OL Park district boss ‘hurt’ by mayor’s remarks

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  Kelly said her department cares about seniors
Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury’s latest comments about the status of a new village senior center didn’t sit well with the head of the park district.

  Park District Director Maddie Kelly said she was hurt my remarks Bury made at the May 13 village board meeting that seniors “are getting screwed” as politics get in the way of a proposed series of land exchanges and purchases that would lead to the development of a new senior center.
  The proposed land exchanges and purchases involve the village, a Lutheran church, the park district and an Oak Lawn car dealership.
  “I’m hurt because she’s making it sound like we don’t care about seniors,” Kelly said.
  Quite the opposite is true, Kelly said.
  Seniors routinely gather at several park district facilities to participate in structured activities or to informally socialize, Kelly said.
  “They recreate at our facilities,” said Kelly, who added that seniors gather at the Pavilion, Stony Creek Golf Course, the Racquet Club and the Oak View Center.
  “We have some of the best senior activities,” Kelly said.
  Bury agrees that the park district offers quality senior programming, but she’s looking for a permanent location that the seniors can call home.
  “I’m sorry that Miss Kelly feels hurt, but this isn’t about her feeling or my feeling but about the seniors of Oak Lawn,” Bury said. “If the (park) board doesn’t want to dialog, I respect their wishes. I don’t know what the harm is in discussing it. Adults work out their problems and have conversations.”
  Bury added that not all seniors can take advantage of park district programs. A dedicated senior center, however, would provide a place for all seniors to gather.
  The proposed land exchanges and purchases involved the village, park district, Mancari’s auto dealership, 4630 W. 95th St., and St. Paul Lutheran Church, 4660 W. 94th St.
  Under the terms of the proposal, St. Paul would sell a 61,740 square-foot parcel located adjacent to the church to Mancari’s, who would deed the property to the village. The village, in turn, would deed the property to the park district.
  Mancari’s would then negotiate with the park district to purchase a 41,862 square-foot parcel located between the dealership and the Oak Lawn Ice Arena. The village would then negotiate with the park district and Mancari’s to secure the funds needed to build the senior center.
  The agreement would give the park district additional open space and provide Mancari’s room to expand its landlocked dealership, Bury said.

Dynamite found in EP basement

  • Written by Bob Rakow


A cleanup necessitated by a basement sewage leak led to a surprising discovery of 50 pounds of dynamite last Wednesday morning at a home in Evergreen Park.
The finding led police to evacuate nearby homes, reroute traffic, lockdown a floor-block area and call for nearby schools to keep students inside.
The Cook County Bomb Squad was called and removed the dynamite after a bomb-sniffing dog confirmed the existence of explosives, police said.
The 24 sticks of dynamite had been stored for more than 60 years in a suitcase in a house in the 9700 block of Hamlin Avenue, according to police.
The 93-year-old owner of the home agreed to store the explosives for a friend who worked in construction and was moving out of state. He knew the dynamite was still in his home, but did not know how to dispose of it, according to reports.
But when last week’s sewage leak forced a basement cleanup, he asked his caregiver to dispose of the suitcase. The caregiver called Evergreen Park police after the man told her the suitcase contained dynamite, police said.
The bomb squad later destroyed the dynamite at the Thornton Quarry, Donovan said. There were no injuries and no charges filed, police said.
The homeowner spent the day at his niece’s home near Midway Airport until returning in the late afternoon, police said.


My funny Valentine

  • Written by Claudia Parker

PAGE-1-4-col-funnyOff Off Broadzway, an all-female burlesque parody troupe featuring Oak Lawn native Jill Valentine (right) will be a part of the Women’s Funny Fest starting next Thursday in Chicago. Submitted photo.Oak Lawn woman heads up comedy fest

It’s about time.

Oak Lawn native Jill Valentine helped form the ChicagoJump-page-2-colOrland Park native Katie Rich (left photo) and Oak Lawn native Jill Valentine are major contributors to the 2014 Women’s Funny Fest in Chicago. Submitted photo. Woman’s Funny Festival in 2012.
She said the consensus among performers were, “Why haven’t we celebrated ourselves as women in comedy sooner?”
Better late than never.
This year’s edition of the fest will be held next Thursday through June 8 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont in Chicago. There will be 70-plus shows and 400 performers during the four-day event with Orland Park native and “Saturday Night Live’’ writer Katie Rich headlining.
“Chicago is my favorite place in the whole world,” Rich said. “Some of my favorite ladies in comedy honed their craft here. It means a lot to me to headline this event.”
Valentine is an old hand at making people laugh and hosting large events that make people laugh.
She has been the Executive Director of the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival since its in 2000. It’s said to be the largest sketch comedy festival ever seen in America. That success was used as a springboard for Valentine and co-founder Liz McArthur to launch the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival.
Valentine said she and McArthur wanted to build a comedy festival where women could come together to celebrate a buffet of comedy under one roof.
“Comediennes from around the world filled Stage 773’s four theaters every night [in 2012].’’ Valentine said. “The response from comedians and audience members was overwhelmingly positive – which is why the festival is coming back for its third year.”
In the last decade, women have increasingly gained respect in a genre that was mostly dominated by men.
Valentine graduated from Bradley University where she was scouted for her gift of competitive communication. She went into an improvisation program at Second City.
“Classes 15 years ago were about 1 percent female,” she said. “Now it’s at least 50 percent. We need to celebrate that.”
Rich prefers to let talent, as oppose to gender, speak for itself.
“One thing I hear a lot is, ‘Oh, she’s funny because she acts like a dude’ but I rarely hear, ‘Oh, he’s funny because he acts like a chick.’ Rich said. “When a male colleague writes a joke I don’t think is funny, my first thought isn’t, ‘That dude isn’t funny.’ My first thought is, ‘That joke isn’t funny.’

End of an era

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

Mt. Assisi softball player Maddie Cahue PAGE-1-MT-ASSIST-REFER-1-or-2-or-3-colis consoled by coach Jill Harvey after the Screeching Eagles were beaten by Chicago Christian, 11-7, in the regional title game. It marked the end of the season for the Eagles and the end of an era as it was the final sporting event the school will ever participate in as it closed last week.
For more on this game and other postseason and regular season photos and stories, see Sports.

Photo by Jeff Vorva

No more wine with this Cheese

  • Written by Bob Rakow

 Oak Lawn restaurant gives up liquor license before hearing

Alcohol no longer will be offered at Chuck E. Cheese’s in Oak Lawn following the latest in series of skirmishes at the family fun center.

 But if problems at the restaurant continue, village officials could look look into suspending its business licence.

Representatives from CEC Entertainment Inc., the restaurant’s holding company, Tuesday voluntarily surrendered the restaurant’s liquor license during a liquor control commission hearing at village hall.
The decision to relinquish the license was made by Chuck E. Cheese’s representatives in an agreement reached before the hearing, officials said.
Mayor Sandra Bury, who also serves as liquor commissioner, accepted the license and called on Chuck E. Cheese’s representatives to meet with Police Chief Mike Murray and Trustee Terry Vorderer to further discuss security measures at the restaurant, 4031 W. 95th St.
Chuck E. Cheese’s is located in Vorderer’s 4th District. He also is the village board’s police liaison.
Bury called the hearing last week after a May 18 disturbance at the restaurant. The fracas involved a large, unruly crowd of approximately 100 patrons—including many young children—who were outside the restaurant when police arrived at about 6:15 p.m., according to reports.
Some members of the crowd were swearing and arguing with one another or ignoring police commands to disperse, police said.