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Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook: Bears, Packers, Redhawks and Bulldogs?

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

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Photo by Jeff Vorva. Marist coaches, who are having a disagreement with officials early in Friday night’s upset win over Bolingbrook, hope to guide their team to the Class 8A state championship. The Bears will honor all of the state champion teams when they play Green Bay in late December.

Column-Edit-NoteThe Bears host the Packers on what could be a frozen tundra at Soldier Field on Dec. 29.

Who knows which quarterbacks will show up for those teams? That will be a crapshoot. Jake Cutler and Aaron Rodgers could be in traction by the time that game rolls around.

The Bears also invited to the game head coaches and player representatives from the eight Illinois High School Association football champions.

Who knows who will show up for that? That will also be a crapshoot. But the Reporter area still has two horses still left in this race.

The quarterfinals are this weekend and Marist is still alive in Class 8A and Richards is one of eight teams left in Class 6A. The Redhawks host Oswego at 7 p.m. Saturday and the Bulldogs host Lincoln-Way North at 6 p.m.

If one or both teams win state titles, the halftime show should be pretty cool for them.

The ceremony will include state championship game highlights on the video boards, courtesy of Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

“The Chicago Bears are dedicated to supporting high school football throughout the state of Illinois, and we will be proud to recognize our 2013 football state champion teams during halftime of our game on December 29,” said Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey in a news release. “Winning a state title is a monumental accomplishment, and we look forward to congratulating each championship team.”

The IHSA football state title games will be played at Huskie Stadium on the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb on Friday and Saturday, November 29-30.

What are the chances we get someone there?

Now that Marist knocked Bolingbrook, Class 8A looks a little more wide open. How about a Marist-Maine South championship two days after Thanksgiving in DeKalb? That would be a rematch from 2009, and that didn’t work out so well for the Redhawks in a 41-17 loss. A little revenge could be in order.

Richards’ big obstacle could be Providence in the semifinals. That team finished 5-4 during the regular season but played arguably one of the strongest schedules in the state.

It should be a fun couple of weeks full of twists and turns. And we’re not just talking about the limbs of Cutler and Rodgers.
Game of the year?

Evergreen Park’s thrilling 45-44 win over Argo is one of five games considered for the CN100 Game of the Year honors. Voting runs through Nov. 24.

The CN100 Game of the Week crew covered 17 games around Chicagoland this year and has narrowed the field down to the five best. Fans can select the CN100 Game of the Year by going to http://www.cn100.tv/game_of_the_week.aspx to make their choice.

The five games in contention are:

  • Evergreen Park vs. Argo (taped Oct. 15): Don Oresky strips the ball and returns the fumble for a fourth-quarter touchdown to give the Mustangs a 45-44 win over Argo.
  • Wheaton North vs. Wheaton Warrenville South (taped Sept. 13): The Tigers score 17 unanswered points and hold on to take down their crosstown rivals 17-13 in a Week 3 meeting.
  • Oak Forest vs. Lemont (taped Sept. 20): Oak Forest kicks a late field goal for the 23-21 comeback win to snap an eight-game losing streak to Lemont.
  • Lincoln-Way East vs. Bolingbrook (taped Oct. 18): The Raiders clinch their first conference title since 2009 with a 12-3 victory over Lincoln-Way East in Week 8 action.
  • Neuqua Valley vs. Waubonsie Valley (taped Oct. 11): Broc Rutter threw three touchdown passes and Mikey Dudek returned a kick 77 yards as Neuqua defeated rival Waubonsie 40-25 in Indian Prairie Classic.

Ms. Senior America crowned

  A few weeks ago, this press release came in and I didn’t have as much time or space to devote to it as I do now. I’m not sure this event was on TV so this is news to all of us:

Longtime Charlie Daniels Band background vocalist Carolyn Corlew was crowned Ms. Senior America at the National pageant at Resorts Casino Hotel’s Superstar Theater in Atlantic City, NJ. The competition featured 34 women age 60 and older from around the country. Corlew won the title of Ms. Senior Tennessee April 27th.

While representing Wilson County at the Tennessee State convention, Corlew encouraged ladies that have reached the “Age of Elegance” to consider participating in the pageant.

  “I am thrilled, honored and so excited about wearing this crown for the next year,” said Corlew.

  “These women were over the top — there were professional dancers, opera singers from Broadway... I sang a bluesy Etta James song and we had a 93 year old that rocked the competition. I’m blown away. From this point it’s spirit, mind and then body — it’s gotta come from within. I’ve got a 20-pound dress on and a crown and I’m proud to represent all the senior women of America!”

Out of the RED with Terrible Ted

  • Written by Kevin M. Coyne

Nugent helps Ridge turn profit on event that lost money in ‘12

 Ted Nugent took the stage at RidgeFestPage-1-COLOR-2-col-NugeAfter RidgeFest lost $30,000 in 2012, Ted Nugent warmed the coffers a little despite chilly weather at the event in July. for the third time since 2007 in July.

  In between songs, he used profanities.
  He launched some tirades toward state and federal elected officials.
  He peppered the audience in Chicago Ridge with a few controversial right-wing rants.
  Oh, and he helped RidgeFest get out of the red and slightly into the black.
  The man known as the Motor City Madman and Terrible Ted helped offset some unseasonably cold weather and officials revealed at Tuesday night’s board meeting that the fest made what is so far a $3,659 profit for the village.
  Village officials are still waiting to receive a final bill from the Chicago Ridge Parks and Recreation Department. The profit may be even smaller once the village is invoiced.
  It’s still an improvement from last year’s loss of more than $30,000. RidgeFest 2012 titled “RidgeFest: Reloaded” featured former Poison front man Bret Michaels and American Idol contestant James Durbin.
  Last year, ticket prices were at an all-time high for Michaels and Durbin, costing as much as $25 for non-residents. This year village officials charged $15 for headliners Ted Nugent and the rock group Infinity. In addition to lowering prices, tickets were made available online and at a discounted price for Chicago Ridge residents.
  “We made a profit every year except for three years and RidgeFest is now going on 24 years,” said Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar. “We obviously did not make the profits we had expected but we did turn a small profit.”
  Village officials believe the chilly July 25-28 weekend hurt attendance and beer sales. In total the village had $204,721 in expenses and $208,380 in revenues.
  Despite Nugent making the same outlandish comments in 2011 and 2013 that Attorney General Eric Holder is running guns to Mexico and President Obama is a criminal, “Nugent did super the first and the second time he performed at RidgeFest,” Tokar said.
  “The reason that I think we had a problem this year with not bringing in the dollar we expected is because the temperature was 58 degrees on July 28, clearly to me that says it all,” Tokar said. “So you still have all those expenses you have to meet and people are not coming in or visiting the beer garden so you get killed on both of those items, attendance and beer sales.”
  Next year, the village will celebrate its 100th anniversary and plans to highlight local bands such as the Neverly Brothers while determining a fair amount to spend on a big name headliner.
  “Next year is going to be our centennial, which is a once in a lifetime event so we are going to determine how much we’re willing to spend for a headliner and still manage our special events fund,” Tokar said. “We want to highlight local artists from Chicago Ridge while still providing a headliner for our 100th anniversary.”

Almost halfway there

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Oak Lawn shooting for 100 percent transparency

  Oak Lawn will receive a progress report Tuesday on its goal to improve governmental transparency.

