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Foss Park District president picked to succeed Audrey Nixon on Lake County Board

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on June 7, 2017 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 

Vance Wyatt, the Foss Park District board president and board member for the North Chicago Public Library board, has been selected to fill out the term of the late Audrey Nixon on the Lake County Board, according to the board chairman.

 

"In his interview, I witnessed first-hand Vance's commitment to District 14 when he shared the story of how he was one of only two in his graduating class who came back after college," Chairman Aaron Lawlor said in a statement announcing Wyatt's selection on Wednesday.

 

"I know Vance shares my deeply held belief that North Chicago is a community worth coming back to and worth fighting for, and Vance will be that champion."

 

Wyatt said Wednesday that Nixon was a staple in the community, and when she died in April, it was like losing a grandmother.

 

"It's truly an honor to fill her position," he added.

 

Detailing plans to resign from both the park district and library boards to take the County Board seat, Wyatt said he will continue pushing for things that Nixon backed, such as jobs for youth to keep them out of trouble and finding jobs for those with a criminal background so they can turn their life around.

 

"I'll also be looking at economic development," Wyatt added. "North Chicago does not have a grocery store."

 

Wyatt's proposed appointment is scheduled for a vote by the County Board on June 13. He is replacing Nixon, a fellow Democrat who served on the board representing North Chicago and parts of Park City and Gurnee since 1982. Nixon was also the longtime chairman of the board's law and judicial committee.

 

State Senator Terry Link, who serves as a chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party, said in a statement that he supports Wyatt's appointment.

 

"It's important that we grow the next generation of leaders in Lake County, and Vance Wyatt is a dynamic, young leader who will bring a fresh perspective to the County Board, and serve the residents of District 14 well," he said in a statement.

 

Wyatt will serve the remainder of the term, which will expire in 2018.

 

According to information released by the county on Wednesday, Illinois law requires the County Board chairman to appoint a qualified individual to a vacancy on the board within 60 days with the advice and consent of board members.

 

"Following Nixon's passing, Chairman Lawlor outlined an inclusive process and appointed an advisory committee made up of Democrat elected officials and the board leadership," the statement added. "The panel reviewed applications from eleven candidates, conducted in-person interviews with four individuals, and recommended Wyatt for the appointment."

 

Wyatt had a lot to take on when he became the Foss Park District board president, because the district had been rocked with scandal before he arrived with a theft case involving Toys for Tots donations that saw charges brought against two board members. In early 2015, another board member pleaded guilty to an election code violation.

 

Wyatt has a master's of business administration, banking and financial from Concordia University in Chicago and a bachelor's of science in business management with a minor concentration in public policy from National-Louis University. He presently works for CVS Health as a financial analyst with RxClaim.

 

Lawlor's statement announcing Wyatt's appointment also encouraged residents to "honor Audrey Nixon's legacy by stepping forward to serve in one of many appointed leadership opportunities," adding that information on nearly 300 volunteer positions on 70 different boards, commissions, committees and units of government are posted on the t the County Board's website.

 

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Twitter @abderholden

Source: Lake County News Sun

Quarter 4 2016 Newsletter

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on February 19, 2017 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

It has been a few months since my last update on the issues facing the Foss Park District. We have some big projects coming down the line and I wanted to give you an update on a few of them. Projects still being worked on that are not in this newsletter are the Tennis Court resurfacing, 14th Street Administration building and The Beach front. Furthermore, I would like to inform you that we have two citizens that will be running for the two seats that are open in the April Election; Anthony “Tony” Jones and Kenneth Robinson. I look forward to Commissioner Jones returning to the board and Mr. Robinson joining us on the Board. Dr. King will be retiring from the Board after 20 years of service.

 

 

Thank You,

Vance D. Wyatt, Commissioner

Foss Park District

 

If you have any questions or concerns please reach out to me via email [email protected] or via phone at 224-419-4509. I want to represent you to best of my abilities and will need to hear from you.

2017 Tax Levy

The Board voted on our Tax Levy at a Special Board meeting in December. The Tax Levy would increase property taxes by 28%. I voted No on the tax levy due to the previous 10 years of increases. And instead, the board will look to find ways to cut costs further.

Coles Park rehab

The District approved a revised agreement with the Lake County Housing Authority in December 2016. The Housing Authority planned on completing the application prior to the Start of the new Administration. The current date for ground breaking for the project is March 1st, 2017.

