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Mr. Fix It radio remote highlights food drive at Stacked

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  Tom Demacopoulos is accustomed to front-color-two-col-louLou Manfredini will appear at Stacked in Oak Lawn Saturday morning. Photo courtesy of casasugar.com feeding people.
  The Oak Lawn restaurateur handles big breakfast and lunch crowds seven days a week at Stacked, the eatery he opened nearly two years ago at 5273 W. 95th St.
  But on Saturday morning, Demacopoulos’ restaurant will be the location for a Thanksgiving food drive as well as a remote radio broadcast hosted by WGN’s Mr. Fix It, Lou Manfredini.
  Plans for the food drive have been in the works for some time, as members of the Cobras Hockey Club, of which Demacopoulos’s son is a member, decided to use the restaurant as a base for their charity initiative.
  The food drive will benefit the food pantry at Together We Cope, the Tinley Park-based organization that provides food, housing and other essentials to individuals experiencing a crisis.
  WGN Radio called Demacopoulos later on asking if he’d like to host On the Road With Lou, the bi-monthly remote broadcast hosted Manfredini. The broadcast at Stacked is the last remote for 2013.
  The show will be broadcast from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., but the food drive continues until 2 p.m.
  Demacopoulos said WGN Radio was aware of his restaurant because of recognition in local media and because it was a favorite of John Williams, a former WGN radio host. Williams, who now hosts an afternoon show in Minneapolis, is expected to call into Saturday’s show, Demacopoulos said.
  WGN will set up a large tent for the remote broadcast on 53rd Avenue, which will be shut down near the restaurant during the food drive. The show has promoted the event for a few weeks, and Demacopoulos is expected hundreds of people to stop by.
  In fact, he’s called all his cooks and servers to be on hand hours before the event to prepare. WGN Radio technicians are expected to arrive at 3 a.m. to begin setup, he said.
  The Cobras Hockey Club is a high school team made up of students from Andrew, Tinley Park, Oak Forest, Oak Lawn, Shepard, Stagg, Richards and Evergreen Park high schools.
  Approximately 40 members of the team’s varsity and junior varsity squads will be on hand to collect non-perishable food, turkeys and monetary donations, which will be loaded onto a truck and taken to Together We Cope.
  “It’s going to be a huge event,” he said. “Anybody is welcome to come by.”
  Demacopoulos said the food drive is way for him and member of the Cobras to give back to the community.
  High school hockey is an expensive sport and players are fortunate to have parents who can afford equipment and other related expenses, Demacopoulos said. Meanwhile, other families worry about giving their children a hot meal, he said.
  “They need to understand the importance of how fortunate they are,” he said. “It’s huge. We are so fortunate. It’s going to give me a great feeling.”
  Demacopoulos, a Hickory Hills resident, operated Stacked at 143rd Street and LaGrange in Orland Park for seven years until development forced him out.
  He said he’s experienced considerable success in Oak Lawn.
  “Oak Lawn has been an amazing transformation for me and my family,” he said.
  For more information on the food drive or to make a donation, visit www.cobrashockey.org.

It’s Mustang mania

  • Written by Bob Rakow

FRONT-COLOR-4-col-EPThe 2013 Evergreen Park football team notched a perfect 9-0 mark in the regular season and is hoping for a long postseason run.

 It’s been 15 years since Tom Schillo donned the FRONT-COLOR-1-col-EP-Mascotgreen and gray uniform of the Evergreen Park High School football team.

