All Comments

  • 2016-07-24 17:10:03
    Rick Lesser and Mark Stolzenburg on PCZBA Delays Block 3, Code Votes: We submitted a memorandum to the Lake Bluff Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals (PCZBA) in opposition to the proposed Planned Mixed-use Development Ordinance (PMD).

    The proposed PMD is being considered at the same time as a proposal for a 3-story, 35 foot high multi-family residence building on Block 3 that will occupy the vast majority of a 3/4 acre parcel of land. The proposed building is being judged pursuant to the PMD, even though the PMD has not been approved. In particular, our memo pointed out multiple ways in which the proposed PMD has lower standards and weaker protections for neighbors than does the Planned Commercial Development Ordinance which governed the construction of Target on land with no residential neighbors. Our memo also requested certain information – namely, correspondence between the Village Attorney and the developer’s representatives – so that the public could better understand why the proposed PMD ordinance was written with lower standards and weaker protections.

    We omitted from our 9-page memo, which was already over-long, our thanks to the members of the PC/ZBA, including the Chair, for their service to the Village. They are all unpaid volunteers who spend countless hours (the last meeting ran for 5 hours and ended just after midnight), in good faith seeking to serve Lake Bluff. We endorse and agree with the Chair’s comments that we should maintain civil discourse and keep in mind that we are a small village whose residents will see each other in many different places and times. We should all avoid vituperous comments or threats. To the extent that we failed to express those sentiments in our memo, we thank the Daily North Shore for allowing us to express those sentiments here now.

    The Chair of the PC/ZBA took great umbrage from our memo because our memo challenged the fairness of the process. In particular, we assert that the Village President supports the proposed development and that the Village Attorney’s [Read More]

  • 2016-07-05 18:41:20
    Michael Ebner on Daily Grind Opens in Market Square: Having a retail operation in Market Square selling "provisions" (= food) rather than "soft goods" might very well result in a steadier stream of consumers that will generate more shoppers in other stores.

    The presence of the expanded Starbucks along Western Avenue + the relocated LF Bookstore amounts, in my estimation, as another plus.

    Hubbard Woods (Winnetka) now has its new Green Grocery Store right along Green Bay Road.

    That is another illustration of what economist regard as a "multiplier" that ideally will benefit other retail businesses. [Read More]

  • 2016-06-27 10:33:08
    Lynn Hawley on Police Encounters Turn Positive: This is sounds like a terrific program. Police departments need to build/rebuild trust with their communities and this is a step in that direction. Well done. [Read More]
  • 2016-06-16 09:42:58
    Lee Nysted on LB Residents Scorn Block 3 Proposal: A great day, indeed, for the residents of Lake Bluff, IL. Thank you one and all for all of your hard work. Lee Nysted 6-16-16 [Read More]
  • 2016-06-12 20:02:04
    Michael Ebner on How Many North Shore Storefronts Are Vacant?: This is not only an excellent report but most pertinent.

    It is a rather long-standing issue that has been largely ignored heretofore by the print and on-line press. Once again that it appeared in DNS. This underscores the fact that hyper-local reporting has filled a much-need niche that once-upon-a-time was filled by the "Chicago Tribune" and the "Chicago Daily News."

    In Lake Forest, where I reside, I am awaiting -- hopefully -- the compounding benefits of the relocated Starbucks in very close proximity to the LF Bookstore.
    But that alone won't resolve the compelling issue raised in this report.

    I have a hunch that central business districts along the North Shore might very well benefit if they could attract more businesses that are not engaged in selling soft goods (e.g., shoes, clothing, etc.)

    It also would be most interesting -- and perhaps unprecedented -- if a one-day roundtable brought together stakeholders on this issue from Lake Bluff down to Wilmette for a well-structured brainstorming session addressing challenges and futures of the central business districts . [Read More]

  • 2016-06-10 17:58:11
    Lee Nysted on New Plans for Lake Bluff's Block 3: In re: Concerned Citizens of Lake Bluff versus the Village of Lake Bluff, IL. June 10, 2016

    The following board meetings have ended:



    The above meetings were completed with guidelines and recommendations voted on and approved to be further sent to the Board of Trustees, the Lake Bluff Village Board, re: Block 3 planning … along Scranton Ave. east of Block 2.

    In the attached packets from the above referenced meeting meetings you will find that the following was, in fact, recommended to the village.

    Recommendations from the Architectural Review Board Meeting on June 7th, 2016:

    1.) A 45 degree roofline on the proposed downtown daylight plan. Final Page.

    2.) Preferences for roofing are seen as are materials to be used. Page 16.

    3.) "Visible breaks in building mass for multi-family structures is encouraged." Page 13.

    4.) Page 8 specifically states 10 parameters that should be followed.

    #3 "Block 3 should be treated as a residential transition between the CBD to the west and scaled to the surrounding neighborhoods." This is very specific as it relates to height and density.

    #9 Mature stands of trees and open space should be preserved. (See "green lot" at the end of block 3.)

    From the Joint Plan Commission & Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting on June 8, 2016:

    Nothing was decided and discussions were largely about the colors used for zoning but no zoning issues were resolved or changed. The Block 3 area is still zoned as it has been for many years but leaning toward multi-family due only to a change in color from red to brown. How the color changed and when was not determined but I stated that this is a major issue for me and the rest of my neighbors.

    Chairman Kraus stated to me and Tom Mcafee that the planning for block 3 will likely be done by means of a “La [Read More]

  • 2016-06-07 20:09:39
    Adrienne Fawcett on Found in Korea, Raised in Winnetka: I too am looking forward to seeing the documentary. And thank you, Judy, for your kind words! [Read More]
  • 2016-06-07 19:23:17
    Judy H on Found in Korea, Raised in Winnetka: I LOVE this story! I hope DNS does a follow up when the film is completed and where it's released. I'm a domestic adoptee. We are a trans-racial family. Our kids, adopted internationally, loved this article too and they're eager to see the finished product, as am I. Great piece.

    Thanks you, DNS, for your original reporting. You are the best local source for news. [Read More]

  • 2016-06-04 16:01:25
    Katja Steen on A Concrete Plan to a Cleaner World: I would love to contribute to Michael's project by donating towards the professional testing of concrete with plastic additive. How? [Read More]
  • 2016-05-27 11:13:59
    David Barnum on Opinion: Outed By The Donald: One of the many problems I have with leftists is their inability to be self reflective. Projection is when people deny their own tendencies while attributing them to others, as this writer does by using the "angry white men" terminology. While I have to agree there are many "angry white men", I would point out that Ferguson MO,and Baltimore were burned by angry black people. I have noticed a great deal of anger going on at many university campus's such as Mizzou which included many races of extremely angry people. Personally I don't segregate people that way because as a conservative I judge people on their actions and words, not their race.I don't care for Trump's rhetoric either, but I can distinguish between narcissistic bombast and flat out racism, etc.

    What I do agree with the writer on is that many Republicans will now endorse Trump, though I"m not there yet. But why, given Trumps liberal tendencies on issue dear to conservatives ? Two words, Hillary Clinton. She is quite clearly one of the most flawed and corrupt politicians of our era. Just one example, and their are many. She has been paid millions of dollars to give 30 minute speeches to all manner of financial institutions and other entities. Why would Goldman Sachs pay her $275k per speech. Is it because she is such a riveting speaker? (I could probably get U2 to sing in my back yard for that kind of money).Of course not. She is engaged in a corrupt bargain between large corporations who understand that an alliance with Washington power brokers is more lucrative than the free market system which has been decimated over the decades.

    Many don't understand the Trump phenomenon. It is not, as the opinion writer implies, those old racist white Republicans showing their true colors. Rather Trump is getting massive support from many blue color (non-government) union workers who see the open borders and one way trade agreements as crushing the "American Dream". Additionally, he is a counter to the sti [Read More]

  • 2016-05-22 20:37:36
    Barbara on Meet Highland Park's D-112 Launch Team: How does this all-male, all-white panel represent HP or district 112? [Read More]
  • 2016-05-13 12:32:15
    Tim Fox on Board Mulls Gillson Beach House Contest: New Trier high school has an architectural class. This would be an incredible learning experience for those students to engage in this process. I would suggest contacting NTHS. [Read More]
  • 2016-05-12 10:21:29
    Mark Barry on Opinion: What's Going on Lake Bluff?: Mr. Boese,

    Thank you for keeping these very important topics at the forefront of the public dialogue. Taxes and School construction spending are issues that affect all District 65 property owners and should be discussed openly.

    Your big picture message was clear in that there is significant frustration with the rising tax burden in the community, particularly that facing those with fixed incomes. The details you have highlighted shed light on what are likely some widespread misunderstandings regarding tax bills and the Middle School renovation that need to be clarified. Below is District 65’s response to your letter, much the same as my reply on camera at our May 10, 2016 Board meeting.

    I would encourage anyone in the community who remains concerned about these, or any other issues to reach out to myself or to our School Superintendent, Dr. Jean Sophie, so we can talk and walk you through the details. Similarly, please know that our administration and Board is committed to complete transparency. If you don’t understand something, or you can’t find it on our web site, all you have to do is ask.

    Mark Barry
    Board President, Lake Bluff Elementary District 65

    First Point – Why is My Tax Bills So high?

    • The author was shocked at the magnitude of his tax increase. He thought his individual District 65 15% increase indicated that the District raised taxes by 15% overall. In fact the district’s increase was 6.7%. So why the difference?
    • Short answer…tax bills vary property to property. Not everyone’s tax bill reflects the same percent increase. Some are higher, some are lower than the average of 6.7%. Variations are related to property assessment.
    • Many tax payers are unaware that Lake County uses individual property assessments to calculate individual bills and that variations in tax bills across the community are related to changes in individual property assessments relative to the overall change in property va [Read More]

  • 2016-05-11 12:55:07
    Greg A on Financial Lifelines Fade for North Chicago Schools: Another alternative exists, but it depends on the legislature. The legislature should vote to allow the School District needs the ability to file bankruptcy as a division of local government under Chapter 9. In municipal bankruptcy, bond holders will see the value of their investment cut. That's what they bargained for: Bondholders took the risk on North Chicago Schools and earned interest in the good years. If the payments can't be made, they must bear costs in the bad years.

    It may not be possible for North Chicago to pay its obligations. It is in the interest of all, creditors and debtors, to reach an accommodation when this eventuality occurs. Municipal bankruptcy would allow the school board a fresh start: the ability to reduce burdensome expenses and re-structure itself.

    Forcing taxpayers who had no vote or control in North Chicago to bear the burden of North Chicago's problems creates very poor precedent. Set against this alternative, Municipal Bankruptcy should be an easy choice for the legislature. Unfortunately, it's probably against the interest of the powerful public employees unions - but it shouldn't be. In the long run, their union members actually have the most to lose from disorderly insolvency. [Read More]

  • 2016-05-01 15:39:39
    Steve Yohan on North Shorts: Honest Goofiness: Funny, I've seen that same thing in New York City and Miami beach! [Read More]
  • 2016-04-22 14:37:49
    Janna Bowman on LFHS Considers Calendar Switch: I appreciate the time and effort that Dr. Holland and Mr. Meagher and others have spent to consider what may be a more favorable calendar for our students. We are grateful for their commitment to finding better practices.
    I believe that a schedule where the first semester final exams occur before the Winter Break is not optimal for many reasons. While the thought that our students and families will have a worry free vacation seems to be a greater good, there is too much down side for adding such an important event to the last week before Winter Break.
    Here are some of the realities of what the students are doing in December
    1) Seniors are finishing up their college applications with a due date of January 1 or January 15. Their supporting documentation is due to the school transcript office before winter break begins.
    2) Juniors and some seniors are taking the December ACTs or SATs on the Saturdays.
    3) The winter sports schedule is heavy in December, especially the week before Winter Break.
    4) The music departments hold concerts during December.
    5) Few students are still healthy and rested by mid December.
    6) Asking our 14, 15 and 16 year old children (freshman and sophomores) to show their best academic work after a long stretch since mid-August is not optimal.
    It is unclear why the administration chose to revisit this significant calendar topic again, as it was last addressed in the spring of 2014. When fixed holidays line up on certain days of the week and it seems that an academic calendar change is a possibility, it is natural to consider something new. However, as the students are involved in so many other activities, holding finals after the Winter Break still seems to be a better option.
    [Read More]
  • 2016-04-18 14:55:06
    Alan O. on North Shorts: Through the Trees: I enjoyed the tone of this one -- poignant, poetic. It made me think of the PBS live-in-a-bubble quiz. Here it is for the curious:
    [Read More]
  • 2016-04-17 13:22:02
    Mary Jane Hender on Memorial Planned for Sarah Wimmer: The lovely article Arthur Miller wrote commemorating the life of Sally Wimmer and her service to our community was incomplete in one respect. Sally was an active, founding participant in Reading Power, a group that provides literacy tutoring to children in North Chicago and Zion. A voracious reader herself, Sally spent many of her later years making a weekly trip to North Chicago to help her three assigned first graders navigate the sometimes rocky shoals of literacy acquisition. Sally would occasionally boast that she had never missed a week at Reading Power. Blessed with vigor and health well into her eighties, she shared her intellect and talent assuring that some very deserving children would also have the chance to reach their potential. [Read More]
  • 2016-04-17 13:19:27
    David Barkhausen on Memorial Planned for Sarah Wimmer: After Sarah, as I called her, retired from her position at the College and wanted to continue to work for a bit, I was very lucky to have her as the administrative assistant in my state senate district office on Market Square for the last two years of my legislative tenure ('95-'96). She was wonderful in all respects - gracious, efficient, resilient when she needed to be, good-humored, and very civic-minded. She was thrilled with the work of the Preservation Foundation and particularly proud of the Walden Bridge restoration/beautification project which occurred then. We continued to enjoy her company at the Presbyterian Church. I was very lucky to have her as an important part of my life for that period. With gratitude for her friendship and sympathy to her sons, David Barkhausen. [Read More]
  • 2016-04-06 14:08:02
    Kevin Odo on D-112 CFO Mohsin Dada To Retire: Retire? Dada retired already from another school district in Illinois years ago with a $200,000.00+ pension from TRS. The $$$ he made in North Shore 112 was only gravy on top of his excessively generous pension. Don't feel sorry for this "overworked" double-dipper folks. [Read More]
  • 2016-03-23 07:07:53
    Arthur R on D-112 Board Receives Threats, Mulls Next Step: While DNS generally does a good job with these stories, this one is an exception. It belongs in a tabloid and not in a paper that attempts to actually cover local issues.

    The focus of this meeting of 2.5 hours was not the 1 minute spent upon the supposed threats noted in the headline.

    Cohn made his statement in reference to anonymous comments online, presumably in Patch, and Mordini is under scrutiny because of her problematic statement released after the referendum’s loss. If she has been attacked over private email by upset citizens, that is unfortunate.

    It is also not a documented fact, and simply distracts from her actual statements and the work of the Board. Further, including a quotation from a letter from M112 Forward is also not relevant to what actually happened at the meeting.

    All of this, unfortunately, casts the summary of public comments, which we largely respectful even when critical, in an unflattering light. The summary of possible Board actions then seems disorganized and in note form, probably because the Board has not decided on any set actions.

    Really, the content of the meeting should come first, followed by the summary of public [Read More]

  • 2016-03-18 09:43:01
    Greg Adamo on North Chicago School Woes Ripple South: The district needs to file Municipal Bankruptcy. Unfortunately, the district is not currently permitted to file. Ron Sandack has a bill in Springfield that would allow municipal bankruptcy for any subdivision of the state government, but Madigan won't touch it (in part because of his pledge of loyalty to public sector unions). That's a shame because municipal bankruptcy would solve a lot of the problems in this situation. The school would get a fresh start and would shed its payments to creditors. The lenders that made a bet on the loans should bear the costs of default - Not neighboring taxpayers who've had no vote or say as to what goes on in North Chicago.

