Thumbs-up: To progress on incentives to bring a major employer to DeKalb. This week, the DeKalb School District 428 Board and DeKalb Park District Board approved a property tax abatement aimed at enticing an international confectionery firm to locate an operation in the ChicagoWest Business Park on DeKalb’s south side.
All 10 local taxing bodies have now agreed to the incentive. The unnamed company is expected to employ 1,000 people across three different buildings east of the intersection of Route 23 and Gurler Road.
Local taxing bodies have offered to return half of the new property taxes generated by the development for 15 years. District 428 is forgoing the largest amount of property taxes as part of the deal, but also stands to gain the most – even after the abatement, the new development is expected to generate a total of $34.5 million over the 15-year period, and the school district would receive more than half of that. Efforts still are underway to secure road improvement funding and other incentives from state government, but local officials have shown they are a willing partner.
Thumbs-down: To the never-ending harvest season. The snow and rain that delayed planting in the spring returned in the fall to slow progress on the harvest, and some farmers are saying they expect to be working to harvest crops in January and beyond. Weather conditions have also left the crops retaining more water than normal, which requires more work to dry them for storage. This was among the wettest growing seasons on record, and everyone’s hoping weather conditions will be more in line with past trends.
Thumbs-up: To sharing a cautionary tale with students. For the past seven years, Jana Roe has told Sycamore Middle School students the story of how she became addicted to self-tanning and developed skin cancer as a result. Even after her diagnosis, Roe continued tanning until her doctor asked her if having bronzed skin was worth dying for. Many fair-skinned folks associate having tanned skin with beauty, and Roe said she noticed that when she was tan, she got compliments. But there are health risks to overindulging – and Roe’s message is a good one to share with children.
Thumbs-up: To a Florida trip for a local boy. Will Kim, 11, of DeKalb has battled a chronic liver illness for 10 years. In February, he will get to visit several popular Florida attractions along with his parents and two younger sisters. The trip is courtesy of New York-based Baking Memories 4 Kids. On Thursday, the charity’s founder, Frank Squeo, and members of the DeKalb Fire Department surprised Will with the trip outside his home. Will, a student at Littlejohn Elementary School, has endured repeated hospitalizations and doctors visits throughout his young life. We’re grateful to Squeo’s charity for giving him and his family something special.