Friday Night Lightning

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


FRONT-COLOR-4-COL-TOPRain and lightning postponed all but one area game Friday night — the first night of the high school football season.
  Slivers of lightning piercedFront-color-4-col-middle the skies in the top photo in Burbank. At 8 p.m., when there should have been action on the field and people crowding the stands at Reavis for the first Battle of Burbank between St. Laurence and Reavis, the stands (middle photo) had been cleared for hours. In the bottom photo, Vikings fans had to spend FRONT-COLOR--3-col-bottomtime trying to have fun in the parking lot before the postponement was announced at 8:30 p.m.
  The teams played on Saturday night with St. Laurence winning handily. Oak Lawn’s home win over Kenwood, which started at 9:30 p.m. was the lone area game played Friday night. Details on all of the local games are in sports.


Oak Lawn mourns a ‘wonderful little girl’

  • Written by Bob Rakow


Inspiring 8-year-old loses her brave battle imageswith rare form of disease

Abby Wujcik seldom encountered an obstacle she couldn’t overcome.

  “Abby could not be told, ‘no,’” said her uncle, Brian Wujcik.
  When the brain tumor from which she suffered prevented Abby from writing with her right hand, she learned how to use her left hand, her uncle recalled.
  “She taught herself how to ride a bike,” said Wujcik, the head baseball coach at Richards High School in Oak Lawn. “She went to school whenever the chemotherapy would allow.”
  Wujcik, 8, died Aug. 29 at Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago 16 months after being diagnosed with high-grade astrocytoma, a brain tumor not typically found in children.
  Abby made a lasting impression on her classmates at Kolmar Elementary School in Oak Lawn where she was a third grader.
  “Abby was a wonderful little girl,” said David Creech, Kolmar principal. “She was strong and resilient.”
  Abby was diagnosed shortly after a first-grade teacher noticed a change in her penmanship, her uncle said.
  Abby lived a short but meaningful life, Wujcik said.
  “Without even knowing it, she was touching lives,” he said.
  That was never more evident than when Abby’s family, friends and community members formed Abby’s Army to raise funds to offset her medical bills.
  The group’s major fundraiser was a carnival held in July 2012 at Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School. The group considered holding a fundraiser at a bar, but decided on a carnival at the middle school so Abby’s friends could be involved.
  “It was absolutely amazing the way everyone came together for her,” said Wujcik, who credited the School District 123 community for making the event a success. “It was absolutely awe-inspiring.”
  Neighbors also showed their support the night Abby died by tying pink and grey ribbons around trees in the community and gathering at the Wujcik’s home to offer comfort.
  Wujcik said he’ll always remember his niece as a little girl who lived life to the fullest.
  “She never lost her sense of humor,” he said. “She never lost her willingness to have fun.”
  Abby met Justin Bieber, went to Disney World, swam with dolphins and a got a chance to tour Wrigley Field, he said.
  He also credited Abby’s parents, Kevin and Kristyn, for maintaining their poise throughout Abby’s illness.
  “They exhibited grace through all of this,” he said. “I think that was important.”
  In addition to her parents, Abby is survived by siblings, Morgan and Ethan, as well her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
  Visitation was held Tuesday at Chapel Hill Garden South Funeral Home in Oak Lawn. Funeral services were held Wednesday at Zion Lutheran Church in Tinley Park.
  Memorial contributions may be given in Abby’s memory to the Comer Children’s Hospital Child Life Department.


‘Live life large’

  • Written by Kevin M. Coyne


Special 5K event to run through Evergreen Park again

 The Evergreen Park City Council approved a motion Tuesday night to allow the second annual Freedom Isn’t Free 5K event that starts at Brother Rice High School to run through portions of the city in October.


