Each September Knights of Columbus councils around the country hand out Tootsie Rolls to drivers who donate cash. Naperville’s own councils participate, raising money for local not-for-profits.
“I put it upon myself to make sure we raise more money each year, as do the other brothers,” said Michael Gach, Tootsie Roll Director for Knights of Columbus Council 1369.
Many brothers fear they won’t be able to top themselves this year. In the past, one third of their overall collections came from the early morning hours when tagging was allowed from dawn until dusk. But in 2009, city council changed the start time to 10AM after a recommendation from city staff.
“Traffic was being congested and we were afraid for the safety of the taggers during the morning rush hour,” said Pam LaFeber, City Clerk. “So a couple of years ago we changed the ordinance.”
Now the Knights of Columbus, and other organizations, are asking city council members to change the hours back. And at the last council meeting, eight of nine votes were in favor of drafting the ordinance to change the hours.
“I think people are more giving in the morning than they are at night, and they just want to get home,” said Paul Hinterlong, Councilman. “They don’t want to be bothered, and so on and so forth.”
Naperville residents have mixed feelings about changing the tagging hours because starting at 7AM means taggers would be out during the morning rush hour.
“Let them get out as early as they want,” said Chris Johnson, a Naperville resident.
“With all of the traffic that we have here, it could become very dangerous not only to the person collecting the money but also to the drivers, so that’s my only concern,” said Pattie Rodedaugh, a Naperville resident.
Taggers say they feel safe, because Naperville requires that they wear an orange vest and stay out of the city’s busiest intersections.
City staff is currently drafting an ordinance with the hour changes. To make the time change official, city councilmen have to vote in favor of the ordinance.
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