Splash Pad

Due to the State’s inability to approve a budget for over two years now. The district has decided to move forward with the project on a smaller scale than was originally proposed. Based on our timeline the Board will accept the bids at the March Meeting with ground breaking taking place on March 6, 2017. The project should be completed and ready to open to the public on July 1st, 2017.

2016 Audit

The 2016 Audit was approved by the board at our Special Board meeting in December. As in previous years, the biggest drain on park district resources is the golf course. I have been working with the staff and our Golf Committee to come up with a real plan to deal with this issue. Some options may not be popular. In order to prevent the Park District from going bankrupt due to the Golf Course something big needs to happen.

2017 Park Bonds

The Board approved an Ordinance issuing 2017A Bonds in the approximate amount of $346,595 for the use of capital expenses; such as the Splash Pad construction and Tennis Courts resurfacing. I voted in favor of the measure since we cannot continue to wait for the state to supply their match to our projects. This will help alleviate the loss of cash on hand for the district.

 

Commissioner Wyatt joins with fellow YEO Network members against Hate

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on October 2, 2016 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (0)

The Letter reads as follows:


The 2016 electoral season has featured dangerous levels of xenophobic, anti-Muslim, and

racist rhetoric, as well as a devastating rise in hate crimes. This rhetoric and violence is not only

a threat to our communities, but it also strikes directly against the most cherished and basic

rights guaranteed by our nation’s Constitution: liberty, due process, freedom of religion, and

equality under law. We write this open letter to stand with the Muslims, Arabs, South Asians,

and Sikhs across the United States as they endure threats, harassment, violence, and

inexcusable political rhetoric. Our message is unmistakable: we thank you for serving your

communities and we are proud to have you beside us as full and equal members of the

American family.

American Muslims are an integral part of the fabric of America and have been since the first

slave ships brought Muslims to our shores. At the time of the founding of our nation, Thomas

Jefferson drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1777 explicitly to protect the

rights of Muslims, Jews, and Christians to practice their faith free from oppression. Today,

American Muslims serve their communities and country as teachers and doctors, organizers

and soldiers, scientists and faith leaders. Indeed, America’s long tradition of welcoming

immigrants and people of all faiths has been central to our nation’s economic success, vibrant

democratic discourse, and cultural richness. Many of the most shameful periods of our nation’s

history were those in which we permitted hatred and fear of the “Other” to shape our public

policy. To build a more just and equitable America based on love and respect we must remind

ourselves of these histories and fight back against bigotry.

The recent sharp rise in hateful rhetoric directed at Muslims by political leaders has serious

consequences. Over the last year, there has been a shocking increase in harassment and hate

crimes directed at Muslims and those who are perceived to be Muslim. People wearing ethnic

or religious attire are being harassed; children bullied at school; community members

attacked; and mosques firebombed. The details are horrific: from the Pittsburgh taxi driver

who was shot in the back by his passenger on Thanksgiving to the pregnant San Diego woman

who was assaulted while pushing her child in a stroller. Children hear the threats of politicians

and ask their parents if their families will be rounded up; parents are heartbroken to hear their

children’s anxieties and worry for their safety. These attacks create fear and anxiety across

Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian communities, whose members now feel unsafe going

about their daily lives.

Today, the fear and hatred of Muslims is being promoted alongside xenophobia and racism

directed at communities all across our country: against Latinos who are being threatened with

mass deportation and ethnic cleansing; against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and particularly

transgender people who are being described as predators and targeted with violence and legal

discrimination; against African Americans and people of color around the country who are

suffering from discriminatory policing that is driven by fear and a failure to recognize their

basic humanity. It is the responsibility of all of us to stand against this hate.

It is exciting and heartening to see so many people doing just that. Young people – particularly

young people of color – are demanding an end to discriminatory policing and violence in their

communities. Muslim leaders are using the language and values of Islam to promote peace and

justice and service. Immigrants are engaging in civil disobedience to protest the deportation of

their friends and loved ones. Many of us are paying attention to these voices, opening to

them, and learning from them. But far too many others want nothing more than to silence

these voices and reject their humanity, embracing bigotry and hate instead of peace and

respect.

As elected officials from across the country and leaders in our communities, we stand against

hate crimes, against school bullying, against workplace discrimination, against closing our

borders on the basis of religion, and against hate. In standing with Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and

South Asian communities we are proud to join with US military veterans organizing under the

hashtag #VetsVsHate, faith leaders organizing under the hashtag #RootedInLove, and civil

rights leaders organizing under the hashtags #SolidarityIS and #EndHate.

