Hunting for eggs, hanging out with the Easter bunny, designing colorful bonnets and enjoying quality family time was the case last Saturday at the Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago Ridge.
An estimated 150 people attended the residents-only event, at which the main attraction was the Easter egg hunt. Youths scrambled though a large pit filled with hay as they attempted to gather the colorful prize-filled ellipses.
“It’s a great free event for the kids and the community to come out and enjoy,” said Chicago Ridge Park District recreation superintendent Dominic Malito. “We have a nice crowd this year and the event is great, especially a free event in our current economy, and the kids are having a lot of fun.”
Children of all ages dug through the hay, submitted creatively designed bonnets in a bonnet contest, played on inflatable attractions, and entered a jelly beans-guessing contest.
“It never gets old…It’s always fun to dig through the hay and find eggs,” said Paula Murray of Chicago Ridge. “We used to come to this when we were kids and the Easter egg hunt is always the best part of the day.”
Lojan Demian, 5, was among the waves upon waves of children who stormed the hay pit.
“I don’t know how many eggs I got but I am having a lot of fun,” Lojan said.
Abagail Nowatski, 2, said all morning that she was going to “go shopping” for Easter eggs, according to her aunt, Jen Herodes.
One of the most popular events besides the egg hunt is the raffle drawing.
“The kids love the raffle, guessing the number of Jelly Beans in a jar; what kid doesn’t love candy, and they love getting the eggs out of the hay,” said Chicago Ridge Park District secretary Jody Murphy. “The bonnet contest is something we’ve always done and it’s part of the Easter tradition for girls to wear bonnets during Easter.”
A plot of land the Oak Lawn purchased five years ago is expected to be developed as the village’s newest park by mid-summer.
The Oak Lawn Park District is ready to begin the $250,000 to $300,000 project at Commissioners Park, 52nd Avenue and 89th Street adjacent to Brandt Park. Money for the park’s development will come out of the district’s capital project funds. Improvements to the property will include walking paths and flower gardens, said Oak Lawn Park District director Maddie Kelly.
Residents are invited to the park board’s next meeting, where renderings of what the park will look like will be shown. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, April 8 at Oak View Center, 4625 W. 110th St.
“There is not going to be a playground or ball fields,” Kelly said. “We will have flower beds, walking paths, benches, art in the park, hopefully a water feature or water fountain. We want this to be a place where people can sit and enjoy nature.”
The Commissioners Park site has been vacant since the park district purchased the property from a private developer five years ago, Kelly said.
“It was privately owned, and a developer bought it, and one of our commissioners saw it and saw how beautiful it was,” Kelly said. “It had a lot of mature trees on the land – nice, big pines.”
About six residents attended a meeting in mid-March and were vocal about their desire for walking paths, Kelly said.
“This will bring a beautiful area in the middle of the street,” Kelly said. “It will provide a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of suburban life. It will be an area for people to sit and read a book, or bring their kids to enjoy nature.”
Five people – three incumbent trustees and two independent newcomers – are running to represent Chicago Ridge as trustees under the village’s next mayor.
Running as members of the Village Action Party are incumbent trustees Brad Grove, Jim Saunoris and Bruce Quintos. The three trustees are running with Chuck Tokar, the village clerk and soon-to-be mayor who is unopposed on the April 9 election ballot. They will be opposed by candidates Sally Durkin and Amanda Cardin, the latter who is running with village clerk candidate George Schleyer.
Grove, 48, is a lifelong resident of Chicago Ridge. He graduated from Marist High School and is the president of Grove Masonry Maintenance, a tuck pointing and masonry restoration company. He has been a trustee since 2005 and is running for his third term. Grove is the chairperson of the Village Board’s planning and zoning committee and a member of the building and grounds committee.
“I’m running because I want to keep the village strong, and I think there is still more work to do,” Grove said. “I want to improve on things we have done, like the water main replacements. It is not necessarily pretty stuff, but it needs to be done.”
Grove also wants to see the former Yellow Freight property redeveloped for commercial use. The property was abandoned by Yellow three years ago after the company moved its Chicago-area operation to Chicago Heights. Recent unsubstantiated news reports have indicated Yellow plans to return to the property.
“We want to pull together the people to make development happen,” Grove said. “I’ve interviewed developers and sat through meetings to see if creating a tax increment financing district would be a viable solution. There is the potential there for us to have another mall, which would bring in a lot of jobs and sales tax revenue.”
