November 26, 2014

Edgerton officials accept award in D.C. for wasterwater treatment plant

Edgerton Mayor Don Robers, city council member Cindy Crooks and city administrator Beth Linn pose with Congressman Kevin Yoder last week. The Edgerton group visisted Washington, D.C. to collect an award for the Big Bull Creek Water Treatment Plant. Submitted photo

Edgerton Mayor Don Robers, city council member Cindy Crooks and city administrator Beth Linn pose with Congressman Kevin Yoder last week. The Edgerton group visisted Washington, D.C. to collect an award for the Big Bull Creek Water Treatment Plant. Submitted photo

Charlie Troutner
Special to The Gardner News
Representatives from the City of Edgerton and Burns and McDonnell Engineering Company accepted a national engineering award on April 29 in Washington D.C.
The American Council of Engineering Companies(ACEC) held its annual black-tie “Engineering Excellence Awards Gala” at Washington’s Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Edgerton Mayor Donald Roberts, City Administrator Beth Linn, and City Council member Cindy Crooks represented the City of Edgerton at the awards gala.
The ACEC National Recognition Award was presented to the city, and Burns and McDonnell for their work on the Big Bull Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant and Conveyance System located near the I-35 and Homestead Lane Interchange in Edgerton. Burns and McDonnell designed the facility and the City of Edgerton was the administrator of the project.
The facility, a collaborative effort between the cities of Gardner and Edgerton, lies on six acres, and was built at a cost of 19 million dollars. It opened on July 31, 2013. It includes nearly three miles of combined gravity sewer and force main and three additional pumping stations. The 500,000 gallon-per-day treatment facility uses energy-efficient technology to meet the most stringent water quality standards in the state of Kansas.
In addition to attending the Engineering Awards Gala, while in Washington D.C., the Edgerton contingent also met with U.S. Congressman Kevin Yoder and staff, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, and staff, and the staff of U.S. Senator Jerry Moran. The meetings with Yoder and Roberts took place in the U.S. Capital.
Edgerton Mayor Donald Roberts said the trip, although somewhat hectic at times, was very rewarding and he was glad they could attend. Roberts said, “We were able to build relationships with our national politicians, but receiving the engineering award was just the icing on the cake.”

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Oh, I am just thriiiiiillllled that Drovetta, Press and the Gardner City Council put me in hock even further and caused my sewer rates to increase this year already by 11% to help out the thieves on this project and who only take just like Burns & McDonnell who are working on their own tax incentive, that is if they haven’t already got it. And then to have to swallow all of the salaries, expenses, etc. I have to help pay for these jaybird politicians makes the koolaid even more bitter to swallow. These darlings just love to have the photographers take their image which I would say is tarnished to the rust level while they do business in the sewer. I will never forget the night Fotovich questioned Press as to how this deal was made or came about with Edgerton and Press let the BS flow from his forked tongue and it was like watching WD-40 in action – slick as ever and the Council once again rubber stamped the conniving, manipulation and deal making while providing the average citizen with even higher utility bills for years to come. The city of Edgerton continues to have the highest mill levy in the whole County just like they have for years……….I would say the good ole intermodal hasn’t done a damn thing for the Edgerton homeowner other than to create astronomical costs for them and Gardner residents along with pollution, trucks that never stop increasing, loss of safety, increased medical costs and on and on. I love it when the Gardner idiots spout their ignorance about the sweet deal we passed up with the intermodal project – best gift that was ever given to the citizens when BNSF and the thieves went to Edgerton and yet the slimy special interests and politicians continue to look to the citizens across the state and nation to bankroll the lowlifes. The only thing I can see that Edgerton got out of the deal is a dog park and the citizens probably now have to pay someone to pick up the dog waste and maintain the park. Edgerton’s 2013 mill levy was 36.922 while Overland Park’s was 12.833………oh yeah, Edgerton citizens have really profited from the intermodal project…………..WD-40 in action again via the slick politicians and the apathetic citizens who enable and support them.

