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Worth to get a higher octane BP gas station

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  Shuttered gas stations are becoming a more common sight across the suburban landscape, but one in Worth is expected to reopen before the end of the year.
  The BP station at Harlem Avenue and Southwest Highway will reopen its doors by Dec. 1, Mayor Mary Werner announced at Tuesday’s village board meeting.
  The new management team is currently installing new pumps that the Environmental Protection Agency will mandate in January, Werner said.
  She said the station has been upgraded and will look similar to the BP station on 95th Street in Hickory Hills.
  The station/convenience store is owned by Atlas Oil, a Michigan firm that partnered in 2009 with BP Products North America to acquire and supply 90 BP retail outlets in the Chicago area.
  The Worth location has been closed for more than one year.
  Tuesday’s 30-minute meeting featured several other business items, including:
  • A brief overview of the 2013 Worth Days financial statement.
  The fest had a $7,857 profit, with increases in beverage sales, donations and carnival proceeds. Expenses were down approximately $3,000 from the previous year. The Worth Park District has agreed to take over operation of the fest, and will soon sign along with the village an agreement formalizing the transition that will begin in 2014.
  • Approval of a 2.7 percent salary increase for the village’s non-union employees. The increase is identical to the one received by the village’s union employees.
  • The swearing in of police sergeant Cristiano Fernandez, an eight-year member of the force.
  • Water’s Edge Golf Course will hold a customer appreciation week Nov. 18-22. Patrons can play a round of golf with a cart and enjoy lunch for $24.99.

Lipinski tries to stifle dumping site in Worth

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  Worth residents are encouraged by legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) that would prevent the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers from using the Lucas-Berg Confined Placement Facility as a dumping site for materials dredged from the Cal-Sag Channel.

  “Lipinski has been trying to help us all along,” said Adelle Benck, a longtime Worth resident and dumping site opponent.
  Residents have long worried that dumping materials dredged from the Cal-Sag into the ditch would lead to a variety of health and environmental concerns, Benck said.
  Those concerns include launching air-borne contaminants and polluting the water table with oil residue, mercury and industrial waste, Benck said. There is also the possibility that endangered species, such as eagles, inhabit the ditch, she said.
  “So far, we’ve been successful,” said Mary Ann Buckingham, a Worth resident opposed to the dumping. “We’re getting more nervous. My concern is schools and children.”
  Legislation that Lipinski helped pass includes a provision contained in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act.
  “Since I was first elected to Congress, one of my top local priorities has been to remove Lucas-Berg as the Army Corps’ designated site for dumping dredged materials from the Cal-Sag,” Lipinski said in a press release. “This is very good news for the village of Worth and local residents, but we still have work to do. I am working to make sure that this provision is in the final compromise that passes in the House and Senate and becomes law.”
  Lipinski added that he is working with the Army Corps to find a place for the dredging that is not in located the middle of a community.
  The Lucas-Berg site was acquired by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and, through a long-term lease, designated by the Army Corps in the 1970s as a potential spot to store silt and other materials dredged from the bottom of the Cal-Sag Channel.
  Since the agreement was reached, Worth and the neighboring communities have grown and expanded and a residential neighborhood abuts the ditch, which is located near 111th Street and Southwest Highway.
  Residents have long feared that using the ditch as disposal site would lower property values and harm the environment.
  The primary purpose of WRDDA is to authorize projects that maintain the country’s shipping infrastructure and set environmental policy for the Army Corps. The language in WRRDA regarding Lucas-Berg pit is part of a $12 billion worth of old projects and facilities that would be de-authorized.
  The Senate passed its version of WRRDA in May. With passage in the House, both bills now head to a conference committee to be reconciled before the final legislation can be signed by the president.

