Park Safety and Security Referendum

A new referendum is trying to make it onto the November 4th ballot.  The Joliet Park Districts $19.5 million initiative, “Vote Yes Protect Our Parks,” wants to expand the safety and security of 21 local parks and do reconstruction of some parks as well.

Projects include resurfacing the roads and trails of Pilcher Park, construction of a multipurpose room and recreation center at Inwood Park and working on reforestation issues. Also in the referendum is a proposal for a second sheet of ice at Inwood Park.

The district has emphasized that the money will go toward improvements and not personnel salaries or pensions.

If passed, residents would pay an additional $20.50 a year per $100,000 house value on the portion of their park district taxes.

Phone and mail surveys have been conducted and it was determined that 60 percent of the voters would be for this measure with another 20 percent still debating the initiative.

Joliet automotive dealer Terry D’Arcy is leading the initiative. “We started putting out yard signs and things like that this week to bring attention to the opportunity. Then we’re going to start speaking in front of churches and [to] homeowners groups to get the word out,” D’Arcy said.

This is not the first time D’Arcy has been involved with an initiative.  Back in 2002 he helped pass District 86’s $28 million referendum to build two new schools.

D’Arcy said, “I feel as good about this one as I did about that one. It’s only about enhancing our community and making Joliet a better place to live.”


Alleged Mexican fugitive accused of murdering teenager Jose Luis Jardon in 2008 was found living in Illinois since 2009. Juan Ruben Mendoza-Solia, 40, was living under the assumed identity of Raymundo Arias-Molina and was arrested at Rio Grande Valley Grocery where he was working. ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations Tip Line received a tip anonymously that Mendoza-Solis was living in the Joliet area. On September 10, an immigration judge ordered for him to be removed from the US. Mendoza-Solis was placed on a chartered flight and was transferred to the custody of Mexican law enforcement. Mendoza-Solis was charged with the shooting death of Jardon in Mexico City, when he allegedly fled to Illinois to avoid these charges. He was eventually convicted of murder and is in Mexico City’s Oriente Prison where he is serving a prison sentence.

Pet Blessings

On Sunday, October 5, Trinity Episcopal Church in Highland Park and Holy Cross Catholic Church will host pet blessings. The pet blessings is in celebration of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment.

“People can bring whatever pet they have as long as they are respectful of others and have their pets under control,” pastoral associate Mary Ann Spina said. The strangest animal she has seen being blessed: a spider.

Becky DeLarm of Deerfield will be taking her 10-year-old golden retriever, Chester to Trinity. Chester received his first blessing last year. “I do it because animals need to be blessed as much as people do,” DeLarm said. “He blesses my life. He is just the sweetest dog and adores everybody, but he suffers from separation anxiety and doesn’t like to be left alone, so he is in his glory when he is in a church.”

At Holy Cross in the past years they have seen a wide variety of animals according to Kathy Jeffers, director of music and liturgy.

Holy Cross Pastor Vince Costello says the pet blessing is a breed apart from other services. “It’s a really enjoyable thing for us to do,” he said. “People come in good moods. They love their pets. St. Francis believed in the sacredness of all creation. He saw animals as an extension of God’s creative power. We know that pets are extremely important to many people. It’s a very popular event.”