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Jaycees take vote to dissolve chapter; move forward as Lombard Commonwealth
Lilac Parade Committee gains five new members
by Bonnie MacKay                                          
The Lombard Jaycees, founded in 1950, was dissolved last week and regrouped as Lombard Commonwealth, according to Jackie West, former president of the Lombard Jaycees.
The group met at its clubhouse, 376 E. St. Charles Road, Lombard, where the vote for dissolution was taken.
“The membership voted unanimously [to dissolve],” West said, adding that the vote was taken by 13 members in good standing, out of a possible 29 members.
“I did not have a vote,” West said. “I am a paid associate.”
She related that a number of paid associates and Jayteens attended the meeting, but could not vote. In addition, two new members joined the group bringing the membership to 44.
According to West, she will be officially notifying the state president of the Illinois Jaycees advising of the dissolution vote.
“All members in good standing become at-large members, who can go to another chapter [if they wish],” West explained, adding there are nearby Jaycee chapters in Elmhurst, Hoffman Estates, Palatine and Woodridge.
West said over the past couple of months, she has met with the village manager, village president, park board, and police and fire departments to advise of the possible dissolution.
She also contacted the Jaycees’ landlord for the clubhouse, where a new lease has been signed. In addition, West said the Lombard Commonwealth group has been registered federally, has an EIN (Employer Identification Number) and is in the process of becoming a 501 (c) (4) organization.
West, who has expressed an interest in helping with or running the Lilac Parade, said she attended the Lilac Parade Committee meeting, which also was held Thursday, Oct. 9.
“We would like to be part of the committee or take it over,” West said, adding that the group will be involved in some capacity.
According to Erica Fisette, who recently stepped down after serving three years as parade chair, the Lilac Parade Committee meeting on Thursday night went well. She related that five new volunteers have joined the Lilac Parade Committee.
For more information on the Lilac Parade, visit www.lombardlilacparade.com. The committee may be contacted at 630-415-2079 or by e-mail at LilacParade@yahoo.com. The committee’s next meeting is Thursday, Nov. 13.

Board holds workshop for development, marketing strategies at DuPage Theatre site
The property has sat vacant for years, except for parked cars, but on Thursday, Oct. 16, the Lombard Village Board will discuss the 2.19-acre parcel at 101-109 S. Main St., the former site of the DuPage Theatre.
According to a memo from William Heniff, director of community development, in an effort to guide the village board regarding the future disposition and/or redevelopment of the property, staff has prepared three documents for discussion and consideration by trustees. The three documents include:
•A report from staff with various options for marketing the property, a review of the interested parties outreach previously requested by the village board, as well as a proposal from Tracy Cross & Associates for a marketing analysis of the property.
•A PowerPoint presentation outlining an overview of past actions and options the trustees may want to consider.
•A draft for a handout of “Frequently Asked Questions,” that is intended for distribution to interested parties regarding the property. This handout would also be available on the village’s Web site and through social media. The memo outlines that the document will be offered to provide a quick update on what steps the village anticipates to take and how development proposals would be reviewed.
The DuPage Theatre, which opened in July 1928, was donated to the village in 2000 by Big Idea Productions. The historical theater was razed in spring 2007, and the real estate market collapsed shortly thereafter. The theater property currently serves as a commuter parking lot.
The special meeting of the Lombard Board of Trustees will meet at 6 pm. in the community room of the Lombard Village Hall, 255 E. Wilson. The regular board meeting will follow at 7:30 p.m. in the board room.
–Bonnie MacKay

