Palos Hills is talkin’ about the Webb boys

  • Written by Kelly White

Despite two aldermen trying to put thepage-1-COLOR-2-col-sidsThe old Sid’s site in Palos Hills will become a Webb Chevrolet dealership later this year. Photo by Jeff Vorva. brakes on a goodwill gesture, the rest of the Palos Hills city council steered a clear path for a Webb Chevrolet dealership to come to town. 

The council voted 7-2 last Thursday to grant the dealership a special-use permit for the newly purchased property located at the old Sid’s property at 11164 Southwest Highway to park vehicles before the business opens.
Aldermen Martin Kleefisch and Joan Knox (1st Ward) voted against the permit, citing a potential inconvenience to neighbors. Alderman A.J. Pasek was absent.
“All of us are anxious to see this property utilized in a healthy business way,” Kleefisch said. “However, I feel residents may want their voices heard on this matter, concerning the temporary use of the property.”
Knox agreed.
“Residents are concerned with what kind of business is going up behind their houses. They should be made aware of what is going to take place prior to it happening.”
Mayor Jerry Bennett suggested the drawing up of a agreement upon which Webb Chevy would be allowed to temporarily use the location as a special-use zoned property to store the vehicles until meeting with the Planning and Zoning Board, then begin construction and eventually open for business. City Attorney George Pappas will draw up a temporary ordinance permitting the special-use and allowing Webb to begin moving cars to the location immediately.
“Basically, all the company is asking for is to park cars there,” Bennett said, “They are a family-owned company with a good name and reputation. I think we should give them a chance.”
“I understand the aldermen’s concern,” William Hansen (3rd Ward) said. “But they already purchased the property. These are businessmen, showing long-term commitment.”
The company’s general manager, Jerry Roberts, appeared at the meeting. Webb purchased the B2, or commercially-zoned piece of property, three weeks ago, assuming it was a special-use property capable for storing cars currently unavailable for purchase, according to Roberts.
Roberts told the council the company is in an emergency situation, with the lease expiring at the end of the week at a temporary storage unit with nowhere to store the vehicles.
“The property cannot be used to store these vehicles until it is switched over to a special-use property,” Roberts said.
Roberts is planning to store 200-300 new cars at the Palos Hills location. His company also plans construction at the former Sid’s property, including replacing the existing privacy fence with a new fence and landscaping.
Roberts requested a temporary special-use permit to which Webb Chevy will pay the city of Palos Hills $1,000 a month in order to store the vehicles at the location until the construction is complete and the location opens for business.
Roberts and his lawyer, Joe Splain, requested a 12-month deadline on the temporary license; however, Roberts assured the council the dealership will be open for business at a much sooner date.
“We are hoping to even be open as soon as 150 days from now,” he said. His plan is to start moving cars immediately upon the approval of the special-use permit.
There will be no alteration to the property until he meets with the Planning and Zoning Board in three weeks to discuss construction plans to take place on the property.
The family-owned Webb Chevy holds a strong consumer base at its location, 9440 S Cicero Ave, and the company is hoping to carry on this representation in Palos Hills.
“We are here to create jobs, create property tax revenues and create sales tax revenues within the city of Palos Hills,” Roberts said.
The city will obtain one percent of all Webb Chevy’s sales tax revenues.

