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Three businesses approved in Chicago Ridge

  • Written by Jesse Malloy

The Chicago Ridge board approved three business licenses at its meeting Thursday night.
  Clopay Building Products Co., a garage door company, will open at 10047 Virginia Avenue, Food Safety and Quality Systems will be moving into space at 10103 Kitty Avenue, and Gillons, Inc., an Alsip based cosmetics company will be opening a location at 10150 Virginia Avenue.
  The board also approved the placement of a one-way street sign at Oxford and 109th Streets. Between the hours of 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on school days when children are present Oxford will function as a one-way, southbound street, as a safety precaution for students.
  Also in the interest of safety, the board approved a proclamation declaring September 19 “Drive 4 Pledges Day” an event intended to encourage drivers, especially teens, to pledge not to text while driving.

  Another issue of new business that was introduced was the installation of ATM at the village hall/police department. The board voted to table the issue until a the company, All in One ATM, Inc. could come in to make its case for the machine, though it was suggested that the idea is to make it easier for individuals going to bail people out at the police station to get money out.
  Civil engineer Andy Purfundt said the three road work projects currently underway in the village are all moving on schedule. The Lyman Water main project, the 2013 Motor Fund Tax street resurfacing project on Lyman and 109th Streets between Major and Central, and the Cook County community development block grant water main project on Nottingham and 100th Streets should all be complete by the end of August.

  Chicago Ridge senior trustee Dan Badon presided over the meeting in place of Mayor Chuck Tokar, who was ill and unable to attend.

EP seeking a decision from Carson’s

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Village wants to plan ahead for Plaza demolition

  The future of Carson’s, the longtime anchor of the recently shuttered Plaza, is all that stands between the mall and the wrecking ball.

  Evergreen Park trustees at Monday’s village board meeting authorized village attorney Vince Cainkar to negotiate with the retailer so that demolition of the mall, 95th Street and Western Avenue, can proceed.
  “They are the only ones there,” Mayor James Sexton said. “The rest of the tenants are gone with the exception of Carson’s.”
  The mall closed on May 31. Applebee’s, which is located on an out lot, and Planet Fitness, remain open.
  DeBartolo Development wants to demolish the mall and replace it with a “lifestyle center,” Chicago Real Estate Daily.com reported. The development firm is owned by former San Francisco 49ers’ owner Eddie DeBartolo.
  Carson’s could either decide to lease at the new mall or let DeBartolo purchase their property, located at the south end of the mall, Sexton said.
  “One way or the other, the mall is going down,” Sexton said.
  The 61-year-old shopping mall, formerly the Evergreen Plaza, has been in foreclosure since 2011. The property is currently in receivership.
  The village board authorized Cainkar to enter negotiations with Carson’s to expedite the process, Sexton said.
  “We hope to be wrapping it up by the end of the year,” Sexton said. “We are going to do what we can.”
  He said DeBartolo is serious about redeveloping the mall and is the only developer interested in the property.
  Sexton said Carson’s likely wants to be part of the new mall.
  “I think they want to stay. We would love them to stay, but the economics has to be right,” the mayor said.
  The mall was conceived by developer Arthur Rubloff in the 1936 and opened in August 1952 as an open-air shopping center. Carson’s anchored the mall along with the Fair Store, Lytton’s and Walgreens. The mall also featured a Jewel supermarket. The entire mall was enclosed in 1966.

Riviera Raccoons presence felt again in Palos Hills

  • Written by Kelly White

They are back.
  Twenty potentially rabid raccoons have been captured in the Riviera townhome complex in Palos Hills this summer according to officials from the Riviera in Palos Improvement Association Animal Control Committee.
  They said that raccoons have been spotted in the subdivision off of 85th Avenue. and 111th Street and residents have been reportedly having a problem with the number of raccoons in the area.
  RIPIA manager, Karen Ferguson said Friday she is not sure whether or not the raccoons are rabid but the number of raccoon sightings in the area has since subsided.
  The raccoon problem was touched on during Thursday’s council meeting.
  “I, myself, was not aware of the trapping of raccoons taking place this summer in the Riviera,” Public Works Director Dave Weakley said. “However, I am aware of raccoon complaints, over the years, in that particular area of Palos Hills.”
  In 2010, Palos Hills made national news when CBS2Chicago.com had a piece on Kathleen Woods, who said that three large raccoons knocked her down and bit her on the legs, hand and buttocks. She lived in the complex at the time of the attack.
  She said the raccoons weighed an estimated 35 pounds each and they emerged from a storm drain. She said her dog was bitten during the attack.
  That report was picked up by other websites including Xenophilia.com, which says it reports on “true strange stuff” and Unexplained-mysteries.com.
  As for this year’s problems, RIPIA began raccoon reduction the first week of July. The traps were placed near trash areas and on the sides of the townhome buildings, where raccoons have been spotted by residents.
  RIPIA officials said all of the cages are checked daily by a technician, and any trapped raccoons are removed and taken immediately to animal control.
  Raccoons are wild animals and known for carrying diseases, and RIPIA officials said residents living in the Riviera subdivision should not move or handle the cages.
  During the trapping period, residents were encouraged to keep all children and pets away from the cages. Feeding or placing water inside of the cages for the animals is forbidden as this contact could cause stress on the animals. Residents should also not feed any animals outside during this time because the uneaten food will attract more wildlife to the area.
  Time outdoors for pets should be limited and monitored and all house cats also need to be kept indoors during the trapping period for their safety and protection.
  RIPIA urges residents to keep away from any spotted raccoons and to especially retain children and house pets away at a safe distance. These animals are not to be treated as pets.

Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook: It’s automatic: Good stories come from Rakow and Hadac

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

 

  Here are a couple of guys I want you to meet.REPORTER-2-col-reportersTim Hadac, left, and Bob Rakow are a couple of seasoned journalists whose stories will be appearing in the Reporter.  photo by Jeff Vorva
  Bob Rakow joined the staff of the Reporter this week as our main reporter.
  The guy has been around the area for many years and is familiar with all of our six communities. He’s had some pretty hard-hitting daily news stories over the years and is capable of turning in some heartwarming features.
  He had one feature just a few weeks ago in which a woman in Flossmoor retained her drivers’ license — at age 100.
  Those are the types of cool stories that we are looking for and if you have any like that, feel free to e-mail Bob or I at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
  He will also be covering board meetings, reporting on the police beat and providing insight and perspective to issues that will affect readers in our various zones, such as the Oak Lawn 9-1-1 story that appears in the front of this paper.
  Another name that will pop up on these pages is Tim Hadac. He was hired a few weeks ago as the Regional reporter to replace some mope named Varvra, or Virva, or whatever the heck his name is.
  Tim will be covering Palos Heights, Palos Park and Orland Park but his stories will find his way to our paper as well. This guy has a boatload of writing talent and experience. In last week’s paper, he wrote a wonderful piece on deadline after a four-hour Oak Lawn board meeting about the Village’s financial health and a great piece on a Korean War vet from Orland Park who revisited South Korea all these years later.
  These two fellas will make our paper strong and if you happen to see them at a meeting or event, welcome them aboard.
  We also have a gang of stringers such as Jessie Malloy, Kelly White and Kevin Coyne and newcomer Claudia Parker whose work you will see quite a bit as well.

Behind the scenes
  A few other folks that have been huge in putting this paper together don’t get near enough credit.
  Designer Kari Nelson has been the heart and soul of this paper for years and her talented fingerprints are all over the front section each week. Jackie Santora does the same for the second section. And while Rebecca Lanning works mostly for the Regional News, she has worked some of her magic on special sections including last week’s Worth Days tab. Among his many duties at this place, Pat Engle is the force when it comes to keeping the photos in order and looking great.
  Typesetters Angie Burke and Sharon Ulanowski don’t have the most glorious jobs on the planet but their hard work helps keep this paper humming.
  So as we move forward with a new editor, new reporter and a seasoned staff behind the scenes, we’re hoping to turn this product into a must-read every Thursday.

 

411 on Oak Lawn’s 911 system still up in the air

  • Written by Bob Rakow

 

  Oak Lawn is considering outsourcing its 911911-COLOR-1-col-phoneOak Lawn officials are figuring out what to do with their 911 system. photo by Jeff Vorva emergency dispatch services if the village cannot reach an agreement with telecommunicators to rein in expenses associated with the operation.

  Trustees recently gave Village Manager Larry Deetjen the authority to negotiate with two national dispatching firms to operate the emergency dispatch center, which handles fire, police and ambulance calls for Oak Lawn, Evergreen Park, Burbank and Bridgeview.
  The center also handles fire department calls for Bedford Park and a portion of the Central Stickney Fire Protection District.
  Deetjen said the potential move is not a reflection on the performance of the current dispatchers.
  “It’s not a service issue,” Deetjen said.
  Rather, the dispatch center is facing mounting expenses, which could cause some of its customers to leave. He added that if any of the towns the village serves choose another dispatch service, Oak Lawn would be forced to lay off dispatchers.
  Kathy Hansen, the village’s director of emergency communications, said the center also is losing revenue as more people eliminate land phone lines in favor of cell phones. The village receives $1 per a month from customers with land lines. It only receives 58 cents a month from cell phone users, Hansen said.
  The village receives only a nominal fee from pay-as-you-go cell phones and nothing from government-issued phones, she said.
  “We’re faced with revenue depletion,” Hansen said.
  The dispatchers are represented by the Metropolitan Alliance of Police. The union in late 2012 approved a two-year contract with the village after a lengthy negotiation, said Ron Cicinelli, a union attorney.
  One month later, the village asked the union to consider cost-saving measures, including deferring the 2.5 percent wage increase included in the contract, regular pay for overtime hours, hiring part-time dispatchers and changing the wage scale for new employees, Cicinelli said.
  “The package as a whole was voted down,” he said.
  The union filed an unfair labor practice grievance with the Illinois Labor Relations Board, which was rejected. The union appealed the decision, and the village has responded, Cicinelli said.
  He added that the union would sue the village if it replaces dispatchers with an outsourced firm.
  Deetjen said the village will “explore any and all savings by outsourcing or other means to cost effectively serve our Oak Lawn residents and our fine neighboring communities who we currently serve.”
  He said the village in December notified union officials of cost concerns after an independent analysis was completed and presented to the village board.
  “We have always offered an open door and exchange of options with the interest of our customers first but with respect for continuing the gone services delivered by our associates in Oak Lawn dispatch,” Deetjen said.
  Deetjen added that the village “will vigorously defend and support the rights and demand for quality services at a fair price that our taxpayers and municipal customers so deserve.”
  Trustee Bob Streit (3rd District) questioned the wisdom of outsourcing a vital service such a 911 dispatch.
  “Those folks who work for us in the 911 center, they work hard,” Streit said.
  He added that outsourced dispatchers may not be reliable or know the community as well as the current team.
  “It will save money, I guess, but will it really in the long term,” he said. “Contracting out the services sound like a good idea until you really examine the facts.”
  Trustee Terry Vorderer (4th District), a former Oak Lawn police officer, also raised concerns about outsourcing 911 services. He said there’s a “unique relationship” that exists between patrol officers and the dispatchers that might be lost if the service is contracted out.