Evergeen Park baseball official sues Little League International

  • Written by Joe Boylw

Chris Janes, the vice president of the Evergreen Park Athletic Association Little League who was the first to blow the whistle on boundary violations of players of the Jackie Robinson West Little League in 2014, has filed a lawsuit against Little League Baseball International stating that he has suffered from severe emotional distress following the incident.

Janes, an Evergreen Park resident, had voiced concerns during the summer of 2014 after hearing complaints from other people. He also noted that some of the players were honored by several south suburban villages where they lived after they had initially won the Little League World Series in 2014.

According to Janes’ lawsuit, he had had death threats and has been humiliated after he first began suggesting that several players on the Jackie Robinson team, that plays their home games at Jackie Robinson Park at 105th and Morgan in Chicago, did not live within the boundaries of the league.

Janes had made his complaints known that fall to The Reporter. However, Little League Baseball International originally dismissed Janes’ complaints and said the players were all eligible. Janes’ Evergreen Park team lost to Jackie Robinson West in the sectionals. Jackie Robinson later advanced to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. and then became the U.S. champs.

According to the lawsuit, Janes also suffers from “anxiety, loss of sleep and weight loss.” He also said he is suffering from depression. He is seeking $75,000 in damages. Little League Baseball International had no comment about the lawsuit.

Janes said after Little League Baseball International first dismissed his complaints, they started to discredit him. But due to increasing evidence that the Janes complaints were valid, the organization eventually censured the Jackie Robinson West, according to the lawsuit. The team was stripped of their U.S title.

After Jackie Robinson West won the U.S. title, they were feted in a rally in Chicago’s Grant Park and visited the White House and met President Obama and had pictures taken with him. They also attended a World Series game in San Francisco.

In a separate case, the parents of Jackie Robinson West players filed a lawsuit against Little League International. They claimed that there was a cover-up.

Chuck E. Cheese could lose license

  • Written by Dermot Connolly

Oak Lawn trustees discussed the possibility of revoking the business license of a local restaurant because the village has received a plethora of police calls. The topic was brought up at the village board meeting Tuesday night.

This was the second consecutive meeting that public safety issues at the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant at 4031 W. 95th Street was brought up. Indicating the severity of the situation, at the Sept. 13 board meeting Trustee Terry Vorderer (4th) revealed that Chuck E. Cheese President Roger Cardinale and other company officials had come from Irving, Tex., on Sept. 10, to discuss the matter with him, Mayor Sandra Bury, Village Manager Larry Deetjen and legal counsel. The company officials said then that they would hire a security consultant to come up with solutions, and issue a report of the findings before Tuesday’s meeting.

“The report did arrive at 3:30 p.m. I haven’t had time to digest it all, but I will be providing copies (to other board members) and I would appreciate getting your input,” he said. Chuck E. Cheese officials have been invited to speak at the Oct. 25 Village Board meeting. They were originally going to come to the Oct. 11 meeting, but Vorderer said they asked to postpone the meeting because of a religious holiday.

Trustee Bob Streit (3rd) pointed out that Oak Lawn’s 911 service received more than 40 calls related to the restaurant last year, and at least 40 this year already. He said he agreed with recent comments made by Bury on television news that this might be the right time to address the business license. “I have to agree with the safety of children and families are the main issue. I also believe that the management has tried very hard to be good neighbors.” Vorderer took issue with him when Streit said the village needs to be “proactive,” and criticized “the lack of leadership over the past four years in resolving this.”

“I have been working on this issue since I was elected three years ago,” said Vorderer. He noted that local owners of the Chuck E. Cheese establishment have already taken several steps to address problems. These include hiring off-duty Oak Lawn police officers as security guards, as well as removing seating to reduce occupancy from 611 to 482 people. The owners of the shopping plaza where the restaurant is located have also been supplying outdoor private security patrols.

“My main concern is the safety of the children who go there,” said Vorderer. “I go there myself sometimes with my grandchildren. It is nice and clean inside, with families enjoying themselves. But these problems often seem to be domestic, with fights breaking out and they quickly get out of control.”

