Worth’s top cop retires before 50th birthday

  • Written by Kelly White

Knolmayer seeks out more family time after 28 years on Worth force

With tearful eyes, some Village of Worth officials sadlypage-1-2-col-Knolmayer-and-wife-KarenMartin Knolmayer, posing with his wife Karen at Tuesday night’s village board meeting, is retiring at Worth Police Chief Oct. 3. Photo by Kelly White. celebrated the retirement of whom they consider a great man. 

Police Chief Martin Knolmayer announced his retirement at Tuesday’s board meeting, leaving the village after over 28 years of service and right before his 50th birthday. The retirement takes place Oct. 3. That’s when a little more family time is scheduled to kick in.
“My family has personally seen a few milestones this past year,” Knolmayer said, “My wife, Karen, and I celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary this month. My son, Zach, graduated with honors from DePaul University. My daughter, Ashley, turned 21 and is still doing well in college. Most importantly, I will be turning 50 years old next month.”
The village recently received a letter from the chief informing us that his decision was to retire where Knolmayer wrote: “I would like to thank my wife, Karen, for many years of unconditional support and understanding. I cannot recall a time when he received a call to return for work, a 2 a.m. phone call or miss dinner or family parties that Karen never said anything more than, ‘Okay. Just let me know when you will be home.’ ’’
Some village officials responded with tears to the news and lauded Knolmayer’s love and commitment, not only to the village, but to his family.
“We want to thank you for 28 years of outstanding service to the Village of Worth,” Mayor Mary Werner said, “Now you will be able to celebrate holidays and birthdays at home with your family, and spend more time with Karen, Zach and Ashley. You can do all of the things that you always wanted to do and never had the time to do.”
Trustee Pete Katz agreed, “I also want to thank his family for their dedication and the things that they missed out on with him because of his job. I know it has been tough, but I want to thank you as well.”
Knolmayer was hired onto the Worth Police Department in 1986 and assigned the position of patrol officer where he served for 10 years. He was then assigned an open investigation spot where he continued to work for the next 14 years.
While at that post, he also worked with the South Suburban Major Crimes Unit. From there, he was assigned to the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force and worked with them for 11 years to investigate homicides and kidnappings. While working with that organization, he served as an investigator, squad leader, team leader and case manager.
“It was truly an honor for me to work with so many outstanding investigators,” Knolmayer said on behalf of working with the talk force.
Knolmayer became a sergeant of the Worth Police Department in 2000 and earned the promotion to lieutenant in 2006. He served as a proactive chief in 2010 and was appointed to the Chief of Police in 2011.
“I want to personally thank the chief,” Katz added, “After knowing him very well for seven to eight years he has become a friend of mine and I sincerely think of him as my friend. I wish him nothing but the best on his next chapter in life; because, I know whatever he chooses to do, he will do it well, as he has always done for the Village of Worth.”
“It has been an honor for me to serve the residents of Worth and it has been a privilege to work with the men and women in the Worth Police Department,” Knolmayer said, “I had the opportunity to make many friendships in my career. I will always value the support and the loyalty.”


Guest Whatizit?

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

Life is a beach for the WHATIZIT?WHATIZIT-9-11-2 wizards as many guessed last week’s photo of a sand dollar.
  For the record, this was found at Imperial Beach south of San Diego and north of Mexico.
  Don and Laura Heneghan of Oak Lawn were not a day late or a dollar short as they came in with the first correct guess but they were far from alone.
  Other superior sand dollar guessers were Oak Lawn’s Donna and Jim Perisin, Diane Dee, Robin Fullarton, Dolores Graziadei and Carolyn Morrissey, Hickory Hills’ Jack and Burke Faddis, Chicago Ridge’s Kathy Higgins, Dan Higgins, Jan Short, Dana Oswald and Patty Vandenberg and Evergreen Park’s Henrietta Mysliwiec, Jim Long andVince Vizza.
  Also getting it right were Worth’s Mary Kurdziel, E.J. Oahueke, Robert Solner, Russ Martin, Jerry and Carol Janicki, Carol Wozek, Theresa and George Rebersky, Sandy Joiner and Frank and Donna Hirsch, Alsip’s Carol DenBesten, Palos Hills’ Mike McKinney and the Friday Night Ladies Poker and Beach Club of Oak Lawn, Orland Park and Oak Park.
  There was one incorrect answer of a Chinese maple leaf.
  This week, we have a guest WHATIZIT photographer as Robin Fullarton of Oak Lawn provided this gem. The clue is that it’s not Rice Krispies, but they will snap, crackle and pop in your mouth.
  Send those guesses to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with WHATIZIT in the subject line by Monday night. Don’t forget your name and hometown.

