Front page

This category contains 21 posts

The people have fought and won against two other dump proposals and we will fight another one. We do not want to be the dump for Chicago and Cook County because county government can not bring themselves to live within their means.
By Darrel W. Bruck, Jr. 6-12-2013
Republic Services Newton County, IN, landfill

A “tipper” lifts a truck trailer to dump its contents at the Newton County Landfill, owned and operated by Republic Services. The landfill covers more than 400 acres south of Indiana 114, west of Interstate 65 with 20 years plus existing capacity. Times of Northwest Indiana-Marc Chase.

Protecting Our Water Environment & River, nfp (POWER), would like to thank everyone who attended the June 11, 2013 Kankakee County board meeting. We had a great turnout especially for a weekday morning meeting. I know many of you wanted to be there but could not because you had to go to work. Thanks to those who also spoke during public comment.
Those of you who attended got a first hand experience of how negative the board treats public input. They want to avoid it like the plague. This is why the board held no public hearings on changing the solid waste plan. Instead, they pushed passing the Open-for-a-Chicago-regional-garbage-dump ordinance.
Clearly getting a mega Chicago Regional garbage dump here is on the fast track. A dump developer has already expressed interest, something the younger board members seem to be blissfully naive about.
Board members George Washington, Jr. and Steven Liehr stated the public that attended the meeting was ignorant to just how safe dumping garbage into a mountain   is.  In   so   many
words, they said the board knows best.
Each board member was given a sheet by Chairman Bossert with positive comments to say about bringing a large dump here like the one on I-55 near Pontiac, 200 feet high and hundreds of acres across.
The whole thing was like a big play. Members had their lines printed out for them. Only 5 out of 28 did not go with the script.
A special thanks to county board members Larry Enz and Robert Snipes. They consistently stood up for the citizens in this county. I am sure Chairman Bossert and States Attorney Jamie Boyd will come down hard on them.
As Chairman Bossert said yesterday, he did not go to bid or explore any other consultant than JDB Con- sulting Services which will be paid by us citizens $20,000 a month or $240,000 annually.
No answer was given, when asked why he did not look into anyone else for perhaps a better deal. The Illinois Secretary of State office shows JDB Consulting is operated by James D Burnham of Downers Grove. Bus. Phone: 630-333-5695. Continue reading »

Joanie Liesenfelt
Publisher/Managing Editor
Add your favorite Kankakee County locations for the County’s new trash dump idea. To edit, just click on Larger View and enjoy.
So, just mulling things over here. Let’s consider some of the ideas floating around the County.
You know, like about Chairman Michael Bossert and State’s Attorney Jamie Boyd’s secret trash dump deal and secret location and all the secret months of doing the deal behind the backs of citizens and maybe paying the consultant, James D. Burnham.
Unless, Mr. Burnham secretly agreed to work for nothing, find a dump investor, and wait for his $40,000-$60,000 for 2 – 3 months work, which he might have to give back because he’s educated and when he says, “I didn’t know the requirements about siting a landfill and don’t know anything about water-sheds”, well, that’s his job, isn’t it? So he’ll be toast, won’t he?
That    is,    of    course, only if it’s  a   crime  to  keep

Joan Reed April 11, 1948 – April 11, 2013

Joan Marie Reed, long- time resident of Kankakee, IL, passed away April 11 on her 65th birthday. A proud Irish lass, she was born in Aurora, IL, youngest child of Lucetta and Thomas McAleese. She attained her bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University as well as a Master of Education from National Louis University and a Master of Arts/English Education from Olivet Nazarene University.
Joan worked as an educator   for  over  35 years
in many primary schools, high schools, colleges and universities. At 24, she became the youngest faculty member to be awarded tenure at Plainfield High School and later was elected to the Plainfield District 202 School Board. During her 6 years with St. Francis Academy, she served as Faculty Advisor to the student newspaper (The SFA Focus), which won numerous awards both state and national for excellence.
Joan’s certifications for teaching  included   English,
Special Ed and Gifted.
She  was  active  in a variety of civic/community organizations including Two Rivers Reading Council, Community Emergency Re- sponse Team (CERT), and Wright in Kankakee (for historic preservation of the Bradley House).
A passionate political activist, her concern for environmental justice led her to work with Kankakee River Round Table and Protecting Our Water, Environment and River (POWER), groups which were instrumental in preventing the construction of an aquifer-polluting landfill.
She spearheaded devel- opment of the Kankakee River Valley Prescription and Drug Disposal Program, which sponsors drop-off boxes for safe disposal of unused medications.
Her final act of service was   to   become   an   organ donor through  Gift Of Hope.

