Two Stagg alums die in motorcycle mishaps

  • Written by Jeff Vorva and Bob Rakow


Stagg math teacher John Daniels came to school Monday and found out the bad news that one of his former geometry students, Amy Reed, was killed in a motorcycle accident in Joliet the night before.

His day was about to get worse.
Daniels, who is also coach of the boys basketball team, found out that night that a former player of his, Giedrius Lisnicenka, was driving a motorcycle Monday night in Palos Hills and was killed in an accident.
“This is sad, man,” Daniels said on Tuesday. “These were two good kids. It’s crazy. Two Stagg kids in two days killed in motorcycle accidents. It’s tough being on a motorcycle.’’
The accidents capped off a six-day stretch of death, destruction and arrests affecting several people from the communities in the Reporter coverage area.
Lisnicenka’s accident happened in the late afternoon on Monday on La Grange Road near 111th Street. Police said he hit the back of a stopped vehicle on southbound La Grange Road at around 5 p.m. and was pronounced dead at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn early Monday night.
The accident closed a portion of La Grange Road for approximately four hours, according to police.
Daniels said that Lisnicenka, 22, “lived at a different speed” than other students. He said his former player would always make him laugh. The coach also remembered having a heart-to-heart talk with Lisnicenka when the player opted to leave the basketball team in December, 2010 for family reasons.
“I offered to let him come back in a few weeks to get ready for the regionals,” Daniels said. “He said that he didn’t want to do that because it wouldn’t be fair to the other players. That’s the kind of kid he was.”
Less than 24 hours before that fatality, Reed was killed in Joliet on Sunday night when the motorcycle on which she was a passenger crashed through the brick wall of a building, Joliet police said.
Reed, 24, and Patrick Ortiz, 34, of Channahon, were killed when Ortiz’s Harley-Davidson jumped a curb and collided with the building, police said.
The motorcycle was traveling at a high-rate of speed on Barney Drive and jumped the curb at a T intersection at Glenwood Avenue.
Reed died in the emergency room at 9:27 p.m. and Ortiz died in the emergency room at 9:54 p.m. at Saint Joseph Medical Center, according to the Will County Coroner’s office.
Police do not believe Ortiz had been drinking.
In other news:
• Leah Wright of Palos Hills was found asleep while she was at the drive-thru of the Palos Hills Taco Bell, 7601 W. 111th Street last Thursday.

WHATIZIT? for 9-18-14

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

A lot of right answers. A lot of wrong answers.WHATIZIT-9-18b
It was kind of like watching a Bears game.
Last week’s guest photo taken by Oak Lawn’s Robin Fullarton was of Dippin’ Dots. A lot of folks got it right early, causing the weasels on the Board of Directors to fret if they would have to research to see if this would be a Whatizit? world record for correct guesses. But later in the game, we received a bevy of guesses for Pop Rocks candy (and one of Trix Cereal), which were incorrect. And the directors happily went back to their naps.
And who says that kids don’t read the newspaper? Chicago Ridge’s Casey Barker, 12, was the first to chomp up the right answer and added “Dippin Dots are one of my most favorite treats! Yum!’’
Other Dot dandies were Oak Lawn’s Steve Rosenbaum, Dan and Laura Heneghan and Cynthia Foulkes,Evergreen Park’s Amanda Callas and Henrietta Mysliwiec, plus Worth’s Mary Kurdziel, Theresa and George Rebersky and Sandy Joiner
Also dipping in with the right answer were Chicago Ridge’s Dana Oswald, Kathy Higgins and Patty Vandenberg, Orland Park’s Lisa Keysboe, Palos Heights’ Janet Lombard, the Friday Poker Ladies and Ice Cream Connoisseur Club from the O-Towns and Jim Cap from parts unknown.
The clue for this week is that this thing was mentioned in a Bruce Springsteen song.
Send those guesses by Monday night to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with WHATIZIT in the subject line. Don’t forget your name and hometown.

