Pratl not rattled by election results

  • Written by Bob Rakow



Don Pratl sounded a little like Yogi Berra late Tuesday night, essentially proclaiming, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

Pratl found himself in fourth place in a race for three seats on the Chicago Ridge Village Board.

But only three votes separated him from incumbent Jack Lind, who was in third place with 654 votes, according to unofficial results.

Pratl was not prepared to concede the race.

“We are really not sure,” said Pratl, a former village trustee. “I’d rather not say anything. We have to look at everything. We want to make sure all the absentee ballots were counted.”

The top two vote getters in the six-way race were Frances Coglianese, who garnered 716 votes, and William McFarland, who received 666 votes.

Incumbent Dan Badon took fifth place with 574 votes and challenger Dave Conrad, a member of the Chicago Ridge Park Board, came in last with 477 votes.

Incumbent Michael Davies decided not to seek re-election.

Pratl, a member of the School District 218 board, ran an aggressive campaign and said he was a victim of negative campaigning in the final days of the race.

Lind was cautiously optimistic on Tuesday.

“Three votes is three votes,” Lind said.

Lind said Pratl ran “a great campaign” that was not negative.

Lind added, however, that his own decision to run a positive campaign probably cost him votes.

“The last few last elections were worse and worse,” said Lind, who added that Coglianese ran a negative campaign.

Coglianese disputed that charge, saying the dirty campaigning was aimed at her by other candidates.

“I’m so glad that it’s done and over,” said Coglianese, a former village employee.

She said she ran for trustee because the board needs fresh faces and to help guide the development of the Yellow truck terminal. She also wants to restore village services such as public works, she said.

“Everything is falling apart,” Coglianese said.

She said receptive residents along with supportive friends and family are responsible for getting her elected.

“It’s a good feeling,” she said.

Efforts to reach McFarland were unsuccessful.


Chew on this: Incumbent D218 president knocked out by Kats

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

Bon appetit.

With a couple of recent food controversies surfacing in District 218, the lone contested board member spot found Board President Marco Corsi knocked out by Carol Kats in District 5. Unofficially, Kats garnered 784 votes, which beat out Jennifer Bylut (489) and Corsi (319). Corsi has served for 15 years on the board.

“I am very surprised, I thought this would be a lot closer,’’ Kats said Tuesday night. “A lot of people were trying to get the word out in Chicago Ridge and Worth. I was knocking on a lot of doors . I thought Jennifer ran a great campaign as well. I think people were ready for a change. Marco was there for a lot of years and people wanted a change.”

Corsi did not return a phone call Tuesday night seeking comment.

The election came five days after the Chicago Tribune revealed investigation results that the district spent $10,000 since July 2010 on food for its board members, mostly for board meetings.

Corsi defended the expense to the paper by saying that on meeting nights, members are coming in from their regular jobs and putting in long hours.

“Is a sandwich too much to ask?” he was quoted. “I would say no.’’

Kats, a teacher who wrapped up her duties serving as a member of Worth School District 127’s board, said the food issue may have swayed some votes.

“People may not have appreciated the way Marco responded,” she said. “The attitude is that a lot of boards have that practice and I don’t think that’s true. I can see a few pizzas once in a while. On our board, we had a few instances when we knew we were going to be running long and we had snack bags with a bottle of water.’’

Retiring Superintendent John Byrne rationalized the spending in an it’s-always-been-done-this-way vein.

“My only reasoning, excuse, rationale is it’s historical,” Byrne told the Tribune. “It’s been that way all the time I’ve been here. If I ask people to stay until 10 … at some point I’m thinking they should have a hot dog.’’

Byrne told the paper this practice has gone on for more than two decades.

This recent investigation came on the heels of the district making headlines after it announced on its agenda that it was hosting a special meeting March 9 to choose a superintendent at Louie’s Chophouse in Oak Lawn.  After media pressure, the board changed plans and had the meeting at the district’s administrative offices.

