10 months ago


The Homer Horizon 012518

4 | January 25, 2018 |

4 | January 25, 2018 | The Homer Horizon NEwS strategy From Page 3 ment is that they have a local government with two primary mandates,” Rapp said. “One, to deliver services — hopefully to deliver great services; that’s their primary mandate. “They have a delivery system in place where you’d receive that. The second is a little less tangible, but it’s just as important: It’s to create a great community. Creating a great community means a lot of different things depending on who the individual is. That’s why you’re here tonight. That’s why we’re asking for your opinion.” Taking control of Homer Glen’s destiny Rapp began the questionnaire with the basics; he first asked audience members to share their age and how long they have either lived and/or worked in Homer Glen. A majority of the crowd last Wednesday evening fit the age bracket of 45-54 and either resided or worked in Homer for roughly more than 16 years. Invites were sent to approximately 60 key community stakeholders, and those in attendance responded with clickers to quickly give their answers on different questions. From the basic inquiries, Rapp took it a step further. He turned to members of the community and sought insight on the type of services the Village offers, which included how well it communicated information to them. In retrospect, they were also asked to reflect on keeping up with any issues their Village faced and where they received that information. Since most of the guests that night were a part of Homer’s public sector, they felt either “somewhat informed” or “well-informed” and pulled their information from local Cutting Values Please call 708.326.9170 to reserve your Ad. A 22 ND CENTURY MEDIA PUBLICATION Reach more than 87,000 homes and businesses! All ads will also appear digitally on each publication’s website. Appearing March 1st Reserve your Ad by Feb. 2 • Approve your Ad by Feb. 9 media sources or word-ofmouth. The survey asked participants to examine Homer’s “quality of life,” a list that took a closer look at whether the town was safe, attractive and “age-friendly.” That list also called for patrons to rethink Homer as a destination and its current walkability factors, as well as consider its existing open spaces and the addition of diverse housing. Fifty-year-old Ken Marcin, of Homer Glen, spoke during the forum and expressed his thoughts on encouraging more young families to settle in his neighborhood. Marcin, who is a part of the Homer Athletic Club, stressed the need for a park district, which would become a hub for area children, teens and young adults to discover and develop their talents. While the Homer Athletic Club supports residents between the ages of 5 and 18, Marcin said having the Village’s support, and investing in a park district, would be a viable option. Mayor George Yukich responded after the forum regarding this particular matter. “You have to understand, if you’re going to have a park district someone has to pay for it because now a new tax comes in,” Yukich said. “We don’t have a municipal tax. “All we have is sales tax. We can have businesses come in here, or if you had a sports complex come in here — which would actually be perfect — that would give them the money to help pay for the things that they want because otherwise it comes out of their pockets. And that’s not what we want.” Strengths and challenges Toward the end of the forum, community members shared with Rapp some of Homer Glen’s strengths and greatest challenges. Participants shared that Village: January is Radon Action Month and ideal time for testing Staff Report not only does Homer have enough space to grow its commercial and residential properties, but it has the chance to grow. Others pointed out its school districts, community-centered neighbors and safe neighborhoods as positive traits. And when it comes to room for improvement, the group shared that its main priority is to find a way, a balance to fulfill its town’s motto: “Community and Nature … in Harmony.” One thing that Marcin loves the most about Homer Glen is the fact that “we still have that rural, that kind of farm” landscape. Longtime resident Bob Schmidt noted “keeping [Homer] the way it is” is one that he struggles with. “I’m a little possessive of Homer Glen,” said Schmidt, who has lived in Homer for almost 50 years and been involved in the community during that time. “I don’t want it to change. “I want it to stay friendly, lovable, that your neighbor won’t shoot you — you Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers, with as many as 1,160 Illinois citizens estimated to develop radon related lung cancer annually, according to a press release on the Village of Homer Glen’s website. A colorless, odorless radioactive gas, radon can be found in homes, the release said. It comes from naturally occurring uranium in the soil. Most radon enters a home because of air pressure and temperature differences between the home and the outside air. When air is vented from