Wednesday, March 28, 2012


(editors note: This is the first in a series of reports dealing with problems facing communities outside of Warren County)

By Kelly Murphy

The village of Lemont,Illinois is a historic suburb of Chicago located on the Des Plains river.

The Lemont village board recently addressed a village ordinance which will authorize the removal of trees infested with emerald ash borer on both public and private owned property. As many as 30 to 50 trees could be removed

During the meeting, Brian Reaves, Mayor of Lemont, discussed the issue of the infestation with a local environmentalist. They addressed the concerns for the village parks but also how the Lemont residents may be affected by the removal.

Only two residents of the community attended the meeting..

Following roll call, Mayor Reaves, explained that emerald ash borer (EAB), is native beetle of Asia that feeds on the vascular tissues between the bark and sapwood on ash trees. This eating habit then interrupts the flow of nutrients and water required by the tree to survive.

Local resident, Kim Rachan, agreed with the board, that being aware of this issue is very important to address and record on the village board minutes.

“As a community member, I deserve the right to know why the village would want to cut down an infested tree that is on my private property,” Rachan said. “However, I am a little concerned with how the village will approach this situation, meaning, will I be charged a fee for the removal if a sick tree is located on my property? If so, how will I be reassured that the removal of my tree will be a way to quarrentine the virus and not just another village expense?”

Before adjourning , Mayor Reaves replied that the cost for the removal will be addressed in the next board meeting, following a private discussion with the executive board members.

Other topics that were discussed during this bi-monthly village board meeting, were voting locations for election day and the approval for two different real estate properties.

Monday, March 19, 2012


By Eric Munoz
The Monmouth-Roseville school board has approved a controversial amendment to the school calendar that calls for a one hour late start every Wednesday. The proposition, which passed by a vote of 4-2, was brought to the board by the Goals Committee. It will allow an hour each Wednesday for “teacher collaboration”. The calendar change will take effect for a trial period, which will be the 2012-2013 school year.

The proposal was discussed for nearly an hour during Tuesday’s monthly school board meeting. A few board members were firmly against the amendment citing that “too much instructional time would be lost.” They also argued that the late start would cause problems with the bus routes, as well as with parents having to pay a day care service for the first hour. The board discussed ways they could amend the proposal, but found an early out once a week would interfere with sports practice. In the end they decided the late start was the most practical.

A few teachers from the district voiced their opinions, one saying “sometimes I never see some of my fellow colleagues during the day.” One administrator said that while collaboration does happen in the schools, during lunch and prep periods, it is normally between the same departments.

Another highlight from Tuesday’s meeting was the approval of website agreement and hosting plan. Superintendent Paul Wohelke brought the board to notice how the Monmouth-Roseville website was lacking in many ways, mainly in accessibility. The board agreed the district’s site was “far behind other schools sites”.

The FFA Alumni Association gave the board a $3,000 donation to build the new Ag room and weight room. The board also announced an architect had been approached in order to begin planning for the construction of the Ag room and weight room.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Senator Durbin Bashes For-Profit Colleges

By Andrew Drea -
As the election season creeps up on America, students at Monmouth College were able to hear about issues that affect them and their families from one of the people who deals with them every day, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).

Durbin, the Senate’s assistant majority leader, spoke on issues that affect students and other Americans, specifically problems with financial aid and for-profit institutions.

“I think most of them [for-profit institutions] are worthless,” said Durbin, before telling the story of a 26-year old woman who obtained a degree from a for-profit institution while racking up $90,000 in debt. When it came time to find a job, the woman was told she had a “worthless diploma.”

“She made a bad decision and we let it happen,” said Durbin.

Meanwhile, student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt in the United States as grants and scholarships are cut and education costs continue to skyrocket. For example, Durbin talked about his alma mater, Georgetown University Law Center and how it costs $50,000 a year to go there for a total of $150,000 for the three years of study.

“It’s scandalous, and I’ve told them so,” he said. “When the microphones are off, administrators will say, ‘We charge it, because people will pay it.’ Their students may never be lawyers, but there’s one thing they will be, and that’s far in debt.”

Durbin also spoke about social issues that are dominating the current presidential election, specifically the controversy of Catholic and other religious organizations providing insurance that covers birth control to their employees.

“My feel is that a lot of people, particularly women voters, are standing on the sidelines saying ‘You’ve got to be crazy.’”

The senator feels that these issues are pushing voters away from the Republican Party. Simultaneously, he sees same-sex marriage as an issue that will continue to be on the forefront of modern politics but will be settled within the lifetimes of current students.

“The younger generation can’t imagine why it’s even an issue,” said Durbin. “The older generation is more skeptical. In your lifetime, it will become more common than not. We’re moving in that direction, and it’s the right thing to do. Whether it will happen at the federal level is not as certain. You have to remember there’s a Supreme Court.”

After meeting with the class, Durbin held a media gathering in the lobby of Wallace Hall with student and local media. He then had a private meeting with President Mauri Ditzler.

Born in East St. Louis, Durbin obtained his J.D. from Georgetown in 1969. After that, Durbin worked for various state officials in Springfield and unsuccessfully ran for state senate and lieutenant governor. In 1982, Durbin ran for the House of Representatives in what was then Illinois’s 20th Congressional District. He defeated incumbent Paul Findley. While serving in the house, he sponsored a number of bills, including the bill which prohibited smoking on all domestic flights. In 1996, he ran for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Paul Simon, defeating current governor Pat Quinn for the Democratic nomination. In 2005, he became the Democratic whip and in 2007, became the assistant majority leader.