Memorial Day service set for noon at Lombard Common Sunken Garden The Village of Lombard’s annual Memorial Day program will be held at noon on Monday, May 25, at the Veterans Memorial in the Sunken Garden at Lombard Common, located near Maple and Grace streets. Members of the Lombard Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Lombard American Legion, the Lombard Historical Society, local scouts, students of Glenbard East and Montini Catholic high schools and the Lombard Junior Women’s Club, as well as local residents will be participating in the program. The featured speaker of the day will be Bob McKeague, a World War II Army veteran of the armed military services. McKeague joined the Army in 1943 and was assigned to the 94th Calvary Mechanized Squadron, where they advanced to the German border near the town of Dijon, France. This year marks the 70th anniversary of Germany’s surrender in World War II. There will be a wreath laying ceremony at the Lombard Memorial Marker, which contains the names of Lombard residents who served or were killed in the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II and Vietnam War. No Lombard residents are recorded as being killed in the Korean War. On Memorial Day, Americans recognize those individuals who have served the country in the military during times of conflict or war – in particular those individuals who made the greatest sacrifice and gave their lives for the country. Veterans of the Armed Services, members of the community and local scouts are invited to attend the ceremony. Attendees are asked to walk to the program, if they are able, and to bring a lawn chair if they would like to sit. See “Out and About” on Page 16 for a story on McKeague and also a Memorial Day ceremony slated to be held at the Lombard Cemetery, 460 S. Main St., beginning at 2 p.m. with a color guard and a 21-gun salute. The ceremony in the cemetery is being held to honor 34 Lombard veterans, 33 of whom are buried in the cemetery. A program and cemetery tour will be held at 2:15 p.m.
Lombard joins cops across the state as they take to the roofs Friday by Bonnie MacKay While some may think 13 is an unlucky number, hundreds of law enforcement officers from throughout the state of Illinois are planning to return to the rooftops for the 13th year in a row on Friday, May 29. Lombard police officers, along with hundreds of officers statewide will be taking part in the annual “Cop on Top” event, where officers “stake out” Dunkin’ Donut rooftops in order to attract the attention of passing motorists and help raise funds for Special Olympics Illinois. According to Lombard Police Detective Cyndy Velazquez, Cop on Top event chair for the Lombard department, she hopes to raise $2,500 in this year’s event. Last year the department raised $2,100 for Special Olympics Illinois, according to the lieutenant. Lombard police officers will be visible–on and off the roof–of the Dunkin’ Donuts, located at 1160 S. Main St., between 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. Everyone who stops by the Main Street store and makes a donation to Special Olympics Illinois will receive a coupon for a free doughnut. In addition, in honor of the Special Olympics Illinois athletes and police officers who support the event, Dunkin’ Donuts has created a special doughnut for the event. According to a Dunkin’ Donuts press release, the special doughnut called “The Champion,” will be available at some area locations between May 26-29. The Champion is a glazed doughnut ring with Special Olympics colors of red and white. As part of Lombard’s fundraising efforts, each guest who stops by the Dunkin’ Donut location on Main Street on May 29 and makes at least a $10 donation will receive a Law Enforcement Torch Run travel mug (while supplies last). With the mug comes a free medium coffee. Velazquez said Lombard officers also will be selling Torch Run T-shirts, hats and pins during the Cop on Top event. In addition, officers will be selling raffle tickets for a Harley Davidson motorcycle. “More than $2 million has been raised from this event over the last 12 years and we’re hoping to set new records this year,” said Eric Smith, Torch Run director and Sherman police officer. “It’s a fun event that works.” On Sunday, June 7, Lombard officers will join thousands of officers statewide as they participate in the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run, which has raised more than $35 million over 29 years and increased awareness of Special Olympics Illinois athletes. The officers cover 1,500 miles as they carry the Flame of Hope through their hometowns. The time and route for this year’s Torch Run through Lombard was not available at press time. The Torch Run has set a goal to raise $4 million in 2015. Anyone who cannot stop by the Cop on Top event and would like to make a donation and help officers reach that goal and support Special Olympics can still help. Donors can stop by the Lombard Police Department or mail a check, made out to Special Olympics Illinois, to: Lombard Police Department, Attn: Cyndy Velazquez, 235 E. Wilson, Lombard, IL 60148.
