State of the village comes to Carl Sandburg High School

March 28, 2016

Sandburg hosted this year’s State of the Village address in the Performing Arts Center on February 9. Mayor Dan McLaughlin delivered the address, discussing topics ranging the police department, finance, and village infrastructure.

The State of the Village address is an annual tradition, but this is the first year it was hosted at Sandburg.

“They wanted it to be a community-based event, and what better place than [Sandburg]? We are always happy to show off our wonderful facility,” said Deborah Baker, principal of Sandburg High School.

And the Sandburg community was more than happy to participate. Students from various school clubs and organizations got to share their talent as part of the event. Culinary club catered the event in the PAC foyer before the address, making delectable hors d’oeuvres for the guests.

Student council and senior class presidents Alyssa Aurelio and Kevin Casey got to interview the mayor beforehand and ask about the different aspects of government work. They then gave an introduction to his speech, highlighting the importance of public service. Finally Eloquence choir sang the national anthem to start off the evening.

The address began with a thank you to Sandburg for hosting, as well as a congratulations to the Cross Country nationalists.

One of the main topics McLaughlin discussed was the Orland Park police department.

“We have the best in the state,” boasted McLaughlin, citing that Orland Park was declared the safest shopping district in the state because of police monitoring.

A big talking point was the OPSAF, or the Orland Park Substance Abuse Forum, a meeting place for community leaders to listen to and provide support for people and their families struggling with substance abuse. In fact, a forum took place on March 1st on what to do if you suspect someone you know has a problem with substance abuse.

The next main topic addressed was village finance. McLaughlin, with the help of some graphs, explained where some of the tax dollars go, such as the fact that 7% of local taxes go to parks, and 64% go to the school districts. He also noted concern with how Springfield will deal with its problems, but assured that Orland is in a good place financially. He also assured public concern with the state of the roads, emphatically declaring “LaGrange road will be completed!”

Sandburg Senior Bill Kolpak even made an appearance, as a video of him and the mayor visiting a few of Orland’s Open Lands and talking about the Open Lands Commission played. The OLC has purchased almost 300 acres of land, mostly farmland in an effort to save some of our city’s most beautiful and preserved natural lands and the wildlife that resides in them. He did, however also discuss the need for funding of the commission in order to keep preserving the land, as well as to build a nature center.

Lastly the mayor discussed new downtown updates, especially the different local businesses of Orland Park. Our businesses were really emphasized, as they are a huge source of revenue for the city. Orland currently has about 400,000 square feet of retail space. Businesses featured were Cooper’s Hawk and Nothing Bundt Cakes, featuring clips of the owners of the respective businesses talking about why they chose to open up shop here.

There were even some awards to end the night. Juliana Trnka, Sandburg junior, won first place is the Orland Park has Heart art contest for the 17 and under category.

There were also three volunteer awards given to individuals who demonstrate exceptional service to the community. Orland Chateau won the Business Volunteer award. The Adult Volunteer of the Year award went to the Custers, a couple both inflicted with vision impairment who reach out the adult blindness community and offer support and skills for them.

Lastly, Brooke Doman, Sandburg senior, was recognized for her dedication to community service.
Although it differed from how the village has always done this address, the night was deemed a success by Mayor McLaughlin.

“The Chamber of Commerce always volunteered to host this, but this year we wanted to do some new things, try to make it more accessible to residents by hosting it at Sandburg and having it at night. I got to talk a little more about issues of interest to the public,” said McLaughlin.

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