As elected representatives, we say to those of you who are in the streets fighting for your lives

to matter, who hear yourselves described as murderers and rapists by candidates for the

nation’s highest offices, who fear for the safety of your children in your places of worship: We

are on your side. We see the richness and beauty of your lives and we know that America

cannot thrive unless you do. We vow to use our positions as elected leaders to stand up

against anti-Muslim bigotry, against xenophobia, against hatred, and against oppression.

We vow to promote local laws and policies that advance equity and value diversity. We vow never

to use fear as a political tactic and never to succumb to fear as political pressure. We vow to

work to fulfill the aspiration of our nation’s founding, in partnership with you, and against all

those who would demonize or silence you




Community Forum: Commissioner/Trustee Vance D. Wyatt Interview (2016)

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on February 10, 2016 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (0)

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Quarterly Update - Oct to Dec 2015

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on January 18, 2016 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (0)

My Friend,

 

Another three months has come and gone since my last update. Since the winter has rolled in with blistering cold, the last few months have been focused on policy matters. In this update, I will be focusing on the Property Tax Levy, FY 2016 Budget, Policies and the Commissioner Scholarship.

 

Thank You,

Vance D. Wyatt, Commissioner

Foss Park District

 

If you have any questions or concerns please reach out to me via email at [email protected] or via phone at 224-419-4509. I want to represent you to best of my abilities and will need to hear from you.

 

 

2016 Property Tax Levy

In Dec 2015, the Board of Commissioners did vote on a Tax Levy that increased the rate by 0.08% in order to account for the inflation rate. The increase in the rate will not increase the dollar amount that a homeowner will have pay to the park district. For this reason, I did vote in favor of the Tax Levy. It is my belief that we do not need to increase taxes and instead spend tax payer dollars more wisely.

 

FY 2016 Budget

Similar to the State of Illinois, the Foss Park District did not pass a FY 2016 budget on time. However, at our October meeting the Board did adopt a balanced budget. Although I do believe that the revenue projections in the budget are over generous. I think it will allow us to focus more on how we do our revenue projections the coming year.

 

The board adopted a balance budget requirement to our Policy Handbook in Oct 2015. Also the board adopted an automatic budget clause, if the board fails to adopt one by the end of July of the new fiscal year. These sections of the Policy handbook protects our retirees, employees and bondholders since they will not allow for any cuts in those funds. However, if there are any cuts to any services the board will get the blame since it is due to their inaction.

 

The Park District is still waiting for the General Assembly and Governor Rauner to vote on a Budget that will release funds that the district needs to complete various projects such as the lake front park and beach restoration project.

 

Park District Policies

When I first ran for Commissioner back in 2013; I was appalled at the fact that there was no Park District Policy handbook, Bylaws and or regulating ordinances. In other words, the park district had no rules to operate on. At the Sept 2015 meeting the board adopted a Public Comment Policy; and at the Oct 2015 meeting; the board adopted a Credit Card policy.

 

The Credit Card Policy put a requirement on staff and Commissioners to submit to the Finance Dept. receipts for all expenditures above $25. The policy also put a restriction on buying alcohol beverages and entertainment on tax payer dime.

 

In Nov 2015, the board adopted a Park District Policy Handbook/Bylaws. Which established rules and order for the districts operations. It also established rules for the Board of Commissioners. As stated earlier, it did contain a balanced budget requirement that prevents the board from over spending and an automatic budget adoption.

 

Those two sections of the policy handbook will help the district start to turn around the current financial situation that it is faced with. The Park district did attempt to acquire bonds in May 2015; however, they could not find any lenders/investors that would purchase bonds from the district.

 

Commissioner Scholarship

When I graduated from North Chicago Community High School; I had the opportunity to receive a scholarship from Waukegan Township. Although the amount of the scholarship was small compared the enormous cost to attend college; every dollar helped. That is why the board has approved a proposal to provide a Scholarship to three students that reside in the Foss Park District for College. The amount will be determined at the January 2016 meeting.

 

Park district vows to regain trust of Marine Corps after Toys for Tots theft cases

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on November 20, 2015 at 1:10 AM Comments comments (0)

By Jim Newton - New Sun/Chicago Tribune

Foss Park District officials in North Chicago are vowing to regain the trust of the Marine Corps in an attempt to participate in future Toys for Tots drives after four district officials and employees were charged with stealing toys from last year's charity effort.

