Thinking of packing heat?

  • Written by Kevin M. Coyne

New Chicago Ridge site offers classes on new concealed carry law

  Before Ron Pohrebny was able toPAGE-1-COLOR-4-col-gunsCarry Chicago, 10349 Southwest Highway in Chicago Ridge, will begin teaching the state-mandated 16-hour concealed carry course on Jan. 10.. Photo by Kevin M. Coyne legally drive a car, the now 53-year-old has enjoyed shooting and teaching others the awesome responsibility associated with owning a firearm.

  For the past 25-years, Pohrebny has worked as a firearms instructor. He is certified by the National Rifle Association and the Illinois State Police to teach concealed carry.
  Pohrebny is the new owner of the former Chicago Ridge Gun Shop and Range, which is now the site for his concealed carry company, Carry Chicago, 10349 Southwest Highway. Starting Jan. 10, Pohrebny will start preparing Illinois residents for the new concealed carry laws.
  “The course is a lot of basic information on firing, handling, unloading and using a firearm safely,” Pohrebny said. “It’s geared towards people’s ability and knowledge and most people getting concealed carry have been gun enthusiasts for a while.”
  Starting Sunday, the state of Illinois will begin taking applications for concealed carry. Despite immense pushback from anti-gun groups, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and Gov. Pat Quinn, Illinois is now the last state to lift the ban on concealed carry.
  For Chicago-area resident who plan on packing heat, a 16-hour training course is required. Training is broken into separate eight-hour courses. The first part of the training program focuses solely on teaching students to safely shoot, transport and stores a firearm. The second part of training deals with gun laws, specifically Illinois gun laws.
  “The advantage of having my own storefront facility is the ability to work with the student’s schedule,” he said. “It’s a 16-hour course and people work so it’s hard to do 8-hours a day or the entire 16-hours in one weekend.”
  The course will cost $275. In other states concealed carry courses can run as high as $300. During the Dec. 17 Chicago Ridge board meeting, Pohrebny’s license to open the storefront facility was approved.
  At this point, the shooting portion of the course is done at the Harvey Police shooting range. In the future, Pohrebny is hoping to repair and reopen the range in his facility.
  “I want to reopen the shooting range at the facility and open it up for my current and former students to practice drawing from a holster,” he said. “People should practice 100 times a day because if you ever do need to draw your gun you don’t want to be tugging at your holster.”
  Illinois residents who have been convicted of a felony, including domestic violence, or have a criminal record are subject to denial of a FOID card and concealed carry permit. State and local law enforcement must also approve the concealed carry permit, regardless of the individual’s reason for applying. Law enforcement officials may deny a request for concealed carry is the individual has certain psychological issues or a history tied gang-related crimes.
  “Are we that stupid in Chicago to not know that it’s the bad people with guns who are committing these violent crimes?” Pohrebny said. “Good people feel the need to arm themselves as long as there continues to be bad people illegally obtaining firearms.”
  For more information on Carry Chicago, visit or call 708-357-6241.

Dist. 230 VP concerned about ‘test overload’

  • Written by Tim Hadac

  In a time of growing criticism about the amount of standardized tests that children take in school, District 230 officials last Thursday discussed the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests set for implementation in the 2014-15 academic year.
  “Boy, it just seems like we do a lot of testing,” said board Vice President Patrick O’Sullivan, in reaction to a presentation made by Dr. Kim Dryier, the district’s assistant superintendent for instruction. “I think a lot of that is not our doing, it’s kind of forced on us. But boy, you take these PARCC tests, these pre- and post-assessment tests, your ACT, your ACT prep, and it’s almost like you’re being tested as much as you’re learning. It’s like there’s a kind of test overload.”
  The discussion took place at Sandburg High School, before an audience of fewer than 10 people.
  The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), as described on its website, “is a consortium of 18 states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English and math anchored in what it takes to be ready for college and careers. These new K-12 assessments will build a pathway to college and career readiness by the end of high school, mark students’ progress toward this goal from 3rd grade up, and provide teachers with timely information to inform instruction and provide student support.”
  PARCC plans to “create high-quality assessments that measure the full range of the Common Core State Standards, support educators in the classroom, make better use of technology in assessments, and advance accountability at all levels.”
  Exactly what that will mean at the classroom level is something that school administrators and faculty, both locally and elsewhere, have grappled with for the last year, as the effort takes shape slowly.
  “This seems to be extremely confusing. I’d hate to be a kid right now,” said board member Tony Serratore, who wondered aloud if the coming PARCC method of student assessment will differ significantly from the well known ACT test, and if that difference will affect students’ ability to get into the college of their choice.
  Echoing what many have said in districts across the U.S., Dryier acknowledged that there are still “uncertainties and variables” associated with PARCC implementation and described aspects of the process as “frustrating” and “trying” for administrators and faculty alike.
  She encouraged board members to take a longer view, saying that the district’s goal remains to “prepare kids the best way that we can. We truly believe that good instruction, good critical thinking skills will help kids solve problems, regardless of what [those problems] look like,” she said.
  “The good news is, we do good instruction here,” she added. “We have good school improvement plans. We are focused on student achievement, regardless of what the [type of] test is. We fully believe that our students will be well prepared for any assessment that may show up on our doorstep next year.”
  Dryier added that basic information about PARCC and what it will mean for students in the district will be posted soon at, but she, and that information may change over time.
  A big-picture view of PARCC is available at
  In other matters, board members congratulated and thanked district staff for their handling the Dec. 4 evacuation of Stagg High School, 8015 W. 111th St., Palos Hills.
  “We tested before school, during school, after school, outside, inside, in spaces near the boiler,” stated district Superintendent James M. Gay. “We had an outside contractor — White Environmental — come in to help.”
  Gay said there is no evidence to suggest any kind of environmental health concern at the school, but that steps have been taken to prevent a re-occurrence of the strange odor that led to the evacuation and to about a dozen students and teachers transported to local hospitals as a precaution.
  School officials have said they believe that unusual weather conditions to a high amount of vehicle exhaust to be pulled into the building’s fresh-air intake vents.
  The new, preventive steps will be announced at the next board meeting, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30 at Sandburg, 13300 S. La Grange Road. The public is encouraged to attend.