Robert Stokas ran unopposed in District 6 and Johnny Holmes ran unopposed in District 1 and both kept their seats on the board.

Election for Streit is sweet

  • Written by Bob Rakow



Photo by Jeff Vorva 

Fifth district candidate Dan Johnson offers 3rd district candidate Robert Streit a donut Tuesday morning at Oak Lawn VFW polling place. Both shared a laugh in the morning but when the night was over Johnson had lost his bid for a trustee spot and Johnson lost. 

Four years ago, Oak Lawn Trustee Robert Streit and his supporters gathered at Deja Brew Bar and Grille and anxiously awaited returns in an unexpectedly tight race in which a write-in candidate nearly defeated the veteran trustee.

It wasn’t Déjà vu in 2015.

Things were much sweeter this time.

There were no such worries on Tuesday night, as Streit was easily elected to a seventh term as a 3rd District trustee. Streit and his supporters returned to Deja Brew to celebrate his victory.

With seven of the district’s eight precincts reporting, Streit garnered approximately 55 percent of the vote, easily defeating challengers Scott Hollis and J. John Zurek.

Streit received 837 votes to Hollis’ 595, according to unofficial results reported by the Cook County Clerk’s office. Zurek came in a distant third gathering 81 votes.

Less than 25 percent of the district’s 6,404 registered voters turned out to cast ballots in the premier race in Tuesday’s contests.

Several of Streit’s political opponents worked hard to unseat him.

Village Clerk Jane Quinlan endorsed Hollis and Trustees Alex Olejniczak and Terry Vorderer both walked the 3rd District to convince voters to end Streit’s 24-year run as trustee.

But their efforts weren’t enough.

Streit, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday night, said recently that he has worked since November on his election campaign. He added that he approached the campaign as though he was a 10-point underdog.

Streit, who has spent much of the past two years criticizing Mayor Sanda Bury and her administration, was noticeably quiet at recent board meetings, leading some to speculate that he toned down his admonitions leading up to Election Day.

Hollis, who also could not be reached for comment Tuesday, has said Streit ran a dirty campaign that included telephone calls to his house in the middle of the night. Hollis also was convinced that he was being followed.

In District 1, incumbent Tim Desmond easily defeated challenger Cindy Trautsch in a rematch between the two.

Desmond received 520 votes to Trautsch’s 346, according to unofficial results.

Turnout was low , with only 883 voters casting ballots.

In the 5th District, William “Bud” Stalker defeated Dan Johnson, garnering 667 votes to Johnson’s 414, according to unofficial results. Only 1,094 ballots were cast in the district, which has 8,249 registered voters.

Desmond said his campaign was successful because he focused on his accomplishments of the past two years while Trautsch ran a negative campaign.

He said the campaign featured “so much garbage” and mudslinging that “people were disgusted by it.”

“I’m happy,” Desmond said, adding that flood prevention, expanding his jobs program and redeveloping the 87th Street business district will be his top priorities.

Desmond said he was hopeful he could work with Streit in the coming four years.

“I would hope that now that he’s won, he can work with the rest of the board and move the village forward,” he said.

Stalker credited his victory to his business background and length of time living in Oak Lawn.

He also credited his close ties to St. Linus parish as a reason for his win.

Stalker also enjoyed the support of outgoing Trustee Carol Quinlan, her predecessor Marge Joy and former village clerk Jayne Powers.

He said he’s willing to work with Bury.

“If she wants to run good government, I will be on her side,” he said.


Jeff Vorva's Im-PRESS-ions: A few more orders as Rakow marches to Chicago

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

Jeffs Col Impressions


Every Thursday, I print out what I call a cheat sheet for reporter Bob Rakow.

He calls them his marching orders.

Whatever the heck you want to call them, I can’t break the habit of writing them out.

Rakow’s last night as a full-timer at the Reporter was Tuesday – election night. He picked up a job providing content for trade journals in the big city of Chicago and graciously stayed with us through the hectic times of elections.