Chef Kate

  • Written by Claudia Parker

EP’s Bradley has a huge following on the library circuit

PAGE-1-COLOR-4-col-throwEvergreen Park’s Chef Kate Bradley, tossing some pizza dough in the air, is a mainstay at various libraries in the area, teaching people of various ages the fun and fine art of cooking. Photo by Jeff Vorva.When Evergreen Park’s Kate Bradley isn’t whipping up Boston crème pies, she’s out running, hoping to qualify for the next Boston Marathon.
After all, a girl has to keep moving to balance out all the sampling she does in the kitchen.
Bradley, who is known to many as Chef Kate, has been an avid runner since high school. She’ll be running the Illinois Marathon April 26. It will be her fifth marathon and if she runs it in 3 hours and 45 minutes or less, she can qualify for the Boston Marathon.
But she is known around the suburbs more for her cooking and she appears at many libraries and events teaching kids and adults about the fine art of her craft.
For nearly eight years, Bradley has been adding spice to the lives of library patrons with cooking demonstrations. This sought-after certified chef is a graduate from the esteemed Kendall College of Culinary Arts.
Like butter on a biscuit, Bradley is spread across Chicagoland, covering 52 libraries.
The going rate for a cooking class ranges from $40 to $90. But at most libraries, a Bradley demonstration can cost $3, which gets a patron a seat and a sample of food during Bradley’s 90-minute class.
During a pizza class with school-aged kids last Thursday at the Evergreen Park Library, there wasn’t a scrap of her delights to be found after her presentation.
The students gobbled up three types of pizza, including a dessert brownie pizza. The kids seemed to love her presentation, except when she announced that the next youth class would feature how to make salad. That drew a few groans and jeers.
She is lively, bouncy and funny when she gives her presentation.
“I never imagined I’d be doing this,” she said. “I used to be terrified of public speaking.”
Program Coordinator and Public Relations Representative of the Evergreen Park Library, Mary Deering looks forward to having Bradley appear for a demonstration.
“Kate and I have a history,” Deering said. “Our husbands went to Mt. Carmel High Cchool together. I’d run into her at the library all the time. She’s such a conversationalist. One day, she mentioned a cooking demo she was about to do for her daughter’s Brownie troop.
“That’s all it took. From there I asked if she’d present one for the library. I thought we’d offer it and see if anyone would show up.”
They showed up alright and Bradley has been hitting the library circuit with regularity for close to a decade.
“With so many libraries, my biggest fear is arriving to a library with the wrong food or, worse, being at the wrong library.” she said. 
Bradley said each recipe selection is specific to the library she’s visiting. “I once prepared dog treats to collaborate with the PAWS reading program one branch was offering,” she said.
It’s typical for classes to reach capacity, warranting program coordinators to enforce mandatory preregistration and strict residency requirements. Bradley laughed, “I’ve have fans. They follow me from library to library.”  
Her largest class size has reached 200.
She previously owned a bakery out of Evergreen Park called Bit of Bread.
“Running the bakery was wonderful. I knew my customer’s by what they ate. I’d say, ‘Here comes Mr. Blueberry muffin,’ ’’ she said. “But I had to let it go. I was working 16-hour days. I had two little girls.”
According to Bradley, the common desire of her students is to learn proper methods and get answers to questions on the spot.
Apparently, one of those students was very attentive. She used Bradley’s recipe in a contest and won a trip to Ireland.  

Evergreen Park Library Director, Nicki Seidel expresses joy when she speaks of Bradley.
“Kate has an effervescent personality,” Seidel said. “We’re so pleased that other libraries are getting a chance to appreciate her.
“Kate is a Renaissance woman, she knows a little of everything. Now she’s growing mushrooms. She’ll be teaching a class about that next.”
 Deering added, “Kate Bradley is magic. She uses this buzz word during her programs to convey her joy in cooking and teaching. Her enthusiasm and ideas bubble over into her students, cooking up a program that is both social and informative.”
Bradley uses the catch phrase “it’s magic” so often, it became the title to one of her two cookbooks. “It’s Magic” and “It’s Delicious” are compilations of recipes used during the library demonstrations.
All of the proceeds of “It’s Magic” go to the Evergreen Park Library foundation. Purchases can be made during class. Her monthly schedule is listed on her blog,
Bradley said, “I love being in the kitchen and I really love food.”
That is, when she’s not out running.


They are taking it public

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Brittany’s family to host rally Saturday and visit board meeting Tuesday
 The family of Brittany Wawrzyniak is continuing its push for perceived justice this week by staging a Saturday rally near the Worth boat launch and a visit to Tuesday’s village board meeting.

  The rally is set for 3 p.m. at the Christensen Terrace Centre, 115th Street and Beloit Avenue. Rebecca Tully, Wawrzyniak’s mother, plans to make a presentation that will summarize all the family knows about her daughter’s Nov. 8 death.
  “I’m pretty nervous,” Tully said.
  The rally was initially set for noon at a park in Oak Lawn, but the time and location were changed due to scheduling conflicts.
  The Worth Village Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. and has been moved from Village Hall to the Christensen Terrace in anticipation in a large crowd.
 Both the rally and the appearance at Tuesday’s board meeting are designed to bring more attention to the case, which the family believes is being neglected by Worth police, Tully said.
  Police have refused to comment on the case because it is an ongoing investigation.
  Efforts to contact Mayor Mary Werner Monday and Tuesday were unsuccessful.
  Tully and her family have tirelessly promoted the rally, passing out approximately 1,000 flyers throughout Worth. She said it’s difficult to gauge how many people will attend the event.
  “I have no idea,” Tully said. “I’m surprised how many people are following what’s going on.”
  Tully said she’s received several calls and emails from people she doesn’t know voicing concern about the case.
  “It’s amazing to me how much strangers care,” she said.

  Several hundred people attended a November vigil at the boat launch, 115th Street and Beloit Avenue, which was held days after Wawrzyniak died. Additionally, The RIP Brittany Facebook page, created shortly after her death, has nearly 8,000 followers.
  Tully said she met withWorth police last Friday to again ask them to “look at things more seriously.”
  Prosecutors say Wawrzyniak met Eric Steven Johnson at the boat launch, got into the back seat of his car and handed him $200 in exchange for 30 pills of Clonazepam.

  Wawrzyniak began counting the pills while still in the backseat as Johnson drove away. She opened the door of the moving car, was ejected and struck the pavement, prosecutors said. She was pronounced dead at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn less than one hour later.

  The prescription drug is used to treat panic and seizure disorders, according to medical experts.
  The Worth police have confirmed that there were no drugs in Wawrzyniak’s system the night that she died, the family has said.