Worth addresses Oak wilt problem

  • Written by Kelly White


Worth will declare a war on the wilt.
  The Oak wilt, a fungal disease that can wipe out oak trees, has been found in Worth and it’s causing financial hardship on residents.
  And there is nothing that village officials can currently do about it.
  Mayor Mary Werner, however, is suggesting that residents take it up with state officials.
  “We need to declare Oak wilt a nuisance,” Werner said at the village’s Sept. 2 board meeting.
  She suggests reaching out to Illinois State Representatives, Bill Cunningham or Kelly Burke for help declaring it a state nuisance, along with the Emerald Ash Borer.
  “If we reach out to state legislatures, we can have them add Oak wilt onto the hazardous tree list,” Werner said, “A lot of people do not know about Oak wilt or that it is extremely dangerous to trees once they are affected. I was honestly not even aware of Oak wilt or how dangerous it is to trees until just recently.”
  Oak Wilt has targeted an unknown number of trees in the community, particularly in the Worth Woods area.
  Worth Woods is a community of single family homes built in the 1950s located west of Harlem Avenue and south of Southwest Highway. One resident discovered six trees that were both dead and infected with Oak Wilt on her property.
  But Oak Wilt is not among one of the hazardous trees listed for removal according to Illinois state regulations, and the state will not allow for the village board to deem such trees disease stricken and have them removed by the city’s public works department.
  “The resident was quoted over $1,000 per tree for their removal and was unable to afford the expense,” Werner said.

Worth unanimously approves permit for medical marijuana dispensary

  • Written by Bob Rakow

An emotional Bonnie Cosentino recalled her battle with cancer Friday night as she pleaded with Worth officials to approve a special-use permit for a marijuana dispensary on Harlem Avenue.
  “I was sicker than a dog,” said Cosentino, a Worth resident. “Nothing worked for me. I was reduced to buying weed on the street. The benefit of this is amazing. I did not do this to get high. “I’m pleading with you to pass this. If you vote this down, shame on you.”
  Cosentino was one of several residents who attended Friday’s real estate development committee meeting, which preceded a special meeting of the village board.
  Residents spoke in favor and against the plan, but ultimately the village board unanimously approved the Windy City Cannabis Club’s request for a special-use permit and location for a marijuana dispensary at 11425 S. Harlem Ave.
  The real estate development committee, which met prior to the village board, approved the special-use permit but rejected WCCC’s proposed location, saying it was too close to a residential neighborhood and lacked sufficient parking.
  “I know that there is a great need for this,” said committee member Rocco Carioto. “I do have apprehensions about bringing it into the neighborhood. This is all new territory for us.”
  But committee member Victor Roti said the dispensary was being held to separate set of standards.
  “Would we be asking Walgreens or CVS all the same questions?” he said.
  Worth Mayor Mary Werner said trustees did not reach their decision lightly.
  “This is something the board has been thinking about very, very seriously,” Werner said.
  She defended the location, saying it was easily accessible and might help the village attract other businesses to the Harlem Avenue corridor.
  “I don’t think anybody would disagree that there’s a need for it in our society,” Werner added.
  But other residents who attended Friday’s meeting voiced concerns about locating a marijuana dispensary in the village.
  They complained that the clinic was too close to a residential area and could attract drug addicts or resellers.
  “I don’t think this is a good idea for the village,” said resident Jack McGrath, who said medical marijuana should be distributed at hospitals or pharmacies.
  Susan Banks, who lives across the street from the proposed clinic, expressed concerns about additional traffic and the impact on the neighborhood.
  You’re right in the neighborhood,” Banks said. “You’re involving the neighborhood. You got too many kids in this neighborhood and it’s all we need.”
  But Worth resident Shannon Beverley, a nurse’s assistant, said dispensaries have better control over medical marijuana because they are smaller and more secure.