Continue reading »

(Obituary from Williams-Woodward Funeral Home website.)Post a comment »
Joan Marie Reed
April 11, 1948 – April 11, 2013

$186,000 of Kankakee money goes to a Georgia Business
According to local sources, a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) was made to the City of Kankakee asking for copies of documents, check copies   and   all   accounting
records related to the $186,000 the Mayor spent in Georgia for city way- finding signs.
We do not have a copy of the response from the Mayor. The  source  said  the
Mayor replied that the City did not pay: Kankakee Development Corp. paid for the signs.
If interested, you could contact  Bill  Yohnka,  Exec-

$186,000 of Kankakee money goes to a Georgia Business
Ongoing Investigation
by Joanie Liesenfelt, Publisher/Managing Editor updated 6-3-2013
According to local sources, a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) was made to the City of Kankakee asking for copies of documents, check copies and all accounting records related to the $186,000 the Mayor spent in Georgia for city way- finding signs.
We do not have a copy of the response from the Mayor. The source said the Mayor replied that the City did not pay: Kankakee Development Corp. paid for the signs.
If interested, you could contact  Bill  Yohnka,  Exec-
utive  Director  of  KDC,  to ask about this. Since we do not have documents, perhaps he can shed some light on why we would spend Kankakee money in another state.
While other areas of the country are enjoying an economic upturn, Kankakee area businesses and workers are suffering. While our house prices continue to drop, our unemployment is still on the rise.
Are there no sign makers in Kankakee or the state of Illinois? No one here or in the state who can write a  grant  for signs?   Actually,  
that’s pretty sad.
Wouldn’t you like to see those expenditures and the name on that grant? Wouldn’t you like to know why our elected officials sent money to help people in Norcross, GA, instead of helping Kankakee people and businesses?
Mr. Yohnka has a passion about Kankakee and works hard to improve things. Maybe he can show us what happened here.

Local newspaper drops the ball again – on purpose

A memorial service was held for Joan Reed in Kankakee May 7, 2013 at the River North/Freight House Pub at 555 S. West Avenue in Kankakee. Joan’s two children, her dear companion, and many community members who cared about and admired Joan came to honor and miss her.
The announcement of the memorial service, submitted several weeks in advance to a local Kankakee newspaper, somehow befell unimaginable mishaps, as was explained to the several people who called asking why the announcement was not yet in the newspaper.
Finally, the afternoon of the   event,   a   good-hearted
journalist published the “misplaced” announcement.
If Joan was here, her presence would remind us to be persistent and committed to community and to the ethical values she herself practiced.
Let Joan’s memory push us to follow her lead.

Jarman Porter for Mayor of Kankakee because we deserve better!

It’s past time to:
  • follow the law, saving us wasted legal fees
  • ask the experts (our Police Chief and others) how to prevent crime
  • bring businesses here focused on creating jobs and stimuluting economic growth
  • hire an independent auditor to show us where every penny is being spent.
  • invest more of our city budget in children and schools to head off crime and gangs is supporting Jarman Porter for Mayor
Porter will shine a light on Kankakee government
building up instead of boarding up.
Choose the Future

Mayor Epstein: “how can someone determined to commit such a horrendous crime be stopped?”

Kankakee Public Safety Center

Mayor Epstein:
“how can someone determined to commit such a horrendous crime be stopped?”

by Tim Schmidt reprinted from Facebook February 25, 2013 with permission.

Let’s talk about crime.

Can you imagine if Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel or Mayor Bloomberg in New York answered the question of what are you going to do about the rising murder rate in your community like our Mayor has?

In a recent Daily Journal article it read ….

Epstein said there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to crime reduction, but she said crime statistics have been reduced nearly across the board, except in the all-important category of murder.

