered questions submitted by those in attendance.
The Elginite, a local blog, has done a fantastic job compiling questionnaires from all the candidates and can help inform you about their views on a variety of issues.
City Council and Mayoral Candidates (Though Mayor Schock did not participate)
Gail Borden Library Board Candidates – currently underway.
Learn about the candidates, and help choose who will lead Elgin.
SWAN & NWNA to Host Candidate Forum on 3/2 February 25th, 2011
The Near West Neighbors Association (NWNA) has partnered with the South West Area Neighbors Association (SWAN) to offer a candidate forum on Wednesday, March 2, at 7PM in the basement of Zion Lutheran Church (330 Griswold Street). The forum is scheduled to run until 9PM. This forum will feature all of the candidates for the Elgin City Council, as well as both mayoral candidates. A video of the forum will be posted on YouTube and available from the SWAN blog: http://swan-elgin.com/blog/.
The Near West Neighbors Association has conducted candidate forums for over 10 years. These forums have provided a great way for neighbors to evaluate the candidates, and also allowing neighborhood issues to be raised in a public forum.
The NWNA board has attended many local forums to study them, and figure out what makes a good forum, and what things should be avoided. The end result has been a forum that has been fast paced, informative and entertaining.
In 2010, SWAN and NWNA began cooperating on common issues affecting the near west side of Elgin, and decided to co-host this year’s forum.
SWAN’s president, Crysta Anderson, and NWNA’s new president, Michael Gibbons, will share moderating duties. The NWNA’s famous jumbo display digital count-down timer will be used to allow the candidates and the audience to exactly see how much time each candidate has to answer. And the trademark gong will be used for those candidates who choose to ignore the count-down timer. Refreshments will also be provided.
Questions are taken in writing from the audience. The questions are not signed, so the candidates will not know the source of the questions. The moderators will select which questions to ask. The goal will be to ask as many questions as possible, while avoiding redundant and confusing questions.
If you have any questions, please call 847-622-1835 or send emails to email@example.com.
Las Posadas at Zion Lutheran
Las Posadas means “the inns” or “the shelters” in Spanish. This religious and social celebration, commemorates Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem and their search for shelter prior to the birth of Christ. Las Posadas is a reenactment of this difficult journey. It is a preparation for La Navidad (Christmas) in Mexico and some Central American countries. Zion Lutheran Church will host Las Posadas by visiting various homes in our neighborhood. The celebration will end at the church with a pinata and Mexican food. Come and join us this Saturday, December 18 from 4-6 PM, starting at Zion Lutheran at 330 Griswold.
Christmas Carol Sing-a-Long at FCC
If singing is more your speed, join the First Congregational Church (256 E. Chicago) for their 3rd Annual Community Christmas Carol Sing-A-Long! The event promises to be a relaxing, joyful time filled with fun music we all love. There will be plenty of seating in the sanctuary and in the balcony. Bring a friend! Tickets are $5 each. Half the proceeds will go to the Community Crisis Center and the other to First Congregational Church’s 175th Anniversary Fund. Visit FCC-Elgin.org for more information.
Bioswales May Come to SWAN
Mike Curtin reports that the city has applied for a $750k grant that would bring bioswales to SWAN. Bioswales are similar to rain gardens in that they create a depression in the landscape that traps sediment, pollutants and storm water. Sometimes the actual soil itself is replaced with soil types that are capable of absorbing more water and will naturally filter water as it percolates to the local aquifer. By strategically placing these around the neighborhood we can help eliminate some of the storm water that overwhelms our sewer infrastructure. If this is coupled with other measures such as an ordinance requiring people to move their downspouts away from their driveway, then this measure could potentially remove as much as 5-10% of SWAN’s storm water. They would be installed in some strategic parkways around the neighborhood. This would also help landscape many properties and create nice, walkable greenspaces. This is still in the application stage, so I will keep you posted as we learn more. Thanks, Mike, for your efforts!
Elgin Alive Event – Found Treasure, the Three Rs Rule!
Children from the Fox River Country Day School’s Green Troupe will perform a play on the negative impact of littering, plastic grocery bags, what we can do to stop overuse os water bottles, and the benefits of shopping at thrift stores. After the play, they will recycle old holiday cards, and children will be able to recycle old cards into new cards, postcards or ornaments. There will be a free raffle with prizes and popcorn. Join Elgin Community Network for this event next Tuesday, Dec 21 from 6:30 – 8:30 PM at Gail Borden Library.
Art for All Winter Art Show
Now through December 30, Gail Borden Public Library at 270 N. Grove Avenue hosts Art for All’s Winter Art Show. Meet the artists and view over 40 works of art in this juried art exhibit with a $1,300 prize awarded to the winner. Also, the deadline to apply for Art for All’s $500 Art Major Scholarship has been extended to December 20. Applicants shall have successfully completed at least 30 semester hours (or equivalent) of college credit towards an art related degree, possess a “B” average or better in art related classes, live in the greater Elgin/Fox Valley area and plan to attend a college within a 50-mile radius of Elgin. For more info, visit artforall-elgin.com
Help a Neighbor Who Needs a Furnace
Cherie Aschenbrenner with the city asked if we have any local neighbors who could benefit from this: Comfort to the People is dedicated to providing comfort and joy to up to 63 deserving families in the Chicagoland area. Because for some, this season isn’t about a cozy gathering around the Christmas tree or Menorah – it’s about weathering the cold with an unsafe space heater or a worn-out furnace. So Comfort24-7.com wants your help giving these families a bit of extra warmth. You supply the stories. We’ll supply the furnaces. Free of charge.Now that’s a comforting thought.
Register and share a true story of a local friend, neighbor or family in need through December 31. We’ll choose up to 63 stories and help turn them from heart-wrenching to heartwarming. Early in 2011, Comfort24•7® dealers will install new furnaces in the homes of up to 63 families at no charge. From now until 12/31/10, go to www.comfort247.com/comfort2thepeople
Petitions for Ward Vote
Just a reminder – if you would like to sign a petition to see the hybrid ward system brought to the ballot in a spring referendum, we need your help! Please let Mike or me know and we can bring a petition by. I’ll also have them at the holiday gathering at the Walnut on Monday night, which reminds me…
Please join us Monday night at the Walnut!
We’ll be there starting around 7 PM to share a bit of holiday cheer. I hope to see you there.
Join us this evening at 7 PM at Zion Lutheran Church.
Call to Order
Introductions & Announcements
Approval of Minutes
Pet Vaccination at Hemmens – Sat, Nov 20, 12-4 at the Hemmens
Downtown Brainstorm – Tues, Nov 16, 6-8 PM at Gail Borden
Elgin Alive: 52 Ways to Be More Sustainable at Home – Tues, Nov 16, 7:30 PM at Gail Borden
Potential NWNA/SWAN Candidate Forum in March
Priorities for 2011