'He always had that extra minute'

More than 1,000 people showed up for a memorial for late Sandburg High School Athletic Director Bruce Scheidegger in the Eagle Gym Sunday afternoon. The two-hour ceremony featured several speeches including one from boys cross country coach John O'Malley.

O'Malley told the crowd that Scheidegger was very busy, but always had an extra minute for everyone. So he put a minute up on the scoreboard (left photo) and urged everyone to applaud and cheer Mr. Scheidegger for that minute. The crowd followed his instructions (right photo), and what started out as polite applause turned into a wild madhouse the final 15 seconds before the buzzer went off.

Scheidegger died Feb. 9 in a one-vehicle accident north of Mount Carroll.

Worth cops get ATV to thwart vandals & underage drinkers

By Laura Bollin

The Worth Police Department will beginning in the spring use an all-terrain vehicle in an attempt to discourage vandalism and other petty crime at parks and the village-owned Water's Edge Golf Club.

The four-wheeler will allow police officers access to areas they would not be able to enter with squad cars. Worth Trustee Mary Rhein said the ATVs will help with the department's "aggressive patrol tactics."

"The ATV will be used to help with underage drinking, criminal damage to property, and graffiti at Water's Edge and the 10 parks in the village," Rhein said. "There will be access to where access by patrol cars is limited."

Worth will pay $8,500 for the black-and-white vehicle, which will be equipped with emergency lights, a public address system, windshield and siren, Rhein said. The funds will come from the police department's asset forfeiture fund. It will be delivered to the department next week, then sent out to be equipped with accessories.

Worth resident Gene Sikora at Tuesday's Village Board meeting questioned how police officers would transfer an arrestee to the police station. Police Chief Martin Knolmayer said a squad car will be called to do such a job.

If the ATV purchase proves beneficial, a second one may be purchased, Rhein said. Officers will receive four to eight hours of training on how to properly operate the vehicle, and one officers is a certified ATV instructor, Rhein said.

"I really think it's gonna be an asset, especially on vandals," Rhein said. "It will be easier access to fly through a park."

Stuck on you

Saint Xavier University student Aldo Quinones of Oak Lawn shows his enthusiasm at the SXU School of Education's first Pinning Ceremony held Feb. 5. The ceremony was held in honor of the university's teacher education students earning candidacy status in the School of Education, the first major benchmark in the program leading to teacher licensure.

For an online gallery of photos from the event visit the "Saint Xavier University News" Facebook page.

Blast to the past

Park dist. bringing back rocket slide as part of $1.2M project at Memorial

By Laura Bollin

Memorial Park in Oak Lawn is going back in time. More specifically, it is going back to the 1960s, when it was known as Rocket Slide Park.

Oak Lawn Park District director Maddie Kelly said the park, 102nd Street and Major Avenue, will undergo a $1.2 million renovation this summer. Among the imrpovements will be a return of the beloved rocket ship slide, only bigger and better than before.

"I used to ride my bike from Beverly [in Chicago] up there when I was a kid, it was such a cool slide," Kelly said. "Now, we are replacing the whole playground, and it will all have a rocket ship theme. The rocket ship slide is going to be a huge slide that looks like a tall rocket ship, with all sorts of space toys on it. It's going to be really, really cool."

The park district received at $400,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to help cover the costs of the renovation. Other upgrades will include a splash pad, new playground, bathrooms, walking trails, tennis courts, areas for bean bags and horseshoes, and two full basketball courts.

"We're resurfacing everything so it'll be like playing on a brand new court," Kelly said.

The park district also plans to replace a dilapidated picnic shelter with one covered with a green roof. The shelter will be about the same size as the existing one, and will accommodate as many as 15 people.

Visitors will also see improvements to Memorial Pond. The park district will install a new pier, and add plants and a log fence and rock outcroppings for fishing.

"That park has been in disarray for a long time, and it is an eyesore and an embarrassment to us," Kelly said. "It is going to rejuvenate the whole neighborhood. It will be a place people want to move because it is such a beautiful park."

Kelly expects the renovations to be completed by the end of the summer.

Who is the Ultimate Spartan?

The Ultimate Spartan Contest, which will conclude with the selection of the top senior male student-athlete at Oak Lawn High School, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21 in the Spartan Gymnasium, 95th Street and Southwest Highway. The competition is a fundraiser for the Oak Lawn High softball program, which wants to build a batting cage at the Spartan Athletic Complex.

The contestants will be Kyle Cheng (from left), Connor Niemiec, Bob Kametas, Sean Altenburg, Shawn Cannon, Cody McElheny and Saul Huerta, who will compete in formal wear, beachwear, talent, fundraising and interview. One of the categories for judging will be audience approval as well, where the loudest screams and cheers will give the contestants more points.

Altenburg was the school's Homecoming king and plays football and basketball. Cannon plays hoops and competes on the track team. Cheng is a tennis player and participates in several clubs and organizations. Huerta plays soccer, Kametas plays basketball and baseball, McElheny runs cross country and track, and Niemiec wrestles and plays football and baseball.

Tickets will go on sale for $5 in advance, and will be $7 at the door. Softball players, contestants, the coaching staff, and the Athletic Office will be selling tickets. Find updates on Twitter @OakLawnSoftball.