City of DeKalb

https://www.law.berkeley.edu/our-faculty/faculty-profiles/john-powell/

A civil rights expert shared his perspective with DeKalb community members on belonging. This happened Thursday evening during a Zoom conversation.

The conversation was presented by Northern Illinois University and the City of DeKalb. 

Chase Cavanaugh

DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith announced Thursday that he’s not seeking re-election next year. 

The soon-to-be 77-year-old said age is one factor.

“Given my age, given the fact that we’re in a position where we’re going to continue to make great progress, and given the fact that I know my wife is certainly supportive of this decision that we’ve made, now is the right time,” Smith said. 

He also says he feels confident in the city’s economic position. Smith said the arrival of Facebook and Ferrara will help with future tax revenue.

The Voluntary Action Center, a northern Illinois community service organization, lost its paratransit contract with the City of DeKalb.

The nonprofit normally offers transportation for needy residents, such as the elderly and disabled. But starting next year, the work in DeKalb will go to Transdev, a company that provides and operates buses for the city’s consolidated transport system. VAC Executive Director Ellen Rogers said the financial impact is significant.

Facebook

DeKalb will soon be home to a massive Facebook data center, and local government and business officials expect it to benefit the local economy. 

Facebook made the announcement at the end of June, and has begun construction of the facility on the edge of town south of Interstate 88. The response by the city and local business has been positive.

Bill Nicklas is the DeKalb city manager. He said the scale of the project is extensive.

Facebook 'Likes' DeKalb With Announcement Of $800 Million Data Center

Jun 30, 2020
Facebook

Facebook is building an $800 million data center in DeKalb. City leaders have been working out the details for months under the secret project name “Ventus.”

DeKalb City Manager Bill Nicklas confirmed the project early Tuesday morning.

According to a news release, the facility will be the 12th Facebook data center in the United States -- and is being touted for its energy efficiency.

Jenna Dooley

 

Some DeKalb residents want the city’s Mayor Jerry Smith to be more specific on plans to address police brutality.  

 

The mayor spoke at a town hall Thursday night at Hopkins Park. The gathering was a forum on reforms related to justice and equality. Smith expressed support for its aims, but said he couldn’t talk details at the forum. 

 

Flickr user E Photos / "IMG_1927 - Power Lines" (CC v 2.0)

The pandemic and accompanying stay-at-home orders have greatly affected many regional services, including utilities.

Governor J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order and the accompanying months of social distancing have greatly affected what buildings remain open, and where people spend their time. 

Modern life requires electricity, and more people at home has changed how it’s consumed.  Aleksi Paaso is the Director of Distribution Planning at ComEd.  He said the times of day in which people use the most electricity haven’t shifted, but the system’s still been affected.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $3.6 million grant to the City of DeKalb for public transit.

The money is part of CARES Act funding and will go toward ensuring the smooth operation of the city’s public transit services.  DeKalb Transit Manager Marcus Cox said the extra money is important, particularly in a time of reduced municipal revenue. 

“We are operating a $9 million a year operation that if other funds are impacted, than this will help, but it’s not the end-all, be-all answer.” 

Pixabay

Illinois Mayors are considering how their cities will eventually reopen as the State relaxes coronavirus restrictions. 

On Thursday, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a modifed stay at home order for the month of May. Earlier this week, some communities were pressured to re-open small businesses. Mayor Greg Jury of Loves Park said any moves should depend on location.

Chase Cavanaugh

Ensuring safe drinking water is a complex process.

For modern water sources, there are two general options. The first is for a community to draw from a large surface source, such as a river or lake. But that’s not an option for DeKalb.

“In the summer times, sometimes there’s not even enough water flowing in the Kishwaukee River, so [it's] not really a reliable source of water for DeKalb," said Bryan Faivre, the director of utilities and transportation.

He says DeKalb makes use of nine wells spread across two different aquifers. Six of them are quite deep.

DeKalb PD Releases Dash-Cam Arrest Footage

Sep 2, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

The DeKalb Police department has released video and audio footage of the arrest of Elonte McDowell. It comes roughly a week after the incident took place. 

 

A Facebook video of McDowell’s arrest has gained national attention and stoked allegations of excessive use of force by law enforcement involved. 

DeKalb Council Tables Appointment Ordinance

Aug 27, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

The City of DeKalb has been in debates over the position of city clerk. They recently held a city council vote that could've changed the job to appointed rather than elected. The council tabled the ordinance (2019-055) that would make the clerk appointed on Monday night. 

 

Why DeKalb's City Clerk Position Is In Question

Aug 26, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

There’s infighting in DeKalb’s city government. It revolves around the city clerk. What does a city clerk do, how do they do it, and who makes those decisions? Recent unrest took public stage in early June. This isn’t the first time these questions have been debated in DeKalb.  

 

Counting Crime In DeKalb's Largest Apartments

Jul 26, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

This piece is part three in a series about housing conditions in DeKalb. Tune in Friday, August 2, for the last update in this series.

Last week, we took a look at the controversial history between the city of DeKalb and Hunter Properties, a large local rental property owner. A network of DeKalb community efforts are addressing crimes reported at apartments, which have recently been under the microscope.

Tenant Association Forms For DeKalb Renters' Rights

Jul 12, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

This is the first in a series of stories looking at housing conditions in northern Illinois. We'll have the next installment Friday, July 19.

 

 

 

Fire At Apartment Displaces 140 In DeKalb

Jul 10, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

A fire broke out at 808 Ridge Drive in DeKalb on July 9 near 11 p.m. at an apartment complex owned by Hunter Properties. Police are investigating the incident as a case of arson. DeKalb City Manager Bill Nicklas calls it an "outrage" and says that it’s the worst incident he’s seen at a Hunter Property apartment in terms of number of injuries. 