He joined the paper in September, 2013 and we were lucky to have him this long.

I’m not sure he liked the cheat sheet at first. I’m still not sure he likes it. But I have one more for him and, since he is not employed here anymore, he can mash it into a ball and flush it down the toilet if he wants to.

So, Bob, here are your marching orders for the week, with a couple of added comments to our readers from your ex-boss:


--Don’t worry about posting stories online.

Just think – Bob won’t be muttering swear words under his breath at our wonky website and he won’t have to listen to me scream out dark oaths when I am posting stories on the website.

--Don’t worry about getting me the B-Side column by the end of the day.

I like the B-Side a lot and as a note to our readers, it will be stopped for a while but we will try to figure out something in the future about bringing the Page 6 staple back on a limited basis depending on his work schedule.

--Don’t worry about getting photos for the Viewfinder.

Did you hear about the time Bob went to Lake Katherine to ask people questions and a woman almost had him arrested? He turned that into a hysterical column.


--Don’t go to the Evergreen Park Police Department out of habit.

Covering cops and police reports was a strength of Bob’s and once in a while he would turn a small but funny/unique item into a small story and challenge me to write a sick headline for it.

--Think about the inside humor we enjoyed at the office.

No matter what job I have held over the years, inside jokes are what keep us all going. Bob picked up on my tendencies to take almost anything spoken and turn it into a song.

For instance, if someone says “We’re in dire straits,” I would sing or hum “Sultans of Swing” and even if the word “summer” was used in a sentence, we would both break out into a Cars song, “Magic” in which they sing “Summer…it turns me upside down.”  It’s a bad disease to pass onto him and methinks it may not go over all that well with his new pals in Chicago.


--Don’t go to the Oak Lawn station for reports out of habit.

I think this will be his first day on the new job and he might be taking the train in. So it will give him a chance to give him a final memory of some of the local people he covered and come back in the office to imitate. Bob was no Rich Little, but the spirit and humor he showed with his impressions had me laughing it up big time.

--Don’t worry about finishing obits or anything else that popped up over the weekend

This guy covered murders, serious auto crashes, fires and other sad stories and most of the time, the stories were several days to a week old when they hit the newsstand. Bob had a great knack for finding something that no one else had and started off his stories with something fresh.

My favorite was when all the newspapers and TV stations ran the terrible story about Alfreda Giedroic, who allegedly beat her infant granddaughter to death with a sledgehammer and cut her throat with a carving knife in her Oak Lawn home.

By Thursday, that story was old news but through an insightful interview with Oak Lawn Police Division Chief Mike Kauffman, Bob was able to put us in the house.

He wrote:

  ”Alfreda Giedrojc sat stoically in a chair Sunday morning, moments after allegedly beating her infant granddaughter to death in her Oak Lawn home, authorities said.’’

            Later in the piece, he wrote,

“Kaufmann, a 28-year veteran of the Oak Lawn police department, said such crimes are typically driven by ‘plain evil or something with mental health.’ Giedrojc did not display any anger, denial or rage during interviews with police, he said.
  “ ‘She professed love for the child,’ Kaufmann said.’’

Powerful stuff. Chilling. And stuff no one else had.

Oh, and his coverage of the death of Worth teen Brittany Wawrzyniak’s death and the family’s anger over the investigation was top-notch. Bob’s not a big guy on awards, but we entered his work in the Illinois Press Association contest this year and I would be shocked if it didn’t win anything.


--Don’t worry about finishing everything up and don’t go to an Oak Lawn or Chicago Ridge board meeting out of habit.


A candidate for an Oak Lawn trustee position called Oak Lawn meetings a “circus act’’ last week and Bob was able to capture the raw emotion and sometimes surreal and funny events that took place there. While Chicago Ridge was tamer, it had its moments of sparks regarding the fire department and Bob was all over it.


--This is the end of the line – my last matching order: Enjoy and prosper in your new career. We hope you miss us as much as we’re going to miss you.