Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook - Oak Lawn bosses learn that waving runners home is no breeze

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


COLOR - Jeff  It is too easy to poke fun here.
  Way, way too easy.
  When Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury and her clerk Jane Quinlan volunteered to coach third base at Saturday’s first Battle of the Burbs charity softball game and one of their decisions almost maimed another mayor, the columnist in me had jokes filling throughout my head.
  There was plenty of fodder for comparing that decision to the decisions they make to run their town. All in good fun, of course.
  But then I started thinking about the one time I had to coach third base for my son’s Orland Youth Association game and some of the conversations I’ve had in 2003 and 2004 with Cub third base coach Wendell Kim (who some Cubs fans will say was the worst third base coach ever) and all jokes are off.
  Setting the Saturday night scene, the Battle of the Burbs was a 16-inch softball game between area mayors (they called themselves the BigHitters) and area police and fire chiefs (they called themselves GunSmoke) at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood. The chiefs won, Lawn Clerk Jane Quinlan and Mayor Sandra Bury almost got Harvey Mayor Eric Kellogg injured by sending him home during Saturday night’s Battle in the Burbs. They learned that coaching third base is no easy job. Photo by Jeff Vorva
  Bury and Quinlan, citing that they weren’t the best athletes around, volunteered to coach third base and if enthusiasm were the criteria, these two could be in the hall of fame.
  With runners at first and second in the first inning, one of the mayors got a clean hit and the runners were off to the races.
  The dynamic duo in the third base box windmilled their arms and cheered as Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin raced home with a run.
  Then the dangerous duo waved home Harvey mayor Eric Kellogg.
  Uh, oh.
  The ball came in to the catcher while Kellogg was trapped between third and home. He put on the brakes to retreat back to third and slipped and fell. He got up and ran out of the base path to avoid a tag and was ruled out.
  This is a guy who was more athletic than most of the mayors as evidenced by him doing a bunch of pushups near the third base dugout the following inning. A tough guy.
  Lucky for the third base coaches that it wasn’t one of the other brittle-boned bosses who took the tumble or there could have been an ambulance called in. Broken hips were waiting to happen.
  What some people fail to realize is that the job of a third base coach can be pretty stressful.
  Many years ago, I was called into duty for my son’s Orland Youth Association playoff game and let me tell you that it’s a lot easier to coach third base from the press box or the stands than it is from the third base box. I don’t remember making any big mistakes because I always assumed correctly that these kids were not good enough to throw and catch the ball so I was safe there.
  But when I did hold up a stop sign and a kid ran through it and was easily safe at home, I felt bad that a kid who hadn’t turned 10 had better sense than I did.
  That brings us to the man known as “Wavin’ Wendell Kim. He may not be as unpopular to Cubs fans as Steve Bartman in that era, but he’s right up there.
  Kim used to tell me about how much homework and research he had to do on opposing outfielders and knowing his own players’ health to make a bang-bang, split-second decision. And yes, sometimes he would get it wrong for all the world to see.
  “Certain things you can’t control,” he said during a one-on-one interview with me for a feature for what was once known as the Daily Southtown in 2004. “If a runner makes a wide turn and I’ve already sent him from second base — it’s too late. If he makes a sharp turn, he makes it by two steps. It’s not all up to me. I can just send him because I know the speed of the guy. But if he makes a wide turn, that’s tough. You’re losing two or three steps. That could cost you the game.’’
  You need thick skin to be a third base coach.
  “I’ve already had a .38 (caliber gun) to my head,’’ the 53-year-old Kim told the media after he gaffed during a game against the White Sox and referring to an incident when he was in his 20s and a group of thugs thought he had given them up to the police. “That’s worse than anything I’ve ever known. This is still a game.’’
  So, Bury and Quinlan deserve a salute for their work at third base and let’s give thanks that Kellogg’s bones didn’t turn into Rice Krispies.

Better Battle ahead
  Battle in the Burbs raised about $4,000 for Special Olympics and the event drew roughly 300 people.

  Officials were happy with those numbers because they admitted they hastily put this event together in three weeks. They said that next year, with better planning, there should be more participants, more fans and, more important, more dough going into the charity coffers.

Jiggles and Jerry
  My favorite excerpt from a press release this week comes from our pals at Advocate Children’s Hospital. Complete with fun puns:
  “Witches, goblins and ghouls will invade the Zhou B. Art Center in Chicago at 6 p.m. Saturday when Advocate Children’s Hospital hosts its 15th annual Hearts for Hope Halloween Bash.

