EP is getting juiced up for Binny’s

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Village is a hard-hat haven with beverage store

 opening and Mariano’s grocery on horizon

  Ground will be broken in Evergreen FRONT-COLOR-2-col-binnyBinny’s, which took over Bleekers Bowl in Evergreen Park recently, could be open by Thanksgiving. Photo by Jeff Vorva.Park next Thursday for an upscale grocery store, while one mile away, workers will be busy converting a long-time bowling alley into a liquor store in time for the holiday season.

  Mariano’s Fresh Market is not expected to open its doors until August 2014, but store and village will turn over the first shovels of soil at a groundbreaking ceremony, which is scheduled for 10 a.m.
  Meanwhile, Binny’s Beverage Depot hopes to open before Thanksgiving at the site of Bleeker’s Bowl and Tavern, 3447 W. 95th St., a veritable landmark in the village since 1950s.
  “I’ve never seen so many hard hats on 95th Street,” Evergreen Park Mayor Jim Sexton said.
  Binny’s held a hiring fair last week at Evergreen Park Village Hall and is expected to fill 25-30 positions. The business has received more than 300 online applications and another 100 at the job fair, Sexton said.
  The store has 29 locations in the Chicago area. The Evergreen Park store will be the third in the southwest suburbs and will employ approximately 300 employees.
  The 70,000-square-foot Mariano’s will be built on the site of the shuttered Webb Ford, 2601 W. 95th St. The site has been vacant for five years and convincing the upscale grocer to come to town was not accomplished overnight, Sexton said.
  The mayor first contacted Bob Mariano, the store’s chairman, in February 2009. Sexton had a previous relationship with Mariano from his days as CEO of Dominick’s.
  “There’s just a whole lot to it,” Sexton said.
  In addition to negotiations with the property owner and the grocery store, governmental agencies such as the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District were involved, he said.
  Mariano’s also is opening a store in Oak Lawn, which will anchor a retail development at 111th Street and Cicero Avenue.
  Dominick’s, Kmart and some small businesses were previously located on the site. That store is expected to open in 2014. Village officials are hopeful the store will draw other businesses to the retail center.
  Mariano’s is owned by Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarkets, which operates four other supermarket chains in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The store features an Italian coffee shop, sushi bar, wine and cheese bar, salad bar and prepared meals to take home.
  As Binny’s and Mariano’s prepare to join the Evergreen Park business community, Sexton is taking the next step toward resurrecting the Plaza.
  An informational meeting about development plans for the mall is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Nov. 4 at village hall, 9418 S. Kedzie Ave.
  “We want to get this thing moving along,” Sexton said.
  Trustees in August authorized the village attorney with Carson’s to negotiate so that demolition of the mall, 95th Street and Western Avenue, can proceed.
  The retailer is only one remaining at the otherwise shuttered mall, which closed on May 31. Applebee’s, which is located on an out lot, and Planet Fitness, remain open.
  Plans calls for an outdoor mall that would a feature a variety of retailers and restaurants.
  “The indoor thing is over,” Sexton said.
  The 61-year-old shopping mall, formerly the Evergreen Plaza, has been in foreclosure since 2011. The property is currently in receivership.
  DeBartolo Development wants to demolish the mall and replace it with a “lifestyle center,” Chicago Real Estate reported. The development firm is owned by former San Francisco 49ers’ owner Eddie DeBartolo.

WHATIZIT? 10-24-13

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


  Once again, it’s hard to fool the WHATIZIT Whatizz-10-24wunderkinds as we had a handful of people correctly guess the top of an upright that you see in the end zone at football games.

  The red thing-a-ma-bobber on top of it is a wind indicator flag.
  We had five correct guesses by people from five different towns.
  Those football heroes who guessed right were Worth’s Robert Solner, Oak Lawn’s Maline Zolna, Chicago Ridge’s Dana Oswald, Evergreen Park’s Jen Merchantz, Hickory Hills’ Jack and Griffin Burke Faddis.
  Wrong guesses were football slalom poles and a soccer corner kick stick.
  This week’s photo is not sports related. The clue is that this thing can cause a buzz.
  Send those guesses to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with Whatizit? on the subject line by Monday night. Provide your name and home town as well.

Photo by Jeff Vorva.


Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook -- Ty Cobb, Ted Williams and … Kara Kentner?

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


COLOR - Jeff I wouldn’t suggest to the students or faculty members of Moraine Valley Community College that they should bow or say “I’m not worthy” when they pass sophomore volleyball player Kara Kentner in the hallway.
  But it might be appropriate.
  Earlier this month, the national junior college rankings came out and she was second in the country in hitting with a .427 hitting percentage. And she was hitting .541 in conference play as well.
  For those who don’t follow volleyball statistics, those are just numbers.
  For those who do, those are numbers that could make you want to bow or say “I’m not worthy” when you are in her presence.
  See, hitting stats in volleyball are rougher than baseball hitting numbers.
  In baseball, you get credit for a hit and no credit for an out. If you get a hit and then strike out and ground out, you are 1-for-3 and are hitting .333.

  In volleyball, you get credit for a hit. You get no credit for a ball that you hit but gets returned. It’s similar to baseball. But in volleyball, you also get penalized for a hitting error such as bashing the ball out of bounds, hitting it into the net or into a successful defensive block.
  Thus, you can hit the ball into the net, have one returned and then get the match-winning kill and be carried off the court as a hero, but your hitting percentage is .000.
  I compare these stats with baseball stats.
  In major league baseball, just 28 players have hit .400 or better and no one has done it since 1941. Legends such as Ty Cobb, Ted Williams and Joe Jackson have done it.