Runners heat up 5K courses for good causes

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

Page-4-4-col-startRunners bolt at the start of the second Freedom Isn’t Free race. Oak Lawn’s Dan Regaldo (center wearing No. 133) won the race. Submitted photo.        More than 600 runners hit area streets to compete in a pair of worthwhile 5K running events over the chilly weekend.
  The action started Saturday at the Hickory Hills’FRONT-COLOR-1-col-and-page-4-3-colChicago’s Mircea Bogdan won the fourth Hickory Hills Lions Club 5K run on Saturday. Photo by Jeff Vorva. Lions Club’s Fourth Roar and Run for Fun 5K. There were 103 who finished the race, which was won by Chicago’s Mircea Bogdan in 17 minutes, 16.1 seconds.
  “I do a lot of races in the Chicago area and I just found out about it online,” the 31-year-old Bogdan said. “I was looking for a good race and this was fun. I might come back next year.”
  Palos Heights’ Jan Mydra finished in second place and Hickory Hills’ Jakub Zajac was third. Tinley Park’s Maureen Spinler-Kracik was sixth overall and the top female finisher.
  Money and food donations for this run will go to are families who need help in the community.
  The following day, the second Freedom Isn’t Free run kicked off at Brother Rice High School and ran through the streets of Evergreen Park.
Page-4-3-col-man-and-dogKazimierz Fryowicz, 65, of Hickory Hills and his dog, Kia, get ready to cross the finish line in Hickory Hills on Saturday, finishing 18th in the race. He said he has run in all four of the Lions’ Club’s races. Photo by Jeff Vorva.  There were 399 athletes who finished the race and Race Director Shawn Hughes said there were more than 100 more military personnel running in uniform who were not timed.
  “To have 500 people participating in this event was just awesome,” Hughes said.
  Dan Regalado, a 26-year-old runner from Oak Lawn, won the even with a time of 17:57. Oak Lawn’s Manny Cavez finished second and Orland Park’s Michael McNicholas was third. The top female finisher was Jackie Ott of Island Lake and she finished eighth overall.
  The event honored Marine Corps Cpl. Conner Lowry, a Brother Rice graduate who died in action in March, 2012, in Afghanistan.
  All proceeds from the Freedom Isn’t Free 5K event will go to the Cpl. Conner Lowry Memorial Scholarship Fund at Brother Rice.

