D230 poised to relax cell policy

Board expected to vote Feb. 28

By Jeff Vorva

Come March, Stagg High School students may be able to text in school and make phone calls.

The Consolidated High School District 230 board of education is scheduled to vote at its Feb. 28 meeting whether to change the policy governing the use of cell phones, iPads, iPods and tablets. The proposed changes to the policy would loosen things up quite a bit for students at Stagg and Sandburg high schools.

"Right now the policy is that students shouldn't be seen with their cell phones," board member Rick Nogal said. "And it has to be off at all times. This change is going to be dramatic. Phones and other devices will be allowed to be used during lunch time or in the hallway. The phones will only have to be off in the classroom during academic time."

The existing ban of personal communication devices on school property starts at 7 a.m. and runs to 3 p.m.

"We recognize the reality that these kids have devices and should be able to use them as long as it's not disrupting the educational process," Nogal said. "Right now the policy is outdated. If anyone's cell phone is seen, they could be punished. Teachers, administration and students were asking for a change.''

Officials said other school districts have been relaxing their standards on the use of technology during school hours.

"We're supposed to be teaching students how to appropriately use technology," District 230 spokeswoman Carla Erdey said. "You can't learn how to use it if you don't use it. The policy was old because the technology was old and now we want to change it."

Awards presented at Crystal Heart Ball

The Little Company of Mary Hospital Foundation held its 23rd annual Crystal Heart Ball on Feb. 2 at the Field Museum.

The event's master of ceremonies was Patrick Elwood of Fox 32 Chicago. More than 830 guests danced to the musical stylings of the Indigo Orchestra while overlooking 200 rare artifacts including elaborate jewelry, ornate weaponry, royal costumes, and stunning artwork of the "great king" - the Maharaja. The gala raised more than $467,000 for "Values. Vision. Innovation: the Campaign for Little Company of Mary Hospital."

The Venerable Mary Potter Humanitarian Award was presented to Harmony, Hope & Healing, which founder Marge Nykaza accepted. Harmoney, Hope & Healing is a nonprofit organization that provides therapeutic and educational music programs, offering spiritual and emotional support to homeless and under-served women, children and men in the Chicago area. Founded in 2000, the group collaborates with social services, agencies, church and community-based organizations to aid persons facing poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, substance abuse and the isolation of aging.

The Sister Nancy Boyle Award for Excellence was presented to The Cancer Center's Integrative Therapy Department of Little Company of Mary Hospital. Susan Arnold, director of patient care services, accepted the honor on behalf of the hospital's integrated therapy team.

The Cancer Center offers integrative therapy services such as acupuncture, hypnosis for relaxation, guided imagery, massage therapy, yoga, Tai Chi and healing touch, post-treatment esthetic care, including prosthetic and make up counseling.

Irving and Shirley Fuld chaired the fundraising event along with their co-chairmen Matt and Mrs. Mary Ellen Filosa. They presented four cash raffle prizes as well as a raffle prize of a 18-karat gold agate yellow sapphires and white diamonds bracelet won by Matt Kavanaugh. The grand prize cash raffle of $15,000 went to Francis J. O'Donovan.

This week in THE REPORTER history

News and events from our archives

50 years ago
Feb. 14, 1963

Consolidated High School District 230 sold $1.1 million in bonds to start construction on Stagg High School, 8015 W. 111th St. in Palos Hills. Construction on the school was expected to begin April 1.


Members of the Worth Lions Club donated a portable typewriter, a standard typewriter, a typewriter desk and a chair to blind students at Worth Main (now Worth Elementary) School.

25 years ago
Feb. 18, 1988

An Oak Lawn man tried to convince police he taught his old dog new tricks after being pulled over for suspicion of DUI.

The 25-year-old man reportedly told police his Labrador retriever was behind the wheel when his car drove into a ditch in the 11200 block of Lawler Avenue. The man was arrested at 4:29 a.m. Feb. 11.


A 17-year-old Oak Lawn man was found shot to death in the basement of his parents' home four hours after police arrested a Hometown man who allegedly implicated the 17 year-old man in an auto theft.

Dino C. Nielsen was found at 6:47 a.m. Feb. 14 with a gun near his body, police said.

