Area cooks in extreme heat

Temperature hits 100 in southwest suburbs

By Laura Bollin

People packed local pools and stopped on street corners for cups of lemonade in an effort to beat the heat as the temperature here hit 100 last Thursday and came close to the century mark again Friday.

Laura Vognar, of Oak Lawn, and her friend Ashley Klauck, of Mokena, made plans a day in advance to head to the Oak Lawn Park District's Central Pool, 9400 Kenton Ave. The two were cooling off last Thursday under a tree outside of the pool.

"We knew it would be scorching, so we wanted a place to cool off," Vognar said. "For health reasons, it is important to cool down. It's a great day to go swimming."

Klauck said she was concerned about heatstroke, so the girls were staying hydrated.

"We've been staying in the shade and drinking lots of water," she said.

Central Pool manager Maura Gavin said the pool had been packed all day - with 104 people in the pool within the first half-hour of it opening. The pool's capacity is 400 people.

Gavin said that there had been no incidents of heat stroke or heatrelated illnesses at the pool, but that she was making sure swimmers and lifeguards were staying safe in the heat.

"Our lifeguards are getting breaks every 25 minutes, and every 10 minutes during adult swim time," Gavin said. "They are staying hydrated, and are jumping in the pool whenever they need to."

Kevin Krillic, an Oak Lawn Park District camp counselor who was chaperoning a youth outing at the pool, said he was not looking forward to the heat.

"I didn't expect it to be so hot here," Krillic said. "As a camp counselor, usually I stand outside the pool, but today I am jumping in a lot, because there is just no way to stand being outside in this heat."

Krillic said he and the other camp counselors were taking extra measures to make sure the children in their care, aged 6 to 10 years old, were staying cool.

"Yesterday we had popsicles for the kids at the end of the day," Krillic said. "On days like this we want to keep them inside in the air conditioning, take water breaks, apply sun tan lotion when we're going outside, and keep the kids safe."

Angie Koziczkowski spent the day at the pool with her children, Grace, 4, and Michael, 2.

"They're having fun," Koziczkowski said as the youths played in the kiddie pool and went down a waterslide. "We have a membership, so we will be here all summer. We like the pool so far."

In Evergreen Park, some people cooled off by buying cups of lemonade or tropical punch Kool-Aid from Victoria Yozze, 12, and her brother, Joseph, 8, who had set up a stand at 97th Street and Central Park Avenue. The youths were selling drinks for 50 cents a cup, and offering free chocolate chip cookies with each beverage.

"We thought it would be fun," Victoria said.

"It is hot out, and this way, people can have a nice, cool drink. We have had a lot of people stop by. I was surprised."

An Evergreen Park Public Works employee pulled up to the stand, saying that lemonade was his way to cool off.

"We've been working on an asphalt project all day, getting ready for Day in the Park," he said. "I'm hot, so I am stopping here for lemonade."