Hickory hopes cameras deter park problems

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  Vandalism is on the decline at a small Hickory Hills park thanks to security cameras that were installed several weeks ago, a park district official said.
  Prairie View Park, a four-acre park located near 82nd Avenue and 85th Street, has long been plagued by vandalism, said park district Director Jennifer Fullerton.
  The park board spent $8,000 to purchase the cameras, which were designed to stem the ongoing problem, she said.
  “We’ve always had a lot of vandalism there,” said Fullerton, who said the park’s remote location is appealing to vandals.
  She said the district appealed to residents who live near the park for help, but no one came forward with information about the vandalism.
  The park was closed for several months four years ago after someone spread paint shavings and dust on the playground equipment, Fullerton said. A hazmat team was called in to clean up the damage.
  Since that time, the district maintenance staff faced an uphill battle cleaning graffiti off the playground equipment, sometimes spending 30 hours a week on the task.
  “In time, it will be less expensive to have the cameras,” she said.
  The graffiti is not gang related.
  “Sometimes, you don’t know what it says,” Fullerton said.
  The three security cameras include night-vision and facial-recognition capabilities. They run 24 hours a day and can store images for up to seven days.
  Similar cameras located in another Hickory Hills park helped police catch someone who was damaging property, Fullerton said.
  Prairie View Park features two play structures; one designed for older children while the other features is equipment for preschool-age children. The park also has swing sets and a gazebo.
  Hickory Hills parks are open from dawn to dusk. The district relies on police and weekend security in addition to the cameras to ward off vandals, Fullerton said.

Monsters, goblins and ghosts to invade the area

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  The Halloween season is upon us and while the night for trick or treating is still three weeks away, there’s plenty of frightening and not so scary activities available throughout the area.

  Whether its activities for little ghouls and goblins or more chilling happenings for teens and adults, there’s certainly no shortage of things to do for those who want enjoy this forbidding time of year.

Chicago Ridge
  Chicago Ridge’s Halloween at the Park will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 26 at Freedom Park, 6252 W. Birmingham Ave. The event will feature a costume contest at 10:30 a.m. as well as children’s games, relay races and many other activities.

Evergreen Park
  The Evergreen Park Recreation Department will hold a Halloween parade from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Community Center, 3450 W. 97th St. The parade is open to children through 11 years old.
  The parade will be followed by a pumpkin patch and a Halloween movie. Refreshments will be served, and each child will receive a goodie bag. Registration is not required for the free event. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
  The Evergreen Park Recreation Department will usher out the Halloween season with a pumpkin smash from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 2. Participants can enjoy apple cider and popcorn while smashing pumpkins. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Hickory Hills
  The Hickory Hills Park District will sponsor a house decorating contest with prizes awarded to the winners.
  Anyone interested must call the park district at 598-1233 by Oct. 24. Judging will be conducted between 6:15 and 7:45 p.m. Oct. 24 and will be based on originality, lighting, arrangements and use of props.

  Worth United Methodist Church puts a different twist on Halloween by holding the Worth Haunt Against Hunger from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Village Hall, 7112 W. 111th St.
  The community awareness event is designed to bring attention to needy and hungry families as the holiday season approaches and helps stock the food pantry shelves at the United Methodist Church, 7100 W. 112th St.
  The participating haunted houses are located at: 7100 W. 115th Place, 7111 W. 114th Place, 6955 W. 114th Place, 6843 W. 114th Street and 11560 S. Nagle Ave.

Oak Lawn
  Oak Lawn’s annual Pumpkin Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Village Green.
  The event will feature a wide variety of activities, including hayrides, bobbing for apples, pony rides, a pumpkin patch, milk the cow and children’s games. The police department and fire house will be open for tours and refreshments will be served.
  The Oak Lawn Park District will hold Spookview from 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Oak View Center, 4625 W. 110th St. A children’ costume parade will begin at 1 p.m. Admission is free and $10 wristbands for all activities will be sold.
  There will be several other yard displays and haunted houses in the area:

Evergreen Park
  The Resurrection Graveyard Haunted House at 9421 S. Country Club Drive takes place Friday through Sunday, Oct. 18-20, Oct. 25-31 and Nov. 1-2. The hours are 7 to 10 p.m. on weekdays and Sundays and 7 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The fee is $5.

