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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.

Budget stalemate continues but legislators approve funding for state colleges

  • Written by By Joe Boyle

State lawmakers settled their differences to agree on providing $600 million on Friday for colleges and universities that will allow them to keep their doors open through the summer.

Legislators were feeling the heat from constituents and college and university officials to get something done. Gov. Rauner was expected to sign the bill to provide for the funding. However, State Comptroller Leslie Munger said she will not even wait for the governor’s signature to provide funding to institutions, especially for students from low-income families who applied for Monetary Award Programs, or MAP grants.

The state budget crisis is in its 10th month and local college and university officials were becoming increasingly concerned. Officials at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, St. Xavier University in Chicago and Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills have managed to get through this year by budgeting the funds they have carefully.

House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-22nd) was pleased that funding is being provided for state colleges, even if it is only through the summer. However, he said more should be done to assist human service programs that he said the governor refuses to address.

“Gov. Rauner has said that crisis creates opportunity and leverage, and that government may have to be shut down for a while. Now, he has forced a situation where some universities are on the verge of closing,” said Madigan. “The plan the House passed delivers emergency relief for the state’s colleges, universities and students as we continue pushing for a more comprehensive budget and full fiscal year funding.

“While the governor approved this small portion of funding for higher education, it’s unfortunate he was unwilling to approve any further funding for human services,” added Madigan “If he continues his unwillingness to assist our human service providers, he will be successful in destroying the safety net for those most in need and for critical state services, including services for women who need breast cancer screenings, victims of child abuse and victims of sexual assault.”

The Senate did pass a measure that would provide $450 million in temporary aid for human service programs. The bill was sent to the House, which has adjourned until Tuesday, May 3.

During a Southwest Conference of Mayors meeting on April 20 at the Alsip Village Hall, local officials admitted they were frustrated on the length of the budget stalemate and Rauner in general.

Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett, who also serves as president of the Southwest Conference of Mayors, is frustrated with Rauner’s demands and logic surrounding his Turnaround Agenda that calls for restrictions on collective bargaining and unions.

“I see other states that believe that by cutting taxes will create business growth,” said Bennett. “It just isn’t going to work. The economics aren’t there. This governor is working under that theory and it’s just wrong.”

The aid for colleges and universities almost fell apart last Thursday as some Democratic lawmakers opposed the proposal because there was no funding being provided for social service programs. However, these Democrats came on board the next day to assure that funding would continue through the summer for college students.

State Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-18th) had been attempting to come up with a bill acceptable to the governor to provide MAP grants funding to college students. State Rep. Kelly Burke (D-36th) had previously come up with two proposals to provide funding for college students only to have the governor veto her bill twice.

Both Cunningham and Burke have spent time visiting local restaurants for morning coffee with constituents to discuss legislation and listen to their concerns. Most of those concerns were about the budget crisis and the MAP grants.

Cunningham joined many of his colleagues in supporting Senate Bill 2059 to send needed money to state universities and colleges.

The legislation would help schools like Chicago State University and Eastern Illinois University in ensuring they can continue to operate, said Cunningham. It would also fund the first semester of MAP grants that many schools, including St. Xavier University and Moraine Valley Community College, floated to students without any guarantee of the money coming through.

“Today, we took a vote to ensure that schools can continue to function and educate our students,” Cunningham said. “This is not enough, but it opens the door to continue to work in a bipartisan manner.”