Pulse: Freitag zeroes in on aerial photo issue
September 15, 2013 8:32PM
Will County Land Use Director Curt Paddock, left, debates the use of aerial photos in building code enforcement with county board member Steve Balich, R-Homer Glen, after Tuesday's land use committee hearing. | Cindy Wojdyla Cain~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 17, 2013 6:14AM
Discussions over the use of aerial photos in Will County building code violation investigations has dragged on for months.
County board member Steve Balich (R-Homer Glen) contends that the photos are a violation of the Fourth Amendment against illegal search and seizure.
Curt Paddock, director of the county land use department, has said the photos are legal and only used to supplement information that inspectors have gathered on the ground.
Finally, last week, board member Ragan Freitag (R-Wilmington) wisely suggested that the board analyze the department’s operations manual to see how the photos were being used and if the board agreed with it.
“I think we had a breakthrough,” board member Reed Bible (D-Plainfield) said.
More interviews for city manager
The Joliet City Council cleared the slate Monday for the second of two rounds of interviews of city manager candidates.
Mayor Thomas Giarrante said it’s still too early to say when the city is likely to name a replacement for City Manager Thomas Thanas, who is staying on the job until his successor arrives.
“It all depends on when and if we get a candidate we all agree on,” the mayor said.
The interviews might make for interesting television. But JCTV won’t be broadcasting live from city hall Monday because the normally scheduled pre-council meeting, or workshop session, was canceled to make time for the closed city manager interviews.
The city council resumes normally scheduled business at its meeting on Tuesday.
Midewin vs. mountains
Why did Coca-Cola officials pick a remote area of Will County for an event on Friday to announce a watershed preservation pact between the company and the U.S. Forestry Service?
“It was a little easier to get here,” said Bruce Karas, Coca-Cola’s vice president of environment and sustainability.
The event was held at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie near Wilmington, one of six places where watershed protection work is underway. Karas said he had visited some of the other work sites and ruled them out.
“They’re at 10,000 feet in the mountains and take a few hours to get to,” he said. “This was actually a happy medium between location and projects.”
While it may be flatter and easier to get to, Midewin is unique in the eyes of the Forest Service.
It’s the only prairie park owned by the agency, which is a division of the Agriculture Department. And prairies are more diverse than forests, forest service Chief Tom Tidwell said.
“There are more species of birds, insects and small mammals that are in a tallgrass prairie than any forest we have in this country,” he said.
Sign of disagreement
One interesting item on the Tuesday agenda for the Joliet City Council is a vote on an electronic message board proposed for Collins Street and Woodruff Road.
The electronic billboard would be installed by Chi-Town Signs, of Joliet, and would be similar to others going up around town by Impact Outdoor, of Naperville. It would be the first to go up on the city’s East Side.
The city zoning board recommended against the sign at a hearing at which Rod Hursh, of Impact Outdoor, said he was interested in putting such a sign on Collins Street.
The city administration is recommending approval of the Chi-Town sign.
Cindy Wojdyla Cain and Bob Okon contributed to Pulse.