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.

Garden Club's memorial marker project takes root

  • Written by Joe Boyle

blue star memorial photo 6-9

Photo by Joe Boyle

Judy Barker (left) and Lorraine Bujan, president of the Oak Lawn Garden Club, take part in the ceremony recognizing the club’s efforts in having the Blue Star Memorial Highway Memorial maker moved to its present location at 95th Street and Cook Avenue in Oak Lawn.


Julie Barker’s love of gardening made her a natural to join the Oak Lawn Garden Club.

But after becoming a member, it was her passion for another project that made her committed to accomplishing a goal that was close to her heart.

Barker, Lorraine Bujan, current president of the Oak Lawn Garden Club, and other members were on hand for a Memorial Day ceremony for the Blue Star Memorial Highway marker at 95th Street and Cook Avenue. The plaque honors the memory of all veterans and especially those who died in the line of duty.

The marker is of the greatest importance to Barker, who has been an official member of the Oak Lawn Garden Club for 10 years. She recalled a woman from Evergreen Park who said the condition of another Blue Star Memorial Highway maker has worsened. Barker told her that the Oak Lawn location had been nearly forgotten.

“That’s when I got involved,” said Barker.

The Oak Lawn Garden Club was created in 1956. The club’s origin dates back to World War II when the National Garden Club came up with the idea of erecting a marker in memory of the nation’s war veterans. In May of 1963, the club dedicated the Blue Star Memorial Highway marker at 95th Street, north of the railroad tracks in the village, near the Johnson-Phelps VFW Post 5220.

Barker said that the club wanted a more prominent spot for the marker. The club, through the help of Trustee Alex Olejniczak (2nd) and Village Clerk Jane Quinlan, assisted in the marker moving to 95th and Raymond in front of the parking lot adjacent to the old Oak Lawn Senior Center and Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce office.

“We had to restore it, and they got it moving,” said Barker.

When the Oak Lawn Bank and Trust purchased the land, officials suggested moving the plaque inside the building. Barker was vehemently against the idea.

“I did not want it on private property,” said Barker. “It had to be on an interstate highway like it is now.”

Barker said she became more of a historian regarding the Blue Star Highway Memorial. However, keeping up with the club’s history and the marker proved to be a daunting task.

“It was growing and I had no room to put everything,” said Barker. “June Cutis, who was our president then, helped out. We worked to gather the information and she got it on a computer. We were anxious to get it done.”

The first dedication was in 2009 at the 95th Street and Raymond site. Along with the Oak Lawn Garden Club, local dignitaries were on hand for the ceremony, along with Cong. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd).

After the bank purchased the property, the Oak Lawn Garden Cub, with the assistance of the village, made the move to 95th and Cook, which has been the site of the Nativity scene during the holiday season.

“I’m really happy where the marker is now,” said Bujan, an Oak Lawn resident since 1974 who has been an Oak Lawn Garden Club member for six years. “We have people who stop to look at the spot now. They did not do that at the old location.

Pat Bugos, another Oak Lawn Garden Club member, also likes the new location for the marker.

“I think a lot of people from Oak Lawn have been in the military,” said Bugos. “We have members in their 70s, 80s and 90s. I think it’s important to pass this on so people remember. I think it is important.”

As for Barker, 84, she will continue to work to have a ceremony for the Blue Star Memorial Highway to coincide annually with the Memorial Day observation.

“These men and women put their lives on hold for us,” said Barker, whose late husband served in Korea. She also has two children. “Many of them did not come back. Many of these veterans return with mental problems. It’s the least we can do for them.”

Chicago Ridge mayor vetoes ordinance over his right to make appointments

  • Written by Dermot Connolly

Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar waited until the end of a rather quiet village board meeting on Tuesday to announce that he was vetoing an ordinance passed at the June 7 meeting that would limit his power to make appointments.

“I am using my veto because this ordinance is illegal and unconstitutional,” said Tokar, overturning the 5-1 vote cast by the board at the last meeting. The controversial ordinance (see related story on front page) requires that the mayor’s appointments be approved by a majority of the six trustees. These include offices such as village attorney, police and fire chief, and department heads.

“I want to know if we have the authority to overturn this veto,” Trustee Bruce Quintos said.

“Well, that would be a question for your legislative counsel,” said Tokar.

Quintos said he would consult the board’s legislative counsel, Kevin Camden before holding a vote to overturn the veto at the next Village Board meeting on July 12. That office was created this year to advise trustees, after Tokar kept Burt Odelson as village attorney after four trustees voted against his appointment in January.

“You took away our powers of advice and consent, and we’re just taking them back,” Quintos told the mayor.

‘I take issue with that. I don’t think anything was taken away from anyone,” said Trustee Jack Lind, the only trustee to vote against the new ordinance. “No one could give a reason for not retaining the attorney. It was fully legal,” he said.

“If they do overturn the veto, a lawsuit against them will be filed. And the village will have to pay for both attorneys,” said Odelson afterward. He said he is “caught in the middle” of a political battle between the mayor and trustees.

Odelson said he agrees with attorney John B. Murphey, who advised Tokar in May that a lawsuit would be successful because the Illinois Constitution requires a referendum to be held before ordinances limiting mayoral powers are enacted in home-rule communities such as Chicago Ridge. The new ordinance limits to 60 days the length of time any mayoral appointee may remain without the approval of the village board. Currently, temporary appointments are open-ended.

“Between Murphey and myself, we have represented more than 50 municipalities, while the trustees’ legislative counsel has never represented any,” he noted.

Trustee Fran Coglianese said the advice and consent issue is worth a court fight. “Our attorney is much less expensive than theirs,” she said.

Earlier in the otherwise friendly meeting, the board voted unanimously to honor the late police Officer Steven Smith by renaming Birmingham Street where he lived, between Oak and Oxford Avenue, “Steven Smith Drive.”

Smith, a Richards High School graduate and Marine veteran of the Iraq War, was 27 when he was killed by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 294 last September.

Quintos said a dedication ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday morning, July 6.

“Our hearts go out to you. He will never be forgotten in this town,” Tokar told his mother, Lisa.

“I can’t thank you enough,” she told the mayor and board. “You have done so much to keep his memory alive. I consider you family, like those guys up there,” she said, pointing to the police officers lined up at the back of the room.