After last year’s absence, Sexton ready for EP village address today

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  Evergreen Park Mayor Jim Sexton will outline the village’s future today, Thursday, in his annual state of the village address.
  Sexton’s luncheon remarks will be made at 11:30 a.m. at the village’s senior center, 9547 W. Homan Ave. Tickets are $6.
  The mayor was forced to skip last year’s speech, as he was recovering from West Nile virus.
  “I’ll be glad to be back with the seniors,” Sexton said. “There’s a lot that’s happened.”
  The bulk of Sexton’s address will focus on retail development throughout the village. The mayor plans to bring seniors up to speed on plans to redevelop the Plaza and the recent groundbreaking for Mariano’s, an upscale grocer that expects to open in late 2014.
  The future of the Plaza is still in the planning stages, but Sexton’s hopeful he can announce a grand opening date during his 2014 state of the village speech.
  What he can tell seniors is that Binny’s Beverage Depot held its grand opening on Wednesday. The liquor store is doing business in the former Bleekers Bowl, 3447 W. 95th St.
  Sexton said the store is paying tribute to Bleekers by posting a photo of the longtime bowling alley in the store and preserving one of the racks used to store balls.
  Across the street, Tavern on the Green is putting the finishing touches on the restaurant that will replace Karson’s Restaurant and Pancake House, an establishment in the village for decades.
  Meanwhile, Beverly Bank is renovating the bank on the northeast corner of 95th Street and Pulaski Road while Walgreens, which is building a new store on the southeast corner of the intersection, is expect to open in late 2014, Sexton said.

Retro Reporter 11-21-13

  • Written by Compiled by Jeff Vorva

Retro Reporter ArtMayor considers resigning after adultery charge
50 years ago
From the Nov. 21, 1963 edition
  The story: Palos Hills Mayor John Jager indicated he would consider resigning after “political pressures” are involved in an adultery charge filed by his next door neighbor and causing his wife to leave their home.
  The quote: “(I left) for a rest from the telephone calls and harassment (which) started before the election and have become more evident since,” — Doris Jager — John Jager’s wife.
  Fun fact: Just in time for Thanksgiving, Pick-N-Save in Worth was selling tender young tom turkeys for 29 cents a pound. Big spenders could go for the center-cut pork chops at 55 cents per pound. Also, a grand opening of McDonald’s at 87th and Harlem was scheduled to open Nov. 23.

Fooooooood fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight at the White Castle
25 years ago
From the November 24, 1988 edition
  The story: The Oak Lawn Village Board voted 5-0 to award $1.8 million worth of contracts for a phase of construction for a new Public Safety Building at 95th Street between Raymond Avenue and 53rd Court.
  The quote: “Nooo! It’s here! Every day it’s sitting there, waiting for me. Oh, the horror! I can’t take it anymore!” — Reporter reporter Jeff Wisniewski on dealing with leftover Thanksgiving turkey.
  Fun fact: Nancy Golden of Hinsdale charged with disorderly conduct by Oak Lawn police after she allegedly threw food at a policeman at a White Castle. Golden and several other women were throwing food at each other before police arrived, according to a report.

Big plans in Hickory Hills
10 years ago
From the Nov. 20, 2003 edition
  The story: Hickory Hills officials mulled a hotel and convention center on 95th Street off the I-294 tollway. They also brainstormed with ideas of building a conference center and resort hotel at the Hickory Hills Country Club and a banquet and theater facility on the property of the Sabre Room.
  The quote: “Ding! Ding! Ding! goes the trolley. The Holly Trolley that is.” — the opening of Jason Maholy’s story about a trolley service in Evergreen Park.
  Fun fact: Snackville Junction in Evergreen Park offered a free Thanksgiving dinner as a thank-you for those in the community who supported the restaurant.

Evergreen Park, Worth-Ridge enjoy Super Bowl titles

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

  The Evergreen Park Stallions and Worth-Ridgepage-4-2-col-worthridge2The Panthers defense forces a fumble against Hessville in Super Bowl action at Toyota Park. Photo by Jeff Vorva. Panthers were big winners at the Metro Youth Football League Super Bowl XXX event Saturday at Toyota Park.

  The Panthers claimed the Junior Division title with a 51-22 victory over the Hessville Vipers to finish 11-0 for the second year in a row. The Stallions won the Widget title with a 31-8 victory over the Summit Rebels. The Stallions also won the Fall Brawl Super Pee Wee Championship game with a 19-12 win over the Hayes Park Blitz.

  The Panthers Junior Division championship team features Aryk Banks, Daniel Green, Dale Williams, Anthony Tatro, Alex Telez, Sebastian Castro, Michael Jennings, De’Andre Bartlett, Prentise Powell, Zion White, Kyle Neputy, Terrell Washington, Justin Chapman, Greg Hoard, Maurice Brent, Samuel Alvarado, Brian Banks, Matt Rivera, Julian Sanchez, Aldo Gallegos, Riley Murphy, Henry Light and Kenneth Moore.

