Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Power of 10%

Recently, someone razzed me for pumping gas in Algonquin.

At first, I was annoyed then I quickly retorted - "Yeah, but for every three fill-ups - I intentionally fill-up in Lake in the Hills."

Then I got to thinking about all the people who live and do life in Lake in the Hills and what would happen if they all INTENTIONALLY directed at least 10% of their spending to businesses in Lake in the Hills.

I will be the first to admit that I did not drastically change my habits until I read the budget and studied the finances of the village.

We are doing more with less and have been for quite some time. Did you know that our staffing levels are currently at pre-2005 levels? Meaning -we have more people living in and being served in Lake in the Hills in 2010 by the same amount of employees as we did before 2005.

There's more nuggets like that and if you care to discuss - call or message me. I'll buy you coffee for your trouble.

My point is not to debate how we are doing with our current resources and revenues -FACT- revenues are down. FACT -we are "getting by" with what we have and FACT - Lake in the Hills is landlocked and we are really dependent on businesses in our neighboring communities to live our lives. However, often times people want to know what they can do to help. This is just my humble suggestion - divert some of your current spending to Lake in the Hills.

I intentionally direct more than 10% of my spending to Lake in the Hills - no matter what. Here are my top 4  contributions:

1. Eating out - whether it's ordering pizza or the occasional date night with my husband - I intentionally direct money that I used to spend in other areas to Lake in the Hills.

Brass tax - Bistro Wasabi over Bangkok Thai or White Castle versus Burger King - it's easy and since we don't eat out regularly - it is not hard to remember to give the business to Lake in the Hills.

2. Gas -I've already said this one but I make sure every three fill-ups are in Lake in the Hills - even if it's cheaper in Algonquin.

3. Costco vs Sam's Club - Ironically - we made this change due to proximity even though we liked Sam's better. This change alone has contributed thousands in the last two years.

4. Convenience items - Yeah - I know grocery store-wise we only have Dominicks and I rarely shop there. However, I do give them business for the short trip stuff and you know what I mean - not the full list but the milk, bread - few item runs. I also watch the ads because sometimes - Dominicks surprises me and is the best deal

These are just some ideas - perhaps you have others. I am thinking out loud with you -  of ways to help our village generate more revenues

With little effort,  we can all improve the finances of our community.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I Told You SO!

That's the word on the street about this blog.

"I knew she could never sustain it."

"The People's Trustee? Ha!"

"What was she thinking?"

I can hear it now. And most likely will at this week's Committee of the Whole meeting.

Truth is...

There is not that much going on in the Village of Lake in the Hills, IL. And what IS going on is not of that much interest to the everyday resident as evidenced in our Audience Participation portion of the meetings twice each month.

Another truth...

I am not one to "speak" just to hear myself. The purpose of this blog is to exchange with citizens and update you on my thoughts on village happenings. So if there is not much happening... then there are not many reasons for blogposts.

I'd considered shuttering this page after the first 60 straight days of no activity but changed my mind. If you Google my name - this is the first listing that appears and it would cost a fortune to get that another way. I love the placement and can't part with it anytime soon.

Sooooo.... if you are interested in my thoughts in general - you can always follow my other blog here or follow me on Twitter where I am extremely active.

As for my Board responsibilities - I continue to enjoy my service and love explaining my position to all who have reached out to me to hear it. Additionally, I will be representing Lake in the Hills at the Illinois Municipal League annual conference running a workshop on cultivating talent in our communities by volunteer programs. I will surely update you after that experience in late Sept.

Until the next post - I appreciate any thoughts or questions.

Thanks for checking in.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Know any F.L.I.P.s? Send Them Our Way!

F. L. I. P. stands for Future Leaders in Planning and it is a leadership opportunity for high school students in the Northeastern Illinois region brought us by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).

CMAP is the official regional planning organization for the northeastern Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure to meet CMAP Outreach Associate Janet Bright at a McHenry County Council of Governments meeting and I could not pass up the opportunity to help get the word out about their program entering its third year of existence. One, because it is a gem of a program - rich with opportunity for high school students that have an interest in planning and leadership exposing them to leaders in our area as well as encouraging them to be part of the solutions for various challenges of the Chicago Metroplitan Area.

Two, and perhaps the most compelling - I want us to have McHenry County representation in this program. Entering it's third year - I am not even sure how many McHenry County area families and students are aware of this program and the opportunities for networking it presents. Additionally, getting our high school students involved in govermental activities is a personal priority of mine.

There are five specific areas that the F.L.I.P.s will actively address in a team format:


Economic Development

Housing and Land Use


Human Services

These are all critical subjects to municipalities and I would love to gain the perspective from the next generation on how they think we should tackle the challenges that lie ahead in these areas.

The program is free of charge and the applications are due at the end of this month. Follow this link to the full details and the pdf of the application. Please pass on this post to any high school aged students in your life.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

One Year, New Idea

It is hard to believe that one year ago tonight, I was elected to the Lake in the Hills Village Board. At our Committee of the Whole meeting tonight , I was recalling how my election night watch/victory party buzz was killed around 8:20 pm when the early voting trends showed I was in fourth place and seemingly on the verge of losing my bid for the trustee board.
The room effectively cleared out as people mumbled weak, bare audible "hey - hang in there" "Not all precincts are counted" - type comments.

Only a few die-hards hung out until 9:00 when we got the word that I'd moved into the second place position and secured my seat on the Lake in the Hills Village Board.
I still humbled when I think of the privilege I have to serve the residents of our town. Thanks so much for that trust.
As tomorrow moves me into year two of my four year term, I want to give you a glimpse of something I am working on and hope you will join as we move forward.
Next week, I will be speaking at the 2010 Circle Connection Conference in Champaign about how to build a vibrant and mutually beneficial volunteer program for park districts and park and recreation department officials. I collaborated with a kindred spirit on the presentation and we crafted a message that will surely help many cash-strapped municipalities throughout the state of Illinois.
In a few weeks, we in Lake in the Hills will tackle the same information and look for ways to engage talented village residents to help meet our needs while helping people build resume quality experiences with us.
Please stay tuned because over the next 60-90 days you will see a plan come together to build and sustain a best-in-class volunteer program for our community.
By the way - just want to say thank you again for giving me the opportunity to serve you.
Happy Anniversary!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

No Coffee Talk, For Now

These first two months of 2010 have flown by... and I have to be honest, I feel as though I blinked and tomorrow is March. So much for getting you more engaged - that's what I thought today as I updated my other blog.

Well here we go! First things first - Do I need to re-schedule my quarterly coffee talk? This weekend - I met two residents individually versus my original plan to hold a coffee talk. Can't blame me though - last time I did it I only had one taker and she was a friend. For goodness sakes there was more press that people. I am extremely busy and juggling lots so I am posing the question - Wanna come and talk to me in a group setting or not?

Two - where are you guys at the meetings? The best way to get a dialogue going is to know what we are talking about. Yes, you most certainly can go online and see the agenda and minutes from the meetings but there is nothing like being there in person. You won't have to talk or anything. Normally, the meetings take minimal time - Committee of the Whole Meetings on Tuesday are somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 minutes on average and the Board of Trustee meetings on Thursdays take a lot less. Think 15 minutes on a long night. It is worth it especially if you have any questions and/or concerns about what happening.

Finally, with close to 10 months on the job - I want some feedback! In all fairness, to date I've been emailed, called or approached by a total of 6 people and I appreciate that. I always respond to every inquiry within 24 to 48 hrs. I've even had an anonymous comment on the blog questioning my vote on the Home Rule Sales Tax increase. I love to interact and ask that you bring it - call, email - leave comments here. Let me know how I'm doing and what I can do to improve my performance on the Village Board. That is an offer you cannot refuse - how many public officials solicit feedback that is not tied to a specific issue but to their performance alone? I'm betting not many but counting on someone to prove me wrong.

Enjoy your start to March and I will post again next Sunday with a preview of our first COW and BOT meetings of the month.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Asking For Your Vote Again...

Hard to believe that one year ago, I was asking the people of Lake in the Hills to vote for me to join the Village Board of Trustees. They heard, voted and I now represent them. Something tells me this time around it will be just a tad bit harder - but not impossible!

Voting opened at midnight at for the Pepsi Refresh Everything Project where Pepsi will award grants of $5 - 250K to bring ideas to life across six areas, health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods and education. Click hereto vote for my project.

Over at my other blog you may have heard me ranting lately about my idea to start a movement to change the way we look at relationships; to enable all people to be relationally healthy. Well - the time has come for your help. My idea - RELATIONSHIPS MATTER NOW is up for vote in the health category and we need to end up in the top ten to secure the $5K grant by the end of February.


Great question, it's simple. We live on this planet interdependent on others. From a brief transactional relationship at the coffee counter to our co-workers where ever we choose to lend out talent to our deep and personal relationships, we all interact and co-habit this planet with others. And from the looks of the way we deal with one another (think current political climate, divorce rates, verbal intimidation in the workplace) - it is time for a change.

Relationships Matter Now will exist (with or without the Pepsi grant) to help people take proactive care of their relationships. We will raise visibility to the need for relational wellness in every one's life. Relational wellness is taking responsibility to proactively care for all relationships in your life. It's a two-fold proposition:

1. Self-awareness - we all need a true understanding of our own relational issues and needs.
2. Relationship skills - we all need to build the skills necessary to function in healthy relationships.

Out of the gate - we want to build the web home for Relationships Matter Now and get 50,000 people to pledge to work on their relationships. Over the next week you will be directed to a new blog to support this effort and it will live at I've got an awesome designer working on a logo and we are getting the pledge document created as we speak.

Clearly with the help from Pepsi - we can get this going sooner rather than later. Long term, Relational Wellness will be in the health care debate - it's not just about reactionary care - proactive care is critical - from all angles - physical, mental, spiritual and now, relational. There is a personal responsibility to this as well as a corporate one. Relationships Matter Now will lead this movement and we need your help.

Join me, Lake in the Hills (and anyone you know - we can spread the word thru the county, state and country) and vote for this idea to get one of the first Pepsi Refresh Everything Grants. Voting started at midnight and goes until February 28. Winners will be announced on March 1.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Small Wind Energy Code Passes

Last Thursday night, the Lake in the Hills Village Board of Trustees passed measures to allow Small Wind Turbines in the village in both a residential and commercial capacity.

I, for one, am pleased with this decision. I am proud of how the Planning and Zoning Commission so carefully considered this and came to a solution that included input from village residents. At the November 16 public hearing, there were several residents in attendance. One resident gave some great advice to include graphics in the ordinance and code to alleviate misinterpretations in the future. The final draft of the ordinance and code included this advice.

You will be able to review all the updates on the village website shortly.

Technology will force the village to keep a close watch on this because the wind turbines will surely be updated and change as quickly as iPod music players. It is a good precedent that we are forward thinking about how to introduce this type of energy saving measures into our village. Due to costs ($800 - $1,500 starting costs for small turbines w/o installation) a low level of interest in our area, I do not expect to see these going up on many homes right away, however, it is something that I see gaining momentum in the future as people become more educated on the subject.

For now - we have measures in place to address any residential or commercial needs for Small Wind Energy Systems.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010 - The Year to Get You More Engaged!

Those who know me best, know that I do not make New Year's Resolutions.

Not sure why, but long ago I decided to never make new year's resolutions. It seems to me like resolutions lacked the plan to make them happen.

Dictionary says resolution is "the act or process of resolving" or "the act of determining"

Instead, I've made objectives each year.

Dictionary says objective is "something toward which effort is directed; an aim, goal or end of action"

That is more like for me - while the "plan" isn't necessarily spelled out - just by definition, there is much more action in objectives versus resolutions.

When I was formulating my 2010 objectives (see my other blog here if you are interested), it occurred to me that I didn't really list anything related to my post with the Village of Lake in the Hills. If I am honest - I think I will spend most of my time in 2010 continuing to listen carefully and learn more and more about how to best serve Lake in the Hills. But my Type-
A personality would have none of that vague, squishy, non-measurable mumbo jumbo.

So here is my one objective for my role as Village Trustee: Get residents more involved, more engaged in our local government.

Tall order, huh?

Here's how I plan to measure my success...

1. Get more people to come to my quarterly coffee talks. I had one non-press attendee at the last one in September so I have nowhere to go but up from there. My next one will be held at Einstein Bagels on Saturday Feb 27 at 9:00 am. As before, I will be treating anyone who wants to come out and chat to coffee - nothing fancy - just good old fashioned coffee. I'll have no agenda - I'll just come ready to hear whatever is on the minds of residents who care to come. Of course, I'll give you reminders over the next 8 weeks until the meeting.

2. Blog more about happenings at the Committee of the Whole and Board meetings. Since people don't seem to ever make time to come out - I will do a better job of alerting you to issues that we will be discussing and encourage you to show up or at the very least ask your opinion on them. This worked pretty well as it related to the Commercial Parking issue - I had several residents contact me with opinions leading up to that meeting. I appreciated that and believe we need more.

3. Encourage volunteer opportunities within the Village. I am working with a recreation specialist that I met at the Illinois Municipal League conference on putting together a workshop on how entities can engage more volunteers to meet their needs. I am convinced that more people would get involved in the community if they are a. invited or b. alerted to a need that they may be able to meet.

So there you have it. Thanks for tuning in and we'll be in touch more often in 2010.