The home stretch

  • Written by Tim Hadac


DR-PAGE-1-COLOR-4-col-stretchScott Franklin of Lemont stretches his limbs before last year’s half marathon. The seventh running of the First Midwest Bank Half Marathon and 10K Run starts at 7:30 a.m. near Village Hall in Palos Heights and goes through portions of Palos Park and Palos Hills.

First Midwest’s seventh half marathon just days away

While Mother Nature has been cruel to the 2014 First Midwest Bank Half Marathon in recent months, she is expected to smile on the popular annual event this Sunday, May 4.

The big race takes place the day after Saturday’s Community and Health Expo organized by the Palos Area Chamber of Commerce at Moraine Valley Church.
“This past winter has been wicked, and it has kept numbers down at races everywhere, as runners haven’t had chances to train,” said race co-founder and co-director Mel Diab, owner of the Running for Kicks specialty running shop, 7158 W. 127th St., Palos Heights. “But the forecast for race day is 63 degrees and only a 10 percent chance of rain. So we’re looking good.”
Diab made his observation at an organizing committee meeting held last Friday at the Palos Heights Recreation Center, 6601 W. 127th St.
Race registration numbers reflect the record-setting chill. Diab noted that between the half marathon and the newly added 10K race, “not quite 1,300” runners have signed up this year, well below the 1,800-plus runners who competed in the half marathon in 2013.
One bright spot is registration for the Run, Walk or Roll race, headed by the South West Special Recreation Association (SWSRA), which has hit an all-time high at 56, nearly doubling last year’s final total of 32 participants.
The ranks of volunteers have swelled, with more than 100 signed up and additional assistance expected this week. Last-minute volunteers are welcome and are encouraged to visit for details.
Both Diab and co-director Jeff Prestinario thanked committee members in advance for their race-day service. “As we come down the home stretch, it’s going to be hectic,” Prestinario said to the group. “Before you know it, it’s going to be boom, boom, boom—so much so that you can feel the electricity in the air. So let’s all remember that there are always curveballs that come into play, so thank you for remaining cool, calm and collected when that happens. Remember to smile and think safety, safety, safety.”

Chamber Expo

Adding to the buzz is a health and community expo set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Moraine Valley Church, 6300 W. 127th St., Palos Heights.
Sponsored by the Palos Area Chamber of Commerce, the annual event typically attracts several thousand people and offers information and free services from 50 local health care providers and other businesses, as well as government agencies.
“Everyone is invited to this fun and informative event,” said Chamber President Stephen Georgiou, owner of Computer Greeks, 12222 S. Harlem Ave., Palos Heights.
The expo will also feature a martial arts demonstration by students of T-USA Martial Arts and a public safety demonstration of the Cook County Sheriff’s Police bomb squad.

Start and finish

The half marathon itself starts and ends near Palos Heights City Hall, 7607 W. College Drive, and runs west along Route 83. The half marathon starts at 7:30 a.m., the event’s new 10K race begins at 7:40, and a “Run, Walk or Roll” half-mile race (for people with disabilities) is set to start at 7:45.
The race officially ends at 10:30 a.m., and an awards ceremony is set for 11 a.m.

As always, parking is at a premium at the event, and spectators driving to the site are advised to arrive early and use local parking lots along the north side of Route 83.

Proceeds from the event benefit the American Cancer Society, the South West Special Recreation Association, and Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens.


Case closed?

  • Written by Bob Rakow


Cops rule Brittany’s death accidental but her supporters vow ‘it’s not over’

Rebecca Tully has struggled with myriadpage-1color--2-col-BritA memorial for Brittany Wawrzyniak still stood in April in the parking lot in Worth close to where she died in November. Police last week ruled her death as accidental. Photo by Jeff Vorva. emotions during the six months since the death of her daughter, Britanny Wawrzyniak, but anger is not among them, she said.

Anger is the second of the five stages of loss grief outlined in Elisabeth Kübler-Ross 1969 book “On Death and Dying.”
“I still haven’t hit that anger part in any of this,” Tully said Tuesday as she talked about the Worth Police Department’s decision last week to close the investigation into her daughter’s death.
Tully has experienced a gamut of other emotions ranging from shock and sadness to disbelief and disappointment since Nov. 8, the day he daughter died after being ejected for a moving car near the Worth boat launch, near 115th Street and Beloit.
She’s come close to venting her rage at the police department and elected officials who she believes treated her daughter more like a criminal than victim.
She’s also upset that she and her family did not receive more respect during the investigation, although she understood that the details of the probe could not be shared.
But last week’s news, delivered to Tully at a meeting at the Worth police department, threw her for a loop.
Just a few weeks earlier, Worth Mayor Mary Werner said that it would be months before DNA results would be

Who’s (with) the Boss?

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


EP boy gets to jam with Springsteen in NashvilleBruuuuceEvergreen Park’s Henry Hynes, right, was able to share the stage with Bruce Springsteen for two minutes last Thursday in Nashville. Submitted photo.

On the 25th song of the fifth concert of his 2014 North American Tour, Bruce Springsteen gave an Evergreen Park boy a chance to play with him on stage for a little more than two minutes.
Henry Hynes, 10, and his parents, Patrick and Jennifer, and other family members, were at Springsteen’s concert last Thursday at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
During the first encore that included industrial-strength hits “Born in the USA”, “Born To Run” and “Dancing in the Dark” played back-to-back-to-back, Springsteen decided to have fun with the audience. In “Dancing in the Dark,” the New Jersey singer played several minutes of the song and during a saxophone solo, he went to the right side of the stage brought up two women to dance and pose for selfie photos.

