Storm causes OL officials to re-think emergency system

  • Written by Bob Rakow

 The severe storm from Sunday may lead to significant changes to Oak Lawn’s new tornado system, which has been the subject of criticism since it was installed in the summer.
  Police Lt. Art Clark, who heads the village’s emergency management system, said the village may eliminate the system’s automated voices and rely solely on a longer tone to warn people of tornadoes and other disasters.
  “This is one of the things we’re looking at,” Clark said.
  Currently, the system features a siren as well as voice capabilities that communicate to residents in English, Spanish, Polish and Arabic. Warnings are broadcast in English first followed by the other three languages. English is not the first language spoken in 26 percent of Oak Lawn homes, Clark said.
  Some residents have complained that the siren is too loud or too soft, while others believe messages should be broadcast solely in English, Clark said. Still others have complained that the system does not include their native language, he said.
  The system is designed for outdoor notification, Clark said. There are six sets of sirens strategically located throughout the village, he said. Messages can be communicated from the police station or a squad car and to one or all of the speakers, he said. He said it is impossible to ensure that every resident will hear the siren clearly.
  To further alert residents of weather-related disasters, the village is offering coupons for a 50 percent discount on a NOAA Weather Radio. The coupons will distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning Dec. 7 at village hall and can be redeemed at Walgreens, 4740 W. 95th St. The cost of the radio with the coupon is $20.
  The radios broadcast information from the National Weather Service.

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.