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Quinlan won’t seek trustee post for third term

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Eight is enough for Oak Lawn Trustee Carol Quinlan.

 

The veteran village board member has decided against running for a third, four-year term in April, but has wasted little time endorsing a candidate to run for her 5th District seat.

 

Bud Stalker, a long-time Oak Lawn resident announced his candidacy last week. He joins Dan Johnson and Paul Vail in the race.

 

“I just think he’s a straight-up guy,” Quinlan said. “He would be ideal.”

 

Stalker also has the support of former 5th District Trustee Marge Joy and former Village Clerk Jayne Powers.

 

Quinlan said she decided after winning re-election in 2011 that she would not run again.

 

“I had only planned for two terms. I think it’s a good think to have new blood,” Quinlan said, adding that she’s looking forward to spending more time with her family.

 

An ally of former Mayor Dave Heilmann, Quinlan became part of the village board minority in 2013 when Mayor Sandra Bury won election and often disagreed with the mayor on various issues.

 

Quinlan said she has known Stalker for many years through their involvement at St. Linus parish.

 

“You have to find someone who’s passionate,” she said. “I wanted to find someone who would do a great job for the village.”

 

Stalker, 68, has lived in Oak Lawn for 25 years. He retired in 2009 following a career as an electrical contractor. He is the president of his condominium board and is a member of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors.

 

The experience, he said, prepares him to serve on the sometimes contentious village board.

 

“If you think this is tough, you ought to try negotiating a contract worth a couple million dollars,” Stalker said.

 

He added that he is prepared to work with Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury and other members of the village board.

 

“I am not for or against the mayor,” said Stalker, who describes himself as an independent.

 

Both Vail and Johnson also have said they are independent candidates not aligned with the mayor or other factions of the board.

 

Vail, 36 is a lifelong Oak Lawn resident who chairs the village’s corridor studies committee. He works as a construction manager.

 

Johnson is the commander of the Johnson-Phelps VFW Post in Oak Lawn.

He served more than 20 years in the U.S. Army, including four years of active duty, two tours of combat in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan.

He was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in a combat zone in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2013. He is a member of the Army Reserve.

Stalker and his wife, Mary Ellen, have been married for 44 years. They have five children and seven grandchildren. He is a graduate of Brother Rice High School and Bradley University.

 

Stalker said he considered for months Quinlan’s suggestion that he run and added that he’s looking forward to the race.

 

“It’s going to be a real good opportunity for three people to discuss the issues,” Stalker said.

 

The race could involve more than three candidates, as there are rumors other contenders may jump into the contest, Quinlan said.

 

Stalker has not yet discussed his candidacy with Trustee Bob Streit, Bury’s chief opposition on the board, but plans to meet with the veteran trustee.

 

“Bob is an interesting person,” Stalker said.

 

Streit is seeing his seventh term on the board and is facing a challenge from Scott Hollis, 58, a newcomer to Oak Lawn, who announced his candidacy in August.

 

 

Heading to ‘Little Company of Mary corner of heaven.’

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Sister Sharon Ann Walsh sat in a wheelchair near the front of St. Bernadette Catholic Church Tuesday morning and accepted condolences from several mourners who attended the funeral Mass for Sister Jean Stickney, 86, and Sister Kab Kyoung Kim, 48.

Sister Walsh appeared emotional at times during the 90-minute funeral Mass, which occurred nine days after Sister Stickney and Sister Kim, were killed when a car driven by Sister Walsh was hit head on by a pickup truck at 95th Street and Cicero Avenue in Oak Lawn.

Sister Walsh is the Provincial Leader for the American Province of the Little Company of Mary Sisters and the chairman of the board for the Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers.

She left Little Company Mary of Hospital, where she was being treated for injuries sustained in the accident, to attend the funeral services. The wake for the sisters was held Monday at the hospital chapel.

Hundreds of people turned out for Tuesday morning’s funeral in Evergreen Park to pay their respects to the two Little Company of Mary Sisters.

“This has been a very difficult week for all of us,” said the Rev. William Sullivan, who concelebrated the Mass with several other priests from the area.

Sullivan recalled tears coming to his eyes when he learned of the fatal accident. “It’s time to grieve.”

But he added that it was appropriate to celebrate the sisters’ entrance into heaven, adding that Sister Stickney and Kim have been welcomed by the nuns who have gone before them into the “Little Company of Mary corner of heaven.”

“Today we grieve (and) we celebrate,” he said.

Sullivan also suggested that the sisters are martyrs because several more people may have been killed in the traffic accident had the pickup truck not hit their car first.

Peg Schneider, chaplain in the hospital’s pastoral care department, praised the sisters as selfless women during her closing remarks.

“We stand in love and remembrance of two good women,” Schneider said.

“Sister Jean, I would say, her name was goodness,” said Schneider, who said she often worked “under the radar” to accomplish her goals.

“She was gentle, loving and respectful,” Schneider said, adding that Sister Stickney was charitable and “saw the good in everybody.”

“We celebrate today a very generous woman with wonderful gifts,” Schneider said.