The final countdown: Three vie for Dist. 127.5 top job

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  It’s down to three.

  Chicago Ridge School District 127.5 has entered the next phase of its search for a new superintendent.
  The three finalists for the position will meet Tuesday afternoon with members of the community as well as teachers and district staff members for “open discourse,” said Supt. Joyce Kleinaitis. The forum is not open to the public.
  The feedback from the conversations will help the school board choose a new superintendent, who likely will be selected in February, Kleinaitis said. The school board plans to conduct final interviews Jan. 18.

  The 26 community members who will meet with the candidates represent a cross-section of the community, including parents, school board members and library officials.
  The finalists will meet separately with the community members, teachers and district staff, Kleinaitis said.
  Group members are encouraged to ask a wide range of questions dealing with the candidates’ backgrounds, educational philosophy, approach to the community, among other queries, she said.
  Kleinaitis is retiring at the end of the school year after eight years in the position to teach graduate education classes. Specifically, she will teach school law, which prepares teachers to become administrators, she said. Her base salary for 2013-14 is $161,902.
  She would not offer any background on the finalists, who were chosen from a group of seven who interviewed with the school board. Twenty five individuals applied for the position. School board president Greg Hillman has said all of the candidates are from Illinois.

  Kleinaitis is 43-year veteran of education, having worked as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent before coming to District 127.5.
  She said she has not had time to think about her departure from the district.
  “We’ve been so busy pulling things together. I really haven’t had time to reflect,” she said.
  District 127.5 serves approximately 1,500 students in Chicago Ridge and a small portion of Oak Lawn. Students attend Finley Junior High and Ridge Central and Ridge Lawn elementary schools.

Two Worth fires produce no injuries

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  Fire officials are investigating thepage-2-3-col-fire2Paradise Fashions in Worth had “a significant” loss when a fire gutted the building Friday but there were no injuries. Photo by Jeff Vorva. cause of Friday afternoon fire at a Worth clothing store.
  The North Palos Fire Protection District also is looking into the cause of a Sunday morning fire that destroyed a detached garage near 114th Street and Nina Avenue, officials said.
  The fire at Paradise Fashions, 11142 S. Harlem Ave., was reported at about 12:15 p.m. and extinguished in about 25 minutes, Battalion Chief Paul Mackin said.
  “There was significant loss,” Mackin said.
  No one was injured in the blaze, which did not spread to the other businesses in the strip mall, he said. The store was closed and unoccupied at the time of the fire.
  Firefighters from Chicago Ridge as well the Palos Heights the Roberts Park fire protection districts helped battle the fire, Mackin said.
  No one was injured in the 5:13 a.m. garage fire, which damaged two cars that were parked outside, fire officials said. The blaze was extinguished in about 20 minutes.

Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook: Hank, Ralph and the gang make for great TV

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


jeff column  In the past few months, I’ve done columns on good TV (“Breaking Bad”), bad TV (“16 and Pregnant”) and a year-end list of people I enjoyed meeting in 2013.
  So mixing all of that into a stew, this column is about a list of my dozen favorite TV shows of all time. And I invite you to throw in your all-times favorites as well at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
  Mine first:
  My all-time favorite show is the “Larry Sanders Show” which is surprising because I really don’t like any other oftv - hank Gary Shandling’s work. But his portrayal of a spoiled egomaniac talk show host is outstanding.
  Throw in unforgettable characters as the buffoonish Hank Kingsley and Artie, Larry’s wisecracking manager, plus some pretty famous guest stars showing up and it was quite a funny show, that you can watch over and over and still laugh out loud.
  The episode of “Hank’s Sex Tape” is the funniest show I’ve ever seen on TV but as you can deduce by the title, I can’t describe it too much. I can say Henry Winkler and Norm MacDonald have guest roles in this classic without having the newspaper shut down. Ginger and MaryAnn from “Gilligan’s Island” are paid a homage, but that’s all I can say….
  The next 11 are in alphabetical order because they are all great and it’s hard to choose and rank them.