  2. Judith Rogers says:

    Another fact that needs to be considered. Edgerton’s mill levy is 36.922, however, the citizens have to add another 15.891 mills for fire protection from Jo. Co. Fire Dist. No. 1 (whose mill levy was 10.160 in 2009 – costs more to take care of that intermodal I would say) bringing their total mill levy up to 52.813………….just a hair bit more (tongue in cheek) than Overland Park’s mill levy of 12.833 which includes fire protection. Gardner sold its fire department to Jo. Co. Fire Dist. #1 just about the same time they placed the biggest tax increase on citizens that had ever been taken and Gardner has even increased citizens’ utility bill due to their choice to take care of the thieves once again. Wonderful service/protection Gardner and Edgerton politicians/staff have provided their citizens. I am thinking about photographing all of those politicians and bureaucrats and placing their picture on my toilet tissue.

    Edgerton/Gardner citizens are on the cusp of huge reductions to their taxes and living in paradise……..what a joke!!!!!!

  3. Judith Rogers says:

    Here is some news from Elwood, Il. which has a BNSF intermodal which has been there about 14 years. Tells you about problems citizens will be facing here in the coming years and you probably won’t have to wait 14 years to be addressing the costs and all of the other slimy adverse affects. Elwood has a population of about 2,000 – kind of a mirror image of Edgerton. Apathy of citizens provides an incubator for the thieves and their politicians. They sure don’t want to slow down those trains going 79 miles per hour and the trucks sure wear out those roads – hope citizens enjoy paying the costs to replace/repair them. The thieves always go where there is little or no opposition of the financial rape they will create plus even more horror stories. You will never see an intermodal in cities like Mission Hills, Leawood, Prairie Village, Overland Park.

    ******************************************************************************
    ELWOOD – It’s not uncommon for someone to walk into Elwood Village Hall and ask for directions to the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery after being cut out of a funeral procession by a semitrailer.

    “They say, ‘I got cut off. I couldn’t follow them. Can you give me directions?’ ” said Max Bosso, the village’s director of engineering and public works. “We tell them how to get there but a lot of times they end up missing the burials of their brothers, their cousins.”…

    Will County village wants to revisit truck traffic on Route 53

    Ongoing safety concerns at the railroad crossing has led the Illinois Commerce Commission, which governs the state’s railway system, to reopen a 2001 case brought by the village of Elwood, which wants to reduce truck traffic.

    An ICC public hearing is tentatively set for April 15. Representatives from the Illinois Department of Transportation, Union Pacific railroad and Elwood will discuss immediate and long-term solutions.

    Some suggestions include realigning Walter Strawn Road west of the Union Pacific railroad, prohibiting certain turns on red and adding lanes in some areas to ease the flow of traffic. Lengthening the delay between the red light and the crossing bars coming down could also give trucks more time to clear the crossing, Bosso said.

    The commission has suggested closing the crossing or reducing train speeds from 79 mph to 40 mph.

    Union Pacific officials are opposed to reducing speeds. Studies show such a reduction does not necessarily improve safety, said Wes Lujan, director of public affairs for the railroad company.

    This summer, the village of Elwood plans to resurface the entire 1.8-mile Walter Strawn Drive because of damage caused by truck traffic, Bosso said.

    “The greater the weight and the greater the number, that reduces the life of the pavement,” Bosso said. “Let’s say you have pavement with only cars. That lasts X amount of years. If you have overweight semis, that’s basically cut in half.”

  4. Judith Rogers says:

    Here is some more news on the intermodal mess in Elwood. I remember well when the thieves were trying to get BNSF a TIF that they and the Allen Group were wanting. The initial bill they introduced via Sen. Brownlee took away the school district’s ability to nix the TIF and when that was discovered and an outcry was made, the final bill got the ability for the school district or Johnson County to nix the TIF as it should have been. That bill went thru thanks to Brownlee, Drovetta, Lehman and a whole bunch of other politicians/bureaucrats (such as those who work at your Gardner City Hall) who didn’t work for the PEOPLE. BNSF and the Allen Group then decided to go with a straight tax incentive and dear ole Lehman and Drovetta were more than happy to sell their people down the river and even ready to give away 85% of the tax revenue. Sweet deal for the thieves but a disgrace for the citizens who you are supposed to working for and protecting.

