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Retro Reporter 10-10-13

Retro Reporter ArtReader likens tax to fund Worth library to cancer

50 years ago
From the Oct. 10, 1963 edition
 The story: The Chicago area archdiocese bought property around 107th Street and Central Avenue for a proposed new Catholic high school in Oak Lawn.
  The quote: “This tax, if approved, will start small, to be sure, but like cancer it will grow and grow,’’ — Letter to the editor writer Sam Di Pietro on Worth asking for a tax to pay for a free library.
  Fun fact: Chicago Ridge’s Volunteer Fire Department held an open house that included a water ball fight, “happy junk men” and “sleepy clowns.”

Former Kids Stop owner supported by 100-plus people

25 years ago
From the Oct. 13, 1988 edition
  The story: More than 100 people gathered at Palos Hills City Hall to show their support for Sandra Fabiano, a former Kids Stop preschool owner charged with sexually abusing four young girls.
  The quote: “I would not [reopen the school] because I’m an innocent party. And if [the indictments] happened once to an innocent person like myself, it can happen again.”
  Fun fact: The new Reporter Newspaper sign — which can still be seen on Harlem Ave. — is erected on the building at 12247 S. Harlem in Palos Heights.

Garbage strike draws concerns from area officials

10 years ago
From the Oct. 9, 2003 edition
  The story: There was plenty of trash talk when a trash haulers strike affected area homes and businesses as garbage was not picked up. The union turned down a contract that would have increase the total wages and benefits package a driver working 50 or more hours per week to more than $92,000 a year by the fifth year of the contract. They returned to work a week later.
  The quote: “Our concern is about the rodents being attracted to produce that’s thrown away,” — Worth Mayor Ed Guzdzoil about the problems causes by the garbage strike.
  Fun fact: Former longtime Evergreen Park softball coach Marilyn Wax was named National Coach of the Year at the National High School Athletic Association convention in Oklahoma. She was recognized for her 31 years of service to the Mustangs program.

Four Palos firefighters injured

  • Written by Tim Hadac

  Four Palos Fire Protection District firefighters were injured Sunday night when a ceiling collapsed and fell on them at a house fire they were battling at 13203 S. 84th Ave. in unincorporated Palos Park.
  “It was a plaster and lathe ceiling, heavy, and it appeared to come down in one piece,” said Palos Fire Chief Patrick Gericke.
  The four firefighters, whose names were not disclosed, were battling their way inside the home to determine if anyone was inside, while the fire raged above them in an attic.
  No one was home.
  Two firefighters were taken to Palos Community Hospital, where they were treated and released. A third was transported to Christ Hospital and Medical Center, where he was held overnight and released on Monday. The fourth did not require hospital care.
  The alarm sounded at 10:22 p.m., and units were on the scene within minutes.
  Chief Gericke would not speculate on the cause of the fire, saying it is under investigation.
  Assisting the PFPD were units from surrounding municipalities and fire protection districts, including Palos Heights, North Palos, Orland, Oak Forest, Worth, Lockport, Posen, Alsip, and Merrionette Park.

OL board passes ethics ordinance

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Conflict of interest prevention vital to trustees in wake of 2012 roofing controversy

  An ordinance designed to prevent conflicts of interest and improper influence on the part of village officials and employees was approved Tuesday by the village board.

