Citizen urges Palos Hills to bring Carson & Barnes Circus back

  • Written by Kevin M. Coyne


  Carson & Barnes Circus was3-col-color-elephantsPETA says that the Carson & Barnes Circus abuses elephants but some Palos Hills officials say that wasn’t the case in August when the circus was in town. Photo by Kevin M. Coyne under immense fire after animal rights group PETA urged city officials to cancel the circus last month.

  Carson & Barnes Circus rolled through Palos Hills last month despite an uproar from animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals alleging that circus animals are being abused during training sessions.
  Carson & Barnes was criticized for a 15-year-old video posted by PETA that featured an elephant trainer abusing one of the circus’s many elephants during a private training session. The video is published on PETA’s website and is used to persuade city officials to cancel negotiations with Carson & Barnes Circus.
  Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett said he has no recollection of the circus abusing its animals and in the six years the circus has come to Palos Hills there have been no reports of animal abuse. Carson & Barnes held its shows for three nights in Palos Hills in August without incident.
  Despite the incident-free shows performed by Carson & Barnes reports have spread that city officials will pull the plug on Carson & Barnes for next year.
  Claudia Pasek, of Palos Hills, spoke during last Thursday’s city council meeting and urged elected officials to reconsider canceling the circus for next year. Pasek and her husband Palos Hills, Alderman AJ Pasek, have both attended the Carson & Barnes Circus and have found no wrongdoing.

  “There has been a lot of push back about the circus from the PETA organization and I think PETA is a very good organization that has raised a lot of awareness for animal abuse but I don’t think they’ve ever been to the circus,” Pasek said.

  PETA has alleged that abuse is the only way to get circus animals to perform painful and unnatural tricks. Pasek referenced the Carson & Barnes website for elephant training and how the circus has donated funds to benefit Asian elephants.
  “This circus is 80 percent people acts and these people are awesome, they are like Cirque du Soleil or like the people you see in Vegas and they are incredibly talented people,” Pasek said. “They’re doing most of the work and the animals are there for 20 percent of the time.”

  PETA posted on Facebook that the Carson & Barnes performers are trashy who beat and exploit animals, Pasek said.
  “Everything there is inexpensive and family-orientated and that is why there are so many people there from Worth, Hickory Hills, Palos Hills, Tinley Park and Orland Park,” she said. “I want to emphasize that the circus is mostly extremely talented people and the animals are not exploited during the circus act.”


Hickory Hills man fends off ruse burglars

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  A Hickory Hills man believes he was set up for a ruse burglary Aug. 13 by a man who claimed he was doing concrete work at a neighbor’s house, police said.

  The incident occurred in the 9300 block of 83rd Avenue at 6:10 p.m. when the man knocked on his door and asked to come inside. The resident would not let the man enter but asked what he needed, according to reports.
  The man said he needed the homeowner to move things that were in his driveway. The resident said he would move the items at a later time, police said. The offender again asked to come inside to use a pen and paper. The homeowner had a pen and paper with him and offered it to the man at the door, according to reports.
  The offender wrote his phone number on the piece of paper, which led the homeowner to suspect he was being setup for a ruse burglary, police said.
  The man then asked for water for his car, which the homeowner provided. He heard banging on the front door while he retrieved the water. When he opened the door, he was greeted by a woman who asked to come inside to get a glass of water and use the bathroom, police said.
  The homeowner agreed to get her a glass of water. When he returned the man and woman left in an SUV that was parked in a neighbor’s driveway. Nothing was missing from the house, police said.

Satan Disciples gang members arrested at Fall on the Green fest

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  Two admitted gang members and another man were arrested Friday on drug and weapons charges at Oak Lawn’s Fall on the Green festival, police said.

  Mohammed Ziko, 19, of Bridgeview; Andrew T. Miller, 22, of Harvey; both members of Satan Disciples, and Daniel J. Holdcroft, 21, of Worth, were arrested at 11 p.m. near the entrance of the Oak Lawn Library, police said.
  Police recognized the men, as they had spoken with them earlier in the evening at the fest, according to reports. The men said they were leaving the fest when they were stopped by police.
  Holdcroft was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, after he told police that he was carrying a knife, police said.
  Ziko and Miller were charged with possession of marijuana and drug equipment. Miller also was charged with intent to deliver marijuana, police said.
  Police said Miller placed something in a flower bed, which turned out to be a plastic bag containing marijuana and a pipe. He tried to walk away from police when they approached him.
  A police officer activated his taser and ordered Miller to the ground. He complied and was arrested. He was in possession of a digital scale.
  Ziko told police the marijuana and pipe belonged to him and he placed them in the flower bed, which led him to be arrested, police said.

Ridge man robbed by a couple of posers

  • Written by Bob Rakow

   A man was robbed Sept. 4 in Oak Lawn by two men posing as undercover police officers, police said.