“It’s the elephant in the room,” she said. But how can someone determined to commit such a horrendous crime be stopped? she asked. ( Who is she asking? Are we supposed to get the answer for her? Ask the experts.)

Under her leadership, the city restarted the foot patrols Continue reading »

Tim Schmidt / River North Facebook
 Tim Schmidt
Before you post a comment, please read our Comment Policy.

It’s time for a change: Because we deserve better.

Jarman Porter - because we need an honest Mayor

Jarman Porter will be a smart Mayor
who follows the laws
saving us wasted legal fees.

Mayoral Forum on Tuesday March 26 Kankakee Library (Starts 6 p.m. with Aldermen)

by Tim Schmidt reprinted from Facebook with permission.
Posted to March 26, 2013

On Tuesday, March 26, if you want to stop the insanity of Kankakee’s decline, join Team Porter as the candidates square off at the library at 6:30 for the mayoral forum. Then come down to Kankakee River North (former Sully’s) where 2nd congressional district nominee, Robin Kelly will be taking questions.

It’s time for a change. Because we deserve better.

Saturday March 23, 2013
Spent a couple of hours at a rally for Democratic candidate Myron Porter. Good mix of people. Elected officials, candidates, state office holders and concerned citizens determined to make a change and get Kankakee back on track.

Meanwhile, in the Republican camp we see the RTA is suing the city again for withholding information a judge has determined they have to disclose, but not these guys. And the lawyers keep on winning. Nearly $500,000 of your tax dollars on a fight Mayor Epstein caused.

ComEd web logo / images

Is your ComEd bill 48% less this year?

Posted byJoanie Liesenfelt, Publisher/Managing Editor 3-20-2013

The Kankakee Mayor claims your ComEd bill decreased 48% (read it here) because of her leadership.

Last fall, the City of Kankakee changed to a different electricity supplier, FirstEnergy Solutions.

Any fourth grader can tell you the 48% math isn’t possible. On average, your total bill for the same kilowatt hours will run about 25-35 percent less. Continue reading »

Comment on this story »

Before you post, please read our Comment Policy.


First Energy Solutions Corp. violates their contract;
City of Kankakee disregards* the violations

Deadline to Opt-Out: Friday June 22

Posted by staff | News & Opinion June 16, 2012, 6:30 a.m.

The City of Kankakee’s choice for our electricity municipal aggregation program, First Energy Solutions Corp. (FES), forgot to provide accessible ways to opt-out of their program as required in their contract. And let’s be honest about this: the City of Kankakee forgot to care!

According to the contract with the City of Kankakee, FES must provide the following (page 8, section :

In addition to receiving completed Opt-Out Notices from Eligible Customers by mail, the Supplier shall, at its own expense, provide, operate, and maintain a toll-free number and secure website for the use of Eligible Customers to opt out of the Program. is the web address provided on the FES letter to the eligible customers in Kankakee. It appears to be for opt-out as required by the FES contract.

But when you enter the address, you get a web page talking about “enroll now”. As you can see in this PDF of the web page captured June 16, 2012, there is nothing here about opting-out.

Clerks reached in two separate calls to the toll-free number courteously said there is no website for opt-out, only opt-in. And there is also no opt-out by phone. One of the clerks placed me on hold to find the answer to my question of why no one could opt-out by phone or on the website.

She came back with this answer: “The company needs a signature on file from people who opt-out.” She said that’s why no one can opt-out on the phone or on a website. She was a good customer service agent and persistent in trying to answer my questions and provide information about FES procedures.

It is confusing, though. FES doesn’t seem to have any of the same concerns about someone forging an opt-in on another person’s account. No signature required for those anxious to give FES their business – toll-free phones and a special website await all opt-ins!

My first question to the FES clerk now seems rather naive: I would like you to

confirm you received my opt-out form. The clerk said they did not have anything to do with opting out. They usually just answer questions about rates and differences in rates and about the company. FES does not confirm to customers and if something unlikely

happens, like FES misses scanning your opt-out form, you can always rescind within 30 days after they switch you to FES electricity supply. Oh, goodie!

