Vote April 4th, 2023
Bellazzini for Blue Mounds
My husband and I are both from first generation Italian-American families and grew up in the Chicago area. We moved to the Mount Horeb area 18 years ago, first to the town of Springdale, in 2008, bought our farm in the Town of Blue Mounds. We started a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm with our two sons, but soon learned that our customers wanted our recipes for the vegetables. And then they wanted us to cook for them! Thus, rather unexpectedly, we wound up opening Campo di Bella, a small farm-to-table restaurant that features wine, meat and produce from our farm, and the family farms of our talented neighbors. This gives us a chance to share the recipes learned of our Italian grandmas. One of our sons graduated Mount Horeb High School, and the other is a senior. We have supported our community by hiring many local students to work at our restaurant and farm, often as their first jobs.
EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND
I have a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Illinois Wesleyan University and a master’s in career and college counseling from Northeastern Illinois University. Before I became a farmer and mom, my work background was in banking, human resources, operations, recruitment and education.
WHY I BECAME INVOLVED IN TOWN GOVERNMENT
RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SAFETY
As a rural community, we rely on the town to keep our roads repaired, bridges safe, and to remove winter snow. Safe, clear roads are important to me as a resident, and important to me as a business owner who attracts customers from a wide area.
Rural infrastructure is not only roads. I believe high speed rural broadband is crucial to attract businesses and allow residents to work and attend school from home when needed. The pandemic created a vast change in health care delivery and many of us now rely on telemedicine to meet with our doctors and other health care providers. Being able to communicate with health care providers through telemedicine is also crucial for the safety and well-being of our town residents.
While the majority of the town now has high speed broadband, there are pockets that were missed in the first round of expansion. A local business owner notified the town board that they were unable to sell their property because of poor internet connections. Mount Horeb Telephone Co. estimates that about 90 properties in the town, including part of the business expansion district along Highway ID, need to be upgraded to high speed fiber. I support the town partnering with MHTC to deliver this important infrastructure.
Town government communications need to be improved, to make all residents feel they are part of the community and part of the decision-making process.
As chair of the business enhancement committee I believe upgrading and updating the town website, will make it easier to provide and access helpful information.
Another place I’d like to see improved communications is during snow emergencies. Residents should be able to report dangerous conditions to the town office knowing there will be a timely response. Certainly weather is unpredictable, however we all should have a general understanding about when the roads will be plowed.
Better communications could also take place between the board and town employees regarding work expectations and job performance. With my background in Human Resources, I have the skills to improve such efforts.
Finally, better communications from the town board should include more transparency about big ticket purchases. In 2021 and 2022, the town received $484,000 from the ATC powerline project and $96,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds. The town board should make a significant effort to enlist the knowledge and expertise of its residents in deciding big ticket purchases and funding.
It was great to see the turnout at the most recent caucus. Several people commented how much they liked seeing and catching up with neighbors. I’ve also heard from people who miss the former town clerk’s emails about lost animals and other town matters. I’m interested in ways of bringing people together and learning about the history of our town and sharing it with our residents. I wonder if others would have an interest in an annual town picnic, which is something our neighbors in the Town of Vermont have done for years. I would like to hear other people’s thoughts about community building.
I hope you will support me. I look forward to hearing your ideas about how to improve things for all of us in the Town of Blue Mounds. Please send me your ideas and suggestions at my email address below.
Meet & Greet on Sunday, March 12th at 1-2PM at Campo di Bella restaurant at 10229 Sharp Road MH