    I just know Elwood has a whole generation of citizens who won’t see much tax revenue from that slimy intermodal project since that TIF is going to run for over twenty years . This article makes it very clear as to what citizens get with the back room backstabbing deals that go on with the the thieves and the politicians. And the financial aspect of this TIF or that 75% tax handout that Edgerton gave is just the tip of the iceburg – the astronomical costs, financial rape, cost of replacing and building roads that will never end, loss of safety, adverse health affects and it goes on and on. I know those freaking $10 an hour warehouse jobs create huge problems for the workers, to say nothing about the social costs they create.

    So, tell me again how it was just terrible that Gardner didn’t get the intermodal project……..

    **********************************************************************

    Elwood sues industrial developer over incentives deal

    The village’s fight with CenterPoint is a cautionary tale for local governments that fund economic development with tax increment financing funds
    August 25, 2013

    It’s not uncommon for residents of Elwood in rural Will County to see a helicopter buzzing overhead.

    CenterPoint Properties likes to provide visitors a bird’s-eye view of the $1 billion industrial park it developed that houses a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway rail-to-truck transfer facility and half a dozen warehouses. Some 3,800 jobs were created.

    The view from Elwood Village Hall is quite different.

    Village President Bill Offerman feels CenterPoint reneged on pledges to build a hotel and restaurants and create upward of 12,000 jobs. He also says he wants Oak Brook-based CenterPoint to account for every dime it spent from an $88 million tax increment financing package it received in 2000. Offerman’s battle with CenterPoint has boiled over into a suit the village filed in Cook County court.

    Paul Fisher, CenterPoint’s chief executive, said in a statement the intermodal center in Elwood is a world-class transportation hub that is one of Illinois’ most robust economic success stories, bringing jobs to Illinois and tens of millions of dollars to Elwood and other governments.

    CenterPoint said it believes the village brought the suit to “perhaps deflect attention away from its own financial distress.”

    While the village contends that accusation has no merit, Elwood is technically in default.

    Taxes being generated by CenterPoint’s development are not enough to pay down interest much less principal on the debt the village took on to help finance the industrial park. Because of hefty interest rates, that debt last year had ballooned to about $163 million.

    To some experts, Elwood’s fight with CenterPoint is a cautionary tale for governments that finance economic development with TIF funds, from tax increment financing districts.

    “These are complicated animals,” said Therese McGuire, a professor of management and strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business. Done right, TIFs can benefit communities, she said, then added, “Lots of big, more sophisticated communities get into trouble with them.”

    Small communities often lack the resources — human and financial — to negotiate good deals, McGuire said. She said an additional problem is that towns often don’t do a good job of informing residents of how the TIF development works. As a result, expectations about job growth and other benefits usually exceed what was negotiated.

    Charles Cullen, 66, a longtime Elwood resident, said the village got roads out of the deal but said taxes have gone up and residents have to put up with the constant humming and beeping of trucks coming in and out of the industrial park.

    “People got shafted, that’s what I think,” Cullen said.

    Offerman has a similar opinion.

    “You reach a point when you are looking at what they are actually developing and what they are marketing versus what they said they were going to put in, and the two don’t match,” Offerman said.

    In a statement, Mike Murphy, chief development officer at CenterPoint Properties Trust, said “expectations now voiced by some village officials that they wanted us to build malls and hotels in Elwood are a fantasy and contrary to all of the zoning agreements. We would be happy to build more heavy manufacturing and retail if the market is there for that product, but we are limited to market demand.”

    The project grew out of restoration and development of the former Joliet Arsenal, a massive complex where ammunition and explosives were produced. During World War II, the arsenal employed more than 10,000 people. Production stopped in the late 1970s and the Army declared it excess property in the early ’90s.

    More than two-thirds of the former arsenal property became the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Smaller portions were redeveloped into such things as the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, a landfill and the CenterPoint project.

    The deal with CenterPoint came together in 2000, after Elwood annexed a portion of the former arsenal closest to the village and designated it a TIF district. At the time, Elwood had 1,600 residents, and it didn’t even have a stoplight.

    The TIF district allowed the village to use future taxes to reimburse the developer for some expenses.

