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The Light for November 22, 2022
By Kate Collinson
President Kathy Tate-Bradish welcomed members to the meeting before Don Gwinn led the group in the Why We Are Rotarians statement.  Don found inspiration in a 1930 Jesse Logan book that had been owned by his grandfather and wisdom from a note found in a woman’s purse at a church rummage sale.  The quotes were rapid fire, some funny, others thought-provoking.   One pithy example:  “Observe the postage stamp; It sticks to one thing until it gets there.”
Aimee Reznick announced, in Linda Gerber’s absence, that November 29 is Giving Tuesday and ETHS student Olivia Ohlson is looking for volunteers to pack 1,000 hygiene kits with items like soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and razors from 6:00-7:30 PM at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center.  Twelve Rotaractors from Northwestern are hoping to attend this packing event.  If you’re able to provide transportation to any of the interested students, please contact Aimee via email ( 
Helen Oloroso reminded members that it’s necessary to register for the annual Holiday Party that will be held on Sunday, Dec. 11, from 5 – 8 p.m.   The event will be held in the Third Floor Hospitality Suite of the Residences at Sherman Plaza, 807 Davis.  The Club will provide a light buffet supper with wine and sparkling water.  Please consider offering to help with food/wine replenishment, room set-up, and other basic tasks.  We hope to see you there!
While the Events portion of the TOE Silent Auction didn’t succeed (because of software issues) and were ultimately cancelled, the Conversation with the Conductor will take place in January!  Our own Harold Bauer will address everything you’ve ever wanted to know about orchestral/opera conducting.  A message with full details will be forthcoming from Ann Searles
Harold Bauer shared his history with Right to Be Free, a non-profit dedicated to rescuing children sold into slavery on Lake Volta in Ghana.  While the ELRC has provided modest support to RTBF over the years, the story of a special young boy captured our hearts in 2016.  Senyo’s back was misshapen due to dangerous work he was forced to perform.  Enough donations were received (from Rotarians and others) to fund extensive back surgery for Senyo.  The most recent update from RTBF included a touching thank-you letter and a number of recent photos of Senyo (aka Kofi), showing him in good health, learning a trade and leading a normal life.  It’s satisfying to bring water to a thousand people. It’s equally incredible to return health and dignity to a small boy.
Topic: Cook County Government
Speaker: Larry Suffredin
Bruce Baumberger introduced Larry Suffredin, newly retired Cook County and Forest Preserve District of Cook County Commissioner for the 13th District.  Larry’s 20 years of service were marked by significant progress in many areas: the sponsorship of many ordinances and resolutions, the saving of the old County Hospital building, health and hospital advances, increased minimum wage, an assault weapons ban, creation of an independent Inspector general, lowered adoption filing fees, new eviction court protocols, successful recent Forest Preserve tax referendum, bike helmet recommendations, creation of the Conservation Council, Master Stewards program, volunteer training.
“Completing the circle,” Larry resigned his position a few days early so that successor Josina Morita would have a seniority advantage. 
A fan of Rotary and its efforts in the community and world, Larry has spoken to several local clubs.  He has known Bruce Baumberger for years, appreciating Bruce’s interest and devotion to integrity in elections. Today, as the whole process of voting is being challenged by some, such efforts are even more important!
Nearly a “stealth government,” Larry shared some of Cook County’s unique characteristics.  If Cook County was a state, it would be the 19th largest state in the U.S.  Its trial court system is the largest in the country (possibly, in the world) and its unified court system is the largest in the world.  Cook County provides health care and hospital visits (more than 1.5 million visits/year) via four major hospitals and 16 clinics.
Larry is proud of the history and renovation of old Cook County Hospital (now a hotel) which – like Hull House – greeted every nationality in the city.  The Cook County Department of Corrections is one of the largest single site jails in the country, serving detainees awaiting trial.  A new SAFE-T Act ends cash bail in Illinois and also supports crime victims and increases police oversight. 
The Cook County Forest Preserve got its start here when citizens met in Dwight Perkins’ northwest Evanston home to discuss the merits of a Forest Preserve system.  The Forest Preserve is a non-home rule unit separate from Cook County without access to many sources of revenue.  The FP depends on property taxes and fees. The Cook County Forest Preserve – an important ecological asset --  includes more than 70,000 acres, and is responsible for holding more than 60% of the area’s and offsetting significant carbon emissions. 
Larry noted that county government is functioning while surrounding governments are floundering.  Citizens MUST figure out how to engage in legitimate and positive interaction at public meetings.  Regardless of the forum, small groups dominate the discussion and very little honest listening takes place!
Do we need a unified state health system?  Our area’s five competing public health systems (Cook County, Chicago, Evanston, Skokie, State of Illinois) inefficiently provided care during the pandemic.  It’s critical that we encourage younger individuals to consider running for public office.  Larry feels strongly that the torch must be passed to younger people like Josina whose strong Metropolitan Water Reclamation District background and focus on human rights, racial equality, and water justice will serve the people of Cook County well.
“Stealth government can remain stealthy, or it can shine its spotlight on the issues.”
In response to questions, Larry stressed the importance of appealing one’s property taxes.  There are more than 1.8 million properties in the County and all are different.  People need to pay their fair share of taxes, but the assessor and Board of Review can’t know the details of every property.  Larry also touted the benefits of negotiation and compromise.  When the legitimate need for a helicopter for the County’s Sheriff’s Office arose, creativity saved the day.   All could support the leasing of a helicopter to provide functionality without a major investment. 
Many thanks to Larry for his years of service!
Guests and Milestones
Maribeth Cleary, prospective member  
Charlotta Koppanyi – Nov. 22