    Respectfully, Ms. Morrison should consider breaking with her party on this issue and supporting the Sandack Municipal Bankruptcy bill. [Read More]

  • 2016-03-17 11:49:03
    Peter Lucas on Statements: CARE, Moving Forward, D-112 Board: If Jane Mordini's statement reflect the views of other board members and the 112 adminstration, then they are completely discconnected from the community members they claim to represent and work on behalf of. Many of the statements she makes are so ridiculous they are beyond belief. The rest of the world is not running away from us when it comes to the quality of our schools. Nor did the referendum fail by such a huge margin because of lack of information and understanding about the plan by the electorate. Sprinkled in among such absurdities are insults to the commmunity, such as claiming we are nacissistic and afraid of change. Ms. Mordini should be embarassed by this self-serving tower of babble, as should the BOE. The voters have spoken loud and clear. The district's $198m plan is the Spruce Goose--it will never fly. It's time now for the BOE to get serious about developing plan voters will support, rather then one THEY so desparetly wanted. [Read More]
  • 2016-03-16 17:24:57
    Concerned Citizen on Statements: CARE, Moving Forward, D-112 Board: Jane Mordini seems like a good-hearted person with her heart in the right place, but she is out of touch with reality. Among the many things she overstates is the situation of our teachers, who supposedly have to brave terrible teaching conditions; namely, she questions whether they can continue to deliver a world-class education in our "failing facilities." I am almost speechless at this exaggerated assessment of our school facilities. No doubt some of our schools need updates and refurbishment. But please do a reality check. Visit our classrooms from Braeside to Oak Terrace. Our teachers teach in a clean, ultra-safe suburban environment, with wonderful students, great books and libraries, and some of the best technology available to public school teachers (just check out the Promethean boards and computers our kids' teachers have at their fingertips). If you've ever visited a classroom in, say, Haiti, THEN you'll know what it's like to teach in difficult circumstances with failing facilities. There are no such facilities in District 112. Not anywhere. Period. Beyond that exaggeration about the dire state of our facilities, Jane is obviously not a teacher herself and misunderstands the relationship between good teaching and good facilities. As a teacher who has taught in an impoverished school, I will attest that good teaching can happen with the most minimal facilities. Give me a book, some chalk, and some students, and we will make good education happen. Remember that Socrates didn't even have books or chalk, just conversation. And yet Plato certainly thought Socrates gave his students a world-class education. Jane needs to drop her romanticized view of the referendum proposal as an "ideal plan" and confront reality. This "ideal plan" is a dream largely of her own making. It will not make good teaching any better; in fact, many aspects of the Board's plan were poised to do the opposite. That's one of the reasons almost 70 percent of the community voted NO. [Read More]
  • 2016-03-16 16:16:12
    Julian F on Statements: CARE, Moving Forward, D-112 Board: The statement from Board member Jane Mordini is highly problematic. It repeats clearly discredited statements, assumes an imperious tone, goes against the clear community vote, and represents a poorly written statement.

    The last problem is merely symbolically significant. There's no crime in being a less-than-fantastic writer, but can anyone read this without picking up on its hasty and overbearing tone? Here are two examples:

    1) "But the current spirit of change, galvanized as a message of discontent: locally, nationally, globally, and atmospherically – is scary, lazy, and reminiscent of historical violence."

    Is our elected Board member saying that those who voted no--68% of the community--are agents of violence against her grand vision? Who knows? It's a grammatical muddle, but it is also either lazy or unnecessarily provocative.

    2) "I’m committed to moving forward with same intelligent and hopeful plan. NO CHANGE TO WELL VET AND WELL DESIGNED PLAN NEEDED. I acknowledge we need more comprehensive communication, and humbly admit we do not know the best way to facilitate that."

    Is "NO CHANGE TO WELL VET AND WELL DESIGNED PLAN NEEDED" the way a Board member should communicate with the public in the wake of a staggering rejection of the referendum?

    Compared to this, the Moving112Forward statement is positively collaborative.

    Jane Mordini is one of 7 elected members of our Board. She is neither queen nor tyrant, and her term is not forever. We need a BOE and Administration that will listen to the community. Those members who cannot should respectfully resign. [Read More]

  • 2016-03-14 09:47:39
    Dbwbwarren on Discord Brews Over Coffee Shop in Lake Bluff: It is disappointing that the zoning board members are injecting their personal opinions into this discussion. I strongly agree that the market should determine what businesses thrive and survive. Let the coffee shop open and the citizens of Lake Bluff will tell the zoning board which businesses should stay. [Read More]
  • 2016-03-13 19:35:52
    Judy H on Moving 112 Forward Explains Position: Davis, are you listening?

    You hear negatives and I hear exciting solutions. I hear financial stability and educational excellence and you hear something threatening. Why do doctors, lawyers & college professors think they know more about K - 8 education than K - 8 educators?

    What exactly are you and yours afraid of?

    Judy [Read More]

  • 2016-03-13 19:15:44
    Ginny Baker on Moving 112 Forward Explains Position: I went to this meeting. There were not so man undecided people there, and I am not sure anyone was convinced. People have decided, and while I though this group did a very good presentation, it was so staged managed as to feel empty. The room was very big, and it wasn't very full.

    The moderator wouldn't let the audience ask questions directly, and that made it all seem silly. What's the point in an empty room? It felt like a sales job to me.

    Also, they had some guy talk about investing and why this is a good investment, but another man in the audience was very concerned that the bonds from this would be hard to sell at favorable rates.

    I think this is a bad idea, and I'm voting No. [Read More]

  • 2016-03-13 14:16:20
    Concerned Citizen on Opinion: Vote Yes for High Standards in HP: Let me get this straight: we should vote for an educationally foolhardy, fiscally irresponsible (borrowing to the max!) plan just because a year more of planning for a wiser, more fiscally responsible referendum might create uncertainty for district teachers, parents, and children? Fear of uncertainty sounds like extremely poor justification for voting yes to a bad plan. Let's look at the real human costs of this referendum equation. 5th graders forced into a high school experience at the age of ten by being put into an 1800 student middle school that has to be "mitigated" in numerous ways because its large size carries with it so many negatives. Red Oak/Sherwood area residents faced with enormous traffic congestion and loss of open space. Property owners in Highwood and northeast Highland Park faced with significant drops in property value when new young families refuse to buy there, not wanting their middle schoolers to be so far from the mega middle school. These are just a few of the real human costs of the referendum. They do not justify this writer's "let's just get it over with and get something in place" mentality. Nor do they justify giving in to the District's ultimatum (yes, ultimatum, not referendum) that it's either THIS plan or doomsday. I'll be voting a big no. Thanks to this writer for reminding me why. [Read More]
  • 2016-03-12 22:24:59
    Brian Ziv on Opinion: One Winnetka Too Big: Why would it be bad for OneWinnetka to host a fitness center that competes with one at the Community House? Does Ms. Greenough believe the Village government should be in charge of protecting existing enterprises from competition? In any case, Ms. Greenough is misinformed about the latest plans for OneWinnetka. It does not include plans for a fitness center. [Read More]
  • 2016-03-11 21:28:35
    Concerned Citizen on Opinion: Vote Yes for The Kids: While I appreciate this writer's dedication to following the District's developments over the years, I must say that this is one of the weakest arguments I've read lately to support the referendum. The writer claims that Chromebooks and Promethean boards and other electronics create so much heat they are making kids sick on hot days. Please! Five to seven days of heat (tops) justifies a $198 million dollar reconfiguration of the whole district?! Let's be sensible, for heaven's sake. Make a cost-free shift in the academic calendar, cutting out so many institute and early release days, shortening the ridiculously excessive amount of time devoted to spring break in order to start school in September and end earlier in late May and take advantage of the North Shore's ample cool weather. As for security vestibules and fire sprinklers, everyone wants that safety stuff, but it doesn't depend on the $198 million dollar "deluxe package" the District is trying to sell, despite the District's efforts to make us believe we either buy the whole deal or get nothing. Let's place blame where blame belongs. It is the Board's all or nothing mentality which has left us without these important safety updates; the BOE doesn't want to update anything until it can change everything all at once. As for ADA, while I'm sympathetic to the idea that we should have designated ADA accessible buildings equitably placed throughout the district, to spend $198 million to change the structure of EVERY single school to ensure that the tiny percentage (1%? 2%?) of the district's population needing ADA accessibility gets it for every building all at once just does not make fiscal sense. This opinion piece nicely showcases the weak reasoning behind the referendum proposal. It makes clear why we should vote NO and then work towards a new school board and a new superintendent willing to listen to the community. [Read More]
  • 2016-03-09 21:58:31
    Commenter on Opinion: Why I'm Voting Yes: While I am sure Ben Sher means well, he repeats misinformation here: "Our district can be financially stable for decades to come." He tries to qualify it a bit, but it is not correct.

    On February 9, D112 Chief Financial Officer Mohsin Dada admitted that a material error in the financial projections led to the district grossly inflating the financial benefits of reconfiguration. Now “decades of stability” have been reduced to about 5 years from the completion of the proposed plan.

    And yet, nearly two weeks later, there has been no attempt to inform the public about the error.

    To the contrary, D112 has sold this plan to the voters on the claim that it provides a long-term solution to our financial programs. See this document on the D112 website: "Reconfiguration: Frequently Asked Questions" (updated Nov. 13):

    "Projected savings are estimated to be between $4 million and $4.8 million annually. Compounded over a 30-year period (the life of the bond issue), this translates to a total of more than $190 million."

    In light of Mr. Dada's correction, we know this claim is not accurate. Essentially, D112 has been selling residents a $198 million band-aid (plus $150 million in interest), and proposing enormous expenses and mass reconfiguration of the District...for only five years of solvency.

    D112 has a duty to alert the public about its error with at least as much gusto as it disseminated the purported benefits of this plan. This altered financial situation may well impact voters’ decision, and a fair and transparent process dictates that the D112 is obligated to attend directly to this matter.

    Yet If you click on the FAQ above, you won't find the line about $190 million in savings. Why? The document has been changed in the last few days. Here's what it says now: "Projected savings are estimated at $4.0-$4.8 million annually..."

    That's right. The key sentence about 30-year savings ("more than $190 million) has been eliminated.

    This is significant [Read More]

  • 2016-03-09 11:18:01
    Arthur Read on Election: Highland Park Referendum: This entire referendum is splitting the community. You have a Yes group whose primary argument is for a giant middle school that no one wants because the problem cannot be fixed in any other way.

    The BDR vote, coming weeks before the actual ballot vote, is an unfortunate scare tactic to force a Yes vote, and present a false choice. An ethical process will allow people to vote on a referendum, and if it fails, a revised referendum, before promising cuts. Sure, cuts will be necessary eventually if no plan can be passed, but this heavy handed tactic has backfired. Just wait to see the vote on March 16, and then ask how many No voters did so primarily in opposition to the District's bullying tactics.

    How many are also voting against the District's messaging...against the CFO's financial error of February 9, just weeks before the vote. This plan not only doesn't solve 112's problem, but it is a 10-year "benefit" for a 30-year debt. 112 will need to come back for more money then, and why should anyone give them a dollar more once we've seen the single middle school rise above the horizon?

    There's not enough money to build it. An alternate plan that would unify the community was never fully prepared (and don't tell me there were 50 plans studied--complete nonsense if you look at the difference between the community recommendations and the divisive plan on the ballot).

    This is going to lose on Tuesday. Count the yard signs. Count the letters to the editor. 112 needs to wake up, and balance community values with its referendum plans. So far, they get an "F".

    Join me in voting No. [Read More]

  • 2016-03-08 22:35:04
    Dan Jenks on Election: Highland Park Referendum: It's incorrect to say that "Karla Livney, Eric Ephraim and Samantha Stolberg voted against the BDR 3 plan and said that if the referendum fails, it would be better to postpone implementing the BDR 3 until the 2018-2019 school year." What these 3 Board members said was that the Board should wait to determine whether to include closing Ravinia school in BDR 3. However, Karla, Eric and Samantha agreed with the other 4 Board members that BDR 3 should take place in the 2017-2018 school year - there was no dispute about that time frame or about closing Lincoln, Elm Place and Green Bay then. [Read More]
  • 2016-03-08 17:25:52
    Arthur Read on Opinion: RNA Should Own Its Opinion: This letter wins the award for biggest hidden agenda yet. Kane is a vocal supporter and endorser of the Yes group, a real estate agent who wants to settle this mess so he can go back to selling houses, and a non-member of the distinguished neighborhood group he is critiquing.

    The League of Women Voters is an organization 1/4 the size of the RNA; it's "deep dive" into these issues consisted of 45 minute conversation with referendum opponents, and a long presentation from LWV member and vocal Yes supporter Rick Heineman. Their minds were made up long before they released their statement, and they have taken the opposite of a principled stand.

    The RNA on the other hand, released the results of their poll, and while those results asked for them to publicly oppose the referendum--they didn't do so out of respect for the smaller contingent of Yes supporters in their group. Kane now wants to tell you that some giant con is at work, because this group published their numbers, noted their methodology, and still indicated their concerns.

    Please, Mr. Kane, you are making a mountain out a molehill. It's your right to do so, but you need to own your own position before you cast stones. You are also distracting from the actual issues of this: the community is about to reject a single middle school on March 15th. [Read More]

  • 2016-03-08 17:18:16
    Janice D on Opinion: Follow Teachers, Vote Yes: The "frank conversations" that this author claims have unified our community are yet another fiction of the uncritical supporter position.

    The facts are that this is the least unifying plan our district could have possible put forward. It doesn't have the support of the community, and once it fails next week, 112 needs to some serious self criticism.

    This author means well, but her attempts to classify and categorize ignore the reality of serious opposition to the single middle school.

    Vote No on Mach 15th, and let's get to a plan we can actually support. [Read More]

  • 2016-03-08 08:33:04
    Gwen Trindl on Election: Winnetka Stormwater, Downtown: I an saddened to read your article in the daily today. I wish you could have come to the League of Women Voters Forum, and I wish you had talked more to both sets of candidates, as your article was clearly favorable to the Indy 3. I have always been impressed with your clear reporting, and am sorry to see this slant on it a time to be even-handed .. Always Non- Partisan, we presented both teams with fairness.
    Sorry to be critical, but I had to comment, as I had been commending you so firmly. |
    Just for your eyes.. Gwen Trindl
    [Read More]
  • 2016-03-05 10:23:17
    Alan on Recap: Regional Final — DF 50, LF 49: Nice story and good line about the turnovers. But in stats area you have GBN leaders, GBN etc. ... it's Deerfield, fwiw. Would've been nice to mention specific Sernick game-winners ... one was in CSL title game agsinst Evanston on Feb. 24 -- what was other one ... or were there more. [Read More]
  • 2016-03-01 12:20:08
    Cristina Schimert Lasko on Opinion: Juicy Rhetoric Doesn't Equal Plan: This reply is in response to the comment left by “Person”. Unlike you, I have not hidden my identity. You sound as though you believe that, because I am a wife, I may not be capable of thinking independently and that my integrity is suspect if i don't disclose my marriage. That point should be irrelevant as I am not being paid to speak on behalf of Bennett Lasko or anyone else.

