As part of the Round Lake Area Park District’s regular meeting, the topic of allowing K9 dog, Nadja, to remain active with Ranger police officer, Terry Kaminski, was on the August 9, 2012 agenda.
Nadja is a well trained search and rescue German Shepherd owned by Ranger Kaminski and has a long list of accomplishments as pointed out at the meeting. Ranger Kaminski and Nadja are no strangers to the local communities, having appeared at many of the local festivals, the latest one being National Night Out, where Nadja showed off his abilities to sniff out drugs.
At issue with the Round Lake Park District is the liability involved that comes with Ranger Kaminski using his dog in the line of duty. Having a K9 dog in the Ranger division was never in the ‘Master Plan’ and therefore there is no insurance against any accidents or lawsuits that might occur.
There was a packed room full of Nadja supporters and one commissioner even commented that they have never had to set up that many chairs before for audience members. The supporters were there to try to convince the commission to continue allowing Nadja to work alongside Ranger Kaminski by purchasing the necessary insurance.
From a spectators point of view, it appeared as though the majority of the commissioners had already made up their minds and were busy shuffling papers, playing with their hair, and paying minimum attention to those who were commenting in favor (view full length video below). Only commissioner Tim Pasternak seemed to grasp the importance of having a talented K9 dog as part of the Ranger division by calling Nadja an “asset” and saying such things as “The fact that we have it (the asset) now [not in the Master Plan], what are we going to do with it? Do we take full advantage of it? I say, hell yes!”
Other commissioners just kept talking about the ‘liability’, never once discussing where they would or could find the funds to cover the added insurance. Instead, remarks were made by Commissioner Gentes that the park district had never asked for a referendum from the taxpayers. As a local resident and homeowner for over 40 years, I used to mow the small neighborhood JC Park near my home every weekend, long before the Park District became the monster that it is today. When Renwood Country Club was going on the chopping block to build condos along Hainesville Road, the Park District decided to get into the golf course business. As if that wasn’t enough, they decided they needed a full 18 holes so they expanded south of Shorewood. Then it was decided that they needed a newer and bigger club house so they built a big ugly building for the few residents that use Renwood.
The hill that my kids used to slide down every winter next to Ace hardware, known as Hart’s Hill was also on the Park District’s radar screen and soon the taxpayers owned it as well as a big aquatic center and monstrous buildings across the street from the hill. To listen to Commissioner Gentes talk about how they are careful how they spend the taxpayers money is quite laughable given that the Park District will soon pass the fire department as the second highest portion of my property tax bill. Yet, the commissioners were not even talking about “where” to find the money to cover the insurance costs. No, if it was not in the “Master Plan”, then it didn’t deserve being considered. When I look at my tax bill I wish they had kept to the ORIGINAL “Master Plan” instead of doing all the land-grabbing’ and construction. For an estimated $1,600 Nadja, who possesses enormous talents, has been grounded. Sure makes you wonder if these commissioners will still have the local support in future elections, doesn’t it?
The first video below is an 18 minute edit of the full hour which includes excerpts of what each commissioner had to say, along with the final decision that was made at that meeting.
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For those of you who would like to view the FULL 1-hour discussion, we have provided the video below.
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Links for those who would like just the videos are below (copy and paste):
(Short video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY5JQxKkw94
(Long video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9ek6FxVGTg