Former Lombardian aims to write 1,000 words a day to keep books on track
by  Suzanne Bolur                                             
When Katie Roman was 14 years old, her parents dragged her to see the movie “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” and it changed her as a writer.
Roman, 27, is a self-published author who released her first novel last year.
“Tolkien’s world reached out to me on a level other books hadn’t,” she explained. “I’d always been a reader, but I gathered inspiration from him and my writing was shaped more toward fantasy, to worlds with their own histories, histories I had the power to shape.”
As soon as she got home from the movie, she grabbed her dad’s copies of the books and started to read them.
“It was amazing how much work one person had put into this whole world,” she said. “The timelines, the genealogy, the language. It was amazing. I thought, ‘I can do that too.’”
Roman, whose real name is Katie Morin, grew up in Lombard and now lives in Arlington Heights. She said she chose to use a pen name for privacy and to retain some anonymity, especially online.
Roman said she has enjoyed writing since she was young, recalling that she started writing short stories in fourth grade, creating tales and putting her friends in them.
“I can’t remember a time I didn’t want to write,” she said, adding that she would often ignore homework to spend her time writing.
Roman recalled an early story she started in high school that was inspired by Joan of Arc and involved dragons.
“I wrote for me,” she said, adding that she’d like to revamp that story now. “I never really let anyone read my stuff. There’s a couple friends, but that’s about it.”
Although she enjoyed writing, she said “It never really occurred to me that it was something to do.”
Roman graduated from Glenbard East High School in 2005. While in high school she was involved in band and track. She took a creative writing class during her senior year and did some writing in her free time.
She graduated from the University of South Dakota in 2009 with a major in history and a minor in English. She said she took some writing classes when she could fit them into her schedule. After graduation, she said she had no money and thought maybe she could make some extra money with her writing.
She sent off query letters and her manuscript, which she had started writing several years before. She got turned down each time. She spent the next two years reworking the book, and in 2013 “Fallen Grace” was published by a small publishing house. However, when the publisher was bought out by another company, she chose not to sign a new contract. In the meantime, she had self-published her second book, so once she got back the rights to her first book, she decided to focus solely on self-publishing.
“I like all the control that I have,” she said of choosing the self-publishing path over traditional publishing. “It’s not right for everyone, for sure. But it’s right for me.”
Roman said there are pros and cons to self-publishing. She explained that there are a lot of up front costs to self-publishing. For example, she had to pay for an editor and a cover designer. However, the advantage is she got final say on her cover art. Working with an artist, she was able to make her vision a reality and was very pleased with her final cover.
Another disadvantage to self-publishing is that Roman had to do all her own marketing. To get her work out there and gain followers, she has a Facebook page, a blog, a Tumblr blog and a Goodreads account. She did extensive research online since she had no marketing experience. Since she has no one to send out her book to reviewers, she has to find reviewers and bloggers herself.
“A lot of blogs will say no to self-published authors, which can be kind of demoralizing,” she said. However, she said self-published books have been gaining ground over the past couple years.
She added that while marketing is important, you shouldn’t let it take you away from your writing.
“Don’t forget that you need to be working on other books,” she advised. “I know every minute that I’m online trying to market my books is taking away from my actual writing.”
Roman said she plans to continue self-publishing her books.
“I like it a lot,” she said. “There are a lot of risks, like you put out a lot of money to get your book ready and then you might not get it back. But if you believe in what you’ve written, you can say ‘That was me, I did it.’”
Roman said that while she’s made a decent amount of money off her books, it’s not just about the money.
“I just want my books out there,” she explained, adding that she often sells her e-books for 99 cents or offers them for free.
Roman currently has two books published, “Fallen Grace,” which is book one of The Death Dealer series, and a standalone novel “Mere Mortal,” which came out in February.
Her debut novel “Fallen Grace” is the story of a nobleman’s daughter who disgraces herself at the king’s annual tournament. She is exiled to the port city of Glenbard (named after Roman’s alma mater), where she has to learn to adjust to this new world she’s been thrown into with completely different morals and beliefs than from where she came.
Roman said her books fall in the young adult fantasy genre; however, her books differ from others in this genre because she doesn’t “employ traditional high fantasy elements.” She said she has characters who are gifted in magic, “and a dragon or two may make an appearance.”
Her love of mythology and folk tales, along with her education in history, influence her stories.
“I like to take historical events and put them in my own world,” she said. She’ll take something that interests her, such as the plague, research it and then create her own world around it.
“I’ve found that I am at my most creative when I get to make the world, craft the religion and cultures, and imbue my own history into it,” she explained. “There’s something so satisfying about sitting down and drawing up a map or a family tree and then breathing life into a world I’ve put such hard work into crafting.”
Roman said she is currently working on the remaining books of The Death Dealer series, of which she plans to have a total of five. She said she has to space the books out due to the cost of self-publishing them. Her next book is due out in April.
Roman uses what she calls the “plow process” when she writes.
“I research and plan and make notes on what I want to happen, but when it’s time to actually write, I plow through,” she explained. “I start at the beginning and go through until it is done. I can always edit plot holes and inconsistencies later, but if I start making and changing the beginning before finishing the manuscript, I find I likely never finish.”
Roman, who works full-time in the admissions department of a medical school, writes during her lunch break. She aims for 1,000 words a day. She said it’s difficult for her to write at home because she’s easily distracted, so she’ll sometimes go to Panera to write and enjoy a bowl of soup.
Her advice to aspiring writers is simple: write.
“You need to be writing as often as you can,” she said. “I know it’s hard sometimes. Sometimes you’re burned out and you don’t want to do it. Don’t take breaks that are so long you forget what you were doing.”
She said it’s also important to find critique partners and beta readers.
“Find people who will give you honest feedback,” she said.
She suggested looking online and admitted that she is a bit shy, even online. She said that while you should be mindful of people’s advice, don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s your work.
“It’s about what you want,” she added.
In her spare time, Roman enjoys video games such as Dragon Age, walking her dog, and playing musical instruments like the bass, didgeridoo and ox horn. She attends the Renaissance Faire every year. She also enjoys reading, especially young adult fantasy to stay up-to-date on the genre, historical fiction, biographies and non-fiction history.
Roman’s books are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. She said she’d like to hold a book signing in the spring and is looking into other opportunities to get her work out there. To learn more about Roman and her books, visit her Web site at www.katieromanbooks.com.

