Forest Preserve District reports 10% picnic permit sales increase

 New online system debuts

The Forest Preserves of Cook County sold 993 picnic permits on Jan. 2, “Permits Opening Day.”

This represents a nearly 10 percent increase over the 905 permits booked on Opening Day last year.

Due to inclement weather and the debut of a new online system, ActiveNet, a higher percentage of permits were purchased online this year, rather than in person.

A picnic permit must be obtained by groups of 25 or more. Only two picnic permits per person or organization are allowed per year.

Permit prices vary based on the size of the group and the amenities brought into the groves.

Picnic permits are available online at 24 hours a day and in person Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Returning this year are extended peak hours. From May through August, hours will be Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Requests for permits for groups larger than 399 people will now be available online as of Jan. 13, and may still also be purchased in-person at the River Forest General Headquarters location.

Michael Barrett is slated by Dems in 15th Subcircuit judge primary race

Michae B. BarrettMichael B. Barrett Michael B. Barrett is announcing his candidacy for judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County as a Democrat, 15th Subcircuit, in the March 18 primary election.

Candidate Barrett received the endorsement of the majority of Democratic township committeemen in the 15th Subcircuit.

A graduate of Marist High School, Barrett received his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Iowa. He then earned his juris doctor degree from the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, where he was on the dean’s list and was the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award.

Upon becoming a lawyer, Barrett was appointed and served as an active member of the Cook County Committee on the Courts in the 21st Century. He was also appointed by former Cook County Chief Judge Donald O’Connell and served as an active member of the Circuit Court of Cook County Expanded Jurisdiction Committee.

An active member of St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, Barrett finds himself involved in many community activities. A resident of Orland Park, Barrett was elected and currently serves as the Illinois Referee in Chief and Supervisor of Officials for the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois and USA Hockey. He is the past president of the Southwest (Cook County) Bar Association.

Barrett has been married for more than 22 years to Bernadette Garrison Barrett and they have two children, Michael and Monika.

Both Michael Barrett and his wife Bernadette have been lawyers for more than 22 years and both of their children are honor students and outstanding hockey players. Their son, Michael, attends Holy Cross College in Massachusetts and plays NCAA Division 1 Hockey and their daughter, Monika, is a star in her own right as a hockey player.


Going away for the winter? Tips to halt home burglary

A young couple recently used cameras linked to a cell phone app to thwart burglars breaking into their Palos Heights townhome, even though they were more than 4,000 miles away at the time, on vacation in Hawaii.

The lesson was clear: 21st century technology can be used successfully to fight crime and protect property.

But what about people who don’t have the time, talent or financial wherewithal to purchase and utilize such gadgetry?

As many people know, returning from vacation to find a ransacked home can be a disturbing and even traumatic experience.

“We were on vacation [when the crime occurred], and I’ll tell you, I’ve never felt so violated or insecure. It’s a crazy feeling. You’ve got rage, but you know you can’t do anything,” said Palos Heights resident Raymond Strack at a City council meeting last year, as he voiced concern about police resources.

Local law enforcement officials offered a wealth of advice to The Regional News this week, especially to senior citizen snowbirds headed off for prolonged, January and February vacations in warm-weather destinations.

Former McAuley basketball coach seeks chance to become a judge

Lauren Brougham GlennonLauren Brougham Glennon announced her candidacy for Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County as a Democrat, 3rd Sub Circuit, in the primary election being held on Mar. 18.

Glennon was born and raised in the Beverly community, located on the south side of Chicago.

She is the daughter of a Chicago Policeman and the wife of a Chicago Fireman. Lauren attended Christ the King Grammar School and St. Ignatius College Prep High School.

She graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor concentration in Sociology from Winona State University in Minnesota. Lauren returned to Chicago where she attended and graduated from DePaul University College of Law. While in law school, Glennon was the Student Bar Association elected liaison to the Chicago Bar Association, assisted in the creation of the DePaul University College of Law’s Externship Program for the City of Chicago Law Department’s Building and Land Use Litigation Division and obtained a 7-11 license as a law clerk.

Palos Hills mayor lauds Public Works for slaying the snowstorm

Despite the fact that several inches of snow piled up in Palos Hills, there was still a city council meeting last Thursday night.

And the hot topic of discussion?

The snow.

Palos Hills was one of the of the many Chicago suburbs effected by the post-holiday snow storm. The city received an estimated nine inches of snow upon the winter storm’s first passing on Thursday evening, resulting in plenty of work for the Palos Hills Public Works Department but several hours of fun in the snow during the prolonged snow days for residents, children and pets.

Palos Hills Public Works crews responded to the first major snow storm of 2014 by providing continuous snow removal, beginning on Dec. 31 at 6 p.m. through Jan. 2.

“With the huge snowstorm we just had, our guys were right on top of it, throughout the New Year’s Eve holiday and all through today,” Mayor Jerry Bennett said at the meeting.

On behalf of the Public Works Department, Alderman Frank Williams (5th Ward) said public works crews did a fine job maintaining the city streets, allowing for passable roadway conditions while driving. Plowing and salting also took place throughout the duration of the storm, as needed, to maintain to maintain city streets and lots, keeping them in a safe condition, not only for Palos Hills residents, but for all roadway commuters traveling through the city.

“I would like to commend the public works department and Commissioner Dave Weakley,” Williams added, “They really did a good job out there with the continuous snow removal during the duration of the storm.”

Weakley said his crews worked well into the evening and night hours on Thursday to prevent snow accumulation on the roads in the morning.

“With the colder temperatures coming, it’s important I keep my crews out there keeping the snow off the streets now so it doesn’t freeze overnight, resulting in problems for morning drivers,” he said, adding that preventative care and caution will result in cleaner and safer streets for all commuters.

Keeping the snow off of the main roads prevents it from freezing or turning into a layer of black ice, either under a clean layer of snow or blending in with the roadway, resulting in very dangerous driving conditions.

Palos Hills’ snow trucks, salting and plows continued working into Friday morning, keeping city streets travelable.

Weakley added the public works crews and all equipment used during the snow removal process performed well, and without any concern; and the entire public works crew did a great job keeping the snow storm under control and the roads drivable.

“Our public works department here in Palos Hills is always on top of any type of weather or emergency situation, handling it immediately and effectively,” Bennett said, “And, unfortunately, this continuous snow is the worst type of snow.”