Laona Heights Sugar River Colored Sands Sugar River Two Rivers Ferguson Hartley Memorial Trask Bridge Four Lakes Pecatonica River Pecatonica Wetlands Crooked River Grove Creek Seward Bluffs Klehm Forest Preserve Severson Dells Fuller Memorial Cedar Cliff Indian Hill Hinchliff Memorial Kilbuck Bluffs Trailside Kishwaukee Gorge South Kishwaukee Gorge North Rockford Rotary Kishwaukee River Oak Ridge Blackhawk Springs Deer Run Espenscheid Memorial McKiski County Line Kieselburg Roland Olson Stone Bridge Clayton Andrews Ledges Hononegah J. Norman Jensen Millrace Isle Macktown Atwood Homestead Forest Preserve Headquarters

Board of Commissioner Minutes June 20

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District
District Headquarters
June 20, 2012

Randy Olson – President Tom Kalousek, Executive Director
Judy Barnard Steve Chapman, Finance
Mary McNamara- Bernsten Mike Scheurich, Attorney
Audrey Johnson Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations
Lee Johnson Jamie Johannsen, Marketing
Gloria Lind Judi Day, Budget & Personnel
Cheryl Maggio
Mike Kearney Dave Martin
Jim Claeyssen Troy Bednar
Lenae Weichel Steve Seitch
David Szyp Steve Larsen
John Sweeney Tom Lindblade
JoAnn Hudson Konrad Forman

The meeting was called to order at 5:30 pm. Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.

Lee Johnson led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Minutes for May 16 were approved.


Larsen’s Landing – Steve Larsen introduced himself and stated he and his wife own Larsen’s Landing Outfitters. He expressed his concerns about the alcohol ban on the Kishwaukee River. He expressed substantial loss of revenue his business has experienced the last few weeks. He feels the correct issues need to be addressed, such as littering and parking. Abusive behavior should not be tolerated, but banning alcohol is not the answer. Larsen’s Landing would like the alcohol ban lifted.

John Sweeney – John Sweeney introduced himself and stated he is from the Winnebago County Board and he wanted to address the alcohol ban as well. First, he feels it is the duty of an elected official to set policy. He felt the decision was not made by the Board, and the Commissioners should have had a say. Secondly, his disagreement with the ban is that there are a lot of people on the Kishwaukee who are responsible and some who are not responsible. There are also a lot of people that look forward to going on the Kishwaukee River and should be able to drink. Lastly, he felt if there are enough resources to check for alcohol, there should be enough resources to enforce the existing laws. He would be happy to be an advocate to help. Alcohol is a legal substance and he felt the ban was a heavy hand and he would like to see it reversed.

Illinois Paddling Council – Tom Lindblade is the President and Safety Chairman of the Illinois Paddling Council and is a concerned citizen. He is concerned with the misuse on the Kishwaukee, as well as the general lack of river knowledge and skill. He is also concerned with alcohol usage, and basic safety such as the lack of life jackets, including on small children. He believes things have gotten worse, and on major holidays there is extreme overcrowding. Something must be done to reduce the amount of trash and the extreme influence of alcohol. He doesn’t necessarily believe it should be banned, but warning tickets should be issued. Every effort should be made to have crowd control at Baumann Park. He believes trying something else first before banning alcohol should be tried, then implement an alcohol ban if that doesn’t work.

Friends of the Kishwaukee – JoAnn Hudson spoke on behalf of the Village of Cherry Valley as their Trustee. On June 6, the Cherry Valley Trustees voted to ban alcohol at Baumann Park. For the sake of the Kishwaukee, the safety of users, and the goal of preserving natural resources, we need to be on the same page. She believes there is one purpose to preserve the parks, forest preserves, streams and rivers. She passed out a couple pictures for the Commissioners to see. The first picture was a variety of trash collected in a kayak, and the second showed what she believed to be the perfect experience, a picture of a father and daughter in the Kishwaukee together. She supports the alcohol ban.

