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Today’s must-read

Friday, Oct 15, 2021

* It is, indeed, a well-written piece…


Click here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

18 Comments
  1. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 10:24 am:

    “Some of those tracts became available through public auctions of land lost due to unpaid taxes in Kankakee County”

    This is an unfortunate situation – but if the taxes remain unpaid after a legally defined period someone will buy them. The process is very transparent and applied to all property owners. There is a clear notification process;
    Kankakee county sends mail notice of taxes dues, if the taxes remain unpaid they publish a list of delinquent taxes before the sale dates

    If the taxes are sold – there is a redemption option

    “Properties sold for delinquent taxes may be redeemed by any property owner or other person with an interest in the property, other than an undisclosed beneficiary of an Illinois land trust. Redemption periods are based on the type of property and range from 6 months to 2 1/2 years. The purchaser may extend the redemption period for up to three years from the sale date.”


  2. - Levois J - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 10:58 am:

    Pretty fascinating article, I really liked the history of this. Especially trying to follow the battle between the residents of this township and the conservationists.


  3. - May soon be required - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 11:04 am:

    This quote is pretty telling:

    ==In 2017, Harty speculated how financial hardships for farmers might favor the group’s strategy.

    “All it takes is two years of bad corn prices and it changes the chess board,” Harty told a Fish and Wildlife representative.==


  4. - BluegrassBoy - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 11:13 am:

    Well written, but painting conservation in a negative light and insinuating “predatory practices” does not do any good. While the buying of tax delinquent parcels is shady, its not illegal. It also means that income on these parcels was not good enough to provide for maintaining the taxes. This fight in “trying to hang onto what they have left” is futile if what is left doesn’t provide you enough income to live. I agree historic recreational things (horseback riding, berry pick, etc.) should be allowed to land owners, and other local input needs to be taken into account so the community can be a part of this, but
    Conservationists are trying desperately to hang onto what natural areas are left too. (example: see Bell Bowl Prairie at the Rockford Airport) I feel for these folks, but opposition to this doesn’t seem like the solution. This is an opportunity for conservation to step up and recognize the importance of how these areas exist because of the black landowners and carve out more opportunities for the communities to prosper from a refuge that exists because of its former land owner stewards whom once took care of these places.


  5. - Glenn - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 11:14 am:

    Has anyone here read Wendell Berry’s “The Unsettling of America”, Chapter Two, “The Ecological Crisis as a Crisis of Character”?

    In my opinion money would be better spent preserving the dignity of small farmers by preventing foreclosures instead of trying to solve inner city problems that have persisted for decades with inner city counseling.


  6. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 11:20 am:

    Another reason to totally reform our real estate tax system


  7. - H-W - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 11:20 am:

    Horrible. Just horrible.

    It reminds me of a prior moment in history, when land was taken from the Native Peoples. They were then given reservations. Then those reservations were taken by outside interests with the backing of the federal government.

    Displacing people to create parks has always been controversial. Historically, the U.S. National Forests and the National Park Service have used alternative models that did not require residents be displaced in every case. Instead, families were allowed to keep their land, and could will it to descendants but not sell it. This keeps land in families for generations while allowing surrounding lands to be transformed into national forests and parks. Part of the beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina is the old homesteads and family farms. The same is true of the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

    Then again, these are examples involving White Anglo settlers, not people of color.


  8. - Amalia - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 11:39 am:

    oh sure, put a worthy cause up against people in trouble. find a way for people to pay their taxes. and find a way to conserve our beautiful land.


  9. - 47th Ward - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 11:57 am:

    That area is beautiful and in need of protection. But that should not come at the expense of the people living there. Conservation easements could help, paying owners to limit their use of the property for example.

    But I[m sure Rodney Davis will be the first to visit this new part of his district to work on practical solutions that will benefit both sides.

    JK. After veto, this will all be in Robin Kelly’s lap. I trust her to resolve this way more than I’d trust Davis.

    Also, for movie fans out there. Willow Slough, just over the border in Indiana, is where the Spilotro brothers were buried. The famous scene from Casino where Joe Pesci’s character finally gets what’s coming to him. Not sure where they filmed it, but they nailed the sandy soil that is characteristic of the whole area.


  10. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 12:26 pm:

    My daughter had a friend whose mom worked in the city and ran a farm in this area. My daughter was invited to the farm for a sleepover. The farm was so beautiful and rustic it was hard to imagine the owner worked a nine to five in the city. I offers to buy some vegetables. She said no, they were already promised to upscale restaurants in the city.


  11. - Jibba - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 12:31 pm:

    One wonders how much of this conflict played into the debate on whether natural gas should be brought into the area. At the time, opponents seemed to be heartless oppressors of the poor, but if you want to make a preserve then it makes sense not to want more infrastructure and development.


  12. - Notorious JMB - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 12:57 pm:

    Sad but not surprising. I think a large part of the Shawnee National Forest is made up of farms that were lost or abandoned during the Depression.


  13. - Dog Lover - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 1:27 pm:

    Thank you for sharing the link. It was definitely worth reading. What struck me was that the farmers/landowners and the conservationists have a lot of the same values and wishes for the land. The conservationists want to be good stewards of the land. The farmers/landowners have been good stewards of the land. Yet they are at odds with each other. Unfortunate circumstance.


  14. - Anon221 - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 2:07 pm:

    The idea of a few bad years for farmers to drive them out of business is not new, and has been taken advantage by others for decades to acquire lands. Fence-row to Fence-row in the Reagan Administration destroyed the types of sustainable systems that many at Pembroke use. Rotations. Diversification. Integration of Livestock and Crops.

    I would not be surprised if areas that TNC has snapped up in the Pembroke area are not later used (or may already be used) for Compensatory Mitigation for industrial wind and solar projects- especially wind. There are many currently operating wind projects in Illinois that have had to get Incidental Take Authorizations from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Many of the ITA plans will involve Compensatory Mitigations that usually amount to several 10’s of thousands of dollars to protect habitats far away, sometimes hundreds of miles away, from where an endangered or threatened specie(s) has been killed by the wind project.

    So, not only are we seeing the displacement of people from the land, their land may later be used to allow displacements of wildlife from areas in other parts of the State of Illinois that are not considered worthy of protections and considered to be sacrificial, just like the people in Pembroke, in their grand plans. You can explore this in the Site Wind Right map. Be sure to turn on the “Low Impact Layer” though to see what areas of the State of Illinois TNC considers to be worthy of protections. You’ll also be able to see the areas in Kankakee and across the state line in Indiana that are mentioned in the ProPublica article.

    https://www.nature.org/en-us/what-we-do/our-priorities/tackle-climate-change/climate-change-stories/site-wind-right/


  15. - Red Ketcher - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 2:25 pm:

    Good Article
    However , expect issues are more complicated
    Good 2016 Book by a Kankakee Lawyer
    Pembroke: A Rural Black Community on the Illinois Dunes ( David Baron )


  16. - Anon221 - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 2:33 pm:

    Red Ketcher- Online presentation by David Baron from 2017 on the book you cited… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eR7RYQrJR6M


  17. - Frank talks - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 3:39 pm:

    Sierra Club and IEC fighting Pembroke Township natural gas, saying it was to save black farmers. While actually shilling for their deep pocketed benefactors to remove them all anyway. That’s cold.


  18. - Stix Hix - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 4:21 pm:

    ==Has anyone here read Wendell Berry’s “The Unsettling of America”, Chapter Two, “The Ecological Crisis as a Crisis of Character”?==

    Yes.

    Thank you for asking.


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