  Wawrzyniak’s family believes she faked a drug buy at the boat launch to arrange a fight between a friend and another girl.

Palos Hills seeks new energy supplier

  • Written by Kelly White

Palos Hills will be seeking energy bids again this summer. The city’s current two-year electrical aggregation contract with First Energy Solutions Corporation is set to expire in July.
At the February Palos Hills City Council Meeting, Public Works Commissioner Dave Weakley asked representative, Sharon Durling, from N.I.M.E.C. (Northern Illinois Electrical Collaborative) to address the city council regarding the expiration of their current aggregation of electric contract with First Energy this July.
Weakley indicated in order to continue their aggregation of electric program, an ordinance would need to be passed allowing N.I.M.E.C. to seek energy bids on the city’s behalf. The city unanimously passed the ordinance on the March 6th City Council Meeting, authorizing renewal of the aggregation program, allowing for N.I.M.E.C. to seek new electrical bids prior to the July expiration date.
In March 2012, voters in the city of Palos Hills approved a referendum allowing the community to contract with an energy supplier to reduce electricity costs for its residents. N.I.M.E.C. (Northern Illinois Electrical Collaborative) representative, Larry Shover, negotiated electric prices between energy suppliers and received bids from that he then submitted in to Mayor Jerry Bennett and the Palos Hills City Council, and upon agreement, the city of Palos Hills chose First Energy Solutions Corporation as their supplier of choice for their municipal aggregation program.
There were 6,858 Palos Hills residents who chose to opt in to the electrical aggregation program; whereas, 220 residents have decided to opt out and stay with ComEd. A total of 703 other accounts were not eligible because the resident is currently in contract with a different outside energy supplier and 68 opt-out forms were returned because they were undeliverable. There is currently no opt-out fee for residents wishing to remain with ComEd.
Palos Hills residents are receiving a rate of 4.74 cents per kilowatt hour, through First Energy, compared to ComEd’s 8.36 cents per kilowatt hour. The energy supplier changeover took place the first week of August 2012, and after taking on a two year contract, will continue through the July 2014 billing cycle.
Bennett also indicated that ComEd’s electricity rates will only continue to climb in the near future.
Questions regarding delivery services, power outages, metering or moving to a new address can be addressed to ComEd’s customer service line.
“Regardless of the supplier, it is important for residents to understand is that they will get the same bill and the same service,” Shover noted.

Quinn lauds MVCC for work with veterans

  • Written by Kevin M. Coyne

  For Joann Jenkins, Moraine Valley Community College’s director of student services, helping veterans transition from combat to higher education is essential to veteran PAGE-5-2-col-MVCC 2Moraine Valley’s Joann Jenkins and General McArthur, III accept the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Veteran Education. Senator Dick Durbin’s congratulatory letter was presented at the March 19 Board Meeting. Photo by Kevin Coyne.student success. Getting to know the veteran personally is equally as important.
  “Not all veterans are the same just because they identify with a certain group,” Jenkins said. “We have the resources and support from the college to get to know our veterans and we make sure we’re there to make the transition back to higher education as smooth as possible.”
  Moraine Valley is the third community college to win the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Veteran Education since Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Higher Education Veterans Service Act in 2009. Usually the award is given to four-year colleges and universities but this year Moraine’s commitment to veteran services didn’t go unrecognized.
  Previous winners include Eastern Illinois University, College of DuPage, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Northern Illinois University, Western Illinois University and Southwestern Illinois College.
  “Our student veterans are a very tight knit community and veterans are coming here because of word-of-mouth,” Jenkins said at the March 19 board meeting. “We constantly get calls and emails from veterans in Afghanistan who tell us they’re about to finish their deployment and they’re ready to start college.”
  Not only has Gov. Quinn recognized the Palos Hill-based community college for their service to veterans, Senator Dick Durbin sent a congratulatory letter praising Moraine for “tireless commitment to the education of our nation’s veterans … you are helping to better the lives of those who risked their own for our country.”
  Last month, Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs director Erica Borggren presented the award to Moraine president Sylvia Jenkins. College faculty, staff, student veterans and community members attended the event, including Moraine trustee Tom Cunningham, who has two servicemen in his family.
  “Their military service is nothing to be taken for granted and it’s great to see that veterans are coming home and finally getting their due,” Cunningham said. “We’re able to do what we do because of what they do for us.”
  Both Jenkins and student success and veterans affairs coordinator General McArthur, III have worked to create an innovative veterans orientation program, veterans resource center, priority registration for veterans and veteran benefit workshops.
  Moraine has over 500 student veterans, some who travel over an hour to campus due to Moraine’s veteran services. Starting in April, Moraine will offer veterans a virtual veterans center designed to help veterans understand their benefits, course selections and other veteran-specific material.
  “There is a certain respect that service members carry themselves,” Jenkins said. “You have to respect when they put on that uniform they have such a reverence and respect for what they do. They served their country and we’re here to serve them by making their transition as smooth as possible.”