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What’s the Fuss?

When Bob O’Dekirk became Mayor last year he released a document titled “City of Joliet 2015 Mayoral Transition Report.” The 36 page report outlined some recommendations that were short term and several long term goals.

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Wayne's Words: Life goes on

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday coincided with the Chinese New Year known in many Asian countries, including China, as Tet. In Vietnam the new year is officially named Tet Nguyen Dan. Tet is considered one of the most important holidays in Asian culture with families gathering in their hometowns to celebrate, much in the same way families gather in the USA for Christmas or Thanksgiving. Before the Tet holiday begins Vietnamese try to get rid of any "bad fortune" by cleaning their homes, buying new clothes, resolving disputes, and paying their debts. The Vietnamese spend much of the holiday paying respect to family and friends. They also court lady luck because they believe that events occurring during Tet can determine what happens during the rest of the year. It seems almost ironic that the State of the Union address was held on the first day of the Tet holiday. Especially the idea of “resolving disputes” and “paying their debts.” Good advice. The Tet holiday also holds an indelible memory for the United States, particularly for those who served in the military during the Tet offensive in 1968 Vietnam. The occasion that year was supposed to begin a cease-fire in the shooting war that would last several days. Instead, the government of North Vietnam used the event to begin an offensive that turned out to be a turning point in the war that eventually ended Americans popular support of the war.

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Last day to fill vacancy for election

The last day to fill a vacancy in nomination for the November 6, 2018 General Election was June 4. If no candidate for an established party runs in the General Primary, the established party managing committee can appoint a candidate to be placed on the ballot for the November 6 General Election. This candidate must file the correct documentation along with collecting the same amount of signatures required for candidates running in the General Primary. The candidate list for the upcoming November 6, 2018 General Election is available with the appointed candidates listed at thewillcountyclerk.com. To find the candidate list on the website, use the link under the What’s New section on the homepage.

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Wayne’s Words: Porta-potty overtime?

It is not a great stretch of imagination to understand we humans face a worldwide crisis that threatens all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has dominated almost all aspects of our lives for the past six months and that is unlikely to change very soon regardless of who is doing the talking. We have witnessed peaceful protests, partisan quarreling and unwavering stances on some of the simplest of things such as wearing a mask in public places. With all of the serious business going on in the world, Joliet managed to make headlines by paying four city employees overtime wages on a holiday for providing a porta-potty for nurses on strike at Amita St. Joe’s hospital. Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk ordered up the portable facility by directly calling the public works department to set-up the city-owned property. The part-time interim City Manager Steve Jones, who has resigned but not gone, was not happy over the incident and let it be known Mayor O’Dekirk has no authority to do that.

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Wayne's Words: Voting begins

Tuesday, March 17 is primary election day in Illinois. Early voting began this last Monday. Voters in Will County should have received a sample ballot for both the Democratic and the Republican Primary races. You have to pick one or the other and declare the party ballot you wish to use for your vote. Other than the presidential race, there are not many races providing an array of selections. As of this week the Democratic Party has four choices for President: in ballot order, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Tulsi Gabbard. There are four other races on the ballot that are contested. The contest for the 11th Congressional District is between Bill Foster and Rachel Ventura. The 49th State Senate race is between Meg Loughran Cappel, Larry Hug and Michael Crowner. The Will County Board Chief Executive contest is between Jennifer Bertino-Tarant and Nick Palmer. The Coroner race is between Laurie Summers and Sean Talbot.

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Wayne's Words: Careful planning doesn’t always workout

wayne@thetimesweekly.com It happens to every homeowner with a lawn. Sooner or later the lawnmower needs to be replaced. A few weeks ago, my 25-year-old mower was showing signs of old-age and I decided to replace it. Being a modern type, I googled “lawnmowers.” After reviewing several in my price range I decided on one with all the features I liked, for the price I was willing to pay. Plus, the free shipping was to my house or the retail store near me. I chose my house. It worked out well. I was home when the delivery truck came. The driver was happy to see me because he was uncertain how he was going to lift the awkward size box off the truck and to my front door. I helped him scoot it right into my garage. I proceeded to unbox the machine, perform the minor assembly, fill it with oil and gas. It looked great, had an electric start, one lever to adjust the blade height and it was self-propelled. I was happy with the purchase and moved my old mower to a storage shed in the yard. It was actually a few days later before I could mow due to rain and by then the grass had grown higher than usual. I set the mower to a high setting to accommodate the growth. Too make a long story short, the mower did a lousy job cutting the grass.

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Wayne's Words: Salute to All Veterans

Veterans Day honors past and present veterans who served honorably during war or peacetime in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard and includes Reserve and National Guard veterans.

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Wayne's Words: Campaign season can't end too soon

The rounds of negative ads provide little substance to help voters make a choice in Tuesday's election.

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Who really knows?

The city of Joliet began its “annual hydrant testing” this week, according to a media release from City Manager Jim Hock’s office. The timing of the release is both welcome and curious. Here’s why…

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Wayne’s Words: Will Joliet council make tough decision?