  But Schillo still has Mustang pride and he’s thrilled about the success the 2013 team has experienced.
  “They score a lot of points. They’re fast. They move the ball,” Schillo said.
  The Mustangs also win games—all of them, in fact. The Mustangs were undefeated this year—the fourth time in school history they achieved that lofty goal.
  The last three years have been amazing,” Schillo said.
  Indeed they have. The team made the state playoffs the past two years, reaching the quarterfinals in 2011 and the semifinals last year. This year’s team has a No. 1 seed in the Class 4A pairings and some big expectations as they get set to host Richmond-Burton in the first round at 5 p.m. Saturday.
  Schillo’s brother, Luke, who was a running back for Evergreen Park about a decade ago, said an undefeated record is no easy achievement.
  “It’s hard work,” he said. “A lot of those games were won Monday through Thursday.”
  Like his brother, Luke played football for St. Xavier University. Luke had played one season at the Air Force Academy before coming home to play for the Cougars. He no longer lives in the village, but plans to attend playoff games.
  So will most of school’s 800 students, who’ve supported the team since the season began in August on new synthetic turf installed over the summer.
  “The kids are genuinely excited,” said EP Principal Bill Sanderson. “There’s a buzz throughout the building.”
  Sanderson credits head coach Dan Hartman for much of the team’s success.
  “He has a great rapport with the kids,” Sanderson said.
  Additionally, Hartman has worked diligently to involve the student body, alums and the community in the team’s success while also stressing the importance of academic accomplishments, Sanderson said.
  The school has stricter eligibility for its athletes than required by the IHSA, Sanderson said.
  The team’s success has helped build the program for the long-term achievement, Sanderson said.
  The small school has long watched Evergreen Park athletes choose to play for private high schools with extensive reputations as football powerhouses.
  “We lose kids from the village,” said Tom Schillo, who’s hosting a party at his Evergreen Park home before the first-round game.
  But the team’s winning tradition coupled with the relationships it’s built with the Evergreen Stallions youth football program and area Catholic grade school teams has helped turned things around, Sanderson said.
  The success even has the village’s boss impressed.
  Mayor James Sexton, who has been seen sitting in a chair on the sidelines and cheering the troops on, praised the team’s achievements and said that winning is contagious.
  “People want to be around winners,” Sexton said. “You want to form a tradition. I think it’s tremendously exciting.”
  He added that the team’s success is good for business, as more people attend games. “People come back and see the neighborhood.”
  Despite a 9-0 mark, the Mustangs have given their fans a rollercoaster ride several times this year.
  After winning a forfeit game against Little Village to open the season, the team had to scramble to beat Phillips, 35-32. Phillips could be a second-round opponent for the Mustangs.

  The Mustangs beat Oak Lawn 21-10 but were trailing 10-0 at halftime. They narrowly beat Tinley Park 24-22 in week 4 when Matt Schulte booted a 22-year field goal in the closing seconds.
  In what some would consider the signature victory of the year, EP beat Richards 35-34 in Oak Lawn. Star player Jacquet McClendon’s interception with three seconds to go at the end of the game helped preserve the win in Week 5. Quarterback Jonathan O’Brien suffered an injury and Sean Ryan took over.
  The nailbiting trend continued the following week in Summit when the Mustangs pulled off a wild 45-44 victory over Argo. Linebacker Don Oresky stripped the ball from an Argo player and ran 30 yards for a TD for what turned out to be the winning score in the final eight minutes.
  They beat Eisenhower 21-13 in weed 7 with McClendon making another game-saving interception in the final minute of the contest.

WHATIZIT? 10-24-13

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

 

  Once again, it’s hard to fool the WHATIZIT Whatizz-10-24wunderkinds as we had a handful of people correctly guess the top of an upright that you see in the end zone at football games.

  The red thing-a-ma-bobber on top of it is a wind indicator flag.
  We had five correct guesses by people from five different towns.
  Those football heroes who guessed right were Worth’s Robert Solner, Oak Lawn’s Maline Zolna, Chicago Ridge’s Dana Oswald, Evergreen Park’s Jen Merchantz, Hickory Hills’ Jack and Griffin Burke Faddis.
  Wrong guesses were football slalom poles and a soccer corner kick stick.
  This week’s photo is not sports related. The clue is that this thing can cause a buzz.
  Send those guesses to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with Whatizit? on the subject line by Monday night. Provide your name and home town as well.

Photo by Jeff Vorva.

 

Zounds: Hearing aids ‘that can change lives’

  • Written by Tim Hadac

  A hearing aid company promising revolutionary new technology that can change people’s lives has opened shop in Palos Heights — its first unit in Illinois.