    Earlier on I, too, had a hard time with the proposed referendum's pricetag and I even disagreed with my spouse. That was before I did my own independent research into the school's financial situation with information available from the source -- the district's own data (and yes-I even have an education and I work as a finance professional). Since I've become independently informed on the subject, I firmly believe we need to take bold action and I applaud the Board for having the courage to choose the plan that achieves the most in ongoing savings while promoting a world-class education. Finally, I am grateful that the US Constitution recognizes my right to vote and to speak for myself and I am proud to put my own name behind my YES vote. Do you have to courage to come out of the shadows and to own the hard choices or do you prefer to sit back and Kick it forward? [Read More]

  • 2016-02-29 19:38:17
    Leslie Abelson on Opinion: Yes Vote Good for Home Values: We can simply distill the problems associated with the D112 referendum into one. This plan is too expensive for a community of ~40,000 (Highland Park, Highwood, Fort Sheridan). This is the reason for a 30 year instead of a 20 year obligation. With this plan, the District may save money in operating expenses, but the individual taxpayers save nothing. For families with moderate and fixed incomes, this plan is too far costly, especially on top of the recent D113 bond. Due to the gloomy financial picture in the state of IL, increases in other taxes are inevitable. It is time for the District to spend everyone's money more prudently. We do not need a middle school campus. We do need to close facilities that are too costly too operate, properly repair those in need of repair and establish new boundaries. That is all that we must do. Please vote no on March 15. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-29 07:02:11
    Person on Opinion: Yes Vote Good for Home Values: I appreciate this writer's thoughts, but this opening is misleading. This is not a "paper"--a peer-reviewed academic study--but a letter to the editor expressing the author's opinion. That's fine, but we need to be clear on what counts as data and research.

    What the author leaves out here, and what is abundantly clear from the research--in terms of our forthcoming $198 million referendum to close 6 six schools and build a giant middle school, are three main issues concern:

    1) Property values tied to new school referenda need to consider not only the new school and its perception (here, a large middle school largely scorned by the community), but also the change when a local school is razed to make way for consolidation.

    In other words, the mega school will *displace* and *destroy* local schools, and this is not good news for property values, no matter how badly a biased real estate agent wants it to be.

    2) Voters are suspicious of many claims about this giant school for 1900 students, and so we've seen an increasing campaign to try to assure us that the school will absolutely result in better home values. This is the reason you received two miles on Saturday (that's $10,000-$12,000), and why you've seen an increasingly desperate YES group swap out their yard signs (a colossal waste of money).

    3) Since the site plan for the middle school would require the elimination of West Ridge Park, as well as unmanageable traffic problems, there site becomes less desirable to home buyers--even after years of construction debris and environmental damage to the wetlands.

    We have a clear choice on March 15th. Vote NO on the largest tax increase in Highland Park history. Vote not on the largest referendum per capita in Illinois history.

    Vote NO, and let's get to a better plan. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-26 15:09:45
    Abe on Schneider Poll Shows Strong Lead: Rotering should lose if only for supporting that red-light camera in highland park. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-26 07:04:46
    Person on Opinion: Juicy Rhetoric Doesn't Equal Plan: The author does a good job of accusing CARE of misleading people. but did we attend the same debates? I am not surprised to hear her perspective, since her husband was in fact one of the YES group debaters in both venues. Full disclosure would require that she note this. She is not impartial, and basic ethics would require such a disclosure.

    Now to the content. It would take me a long time to break down the logical flaws here, one by one, there isn't enough space. So, let's hit one point. Financial stability. This plan gives us financial stability for only 5 years. We begin to see savings in 2021 and enter deficit spending in 2026. We take out a 30-year loan for a fix of less than 10 years. The numbers don't add up, and Lasko is feeding into a false narrative that we achieve financial viability with this plan.

    We don't, and 112 has not been clear on it's numbers, especially given the financial error of February 9 by the CFO.

    Here is CFO Mohsin Dada's statement in the Chicago Tribune story of February 17: "Error adds fuel to Highland Park referendum controversy."

    "We never sold this to the community as, 'If you save $4 million a year, you can be sustainable forever'," Dada said.

    Really? Here's Superintendent Michael Bregy in an email from September 16, 2015:

    "The operating savings achieved under this plan is estimated to be $4 million to $4.8 million annually, sufficient to make us financially sustainable for decades to come."

    We guess Mr. Dada is technically correct. They didn't promise "forever."

    Lasko has lots of promises here as well, and I encourage anyone interested in this issue to get informed about all sides. It's easy to shout down the opposition after your husband has put himself out there in public. It's a lot harder to make an actual argument no inflected by that fact. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-25 15:51:36
    PSL on Opinion: Vote Yes for HP's Future: Ripes is a computer guy, not an educator. Good education is not defined by the best technology (which we already have much of in our decked out classrooms). For an intelligent critique of the misplaced focus on new technology in education, please read the following New York Times article, which should be required reading for anyone concerned about the future of education:
    That's an op-ed worth reading.
    [Read More]
  • 2016-02-25 11:31:42
    Carl Noble on Opinion: Open Letter to Lake Forest/Lake Bluff: The Schlifka's are great folks. great contributors to our community. None classier! We're lucky to know them. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-25 09:16:50
    LF Mom on LFHS' Rodgers Heads To Winnetka: Why do our school Districts continue to lose talent to other North Shore Districts? This is at least the 4th defection in the last few years: Andy Henrickson, Lauren Fagel, Lori Wilcox, and now Mr. Rodgers. Maybe there have been more; those are all I can recall at the moment. Why are we a training ground that other Districts can poach from? Is there a culture or management problem that needs to be addressed by the School Boards?

    I hope that the search process will be more comprehensive than a classified ad in an obscure education journal. Our students deserve it. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-25 07:24:04
    Arthur on Opinion: Vote Yes for HP's Future: I appreciate the author's perspective, but there is not must there in terms or argument once we dig into phrases such as "In today’s marketplace, unique messaging to the individual is vital to make a large enough impact on the consumer causing them to take action around a certain brand or brands."

    I believe the author is trying to say that the referendum--which will build a single middle school for $198 million plus interest of more than $150 million--will somehow deliver education we are not receiving now. This statement, for instance is interesting: "I want my kids doing and making not sitting. In order to do this, they need innovation labs, makerspaces, learning commons, etc."

    Are our children sitting and not learning now? Not mine, who are both in elementary school. Is the only way to deliver whatever we all define as "21st century" education to do in a large building that will forever alter our community for only 5 years of financial "stability"?

    I really question if this well-meaning "brand" concerned person has either read the academic research on these questions or was present at the Sept 15 Board meeting, when our teachers said they can deliver a world-class education regardless of how many middle schools we have.

    I also have noticed this point about we need AC to cool down computers appearing in the Yes groups messages. Have our computers been melting? I'm not against AC, but I don't understand this argument.

    It also it seems to me that in the wake of 112 CFO Mohsin Dada's major financial correction of February 9th--where he admits to a significant mistake in the plan's financial projections--we should be trying to talk about more than buzzwords. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-23 00:51:50
    Clara Tomaz on Family Comes First: A Story of Survival: Thank you, Heather! I will let you know about potential screenings of the movie in the area!! [Read More]
  • 2016-02-19 20:42:36
    Rebecca on Opinion: Psychiatrist Says 'Vote No': Dr. Greenspan, thank you for your wise words. Decisions about how to educate our children should be based in solid research. A NO vote is not a vote against education. In fact, it is a vote to show that our children and our community deserve better. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-18 20:29:59
    Heather Hehman on Family Comes First: A Story of Survival: Great article Emily. Thank you for sharing this incredible story! I'm so glad Clara Tomaz is making a film about it. I can't wait to see it. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-18 13:55:20
    JCA on Opinion: CARE Misinformed: Isn't the cumulative effect of this error over the 30 year term of the bond a $90M variance from the initial projection? I'd argue that amount is far from trivial. And wasn't that initial projection the one from which the Board made its decision to move forward; and the League of Women Voters and teachers' union made their endorsement? These are facts, too, right?

    This is also not about the "trivial $600k deficit" in 2027 as much as it is about when that deficit occurs. One of the main benefits promoted from this referendum has been that it would "push the deficit curve out" about 20 sounds like we are now down to about 10 years from when it is approved and 5 years from when the project is complete. Again, not trivial... As an individual taxpayer, that is significant to me - especially as it means that not only will I still be paying off these bonds for another 20 years after we hit deficit spending, but I will likely also be faced with either an additional request for more tax dollars from the school district or program cuts in our schools in the near term. I certainly don't mind my tax dollars going to our schools (I live here after all), but c'mon...

    By the way, the caveat re "projections are just planning tools" may have been a good caveat to include when selling the financial sustainability benefits of this plan - which at one point went as far as to say something to the effect that this plan would "ensure D112's financial sustainability for decades..."

    I agree we should stick to more facts and less spin. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-18 11:42:12
    notoreferendum1 on Opinion: Time to Take a Step Back: Dear Carl,

    Thank you for stepping forward and expressing your views. For those who don't know. "Mr. Berg" was one of the most respected and dearly loved teachers at Sherwood School for decades. He is a past president of the teachers union. His is a voice of reason & moderation and his comments should be given strong consideration when you vote. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-15 10:18:55
    Michael Ebner on Downtown Landlord Makes Strides: For folks who find regulations imposed by our local governments odious and bothersome, this report provides a very good justification for them.

    The city of LF is protecting its residents by carefully monitoring its multitude of regulatory standards which are essential to our common well being.

    When you read about large new structures collapsing -- whether in the US or in China, Russia, India, Mexico, etc. -- it is because builders and property owners find ways to circumvent existing codes. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-12 08:05:57
    JCA on Opinion: D-112 Referendum - Vote No: Well said. Vote NO and let's get this right. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-11 20:43:46
    Monica on Opinion: 'Big Box' School Wrong for HP: Your story is an interesting one. I'm also an adoptive parent and have a racially diverse family. I know that joy. What does that have to do with reconfiguration?

    And yes, 112 kids are currently using 21st century technology. It's a good thing that the Chrome Books come home over the summer, because otherwise they'd melt, like so many installed tech devices in the District. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-11 20:32:25
    Judy H on Opinion: D-112 Referendum - Vote No: Dear Ellen, You are not being held hostage! But you are late to the game. The "working with what we have and scaling down" thing has been happening for y e a r s . What you call an "all or nothing approach" is actually the distillation of 1000's of man & woman hours of 6 over years. The issues are complicated and take time to digest. Please learn the facts before you vote. Put the drama and hyperbole aside for a moment and research this for yourself. Thanks, Judy. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-10 21:27:56
    Bennett Lasko on Opinion: Vote Yes; It's A Good Plan: Arthur, This is "Lasko" responding. For the most part, I don't know really follow what you are trying to say. The meetings to which I referred in my letter were prior to the Architectural Advisory Committee, and I never attended meetings of any committee - or otherwise - in coffee shops.

    It seems to me that you are just against the Referendum, which is fine and you have every right to be, for whatever reason you want. But don't accuse us of being dishonest. There is no evil conspiracy to deceive you into approving a bad plan. And I think you are just flat wrong that the Board was "kept at a distance." I don't think you will find a single board member - all of whom unanimously support the current proposal - that would even slightly agree with that. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-09 20:43:26
    Robert Bernat on Opinion: There's No Plan B: Dan, did you happen to catch tonight's School Board Workshop? [Read More]
  • 2016-02-09 12:47:47
    Thetruth on Opinion: Vote Yes; It's A Good Plan: As Lasko's letter highlights, I say "you are making my point." The community's main concern isn't so much the dollars involved (while that is significant) it is the fact that many of us don't want a "Costco Middle school" (I've now coined that phrase). Close a few schools and give us two remodeled middle schools seems to be the common thread. Since the board and Bregy don't hear that fact, highlights how clueless they are to the wants of community and that they need to go...period. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-09 08:56:54
    Lexie on Opinion: Educator Supports D-112 Referendum: Rodriguez lists his university affiliation as U of I at Urbana-Champaign. If I'm a student I could list my address as HP if that's where family is but I could still live and work in some place entirely different. Is he there or here during the school year? Is he a parent who will be schlepping kids to and from Highwood or the Highlands to Red Oak/Sherwood during the academic year? "Linked In" lists him as a 2016 teaching assistant at U of Illinois/Champaign-Urbana. How is he teaching there but living here? Judy, please don't play fast and loose with residency facts and then charge others with being factually mistaken. If he's not currently living here during the school year because he's teaching in Champaign, I say again I do not want a distant graduate student contesting whether or not it's a challenge for me or other parents to get my kids to and from school functions. Even if he is here every day of the school year, his opinion that the schlepp is not a problem does not invalidate my opinion that it is, and he should not call people who disagree liars. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-09 06:43:56
    Arthur on Opinion: Vote Yes; It's A Good Plan: We should comment Bennett Lasko for his service to his community, and for the thoughtfulness he has put into this letter.

    Yet, his letter also reveals some of the reasons the middle school plan to build a single middle school of 1800+ students is so divisive. The community has been told this referendum of $198 million is the "only plan" that can possibly solve 112's complicated financial problems. Aside from the fact that this plan does not actually solve those problems because it underfunds maintenance of the surviving schools, Lasko makes a key point that we need to consider:

    "Mr. Kornblatt’s alternative is essentially the same model that a group of SCFFAC members, administration representatives and the District’s architects reviewed in a series of meetings in November and December 2014. I was one of the SCFFAC members in that group."

    This group Lasko refers to was the Architectural Advisory Committee. It was a post-SCFFAC body that met in coffee shops every two weeks or once per month, to informally advise the 112 Superintendent on the process. Two Board members served on the committee, Jane Mordini and Yumi Ross.

    One member of the group, Gerry Meister, has become a prominent dissenting voice against the plan. He has said many times that he think the plan does not solve 112's problems.

    So, oh, what do you do when when two people attended the same meetings and say different things? The community can look to the minutes, Board presentations, notes, etc, to return to that moment and make an informed decision. If you want to know what happened in SCFFFAC, all of that material is posted online, ad it involved dozens of community members.

    This Architectural Advisory Committee has no minutes, no notes, and made no presentations to the Board at the bi-monthly meetings. Although this is in no way Lasko's intent, the committee effectively operated in secret. We have no way of knowing what configurations they actually evaluated, how serious they did so, and what coll [Read More]

  • 2016-02-09 06:40:41
    Heidi on Opinion: Vote Yes; It's A Good Plan: As a citizen living in a democracy, I don't want a wholesale re-engineering of my entire community developed by "top quality professionals" and "elected board members" who are unwilling to listen to the electorate. That's autocracy, not democracy. Time and again, we residents have asked for an array of cost options, or at least a fully costed-out 2 middle school plan as an alternative to the single middle-school plan. Polls have showed that the vast majority of district residents want two middle schools, not one, if we have to close schools. We have asked for choice -- choices we can vote on. We have also asked board officials to listen to the community's preference for change, but not radical change. No one has listened. Instead, we have a zealous group of board and YES pac members with the financial resources and single-minded will to ram through an unpopular and foolhardy plan. Look at all the community leaders who oppose this plan--Mayor Belsky, Mayor Geraci, Mike Brenner, now Steve Mandel. Why would we ignore the trusted counsel of these community leaders and support a plan just because the teacher's union (vested interest, if there ever was one!) and the League of Women Voters (driven by YES pac members) support it? I will be voting no. This plan is bad for our financial future and bad for education. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-08 17:04:10
    hzs on Opinion: There's No Plan B: Dan,

    The problem is the school board & administration never fulfilled their responsibility to the community to fully cost out a 2 middle school option. Heck, you and Adam Kornblatt have done more work on this than they ever did. Instead they paraded out the pathetic, theater of the absurd Olson Park second middle school site option that was shot down in 20 seconds by the park district. I'd like to give the school board credit they knew this would be the case, but I'm not so sure now. Oh well - no other choice but to go with the one middle school option. Trust the school district's experts who just couldn't figure out another way forward. There's no chance other citizens, architects, construction companies transparently working together can put together a better plan. It's simply not possible. I will be voting NO. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-08 15:00:00
    Ann (Reed) Kaser on Winnetka's Three Godfathers: They both went to school (New Trier) in Winnetka. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-08 14:34:29
    Dan Jenks on Opinion: There's No Plan B: Robert, I have no political agenda, I'm not part of any conspiracy. Please show me the "much more cost effective 2 middle school solution," point me in the right direction - after your many years on SFFAC, surely an expert like you should be able to do this?. Simple answer is that it doesn't exist without sacrificing the quality of our education. I analyzed Adam Kornblatt's very thoughtful proposal - 2 middle schools, Edgewood and Northwood, with added classrooms, $125 million upfront and a $2 million increase in the operating levy. Annual savings to a $300,000 homeowner over the District's plan - $45/year - not substantially more cost effective. I didn't like the educational trade-offs his plan required versus the District's plan (Edgewood with 900 students nearly twice the size of Northwood) and thought the District's plan makes wiser long-term investments in our facilities. You can read my full analysis on Facebook in NSSD 112 Sound Board group. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-08 13:17:04
    No Way on Opinion: There's No Plan B: I want my 3 minutes back after reading this. The 'opinion' title should read, 'I'm Lost.'