The heat is on — Hickory Hills chief warns residents about pending weapons law

  • Written by Kelly White

  Illinois residents planning to pack heat when the state’sPage-5-1-col-gun-story new Concealed Carry Law goes into effect in January need to become more familiar with the law and how it works.
  Hickory Hills Police Chief, Alan Vodicka, addressed residents and the city council last Thursday on this issue, with concerns including requirements to obtain a conceal and carry license, gun control and which businesses will be affected.
  “We are anticipating somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 people in the state of Illinois to apply for a Concealed Carry License,” Vodicka said. “Obtaining a license is still a work in progress with two options for background checks, fingerprinting or running one’s background without fingerprinting.
  “The difference is the turnover rate in which one would receive his or her license,” Vodicka added, “If they do the fingerprint background check, there will be a 60-day turnover, and if they run their background without fingerprints, there will be a 180 day-turnover.”
  Fingerprinting will be offered at local police stations for a fee to be determined throughout the state of Illinois.
  If an order of protection is placed on an individual living within the state of Illinois, his or her Concealed Carry License will automatically be revoked. Anyone who has been issued a medical marijuana card cannot have a Concealed Carry License.
  If an Illinois resident already has a Firearm Owners Identification card to legally possess or purchase firearms or ammunition, they still must obtain a conceal and carry license. “They are definitely two separate things,” Vodicka said.
  Illinois State Police Officers will continue to enforce the law in effect by arresting any person carrying a firearm without a Concealed Carry License. Anyone living within the state of Illinois is eligible to apply for a Concealed Carry License who wants to carry a concealed firearm, except current peace officers and retired police officers eligible under a federally approved retired officer concealed carry program, such as the Illinois Retired Officer Concealed Carry (IROCC) Program. Retired officers may be eligible to carry under either the IROCC Program or the Firearm Concealed Carry Act.
  “Current police officers are except from the Concealed Carry Law and are allowed in prohibited buildings with their concealed firearm, as they always have been,” Vodicka added.
  Residents obtaining a Concealed Carry License will not be able to carry their firearms openly. A handgun carried on a person must be concealed from view of the public. If the firearm is not concealed, that individual is subject to arrest.
  Vodicka said a concealed firearm is described as a handgun. A handgun means any device which is designed to expel a projectile or projectiles by the action of an explosion, expansion of gas or escape of gas that is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand. A handgun does not include a stun gun or taser, a machine gun, a short-barreled rifle or shotgun, any pneumatic gun, spring gun or paintball gun.
  There are also locations within the state which will prohibit any concealed firearms. “These places only apply to the patrons visiting them,” Vodicka said. “This does not apply to the owner of a property, and again, police officers are except from this.”
  Prohibited locations include: schools/child care facilities, colleges/universities, courthouses, libraries, government buildings, public playgrounds, public parks, public transportation, public gatherings, parades, museums, stadiums, zoos and bars and restaurants that have over 50 percent of total sales from alcohol.
  Signage is required to be posted at every public entrance accessible in these buildings to inform the general public concealed firearms are prohibited within the facility. The signage is required to display an image approved by Illinois legislation.
  Any non-residential building or business may prohibit firearms by choice but must also have signage at every accessible entrance in order for it to be enforced.
  “Businesses have the option to decide whether or not they want to prohibit concealed firearms,” Vodicka said. “I actually asked a couple businesses throughout town and they surprisingly said they were fine allowing concealed firearms within their place of business.”
  Signage will begin to be posted throughout Hickory Hills and the state of Illinois after first of this year. “The signs are very important,” Vodicka said. “There are a few different signs to choose from prohibiting firearms, but regardless, whichever is chosen, it needs to be posted at every entrance on a building prohibiting firearms.”
  He also said there will be a parking lot exemption for concealed firearm holders. A licensee may carry a concealed firearm in the immediate area surrounding his or her vehicle within a prohibited parking lot area only for the limited purpose of storing or retrieving a firearm from within the vehicles truck, provided the licensee ensures the concealed firearm is unloaded prior to exiting the vehicle.
  “Their gun must be unloaded and broken down inside of their vehicle, before exiting the vehicle and placing it into their truck and entering the building,” he said.

Regional’s ‘Miracles’ story takes first at NINA Awards

  The Regional News ran away with one award at the Northern Illinois Newspaper Awards dinner last Thursday at the University Suite at the Holmes Student Center in DeKalb.

  Former Regional News reporter Jeff Vorva won first place in the Best Sports Story, Nondaily category for a feature titled “Miracles can happen.”
  The story was about former Sandburg High School athlete Lukas Verzbicas’s return to competitive running just a few months after he suffered life-threatening injuries after a bike accident in Colorado and doctors told him he might never walk again.
  The judges said: “Writer Jeff Vorva captures the essence of an ultimate human interest story — from elite high school runner to life-threatening accident to reincarnation. Pertinent quotes from others sources, research and details all enhance this.”
  Vorva was named editor of the Reporter in August.
  “Lukas had the horrific and tough job of creating the story,” Vorva said. “I had the easy job of writing about it.”
  Earlier in the year, the story took second place in the B Division of the Illinois Press Association contest.
  Regional and Reporter Sports editor Ken Karrson also brought home hardware in the IPA for second place in Division B headline writing for “Kamp fire doesn’t warm Knights” for a story about Chicago Christian basketball player’s 33 points in a losing effort against Aurora Central Catholic.
  Former Reporter Editor Jason Maholy took third place in the same category with his news headline “Oak Lawn gives bigger teeth to dog ordinance.” The judges said it was “very clever.”
  Maholy also won an honorable mention for Division B Spot News Photo for his image of “Random Hearts in the Snow.”
  The judges said: “Not sure this is exactly spot news but the judges had to look at it more than once, which makes a compelling photo.”
  Vorva was also a finalist for the Chicago Headline Club’s Peter Lisagor Award for a news feature on Palos Park shooting victim Brian Reed’s decision to live after suffering horrific injuries that have left him paralyzed.