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Polaris Week of 11/15/21

I’m Zayna, your newsletter editor, here to provide you with a weekly line to The North Star and the news. We’ll keep you updated about what’s going on right here in Naperville and break down the big stories. Remember to check out On the Record and Polaris recipes!

Let’s take a look at this week’s local stories:

The development plans for a new mosque were approved on Tuesday.

First proposed in Jan. 2021, the development plan for a new mosque in Naperville was approved by the Naperville City Council with a unanimous vote on Tuesday, Nov. 16.

  • The mosque was proposed by the Islamic Center of Naperville and is planning to feature a school, gymnasium, multi-purpose space and a two-story mosque. Construction is scheduled in five phases that will take place over 40 years.
  • This mosque will be located on 248th Ave. and will be the fourth mosque in Naperville, joining those on Ogden Ave., 75th St. and Olesen Dr.

The development plans were recommended for approval of a conditional use permit by the Naperville Planning and Zoning Commission on Oct. 6, only after negotiations between the Commission and ICN.

  • The Commission required ICN to make these negotiations due to the opposition from community members about the addition of a large development.
  • The Commission required that the plans include an interim left turn lane, a capacity limit of 457 people in the mosque and limited construction beyond Phase Two until after an expansion of 248th St. is complete.

The mosque plans could face more resistance at the City Council level, as there has been both support and opposition from nearby community members. At the City Council meeting on Tuesday, 12 community members spoke out about their support or opposition for the mosque.

  • Those opposed have cited concerns about light pollution, increased traffic and the large size of the development.
  • As a result of the voiced concerns from community members, the City Council has required that the ICN notify neighbors of the development site before stages three and four of the construction plan begin. In addition to that, ICN must put a sign on the property to advertise the notice. These steps are to ensure that the community has the chance to voice their opposition before ICN can receive a building permit for the mosque’s further construction.

Now that the plans have been approved, construction for the mosque is set to begin in 2024.

Naperville’s Special Events Cultural Amenities Program held a workshop for prospective grant applicants.

On Nov. 14th, the Naperville Special Events Cultural Amenities Program (SECA) held a workshop for prospective 2022 grant applicants. Community members were able to speak to the commission about the potential expansion and creation of projects where SECA can potentially provide funding.

  • SECA is a committee established by the City of Naperville to fund “social and artistic events and entities, providing cultural experiences for the Naperville community and its visitors.”
  • Sunday’s workshop included insight from the organizer of Naperville’s Soulfest, Michael Brown. In his statement, Brown expressed his interest in expanding the event across three days, rather than a two-day festival like last year. “Public safety is going up, especially what we just witnessed last week in Houston, so I never want to be in that type of situation,” Brown said.
  • Among organizers like Brown, the executive director of Naper Pride Fest, Margie Wolf, believes that funding from SECA could allow for a more country-themed festival for 2022. “It’s a coming together of Naperville roots,” Wolf said.
  • SECA will be holding another meeting on Dec. 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. to discuss the applications in a more unified forum.

In NNHS news...

From The North Star:

A shortage of substitute teachers is straining Naperville North High School faculty. Read the full story here.

Polaris recipes: Take your ramen to the next level.

On the Record: Listen to Polaris' music podcast here.

Now, let's take a look at what's going on nationally.

Here’s what you need to know about Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial:

18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse is on trial for the events of Aug. 25, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, when Rittenhouse shot three people. On Tuesday morning, the jury began their deliberation after closing arguments on Monday.

  • Rittenhouse, age 17 at the time of the shooting, traveled to Kenosha to respond to social media pleas to protect local businesses during the violence that ensued after the death of Jacob Blake. He carried an AR-15 style semi automatic rifle as well as a medical kit with him. As a result of multiple altercations and violence, Rittenhouse shot and killed two people: 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum and 26-year-old Anthony Huber. Another man, 27-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz, was wounded after being shot in the arm.
  • Rittenhouse is being charged on five accounts, including first degree reckless endangerment and first degree intentional, reckless and attempted homicide. The judge dismissed the illegal possession of a dangerous weapon count right before the closing arguments.
  • The defense continuously pushed the self defense angle throughout the entirety of the trial. In his closing arguments, lead defense attorney Mark Richards pushed the idea that those shot by Rittenhouse were dangerous rioters determined to do harm. He also attacked the prosecution for telling the jury that lead prosecutor Thomas Binger would “lie to [their] faces” to get a conviction.
  • In their closing arguments, the prosecution recounted the events of Aug. 25, describing a chaotic, peril-filled night that Rittenhouse further stoked. The prosecution ran into problems with prosecutor Thomas Binger being admonished or reprimanded twice. These instances included when Binger brought up Rittenhouse’s refusal to talk to the police when he was first arrested, which violated Rittenhouse’s fifth amendment rights, and when the prosecution attempted to bring in evidence that was already excluded from the court. Judge Bruce Schroeder yelled at Binger, saying “don’t get brazen with me,” after Binger attempted to explain his reasoning and get Rittenhouse impeached.
  • As of Thursday morning, there is no verdict, with the jury still deliberating. The judge is considering calling for a mistrial after the jury received low-quality drone footage. This footage is key as it shows Rittenhouse fatally shooting one of the men.

This week’s news was written by Grace, Faye and Gracie

Photo credits to Patch and NPR

Polaris will be taking a two-week break. We look forward to seeing you all on Dec. 9 for the last issue of the semester!