Man sustains multiple injuries when struck by alleged drunken driver

By Laura Bollin

A 30-year-old Oak Lawn man has been charged with aggravated DUI and leaving the scene of an injury accident for allegedly striking a 62-year-old man with the vehicle he was driving following an evening at a local tavern.

Eric J. Smok, of Oak Lawn, was arrested at 12:39 a.m. Jan. 6. Smok was reportedly driving south in the 9500 block of New England Avenue when he struck John Stifter, who was walking south in the road. The collision reportedly threw Stifter into the air, and left him with multiple facial fractures, a fractured ankle, fractured ribs, a collapsed lung and a fractured scapula.

Stifter was charged with pedestrian walking on a highway when a sidewalk is provided, police said.

Smok and Stifter know each other, and both had been drinking earlier that evening at Tavern on the West End, 6950 W. 95th St. Smok had been at the bar with his girlfriend, who works as a bartender there, police said.

Following the collision, Smok exited his car to ask if Stifter was okay, recognized him as a man he had met at the tavern, then drove away, police said. Witnesses' descriptions of the vehicle reportedly led police to the vehicle, which was in the parking lot of an apartment building in the 9800 block of Ridgeland Avenue, police said. Smok was found inside an apartment and was arrested, police said. He was also charged with driving with an obstructed windshield, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failure to give aid.

Blackhawks ante up for better health

Updated at 11:35 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15

Contribute $250K for Moraine Valley fitness center

By Kelly White

Moraine Valley Community College held a groundbreaking ceremony last week at the site where the school’s health and wellness center will be constructed, and as part of the festivities was presented by the Chicago Blackhawks a check for $250,000.

The donation will go toward costs associated with the fitness portion of the $34.5 million facility, which will feature a four-lane lap swimming pool, indoor walking track, three full-sized basketball courts, fitness center, athletic training room, group exercise studios, hydrotherapy tub, athletic offices, and field house with seating for up to 3,500 people.

The Blackhawks presented the check last Thursday, and joined MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island as sponsors of the health and wellness center. MetroSouth contributed $1 million for the naming rights to the 104,000-square-foot building, which will be constructed on what used to be soccer fields on the west side of the Moraine Valley campus in Palos Hills. The remainder of the financing for the center will be provided by two bond issues that Moraine officials have said will be paid back by fitness center memberships and student fees.

Physicians and nurses from MetroSouth Medical Center will be among the facility’s staff, and will provide both physical and occupational therapy available to both Moraine students and residents of the college’s district. Other medical services will include primary care services, sport medicine, specialized care and cardiac rehabilitation.

There will also be a childcare center for youths 6 to 12 years old, and a café that will partner with the school’s culinary arts program. The center will offer internship opportunities for Moraine students.

The college is partnering with Power Wellness for the project, which will be undertaken to replace the 40,768-square-foot fitness center and gymnasium housed in Building G. Power Wellness will provide a rotating staff of specialists in cardiology, orthopedics, dentistry, dermatology, nutrition, podiatry and radiology.

In attendance at last week’s groundbreaking ceremony was Palos Hills Mayor Jerry Bennett, who stated later that night at the Palos Hills City Council Meeting that he is looking forward to the benefits the center will provide to the college and the community. College officials anticipate construction will be completed in February 2014.


Robert Solner of Worth, you are The Man! Well, not "The Man," if you know what I mean, but The Man, as in The Man of the Hour, Man of the Week, Man O' War! OK, not sure where I was going with that last one, but in any event you were the only one to get last week's "Whatizit?" You didn't nail it but you were close enough. It is one of those spinny, lighted children's toys, and Reporter editor Jason Maholy took the photo at a slow shutter speed to get that effect.

We received a bevy of other great responses including fish eye, spinning top, record, roulette wheel, jukebox and the Wheel of Fortune. Now that would be a cool "Whatizit?"

This week's clue is: Creamy pit food. Send responses to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. under the subject "Whatizit," and don't forget to include your first and last names and where you live.

Park Clips

Evergreen Park

Registration for girls' softball is online at Fill out the form, print it and bring it to one of the three payment dates at the Community Center: Wednesday, Jan. 16 from 7 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 19 from 9 a.m. to noon; and Saturday, Jan. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon.


The Youth Commission's fall game room hours are 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The game room will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. during Evergreen Park students' Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. For more information call 229-3377.


The Youth Commission is seeking volunteers for leaf raking and snow removal. Certified babysitters are also available. For more information call 229-3377.