    Mr. Jenks, along with all my wacky neighbors are being brainwashed by the myopic agenda spinning out of this board. What they don't seem to grasp is that this isn't a new issue, and everyone wants change. However, the current option is beyond ludicrous.

    Artie Smith boils it down to two key facts, the former the most important. While the board will tell you they've looked at 50+ different options to divert you from reality, ask them how many were value engineered, or at least vetted with the same amount of scrutiny as the current laughable option. Hint: Zero.

    This is like a realtor telling you that you have to buy this house. Even though you can't afford it, you'll get the best amenities, so who cares that you will be upside down on it? Someone will bail you out.

    Everyone likes shiny new objects, but the misinformed, misguided and uneducated voters will not get to play with this one. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-08 08:38:26
    Jphp on Opinion: There's No Plan B: Sounds like something I've heard before "we need to pass the bill, to find out what is in the bill." How did that one work out? I doubt this is rocket science...the community doesn't want a superstore for a middle school. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-08 05:55:53
    Lucki on Opinion: What Failed Referendum Should Look Like: Touche! Finally, a logical argument based on fact and not emotion. Good luck with this line of reason. The much too liberal governing machine, also known as: public education, is rarely logical. They appeal to emotion, and paint anyone with an opposing view as evil. The long and short of every public education argument is this: humans are wired to learn. Children, teens and young adults will learn best if they have supportive parents and enthusiastic educators at the helm. Unplug and engage with them. No state of the art buildings are required. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-07 22:49:07
    Robert T. Bernat, MD, JD on Opinion: There's No Plan B: I am a parent dedicated to the cause of education not only at the local School District 112 level, but also on a state-wide basis. I have served on the NSSD 112 Superintendent's Finance and Facilities Advisory Committee (SCFFAC) as well as the SCFFAC's predecessor and the parallel body for District 113. And I currently serve on the NSSD 112 Superintendent's School Safety and Security Task Force and the State of Illinois School Security and Standards Task Force. It is clear to me and should be clear to anyone else educated or becoming educated about the issues surrounding the $198,000,00.00 Referendum that Mr. Jenks is both misinformed and misguided. The debt imposed for construction of the mega middle school campus in the southwest corner of Highland Park will not save us money, but put us into a hole from which we could not recover. Perhaps even more significantly, a mega middle school will serve to damage the quality of education for our children.

    Mr. Jenks asks what message would a "no" vote send to the School Board? Let me answer him. Simply put, a no vote on the Referendum would be a vote of no confidence in the Board and the Administration. A much more cost effective solution exists incorporating two middle schools, but the Board and its supporters will not admit that it has a political agenda driving their narrative that no alternative to their plan exists. It is outrageous that the School Board threatens the people they are supposed to serve, spends our money profligately on consultants and PR firms and tells us that it is their way or the highway. The electorate should not be deluded by the scare tactics of the District. The defeat of the Referendum will bring out onto the table the more cost effective solutions. What we need is not a new $198,000,000.00 middle school; what we need is new leadership for the District. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-07 20:40:51
    Lexie on Opinion: There's No Plan B: This is the only intelligent letter I've read from YES supporters in the last few weeks. Even so, it fails to convince me because of its lack of vision. Just because Jenks says *he* is unable to understand how the Board of Education can move on after a failed referendum doesn't meant other bright people can't figure that out. See Adam Kornblatt's recent letter for one possible way forward: No doubt there are other possibilities, too. Let's get people like Kornblatt on the Board of Education next year. Then we can stop seeing dead ends and impossibilities and truly "move forward." Jenks' letter helps me understand why I need to vote no to this referendum. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-07 18:57:34
    Judy H on Opinion: Educator Supports D-112 Referendum: First, Gabriel Rodriguez lives in Highland Park.

    Second, there are currently Latina/o residents who live at the north end of HP & in Highwood who get their kids to Red Oak & Sherwood for Dual Language. Not only do the kids show up for school, but the same families participate in school social events ALL THE TIME. To state otherwise is incorrect and condescending.

    Get some facts under your belt before you weigh in. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-07 18:27:02
    Leslie R on Opinion: There's No Plan B: Donald Trump would like to build a wall to keep out immigrants. Let's vote for that, instead of a plan that keeps with the values that make us a community people want to live in. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-07 17:23:58
    Kris on Opinion: There's No Plan B: No, Dan, there's no Plan B. because this particular Board of Education does not have the creative vision, financial agility, and interest in devising a lest costly, less radical plan. That's why we need to Vote No. Vote no to this lack of vision, and vote yes to a set of board members who can see beyond this board's blinders. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-07 17:11:03
    Arthur Smith on Opinion: There's No Plan B: This is a well-written letter, but it operates in stark contrast to another one on this site.

    In this, Adam Kornblatt spells out two key points: 1) we are being pressured to vote yes by cuts that do not need to be made in the short term, and 2) that there are other plans that 112 has not considered.

    On Facebook, Jenks and Kornblatt have engaged in a respectful discussion, They disagree on much, but Jenks is ignoring two key facts:

    1) No 2-middle school plan was value engineered to bring the cost down.
    2) The Sept 15, 2015 Board meeting details this. See Eric Ephraim's comments. He says the Board didn't do what it promised the community.

    Until then, we cannot know if the many arguments Jenks deploys in the letter above are actually correct.

    Let's vote no, get the Board to do its job, or, get a new Board who will. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-07 09:47:42
    Gary Devroy on Winnetka's Three Godfathers: Scott Holleran mentions Charlton Heston and Ann Margret being from Winnetka, yet they are both from Wilmette. Do you have any proof that either ever actually lived in Winnetka? [Read More]
  • 2016-02-06 10:45:18
    Lexie on Opinion: Educator Supports D-112 Referendum: I am very troubled by Rodriguez's claim that those concerned about the transportation burdens for Highwood Latino residents are liars ("There are those who say Latina/o parents are unwilling or unable to commute across town to attend school functions. These comments about our Latina/o community are a complete and utter lie.") Apart from the intellectual irresponsibility of such a sweeping charge, who is Rodriguez to make this claim, living as he apparently does in Champaign, IL? Will he be transporting kids to and from the northeast part of the district during the school year? Will he be without a car in such situations? Recently there was a letter to the editor written by a local Latina college professor who raised concerns about the transportation burden she herself would experience and that of others she knows in the Latino community if one middle school were built in the southwest corner of the district. From her letter, it's clear she actually lives in the Highlands. She says she has kids in the district. She knows first hand--not from an Ivory Tower--what problems would be created by being so distant from a big middle school. Let's listen to the people who actually live, work and have children in the district. Speaking for myself, I don't want to be told by a young graduate student what would or wouldn't be a burden for actual parents in this district, whether Latino or not. Here's a link to the college professor's letter: I will be voting no. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-06 10:16:49
    Kris on Opinion: Educator Supports D-112 Referendum: Unfortunately, Gabriel, anyone who has ever been in a big ethnically, racially, and economically diverse school will know that just putting all such kids in one big building does not create solidarity or understanding. Just witness the common lunch room scenarios at such big schools where all the kids of one race, ethnicity or social class sit together and those from another sit together. If you think packing one big building with 2000 middle-school kids from the whole district will create "solidarity," you are unrealistic. Buildings do not create solidarity; good teaching does. And that doesn't require a single, mega-middle school. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-05 14:35:01
    JCA on Opinion: It's Vital To Vote Yes: Marcy - This is not SCCFAC's plan. Period.

    As for your questions about involvement in SCCFAC and following the process - the answer to both of those for me is yes. I applied to be part of the SCCFAC and was not selected (maybe that's a good thing for me in hindsight). And I have followed the process very closely (watched all board meetings and attended three Community "Conversations", which is one of the reasons I am opposed to this plan - I'm not going simply off talking points issued by D112 to determining my position. I also take issue with that question in that there are people who may not have the resources or ability to do either of those things (work, health, transportation, etc)... I find that entire paragraph incredibly arrogant. Kudos to you for taking on so many things - I hope you are thankful for being able to do all of that. But please don't vilify people who weren't or couldn't be fully involved in the process because they don't like this plan. They have as much right to an opinion as you do. Thanks. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-04 20:24:37
    Marcy Turner on Opinion: It's Vital To Vote Yes: John, my letter clearly states that I live west of 41. In fact, I live on Sumac just south of Rosemary, so will be in the heart of the additional traffic should this pass. As I stated, I am willing to deal with traffic if it means better education for HP's children (and, mind you, mine will be in High School by the time changes are made should it pass). As far as the bus goes, I grew up in Sherwood Forest and was bussed to east HP (Green Bay/Indian Trail/Elm Place) every day from kindergarten through 8th grade. As my letter states, I only have good memories of the bus. For this reason, and because there are guidelines in place by the Board prohibiting more than 45 min on a bus, I don't think that the bussing issue should have a big impact on one's choice to vote yes or no. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-04 19:15:09
    Marcy Cohen Turner on Opinion: It's Vital To Vote Yes: I live west of 41 very close to West Ridge. As I stated in the letter, I'm smack in the middle of where the new campus would be and am not afraid of some extra traffic if it means kids get the best possible education. I grew up in Sherwood Forest and was bussed to east HP (Green Bay, Indian Trail and Elm Place) from K thru 8th and never once had a problem with it. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-04 14:19:20
    hzs on Opinion: It's Vital To Vote Yes: I'm voting NO. My daughter & husband who moved to the Red Oak area several years ago to raise their children are voting NO. They are not afraid of pr firm orchestrated promises from the school board & administration of what the they will "lose" should they have the audacity to Vote No. They thought they would be able recreate to some degree my daughter's experience growing up at Sherwood. With passage of the referendum, they lose Red Oak & Sherwood schools. They get a massive building the size of Highland Park High School that's totally out of scale to the area plopped into the worst possible location in Highland Park. They get massive & very dangerous traffic congestion the likes of which this city has never experienced and a carbon footprint that totally contradicts the city's carbon reduction initiative. Their daughter will be put on the bus to Braeside (and that's one of the better outcomes of the reconfiguration). Oh - an as an added bonus they lose West Ridge Park because our school district will surely reach a deal with the park district for the sale or exchange of property to the school district. The main purpose of getting West Ridge? To build 2 new roadways in order to funnel the bus traffic coming from Ridge into the new big box building site. The new "playfields & open space" at the former park will be available for public use when the school district says so. Sweet.

    If the proposed referendum is so wonderful - why the strong opposition? The school board & administration have flunked this test. We're voting absolutely no. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-04 13:32:37
    Jon Nielsen on Sunday Breakfast: North Shore's Coach K: Cooke,Schermerhorn,McHugh true JR Spartan legends! [Read More]
  • 2016-02-04 12:15:08
    Doug Cooke on Sunday Breakfast: North Shore's Coach K: Bill Mclean is a terrific writer
    Time to interview a less wealthy but highly successful Junor Spartan (Glenbrook North) coach!! ;
    [Read More]
  • 2016-02-04 09:22:16
    Jeff Hamburg on Opinion: It's Vital To Vote Yes: The writer's letter is long and filled with many factual errors. I briefly address just two. First, the SCFFAC did not offer the current plan, a self-interested, self-serving architecture firm did. Moreover, that firm possesses no expertise in education and no familiarity with Highland Park. Second, the financial effect of the referendum will not stabilize district finances, and the district says so itself. While the ensuing bond would shift certain expenses to taxpayers (this is not what I would call "savings," by the way), the district foresees the need for another referendum to cover operations. And there's the rub. The currently proposed bond, in size and duration, will financially tie the hands of the district. It maxes out their credit card. Just yesterday, we saw what school district borrowing looks like under those circumstances. CPS has to borrow at 8% interest now. Chicago is paying for their school board's irresponsible decisions. Highland Park must demand better leadership. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-04 09:04:01
    John on Opinion: It's Vital To Vote Yes: Marcy, would you not say you are a little bit biased. Also do you live on the east side of HP and obviously you know if this plan passes there will be no elementary schools, on the West side of HP, so the only kids who will be bussed are my kids who live west of 94 [Read More]
  • 2016-02-04 08:13:43
    Jonas on Opinion: It's Vital To Vote Yes: Two points:

    SCFFAC settled on two 6-8 grade middle-schools. No a single middle-school.

    Why did our schools fall into such disrepair? [Read More]

