Shear volunteerism

Ron and Joanne Shear of Palos Hills are the 2013 recipients of Together We Cope's (TWC) Reimer Award, an annual honor for volunteers who demonstrate the care and compassion that represents the spirit of the Tinley Park-based nonprofit agency.

The Shears have volunteered for TWC since 2007, including in the agency's food pantry, at fundraisers, keeping records for client services, and helping deliver special programs for clients. One of their favorite activities is helping coordinate the annual Tinley Park Postal Carriers food drive that benefits TWC.

"When you are young and busy with work and family, you always want to do more for the community but it's hard to find time," said Ron Shear, a retired pharmacist.

"I think it's great we can do this work at this time in our lives," added Joan, a retired dental office manager.

The Reimer Award has been given annually since 2005 in memory of the late Theodore H. Reimer Jr., who was a TWC board member and volunteer for many years. The Shears will be given the award during Together We Cope's annual dinner dance March 1 at the Odyssey Country Club in Tinley Park. For more information contact Karen Moran at 633-5040 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Wisconsin doctoral student includes N. Palos in study of poorer school districts

From Jim Hook
N. Palos School Dist. 117

When you think of students living in poverty, the communities of Hickory Hills and Palos Hills don't readily come to mind.

But a University of Wisconsin doctoral student begs to differ, and says she has used North Palos District 117 as part of her research about "school districts that significantly increase academic achievement among students living in poverty."

Sally Parks, who earned her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University, is working on her PhD in educational leadership and policy analysis. She said she focused her research on school districts in Illinois and two other states.

"What I found with District 117 was nothing short of amazing," Parks said. "I started looking at public data from school districts starting with at least 15 percent of its students living in poverty that had significant increases in academic achievement.

"North Palos District 117 quickly rose to the top of my list. District 117 does incredibly well academically, and you have about 40 percent of your students living in poverty. That's amazing."

Parks has twice made the nearly three-hour trip from just south of Madison, Wis., to District 117, where she has met with administrators and teachers and conducted interviews, focus groups and observations to help with her research.

"Everyone here has been so great," she said. I'll probably need to come back at least two more times before I get everything I need."

Parks said her goal is to "fully understand the strategies the district implements to improve achievement for kids in poverty as well as the resources to help improve achievement."

This week in THE REPORTER history

News and events from our archives

50 years ago
Feb. 21, 1963

The Kiwanis Club of Worth accepted an unusual new member: Willie Windsor, the ventriloquist doll of Kiwanis member Jack Kennelly. Kennelly said he would use the doll at Kiwanis events.


The Calvin Christian Reformed Church, 101st Street and Central Avenue in Oak Lawn, was dedicated on Feb. 13. The congregation had been meeting for the past year at Sward School, 99th Street and Brandt Avenue.

25 years ago
Feb. 25, 1988

The Eastern Onion Singing Telegram Company celebrated being in Chicago Ridge for more than a year.

The Eastern Onion sent out singing telegrams throughout the suburbs, and performed at birthdays, anniversaries, proposals and other events. Chicago actress Helen Hayes and Chicago Blackhawks owner Arthur Wirtz were two Chicago celebrities who received singing telegrams from the company, which took its name from a pun on the money wire service Western Union.


Palos Hills Mayor Jerry Bennett announced the city had a balanced budget for a seventh straight year. The budget, which was close to $5 million, was up $431,000 (5 percent) over the previous year's budget of $4.49 million.

10 years ago
Feb. 20, 2003

The Hickory Hills City Council tabled a decision to allow a subdivision at 80th Court and 88th Street.

Aldermen had concerns the subdivision's main drive may be too narrow for fire engines and ambulances to get through to homes. The subdivision was expected to include eight town homes and one single-family home.


A Chicago Ridge woman and her infant daughter were saved by firefighters after a fire at their apartment complex, 5724 W. 111th St.

Firefighters used ladders to save the woman and her daughter, who were on a balcony, and another man who was on the third floor. The fire was believed to have started in a rear unit on the ground floor, but the cause was unknown.

Prom gown turn-around

The Bridgeview Park District will hold a Prom Gown Turn- Around from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 12 at the Bridgeview Park District, 8100 S. Beloit Ave.

Sellers you can bring gently used dresses, shoes and accessories they won't wear again to be sold for cash. Sellers can price and sell their own items. Seller space fee is free; register by March 5. For more information call 594-1818.

Advanced physics

Oak Lawn Community High School senior advanced placement physics students Cathal Burke (from left), Marc Augustine and Nick Demas were at the University of Chicago Feb. 7 to participate in a panel discussion that highlighted the discovery of the Higgs boson. The event was hosted by the Institute and gave participants the chance to interact with practicing physicists and learn about cutting-edge research.

The Higgs boson is a theoretical particle - sometimes called the "God particle" by the mainstream media - predicted to exist by the Standard Model of physics.