Archive for the ‘ Energy & Environment ’ Category

Boone County Watchdog tipped me off about a new revenue source for the blog’s home county: transporting and housing federal prisoners. The full story comes from the Register Star:

BELVIDERE — A negotiating firm plans to generate tens of thousands of dollars in new revenue for the Boone County jail without changing day-to-day operations.

The Summerill Group, LLC will negotiate with the U.S. Marshals Service the amount that the Boone County Sheriff’s Office is paid for housing and transporting federal prisoners. Joseph Summerill, managing principal of the agency, said in a contract a preliminary analysis indicated that the county could increase its per diem from $65 per inmate per day to $79.12.

If the average daily federal prisoner count remains at 18, the new rate would generate an additional $92,000 in revenue annually, boosting the county’s total revenue from federal prisoner housing to $519,000.

Yes, and if that happens, Boone County will be able to hire a new public defender and buy a squad car or two. Read the rest of this entry

November 25 Council Agenda

The city has put up another meeting agenda for tomorrow that’s a revision of the original, so all you early birds will have to read the new one. However, keep the old one handy because they didn’t include the rest of the packet with the revision.

Highlights:

Item 1: Another hit to the Public Safety Building Fund.

I. Summary:
With the Police Department having effected a move to the new Police Station on West Lincoln Highway, an unanticipated need has arisen for additional communications equipment to ensure officer and public safety within the Building.

II. Background:
The new police station was designed for a high degree of security, with extensive use of steel, concrete and concrete block. The qualities of those materials that make them strong and durable also make them resistant to radio wave transmission. In short, the design and construction of the building hampers the ability of police officers to utilize their two-way mobile radios when within the building, or to hear radio traffic and respond to public safety emergencies or request assistance when within the building.

The solution to this issue is to install a bi-directional antenna system within the building that will permit direct communications with officers. The cost of this system exceeds $20,000; however, it is an urgent public safety issue that requires an immediate response and the equipment required is from a sole-source provider that has been working on the balance of the radio communication system. For both of these reasons, staff requests that the Council waive competitive bidding and award a contract to Dixon Ottawa in an aggregate amount not to exceed $25,000.

How much did the first communications system cost? Can we get our money back? Could this problem have been anticipated? How many more errors will it take to annihilate the budget? Read the rest of this entry

light bulbAn organization I belong to has hundreds of members. During a recent general membership meeting, one of them stood up and pitched the idea that the group should be selling his brand of electricity to the rest of us as a fundraiser.

The board of directors asked him to confirm whether his is a multi-level marketing venture. The response: “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

Thus the retail electricity market in the era of “unbundling” the costs of energy supply from those of delivery suddenly appeared to take on a somewhat pyramidal shape. The meeting incident plus my own community’s pursuit of a municipal energy aggregation program prompted me to investigate these developments more closely. Read the rest of this entry

There’s been a lot of talk about how ComEd and Ameren are spreading a lot of cash among state legislative leaders in hopes of an override of the governor’s veto of the Smart Grid legislation. Here’s a look at 2011 contributions from energy and utility companies to our legislators, State Rep. Bob Pritchard and State Sen. Christine Johnson.

Citizens for Pritchard
Ameren, $600, 8/2
Illinois River Energy, LLC, $1000, 8/9
MidAmerica Energy Company, $600, 7/25
Nicor, $500, 8/9
Ameren, $500, 5/9
ComEd PAC, $250, 6/1
NextEra Energy Resources, $500, 1/14

Citizens for Johnson
Ameren Illinois, $750, 4/11
Ameren Illinois, $1000, 5/2
ComEd PAC, $500, 6/7

Sen. Johnson voted against the legislation and has said she’ll probably vote against the override, too. Rep. Pritchard supports the legislation.

The Holly House Chicken Lady sat all afternoon at the DeKalb Farmers’ Market yesterday. See what happened to her there.

The Holly House

Citybarbs is pleased to add to our blogroll another local voice, The Holly House, a blog devoted to “green living on a blue collar budget.”

The blog owner, a 4th Warder like me, has begun developing a proposal for amending DeKalb’s municipal code to allow residents to raise a few hens for eggs, as well chronicling her efforts to gain support for the proposal both inside and outside city government. It should be interesting to keep track of her experiences and progress.

The City of Batavia put its Community Development Committee onto the issue around this time last year. Batavia ultimately approved a backyard chicken ordinance in May, joining Naperville and St. Charles in allowing chickens on certain residential properties.

Wind Farm Fun!

To drum up local tourism, invite some base jumpers for a visit:

Gilpin Family Whisky

Just saw this and can’t vouch for the authenticity of the product source, but note there are no photos of anyone drinking the stuff. Gee.

Calling Fowl in Batavia

The Daily Herald reports that the City of Batavia’s Community Development Committee is researching the possibility of allowing residents to house chickens.

This Kane County development seems kind of fitting in view of Garfield Farm’s efforts to save the Black Java breed.

I’ve done some homework on keeping chickens in the city, and I know city slickers who raise chickens (not in DeKalb, though). It is legal in cities and towns across the country. What happens in your neighborhood depends mainly on whether your neighbor is conscientious, just as it does with dogs. Given a properly staffed code enforcement division and the right ordinance, I could maybe get behind a few coops in DeKalb.

LUST at First & Locust

On July 22, 2010, the City of DeKalb received a No Further Remediation (NFR) Letter from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for the property it owns at First and Locust streets (AKA “skating rink site”).

[A]n NFR Letter signifies that compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements has been achieved, all corrective action (if any) has been completed, and no further corrective action is necessary for the protection of human health, safety and the environment.

Read the rest of this entry