  “We are the new kid on the block, and we hope to be here for a long time,” said Karen Liddell, franchisee of Zounds, at 7202B W. 119th St., in the Tiffany Square shopping center, Route 83 and Harlem.
  Based in Phoenix, Ariz., Zounds designs, manufactures and sells hearing aids for people with mild to profound hearing impairments.
  The company was founded by electrical engineer Sam Thomasson, whose daughter, Kate, lost much of her hearing due to an illness when she was a toddler and later struggled — as many do — with the limitations of conventional hearing aids. Thomasson and his team of engineers searched for solutions, amassing more than 50 patents and fitting Kate with her first Zounds prototype at age 16.
  The “breakthrough” technology, according to Thomasson, changed his daughter’s life. Today, according to a company brochure, she is a college student studying electrical engineering.
  That life-changing technology is a key to the success of Zounds, Liddell noted.
  “I fell in love with the ‘Sam and Kate’ story,” she said. “It’s a story of father’s love for his daughter. How great is that? I want to be in a position to make that kind of a difference in people’s lives, and I believe I am.”
  Liddell, an accountant, said she became a Zounds franchisee because she “was facing a layoff in my industry, and I’m too young to retire.”
  She decided to go into business for herself and started shopping for a franchise opportunity with several companies, “but I wanted to go into business with people you can trust and make a connection with. That’s why I chose Zounds.”
  She said that Zounds offers several clear advantages over others.
  “First, we are the leader in technology,” she added. “Second, we are buying hearing aids directly from the manufacturer, so we’re the price leader — offering hearing aids at $999 each when others’ cost several times more. Third, we offer same-day fittings. So people come in here with hearing loss, and within two hours they’re going to leave hearing better, and that can change their lives. That’s what sets us apart from our competitors.”
  Zounds also offers free hearing exams, remote-control programming, and rechargeable batteries and charging station.
  A native of Chicago’s South Side and current resident of Homewood, Liddell is quick to credit and praise her staff — Jeff Clark, a state-licensed hearing instrument specialist, and Rachel Nelson, customer service representative. “I am blessed to have a real A-Team here, and I am certain our clients will agree.”
  Clark, with nearly a decade’s experience in the field, said he has found a real home at Zounds.
  “Most places are about selling hearing aids,” he said. “I wanted to work at a place where we’re about caring for people. [At Zounds] I don’t have to worry about selling a hearing aid, because our prices are lower than everyone else’s. I can focus on what’s important, which is making it work for that customer. We take that very seriously here.”

Retro Reporter 10-24-13

  • Written by Compiled by Jeff Vorva

Retro Reporter ArtRidge man shoots guy in trailer court

50 years ago
From The Oct. 24, 1963 edition
  The story: James Lovell of Chicago Ridge was charged with the murder of a man in a Harvey trailer court. Lovell told police he brought a 12-gauge shotgun to scare the man but the gun discharged accidentally, according to the police.
  The quote: “I’m the man you are looking for,” — Lovell, after stopping a Harvey police officer a block away from the incident.
  Fun fact: Oak Lawn’s football team knocked off Sandburg, 26-0 in what the un-bylined report called a “stunning upset.” It was Oak Lawn’s second win of the season.

Palos Heights dinner tab to taxpayers causes indigestion

25 years ago
From the Oct. 27, 1988 edition
  The Story: The Palos Hills City Council voted to approve a $1,206 dinner tab while at Artie G.s in Chicago after attending the Illinois Municipal League Convention. Alderman Pauline Stratton motioned to have the item taken off a list of expenditures they voted on and voted “no” for the tab.
  The quote: “What she did was a cheap shot. All the aldermen could go out by themselves. But we think it’s an interesting fact that we went out as a group.’’ Palos Hills mayor Gerald Bennett on Stratton’s attempt to have the item stricken from the list.
  Fun fact: MJ’s Grill in Worth offered a 99 cent breakfast of two eggs, breakfast potatoes, a choice of fresh baked muffins, buttered biscuit or toast.

Attendance down but beer sales up at RidgeFest

10 years ago
From the Oct. 23, 2003 edition
  The story: The bad news — It was announced that lousy weather hurt the previous July’s RidgeFest 2003 as there was a 21 percent drop in profits from 2002, Village Clerk Charles Tokar said at a board meeting. The good news — Despite a dip in profits and attendance, sales of beer was up 25 percent. Pat Benatar and Poi Dog Pondering were entertainment headliners.
  The quote: “It scared me!” Hickory Hills City Clerk Joann Jackson after touring the Halloween-themed Haunted Hall in town.
  Fun fact: St. Xavier’s radio station, WXAV, won three first-place awards out of five categories at the Illinois Broadcast Association’s Silver Dome Awards.