    The village’s issue is that CenterPoint’s project is not generating the $20 million to $40 million in tax revenues annually the village had expected. In 2012, the industrial park only generated $7.7 million.

    If the district generates more revenue, the village can make larger payments on the debt. In the village’s favor is that the TIF district protects it financially: If the district fails to generate enough taxes over 23 years to reimburse all that is due to the developer, the village would not be held accountable for the difference.

    In the interim, however, Elwood is technically in default. Village officials fear that may trigger a downgrade from its Standard & Poor’s A credit rating and squeeze its ability to finance future needs.

    The project didn’t generate any taxes while it was under construction. So when the developer asked for about $88 million in reimbursements, the village issued TIF notes, basically IOU vouchers, to CenterPoint. The notes paid interest of 10 percent compounded twice a year for 20 years.

    “Ten percent is really high no matter what we are talking about,” said Brian Battle, director of trading at Chicago-based Performance Trust Capital Partners, an investment adviser.

    Battle said 10 percent was about double the rate of debt issued by some of the highest-rated states like Texas or Virginia. That rate suggests the project was seen by investors as very risky, likely because the developer was building it from scratch. Investors had to bet on whether the developer could actually build what it said it would and then on whether it could rent out or sell what it had built.

    CenterPoint renegotiated the deal in 2003 so that it could sell some of the notes on the open market. New 20-year notes for $111 million were issues to cover accumulated interest.

    In return, Elwood received $10 million — $5 million immediately and $1 million a year through 2008. That amount was in addition to the $3.6 million it received in 2000 for public improvements.

    The Elwood Consolidated School District 203, which had opposed creation of the TIF district, received $2.4 million. CenterPoint also paid for a portion of the costs of improving roads and building a water and wastewater treatment plant — a total of more than $60 million, according to a court document.

    When asked how the village spent the $3.6 million from the first deal and $10 million from the second deal, Offerman said he didn’t know because those decisions were made before he took office in 2009.

    In 2010 Offerman and Nick Narducci, the village administrator, decided to look into the TIF finances. It began asking CenterPoint for its invoices, but Offerman said his requests didn’t get any traction.

    Tired of waiting, the village filed its suit in February.

    “It’s not an emotional decision. This is finance; this is business,” Offerman said.

    Offerman said that it is too late to question whether the deal was a bad one. “The deal is the deal. We inherited that. It is what it is, but they do have to account for this,” Offerman said. He added: “Why is it so difficult to get this accounting?”

    CenterPoint said Elwood is not at any risk for having to make good on what it owes. In addition, CenterPoint said it projects that over the 23-year span of the TIF district CenterPoint will be reimbursed $135 million to $150 million, close to what it was promised to be reimbursed without interest.

    “Although we have asked them repeatedly, we cannot figure out what the village hopes to accomplish with this lawsuit,” CenterPoint’s Murphy said in an email to the Tribune on Friday.

    “The village certified all of our invoices at the time they issued the TIF bonds 14 years ago. We responded to the village’s recent requests for paperwork in a timely fashion and offered to work with them on any technical default from their non-payment.”

  5. Judith Rogers says:

    These people don’t have a chance in hell unless their politicians stand tall with them but if the politicians sell their people out like they did here, in my opinion they don’t stand a chance in hell. After my years of research on intermodals, the only communities who were able to chase these railroads down the road were the ones who were fortunate enough to have their politicians/bureaucrats fighting just like they were from Day 1. But most of all, if the thieves can’t get the financial support they want or any other kind of support from a city, then they continue to look for the weak ones with raunchy politicians. That is my opinion based on facts and lots of research.

    *************************************************************************************

    Morrell Park residents take CSX fight to Annapolis
    Residents opposed to planned cargo transfer facility say they’re no pushovers

    By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun

    7:52 p.m. CDT, March 13, 2014

    With a few legislative victories already in hand, Laurie Weishorn will sit down before the entire Baltimore delegation in Annapolis on Friday morning and ask them to go one step further and stop CSX Corp. from building a cargo transfer facility in her back yard.

    The hearing will be the biggest stage yet for the dogged objections from Weishorn and her blue-collar neighbors in Morrell Park, who say city, state and CSX rail officials underestimated their opposition to the project.