  In fact, the ‘spooktacular’ night will be anything but ‘bash’ful as guests arrive decked out in their most creative costumes and evening attire to raise funds for the growth and expansion of Advocate Children’s Hospital — Oak Lawn. The event promises to be a scream, organizers say.
  The evening of tricks-and-treats will include special guest emcee Jerry Taft, meteorologist for ABC-7 Chicago.
  Partygoers will glide, bump and jiggle throughout the night to music by the Ron Bedel Orchestra, which guarantees to get guests on the dance floor, grooving to the variety of musical genres the band performs…”
  It’s been awhile — maybe even never — since I saw anyone gliding, bumping and jiggling all night. But tickets for this bad boy are 225 bones (see, I can do the Halloween puns, too) apiece so there better be a lot of jiggling going on for that kind of scratch.
  Visit for more of the gory details.


Police News from 10-17-13

Chicago Ridge

  Russell McCulloch, 28, of Chicago, was charged with battery Oct. 8 after allegedly striking a juvenile in the head following an argument in the parking lot of Chicago Ridge Mall, police said.
  Geraka Jones, 28, of Oak Lawn, was charged with retail theft Oct. 11 after allegedly stealing merchandise from Kohl’s at Chicago Ridge Mall, police said.
  Shanell L. Arnett, 29, of Oak Lawn, was charged with retail theft Oct. 11 after allegedly stealing goods from Kohl’s at Chicago Ridge Mall, police said.
  Andrea C. Kline, 47, of Chicago, was charged with retail theft Oct. 12 after allegedly stealing merchandise from Kohl’s at Chicago Ridge Mall, police said.
  James C. Hank, 49, of Chicago Ridge, was charged Oct. 12 with retail theft after allegedly stealing merchandise from Home Depot, 300 Commons Drive, police said.
  Amani Shededeh, 25, of Justice, was charged with retail theft Oct. 12 after allegedly stealing goods from Kohl’s at Chicago Ridge Mall, police said.

Evergreen Park

  Amanda Calafut, 18, of Evergreen Park, was charged with battery Sept. 30 after a disturbance at Circle Park, 9600 block of Homan Ave., police said.
  Anthony A. Jones, 46, of Chicago, was charged with retail theft Oct. 4 after allegedly stealing items from Walk-Mart, police said.
  Kelvon C. Streeter, 19, of Chicago, was charged Oct. 5 with retail theft after allegedly stealing merchandise from Wal-Mart, police said.
  Carol C. Crotty, 52, of Palos Hills, was charged with retail theft Oct. 5 after allegedly stealing merchandise from Wal-Mart, police said.
  Zachary B. Hausner, 26, of Chicago, was with retail theft Oct. 9 after stealing goods from Wal-Mart, police said.
  Allen L. McKinzie, 21, of Chicago, was charged with trespassing Oct. 10 after refusing to leave Walgreens, 87th Street and Kedzie Ave., police said.

Hickory Hills

  Someone keyed both sides of a car Oct. 12 while it was parked in the 8100 block of 90th Street.

Oak Lawn

  A laptop computer, two cell phones, an alarm clock with an iPod docking station, a gold chain, an Apple iTouch and $75 cash were reported stolen Sept. 24 or 25 from an apartment in the 4700 block of 101st Street.
  Someone poisoned a dog Sept. 27 in the 9200 block of Ridgeland Avenue. The dog’s owner suspects a neighbor, who shot BB pellets at the dog in the past.

  Two bicycles, a generator, a compressor/battery charger, tools and gardening equipment with a combined value of $5,400 were reported stolen between Oct. 1 and 8 from a shed in the 5900 block of 99th Street.

  Mark J. Danielson, 23, of Oak Lawn, was charged with drunken driving, disobeying a stop sign and speeding Oct. 2 after a stop at 103rd Street and Cook Avenue, police said.

  Tools and a GPS were reported stolen between Oct. 3-5 from a car in the 4000 block of 91st Place.
  Three cars in the 9800 block of 53rd Avenue and fourth car in the 10000 block of 53rd Avenue were burglarized overnight Oct. 4-5. Two iPods and $50 cash was reported stolen from one of the cars, $70 cash was reported stolen from another car and loose change was reported taken from the other two vehicles. Another car parked in the 9500 block of 53rd Avenue was burglarized Oct. 9.

  Robin C. Whiteside Jr., 26, of Chicago, was charged with battery Oct. 5 after allegedly pushing a woman at the Marathon gas station, 9304 S. Cicero Ave., police said.
  Andree Reid, 36, of Chicago, was charged with retail theft and possession of a controlled substance Oct. 5 after stealing goods from Kmart, 4101 W. 95th St., police said.

