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Recognizing the Vilage of Homer Glen for Being Named an International Dark Sky Community

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the Village of Homer Glen, which will be recognized this evening as only the fourth International Dark Sky Community in the world. At the Homer Glen Village Hall in the Council Chambers, Mr. Bob Parks, Executive Director of the International Dark Sky Association, will present the village with the award. Homer Glen's commitment to recognizing the beauty of the night sky as well as saving energy has been recognized internationally and I am very proud of their accomplishment. In particular, Village Trustee, Margaret Sabo has been a stalwart supporter of this initiative, and she deserves special acknowledgment.

In 2007, Homer Glen passed the first city ordinance of its kind in Illinois. By setting guidelines for the amount of light commercial business can emit, the village eliminated the need for establishments to escalate the brightness of their signs to garner attention. The ordinance also included a lighting cutoff at night, which reduces glare for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists, and protects the natural cycle of night and day for local wildlife. I also want to recognize several establishments in Homer Glen that responded to the ordinance with effective and responsible lighting plans: Eagle Rock Community Church, Firestone Complete Auto Care, Silver Cross Health Center, and Midland Federal Savings and Loan. All of the organizations will be recognized at the event tonight as well as Debra Briggs Luginbuhl who has been a leader in developing the ordinance.
While saving energy, the city ordinance has also allowed for local residents to view the breathtaking beauty of our night sky, something so many Americans cannot do or take for granted. Every summer, local organizations hold a stargazing event at Trantina Farm, where thousands of local residents can clearly view constellations including Bootes, Hercules, the Corona Borealis, and much more. This year, the event will be this Friday, July 13th. Over 1000 stargazers have attended since the beginning of the event, and local amateur astronomers from Kankakee Area StarGazers, the Naperville Astronomical Association, and the South West Astronomy Observers Group come to help others recognize the various celestial bodies.

I commend Homer Glen for joining Flagstaff, Arizona, Borrego Springs, California, and Sark Island in the English Channel as an International Dark Sky Community. The residents of this village have shown initiative and leadership in appreciating our night sky and I hope others will follow.

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