Will County Dog Park Passes

Passes for the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s dog parks are now on sale. Permits give dog owners year-round access to all five Forest Preserve dog parks: Forked Creek in Wilmington, Hammel Woods in Shorewood, Messenger Marsh in Homer Glen, Whalon Lake in Naperville, and the newest dog park, Rock Run, which opened earlier this year in Joliet.

Forest preserve district spokeswoman Cindy Cain said the parks not only benefit the dogs but also the owners, “The dogs get a lot of exercise, but the owners usually can make new friends, too.”

Passes start at $40 and can be bought at Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville, Plum Creek Nature Center in Beecher and Monee Reservoir in Monee.  To buy a pass pet owners must provide evidence of current rabies tab number and expiration date for each dog and a permit is required to enter the premises.

According to Cain, most dog parks are open at 8 a.m. with the exception of Whalon Lake Dog Park, which opens sat 6 a.m.  Parks close at sunset.  These hours run from April through October.

Discounts will be given to senior citizens and owners with multiple dogs.  The fee paid goes back into the park to offset the cost of maintenance staff and dog park police. The permits are valid from the time of purchase till December 31st, 2015.

For more information please visit http://www.reconnectwithnature.org/preserves-trails/dog-parks.

Landowners Await Airport Decision

A new regional airport has been talked about since the 1960s.  Today the new South Suburban Airport is finally on its way to being approved. Illinois expects the Federal Aviation Administration to approve the master plan by the end of this year.  However the $700 million project is still years away from being completed.

Although exciting, the airport has a huge impact on the residents that live on the land that the state wants to purchase to build the airport.  Several Will County residents are awaiting a decision to determine whether or not they must leave their property.

Lester Batterman, of Peotone, is one of many people who is threatened to have their property taken away by the state.  The state is offering him $280,000 for his property however, Batterman thinks it is worth $390,000.  He feels the state is taking advantage of him now, “I think they’re using that against me, knowing I’m at a financial disadvantage because of two mortgages and they are trying to squeeze me out for a lower price,” Batterman said.

Everett and Bonnie Moeller bought their home in Peotone in 1976 and planned to live out the rest of their lives there.  However now they must negotiate the best deal they can with the state. “You wake up at night every once in a while thinking about it and it upsets you,” Everett stated.  Bonnie said, “It just hit me that this all could be swiped away and I could be sitting in an apartment somewhere. Everything would be gone.”

Since 2001 the state has been acquiring property.  The state spent about $42 million dollars acquiring over half of the 5,800 acres needed to build the airport.  This past year the Illinois Department of Transportation purchased 1,500 acres.  This past summer the state purchased Bult Field, a 288 acre piece of land with a price tag of $34 million dollars.

Even with all this land the state is not quite finished.  As of September the state was in negation on 910 acres of land and is currently in the condemnation process on 386 acres.

Supporters of the airport believe it will bring new jobs, economic development, and relieve congestion at Chicago O’Hare and Chicago Midway airports.

For more information on the airport plans please visit http://www.southsuburbanairport.com/.

Reverend Nedeljko “Ned” Lunich

“I have the feeling of some accomplishments, which makes me feel, I would say, satisfied. On the other hand, I feel, perhaps, I could have done more in certain areas,” said Reverend Nedeljko “Ned” Lunich looking back on 50 years in the priesthood. Ned served 40 of those 50 years at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Joliet.

One success Ned is proud of is moving the parish from its previous location at Scott and Ohio streets on the east side of Joliet to 300 Stryker Ave.  However, Ned wishes he could have effected more spiritual enrichment, especially focusing on Eastern Orthodox tenets and initiating formal Bible studies.

For instance, Eastern Orthodoxy requires a strict fast four times a year, in the weeks before Christmas, Easter, the feast of Saints Peter and Paul and before the Dormition, the falling asleep of Jesus’ mother, Ned said. It also requires confession of sins in the presence of a priest before receiving communion. Despite occasional dispensations, the precepts have not changed, regardless of relaxations with interpretation. “We tend to allow people to decide based on their own consciences,” Ned said. And of Bible studies, he added, “We have not been very successful with that.”

Now after 50 years in the priesthood Ned is retiring. He reflects back to his childhood. Ned born in 1938 and raised in a small Yugoslavian village. Ned has memories of five protective older sisters and of hiding in the woods from Croatian extremists. Ned attended an “open air” school for four years, starting at the age of seven. During the winter class would be moved to a rented room. A change in the education system cause Ned to miss the fifth grade. When he resumed school, it was located five miles away from his home. Ned’s form of transportation to school were his feet.

Ned’s strong faith made his hardships more bearable. Ned said his family observed all Orthodox holy days, fasting periods and traditions. Not many people in his village had the opportunity to attend school, which made Ned in demand by the local church.

Seminary became the choice when he failed his military physical due to temporary conjunctivitis. Four years later, Ned enrolled in Theological College, in Beograd, served two mandatory years in the military and then finished college. “I was the first person in my family to graduate from college,” Ned said.

Ned came to the United States in 1963. Ned continued his studies at the University of Detroit and Wayne State University, both in Michigan. In 1965, Ned got married and was ordained to the diaconate, and then the priesthood.

Ned served as an assistant priest at St. Lazarus Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Detroit for four years, then as parish priest at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in East Chicago before his Joliet appointment in 1974.

Ned will remain at St. George until the end of the year.  “My parishioners at St. George, I appreciate all their hard work and their dedication for the good of the church,” Ned said, “and also their kindness shown to me all these years.”