Lester: Arlington Heights showing interest in adding tuk-tuk shuttles
Oversized electric golf carts that have become a popular form of shuttle transportation in Naperville could be coming to Arlington Heights soon.
Tuk Tuk Naperville owner Bill Hamik -- who's seen his ride business in Naperville's downtown area double in recent months -- told me this week he was contacted by Arlington Heights village officials who "wanted to know of our interest" in expanding the service in town.
Hamik and company manager Chris Parker "took a trip up there" measuring the distance between the downtown area, popular subdivisions and Arlington International Racecourse. He says he was shown a PowerPoint about the village, as neither he nor Parker, both Naperville residents, "knew Arlington Heights very well."
Almost immediately, Hamik said, he became convinced that Arlington Heights would be a perfect fit for the auto rickshaws that first became popular in Indonesia.
"They had some data to show that Arlington Heights has about 75 to 80 percent of the retail volume of Naperville," Hamik says.
Tuk Tuk Naperville's fleet now includes four electric shuttles, each of which can seat six passengers for rides in a 2-mile radius around downtown Naperville.
- Courtesy of Tuk Tuk Naperville
In Naperville, Hamik's business of four vehicles gives an average 50 rides each weekday and 150 each weekend day. It's been a particularly popular option during summer festivals, at high school dances and weddings.
Rides cost $1, $3 or $5 per person, depending on the distance, and they are available only within a 2-mile radius.
Hamik says he's not looking to open a second franchise but would be happy to help anyone interested in starting their own branch.
"I would easily be a consultant," he says, noting a standard tuk-tuk with "some bells and whistles" costs about $25,000.
For more information, Hamik says to feel free to give him a call at (630) 606-3947.
"Others in St. Charles, Geneva are looking at this as we speak," he says.
The site of a controversial landfill in Des Plaines is also being considered as an optimal spot for solar panels.
A study released in recent days by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's office said that adding solar panels to the southeast corner of the 130-acre facility off Central Road across from Oakton Community College could provide a solid return on investment and provide clean energy.
The landfill -- which hasn't been used since the late 1980s -- will also be used as a commercial composting facility. The decision was reached by county commissioners after months of hearings, where some residents raised fears of odors and other potential nuisances.
Cook County spokeswoman Becky Schlickerman says it's up to the individual site owner, the Chicago Archdiocese, if it would like to move forward with the projects.
Archdiocese officials are fairly noncommital at this point, with spokeswoman Susan Thomas releasing a statement noting that "as the Archdiocese of Chicago adapts to more environmentally-friendly practices, we are always trying to explore alternatives that benefit not just us but the community as a whole."
Thomas says the archdiocese plans to use the study "to help make more informed decisions toward renewable energy development."
A Lego Jerusalem?
Congregation Beth Judea in Buffalo Grove is building a 20- by 20-foot Lego Jerusalem that includes eight gates into the city, the Kotel, King David's Tower, the Beit Hamikdash and other important landmarks.
Are you a Lego aficionado? You're invited to the 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. event on Nov. 14. Children ages 8 and under can participate with adult supervision.
For more information or to rsvp, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Legislation passed out of committee this week that would change Illinois law to provide sexual harassment training, as well as a detailed set of instructions on how state employees can report sexual harassment and supervisors can discipline those who engage in sexual harassment.
Legislative staffers, employees of the state's constitutional officers, those who work at community colleges and public universities are all covered under the proposed bill that's expected to be voted on in the last week of veto session later this month.