Worth police and fire commissioner resigns following DUI charge

Frank Lesiak had served on board three yrs

By Laura Bollin

A former Worth deputy police chief has been sworn in as the newest member of the village's Police and Fire Commission, to replace a former commissioner who resigned after being charged with DUI. 3.

Frank Lesiak, of Worth, was arrested in Tinley Park on Dec. 23 and charged with DUI after a hitand- run, according to Worth police. Lesiak notified Worth Police Chief Martin Knolmayer of the charges, and resigned from Police and Fire Commission on Jan. 4.

Lesiak was originally appointed to the three-member board on Nov. 5, 2008 and was reappointed on May 18, 2010. His term would have been up in April.

Lifelong Worth resident and former Worth Deputy Police Chief James Hudson was appointed by Mayor Randy Keller to replace Lesiak. Hudson is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. He started working in Worth as a police officer in 1971, and retired as deputy chief in 2001 after Ed Guzdziol defeated incumbent Mayor Jim Bilder in that spring's election. Guzdziol abolished the deputy chief position and replaced then-Chief Frank Gilbert with Pat O'Connor.

Mayor Randy Keller said Hudson will be "a great addition to the commission."

Police warn of jury duty scam

By Laura Bollin

The Chicago Ridge Police Department has warned residents to be wary of a phone scam in which a caller who claims to be an officer of the court informs a person he or she has failed to report for jury duty and that an arrest warrant has been issued.

When the resident says he or she has never received a notice, the caller asks for personal details such as a birth date, Social Security number or credit card number for "verification purposes." Residents who receive such phone calls should hang up and call the police department.

Court officers do not ask for confidential information over the phone, and correspond with prospective jurors via mail, police said. With enough personal information, a person can access someone's bank account, police said. Residents should never provide personal information during an unsolicited phone call.

The scam is effective because it is simple and catches people off-guard, police said. Communities in Illinois, Florida, New York, Minnnesota, Colorado, Oregon, California, Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and New Hampshire have all recently reported the scam.

Chicago Ridge to replace water main under Lyman

By Kelly White

Lyman Avenue in Chicago Ridge may be the next village street in line for a water main replacement.

Chicago Ridge is planning to replace the line beneath Lyman between 108th and 111th streets, and may include the 10700 block as well. Village officials are awaiting cost estimates from village engineer Chris Burke before scheduling the project.

"It will certainly be the three blocks, because on that three block stretch there have been close to 30 breaks over the years," Trustee Mike Davies said at the Village Board's meeting on Jan. 8 "And the breaks are coming faster."

"It will certainly be the three blocks, because on that three block stretch there have been close to 30 breaks over the years," Trustee Mike Davies said at the Village Board's meeting on Jan. 8 "And the breaks are coming faster."

The water main beneath Lyman broke four times last summer, leaving some residents frustrated.

"Especially with the schools branching off of Lyman, with parents parking and dropping off their kids, it really makes things difficult for residents living on Lyman to get to and from their houses when there's water main breaks or construction going on," said Andrew Bruce, who lives in the 10800 block of Lyman. "Once the water main replacement project is complete, I would hopefully not anticipate any random breaks or construction on Lyman for a very long time. I'm glad that the village is taking action on replacing the water mane on Lyman, as I'm sure most residents are."

The village would like to include the 10770 block of Lyman in the project, davies said.

The village has worked with both Alsterda Construction Company and Gallagher Asphalt on previous water main projects, including one on McVicker Avenue two summers ago. That project replaced the main between 108th and 110th streets and cost $300,000, according to village officials.

"The company [Alsterda Construction Company] the village uses for water main improvements has always done excellent work and been consistent with their pricing and given us outstanding prices," Burke said.

There is a surplus in the water fund in the 2013 Chicago Ridge Budget, and although the surplus is not substantial, water fund revenues exceed expenditures by $651 with estimated expenses of approximately $2.64 million. That figure includes a $120,000 increase for water main improvements, which will be used for the Lyman project.

The village anticipates work to begin in the spring or summer.

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.