MVCC transitions to online course catalog

  • Written by Kelly White

Moraine Valley Community College is going greener this school year by having a predominately online-only course catalog.

According to Moraine Valley officials, the online course catalog available at looks like a typical website and is user-friendly to all college students. The catalog can be downloaded to a desktop computer, saved as a PDF file and is also mobile friendly.

This transition is beneficial because a lot of students review courses through their cellphones and other mobile devices now, preferring the flexibility of convenience over a paper catalog, Moraine Valley officials said.

The college made the decision prior to the start of the 2016 school year to move to a one-year online course catalog from a two-year print catalog. Planning and creating the website began during last school year.

The print version of the catalog will only be available inside the college from now on, with paper copies available for students to browse through in the bookstore located in the campus’ D Building at 9000 College Parkway in Palos Hills.

Past course catalogs that were only available in the print version are now also available through the online catalog website.

Keeping the catalog online will also help to provide more accurate class information, according to Moraine Valley President Dr. Sylvia Jenkins.

“I think the college is calling themselves short by calling this online version just an online course catalog, because it offers so much more than class descriptions,” said Joseph Murphy, chairperson for the Moraine Valley Board.

The online course catalog provides a variety of information, including programs of study, course descriptions, required prerequisites for classes, an academic calendar, requirements for graduation, Moraine’s career and transfer programs, grading, admission and registration, financial aid, student services, international student affairs, a message from the college president, student life programs and instructional programs.

Students do not have the option to make a class schedule directly through the online catalog website – just as they did not with the print version – and the online catalog does not tell specific course times.

However, the online version is also saving the college a lot of green while going green. The cost to print the catalog every two years was costing the college $37,000. Moraine officials point out that the online catalog is only $9 a year.

“This is a very nice catalog that is easily accessible to all of our students,” Jenkins said. “Quite a number of people worked really hard on this project, and they plan to help to continue to build it semester by semester with available courses and a continuous number of features that are obtainable here at the college.”

“This is great for students to have everyday access right at their fingertips,” Murphy said.

School District 117 joins Hickory Hills Council in sponsoring Howl Through Hills Run/Walk

  • Written by Sharon L. Filkins

The Hickory Hills City Council approved an Intergovernmental agreement with North Palos School District 117 at their meeting last Thursday, affirming the school district will join the city as a co-sponsor for the third annual Howl Through the Hills 5K Run/Walk scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 22.

The event will begin at 9 a.m. at the Hickory Hills City Hall, 8652 W. 95th St. Registration will open at 7:30 a.m. Information packets for the 5K can be picked up at the City Hall beginning Saturday, Oct. 1. More information is available on the organization website,

Mayor Mike Howley said proceeds from the run/walk will benefit the Hickory Hills Lions Club.

“We urge everyone to come out and join us for this day of fun. It is something all ages can enjoy,” he said.

Other approvals included an annual Intergovernmental agreement with the Cook County Health Inspectional Services. Fees will remain at $100 per inspection.

Two invoices in the total amount of $108,754 were approved as the final payments to Hasse Construction for drainage improvements in 2015. Village Engineer Mike Spolar said the total project had been budgeted for $2 million, but the final numbers came in at a total of $1,898, 667.

Also, a final invoice in the amount of $39,033 for Motor Fuel Tax Servicing projects was approved for D Construction.

On other matters, Public Works Director Larry Boettcher announced that city was starting its fall tree planting program.

“We will be planting 100 trees across the city. The trees will be diversified for a variety in the various areas of barren parkways,” he said. He added that any homeowners interested in having trees replaced in their parkways for the spring planting in 2017 should contact the Public Works Department.

He also informed the council that he had met with representatives of the Cook County Forest Preserve District and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to discuss water issues at the intersection of 91st Place and Keane Avenue where water drains from the west side of the road to the center of the road after a heavy rain fall, causing traffic backups with the road reduced to a single lane.

“I am afraid it is going to be an uphill battle because the Forest Preserve District thinks the city should submit a request to the Army Corp of Engineers for assistance with the problem,” added Boettcher.

“That is not the case,” Boettcher informed Howley. “This was just our first meeting, so it will be a long haul.”

Howley thanked him for his efforts and for keeping the council informed.

District 218 believes comic books have a place in the classrooms

  • Written by Kelly White

comic book photos 9-29

Photo by Kelly White

District 218 teachers believe that reading comic books in a classroom-setting has value due to its visual impact.