 

“Last night we put together some emergency housing. Hunter [Properties] had some empty apartments and people were invited to stay,” said Nicklas. 

 

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

The Mayors of DeKalb and Rockford responded to the statewide minimum wage hike that was signed into law last week. The measure will raise the state's minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. 

DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith worries about the effect this may have on small businesses. Smith says he would have preferred that the increase be done more incrementally. 

"I would have liked to have seen something that was written into law that mandated perhaps a one or two year step, and then let's take a look at it," he said. "You know, economies change."

Hans / Pixabay/Creative Commons

When you take out your trash, you typically divide it into household waste and recyclables. But oftentimes, there's a third category: yard waste.

Yard waste can vary greatly, from lawn clippings to portions of trees. But the most common waste people gather up this time of year is piles of leaves. Municipalities have different schedules for picking up leaves. Andy Raih is DeKalb Interim Street Superintendent. He says they collect from the end of October through the end of November.

Victoria Lunacek/WNIJ

When a city negotiates a new contract for waste haulers, it can lead to a change in services or opportunities to lower costs.

If you live in a decently-sized city, you probably roll your trash cans to the curb once a week, and the garbage gets hauled off. The City of DeKalb recently approved a contract with Lakeshore Recycling as its new garbage hauler.  It takes effect in September, and Public Works Director Tim Holdeman says the move came about when the city’s old contract was up for renewal. 

Guy Stephens/ WNIJ

There’s no trash collection on a holiday, but a number of DeKalb residents likely have it on their minds. The city’s move to change waste haulers garnered a fair amount of attention in the community. And a recent vote by the DeKalb City Council on the matter proved to be anything but routine. 

More than 1,400 Illinois townships will hold their annual town meeting tonight.

More than 170,000 people live in Rockford Township, which is one of the largest townships in Illinois. 

Township Supervisor Jasper St. Angel says the typical number of residents that come to the town meetings is between 10 and 15. St. Angel says he’s not anticipating any controversial issues coming up during this year’s town meeting. He also says Rockford Township is one of the few local governments in the state without debt.

City Wi-Fi To Come To DeKalb By Early Summer

Dec 20, 2017
City of DeKalb / Northern Illinois University

DeKalb is on track to have a better public Wi-Fi setup by early summer.

The City of DeKalb and Northern Illinois University approved an intergovernmental agreement in September to expand NIU’s free public Wi-Fi use for city visitors. The project will add more access points along DeKalb’s downtown area.

Marc Thorson heads the city’s information technology department. He says Digital Lobby, the company that would provide the access, has worked with other cities and companies before but never with a city and university combined.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Community input played a role in keeping the DeKalb Municipal Band operating at normal capacity for now.

The DeKalb City Council held a special meeting recently where they addressed potential budget cuts for the next year. That included the possibility of reduced funding for the DeKalb Municipal Band.

DeKalb Alderman David Jacobson says the band currently gets $60,000 annually when they usually only spend $50,000. He says the city agreed to cut just the $10,000 difference during the special meeting.

City of DeKalb

DeKalb planning officials are seeking residents' feedback on a proposed revitalization plan for a neighborhood in the northwest part of the city.    

A number of concerns have been raised about the neighborhood known as Annie Glidden North, including safety, exterior maintenance and quality of life issues. 

Aaron Stevens, a management analyst in the DeKalb City Manager’s office, said the problem is that the area adjacent to Northern Illinois University has evolved far from its original purpose, which was to provide affordable housing for NIU students.  

pappasdevelopment.com

The DeKalb City Council approved a second downtown redevelopment project last night.

Council members voted 5-1 in favor of "Plaza DeKalb," which would create a four-story apartment complex and retail space approximately one block away from the "Cornerstone" project currently under development.

http://pappasdevelopment.com/

DeKalb’s City Council will consider a second project by developer John Pappas at its meeting tonight. 

He wants to build another four-story apartment building along 2nd Street and Lincoln Highway at a cost of approximately $6 million. The Daily Chronicle reports Pappas wants a tax increment financing contribution from the of about $1.9 million.  

Victor Yehling / WNIJ

You may have noticed signs about DeKalb’s administrative tow policy when you enter town. But why are they there?

DeKalb city attorney Dean Frieders says the signs are to ensure that the public is notified about DeKalb’s administrative tow policy. He says that’s because the city needs to publicly notify residents and visitors of the city-adopted policy by law.

New Mayors For DeKalb and Sycamore

Apr 4, 2017
Jenna Dooley

Jerry Smith will be the next DeKalb mayor

He won with 48 percent of votes.

Separated by just four votes, Misty Haji-Sheikh had 19.21 percent while incumbent John Rey finished a close third with 19.13 percent. Michael Embrey had 13 percent of votes.

John Rey has served as mayor since 2013. 

Smith is a former executive director of the DeKalb County Community Foundation. 

City of DeKalb/Susan Stephens/WNIJ

College towns often benefit from those who study there, but not many NIU students are visiting DeKalb’s downtown district.  So city officials went to them directly to see how they can change this trend.

Like many cities of its size, DeKalb has a well-defined downtown district that’s home to many businesses and attractions.  Economic Development coordinator Jason Michnick says they’ve also been working to constantly improve it.

The DeKalb City Council approved a rezoning request for a medical cannabis dispensary. 

Chicago-Based Justice Grown wants to open the facility at 650 Peace Road.  However, it now requires a license from the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.  This is permitted by the state's medical cannabis pilot program, which was approved in 2013.

Pages