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‘Believe’ it - New Oak Lawn Park District holiday play will be entertaining

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  “Believe In Your Elf,” a humorous andHEILMAN PICFrankie Zabilka plays Eddy The Elf In the Oak Lawn Park District Theatre’s production of “Believe In Your Elf” alongside Natalie Heilmann, daughter of Dave Heilmann, who wrote the play. Submitted photo. heartwarming Christmas musical performed by the Oak Lawn Park District Theatre, runs for six performances Dec. 12 through Dec. 15.
  The story, which was written by former Oak Lawn Mayor Dave Heilmann, is set in the hectic few days before Christmas. As the hysterical elves and tap- dancing reindeer rush to be ready for Santa’s Christmas Eve flight, the stories of three families who each have their struggles heading into Christmas are told.
  The stories feature a little girl whose father is off to war, and her only wish is to see her daddy on Christmas. Santa does his best but needs the magic of one little elf named Eddy, who leaves the shelf” and teaches us that there are no bounds to what we can give if we follow our hearts and just believe.
  Songs include a new version of “Jingle Bells,” “Eddy got run over by a Reindeer,” “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” “All I Want for Christmas is You,” “Sleigh Ride Together With You,” “Believe,” “Jingle Bell Rock” and the tearjerker “Bring Him Home Santa
  The large cast of adults, teens and children come together for a show for that will make audiences laugh, cry and walk out filled with Christmas spirit.
  “Believe in Your Elf” will run at the Oak View Center, 4625 W. 110th St., at 8 p.m. on Dec. 12, 13, 14 and 15. 8 p.m. Matinee performances will be held at 3 p.m. on Dec. 14 and Dec. 15. Tickets are $21 for adults and seniors and $17 for children, 12 and under. To purchase tickets or for more information, call 708-857-2200.

Retro Reporter 12-5-13

  • Written by Compiled by Jeff Vorva

Retro Reporter Art‘Death tree’ in Palos Hills suffers its own demise
50 years ago
From the Dec. 5, 1963 edition
  The story: A tree known to some Palos Hills residents as the “death tree” at 103rd Street and Kean Avenue was destroyed by a car in a fatal accident. Earlier in the year, two teenagers were killed in two separate accidents involving the same tree.
  The quote: “Oak Lawn is centrally located, has wonderful facilities and has a fine, clean atmosphere. I’m sure we can create a model court here.’’ — Judge Irving Eiserman on building a district court in Oak Lawn.
  Fun fact: Hawkinson Ford was offering a brand new Galaxie 300 with a heater for $1,950.

We will steal your stuff and stab your bed
25 years ago
From the Dec. 8, 1988 edition
  The story: Burglars stabbed a waterbed with a fork before leaving a Hickory Hills apartment with a CB radio, a cordless telephone and a Walkman radio, police said.
  The quote: “It’s Thursday night—time to kick off our heels, hang up your suits, throw your apron in the closet and put on your fanciest Rebocks and jeans.” — Writer Bonnie Jean Chereskin on a review of Maggie May’s restaurant in Orland Park.
  Fun fact: Marist’s Carl Cozen brought down 25 rebounds and scored 20 points in a 63-51 victory over Holy Cross in boys basketball. “You might think I’m kidding but this wasn’t Carl’s greatest game,” Marist coach Ken Styler said. “He wasn’t at his peak on offense.”

Oscar nominee returns to Bother Rice
10 years ago
From the Dec. 4, 2003 edition
  The story: Palos Books Ltd. in Palos Hills closed after 10 years, and owner Martin Singer took the business into cyberspace as he sold his books over the internet.
  The quote: “It’s an absolutely horrible looking business,”— Hickory Hills Mayor Michael Howley after his city shut down the Hickory Hills Auto Sales used car lot.
  Fun fact: Academy Award nominated actor John C. Reilly came back to visit his alma mater — Brother Rice High School. He was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. He held a question and answer session at Mother McAuley High School.

Attorney General looks into former Oak Lawn mayor’s FOIA request

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  For the second time in less than a month, the Illinois Attorney General has agreed to review a partially denied request for information in Oak Lawn.
  The attorney general’s Public Access Bureau on Nov. 19 asked the village to respond to allegations made by former Mayor Dave Heilmann regarding a Freedom of Information Act request he submitted on Oct. 11.
  Heilmann’s FOIA request sought copies of contracts for landscape improvements performed on property on 95th Street west of the I-294 overpass as well as copies of checks paid to contractors and emails associated with the project.
  On Oct. 21, the village provided Heilmann with a copy of the invoice and a check but denied other information that he sought, specifically a proposal for the work.
  About a week later, Heilmann asked if the contractor had submitted a proposal to the village. The village responded that no proposal had been sent. Heilmann believes a proposal does exist.
  “We have determined that further inquiry is necessary,” the attorney general wrote in a letter to Carmie O’Leary, a village freedom of information officer. “Please respond to the allegations made in Mr. Heilmann’s request for review. Specifically, please clarify whether the village possesses any additional responsive records that have not already been provided to Mr. Heilmann pursuant to his FOIA request.”
  Heilmann said the village is “selectively enforcing” the Freedom of Information Act. He said that Chad Weiler, the village’s former director of business operations, whose position was eliminated earlier this year, saw the proposal.
  “The village said there was no proposal,” Heilmann said. “I don’t know why they are hiding that. Chad (Weiler) handed it to (Village Manager) Larry (Deetjen) and it’s on our email system.”
  “There’s a very dishonest thing that was done,” Heilmann added. “It’s dishonest to residents.”
  Weiler’s position was cut as a cost-saving measure, according to Deetjen. Heilmann contends that the village should not have spent approximately $19,000 on landscaping improvement at the western entrance to the village if other cost-cutting measures were needed to help balance the budget.
  The attorney general’s Public Access Bureau on Oct. 21 asked the village to provide unredacted copies of the emails requested by Trustee Carol Quinlan.
  Quinlan on Aug. 19 submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for all emails between Deetjen and village attorneys between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2012. The village partially denied her request, and provided Quinlan with a portion of the emails she requested.
  Quinlan initially requested all emails between Deetjen and the village attorney between Nov. 1, 2012, and June 1, 2013. The village denied the request claiming “that it was too burdensome because of the amount of emails that would have to be produced and reviewed and reviewed by attorneys,” Quinlan wrote.
  The village told Quinlan that there were 2,831 emails between Deetjen and attorneys during the seven-month period plus attachments. The village asked her to narrow the date range of her request.
  The Public Access Bureau grants most of the appeals it receives, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s office said. It can decide to uphold the village’s partial denial or direct it to turn over the complete records sought by Heilmann or Quinlan.