Oak Lawn
  The Terror on Tulley Torture at 8729 Tulley Ave. runs Friday through Sunday, Oct. 17-20, Oct. 24-27 and Oct. 31. Times are 7 to 10 p.m. on Sundays and Oct. 28 through Oct. 20 and 7 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and Oct. 31.
  The Spirits on Sproat and Gallery of the Dead at 9028 Sproat Ave. runs Friday through Sunday, Oct. 18 to 20 and Oct. 25 through Oct. 31. Hours are 7 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 28 to Oct. 30 and Oct. 31. The Gallery of the Dead is in its 10th year and features new props and lighting for 2013. Live, scary characters mingle with the crowds, so beware. The display is not recommended for younger children.
  The Midnight Terror Haunted House, 5755 W. 97th St., runs from Friday through Sunday, Oct. 17 to Oct. 20, Oct. 24 to Oct. 27 and Oct. 29 through Oct. 31. The hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Midnight Terror Haunted House started as a small yard display in 2000 and has grown in a full walk-through haunted house. More than 5,000 people passed through the haunted house last year.
Palos Hills
  The annual Haunted Hayride Through the Old Lake n Park runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 18-19 at 10801 S. Roberts Road. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children 10 and under. Halloween children’s activities will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 19 at Lake n Park. Hay wagon rides, crafts, a bounce house and the Mad Science Halloween Show all be featured during the festivities. The fee is $5 and children must be accompanied by an adult.
  The Creatures of the Blackened Night yard display at 7328 W. 113th Place takes place through Oct. 31. Hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
  The Nightmare on the Terrace, 12-room haunted house takes place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Oct. 18 to Oct. 20 and Oct. 25 through Oct. 27. The fee is $8.

Retro Reporter 10-10-13

Retro Reporter ArtReader likens tax to fund Worth library to cancer

50 years ago
From the Oct. 10, 1963 edition
 The story: The Chicago area archdiocese bought property around 107th Street and Central Avenue for a proposed new Catholic high school in Oak Lawn.
  The quote: “This tax, if approved, will start small, to be sure, but like cancer it will grow and grow,’’ — Letter to the editor writer Sam Di Pietro on Worth asking for a tax to pay for a free library.
  Fun fact: Chicago Ridge’s Volunteer Fire Department held an open house that included a water ball fight, “happy junk men” and “sleepy clowns.”

Former Kids Stop owner supported by 100-plus people

25 years ago
From the Oct. 13, 1988 edition
  The story: More than 100 people gathered at Palos Hills City Hall to show their support for Sandra Fabiano, a former Kids Stop preschool owner charged with sexually abusing four young girls.
  The quote: “I would not [reopen the school] because I’m an innocent party. And if [the indictments] happened once to an innocent person like myself, it can happen again.”
  Fun fact: The new Reporter Newspaper sign — which can still be seen on Harlem Ave. — is erected on the building at 12247 S. Harlem in Palos Heights.

Garbage strike draws concerns from area officials

10 years ago
From the Oct. 9, 2003 edition
  The story: There was plenty of trash talk when a trash haulers strike affected area homes and businesses as garbage was not picked up. The union turned down a contract that would have increase the total wages and benefits package a driver working 50 or more hours per week to more than $92,000 a year by the fifth year of the contract. They returned to work a week later.
  The quote: “Our concern is about the rodents being attracted to produce that’s thrown away,” — Worth Mayor Ed Guzdzoil about the problems causes by the garbage strike.
  Fun fact: Former longtime Evergreen Park softball coach Marilyn Wax was named National Coach of the Year at the National High School Athletic Association convention in Oklahoma. She was recognized for her 31 years of service to the Mustangs program.

Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook - A few changes are in order with this week’s Reporter

