Community Briefs

Palos Hills

Water watch

The Public Works Department is paying close attention to residents' water usage through water main inspections and sump pump inspections, and is exercising the water main valves throughout the water system to ensure proper functioning during a water emergency, according to Alderman Frank J. Williams (5th Ward).

The city's seasonal sump pump inspection program has already begun. Residents will be notified prior to inspections

"In an effort to reduce illegal sump pump to sanitary sewer connections, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago mandated the city several years again to perform regular inspections," said Palos Hills Public Works Commissioner Dave Weakley.

In other water news, Palos Hills' water rate on Jan. 5 increased 25.3 cents per thousand gallons to $6.69. The city's water rate was $5.96 per thousand gallons in 2011.

- Kelly White

Woman booted from April ballot plans to mount write-in campaign

Shawn Good is first in 12 years to challenge EP Mayor Sexton

By Laura Bollin

An Evergreen Park woman kicked off the spring election ballot when the village's electoral board declared her nominating petitions invalid will run for mayor as a write-in candidate.

The Evergreen Park Electoral Board on Jan. 17 upheld the Cook County clerk's ruling that wouldbe mayoral candidate Shawn Good's petitions were invalid because they did not contain the 66 signatures required to run for office this year in the village. The electrical board consisted of Evergreen Park village Clerk Cathy Aparo and village Trustees Jerry Bosch and Carol Kyle, all members of incumbent Mayor Jim Sexton's political party.

Evergreen Park residents Anthony Yukich and Geoffrey Layhe each filed objections to Good's petitions after reviewing public records, according to Aparo said. Yukich believed Good had, at most, 50 valid signatures, while Layhe believed she had 52, she added. Attorney Burt Odelson represented objectors Layhe and Yukich at the electoral board hearing, while Good represented herself.

The Cook County clerk's office had reviewed the petitions Jan. 11 and ruled in favor of the objectors. The electoral board upheld the ruling based on various criteria including petitions being improperly bound, petitions signed by unregistered voters, and names in which the signers used their middle initials, despite not having used middle initials when they registered to vote.

"There is a whole list of reasons signatures are invalid," Aparo said. "Some people [who signed the petitions] aren't registered to vote at all. Some aren't signed properly, like people using a middle initial. Unless your name is the way you signed your voter's card, it is invalid.

"She had six pages of petitions put together with a paperclip, and the way the board reads it they have to be bound like a book," Aparo said. "The pages have to be connected to each other using something like brad-fasteners."

Good disagreed with some of the objections.

"For example, if somebody used a nickname, like their name was Edward, but they signed the petition as Ed, it didn't count," Good said. "I felt like the decision was already prepared."

Good, who has lived in Evergreen Park for 40 years, wanted to run for mayor because she has always been interested in politics. She is a former member of the Illinois Air National Guard and views public office as another way to serve her community, she said. She plans to challenge Sexton via a write-in campaign.

"I'm going to follow through," she said. "I'm not done yet.

"I already went out and became a challenger. It has been so long since we have had any challenger run against the incumbent. I got the common interested of so many people in a small town. Throughout the town, there is still a lot of support."

What do you say?

"What do you think of the Chicago Bears new head coach Marc Trestman?"

(Asked at the Chicago Ridge Mall)

Diane Gaston,

"I really liked Lovie Smith, so I don't know about this coach. I was a fan of Lovie's, because I love the Chicago Bears, and Chicago is my home."

Bill Heide,
Palos Hills

"I like him. He's been around and he knows what direction he's going."

Linda Heide,
Palos Hills

"I love him. He has a proven record in Canada. He's what we need to fix our offense."

Robert Vanetten,
New Lenox

"I don't know much about this new coach yet, but I hated Lovie Smith. He needed to go. When your own team is asking you to be tougher on them, it's time for a new coach."

Mike Edgeworth,
Evergreen Park

"I just hope the new coach does a better job than Lovie Smith. Lovie was not aggressive enough."

'Enchanted' dresses flying off shelves

After fashion show in Hickory Hills

By Laura Bollin

It appears the magic of Disney may be with the owner of a Worth boutique.

As the new year turned and young ladies across the southwest suburbs start thinking about prom, dress merchants began promoting in earnest their latest fashions. Ann Crockett, the owner of That Girl, 11359 Harlem Ave., held a fashion show last Saturday at Chateau Del Mar in Hickory Hills to debut Disney's Forever Enchanted dress line. Ever after, girls have been coming into the boutique "non-stop" to find the perfect prom dress, Crocket said.

"We have had a couple of hundred people in the store today," she said Tuesday. "They're all in here now. It's packed. It's crazy in here."

Crockett, who has been holding fashion shows for 42 years and was once a prom dress model, said the fashion show was "unbelievable."

"We had 500 people show up," Crockett said. "It was moms and their daughters, and a lot of dads, too."

Area high school students posed as models for the afternoon that displayed 180 dresses. Some were from the Forever Enchanted collection, and others were from the Xcite prom collection featuring cut-outs, sequins, and printed and rainbow dresses.

"There were quite a few dresses everyone liked," Crockett said. "Everyone liked the mermaid dresses, especially those in champagne and gold."

The Forever Enchanted collection feature seven designs inspired by "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves." The Red Delicious collection are gowns inspired by the poisoned apple the Evil Queen gives Snow White, others are reminiscent of the famous mirror, or the flowers near the dwarves' cottage.

Prices range from $310 for a long, strapless pale yellow gown with a silver star made of crystals, to $738 for black-and-purple textured ball gown with a black ribbon around the waist and silver and purple sequins at the top of the dress. Crockett has sold about 30 Disney dresses since the show.

"These dresses are flying off of the shelves," Crockett said. "I would definitely do it again. I'd do it in a heartbeat."

Worth, planning agency to partner on economic development study

By Laura Bollin

Worth village officials and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning are working together on a six-month study to determine what types of developments would most benefit residents.

Worth Trustee Colleen McElroy, chairman of the Village Board's economic development committee, said the focus of the study is to find an attainable development plan for the village's business district.

"We need a good, workable guide," McElroy said. "The business plan we have for the town is a little bit unattainable. It suggests moving the Village Hall to a non-business location because the location is perfect for business, but that would cost way too much money. It did give some good recommendations, like making the community more walkable. We are going to focus on the hub where Metra is, the area around Village Hall [the 11000 block of Depot Avenue]."

The six-month study will conclude with a priorities report, which will help Worth officials determine on what projects to focus. The planning agency might suggest ways the village could create mixed-use housing near the Metra station, with stores on the first floor and living space on upper floors, or putting affordable senior housing in town, McElroy said. Possibilities include making public transit more readily available or creating a transit-oriented development.

The agency will look at Worth's previous long-range plan developed in 2005; interview the mayor, trustees and village staff; create a report; and help Worth decide on a follow-up project.

"We want to draw people in, and have them want to live here because they can use our public transportation," McElroy said.

The village has qualified for participation in CMAP's local technical assistance program, which will have agency staff analyze the needs of the community, said CMAP principal planner Erin Aleman. The program is provided at no cost to the village. The study will include a budget analysis, reviews of project ideas and the possibility of bringing on a town planner to hunt for businesses that want to come to Worth, McElroy said.

"Typically, we will create a comprehensive plan for the village," Aleman said. "We don't do any direct development. We look at land use and transit access and housing recommendations. Potentially, this could be a transit oriented development plan."

The local technical assistance program is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development through the sustainable communities initiative. The program began in 2010, and CMAP received $4.2 million to provide direct assistance to communities.

"After six months, we will come up with recommendations for the village," Aleman said. "That could focus on the business corridor or a transit oriented development, or maybe something else will come out after six months. We don't really know what the worth plan is going to look like."

CMAP is working on similar studies in Palos Park and Palos Heights, and plans to hold public meetings after the study is completed to get residents' input on what they would like to see in Worth. The study will help guide the village into the next step of development, Aleman said.

"The plans we develop are guides or blueprints for redevelopments," she said. "We set the stage for planning."