buildings by natural or powered ventilation, radon and other soil gases are drawn in from the surrounding soil through openings between the house and soil. The only way to tell how much radon one has in their house is to test for it. The cold weather in January allows for closed, heated homes to be accurately tested for radon. Testing kits may be purchased from the Will County Health Department for $8. Radon testing can be done at any time, but January remains the best time. The $8 kits offered by the Will County Health Department are available for know what I mean. And that when you have a problem, people are willing to help you. And that’s what we have here.” As for Environmental Committee member Randy Juras, he insisted that the Village consider the type of businesses and housing developments they bring into Homer. Yukich, too, recognized that one of Homer’s strengths lies with its abundance of commercial and residential properties. While he emphasized the inclusion of commercial businesses as a way to keep taxes, especially for schools, from rising, he said, nonetheless, “We need to take control of our own destiny.” Moving forward, the board is to review the information it received at the Stakeholder Forum. “We’re going to have a few more meetings on this to where everyone can talk about it,” Yukich said. “Now, it’s up to us to start doing something, not sitting back and not spending money.” purchase at the Health Department building in Joliet (501 Ella Ave.), the Eastern Branch Office in Monee (5601 W. Monee-Manhattan Road) or the Northern Branch Office in Bolingbrook (323 Quadrangle Drive). Residents can purchase the kits at any of the three aforementioned locations from 8 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, visit www.willcountyhealth. org/Articles/radon-testingtime-a-winter-gift-of-conv enience-203358 or www.illi Pages/default.aspx. news the Homer Horizon | January 25, 2018 | 5 Chamber convenes for winter party, installation dinner of board Thomas Czaja, Editor The 2018 Homer Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors takes the Oath of Office from Village Board Trustee Brian Burian (left) at the Annual Winter Party and Installation of Directors on Thursday, Jan. 18, at Ruffled Feathers Golf Club in Lemont. Thomas Czaja/22nd Century Media If there was one keyword for the evening, that word would be growth. The Homer Glen Area Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Winter Party and Installation of Directors on Thursday, Jan. 18, at Ruffled Feathers Golf Club in Lemont. The occasion was marked with its usual multicourse dinner and raffle baskets donated by chamber members to support two Lockport Township High School student scholarships, as well as chamber events. At the function, growth was mentioned multiple times, and each table had seed packets for attendees to take home and plant, a symbol of growth the chamber wanted to emphasize to each individual present. “The seed packets really tie together with our theme, not only for tonight, but the whole year — growth,” said Mitch Hart, of Boisset Collection Wines, who was officially installed as chairman of the 2018 Board of Directors shortly after being introduced for the first time that evening. “Growth for all of Homer Glen’s businesses, growth for our chamber and our chamber membership; I hope the seeds bring that home to you a little bit.” The Village was wellrepresented at the dinner, with Village Board Trustees Christina Neitzke-Troike, Keith Gray, Sharon Sweas and Brian Burian, as well as Village Manager Mike Mertens and Economic Development Director Janie Patch, in attendance. Homer Glen Mayor George Yukich was scheduled to be there but was not due to illness, so Burian stepped up to deliver brief remarks on the Village’s behalf before giving the Oath of Office to the new Board of Directors. Amber Morrison, of ISU Coverall Insurance Group and the new chamber vice chairman, said there were a bunch of familiar and fresh faces in the room, which she noted was still packed despite a handful of others besides the mayor also out sick. She likewise mentioned the seeds and growth as she added the board continues to listen to the business owners as it moves away from what doesn’t work and to what does. To that end, she said a greater focus was being placed on the directory the chamber sends out each year to everyone in the community. The 2018 version is due out next month, highlighting members and their local businesses. “We used to have the expo, a business forum where [chamber members] rented a table, and we had it at the school,” Morrison said. “We heard from our members that they really didn’t want to do that, so instead, we are doing other events for networking and elevating our directory.” In doing so, she said those who used to do the expo were credited for the directory guide in an effort to streamline things and stay business-oriented, keeping the spotlight on members and their businesses. In terms of membership, she said 2018 was already showing positive signs. “It’s