What do you think? We at the Lombardian and Villa Park Review encourage our readers to reach out to the community by writing a letter to the editor. Letters must be signed, andwe prefer that they are typed and double spaced. Authors should include their home and daytime telephone numbers. Letters may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. No letters directed to a third party will be accepted for publication. We reserve the right to edit a letter for reasons of clarity and libel.
Support Senate Bill 494, urges Dan Cronin Illinois’ 7,000 units of government have created multiple layers of inefficiency that place an unnecessary financial burden on taxpayers. In an effort to reduce the size, scope and cost of local government, I have initiated legislation in Springfield that would provide DuPage County with new tools to achieve incremental reform. Senate Bill 494 would allow county leaders to make the tough choices necessary to eliminate wasteful and redundant layers of government when it has been determined to be in the best interest of taxpayers. A recent assessment of county-appointed agencies revealed many opportunities for shared services, consolidation and in some cases dissolution. These 24 agencies account for nearly $300 million in tax dollars, employ approximately 900 people and provide basic public services such as sanitary, mosquito abatement and street lighting. Through the assessment, we found examples of obsolete taxing bodies, such as the Timberlake Estates Sanitary District that had not provided service to residents of unincorporated Downers Grove for nearly 30 years. Despite the fact that the county took over operation of the sanitary district in 1985, the taxing district still appeared on property tax bills with a zero levy. For two years, I worked with State’s Attorney Robert Berlin and our public works division to obtain a super-majority approval from the residents to eliminate the antiquated district. After obtaining enough support, we filed a petition in court requesting the dissolution of the sanitary district, which was recently approved by a DuPage County judge. Another unique taxing body is the Century Hills Street Lighting District that maintains the street lights in a subdivision in unincorporated Naperville. The district’s three trustees meet annually to pass a $15,000 levy to pay for the subdivision’s street lights and agree that the responsibilities could easily be transferred to another unit of government that provides similar services. Unfortunately, we do not have the authority to take the necessary steps to consolidate the service with another entity without passage of legislation. Senate Bill 494 is essential to our reform agenda as we pursue new ways to reduce the costs of local government and develop a more efficient service model for taxpayers. I urge residents to contact their state representatives to request their support of Senate Bill 494. By working together, we can redesign government that truly benefits taxpayers.
Dan Cronin DuPage County Board Chairman
Fifth-graders submit award winning letters The Sheldon Peck Homestead recently announced the winners of the 2013 letter-writing contest. Each year, fifth-graders in Lombard public and private schools are invited to submit a hand-written entry to the contest. The students are challenged to “step back in time,” imaging they are Sheldon Peck writing to Abraham Lincoln in 1848. The students’ letters are written using language appropriate for 1848, as well as facts from the era. The following letters are published as written. Watch for additional letters in upcoming issues.
Dear Congressman Lincoln, I am so glad to finally write to you! Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I was born in Cornwall, Vermont on August 26, 1797. I was the 9th son. I went to a boys school and loved to paint and draw. I married my beautiful wife Harriet Corey on September 15, 1824. In 1828, I moved my family to Jordan, New York and became a portraitist. I paint on wooden boards and I have my own style of painting. One long brush stroke followed by two short ones. I am a folk artist. I moved to Chicago in 1835 and started painting portraits there. In 1837, there was a bad economy so I had less clients to paint for. I sold my property in Chicago for a wagon and a team of oxen. I moved twenty miles west of Chicago to a town called Babcocks Grove which is where I live now. We were the first settlers in Babcocks Grove. I plowed the land that I wanted and a couple years later I rightfully owned it. It took about two years to build a house but I finally finished. My land was 80 acres and it cost 1.25 cents an acre which means it cost me $100.00. I started the first school. I am a church leader, and I help people travel to freedom. In 1849, I sold a corner of my land to build the first railroad. Mr. Lincoln, I am an abolitionist just like you. Slaves are not fair to have and are bad for the economy. I wrote this letter to you wondering if I could do the honor of painting your portrait for you with pay or for free. I would be honored either way. Please write back to me soon and I wish you a good day. Best wishes.
Sincerely, Sheldon Peck This third-place letter was written by Ana Schisler, a student in Ms. Matic’s class at Pleasant Lane School.
Dear Senator Lincoln, My name is Sheldon Peck, and my family and I live in Babcock’s Grove, Illinois. I am a strong Christian who believes that slavery is wrong. I am also a farmer and artist. Now that it’s harvest season here in Babcock’s Grove, my family and I are working even harder on our farm. When I am not working out in fields, I love to paint portraits of families who are in the area, and I would very much love to paint a portrait of you someday. I have supported your candidacy for Senator and will continue to support you as long as you share in the belief that slavery is wrong. I have a very strong belief that slavery needs to be abolished, and also hope and believe you are the man to help abolish it. My family and I believe very strongly that all men were created equal, and deserve to be free. We have started a school here in Babcock’s Grove for all children, because through education we can find freedom. Please join in our cause to bring freedom to all men. While serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, you can help sway others to freedom cause and also help by creating laws that would make all men free and bring an end to slavery. Hopefully in our future slavery will be abolished in a peaceful way and all men will be treated equally here in Illinois and throughout our great country.
Sincerely and with Great Respect, Sheldon Peck This honorable mention letter was written by Cody Milas, a student in Ms. Holler’s class at St. John’s School.
Dear Mr. Lincoln, As an abolitionist like you I would like to write to you about the Underground Railroad and the means of transporting the slaves. I would like to inform you that I am using my house in Babcock’s Grove as a safehouse for the slaves to be free. The idea of treating other people wrong just because of their skin color makes me feel horible. So helping the slaves be free just makes me feel happy. I hope you feel the same affection for helping slaves. I hope that the gold found in California does not affect how much the abolishonists help the slaves. I am already housing 7 slaves with all of my artwork. On a suject of my artwork I would also like to inform you that your face has such strong character and that I would be honored to do a portrait of your face. Maybe I can even do a portrait of you and your family. I hope that the abolitionists can stop slavery in the north and the south and that the slave owners will come to their senses and stop owning slaves and let them free. I wouldn’t own a slave in one million years. The people in the south have no mind. I have a deep feeling that someday someone will end slavery once and for all. After that I think the world will be perfect and I will keep helping slaves until that day comes. I am sure it will come. I hope you do too. Please write back soon.
Sincerely, Sheldon Peck This honorable mention letter was written by Ethan Moreau, a student in Mr. Garazin’s class at Pleasant Lane School.