    “I think they thought they were going to slip it in on us, and we’ve proven to them that no, that isn’t going to happen,” Weishorn said Thursday, amid preparations for her Annapolis testimony.

    Two years after the first rumblings of the project started circulating among residents in the Southwest Baltimore neighborhood, the future of the Baltimore Rail Intermodal Facility appears more fraught than ever — largely because of the residents’ grass roots efforts.

    While it appears $20 million in state funding will remain slated for the project in the upcoming budget, Baltimore Democrat Sen. Verna Jones-Rodwell has pushed through an amendment that will require an environmental study and communication between the state transportation department and Morrell Park residents before any release of the funding.

    A similar amendment is being pushed in the House with the help of Del. Heather Mizeur, a Montgomery County Democrat who is running for governor and has taken up the cause of the Morrell Park residents.

    “I support the project being built, just not here,” Mizeur told a crowd of about 100 residents at a community meeting in Morrell Park on Wednesday.

    The “intermodal,” as it’s known, would allow CSX to double-stack cargo containers from the port of Baltimore and elsewhere to more efficiently transport them throughout the eastern seaboard and Midwest — which CSX can’t do from its current Seagirt Marine Terminal facility due to height restrictions at the Howard Street Tunnel.

    Because of its intense industrial footprint, the project has languished for years despite state support, first being proposed at several suburban tracts before high costs and local opposition forced officials to reconsider.

    Then, in April 2012, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake stepped into the fray with a letter to CSX president Michael J. Ward, inviting him to locate the facility in Baltimore.

    “As a strong advocate for the Port of Baltimore, I’m deeply troubled by the slow pace of this project and the ongoing resistance to the idea of strengthening our critical port infrastructure,” Rawlings-Blake wrote.

    Since then, Morrell Park residents have given Rawlings-Blake a new resistance to consider.

    “I’m certainly not interested in shoving anything down the community’s throat that they don’t want,” the mayor said in November.

    Rob LaPin, a Morrell Park resident who is running for a seat in the House, said city and state officials now see how wrong they were to think that the neighborhood would accept the project.

    The budget amendments, as written, restrict use of the $20 million in appropriated funding until October without a signed memorandum of understanding between the state and the Morrell Park community, which LaPin said gives residents a new window of opportunity.

    “We have six months now to start looking at City Hall and lobbying,” he said. “We basically have six months still to fight.”

    Getting that six months, LaPin and others said, is the direct result of residents circulating petitions, hosting neighborhood rallies and crying foul at the potential environmental impacts the facility will have on their neighborhood.

    “It’s been a journey,” Weishorn said at the Wednesday night meeting, at the local American Legion hall.

    Back in September, at the same hall, residents nearly booed CSX officials out of the room during a presentation about the project. Those officials have all but withdrawn from the conversation since.

    “We continue to communicate with our partners to find a solution that balances the community concerns with the needs of the Port, city, state and CSX,” said Melanie Cost, a CSX spokeswoman, in an email Thursday.

    Local City Councilman Edward Reisinger has “evolved” his position into stalwart opposition in recent months, too, thanks to residents voicing their concerns, he said.

    Reisinger now says he won’t introduce any of the zoning changes needed in his district for the project to move forward, though Rawlings-Blake’s administration still could. Other council members, including President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, have pledged their support for Reisinger.

    Weishorn and other residents are also planning a march on City Hall, but for now, their focus is Annapolis.

    On Friday, Weishorn said she’ll be sharing her story, but also talking about the potential impact on schools, the environment and on the way of life for all the families that live in the neighborhoods surrounding the proposed site.

    “It’s a process, and I think it’s slow, but I do think that we have made a really good effort,” Weishorn said. “I think that if we continue doing what we’re doing, that we can win

  6. Judith Rogers says:

    Here is an article about warehouse workers. Doesn’t sound too nifty to me……………there are only 3 BNSF employees at Edgerton’s intermodal and the rest of the employees are hired by some agency probably much like the agencies hiring warehouse workers………..Brownback touts these entities as “job creators” – I certainly have another word or words to apply to these jaybirds.