Trustee Tim Desmond (1st) wondered if the village could get into legal trouble if the license is revoked now. “There was a gang-related shooting outside there (in 2012) and I don’t think they even lost their liquor license then.” He asked if the village would be looking at a lawsuit if the license was revoked, but Village Attorney Paul O’Grady said the village would not be in any legal trouble.

Vorderer noted that most of the trustees weren’t on the board in 2012, and Trustee Alex Olejniczak (2nd) pointed out that the restaurant management voluntarily gave up its liquor license. He agreed with Desmond that the owners need to be given “due process” when it comes to revoking business licenses.

“We want to give the owners due process,” said Bury. “We won’t do anything until we hear what they have to say at the Oct. 25 meeting. But after everything that has already been done, the next step would have to be board action. Revoking the license is a possibility.”

Businessman wants to improve Worth corner

  • Written by Sharon L. Filkins

The Worth Village Board meeting on Tuesday night veered from its usual agenda by opening with a presentation from businessman Sal Tadros regarding his plans for the property located at 7030 W. 111th St., directly across the street from the Village Hall.

Tadros told the board he wanted to make the exterior building design “pop.” “This corner is the gateway to the business corridor of Worth and hopefully our efforts will encourage other businesses along 111th Street to upgrade the appearance of their businesses,” he said.

His presentation included a request for a liquor license. He hopes to add a wine club, catering to corporate events and also to offer craft beers along with upscale cigar sales.

“My plan is to be a premium cigar dealer, bringing a different demographic clientele to Worth. We will be pioneers in the industry, offering online sales in addition to on-site sales,” said Tadros. “We feel we have a niche and we believe we can service our customers with our mixed client base.”

Trustee Rich Dziedzic said he liked the idea for improving the existing building.

“But how many liquor stores do we want?,” he asked.

“That is what competition is all about,” responded Trustee Pete Kats. “It is a free market.”

“I feel like this is an opportunity for the village to see an improvement in our business community,” said Trustee Tedd Muersch Jr. “If he is willing to make a capital investment in this property, which will greatly improve the appearance of this corner, I think we should support it.”

“We will have to discuss this further,” said Mayor Mary Werner. “If we approve this proposal, we will have to increase the number of liquor licenses and draft ordinances governing the tobacco sales.”

In board action, a business license and special use permit was approved for Euphoria Hair Salon and Barber Shop to operate at 6657 W. 111th St.

Also approved was a business license and special use permit for Worth BP Inc., to operate a gas station, packaged goods store and car wash at 10631 Southwest Highway.

An ordinance approving an intergovernmental agreement between the Village of Worth and Cook County for the provision of environmental health inspectional services was also approved. The agreement is approved annually.

Trustee Colleen McElroy was not present at the meeting.

Hickory Hills man recovers from illness and is selected as ‘Patient of the Year’

  • Written by Sharon L. Filkins

papoutsis photo 9-22

Submitted photo

Hickory Hills resident Nicolaos Papoutsis looks at the award Friday he received as “Patient of the Year 2016 “ at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. He is joined by his daughter Stacy Atkinson, who is speaking about his recovery. Also on hand was Leigh Shea (left), his head rehab therapist, and his wife, Irini Papoutsis (right).



Long-time Hickory Hills resident Nicolaos Papoutsis was one of six patients named “Patient of the Year 2016” during the 34th Annual Rehabilitation Achievement Awards Ceremony conducted Friday at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

The event is an observance of National Rehabilitation Week.

Papoutsis was nominated by Annie Krueger, physical therapist assistant II, and Leigh Shea, speech-language pathologist II. They worked with Papoutsis during his six-week stay at the adult Inpatient treatment center. He was described as an unbelievably hard working, steadfast, and amazing man.