Grove said he is looking forward to serving the village under Tokar, who has been village clerk since 1989. Tokar will be the village’s first mayor other than Gene Siegel since 1976.
“I think Chuck is a strong leader,” Grove said. “He has the financial part of running the village down. I think it will be a fun change. He has been there almost as long as Gene himself.”
Grove believes his experience as a business owner makes him a beneficial addition to the Village Board, he said.
“I am a level-headed person,” he said. “I can bring a business sense to everything. I have experience with insurance and worker’s compensation issues. I look at contracts and I get to see them in a different perspective rather than just looking at the dollar on the bottom line.”
One of the biggest issues facing the village is paying the pensions for village employees, Grove said.
“We want to get the pensions under control, and keep them under control,” Grove said. “It is a joint effort with the board and the unions. I am the trustee that negotiates contracts, and not all the pensions are negotiable. The state tells us what we can and can’t do. We are getting the firemen and the policemen to work with us, and we have been working with them. The fund is their future, and they want it to succeed as well. Both parties are working together to make the pension fund viable for a long time.”
Saunoris, 70, has lived in Chicago Ridge for most of his life and has been a trustee for 24 years. He attended Eisenhower High School in Blue Island. He is the owner of Saunoris and Sons, a flower and garden shop in Chicago Ridge. He is the chairman of the Village Board’s building and grounds and police committees.
“I like the idea that I am out there to help people,” Saunoris said. “I want to make sure that the residents get their garbage picked up, their streets cleaned, and make sure everyone has police, fire, and ambulance services. I want to stick with it to make sure we keep our taxes down and provide the services for the people.”
Working with Mayor Siegel was a pleasure, Saunoris said.
“One of his main goals was to keep the taxes down, and we did,” Saunoris said. “For the future right now, I would like to see a status quo, especially with the economy the way it is. I want us to stay in the black, which is the hardest thing to do here.”
Saunoris is also concerned about police officers and firefighters who are nearing retirement age, and wants to help other local business owners in the village.
“I feel like being in business gives me a little advantage in that other people don’t really know how businesses run,” Saunoris said. “I want to be on the board for the business people out there that are up against the world.”
Quintos, 63, has lived in Chicago Ridge since 1975. He attended the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Academy and served as the commander of field operations until his retirement in 2003. He was appointed to the Chicago Ridge Village Board in 2003 and is running for his fourth term. He is the chairman of the fire department committee.
Quintos is running because he wants to give back to Chicago Ridge and wants to help the village continue to be fiscally responsible, he said.
“Our national economy is not in the best shape, and I’ve seen other towns that are really struggling,” Quintos said. “When I look at Chicago Ridge, I’ve seen the various measures that we’ve taken with our budget. For example, we had a tax rebate on property taxes. When we saw where the downturned economy was going, we stopped the rebate, and we didn’t have to raise property taxes or cut services.”
Quintos said what is most important to him is the safety of the residents.
“The important services are the protection of town, whether that is police or fire, or the department of public works, which keeps the town running and handles problems we have in town, like snow shoveling,” Quintos said. “I’m always consulting with [police] Chief Robert Pyznarski and [fire] Chief Robert Muszynski, and my reward is seeing the village prosper.”
Quintos is the only trustee candidate who lives west of Ridgeland Avenue, and thinks it is important to have a candidate that lives on that side of town.
“I am able to have real close contact with a lot of the residents, and I believe there should be somebody on the west end that people have easy access to,” he said.
Quintos wants to see more development come into Chicago Ridge, like the Chick-fil-A restaurant that is moving to a property at the Chicago Ridge Mall.
“We have the Yellow Freight property on Southwest Highway and Harlem Avenue, and I would be interested in having more development come in, like another shopping mall or a small hotel,” he said. “We have so much room that can be developed. It would be a major financial boon to Chicago Ridge, if that happened.”
Two women are running for trustee positions as independent candidates, and hope to help trustees agree with one another and work to solve the pension problems in the village.
Durkin, 47, has lived in Chicago Ridge for 25 years. She runs her own court reporting agency, Durkin Reporting, in downtown Chicago.
“I am running because I think I can do some good for our town and I want to be a voice for the people,” Durkin said. “I want to see easier access for people to get ahold of the agendas. I want there to be some transparency, so people can be informed.”