  The race will again honor a local Marine who died March 1, 2012 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.3-col-page-3-freedomRunners competed in last year’s inaugural Freedom Isn’t Free event. The event returns in late October. Photo courtesy of Brian Barkowski
  Marine Cpl. Conner Lowry, 24, of Chicago, served with the Marine Expeditionary Force while downrange during Operation Enduring Freedom — Afghanistan, according to the Military Times database and Department of Defense records.
  Last year, Navy veteran and director of Freedom Isn’t Free 5K event Shawn Hughes helped to create the fundraiser to establish a scholarship in Cpl. Lowey’s name at Brother Rice High School.
  “Conner’s motto was always ‘live life large’ and although this event is only once a year we can honor Conner for the sacrifice he made and keep his name alive,” Hughes said. “Usually on the South Side there is a lot of support for Chicago police and fire so with this event we are bringing more support to the military.”
  At the first annual Freedom Isn’t Free event, held at Brother Rice High School, 10001 S. Pulaski Ave, nearly 700 members of the community were greeted by retired and active servicemen and women to honor a local hero. A unique sidebar to this event is 40 Marines ran the 5K in full fatigues while singing Marine cadences.
  This year’s walk/run event is scheduled for 11 a.m., Oct. 27 at Brother Rice. Brother Rice’s band and the Chicago Police Department Pipes and Drums will provide music. Hundreds of Brother Rice and Mother McAuley students volunteer to work the event, Hughes said.
  Registration is $35, which includes a T-shirt, post-race food and drinks, and other entertainment. For individuals who only wish to attend the post-race celebration and awards ceremony the cost is $10. Anyone who wishes to donate to the Freedom Isn’t Free foundation, visit the nonprofit’s website.
  In addition to Freedom Isn’t Free 5K event, the Evergreen Park City Council approved event requests from three local parishes.
  Most Holy Redeemer parish will host its annual Mass in the Park at Duffy Park Sunday. The parish will also host the annual homecoming parade at Most Holy Redeemer, 9525 S Lawndale Ave, on Sept. 28.
  Queen of Martyrs parish, 10233 S Central Park Ave, will host its annual Walk-a-Thon on Sept. 20, weather permitting. a rain-date is set for Sept. 23.
  St. Bernadette parish, 9343 S Francisco Ave, will host its annual Rib Fest on Saturday from 3 to 11:30 p.m.
  “I recommend that you get over to this event for some great food, great people and an overall great event,” EP Mayor Jim Sexton said. “If you get a chance I hope you all make it out for Rib Fest this year.”


Whiskey-flavored ice cream? Beer on the way?

  • Written by Margaret Pretkelis

Stagg grad helps run Milwaukee ice cream venture with unusual flavors

  A Palos Heights native who churned DOUBLE-RUN-Purple-2-col-schultzLauren and Steve Schultz are hoping some of their wild ice cream flavors — including whiskey and beer — will catch on in the Chicago area.her childhood dream into a reality is bringing her cool creations to the Chicago area.

  Former Palos Heights resident Lauren Schultz and her husband Steve are the faces behind Purple Door Ice Cream, a successful ice cream business in the Milwaukee area. The couple is beginning to distribute their frozen concoctions to the Chicago area where Schultz believes it will satisfy many sweet tooths with dairyland ingredients and original flavors.
  Lauren said that they are in several stores in Chicago now and that they hope to be in more stores and potentially restaurants.
  Chicagoans looking to purchase a pint can swing by any Treasure Island Foods or Sunset Foods grocery stores, Mariano’s in Elmhurst, or Whole Foods in the city’s South Loop area. Distribution into Cook and DuPage Counties is expected to grow over the coming months.
  Purple Door’s top pint sellers are Salted Caramel, Raspberry Green Tea, Mint Chip, Espresso and vanilla. However, visitors to their location will get to choose from a wider selection that includes Chai with Pink Peppercorn, Whiskey, and Fair Trade Banana Chocolate Walnut. Soon to be added to this list is a beer flavored ice cream.
  “We’re based in Milwaukee,” Lauren said. “How could we not do a beer flavored ice cream?”
  Known for including local dairy products in their ice cream, Purple Door’s owners also use neighboring businesses to roast their coffee beans and supply their whiskey. Each flavor is made in small batches using butterfat that is then frozen for 12 minutes. The coffee and tea flavors require several days of preparation.
  A 1997 graduate of Stagg High School, Lauren spent her childhood summers at Plush Horse Ice Cream Parlor in Palos Park. The idea to open up her own ice cream store came to her while enjoying the treat with her friends. “I had the dream to open up my own store sometime in middle school. I knew I loved ice cream and I always thought an ice cream store was a place where people are happy,” she said.
  Upon graduating from high school, Lauren obtained a bachelors’ degree in graphic design at the University of Dayton before completing the masters’ program in deaf education at the University of Minnesota. It was there where she met her husband, Steve. On their first date, Lauren told him about her dream of opening an ice cream parlor. “Steve thought it was a great idea. Even after we spent several rewarding years in education, he remembered my dream and thought we should give it a shot,” she said.
  After moving to Milwaukee in 2008 to be closer to their families, the couple decided it was time to start their ice cream business.
  “We were nervous at first,” Lauren said. “We weren’t sure how the community would take it. Milwaukee is a custard town.”
  But word of their cold treat made with local ingredients spread and within months Purple Door ice cream was being served in a handful of restaurants and sold at the nearby food co-op. Since then Purple Door’s business continues to grow.
  They spend their time running their business and raising their two sons aged three and one. They manage one fulltime and one part-time employee and are currently preparing for their move to a larger store to accommodate their growing number of customers. Future business plans include increasing distribution sites in Chicagoland grocery stores and restaurants.