  • 2016-02-04 07:57:26
    Loren Schechter on Opinion: It's Vital To Vote Yes: Thank you for you letter Marcy-it gets to the core of the issue. The current plan is not based upon the SCCFAC recommendations. SCCFAC neither considered nor endorsed a single middle school campus-In fact, members of SCCFAC have specifically rejected the current proposal. I encourage community members to ready the SCCFAC report which calls for 2 middle schools and rejects the concept of grade centers. Additionally, the only plan subject to the "cost engineering" process was the single middle school-other plans were not vetted in a similar fashion. Join me in voting no-D112 deserves a plan which is fiscally responsible, educationally sound, and respects the neighborhood school model. Loren [Read More]
  • 2016-02-04 00:18:49
    Teri Anderson on Meaghan Collins: So sorry to hear of your thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family [Read More]
  • 2016-02-03 21:10:58
    sam on Armed Police At Northwood School: "armed" police. As opposed to.... [Read More]
  • 2016-02-03 18:29:04
    Caroline on NT's Kalis is shiny good at D-C Tourney: This article was written brilliantly - Well done [Read More]
  • 2016-01-31 18:33:43
    M. McClure on HPHS & DFH Get New Principals: It is NOT a Nobel Prize. It is the CLAES Nobel from the National Society of High School Scholars. The Claes Nobel has nothing to do with the Nobel Prize nor The press release is misleading as there is no "Nobel Prize for Distinguished Teaching" from the actual Nobel organization founded by Alfred Nobel.
    This award from the National Society of High School Scholars, an organization with no connection to the actual Nobel Prizes and to note the press release,is misleading and is an understatement or misrepresentation.
    [Read More]
  • 2016-01-30 15:21:03
    M. McClure on HPHS & DFH Get New Principals: What exactly is the Nobel Prize for Distinguished Teaching? I cannot find it anywhere and there's nothing at the Nobel site related to teaching. I would like to know more about it. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-30 11:44:34
    Judy Gillispie on Opinion: D-112 Declares War On K-5: This is a very well written article which clearly (without fear mongering) discusses the reasons why a "no" vote on this referendum is the best choice. As someone who has lived in Highland Park since 1953 (frightening isn't it?), attended Highland Park schools, have children AND grandchildren who have attended as well, I have seen many school referendums pass and fail. I am very concerned about the manner in which this proposition has been handled and really feel that due to the angry responses on both sides (for and against) everyone should take a "timeout" step back until calmer methods are in place and truly reevaluate this. As I understand it the financial circumstances are not so dire that this is an emergency, so perhaps we need a new school board and a less expensive way of discussing and deciding on a plan. Neighborhood schools have been an important asset to our community and should not be eliminated so rashly. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-30 11:19:37
    Peg Wolfe on Opinion: NU Scoreboard Is Over-Sized: I cut down Isabella to Ashland in Evanston a couple of days ago to check out what NU is doing to the baseball field. Holy mackerel. If I lived on the Wilmette side of Isabella in that block I would be furious. What a weird thing for the NU athletic department to be spending big money on - baseball will never be a revenue sport in this part of the country. Why not level Welsh-Ryan and build a decent men's/women's basketball facility, instead? As the kids would say, I am #SMDH. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-29 07:22:39
    JM on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: 1) Fire sprinklers, security vestibules and the like do not depend upon this $200 million dollar referendum. Feldman and others are trying to convince us that either we buy this whole deal or we get none of those other things. This is false and misleading, like the line of a car salesman who knows you only need car locks and air bags, but is convincing you that you also have to buy a surround sound system, remote door entry and a number of other non-essentials in order to get what you need.
    2)The plan is for the middle school is one building with two wings. That's still one building.
    3) Even if we accept Feldman's casuistry that the middle school is a 5-6 school and a 7-8 school, that's a grade centers model, which research argues against because the more transitions kids have to make from one school to another (k-4, 5-6, 7-8), the worse their academic and educational outcomes. SCFAAC considered a grade centers model and rejected it (the video of their hearings on grade configurations is still available online if you do your detective work). Why should we buy into a grade centers model that SCFAAC, with careful consideration, rejected?
    4) To say that she was not harmed by having 4 and 5th grade in model school proves nothing. That's one personal story. It's too great of an inductive leap to move from that single personal story to a generalization about the best educational context for all fourth or fifth graders (or to represent the outcomes of all who experienced that model when she was young).
    5)If it was educationally such a great plan to have 4 and 5th graders in middle school (Elm Place) when Feldman was young, then logically the district would have argued to keep them there. In fact, they were moved back to elementary schools when that became possible. When we buy this $200 million plan, put shovels in the ground to tear up the Red Oak neighborhood, and commit to building a gigantic middle school for 1,900 kids, THERE WILL BE NO GOING BACK from a grand, ri
    [Read More]
  • 2016-01-28 21:43:38
    Heidi on Opinion: It’s Time to Move Forward: It is laughable that Daniel refers to the District's $200 million dollar plan as "affordable" and, by contrast, caricatures those who want a more modest plan (one based on prudent use of funds and focus on needs not wants) as lost in some Aristophanic cloud-cuckooland. Talk about having things upside down. It is in fact the District that is quixotically driven by unrealistic, unaffordable ideals. But perhaps that's not surprising when one considers the people driving this decision. Take, for instance, our current district CFO who was given a 37% pay raise by D112 in September of 2013, reported for irksomely high salary compensation just last year (, and called out by his previous district for outrageous salary and increases ( Then, let's consider our superintendent, who drives an expensive Porsche to the district Green Bay office. And consider the personal financial resources of certain school board members (obviously not funded by the District, but relevant because wealth shapes perspective). My point is not to judge these leaders' personal wealth or expenditures one way or another. My point is that these are the people proclaiming that we are in a state of financial disaster, and these are the people recommending an extravagant expenditure as solution. Is it any surprise that district leaders who are so accustomed to high personal compensation or expenditures would be similarly inclined to big spending of other people's money--and perhaps not even see it as big spending? [Read More]
  • 2016-01-28 20:25:18
    gloria sullivan on Lake Bluff Man Says Priest Abused Him: Congrats to you Robert for your courage in fighting for the recovering people of GOD,Dave being one we are so proud of. I've been blogging along time and just lately seeing good coming from all our years of fighting the evil one . You should remember me.With mixed feeling I might ad. I hope not too bad. We do grow doing this. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-28 13:19:40
    Judy Jones on Lake Bluff Man Says Priest Abused Him: Dave Ohlmuller is to be commended for his courage in speaking up and sharing his painful story of being sexually abused. Let's hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by Michael “Mitch” Walters, will find the courage to come forward and contact law enforcement no matter how long ago it happened.
    Silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

    Judy Jones, 636-433-2511., SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) [Read More]

  • 2016-01-28 09:22:15
    Steve on Ramping Up For Deerfield Road Construction: Ridiculous. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-28 08:43:25
    Andy on Opinion: It’s Time to Move Forward: Bravo! A well-written, rationale letter that accurately paints the discourse of the opponents while explaining the nuances of the plan and repercussions of doing nothing. We owe it to the kids of the community to step up and vote Yes. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-28 08:15:18
    Done on Opinion: It’s Time to Move Forward: When I read letters like this where all the author can do it vilify anyone who disagrees with him, I shake my head. The school district hired one of the most notorious public relations firms to sell this unworkable plan to the residents. Unfortunately, the public relations firm also suggested that residents write letters to the editor attaching their fellow citizens. A shame really, since we had a nice town. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-28 07:10:31
    Jocelyn Jones on Opinion: It’s Time to Move Forward: I started to respond to this, and soon realized that Jeff Hamburg has put a response much more eloquently that I can. I copy his comments here:

    "By placing its referendum on the March ballot, District 112 calls for local property owners to take on one of the largest and longest school bonds in state history, $198 million plus interest for 30 years — more than a generation. Imagine today's D112 5th graders. Now picture them growing up and moving back to Highland Park in their 30's, or even their 40's. As returning adults, they would pay taxes on the same bond presented to voters today! This scenario seems outlandish because a 30-year bond term is highly unorthodox. The bond's size is also extreme — only Oswego District 308, serving a population five times ours, borrowed more. D112's proposal is so extreme that it required an extraordinary waiver from the General Assembly to avoid the law's limits. That's right, District 112 exceeds even the State of Illinois' lax fiscal restraint.

    How does such a massive debt affect property taxes? Assuming 4 percent interest (which accrues to $140 million on top of $198 million in principle), a home valued at $300,000 would see a total tax increase of more than $16,000; a home valued at $600,000 would trigger $33,000 more in taxes; and homes worth $1,000,000 would see a $55,000 total tax increase.

    We might assume that $198 million buys "a lot" under the proposed plan, but that is not the case. For starters, the district admits this outsized burden will not ensure its solvency and will not prevent a future operating referendum. We could also assume $198 million would buy great new facilities. Instead, the district promises to close six neighborhood schools when the referendum passes. These would be replaced by one middle school the size of a high school.

    I will vote "No" to defeat the D112 referendum and win a renewed search for a less costly, less drastic plan." [Read More]

  • 2016-01-28 06:55:19
    Robert Hoatson on Lake Bluff Man Says Priest Abused Him: Congratulations to Dave Ohlmuller for his courage in facing the horrific abuse he endured as a child. By coming forward, he will help many others who are attempting to heal and recover. Recovery from sexual abuse takes a lifetime, and it is never too late to begin. Road to Recovery, Inc. is honored to work with Dave Ohlmuller and all victims who have come forward to regain their lives. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-27 09:27:44
    John on Opinion: Fearmongering Won’t Alter Vote: The first step is to get on the Caucus that will pick the candidates [Read More]
  • 2016-01-27 08:48:20
    Knl44 on County Revokes Nardo’s License, Appeal Planned: No. You do not get to come into a community and break the rules/laws. You admit to being open after hours, and the other charges filed against you. You allowed a gang element into your establishment. We as a community should not be put in danger because of choices you made. Sorry. Maybe you should open Ina community that does not have rules and you can stay open all night. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-26 20:56:39
    Andy on Opinion: No To D-112 Referendum: That's not an accurate statement. As a former real estate appraiser, the value of a home comes from a variety of factors but quantity of local schools is not one of them. Simply, the quality, typically the overall ranking of the school district, is the main metric important to new home shoppers. Aging, half-filled schools that lack configuration for team-based learning and lack the wiring and setup for modern technologies will drive down test scores, and ultimately drive down home values. District 112 is staring down the freight train of an educational infrastructure collapse, we are decades behind other local districts. We will do our home values a favor, and more importantly our community's kids a favor, if we close the outdated, decaying schools, and move toward a single, modern facility. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-26 20:45:52
    Andy on Opinion: No To D-112 Referendum: I have to disagree with Loren's opinion. First off, opponents to the referendum consistently label the school as a "big box". The use of labels like "big box" is meant to use imagery to skew your perception, create a visual representation without the use of detailed descriptions, also known as facts. That's fine when writing fiction novels, but we're talking about a school for our kids, and the facts matter.

    Secondly, a large middle school is not unprecedented. That statement is baloney. There are plenty of examples of large middle school campuses. Look no further than Winnetka with grades 5-8 on a single campus with 2 buildings (the 112 plan is a single building but clear divide between 5/6 and 7/8). Yes, the single campus approach has really failed Winnetka, and their consistent ranking as one of the top school districts in the state (that's sarcasm). Feel free to check out the building design on the Moving 112 Forward site, it's actually quite impressive.

    Additionally, Loren stated literature does not support a school of this size: The size of the school is less significant than the configuration and teaching model within the school. Large schools perform equal to small schools on testing if configured for team-based teaching. The new campus would have the modern configuration to support teaming. Ignore the rhetoric, and read the facts on Moving 112 Forward's website where they have actual studies posted about school size.

    My last point, the current 12 small schools dotted throughout District 112 average 74 years in age...AVERAGE. Many of them are completely outdated, decaying, and lack the modernization to prepare our kids for the challenges of the 21st century. The strength of our community is not based on the quantity of local schools, it's based on our ability to educate and prepare our kids for the future. Closing old schools makes financial sense, building a new and modern facility makes educational sense. Let go of the nostalgia and focus on the [Read More]

  • 2016-01-26 15:55:21
    JCA on Opinion: CARE Rejects D-112 Strategy: I think 4 are up for re-election in 2017. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-26 12:13:45
    hzs on Opinion: Fearmongering Won’t Alter Vote: Plan A. Defeat the referendum. Plan B. Hopefully, work with a more realistic school board to gradually implement sensible reductions in staff, programs, closing of some schools, building improvements etc. in 2016/2017 - without being on the hook for 350 million. Yes. Difficult compromises will be required of all parties.

    Plan C. Elect 4 new board members in 2017. People that will run on the pledge to provide a full costing out of the 2 middle school option. Preferably they will have financial & construction expertise - so they are capable of making informed decisions instead of being totally reliant on architects & construction managers and the District's Chief Financial Officer (who just got a nice raise last week while the school board and administration speak of cutting teachers and programs).

    The most glaring failure of this school board & administration is that they have divided our community instead of uniting it - a very sad & disgraceful state of affairs we can all agree on. They have demonstrated no ability to provide constructive or collegial leadership. They have young families reeling on a daily basis upon learning of the latest draconian "alternatives" from this board & administration should the referendum fail. For just these reasons alone, I'm voting NO and urge young parents in particular to so as well. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-26 11:28:49
    Gary Savine on Opinion: Fearmongering Won’t Alter Vote: Hi Dan. I've heard several people ask a question similar to yours, which is, "If the opponents to the referendum can't identify a better plan, then why shouldn't we vote for D112's plan?"

    It's a great question, but let's not lose sight of our narrow role as voters -- to judge the current plan on its merits, and send the Board back to the drawing board to come up with a new plan if it fails our scrutiny.

    The current plan fails scrutiny because it reflects severe mission creep. My fellow SCFFAC members and I initially were told that the goal was to address crumbling infrastructure and dwindling reserves. But then somehow the conversation turned to talk of reconfiguring the entire educational model. That, in turn, emboldened the administration and Board to seek more money than is truly needed.

    If the Board could narrow its priorities to address only the immediate fiscal/infrastructure problems, it would come up with a much better, more fiscally prudent plan than one that costs a third of a billion dollars (!) for a district of only 4,000 students. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-26 10:13:33
    Arthur H. Miller on Brenda Dick To Retire From Gorton: Brenda Dick's five years of leadership at Gorton are remarkable for her positive energy and creativity. Gorton is home, among other organizations, to the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation and her work has embodied that organization's ideals. She has protected the historic visual character of this venerable local building and program while infusing it with new vitality and usefulness to Lake Forest. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-25 22:52:48
    Dave on Northbrook Man Charged With Sex Offense: This is why Illinois law is such a crapshoot.

    This is either a 19 year old abusing a younger kid, say a 14 year old. Or it's a 19 year old and a 16 year old doing what is entirely natural which has been criminalized because the state has no (worthwhile) Romeo/Juliet provision, and now the older teen is a sex offender and may very well never get off that damned registry.

    It's worth noting that these cases can be pursued against the kids themselves, mutually, and have been, and will be, if people don't demand a revist of the sex crime laws *now*.

    If that applies here depends on context-but the police, the sex offender registry, and the prosecutors don't care a whit for that. To them, they need to prove nothing. They are either endangering the public or harming it, and no one can tell the difference. It's sick. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-25 22:09:39
    Ralph M on Opinion: Fearmongering Won’t Alter Vote: I am very upset with how this is playing out. The district refuses to offer a more modest plan, and now threatens these cuts to try to force nervous voters to just go along with it. I can't get behind "just trust us" with this board.

    We need a new plan if this fails, or we need resignations. We have to reboot this very broken process. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-25 17:46:00
    Eric R. on State May Cut $3.7M From North Shore Schools: We feel your pain in Highland Park as well. District 112 likes to cry wolf, but it continues to spike its pensions and reward its administrators with more generous raises, skimps on school repairs, and frivolously fritters away our tax dollars on PR firms, consulting firms, and architects upwards of $2 million. Then they have the gall to ask us to fork over another $350 million for their folly of a new building. They live in a fantasyland while we get stuck paying for their gross incompetence. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-25 17:25:27
    Dan Jenks on Opinion: Fearmongering Won’t Alter Vote: You’re confusing the expression “Plan B” in this context. People have asked the Board “what is Plan B if this Referendum fails – i.e., what other, cheaper plan will you have to present to the community if this Referendum fails?” The Board has said “there is no Plan B that will allow District 112 to maintain current levels of programming, class size, enable us to offer full-day Kindergarten, bring our buildings up to state requirements and not require us to raise the operating levy.” And to this day, there still is no “Plan B” as most of us understand the meaning of this term.

    Now, people like me and many others have asked the Board “what are you going to do to manage the $4 million/year hole that we’re in if the Referendum fails?” and the Board has responded over the past several months with an emerging course of action that potentially involves closing Lincoln, Ravinia and Elm Place in 2 years (fall of 2017) – what you call Plan B and what you claim the Board is threatening us all with. I agree that closing all of these schools at once, particularly in the absence of a long-term plan, would be a disaster and I believe the Board is still evaluating this idea and will come to a decision in early February. That said, we have a substantial deficit and the Board has already cut our budget by $6 million in the past few years – the easy cuts are over. People should understand the alternative to voting “Yes” for this Referendum – whether this happens in 2 years or 5 years – and what it will mean to the quality of education here and to our property values.