Durkin wants her focus to be determining if plans for the village are good for residents, she said. She also wants to address the pension reform problems in the village and get agreement between members of the board, as she believes trustees disagree on issues.
If Durkin gets elected, she is looking forward to being a part of change in Chicago Ridge.
“Mayor Siegel has done a great job, but there is going to be change,” she said. “I think I would be a good part of the change.”
Cardin, 52, has lived in Chicago Ridge for nine years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Saint Xavier University in Chicago, and a master’s degree in early childhood education, leadership and advocacy from National Louis University in Chicago. She is the director of the Rose K. Goedert Center for Early Childhood Education, the preschool lab school at Dominican University. She serves as a Chicago Ridge Library Board trustee.
Cardin wants to be a part of change in Chicago Ridge, and thinks it is important to have female representation on the Village Board, she said.
“Even though I haven’t lived here as long as many lifers in the area, I love it,” Cardin said. “This wwas were I bought my first-ever home, and when I moved here there were property tax rebates in the town and it seemed like a great place. Since I’ve been here, we’ve lost rebates, we’ve lost businesses and the economy has hurt everyone, everywhere.”
Cardin believes she would make a good trustee because of her experience in education.
“Running centers, I have experience working with people and listening to them,” she said. “In my current job, I am on the board of a south suburban organization that helps children and adults with developmental disabilities. I help parents work through the system to get help for their children with special needs. I have been active in politics because I’ve gone to Springfield to talk to legislators about funding for early childhood programs.”
Cardin expressed concerned about public employees’ pensions.
“I think the way the pensions were handled and the raises that came up right before people were about to retire is a big issue,” Cardin said. “We are just getting farther into debt, and I think we could have held some of those pensions back. It is very concerning to me.”
Bringing businesses into the village is another of Cardin’s concerns. She wants to put a committee together to talk about bringing businesses into the village.
“People should trust me because I am coming in as a complete independent,” Cardin said, despite the fact her and Schleyer’s names are on the same campaign signs. “I don’t have a business to promote, I don’t have any other reason except that I really want to be part of the good that is going on and help make changes for the better. I have the education to do it and the experience to do it.
“How are we going to get businesses here and support them? How can we stop taxes where they are and move forward? Those are the questions I have, and the questions I intend to answer.”
Smith Crossing residents George and Pat Quebbeman stand next to an impressionist oil painting they donated to Smith Crossing.
Late last year George and Pat Quebbeman moved to Smith Crossing, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) located at 10501 Emilie Lane in Orland Park from their Palos Park home for the last 18 years.
The Quebbemans raised their four children – Delores, Mark, Paul and Laura – during their earlier years living in Oak Lawn. They now have 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
For 33 years, George kept close ties with childhood friends by playing in Chicago’s 19th Ward 16-inch Softball League. Pat started a bowling league with the same circle of friends. They both sang in a traveling church choir. They’ve also enjoyed vacations to Europe, Canada, and even South America.
George’s work in the construction field included developing special projects for Argonne National Lab and other concerns. Pat worked as a secretary at the Chicago Board of Trade.
Like many who relocate, the Quebbemans found it necessary to downsize. 0ne item—a large painting that for 18 years had hung in their dining room—did not seem suited for their new home. Still, they could not bear to part with it. “We decided to donate the painting to Smith Crossing,” says Pat. “That way we could still enjoy it, and everyone here could enjoy it too.”
Candi, an artist born near Buenos Aires, Argentina, created the impressionist oil. She married an Italian artist named Soldi, who encouraged her talents. At some point, the pair moved to America’s Midwest, and Candi’s painting found its way into Quebbemans’ lives.
For many years, George enjoyed eating lunch at the historic Florence Hotel in Chicago’s South Side Pullman neighborhood. That was when he worked as a superintendent for Robert Martin Construction Co., which was then located nearby. The hotel is now closed for renovations, but at the time featured artwork from various local galleries.
George developed a fancy for the gold-gilt framed image of a woman wearing a peasant style dress, waiting tables in a sunny courtyard. When Pat joined him one day for lunch, George pointed it out. Pat decided she liked it too.
Several months, maybe even a year went by, and the couple encountered the same painting in the Beverly Hills Art Gallery in Chicago’s South Side neighborhood. That’s when they decided to buy it.
Now, thanks to the Quebbemans, the painting hangs in a hallway leading to Smith Crossing’s main dining room. “It’s sort of like when it was at the Florence hotel,” says George. “It’s right near the dining room here.”
