Evergreen Mariano’s moves opening date to early 2015

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Evergreen Park residents won’t be able to shop at Mariano’s during the 2014 holiday season, but the upscale grocery store is set to open early the following year.
“They’re a couple of months behind,” Mayor Jim Sexton said Monday.
The rough winter and some minor issues with ComEd have caused the store to push its projected opening date to January 2015, Sexton said.
“That’s the target date,” he said.
The Evergreen Park Village Board Monday amended the village’s economic development agreement with Mariano’s to reflect the change in the anticipated opening date.
“We’re just pushing the date back,” Sexton said.
Mariano’s will be located at 95th Street and Washtenaw Avenue on the site of the former Webb Chevrolet dealership, which closed more than five years ago.
A traffic signal will be installed at 95th Street and Washtenaw Avenue to accommodate the traffic generated by the store.
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 Oak Lawn, Mariano’s is making steady progress on a store that will be anchor Stony Creek Promenade at 111th Street and Cicero Avenue. That store is scheduled to open in September and is currently hiring staff, said Oak Lawn Village Manager Larry Deetjen.
Sexton said the presence of Mariano’s in a neighboring community might help promote the Evergreen Park location.
“I think it’s good. Maybe it will help,” the mayor said.
The store’s decision to locate in Evergreen Park was announced in June 2013 and is the result of three years of work negotiations between Mariano’s CEO Bob Mariano and village officials.
Mariano’s has locations in Chicago, the northwest suburbs and Frankfort. It is owned by Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarkets, which operates four other supermarket chains in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Park Presentation
The village will showcase for residents the 50-Acre Park, 91st Street and Rockwell Avenue, from 5-7 p.m. July 31.
Residents are invited to tryout the park’s golf range at no charge, visit the dog park and get instruction on how to play disc golf. A disc jockey will entertain and Meijer’s will provide hot dogs and beverages, Sexton said.

Jeff Vorva's imPRESSions: Hours of work result in seconds of film time

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


PAGE-3-4-col-band-wit-jv-colShepard’s band spent hours preparing for a promotional Chicago Fire video and while the video is excellent, the Astros received scant time in the finished product. Photo by Jeff Vorva.Wait a second!Jeffs Col Impressions
And I literally mean a second. Or two.
Is that it?
Is that all there is?
After all that?
Wow, what a waste of time.
The Chicago Fire last week released a promotional video and it’s great.
It’s about three minutes of a parody of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’’ called “Mike Magee’s Day Off” in which Fire star Mike Magee takes a day off from practice.
Magee makes a living scoring goals and this shows that when he is through, he could go into acting. He has some comedic acting chops as proven in this video.
The important message to the video is that life goes by too fast and if you don’t stop to catch a Fire game once in a while – you might miss it.
The video is almost perfect.
On Good Friday, April 18, they shot a scene in the Toyota Park parking lot. It was mimicking the parade scene from the Bueller film.
The Shepard band had the honor of participating. We ran a handful of photos from that day in the April 24 edition of the Reporter.
If you get a chance, go back and look at those photos again. You will see more of the Shepard band in them than you will in the video.
For about two seconds, all you see of the Shepard band is some of the drummers hidden behind their drums and a very long view of the float where were you can see a few horn players.
That’s it.
Band members got up early in the morning and travelled from the Palos Heights school to Bridgeview and spent a few hours warming up and getting ready. I stuck around for a couple of hours in the late morning watching them shoot scenes over and over.
It was a long and, at times, boring process even though just about every scene had people screaming and, cheering and singing during each take.
I had enough pictures and left. I was told that it went on for a few more hours.
After all that work and energy spent, all the Astros got out of it was a couple of seconds on the screen. Even in this modern day of technology, where you can freeze a scene on your phone, there is not much to see here.
While I’m disappointed for the band members, I’m not ripping the production staff because this kind of stuff goes on all the time – and it’s even more multiplied with a big Hollywood production. A lot of time and energy is completely wasted when scenes make it to the cutting-room floor and are never aired.
It’s just a fact of life in the business and maybe it’s lucky the band even picked up the precious two seconds it received.
Magee’s message is true that life goes by too fast…
…but not as fast as the Shepard band’s cameo in “Mike Magee’s Day Off.”

Not rooting for this beer
During a trip to Milwaukee last week, my son, T.J., and I stopped at a brand new A&W restaurant because he had a hankering for some of the famous root beer on tap that the restaurant is known for. It’s smooth and tasty.
We received our cold, frosty glasses and moved to where we thought the tap should be and…
…there was no tap.
The regular A&W root beer was mixed in with all the other fizzy pop at the machine. It used to be an island unto itself. Special. Now it is mixed in with the other mopes.
While the root beer itself wasn’t fizzy, it was relatively smooth but not smooth enough. It didn’t have the same taste.
I don’t know if all of the restaurants are tapping out on the tap, but if they do, methinks they are making a big mistake.


CR fire negotiations wrapping up soon?

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Members of the union that represents Chicago Ridge firefighters were pleased that a proposal to cut two lieutenant positions from the department was discarded last week by the village board.