Pension plan gets cool shoulder from committee by Mark Fitton Illinois News Network The governor’s plan to address the Illinois pension crisis got a cool reception last Wednesday from Democrats on a House personnel and pensions committee. Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan calls for a distinction between benefits already earned and “new” benefits, or benefits earned after a new pension law were passed. Because benefits already earned would not be decreased, the Rauner administration contends its proposal would not violate the 1970 state constitution’s pension protection clause, even in light of a state high court ruling that last week tossed out a 2013 pension reform act. "We don't think the court clearly answered what benefits are protected," said Kim Fowler, chief lawyer for Rauner’s budget office. The Republican governor’s pension plan, which he says could save the state $2.2 billion in fiscal 2016, relies on paying out benefits at existing levels, Tier 1, for work already performed by state employees. But it would pay less-generous benefits, Tier 2, for all state employees starting in the fiscal year that begins July 1. Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood, did not agree Rauner’s plan would pass constitutional muster. He cited a portion of the Illinois Supreme Court decision issued Friday: “The protections afforded to such benefits by (the pension protection clause) ... attach once an individual first embarks upon employment in a position covered by a public retirement system, not when the employee ultimately retires,” the court wrote. “Accordingly, once an individual begins work and becomes a member of a public retirement system, any subsequent changes to the pension code that would diminish the benefits conferred by membership in the retirement system cannot be applied to that individual.” Drury, a former assistant U.S. attorney, said that to him means the contractual relationship starts on the date of employment, and the state can’t lessen benefits from that day forward. “The holding is not nearly as ambiguous as you’re making it out to be,” he told Rauner staff members. “That proposal isn’t realistic anymore in light of what the court did.” Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, concurred: “There is no reading of that decision that squares with your testimony today,” Zalewski said. “I’m sorry to have to say it that way.” Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, said she didn’t think Rauner’s proposal is necessarily invalidated. “I think the governor’s proposal is absolutely fantastic,” she said. “I’m all for it.” No one shows up today at General Motors or AT&T and believes they'll be getting pension benefits that people earned in the past, Ives said. The committee seemed less chilly to the governor’s desire for a constitutional amendment ballot question in time for the 2016 general election. Fowler said the proposed amendment language would make clear that benefits already accrued under the law in effect during a period of service must be protected. With that said, the amendment also would make clear the General Assembly and governor have the right to alter pension statutes through new legislation, she said. A three-fifths vote of each chamber of the Legislature could place a constitutional amendment question on the 2016 general election ballot. To be enacted it would also need approval by three-fifths of voting on the question or a majority of those voting in the election.
Interactive project map shows areas of construction The Village of Lombard’s public works department has announced the launch of a new digital interactive construction map that will allow Lombard residents to view planned 2015 construction projects. One of the map’s many useful features allows users to search by address to receive detailed information on planned construction projects for a specified location. Visitors to the Web site will be able to select convenient layers to help view specific projects of interest. Layers include concrete rehab, sewer services, crack sealing, asphalt paving, hydrant painting and surface treatments. Users will be able to access additional information such as updates and digital newsletters for long-term projects, including the Circle Avenue/Lombard Meadows project. Layer options also allow the map to be viewed with aerial imagery. The map may be viewed at www.VillageofLombard.org/ConstructionMap. “This new interactive map gives Lombard residents the opportunity to know what’s going on in their community and to be prepared for the temporary inconveniences that are necessary for long term benefits,” said Carl Goldsmith, director of public works. “This map will allow residents to see how Lombard’s public works department is at work for them, maintaining our water system, sewer system, streets, sidewalks and additional services that help make Lombard a great place to live.” For more information contact Lombard’s public works department at 630-620-5740.