Besides sharing an appreciation for art, the Quebbemans enjoy many other common interests. They attend plays and cultural events organized by Smith Crossing. The couple also shares the same taste in music. “We went to a Fleetwood Mac concert,” George says. “I’m sure we were the oldest people there.”
“We’ve always had a good life,” says Pat. “And, we’re still enjoying ourselves,” says George of their new life at Smith Crossing. “Every night at Smith Crossing, we try to have dinner with different fellow-residents, which makes life interesting. We’re having a great time!”
About Smith Crossing Smith Crossing, a CCRC at 10501 Emilie Lane in south suburban Orland Park just north of I80 and west of LaGrange Road, has recently completed the final phase of a $37 million expansion program to increase its capacity for residents in all settings by nearly 60 percent. It is one of only 15 CCRCs in Illinois awarded a five-year term of accreditation for “exemplary conformance” to international standards set by CARFCCAC, the industry’s sole accrediting body.
Sponsored by Smith Senior Living, a not-for-profit organization serving older adults since 1924, Smith Crossing provides spacious residences and engaging programs for independent living, as well as assisted living, memory support and skilled nursing care. Smith Crossing also provides Green Leaf Rehabilitation, a transitional care wing to serve residents and others needing short-term rehab services.
For more information about Smith Crossing, call 708-326-2300 or visit SmithCrossing.org.
It’s amazing how there is always so much more to learn. An intuitive friend gifted me a copy “Drug Muggers” by pharmacist Suzy Cohen, and I’m having trouble putting it down. It is absolutely, one of the most informative books ever.
Cohenhas also wrote “Diabetes without Drugs,” another exceptionally informative book. “Drug Muggers” is a must-have for anyone on any type of medication. It’s about various medications and lists the possible interactions of pharmaceuticals with other drugs, food, herbs and vitamins, and lists the nutrients stolen from the body by each of these drugs.
We’ve all known eating grapefruit with medications or even coffee can be dangerous, however, we rarely read about what vitamins, minerals and other nutrients we lose with every drug we ingest. One of Cohen’s examples in the book is the problem with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and the tremendous loss of B vitamins such therapy causes. This is also the case with some birth control pills.
Anyway, B vitamins account for numerous biochemical reactions within the body, and Cohen explains that when you run low on B vitamins you can suffer depression, poor memory, muscle pain, spasms, numbness, frequent headaches, nausea, fatigue, panic attacks and even weight gain. B vitamins break down proteins, carbs and fats to turn them into energy. (Note that many energy drinks contain B vitamins, but may also be infused with other substances such as dangerously excessive amounts of caffeine).
Cohen notes the lower one’s level of B vitamins, the more inflammation is created and the higher homocysteine and C-reactive protein levels will be. Hence, more susceptibility to stroke and heart attacks—all of which are side-effects of B-vitamin deficiency.
It’s B vitamins that help the body form the myelin sheath, a protective coating around nerve cells. Cohen explains that when many patients complain of the symptoms, doctors merely hand them another prescription to abate the additional symptoms rather than looking for vitamin deficiencies. It’s a vicious and dangerous cycle.
Cohen also explains the importance of avoiding a vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that sweeps toxins out of the body and is necessary to form collagen in bones, cartilage, skin, muscles and blood vessels. She believes that serious deficiencies can be caused by medications.
“Medical research has established there’s a definite connection between the drugs and the diseases,” Cohen writes.
She also writes of drug-to-drug interactions and drug-to-food interactions, and explains a drug’s effect can be multiplied when taken with foods or beverages that have the same effect. Sleeping pills slow respiration and heart rate, and when combined with wine can be deadly. Selective serotonin uptake inhibitors such as antidepressants (Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac), meanwhile, are enhanced when taken with coffee. The caffeine in the coffee can cause anxiety, tremors, panic attacks and insomnia, the latter which is a growing problem throughout the country.
Next week, I would like to cover some of the newer findings regarding medications and possible reactions. It’s difficult to put a book like this down. “Drug Muggers” will help every patient understand medications and how they may not always work together and will rob you of essential vitamins. She does not suggest patients discontinue the drugs, she merely suggests supplementation and understanding of what each drug mugs the body.
Dee Woods is available to give presentations about alternative health treatments and healthy living. She can be reached at