Bad end to historic season

  • Written by Bob Rakow

HBSA president reports $20,000 worth of equipment swiped

The historic first season had just ended for the Hills Baseball and Softball Association, but the league experienced a bigger loss than in any game played this summer.
Four pieces of field maintenance equipment valued at approximately $20,000 were reported stolen Monday from a storage locker at the league’s complex, 9900 S. 76th Ave., Hickory Hills.
League President George Czarnik suspects someone who was familiar with the league stole the equipment.
“During the season, you get a lot of people there,” he said.
Still, he could not come up with a motive for the theft other than money.
“Why are you picking on us? Did we get somebody mad at us?” he said.
Czarnik also suspects that thieves loaded the four pieces of equipment onto a trailer before making their getaway. There were no tire tracks near the storage unit, and thieves likely would be spotted driving the slow-moving equipment down the street, he said.
Czarnik said he’s not surprised that thieves stole equipment needed to run a youth sports league.
“This doesn’t bother them. They don’t care who it’s from. They’re just taking it,” he said.
The loss of equipment would be more harmful if the season was ongoing, but “we still have to cut the grass,” Czarnik said. “You’re talking about a huge area of grass that we do.”
The stolen property put a damper on what was a season of history as organizations from Palos Hills and Hickory Hills merged to make a stronger organization with 200-plus athletes.

The stolen equipment includes a John Deere utility vehicle valued at $5,000, a riding mower valued at $6,000, a golf cart and field mower valued at $3,000 to $4,000 Czarnik said.
Czarnik discovered the alleged burglary Monday morning when he stopped by the complex, he said. He noticed the chain securing the gate was missing, but thought ComEd, which owns the property, had been on the site to do work.
No one from the league was at the storage lockers between late Friday night and Monday morning when Czarnik arrived, he said.
The storage locker lock was intact, but the latch was cut, allowing thieves to open the unit, Czarnik said.
“It almost looked like they used some sort of power tool,” he said.
Additionally, the security lighting located above the trailers was smashed, he said. Czarnik suspects the thieves climbed atop the storage units to smash the lights.
The adjoining two trailers, which are used to store player uniforms and gear, game equipment and handheld field maintenance tools were untouched, he said.
He filed a police a police report, but does not expect the equipment to be found. Instead, he said, a fundraiser likely will be held, to replace the equipment.
Anyone interested in helping the league replace the equipment can call Czarnik at 312- 919-0295.

Lipinski to host Town Hall Meeting in OL

  In the coming weeks, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) will be hosting a Town Hall Meeting in Oak Lawn, Senior Fairs in Chicago and Lockport, and a Veterans Fair in Bridgeview.
  At the Town Hall Meeting, Third District residents will be able to hear from Lipinski about his work on their behalf at home and in Washington, as well as ask questions and voice their opinions on federal issues. Staff from the Congressman’s office will be available beginning one hour prior to the start of the meeting to provide assistance with Medicare, Social Security, veterans’ benefits, and other federal matters.
  The Senior Fairs will give area residents an opportunity to get assistance with a variety of issues from the Congressman’s expert staff, as well as local organizations, agencies, and businesses that provide services to seniors. During the Veterans Fair, Lipinski’s staff will be joined by other organizations to assist veterans with questions regarding military personnel and medical records, veterans’ claims and benefits, medals earned but not received, and other VA related issues.
  “I want to personally extend an invitation to the residents of the Third Congressional District to my upcoming Town Hall Meeting, Senior Fairs and Veterans Fair,” said Lipinski. “As your representative in Washington and someone who strives to improve the quality of life in the communities I serve, it is critical that I hear from you. In addition, these events will be great opportunities for you to get assistance with federal issues and learn about the wide array of constituent services my office provides. I especially look forward to meeting with the area men and woman that have bravely served our nation. It is my privilege to serve you.”
  The dates, times, and locations for the upcoming events are:

Town Hall Meeting
Thursday, July 31
7:00 — 9:00 p.m.
Oak Lawn Community High School Gymnasium
9400 Southwest Hwy
Oak Lawn, IL 60453

Congressional staff will be available starting at 6:00 p.m. for assistance with federal agencies.

Senior Fairs
Monday, July 28
10:00 a.m. — noon
Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church
653 West 37th Street
Chicago, IL 60609

Monday, August 4
10:00 a.m. — noon
John Olson American Legion Post #18
15052 Archer Avenue
Lockport, IL 60441

Veterans Fair
Friday, August 1
10:00 a.m. — noon
John C. Oremus Community Center
7902 South Oketo Avenue
Bridgeview, IL 60455

  For more information, call 312-886-0481 or visit

— Submitted by Congressman Dan Lipinski’s office

Panel of experts

Ed McElroy, host of “The Ed McElroy Show”,page-7-mcrleoy-cut recently interviewed Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State; Sandra Bury, Mayor of Oak Lawn and Dan Johnson, VFW Commander.

  That show will air at 8 p.m. on Tuesday on Comcast Channel 19.
  McElroy is Past National Commander of Catholic War Veterans, U.S.A.
  Pictured left to right are Bury, McElroy and White. Standing is Johnson.