  The Stallions’ Widget champion team consists of Jalen Johnson, Eli Verveka, Myles Hopkins, Jose Alencastro, Jessi Plunkett, Dylan Kulovitz, Edward Porter Jr., Denzel Anderson, Nile Hill, Tyrone Dixon Jr., Nkosi Hood, Sammy Spencer, Dabney Tatum IV, Sean Wilkinson, Ryan Schickel, Chase Hall, Malcolm Horton, Amari Watkins, Devin Linson, Amir Noble, Kyle Clayton, Loyal Howard, Antonio Underwood and Charles Parker Jr.
page-4-3-col-ep33Evergreen Park’s Nile Hill gains some yards in a victory over the Summit Rebels. Phot by Jeff Vorva.  Evergreen’s Fall Brawl title team consists of Diego Toledo, Frankie Plunkett, Ethan Collins, William Cambria, Nelson Thornton, Nicholas White, Jr., Danny Fontaine, Joseph Hall, CalenKulovitz, Noah Gertonson, Michael Romac, Tyler Denton, Preston Trepac, Michael Collins Jr., Logan Karr, Asael Rubalcava, Yael Martinez, Ryan Fontaine, Willie Smith III, Ryan Lych, Nolan Rinearson, Nolan Smith and Jake Aldape.

Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook: Court Marshall: SXU names hoops court after Oak Lawn’s Hallberg

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


jeff column  Bob Hallberg gave his own eulogy last week.
  The Oak Lawn resident and legendary basketball coach was honored by St. Xavier University on Nov. 13 when the school dedicated the court at the Shannon Center in his name before his Cougars women’s team went out and beat Trinity International University 87-46.
  “This is a very memorable occasion for me,” Hallberg told the crowd after the game. “It’s a fantastic night for me and my family. And what makes it so memorable for me is that I always thought when they name a court after you, you would have to be dead. But I am still around here to enjoy it.”

  He then joked that he would give his own PAGE-3-2-col-HallbergCoach Bob Hallberg addresses the crowd last Wednesday, Nov. 13, the night St. Xavier University named the basketball court in the Shannon Center in his honor. Photo by Jeff Vorva.eulogy and proceeded to take the several hundred fans who stayed after the game down memory lane.
  The guy opened this season with 905 wins on the high school and college level and that’s special itself. But what is really cool is that every one of those 905 wins, coupled with 390 losses came while coaching schools in Chicago.
  He is truly a stay-at-home coach.
  He started his career at Kennedy High School in 1966 and since then he started up the men’s program at St. Xavier in 1971 and added stops at Chicago State University and the University of Illinois-Chicago before coming back to SXU where he started up the women’s team in 1999 and has remained there ever since.
  Hallberg was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame last year, which is a huge honor, but he said that the Nov. 13 dedication “tops them all.”
  He was gracious and thanked a bunch of people but he was also able to make a few more funnies about what people in the future will think when they see his name on the court.
  “People will ask ‘who is Bob Hallberg?’ ’’ Hallberg said. “And someone will answer that question like they knew me and say ‘I know who that guy was. When Sister Catherine McAuley came over in 1843 to start the Sisters of Mercy, Bob was the captain of the ship.’’
  He may have not captained that particular ship but has captained some winning teams and mentored thousands of athletes over the years. One of his early hires as an athletic director was of baseball coach John Boles in 1973. Since then, Boles has had a long career, including stints of managing the Florida Marlins in 1996 and 1999-2001. Boles was one of several people from Hallberg’s past to attend the event.
  Hallberg and his wife, Linda, have three sons — Bob, Bill and Brian. They have eight grandchildren — Nathan, Grace, Ben, Sofia, Gavin, Evan, Jason and Jake.

  Hallberg turns 70 in February and still has a few more years of coaching ahead of him if he wants to reach that 1,000-victory milestone. Last year he told me he didn’t feel his age but he will know when to retire — “The day I can walk in that locker room and not be upset anymore after a loss — that’s the time I retire.”
Hall of Fame writing?
  I love music and good lyrical writing but I’ve often said that writing lyrics is overrated because most of these people have months and years to come up with a clever turn of the phrase. Not like us newspaper hacks, who have days and sometimes just hours and minutes to be creative.

  That said…
  There are some brilliant and unforgettable lyricsout there. Here is a six-pack of some of my favorite rock lyrics:
  • “With these vulgar fractions of the terrible clef. I wish you luck with a capital ‘F.’ ’’ Elvis Costello from the song “Love Went Mad.”
  • “And then the lightning streaks across the room. You smell like something fresh from the tomb.” Richard Thompson from his tune “I Can’t Wake Up To Save My Life.”
  • “She said that she was working for the ABC News. It was as much of the alphabet as she knew how to use.” Costello again from his song “Brilliant Mistake.”
  • “That’s one more kid that will never go to school/never get to fall in love/never get to be cool,” Neil Young in his tune “Rockin’ in the Free World.’’
  • “I wish I was in Tijuana, eating barbequed iguana,” Stan Ridgway and Marc Moreland from Wall of Voodoo’s “Mexican Radio.”
  • “Just get me to the airport/put me on a plane/hurry, hurry, hurry/before I go insane/I can’t control my fingers/I can’t control my brain.’’ Joey Ramone in the Ramones tune “I Wanna Be Sedated.”
  Great stuff, to be sure. But again, they had a long time to come up with that brilliance.
  That said…
  Harry Wayne Casey, also known as KC from KC and the Sunshine Band, was nominated for the 2014 songwriter’s Hall of Fame.
  You mean a guy who can write “Do a little dance/make a little love/get down tonight” and “I wanna be your/your rubber ball’’ is up for Hall of Fame status? Man, did I get the wrong writing business.


Air mail from Washington

  • Written by Kevin M. Coyne and Jeff Vorva


Devastating storm blows assisted-living flier 130 miles to Palos Hills


  It was the most interesting piece of garbageDOUBLE-RUN-PAGE-1-COLOR-2-col-WashingtonMoraine Valley officer Danielle Zychowski displays an advertisement that flew 130 miles from Downstate Washington to the Palos Hills campus during Sunday’s massive storm. Photo by Jeff Vorva. Chicago Ridge’s Danielle Zychowski picked up in her life.

  Close to noon on Sunday, the Moraine Valley community service officer was helping to secure the Palos Heights campus for the impending storm. The winds were kicking up and some debris started falling and an advertisement for the Villas of Holly Brook assisted living facility in Downstate Washington, fluttered and fell to the ground right in Police Chief Patrick O’Connor’s parking space. It had some dirt on it and it was partially torn.
  “I looked up in the sky and saw the debris falling,” said Zychowski, who graduated from Moraine with a criminal justice degree. “That one actually fell right at my feet. Out of curiosity I picked it up wondering where it came from. I thought maybe it was from Orland Park or Palos Hills or Palos Park. I picked it up and I saw it was from the town of Washington. I had never heard of the town of Washington.
  “I Googled it and found out where Washington is. It travelled 130 miles. About 25 minutes later, that’s when the news went public that the tornado hit Washington.’’
DOUBLE-RUN-jump-2-col-storm-readyMoraine Valley Police Chief Patrick O’Connor, left, receives an award from Jim Allsopp of the National Weather Service. Photo by Kevin Coyne.  The flier was sent to Steven Bucher of Kern Road in Washington and when Zychowski went home that night, she saw him on television.
  “The crazy thing is that he was on NBC Nightly News,” she said. “He talked about how his house was completely destroyed. I was excited to know that he was OK. Of course, my heart goes out to everybody there, but I felt a connection to this person. Finding his mail made it personal.’’
  Bucher described what happened.
  “All of a sudden, the wind started picking up and [my wife] said ‘we’ve got to get in the basement right now!’ ’’ Bucher told NBC. “Within less than a minute, everything started collapsing inside the house, cracking, sputtering. Next thing we know, its light inside the garage.’’
  Bucher’s junk mail flying from his house all the way to Moraine’s campus was “amazing,” O’Connor said.
  “To elevate that upward and for it not to be damaged by water, it had had to be very high up,” O’Connor said. “The National Weather Service was shocked that it reached this far. They had reports of debris from Morris and Joliet. They never thought it would make it all the way to Palos Hills. It shows how strong this storm really was.”
  Luckily for most of the Reporter’s six towns, there was only minor damage caused by the storm. The chief said there was no damage on campus.
  O’Connor said he would photograph the advertisement and send it to the Washington post office, which is holding people’s mail that has flown all around the state.
  “When [Bucher’s] life gets back to normal, he will get this back,” O’Connor said. “I think he’s going to be surprised that it travelled this far.’’
  The incident happened four days after O’Connor received the National Weather Service StormReady Award at the school’s monthly board meeting.
  StormReady was developed in 1999 in Tulsa, Okla., after a tornado struck a community that was unprepared and sustained great loss and damage.
  NWS and NOAA Weather Radio partnered to create the grassroots program in cooperation with state and local emergency management agencies to help prepare communities, colleges and universities and counties for inclement weather.
  “It took us about three years to get everything in place and we are very proud of being award the StormReady Award,” O’Connor said. “We had to setup an emergency operations center, establish multiple means of communication to students and staff, train our employees and meet [NWS official Jim Allsopp’s] strict policies and procedures.”
  The NWS requires each of the StormReady communities to create redundant methods of receiving watches and warning from the NWS on campus, redundant methods of disseminating that information while sending it out to the community, severe weather procedures in place, storm shelters on campus, training of storm-spotters, and training for the staff and students.
  “Chief O’Connor has done a great job meeting the requirements to be a StormReady college,” Allsopp said. “Statewide this is only the tenth college or university to achieve StormReady status and there are only about 140 nationwide.”
  According the NWS, roughly 90 percent of all presidentially declared disasters are weather related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $14 billion in damage. The StormReady program provides individuals with the communication and safety skills needed to help protect communities from severe weather.
  “This program is great for the college community since we have protocols in place where we are able to reach out to all three campuses and prepare students, faculty, staff and visitors for severe weather,” O’Connor said. “This award ensures the safety and performance of not only our department but the college community as a whole.”