Konrad Forman – He is against the ban of alcohol on the river. On the District website it states since 1922 it is for the recreation and education of the people. He and his wife have been going down the rivers for 35 years, and he has realized they needed to pitch in and help. They created a group, the River Reefs, and they help clean up the garbage as they paddle down the river. He expects more out of the elected officials than to ban everybody from alcoholic beverages while recreating on the river. He feels that everybody shouldn’t be punished for the few who are irresponsible. He has noticed while collecting the garbage while on the river, people appreciate the efforts they put forth. He respectfully requested that the board reflect on their decision.

Terry Nordberg – Sheriff’s Reserve Deputy Terry Nordberg gave his view from the law enforcement perspective. Terry reiterated that this is a public safety issue putting officers at risk. He referred to the Law Enforcement Reports from 2011 and May 2012. In the last two weeks, after the ban, there had been no police calls, and the trash was down. It is a large group of intoxicated people that are very disorderly. On the Kishwaukee on Memorial Day weekend, there were hundreds of people. Litter and parking are an issue, but it is a public safety issue. For example, two officers versus five hundred people. Then if an arrest is made, that ties the officers up downtown, and they cannot do their jobs while downtown. Within two weeks they have gained full compliance. The officers do spotchecks to make sure people are in compliance. The officers addressed three problem spots, Espenscheid, Blackhawk Springs and Kishwaukee River preserves. Officers are trying to protect the forest preserves, users, and officers. Randy asked the question if there was only one place allowed to put in, would that help the problem and make it easier to patrol? Terry gave the example that they often start at Bauman and by the time they float down to Espenscheid or Kishwaukee, they are well inebriated. Tom Kalousek indicated that if they start at Espenscheid they are just further down the river by the time they are intoxicated. Randy pointed out that there are lots of people that are drinking responsibly and he is wondering if there is a compromise by having a different alcoholic entry point.


2013 Budget Guidelines and Assumptions – Steve Chapman presented and explained to the Commis-sioners that these are preliminary guidelines for the 2013 budget. The District’s fiscal year is from November 1 through October 31. The proposed budget will be presented to the Board of Commissioners on August 8 for first review, and then it is anticipated that at the August 15 board meeting, the budget will be given the second review. Tom Kalousek asked the Board to agree or disagree to the 3% tax increase in order for the budget to move forward. Tom further explained that if the Board is in agreement with the guidelines and assumptions, this provides the framework by which the staff develops the 2012-2013 budget, and the staff can move forward. If the Commissioners have concerns, they are to let Tom know by the next meeting at the latest. Judy Barnard made a motion for the planning and guideline purposes that the staff is directed to consider the 3% real estate property tax to make up for losses in other areas. The motion was seconded by Mary McNamara-Bernsten and Audrey Johnson. Motion passed unanimously.

Amendment to General Use Regulations – towing – Article VII, Section 7-5 of the District’s General Use Regulations regulates motorized vehicles, traffic and parking. Judy Barnard made a motion to amend Section 7-5 by adding Section F (Application of Other Law) and Section G (Towing of Vehicles). This motion was seconded by Gloria Lind. Motion carried unanimously.

At 6:09 p.m. President Randy Olson moved to go into close session. Audrey Johnson objected to closing the meeting to discuss the police contract and the Public Safety position. Randy replied that they would talk about the position of Executive Director. He requested that guests, employees and the recording secretary leave during closed session. Only the Commissioners were present. At 6:40 p.m. the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.

Public safety officer proposal – Randy Olson distributed background information relating to the Public Safety Officer proposal, along with the job description for the Public Safety Coordinator and Risk Manager position and stated that this job would be posted. Judy Barnard would like to have Sheriff come to the next meeting to be sure he is on board with this decision before anybody is hired. She would also like to have it explained, how it is all coordinated and the financial ramifications. In addition, she would also like information from PDRMA to ensure this does not affect the District’s liability. Lastly, she would like to know if the Board needs to approve this position. Randy then stated the job and job description will be posted.


