Franklin Park 2012 news includes laptops and losses
Angel Vazquez (right) and Frankie Rojas work on a repair project with computer support assistant Luis Cotto (left) as part of the West Leyden tech internship program. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Top web stories
The five most-viewed stories in 2012 on the Franklin Park Herald-Journal website:
1. Old Country Buffet in Northlake abruptly closes
2. Man shot in face in Northlake
3. March 1 blotter, including $54,000 in items stolen from Art Met.
4. Dreamers just beginning to file for deferrred status
5. Home schooling a better choice for some
Updated: January 28, 2013 6:08AM
FRANKLIN PARK — As Franklin Park Herald-Journal readers prepare for 2013, we look back at some of the top stories of 2012, which included thousands of students getting free laptops and hundreds of residents objecting to a $15.5 million bond issue. Here are those and other highlights:
1. HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION LONG WAY OFF; WORRIES ALREADY HERE
Though construction is not scheduled to start until 2018, the Elgin-O’Hare Western Access project (formerly called the Elgin-O’Hare Bypass) has already impacted businesses in Franklin Park.
The Elgin-O’Hare Western Access is a more than $3 billion project. On its southern end it will include a new on-ramp to Interstate 294.
That’s good news for numerous firms with trucks in the Northwest section of the village. It’s less exciting for companies in the path of the project.
That includes Interplex Daystar, a metal stamping and injection molding company that been located at 11535 Franklin Ave. since the 1980s. The company, which mainly supplies the automotive industry, has been doing well and planned to expand its buildings. That didn’t make sense if it had to move.
Behind the scenes, IDOT and the Illinois Toll Highway Authority were figuring out the details of financing the bypass. IDOT said it would have a buyout offer for Interplex Daystar by July 15, then by Sept. 15.
Meanwhile Interplex Daystar had a deadline. If it wasn’t met, the company planned to move out of state. President Dan Carioggia asked village president Barrett Pedersen for help. For five weeks Pedersen made calls to IDOT, the Illinois Tollway and elsewhere.
In late September Interplex Daystar at last got a buyout offer. With that it was able to purchase a larger facility at 11130 King St. and move its 70 employees.
Nearby, at 3800 Acorn, owner Kas Kober of Elite Airline Linen is still concerned. The company, which cleans about 200,000 towels, blankets and other items per day for airlines and motels, operates around the clock.
Moving would require it to buy and prepare a building elsewhere while keeping its current operation running.
The company has already delayed plans to install new equipment. Though the new equipment would make it more efficient and increase its capacity, it also would be costly and time-consuming the move that equipment to a new location.
2. $15.5 MILLION BOND ISSUE REPEALED
On Aug. 13, trustees unanimously approved a $15.5 million bond issue. Among other things, the money was to be used for: water and sewer projects; refinancing loans from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency; and repaying the village’s general fund for demolition and land purchase of the former Unilever property.
A group of residents collected signatures against the bond issue. The residents said voters should approve a bond issue and claimed it would require the village to raise property taxes, though village officials repeatedly stated it would not.
On Sept. 14, at the Franklin Park village clerk’s office, petitioners turned in 1,076 signatures against the issuance of general obligation bonds and 1,051 signatures against issuing revenue bonds, according to resident Ken Zurek.
On Oct. 13, Trustees backed off, repealing the bond issue. Pedersen said the village would form a committee to figure out how to finance water and sewer projects.
3. LONGTIME ILLINOIS REP. SKIP SAVIANO LOSES
After representing the 77th District in the Illinois House of Representatives for 20 years, Republican Rep. Angelo “Skip” Saviano got knocked out of office by Democratic challenger Kathleen Willis of Addison.
Willis, 50, works as a librarian at Elmhurst College and is serving her third term on the School Board for Addison School District 4. She ran unsuccessfully for village trustee in Addison two years ago.
While Saviano had a larger war chest, Willis did substantial fundraising, much of it coming from Springfield. Saviano also faced new boundaries for the 77th, which had been redistricted since he last ran.
4. VIDEO GAMBLING APPROVED
On Aug. 23, village trustees agreed to allow video gambling in Franklin Park. Out of the money that’s gambled, 35 percent will go to the machine owner, 35 percent to the establishment, 25 percent to state government and five percent to the local municipality.
The owners of Mike O’Donnell’s Irish Pub, Underpass Lounge and DJ Nightspot brought the proposal to village trustees. Trustee Cheryl McLean concluded video gambling would help local bars and restaurans and she noted areas around Franklin Park already allow it.
The decision was criticized by the League of Women Voters and Prof. John Kindt at the University of Illinois. Kindt said video gambling machines can be manipulated and attract gambling addicts.
5. A LAPTOP FOR EVERY STUDENT
In August, Leyden District 212 distributed laptop computers to each of its 3,300 students. administrators say there’s almost no end to the impact the Chromebook computers will have on learning.
The benefits include: making it easier for students to collaborate on projects; making it easier for teachers to give students feedback; allowing teachers to lecture less and work directly with students more; increasing research options for students; and allowing students to publish their work on the Internet.
Students are already on the front lines when it comes to repairing Chromebooks or answering questions about their use from both staff and other students.