  A laptop computer and a stereo were reported stolen between Oct. 5 and 7 from a house in the 9400 block of McVicker Avenue.
  Frederick J. Baker, 28, of Midlothian, was charged with drunken driving, speeding, improper lane use and no insurance Oct. 6 after a stop in the 4700 block of 111th Street, police said.
  John J. Buttney, 35, of Oak Lawn, was charged with leaving the scene of a property damage accident Oct. 6 after hitting a pickup truck in the 9700 block of Mansfield Avenue, police said.

  Tools, an electronic dog collar, fishing poles and tackle were reported stolen Oct. 7 from a storage locker in an apartment in the 10300 block of Parkside Avenue.
  Two iPhones were reported stolen Oct. 7 from the T-Mobile store, 5141 W. 95th St.
  A catalytic convertor was reported stolen between Oct. 7 and 10 from a car in the 4900 block of 95th Street.
  A purse containing $1,400 cash, a cell phone and three credit cards was reported stolen Oct. 8 from a customer’s shopping cart at the Salvation Army store, 8732 S. Cicero Avenue.
  Approximately $1,000 worth of jewelry was reported stolen Oct. 8 from the bedroom of a house in the 9600 block of Brandt Avenue.
  A GPS unit and a portable DVD player were reported stolen Oct. 9 or 10 from a car in the 10100 block of Kedvale Avenue.

Palos Hills

  A purse containing $500 was stolen Oct. 12 from a car in the 8900 block of 100th Place.

  Christine M. Burns, 41, of Palos Hills, was charged with battery Oct. 13 after allegedly pulling the hair and striking a passenger in a car in the 9700 block of 81st Avenue, police said.


  Mary A. Zaczyk, 35, of Worth, was charged battery Oct. 1 after a disturbance in the 11400 block of Natchez Ave., police said.
  Marc A. Locascio, 45, of Worth, was charged with disorderly conduct Oct. 6 after a disturbance in the 7200 block of 113th Place, police said.

Area police departments
Chicago Ridge .........425-7831
Evergreen Park .......422-2142
Hickory Hills ............598-4900
Oak Lawn............. 499-7722
Palos Hills.............. 598-2272
Worth .................448-3979

Wrong number — cops say man falsely reported phone robbery

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  A Chicago man was charged with disorderly conduct Oct. 4 after falsely reporting an armed robbery to Oak Lawn police, according to reports.

  Earl D. Chapman Jr., 24, flagged down a police officer on 95th Street near Kostner Avenue at 12:25 a.m. and said he was robbed at gun point by a man who took his cell phone and $75, police said.
  Chapman said he worked in Alsip and was given a ride by a co-worker to 95th Street and Kostner Avenue. As he walked east on 95th Street, he said he saw a black Honda four-door with three people inside drive past him on northbound Kostner Avenue.
  A moment later, Chapman said, he heard a man behind him ask, “What time is it?” He said he ignored the man and continued walking east on 95th Street. He said he then felt a tug on his jacket, turned around and saw a man holding a small, semi-auto handgun. He said the man searched his pockets and took the phone and cash before entering the Honda, which traveled east on 95th Street, Chapman told police.
  Police said Chapman did not seem shaken up. He refused a ride to the police station where he could arrange transportation home. Instead, he walked east on 95th Street. He subsequently called 911 three times to file a citizen complaint because he believed he was wronged by police, according to reports.
  He was detained by Evergreen Park police at 95th Street and Central Park Avenue. Oak Lawn police picked him up and asked how he called 911 if his phone was stolen. A search revealed that Chapman had two other cell phones.
  At the police station, Chapman insisted he was the victim of an armed robbery, but he was unable to provide a number for the stolen iPhone. He later recanted his story about the stolen phone, police said.
  Instead, he said, he saw a man smoking marijuana on 95th Street near Kostner Avenue and asked if he had more. Chapman gave the man money, but he got into the Honda and drove away. Chapman would not explain why he flagged down an officer to report an armed robbery that never occurred.

Painting an inspiring picture

  • Written by Claudia Parker

Palos Hills woman thrilled to have her house painted during Palos Park church’s SON Weekend

  Inspiration lifted church members up from theDouble-run-FRONT-COLOR-2-col-CARLENEPalos Hills’ Carlene O’Connor had her house painted, received a bucket of paint, a basket with a pumpkin inside and a t-shirt courtesy of the SON weekend in September. pews and into their community to practice what was being preached.