It was just about eight weeks ago that voters in 14 States voted in Primary Elections to select Republican and Democratic candidates for National, State and County offices that will be voted for on November 3, 2020. Just two weeks later, the Illinois primary was held. That was March 17. Since then, COVID-19 has dominated just about every aspect of our lives. The one exception in the Joliet area has been the Northpoint issue and even that has quieted down in the last two weeks. This next week, the City Council meets on Tuesday and no doubt discussion on how Joliet will confront the impending financial crisis facing city government operations will be on the agenda. City revenues have been greatly impacted in at least two of the city’s major revenue sources: gaming and sales taxes. Assuming a modest decrease in sales taxes and the complete loss of gaming revenue in the last six to eight weeks losses could exceed as much as $5 million year to date. There are few possibilities that revenue can be recovered. That only leaves the option of what expenses can be cut.

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Number of broken Joliet fire hydrants anyone's guess

According to information provided by the city under a Freedom of Information request, only 3,020 fire hydrants of the 8,460 in Joliet have been inspected.

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Veterans need to make sure they get coverage they deserve

Starting Oct. 1, enrollment will begin for uninsured individuals, according to the Affordable Care Act. Even at this late date there remains a substantial amount of confusion and apprehension about the impact it will have on individuals currently without health insurance. In fact, the State of Illinois has yet to release to the public exactly what the premium rates for coverage will be when enrollment begins. The insurance companies have released the rate information to the State but the State has not made them public to the very individuals who will pay them.

Wayne's Words: Joliet council split on hiring city manager

Curious. That’s another word for peculiar. Odd, strange and unusual are also words that are derivative meanings of “curious.” What am I talking about? Leadership at City Hall. The City of Joliet continues its administration without a fulltime, permanent City Manager. The current part-time, Interim City Manager Steve Jones, who is also a non-resident, has a new status. Beginning March 1, according to Jones’ new arrangement with the City of Joliet, he is an independent contractor under the terms and conditions of an Employee Leasing Agreement with GovTempsUSA, LLC. The compensation payable to the leasing company is $135.10 per hour. The Assigned Employee, Steven Jones, will be paid only for hours worked. The maximum number of hours that can be invoiced is 40 per week. It is unclear if that means there is no 24/7 on the job or if he has to show up for 40 hours per week. It is also unclear who determines the number of hours actually worked. Jones?

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Wayne's Words: What's next for Evergreen Terrace?

The city of Joliet has won its lawsuit to acquire the troubled housing complex through eminent domain, but must deal with many issues, including density, safety and purchase price.

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Happy 2017!

The beginning of every year often brings about the desire to predict the coming year’s big events. Predictions for the future can be interesting as well as unusual. The 14th century seer Nostradamus still gets attention for some of his predictions. For instance he predicted that 2015 humans would live to be 200 years old, be able to communicate with animals, and taxes would be abolished. He made that prediction 450 years ago, One could only imagine what 200-year-old politicians might do. That possibility would make the abolishment of taxes impossible and as for communicating with animals, we have difficulty communicating with each other. One of his predictions for 2016 was that Donald Trump would win the presidency. Of course, another interpretation was that Hillary Clinton would win the election. It just depends on who interprets what the predictions mean. What’s in store for 2017? According to one source the five most important predictions are: Obama will be the last President of the U.S., the Middle East will have massive explosions, solar energy will become the predominant energy source going forward, the North and South poles will melt, and Russia will make peace with America. Thus, a new year begins.

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Wayne's Words: Making sense of 2017

Wayne makes sense of 2017 or as much as it can make sense before the calendar clicks over to 2018.

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Wayne's Words: Why such low voter turnout?

When you read this week’s column, election results are known and probably analyzed as to why the small number of voters who turned out, chose candidates who won. Usually, incumbents are returned to the office they ran for and most referendums are defeated. How do I know this the day before results are known? History tells us so. Incumbents are reelected about 90 per cent of the time. Referendums are usually defeated unless it’s the second or third time they’ve been offered to voters. Finally, only a small percentage of registered voters will cast a ballot. The precinct I vote in, for instance, has approximately 1400 eligible voters. During last November’s election, approximately 1000 people voted. Presidential elections typically draw about 75-80 per cent of registered voters. Local elections, like this one, usually generate about 12-15 percent of the voters eligible. That equates to less than 200 votes at my polling place in Joliet. I was number nine when I voted at 9:30 Tuesday morning. That doesn’t count anyone who voted early, absentee or by mail. One possible reason for low voter turnout is the fact that elections occur quite often. How often? They occur annually. We just had an election this last November. Here it is five months later and another election. The next one? March 2018 will be the Primary Election for Republicans and Democrats to choose who will be on the ballot in November of 2018. The following April, 2019, will be for local races again. In Joliet, we’ll be voting for Mayor and five City Council District members. The campaigning for political office never stops.

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Hope and Promise Passed

Now that the Joliet City Council has passed the 2016 Budget, with several days to spare, it seems a comment or two is in order. The phrase “O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!” from the poem ‘Marmion’ by Walter Scott comes to mind.

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Hock’s appointment official

The Joliet City Council on Tuesday finally put the official stamp on the hiring of a new city manager. After several weeks of closed door meetings, speculation and leaks from unnamed sources, James Hock was named Joliet City Manager. Hock’s name had actually been revealed as the choice for city manager a couple of weeks ago so Tuesday’s confirmation was rather anti-climatic.

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Guns, potholes, health care and more about studies

Writing a column every week gives me a chance to review many issues, reports, media articles and the like. Not everything that happens generates comment and most of what happens is pretty routine and boring unless you happen to be involved. That’s true at the national, state, county and local municipal levels.