Beaming over streaming — Chicago Ridge inches closer to live meeting coverage

  • Written by Kevin M. Coyne

  Some Chicago Ridge board of trustee members think a major stride for transparency is to stream board meetings online but want to avoid the politicking and constant campaign mode seen at neighboring community city council meetings and the village hopes to hammer out the final details at its Dec. 17 meeting.
  Meanwhile at Tuesday night’s board meeting, a familiar figure stopped by to publically throw in his support for the idea.
  Don Pratl, Community High School Dist. 218 board member and Chicago Ridge resident, complimented Trustee Sally Durkin for starting the discussion regarding streaming board meetings. He encouraged the board to approve the motion despite comments that were in last week’s Reporter in which some trustees expressed concern that neighboring Oak Lawn meetings that are televised feature political speeches and campaigning.
  Pratl said Chicago Ridge should still stream the meetings.
  “The objections to bringing the board meetings to television are the same as some of the comments you made in the local newspaper about we don’t want this to be like a neighboring community,” said Pratl, a former Chicago Ridge trustee. “I don’t think that should be the focus of the discussion and I think having this discussion with the community is very important.”

  For the past eight months, School Dist. 218 board members have toiled over a way to stream board meetings and the cost of providing community access. This month the school board has accepted a proposal to stream board meetings. Pratl said the school pays roughly $9,100 to stream board meetings and most of the cost is incurred by installing microphones and audio equipment, which the village has already purchased.

  “We all represent different communities on [School Dist. 218] board and except for me all of the other board members had their meetings on television and they all reported no problems with behavior of trustees or attendees,” he said. “I think you need reach out to you constituents and I think many of them would tell you this is something they would enjoy.”
  Pratl suggested using a free YouTube account, citing a Thanksgiving video showing Great Lakes Naval Academy recruits, featured on Facebook and YouTube by Police Chief Robert Pyznarski.
  Durkin proposed streaming board meetings live either online or via a local television channel. During the Nov. 19 board meeting Durkin’s proposal was accepted pending the cost to broadcast board meetings.
  Two of the six elected officials — Amanda Cardin and John Lind — opposed streaming board meetings due the unknown cost and witnessing how streaming board meetings causes trustees in Oak Lawn to put on a show for the viewing audience. Mayor Chuck Tokar also shared his concerns.
  The village board will make a final decision at the Dec. 17 with full details on the cost and feasibility of streaming the meetings.
  “I think the entire board including myself is in favor of moving forward and we voted on moving forward last meeting,” said Tokar. “I am sure we can get that accomplished shortly.”

Let’s try it again

  • Written by Bob Rakow

After two delays, Oak Lawn officials
may green light a term limit referendum

  Terms limits for elected officials in Oak Lawn likely will be discussed at Tuesday’s village board meeting.
  Trustees must vote before the end of the year on a proposal to place a term limits referendum on the March 2014 ballot.
  The board’s Dec. 24 meeting has been cancelled, making Tuesday’s meeting the final gathering for 2013.
  The board has twice delayed action on the measure, most recently because it did not want to proceed without Village Clerk Jane Quinlan being present at the meeting.
  The mayor, village clerk and six trustees would be limited to three consecutive terms of office if voters approved the referendum question in March.
  Village officials serve four-year terms. Term limits would take effect following the 2015 elections, if approved.

  Trustee Robert Streit is the longest serving member of the board, having been elected in 1991. Trustee Alex Olejniczak and Jane Quinlan are in their third terms. Trustee Carol Quinlan is serving her second term.
  Mayor Sandra Bury and the remaining three trustees were elected in April when Bury ousted Dave Heilmann, who served for eight years. Term limit opponents argue that the April election is proof that term limits are not necessary.
  But Bury has said she’s “very committed” to setting term limits and directed the legislative license and ethics committee to recommend what the term limits should be.

  The mayor said term limits would keep the village board “fresh.”

  “New people bring in new ideas,” Bury told The Reporter shortly after she was elected. “When village trustees know they have a time frame, then they know they have four years or eight years or a certain amount of time to get things done. Without term limits, we have people who have been in office for so long, they either sit there and do nothing, or work the system so well that there is a potential for conduct that is inappropriate and can take advantage of their position.”

  Only a handful of Illinois communities, none in the southwest suburbs, have terms limits.
  Tinley Park voters last November passed a referendum asking whether the village board should establish term limits for elected officials.

  The board formed a seven-member term limits committee that investigated whether term limits in Tinley Park would prove beneficial or detrimental to the community. The commission ultimately decided it could not issue a full recommendation for the village to institute term limits for elected officials.