Moraine Township

Moraine Township Board of Trustees
Thursday, May 13, 2010 5:00 PM
Moraine Township Office

May 13, 2010

The meeting was called to order at 5:02 PM by Supervisor Barnes and upon roll call the following individuals were present: Trustees Dwayne Douglas, Bryna Gamson, Margoth Moreno, and Jackie Schechter. Also Present: Clerk Ellen Gussin, Bob Wolf, Lillian Herter, Linda Kuhn, Rosemary Espinosa, Laurel Thatson, Yasmin Ocampo, Gregorio Resendiz, Elsi Rodriguez, Brenda Montiel, Helene Stone, Erika Abad, Sara Herrero, Modesto Rodriguez, Hortencia Gomez, Herlinda Ocampo, Bonnie Ferrara, and Janet Freed.

Approval of Minutes
The Regular Meeting Minutes of April 29, 2010 under “Citizen Grant Advisory Committee” are corrected to include a concern expressed by Trustee Moreno, who had heard from someone in the community that Family Service had trouble making a prompt second appointment for people starting counseling. Trustee Gamson responded that if the Minutes were to be revised to reflect such a criticism, then what also was said by several of the other Trustees in response to Trustee Moreno also needed to be reflected – that Family Service had many times explained its difficulties in serving everyone quickly, but they were trying, and that because Moraine Township does not give enough funds to cover the expense of services to residents, it should not complain about scheduling matters.

Approval of Bills
Trustee Schechter moved, seconded by Trustee Gamson, approval of the bills. Upon roll call, motion carried.

Public Comment
Bonnie Ferrera asked about the timeline for the cemetery flooding. Supervisor Barnes explained that the correct term is “ponding” (as is occurring throughout Lake County.) The Township has engaged the services of an Archaeological Geophysicist to complete a comprehensive survey of the Mooney Cemetery gravesites to be completed this summer with results to the Township Board no later than late summer 2010. A decision by fall 2010 is anticipated as to what measures to take concerning Mooney Cemetery improvements.

Family Service Nuestro Center Presentation
Bob Wolf, Executive Director, Family Service, introduced the key representatives of the Nuestro Center: Lillian Herter, Elsi Rodriguez, Gregorio Resendiz, and Erika Abad. He summarized for the Board the need to find a new home for the Nuestro Center formerly located at North Shore Estates. There is a large unmet need within the Highwood/Highland Park communities for the services provided by Nuestro, and the space adjacent to the closed Shrimp Walk restaurant on Walker in Highwood has been offered by the owner of the restaurant. Without rent for the space, the owner would not be able to maintain his restaurant business and if he is allowed to reopen with the rent proposed from Nuestro, he will be able to provide eight new jobs to community workers and he will offer the kitchen for use as a cooking-learning facility during hours the restaurant is not open.
   Family Service has worked with a local bank to develop the dollars needed for a five year plan for operating a newly expanded Nuestro Center in the space of 2,000 sq. ft. without danger of foreclosure. The dollars needed total $52,100. A Homework Club will occupy one classroom in the new space and accommodate 50 children instead of 20; a second multi-purpose room will allow teaching, story-telling, and other activities popular with after-school students. Additionally, the space will allow Nuestro to serve the needs of seniors, determined to be underserved by a recent needs assessment; social isolation is a particular need among the seniors in the surrounding community. A third use of the space will be a weekend Drop-in Center to be youth driven. Principals of Northwood were very concerned about students that have nowhere to go; additionally the youth from Ft. Sheridan are very isolated. The new Nuestro will be able to expand its reach to all people in need within the community, as opposed to its former reach of only North Shore Estates residents.
    Family Service is working with Youth Build, an agency that recruits high school drop-outs and teaches them the construction craft, helping them to become responsible tradesmen. Youth Build will help keep the Nuestro build-out costs at a minimum. The Boys and Girls Club has determined that they want to develop programming within Moraine Township and could possibly utilize the new facility on weekends.
   Ms. Herter emphasized the ability of Nuestro to meet its long-term goal of opening its services to the entire community. Trustee Gamson praised the work of Nuestro and asked about the services offered by the Park District of Highland Park and the Firehouse sponsored by the City of Highland Park. Ms. Herter responded that the Firehouse serves middle-school students only and that there is a transportation issue of getting home in the evening after its programming; there is also a discomfort level in some Latinos going to the Firehouse. Trustee Moreno praised the opportunity to mix populations – both Latino and Ft. Sheridan. Supervisor Barnes asked about the model that might entice kids to show up; Bob Wolf responded that there will not be room for video games, but that a collection of as many as twenty Wii games will be available (a' la the Waukegan YMCA that has used these quite successfully); seniors can use these as well. Ms. Abad reported that the kids just want to come and have a place to hang out.
   Family Service mounted a campaign to raise $100,000 from corporate donors but have been turned down by many including Abbott and Metro. The Highland Park Community Foundation is in talks to cover the computer lab. Supervisor Barnes mentioned that Rotary might be an additional source.
   Trustee Moreno reports that members of the community have expressed concerns about the safety of Nuestro, receiving reports of disorganization. Ms. Herter responded that over 20 families are involved now and that these families think that the safety is sound. Elsi Rodriguez added that there will be additional tutors hired.
   Many of the families here at this meeting are part of the counseling program. Yasmin Ocampo spoke about her positive experience and how very safe and nurturing the Center has been. Supervisor Barnes mentioned her son’s experience in working with the camp last summer and how organized and professional he found it to be.
   Trustee Schechter asked about the Senior meals – The Department of Aging has charged Catholic Charities with providing meals, and they will be provided by La Casa de Isaac. The Department of Aging paid Family Service/Nuestro Center to interview seniors, and Gregorio Resendiz spearheaded the effort – findings included that an average of 5 years had elapsed since the interviewees had been seen by medical personnel; their meals were devoid of nutritional content; and they lacked socialization. The new Nuestro Center would hope to serve 200 to 225 seniors annually. The schools will continue to cooperate in providing transportation.

Action Item – Additional Grant to Family Service
Trustee Schechter moved, seconded by Trustee Douglas, that Moraine Township extend a special one-time additional grant of $50,000 to fund the continuation and move of Nuestro Center to its new location in Highwood. Upon roll call, motion carried unanimously.

Assessor’s Report

Supervisor’s Report

The Annual Postal Workers Food Drive was a huge success; quite a few schools came in to volunteer; the Food Pantry is full.

The Pantry Plants Garden Project work is underway but volunteers are coming in very slowly. Gregorio Resendiz volunteered to try to get Nuestro Center clients to help out and the Township van will be able to provide transportation in off-hours. Garden volunteers meet every Saturday and one late afternoon/early evening per week.

Supervisor Barnes reported the Township’s discovery of a woman severely abusing the Taxi program, using over 150 coupons per month in a totally unauthorized manner; she will be restricted to the monthly maximum allotment.

Participants in the July 4th parade are needed for the Township.

Latino Advisory Committee
Trustee Douglas reports that the next meeting is scheduled for June 14 at 6 PM.

The Moraine Township mid-term report (on the Moraine Door-to-Door van program grant) is due to the Healthcare Foundation of Highland Park, and is currently being finalized on schedule.

Trustee Gamson asked for articles for the June newsletter.

Unfinished Business

New Business
Community Action Partnership of Lake County has sent a survey to Moraine Township; no one was familiar with the organization.

With no further business to conduct, Trustee Schechter moved, seconded by Trustee Moreno, the meeting be adjourned at 6:20 PM. Motion carried.

Respectfully submitted,

Ellen S. Gussin
Moraine Township Clerk


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