Schneider said Sister Kab Kyoung Kim, known to many as Sister Anna, was at her best working with children, including those she served in the hospital bereavement program.

“The language she really brought to us was the language of love,” Schneider said.

The sisters were eastbound on 95th Street Oct. 5 in the front of a lane of cars stopped at a red light at Cicero Avenue when a westbound pickup truck hit their car at 4:27 p.m., police said. Both died at the scene.

The driver of the pickup truck, Edward L. Carthans, 81, of Chicago, also died in the 11-car accident.

Police are awaiting toxicology reports on Carthans to help determine what caused him to veer into the opposite lanes of traffic after causing a four-car accident at 95th Street and Keeler Avenue. Witnesses told police that Carthans was initially seen slumped over his steering wheel at 95th Street and Western Avenue, but he refused help and drove away.

 

These trolls don’t know compassion from Adam

  • Written by Bob Rakow

A comedian and podcast host I thoroughly enjoy, Adam Carolla, does a bit on his show called “What Can’t Adam Complain About.”

 

Much of Adam’s comedic shtick is complaining about things. So during the bit, which is typically performed at his live shows, audience members are challenged to pitch topics that would be tough for him to complain about.

 

But no matter what happy, joyful topic his fans propose, Adam always finds a negative. A sunny day on the beach? Adam would say you risk skin cancer and will have sand in your shoes. A traditional holiday meal with family? Adam would remind you that someone’s bound to drink too much and start an argument.

 

I thought about the bit the other day after Oak Lawn resident Jenni Simpson shared with me Facebook posts in response to her decision to leave a bouquet of roses near the site of last week’s tragic 11-car accident.

 

Simpson’s attached the roses to a street light near 95th Street and Cicero Avenue on Monday morning. They served as the sole reminder of the horrific accident that took three lives on Sunday afternoon.

 

Tough to complain about that thoughtful deed.

 

I chatted with Simpson shortly after seeing a picture of the flowers on Facebook. She told me the accident left her numb. It was a terrible tragedy, she said, reflecting on the fate of the two nuns who perished when a pickup truck smashed into their car as they waited at a red light on eastbound 95th Street.

 

The sisters were powerless to do a thing. Yet, a third nun in the car survived. Why? Simpson seemed to be wresting with so many thoughts. She decided that honoring the deceased with a simple bouquet of flowers was the right thing to do.

 

Indeed. I doubt even Adam Carolla would disagree.

 

But a small number of Facebook trolls were up to the challenge.

 

Simpson took a fair share of shots on a community Facebook page. She was ripped for injecting herself into the story. She took grief for bringing her 7-year-old son with her to accident site. In fact, the criticism turned to the kind of name calling you’d expect to hear on an elementary school playground.

 

It’s incomprehensible to me. Makeshift memorials are commonplace today. They serve as coping mechanisms and a way to honor the deceased.

 

The day after Simpson brought her roses to the scene, a small memorial was up, including two wooden crosses and a heart bearing the names of the three who died in the crash.

 

The crosses were put there by Greg Zanis, of Aurora, who runs an organization called Crosses for Losses. He’s placed more than 11,000 wooden crosses across the country since his father-in-law was murdered in 1997. It helps him cope with his personal tragedy. He hopes the crosses do the same for others.

 

In a small way, that’s what Simpson was doing with her single bouquet of flowers. She took a few moments out of her day to remind the folks driving on 95th Street that something horrible happened one day earlier. Lives were lost and so many other lives will forever be affected.

 

But a few people had issues with Simpson and let her have it behind the safety of the Facebook wall. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. So too should the folks who posted a bevy of inappropriate comments on Facebook the night of the accident.

 

I have no idea whether they didn’t like the bouquet of flowers or if they have some other axe to grind with Simpson. Doesn’t matter. It was not the time or the place. When did it become OK to lay into a person for handling their grief and expressing their condolences in their own way?

 

 

 

As far as Simpson bringing her 7-year-old son to the site, that’s her call as a parent. She didn’t bring him to the horrific crash. Rather, she taught him a valuable lesson the following day about honor and doing the right thing.

 

It’s a lesson some other folks on Facebook certainly could use.

 

 

Next up: contamination examination

  • Written by Bob Rakow

 

Page-5-3-col-eyesoreChicago Ridge officials found a buyer for the abandoned truck terminal but the property’s future depends on testing for contamination in the coming months. Photo by Jeff Vorva.

