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The Closing of TOAS

It is with great sadness that I must make the announcement that Theatre on a Shoestring (TOAS) will be closing its doors for good effective February 1, 2007. This year we were to have celebrated our tenth year in the Burlington area with a number of events planned, including closing out the year with the very first show we ever produced: The Eight: Reindeer Monologues.

The decision to close the theatre came after a near non-existent attendance at our late summer production of Shirley Valentine. We had a total of 50 people in the audience over four performances (with only three people attending the matinee that was to have benefitted Women Helping Battered Women - two of those were the actress's friends who drove from Maine to see her). After trying to secure sponsorships for our spring production of Love Letters scheduled for February 8-10, starring Miss Vermont 2006 Sarah Watson and WOKO's DJ "Wild" Bill Sargent and failing to get even one, it was clear that there was no way we could put the show on without going even further into debt than we already were.

We tried to get members and the community to help support us with end-of-the-year tax deductible donations in December of 2006. We offered incredible prizes like a trip to New York City and two tickets to a Broadway show, a trip to Montreal, and other prizes to local businesses and had someone ready to match donations dollar for dollar up to $5000. Unfortunately, we only received two donations, totaling $75 (thanks to Mike Lynch and Melissa Wyman).

We have tried to get people to volunteer their time to help backstage (lighting, sets, props, etc.) and, while we had a small number of dedicated people (Jeff, Becka, Ken, Melissa, and Nancy), we still didn't have enough people volunteering. Even when we announced we would pay people that helped out, we got little to no response.

Giving out free tickets to our shows even resulted in empty seats. For Shirley we gave out over $500 worth of free tickets to the press, VIPs, and others. Of those tickets, only $30 worth were used. Members also had two free tickets and up to 10 discounted (half-priced) to each show TOAS produced in their membership year. We saw very few of those benefits used. We are grateful to those few members who had these benefits, but paid full price to see the shows, to financially help us out.

With no financial support from the community, there was no way we could keep the theatre going. We are currently thousands of dollars in debt that goes back as far as 2004. While I end up having to cover all the losses the company incurs and have done so since TOAS began, I can no longer maintain this debt and be able to cover my "life" expenses (lights, heat, food, etc.).

As most of you know, I did everything in my power to turn a blind eye to the financial problems of the company and kept hoping that the "next one" would be our big break. I poured all of my time, energy, and money into the theatre trying to bring it back from the brink of death. Even when people told me years ago to just give up, I vowed to make this work. My energy and money have now ceased to keep up. I was contemplating whether I should close the theatre but keep the website up with the calendar, theatre database, etc. However, I would not be reimbursed for the money needed to keep the site up and running without charging companies to place their listings, keep their links active, etc. I have always believed that this should be a free service. TOAS wanted to be different and many companies all over the country have agreed by actually requesting that we list them on our site. We have had almost 150,000 hits in just over two years, thanks to our web gurus Terri Fassio and John Yeski. Their expertise in web design and maintenance helped TOAS' presence on the web grow ten-fold in such a short time. I strongly recommend their services should you ever you want a website (www.skullco.com).

In closing, I want to thank those people (you know who you are) who helped make my dream last as long as it did.