    I’ve repeatedly asked opponents of the Referendum, “What’s the alternative here? What I could reasonably hope for in an alternative plan if I vote "No"?" The answer I’ve heard from CARE and other opponents is that the Board, - after 2+ years of due diligence looking at literally hundreds of possible permutations - hasn’t thoroughly examined every last option – the implication being that there is some educ [Read More]

  • 2016-01-25 16:04:04
    Jonas Denose on Opinion: CARE Rejects D-112 Strategy: When do the school board members get re-elected? [Read More]
  • 2016-01-25 09:05:26
    Andy on League Endorses D-112 Referendum: Well said, Jerry! [Read More]
  • 2016-01-24 22:06:27
    Mike on Demo OK'd For Winnetka Founder's Home: As the article says, no historical value. Tear it down already. The lady could have bought it herself instead of living in Lake Forest if she cared that much. I'm sure the new owners will build a nice house. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-23 13:36:55
    LJ Gibbs on State May Cut $3.7M From North Shore Schools: Lake Forest High School District 115 will lose $166,420 and District 67 $182,484, for a total of $348,904. So why the hell is LFHS spending $69,000 to an architectural firm to design changes to the school that are estimated to cost $313,000 to $1.18 million? [Read More]
  • 2016-01-23 13:06:26
    Julie on League Endorses D-112 Referendum: JD is exactly right -- and so is Len Tenner: there's no Plan B. But contrary to what Tenner claims, there's no Plan B not because one isn't possible. There's no Plan B because our current school board is rigidly committed to a single vision of 112's future and cannot see beyond the blinders of this particular plan. It's not that there are no possible alternative plans, and it borders on absurd for school board members to claim that they have examined ALL possibilities. The bottom line is that there will be no Plan B or C or D until we get a new school board -- one not driven by the rigid vision and group think of the current board. I personally know at least 4 people who are eager to run for school board -- people who bring financial literacy (sorely missing on the current board), balanced judgment, and a willingness to listen to the community. I will be voting NO to this referendum . . . and calling for a new Board of Education. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-23 11:50:30
    Joan Cordeniz on Anti-Gun Demonstration At Sunset Foods: Signs won't deter those with horrible intentions, but all those gun owners who claim to be the "good guys," the law abiding citizens, do an awful lot of damage through accidental discharges. Follow this link to read about guns accidentally discharging while shopping (

    If you don't want to read the link, I can tell you that it describes accidental discharges in the following grocery venues: Meijer Grocery, Sam's Club, Winn-Dixie, Kroger, Walmart, Target, and several independent grocery stores. Restaurants such as Chili's, Waffle House, McDonald's, Cracker Barrel, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Chick Fil A, Applebee's, Round Table, In-N-Out, Pei Wei, Taco Bell and many others have hosted accidental shootings. Retail establishments such as CVS, Ashley Furniture, Lowes, Goodwill, Home Depot, 7-11, Burlington Coat Factory,GNC, Dollar General, Staples, Auto Zone and Cost Plus have all had accidental shootings on their premises. Additional places open to the public and the "good guys with guns" that have been sites for accidental shootings include churches, movie theaters, storage centers, a public library, hotels (including the venerated Waldorf-Astoria), bars, barbershops, medical centers, hospitals, doctor offices, a blood donation center, gas stations (I wonder what happens when an accidental discharge enters an underground storage tank?), an Navy recruiting office, outlet malls, municipal transit, airports, the Megabus, pawn shops, car dealerships, a car wash, a swap meet, city hall, strip clubs, a bowling alley, a casino and a funeral home (thus eliminating the middle man). These shootings would not have happened had the establishment posted a sign, and the law-abiding citizen observed it. If they had signs, and the law-abiding good guy chose to ignore them, he would at least be subject to additional penalties - and no longer considered "law-abiding."

    While the bad guys with guns are a scary [Read More]

  • 2016-01-23 09:58:31
    Jerry on League Endorses D-112 Referendum: Are you even reading the same article? No amount of "spin" can change what this article is about - which is a highly respected, non-biased group that did their extensive due diligence and decided to endorse a plan that you disagree with. This is not a Letter to the Editor like so many of the other pieces that have been in the media. If the League had decided to vote in favor I am sure you would have loved that article and it would have been about the League's responsible choice......whatever.....people in town have the CARE group figured out - at least I do. They have every right to ask questions - but at this point their rhetoric is really getting ridiculous and this post is the most ridiculous one I have seen. I'm sorry - there is no Plan B because there is not a Plan B, C, D etc. that will allow the district to save the $4 million per year that is needed - period. The rhetoric around town that there has to be another way is ridiculous after the many years of analysis and due diligence, responsibly postponing last year, etc. As for Len Tenner - I do not know him personally however I do know that he has been one of the most involved - if not the most involved citizen over many years and he is highly respected. He has clearly spent many hours of his own time studying the issue with all of the knowledge of his time leading SCFFAC - and he and many, many others in town - including the highly respected League of Women Voters - feel this plan is clearly what is best for Highland Park going forward. The rhetoric from the opposition is really getting old - but the comment above has to be the most comical I have read so for a new school Board - who is their right mind would run for School Board when they will be treated the way many in our community have chosen to treat these volunteer citizens who are boldly trying so hard to do the right thing for our community? I supposed we will see...... [Read More]
  • 2016-01-23 06:46:42
    JD McFall on League Endorses D-112 Referendum: This is perhaps the most misleading headline I've read in a while. I expected the story to be about the League, but it's about the pro-referendum group. Asking CARE or a short quotation and then extensively featuring the YES group is not even close to a balance article. Whatever.

    Anyway, Len Tenner, co-chair of SCFFAC, not Chair, has reversed himself with all of the speed and grace of a politician. When he led SCFFAC, that body can to a series of reasonable recommendations for reconfiguration. Tenner told the Tribune that the community wants change, but not radical change.

    Since then, he's changed his mind. He's allowed to do so, but he no longer represents SCFFAC. His support of the Big Box school is personal, and SCFFAC has never endorsed this giant school or this expensive referendum.

    In fact, here's what Dan Littman, another prominent SCFFAC member, has to say:

    "Leadership is about making choices and trade-offs. Leadership is about finding creative solutions to difficult problems. The current solution fails to make the cost trade-offs that would qualify it as a responsible solution. With a bit more creativity and open mindedness, we have a unique opportunity to bring the community together while addressing our district’s facilities and financial needs. In the spectrum of difficult problems, this one is utterly solvable. Highwood and Highland Park can do better. We will do better."

    Anyone following this will know there is not one way forward or only one possible plan. There's no plan B because our leaders don't want to give us one.

    Four Board seats are up in Spring 2017. Let's vote NO in 2016, and then let's get a new Board of Ed. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-22 19:14:25
    Lido lady on Stride Named Circuit Judge in Lake County: Congratulations Christopher. Great work! [Read More]
  • 2016-01-22 17:35:50
    Carl on Opinion: No To D-112 Referendum: This is a micro school district with too much administration. One of the savings the administration calms is reduced administration with the big box school. They can do it know. Have one principal for two school buildings. Stop all PR expenses. Focus on the classroom to modivate the students for excellence. The superintendent had over 20,000 students in his last school district. Now he has about 4,000 students. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-22 12:45:41
  • 2016-01-22 08:08:59
    Eric R. on Opinion: No To D-112 Referendum: Mr. Schechter is being way too kind. This plan is actually reckless in that it saddles us with long-term debt that does not actually fix our long-term problems like escalating and bloated administration salaries, forces the zig-zagging of students across two sets of train tracks and a highway from K-8 grade, does not even address long-term maintenance costs. If the district cared about finances, it would not have given our CFO Dada a 37% raise, spent hundreds of thousands on a PR firm, and a cool million+ on an architecture firm - all without the vote of approval from the voters. I will be voting NO because we can do better. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-22 07:55:52
    Seth on State May Cut $3.7M From North Shore Schools: Bregy says it is reckless but the state needs to make tough decisions regarding its budget. Their gas tank has been riding on empty for too long, and we continue to fund program after program with no funding. Look at our bond rating, which might be the envy of Greece, but is otherwise the worst in the country. Of course Bregy, Dada and the rest of the top-heavy bloated and expensive school administrations on the North Shore continue to rapidly increase their salaries and pensions on the backs of its taxpaying residents, and propose to spend hundreds of millions on facilities, rather than directly funding these programs. We need to find ways to do more with less. Our financial troubles as a state and as local districts continue to rely on the model that we have unlimited financial resources at our disposal and that we can spend our way out of debt, but that is not the case for the vast majority of folks who must live within their means every day. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-22 07:38:57
    John on Opinion: No To D-112 Referendum: Could not have said it better, the board has been super sneaky in setting up their own committee's and PR firm [Read More]
  • 2016-01-22 06:43:34
    Franklin Kiting on Anti-Gun Demonstration At Sunset Foods: Whereas I am staunchly anti-gun, I continue to question the ability of a sign to deter an emotionally unbalanced gun owner. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-22 06:42:27
    Just Observing on Anti-Gun Demonstration At Sunset Foods: These protests are absolutely ridiculous. As if anyone with a gun with bad intentions will be deterred by a silly sign. Goodman and his group should leave these businesses alone. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-21 22:28:05
    Jonas on Opinion: No To D-112 Referendum: Thank you for illuminating the issues so well. My wife and I will not be supporting this. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-21 16:43:15
    DanJenks on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Yes, agree to disagree. I, too, am willing to admit when I'm wrong and I think a vigorous debate here is a good thing - let each side bring their best arguments and let people collectively decide what they think the right/wise/prudent/self-interested thing to do here is. And should the Referendum fail, I'm certainly willingly to sit down with you and others, although I think its a very remote possibility that there is an educationally equivalent plan that costs much less - it's just a question of what you are willing to give up to save money. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-21 16:12:23
    hzs on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Of course, myself & those opposed to the one middle school 5-8 configuration with it's horrible location, wasteful site plan and 200 million price tag will vote no. However, I've spoken with many voters who like myself would be willing to consider the 2 middle school plan for 200 million (probably much less) that is a better fit on so many levels for the overwhelming majority of the community. We'll accept the 2 million savings from staff reduction (operating savings are minimal) instead of the projected 4 million. The bottom line is we're still saving $2 million annually - we're not spending more. This is called compromise. Let's see how it works and go from there a year or two down the line. A mindful, moderate approach to this voter.

    Many citizens went before the school board repeatedly pleading for this opportunity. They sat there staring out into space for the allotted 3 minute time limit for comments without the courtesy of a reply. And this is why I lost any respect for them.

    Myself & many others want a full cost analysis on the 2 middle school model to see what's absolutely needed and what's bells & whistles. We might discover what's absolutely needed costs a lot less. The shame of this is that our school board never did this important work. I'm voting no until this happens. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-21 15:05:18
    JCA on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Dan,

    I don't question the intentions of most board members - I simply think they have it wrong. I've also felt - from what I've seen - that there has been very little questioning or pushback on the architects, financials presentations from the administration, etc (I think you'll agree that some board members clearly struggle with data/numbers?). I was actually encouraged to see Eric Ephraim at this week's meeting push back on some of the numbers presented and question and disagree with some of the decisions made (e.g. the BDR presentation showed "staff savings" of $390k from closing a single elementary school. Upon further questioning by Ephraim, we found out that benefits were not included in that figure - probably a significant sum. But that slide will only show $390k...unfortunate. He also made some valid points re proposed format essentially keeping some 2 section schools, which contradicts one of the Boards supposed priorities). Unfortunately, near the end of the meeting, Mordini and Ross felt it appropriate to unfairly reprimand him in public for apparently not being a team player and for speaking too long...I thought their response was an embarrassment and, quite frankly, did not particularly raise my level of confidence in the board. Watch it - it was kind of bizarre...

    Re: state funding levels...I think "guarantees" is the key word. "Helps them manage" and "guarantees" I don't think mean the same thing... I have no trouble acknowledging when I'm wrong, so maybe I'm off the mark a little bit with that comment, but not sure "way off the mark" - as you state - is accurate.

    I will say, Dan, that I do appreciate that you clearly have put time and thought into your decision to back this plan (it's exhausting to respond to your posts!). You have clear reasons for your position (whether I agree with them or not) and you take the time and effort to explain those in your posts - vs. the mostly "learn the facts, don't be misled, if you vote [Read More]

  • 2016-01-21 13:21:20
    DanJenks on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Jorge, I don’t think the Board members are spendthrifts or gullible or naive educational idealists and I do think they are open-minded – in fact, I think most – if not all of them - wanted the 2 6-8 middle schools and 6 building K-5 elementary school idea that SFFAC came up with thru the community feedback process. Then, of course, reality hit with the first Nagle Hartray presentation as all of the estimates for this model were well above the District’s borrowing limit.

    I’d like to believe there is a partial solution that costs less than $100 million that addresses our immediate financial issues and allows us to consolidate into fewer buildings without the need for mobile classrooms while keeping the essence of a D112 education the same – I just don’t think that option exists and I’m unwilling to take a chance on what I believe to be a very low probability outcome – particularly given the very high cost – educationally and from a property value perspective - we (particularly those of us who live in Lincoln) will have to pay if the Referendum fails.

    Your comment that “absent certainty from state funding levels, no plan guarantees anything” is, respectfully, way off the mark. As I understand it, the District decided to increase the size of the Referendum from $150 million to $198 million specifically to give it the flexibility to successfully manage both the withdrawal of low income student aid and transfer of pension liabilities to the District. Under the status quo, under any plan you or I could design, the issue of removal of state aid will exist – I’m not sure what a better solution is here?

    It’s unfortunate that some members of our community have lost trust in the Board – over the past 2 years, I’ve said down with many Board members individually and I’ve pressed them on all of the issues and questions you’ve raised. This is a talented group of community members who have a lot of integrity and who put in ridiculous amounts of time trying to find [Read More]

  • 2016-01-21 12:43:32
    DanJenks on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Hsz,

    Respectfully, the District went very far down the road in costing out the 2 middle school building option. You can look at the May 19, 2015 Nagle Hartray powerpoint on the District’s website (page 30) to see the various costs – as I said in my original comment, you could do 2 middle schools (Edgewood plus a new one) for $200 million. Additionally, you can look on the District’s “Reconfiguration Facts” for a one-page summary of why they didn’t chose a 2 middle school model – part of the reason was that it would cost $2 million/year more to operate versus just 1 middle school. It seems obvious to me that one gets economies of scale (for better or for worse) when you’re operating 1 middle school campus versus 2 separate buildings.

    It’s important to note that even this Edgewood + a new middle school model is a K-4 model – the cost of keeping two 6-8 middle school and six K-5 elementary school would be much higher than $200 million upfront. So, while I’d like to believe your statement that voters would overwhelmingly support a 2 middle school model if it were on the ballot, I’m guessing those opposed to the 5 to 8 middle school or opposed to the $200 million cost would also vote no. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-21 10:03:23
    Lucki on Opinion: Rotering for Congress: Your well-intended article is ironic - like a "politician" it has no teeth. First, your reader (this reader) knows nothing about you, yet you endorse Nancy. Why should I listen to you? Show me who Nancy is with a compelling story. At last, your article will be more than words. What is clear in your article is that Nancy has a wonderful friend. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-21 07:41:50
    John on D-112 Borders Try Keeping Kids Together: Not one elementary school on the West side, doesn't sound like a good plan to me. Interesting that Samantha and Mordini were both on the committee seeing that both are on the board [Read More]
  • 2016-01-21 02:41:12
    Emily on Thumbs Up ... For Two Paws Up: Aw, that photo of the pup with the little girl is just precious! It is really important to choose the proper breed of dog for the family and get the pup trained. It will help a lot to get into a harmonious groove within the household! [Read More]
  • 2016-01-20 18:45:20
    JCA on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Dan,
    Do you really think that D112 would look at an alternate plan with an open mind? Or do you think they would simply find reasons to shoot it down? I’ve watched, read, and asked questions – and every time something does not jibe, the story or the numbers magically change or “evolve.” It’s a moving target – and I have zero confidence that they would really consider an alternate plan. All there is to do at this point, unfortunately, is to oppose and vote down the current plan. As others have stated, this plan leads us on the same dangerous financial path as “doing nothing” - which, by the way, I don’t think many are proposing. It also significantly and adversely impacts our community.

