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.

Boy who helped save mom's life is honored

  • Written by Kelly White

  hollands and staff photo 2-23

                                                                           Photo by Kelly White

Romeo Holland, 7, and his mother Sherece Holland, 55 discuss Romeo’s quick actions by calling 911 after his mother suffered a stroke. Joining the Hollands at the press conference are Dr. Melvin Wichter chair of neurology and co-director of the Neurosciences Institute at Advocate Christ Medical Center, and Dr. Scott Geraghty, neurointerventional radiologist with the Neurosciences Institute at Advocate Christ Medical Center (at right)

The Neurocritical Care Unit at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn marked its one-year anniversary Monday by moving to a new location within the hospital and getting reacquainted with a woman whose life they helped save with the help of her son.

During the anniversary event, physicians, nurses and care team members were able to be reunited with some of the patients and families they’ve treated since moving to the new unit, including former patient and Chicago Police Officer Sherece Holland, who suffered a stroke in December. It was the quick thinking of her 7-year-old son, Romeo, which led her into the care of the Neurocritical Care Unit at the hospital.

Holland, 55, of Chicago, said she was in good health at the time of the stroke. She has been working for the Chicago Lawn (8th) District for over 21 years.

“I have no health issues,” she said. “I am a non-smoker who exercises regularly. I also have no history of strokes in my family.”

She was in the middle of brushing her teeth alongside her son when the incident occurred.

“I was just standing there holding his toothbrush that day instead of helping him brush his teeth as I normally do,” Holland said. “Romeo noticed something was very wrong because I almost fell, so he ran to get my mother, who lives with us.”

Holland said her mother, Barbara Hegwood, 77, began to panic after seeing her daughter displaying some signs of a stroke — having trouble speaking and moving her arms. That’s when Romeo stepped in, telling his grandmother to calm down and leading her to their emergency call button.

“She was wobbly, I just thought she was sleepy at first but she was actually having a stroke,” Romeo said. “My grandma was crying. I told her to stay calm and that everything will be fine.”

Romeo used her hand to call for help, but it was the boy who spoke with the dispatchers on the line.

“I had taught Romeo what to do in case of a health emergency with my mother,” Holland said. “He knew to call for help, but I never would have imagined he’d use those skills to take care of me. I am very proud of my son. He acted quickly and saved my life.”

EMS arrived to Holland’s home and transported Holland to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where it was discovered that she had suffered a blood clot that blocked the artery leading to the left side of the brain. Dr. Scott Geraghty, neurointerventional radiologist with the Neurosciences Institute at Christ Medical Center, performed a thrombectomy, removing the clot in her artery and allowing blood to flow to the brain.

Upon arriving at the hospital, Holland was unable to speak and the right side of her face was completely paralyzed, according to Geraghty.

“If Romeo had suggested his mother go lay down on the couch and rest when he noticed her feeling dizzy, instead of calling 911, there’s a good chance she would have never woken up,” Geraghty said. “In this case, his actions saved his mother’s life.”

Dr. Melvin Wichter, chair of neurology and co-director of the Neurosciences Institute agreed it was Romeo’s fast response that prevented Holland from suffering brain damage or death.

“We can do amazing things if people get to the hospital quick enough,” Wichter said. “In Romeo’s situation, this was the best Christmas gift he will ever receive, having his mother still here with him today thanks to his actions.”

Wichter said children should be educated both at home and in the classroom setting on recognizing signs of stroke in order to help family members in need.

Holland’s recovery is going so well that she has been discharged from therapy and is back at home with Romeo. She is experiencing slight slurred speech and a minor stutter, but otherwise feels back to normal. She has not yet returned to work.

“When I found out my son saved my life, I didn’t know what to feel,” Holland said. “He is just such a smart boy.”

Romeo is happy to have his mother with him today.

“I’m happy she is here,” he said. “I love my mom.”

Neurocritical care or neurointensive care is a branch of medicine that emerged in the 1980s and deals with life-threatening diseases of the nervous system, which are those that involve the brain, spinal cord and nerves. Common diseases treated in neurointensive care units include strokes, ruptured aneurysms, brain and spinal cord injury from trauma and seizures.

