Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions


  Office phone numbers:  

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.


The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

  The first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.

Insurance costs have canoe race paddling upstream

Monday, April 18, 2005
Daily Herald
by Dave Orrick

Last year it was high water.

This year it’s a flash flood of insurance premiums that is forcing organizers of the Des Plaines River Canoe Marathon to paddle hard to keep America’s most popular canoe and kayak race afloat. And then there’s the parking scenario.

The May race, which generally attracts about 1,500 paddlers from throughout the suburbs, isn’t in any immediate danger.

But organizers acknowledge this year may be its most challenging, as it attempts to rebound from last year’s flood-forced cancellation, the first in its 48-year history.

Insurance costs have jumped an estimated 733 percent even though no one’s ever made a claim. That, combined with a forest preserve crackdown on parking near Mount Prospect, means the race will probably lose money, paddlers won’t get free T-shirts and everyone is scrambling to avert a traffic disaster at the finish line.

The unexpected spike in insurance, from $600 to around $5,000, might sound like small potatoes in terms of total dollars, and no one fears that the end of free T-shirts will ruin the race for canoeists and kayakers.

But the foundation that runs the race has only about $20,000 in its treasury, enough for one year’s race. If costs continue to rise, the race might lose its thrifty appeal: fees of just $13 to $18 per person.

Larry Liquori, president of the U.S. Canoe Association, one of only three organizations nationwide that insure canoeing events, said escalating rates are part of a national trend.

The insurance companies want to make money, and they realized they could charge whatever they can get away with, he said.

Liquori’s worst fear: Someone actually gets hurt and sues race organizers. Then races like Des Plaines would have to charge a ton.

The insurance provider that covers the race could not be reached for comment.

Even though the 19.5-mile race from Libertyville to Mount Prospect attracts serious racers from throughout the country, most of the race’s 1,500 average entrants are regular suburban folks who enjoy the camaraderie of paddlers aplenty floating downstream, followed by a finish line picnic and awards ceremony at Dam No. 2 Woods south of Euclid Avenue.

Ralph Frese, the race’s 78-year-old founder and local river rat emeritus, fears that finish-line family fun could be lost this year because, for the first time, cars won’t be able to park on the grassy field at the landing.

Nobody’s going to want to park a mile away and lug their coolers across Milwaukee Avenue, Frese says. They’re talking about having buses taking people to other forest preserves and then people driving back to load their canoes. It’s never gonna work. It’s gonna be (mayhem).

Race organizers and forest preserve officials were expected to meet this past weekend to draw up plans, which will likely include several off-site parking areas and a series of shuttle buses.

Cook County Forest Preserve Superintendent Steve Bylina Jr. announced the parking ban last year.

For the district our first charge is protecting the environment, spokesman Steve Mayberry said. There can be no exceptions.

The cars take a toll on the grass, he said, and a rainy race day could lead to a mud pit for months.

Race Chairman Don Mueggenborg predicted traffic around the area on race day, May 22, would be more of a headache than in past years, but we’ll work it all out.



Recent Headlines

Cook County Board sends assault weapons referendum to the ballot
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County to cut buildings' carbon emissions
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Fox 32 Chicago

Cook County mulls fund-of-funds investment, other changes
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Pensions & Investments

Community leaders, sheriff aim to help mentally ill inmates
Monday, July 21, 2014
FOX 32 Chicago

Preserves and parks offering memorial trees and benches — for a price
Monday, July 21, 2014
Chicago Tribune

TIF Revenue Down 2 Percent in Suburban Cook Co.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Palatine Patch

Recorder of Deeds staffers accused of political motive in firing
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County sheriff's department will focus on catching people wanted on arrest warrants
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

An unwelcome surprise from the Cook County health system
Monday, July 14, 2014
Chicago Tribune

New Cook County Health CEO must find millions in savings - stat
Monday, July 14, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Fitch cuts rating on Cook County
Saturday, July 12, 2014

Man trapped in Cook County Jail 30-plus hours files court papers
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Man trapped in Cook County Jail visiting room for 31 hours
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Orr, Suffredin To Explain Expanded Voting Rules At Town Hall
Wednesday, July 09, 2014

County land bank sweeping up the debris of the housing crisis
Monday, July 07, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Exoneree Diaries: Jacques mentors in Cook County juvenile detention
Monday, July 07, 2014
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

No way to paper over Circuit Court Clerk's record keeping: critics
Friday, July 04, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Meeting on changes in election law
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Evanston Now

Winnetka receives $2M grant, authorizes stormwater project bidding
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Pioneer Press

Winnetka receives grant for flood control work
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Chicago Tribune

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.