  The Chicago Ridge man told police he was driving south in the 9500 block of Parkside Avenue at 8:50 p.m. when a dark-colored Chevrolet Tahoe cut him off, causing him to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision, according to reports.
  Two men got out of the SUV and walked toward the car, police said. They both were wearing dark polo shirts with shield or badges attached, leading the man to believe they were police officers, reports said.
  The men appeared to have bullet-proof vests under their shirts and wore belts with various gadgets attached. The victim did not recall if either man had a gun, police said.
  One of the men approached the driver’s side window and asked the driver for his driver’s license and registration, police said. The driver removed the items from his wallet, and the offender grabbed the wallet from his hand, according to police.
  Both men met at the front of the victim’s car for several seconds and then one of them returned to the car, returned the wallet, and told the driver, “You’re good to go.” The victim later realized that $47 was missing from his wallet.

Just call her Iron Woman

  • Written by Claudia Parker


DOUBLE-RUN-COLOR-4-COL-IRONCourtney Javorski of Worth has triumphed over cancer and finished the Ironman competition in Louisville in August. She sports her medal which she won for finishing in the competition. Photo by Jeff Vorva   

Worth athlete survives cancer and grueling Ironman race

When a diagnosis threatened the life of this active mom, she made a run for it.

  Nearly five years ago, during a routine obstetrics appointment, Courtney Javorski of Worth discovered she had cervical cancer.
  So a half decade later, what was she doing on Aug. 25?
  And biking.
  And swimming.
  Long, long distances.
  Javorski, who has been cancer-free for two years, competed in the Ironman event in Louisville Kentucky. This elite competition consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run. The rigor of a race like this is taxing for a healthy competitor let alone someone who is injured or sick.
  The former Chicago Ridge redident said she finished the raced in 14 hours, 20 minutes and 19 seconds. She was happy she could finish the race but it was not an easy competition.
  “I was surprisingly calm,” she said. “The swim occurs in the Ohio River and my goal was to finish in 120 minutes. But there was a current pushing me in the opposite direction and water kept getting in my goggles. I must have swam harder than I realized because I finished the swim in 108 minutes.
  “When I got on the bike, I felt great. I smiled so much my face hurt. I was just happy to be there.”
  Happiness soon turned to pain as she ran the marathon-distance third leg of the competition.
  “The run was the most difficult and visually terrifying,” she said. “It was hot — 90 degrees. My feet throbbed every step. I saw people passing out from a full standing position, face first. Some vomited. Some cramped and screamed out in agony. I saw a few people who appeared delirious from fatigue. It was scary.’’
  But she finished to the cheering of more than 20 friends and family members.
  Five years ago, she received the news about her cancer but it did not progress during the pregnancy and her daughter, Eva, was born healthy.
  Six weeks following Eva’s birth, Javorski, underwent a full hysterectomy. She was in remission for two years but it returned necessitating 33 radiation treatments and six weeks of chemotherapy. Javorski felt the best way for her to get through her fight was to continue on with life.
  She did so by not telling anyone of her disease except her husband Todd, his parents and her parents.
  “Life needed to move forward,” she said. “When I was fatigued from chemotherapy, I took a nap.”
  She didn’t want her son, Shane, who was 15 at the time, to be concerned about her illness.
  “He should be worried about his football season, not me,” she said.
  Her efforts to keep things under wraps went undetected initially. She continued to work as a fitness instructor at X Sport Fitness, as an Esthetician promoting healthy skin and as a massage therapist.
  As a lover of all things fitness, she kept competing in multiple triathlons and other races.
  However, after running First Midwest Bank’s Half Marathon in Palos Heights in 2011, she finally opened up about her plight.
  “I finished that race slower than normal. A friend I was running with probed and I lost it. I told her everything.”
  Javorski may have felt weak but her therapy team at Accelerated Rehabilitation in Orland Park saw strength.
  Team members volunteered to sponsor her for the pinnacle of endurance sports, The Ironman.
  Javorski also suffers from Lymphedema, a condition that causes localized fluid retention and tissue swelling. It’s frequently seen in patients who had radiation treatment. For Javorski, the swelling and severe pain is localized to the right leg. Another source of her discomfort is Plantar Fasciitis, it’s the connective tissue or ligament on the bottom surface of the foot.
  Most people complain it causes stabbing pain with every step. Javorski realized competing in The Ironman would defy all odds but she wasn’t going to allow anything to hold her back. With the help of trainer, Jennifer Harrison, Javorski trained four times a week for eight months. When she wasn’t running, swimming or biking, she was spinning or doing yoga. She remained under a doctor’s supervision the entire time. She was provided with a custom compression sleeve for her leg and custom orthotics’ to lessen the pain in her feet.
  A race of this magnitude also requires hydration and nutrition. Javorski drank an estimate of two-gallons of water and 60 ounces of electrolytes. She ate 2,100 calories, snacking on waffles and peanut butter bars during the bike portion of the race. When she started the run, she took in another eight ounces of water per mile.
  Javorski recalled visualizing herself finishing and imagined running alongside other cancer survivors. She wanted to feel as though she had support from people who could relate to her experience.
  She said she is not a role model but she does have a message to anyone who thinks they can’t accomplish big things because they are sick.
  “If you don’t feel, you’re not living. Don’t lie on the couch, numbing your situation. Get moving. Keep going.”