According to the contract, FES is at least required to report to the City of Kankakee who FES has recorded as included and who’s opting out. But so far, the FES record on following the contract regarding handling of Kankakee’s eligible customers isn’t really living up to the expectations of those who read their contract.

In addition to FES’s we don’t resolve any problems we create, we don’t answer the phone to confirm you’re recorded on our opt-out and we don’t make mistakes (I was told), the city of Kankakee seems to be taking a similar hands-off position. This statement is near the bottom of your FES letter by the opt-out form: “Please do not call the city of Kankakee with aggregation program questions.”

Perhaps it doesn’t mean that the city of Kankakee won’t keep it’s own list of opt-outs if you send a note to them. After-all, it’s their program to help the city make a little extra money from FES, so they want it to work well. All of us want it to work well.

So it seemed like a good idea to notify the Illinois Commerce Commission of FirstEnergy Solutions violations of their contract with the city of Kankakee. The request is for ICC (if they are so empowered) to request that due to the lack of customer opt-out options and no customer service for opt-outs, FES extend it’s deadline to opt-out until 14 days after they have provided the required options in their contract with the people of Kankakee.

If not, maybe the next contract needs to be opt-in only.

Read the complete contract between the City of Kankakee and First Energy Solutions.

—Check back for more about FES and the City of Kankakee.—

*Appears to be a violation of the City of Kankakee Council Code of Conduct:

dis•re•gard (d s r -gärd )

tr.v. dis•re•gard•ed, dis•re•gard•ing, dis•re•gards
1. To pay no attention or heed to; ignore.
2. To treat without proper respect or attentiveness.

Code of Conduct for City of Kankakee Council Members

1.7 All Members of City Council shall work and strive to inspire public confidence in Kankakee City government
1.8 All Members of City Council shall demonstrate honesty and integrity in every action and statement.


Posted by staff Updated June 9, 2012

Why is the City of Kankakee’s contract with Allied so high compared to Bourbonnais, Bradley and other towns in Illinois? Or is it?*

At the Kankakee City Council Meeting November, 1, 2010, Mr. Richard Simms, Superintendent of Environmental Services Utility, explained that what the City was paying ABC Disposal, Inc. in their 2010 contract works out to a monthly per-household rate of around $17.00.

He went on to say that the new January 1, 2011 Allied Waste contract “is about $200,000.00 less per year for year number one.** He then talks about how the rest of our solid waste payment is going somewhere else.

Officials may not be using this extra money for their personal legal fees or for gambling parties on a Mississippi riverboat. But a garbage bill should be a garbage bill not a fund to go somewhere else, perhaps to cover errors or hidden problems.continue reading »

Illinois Commerce Commission resolves customer/utility disputes

Posted by staff Jun 17, 2012

The Illinois Commerce Commission Consumer Services Division provides educational information on utility issues, resolves customer/utility disputes and develops rules on utility service and consumer protection.

You can talk with a representative by calling toll-free 1-800-524-0795. Or complete the online form.

Although ICC does not have regulatory power over private energy suppliers, they will work with you and a private energy supplier to settle disputes.

BTPD plans to buy failing Hidden Cove Sportsplex without your permission – You Can Stop Them!

div>UPDATING 8-20-2012

Revisit the June and July events:

Posted by staff | News & Opinion June 9, 2012, 3:58 a.m.

Bourbonnais Township Park District plans to spend 3.1 million dollars of your money to buy the failed recreation facility, Hidden Cove Sportsplex.

Because of the Tax Cap law, they can’t raise taxes without your permission. So Bourbonnais Park District Executive Director Hollice Clark and the BTPD Board will do an ‘end-around’ play and borrow the money by issuing alternative revenue bonds for which no permission is required.

To add insult to injury, they have pointed out that your tax RATE will not increase. They imply it won’t cost you anything.

It will cost you. What they don’t tell you is that you will be paying that 3.1 million dollars plus interest out of your taxes.

It’s a simple accounting trick used by car dealers for years. You have all heard salesmen say: “Don’t worry if your old car isn’t paid off yet – we’ll just put it on the new car loan and extend your current payments!

Essentially, BTPD will extend out for twenty years the loans they already have. Sure, your payments won’t go up – you’ll just be paying longer.