 

"Unfortunately, the Marine Corps Reserves has elected not to partner with the Foss Park District this year in the Toys for Tots program. We are disappointed that this has occurred and will work hard to restore the Marine Corp Reserves' trust in our agency for a future partnership," Park Board Vice President Vance Wyatt said in a written response to a request for comment from the News-Sun.

Earlier this week, the Lake County coordinator for the Toys for Tots Foundation, Gunnery Sgt. Dennis Jones, said the decision had been made to sever ties with the North Chicago-based park district.

 

"We won't be working with that organization again," said Jones, referencing last year's event that ended with theft charges.

Nonetheless, Wyatt said the Foss Park District supports the program and will provide information to residents about the area's new Toys for Tots registration location at the Family First Center of Lake County in Waukegan.

 

"The Toys for Tots program has provided thousands of toys to the children of Lake County and the Foss Park District is grateful to the Marine Corps Reserves representatives who have made this program possible," Wyatt said.

Jones said Family First will take over jurisdiction of the Toys for Tots area formerly covered by the park district, and will receive extra toys to handle the additional families it will be serving.

 

Facing felony theft charges in connection with last year's event are board members Jimmy Baldwin and Susan Dixon. District employees Tommie Kindle and Mark Dixon Jr. also face felony theft charges.

 

Active Marine Latonya Dickerson pleaded guilty to charges of misdemeanor theft under $300 and is serving a probationary sentence overseen by the Lake County Circuit Court's Veterans Court, according to the Lake County state's attorney's office.

To read orginal article click here.

You Might Not Believe it if You Watched the Cubs, But There Was Some Uplifting Baseball on the North Side This Weekend

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on July 27, 2015 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

BY EVAN ALTMAN - Cubs Insider

I tell you what, it is damn hard to make up for a 4-hour drive that includes slogging through I-94 after battling through 100 miles or so of your fellow Hoosier drivers, none of whom seemed phased by the new Move Over Law. But by the time I was pulling away from Foss Park District in North Chicago with my kids after attending a baseball clinic there, my outlook had been completely changed.


This isn’t the first time I’ve written about baseball setting me at ease and I certainly hope it’s not the last. Lord knows I screed often enough to make such immersions in the purer waters of the game not only welcome, but very necessary (right Salt-n-Pepa?). Apprehension about the drive, the weather (the forecast showed a good chance for thunderstorms throughout the afternoon), and the content of the clinic had put me on edge for a bulk of the morning.


No sooner had I taken a few steps toward the gathered assembly by a series of folding table, however, that those accumulate anxieties were melted away like a lemon ice cup in the July sun. That’s when I was greeted by the equally warming smile of Angela Smith (green shirt, front-middle in the picture above), FPD’s Recreation Superintendent. She had recognized my Cubs Insider t-shirt and came over to shake my hand and give me a quick rundown of the festivities.

Then I was finally able to meet the inimitable John Lorek, along with his wife Monica and their kids, Samantha and Ryne. I must say, it was a bit odd to have two little boys named Ryne running around, something that was particularly odd for both boys. I don’t think either was used to hearing “Ryno!” from anyone other than his own parents, so they both ended up rubbernecking for much of the afternoon.


I was introduced to former Cub and National Micah Bowie, the man who would serve as the de facto organizer of the actual baseball activities, and he talked with my son briefly. My kids and I split off for a bit to play a quick game of catch, but the children were quickly drawn like iron filings by the magnetic pull of the miniature therapy horses trotting in from the parking lot. All around the clot of petting hands stood former major leaguers, rotary clubbers, cops, firefighters, and parents.


As a parent and a baseball fan, it was pretty cool to see my kids interacting with some of the guys I grew up watching. While on the way up, I explained that I remembered several of the former players we’d be meeting from seeing them when I was my kids’ age. My 6-year-old son, who believes me ancient at 30 years his senior, replied, “And they’re still alive?!” Yes, in point of fact, they were still alive. I’m sure they could have been doing any number of other things that day, but it said a lot that they were out there working with those children, some of whom had clearly never played before.


I should also mention that this was an inclusion clinic, which meant that kids with mental and/or physical handicaps were right out there with the rest of the group. Lorek commented that there’s no way his daughter, Samantha, would ever do something like that with some adults she didn’t know. But surrounded by other kids, she was right and home and enjoying herself. My daughter can be somewhat withdrawn as well, often feeling far too anxious to participate early on. Seeing her smiling the whole time was great.