Evergreen Mariano’s moves opening date to early 2015

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Evergreen Park residents won’t be able to shop at Mariano’s during the 2014 holiday season, but the upscale grocery store is set to open early the following year.
“They’re a couple of months behind,” Mayor Jim Sexton said Monday.
The rough winter and some minor issues with ComEd have caused the store to push its projected opening date to January 2015, Sexton said.
“That’s the target date,” he said.
The Evergreen Park Village Board Monday amended the village’s economic development agreement with Mariano’s to reflect the change in the anticipated opening date.
“We’re just pushing the date back,” Sexton said.
Mariano’s will be located at 95th Street and Washtenaw Avenue on the site of the former Webb Chevrolet dealership, which closed more than five years ago.
A traffic signal will be installed at 95th Street and Washtenaw Avenue to accommodate the traffic generated by the store.
The 70,000-square-foot store will feature produce, seafood, a sushi and oyster bar, flowers, salads, a coffee shop, wood-fired pizza oven, homemade salsas, a bakery, a deli, fresh meat, a cheese counter and prepared foods.
In Oak Lawn, Mariano’s is making steady progress on a store that will be anchor Stony Creek Promenade at 111th Street and Cicero Avenue. That store is scheduled to open in September and is currently hiring staff, said Oak Lawn Village Manager Larry Deetjen.
Sexton said the presence of Mariano’s in a neighboring community might help promote the Evergreen Park location.
“I think it’s good. Maybe it will help,” the mayor said.
The store’s decision to locate in Evergreen Park was announced in June 2013 and is the result of three years of work negotiations between Mariano’s CEO Bob Mariano and village officials.
Mariano’s has locations in Chicago, the northwest suburbs and Frankfort. It is owned by Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarkets, which operates four other supermarket chains in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Park Presentation
The village will showcase for residents the 50-Acre Park, 91st Street and Rockwell Avenue, from 5-7 p.m. July 31.
Residents are invited to tryout the park’s golf range at no charge, visit the dog park and get instruction on how to play disc golf. A disc jockey will entertain and Meijer’s will provide hot dogs and beverages, Sexton said.

Jeff Vorva's imPRESSions: Hours of work result in seconds of film time

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


PAGE-3-4-col-band-wit-jv-colShepard’s band spent hours preparing for a promotional Chicago Fire video and while the video is excellent, the Astros received scant time in the finished product. Photo by Jeff Vorva.Wait a second!Jeffs Col Impressions
And I literally mean a second. Or two.
Is that it?
Is that all there is?
After all that?
Wow, what a waste of time.
The Chicago Fire last week released a promotional video and it’s great.
It’s about three minutes of a parody of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’’ called “Mike Magee’s Day Off” in which Fire star Mike Magee takes a day off from practice.
Magee makes a living scoring goals and this shows that when he is through, he could go into acting. He has some comedic acting chops as proven in this video.
The important message to the video is that life goes by too fast and if you don’t stop to catch a Fire game once in a while – you might miss it.
The video is almost perfect.
On Good Friday, April 18, they shot a scene in the Toyota Park parking lot. It was mimicking the parade scene from the Bueller film.
The Shepard band had the honor of participating. We ran a handful of photos from that day in the April 24 edition of the Reporter.
If you get a chance, go back and look at those photos again. You will see more of the Shepard band in them than you will in the video.
For about two seconds, all you see of the Shepard band is some of the drummers hidden behind their drums and a very long view of the float where were you can see a few horn players.
That’s it.
Band members got up early in the morning and travelled from the Palos Heights school to Bridgeview and spent a few hours warming up and getting ready. I stuck around for a couple of hours in the late morning watching them shoot scenes over and over.
It was a long and, at times, boring process even though just about every scene had people screaming and, cheering and singing during each take.
I had enough pictures and left. I was told that it went on for a few more hours.
After all that work and energy spent, all the Astros got out of it was a couple of seconds on the screen. Even in this modern day of technology, where you can freeze a scene on your phone, there is not much to see here.
While I’m disappointed for the band members, I’m not ripping the production staff because this kind of stuff goes on all the time – and it’s even more multiplied with a big Hollywood production. A lot of time and energy is completely wasted when scenes make it to the cutting-room floor and are never aired.
It’s just a fact of life in the business and maybe it’s lucky the band even picked up the precious two seconds it received.
Magee’s message is true that life goes by too fast…
…but not as fast as the Shepard band’s cameo in “Mike Magee’s Day Off.”

Not rooting for this beer
During a trip to Milwaukee last week, my son, T.J., and I stopped at a brand new A&W restaurant because he had a hankering for some of the famous root beer on tap that the restaurant is known for. It’s smooth and tasty.
We received our cold, frosty glasses and moved to where we thought the tap should be and…
…there was no tap.
The regular A&W root beer was mixed in with all the other fizzy pop at the machine. It used to be an island unto itself. Special. Now it is mixed in with the other mopes.
While the root beer itself wasn’t fizzy, it was relatively smooth but not smooth enough. It didn’t have the same taste.
I don’t know if all of the restaurants are tapping out on the tap, but if they do, methinks they are making a big mistake.