The Neurocritical Care Unit at Advocate Christ Medical Center is staffed by a team of neurointensivists, consulting neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuro-endovascular radiologists, trauma surgeons, nurse practitioners, nurses and technologists specially trained in the care of the nervous system disorders and acute injury. At Advocate Christ Medical Neurosciences Institute, these specialists provide the highest level of neurological care in an environment where patients receive the individualized and appropriate care needed. The hospital integrates a full array of treatments and expertise to address the many dimensions of neurologic care for adults and children, according to Advocate Christ Medical Center officials.

Romeo is in the second grade at Stevenson Elementary School in Chicago’s Scottsdale neighborhood and plans to continue his love for knowledge as he grows older.

“When I grow up, I want to become a scientist because I’m smart,” he said.

“That he is,” his mother agreed.

District 218 cheers achievements of students

  • Written by Michelle Zalesny

shepard cheerleaders photo 2-23

Submitted photo

The Shepard High School varsity cheerleaders hold up their trophy after placing first in the Co-Ed Division at the Andrew High School Invitational.


On a night where local schools were honored for athletic and personal achievements, District 218 Board members were reminded that the state budget impasse continues.

With commendations aside, school board member Larry Harris spoke up about the state budget issue in Illinois — the fact that there is still no state budget or spending plans for 2017. The stopgap budget plan that was passed in June of last year expired on Dec. 31, leaving Illinois in a budgetary limbo.

Harris said that the board should draft a memo expressing their frustration with the lack of activity and motion of the state legislature about the ongoing state budget uncertainty.

Harris urged that the state legislature should hear from the school district from a local level.

“I think it’s ridiculous that we’ve gone this long without a budget, lack of support, and leadership,” Harris said.”

School board member Robert Stokas was absent from the meeting.

On a more positive note, it was a night of commendations as Eisenhower and Shepard high schools were honored for athletic and personal triumphs at the District 218 School Board meeting on Feb. 15.

First to be recognized was Taylor Burmeister, English teacher assistant and swim coach at Eisenhower High School, who was selected as the South Suburban Conference Boys Swimming Coach of the Year for the 2016 and 2017 seasons by his colleagues for reviving the Eisenhower Area Swim Club and leading the Cardinals to their most successful season.

“This is a big honor, but I couldn’t have done anything without Coach Campione and Coach Belskis, the world’s greatest assistant coaches, especially Coach Belskis who volunteers her time several times a week to help our divers,” said Burmeister. “There are remarkable things happening within the conference, especially in swimming. The teams we compete against are run by some amazing and thoughtful coaches, who are dedicated to their athletes and their programs. To be recognized by them is an honor.”

Head Cheer Coach Nicole Staehlin and the Shepard varsity cheerleaders were also recognized for their season full of success and achievement in competition this winter.

“The Astros won first place in the Co-Ed Division at the Andrew High School Invitational,” said Bob McParland, public Information specialist. “They won second place at the South Suburban Conference meet, qualified for the IHSA state finals, but took fourth in their section, and finally, among all the teams that qualified for state, the Astros took 12th place in the Co-Ed Division earlier this month at Illinois State University.”

Staehlin was not able to attend the meeting.

The board also honored Varsity Dance Coach Marion Castillo and JV Head Coach Crystal Castillo, choreographer Lindsey Lococo and the Eisenhower Cardinal Dance Team for taking the title of National Champions at Universal Studios Florida. It was a passionate dance routine to John Legend’s “Glory” that made the historic win — the first one in 30 years for Eisenhower at the major state and national team title level.

The Cardinal Dance Team traveled to Universal Studios on Florida for the Dance Team Union national finals on Feb. 5, where they won Best Choreography, Best Hip Hop Group among all divisions and Champions in the Small Varsity Hip Hop division.

Castillo was also congratulated for being selected as the 2016 Coach of the Year for the state of Illinois by the Illinois High School Association.

A video of the team’s dance routine at Universal Studios Florida that won them the national title was shown.