All in the Family
  Comedy writing doesn’t get more creative than the “Everybody Tells the Truth” episode in which Archie Bunker and his meathead son-in-law, Mike Stivic, tell different stories about a broken refrigerator incident.
  The first four of five years was great television and broke a lot of barriers for language and controversy that may seem tame today. But the storylines are still hysterical.

The Andy Griffith Show
  Yeah, it’s old but it’s still very funny.
  I’ve seen so many of these episodes dozens of times involving Sheriff Taylor and the Mayberry gang but the humor still holds up in 2014 as it did 50 years ago. The episode in which Floyd and Barney are kidnapped by female prisoners still makes me laugh out loud.

Curb Your Enthusiasm
  “Seinfeld” does not make my dandy dozen, but “Seinfeld” creator Larry David’s “Curb” makes it easily. You never knew how Larry would mess up a situation but he never failed to deliver. Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman and Wanda Sykes are as good as it gets when it comes to a bang-up supporting cast.

Friday Night Lights
  I hate, HATE!, inconsistencies in storylines (Whatever happened to Chuck in “Happy Days”? Did he die? Did he go into the Army?) and FNL was full of them. Why was East Dillon High school never mentioned until the end of season three?
  Despite all of that — and the fact that some of the actors were in their late 20s playing high school kids — this show was dramatic and funny. Sometime just one look on coach Eric Taylor’s face said a million words. Priceless stuff.

The Honeymoonerstv - ralph
  Bang, zoom.
  The classic 39 episodes first aired before I was born and the adventures of Ralph, Ed, Alice and Trixie are still great.
  Jackie Gleason was so talented in many different ways and people may forget he was a fine dramatic actor. But he will always be Ralph Kramden in my heart.
  Art Carney? He was one of the great improvisers of all time and it’s been said that he and Gleason rarely followed a script when they performed on “The Honeymooners.”

The Newsroom
  Not to be confused with the show currently running on HBO, this is a show from Canada that lasted just three seasons. The first was 1996-97 and the second and third came in 2004 and 2005.
  The show has a “Larry Sanders Show” vibe to it as it features the innerworkings of a TV newsroom in Canada. The anchorman, Jim Walcott, is a shallow piece of work who has no shame. George Findlay is a self-absorbed unlikeable, likeable character who makes Sanders seem humble. It’s a little slow at times but it’s wicked.
  It’s not easy to find this show on DVD, but it’s a good one to seek out.

The Office
  Not to be confused with the NBC show with Steve Carell (very good in its own right, but not top 12 material), this is the British show that inspired the NBC version. Once you get used to the thick accents and subtle humor, this show is gold.
  It was smart enough to last just a couple of seasons — 12 episodes in all — and pull out. But the brilliant part is that there were a couple of episodes that came out after the series was over. Remember how in the NBC show that this was supposed to be a mock-documentary? That’s why they have those cutaways and people looking funny into the cameras. Well, the British version follows the gang and their fame and misfortunes after the so-called documentary aired. Great stuff.

Rescue Me
  Denis Leary is really funny. So when you put him in a show about New York firemen and some of the characters are funnier than he is, you really have something here.
  The drama is solid but some of the ghost scenes and dream sequences dragged it down. But overall, it was a must-watch series while it was on.

The Shield
  This blows all of the cop shows that I’ve seen — including the excellent “NYPD Blue” out of the water.
  The star of the show is Michael Chiklis who plays Vic Mackey, a rotten cop who you actually root for. All of the other characters are stained or have baggage, too, so it’s not always easy to figure out who the good guys are.

Sons of Anarchy
  Don’t get me wrong, I loved “Breaking Bad” but the tv - sonsfirst season of SOA makes that show looks like “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
  Like with “The Shield” there are some bad people in this motorcycle gang here that make you root for some of them. The violence is intense. Look, I know it’s not real, but when a guy is getting a large back tattoo removed by a blowtorch…Ouch!

The Sopranos
  Funny. Dramatic. And, again, like with “The Shield” and “Sons of Anarchy,” you end up rooting for the bad guys.
  But I still want to know whatever happened to those Russians whom Paulie and Christopher were shooting at in the woods.
  Again, if you have any favorites you want to share with the class, e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .