Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook: Good reception — a salute to local radio stations

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

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A few weeks ago, I attended a wake of a guy by the name of Don Ladas.
For 50-plus years, he was a sports announcer and ad salesman for WJOL radio in Joliet and hosted a long-running show dedicated to local bowling. He also published a sports newspaper in the area and was the second person to ever pay me money for writing.
He was a giant in the Joliet area. It wouldn’t surprise me if a few of our readers heard about him out here.
Ladas and the other people during the station’s heyday represented something that some people don’t get to experience – a community radio station.
While people around here have Chicago stations to turn to, people in Joliet and Will County swear by WJOL. Sometimes they swear at it but mostly they swear by it.
When I was growing up, it was local during all Page-3-3-col-jv-colDon Ladas, who died in January, was a part of a community radio station for a half decade. He was honored at the Rialto Square Theatre in 2009. Photo by Jeff Vorva.of the daytime hours and most of the nighttime hours with music, area news and sports.
Now it’s a part of a big media conglomeration, but still has local morning and afternoon drive-time programming and high school football and basketball games.

The rest is syndicated shows. It’s not the same time frame, but the reduced local clock they work with still has plenty of quality programming.
People turn to their local radio stations for news about what’s going on in their town. This station covers the usual stuff such as board meetings and elections. But Joliet is pretty lively with big time crimes and gang violence dotting the landscape and the Will County area has its shares of tornados and floods to report on.
Joliet is also a town with the Des Plaines River running through it and five drawbridges that could muck up traffic. The station used to announce which bridge was up and which bridge was next to rise. My old man always wondered how they knew that, but there was some electronic gizmo in their previous studios on what they called “Top Radio Hill’’ that would alert them when a bridge was ready to lift.

Flaming Grill not extinguished

  • Written by Bob Rakow

A Chicago Ridge restaurant kept its doors open Tuesday after the owner paid a $100 fine for sanitation violations.

  But it was close to having its doors shut by the village.
  Additionally, Flaming Grill Buffet agreed to pay food and beverage taxes it owes the village by the end of the day Wednesday, Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar said.
  The restaurant, 101 Commons Drive, has paid the village the food and beverage tax for November and December, but still owes for May through October, Tokar said.
  The restaurant owners failed to show up Monday for a village hearing intended to discuss the food and beverage tax owed to the village.
  Monday’s hearing was the second in a month that restaurant representatives failed to attend. They initially were scheduled to appear at a Jan. 28 hearing.
  Tokar said a notice of both meetings was sent to the restaurant via certified mail and a copy was hand delivered. Tokar continued the first hearing to Monday and said failure to show up would result in a business license suspension.

Oak Lawn looking for funds to construct indoor swimming pool

  • Written by Bob Rakow


  The Oak Lawn Park District is hoping to a secure a state grant that would be used to fund construction of an indoor swimming pool.
  The district will apply for a $2.5 million Illinois Park and Recreational Facility Construction grant to pay for an indoor lap pool that would be located at the Oak Lawn Community Pavilion, 9401 S. Oak Park Ave., park district director Maddie Kelly said.
  The cost of the pool is estimated at $3 million. The park board on Monday night reviewed the proposal that the district will submit in March.
  “They just became available,” Kelly said. “We’re going to try for it again.”
  The park district two years ago secured a $4.3 million PARC grant, which was used to fund construction of the additional gym space at the Pavilion and the splash pad at Memorial Park, 102nd and Major Avenue. The addition to the Pavilion opened in January.

Golf show helps duffers forget the cold and snow

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

page-4-3-col-clubs-and-customersCustomers mill about looking for values at the Budget Golf exhibit in Tinley Park. Photos by Jeff Vorva.The third Tinley Park Golf Expo didn’t exactly meltPage-4-3-col-palosPalos Golf’s Allan Lussell and Vince Myles took a minute from their busy schedule to pose at the Golf Expo. the snow or make it any warmer in the south suburbs. But for three days last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, thousands of golf fans were able to forget the cold for a while and think about hot-button topics such as driving, putting and grips.
The Tinley Park Convention Center housed booths from all over the Midwest golfing world including courses from the immediate area, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan plus equipment from clubs and drivers to Nike belts and an Incredible Hulk head sock. There were putting contests, long drive contests and some free lessons and tips.
Locally, Palos Golf in Palos Hills had a large area to sell its products and a new venture, Golf Checkers Sets Etc. in Evergreen Park had merchandise available in its booth.
For three hours on Sunday, Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s “Golf Scene” host page-4-3-col-wood-clubsOld wooden clubs from Scotland were available from Scottish Traditions Golf at the expo.Steve Kashul on Sunday to meet and greet patrons and challenge those who participated in the long-putt contest.
Profits from some portions of the expo went to the First Tee of Greater Chicago, which helps children learn golf and life skills.

Gyros and flushes

  • Written by Bob Rakow

 OL narrowly votes to allow video gambling in fast food restaurant

Oak Lawn trustees put their cards on the table Tuesday night during a debate about the future of video gaming in the village.

The approval of a liquor license for another Oak Lawn restaurant planning to add video poker machines sparked the debate with at least one trustee saying the village must determine where to draw the line.
Trustee Terry Vorderer voted against a liquor license request submitted by Big Pappa’s Gyros, 10806 S. Cicero Ave., saying that he did not favor video poker machines in fast food restaurants.
Trustees approved the liquor license request by a 3-2 vote. Trustee Mike Carberry, whose 6th District includes the restaurant, also voted against the license. Trustee Bob Streit did not attend the meeting.
“I have no problem with the machines in legitimate establishments that have been around for a long time but not in the fast food restaurants,” Vorderer said.
Trustee Tim Desmond agreed that the village needs to consider limits for video gambling.
“Terry is correct. We do have to draw the line somewhere,” Desmond said.
Trustee Carol Quinlan said the village has no choice but to approve the gambling.
“The bottom line is, it’s legal,” Quinlan said.