Community Briefs fromAugust 29, 2013

Palos Hills - Zombie talks at Moraine Valley

  The fictional oral history of a zombie apocalypse is the selected text for Moraine Valley Community College’s One Book, One College program for the 2013-14 academic year. The college’s library will host several events this fall that feature themes from “World War Z” by Max Brooks. The Library is in Building L, on campus, 9000 W. College Pkwy., Palos Hills. All events are free and open to the public.
  The opening event welcomes Roosevelt University’s literary scholar Mairin Barney on Sept. 11, from noon to 1 p.m. Barney will explore “World War Z” and zombie literature as well as define characteristics of the genre and how Brooks’ work fits into it.
  Moraine Valley faculty members from various disciplines will lead a panel discussion on “Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse” on Sept. 24 from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.
  Each will share how they think governments and institutions would stand up to a major societal collapse and will be challenged to think about how they would survive an apocalypse.
  Another panel discussion, “Am I Really an Individual or Just a Zombie?” will be on Oct. 3, from 11 a.m. to noon. Philosophy faculty members will discuss the ways philosophers have thought about the individual and the group.

  “Zombies, Art and Pop Culture” is a third panel discussion led by Moraine Valley faculty members on Wednesday, Oct. 9, from 1 to 2 p.m. The creepy, brain-hungry zombie has become a symbol across art, film and literature. Where did it come from and why does it resonate with audiences?
  The college will show the feature film “World War Z,” starring Brad Pitt, on Oct. 12, 6:30 p.m., on the Gateway. Bring blankets and food for the free outdoor movie. The movie will be moved inside Building M in the event of inclement weather.

Moraine to host presentation on prostate cancer

  Moraine Valley Community College is hosting its Medical Education Series presentation on “Making Sense of Prostate Cancer” from 7 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 18, in the Dorothy Menker Theater in the Fine and Performing Arts Center, 9000 W. College Pkwy., Palos Hills. The event is co-sponsored by Northwestern Memorial Hospital and is free and open to the public.
  Dr. Joshua Meeks is giving this presentation. Dr. Meeks received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, before attending Northwestern University for medical and graduate school with a research focus on genetics and tumor cell biology.
  For more information call Mari Smith at 708-608-4039 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Cyber Security Awareness Symposium co-hosted by Moraine Valley

  Between cyber bullies and a multitude of scams, the Internet can be a dangerous place. That’s why a few organizations, including Moraine Valley Community College and its Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance are sponsoring a free Security Awareness Symposium on from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday in the gym hall at St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, 6330 W. 127th St., in Palos Heights.
  This event aims to bring parents, teachers and the community together to better understand ways to protect children from cyber space. Topics include online bullying; how Facebook influences teens and young adults; self-identity and self-esteem; effects of social media on relationships and friendships; changes to online privacy; Facebook addiction; emotional manipulators on Facebook; and juvenile financial ID theft.
  Ice cream, cookies and drinks will be provided by Cold Stone Creamery and the Fuheis American Association. In addition to Moraine Valley, the event also is co-hosted by Northwestern University, Robert Morris University and the FAA.
  For more information, contact Lynn Dohm at 815-717-6546 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Worth - Attorney Barrett to talk to Rockers

  Attorney Michael Barrett will address the St. Mark’s Rockers at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 11007 S. 76th Ave. in Worth.

  He will discuss the importance of knowing when it is in your best interest to consult with a lawyer.