    But ok – back to an alternative. What we are hearing is that the only way to address our problems is to either spend $200M+ or $0, right? (that’s hard for me to wrap my head around…). I don’t think anyone has illusions that there is a perfect $100M plan out there – but there is some sort of a solution. My point is, if $200M is not getting us to perfect (far from it), why not look at more “moderate” other alternatives? This group has never done that -they started from $320M and worked their way down until something was “affordable.” Then grabbed onto that idea and convinced themselves that they now have an educationally superior plan, despite a lack of evidence to that end. Never did they run thru an exercise like they are currently doing with the BDR (budget deficit reduction) and also look at smart, targeted investment in current buildings. I’m still confused by the fact that they claim that $81M under the current proposal will get them ADA compliance, A/C, sprinklers, security, rehab in 5 existing buildings, expansion at 2 of those buildings, but that there is nothing that can be done for $100M+/- (and don’t even get me started with knocking down 2 of our newest buildings when supposedly one of the major issues is…you guessed it…the age of our buildings…). I’m [Read More]

  • 2016-01-20 15:27:46
    hzs on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Dan Jenks,

    On the contrary, many voters believe passing the referendum will put the community on a very dangerous financial path in addition to being stuck with a massive single middle school whose educational & socialization benefits are debatable at best. You and other "what's your plan" people can say 2 middle schools won't work, but until at least one fully costed out 2 middle school alternative is presented - it's just opinion - not fact. Furthermore, it's extremely unfortunate and irresponsible on the part of the school board that they didn't go the distance to fulfill their duty to the community to do this. (And I don't tell me the Olson Park fiasco was a well thought out option).

    So now we are left with the very polarizing, take this one middle school plan or feel the pain referendum which has left community members on both sides of the issue petrified and scared of what will happen when the referendum passes or fails. Instead of uniting the community behind a plan that will generate overwhelming support - they have polarized the community.
    This is not the kind of leadership many of us respect or will follow.

    And it all boils down to a difference of one school site. The 2 middle school plan (8 total sites) that would pass a referendum with overwhelming community support vs. the highly divisive one middle school plan (7 sites) on the table that may pass by the slimmest of margins at best.

    For all of the above reasons I will vote no and urge my friends & neighbors to vote no as well. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-19 23:18:37
    DanJenks on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Jorge, as you and I have discussed, if this Referendum fails we are heading down a very bad path. You and some of the other commenters here think that a sub-$100 million solution exists that will provide for 2 modernized middle schools, 6 feeder elementary schools, no increases in class size limits, maintains programming and offers full day Kindergarten - I don’t. I can assume a certain amount of incompetence among Board members, architects, administrators – but having personally watched many meetings and reviewed many documents over the past 2+ years, there isn’t some obviously overlooked better choice out there. No one opposed to this Referendum has even sketched out the outline of a better plan – the “No” argument basically is “trust us, there will be an educationally better, cheaper plan if we demand one, even though we can’t tell you what it would look like.” And believe me, I wanted to see a financially workable 2 middle school model with an elementary school west of 41 – it’s just not in the cards. As I see it, the best case for a 2 middle school model is $200 million upfront (same cost as middle school campus), $2 million more per year in operating expense, 5th graders walking the halls with 8th graders at an expanded Edgewood and a brand new middle school elsewhere. My guess is most of the “No” vote isn’t going to want to support this alternative plan either. So, into the policy abyss we go - fortunately I don’t have kids in D112 anymore and am not planning on selling my house in the next few years.……. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-18 21:33:08
    Eric R. on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Thank you for encouraging me to vote how I wish Monica. Because I, and most of my neighbors and friends in the district will be voting NO on this travesty of a plan that will saddle our district with an unmanageable debt load that forces massive busing and contradicts SFAC recommendations. NO BIG BOX SCHOOL IN HP AND NO TO THE $198 million referendum. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-18 10:39:02
    Barb Tubekis on How To Build An African School? Sing: The Volunteer Center of N.E. Metro Chicago and The Kindness Connection will also be hosting and doing a service project for Fred Outa's Foundation at the MLK Day of Service, Monday, Jan 18 from 1 to 4pm at The Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Ave. Winnetka, Il. Come and meet Fred and stay and participate in 11 different projects that help 20 nonprofit's clients in metro Chicago. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-18 07:58:21
    Drew Reed on Why Movies & Chinese Food On Christmas?: I like how you said that the Jewish immigration and the Chinese settlement are related. A friend of mine works at a Chinese restaurant that was founded in the 1880s, right at the time you're talking about. I never made that connection before. Thanks for sharing! [Read More]
  • 2016-01-18 07:13:53
    Lucki on North Shorts: The High Road: Your article made me smile too. Keep writing! [Read More]
  • 2016-01-17 18:52:05
    JD McFall on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Why do you assume that people with questions are repeating what they have heard and not doing their own diligence?

    If that were the case, voters would be likely to be convinced by the massive PR campaign waged by the District to sway voters. The fact is the the questions raised by the opposition haven't been addresses. If the plan is a good one, it will survive these questions.

    You are not making an argument at all when you tell people their questions are somehow not legitimate. I don't believe Yes people like yourselves are trying to mislead others at all. Rather, this process has so many problems that it has not answered the questions that thoughtful residents have raised about its negatives.

    You can disagree--and it's clear that you do--but your claim that opponents are parrots of "what they have heard" is not at all an argument. Why not address the questions rather than tell people they shouldn't be asking them? [Read More]

  • 2016-01-17 17:53:21
    Jim Moss on Karl Nagel: Grandpa Nagel was a significant contributor to teaching about work ethic, doing a job right and having a little fun along the way. He also taught me a puddy knife makes an excellent coffee cake knife...a little silicon never hurt anyone. He was a home brewer long before it was hip or trendy. Thank you Grandpa Nagel for all you did for the community and those within it. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-16 21:50:36
    JCA on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Monica,

    While I appreciate that you are passionate about this subject, it is unfair (and disingenuous) to characterize the opposition as light on facts. I think if you took the time to listen, you'd better understand the concerns about this plan.

    The fact is this plan is based more on questionable assumptions than facts. The facts do say that this plan is expensive and unproven from an educational standpoint - i.e. it's a huge gamble. The facts say that this plan does nothing to ensure long term financial sustainability - as there are other undetermined factors at play. The facts say that this plan ignores the community's desire for 2 middle schools and no grade centers, even if at greater cost (per SCFFAC). The facts say there is no definitive traffic plan for the single school as currently sited (facts also say its a really bad location for a 2000 student school). The facts say there will be no elementary school west of 41. The facts say that D112 refused to fully cost out a 2 middle school option and, perhaps more importantly, a "middle of the road" option. The facts say that the $150m you quoted is a projected spend over 30 years for maintenance of the existing 12 buildings - not something many, if any, are proposing and an apples to oranges comparison to the $198m.

    I'm certainly not going to try to convince you to change your mind at this point, as it seems you have fully bought in (though perhaps you should be asking more questions...). I encourage other to vote NO and demand a realistic and passable plan for our schools. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-15 14:27:20
    truth on Opinion: Move HP Forward: Both the Wilmette and Barrington examples feed into high schools that are bigger, joining other middle schools graduating classes. They have communities where kids start out in smaller elementary schools, go to larger "big box" middle schools (if you want to call them that), but then still get to go to larger high schools that are fed by multiple middle schools-with new blood at each step. They do not go to school with the exact same class of kids from the time they're 10 years old until they go to college. Simple common sense, critical thought, and putting yourself in the mindset of the kids who will be the ones conducting this experiment can heed examples of all the problems and difficulties that would arise from such a plan socially. Putting money aside- many opponents of the plan have NO problem with change- they just think the current plan is majorly flawed. I'm sure there might be some great educational benefits to the plan, but the negative long term social ramifications cancel them out- and to many people, those factors are every bit as important as any educational benefits. Its not as simple as saying people who vote no are selfish, afraid of change, or relying on bad information- there's a lot more at play, and a lot of it comes down to opinion and personal priorities. The vitriol and demagoguery in refuting these myths and in politics (that feels like what this has become) in general is dishearteningly unproductive. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-15 13:50:55
    truth on Opinion: Say Yes to HP Referendum: One MASSIVE difference that was conveniently glossed over in Mr. Schwartz's letter- after Washburne, those students go to New Trier High School, and are exposed to students from 7+ other middle schools. This current plan calls for HP's kids to go to school with the exact same class from the time they're 10 years old until they go to college. Let's say everything is great at Washburne- those kids get the benefit of gradually going from smaller to bigger schools throughout their adolescence- a proven positive social map to success for many different reasons . In this plan, that is totally not the case. That idea should be a starting point, and whatever plan comes after that should be the best one possible keeping that flow intact. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-15 12:35:41
    maddy kayz on Here's the inside story on Fleisher: GO ZACK! LOVE U!! U ROCK IT EVERY TIME! [Read More]
  • 2016-01-15 11:18:53
    Jonathan F on Opinion: Say Yes to HP Referendum: The Board never fully costed out the plan for any two middle school configuration. The September 15 Board meeting, with video, details this. Watch Eric Ephraim's comments.

    There was no value engineering completed on anything other than the middle school campus. We owe our residents a full accounting of all options before telling everyone "there is no other way."

    If this plan is the best one, it will hold up to full scrutiny. What do those who want it have to fear, really? Let me know all the facts and details. and give us an apples-to-apples comparison of costs.

    Vote NO, and let's get our Board to do it's job and respect the SCFFAC recommendations (no grade centers, etc). [Read More]

  • 2016-01-14 22:13:02
    JD McFall on Opinion: Move HP Forward: I think people call it a Big Box school because of it's size and the way that size impacts the community. A Wal-Mart, for instance, may sell products more efficiently than a local store, and that's why it's a Big Box.

    The stuff there may be less expensive, and there may even be more selection, but the scale is what fundamentally changes the shopping experience. We make choices about the scale we want for our communities, and I don't want larger.

    Former Mayor Belsky said the same thing a few months ago when he indicated that we need to respect our community values. SCFFAC said the same thing: the most-favored option is not necessarily the one that delivers the maximum savings. It's not even clear if we can protect the purported savings of this middle-school model against compensation increases, and there's no good evidence to say our children will benefit.

    There's no obvious good to this above other possibilities, and there is substantial risk. I know the letter writer would say it's Orwellian logic or something that makes people think this way, but really, it's common sense.

    My reading of 1984--a long time ago now--is that we need to be suspicious of bureaucratic language and centralization. Newspeak is a way for the controlling government to force people to go along with their plans and to stop asking questions. So, ok, I am asking questions and don't want to go along with 112's plan.

    Are they Big Brother then? I don't think so, but the metaphor gets muddled for me. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-14 22:01:20
    Albert Smalls on Opinion: Say Yes to HP Referendum: Judy--

    I've followed the comments here, and you are being unfair.

    One good question is whether our most economically vulnerable residents have been represented in this process. I question any plan that tells us what's best for others without any evidence to back it up. Show me the research, and I'll change my mind.

    As for the two-middle school option: it was never value engineered. Watch the September 15th Board meeting, and particularly Eric Ephraim's comments. This isn't pulled out of the air; it all on tape.

    SCFFAC proposed it's direction, and it's all be ignored: the configuration, the rejection of grade centers, the values of the community. You can say forever and ever amen that there is no other way, but that doesn't make it true.

    What we have here is groupthink, and $12,000 per month worth of PR. I don't want to change your mind. I don't care how you vote, but please stop with the unfair characterization of those who don't want it.

    You are entitled to your opinion, but not to your own facts.

    And really, "hot mess"? [Read More]

  • 2016-01-14 19:14:46
    JCA on Opinion: Move HP Forward: Well said. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-14 16:30:45
    JCA on Opinion: Move HP Forward: I would encourage people to think with their brains and not with their hearts...there is too much at stake. I think most people understand the need to invest in and reconfigure our school district - but for many reasons, this is not the right plan.

    Re: Pt #1, I fail to understand how simply the fact that we paid off another obligation 5 years ago means that we can now afford the $198M referendum. We already have among the highest tax burdens in the area and by making radical changes to our district's structure and increasing our taxes, we risk adversely affecting the saleability and values of our homes. (I'd encourage the author to check his numbers, btw - taxes will increase either $748 or $932 on a $600k home depending on how they would structure the debt repayment - so either way more than $100 per $100k). The comparison between the $200M and $150M is also inaccurate as the $150M is a projected 30 year spend on ongoing maintenance if nothing were to change (i.e. we continued to operate 12 buildings). It's an apples to oranges comparison. (For the record, $117M of the $198M goes to the new middle school - with 2000 students - that will replace 2 of our newer buildings...the remaining $81M is slated for rehab and expansion of the remaining existing buildings. What exactly are we getting for our money in the existing schools?)

    What about a more modest and proactive investment in buildings along with some level of consolidation? We don't know what that looks like because the board refused to explore that option. Until I know what that looks like, this plan will not be getting my vote.

    I also find it ironic that the author accuses the opposition of using fear as a tactic. That is exactly the path the district has taken with their false option strategy. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-14 15:23:27
    Judy H. on Opinion: Say Yes to HP Referendum: Let's get a better plan.

    Who's the "us" in "let's?" Is it you, Commenter? Is it Care? Because your Board of Ed, NSSD 112's cabinet, teachers, support staff, community volunteers and (horror's!) other paid professionals have arrived at this plan. A two - middle school option is not doable. Not enough land and too much money. Many of the 24% low income families manage to get their kids all the way to the far southwest from the north as it is, just fine. Thank you for your concern. We're good.

    Voting no will not produce a better plan. There isn't another option, just painful cuts. It'll be a hot mess.
    And you get to thank yourself for that. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-14 14:10:16
    Albert Smalls on Opinion: Move HP Forward: The Orson Welles' War of the Worlds broadcast was 1938, not 1953. That is the level of fact-checking at work in this letter.

    It's fine to support the referendum, but the author makes many opinion statements that are presented as facts.

    The people who oppose this referendum--and I'm one--absolutely support reconfiguration and consolidation. We simply want to back a plan that will solve our problems. We don't believe this is the right plan, and it is problematic in terms of education, finances, and process.

    The CARE position does _not_ say any of statements Miller lays out.

    There are no "minions" who want to "kick the can down the road." The opposition has not argued for two middle schools, but only that SCFFAC asked for two, and the District failed to fully cost out those options. The community also unequivocally rejected grade centers in the SCFFAC process.

    There are so many other falsehoods here, I frankly don't have the energy to detail all of them. The educational research on the CARE website is not 20-30 years old. This is simply not true. Rather, there is ample evidence that says large school, and small schools (pods, and teams, etc) injure educational outcomes, particularly for lower incomes families.

    Why would we want to further put those families at risk? Our district is 24% low income. We are not Wilmette, with 4% low income.

    Anyone can Google "George Orwell" or "Orson Welles" and too quickly type the wrong fact, but a nuanced problem requires nuanced arguments. We deserve a real discussion on these issues rather than opinion statements telling us

    There is no Orwellian philosophy at work in a reasoned opposition to this $198 million referendum. I tire of being told that opposition is equated to selfishness. We teach our children to ask questions, and adults need to as well.

    "Miller and his cronies" might wish to extend to the opposition that same courtesies that they wish for themselves. We are are concerned with what's best [Read More]

  • 2016-01-14 13:29:27
    Greg D. on Opinion: Move HP Forward: " CARE and its minions"

    "if you investigate your concerns with these district, you will find your FEARS to be unfounded."

    "Think of your children"

    "Do not let Orwellian Philosophy make you FEAR change."

    I'm confused. Why would fear make me not think logically about this issue? [Read More]

  • 2016-01-14 06:20:17
    Commenter on Opinion: Say Yes to HP Referendum: One key difference is size. The 112 school would be 1900+ students.

    A second key difference is demographics. Our district is 24% lower income, compared with 4% in Winnetka.

    The research shows that large schools will not well serve these populations.

    A third key difference is geography. Our school is in the far southwest corner of the district, miles from the students in the north.

    A fourth key difference is motivation. This is a financial plan disguised as an educational one. We could implement middle school philosophy in many different configurations, including the two middle schools that our community actually wants.

    When you look closely at this author's arguments, you'll see there is little that makes the proposed configuration a good idea.

    Let's vote no and get to a better plan. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-13 22:23:07
    Find something else to do on Opinion: Questioning D-115 Data Contract: Again, you all need to find something else to do. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-13 17:52:20
    Monica on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Dear hsz,

    To address your response to my initial comments:

    First, if the referendum fails, the capital expenditures required to implement DO NOT include ADA compliance, asbestos removal, fire sprinklers, climate control, and site/traffic improvements. I'm thinking you didn't not know this as I'm sure you want our children in a safe environment.