Chicago Ridge finds buyer for abandoned truck terminal but

soil testing must be done before development starts

A developer with experience building the biggest commercial properties in Chicago Ridge is ready to take on his next challenge in the village.
Ken Tucker of Structured Development, located in Chicago, is the point person for the potential development of the abandoned Yellow Freight trucking terminal.
Tucker was instrumental in the development of both Chicago Ridge Mall and Chicago Ridge Commons, Mayor Chuck Tokar said.
“He’s got the Ridge experience,” Tokar said.
But specific plans for and area on Harlem Avenue village officials have called an “eyesore’’ have not been made public and there needs to be testing for contamination done before moving forward with any plans.
Yellow Freight abandoned its truck terminal about five years ago. Since that time, redeveloping the Harlem Avenue terminal and some adjacent property has been the village’s top priority.
To that end, the village recently partnered with Structured Development to create the Ridge Creek Joint Venture Partnership.
The village purchased the property from Yellow Roadway Corp. for $14 million. The purchase contract is contingent on the condition of the property, Tokar said.
The village board also approved an ordinance that designates the Yellow Freight property and the adjacent land as a tax increment financing district. The TIF district is bordered by Harlem Avenue, the Tri-State Tollway and Southwest Highway.
But bringing a developer into the mix is an important step, Tokar said.
“The village is no longer the one holding the contract of purchase,” he said.
Structured Development will spend the next several months performing due diligence on the property, including taking soil samples and conducting detailed market studies.
Testing Services Corp. of Carol Stream is performing soil borings and will prepare an environmental report within the next several weeks, Tokar said.
While the 75-acre trucking terminal is mostly covered with concrete or asphalt, a garbage dump once existed adjacent to Stony Creek, so the possibility for contamination exists.
Additionally, Tokar recently learned that some of the land south of 103rd Street was used as a dumping ground for debris that accumulated after the 1967 tornado.
But the mayor is encouraged by Tucker’s belief that the terminal and adjacent land can be developed.
Marketing studies will help determine the businesses best suited for the development, but Tokar believes that the steady stream of traffic on the tollway—estimated at 270,000 cars daily—is the key selling point.
“You just don’t know what is going to be appealing to the market,” Tokar said.
But he envisions big things for the parcel.
A mixed-use development that would feature family entertainment options, such as Dave & Buster’s; a multi-level, heated golf driving range similar to Top Golf in Wood Dale or an indoor skydiving facility similar to iFly in Naperville and Rosemont all are under consideration.
The development also could feature shops, restaurants and condominiums or townhomes, Tokar said. Hotels, a conference center or an venue for entertainment also are under consideration, he said.
The shuttered Aldi, located at Harlem Avenue and Southwest Highway, and the long-closed Nikobee’s restaurant at the northeast corner of 103rd and Harlem, are included in the district. Additionally, Burger King, the Blue Star Motel, the Glendora House reception hall and a storage facility, all located north of 103rd Street, would be razed to make room for new development.
The TIF district enables the village to float bonds that would finance construction of a mixed-use development at the Yellow site and throughout the district. In a TIF district, real estate tax revenues yielded by properties that increase in value are used to fund improvements within the district, or as an incentive to the developer.

 

Have a cigar

  • Written by Kelly White

Worth mulls amending smoking laws to accommodate cigar and hookah bars

“No smoking” may become a term of the past for Worth.
The village is debating amending its no-smoking ordinance to permit cigar and hookah bars to open up shop.
The board has been in deliberation for more than a month adjusting the smoking ordinance for more than a month, in hopes of coming to a decision at the next village board meeting Tuesday.
According to Illinois state law, the state allows smoking to take place indoors if 80 percent of a company’s revenue comes from tobacco or tobacco related products. Worth would have to appeal the local ordinance to adhere to the state’s smoking law. If the village decides to move forth with the process, businesses looking to open up cigar or hookah bars will then need to obtain a special-use permit. There would be a public hearing prior to obtaining the special-use permit where residents would be allowed to attend and voice opinions, as well.
“As a village, we have to put out special criteria that would be stated in the special-use permit,” Mayor Mary Werner said at the Oct. 7 board meeting. “Any businesses permitting smoking indoors would not endanger public health, safety or morals.”
Some board officials said issues of building structure, parking, hours of operation, noise and crowd control would also be addressed in the special-use permit that tobacco shops must follow in order to keep their place of business up and running.
One trustee disagreed with debating changing the smoking ordinance.
“If we change the ordinance, there may be a number of businesses looking to open up in Worth,’’ Trustee Mary Rhein said. “We don’t want these places of business opening up all over the community, and how to we say yes to one business and not to another?”
Werner informed the trustees and residents the number of special-use permits issued to such businesses will be closely monitored and limited.
“Just as we limit the number of liquor licenses here in town, we will also limit the number of special-use permits issued for indoor smoking,” she said, “If we approved every liquor store license, we would have so many liquor stores competing with each other and not bringing any positive revenue to the town. We would limit the number of special-use permits in the same manner. I think it would be very difficult for 10 cigar bars to survive in such a small community, just as it would be for 10 liquor stores.”
Besides having to obtain a special-use permit, Trustee Rich Dziedzic suggested the idea of having business owners go through an approval process, as well, from the economic development board, along with the public hearing process of the special-use permit to take place in an open forum for residents. The economic development board will be able to take into further consideration whether or not the business will be negatively impacting the health of the general public and of the surrounding neighborhoods.
“Right now, it’s no smoking and I feel we should keep it that way because it is overall a great thing for the public health,” Rhein said.
In other Worth news, the Worth Police Department swore in two police officers at the meeting, Justin Meister and Matthew Susnis, both from Worth. The board is still in discussion over who will fill the vacant police chief position since the retirement of Police Chief Martin Knolmayer on Oct. 3.