The failing Hidden Cove Sportsplex isn’t free – it’s 2.4 million dollars plus .7 million dollars for unspecified “other park upgrades” (Daily Journal May 26) – that BTPD plans to buy without getting your permission to spend your taxes.

You can stop them cold – all you need do is gather 2000 signatures on petitions requiring that BTPD has to put this purchase to a referendum vote on November 6.

Make sure you sign the petition when someone brings it around. And you can volunteer to help collect signatures even if you live outside the BTPD area.

Referendum Petition | Instructions.

If the project has merit, why not let the voters decide? Failure to put projects like this in front of the voters raises suspicions as to the project’s legitimacy. Continue reading »

UPDATE: Mr. Jensen withdraws request for crematorium permit

Posted by staff Jan 17, 2012

Kraftdale residents were shocked by the news earlier tonight that Mr. Jensen withdrew his request for a crematorium permit.

At City Council, Mayor Epstein reported that the administration received a letter that afternoon from Mr. Jensen asking that his application be withdrawn. The full letter was not read at the meeting.

Mr. Jensen purchased the property at 2450 Grinnell Rd in Kankakee’s eastside industrial area in 2006. Complaints from residents in the adjacent subdivision of Kraftdale began shortly thereafter.

By that time, Mr. Jensen had accumulated a large file of code violations.

Garbage, 6-foot weeds, rotting particle board, scattered car parts and a boat, littered the Jensen property across the street from this residential neighborhood. By the time Mr. Jensen moved in a crematory furnace several years later, without a city permit (he had a temporary  permit from  the Illinois EPA  in 2006 pending satisfying state and local regulations), code violations and frustrations had already stacked up.

Although Mr. Jensen had trouble caring for this property, his management and care as part-owner of Brown Funeral Home of Manteno is well respected.

Much time and effort were invested by many people to keep the Kraftdale and surrounding area from being negatively impacted. Alderman Steve Hunter, Kankakee Township Supervisor /County Board member Larry Enz, and many Kraftdale residents, including Randy and RoseAnna Kinckerbocker, spoke up about their concerns to the City of Kankakee, to the Kankakee Aldermen and to the IEPA.

Also, Clancy-Gernon Funeral Homes and Schreffler Funeral Homes both generously provided information about cremation and crematory management.

Read the discussion (pages 4-52) between Mr. Jensen, the Kraftdale neighbors, other concerned officials and the City of Kankakee Planning Board and learn how someone is approved for a permit.

Look over lawsuit documents filed by the City of Kankakee against Mr. Jensen and Mr. Jensen’s lawsuit against the City of Kankakee.

Public Scribe quill with ink

Posted by staff9:07 a.m. Jan 16, 2012.

Last week, Eric Sadler, Kankakee County Zoning and Development Coordinator, was asked by Kraftdale homeowner Randy Knickerbocker to review a permit request approved by the City of Kankakee Planning Board.

If approved by the Kankakee City Council, this permit will allow the building and operation of a crematorium across the street from Kraftdale, a residential subdivision nearly 50 years old, in an unincorporated area of Kankakee County. To Mr. and Mrs. Knickerbocker, that seemed to be a violation of Kankakee County’s zoning law for their neighborhood.

But Mr. Sadler said, “There’s nothing I can do for you.”  continue reading »

Continue reading

Russel Jensen's warehouse and weathered crematory Dec. 2011

Posted by staff11:30 a.m. Jan 15, 2012.

On Tuesday January 17, Kankakee City Council will be re-voting for the second time in less than one year on Mr. Russel Jensen’s petition to operate a crematorium on his property at 2450 Grinnell Rd in Kankakee.

In August, 2006, Mr. Jensen applied for and received a conditional use permit to build and operate a warehouse on his property. At the same time, Mr. Jensen also applied to the Illinois EPA as River Valley Crematory requesting a permit to construct and operate a crematory. Illinois EPA issued that permit November 1, 2006.

Records show Mr. Jensen never applied to the City of Kankakee for a permit to operate a crematorium until 2011. City Council and the residents adjacent to Mr. Jensen’s property became aware of his plans when Mr. Jensen placed a crematory on his property in 2009 without a permit.

