One Person And A Petition Can Make A Difference

Naperville prides itself in being a family friendly city. All sorts of kid-friendly activities are offered in Naperville through the park district, and Naperville’s school districts are the pride of city officials. Get the kids out there in the fresh air, and let them run around in the parks and playgrounds, and play all kinds of sports. Parents pride themselves in providing their children with all kinds of outdoor experiences. Everybody is happy, right? Not quite.

At least one Naperville resident, Elizabeth Catherwood, wasn’t happy, when she noticed that Naperville uses the herbicide Roundup on areas where children typically play; school grounds and park district property. She started a petition stating, “We the families of Naperville, Illinois, respectfully ask that you put into place immediately a cease and desist of Roundup being sprayed at all Naperville parks as well as schools in Naperville where children are present daily.”

If there is one thing in short supply with folks getting and spending your tax dollars, it’s common sense. Catherwood’s common sense solution is to use organic herbicides which are not harmful to people.  So simple.

Who doesn’t want a good looking lawn, weedless turf, and phenomenal curb appeal. Most all of us want that, but at what cost? Are we willing to compromise the health of our children. Apparently Naperville’s park district officials didn’t give it much thought until the petition surfaced.

Within days, Executive Director, Ray McGury of  the Naperville Park District put a hold on applying chemical herbicides, specifically Roundup, in favor of organic products ‘for the remainder of the summer’. I’m guessing that when the dust settles, and no one is watching, the park district will be back again applying Roundup with a vengeance to do away with those pesky little weeds.

McGury said weeds can cause problems with people who have asthma and allergies. I think I’d take my chances with my grand-kids sneezing, sniffling, with runny eyes, rather than coating themselves with a chemical herbicide before having a happy meal.

If the name Ray McGury, rings a bell as the park district person who was given a $20K salary increase in one year, you are correct. You are also correct if you think he was the Bolingbrook Police Chief while Drew Peterson was trying to reduce the population of Bolingbrook one wife at a time.

The Naperville city council has been at war with honey bees and beehives, since they created an ordinance with restrictions on nature’s little friends, the honey bees. Additionally, chemical herbicides are not friends to honey bees and monarch butterflies. Honeybee lovers, Monarch butterfly lovers, and kid-friendly folks, need to keep a watchful eye on city and park district officials. As McGury said, no Roundup for “the rest of the summer”. Let’s see what happens in autumn.

Show 8 Comments


  1. Gerard H Schilling

    If only these natural pesticides were effective on our blood sucking politicians and bureaucrats that continually abuse our tax paying dollars while enriching themselves and their cronies. I’ll take a few weeds over them any day.

  2. Jim Haselhorst

    It was the Park District not the city that is using Roundup. The Watchdog always seems to have problems separating the different government bodies in our community and whenever any of them do something the Watchdog has a problem with it starts ranting and ragging on the city, which has absolutely no say or control over the issue being ranted about.

    For the record the Park District has no obligations or connection to the city council or city staff and is a separate self governing taxing body. The people elected to the Park District Board select who will be hired to manage Park District Operations not the city council. If you do not care enough to know who these people are when you vote for them (or don’t vote) then you really have only yourself to blame for what they do. It is the Park District not the City that is spraying Herbicides that the Watchdog claims is kill off bees and butterflies. [For the record herbicides kill plants not insects like bees and butterflies, it is pesticide that kill insects].

    Since the city is not spraying these Herbicides (or pesticides) they can not possibly be at war with Honey bees and Butterflies.

    • BD Weiser


      Congrats. You did it. You are on top of things. Some of your latest responses have been spot-on including this one. You have turned the corner and now I find myself agreeing with you more & more. Never thought that would happen.

      Of note City & Park District are separate entities jhust like Jim said. Check your tax bills ladies & gentlemen. And my question to WD why the reference to MCGury’s job in Bolingbrook?