Jeff Vorva's Im-PRESS-ions:We’re not stupid but we make some dumb mistakes

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


Jeffs Col ImpressionsUsually I like to write about the good things our paper does.
I like patting ourselves on the back when we win awards or when people praise our work.
But this is not one of those columns.
This is a piece about some of the dumb things that can happen when running a newspaper.
There is no such thing as a small mistake in my book. They are all major.
But some are more major than others. They are egregious errors that can set us up for ridicule.
I fondly called them “how-the-hell-did-that-happen?” mistakes.RICHARDSFB.PHOTO2.9-4Richards’ Patrick Doyle, top photo, and Kush Baxter, bottom photo, were inadvertently misidentified in last week’s sports section. We think we got it right this week! Photos by Jeff Vorva.RICHARDSFB.PHOTO3.9-4
We had a couple of doozies last week.
One came in a story that appeared in the Regional. In one of my stories for the news section, I talked about how during week 1, Shepard’s football team beat Niles North in the first paragraph.
Shepard lost the game.
How the hell did that happen?
Basically, over the weekend, I checked out the score via Googling Shepard and Niles North.
One of the first things to pop up was the Niles North Maxpreps website. It said that our heroes won 31-18. But Maxpreps is not one of my favorite websites and is very spotty. Still, you figure it would at least get the score right.
Since I don’t trust Maxpreps, I tried another source—the long established and credible Associated Press score list. There it was. Shepard beat Niles North 31-18.
So it wasn’t until after the paper went out that I realized that Shepard actually lost that game, 49-14.
I did plenty of cursing when I found that out.
I also found out that the Illinois High School Association – a fine organization when it comes to compiling football scores — claimed that Wilmington lost a football game in the first week of the season that it actually won.
So I was in good company.
But it didn’t make me feel any better.
That leads us to the second mistake, which appeared in the sports section.
A couple of my photos ran on page 3.
One was of Richards’ Kush Baxter returning a kickoff. The other was of his teammate, Patrick Doyle, running with the ball.
But the captions were switched Baxter was identified as Doyle and Doyle was identified as Baxter.
One player is white. The other is African-American. Their numbers were clearly shown in the photos.
What the hell happened?
The process from the actual shooting of the photos to the finished product is filled with traps, hiccups and burps involving people who were not at the game. On a minute-by-minute basis under deadline, things get changed for various reasons in order for everything to fit on a page. Once in a while, especially when two photos are similar, captions get inadvertently switched.
In a great majority of cases at newspapers, the photographer is helpless and has no say or input in the process.
Here, as Reporter editor, I have a chance to give the sports pages a quick look for something like that and I neglected to do that this time.
I can easily say “Well, it’s not my section so it’s not my responsibility” but since I was the only person in this process to be at the game, it’s my responsibility to take a peek to make sure that Baxter is Baxter and Doyle is Doyle.
We have some great people working here and we are human and will make some dumb mistakes. It’s a microcosm of the universe. But our mistakes are public and when we make them, some people lose a little faith in our credibility.
Making big boners like this is nothing new or not exclusive to Regional Publishing.
The Tribune had their “Dewey defeats Truman” moment of infamy.
I’ve seen some newspapers make such gargantuan gaffes that they had to burn valuable front page space trying to explain those foulups.
I call those “what-the-$&^#-happened?” mistakes.
And I hope and pray that I won’t ever have to write about one of those.