Newsletter Nov/Dec 2014

Town of Cortland


November/December 2014


Hello Friends and Neighbors,


The summer we had all waited for has come and gone and now we all brace for the challenges of another winter.

I want to publicly thank the members of the Festival & Parade Committee for another colorful and well organized pa­rade and festival.  The weather cooperated for the most part and both were well attended by residents and guests to our community.   The committee is chaired by Trustee Brad Stone.  Members included Trustee Chuck Lanning, Judy Butler, Fred Hornbuckle, and Samantha Lanning.  They were assisted by many volunteers including members of the Cortland Lions Club, neighbors, friends, and family.

These events are coordinated with our Public Works Department under the direction of Supt. John Kocher.  Public Safety concerns and traffic control are addressed by our Police Department under the command of Chief Gary Spangler with the assistance of the DeKalb County Sheriffs Auxiliary.  Expenses that are for this event are paid for through the admission fees that are collected from the previously held Cortland Summer Fest.

Since the last newsletter this year’s Motor Fuel Tax project has been completed with the repaving of Dogwood Street and Linda Avenue.  Our Public Works Superintendent and Town Engineers will now be focusing on next year’s road improvement projects and sidewalks that need repair or replacement.

All diseased Ash trees have been removed from publicly owned properties.  Replacement of trees that were located in our Parks will commence in the spring.

An effort to rid our community of abandoned, blighted residential properties has been no small undertaking, but pos­itive improvements are being seen.  Of the 6 properties that have been targeted, the property at 85 S. Somonauk Road was condemned and recently demolished. Properties at 86 S. West Street and 94 S. West Street were sold as a result of this effort and the new owner has immediately begun rehabilitation of the properties. Rehabilitation or condemnation & demolition of properties at 36 N. Somonauk Road, 86 S. Somonauk Road, and 473 S. Hampstead Street are still being actively pursued.

The new North Avenue Lift Station has been completed and is now in full operation. North Avenue and the intersec­tion at Prairie Street have been improved and repaved.  Demolition of the old lift station building located on the South­west corner of the intersection should be completed in several weeks and final soil work and seeding in the area will be completed in the spring.  I appreciate the work of our Town Engineers and Water /Wastewater Supt. Joel Summerhill in overseeing this much needed improvement to our wastewater system.

The Spruce Street water tower has received much needed painting.  Comments from residents have been positive re­garding the color change.

The Town of Cortland has obtained the necessary easements to begin a drain tile project that should mitigate much of the surface water created by melting snow and heavy rains that have caused flooding in the Elm Avenue area. While additional work will be needed, this is a large step in the right direction for resolving this problem. I expect work will begin still this year.

Improvements to Suppeland Park are nearly completed.  Trees that had been removed to provide for off-street parking will be replaced in close proximity to their previous locations on park property in the spring, as well as improvements to the tot park.  Power has been run to the Southeast corner of the park to provide light for the flags that are displayed at that location.  That location was dedicated by the Town of Cortland in 2007 to the memory of Joseph B. McGuan.

Joe was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corp serving from 1963 to 1967. Much of his service was in Viet Nam during the war. After his honorable discharge, Joe was an active member of the Marine Corp League and was instrumental in forming the DeKalb County Detachment. He also was a life member of the DeKalb County Chapter of VietNow and the VFW, and served as chairman of the POW/MIA Committee for the Ma­rine Corp League at the State and National levels.

Joe was well respected and well-liked by many in our community. Joe cared about the Town of Cortland and served as Trustee on the Cortland Town Board from January 9, 1989 thru April 30, 1995.  Joe passed away in 2006 at the age of 61.

Trustee Chuck Lanning, local Veterans, and I are actively working to have the Suppeland Park flag display re-dedicated as The Honorable Joseph B. McGuan Military Veterans Memorial.  This will not only serve in memory of Joe, but to those past and present Town of Cortland residents that have served our Country and those that are still actively serving our Country in military service. This re-dedication is being planned for next summer as part of the Town of Cortland Sesquicentennial which officially commences in February 2015. Any resident interested in assisting with this project is encouraged to contact Trustee Chuck Lanning.

In recognition of our up-coming Sesquicentennial, local businesses, the Town, and I, have purchased com­memorative banners that have already been hung from light poles along Somonauk Road in the downtown area and at entrances to the Richland Trails, Heatherfield, NeuCort Lakes, Natures Crossing, and Chestnut Grove neighborhoods. We are in the early stages of planning events that will commemorate this historic event throughout Year 2015.

The Cortland Police Department has some much needed additional police officers.  Officer Louis D’Attomo has been hired as a full-time Patrol Officer to fill one of two full-time vacancies.  Officer D’Attomo is no stranger to law enforcement. He brings with him 30 years of experience and training with the Norridge Police Department. Officer Fred Busby, Officer Adam Jones, and Officer Meagan Pettengell have been hired as part­-time Patrol Officers.  Officer Busby recently retired from the DeKalb Police Department after 27 years of ser­ vice. Officer Jones is an Officer with the Rockford Park District Police Department. Officer Pettengell is a Deputy with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. It is our goal to re-establish crime prevention and community policing initiatives and strategies with the much needed addition of these officers.

I would like to thank Eagle Scout Will Todtz for the excellent job he did in completing a restoration of the Skate Park located at Cortland Community Park.  Will coordinated the repainting of the ramps and platforms that had rusted and had been defaced with graffiti over the years. This Community Service Project was taken on by Will as a requirement for his promotion to Eagle Scout. Nice Job Will and Thank You for your service!

I would like to publicly congratulate two of our Town Staff that have recently received honors from their respective peers:

On October 13, 2014, Chief of Police Gary Spangler was honored by the Illinois Homicide Investigators Association at their annual conference held in Itasca, Illinois. Chief Spangler received the Award of Excellence. This award is pre­ sented to an Investigator or a team of Investigators “who exhibited the highest level of professional dedication and dili­ gence in the investigation of a violent crime.” Chief Spangler was nominated by his peers for this award. He served as Co-Commander of the DeKalb County Major Crimes Case Squad in the investigation and subsequent arrest and convic­ tion of a person responsible for the homicidal death of NIU Student Toni Keller in year 2010.


On October 15, 2014 Town Clerk Cheryl “Cookie” Aldis was honored in Springfield, Illinois at the Annual Conference of Illinois Municipal Clerks.  “Cookie” was nominated by her peers and re­ceived the prestigious Ilion Crabe Member of the Year Award.  This award is presented to a Mu­nicipal Clerk in recognition of his or her “Achievements, Dedication and Contributions to the Pro­fession of the Municipal Clerk.” I attended the ceremony and was impressed by the respect shown to Cookie by Municipal Clerks from all over the State of Illinois.  She has been the Municipal Clerk of the Town of Cortland for over 25 years and has served as such for Mayors Ken Hetchler, Ben Suppeland, Robert Seyller, and me.  She is recognized for her tenure, knowledge, and her willingness to mentor  not only other Municipal Clerks but also newly elected officials in things that pertain to the various functions of municipal  government.

Both Chief Spangler and Clerk Aldis are truly assets to our community and I am proud to have them serving our com­munity during my administration as Mayor.

This letter is long, but I wanted to keep you informed of some of the events that have occurred since the last newslet­ter.

I wish everyone a safe, healthy, and very Happy Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year!

As always, I thank you for the opportunity to serve our community.


Russ Stokes


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