Bulls leaving Berto leads Deerfields top stories of year
Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls head coach, fields questions as the team introduces their new guard, Marquis Teague at the Berto Center on Monday, July 2, 2012 in Deerfield. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times
Top web stories
The five most-viewed stories in 2012 on the Deerfield REview website:
1. Wonders! sued for remodeling costs
2. Ticketing for Pot, it’s been the practice in the burbs
3. Victim of economy, Georges to close in Deerfield
4. Deerfield class of 2012 graduates
5. Deerfield officials surprised by Wonder! closure
- Bulls: New practice facility a go, but entertainment complex needs a tax break
- Deerfield Library to close for three weeks
- Electricity consortium announces summer savings of $2.8M
- Deerfield District 109 teachers contract now four years
- Deerfield District 109 superintendent announces retirement
- Democrat Brad Schneider ready to ‘roll up my sleeves’ after winning GOP House seat
Updated: December 27, 2012 7:42AM
DEERFIELD — Deerfield experienced many changes during 2012, notably the announcement of the Chicago Bulls leaving its long-time practice home at the Berto Center. Big-dollar construction projects, a Democratic triumph, electrical savings and a threatened teacher strike round out the biggest stories of 2012 in Deerfield.
1. Bulls announce they’re leaving the Berto Center
Deerfield officials say they are disappointed the Chicago Bulls have decided to move out of their Deerfield practice facility, but they do not believe the move will affect the village too much.
The Chicago Bulls announced this spring the team is moving its practice facility from the Sheri L. Berto Center in Deerfield to a location in downtown Chicago.
Having the Bulls in Deerfield has brought people to town and generated business in the local restaurants and hotels, Village Manager Kent Street said.
“The operation staff has been in Deerfield for many years, and it’s been good for the community,” Street said. “All of those things will have a negative impact.”
Having a practice center in Deerfield made sense over the years because a lot of Bulls players lived in the area, a Deerfield, Bannockburn, Riverwoods Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman said. But that has changed, and a lot of the players live in the city now.
Street said he was unsure what might go into the site once the Bulls move, but he hopes it is something that will similarly benefit the community.
The Bulls have been at the Berto Center, about 25 miles from downtown Chicago, since 1992. The team plans to sell the facility.
2. Big-dollar projects in Deerfield
Two multi-million dollar infrastructure projects are underway in Deerfield - the new library, at a price tag of around $12 million, and the nearly-complete water reclamation facility, totaling up at roughly $30 million. The water reclamation facility, village officials said, is the most expensive project in Deerfield’s history.
The library building’s renovation is to include the installation of new heating, ventilation and air conditioning, as well as the reconfiguration and expansion of the interior by 10,000 square feet for more meeting space and new technology. Plans also include expanded space for the library’s growing collection, a new parking lot with a revised traffic pattern, nearby off-site staff parking, improved landscaping and exterior lighting. It’s slated for completition in the spring of 2013.
The water reclamation facility, built on the current 58-year-old facility, brought high-tech and environmentally-friendly water treatment to the village. One of the biggest changes, according to facility superintendent Frank Cisek, is the elimination of chlorine from water treatment, replacing it with a chemical-free UV treating system, ensuring the water drained in the west fork of the north branch of the Chicago River is not harmful.
Leftover sludge from sewage water also goes through several stages of removal, resulting in high-grade, natural fertilizer that is later sent to local farmlands.
3. Electrical consortium slices Deerfield electric bills
Sixty thousand to 70,000 North Shore customers from eight municipalities may see their energy bills reduced by more than 40 percent annually after the North Shore Electricity Aggregation Consortium announced a new locked-in rate this spring.
All eight municipalities — Skokie, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Park Ridge, Deerfield, Glencoe, Lake Bluff and Northbrook — were able to pool resources and shop for electricity as one market after voters in each town approved an identical referendum in March.
The new rate of 4.836 cents per kilowatt hour compares to the current ComEd residential rate of 8.233 cents per kilowatt hour.
In Deerfield, as an energy-saving measure, the Village Board in April, approved a power supply agreement with Chicago-based MC Squared, a competitive electric supplier that has contracted with ComEd. Of all eligible energy providers in the state, MC Squared gave the lowest bid.
The Village Board approved MC Squared’s individualized renewable energy option in which residents can choose to purchase renewable energy credits.
4. School District 109 teacher strike averted, Supt. Renee Goier announces retirement
Deerfield Public School District 109 teachers and the school district avoided a teacher strike by agreeing to a 4-year contract, after months of negotiating. Had the teachers gone on strike, at least 3,000 students would have been out of the classroom. Board Member Steven Schwartz, who negotiated on behalf of the district, said it was the longest contract negotiation in his 11 years on the board. Deerfield Education Association President Dennis Jensen, who said he was happy the board unanimously approved the contract, noted it is a fair agreement for everyone — the taxpayers, parents and particularly the students.
Another shake-up in the district was when superintendent Renee Goier announced her retirement at the end of the 2012-2013 school year, launching an extensive search for her replacement. A series of interviews with candidates is underway, with the new superintendent announcement slated for Jan. 14, 2013.
5. The 10th Congressional district turns blue
Surging to a last-minute upset, Democratic challenger Brad Schneider rallied past U.S. Rep. Bob Dold to unseat the freshman Republican in the 10th Congressional District on Nov. 6.
Schneider outpolled Dold by barely 2,400 votes out of more than 250,000 ballots cast to claim a congressional seat held by the GOP for more than 30 years.
The congressional remap controlled by Democrats left the new 10th District with about 60 percent of its former area and removed some traditionally GOP bastions along the North Shore.
Schneider raised more than $1.6 million and used former President Bill Clinton to make automated phone calls on his behalf.