Jeff Vorva's ImPRESSions: These two men have touched a lot of lives

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

Jeffs Col Impressions

Tom Mulhern is dying.
  Ron Moir died in August.
  Chances are good that no one in this area heard of either one of these two gentlemen but since this tends to be such a small world, it wouldn’t surprise me if a couple of you do know who they are.
  Major league entertainers such as Robin Williams and Joan Rivers have passed with great fanfare and rightfully so because they touched so many lives.
  Mulhern and Moir may not have touched pag3-moir-for-jv-colRon Moir (top photo) died in August and wasn’t around to find out the massive impact he left on people’s lives while Tom Mulhern (bottom photo) has a one-in-a-million disease and has had an opportunity to find out how many lives he has touched. Bottom photo courtesy of Wisconsin State Journal.Page-3-Mulhernmillions of lives, but they have touched thousands and made a huge impact on people they have come in contact with.
  Moir was my nephew. He died suddenly at age 48. His death was a huge shock to our family. He didn’t seem to have any health issues that we knew of, but succumbed to a blood clot to the lung and was gone.
  I would see him a couple of times a year and knew that he worked his way up the educational ladder and reached the lofty position of principal at a grade school in Ottawa. Illinois, not Canada.
  His wake drew about 1,000 people. Some folks had to stand in line for two hours to get close to the casket. There were teachers, students, former students, parents, colleagues and even a woman who drove a school bus who had glowing things to say about him.
  The Ottawa Times did a story on him and reporter Michael Billy regaled stories of how Ron brought freeze pops for teachers and workers in the building during 100 degree days his first summer as the school’s boss and how he helped a special needs student with his bus situation after trouble brewed.
  “He went above and beyond for my son,” the student’s mother told Billy.
  Those are the kind of things that didn’t come up during our Thanksgiving conversations. We talked Cubs. We talked books. We talked history.
  We talked about our kids and their athletic careers. When he got to the top as a principal, we started talking about the jolly fun we had of attending school board meetings.
  After we burped up turkey and watched football games, it never occurred to him to say “Oh, by the way, a couple of weeks ago I helped a special-needs kid with his bus situation.” It was just another of many cool things that he did for people that was routine for him. No reason to bring it up.
  Way up north in North Dakota, a journalist named Jerry Burnes wrote a column about how Ron was his journalism teacher at Wilmington High School and inspired him to get into this racket. “I am forever thankful to you, Moir, and I hope you keep on reading,” was how Burnes closed the tribute.
  Having someone die sudden and young is tragic enough but it’s also a shame that Ron wasn’t around to see how many lives he touched or all the nice things these people in the funeral home had to say about him.
  That brings me to Mulhern.
  I worked with Tom in the mid-1980s in Joliet and we weren’t real close. However I do remember a long phone conversation I had with him while I was mulling leaving home to take a full-time job in Crystal Lake. He gave good advice and was very encouraging to me and it lessened my angst about taking the job.
  Another thing that I remember is that my mom, who usually only read my stories in the sports section, somehow became a big fan of his columns. There was something about his writing style she liked. After I left Joliet to work in Crystal Lake, she called one day tell me Mulhern was leaving to take his dream job of covering the Green Bay Packers and how much she would miss him.
  I would bump into him every year or two and it was evident that covering the Pack wasn’t exactly a dream job anymore and he left that beat and spent the rest of his career on the University of Wisconsin football beat.
  This summer, he found out he was a one-in-a-million guy.
  And that’s not a good thing.

Food for thought - EP shoppers still on hold for Mariano’s

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Mariano’s opened its doors in Oak Lawn on Sept. 9 but Evergreen Park residents will have a few more months to wait before the popular grocery store opens its doors in their village.

Evergreen Park Mayor Jim Sexton said the success of Mariano’s grand opening in Oak Lawn is a good sign for the Evergreen Park store, although he knows some of his residents have already crossed the border and have shopped at the Oak Lawn market.
“We’ll just have to steal all the shoppers back,” Sexton joked at Monday night’s village board meeting. “I’m sure ours will be nicer.”
So when will the new place open in EP?
“We’re still hoping for a spring opening,” Sexton said. “It got a slow start.”
In the meantime, the village board approved a business license for PetSmart, 2603 W. 95th St., which will be located adjacent to Mariano’s. That store is expected to open in October.
Mariano’s and PetSmart will be located on the former Webb Chevrolet dealership site.
Mariano’s originally was expected to open for the holiday season, but the past rough winter and some minor issues with ComEd caused the store to push its projected opening date to early 2015, Sexton said.

The 70,000-square-foot store will feature produce, seafood, a sushi and oyster bar, flowers, salads, a coffee shop, wood-fired pizza oven, homemade salsas, a bakery, a deli, fresh meat, a cheese counter and prepared foods.
In other business, the village board:
• Approved a real estate contact with Dr. Hamdi M. Khilfeh, who plans to open offices at the former Hornburg-Klein Evergreen Funeral Home, 2955 W. 95th St. The village purchased the property about one year ago. Sexton said it is ideal for a physician’s office because of its proximity to Little Company of Mary Hospital.
Sexton said most of the historical building will be kept intact.
“They’re going to leave the majority of the building up. The main part of the building and the integrity of the building is staying,” Sexton said.