By Randy Pierce
Members of the New Baden Lions Club are hosting a first-ever Halloween-themed walk through the local cemetery on Saturday evening, October 20, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.
Per a unanimous vote of approval for this event at the New Baden Village Board of Trustees meeting held Monday evening, October 1, of this week, the walk will be family-friendly and focus on six stations set up where visitors can learn about the history of the cemetery, the history of Halloween, symbols used in conjunction with it, various customs related to the holiday, costumes and the veteran’s memorial.
Representing the local Lions and addressing the village board Monday evening, Sherry Knaub explained that this will not be a haunted tour or anything scary like those events commonly associated with Halloween but instead an informative and interesting learning experience for people in the community.
Anyone participating in the walk, including children, is being encouraged to do so wearing Halloween costumes and will be escorted from station to station by members of the Lions Club in groups of about 10 to 15 with no set fee for attending but instead a request for free will donations. Then there will be someone at each station to share information about the particular subject represented at that specific stop.
The money raised by the club will be used to help support its many activities and community projects in New Baden like the scholarships it awards annual, help offered to local schools and much more.
The time and date picked for the walk is intended to coincide with making it convenient for people attending the Saturday evening mass at St. George Catholic Church nearby to participate after they leave there.
Knaub said, in answer to a question from Village Trustee Bob Oster who chaired the meeting Monday evening in the absence of Mayor Christy Picard, that the Lions Club will be providing its proof of insurance to the village before the event.
The specific topics to be covered at the various stations, according to information provided in a “talking paper” provided by the Lions to the village board, include how things like pumpkins, black cats and witches came into use as symbols of Halloween and why Halloween began.
The idea to host such an event developed from the Lions’ need for an additional fund-raising project, Knaub explained, to help finance its work in the community.
It is possible that refreshments connected with Halloween may be available for sale at the end of the tour if an agreement with another organization or group interested in raising money by doing so can be finalized, the talking paper also noted.
Also at Monday evening’s meeting of the New Baden Village Board of Trustees, Chief of Police Scott Meinhardt announced that local officers will be providing/did provide assistance in covering Mascoutah on Wednesday and Thursday of this week as part of an understanding similar to a mutual aid agreement between the two towns.
This is because of the death over this past weekend of Mascoutah Police Lieutenant Kevin McGinnis at his home.
Village Clerk Teri Crane announced Monday evening that there are three seats on the board of trustees up for reelection next April 2 and petitions are now available to anyone wishing to pursue securing one of those positions.
The three trustees eligible for reelection are Bill Malina, Jordan Pettibone and Taylor Zurliene. Crane added that the village library board of trustees will also have some positions up for reelection on April 2.
Petition packets for the election can be picked up at the village hall and must be filed the week of December 10-17.
The village board of trustees additionally voted Monday evening to approve a variance for Patti Swank to operate a bed and breakfast at 101 North 3rd Street provided that she include two off-street parking spaces.
Swank was given a similar variance about a year ago that had expired so she appeared before the local zoning board on September 19 for another area bulk variance to authorize her business as a special use in her home in the SR-3 district.
The zoning board denied Swank’s variance request but the village board exercised its right for administrative review on the case and overturned that decision rather than letting it stand, which would have required her to cease the business operation.
Village Board Trustee Jordan Pettibone voted no on the matter because he felt she should not be mandated to add the two off-street parking spaces.
Building and Zoning Official Jerry Green told the board that the bed and breakfast being allowed to operate without any off-street parking is a strict violation of the local code and that the village board could be setting a precedent if they were to permit that to occur.