Saturday, August 25, 2007

Marathon Pundit Chicago River dumping follow up

A couple of weeks ago, Niles Journal reporter Daniel Cameron interviewed me on the telephone about my July 17 post about a milky substance I saw pouring into the North Branch of the Chicago River.

From his article, What Is This Stuff?

Concerned, Ruberry decided to get some evidence. He continued his run a mile and a half south to his home, grabbing a camera to take pictures. When he returned two hours later, the substance was still pouring out of the tunnel.

"This wasn't runoff from some guy washing his car," said Ruberry. "Whatever it was, there was a lot of it."

Ruberry, who works in telecommunications in Niles, decided to take action. He called the Cook County Forest Preserve Dist. The district said it would come investigate, but when it hadn't appeared after 15 minutes, Ruberry left the scene.


The Cook County Forest Preserve stated last week that it had no record of Ruberry's call, but said it would perform an investigation.

This does not surprise me. Among local law enforcement agencies, the Cook County Forest Preserve Police is regarded as a patronage haven for ward-heelers.

Think Chief Wiggum and the fictional Springfield Police from The Simpsons, and you have a pretty good idea what to expect from them.

Here's what I did that afternoon: I called 911, and the dispatcher transferred me to the Forest Preserve Police. If there is a next time, I'll call, based on information I've gathered since July 17, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Cook County Water Reclamation District, and a non-government group, the Friends of the Chicago River.

The Cook County Forest Preserve Police can be tough when they want to be. Here's what I wrote a few months ago about a reputed incident, in a post about the crime rate in my hometown of Morton Grove:

Oh, in late 2005, while running not too far from the spot where the drifter's body was found, a Cook County Forest Preserve policeman, on a bitterly cold day, confronted me about allegedly--and I want to reiterate, allegedly, urinating fairly deep inside a grove of trees. No one else was there, which says a lot about the law enforcement force derisively known at "the tree police."

It's nice to know Chief Wiggum's boys have their priorities straight.

The polluter has not been caught.

Later today, or perhaps tomorrow, I'll have some more North Branch of the Chicago River pictures--this time of the flooding from this week's heavy rains.

To comment on this or view my continuing series on my July trip to Kansas, click here.

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