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Reorganize your fridge, revitalize your diet

Published: Monday, July 8, 2013 11:35 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 10:06 a.m. CDT

DOWNERS GROVE – The Downers Grove Village Council has approved restrictions for where medical marijuana cultivation centers and dispensaries would be allowed in town.

The zoning restrictions are in preparation for the new Illinois medical marijuana law.

The restrictions were passed by the council 4-3 on Tuesday, with commissioners Sean Durkin, Becky Rheintgen and Bob Barnett voting "no." They said the restrictions were not strict enough and wanted to see further limitations of where the facilities could be located in town.

The special use was recommended by the plan commission in October, and limits cultivation and dispensing centers to areas zoned for light manufacturing (M1).

M1 allows for a range of uses, including offices, banks, medical and dental clinics and daycare centers. M1 does not allow for schools, and is typically isolated from residential uses, according to village documents.

The state statute requires a marijuana dispensary to be at least 1,000 feet from a school, daycare or residentially-zoned area, and a cultivation site would have to be at least 2,500 feet away.

The village's special use also requires both to be the same distances from any parks, at the request of the park district.

Durkin and Rheintgen both wanted to additionally restrict marijuana dispensaries or cultivation centers from being within proximity of recreational facilities. Their recommendation was not added to the list of restrictions.

"I think we're being too lenient by supporting what staff's recommending," Durkin said.

In addition to applying for a special use permit with the village, any prospective marijuana clinic owner would have to comply with a lengthy list of state standards listed in the new statute, and owners would be subject to a criminal background check.

"The inclusion of a special use in this gives us the flexibility we need in order to apply, in a rational and thoughtful manner, the ordinance we have and take into account some of the other concerns that we have," Commissioner Greg Hose said.

Commissioner David Olsen also cited the fact that any prospective owner would have to come before the council to be approved for a special use as a further level of control for the village.

"I plan to support this, though I'm not happy about [the new state law]," he said. "This state law is not something I would have supported, but it's out of our control."

Village Planner Stan Popovich said this fall that like any request for a special use, the village looks at whether the business fits in the with the comprehensive plan for the proposed area, and whether it promotes and protects the "public health, safety, morals, comfort and general welfare."

"The state statute allows us to place reasonable zoning regulations on these [businesses]," Popovich said.

There are six areas zoned as light manufacturing in Downers Grove, but only two areas would fit the new requirements due to proximity to schools and parks: the area near Ogden Avenue and Warrenville Road and the Ellsworth Industrial Park.

Illinois is the 21st state to pass a medical marijuana law. It goes into effect Jan. 1.

The new law limits the total number of licensed dispensaries and cultivation sites at 60 and 22, respectively, state-wide. Patients with a prescription from a doctor to treat one of 35 eligible medical conditions will be able to buy up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks.

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If finding something as simple as ketchup in your refrigerator is akin to reaching into a storage unit of forgotten mysteries, it’s probably time to rethink the way you’re storing food. Not only does a well-organized fridge make for a more pleasing kitchen environment overall, but you’ll never again find yourself frantically searching for green onions halfway through cooking dinner. Here are some easy ways to reorganize your fridge and streamline the way you cook and eat, for the better!

Organize by expiration date and throw items away weekly

Unless you’re planning on hunkering down for the next year or so, there’s no need to hoard food or keep leftovers for longer than 2-3 days. Judiciously throw away any foods that are expiring, or close to expiring, at the end of every week. This allows you to start each week with a clean slate — a great motivational tool if you’re following a specific diet plan or just trying to eat healthier.

Invest in quality storage containers

It’s easy to forget which leftover came first when you’re looking at five different to-go boxes. To solve this problem, invest in quality see-through containers such as Tupperware or Pyrex, and label with the contents and date. Clear space in your freezer as well by getting rid of unnecessary box packages, and instead keep everything in airtight plastic containers or bags.

Take advantage of your fridge’s storage

Your fridge comes with drawers and compartments for a reason — they’re optimized for certain foods. Meat should go into the deli drawer. If your fridge doesn’t have one, place meat in the shallowest drawer, which happens to be one of the colder areas in your fridge. Also make sure your vegetables are in the drawer with the highest humidity (most fridges will come with a fruit and vegetable drawer). Be careful with your eggs: They absorb odor, so put them in the airtight egg bin if your fridge has one, or in the centermost area.

Don’t rely on the the refrigerator door

While you may be haphazardly piling various food and drink items into the door of your refrigerator, don’t forget that most foods should be stored in an area that maintains a stable temperature. The frequent opening and closing of your refrigerator door can actually be damaging to many foods and cause them to expire faster than their regular shelf life.

Some foods are better left unrefrigerated

Some foods just do not belong in the fridge. These include potatoes, onions, tomatoes, avocados, peaches and honey. Some foods, such as bread, nut butters, bananas and apples, do not need to be refrigerated, but can be. Additionally, be careful of storing fruits that emit ethylene gas in close proximity with other ethylene-sensitive foods. Apples, for example, release ethylene gas, which will end up spoiling nearby fruits and vegetables.


Jenny Zhang is a writer at SpareFoot, the online marketplace where you can find and reserve a self-storage unit with comparison shopping tools that show real-time availability and exclusive deals.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

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