City of DeKalb

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.  

 

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.

Some DeKalb residents are petitioning for the Metra system to offer service to the city.  

DeKalb’s City Council approved rezoning for the Cornerstone Project Monday. 

City of DeKalb

DeKalb officials are examining the results of a study with recommendation on how to make the local airport more self-sufficient.  

Sixel Consulting's report notes DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport  has an annual economic impact of nearly $11 million, and generates 81 jobs.  However, it relies on annual subsidies from the city to balance its budget.  

 Homefield Energy will offer around $87,000 in refunds to  5,900 customers who were overbilled.  

 

 

The Daily Chronicle reports an aggregation contract approved by the city council was supposed to lower rates by 12.9%. beginning in July.  However, the company didn’t enter the change into their system.  As a result, affected residents were billed at the old rate of 7.237 cents per kilowatt hour in July and August, rather than 6.307 cents per kilowatt hour.    

Chase Cavanaugh

Local veterans and volunteers recently repainted a World War II-era tank in DeKalb's Memorial Park but, in the process, covered up the stenciled name "Donna" that identified the memorial relic.

That slight will soon be rectified,  according to  American Legion Post 66 Commander Daniel Gallagher, whose organization was responsible -- along with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and others -- for refurbishing the tank.

DeKalb Library Closes For Six Weeks

Dec 2, 2015
DeKalb Public Library

The DeKalb Library's new addition will be open for business January 18, 2016. Pastor Leroy Mitchell and Library Director Dee Coover will speak at the soft opening ceremony, with a day of activities planned. A magician will perform and members of the Black Male Initiative at Northern Illinois University will read to the children throughout the day.

DeKalb's Future Plans Unveiled

Nov 25, 2015

The City of DeKalb has released a draft of its 10-Year Strategic Plan and invites community members to review it and offer comments and suggestions. The plan combines input gathered at more than 40 group discussions held throughout DeKalb and facilitated by Northern Illinois University's Center for Governmental Studies.

City of DeKalb

The DeKalb City Council is debating whether its members should get a pay raise.

The Daily Chronicle reports Alderman Dave Baker wants to increase council members' pay from $5,400 per year to at least $12,000. He says paying more would encourage more candidates to run for the positions.

The council is expected to discuss the proposal at its meeting Monday.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Three local attorneys are expected to run for the State's Attorney seat for DeKalb County. They are former State's Attorney Clay Campbell, Hinckley attorney Charles Rea, and Sycamore attorney Rick Amato. Amato held the position in 2003 and Campbell in 2012.

The newcomer to the race is Charles Rea.  Current States Attorney Richard Schmack hasn't announced whether he will run in the Democratic primary. Campbell announced his bid earlier this year in May.

New DeKalb City Clerk Announced

Jan 27, 2015
City of DeKalb

Marcia Sweigert was sworn in as DeKalb City Clerk at Monday night’s Council meeting. She was appointed by Mayor John Rey and received unanimous approval by the Council.

Sweigert starts her duties immediately, and her interim appointment will end this spring. The Clerk’s office is up for election on April 7th. Officials elected at that time will begin serving in May.

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