Kids learned fielding from John Martin (and got to hold his 1982 Cardinals World Series ring), then ran bases with former Cub Gene Hiser and Mariners/Sox alum Jack Perconte. They got to play catch with Bowie, former Cub Steve Trout (more on that in a bit), and former Negro League standout Dennis Biddle, who is a good friend of Cubs alum — and my long-lost uncle — Big George Altman. Then it was on to hitting with former Philly Von Hayes and Dan Pasqua, who has maintained his massive forearms long after his White Sox days ended.


For me, nothing was better than seeing Addison at the throwing station, where she and Ryne were paired up to work with Trout. I’ve tried for years to work with my daughter on her throws, which are really just glorified shot-puts that typically don’t make it too far. But she’s hard-headed like me and doesn’t take well to my instruction. Upon seeing this, Trout showed her a few things and had her firing the ball well past her brother in no time. And he couldn’t have been more excited over Ryne’s snow-cone grab and Addison’s subsequent “look what I found” snag.


Before and after the baseball, Angela had arranged for a spread that included burgers and dogs, which the kids wolfed down before climbing into the bounce house. I just stood and marveled at the beautiful day as I talked with various folks who had made the trip to the park for the clinic. Lorek told me that when he first started a similar deal down in Texas, they had around 50 kids. Now, 5 years later, they draw well in excess of 200. I’d love to see FPD continue along that path and continue to hold these events.


Check out the gallery below for a few more pictures I was able to take. If you’re interested in more information, feel free to let me know in the comments below. You can also reach Angela Smith directly at 847-689-7480 ext. 220 or 224-336-6566.

 

Economical Empowerment Seminar

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on July 11, 2015 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

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Record fundraising pays off for North Chicago library

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on May 11, 2015 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 

By Yadira Sanchez Olson

News-Sun

In the midst of a record-breaking year of fundraising, the North Chicago Public Library on Saturday celebrated several improvements to the Argonne Drive facility.

 

"So far we've received over $10,000 for programming and the enhancement of the library," library director Joan Battley said during a ribbon-cutting event that unveiled a media dropbox installed on a sidewalk in the library's parking lot.

 

Books, CDs and DVDs can be deposited into the metal receptacle during the library's off hours.  

"This helps our library-users avoid having to pay fines," said Library Board member Vance Wyatt, adding that patrons previously expressed a desire to be able to make media returns on Sundays.

 

The box also provides an easier way for people with disabilities to return rentals, library officials said. The library already had an outside book slot for returns, but it doesn't accept the other library materials.

 

North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham, Jr. called the new dropbox another indication that the city and library are moving forward.

"The media box is one of the many dreams that is coming into fruition," Battley added.

 

More additions and renovations are underway thanks to fundraising and organizational efforts spearheaded by the Library Board and Friends of the Library members. Battley said both groups have been chipping away at the projects defined in the library's 2013 strategic plan.

 

Marie Worth, a lifelong North Chicago resident who served 23 years on the Library Board, was an honored guest at the weekend ceremony.

"The library is a wonderful place that has everything for everyone," she said."The media box is one of the many dreams that is coming into fruition," Battley added.

 

More additions and renovations are underway thanks to fundraising and organizational efforts spearheaded by the Library Board and Friends of the Library members. Battley said both groups have been chipping away at the projects defined in the library's 2013 strategic plan.

 

Marie Worth, a lifelong North Chicago resident who served 23 years on the Library Board, was an honored guest at the weekend ceremony.

At 85 years old, Worth said she still visits the library regularly to pick up the books that keep her entertained. She also said she enjoys seeing the children's space busy with kids who are learning while having fun.

 

Worth said she's looking forward to more positive changes that will benefit the library's 32,500 patrons.

 

The replacement of the 25-year-old building's malfunctioning heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system in September was the first sizable step toward taking the library "to the next level," Battley said.

 

A community room for library programs and group meetings is currently being renovated, too.

 

With a new paint job, carpeting and furniture, as well as a PowerPoint projector, the room is expected to be ready in June.

 

Three monitors that will display the library's news and program schedules are also scheduled to be installed.

 

"This is all a team effort," said board member Zera Dickerson, who acts a liaison between the board and the Friends of the Library. "Little by little we're making this a more beautiful space for our children and families to come to."

 

 

The $4,000 cost of the media dropbox was split by the Friends of the Library and the Library Board.

NewsSun Chicago Tribune 

 

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