In late June, The Chicago Botanic Garden published the Garden’s 2013 Annual Report and launched their updated “Keep Growing” ten-year strategic plan website. Discover what happened at your Garden last year, learn what the future holds, and enjoy a video that sums it all up.
Friends of the Forest Preserves Photo Contest
2013 Photo Contest Runner up: Compass plant, Orland Grassland near Orland Park, Jeanne Muellner
Enter Friends' 6th Annual Photo Contest!
Calling all photographers! Showcase your work while helping to communicate the beauty and value of the Forest Preserves of Cook County by entering Friends' sixth annual photo contest. Professionals and amateurs are encouraged to submit images that feature landscapes, plants, wildlife, recreation, or education. Please send entries from a range of seasons, settings, and subjects. Only five photos may be submitted per photographer.
Submissions are due by August 1, 2014.
Enter your photos today!
Photo Contest Rules:
- Photos must be taken in a forest preserve in Cook County.
- Invasive species must not be prominent in the photo.
- Each photographer may enter a maximum of FIVE (5) photos.
- By submitting entries photographers consent to allowing Friends to use their photos on our website, in publications, and other materials. Friends will not share photos with other entities unless permission is granted in advance by the photographer.
- Submit entries via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If files are large, please email them individually or consider sending them via an online file sharing service.
- Photo Contest submissions are due by August 1, 2014.
13th District Office Spending
Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin is committed to sound fiscal management at Cook County. The office has efficiently provided all services necessary for our constituents. As such, his office has always spent less than its budgeted amount for operations and has returned the following amounts to the Cook County General Operations Fund:
2013 - $19,817
2012 – $38,788
2011 – $51,977
Source: Cook County Office of Budget and Management
Commissioner Suffredin's Statement on the Passage of the 2014 Forest Preserve District of Cook County Budget
100 years ago, Dwight H. Perkins, an Evanston resident, was a leader in starting the forest preserve movement. His efforts have given us the greatest jewel of open space found anywhere in the United States of America.
The Forest Preserve District of Cook County's budget of $179 million passed on December 2, 2013. The budget gives support to the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Brookfield Zoo and the work of restoration of our 69,000 acres.
The Forest Preserve District of Cook County is home to the most committed volunteers who make our land better and preserve it for future generations. 100 years from now, I hope people will say our efforts saved this precious open space.
Commissioner Suffredin's Statement on 2014 Cook County Budget
On Friday, November 8, 2013 the Cook County Board passed the FY 2014 budget. This budget is a sea change for the county because it changes focus from health care services and cost to public safety services and costs.
The Affordable Healthcare Act has given the county the unique opportunity to sign up new patients with Medicaid payments. The leadership of the independent health board and Dr. Ram Raju has stabilized the healthcare budget and service delivery. The new budget cuts the taxpayer subsidy in half and returns $72 million to the general revenue fund. With the 1115 waiver payments for the over 115,000 new patients the Health and Hospital System will be operating in the black.
The new budget puts a new emphasis on the Public Safety sector. As violence continues to take control of many of our communities, we must better use resources to protect our citizens and keep families safe. Cook County has the largest court system and jail in the United States and therefore is at the center of any programs to reduce crime and end recidivism. This budget gives us the opportunity to develop programs that the nation will follow.
Finally, this budget does not contain any new taxes, fees or fines.
COOK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS REPRESENTING EVANSTON, LEYDEN, NEW TRIER, NILES, NORTHFIELD, NORWOOD PARK, MAINE, OAK PARK AND RIVER FOREST TOWNSHIPS APPOINT EXPERIENCED TRANSIT PROFESSIONAL JOHN PLANTE TO THE METRA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Cook County Commissioners Earlean Collins, Peter Silvestri, Gregg Goslin, Elizabeth Gorman, Larry Suffredin and Jeffrey Tobolski today unanimously appointed John Plante to the METRA board of directors’ district representing Evanston, Leyden, New Trier, Niles, Northfield, Norwood Park, Maine, Oak Park and River Forest Townships. Mr. Plante will replace retiring METRA board member William Widmer.