    *********************************************************************************************

    Warehouse working conditions questioned

    Most of the people working at the warehouses in Elwood are paid minimum wages, their jobs tend to be temporary and many get hurt on the job, according to a study by Warehouse Workers for Justice, a worker center trying to organize warehouse workers in Will County.

    The group has filed nearly a dozen lawsuits against the operators and owners of warehouses in Elwood alleging everything from discrimination and unlawful working conditions to underpayment of workers.

    Joel Anderson, president and chief executive of International Warehouse Logistics Association, said the labor group is taking isolated cases and generalizing the situation in Elwood.

    Anderson said that only a fraction of warehouse jobs are temporary and that while some jobs are entry-level, there are opportunities for workers to advance.

    CenterPoint said businesses “in the park employ a variety of highly skilled and less skilled workers, many of which receive wages far in excess of minimum wage. Some of these jobs are union and some are not, but all of them are new jobs on a site that was abandoned and jobless before we developed it, in a state that saw a huge outflow of industrial jobs during the period of development.”

    Mark Meinster, a campaign director for Warehouse Workers for Justice, said: “The developer benefited from public subsidies on the promise of good wages and full-time jobs.”

    Holly Kent-Payne, 26, a college graduate who worked in two warehouses in Elwood, said she was paid about $10 per hour to carry boxes. The work was temporary, meaning she’d work three to four months, then face long stretches before she’d be rehired.

    “The work is tiring and I kept getting sick. I liked my co-workers, but it was just a crappy job,” Kent-Payne said. She now teaches English in Chicago.

  7. Judith Rogers says:

    Here is a court case filed in January 2014 where Centerpoint is suing the Village of Elwood. I would say the Village of Elwood could possibly be having some buyer’s remorse – very much like Edgerton and it citizens may have in the coming years – time will tell. The costs never end.

    ********************************************************************************************

    Case: 2014MR000125 Status: Open Case Opened: 01/17/2014
    Title: CENTERPOINT INTERMODAL LLC vs. VILLAGE OF ELWOOD, THE
    Type: MISCELLANEOUS REMEDY File Type: Declaratory Judgment Closed: N/A

    Party Type Party Name Birth Date
    Plaintiff CENTERPOINT INTERMODAL LLC N/A

    Attorney

    SCOTT HOSTER
    DYSTRUP, HOSTER & JAROT, P.C.
    822 INFANTRY DRIVE
    SUITE 104
    JOLIET, IL 60435
    (815) 474-2926 or (815) 744-6550
    Defendant VILLAGE OF ELWOOD, THE
    401 E MISSISSIPP AVE
    PAT BUCHENAU
    ELWOOD, IL 60421 N/A

    Attorney

    WILLIAM THOMAS
    OTTOSEN, BRITZ, KELLY, COOPER,GILBERT & DINOLFO
    303 NORTH MAIN STREET
    ELBURN, IL 60119
    (630) 365-6441

    ©

  8. Judith Rogers says:

    Next time you read the BS about the “great” jobs created by the intermodal. think about the poor suckers working in those warehouses………….

    **********************************************************************************

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    November 14, 2012
    3:42 PM

    CONTACT: Warehouse Workers for Justice
    Walmart Warehouse Workers in Elwood, IL Demand an End To Illegal Retaliation
    Unfair Labor Practice Charges Are Filed with the National Labor Relations Board

    WASHINGTON – November 14 – Warehouse workers filed charges of unfair labor practices against four employers operating Walmart’s largest distribution center located in Elwood, IL.

    Schneider Logistics, Roadlink Workforce Solutions, Select Remedy and Skyward Employment Service are all charged with violating workers rights under the law. Illegal threats, intimidation and discipline against workers organizing for improved conditions are the bases for the unfair labor practice charges filed today.

    “We work hard and deserve to be paid fairly, have a safe workplace and be treated with dignity as human beings. If Walmart thinks we will be silenced by this illegal retaliation, they are wrong” said Walmart warehouse worker Phil Bailey.

    In Mira Loma, CA today dozens of warehouse workers walked off the job at a Walmart-contracted warehouse Wednesday morning to call for an end to continued retaliation against workers advocating for fair treatment and safe conditions.