  The Palos Park Presbyterian Community Church gathered more than 200 volunteers, and hit the households of 23 residents on to conduct home improvement projects. They likened the project to “Extreme Home Maker” with a splash of something off of Home and Garden TV.
  It’s called Serving Our Neighbors Weekend and it’s been happening annually, during the last weekend of September, for four years.
  They replaced everything from roofs to furnaces. They cleaned everything from gutters to carpets and trimmed everything outside from trees to grass.
  If that’s not enough, some of them painted, wall to wall, inside and out. This is the short list at zero cost to the homeowner. SON Weekend took place over three days. If the job couldn’t be finished within the weekend, a mop-up crew finished the work the following week.
  Carlene O’Connor, of Palos Hills is one person who is happy with having her place dressed up.
  “These are tremendous people,” she said. “They painted my entire condo in one day. It was amazing. They had a team of eight people. I’m a smoker, with thick nicotine on my walls. You can’t tell anymore. It’s beautiful in here.”
  She said she was given a quote by a professional painting company months prior and the asking price was $3,000. She spoke soft but rapid saying, “I could have never afforded that. The church didn’t ask me for anything. And, they gave me a gift basket, leftover paint, a t-shirt, and invited me to a free breakfast the next morning.”
  As a thank you to the group, she says she attended a worship service and gave a speech.
  O’Connor said she worked for the Palos Olympic Health Club for 16 years. She added she had zero reservations about accepting help. She said she “felt special.”
  SON Weekend was inspired by a disaster in New Orleans.
  The devastation of Hurricane Katrina caused an awakening for members of PPPCC. Bob Sneddon of Palos Heights has been with the church since 1972 and is the project coordinator for SON Weekend.
  “We all wanted to board a plane and go to New Orleans but it was too costly,” he said. “We shifted our focus to helping right here, in our own community.”
  James Tony, who has been the pastor of PPPCC since 1990 said knew this vision needed to be a collaborative effort and reached out to the Palos Township supervisor Colleen Schumann.
  “Pastor Tony needed us to locate residents willing to accept help. I told him he’d have our full support,” Schumann said.
  Schumann’s assistant, Bernadette Orr, of Palos Hills, became the liaison between the township and the church. Orr sent letters to current and past participants of their general assistance program, holiday basket drive and food pantry clients. Respondents’ specific needs were assessed and added to the site lists for service.
  Over the span of eight weeks, PPPCC recruited volunteers, matching skills with the site specifications. Entire families signed up. Anyone with a desire to help, was deemed fit. For example, the church grandmothers prepared and delivered lunch to each work site.
  Word began to spread throughout Palos Townships like a virus. Local businesses wanted in on the fun. John and Beata Vander Veen of Palos Hills-based Diamond Temperature heating and cooling business donated service to 19 of the 23 sites. They’re third year participants. They said it’s their way of giving back.
  Sneddon said, “The church funds the project but when businesses are willing to help, it allows us to do even more. [For example] Dan Harrison, Ace Hardware owner in Palos Heights, donated materials for cost, saving us thousands.”
  Orr has since retired from Palos Township but still volunteers for this project.
  “It was hard for people to let us help at first. When you haven’t served in an area you’re receiving, it makes some feel undeserving. Put pride aside. We’re just people, helping people. It’s the most rewarding and loving thing I’ve ever been a part of.”

MVCC looks to go tobacco free

  • Written by Kevin M. Coyne

  Moraine Valley Community College trustees are considering banning all tobacco products and creating a policy that would divorce state law, which currently governs all tobacco-related citations.
  Moraine Valley currently has nine designated smoking areas on the main campus in Palos Hills. According to state law, anyone caught smoking outside the designated area or 15 feet from an entrance is subject to a $100 fine with $150 overdue fee.
  During an October board meeting last Wednesday, MVCC Wellness Coordinator Lisa Wright proposed banning tobacco outright and reducing the fine to $30 with a $5 overdue fee. Wright’s proposal was supported by 291 of 324 staff and faculty members who were surveyed.
  “When we surveyed the college we had a pretty good representation across all areas of the college,” Wright said.
  Moraine trustees questioned how students responded to the survey. Wright informed the trustees that the students were not included in the survey but were placed into small 10-person focus groups.
  “We sat down with the institutional research and planning group to create the focus group questions to limit it and make sure we are targeting the questions to get the feedback we needed to move forward.” she said.
  If approved, the ban would go into effect in the fall, 2014. Moraine Trustee Joseph Murphy questioned the motives behind banning tobacco on campus.
  “Is the motivation to get smokers to quit or to protect the non-smokers?” Murphy asked, after drawing a comparison between New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s failed attempt to ban soda, salt and other fatty foods. “We are talking about young adults that have the freedom of choice and I think it’s going to be impossible to enforce.”
  Trustees Murphy and Tom Cunningham questioned the healthcare cost of approving the proposed tobacco-free program, saying students who choose to smoke must deal with the risks and costs associated with smoking.
  “If you can’t enforce our current policy then why try to enforce it when it becomes more restricted?” Murphy asked. “I hate smoking, but I don’t want a kid to lose money for books because of a fine he got for smoking.”