There were 33 members in attendance at this week’s meeting, the second Village of Winnetka Trustees candidates’ forum held by our club.  We had one visiting Rotarian, former member Bill Leske, currently from the Skokie Valley club.  There were 17 luncheon guests:  John Thomas brought his wife Ellen, Wally Greenough (Wally is currently the chair of the Caucus) Mary and Dan Garrison, Anne Wilder and Dan Streiff; Louise Holland was responsible for Vicki Apatoff, Penny Lanphier, Jan Bawden; John Ford brought his wife Mary; Glenn Weaver and Terry Dason were the guests of Liz Taylor; additional guests were Elise Covey (Rhonda Miller), Lee Gaines (Kristen Leahy), Nan Greenough (Tim McCabe), Bob Kyle (Lee Padgitt) and Leslie Farmer (Barb Tubekis).  There were more unaccounted visitors entered after lunch was completed.
 
Happy Buck$ came from Tony Kambich for his recent successful eye surgery.  Heidi Sibert announced that our Kids Against Hunger project would be held on March 12th.  She reminded that everyone should at least sign up for a shift on that day.  This project cost almost $30,000, which is not covered by the participation fee.  One of the fun and fund-raising events will be held on Thursday, February 18th at Little Ricky’s where Gina Sich and Rich Lalley will serve as guest bartenders.  All of their tips will go toward Kids Against Hunger.  Please come to Little Ricky’s between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. – Drink moderately but Tip heavily!!! 
 
With the large number of guests membership chair David Birkenstein encouraged our guests to consider joining our Rotary club.
 
The purpose of this week’s meeting was to hear from the three non-caucus candidates after hearing from the three caucus candidates last week.  Each of the candidates was given time to introduce themselves.  Marilyn Prodromos is currently completing her first term as a village trustee and is running for re-election.  Marilyn is a 21-year resident of Winnetka whose two daughters went through all of our public schools.  She is a dentist by training and has served on a variety of area boards and committees.  On the Council she serves as liaison to the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Community Development Commission and the Economic Development Committee.  Carol Fessler is the second independent candidate who is completing her first term on the Council and is running for re-election.  She remembers the warm welcome she and her family received when they moved to Winnetka 16 years ago.  She has worked in strategic planning and finance in the telecom and oil industries.  Carol has been a regular contributor to the Winnetka Current, most recently writing a series of articles on the history of Winnetka.  She has served on numerous area and local boards.  Carol has served on the Winnetka Caucus.  As a Council member she serves on the Plan Commission and the office of Outreach and Engagement, which she help create.  Kristin Ziv is also a 21-year resident of Winnetka whose children have attended all public schools in Winnetka.  She is a former public relations professional who also served as PR supervisor with the Winnetka Park District.  Like Carol she has served on the Winnetka Caucus.
 
The same four questions were posed to these candidates as were posed last week to the caucus- backed candidates:
 
Caucus - Why did you not seek Caucus slating?
         Some expressed concern about the politics that have enveloped the caucus in recent years, though two of the candidates had the previous experience of participating in the village caucus.  It was mentioned that Winnetka is one of a very few towns in our state that still uses the caucus system.  The candidates felt that our citizens have gradually become less engaged in the affairs of the village.  They feel contested elections are one way to draw more people in the debate.
 
StormwaterWhat are your thoughts regarding financing stormwater solutions?
         The group feels that the current system of the special storm water fees is the fairest.  They felt it was very important for the village to keep is high bond rating.  It was also proclaimed that much work has been accomplished so far, but with more to be done.  They are waiting to hear from the new consultants on how best to move the storm water westward.
 
Post Office SiteWhat would be a good use for this parcel of land?
         The difference in this site and the One Winnetka property is that the village owns the post office site and Winnetka must make the most of the financial possibilities this land provides for our village.  They supported a mixed-use approach to the post office site.
 
One Winnetka” – What are your thoughts on “One Winnetka?”
         The common response was that we need to progress and progress does not happen without change, which means we must remain flexible.  The example was if you live in a 1920s home and the house next door is sold to a developer you could not expect the new home to look like a 1920s vintage home.  They are looking forward to receiving an independent analysis to determine if this project is going to be a financial gain for the community.  The group expressed concern that if this project is rejected that other developers will be wary of coming to Winnetka.
 
Some of the questions that came from the audience included. “Why is Winnetka having trouble keeping businesses?”  It was mentioned that some of the larger stores that have left, i.e., the Gap, Panera and Talbots due to corporate decisions.  It was pointed out the some major stores have also left Highland Park’s often touted downtown area.  Some business owners also questioned how One Winnetka would not exacerbate the parking situation on the East Elm shopping district?  The meeting generated a spirited discussion about the issues facing the village.
 
 
 
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