City council OKs new commission

By Penny Rynberk

A new DeKalb environmental commission will begin to put its plans into action now that the DeKalb City Council has approved its formation.

The Citizen Environmental Commission recently gained support and approval from the city council. Mayor Greg Sparrow appointed 17 members at the last council meeting.

Dave Schmidt, member of Kishwaukee Area Residents for the Environment (KARE), said the commission will deal with such topics as recycling, hazardous waste disposal, Kishwaukee River cleanup and environmentally responsible packaging.

The commission also plans to challenge NIU to environmental issues they have not yet addressed, Schmidt said. “One issue may be how (the university) is going to handle hazardous waste, particularly near the science buildings,” he said.

One Kishwaukee student and several NIU students will serve as commission members.

Student Association Recycling Adviser Rachel Vellenga received appointment after sending a letter expressing her interest in commission membership. “I hope to act as a liaison between the university and the city,” she said.

Schmidt said former city council member Jeff Munroe originally formed an ad hoc environmental committee. DeKalb City Council Administrative Assistant Cameron Davis said the commission formed after the ad hoc committee made a recommendation for it last spring.

“The commission is one of the first steps toward achieving what the ad hoc committee set out to do,” he said. Davis is the city staff member designated to help the commission.

Davis said the commission has a broad list of recommendations for environmental issues to tackle, but specifics of these issues will be focused on.

“The city council needs to take these recommendations and build upon them to the point where we can consider further action,” Davis said.

The commission will hold its first meeting in the DeKalb Municipal Building at 7 p.m. on Tues., Nov. 19.