The Hometown man was stopped at 2:23 a.m. Feb. 14 in the 8700 block of Natoma Avenue. When police learned the car had been reported stolen out of Chicago in December, the man implicated Nielsen.

10 years ago
Feb. 13, 2003

The family of an elderly Palos Park couple killed Dec. 22 when a Palos Hills squad car driven by Palos Hills police officer Mike Hehl broad-sided the vehicle in which they were riding filed a lawsuit against Hehl and the city.

Edward and Vivian Siepak, 74 and 69, respectively, died after the collision that occurred at 12:48 a.m. Dec. 22 at the intersection of 103rd Street and Roberts Road. Hehl was speeding en route to assist a traffic stop in Worth and ran a red light at the intersection. He was ultimately dismissed from the Palos Hills police force because of the incident.

Group trying to raise awareness of GMO foods

By Kelly White

Genetically engineered foods have been grasping the attention of the public in recent years, and a group that touts itself as a public interest organization is working actively with surrounding communities to inform residents exactly what genetically engineered foods are and how and why they may be harmful to the human body.

An information and movie night was held Feb. 2 at the Oak Lawn Library, and Food and Water Watch featuring guest speaker State Rep. Kelly Burke will be at the Green Hills Public Library, 8611 W. 103rd St., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 9.

"Even though I am only a volunteer, it feels great to be helping out this much," said Gerri Kathan, a volunteer with Food and Water Watch, which was founded in 2005 by 12 former members of the nonprofit group Public Citizen.

Kathan has prepared and donated Food and Water Watch tshirts to distribute for supporters of genetically engineered food labeling, with the hope of raising awareness of the matter.

Genetically engineered or genetically modified foods are derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) such as genetically modified crops or fish. GMOs have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques.

If genetically engineered food labeling passes on the March ballot, the measure primarily would affect packaged food. It would exempt dairy and meat products, as well as alcohol and food sold in restaurants.

Genetically engineered foods have been part of the American diet since the 1990s, when farmers began growing corn and other crops with seeds that are genetically engineered to repel pests or withstand herbicides. Today, about 80 percent of packaged foods sold in the United States including cereal, cookies and soda products contain genetically engineered food, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

"The public has the right to know what they are buying and consuming on a regular basis, anything less is misleading and leaves consumers in the dark about the food that they're eating," Kathan said. "Genetically engineered food is pervasive, untested, potentially unsafe, and completely unlabeled. [Food and Water Watch] are fighting for transparency in the food system."

The Palos Hills City Council last November adopted a resolution supporting the mandatory labeling of all genetically engineered food products.

Grainger donates to Dist. 218 fund

From Bob McParland
District 218

The Grainger Foundation recently donated $10,000 to the District 218 educational foundation to purchase a Universal Laser System for students in computeraided drafting courses.

Shared by drafting classes at Eisenhower, Richards, and Shepard high schools, the Universal Laser System will allow students to develop skills required in the manufacturing industry.

"Today's manufacturing facilities are highly automated," said Frank LaMantia, the curriculum director for Career and Technical Education in District 218. "Computer numerical controlled equipment and machines are involved in every facet of manufacturing. High school students often have limited or no opportunity to experience CNC equipment, techniques and processes."

Through the laser system, students will cut, mark, engrave, and etch a variety of materials using the same CNC processes employed in manufacturing industries. Grainger's donation benefits all students: the portability of the machinery allows staff to transport the laser system among the three schools.

"The Grainger Foundation allows us to help our communities," said Rich Warfield, manager for the company's Alsip branch. "When we see an opportunity to help students, it's almost a no-brainer."

Warfield emphasized that Grainger views such donations as investments in the future, not only of the company, but the nation as a whole.

"The economy's still sluggish. Manufacturing plays a central role in rebuilding our financial strength. Grants like this help students prepare for the future. This is a case where we can help our communities and invest in the future. We're extremely happy to help," Warfield said.

It's not the first time that the Grainger Foundation has donated money to the Career and Technical Education Department in District 218.

In 2010, Grainger donated $12,000 specifically to finance the purchase of robotics kits. Members of the Robotics Clubs at Eisenhower, Richards and Shepard use the kits to compete in the First Tech Challenge.

Teams of students design, build, and program robots in a tournament-style format. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles.