Worth officials make an Ancel-ary decision

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  Worth Village officials did some housekeeping at Tuesday’s board meeting.
  Trustees approved ordinances eliminating the village’s youth and recreational facilities commissions, committees that have not met in several years.
  “We’re cleaning up the code book,” Mayor Mary Werner said.
  The board also approved a waiver of conflict of interest that will allow its law firm, Ancel Glink, to continue to represent both the village and the Worth Park District as the park district assumes control of Worth Days.

  The village decided last year that the park district was better suited to run the fest, which this year will serve as the village’s primary 100th anniversary celebration.

  Trustee Mary Rhein voted against the measure, saying that a conflict of interest exists if Ancel Glink represents both the village and the park district.
  “I’m definitely not comfortable voting for this,” Rhein said. “It’s just too big a conflict of interest.”
  Rhein added that Werner’s husband, Steve, is president of the park board. And, she said, different municipal attorneys might examine various issues in different ways.
  Village attorney Robert Bush said the two intergovernmental agreements between the village and the park district are fairly routine and his firm would recommend another law firm if needed. He added that sticking with one law firm will save the village time and money.
  In addition to the agreement transferring control of Worth Days to the park district, the two taxing bodies plan to sign an agreement authorizing the police department to patrol village parks—a duty the department already performs but which has never be formalized, Warner said.
  Trustee Colleen McElroy said the Worth Days agreement should already have been presented to the board. The timing is important because centennial plans are already underway.

  In other business, Werner’s appointments to the centennial committee were approved. Committee members are: Gene Sikora, Linda Dawson, Bahira Karim, James Plahm, Barb Dziedzic, Robert Burns, Kari Fickes, Georgia Prendergast and Jeanne Elder. The members will serve through the end of the year. The next meeting is Feb. 3.

  The centennial kickoff celebration will be held from 7 p.m. to midnight Feb. 8 at the Chieftain Pub, 6906 W. 111th St. Admission is $10 and features food and live entertainment.

Man tries to lure EP girl into vehicle

  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

Stolen car leads to burglary charges

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  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.

Battering Rams

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Reavis treated roughly by inspired Bulldogs

  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.

Oak Lawn panell gives its OK for medical facility

  • Written by Joe Boyle

The Oak Lawn Planning and Development Commission gave its approval Monday night for the Advocate Medical Group to build a medical facility at the vacant Beatty Lumber property site along 52nd Avenue in the village.

The commission approved the plan but only after residents and public officials raised some concerns about the proposed project during the three hour and 10 minute meeting. With the agreement, the plan will be on the agenda for a vote during the next Oak Lawn Village Board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 9.

The medical facility would include offices for physicians, urgent care and a pharmacy. The facility would cover about three acres and will be located on the north and south side of 52nd Avenue and extend to Tulley Avenue. The medical building would extend north to 96th Street and south of the railroad tracks.

Devin McKeever, vice president for Shared and Support Operations for Advocate Medical Group, assured the large crowd that attended Monday’s meeting that the facility will provide the best of care and that specialists from Advocate Christ Medical will be on hand. AMG has viewed the location for some time after looking at the village’s 95th Street Corridor plans.

“Advocate has continued to grow and there is a need to expand,” said McKeever. “We can assure that people will have access to quality health care.”

The majority of residents and officials that attended the meeting Monday night and an informal neighborhood meeting hosted by Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury on Friday did not oppose plans for the medical facility. The major concern for residents was a possible increase in traffic. Another resident was concerned about privacy. He did not like the idea of windows facing his property that would allow people to look in.

“I have young children,” said David Gabriel.

AMG officials and Oak Lawn Village Manager Larry Deetjen said that it would not be a problem. If necessary, windows could be frosted. Lighting will also be lowered so it is not that bright for the residents who live in nearby homes, AMG representatives said.

“There is a lot of moving parts to this project,” said Deetjen, when questions about parking and traffic congestion were raised. “Advocate has been great and this would be a great addition to the area.”

During the neighborhood meeting on Friday, which also drew a large crowd, a variety of proposals for the project were brought up. An idea for townhomes was suggested and that brought mixed reviews. The idea of townhomes was initiated from local Realtors and members of the business community, according to Deetjen.

“As far as the townhomes go, my point is there will be a high concentration of people coming in,” said Kevin Ford, who lives near the proposed project. “I like the idea of the project without the townhomes.”

Jennifer Loughlin, who lives along Tulley Avenue, said on Friday that she prefers no townhomes.

“I think I need and deserve a buffer,” said Loughlin. “Right now it’s empty and it’s ugly. But at least I know my neighbors.”

Trustee Bob Streit (3rd) said on Monday that after considering the townhomes proposal, he would rather see more trees and landscaping.

“Is there a demand for these townhomes? I think it is a non-sell, in my opinion,” said Streit.

Bury said on Friday that the addition of Advocate would be a great for Oak Lawn.

"Anything would be an improvement," said Bury. "The traffic flow right now is terrible there. Right now these are preliminary plans.”

The facility would employ about 105 people and would be a boost for local businesses and restaurants, according to Deetjen. The two-story Advocate facility would be over 52,000-square feet and would be built on the east side of 52nd Street. Parking would be built on the east and west sides of the street, according to preliminary plans.

While a vote may be taken on the Advocate project at the Aug. 9 village board meeting, negotiations will have to take place with the Norfolk Southern Railroad, who opposes Advocate’s plans. Beatty Lumber has not been in operation since 2011. An attorney representing Norfolk said that the railroad needs access to the area and Narrow Street, which would be closed off if the project is approved.

Deetjen said that the remaining building along 52nd Avenue is dilapidated with weeds and homeless people occasionally taking up residence in the building. Deetjen added that the railroad has done nothing to improve the site.

Bury said that she knows residents have concerns and appreciates their input.

“Advocate will be good neighbors,” she said.