Comic books may appear to have no use in the classroom, but some School District 218 teachers tend to disagree.

Members of the Comics Education Offensive, consisting of some District 218 officials, presented Teaching with Comics Symposium recently at the Oak Lawn Public Library, 9427 S. Raymond Ave. The symposium featured panels and workshops focused on integrating comics and graphic novels into science, math and English curriculum for grades 6-12.

The symposium was an all-day conference opened to all teachers from grades 6-12 that focused on the use of comics and graphic novels in the classroom. However, the day also included panels such as creating safe spaces and utilizing gaming in the classroom.

“We hope that teachers were inspired to integrate comics into their curriculum, while also engaging in discussions about the inclusion of gamification and safe spaces in education,” said Izabel Gronski, the Oak Lawn Library’s Young Adult Librarian.

Gronski joined The Comics Education Offensive -- a group of teachers from the Midwest and east coast dedicated to spreading the word about the educational potential of comics – during presentations at the symposium. One of the group’s main organizers is Shepard High School English teacher Eric Kallenborn.

“I have been interested in comic books since I was a kid,” Kallenborn said. “I consider comics to be my passion and connecting with educators about comics and graphic novels in the classroom is what I do. When it comics to comics, I feel that the conversations with students are rich. It’s a different type of conversation than they are normally having in classrooms. And let’s face it, we are a visual society.”

“Using comics in the classroom gives people an appreciation for visual storytelling,” said Shepard student Natalie Escobedo, 17.

Kallenborn has been teaching at Shepard for nine years. He has taught every English level possible at the school located at 13049 S Ridgeland Ave. This school year, he is teaching Advanced Placement (AP) Language and Composition, film and literature and graphic novels.

A graphic novel is a book made up of comic book content that moves at the pace of the reader and connects wording with imagery. Kallenborn reports positive feedback from this course. He has been incorporating comics in the classroom for the past four years and plans to keep doing so.

“In the graphic novel course that I teach, I may use the occasional short story in that class, but all of my complete books will be graphic novels,” Kallenborn said. “We will read about six to eight as a class, and the students will read another two to five on their own. There are other teachers, however, that have begun using the graphic novels and comics, even in other disciplines. I can say that comic books will be used more than they ever have this year. There is no doubt that 21st century students have a deep connection to the visual.”

Students have reflected positive feedback from the incorporation of comics in the classroom.

“Comics are great to use in class because some students are intimidated by large amounts of words. However, pictures with great writing help more students learn,” said Shepard student Hassaan Harris, 17.

“The pictures add whole new dimensions to reading. No longer do I have to imagine,” said Shepard student, Matt Bird, 17. “Comics effortlessly immerse you in a new universe.”

The symposium also featured Shepard High School English teacher Jeff Vazzana and Jason Nisavic, along with Richards High School English teacher Ronell Witaker.

The event highlighted the integration of comics into middle school and secondary education curriculum through many presentations, including: Comics and STEM Workshop, Intro to Comics in the Classroom, Diversity through Comics, Working with your Local Comic Shop, Comics in Your Language Arts Classroom, Creating Safe Places, Power-Up Your Teaching, Comics in the STEM Classroom, Teaching Comics and Book Pairing with Comics and Non-Fiction Comic Workshops.

No longer an underground movement appealing to a small following of enthusiasts, graphic novels have emerged as a growing segment of book publishing, and have become accepted by librarians and educators as mainstream literature for children and young adults, according to Kallenborn.

“A comic is like a sub-titled film that moves at the pace of the reader,” Kallenborn said. “This is great because it mixes language with image, and studies have shown that learning happens quicker when these items are paired. They are also much quicker reads, and with classic adaptations, they are much quicker reads with similar assessment results when used in the classroom.”

Evergeen Park baseball official sues Little League International

  • Written by Joe Boylw

Chris Janes, the vice president of the Evergreen Park Athletic Association Little League who was the first to blow the whistle on boundary violations of players of the Jackie Robinson West Little League in 2014, has filed a lawsuit against Little League Baseball International stating that he has suffered from severe emotional distress following the incident.

Janes, an Evergreen Park resident, had voiced concerns during the summer of 2014 after hearing complaints from other people. He also noted that some of the players were honored by several south suburban villages where they lived after they had initially won the Little League World Series in 2014.

