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 family of fallen firefighter Daniel Capuano appears at the dedication of a fire truck in his name at Moraine Valley Community College on May 19.
Fire academy students at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills honored the memory of a Chicago firefighter who died in the line of duty when he fell through an elevator shaft of a burning warehouse on the city’s Southeast Side.
A fire engine that was no longer in service by the Orland Fire Protection District has been donated to the school in memory of Daniel Capuano, 42, who was living in the Chicago’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood at the time of his death. Capuano died when he fell from the second floor of the warehouse fire on Dec. 15, 2015.
In honor of Capuano, the Orland Fire Protection District presented the fire truck -- a 1999 Pierce -- to the Moraine Valley Community College Fire Science Academy for student training on May 19 before the regular Moraine Valley Board meeting. The truck was named in memory of Capuano.
Capuano was a 15-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department, where he was assigned to Tower Ladder 34 in the city’s Southeast Side. Capuano also was as a part-time Evergreen Park firefighter for the past 16 years.
The Orland Fire Protection District recently retired the fire truck from its fleet and worked with Cook County Board Commissioner Sean Morrison (R-17th) to explore possible reuse opportunities that led to the arrangement with MVCC. The MVCC Fire Science Academy is designed for students who wish to become eligible for initial fire department hiring lists.
The truck will be used to further the MVCC Fire Science Academy’s ability to provide the very best training to prepare students entering the fire department field.
“As a son of a retired Chicago firefighter this story touched me. I never knew Danny Capuano personally, but like the tens of thousands of other people, I have heard through the media’s covering the tragedy of his death, I became informed, not of just the tragic circumstance surrounding his death, but of most importance, the magnificent life in which he lived and the love and dedication that he held for his family and his fellow brothers and sisters of the Chicago Fire Department,” said Morrison.
The dedication ceremony took place outside of the college campus and featured Morrison, Chief Michael Schofield, Orland Fire Protection District; Dr. Sylvia M. Jenkins, president of MVCC; Joseph P. Murphy, Moraine Valley board chairman, and the Moraine Board of Trustees.
Capuano and his wife, Julie, had been married 20 years. He leaves a 16-year-old daughter, Amanda, and two sons, Nick and Andrew, ages 12 and 13.
Capuano's sons attend Queen of Martyrs School in Evergreen Park. Nick is in the seventh grade and Andrew in the eighth. Amanda graduated from Queen of Martyrs and now attends Mother McAuley High School, where her mother had graduated.
Capuano grew up in Palos Park with his parents, Jacquelyn and Michael Capuano, and his two brothers. Before he became a Chicago firefighter, Capuano also worked in Lemont as a firefighter and paramedic.
“There is a long legacy of honoring our fallen firefighters by dedicating fire trucks and other emergency apparatuses’ in their memory, this particular event is amongst them,” Morrison added. “Danny Capuano was from the Palos community, and members of his family still reside in our community to this day. Additionally, prior to his service on the city of Chicago Fire Department, he was a member of the Evergreen Park Fire Department. All of these communities share Moraine Valley Community College as their feeder school for secondary education. it is only fitting that we honor firefighter Capuano in that tradition.”
Granit Xhemajil, 18, kneels before one of two park benches he designed and built in memory of two late friends.
Granit Xhemajil decided that he would do something special to become an Eagle Scout. The 18-year-old Worth resident decided to honor the memories of two close friends.
Xhemajil designed and built two memorial benches in honor of Robert Burns and Anthony Sosnowski, who both lived in Worth. For his efforts, Xhemajil and his mother, Arlene, were honored at a May 18 Worth Village Board meeting. Xhemajli was recognized for his “outstanding contributions to the Worth Park District.”
In order to complete requirements for his Eagle Scout program, Xhemajil who is part of Worth Boy Scout Troop 668, was required to come up with a plan for a worthy project to benefit the community; to then design the project, find a sponsoring organization, raise funds for the material needed and finally to build the project.
Kevin Higgins, superintendent of Maintenance for the Worth Park District, said Xhemajil came to the district about three months ago and met with him and Robert O’Shaughnessy, executive director of Parks and Recreation, to discuss his project and to see if the district would be interested in it.
“We both were very impressed with this young man and his plans and we agreed to work with him. Any time we are able to help a young person with goals such as this, it is a pleasure for the district to do whatever they can,” said Higgins. “His goal to build these benches to honor these two people was very worthwhile. “
Higgins worked with Xhemajil through the month it took to complete the project. “Our communications included establishing timelines and determining the most appropriate location for each of the benches.”
Xhemajil’s choice to honor Burns and Sosnowski was based on what they both meant to him and the impact they each had on his life.
“They both were good people,” he said. His reasons for selecting them were heartwarming and touching and in the case of Sosnowski, it was especially heartbreaking.
“Anthony was my best friend and he passed away in December, 2015. He was only 21 years old. He and I spent a lot of time skateboarding at Peake’s Park, and I wanted to place a bench there with his name on it, where we had shared so many wonderful times. I hope people will sit there, enjoy themselves, and remember my friend.”
Xhemajil also lost his longtime mentor and friend in Burns in November, 2015, just a month before his friend Anthony died.
“I had been in Scouts with Mr. Burns since I was 6 years old, a total of 12 years. He was always there for me and was a great help to me. He was a World War II veteran and I thought it would be appropriate to honor him with a memorial bench at the Veteran’s Memorial in Worth.”
He added that Burns was a longtime Boy Scout volunteer, with more than 50 years of service to the scouts.
In taking on this final project to earn his Eagle Scout rank, Xhemajil, who has earned 32 merit badges during his scout career, said he felt like he was taking a huge step into the world of life as an adult.”
He offered a huge thank you to all the adults who have helped him get where he is today, but one very special person received a special recognition, his mother.
“If it wasn’t for my mother, I would not have been successful in becoming an Eagle Scout,” said Xhemajil. “When I was discouraged, she pushed me through it because she knew I could do it. I am glad and grateful she helped me out with everything.”
He also thanked Scout leaders, Rick Landry and Debra Skopec, who in addition to Burns, had been a great help to him through the years.
“I wouldn’t be where I am if it hadn’t been for the Scouts,” he said. “I have a lot of knowledge under my belt I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I feel I have matured as a person and gained good communication skills, which have been a huge step for me. Learning how to talk to people I didn’t know was very difficult for me.”
Xhemajil graduated this month from Alan B. Shepard High School and plans on attending Moraine Community College to earn an associate’s degree in mechanical design technology. From there, he plans to attend Illinois State University and complete his studies for an M.A. in engineering tech.