Work together to benefit Riverside

The May 26 issue of the Landmark had two disturbing articles, both about two different organizations, ego-tripping on their own importance, which refuse to help the village that they are part of, which is in dire straits financially.

The first is District 96. While it is true their financial condition is excellent, board President Nancy Jensen believes that the board has managed the education fund to support its education misson.

Seventy percent of its budget goes for salaries and benefits. I find it hard to see the relationship between educating children and high salaries, car expenses, free health insurance, etc.

I’m glad to see they contribute $17,000 to fund the crossing guard program, but if District 96, RBHS and St. Mary’s would each contribute one-third to provide this service, it would be a benefit to the village and community as a whole.

If they cannot, I have no problem with the village discontinuing the crossing guards. That $83,000 can be put to better use in town.

If District 96 was doing as good a job educating the children as they think they are, there would be no need for crossing guards, because the children would be aware of their surroundings and watch for traffic.

Then there is the Riverside Parks and Recreation Commission. The present commission is like the piranha without teeth. They can make recommendations but need approval to move ahead.

They can, though, hire a recreation director, which seems why there is no $53,000 savings, because they plan to rehire someone to fill this position.

I think Village President Mike Gorman is correct in trying to streamline the operations of the village. Putting parks maintenance under public works is a good idea. Our parks look like crap. Drive down Longcommon and you’ll see the triangle by the flashing light as well as the ball park and Turtle Park all overgrown.

If I were one of the commissioners, I would be ashamed of their condition and probably take my own mower and cut the parks myself. Commissioners Frank Gangware and Joseph Ballerine should be ashamed of tooting how good a job they’ve done. Look at Swan Pond. It’s unusable and an eyesore. We cannot have a picnic at the parks.

I know our public works staff has a tough job with little or no thanks for the time they put in or the fine job they do.

If the commissioners want real savings, hook me up with the equipment and I’ll donate one day of my life each week to raise tree branches, mow and trim the parks myself.

We all have to pull together and help our village. The only money the schools and village can count on are tax dollars, and I want mine used the best possible way. I don’t want to see cuts to essential services such as police, fire and public works. I want to see cooperation between everyone involved.

Frank Vlazny

Honoring police and Eagle Scouts

On Saturday, May 22, I had the privilege of attending the Riverside Police Memorial Ceremony in Guthrie Park. As many know, May is National Law Enforcement Memorial Month for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their duty.

In addition to the memorial, Fabian Navarro received the honor of Officer of the Year. Michael W. Quan, communications officer, received the Law Enforcement Service Award for his commitment to the residents of Riverside.

I was proud to present plaques to both of them on behalf of the residents of Riverside Township.

On the same day, a little-known ceremony was held at St. Mary’s Parish Center for three dedicated young men, honoring their achievement in attaining the rank of Eagle Scout as Boy Scouts of America.

Riverside Township Trustee Matthew Decosola presented certificates of achievement to Tom Korabik (Riverside), Alex Aviles (Brookfield) and Anthony Paneral (Berwyn). These young gentlemen are our future – not only for Riverside and Riverside Township, but for the United States as well.

Congratulations to all police and Eagle Scouts.

Richard Tuscher, supervisor
Riverside Township

Memorial Day program was stirring

I am a Chinese American and a resident of Riverside for 10 years. Seven years ago, the job moved me to New York City, but in my heart this lovely village is always my home base.

Two years ago, I lost my Wall Street job and started traveling globally, and I just returned to live here again. From all the traveling and cultural experiences, as well as extensive and intensive observation, my comprehension of American values has been deepened and the respect for those who give up their own precious lives for protecting our freedom and prosperity has been accelerated enormously.

Especially during such a critical period of our history while we are at war – the ideological war, the economical war, and the cultural war, etc. – I felt obliged to help remind our citizens of what Americans truly stand for; more importantly, to educate our youth in order to carry on the torch.

In Greece where Western civilization started and democracy was introduced yet declined; in the Holy Land of Jerusalem, where our human faith has been examined for centuries and the ongoing war zone in the West Bank; in Berlin, where the 20-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall took place; in the Eastern Bloc, where there’s a transition to a new value system from the old one; in India, where massive poverty exists; in China, where the Communist regime still rules; in Cambodia, where people are hungry for rebuilding after brutal bloodshed; in bankrupted socialistic Europe and on and on, this question, “what are American values” came up to me, from time to time, especially from people who criticize and even ridicule us.

Upon my arrival, looking at this beautiful village and its friendly people, this thought immediately distilled: Why have I been searching for a paradise, while it is here I already have it. Then accidentally I walked into Memorial Day program.

Tom Sisulak’s speech on the meaning of the holiday was so beautiful. Tears came down, and I swore to myself that I will contribute all possible efforts to protect this country in my own way and to stand strongly for our values, and get the words out as much as I can.

This sharing is not about my little personal life, but how much such a program can rekindle one’s spirit deeply. Therefore, I hope this program will continue, and become a tradition in our village.

Jing Lerch

Thanks for special homecoming

Last Friday our son returned home to Westchester after serving in Afghanistan, where he served with the Marines for the past seven months. The reception he received when he came home was so thoughtful and truly appreciated.

I would like to thank the following people for their role in his homecoming: Rick, Karnig and Theresa for making the yellow bows that lined the trees on our street; the Village of Westchester; Captain Jim Waters; the Westchester Police and Fire departments; the Brookfield Police Department and the Brookfield VFW Riders.

A great big thanks to Andy Matusik who made this wonderful homecoming possible, even after two flight delays! The kindness and support that everyone showed for our veteran touched our family more than we can express. You truly make our community a great place to live.

Michelle Robbins, human resources director
Village of Brookfield