According to Janes’ lawsuit, he had had death threats and has been humiliated after he first began suggesting that several players on the Jackie Robinson team, that plays their home games at Jackie Robinson Park at 105th and Morgan in Chicago, did not live within the boundaries of the league.

Janes had made his complaints known that fall to The Reporter. However, Little League Baseball International originally dismissed Janes’ complaints and said the players were all eligible. Janes’ Evergreen Park team lost to Jackie Robinson West in the sectionals. Jackie Robinson later advanced to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. and then became the U.S. champs.

According to the lawsuit, Janes also suffers from “anxiety, loss of sleep and weight loss.” He also said he is suffering from depression. He is seeking $75,000 in damages. Little League Baseball International had no comment about the lawsuit.

Janes said after Little League Baseball International first dismissed his complaints, they started to discredit him. But due to increasing evidence that the Janes complaints were valid, the organization eventually censured the Jackie Robinson West, according to the lawsuit. The team was stripped of their U.S title.

After Jackie Robinson West won the U.S. title, they were feted in a rally in Chicago’s Grant Park and visited the White House and met President Obama and had pictures taken with him. They also attended a World Series game in San Francisco.

In a separate case, the parents of Jackie Robinson West players filed a lawsuit against Little League International. They claimed that there was a cover-up.

Chuck E. Cheese could lose license

  • Written by Dermot Connolly

Oak Lawn trustees discussed the possibility of revoking the business license of a local restaurant because the village has received a plethora of police calls. The topic was brought up at the village board meeting Tuesday night.

This was the second consecutive meeting that public safety issues at the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant at 4031 W. 95th Street was brought up. Indicating the severity of the situation, at the Sept. 13 board meeting Trustee Terry Vorderer (4th) revealed that Chuck E. Cheese President Roger Cardinale and other company officials had come from Irving, Tex., on Sept. 10, to discuss the matter with him, Mayor Sandra Bury, Village Manager Larry Deetjen and legal counsel. The company officials said then that they would hire a security consultant to come up with solutions, and issue a report of the findings before Tuesday’s meeting.

“The report did arrive at 3:30 p.m. I haven’t had time to digest it all, but I will be providing copies (to other board members) and I would appreciate getting your input,” he said. Chuck E. Cheese officials have been invited to speak at the Oct. 25 Village Board meeting. They were originally going to come to the Oct. 11 meeting, but Vorderer said they asked to postpone the meeting because of a religious holiday.

Trustee Bob Streit (3rd) pointed out that Oak Lawn’s 911 service received more than 40 calls related to the restaurant last year, and at least 40 this year already. He said he agreed with recent comments made by Bury on television news that this might be the right time to address the business license. “I have to agree with the safety of children and families are the main issue. I also believe that the management has tried very hard to be good neighbors.” Vorderer took issue with him when Streit said the village needs to be “proactive,” and criticized “the lack of leadership over the past four years in resolving this.”

“I have been working on this issue since I was elected three years ago,” said Vorderer. He noted that local owners of the Chuck E. Cheese establishment have already taken several steps to address problems. These include hiring off-duty Oak Lawn police officers as security guards, as well as removing seating to reduce occupancy from 611 to 482 people. The owners of the shopping plaza where the restaurant is located have also been supplying outdoor private security patrols.

“My main concern is the safety of the children who go there,” said Vorderer. “I go there myself sometimes with my grandchildren. It is nice and clean inside, with families enjoying themselves. But these problems often seem to be domestic, with fights breaking out and they quickly get out of control.”

Trustee Tim Desmond (1st) wondered if the village could get into legal trouble if the license is revoked now. “There was a gang-related shooting outside there (in 2012) and I don’t think they even lost their liquor license then.” He asked if the village would be looking at a lawsuit if the license was revoked, but Village Attorney Paul O’Grady said the village would not be in any legal trouble.

Vorderer noted that most of the trustees weren’t on the board in 2012, and Trustee Alex Olejniczak (2nd) pointed out that the restaurant management voluntarily gave up its liquor license. He agreed with Desmond that the owners need to be given “due process” when it comes to revoking business licenses.

“We want to give the owners due process,” said Bury. “We won’t do anything until we hear what they have to say at the Oct. 25 meeting. But after everything that has already been done, the next step would have to be board action. Revoking the license is a possibility.”