    Workers at the Walmart warehouse in Elwood, IL went on strike for three weeks this fall to protest unfair labor practices committed by Roadlink Workforce Solutions. They won their three week strike on October 6th when Roadlink rescinded all retaliation and paid the strikers for all the days they were on strike. The unfair labor practice strike was triggered by management’s discipline against workers attempting to present the company their concerns about wage theft, unsafe conditions and discrimination. They are demanding an end to retaliation against workers who organize to end the poor conditions.

    Warehouse workers labor under extreme temperatures, lifting thousands of boxes that can weigh up to 250 lbs each. Workplace injuries are common; workers rarely earn a living wage or have any benefits.

    Warehouse Workers for Justice is an Illinois worker center dedicated to fighting for quality jobs in the distribution industry that can sustain families and communities.

    ********************************************************************************************

    Non-Violent Walmart Protesters In Ellwood, Illinois, Arrested By Riot Police

    A non-violent protest over working conditions at the warehouse of a Walmart supplier resulted in more than a dozen arrests Monday.

    Riot police arrested 17 peaceful Walmart protesters in Elwood, Ill., the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The protesters were some of the 600 people taking part in the rally, which was organized by Warehouse Workers for Justice. The protesters were supporting the employees of a warehouse in Elwood, Illinois, which is operated by an outside contractor that supplies Walmart stores, according to Reuters.

    The workers have been on strike since September protesting their working conditions. The 17 protesters who were arrested were blocking the warehouse’s entrance by sitting in the middle of the road, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

    Walmart outsources much of its warehouse work to save money, but this has come at a cost to workers, according to a recent report by the National Employment Law Project. These contractors pay low wages and often violate labor laws, according to the report.

    Walmart has been criticized for other labor practices as well. Walmart workers aren’t unionized and many Walmart workers are paid very low wages. Meanwhile, Walmart’s profits are booming.

    *************************************************************************************

    Elwood Takes Legal Action Against CenterPoint Over Prevailing Wage Dispute

    The Village of Elwood wants CenterPoint Properties Trust to prove that it is complying with the state’s prevailing wage laws as part of a heavily-subsidized tax increment financing (TIF) agreement to construct a massive multi-use industrial park in Will County.

    Elwood officials filed a complaint in Cook County Circuit Court August 28 asking that a judge require the Oakbrook-based real estate developer to hand over records that would show workers at the Deer Run Industrial Park redevelopment site have been paid according to state law.

    According to Elwood’s complaint, CenterPoint has refused to provide any payroll documents to the village that would confirm that the company is adhering to the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act, which requires a minimum wage and benefits threshold for workers associated with publicly-financed projects. Under state law, developers of taxpayer-subsidized projects are required to keep such compliance records.

    “We find it troubling that CenterPoint refuses to hand over public documents that would reveal if prevailing wage laws have been violated,” Elwood Mayor William Offerman said in a statement. “Because taxpayer dollars and public records are at issue, the village has a duty and obligation to ensure that prevailing wage statutes are enforced and that local workers are getting paid what they deserve and what is required by law.”

    The recent court filing is the most recent addition to the village’s ongoing legal action over the project against CenterPoint, which is owned by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the nation’s biggest pension fund.

  9. Ryan123 says:

    “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”

    Once there was this kid who
    Got into an accident and couldn’t come to school
    But when he finally came back
    His hair had turned from black into bright white
    He said that it was from when
    The car had smashed so hard

    Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
    Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm

    Once there was this girl who
    Wouldn’t go and change with the girls in the change room
    But when they finally made her
    They saw birthmarks all over her body
    She couldn’t quite explain it
    They’d always just been there

    Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
    Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm

    But both girl and boy were glad
    ‘Cause one kid had it worse than that

    ‘Cause then there was this boy whose
    Parents made him come directly home right after school
    And when they went to their church
    They shook and lurched all over the church floor
    He couldn’t quite explain it
    They’d always just gone there

    Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
    Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm

  10. Judith Rogers says:

    Who is Ryan123???? Mmmmm………………

  11. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    Selected by Rolling Stone Magazine as the 15th most annoying song ever recorded.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIbcqgXh5-4

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