Step & Strength Training is from 9 to 10 a.m. Monday and Wednesday, 7 to 8 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 6:45 to 7:45 p.m. at the Community Center, 3450 W. 97th St.

Oak Lawn

Registration is underway for before- and after-school FLASH (Fun & Learning After School Hours). The park district has partnered with Ridgeland School District 122 and Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 and is in all of those districts' elementary schools - Columbus Manor, Harnew, Kolb and Lieb in District 122, and Covington, Hannum, Hometown, Kolmar and Sward in District 123. For more information call the FLASH director or the FLASH assistant director at 857-2420.

Palos Hills

The Bulls/Sox Academy will hold a Chicago Bulls FUNdamentals Camp starting Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Community Center, 8455 W. 103rd St. in Palos Hills. The four-week camp is designed to teach players techniques in ball-handling, passing, shooting, footwork and rebounding as well as offensive and defensive team play. It is open to boys and girls. Camp for children 5 to 8 will be from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturdays, cost is $79. Youths 9 to 12 will participate from 2 to 3:30 p.m.; cost is $114 per athlete. Each participant will receive instruction from professional academy coaches, a tee shirt, scouting report and a replica autograph photo of current Bulls superstar Derrick Rose. For more information or to register visit or call (630) 324-8221.


Boxing class will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays from Jan. 15 to March 5 at the Terrace Centre, 11500 Beloit Ave. Fee is $75 resident, $89 non-resident. For more information call the Worth Park District at 448-7080 or visit


Zumba will be from Jan. 15 to Feb. 21 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday at the Terrace Centre, 11500 Beloit Ave. For more information call licensed Zumba instructor Christa Rivera at 334-3098 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Little Club offers benefits such as free indoor playground usage. Fee is $10 resident, $15 non-resident. For more information call the park district.


Little Hoopstars for boys and girls features lessons on the basics of basketball. Register by Feb. 1. Class will be Tuesdays from Feb. 5 to March 12 from 5 to 5:45 p.m. Fee is $29 resident, $44 non-resident. Location will be the Terrace Centre, 11500 Beloit Ave. For more information call the park district or visit


Little Kickers emphasizes the basics of soccer while stressing fun and teamwork. Register at the Terrace Centre, 11500 Beloit Ave., by Feb. 1. Class is Saturdays, Feb. 9 to March 16 from 11:15 a.m. to noon. Fee is $29 resident, $44 non-resident. Location will be the Terrace Centre.


A ski/snowboard Trip to Chestnut Mountain - featuring 17 fully-lighted and staffed downhill runs and a 7-acre snowboard terrain park - will be Feb. 8. Each participant will receive a free lesson. Register at the Terrace Centre, 11500 Beloit Ave., by Jan. 25. Bus will leave the Terrace Center at 4 p.m. Feb. 8 and return at 9 a.m. Feb. 9. For more information call the park district at 448-7080 or visit


The park district's Historical Museum will feature local historian Kevin Korst, who will discuss his book, "Images of America: Oak Lawn," at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16. Korst will present an interactive discussion and slide show about the history of Oak Lawn. Presentation is free. The book will be sold for $21.99.

The Worth Park District Historical Museum's book, "Images of America: Worth" by museum curator Colleen McElroy is available for $20 at the park district. The book details more than 200 photographs of Worth's history. The museum is at 11500 Beloit Ave. in the Terrace Centre. For more information call 448-7080 or visit, and on Facebook under "Worth Park District Historical Museum."


Jazzercise for persons age 16 years and older will be from 9:20 to 10:20 a.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. Saturday; and 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday at the Terrace Centre, 11500 Beloit Ave. Fee is $37 monthly for an Easy Fit Ticket and a registration fee of $25. For more information call 448-7080 or visit


The Terrace Centre, 11500 Beloit Ave., has an indoor playground featuring slides, a climbing wall, tree house and more for children who can walk through 4 years old. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Fee is $1 for residents, $2 for non-residents. For more information call 448- 7080 or visit

December's best

Worthwoods School honored its December Students of the Month based on the character trait of caring. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade received certificates. December Students of the Month were Noor Abu-Shalbak, Roy Adcock, Mohmoud Alramahi, Mahmoud Atiq, Richie Bordonado, Dominic Costantino, Eman Daboussi, Ashley Gallegos, Giselle Gallegos, Sandra Gasinski, Alexis Gezik, Brianna Gnutek, Ioney Griffin, Natalia Harb, Arjend Hasani, Chris Lomeli, Roy McKenna, Isra Qaasem, Christoper Roy, Linda Rysha, Steven Schlueter, Joe Stockwell, Mary Thomas and Logan Zavala.