  Trustees approved the changes after rejecting a proposal by Trustee Bob Streit to send the ordinance back to committee for further consideration.
  He said the board needs to close loopholes that exempt village attorneys and former employees from the restrictions. Additionally, he said, the ordinance was crafted without public input.
  Specifically, Streit alleged that former Trustee Tom Phelan recently solicited village on behalf of the company for which he works.
  “It isn’t a good ordinance unless it applies to everyone,” Streit said. “I do believe it’s a good starting point.”
  Trustee Terry Vorderer said the ordinance can always be fine-tuned but delaying a vote at Tuesday night’s meeting would be a mistake.
  “I hate to see it postponed and lost forever,” Vorderer said.
  Trustee Alex Olejniczak agreed, admitting that the ordinance was not a finished product. He criticized Streit for playing to the camera by reading “another well-written diatribe.”
  Mayor Sandra Bury’s campaigned on stricter rules for disclosing conflicts of interest and she added to each board meeting’s agenda an opportunity for trustees to disclose any conflicts with potential board action.
  The ordinance comes several months after the FBI launched an investigation into a deal in which a roofing company with political and familial connections to Streit received a contract to replace the roof on the village’s public works building.
  The village board in November approved the $166,085 contract despite the fact that two other companies submitted lower bids for the work.
  The FBI in December issued a grand jury subpoena to village manager Larry Deetjen, asking him to produce all documents related to the bid process and selection of Joliet-based Adler Roofing and Sheet Metal to repair the roof.
  Streit’s brother, Mike, works at Adler Roofing as an estimator, and Streit’s political committee has received contributions from the firm.
  Streit said his brother does not have an ownership interest in the company and the issue was used to defame him and former Mayor Dave Heilmann, who was in office at the time the contract was awarded.
  Trustees later voted to rescind the contract and throw out the other bids for the work.

‘She professed love for the child’

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Nabbed for grisly murder, Oak Lawn woman

Page-1olor-1-colAlfreda Giedrojctells cops she loved

granddaughter

  Alfreda Giedrojc sat stoically in a chair Sunday morning, moments after allegedly beating her infant granddaughter to death in her Oak Lawn home, authorities said.

  Giedrojc, 62, 6605 W. 91st St., was charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bail at Cook County Jail.
  Authorities refused to comment on the motive that led the long-time Oak Lawn resident to kill her six-month-old granddaughter, Vivian Summers, by hitting her repeatedly with a handheld sledgehammer and cutting her throat with a carving knife, police said.
  Giedrojc admitted to the murder in a videotaped statement. Police also gathered physical evidence that implicates her, said Oak Lawn Police Division Chief Mike Kaufmann.
  Kaufmann, a 28-year veteran of the Oak Lawn police department, said such crimes are typically driven by “plain evil or something with mental health.”Giedrojc did not display any anger, denial or rage during interviews with police, he said.
  “She professed love for the child,” Kaufmann said.
  Kaufmann said he’s investigated other heinous crimes in Oak Lawn, but few compare to the brutal murder of an infant, he said.
  “Everybody can relate to a young, infant baby,” he said. “For all of us, it touches (the) heart.”
  The incident took place after Vivian’s father, Joe Summers, of Bolingbrook, brought his infant daughter to Giedrojc’s home.
  Summers and the defendant’s adult son went across the street to work on a home rehab project. Giedrojc’s husband, Boleslaw, left the home a short time later to see what the men were doing, leaving Giedrojc alone with Vivian for about 10 minutes, Kaufmann said.
  Cook County prosecutors offered details of the alleged homicide Monday afternoon at the courthouse in Bridgeview.
  Giedrojc removed Vivian from the couch where she was sleeping, “placed the baby on the floor and retrieved a sledge hammer from a closet, which she had placed there the night before. The defendant then hit the victim repeatedly in the head and body with the sledgehammer,” Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Deno said.
  The baby continued to move and cry, leading Giedrojc to retrieve a large carving knife from the kitchen, Deno said.
  “The defendant then picked the victim up, held her and then slit her throat with the knife,” he said.
  Giedrojc’s husband returned home, saw the incident and called 911.
  Police received a call at 10:46 a.m. reporting an armed subject in the home, they said. While en route, officers learned that there was an injured child at the home. Giedrojc was not armed when police arrived, Police Chief Mike Murray said.
  Vivian’s father performed CPR until police arrived, Kaufmann said. She was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center.
  The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office determined that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head wounds to the neck.
  A Polish immigrant who came to the United States three decades ago, Giedrojc has no criminal record, police said.
  Giedrojc is due in court on Oct. 28.