ComEd rates still lower than aggregation bids
The Lombard Village Board of Trustees voted in May to switch back to Commonwealth Edison as the village’s energy supplier and the move has since proved a financially smart decision for residents.
ComEd’s rate from June through October 2014 has been between 6.98 and 7.23 cents per kilowatt hour, lower than the bids of 7.84 and 7.74 cents per kilowatt hour as received in bids from the Electric Aggregation Program in May. According to the Village of Lombard’s Finance Director Tim Sexton, the average savings for a resident through the first five months is $24.59.
Even if the Purchased Electricity Adjustment (PEA) is a positive half-cent for November 2014 through May 2015, Sexton said, the highest the average rate for the year would be is 7.585 cents, still lower than the bids from other electricity providers.
Village President Keith Giagnorio said the village is glad to see the decision in May is proving to be a financially smart move for Lombard residents.
“When it comes to electricity rates, the Lombard Board of Trustees is in the business of finding the lowest cost rates for our residents,” Giagnorio said. “ComEd’s current rates are coming in lower than our Electric Aggregation bids and thus was a smart decision for Lombard.”
“We will always have the ability to go out to the competitive market in one year, but we see no reason why the village should lock its citizens into a rate that is higher than what ComEd would provide,” said Village Manager Scott Niehaus.
According to Sexton, the village will next analyze electric rates and consider options for residents in spring 2015.
Residents who do not wish to utilize ComEd as an energy supplier have the option to individually choose their own provider. Pluginillinois.org is an excellent Web site to visit for more information on electric choices and prices to compare. All information regarding the Electric Aggregation Program and the recent switch back to ComEd, including the most recent bids from energy companies received on both April 3 and May 15, is available at www.villageof lombard.org/electric.

Lombard’s free leaf pick-up program runs Oct. 20-Nov. 29
The Village of Lombard’s free leaf pick-up for residents will start Monday, Oct. 20 and run through Saturday, Nov. 29. The free leaf pick-up is for Kraft brown paper bags only (unlimited number of bags) and these bags must contain only leaves.
Residents will be required to place yard waste stickers on any cans filled with leaves. Bags of leaves may be put curbside on residents’ regular garbage collection day. The weight limit per bag or can is no more than 50 pounds.
It is against village code to place leaves in a public alley, roadway, street, driveway or sidewalk. In addition, leaves may not be blown or raked out in to the streets as they can block the storm drains in the street, which can cause flooding when it rains.
The village’s yard waste collection program will end for the season on Nov. 29. Cans and bags filled with other yard waste (grass clippings, small twigs or branches and plant materials) must have stickers on them.
Properly bundled brush does not require a sticker. Brush is defined as limbs or branches from trees, shrubs or bushes. Bundles of brush must be securely tied, not exceeding 6 feet in length or 18 inches in diameter and cannot exceed 50 pounds each. No individual branch or limb can exceed 6 inches in diameter.
Stickers may be purchased at a cost of $1.89 each and are available at the Lombard Village Hall, 255 E. Wilson; Jewel food stores, 1177 S. Main St., Lombard, and 33 E. St. Charles Road, Villa Park; Schroeder’s Ace Hardware, 837 S. Westmore; Ultra Foods, 491 E. Roosevelt Road; and West Suburban Bank’s Lombard locations at 707 N. Main St., 1122 S. Main St. and 711 S. Westmore.

‘Good vibes’ in downtown Lombard
WORK IS MOVING FORWARD on the pedestrian tunnel and platform improvements at the Metra train station in downtown Lombard, where shortly after 2 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 13, the first sheet pile was installed . The contractor began work on the south side of the tracks, about 200 feet east of South Park Avenue, installing the first sheet pile perpendicular to the railroad tracks. By Tuesday morning, the ABI Mobilram (pile driver) had been relocated so the sheet piling crew could install the pilings along the edge of the platform on Parkside, parallel to the railroad tracks, working from east to west. The work on this parallel section of the pilings will be from about 200 feet east of South Park Avenue to about 75 feet west of South Park Avenue, according to the latest Metra update from the Village of Lombard. This work should take about two to three weeks to complete, according to the update. There will be no interruption to train service during this work. The machine used by the contractor causes “significant vibration.” However, the update relates that commuters and residents should not be alarmed as the contractor will be monitoring the vibration and its impact on nearby structures.Today, Oct. 15, the contractor was slated to mobilize a second sheet piling crew on the north side of the tracks, where work driving the sheet piles is scheduled to begin on Thursday or Friday. For more information, visit www.villageoflombard.org.