A man driving an SUV attempted Friday to lure an Evergreen Park girl into his vehicle, police said. Police said the girl was walking in the 2700 block of 98th Street to Central Junior High School. The man, described as white, mid 40s, average build, bald with a black and brown mustache and wearing a black jacket, slowed his Chevrolet Suburban alongside the girl and said: “Do you want a ride? Get in.” The student did not reply and the man drove away south on Washtenaw Avenue, police said. —Regional News report
A stolen car was the key to Evergreen Park police arresting four individuals involved in several recent resident burglaries in the area, police said. Police on Oct. 20 spotted a car at the Shell station in the 2600 block of 87th Street. The car was reported stolen 30 minutes earlier from a residence in Evergreen Park.
Police later learned that the car’s keys were taken during a Sept. 6 residential burglary and that the driver and three passengers were involved in several burglaries in the area. A subsequent search of an abandoned building in the 8200 block of Kedzie Avenue in Chicago revealed several items which were taken during the burglaries, police said. Christopher A. Sparks, 30, and Robin M. Fields-Tiner, 23, both of Chicago, were charged with retail theft. Ryan N. Fields-Tiner, 22, of Chicago was charged with unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle, and Levert P. Wragg, 59, of Chicago, was charged with criminal trespass to motor vehicle.
The investigation is ongoing and has revealed the offenders’ involvement in incidents in Chicago, police said.
Evergreen Park certainly did Reavis no favor. By squeezing out a victory over Richards in the closing seconds of a Week 5 showdown between two unbeaten squads, the Mustangs no doubt put Bulldogs players in an ugly frame of mind. Richards coach Tony Sheehan didn’t deny it, but stated that his guys used the Evergreen “wake-up call” in a positive manner. “This was probably one of our best weeks of practice,” Sheehan said. “The kids were really focused. I think they realize what’s in front of them and what’s at stake, and we came ready to play Friday night.” Did they ever. While the visiting Rams threatened to make some early noise, the Bulldogs’ defense refused Reavis entry into the end zone. Richards’ offense, meanwhile, racked up four first-half touchdowns and eventually claimed a resounding 40-0 South Suburban Conference Red triumph at Korhonen Field. “I hope it will continue,” Sheehan said of his team’s solid exhibition,” and I think it will. You’ve got to play your best every week or you’re going to get beat because this conference is so balanced. We learned that last week.
The controversial issue of lifetime health insurance benefits for part-time Chicago Ridge trustees will be discussed at Tuesday’s village board meeting, and a large audience is likely judging by the standing-room only crowd when it was first brought up at the April 21 meeting.
“It is definitely going to be on the board’s agenda. What is decided will be up to those six people,” Mayor Charles Tokar said of the trustees earlier this week. He had received some criticism for not putting it the agenda to be voted on at the April 21 meeting, as Trustee Sally Durkin had asked.
Tokar, who was village clerk when the insurance benefits were originally approved by the board more than 15 years ago, said he intends to form a committee to discuss the details of the program at the committee meeting prior to the main board meeting.
The mayor said he would like have a couple of the trustees, as well as legal counsel and an insurance expert together to look at the history and facts surrounding the policy, and the legality of making changes to it.
Originally, the life, health, vision and dental insurance benefits were offered to trustees who had served two four-year terms, but when they were last updated in 2000 under Mayor Eugene Siegel, they were extended to those who had served four years and been elected to a second four-year term.
The village picks up 80 percent of the insurance costs for trustees who have other employment, and 100 percent if they do not. It is available after they leave the board, and can be passed on to their spouses when they die.
Tokar said at the April 21 meeting that when the original legislation was approved, insurance only cost the village $25 or $50 per month per person, but prices have skyrocketed since then. According to published reports, it will cost the village about $134,460 this year, about 1 percent of the annual budget.
Trustees Amanda Cardin and Durkin have said that they do not take the health insurance benefit, and newly elected trustees William McFarland and Fran Coglianese said they will not accept the insurance either.
McFarland and Coglianese, along with newly re-elected Trustee John “Jack” Lind, are due to be sworn in at Tuesday’s meeting.
Many residents apparently were not aware of the insurance program until it became a campaign issue during the April election. A few people said that the controversy unfairly cost longtime Trustee Daniel Badon his seat. A trustee since 1997, Badon was the only member of the current board who was serving when the insurance benefits were introduced.