Mr. Plante has extensive transportation experience from serving in a variety of capacities over a 35 year career with the Chicago Transit Authority (“CTA.”) Most recently, Mr. Plante served as the Senior Manager for System Safety Emergency Preparedness for the CTA. In that capacity, Mr. Plante coordinated the CTA’s planning and training for responding to emergencies. He updated CTA’s’s Rail System Safety Program Plan, the Bus System Safety Program Plan, the Safety Rule Book and construction safety manuals. Following the September 11, 2011 attacks, Mr. Plante coordinated the agencies’ security efforts, leading to his accreditation as a Professional Emergency Manager by the State of Illinois in 2008.
Mr. Plante has served as the Chairman the Chicago Regional Transit Security Working Group, Co-Chairman of the Regional Catastrophic Planning Team Transportation Committee, Member of the Chicago Urban Area Working Group, Illinois Terrorism Task Force Transportation Committee and the committee’s Evacuation Planning/Implementation Working Group, the Chicago Local Emergency Planning Committee and the Chicago Bio Watch Advisory Council.
Prior to serving as a Senior Manager, Mr. Plante worked as the Managing Attorney for the CTA’s Risk Management, Claims and Law divisions, where he learned first-hand the necessity of effective risk-management policies and procedures.
Mr. Plante is heavily involved with the America Public Transportation Association, serving on its board of directors from 2011-2012. He has served as chair of the Risk Management Committee from 2009-2012 and sat on the Legislative and Safety Coordinating Committees. Furthermore, Mr. Plante worked on the association’s Security and Emergency Preparedness Standards Development Program and Emergency Preparedness Technical forums.
Cook County Commissioner Suffredin stated, “Out of a field of 14 highly qualified individuals, John Plante emerged as the clear choice. John has the experience and skills to ensure that METRA has what it needs to prevail over its difficulties. His emergency preparedness work and legal background will help METRA to work through its current problems and foresee any potential future problems. He is an excellent choice.”
Regional Transportation Authority Audit: A Forensic Analysis of Mr. Clifford's Claims Against Metra
To read the Audit, please click HERE
COOK COUNTY MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE MEDIATION PROGRAM REPORT
The June 2013 progress report of the Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program prepared by the Honorable Timothy C. Evans, Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County and the Honorable Moshe Jacobius, Presiding Judge of the Chancery Division can be accessed here
FEDERAL FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR ELIGBILE FLOOD-RELATED DAMAGE
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that as a result of the April 18, 2013 storm, President Obama has declared all of Cook County (and other Illinois counties), including Evanston, a federal disaster area. Aid has been made available to the State of Illinois and its residents and federal aid has been ordered to supplement state and local recovery efforts.
Individuals and business owners in Evanston affected by the late April flooding and storms are eligible to apply for grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and low-interest loans for uninsured property losses. To apply, you must register at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362. The number for the hearing and speech impaired is 1-800-462-7585. Both numbers will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days a week.
Applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves (name, permanent address, phone number), insurance coverage and any other information to help substantiate losses. For more details on the FEMA disaster declaration applicable to Cook County and northeast Illinois, please click here.
STATEMENT OF COOK COUNTY COMMISSIONER LARRY SUFFREDIN ON CONCEALED CARRY
Does Illinois need more guns in public settings to insure the public safety? The answer to this question is no. There are enough guns in the hands of trained law enforcement and security personnel to insure the safety of our citizens in public settings. What Illinois must do is show that its current restrictions are reasonable and do protect the public. Illinois needs to restate its existing law to meet the standards of recent Supreme Court cases. Illinois must not surrender its police powers to those who want unlimited access to firearms.