Then he took his guitar and strutted back toward the middle of the stage and pointed toward the front row and motioned for Hynes, who was wearing a Blackhawks jersey, to step up to the stage.
Hynes climbed on stage and the two shook hands and the Boss handed the kid a brown acoustic guitar and placed it around his neck.
With Springsteen at his right and spreading his right leg back to get toward Hynes’ height, Springsteen gave the young man a few instructions and the two jammed on their guitars.
Springsteen went back to the microphone stand and motioned Hynes to join him. Springsteen took the mic off the stand, bent over and let the kid scream “hey baby” a couple of times to the thousands in the audience.
The singer bent low again while the two jammed some more and the tune ended with band members clapping for Hynes. Springsteen held the kid’s right hand and the two bowed and basked in the adulation.

The boss rubbed the kid’s hair, removed the guitar and escorted him back to his seat.
The big moment can be found on YouTube. The family was still out of town before the Reporter’s deadline but Henry told Sun-Time Media “I got on stage but I lost my shoe but I started singing and he gave me a guitar. I had on my Hawks jersey and I think he saw it right away and I was right upfront so I think that’s why he picked me.’’


Werner: ‘He was definitely a people’s mayor’

  • Written by Bob Rakow


Former Worth Mayor Kumingo’s death

saddens officials from all over the areamayor 2

Dan Kumingo enjoyed fishing and playing pinochle but his passion was the village of Worth.


“Worth was his town. He did everything for the village,” said Mr. Kumingo’s wife, Lillian. “He just loved working for his town.”
Mr. Kumingo, mayor of Worth from 1977 to 1993, died Monday after a long illness. He was 87.
A member of the village board before being elected mayor, Mr. Kumingo oversaw many major developments in the community during his 16-year tenure.
The train overpass at 111th Street and Harlem Avenue, construction of the Metra parking lot, development of the veteran’s memorial, the widening of several major streets and the addition of sanitary sewers in the community all were accomplished while Mr. Kumingo led the village, his wife recalled.
Current Mayor Mary Werner recalled getting acquainted with Mr. Kumingo when her children participated in youth baseball and Cub Scouts.
“As mayor, he always took an interest in the youth groups,” Werner said. “He was definitely a people’s mayor. He was a well-liked mayor. He and his wife were just wonderful people.”
Worth Trustee Colleen McElroy got to know Mr. Kumingo when she moved to the community several years ago.
“This makes me so sad,” McElroy said. “He was such a wonderful man.”
McElroy, the curator of the Worth Museum, said she sat down with Mr. Kumingo to obtain an oral history of the community in which he reflected on the town’s development.
“He was such a humble man. He was wonderful. I’m so fortunate to have the interview. The museum was a really big part of his life. It was very near and dear to his heart.”
She also credited Mr. Kumingo with offering occasional advice to her after she was elected to the village board.
Mr. Kumingo remained active in the community after he stepped down in 1993.Most notably, he was involved in an effort in 2003 to save the Worth Days celebration. The Worth Days Committee, which raised the bulk of the money for the fest was to be disbanded due to lack of interest. Money also was an issue for the fest, which had been going on since the late 1940s.
Mayor Edward Guzdziol was determined to save the fest. He called for a special meeting and proclaimed that there would be a Worth Days in 2004.
Guzdziol, Mr. Kumingo and 20 Worth residents met in late September. Marrs-Meyer American Legion Post 991 officials agreed to oversee the fest, which was scheduled to go through some changes, including change of dates and venue.

Maley lands at St. Laurence after controversial firing at Kenwood

  • Written by Kari Nelson


Page-8-1-col-coachJim MaleyIn just a month after he was controversially fired at Kenwood Academy, Jim Maley found work again.
St. Laurence High School officials announced Tuesday that Maley was hired as the school’s boys basketball coach.
To hear some talk about it, Maley was fired for having stringent rules regarding academics and conduct and sat out some of his players, which didn’t sit well with parents. Speculation is that it helped cause his ouster in March, sparking a debate among observers about Kenwood’s priorities.
“We had a code of conduct in place,” Maley told the Chicago Side Sports website. “We tried to hold kids accountable for their grades and their actions in school. We were willing to lose games before we would violate the policy. We had some parents hot about it.”
“The reason I was given was that we weren’t winning enough games. This was frustrating for me especially all that we’ve done off the court and on the court.”
He told the website he comes from a family of coaches and that he places emphasis on character and academics.
“We have a standard where you have to have a 2.3 [grade point average] and they have to maintain it at all times,” he told the website. “If it went down to a 2.2, we would sit people. We sat one of our players before a big game. We lost but that taught the team that we’re serious about all of the off-the-court stuff. We had a player last year who was disrespectful to the security guard. We sat him. He was our best player and we ended up losing because of it.”
Maley began his coaching career at Glenbard West High School, where he was a volunteer varsity assistant as well as head junior varsity coach.
After Glenbard West, Maley was a sophomore coach and then the head varsity coach at Kenwood, where he compiled a 46-34 mark with at least 15 wins each season. His team also improved their cumulative GPA and decreased their number of school absences.
“As a result of what our coaching staff built, Kenwood Academy will be a serious contender for a public league championship next year and will have at least three players in line to earn Division I scholarships,” Maley said in a news release. “I’m committed to creating those same results for the Vikings.”
“We are thrilled to add a coach of Jim Maley’s caliber to our athletic department,” St. Laurence’s Athletic Director Tim Chandler said in a statement.