By Igor Studenkov
For the Bugle
As last year’s final meting of the Village of Niles Board of Trustees got underway, the trustees paid tribute to one of their own.
Santo “Sam” Bruno, who served as village trustee of most of the 1960s, passed away on Oct. 2, 2017 at the age of 96. During its Dec. 12 meeting, the village board passed an honorary resolution, recognizing him for his leadership ability and dedication to the welfare of Niles. According to Katie Schneider, the Executive Director of the Niles Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a person who wished to remain anonymous donated $1,000 to her organization’s scholarship program.
Bruno was born in 1921. According to his obituary, he graduated from North Park College. He joined the U.S Navy in March 17, 1944, serving in the Pacific theater. He worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield for 34 years, retiring as Vice President of Special Hospital Accounts. He was credited with helping to develop the first HMO concept.
A resident of Niles for over 50 years, Bruno was first elected village trustee in 1959, serving for two terms. In 1967, he was appointed to the Niles File and Police Commission, where he served as chair until 2009. The resolution notes that he served as a village Deputy Liquor Commissioner for five years and that, in 1992, NCCI named him its Citizen of the Year.
He also served as Chairman of the Maine Township Regular Democratic Organization from 1972 to 1994.
In the resolution, Niles mayor Andrew Przybylo and the trustees praised Bruno for “provid[ing] excellent leadership and tireless dedication” to Niles.
“The Village would like to express their gratitude for his distinguished service to our community,” the resolution stated.
Bruno’s children, as well as other members of his family, accepted the copy of the resolution.
Schneider announced the donation during the meeting. She told the Bugle that the donor simply wished to do something to give Bruno the recognition for his work.
Dollars for Scholars is a long-running NCCI program that grants two scholarships worth $1,000 a year for up to four years. The donation was enough to cover a scholarship for one student.
The scholarship is open to all high school seniors who live in Niles and have a parent who works for an NCCI member business or work for an NCCI member business themselves.
The application period for this year has already started. Applications must be submitted by Feb. 5.
Niles manufacturer wins 2017 Green Business Award
PolyScience, a Niles-based temperature control equipment manufacturer, won this year’s Green Business Award
The annual award is designed to recognize local businesses that follow environmentally sustainable practices. As the board packet noted, this not only reduces harmful impact on the environment, but helps reduce electric and water utility costs. Kelly Gibbons, PolyScience’s Marketing and Customer Service Manager, accepted the award on her employer’s behalf during the Dec. 12 Village of Niles Board of Trustees meeting.
PolyScience was founded in 1963. It started out as an importer of German laboratory equipment. By the early 1970s, the company earned enough profit to allow it to design and manufacture its own products. Its temperature control equipment to laboratories, hospitals and manufacturers. Manufacturers use temperature control equipment to make a variety of liquid products, including motor oil, paint and shampoo. In the last decade, the company also branched out into cooking. Phillip Preston, the company’s current owner, became interested in sous vide – a technique where the food is cooked slowly in airtight plastic bags under lower-then-average cooking temperature. He decided to see if he could reconfigure PolyScience’s existing cooling equipment to heat the food up.
Since 2007, the company has been working to become more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient. According to its Green Business Award application, in 2014, the company instituted a new Environmental Management System Policy, which set procedures for recycling of scrap materials, organic fluids, waste water and used oil, using pH to neutralize waste fluids, and reusing refrigerant. PolyScience also put more energy-efficient light bulbs in its light fixtures, improved energy efficiency in some of its equipment, made some interior lighting motion-activated to reduce energy waste and replaced cardboard packaging inserts with bio-degradable foam. On he longer run, the company is researching ways to make its refrigerants less polluting.
According to the board packet, the village decided to give the award to PolyScience “due to their strong environmental efforts i n research and development, energy conservation, use of biodegradable materials, planting initiatives, and recycling”