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


COLOR - Jeff  I hate change.
  My wife Maggie is more than happy to verify that statement as gospel.
  We all have our routines and the way we do things and even here at the good ol’ Reporter there is a phrase “But we’ve always done it like that…” that some people use and at least one employee is ready to shoot the next person who says that. I think she is kidding. But I won’t test it.
  Anyway, since I became editor in August, I knew some changes would probably have to be made, but none too drastic. We started at the front of the paper trying to tighten up the front page and make it more noticeable and fun than it used to be. Thanks to the great stories turned in by Reporter reporter Bob Rakow and our freelancers, we have been able to dress up some terrific stories with some interesting photos and headlines.
  Page 2, we left alone. It’s the cops and fire page. People expect it there and we’ll keep it there. In the future, I hope to have a little more artwork added to that page when we can, but for now we’re keeping that status quo and pulling out some of the more interesting crime items as separate stories.
  Page 3 is supposed to be the second front page and, as of late, we’ve had such a strong batch of stories coming in that some of those would have probably been front page stories in the past.
  Page 4 is the “Our Neighborhood” page and we’re trying to use that as a place for photo spreads of cool community events. We dressed up our archives with the “Retro Reporter” feature, which we hope is a neat improvement over just throwing a few items together.
  Page 5 is acting as another news and feature page. And Community Briefs just might find a home there.
  Page 6 is the Commentary page and the only change we made to that was to keep the “What do you say?” feature anchored on the bottom.
  Now it’s time to tackle the second half of the paper and that’s where we are going to make some more noticeable changes.
  Page 7 will now serve as the page with our death notices, church corner and a hodgepodge of other items such as the listings of benefits and fundraisers.
  Pages 8 and 9 will have a huge change starting this week. We are opening up the school pages. Page 8 will be grade school news with page 9 serving as a focus on high schools and colleges. The theory is that there are so many proud parents and grandparents out there who absolutely love to see their kids’ and grandkids’ names and pictures in the paper. We serve so many schools in this six-community region that it makes a lot of sense to run as much as we can.
  Page 10 used to be a big ol’ house ad for the Reporter that sometimes had a covered wagon on it. We used that because we didn’t seem to have enough news in the paper. I won’t say the house ad — or the covered wagon — will never return because it’s possible during the holidays and when people around here take much deserved vacations we will bring it back for a cameo appearance. But for the most part, it’s gone.
  Page 10 temporarily became Features, which featured some syndicated stuff, and page 11 used to be Community Calendar and those were by far our worst looking pages in the paper. Too much gray. Not enough photos.
  Page 10 will now be a combo of the features and community calendar with hopefully some artwork to break up the gray. Page 11 will now be our Consumer/business page.
  And we’ll leave the Back Page pretty much alone with Dee Woods, the Best of the Wineguy and WHATIZIT? as the three main features while we may toss in a syndicated feature or two on there as well.
  As we go along, we will tinker around to hopefully make the paper more compelling and attractive.

The groovie goolie
  Coming up in Worth is a presentation titled “Chicago TV Horror Movie Shows: From Shock Theatre to Svengoolie.”
  It’s being billed as the first comprehensive look at Chicago’s horror movie programs, from their inception in 1957 to the present. Authors Ted Okuda and Mark Yurkiw discuss their recent book and will show clips of various television and movies featured in their book.
  It takes placed 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Worth Park District Historical Museum, 11500 S Beloit. Admission is free.

  Hey, if these guys can make money writing books and giving lectures on nonsense such as Svengoolie, maybe I can get Oak Lawn legend and treasure Ed McElroy to co-write a book about the glory days of Bob Luce rasslin’ on Channel 26. Those were the days.

Manic Monday
  How was your Monday?
  Ours was kind of lousy.
  Thanks in part to a truck and a downed power line, we were without power and the — gasp — internet for most of Monday. So let me send out regrets if something fell through the cracks and we missed putting something in the paper that we should have while we were scrambling to put the darn thing together.


Four Palos firefighters injured

  • Written by Tim Hadac

  Four Palos Fire Protection District firefighters were injured Sunday night when a ceiling collapsed and fell on them at a house fire they were battling at 13203 S. 84th Ave. in unincorporated Palos Park.
  “It was a plaster and lathe ceiling, heavy, and it appeared to come down in one piece,” said Palos Fire Chief Patrick Gericke.
  The four firefighters, whose names were not disclosed, were battling their way inside the home to determine if anyone was inside, while the fire raged above them in an attic.
  No one was home.
  Two firefighters were taken to Palos Community Hospital, where they were treated and released. A third was transported to Christ Hospital and Medical Center, where he was held overnight and released on Monday. The fourth did not require hospital care.
  The alarm sounded at 10:22 p.m., and units were on the scene within minutes.
  Chief Gericke would not speculate on the cause of the fire, saying it is under investigation.
  Assisting the PFPD were units from surrounding municipalities and fire protection districts, including Palos Heights, North Palos, Orland, Oak Forest, Worth, Lockport, Posen, Alsip, and Merrionette Park.