More info, please

  • Written by Bob Rakow

 Mayor’s critics claim plans for Oak Lawn’s

new Senior Center have not been shared

   Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury strongly supports

FRONT-COLOR-3-COL-CARDSIs it in the cards that the Oak Lawn Senior Center is moving? Oak Lawn’s Josephine Voldrich, playing cards Tuesday at the current site, said she hopes so. Photos by Jeff Vorva. transitioning the village’s senior services to the park district, but two of her political opponents are asking her to lay her cards on the table before proceeding with the plan.
  Trustee Carol Quinlan said seniors queried her at a recent event about the proposal but she was unable to offer specifics because she said Bury has not shared them with the village board.
  “It’s inconceivable that the mayor has some sort of plan and has not shared it,” Quinlan said.
  Trustee Robert Streit also is opposed to the plan and wants to know why there are no records associated with the proposal.
  Bury said Streit has made no effort to learn more about the plan or offer other ideas.
  “Not once has Trustee Streit called me or contacted me to inquire as to the nature of what was being developed,” Bury said.
  She added that she has been forthcoming with information regarding the plan.
  “Everything that is ready for public disclosure has been said by me at various board meetings in my senior updates. They are readily available. As the concept develops into something viable, it will be discussed in more detail,” she said.
  Bury reiterated that the concept is a good one for the cash-strapped village.
  “The village is facing at minimum and $8.7 million dollar deficit. It is going to be a challenge to give seniors what they want and deserve while still being financially responsible. I believe it is possible to do this with creative partnerships,” she said.
  An Aug. 29 memo written by Bury and distributed at the senior center did offer some insights into the mayor’s proposal.
JUMP-2-col-cards1Carole Gutsch (above) and Carol Hopp (below, right) enjoy a game of cards Wednesday at the current Senior Center on West 105th Street. The center could be moving. Photos by Jeff Vorva.

  The memo informed seniors that the village board in August authorized Village Manager Larry Deetjen to explore the feasibility of transitioning the Oak Lawn Senior Center to the park district.
  The document added that the village is exploring in partnership with the park district the renovation of the shuttered bath house at Memorial Pool, 102nd Street and Major Avenue, into a 4,000-square-foot, free-standing senior center.
  The pool was a closed a few years ago. Memorial Park, meanwhile, is being renovated to include a splash pad, new paths and landscaping around the pond.
  Park district JUMP-2-col-cards-2officials have said they support the mayor’s plan.
  Bury has made clear the park district is better equipped than the village to provide services for seniors.
  “We’re not really good at programs for seniors, we’re just not,” Bury has said. “It really does not fall into the domain of the village.”
  Currently, the senior center is located in a portion of the old McGugan School, 5220 W. 105th St. The facilities were moved from the longtime location on 95th Street after the building was sold to make way for a bank.
  Quinlan said the mayor has never explained why the Memorial Pool bathhouse was chosen as a preliminary site for the senior center or discussed how the renovations would be funded.
  “This idea is terrible,” said Quinlan, adding that the village board should meet with seniors before the proposal moves forward.
  “I believe their input would be invaluable,” she said.
  The village’s response to Streit’s Freedom of Information request provided no information. Streit sought:
  • Emails between the park district and village regarding outsourcing senior services;
  • Studies or documents regarding a partnership between the village, the park district and/or a local business to provide seniors with a senior center at Memorial Park;
  • Intergovernmental agreements between the village and park district regarding senior services or a senior center;
  • Documents, including memos or findings from focus groups, conducted to learn what seniors desire from a new senior center;
  • Documents, including memos, regarding field research performed to determine where the new senior center should be located and what services should be provided, and;
  • Emails or other correspondence between the mayor and other village or park district officials relating to the senior center or senior services.
  “The mayor claimed that they do exist,” Streit said. “If they do exist, (the village) has to provide them.”
  Streit added that Bury has “totally disregarded the Senior Citizens Commission” by not seeking its input on her proposal.
  Park District Director Maddie Kelly said she met with Bury, Deetjen, Trustee Alex Olejniczak and park board president Sue Murphy a few months ago to discuss the village’s proposal.
  The village hired an architect to study the renovation of the bath house, but park district and village officials have not met again to talk about the plan, Kelly said.
  “The ball is in their court,” Kelly said. “We have not heard back from them. It’s just been talk. It hasn’t been anything definitive.”