Papoutsis, who owns a body shop in Oak Lawn, was at work when he suffered a stroke last year at the age of 79. His co-worker called 911 and he was brought to the Advocate Christ Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with a series of serious issues. He had an acute Left frontopareital stroke, a high-grade stenosis of the right internal carotid artery and diabetes, as well as a history of old strokes that went undiagnosed and untreated.

According to Krueger, when he entered the rehab unit on Aug. 6, 2015, he was impaired, weak and distracted. He had moderate impairments in voice, attention, executive function, short-term memory, and auditory processing. He needed total assistance for all mobility.

“He fought through the weakness and countless sessions and progressed from needing total assists to then a minimal assist level for ambulation and stair negotiation. He never quit and he never said no,” said Krueger. “He was open to new treatment ideas and activities in order to prepare himself for being able to access his own home on his own terms with minimal assist provided from his wife. Nick is an amazing man who fought the fight and won in the end. He is a winner to me.”

Echoing those sentiments was Shea, his speech/language pathologist.

“Every day Nick would say, ‘Make it harder. Let’s do more today than yesterday.’ He challenged me to work harder to come up with more challenging therapy tasks,” she said. She added that after he left in-patient rehab, he decided he wanted to continue with speech therapy at day rehab. “That is the kind of patient he is.”

Both Krueger and Shea credited Nick’s family; his wife, Irini; his daughter, Stacy Atkinson; and his two grandchildren for their dedicated support each day which helped him focus and progress from day to day.

“Someone was with him every day,” said Atkinson. “My mom was there all of the time, and the rest of us were in and out.” She said her father has returned to work, although he no longer manages the shop. “But he goes in each day for a little while. He is an amazing man. We are very proud of him and so happy he received such wonderful care here at the hospital.”

Fourth of July Parade winners presentation draws crowd to Evergreen Park Board meeting

  • Written by Sharon L. Filkins

parade winners photo 9-22

Submitted photo

Mayor James Sexton joins the Fourth of July Parade Trophy winners who were honored at the Evergreen Park Village Board meeting on Monday night.


The Village of Evergreen Park board meeting opened to a full house Monday night as the room was packed in anticipation of the annual Fourth of July Parade Trophy Presentations.

Parade chairman Laura Shallow, who is with Standard Bank, presented trophies to the winners in 15 categories. Each group was recognized for their efforts and were congratulated by Mayor James Sexton.

Shallow presented an Appreciation Award to the Village Recreation Department for their work with the parade. Dennis Duffy, the recreation director, accepted the trophy on behalf of the department.

On business matters, the board approved an ordinance dissolving the Emergency Telephone System Board and amending the Evergreen Park Municipal Code regarding Boards and Commissions.

Sexton explained the change was made because the village is now a member of the Southwest Central Dispatch, out of Oak Lawn. “We are members with voting rights,” he said.

A request from residents on Avers Avenue for four-way stop signs was approved. The signs will only be placed on the intersection of 96th and Avers Avenue.

A bid in the amount of $11,600 was approved for Environmental Cleansing Corporation (ECC) for the demolition of a vacant house at 9138 S. Kedzie Ave. The village recently purchased the property in order to provide an additional parking for Thithi’s, a fine dining Asian restaurant adjacent to the property.

In other action, Sexton announced a proclamation declaring Nov.7 as Color the World Orange Day to help raise awareness of a poorly understood pain disorder called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

Stating that he had not previously been aware of the disorder, he called on Michelle West, a resident of Hometown, whose 13-year old daughter suffers from the disease, to explain it.

“It is a relatively unknown disorder affecting the nervous system and anyone, from infants to the elderly can suffer from it,” said West. “It is very difficult to diagnose. My daughter, Mary, has had it for two years and underwent many, many tests before it was diagnosed.”

Her daughter, Mary, said later that the pain is like fire and ice in her body. “When the pain comes, my skin is cold on the outside but inside, it is a searing, burning pain on the inside. That’s why the organization is named Color the World Orange and the logo depicts fire and ice,” she said.

Touched by the presentation, Sexton said “I am happy to make this proclamation and I promise you it will be on our calendar every year.”