Fire chief hiring process in Brookfield a ‘curious’ one
The Village of Brookfield has just appointed Lt. Patrick Lenzi as the new fire chief (“Brookfield manager selects new fire chief,” News, Dec. 7). He was just promoted from firefighter/paramedic to lieutenant on Nov. 28.

I think it is admirable to appoint from within the department, but I sincerely feel that Capt. Ed Bermann, who has been with the department for about 25 years, would have been the most logical choice. He has been the right hand man of former chief Charles LaGreco and, as such, has all of the necessary credentials, experience and support of the firefighters.

The selection process was in itself a curious procedure. The village paid a consortium of fire chiefs $3,500 to conduct interviews for the job with the intent to show a non-biased approach. This procedure is usually implemented when there is discord or an unharmonious attitude exhibited within a department.

The Village of Brookfield has without a doubt the most professional, dedicated fire department in the area, and brining in someone from the outside would have been a disservice to the citizens.

Therefore, since the village is continuously harping about the need for funds, this expenditure was unnecessary. In conclusion, I wish Lt. Lenzi success in his new post and do not intend for this missive to cast any aspersion toward him.

Wilfred Brennan

Time to stop RB renovation plan
Every issue of our local papers report that Riverside-Brookfield High School requires very expensive upgrades. The latest story (“Estimates for RB High School renovation double,” News, Dec. 7) is that the taxpayers will have to spend over $60 million to fulfill the renovations of the worn-out school, as described by our hero, Jack Baldermann.

I do not think that those proposals and the already planned referendum have a prayer of being approved by the taxpayers. I and many others will fight to kill all of the incredible boondoggles planned by Baldermann, the superintendent of the worn-out school.

Possibly Baldermann should take a stroll through “death valley” to chat with the little guys who built our schools and are now being forced out because of the incredible tax rates. Our homes were our havens in hard times. Now they are traps for the older generations by our huge taxes.

I have already started a campaign in Brookfield to terminate out relationship with RB and build our own high school. We could use the $30 million to fund the RB renovations and build a new $30 million school. That will probably not fly, but it will be a viable threat to prevent the proliferation of the RB boondoggles like air conditioning the whole school.

On another note, we, the voters, must elect a new school board that is not an extension of Baldermann’s wishes. Rubber-stamp boards must be eliminated. I believe Baldermann should concentrate on education and not on pipe dreams.

Frank Drazan

Brookfielders should protest ComEd
On Jan. 26 the Illinois Commerce Commission will vote on whether to accept ComEd’s proposed auction process. This auction process will cause Illinois resident’s electric bills to rise by at least 37 percent. Some predict our bills to rise by 50 percent.

This should be unacceptable to Brookfield and other Illinois residents. Under the existing contract between ComEd and Illinois, ComEd and its parent company Exelon are making a significant profit even with frozen rates.

By increasing citizens’ electric bills by such a large amount, the company will only add to these profits. Illinois Senate President Emil Jones has been pocketing donations from ComEd and in turn he has been pushing ComEd backed legislation through the senate. Naturally he is a supporter of ComEd’s auction proposal.

Supposedly, the proposal would allow ComEd to purchase electricity from the lowest bidder in a market based auction which would result in lower rates for Illinois consumers. However, even if ComEd is projecting an increase of at least 37 percent in consumer electric bills, how are we benefiting?

The fact is ComEd no longer wishes to be regulated by the Illinois Commerce Commission so it can gouge customers with no consequences. The ICC was set up to protect the citizens of Illinois from this sort of scenario. We, as citizens of Illinois must not allow this deregulation to happen and we must voice our opposition to the proposed auction process.

Jill Sullivan

Thanks for making the Stroll a success
As in past years, the 2005 Riverside Holiday Stroll was a huge success. Many people, businesses and residents alike, told me how happy they were that the Stroll was once again scheduled for a Friday evening.

Our success would not have been possible without the help and support of many individuals. On behalf of the Riverside Chamber of Commerce, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many businesses, community groups and individuals for their time and financial support that contributed to this year’s winning event.

I would like to extend a special message of gratitude to the Village of Riverside, Riverside Police and Auxiliary Police, the Riverside Fire Department and Public Works Department for their efforts during the Stroll. These individuals went above and beyond the call of duty to make the evening a huge success.

Brian C. Brennan, Holiday Stroll chairman

Help keep the wreath red
The North Riverside Fire Department and area fire departments encourage residents to participate in the “Keep the Wreath Red” program. This program is set up as a reminder that fires can be caused by holiday decorations.

In the event that a fire occurs as a result of holiday decorations, a white bulb replaces a red bulb in the North Riverside Fire Department’s wreath. The department has offered the following tips to help residents enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.

? Make sure real trees are fresh and kept outside until time to decorate.

? Trees should be kept in a cool place away from fireplaces, heat registers, radiators and other heat sources, and should be out of the flow of traffic and clear of doorways.

? To put up a fresh tree, cut of two inches from the trunk and mount in a sturdy stand, filling it with water daily.

? Replace decorative lights that have frayed wires, broken cords and loose sockets. Only use strings that have the UL safety label.

? Never put lights on a metal tree; that’s a real fire hazard.

? Do not overload electrical circuits. Read the manufacturer’s instructions on lighting strings and do not use more than the recommended number of lights on one circuit.

? Turn off lights when leaving home or going to bed.

? Do not leave candle unattended. Keep them, along with matches and lighters, out of the reach of children, and avoid smoking near flammable decorations.

? Be sure smoke detectors are on every floor of your home and are in working order.

? Make an emergency plan to use should a fire break out and see that each family member has two escape routes.

Following these tips will help make for a safe and merry holiday season and help “Keep the Wreath Red.”

Lt. Brian Basek
North Riverside Fire Department