  But imagine if the criteria was more like volleyball…2013 vball action 6Moraine Valley Community College volleyball star Kara Kentner has an incredible hitting percentage. Submitted photo.what if each of these .400 hitters were penalized a hit every time they struck out or hit into a double play?
  Back in 1894, Boston’s Hugh Duffy set the all-time major league record for hitting with a .440 average. It’s a record that stands today and it’s unlikely that it will ever be broken unless some really wonderful miracle steroid is invented.
  He was 237-for-519. Back then, the stat of grounding into double plays was not kept but strikeouts were. He had 30. So subtracting 30 from his 237, he was 207-for-539, which is .384. That’s still pretty good, but no .400.
  For those who think volleyball stats and baseball stats are apples and oranges, let’s go with the Joe Smalzer argument.
  Smalzer is a former Marist volleyball star from Palos Heights who is now playing for Loyola. He is a 6-foot-8 hitting machine who was named first-team All-America as a junior last year. He had 430 kills in 32 matches for 11.2 kills per matchto help the Ramblers reach the NCAA Final Four.
  This kid is really good.
  But this first-team All-America stud had just a .261 hitting percentage because he made 188 hitting errors. And the Final Four Ramblers had a .291 hitting percentage at a team while opponents were held to .231.

  So if one of the best volleyball players in the nation has that low of a hitting percentage, it makes me appreciate Kentner’s accomplishments even more. The Sandburg High School graduate had 316 kills in 657 attempts and just 40 errors a few weeks ago.
  So, if anyone sees Kentner, you don’t need to bow.
  But a high-five might be in order.

Supper with the Snakes
  My favorite excerpt from a press release this week comes from out of the area, but still made me sssssssnicker:
  “October is a spook-tacular month at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum with a plentiful Halloween program schedule catering to guests of all ages. Young Frankensteins are invited to paint a pumpkin and get up close and personal with some of the ssssssslithery members of the Museum’s Living Collections for its popular dinner party, Supper with the Snakes.
  Guests are encouraged to show off their Halloween costumes while enjoying asssssscrupmptious pizza dinner. Following dinner, the Museum’s biologists will introduce the evening’s guests of honor, their slithering counterparts. Attendees will have the chance to get up close and personal with more than eight species of native and exotic snakes and enjoy a variety of sssssseriously fun activities, including a relay, scavenger hunt, crafts and more. Plus, the Museum’s newest exhibit, Animal Secrets, will be open where kids can see more of the Museum’s slithering residents.”
  The dinner is from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Museum, 2430 N Cannon Drive in Chicago. The cosssssssst is $20 for non-members and $10 for children over 3.


Retro Reporter 10-24-13

  • Written by Compiled by Jeff Vorva

Retro Reporter ArtRidge man shoots guy in trailer court

50 years ago
From The Oct. 24, 1963 edition
  The story: James Lovell of Chicago Ridge was charged with the murder of a man in a Harvey trailer court. Lovell told police he brought a 12-gauge shotgun to scare the man but the gun discharged accidentally, according to the police.
  The quote: “I’m the man you are looking for,” — Lovell, after stopping a Harvey police officer a block away from the incident.
  Fun fact: Oak Lawn’s football team knocked off Sandburg, 26-0 in what the un-bylined report called a “stunning upset.” It was Oak Lawn’s second win of the season.

Palos Heights dinner tab to taxpayers causes indigestion

25 years ago
From the Oct. 27, 1988 edition
  The Story: The Palos Hills City Council voted to approve a $1,206 dinner tab while at Artie G.s in Chicago after attending the Illinois Municipal League Convention. Alderman Pauline Stratton motioned to have the item taken off a list of expenditures they voted on and voted “no” for the tab.
  The quote: “What she did was a cheap shot. All the aldermen could go out by themselves. But we think it’s an interesting fact that we went out as a group.’’ Palos Hills mayor Gerald Bennett on Stratton’s attempt to have the item stricken from the list.
  Fun fact: MJ’s Grill in Worth offered a 99 cent breakfast of two eggs, breakfast potatoes, a choice of fresh baked muffins, buttered biscuit or toast.

Attendance down but beer sales up at RidgeFest

10 years ago
From the Oct. 23, 2003 edition
  The story: The bad news — It was announced that lousy weather hurt the previous July’s RidgeFest 2003 as there was a 21 percent drop in profits from 2002, Village Clerk Charles Tokar said at a board meeting. The good news — Despite a dip in profits and attendance, sales of beer was up 25 percent. Pat Benatar and Poi Dog Pondering were entertainment headliners.
  The quote: “It scared me!” Hickory Hills City Clerk Joann Jackson after touring the Halloween-themed Haunted Hall in town.
  Fun fact: St. Xavier’s radio station, WXAV, won three first-place awards out of five categories at the Illinois Broadcast Association’s Silver Dome Awards.

Happy homecoming for red-hot Richards


  Richards students celebrate a big play during the Bulldogs’ 45-0 victory over Oak Lawn Friday night. Since suffering a 35-34 home loss to Evergreen Park, the Bulldogs have outscored their last three opponents — Reavis, Argo and Oak Lawn — by a combined 112-0 score.

  For more photos and details of the Battle of Oak Lawn plus a look at other area action, see the sports section.

Submitted photo.