Moving Forward

  • Welcome to The City of Crest Hill

     
     
  • Welcome to The City of Crest Hill

     
  • Welcome to the City of Crest Hill

CREST HILL DEPUTY CHIEF GRADUATES FBI NATIONAL ACADEMY PROGRAM

The streets of Crest Hill are a little safer now that Deputy Chief Brad Hertzmann is back from Quantico, Virginia. Hertzmann spent 10 weeks this spring at the FBI Headquarters while completing and graduating from the FBI National Academy Program. He spent 2 ½ months with law enforcement officers from all over the country and the world as one of the 213 officers selected for the training.

The 264th Session of the National Academy consisted of men and women from 47 states and the District of Columbia as well as 21 international countries. The training gives these special law enforcement professionals 10 weeks of advanced education in leadership, communication, and fitness training. On average, these officers have 19 years of law enforcement experience and usually return to their agencies to serve in executive-level positions.

Not everyone who wears a badge has the opportunity to attend the FBI National Academy Program. Most of the law enforcement officers selected for this unique training are carefully screened and have proven records as professionals within their agencies.

“I applied in 2012 and was not selected to go through the course until spring 2016,” says Chief Deputy Hertzmann. “It’s an incredible experience. I was able to connect with not only domestic police officers but international police officers as well. I learned so much from going through such high profile cases in forensics, cybercrime, and counter-terrorism.”

Training for the program is provided by the FBI Academy instructional staff, Special Agents, and other staff members holding advanced degrees, many of whom are recognized internationally in their fields of expertise.

Crest Hill Chief of Police Dwayne Wilkerson was in complete support of Hertzmann’s training. “It’s a hard course to get into,” says Wilkerson. “There’s a long waiting list and it’s such a sought after program which is what makes it so prestigious.”

Deputy Chief Hertzmann has been on the Crest Hill police force for 17 years. Knowing that he now has the training and knowledge of some the country’s most elite gives the community a peaceful feeling.

“We always want to promote continuing education for our police officers to keep up with current trends and changes in our society,” Mayor Ray Soliman says. “This distinguished honor will benefit our other officers and our community as a whole.”

The graduating officers were represented by the class spokesperson, Donald T. Tuten II, Chief of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in Jacksonville, Florida. FBI Director James Comey was the principal speaker at the ceremony.

A total of 49,234 graduates now represent the alumni of the FBI National Academy since it began in 1935. For more information about the program visit www.fbi.gov/about-us/training/national-academy.

 

Sunshine Adorns Annual Lidice Commemoration

Sunny skies and light breezes encompassed the corner of Hosmer Lane and Prairie Avenue on a beautiful June 12 morning. This is the site of Lidice Memorial Park. On this particular Sunday, the commemoration of a small town in the Czech Republic takes place. Although the memories of what happened on June 10, 1942 are horrific, the ceremony was as remarkable as the blue skies that graced the park. 

Nearly 150 people from all over the Chicagoland area, and some from the Czech Republic itself, came to memorialize the lives lost during the reign of the WWII Nazi regime in Europe. Few distant relatives and friends of victims sit in the audience teary eyed as they remember their loved ones.    

It was 74 years ago that Nazi Germany had destroyed the small village of Lidice, Czechoslovakia, killing 173 adult males and 52 women. The women and children who survived were sent to concentration camps. After the war ended, only 153 women and 17 children returned. Lidice was a very small, quiet agricultural village about 24 km (about 15 miles) northwest of Prague. Today, Lidice has less than 500 residents and houses a few stone ruins of a farmhouse and church as well as a bronze sculpture of the children who died as a result of the massacre. This effigy far outweighs the symbolism and sensitivity most at the Crest Hill ceremony can even imagine. 

To open the ceremony at Lidice Memorial Park, John Pritasil, the President of the Czechoslovak American Congress, welcomed those in attendance and thanked them for being a part of the memorial. As the Central District American Sokol posts the waving flags of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the United States, the United Moravian Societies Singers lead the congregation in all three patriotic anthems respectively. Special guest speakers included Klara Moldova, Secretary of the Czechoslovak American Congress, Borek Lizec, Consul General of the Czech Republic, Charlotte "Toni" Brendel, Chair of the Lidice Memorial Service and Vice President of the Phillips Czechoslovak Community Festival in Phillips, Wisconsin, and Vera Wilt, Past President of the Czechoslovak American Congress. Mayor Ray Soliman also recognized the poignancy and importance of the day's affair as he identified some elected officials in the audience. Among the elected officials present were Illinois Senators Pat McGuire and Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, State Representative Natalie Manley, and Will County Executive Larry Walsh. Crest Hill City Officials included Aldermen Scott Dyke and John Vershay, Alderwomen Barb Sklare and Tina Oberlin, and City Clerk Vicki Hackney. Several Crest Hill staff members were also on hand. 