only the third week of January, and we have had people who hadn’t been members in years come back, and they’re excited,” Morrison said. “We are excited about reaching out to people.” Another initiative the board will continue to focus on this year is helping business owners along 159th Street, according to Hart and Larry Killmer, a past chairman who was installed as a director on the 2018 board. Killmer told those assembled that construction on 159th Street would not be complete until 2019, though the south lane is scheduled to reopen mid-summer, encouraging support of those affected in the meantime. Hart echoed those thoughts afterward, and he said the chamber would be meeting with the impacted business owners along 159th Street soon to keep working with them on the issue and figuring out new ways to give assistance. “We’ll be inviting them all to a gathering with the chamber,” Hart said. “That’s going to be an initial starting point that is coming in the near future. … We have some plans and are working to support them more so they can survive and thrive in a difficult time with all that construction.” Elsewhere, Hart — who has been part of the chamber for five years and was on the board for three years prior to his installation as chairman — said goals were to maintain and strengthen ties with the Village and Township to best serve chamber members and the community as a whole, have things planned every quarter for training business owners and seek out ways to educate people on regulations and business practices. A main function of any chamber is to network, and the Homer Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will have its normal morning mingles, business after hours and annual events, such as a summer golf outing and Madrigal performance in December. Also to be held this year are a St. Patrick’s Day party and a new networking event at Rubi Agave Latin Kitchen in September. Another highlight of the evening was the introduction of the Larry J. Killmer Community Service Award, which was presented to Killmer in its first year in recognition of all his years involved with the chamber and elsewhere in the community. Hart and Morrison were emotional in presenting the award to Killmer, as were some seated. Hart called Killmer the perfect example for what the community and chamber are about with his dedication and service. The award will be presented Meet the board The 2018 Homer Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chairman: Mitch Hart, Boisset Collection Wines Vice Chairman: Amber Morrison, ISU Coverall Insurance Group Treasurer: Jodi Adelman, Bellside 7 Secretary: Sue Gram, Illinois American Water Director: Ruben Pazmino, Rubi Agave Latin Kitchen Director: Michael Valek, STE Corporation Director: Lynn McGary, Booster/Emeritus Director: Lana Logan, Logan & Associates Director: Maribel Guerrero, First American Bank Director: Jonathan Lesarzyk, Homer Tree Care Director: Jack Lebert, Booster/Emeritus Director: Larry Killmer, Past Chairman each year going forward at the installation dinner. Killmer thanked everyone for the honor and said he enjoys working with youth through the Homer Stallions, as well as those with the chamber. “I always try to help out,” Killmer said. “I believe that what goes around comes around. “You help somebody out when you’re in need, somebody will come and help you.” Afterward, Killmer — who did not know about the award in his name or that he would be receiving it — said it was a “kind of neat” surprise, but that he didn’t give of his time for a reward. “I was always taught to help somebody out,” he reiterated. Damian Sichak and Renee Saban also received awards for their years of contributions to the chamber. With the new timing of the dinner, it’s a celebration of the New Year and less disjointed, Morrison added. “Now, it has a nice, even flow, so we have the last month-and-a-half before this as more of a tandem [for predecessors and successors on the board working together],” Morrison said. The challenge remains to appeal to a number of different business owners, from those who are seniors to those who fall in the millennial age group, and who have varying types of businesses. But the encouragement remains from the board to members to get involved and attend events, pass out business cards and look to join some of the chamber committees, which Morrison said have been consolidated in another example of the streamlining taking place to make it easier to stay active. Jesse Barajas, the owner of Viper Transport in Homer Glen, just recently joined the chamber after moving his business to town from Lemont. He said he enjoyed himself at the dinner and had a favorable early impression of the chamber, calling the mingling he has done so far “amazing.” “We are just hoping for a great year,” Barajas said. “We expanded a little bigger this year.” Like the chamber, Barajas hopes 2018 will remain full of one thing — growth. For more information on the Homer Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, visit www.homerchamber. com.