Let the search begin

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Worth seeking out a new police chief

Worth Police Chief Martin Knolmayer calls it a career tomorrow, Friday, but the village’s plans to find his replacement are in their infancy.
  Mayor Mary Werner shed little light on the village’s timeline or process for selecting a new top cop.
  “We are reviewing options at this time. As soon as we have any updated information, I will let you know,” Werner said in an email Monday.
  Deputy Chief Mark Micetic is the department’s second in command, but whether he will be named the interim chief remained uncertain late Tuesday afternoon.
  “Hopefully we will make that decision pretty quick,” said trustee Warren Soldan, the board’s police department liaison.
  Knolmayer announced his retirement at the Sept. 16 village board meeting. He leaves the village after more than 28 years of service and shortly before his 50th birthday.
  Trustee Tedd Muersch said he favors the appointment of an existing member of the police department hierarchy.
  “At this point, it seems like it would be worth it to promote from within,” Muersch said.
  Knolmayer rose through the ranks, becoming chief in 2011, 25 years after joining the force.
  Soldan agreed, saying he would prefer the village promote from within the ranks.
  Muersch added that it’s very early in the process, and the village board has not discussed the matter yet.
  “It’s really, early,” he said. “We haven’t gotten together as a group.”
  Trustee Colleen McElroy said she has talked to Werner about Knolmayer’s replacement.
  The chief is a mayoral appointment, but the board can reject the selection, McElroy said.
  She added that the new chief must work for the best interests of the village and understand the direction of the police department.
  “I would like to see what our options are,” McElroy said. “It’s difficult to say right now. You don’t want to (chose a replacement) in haste. This is a big position.”
  Knolmayer said he decided to retire to spend more time with his family.
  Knolmayer joined the police department as a patrol officer in 1986. A decade later, he moved to investigations where he would spend 14 years.
  While at that post, he worked with the South Suburban Major Crimes Unit. From there, he was assigned to the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force and worked with the organization for 11 years to investigate homicides and kidnappings.
  Knolmayer became a sergeant in 2000 and was promoted to lieutenant in 2006.

Jeff Vorva's imPRESSions: It’s very easy to hate on the eights

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


Jeffs Col ImpressionsThe number eight hasn’t been so great in the world of gizmos.
It started last summer, when I bought a new laptop and the salesman was telling me how great the new Windows 8 was.
The salesman lied.
Windows 8 is the work of the devil.
It is garbage.
It might be cool for those who have touch screens, but I don’t have a touch screen and it is not very friendly to us who have to live without.
As a temporary relief, I was able to download something that would allow me to have my home screen look like a regular computer and not some coloring book.
Even with that small improvement, it does a lot of funky things. Sometimes when you move your fingers across the touchpad it goes into a different mode and you have to look for the start area to go back to what you are doing. Sometimes you hit the ‘r’ key and the “run” screen comes up. It does a lot of what you don’t want it to do and it’s frustrating.
Meanwhile, I discovered one tip that saves some aggravation. Hit the Windows symbol and escape and that usually fixes that stuff. But it comes back. And comes back. And comes back.
Lest you think this is a generational thing and I’m being and old fogey, my two kids in high school hate it, too, but not with the fervor that I do.
There are plenty of critics on the internet about it.
And, while I am writing a negative column on this, I am not nearly as nasty as a person who wrote a long message in a Microsoft forum titled “Windows 8 SUCKS AND I HATE IT.’’
“WHO DESIGNED THIS ****???” this person wrote. “A MONKEY?”
Then the person seemingly calmed down because he or she stopped using all capital letters and added “No, a monkey could do it better. Somebody shoot the guy who thought of this…’’
Then this person came up with a stinging insult that should make the wonks who invented this tripe weep buckets of tears.
“This is worse than Vista!”
That brings us to another eight to hate.
The Apple iOS8 system, which is the recently upgraded system that runs the bazillions of iPhones out there, is such a lemon that the Apple folks pulled it off the market and updated it with an iOS8.0.1 update.
In some cases, the new update is causing the phone portion of the phones not to work. Now it’s time for iOS8.0.2.
I really can’t get worked up about this because, unlike some people, including my kids, I am not the type to update my phone system right away. I am usually one of the last to update because I usually don’t care about all the new whistles and bells. So I’m still in heaven with iOS 7.
My son, T.J., is complaining that iOS8 “lags” and my daughter, Lauren, doesn’t like how much it drains the battery.
Like the Windows8 debacle, the iOS 8 has plenty of online critics using unkind language to describe it.
Now that iPhones are in their sixth generation, it won’t be took long before the seventh comes along. But when it’s time for the iPhone8 to debut, maybe the geniuses at Apple will change the name.

