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Hickory hopes cameras deter park problems

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  Vandalism is on the decline at a small Hickory Hills park thanks to security cameras that were installed several weeks ago, a park district official said.
  Prairie View Park, a four-acre park located near 82nd Avenue and 85th Street, has long been plagued by vandalism, said park district Director Jennifer Fullerton.
  The park board spent $8,000 to purchase the cameras, which were designed to stem the ongoing problem, she said.
  “We’ve always had a lot of vandalism there,” said Fullerton, who said the park’s remote location is appealing to vandals.
  She said the district appealed to residents who live near the park for help, but no one came forward with information about the vandalism.
  The park was closed for several months four years ago after someone spread paint shavings and dust on the playground equipment, Fullerton said. A hazmat team was called in to clean up the damage.
  Since that time, the district maintenance staff faced an uphill battle cleaning graffiti off the playground equipment, sometimes spending 30 hours a week on the task.
  “In time, it will be less expensive to have the cameras,” she said.
  The graffiti is not gang related.
  “Sometimes, you don’t know what it says,” Fullerton said.
  The three security cameras include night-vision and facial-recognition capabilities. They run 24 hours a day and can store images for up to seven days.
  Similar cameras located in another Hickory Hills park helped police catch someone who was damaging property, Fullerton said.
  Prairie View Park features two play structures; one designed for older children while the other features is equipment for preschool-age children. The park also has swing sets and a gazebo.
  Hickory Hills parks are open from dawn to dusk. The district relies on police and weekend security in addition to the cameras to ward off vandals, Fullerton said.

Monsters, goblins and ghosts to invade the area

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  The Halloween season is upon us and while the night for trick or treating is still three weeks away, there’s plenty of frightening and not so scary activities available throughout the area.

  Whether its activities for little ghouls and goblins or more chilling happenings for teens and adults, there’s certainly no shortage of things to do for those who want enjoy this forbidding time of year.

Chicago Ridge
  Chicago Ridge’s Halloween at the Park will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 26 at Freedom Park, 6252 W. Birmingham Ave. The event will feature a costume contest at 10:30 a.m. as well as children’s games, relay races and many other activities.

Evergreen Park
  The Evergreen Park Recreation Department will hold a Halloween parade from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Community Center, 3450 W. 97th St. The parade is open to children through 11 years old.
  The parade will be followed by a pumpkin patch and a Halloween movie. Refreshments will be served, and each child will receive a goodie bag. Registration is not required for the free event. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
  The Evergreen Park Recreation Department will usher out the Halloween season with a pumpkin smash from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 2. Participants can enjoy apple cider and popcorn while smashing pumpkins. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Hickory Hills
  The Hickory Hills Park District will sponsor a house decorating contest with prizes awarded to the winners.
  Anyone interested must call the park district at 598-1233 by Oct. 24. Judging will be conducted between 6:15 and 7:45 p.m. Oct. 24 and will be based on originality, lighting, arrangements and use of props.

Worth
  Worth United Methodist Church puts a different twist on Halloween by holding the Worth Haunt Against Hunger from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Village Hall, 7112 W. 111th St.
  The community awareness event is designed to bring attention to needy and hungry families as the holiday season approaches and helps stock the food pantry shelves at the United Methodist Church, 7100 W. 112th St.
  The participating haunted houses are located at: 7100 W. 115th Place, 7111 W. 114th Place, 6955 W. 114th Place, 6843 W. 114th Street and 11560 S. Nagle Ave.

Oak Lawn
  Oak Lawn’s annual Pumpkin Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Village Green.
  The event will feature a wide variety of activities, including hayrides, bobbing for apples, pony rides, a pumpkin patch, milk the cow and children’s games. The police department and fire house will be open for tours and refreshments will be served.
  The Oak Lawn Park District will hold Spookview from 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Oak View Center, 4625 W. 110th St. A children’ costume parade will begin at 1 p.m. Admission is free and $10 wristbands for all activities will be sold.
  There will be several other yard displays and haunted houses in the area:

Evergreen Park
  The Resurrection Graveyard Haunted House at 9421 S. Country Club Drive takes place Friday through Sunday, Oct. 18-20, Oct. 25-31 and Nov. 1-2. The hours are 7 to 10 p.m. on weekdays and Sundays and 7 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The fee is $5.

Oak Lawn
  The Terror on Tulley Torture at 8729 Tulley Ave. runs Friday through Sunday, Oct. 17-20, Oct. 24-27 and Oct. 31. Times are 7 to 10 p.m. on Sundays and Oct. 28 through Oct. 20 and 7 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and Oct. 31.
  The Spirits on Sproat and Gallery of the Dead at 9028 Sproat Ave. runs Friday through Sunday, Oct. 18 to 20 and Oct. 25 through Oct. 31. Hours are 7 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 28 to Oct. 30 and Oct. 31. The Gallery of the Dead is in its 10th year and features new props and lighting for 2013. Live, scary characters mingle with the crowds, so beware. The display is not recommended for younger children.
  The Midnight Terror Haunted House, 5755 W. 97th St., runs from Friday through Sunday, Oct. 17 to Oct. 20, Oct. 24 to Oct. 27 and Oct. 29 through Oct. 31. The hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Midnight Terror Haunted House started as a small yard display in 2000 and has grown in a full walk-through haunted house. More than 5,000 people passed through the haunted house last year.
Palos Hills
  The annual Haunted Hayride Through the Old Lake n Park runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 18-19 at 10801 S. Roberts Road. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children 10 and under. Halloween children’s activities will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 19 at Lake n Park. Hay wagon rides, crafts, a bounce house and the Mad Science Halloween Show all be featured during the festivities. The fee is $5 and children must be accompanied by an adult.
Worth
  The Creatures of the Blackened Night yard display at 7328 W. 113th Place takes place through Oct. 31. Hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
  The Nightmare on the Terrace, 12-room haunted house takes place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Oct. 18 to Oct. 20 and Oct. 25 through Oct. 27. The fee is $8.

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.