Palos to straighten rural road

  • Written by Margaret Pretkelis

  Road construction is on the agenda for a second consecutive summer in Palos Hills, as city officials last week announced plans to improve 90th Avenue.

  The project with an estimated cost of $220,000 will align the five-block stretch of the road between 103rd and 98th streets, according to Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett. City officials are hopeful work can begin before fall, and be completed in about one month.
  The construction will be funded with a portion of the city’s annual share of state Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) money. Palos Hills receives between $350,000 and $375,000 in MFT funds, Bennett said.
  The segment of 90th Avenue to be widened serves as a geographical divider between the eastern edge of the White Oak Woods Forest Preserve and some of the city’s west-most residential neighborhoods. The work is necessary because of the road’s inconsistent width, particularly the portions that narrow, Bennett said.
  “90th Avenue has never been a straight street,” he added. “It starts wide and goes narrow, and then goes wide and narrow again, which is a safety hazard.”
  The project will allow traffic in both directions to move more safely and in less confined quarters, according to Bennett.
  “It will improve the condition of the road, but it will still remain a rural road,” Bennett said, noting there will be no additional work such as gutters or curbs.
  90th Avenue was last resurfaced about 10 to 12 years ago, the mayor said.
  The construction should have a limited impact on residents who live on 90th Avenue, but may require traffic to be temporarily redirected to one side of the road for several minutes during portions of the work, said Palos Hills Public Works Commissioner Dave Weakley.
  “People will be able to get in and out of their homes fine,” Weakley added. “It’ll be business as usual.”

Suds in the sun


  Patrick Ciesieskli (from left),PG4 carwash1 3col Brian Stibernick and Jessica Spear were among the volunteers who helped wash cars last Saturday at the Marrs-Meyer American Legion Post 991’s car wash fundraiser, right.

  Dawn Bailey-Williams and her daughter, Jessica, 11, were charged with drawing potential car wash patrons off 111th Street, below.

PG4 carwash2 2col

Photos by Jessie Molloy


From appeals bench, Sterba joins law firm

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


Enters private practice after judicial career

  Palos Heights attorney David Sterba never served as a juror in his life.


  “I was called but never chosen,” he said.
  That’s one of the few things the man has never done in the courtroom. He has done just about everything else.
  Sterba is now a part of the reorganized Walsh, Fewkes and Sterba Law Firm, which has offices in Palos Heights at 7270 W. College Drive and in Chicago.
  Matt Walsh has been a trial lawyer for 45-plus years. Dave Fewkes has been at it for 30 years. They are parlaying that three-quarter of a century wealth of experience with a guy who knows the ins and outs and many sides of the courtroom and court system.
  The 55-year-old Sterba has been a criminal defense lawyer and worked with personal injury litigation from 1984-1996. For 12 years, he was a circuit judge for Cook County and served as a felony trial judge in the Fifth Municipal District based at the courthouse in Bridgeview.
  He was appointed Presiding Judge of the Fifth District in 2008 and was the boss over 24 other judges. In 2011 the Illinois Supreme Court appointed him as a Justice on the Illinois Appellate Court and in 2012 the South Suburban Bar Association named him “Jurist of the Year.” He’s also used his lofty position to teach and give lectures to his peers, college students and high school students.
  And now he is heading back into the trenches.
  Sterba resigned as a judge July 1 and will be back in action in the courtroom as a lawyer again.
  “I’m back in the battle,” he said. “I found being a judge stimulating and challenging and that part I will miss. But with every new opportunity I look for a new host of challenges. My life is one where I like to climb mountains. I’ve climbed a few and that was one of them and now I will climb another.”
  The former judge can’t wait to get back to his roots.
  “I like litigation and trying cases in a courtroom,” Sterba said. “I look forward to getting back into the well of the courtroom and arguing before juries. I miss that. I use this analogy — trial lawyers are to the law what surgeons are to medicine. It’s very stimulating to get into the court and litigate like that.”
  He said his style is to be “authentic” and “genuine” when he is litigating and “not to try to be someone I’m not.”
  Sterba grew up in Alsip and attended Richards High School and started to grow an appreciation for law at an early age.
  “I read books and watched television programs and found the law to be very intriguing and interesting,” he said. “I enjoyed a composite of the television lawyers and the real life lawyers. I liked reading biographies of lawyers from Abraham Lincoln to Gerry Spence to Clarence Darrow. I loved reading all of those books. I tried to learn something from all of them because those lawyers certainly had a lot to offer and teach young aspiring lawyers.”
  He grew up with his brother, Bob, who was a longtime Palos Heights policeman and is now the police chief in New Lenox. David also picked up some police training as he was a deputy sheriff in the Cook County Court Services Division.
  Sterba attended St. Xavier University and the John Marshall Law School and has lived in Palos Heights since 1991. He is married to Patricia and they have three children — Lisa, Ashley and David. He is a parishioner at St. Alexander Catholic Church in Palos Heights.
  Sterba admits that there is a lot more to law than the exciting trials seen on television and in movies. There is the preparation work, which is not very glamorous. But he said he enjoys that aspect of law because “the best lawyer in the room is the one who is best prepared.”
  He can’t wait for his first case, he said.
  “Everything I have done provides and advantage to me and an added perspective,” he said. “From being a deputy sheriff in the courtroom when I was a law student to being a prosecutor, a defense attorney, trial judge and appellate judge … all of those things give me an added perspective and allow me to be as good as I could be.”


Red Rider

PG2 rosa-firetruck 3col  Rosa Castanon, a fourth-grader at Hometown Elementary School in Oak Lawn Hometown School District 123, was chosen to take a ride to school with Hometown firefighters because of her accomplishments, character and leadership.

Submitted photo


Youths accused of robbery with pellet gun in Chicago Ridge

  • Written by Staff reports


Two Richards High School students and another boy were charged with armed robbery and attempted armed robbery after they allegedly used a pellet gun to try to rob one person, then robbed a youth with the same gun just minutes later on June 29.

Christopher Serrato, 17, Erick Robinson, 17, of Calumet City, and a juvenile were arrested at 4:50 p.m. that day. The three youths allegedly approached a man in the 6600 block of Birmingham Street and demanded his cell phone. One of the boys lifted his shirt to reveal a handgun tucked into his waistband, but the would-be victim did not think the gun was loaded and walked away, police said. The youths the reportedly entered a Chevy Cavalier and left the scene.

Shortly thereafter, three boys riding their bikes near Ridge-Lawn School, 5757 W. 105th St., told police that a Chevy Cavalier pulled up alongside them and that one youth exited the vehicle and punched one of the bike-riders in the stomach. Another one of the alleged offenders then exited the vehicle, displayed a black handgun and demanded a backpack one of the boys was wearing, police said. The alleged victim gave the youths the bag, which contained a wallet and two cell phones, according to police. The alleged robbers then left the scene, police said.

Police later received a call that a man had found a bag containing a black handgun in the parking lot of an apartment building in the 5700 block of Ridgemont Lane. Police went to the location and arrested one of the alleged robbers who was walking near a Chevy Cavalier. Police reportedly found the other two youths in the 5700 block of 108th Street.

Serrato and Robinson were charged as adults. The other boy was charged as juvenile, police said.