Committee to review District Code – Mary McNamara Bernsten made a request at a previous meeting that the District Code go back on the agenda. Therefore, Tom Kalousek included the last correspondence that Mike Scheurich sent to Mary and Cheryl on his first review of the Code that the Commissioners had approved in December 2010. The Codes & Regulations Committee will meet before the July meeting. Tom Kalousek has requested that Judi Day set up that meeting with Mary, Gloria, Cheryl and Judy. Mike Scheurich is also on the committee.

Discussion on alcohol ban – Mary would like to further discuss the alcohol ban taking into consideration the District’s options, as far as a total ban, or having staff come up a compromise they are comfortable with, and also consider what the citizens spoke of at this meeting. Tom Kalousek apologized to the Board for not informing them of his decision to join Cherry Valley in banning alcohol at various input sites along the river. He explained that he made the decision based upon the General Use Regulations which gives the Executive Director the power to make decisions involving alcohol in the Preserves. Tom felt that, given the behavior that had been going on over Memorial Day weekend on the Kishwaukee River, this was the best course of action.

Discussion on the public safety officer proposal – Audrey does not think it is in the best interest of the District to move forward with the proposal to hire a Public Safety officer. She wanted to go on record saying she is definitely opposed to it.

Mary McNamara Bernsten then asked Vaughn if he sees a need for a Public Safety Coordinator. Tom Kalousek said he would like to sit down with President Olson and Attorney Scheurich to get the information from the staff and answer the questions that Mary and Judy were asking for. Tom feels this will give the three of them time to redefine the job description for a public safety coordinator/risk manager. He will see if the Sheriff can be at the next meeting to see if a contract can be worked through and that PDRMA will provide liability coverage necessary to move in that direction. Mary then stated for the record, she does not feel comfortable with the position without that information to move forward. Judy Barnard stated that if the District is keeping the Sheriff’s contract until October 2012, she needs financial information concerning an alternative – to see it on paper.

Vaughn said he would be happy to give his input and opinion but would not be able to answer those questions at this time, since he just recently heard about this proposed move. Tom Kalousek then advised that participation in PDRMA requires each agency to go through an evaluation process; record keeping is a small part. It requires a lot of training, compliance, and inspections.


Development – Vaughn Stamm, on behalf of Tom Hartley, distributed photos of the Seward Bluffs overlook restoration project that is in progress. He also distributed progression photos of the Four Lakes addition property.

2012 municipal auction results – Vaughn also announced that the District netted $12,644 from the auction. The bulk of that was three pieces of equipment, which included two mowers and an ATV, and the rest were small hand tools, etc.

Preserve usage – Jamie and Vaughn addressed providing more detailed information regarding preserves and facility usage and seeing if the District can get a handle on the numbers. Vaughn distributed a summary of information that included attendance numbers for events and programs in facilities where the District has a way of tracking who was there, such as organized hikes, campgrounds, and shelter houses, where people counted attendance and reported back the numbers. This report does not capture daily visitors, casual hikers, or recreational users. These are very conservative numbers. For instance, for a camping reservation when the people signed in and they did not indicate the number of people they had camping with them. That is also the same with the shelter houses, the numbers are conservative.

Marketing – Jamie handed out a list of upcoming events for June through September. The District is also partnering with Camp Winnebago, which is experiencing access problems because of road construction. Children are coming to District Headquarters and Jamie will be talking to them about prairies and wetlands. Jamie distributed a Northwest Quarterly to each Commissioner – the summer edition and the Buy Local Guide. She also mentioned a special promotion “Cool it with a Golf Cart”, June 25 – July 1, with ads running in the Rockford Register Star and Beloit Daily News for a good deal on golf rounds and golf carts.

Golf Report – Tom gave the golf report for Mike Durand who was absent. This has been a very good season and golf numbers are up. The daily fee rounds and golf car rentals are up.


The District received an email from Dave Watson voicing his concerns about the alcohol ban, asking the District to reconsider the decision.

Meeting adjourned at 7:07 PM.
Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, July 18, District Headquarters

Ronelle Johnson
Recording Secretary