Shedding light on e-books
Last week’s column featured a theory on e-books messing up your sleep patterns by a medical correspondent named Stephen Adams, citing the blue lights on the e-books’ screens as the cause. Adams was quoted by Ruth and Larry Kuhn of Oak Lawn, who run a book shop and pointed out that reading real books at night rather than e-books is better for your sleep.
It didn’t take long for Bob Friedman, a marketing director for ASF Lightware Solutions in Merrick, N.Y., to chime in.
“Your article correctly notes the problem of blue light impairing sleep,” he wrote in an e-mail. “However, the problem is not e-books. The problem is the blue light emitted by LEDs using in smartphones, tablets and book lights. So, if you’re using a printed book with a typical LED booklight, you’ll still be having blue light shining in your eyes and disturbing your sleep!”
Then Mr. Friedman made a savvy marketing move by hawking his product.
“Our Beam N Read LED Hands Free Lights come with blue-light blocking filters to eliminate this problem,” he wrote. “Without the snap-on filters, a Beam N Read LED Light, like other LED lights, shines a lot of blue light. With the orange or red filters attached, blue light is filtered out. Beam N Read are the only reading lights that address the blue light problem.
“So you can read an E-book on a Kindle (non-backlit or with the back lighting turned off) and you won’t have a problem with blue light. Beam N Read lights are worn around the neck and can be used with e-readers and printed books plus soft materials that can’t support a clip-on light like newspapers, newsletters, and a handwritten letter from mom.’’
I am letting this shameless plug go through because I can’t say no to a man promoting reading newspapers and letters from mom. The website for more information is
And someone from ASF needs to give Bob a bonus for a job well done.


New business to the rescue

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Page-3-CR-LibraryThe Chicago Ridge Library was closed for two days last week because of a bed bug problem but was opened last Thursday. Photo by Jeff Vorva.

A company that recently set up shop in Chicago Ridge was instrumental in eradicating bed bugs from the village’s public library.
Canine Detection & Inspection Services, 9955 Virginia Ave., was brought in when the library learned that a portion of the building might be infested with bed bugs.
The company’s business license was approved Sept. 16 by the board.
“Everything is fine. We’re up and running,” library director Kathy McSwain said Tuesday. “We used the canine company.”
The library was closed last Tuesday and Wednesday after a patron lodged a complaint about being bitten. The library, 10400 Oxford Ave., reopened on Thursday morning.
A statement posted on the door of the library and distributed to patrons said, “It is important to remember that this is a people issue not a building issue.”
The statement added that bed bugs can be found anywhere humans inhabit and are not known to transmit diseases to humans. It included links to Cook County Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control for more information on bed bugs.
The library did not offer an explanation for the two-day closing prior to Thursday.
The library treated the areas where bed bugs were detected and got rid of furnishings inhabited by the bugs, said McSwain, who did not say where the bed bugs were discovered.
“It was a learning experience for all of us,” she said.
She added that this is the first time the library has experienced a bed bug infestation, but the experience should not be forgotten.
“This community needs an education on bed bugs,” McSwain said, adding that the library will provide pamphlets and brochures and host public speakers on the subject.
She said the library might also have to consider some policy changes to prevent another infestation. The policy changes might limit the amount of materials a patron may bring in or the donations the library accepts.
Mayor Chuck Tokar said the dogs subsequently checked out portions of village hall, including the council chamber, meeting rooms and senior citizen room.
The police station also was checked out. None of the facilities had any signs of bugs, Tokar said.


  • Written by Bob Rakow

Thanks to therapy, OL’s Sorley bowls and plays golf less than one year after suffering brain injury

 Leigh Shea recalls her early encounters with Richard Sorley.