Farewell. -Adam Nick


City Council Member Adam Nick- The Correct Choice for Lake Forest Citizens. Adam Nick Website Introduction of Initiatives and private Voting Records I took office December 2012. I actually have worked with my Council colleagues introducing and help get passed numerous initiatives. Additionally, I actually have worked diligently toward clearing out your backlog of conditions that were left to me by the previous Council Members. Although for the past a couple of years (2013 and 2014) Lake Forest has become ranked as a safe city, I am confident that we can make improvements to this great city. The city's budgets were balanced and accurate. The truth is, during the last 2 yrs, there is a surplus from the budget. The proposed budgets for 2015 and 2016 are balanced therefore we have approximately $800,000 in surplus. The very last audits completed on June 30,2014 showed a 105 percent unreserved fund balance in the General Fund were well higher than the reserves necessary for the metropolis Council. In the years 2013 and 2014, no new litigation occurred with City Council. Therefore that people have been busy cleaning the issues a result of previous Councils. You can discover concerning the measures which were introduced in 2013 and 2014 below. Those marked with the asterisk is those who I introduced and got approved and passed from the Council. Those without an asterisk are issued that happen to be introduced through the normal length of looking after business and get passed unanimously. Open Government To aid guarantee the public can access this info, the metropolis includes a section titled "Open Government" on the website. This ensures that our city's government practices and policies are open and transparent for most people. The site is incredibly user-friendly. It gives you numerous functions and information which was not previously available on the web. Now, however, the information is not just accessible but an easy task to navigate to. The details located on the website includes financial specifics of the town employees' salaries and payments and reimbursements made to City Council Members. Additionally, key nonfinancial information is available too, including special grant waivers like rezoning approvals for your city's real estate developers and waivers for retailers of alcoholic beverages in areas that the State has determined are "unduly saturated." You can observe the financial statements of your city plus the budget, together with a new brochure called "Budget at Glance", which offers easy for reading and understanding of the highlights of the City's Operating budget. You can even see the Council's Travel Expense Reports online. Additionally, the campaign records for each Council Member is online plus the Statements of Economic Interests (see Form 700 to learn more) for city commissioners, council members, city attorneys and also the city's staff. Lake Forest's Records Online, located at lakeforestrecords.com, carries a continually growing database. In reality, there are many than 80,000 records now available tot he community. You will find a long list of decisions and current planning projects by going to the website's Planning and Development section. It is full of the information of every staff member and is updated monthly. The homepage features an icon to help increase the community's knowledge of the numerous Bid and Proposal opportunities available as well as the City's procurement activities. Expenses of Council Members The repayments and reimbursement of council members are already restricted. Many expenses are not any longer qualified for payment or reimbursement. Additionally, those expenses that happen to be approved are required to follow Federal guidelines. Actual receipts of these expenses have become required. I still believe that many of the approved expenses must not be reimbursable however, my Co-council failed to agree and wouldn't assist me to obtain a more restricted version passed. Additionally, any tax rate increase needs to be approved by four from five council members rather than required three away from five council members for other issues. Consequently each person in the Council must be available and in agreement with any tax rate increase. Within the years 2013 and 2014, almost 300 new businesses stumbled on the Lake Forest area and created approximately 2.000 new jobs. The unemployment rate in Lake Forest is really a minimal 3 percent. This figure is significantly lower than other parts of Orange County, the state and the nation. Additionally, greater than 90 percent of the commercial buildings are occupied, that is higher than Orange County's average on occupancy of commercial buildings. The Sheriff's substation has increased efficiency in our police force and saved almost $300,000 annually. Together with spending less, the increased efficiency has additionally made our city safer. Greater than 80 percent of your city's traffic signals are now synchronized and a number of our ramps are handicap accessible. We will continue working until all traffic signals are synchronized and every ramp is handicap accessible. We certainly have also approved permits and construction has begun about the city's first dog park. As we discussed, we value our citizens and listen to what they really want. Over the past 20 years, the City Council did not have the vision to get a building to house the Council. Instead, they collected greater than three-quarters of your billion dollars in taxes. City hall's building space is roughly ten thousand sq . ft .. Because of the previous council's short-sightedness, tens of millions of our city's taxpayer dollars have been employed to pay rent. With proper planning, the town could have purchased and given money for ten buildings! Initially when i first arrived at office, I caused it to be a pursuit to lower rent costs to save cash. Now, we pay greater than $250,000 less in rent annually from the same building and in a similar facilities in which the Council is housed. We certainly have plans to get a multi-functional City Hall that will house a Youth Center, a Community Center along with a Senior Center. The project will likely be housed on approximately nine acres of land we purchased in the Irvine Ranch Water District. This land was purchased before I became a member of the Council however, there seemed to be a setback in construction because of drainage issues in the land. These issues are being corrected, along with help from the appropriate agencies, this has been determined that only eight in the nine acres will probably be usable. We now have made plenty of process over the last 2 years. However, City Hall remains to be plagued with a corrupt and broken system. You can still find various self-serving agendas, cronyism and special interest groups that really must be handled. Since 2013 and 2014, I actually have worked to introduce measures to assist fight corruption and eliminate self-serving practices. We have introduced numerous measures however, they were voted down from a a person to four votes. You will find more info by viewing the footnote below. 2 of the 4 individuals the town Council who voted against these measures continue to be in the city council (Council Members Robinson and Voigts). I ask which you consider on your own if Lake Forest as well as the government could be more satisfied with all the measures i have introduced and attempted to get passed by the Council members.

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