By that time, Mr. Jensen had accumulated a large file of code violations.    According to the documents

resulting in an Order of Demolition dated July 27, 2010, Mr. Jensen was dumping car parts and storing his boat on the property, he had never mowed or graded the land which was an eyesore to the residential neighborhood, and had partially constructed a building that was legally ruled unsafe and a hazard that could not be brought up to code.

In addition, Mr. Jensen was not responding to the numerous letters sent by the City and he had not complied with the notices to clean up his property. He also did not pay the assessed fines which included the City of Kankakee mowing the property to rid it of health and safety issues.

So why in early 2011 did the City of Kankakee and the Planning Board recommend that Mr. Jensen be given a permit to operate a crematorium on his property—property whose 2010 taxes were recently sold for non-payment of the total due of $82.93?


Why voting again on Crematorium?

Posted by staff⋅6:58 p.m. Jan 14, 2012.

At the June 20, 2011 City Council meeting, the Council defeated Mr. Jensen’s request for a permit to operate a crematorium by defeating the motion to place the item on its second reading.

The Mayor had not placed the second reading of Mr. Jensen’s Special Use permit request on the agenda for the June 6 meeting. On June 20, it was also not on the agenda.

Alderman Hunter made a motion, seconded by Alderman Jones, to amend the agenda to include the second reading on the crematorium issue. Then Alderman Baron, seconded by Alderman Rich Browne, made a motion to table, which did not carry.

The Motion to amend the agenda to place Mr. Jensen’s conditional use permit request on second reading passed seven ayes to six nays  Continue reading

Who’s telling the truth: Dennis Baron or Russel Jensen?

Scales of Justice

Posted by staff4:12 p.m. Jan 14, 2012.

Alderman Dennis Baron’s law firm Deck & Baron is the Corporate Agent for Brown Funeral Home of Manteno, LTD where Mr. Russel Jensen is part-owner. Continue reading

Nobody Understands Debt

Are countries really like families when it comes to debt?

Posted by staffJan 9, 20124:34 p.m.

Here’s an article from Paul Krugman that should prove a real eye-opener. There’s nothing like good clear prose that sorts out myths and leaves some basic, simple, common-sense truth.  Continue reading  »
Small Town
When you do not stand up
when government and power
retaliate to shut you up,
when you cower under cover,
never speaking up,
you become the attacker,
you give government power
to attack another and another.
You are attacked because
the person before you cowered.
The next is attacked because of you.
So on your feet!
Do not whisper,
do not hide pretending
you do not see,
speak out, loud, here, now,
like you live in America,
before it’s gone.
Joanie Liesenfelt
October 3, 2013
Who will try?
Citizen Media Law Project: Legal Resources for Citizen Journalists
Thank Nelson Mandela
for his incredible work
for peace and justice
Nelson Mandala image from Care2 make a difference
Nelson Mandela is a world leader and example of peace and justice.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner fought apartheid and campaigned against the racist policies of the South African government despite strong opposition. No matter how many times he was discouraged from his mission or jailed for political offenses, Mandela never gave up his fight for justice.
Mandela wasn't afraid to speak his mind and stand up for what he believed. In his efforts, he has changed the world for the better. And his passionate conviction has inspired many others to do the same.
For today's Daily Action, pledge to do what you can in your own life to promote tolerance and justice. Visit Care2 make a difference
“Nobody home!
Steal My Plumbing!
Trash Me!”
Posted by 6-2-2013
Most street-wise people know not to be a victim of crime. Never flash a large roll of cash or open a very full wallet in plain site. Avoid bragging about your Mercedes out in the lot. Avoid certain neighborhoods at all times. Avoid others at peak crime hours. Don’t pick fights in bars. Carry a real police whistle. Carry pepper spray.
These hints aren’t anything new. Criminals needn’t be the brightest bulbs in the lamp to victimize people successfully. Following the hints buys you an edge.
Protecting yourself is frequently straight-forward. Protecting property may be a tad more complex. But, again, basic cautions are simple, particularly when protecting, say, your house.
Continue reading »

Gazette Topics


A Right to Know publication
wordpress counter