Park Lawn prepares for annual Tag Days

  Park Lawn seeks volunteers to help the weekends of March 29 and 30 and April 12 and 13 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to spread the word about the organization’s annual Tag Days.

  During Tag Days, volunteers stand in front of storefronts and street intersections across the southwest suburbs to give out information about Park Lawn and collect donations. On average, the event helps raise more than $65,000 that benefits the programs and services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities at Park Lawn. Since the first Park Lawn Tag Days in 1982, more than $1 million has been collected.
  Safety vests, collection buckets and handouts with Park Lawn’s logo will be provided to all volunteers. No special training is necessary.

  For more information call the Park Lawn Development Office at 425-6867 or visit
  All proceeds from Tag Days benefit Park Lawn, a local non-profit agency located in Chicago’s southwest suburbs that provides vocational services, supported employment, adult developmental training, and residential services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For more information

Reporter Archives

50 years ago
March 14, 1963
  Chicago Ridge resident James L. Gardner sued the villages of Worth and Chicago Ridge for an altercation at the Glenn Maker American Legion Hall, 107th and Ridgeland Avenue in Chicago Ridge. Gardner alleged he was attacked by four youths at the hall, and was seeking $600,000.

25 years ago
March 17, 1988
  Palos Hills planned to build in a nine-hole golf course just west of 105th Street and Harlem Avenue. The course was expected to bring in $300,000 in revenue, which would help a city that typically brought in $525,000 in annual sales tax revenue.

  Raymond Kay was one of five Oak Lawn firefighters sworn in in March. The five new members brought the total department to 101 firefighters. Kay is now the acting fire chief in Orland Park.

10 years ago
March 13, 2003
  A Worth police officer was suspended without pay after he was charged with “extreme drunken driving” while vacationing in Arizona. The 48-year-old officer had just days earlier been placed on administrative leave by Worth Police Chief Patrick O’Connor for allegations that included drinking on the job.

  Community High School District 218 approved a two-year custodial contract with the option for a third year. The contract included custodians, grounds-keepers, maintenance workers, pool cleaners and electricians. The contract was retroactive to July 1, and raised salaries 3.5 each year.

Community Briefs


Evergreen Park
Installing LEDs

  Evergreen Park’s streetlights will all be outfitted with light-emitting diode bulbs by the end of April, an upgrade expected to save the village 40 percent per year on the cost of electricity, according to Public Works director Bill Lorenz.
  Village trustees on March 4 voted unanimously to award Meade Electric a contract worth $11,340 to replace the existing bulbs with light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The existing lights were installed 15 years ago, Lorenz said.
  “The LED lights are very bright, and they last a little bit longer, but the biggest thing is the energy cost savings,” he added.
  The village will be changing the lights along 95th Street from Western Avenue to Pulaski Road, along Kedzie Avenue from 87th Street to 103rd Street, along Western Avenue from 91st to 99th Street, and on Pulaski Road at its intersections with 93rd, 95th, 99th and 103rd streets.
—Laura Bollin

SXU plans annual health fair

Free screenings offered
  Free health screenings, assessments, and information are available at Saint Xavier University’s 10th annual Health Fair on Friday, March 22.
  The fair, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Shannon Center at the University’s Chicago campus, 3700 W. 103rd St.

  The fair, which drew more than 500 attendees last year, is a “one-stop shop” of free health services. It includes free screenings and assessments for the following: blood pressure, blood glucose, bone density, hearing and vision, feet, spinal cord, injuries, cholesterol, stress, body mass index and more.

  The fair also includes a wide variety of other activities, including free chair massages; healthy cooking demonstrations at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 12:30 p.m.; 15-Minute exercise classes featuring Chair Yoga (9 a.m. and 10 a.m.), Beginner Strength Training (11 a.m.), and Zumba (noon and 1 p.m.); and comprehensive kidney screening (which includes analysis of blood pressure, sodium, calcium, glucose, liver, and more) for $25 per person. Call (773) 298-3592 for more information and to pre-register.
  A blood drive will be held by Heartland Blood Centers. To donate blood, register by calling (773) 298-3592. Receive a $5 Dunkin Donuts gift card when you donate.
  Neighborhood vendors will be at the fair to share health information with the community, including health-care providers and retailers.
  Free samples and refreshments will be served by 5 Hour Energy; Chartwells; Gatorade; Great American Bagel; Honest Tea; Muscle Milk; Starbucks; and Subway.
  For more information, call (773) 298-3592 or visit, keyword: health fair.

Oak Lawn trustee demands ComEd provide answers about power surge

By Laura Bollin

A raccoon caused a power outage last weekend in Oak Lawn, and thus ComEd is not responsible for any monetary losses residents may have incurred because of refrigerators that stopped working and electronics that were fried.

At least that’s what the electric company claims. Oak Lawn village officials have a different take, and believe ComEd may be using the outage as a cop-out to avoid responsibility for a power surge that left more than 1,000 residences without electricity. Some trustees want an engineering report from ComEd, and a reimbursement for residents who were affected if it can be proved the power company is at fault.

Trustee Alex Olejniczak (District 2) said the outage and subsequent surge early Sunday morning occurred in an area bounded by 87th and 99th streets and Cicero to Central avenues.

“There was a power outage and a power surge, and a lot of people were asleep,” Olejniczak said. “Those that were up reported seeing a blue flash.”

The Oak Lawn police and fire departments received calls from residents about the smell of smoke in their homes. Oak Lawn village manager Larry Deetjen said the blue flash and smell of smoke occurred after power had initially been restored. The surge caused electronics and other appliances to stop working, he said.

“People woke up and their clocks were blinking, and their computer is not working, and their fridge is not working,” Olejniczak said.

ComEd reported 1,044 customers were affected, and said the cause of the power outage was a raccoon. According to ComEd’s reimbursement policy, the company does not reimburse for situations it does not control, such as outages caused by wildlife or damage from storms or ice. A representative from ComEd was expected to meet Wednesday with residents who wanted to file claims. Claims can be filed at

“This is an absolute shame and a tragedy,” Olejniczak said. “We need to investigate this. This is the second time in six years there has been a power outage in District 2. Six years ago, a resident lost an expensive computer and bought a power surge protector, and [Sunday’s] surge fried through that. If the raccoon truly did cause the power surge, I am concerned for the summer because raccoons are everywhere.”

Olejniczak said the village must hold ComEd accountable. “It is not reasonable in this day and age to worry about power surges,” he said.

Olejniczak wants to meet with ComEd officials to find out why there were multiple power outages in Oak Lawn. Residents have reported incidents in which power is repeatedly lost for short periods of time.

“ComEd regulates, rules and judges — they’re in control,” Olejniczak said. “If the power was returned, why were the surge protectors in individual homes compromised? They need to give us some answers. I have lived in other towns and have never heard of the power issues we have here.”

Olejniczak asked Deetjen to schedule a meeting with ComEd in early April. Olejniczak said the village has tried to schedule meetings with ComEd in the past, but that the company has avoided the issue.