The union and Mayor Chuck Tokar also believe that negotiations on a new firefighters’ contract are making significant progress and a deal could be finalized within a month.
“I think things are going well,” Tokar said Monday.
He added that contract between the village and the fire department union could be approved as soon as the next village board meeting.
Negotiators are working on a four-year deal that includes a cost-of-living increase in the final year, the mayor said.
The current contract expired in January, and the union and village have negotiated the terms of a new deal since October 2013, union president Chris Schmelzer said.
“I think we’ll be able to get (a contract) done,” he said.
The village’s plan to remove from the village budget two of the department’s lieutenant spots died for lack of a second at the July 15 village board meeting.
“That was a pleasant surprise,” Schmelzer said. “I did not expect it coming. It was great news.”
Schmelzer said the appearance at last week’s board meeting by two former village trustees coupled with complaints from residents likely led to the board’s decision to continue to fund the lieutenant positions.
Former trustees Don Pratl and Juanita Babcock both spoke on the matter at the meeting. Babcock’s son is a member of the village’s fire department.
Other residents who attended the meeting urged the board not to eliminate the lieutenant spots, citing their importance to the fire department, especially as shift leaders.
Schmelzer said other residents emailed and called village officials to protest the proposal.
“We always have faith in the public,” Schmelzer said.
Village trustees last Tuesday also approved an intergovernmental agreement with Oak Lawn that calls on Oak Lawn Chief George Sheets to head the Chicago Ridge Fire Department.
The agreement says Sheets will serve as Chicago Ridge chief through 2016 while maintaining his duties in Oak Lawn.
Trustees Sally Durkin and Daniel Bandon voted against the agreement, which Oak Lawn officials unanimously approved July 8.
Durkin said she opposed the agreement because it was put forth without board input.
Tokar said he’s met with other mayors and fire protection district officials to discuss the village’s options for the future of the fire department.
Schmelzer said he met with Sheets and anticipates a “good working relationship” with the man who has led the Oak Lawn Fire Department since 2009.
“I’m optimistic,” he said.
Sheets will dedicate about 15 hours a week to the Chicago Ridge Fire Department. His first task, he said, is to examine the department in an effort to improve services and cost efficiencies.
Sheets replaces Fire Chief Robert Muszynski, who resigned recently at the request of Mayor Chuck Tokar.
Muszynski, who took over as chief in early 2011, supported the hiring of an additional seven or eight firefighters/paramedics who would be based at fire station at 107th Street and Lombard Avenue, Tokar said.
But Tokar has said the village cannot absorb the costs of staffing a second station.
That Lombard Avenue station currently is used for training and to store equipment, the mayor said.
However, many residents have asked the village to consider having a second ambulance and possibility a fire truck at the station, which would reduce the response time to a large number of homes in the village.
The village’s other fire station is located in the industrial park and is not located near some of the village’s residential areas.

Climbing up the charts, er, ladder

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

Legendary disc jockey Dick Biondi, page-1-3-col-biondi-2R83, was a guest celebrity at the second Battle in the Burbs event Sunday at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood. But before the softball action between area mayors and police/fire chiefs took place, Biondi decided to climb a 60-foot Crestwood Fire Department ladder, which was visible beyond the left field fence. Biondi said his father was a fireman, and the DJ said he always liked heights. He said he once sat on top of the Sears Tower.
Meanwhile the game, which was a benefit for the Illinois Special Olympic, also had its share of high-flying thrills as the chiefs beat the mayors for the second straight year, 19-8. Photos by Jeff Vorva.PAGE-1-2-col-biondi

From running with the devil to... Walking with Jesus

  • Written by Tim Hadac

Harvest Bible pastor admits he was a ‘long

haired, drug using, deceitful drummer’ 

Filled with faith in Jesus Christchurchpage 3cols PastorHall 071714Former “Stoner” Ryan Hall (photo below, with his future wife, Lauren) is now the pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel. Top photo by Tim Hadac. Bottom photo submitted.churchpage 2cols longhairedguyandblonde 071714 and pastoring a vibrant, growing church is not something Ryan Hall—or probably anyone who knew him—would have predicted for his future, back when he was a scruffy Palos Hills kid attending Stagg High School.
“I was a stoner--a long-haired, drug using, deceitful drummer in a heavy metal band,” he recalled in a conversation last Sunday morning before services at the new home of Harvest Bible Chapel, 6600 W. 127th St., Palos Heights. “I made trouble, I stole things.”
Raised Roman Catholic, Hall attended religious education classes and received the sacraments at St. Patricia Church in Hickory Hills.
“They did their job in giving me the facts, but my heart was not filled with faith,” Hall remembered about his boyhood. “I didn’t believe what I heard, so to me it was a joke. Even in high school, I viewed religion as a joke. God was a joke, Christians were a joke.
“It wasn’t until I was a freshman at Moraine [Valley Community College] that I was struck to the heart with the reality that I was a sinful man who needs a savior,” he added. “I had known about Jesus, but I had not known what he needed to do for me.”
Shortly after he had found Jesus, Hall met his future wife, Lauren.
“She grew up in Palos Heights,” he said. “As children, we had the same pediatrician, swam at the same pool, but we never actually met until college, when the bass player in my heavy metal Wax Illusions told her about me and got her phone number. He just knew her as a waitress at Country House Restaurant.”
Though their first phone convesation went well and lasted a few hours, others may have seen them as a bit of an odd couple.