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Heroin, Gas Boycott, Portillo's, Tommy Schuman: April in Review

April was a busy month, and I recount some of the top stories, including Route 30 construction and a feature on ShareFest director Gary Cheney.

April was a busy month for the village and local businesses.

First, a couple of them were upset with tax incentives given to Portillo's to build in New Lenox. Eventually, president Dick Portillo announced he would forego the incentives.

Then, furious over gas prices that were at times 20 cents higher than neighboring towns, Mayor Tim Baldermann told residents to "go buy your gas somewhere else."

And throughout the month, as Route 30 construction picked up again, the village has worked with local businesses to combat the negative consequences. 

Despite all of this, it was the loss of a beloved teen that impacted the community most. Tommy Schuman died suddenly at age 18, and friends and family mourned the loss in some touching ways.

Here are the biggest stories of April 2012:

1. #RIPTommy: senior Tommy Schuman died unexpectedly at the end of March, and he was mourned through some beautiful tributes this month. The 18-year-old was captain of the baseball team, and his teammates all sported the No. 19 and "Together for Tommy" T-shirts in their first game after his funeral. Read more about Tommy Schuman.

2. Gas Boycott: "Go buy your gas somewhere else" was the message from Mayor Tim Baldermann to residents. He pressured local gas stations that charged more than neighboring towns, and so far there's been a price drop at most stations. Read more about the gas boycott. 

3. Where's the Beef?: A couple businesses made a stink over Portillo's receiving a sales tax break to help build in New Lenox. Eventually, Portillo's said it would come here without the incentives, and the mayor pledged to put that extra money toward residents' property tax rebates. Read more about Portillo's in New Lenox. 

4. Heroin Epidemic: Will County is putting an increased focus on educating people of the dangers of heroin. An awareness rally was held in April, and a couple local heroin arrests made it clear that the drug is in our community. Read more about heroin in Will County. 

5. Road Construction: As spring transitions to summer, road construction is a certainty. The Route 30 widening project made its biggest mark yet in New Lenox, with lane closures and slower traffic than ever. Read more about the Route 30 construction. 

Bonus: I would also like to highlight my favorite feature article from Patch this month, a profile on ShareFest director Gary Cheney. He's a man of true faith and goodwill, and his leadership has helped grow the annual volunteerism event. 

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