He said at the April 21 meeting that he would not have a problem with giving up the insurance, because he has other options.
Tokar, who said solving the insurance issue was a priority, admitted this week that he was surprised to see so many people at the April 21 meeting.
“I knew there would be a lot of people there, because it was being talked about on social media. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen the auditorium that crowded,” said the mayor.
There are questions about the legality of getting rid of the program entirely, especially for those currently on it. But there was general agreement between the mayor and board members at the April 21 meeting that at minimum, some changes needed to be made.
Alderman Frank Williams shares a laugh with the council while saying his farewells.
(Photo by Michael Gilbert)
Palos Hills Alderman Mary Ann Schultz proclaimed "I'm not going to cry."
That was a promise she couldn't keep.
Palos Hills officials said their goodbyes to Alderman Frank Williams during the April 16 meeting. He is a man they praised for his hard work, knowledge, dedication and even his unrivaled fashion during his 16 years on the council. But it was their long-standing friendship with the always-dapper Williams that caused the meeting to take a rather emotional turn.
A few city officials got a bit misty-eyed as they bid farewell to the 5th Ward alderman, who was defeated by challenger Dawn Nowak 207-197 in the April 7 consolidated election. Williams’ counterpart, Schultz, prefaced her comments by saying “I’m not going to cry,” but was then unable to hold back the tears. “It’s been 14 years [we have served together as the 5th Ward aldermen] and you’ve taught me so much,” Schultz said. “I will miss you and thank you for being my partner.” Williams had been the fourth longest-tenured member of the council behind Pauline Stratton (2nd Ward), Marty Kleefisch (1st Ward) and A.J. Pasek (3rd Ward). Originally appointed by Mayor Gerald Bennett in 1999 to fill the vacancy caused when the now late John Jones had to resign due to health reasons, Williams was seeking re-election to his fourth term earlier this month. “I had a good run while it lasted,” Williams told his colleagues. “I enjoyed working with all of you.” Williams, a retired foreman for the Illinois Department of Transportation, said he was most proud of the growth of the public works department while under his watch. Williams was the chairman of the Public Works, Sewer & Water Committee and was a member of the Economic Development Committee. “I think we have one of the most efficient and courteous public works departments in the south suburbs,” Williams said. “They provide a great service to our residents.” Bennett called Williams an “asset” to Palos Hills and said he appreciated “all the time and effort” he put into his job. “Frank, I want to thank you for all your years of service to the city of Palos Hills,” Bennett said. “I can’t say enough about your dedication to your work here as an alderman and as the chairman of public works. You’ve taken on a leadership role in the activities and events that have taken place through public works. Thanks again on behalf of the city council and myself.” Alderman Joe Marrotta (4th Ward) called Williams “a mentor” and thanked him for the guidance when he joined the board in 2007 at the age of 28. “You were one of the guys that took me under your wing when I first started [on the board eight years ago],” Marrotta said. “I appreciate everything you’ve done for me. I won’t be a stranger.” Pasek made a motion – which was later unanimously approved – for the council to retire Williams’ aldermanic badge. Stratton also suggested he take his name plate, which he did at the conclusion of the meeting. “Frank and I didn’t always agree but then again I don’t always agree with most people, but we did agree more than enough times,” Pasek said. “I’ve known Frank for more than the 16 years he’s been on this board and he is a good man. He’s very down to earth. He’s been an asset to the city.” Kleefisch said that although he and Williams “took different approaches on some issues” he never doubted his dedication to serving the residents. “I never questioned your sincerity with regards to providing for the residents that are represented in the 5th Ward and I never questioned your concern for the well-being of our city,” Kleefisch said. “I respect the service you’ve provided. It has been a pleasure and honor to serve with you.” Williams credited friend and former 4th Ward Alderman Joel Thomas for convincing him to apply for the vacant seat on the council back in 1999. “He encouraged me to apply so I decided to give it a try,” Williams said. “After meeting with the mayor I ended up getting the appointment. “I’ve enjoyed working for the residents.” Bennett closed out the meeting by offering one final compliment, which drew laughs from the council and the handful of residents in attendance. “I going to miss your colorful outfits you wore all the time,” Bennett said, paying homage to the bright and vibrant colored shirts Williams routinely wore to the meetings.