  The Illinois Policy Institute will release its online transparency audit for the largest 25 communities in the state by population. Oak Lawn is No. 23 on the population list.
  Mayor Sandra Bury said that in October, the village’s score was a 41.5.
  “This is what we inherited,” Bury said Tuesday afternoon. “We’re just starting the process. It’s not going to come overnight.”
  Orland Park in 2011 became the first governmental entity to receive a perfect score on the institute’s Local Transparency Project. The village maintained that score on the upcoming audit, Village Clerk Joe La Margo said.
  “That’s our goal, too,” Oak Lawn Village Clerk Jane Quinlan said.
  The village expects to have a redesigned website up and running before the end of the year, Quinlan said. The new, easier-to-navigate site will give residents access to the information recommended by the IPI, she said.
  “We’ll then have the capabilities for all this. It will be easier to follow,” Quinlan said.
  The village already posts on its website much of the information recommended by the IPI, but the site is difficult to navigate, Quinlan said.
  Garnering a respectable score on the audit is not especially difficult, but getting a top score takes some time and effort, said Brian Costin, the IPI’s the director of government reform.
  For example, posting annual documents such as budgets and audits as well the contact information for municipal officials can secure an 80-percent figure on the survey, Costin said.
  “You can get a pretty decent score without expending a whole lot of effort,” Costin said. “The categories that are a little harder are meeting minutes and board packets.”
  LeMargo said achieving the perfect score was a time-consuming process, but he praised the IPI for its assistance.
  “They gave us a lot of guidance,” LeMargo said.
  Organizing and posting archival information was the most difficult part of the process, he said, adding that the village spent five months gathering and organizing the information for the website required on the IPI’s checklist.
  Transparency has been at the center of political debate in Oak Lawn, as critics of Bury repeatedly chastise her for talking about the issue but failing to take action.
  Trustee Robert Streit recently proposed his own ordinance calling for website transparency.
  “My ordinance would codify the need for transparency and what our website, at the minimum, should contain,” said Streit, who proposed the ordinance at the Oct. 22 village board meeting.
  But the village’s legislative, license and ethics committee on Aug. 20 discussed implementation of the transparency checklist, which includes many of the same points listed in Streit’s proposed ordinance.
  Although the committee has discussed a transparency checklist, Streit said no action has been taken.
  “I have not seen any proposal from the mayor regarding transparency,” he said. “I also never saw any campaign literature that set forth a comprehensive transparency plan for the website. That is why I proposed my own ordinance.”
  Streit’s proposed ordinance, which was not discussed at the board meeting, calls for the village website to include:
  • Contact information for elected and administrative officials;
  • Meeting information, including village board meeting packets and videos of meetings;
  • Public records, including information regarding the submission of freedom of information requests;
  • Village budgets and audits as well as fund expenditures for the past five years;
  • TIF expenditures;
  • Salary and benefits for village employees and officials;
  • Contract bids and proposals;
  • The names of lobbying associations that village funded within the past five years;
  • Information on tax rates;
  • The names of contractors who do business with the village as well as information regarding building and zoning applications.
  Streit said his ordinance calls on the village to do than required by the IPI’s checklist.
  “For instance, I placed a provision on the ordinance that requires (a recording of) the board meetings placed on the website. I also placed a provision on the ordinance that requires the site to have a language conversion button for Spanish and Polish,” Streit said.
  The Illinois Policy Institute in October issued a transparency report for the state’s 102 counties. The report found that 22 counties do not have websites. The 81 counties with websites had an average score of 32.8 on the audit.
  Additionally, 90 counties failed the institute’s 10-point transparency check list, and only three scored 90 percent or higher.

‘I know who my daughter is’

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Grieving Worth mother disputes Cook County prosecutor’s claim of pill purchase during night of her daughter’s death

 

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Photo by Jeff Vorva. A mourner brings a cross that was placed in a memorial for Brittany Wawrzyniak during a vigil on a cold Monday night in Worth.

 

  Rebecca Tully sat in the living room of her Worth home Monday morning struggling to understand why anyone would harm her daughter, Brittany Wawrzyniak.

“What happened was pointless,” Tully said. “I think there’s a lot we don’t know.”

Twenty four hours later, as she made last-minute preparations for her daughter’s wake, Tully fervently disputed the scenario that led to her daughter’s death, which was outlined by Cook County prosecutors.

Prosecutors said Wawrzyniak, 18, died Friday after she was ejected from the backseat of an alleged drug dealer’s car after buying pills from him.

Wawrzyniak met Eric Steven Johnson at the boat launch near 115th Street and Beloit Avenue. She got into the backseat of his car and handed him $200 in exchange for 30 pills of Clonazepam, prosecutors said.

Hoops removal demanded by OL residents

  • Written by Bob Rakow

 

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Photo by Bob Rakow. Oak Lawn resident Paul Egan asks the Oak Lawn Park Board why upgrades to Little Wolfe Park did not include removal of the basketball courts. Several residents attended the meeting to call for the hoops to come down following an August fight that led to two arrests.

 

  The basketball hoops at Oak Lawn’s Little Wolfe Park will stay up for now despite protests Monday night from a small group of residents who live near the park.

Park District commissioners decided to consider the matter further at a future committee meeting rather than vote on a proposal to remove the hoops from the park.

“We do understand your frustrations, but things take time, park board President Sue Murphy said at Monday’s meeting.

The six residents who spoke at the meeting, including village Trustee Carol Quinlan, strongly urged park commissioners to remove the hoops. Residents have called for the removal of the hoops following an Aug. 14 fight involving two groups of teens, which led to two arrests.

Quinlan attended the park board’s September meeting and said the fight was not an isolated incident. Instead, she said, the court was used throughout the summer by troublemakers from outside the village. The poor conduct led other patrons, such as parents with young children, to avoid the park, she said.