 Sorley is an Oak Lawn resident whoPage-1-2-col-sorleyOak Lawn’s Richard Sorley laughs it up with staff members at Advocate Christ Medical Center Sept. 18 before being honored as a Rehabber of the Year. Photo by Jeff Vorva. underwent brain surgery last October at Christ Medical Center after a fall led to a subdural hematoma.
Following the surgery, Sorley began to work with a team of therapists at the hospital, including Shea.
 “We worked with him on quite a few different things,” said Shea, a speech therapist at the hospital.
Initially, Sorley, 80, had trouble with a variety of functions, including swallowing, walking, staying alert, memory and staying awake.
But steady improvement came as Sorley put in several weeks of hard work with Shea and the other therapists.
Cardiac complications interrupted Sorley’s therapy, but didn’t dampen his spirit, his therapists said. He resumed therapy as soon as he could and made significant progress.
The man who initially needed two people to help him stand eventually was walking 125 feet with a walker, climbing stairs and shaving.
He’s an example of what this program can do for people,” Shea said.
Sorley’s hard work and dedication were evident each day at therapy sessions, Shea said. “He just really pushed himself,” she said.
Physical therapist Alex Ramos concurred.
“It started very slow,” said Ramos, who recalled early sessions comprised of little more than sitting exercises.
But Sorely made steady progress.
“Every time he came in here, he looked better. He worked hard. There was never a question of motivation.” Ramos said.
One year later, Sorley is bowling—he recently rolled a 72—golfing and walking with only the aid of a cane.
“The turnaround he made is just tremendous,” Shea said. “He just wowed us.”
Sorley was one of six Christ Medical Center patients honored recently as a Rehabber of the Year.
The annual ceremony also recognized a child who sustained multiple injuries in a motor vehicle crash that killed one of her parents, a 17-year-old hockey and soccer player who overcame a traumatic brain injury and a firefighter who suffered a stroke while responding to a fire call. 
“It’s our favorite day of the year,” said Shea, who told Sorley’s story to an auditorium full of therapists, physicians, nurses and hospital staff.
Sorley was hesitant to talk about his road back, but credited his team of rehabilitation specialists for helping him get there.
“These people did a marvelous job,” Sorley said. “I can’t say enough about how much they put into their work.”
He also thanked his wife, Loraine, for “sticking with me” throughout his rehabilitation.
“He is a new man,” Shea said.


Unsweet 16 for schools

  • Written by Tim Hadac

 SB 16 impact could be devastating for area education funds

Proposed legislation working its way through the Illinois General Assembly will, if passed, result in damaging and potentially devastating financial losses for Stagg, Sandburg and Andrew High Schools, Consolidated High School District 230 board members were told at its meeting last week.
Plus, schools from other districts in the area could feel the punch as well.
Senate Bill 16, already passed by the State Senate and soon to be considered by the House of Representatives, will alter the formula used to distribute state education funds in such a way that downstate districts, as well as Chicago, will see annual increases, but suburban districts will be unfairly squeezed, said Hickory Hills resident Debbie Chafee.
Page-1-2-col-color-langertDistrict 230 Assistant Superintendent Steve Langert said that the proposed Senate Bill 16 is “confusing” and “misguided. Photo by Jeff Vorva.“This is a very serious issue,” said Chafee, a mother of two children attending schools in the North Palos District 117. “This bill does not add any more money to what the state currently provides for education. Instead, it re-distributes the money, so the small pie that’s there gets sliced in a different way—and the suburban school districts will take a very significant hit, if this legislation is passed as is.”
Chafee said an Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) analysis shows that District 230 will lose up to $7 million a year in state funding under the proposed plan. Combined with its public-school feeder districts, local school will lose up to $23 million a year, Chafee told the board.
“For North Palos, that’s a loss of 14 percent of our budget, which will mean cutting a large portion of our staff,” Chafee continued. “So on top of what you guys would be feeling [in District 230], the reality is, the kids that coming into your school district are not going to be as prepared as we’ve been able to prepare them in the past.”
The analysis can be found on the ISBE website, as well as on the home page of, the website that of Everyone Deserves a Great Education in Illinois, an ad hoc group formed to sound the alarm about SB 16 and rally voters to oppose the measure.
Chafee added that with no new state funding, the change in the current funding formula results in “pitting school districts against each other, and that results in winners and losers.”
Dems vs. GOP

Political support for SB 16 has mostly fallen along partisan lines, with support from Chicago and downstate Democrats and opposition from suburban Republicans—although Chafee noted that 18th District State Senator Bill Cunningham, a Chicago Democrat whose district includes a number of suburbs, broke ranks to vote against the measure.
SB 16’s primary sponsor is State Senator Andy Munar, a freshman Democrat from Central Illinois and teacher by training.