      • BeProactive

        Both City and Park District should take this matter serious, studies have shown over and over again that’s lawn care chemicals ( herbicides,pesticides, fertilizer, etc) are harmful toxins to kids. I know lawn care companies are very convincing to tell otherwise, that’s there job that’s how the make money. Just recently it poisoned kids in a nearby school. In Europe this chemicals are already prohibited, I don’t understand why the USA so behind especially illinois, rather then arguing over if somebody made a mistake in there article be proactive to keep our neighborhood a save place to play.

        • Jim Haselhorst

          This post does not emphasize public safety but attacks the city for being incompetent (2 short paragraphs out of 8). And it also got a lot of details wrong, which gives residents the wrong impression of the where, who and when of Roundup use in the city.

          What is not mentioned is how these residents became aware of Roundup being used by the Park District. They read it on signs the Park District posts when in used Roundup to advice residents to keep children and pets off the treated areas. So this was not done in a manner that was careless, reckless, deceptive or in a way that showed disregard for public safety.

          The active ingredient in Roundup has been in use for close to five decades with no data proving that when properly used it causes any health problems. Yes, if use in to high a concentration or improperly it can cause people to become sick but not permanently. Also it is not banned in Europe, it is banned only by one European country- the Netherlands and by only 4 countries in the World.

          Finally, even “organic” products are toxic to animals and humans. In fact one of the most heavily used pesticides in history, DDT, was discover because it occurs naturally in certain vegetable that show resistance to insects. Glyphosate (active ingredient in Roundup and around 100 other herbicides products available at the local garden center) was originally discovered by the pharmaceutical company Cilag in 1950. It was not until 1970 that its properties as a herbicide were discovered and glyhosate started being use for this purpose and sold under the Brand name Roundup.

          The real issue for public safety here is not what is being used only that whatever is used, is being used properly.

      • watchdog

        Simply for clarification and connecting the dots to who’s who. Questions inevitably pop-up and the reference was the answer to the eventual question(s).

  3. Bea Seech

    Oh my gosh, Jim H what are you talking about? Where does WD say it’s the city spraying? He said park dist, he wrote about the city’s war on bees because of the ordinance on bee hives. And maybe Read something about round up Besides what is on monsanto’s website. It messes up children’s developing endocrinological systems, monarchs and bees stay away from round up ready soy beans and corn. Here you are again trying to defend the city against something that doesn’t exist.

    • Jim Haselhorst

      First there are no studies on the effects of Roundup. There are studies on the effects of Glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup and 100 other off the self brands of herbicides manufactured by dozens of companies other then Mosanto). None of these studies (that have been successful reproduced by a second independent researcher) have indicated any permanent long term health effects caused by Glyphosate.

      The herbicide Glyphosate (Roundup + 100 others) is a separate issue from “Roundup Ready” (Glyphosate tolerant) crops. These crops do not produce Glyphosate they are simply not effected by it (bio engineered from plants that have natural Glyphosate tolerance).

      There have been studies done on the effect of Glyphosate resistant crops on the development of endocrinological systems in animals (none on humans and certainly not children), but the results of these two studies can not be reproduced by independent researchers making the conclusions of these studies questionable at best. Many researchers in this field question the validity of methodology used in these studies.

      Even well done extensive studies can get it wrong. Case in point saccharin and cyclamate were banned in the US because of a government study that concluded they caused cancer. This ban was quietly remove a decade later because it was determine by many followup studies that the originally study got it wrong (research protocols were flawed) and they do not cause cancer. Unfortunately this did little good for all the unemployed people that use to work in the plants that produced these artificial sweeteners, which had been sitting abandoned and rusting for a decade. Another example would be the Cold Fusion debacle by two Utah Scientist.

      I would welcome any link to any studies that provide their raw data, as well as their research protocols, showing any link (not a correlation, which does not prove any causality) to any long term health effects of Glysophate and Glysophate tolerant crops. All of the articles I have read on these issues refer to variety of studies but never provide a link to these studies or even enough information about them to locate copies of these study reports. As a trained scientist and former researcher I do not give credibility to any study conclusions I can’t evaluate for myself.

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