January 2014

Gifford Park Association General Membership Meeting
Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014
Location: Historical Society Museum

Dates to Note
General Membership Meeting: Thurs., Feb. 20, 7 p.m. at Historical Society Museum
Housewalk Committee Meeting: Mon., Feb. 24, 7 p.m. at Historical Society Museum
Gifford Park Association General Membership Meeting
Historical Society Museum
Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014

In Attendance: Dorie Alpha, Bill Briska, Carol Buczkowski, Chris & Karen Bach, Barbara Evans, Tom Hokenson, David Knoerr, Dan & Pat Miller, Mark Preradovic, Doug Tomsha, Ray & Linda Voss, Margaret Watts, guest speaker Dr. Landin, Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda, EPD Commander of Investigations Ana Lalley, EPD Sergeant Jim Lullo and ROPE Officer Robert Engelke

Election of Officers

The motion to elect the unopposed slate of officers by voice vote passed unanimously, as did the vote to make the following GPA’s officers for 2014:
President, Dan Miller
Vice-President, Bill Briska
Treasurer, Pat Miller
Secretary, Barbara Evans
Member at Large, Mark Preradovic.
Following the election, Dan Miller thanked our outgoing president Karen Bach for her leadership the past two years. All agreed that she’d done an excellent job.

Standing Committee Chairs Needed
Although they will serve until replacements are found, the chairs of the Historic District, Membership and Program Committees—Dan Miller, Dorie Alpha and Donna Leetz, respectively—hope that members will step up to fill these positions sooner rather than later. Standing Committee chairs are also automatically Board members, an added bonus. Please call Dan Miller (697-3370) if you are willing to consider heading one of these committees. And thank you to Bill Briska, who is continuing as Housewalk Chair.
Post-meeting Note: Dan, Dorie and Donna will gladly help any who volunteer to replace them to “get the ball rolling.” Be aware, too, that you and a friend or two could co-chair a committee.

Approval of Minutes and Treasurer’s Report
The minutes of GPA’s last meeting, Oct. 13, were unanimously approved, as was the treasurer’s report.
As of January 2014, GPA’s funds total $95,836.42—$5,250.20 of which are in checking, $9,920.09 in savings and $80,793.13 in four CDs.

Police Report
As can be seen from the list of Elgin Police Department personnel in attendance, the EPD knew we were concerned about the early morning Jan. 12 shooting in the 300 block of North Street that left five people wounded. Needless to say, we appreciate their willingness to address our concerns.
Because the investigation is still ongoing, there is much that they couldn’t tell us without compromising the case. And it may be a while before all the facts are known, for cases involving gang members, which this incident does, are extremely difficult to investigate because of the reluctance of people to come forward with information. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the EPD’s Gang Crimes Unit at 847-289-2646 or, if anonymity is desired, the crime line at 847-695-4195.
What the EPD could assure us of was that the shooting was not site-specific, meaning that it was the result of an encounter of a few after a party a block away that 80-100 invited guests had attended. As is often the case, in other words, the shooting could have happened anywhere. In general, gang members don’t target non-gang members.
Post-meeting Note: A release in Sunday’s Courier-News stated that “It does not appear that the shooting incident was random.”
While the house where the party was held was a rental property, there have been no problems there. Nor should this be surprising, for the EPD’s Crime-free Housing Unit offers landlords training to make them better able to recognize criminal activity as well as to teach them how to deal with it.
While the EPD is also proactive in working to discourage young people from joining gangs, there are gangs in Elgin. The police, in fact, track over 15 different gangs with hundreds of members. Such close attention can make living in Elgin less than desirable for them. The EPD also works to build relationships with gang members, which can pay off when crimes are committed. That gang-related shootings in 2013 were fewer than ever before suggests that all the EPD is doing to combat gangs is having an effect, though as Chief Swoboda noted, even one shooting is one too many.
We, too, can be proactive. If we notice graffiti or increased activity around a property, call the EPD to ask them to check it out, for both can be signs of gang activity.
On a lighter note, we learned that in addition to such familiar identifiers as colors, tattoos and 3-minute handshakes, gang members often self-identify on Facebook!

Historic District Committee Report (Dan Miller, 697-3370)
The circulation of The Gazette is now at 358. Another issue is in the works, so if you have an idea for an article or, even better, want to submit one, contact Dan.
The new Elgin Historic District signs have been ordered and will be installed this spring. As all thought auctioning off the old signs a good money-making idea, sometime in the relatively near future details about this will be forthcoming.
David Siegenthaler responded to Dan’s contest and wrote excellent copy for the interpretive sign GPA is working to install in Barkley Park across from the Burger King on Dundee Ave.
Pat Miller’s initial investigation into lighting the statue of the WWI doughboy in the pocket park at the corner of Prairie and Villa proved discouraging, for the person who did the lighting for the windmill estimated that our cost would be around $9,000. Pat will next look into solar lighting.
To be sent out in a separate email are the results of the 2012 brainstorming session. Please review the many suggestions for projects and volunteer to help with one/some.
Housewalk Committee Report (Bill Briska, 695-4022)
The Spring-Douglas corridor has been selected as the area for GPA’s Saturday, Sept. 6th housewalk, and subcommittees are at work preparing for it.
Membership Committee Report (Dorie Alpha, 224-535-6124)
Dorie will reserve Lords Park pavilion for April’s membership potluck.
Program Committee Report (Donna Leetz, 741-1400)
Amber Von Dran, the Historic District’s code inspector, is likely to be the speaker at our February general membership meeting. In preparation for that, she would like to know about things in our neighborhood that need to be brought to the department’s attention. If you have concerns and/or questions, please inform Dan Miller of them ASAP.
Architectural Salvages (Dan Miller)
Although U-46 had promised GPA the salvage rights to three houses, the demolition contractor’s rights trumped ours, and home he went with the goods. The Housing Authority has promised GPA the salvage rights to 132 State St. Hopefully, we will have better luck this time.

Guest Speaker: Dr. Dana Landin

Enthusiastically endorsed by GPA member David Knoerr, Dr. Landin is a chiropractor who specializes in the Gonstead Technique for specific spinal adjustments, a technique that involves the most complete method of biomechanical analysis of the spine but one that only about 20% of chiropractors practice. Because time was short, he was only able to give us a brief presentation. To learn more about his treatments and their benefits, visit chirolandin.com.

The motion to adjourn the general membership meeting passed unanimously.

Barbara Evans, Secretary