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Northbrook considers annexing hazing site

Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Chicago Tribune
by Lisa Black

Eight months after a violent high school hazing in Chipilly Woods, Northbrook officials will consider annexing the more than 530 acres of Cook County Forest Preserve land to ensure a quick police response in case of another incident.

The May 4 hazing that sent five teenagers to a hospital prompted officials to question how much authority Northbrook police have in unincorporated forest preserves.

"Unlike football games, there are no bright yellow lines that appear on the ground" to define where Northbrook forests end and Cook County's begin, said Village Manager John Novinson. "It's in our interests, if providing police service, to have unambiguous jurisdiction."

Officials have said there was a 25-minute delay before Northbrook police officers responded to the first call about the hazing because they believed the Cook County Forest Preserve District had jurisdiction.

Later, Northbrook police determined they should have responded to the call, in which someone reported teens making a mess in the woods.

Chipilly Woods at Dundee and Lee Roads is among 476 acres of woods in the village limits, officials said. Village trustees will vote Tuesday on a resolution asking Cook County Forest Preserve District commissioners for permission to annex more land, Novinson said.

If the request is approved, Northbrook would pick up all the forest preserve property west of Waukegan Road, north of Dundee Road and east of the railroad tracks, officials said.

The village also would take in half of Somme Woods, east of Waukegan Road and north of Dundee Road. The south half of Somme Woods already is in Northbrook, Novinson said.

Cook County Commissioner Gregg Goslin, who represents Northbrook, supports the idea but said the Illinois Legislature may have to approve the annexation.

"We're going to have to get a clearer understanding of how this will work," Goslin said.

The Forest Preserve District still would provide recreational services, such as picnic permits.

A task force formed by Northbrook and Northfield Township High School District 225 suggested annexation, among dozens of other ideas, in response to the hazing.

Glenbrook North High School senior girls dumped animal intestines, urine, paint and trash on junior girls during a fight caught on videotape. Some of the seniors hit, kicked or hurled objects at the juniors.

The district expelled 33 seniors and disciplined 20 juniors. Sixteen students were found guilty of criminal battery or alcohol-related charges. Two parents were found guilty of providing alcohol to minors or providing a place for them to drink.



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