    Two middle schools will cost more than one middle school because the inefficiencies of duplicating shared services (kitchens, cafeterias, auditoriums, gymnasiums, etc) will be lost. We cannot build, legally, as we did in 1867 & 1920 or even 1961. In a single middle school campus, shared facilities will see constant use, rather than being empty for most of the school day.

    Vote as you wish, but please make sure you have the facts. I have yet to hear a solid reason why this is a bad plan other than people saying "this is a bad plan." I get it, some people don't like it. Please tell us what works for you that is affordable, child-centric and an excellent educational model.

    I'm all ears [Read More]

  • 2016-01-13 09:27:16
    Lisa on Opinion: Questioning D-115 Data Contract: Mr. Troxel, could you please provide information regarding high school students needing dogs to calm them? I am aware of a recent Croya event that had therapy dogs during finals week for students to visit with. Is this what you are referring to?
    Also, Dr Holland was and is a popular choice for principal in my circle.
    [Read More]
  • 2016-01-13 08:03:07
    Angie Bacon-Sanson on The Pet Rescuer of Wilmette ...: Appi is an amazing person. She works tirelessly to find the animals a forever home. She counts her own adoptees as her "fur kids". The dogs go just about everywhere with her and her kids are very accepting of their moms rotating animals. Keep up the great work Appi. Love ya. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-12 16:41:48
    Jennifer Neubauer on Opinion: Questioning D-115 Data Contract: From Politico at

    ".....Promoted by the Obama administration, the databases are being built in nearly every state at a total cost of well over $1 billion. They are intended to store intimate details on tens of millions of children and young adults — identified by name, birth date, address and even, in some cases, Social Security number — to help officials pinpoint the education system’s strengths and weaknesses and craft public policy accordingly.

    ( Also on POLITICO: The big biz of spying on little kids)
    The Education Department lists hundreds of questions that it urges states to answer about each child in the public school system: Did she make friends easily as a toddler? Was he disciplined for fighting as a teen? Did he take geometry? Does she suffer from mental illness? Did he go to college? Did he graduate? How much does he earn?
    “Every parent I’ve talked to has been horrified,” said Leonie Haimson, a New York mother who is organizing a national Parent Coalition for Student Privacy. “We just don’t want our kids tracked from cradle to grave.”

    Read more: [Read More]

  • 2016-01-12 16:12:39
    Jennifer Neubauer on Opinion: Questioning D-115 Data Contract: Did D67 already enter a nearly identical contract with ECRA at its December 15, 2015 Board Meeting?

    See: [Read More]

  • 2016-01-12 16:06:49
    hzs on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: In response to Monica’s recent comments.

    First - to suggest fire safety in our schools isn’t a priority for those who are against the referendum is ridiculous and untrue. What information do you base your statement on?

    Second - who says 2 middle schools will cost more than one middle school? It’s the current architectural & construction team. The ones that came up with the single middle school concept . Why? Because they were unable to develop cost effective solutions to meet the 150 million budget for the recommended action plan which called for the construction of 2 middle schools (the original SCFFAC recommended action plan) when requested by the school board and administration.

    As a salesman whose income is derived solely from commissions on sales - my success is derived from listening to my clients and recommending product solutions that will meet their needs while staying within their budget constraints. If their budget is $1000.00 – it would be unproductive to recommend a product that costs $2000.00. The client will simply thank me for my time and effort & contact another vendor that will meet their needs. Standard business practice. The current architectural & construction team has failed to find solutions that will effectively remediate our schools within the budget given to them. It may be hard to believe for some – but they’re not the only firms in the school design & construction business. Time to thank them for their richly compensated efforts and start the process of looking at new vendors. Standard business practice.

    Finally – I couldn’t disagree more with the assertion that this proposed referendum is for the greater good of the community and characterizes those opposed to be selfish or unconcerned for what is in the best interest of our community. This proposal is disrespectful & harmful to our community on so many levels - whether you’re rich, poor, middle class, white, Hispanic, black, a young family, an empty nes [Read More]

  • 2016-01-12 13:17:48
    Rob Troxel on Opinion: Questioning D-115 Data Contract: This superintendent continues to try our patience by offering solutions to questions that no one is asking. Now his unpopular choice for High School principal thinks we need dogs to calm our students down. That combined with a rubber stamp school board (with the exception of Ted) confirms the taxpayers need to take back control. You have to love the five dollar words being used to describe 10 cent terms so prevalent in the literal dog and pony shows we are treated to when these folks get up to speak. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-12 12:48:11
    LF Mom on Opinion: Questioning D-115 Data Contract: Thank you, Jennifer for bringing this to light. Yet another privacy concern for our children's data. I would encourage all parents to follow this issue. I further encourage D115 Administration and Board of Ed to fully disclose what data is being collected and disseminated about our children. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-12 11:57:54
    Hilary F. Till on Opinion: Questioning D-115 Data Contract: Regarding the newly proposed (and totally discretionary) large-scale data collection on our children, one of two things could be true: (a) it is harmful, or (b) it is innocuous. I would propose two adjustments to this process, which would encompass both possibilities, given that it is difficult to understand in advance which possibility is true. Let’s say this is harmful and an invasion-of-privacy, then parents should be able to opt-out of this invasive, non-educational data-gathering exercise. On the other hand, let’s say this exercise is completely innocuous, then Board of Education members and the district’s senior administrative staff should also be subjects in this “granular” data-exercise experiment whereby records are kept at the “personal identifier” level.

    Sincerely yours, Hilary F. Till, B.A. with General Honors (in Statistics), University of Chicago; and M.Sc. (in Statistics), London School of Economics [Read More]

  • 2016-01-12 10:49:27
    Clara Tomaz on The Pet Rescuer of Wilmette ...: Great job, App!!! What you do is so amazing!! And big kudos to your exceptional mom, too :) [Read More]
  • 2016-01-12 03:13:39
    Palatine grain on LA bests Palatine in state semifinal: he is so cute [Read More]
  • 2016-01-11 15:32:15
    Monica on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: NSSD 112 is living outside of its means NOW, and has been for a long time, well before anyone was hired to dig us out of this. It sounds like you're repeating what you've heard and not doing your own due diligence. If you have no fear, I apologize. Perhaps 'mislead' is a better way to put it. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-11 15:22:43
    Monica on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: And your plan is........?

    Propose a solution. And enough with the distrust. You are refusing to look at the big picture beyond your own preferences. If this is unacceptable and bloated, whatever, find a plan and enlighten us.

    • Statues quo is 150mm with no improvements, no money for savings. (BTW, why is a lack of fire safety in our kids' schools okay with you guys?)
    • 2 middle schools cost MORE than 1 middle school campus.

    THESE are the facts. Vote YES. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-11 15:05:51
    Jack on Drury Wants Answers on Fantasy Sports: typical democratic scare tactic. "But who will protect the poor children!" with tears running down his face. Reality check -- there is an age verification process and you need a credit card/checking account to play. Can a few kids slip through? Of course. But That is true of buying booze. Playing the ponies etc. stop using this tired cliche when 99.9% of legal adults who play do so freely and willingly. It is there money. Stop with the democratic tag line that people need to be saved by the government from themselves. You are so damn vocal that woman have the right to abortions with no limits yet something as benign as fantasy sports will end society. Maddening the hypocrisy. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-11 12:52:27
    hzs on Do's and Don'ts for D-112 Referendum: This referendum is way beyond whether we think it's an embarrassment or not. This proposed reconfiguration/financing scheme is about changing the nature of our community forever. This is about whether the citizens of HP can trust this school board to manage/steward the massive changes that those on both sides of the issue agree need to be done. I've been watching this school board in action for a long time. Nothing in the way they have conducted themselves or their work product has given me any reason to trust them. They have little or no financial expertise. Little or no real estate expertise. They have shown no respect for our parks & open space. They have no respect for how the increased tax burden will surely put more financial strain on financially struggling middle class families. Unwilling to admit to a lousy site plan for a questionable at best single middle school concept that's at the root of all of this. Unwilling to engage the community members speaking before them at board meetings in discussion. Unwilling to compromise at all. Scorched earth back-up "plan". Btw - how is the reconfiguration plan coming along? It's 64 days before we vote on the referendum. Who will be selecting the blue ribbon panel? What is the process for selecting members to the panel? What qualifications will they need to be on the panel? This panel will meet for a total of 20 hours over 2 days to "hash out" the new school boundries. 20 total hours devoted to the process for a massive reconfiguration that will affect families for years to come. Disgraceful. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-11 08:44:57
    Seth Cohen on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Fear has nothing to do with the opposition to the largest proposed tax increase in the history of the state, which saddles us with a $200 million tax bill, plus more than $140 million in interest payments on top of it. This is about living within our means, and developing a plan that actually meets the needs of district residents and does not just line the pockets of architects and PR firms. Vote NO on this mess. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-11 06:49:17
    Sara S on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: The high opposition is coming from the fact that this plan doesn't do what it's proponents so desperately claim it will.

    The largest tax increase ever in Highlabd Park doesn't fix our financial problems and has nothing to do with education.

    These are the facts, and we nee to vote no on this bloated referendum. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-10 16:50:24
    Monica on Do's and Don'ts for D-112 Referendum: The process is an embarrassment? How about a bankrupt school district that the State has to take over? Or random school closings without a plan to prevent the State from taking over? That's what's embarrassing to me.

    "Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called whining." [Read More]

  • 2016-01-10 16:32:59
    Monica on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Marcia's view is the conclusion of the reasonable, well-informed citizens of 112 who value the greater good above personal preferences. Taxes will go up whether this passes or not. Please, get the facts. The high volume of the opposition you hear is coming from fear. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-10 11:39:00
    Judy on Bent Fork Bakery A Sweet Delight: Regarding the Bent Fork Bakery's Morning Bread recipe, the baking soda is omitted in the list of ingredients. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-10 10:34:23
    Michael C. Craven on What Readers Think About Divorce: Nice article. You bring up alot of good pointers. Communication is key. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-10 09:21:04
    Molly Flynn on Lake Forest Book Store To Move: The Lake Forest Bookstore is my favorite place to shop for myself and others! It's a true gem, and I am looking forward to seeing the expanded space. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-08 23:37:04
    Andre Ruiz on Recap — Baseball Sectional: Stevenson 6, GBS 0: Such a nice recap. Got the full picture from the article. And adding reaction at the end has made this article awesome. Glenbrook South played a great season, but had an unfortunate end to things in the sectional semifinals. The Patriots just managed to move another step closer to a championship, scoring five runs in the first four innings to pull out a 6-0 win over Glenbrook South in a Stevenson Sectional semifinal. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-08 06:58:10
    Max on Do's and Don'ts for D-112 Referendum: The lawyer told 112 to not use "adjective" and to make sure all communications are fair and not biased.

    And here are phrases that appear in a press release from D112 this week:

    "a plan that, if approved, with address ONCE AND FOR ALL, the district's long-term...needs"

    "However, these challenges also present a ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME opportunity to REIMAGINE the BEST EDUCATIONAL AND LEARNING ENVIRONMENT..."

    "...putting forth a plan that WILL BEST SERVE OUR DISTRICT FOR DECADES TO COME..."


    "The CULMINATING reconfiguration plan the board voted to put on the ballot in December is BY FAR THE BEST OPTION FOR OUR STUDENTS, DISTRICT, AND COMMUNITY."

    This is an unbelievable farce. AMAZING JOB 112! [Read More]

  • 2016-01-07 11:42:01
    Harlon Katz on Stray Bullet Hit Christmas Shooting Victim: I hope the State of Illinois pulls his FOID card because I am sure he and the person he exchanged shots with were both legal gun owners. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-07 09:48:07
    Emily on Demo OK'd For Winnetka Founder's Home: This is a loss for Winnetka, too bad. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-07 07:36:59
    Carl Castrogiovanni on Suspect Charged In Lake Bluff Shooting: No need to beat around the bush, Jim. The "changes in practice" are easy to identify: Any establishment that wants to hold such a private college (over 21) party (which invariably would attract gang bangers as was the case here) should be required to get permission from the local authorities. Or, at least be required to notify local authorities so that a police presence can be nearby. This isn't about guns or gun control; it's about stupidly attracting the wrong element and not proactively mitigating threats from such... [Read More]
  • 2016-01-06 22:16:22
    Rick Lesser on Stray Bullet Hit Christmas Shooting Victim: The Lake County Liquor Commission will be holding a hearing on Nardo's Liquor License on Monday, January 25, 9:00 am at the County Building, 18 N. County Street, Waukegan. The Complaint against Nardo's alleges 6 violations. This is a public hearing; everyone is welcome to attend and hear the details. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-06 14:48:55
    Jim Moss on Suspect Charged In Lake Bluff Shooting: Nice to see progress on identifying those potentially responsible. Arrests and eventual justice are necessary parts of the process. However, such only deal with symptoms of the problem. Hopefully the community (citizens, business members and government officials) can give consideration to any changes in current practices that will help limit the opportunity for this to happen again. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-06 08:40:00
    Christian Erzinger on Kluchkas Make Fire & Ice a Family Business: What a great article about one of Lake Bluff's greatest assets - the entire Kluchka family. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-06 06:56:24
    David Barkhausen on Kluchkas Make Fire & Ice a Family Business: Wonderful article. Thank you for your long and dedicated service, Jerry. You've obviously inspired your boys, and thank you, guys, for what you're doing. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-05 12:47:12
    hzs on Opinion: Support D-112 Referendum: Good points made in all of the above comments.

    Interesting information about the Chief Financial Officer for the school district. Did the 112 school board know about Moshin Dada's situation before they hired him? Either way, what does that say about the judgment of the school board in hiring him? Will he receive a second pension when he retires from this school district?

    Anyone who wants to display yards signs can go to the CARE website to sign up. Please encourage neighbors & friends to do so as well.

    Vote No to the Referendum [Read More]

  • 2016-01-05 09:10:32
    Seth Cohen on Opinion: Support D-112 Referendum: The District 112 school board and administration deserve an F grade for this debacle of a plan. I will be joining my friends and neighbors in voting NO and opposing the $198 million referendum and the $140 in interest payments, and demanding that they come up with a plan that better preserves our community schools, does not force massive busing, traffic and safety concerns, and does not waste our precious dollars on nonsensical grandiose schemes. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-05 07:19:26
    Max on Opinion: Support D-112 Referendum: I don't know where to even start on the problems here. This is a bad idea from soup to nuts.

    Here's just one thing: I attended a meeting at a school with the administration. Where were the interest payments on the financial sheet?

    If you took out a loan for a house and the lender did not tell you how much you would pay in interest, wouldn't this be a major red flag? They withheld the number--$140 million--until the last few meetings because they know it doesn't look good.

    Yet, I believe adults can make judgements based upon the facts, not a sales pitch. This is all bad form. I'm voting no. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-05 07:17:45
    Jim Moss on Nardo’s Owner: Shooting ‘My Worst Nightmare’: We would like to believe our community is immune to the reality of increased gun violence in our society. However, this shows us the bubble can be penetrated. As indicated in the article, I am sure the owners of Nardo's do not want this to happen again, but words and promises are an insufficient response. The police will hopefully be able to identify the shooter(s) and the court system can bring them to justice. As a community we need to assess what we can do to ensure this becomes as isolated of an event as possible. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-03 19:55:33
    Peg Wolfe on HP Furs Closing After 37 Years: Dropped in Saturday, and picked up a very cozy pair of shearling earmuffs. Really nice, friendly people - I'll be back before they close, for sure. Thanks for calling the impending closure to my attention! [Read More]
  • 2016-01-03 09:52:59
    Therese Pepelnjak on HP Furs Closing After 37 Years: A story of a well-lived life and a legacy of faith, hard work and family, mazel tov Mr. Saffrrin! [Read More]

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