The debate today is caused by a reading of what Illinois must do under the Seventh Circuit’s ruling in Moore, et al v. Lisa Madigan. The decision is still subject to possible Supreme Court Review. It does not require Illinois to do anything specific; but the Seventh Circuit stayed its mandate to allow the General Assembly 180 days “…to craft a new gun law that will impose reasonable limitations, consistent with the public safety, and the Second Amendment as interpreted in this opinion, on the carrying of guns in public.” The majority opinion clearly outlines how Illinois could more clearly state the reasonableness of its current law and craft changes that would allow for very little change to our current law and would protect the public safety by limiting who and where guns could be allowed.
In addition, the Moore case was decided 2 to I with a strong dissent from Circuit Judge Ann Williams upholding existing Illinois law. Judge Williams stated: “In the absence of clearer indication that the Second Amendment codified a generally recognized right to carry arms in public for self-defense, I would leave this judgment in the hands of the State of Illinois.” The Supreme Court is as likely to adopt this standard as that of the majority. Therefore, the General Assembly should stand its ground and defend the existing law and see what the Supreme Court decides.
Unfortunately, there is no political will to wait to see what the Supreme Court will decide. The discussion concerning “concealed carry” that the Illinois General Assembly is conducting demonstrates that expanding concealed carry beyond trained law enforcement and security personnel will only endanger more and not strengthen the overall public safety. A new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll “found one in five Americans knows someone who has been a victim of gun violence in the last three years.” The explosion of violence especially in public places will not be contained by giving more people guns.
The General Assembly is reviewing bills and amendments that would allow “concealed carry” to those who have significant training, mental health background checks, insurance and an identifiable need for extra protection. Each of these conditions will put an unmanageable financial strain on a state government that is having difficulty providing basic services to its residents.
In addition, the bills and amendments also highlight places where an individual can’t have a concealed carry weapon. These places include: places of worship, hospitals, public transit systems, sports stadiums, public museums, government buildings, courts, mental health facilities, entertainment venues and schools at all levels of education. How will the State enforce these limitations? Will the State provide gun check stations at every place of worship, hospital, transit stop, sports stadium, public museum, government building, court, mental health facility, entertainment venue and school?
Who will pay for these gun check stations?
Illinois has had concealed carry by law enforcement and trained security personnel for years. The debate today should not center on “all individuals” being able to have a concealed weapon but on restating the solid reasons for Illinois continuing to be the only sane state to limit concealed carry.
As a County Commissioner I have no ability to directly shape the concealed carry discussion since it is the General Assembly that must decide. As a County Commissioner I do see the effects of gun violence everyday in our Cook County Hospital System, at our Medical Examiner’s Office and in our Court system. Gun violence costs Cook County taxpayers millions of dollars a year. At the County level I have sponsored into law the Blair Holt Assault Weapons Ban and the required reporting of Lost, Stolen or Transferred Firearms to prohibit straw purchases of guns.
An opinion piece by Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin.
Decoding Cook County Property Tax
2010-2011 TIF District Revenue Summary
read summary (Adobe acrobat .pdf)
Cook County Board President Appoints Dr. Stephen J. Cina Chief Medical Examiner
Please find announcement and C.V. below:
read announcement (Adobe acrobat .pdf)
Report of the Justice Advisory Council
read the report (Adobe acrobat .pdf)
Report on the Office of Tax Administrator
Commissioner Suffredin sponsored a resolution requesting close cooperation between offices that oversee property taxes in Cook County. This resolution has done much. Please see the following report for more details.
read report (Adobe acrobat .pdf)
Harms Road & Kenilworth Construction
In Summer 2012 the Cook County Highway Department begins construction on Harms Road from north of Golf Road to south of East Lake Avenue.
read flyer (Adobe acrobat .pdf)
Cook County Completes 2010 Census Redistricting
click here to view map (Adobe Acrobat .pdf)
click here to view Report of the Committee on 2010 Census Redistricting (Adobe Acrobat .pdf)
Unincorporated Cook County Task Force Recommendations
click here to read the Adobe Acrobat .pdf