October 23, 2015

this is not pollution

Post Tribune reporter Carole Carlson has a superb if harrowing account of environmental abuses in Gary’s Black Oak community. With a 10 year public-private partnership over the J-Pit dump soon expiring, and a history of abuses and neglect against this unfairly maligned community it is crucial that all who support justice rally in solidarity. Reading the Hoosier Environmental Council’s 2014 report is a good place to start.

Opponents of a sand-mining project in unincorporated Calumet Township, Indiana, can claim a victory. Walsh and Kelly, operators of the project have withdrawn a rezoning request for the property at 1823 Elm Street and their request of a special exception permit to deposit waste at the site. The US Army Corps of Engineers halted the project earlier this year, threatening fines and requiring the company to create a remediation plan for disrupted vegetation and soils. The company is still requesting a permit to construct a bridge to their property over Turkey Creek.

Indiana University Northwest (Gary, Indiana) geology professor Erin Argyilan will soon publish research detailing that trees buried under decades of sand at Mount Baldy in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore created the pockets that swallowed a 6-year old boy in 2013. Speaking at a green drinks event at Shoreline Brewery in Michigan City, Indiana, Dr. Argyilan explained how the giant dune covered a line of trees sometime around the 1930s, and how she nearly fell into an 8-foot hole during the course of her research. Eleven holes have been discovered since the area was closed to the public.

Purdue University will have a new home for their Extension and Soil, Water, and Conservation offices. Lake County Commissioners chose a 10-acre site east of 91st Avenue and Chase Street, near the Lake County Government Center in Crown Point, Indiana.

Hobart, Indiana parks superintendent John Mitchell has devised a new way to mow more of the rare savannah at Fred Rose Park: kayak rest areas.

The Lake County (Indiana) Drainage Board authorized repairs to a stormwater drainage culvert on Turkey Creek near Cline Avenue in Schererville.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources officials held informational meetings in northern Indiana on the topic of black bears. Officials believe more will be joining Hoosier Bear in the years to come.

Another Illinois politician, Illinois State Representative Kate Cloonen (D-79), has joined the list of elected officials formally opposing the proposed Singleton Quarry project near Lowell, Indiana.

Pavilion Partners, LLC has appealed the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission’s denial of a liquor license for a proposed banquet hall at the Indiana Dunes State Park, hinting a lawsuit against the state may follow. Pavilion Partners estimates they’ve spent $1.5 million on the project so far, constructing a new comfort station and rehabbing the elevator shaft in the existing pavilion.

The United States Geological Survey and the Illinois Sierra Club are raising awareness of the dangers of coal tar sealant, the kind used to smooth parking lots and driveways. Two Illinois municipalities, Winnetka and South Barrington, have banned it and a third, Highland Park, is considering a ban.

Opposition to the proposed Route 53 tollway expansion in Lake County, Illinois is organizing and taking root in the municipalities along the way: Long Grove, Hawthorn Hills, Grayslake, Kildeer, Mundelein, and Round Lake. Concerned citizen groups like Livable Lake County and One Long Grove see the need for continued outreach, though a public survey conducted by the Village of Long Grove found 53% of respondents opposed to the extension. Meanwhile, Lake County, Illinois officials got an earful from the public on Tuesday.

The emerald ash borer, an invasive Asian beetle, made considerable news this week, with some commentators stating that the state of Illinois is giving up attempts to limit the spread of the beetle that has almost completely decimated ash trees in the state. Illinois has lifted its quarantine of ash trees, trimmings, and mulch after 8 years.

The village of River Forest, Illinois hopes to plant 500 trees by next spring to begin replacing those decimated by the emerald ash borer. Meanwhile, Kankakee, Illinois will remove 2500 infected ash trees this week alone, and nearby Bourbonnais plans to remove 50-60 trees by next spring. The Chicago Park District has removed 650 trees this summer and fall; 1 in every 6 trees in Humboldt Park were recently cut, 95% were ash trees.

The infestation is having considerable economic effects. Municipalities have few resources to replace but a small percentage of lost trees. Private tree removal businesses are at capacity and even turning away customers. But business at tree nurseries is booming. The Chicago Region Trees Initiative estimates possibly all 13 million trees ash trees in the 7-county region succumbing to the invasive insect. 200 million trees in Illinois have been infected since the borer was first sited there in 2006.

2000 of 3000 well water users in Beach Park, Illinois will be connected to a public water system drawing from Lake Michigan.

Bow hunting of deer will debut in the north unit of Illinois Beach State Park.

Work on the Albany Park Stormwater Diversion Tunnel will not begin until sometime in early 2016, delaying completion until 2018.

Squirrels managed to take the phone system of District 90 schools in River Forest, Illinois offline, but they were unable to disrupt classes.

An op-ed columnist in Naperville, Illinois has a novel idea: Save taxpayer money and other resources and let the leaves fall where they will.

Possibly the meanest chicken ever hatched got loose in Chicago’s Uptown community.

In Chicago, LVEJO – the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization – is organizing to address increased diesel truck pollution that will accompany the expansion of the Hellmann plant.

DON’T BE SHALLOW — VOTE FOR MALLOW! Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Kogan talks to Robbie Q. Telfer on the need for a new Illinois state flower.

On a dry day with high winds, perfect conditions for wildfires, a cornfield in unincorporated southern Will County went up. Thankfully no one was injured.

WBEZ ran an interesting feature on why some Chicago suburbs have such geographically dishonest names.

It snowed in Michigan last Friday.



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