Leave the guns at home, please

  • Written by Tim Hadac

 Half marathon officials worried about race fans packing heat at May event

If you’re coming to the run, don’t bring your gun, organizersPAGE-1-COLOR-2-col-cops-and-gunsThe 2014 First Midwest Half Marathon will have less of a gun presence from police this year but race officials are concerned that fans will be bringing concealed weapons to the May event. Photo by Jeff Vorva. of the 2014 First Midwest Bank Half Marathon said last Friday.
“We don’t want guns at the race, and Illinois law allows us to prohibit them at an event like this,” said Jeff Prestinario, chairman of the event committee that met at the Palos Heights Recreation Center, 6601 W. 127th St.
“It’s like the Wild, Wild West. Check your guns before you come into the town,” he added with a chuckle.
The issue was raised by Palos Heights police Sgt. Adam Nagy, when he told his fellow committee members that while implementation of the state’s Firearm Concealed Carry Act is proceeding slowly, there may be some local residents who have concealed carry permits by May, when the event will be held.
“I don’t want to infringe on anyone’s rights,” Nagy told the group, “but the law allows guns to be prohibited at special events or public gatherings that require a permit.”
He added that if the committee chose to ban guns, it would need to obtain a permit from Palos Heights and then post signs about the ban at regular points along the race route.
Prestinario said that he and others on the committee will move forward with the permit and signs, although details—including the exact wording—need to be worked out.

Bury gives Rivet-ing village address

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury used her first state of the village address TuesdayPAGE-3-2-col-rosieSandra the mayor meets Rosie the Riveter. Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury, bottom photo, uses a slide of Rosie the Riveter, above, to show the strength of the village when it works together during her state of the village address on Tuesday. Photo by Jeff Vorva.Page-3-2-col-Sandra to tout several accomplishments and outline some plans for the future.

Bury spoke before members of the Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the annual speech during a lunch at the Oak Lawn Hilton.

She also used visuals aids that included plenty of facts, figures and a slide of the iconic Rosie the Riveter to explain the importance of everyone in the village working together.
Bury was flanked by several village department heads, who she said were largely responsible for the village’s 2013 achievements.
Bury announced that Flap-Jacks Restaurant, a popular Oak Lawn eatery that closed in November after an 18-year run near the corner of 111th Street and Cicero Avenue, would reopen at the former Top Notch Beefburgers, near 95th Street and Hilton Drive. Top Notch closed in 2010 as a result of declining sales.
Keeping the popular restaurant in town was important, said Bury, who added that the village issued 40 business licenses in 2013.
Bury touched on several accomplishments achieved by the village board since she was sworn in 10 months ago. For example, the board:
Worked out a $3.2 million impact fee with Christ Medical Center, which Bury termed “historic.”
The launch of a new website that is easily navigable and gives resident access to information not available on the previous site.
The referendum on the March ballot that will allow voters to decide on term limits for elected officials.

Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook: Good reception — a salute to local radio stations

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

jeff column

A few weeks ago, I attended a wake of a guy by the name of Don Ladas.
For 50-plus years, he was a sports announcer and ad salesman for WJOL radio in Joliet and hosted a long-running show dedicated to local bowling. He also published a sports newspaper in the area and was the second person to ever pay me money for writing.
He was a giant in the Joliet area. It wouldn’t surprise me if a few of our readers heard about him out here.
Ladas and the other people during the station’s heyday represented something that some people don’t get to experience – a community radio station.
While people around here have Chicago stations to turn to, people in Joliet and Will County swear by WJOL. Sometimes they swear at it but mostly they swear by it.
When I was growing up, it was local during all Page-3-3-col-jv-colDon Ladas, who died in January, was a part of a community radio station for a half decade. He was honored at the Rialto Square Theatre in 2009. Photo by Jeff Vorva.of the daytime hours and most of the nighttime hours with music, area news and sports.
Now it’s a part of a big media conglomeration, but still has local morning and afternoon drive-time programming and high school football and basketball games.

The rest is syndicated shows. It’s not the same time frame, but the reduced local clock they work with still has plenty of quality programming.
People turn to their local radio stations for news about what’s going on in their town. This station covers the usual stuff such as board meetings and elections. But Joliet is pretty lively with big time crimes and gang violence dotting the landscape and the Will County area has its shares of tornados and floods to report on.
Joliet is also a town with the Des Plaines River running through it and five drawbridges that could muck up traffic. The station used to announce which bridge was up and which bridge was next to rise. My old man always wondered how they knew that, but there was some electronic gizmo in their previous studios on what they called “Top Radio Hill’’ that would alert them when a bridge was ready to lift.

Flaming Grill not extinguished

  • Written by Bob Rakow

A Chicago Ridge restaurant kept its doors open Tuesday after the owner paid a $100 fine for sanitation violations.

  But it was close to having its doors shut by the village.
  Additionally, Flaming Grill Buffet agreed to pay food and beverage taxes it owes the village by the end of the day Wednesday, Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar said.
  The restaurant, 101 Commons Drive, has paid the village the food and beverage tax for November and December, but still owes for May through October, Tokar said.
  The restaurant owners failed to show up Monday for a village hearing intended to discuss the food and beverage tax owed to the village.
  Monday’s hearing was the second in a month that restaurant representatives failed to attend. They initially were scheduled to appear at a Jan. 28 hearing.
  Tokar said a notice of both meetings was sent to the restaurant via certified mail and a copy was hand delivered. Tokar continued the first hearing to Monday and said failure to show up would result in a business license suspension.

Oak Lawn looking for funds to construct indoor swimming pool

  • Written by Bob Rakow


  The Oak Lawn Park District is hoping to a secure a state grant that would be used to fund construction of an indoor swimming pool.
  The district will apply for a $2.5 million Illinois Park and Recreational Facility Construction grant to pay for an indoor lap pool that would be located at the Oak Lawn Community Pavilion, 9401 S. Oak Park Ave., park district director Maddie Kelly said.
  The cost of the pool is estimated at $3 million. The park board on Monday night reviewed the proposal that the district will submit in March.
  “They just became available,” Kelly said. “We’re going to try for it again.”
  The park district two years ago secured a $4.3 million PARC grant, which was used to fund construction of the additional gym space at the Pavilion and the splash pad at Memorial Park, 102nd and Major Avenue. The addition to the Pavilion opened in January.