The most heart-breaking moment of the observance appeared in the form of children from the T.G. Masaryk Czech School in Cicero, Illinois. These students recited then translated into English poems written by Lidice children in concentration camps. Listeners could feel the intensity and sadness of the words as if they were sitting next to the little ones who had written them; words of children who had wished to live a place where family and friends do not get killed.  

However sorrowful the moment, elegance and splendor brought an uplifting spirit as the United Moravian Societies Singers once again reminded everyone the beauty in cultural diversity. The American Sokol retired the colors while members of the ceremony and those in attendance had the opportunity to mingle and learn about each other and Lidice. Alderwoman Tina Oberlin who is the Chair and organizer of the Lidice Memorial is hoping for a grander event in 2017, the 75th Anniversary of the Lidice remembrance. Crest Hill is one of only two locations in the United States that has a memorial to Lidice. The other is in Phillips, Wisconsin. More about the Crest Hill Lidice Memorial can be found at here.

  

   

    

 

 

Crest Hill Holds Annual Memorial Day Ceremony

May 30, 2016 marks Memorial Day for the entire country. As most are preparing for a bbq or a day of fun with family and friends, the City of Crest Hill holds its annual Memorial Day Ceremony. The festivities began at the Crest Hill Memorial Garden at City Hall as Mayor Ray Soliman welcomes Crest Hill veterans and residents. For the 28th consecutive year, Anna Mae Lukancic finds the energy to sing out "God Bless America" and "America the Beautiful."

It is always a bittersweet day as the crowd is reminded of the ultimate sacrifice made by those who gave their lives while the Frankfort Brass Band flawlessly performs the "Armed Services Medley" and "Stars and Stripes Forever." The guest speakers for the day's event included Scott Pointon, veteran of the United States Marine Corp. and Director of the White Oak Library District as well as 3rd District Congressman Daniel Lipinski. 

Crest Hill's very own Chief of Police Dwayne Wilkerson and Deputy Police Chief Ed Clark assist Betty Nink and Sue Simenson in the laying of the Police Memorial Wreath. Both James Nink and Timothy Simeson were the only policemen in Crest Hill's nearly 60 years who died in the line of duty. 

The most sobering moment of the ceremony comes as Michael Creasey and Kyle Goron carry out "Taps" while the final tribute of the 21 Gun Salute is given by American Legion Post 1080. 

Among those in attendance were Crest Hill Aldermen and Veterans Charles Convery and Tom Inman of the 4th Ward as well as many Crest Hill and other area residents. 

A strong nation remembers the sacrifice of its Veterans.

       

 
 

MAYOR SOLIMAN REPORTS ON THE FINANCIAL HEALTH OF CREST HILL

At the April 18 City Council meeting, the City of Crest Hill received recognition for excellence in its governmental accounting and financial reporting practices. The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded the City a Certificate of Achievement for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year that ended April 30, 2015. This award is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. Less than 12% of municipal governments in the State of Illinois achieved this honor in 2015.
 
With the new fiscal year opening May 1, the City Council unanimously passed a balanced budget for 2016/2017. The City’s general fund shows revenue of $9,489,004.00 and expenses of $9,422,004.00. The water/sewer fund shows revenue of $7,864,368.00 and expenses of $6,902,823.00. Both accounts confirm a surplus.
 
The overall budget has allowed for the hiring of two additional police officers for public safety and $3.7M in construction improvements. The improvements to the intersection of Gaylord Road and Division Street as well as the reconfiguration of Enterprise Boulevard will progress the safety and traffic flow along the Division Street Corridor. Additionally, the intersection of Weber Road and Caton Farm Road will see major improvements that will help spur economic development along the Weber Road Corridor.
 
This is the second year continuing to fund for new vehicles, computers and other technology that ensures City employees have the most up to date equipment to provide better services to residents. A feasibility study is also in progress to assess space needs for a new public works facility.
 
Always committed to its police officers, the City has a long range vision and plan for a fully funded police pension by 2038. This will be done by adding $150,000 to that fund each year for the next ten years, which is above the requested annual amount. State law requires police pension funds be 90% funded by 2040.
 
One item always at the forefront for Mayor Soliman is the continuation of the City’s property tax rebate check program to all of its residents and property owners.
 
The Crest Hill budget maintains a six month reserve and, more importantly, comes without any tax increases to its residents. The overall fund balance is strong and the City has a high quality AA3 bond rating.
 
“The City of Crest Hill has come a long way over the last eight years and we are proud to continue our tradition of providing quality services to our residents, visitors, and businesses,” states Mayor Soliman. “We are fiscally responsible and conservative in our budgeting practices and are proud to have received an award that reflects this.”