Dynamite found in EP basement

  • Written by Bob Rakow


A cleanup necessitated by a basement sewage leak led to a surprising discovery of 50 pounds of dynamite last Wednesday morning at a home in Evergreen Park.
The finding led police to evacuate nearby homes, reroute traffic, lockdown a floor-block area and call for nearby schools to keep students inside.
The Cook County Bomb Squad was called and removed the dynamite after a bomb-sniffing dog confirmed the existence of explosives, police said.
The 24 sticks of dynamite had been stored for more than 60 years in a suitcase in a house in the 9700 block of Hamlin Avenue, according to police.
The 93-year-old owner of the home agreed to store the explosives for a friend who worked in construction and was moving out of state. He knew the dynamite was still in his home, but did not know how to dispose of it, according to reports.
But when last week’s sewage leak forced a basement cleanup, he asked his caregiver to dispose of the suitcase. The caregiver called Evergreen Park police after the man told her the suitcase contained dynamite, police said.
The bomb squad later destroyed the dynamite at the Thornton Quarry, Donovan said. There were no injuries and no charges filed, police said.
The homeowner spent the day at his niece’s home near Midway Airport until returning in the late afternoon, police said.


My funny Valentine

  • Written by Claudia Parker

PAGE-1-4-col-funnyOff Off Broadzway, an all-female burlesque parody troupe featuring Oak Lawn native Jill Valentine (right) will be a part of the Women’s Funny Fest starting next Thursday in Chicago. Submitted photo.Oak Lawn woman heads up comedy fest

It’s about time.

Oak Lawn native Jill Valentine helped form the ChicagoJump-page-2-colOrland Park native Katie Rich (left photo) and Oak Lawn native Jill Valentine are major contributors to the 2014 Women’s Funny Fest in Chicago. Submitted photo. Woman’s Funny Festival in 2012.
She said the consensus among performers were, “Why haven’t we celebrated ourselves as women in comedy sooner?”
Better late than never.
This year’s edition of the fest will be held next Thursday through June 8 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont in Chicago. There will be 70-plus shows and 400 performers during the four-day event with Orland Park native and “Saturday Night Live’’ writer Katie Rich headlining.
“Chicago is my favorite place in the whole world,” Rich said. “Some of my favorite ladies in comedy honed their craft here. It means a lot to me to headline this event.”
Valentine is an old hand at making people laugh and hosting large events that make people laugh.
She has been the Executive Director of the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival since its in 2000. It’s said to be the largest sketch comedy festival ever seen in America. That success was used as a springboard for Valentine and co-founder Liz McArthur to launch the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival.
Valentine said she and McArthur wanted to build a comedy festival where women could come together to celebrate a buffet of comedy under one roof.
“Comediennes from around the world filled Stage 773’s four theaters every night [in 2012].’’ Valentine said. “The response from comedians and audience members was overwhelmingly positive – which is why the festival is coming back for its third year.”
In the last decade, women have increasingly gained respect in a genre that was mostly dominated by men.
Valentine graduated from Bradley University where she was scouted for her gift of competitive communication. She went into an improvisation program at Second City.
“Classes 15 years ago were about 1 percent female,” she said. “Now it’s at least 50 percent. We need to celebrate that.”
Rich prefers to let talent, as oppose to gender, speak for itself.
“One thing I hear a lot is, ‘Oh, she’s funny because she acts like a dude’ but I rarely hear, ‘Oh, he’s funny because he acts like a chick.’ Rich said. “When a male colleague writes a joke I don’t think is funny, my first thought isn’t, ‘That dude isn’t funny.’ My first thought is, ‘That joke isn’t funny.’

End of an era

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

Mt. Assisi softball player Maddie Cahue PAGE-1-MT-ASSIST-REFER-1-or-2-or-3-colis consoled by coach Jill Harvey after the Screeching Eagles were beaten by Chicago Christian, 11-7, in the regional title game. It marked the end of the season for the Eagles and the end of an era as it was the final sporting event the school will ever participate in as it closed last week.
For more on this game and other postseason and regular season photos and stories, see Sports.

Photo by Jeff Vorva

No more wine with this Cheese

  • Written by Bob Rakow

 Oak Lawn restaurant gives up liquor license before hearing

Alcohol no longer will be offered at Chuck E. Cheese’s in Oak Lawn following the latest in series of skirmishes at the family fun center.

 But if problems at the restaurant continue, village officials could look look into suspending its business licence.

Representatives from CEC Entertainment Inc., the restaurant’s holding company, Tuesday voluntarily surrendered the restaurant’s liquor license during a liquor control commission hearing at village hall.
The decision to relinquish the license was made by Chuck E. Cheese’s representatives in an agreement reached before the hearing, officials said.
Mayor Sandra Bury, who also serves as liquor commissioner, accepted the license and called on Chuck E. Cheese’s representatives to meet with Police Chief Mike Murray and Trustee Terry Vorderer to further discuss security measures at the restaurant, 4031 W. 95th St.
Chuck E. Cheese’s is located in Vorderer’s 4th District. He also is the village board’s police liaison.
Bury called the hearing last week after a May 18 disturbance at the restaurant. The fracas involved a large, unruly crowd of approximately 100 patrons—including many young children—who were outside the restaurant when police arrived at about 6:15 p.m., according to reports.
Some members of the crowd were swearing and arguing with one another or ignoring police commands to disperse, police said.

Aggregation aggravation

  • Written by Kelly White

 Hickory may be starting trend in return to ComEd

Hickory Hills is thinking of turning backfront-color-2-col-truckComEd was the victim of aggregation in some suburbs but Hickory Hills is considering going back to the utility giant. Photo by Jeff Vorva. to an old friend. 

 Maligned ComEd hasn’t been a name commonly spoken in favorable terms in area suburbs over the past few years -- especially with the hype of electrical aggregation and the promise of lower rates.

But ComEd could be on the verge of a comeback and Hickory Hills could be leading the way.
“A lot of municipalities are choosing to go back to ComEd for the entire upcoming year, simply because it’s less confusing for residents,” Howley told residents at last Thursday’s city council meeting. “This very well could be the case for us.”
With the council’s one-year electrical agreement with Integris expiring in May and not being able to go out for new bids again until August for another contract, the village will go back to ComEd for June and July and make a long-term decision in the coming months.
The mayor said Integris would not be able to carry on with its current rate of 5.39 cents per kilowatt hour and would be attaining a market-based rate for the village instead.
“The market rates they have been providing us are very high, and ComEd has a much lower rate,” Howley said.
Integris’ market-based summer rate stood at 8 cents per kilowatt hour. The village decided to terminate its agreement with Integris and return back to ComEd for June and July.
The ComEd rate for June through July is 7.6 cents and it will be 7.42 cents per kilowatt hour for the remaining ten months. ComEd is also planning to reset rates again in the fall.
The rates offered by ComEd are for the 12-month period beginning June 1.
Be warned -- whether the village choses in July to go with an aggregator or remain with ComEd, rates are going up.
“Rates are much higher than they have been in the past,” Jim Zelic said on behalf of Integris at the April 10 city council meeting.
“Residents have already received letters from ComEd informing them that they are now being serviced by ComEd,” Howley said, “I do understand how this can be confusing when just a month ago, residents were receiving letters from Integris.”
The village is debating avoiding continual confusion among residents by remaining with ComEd through June, 2015.
Howley explained there is more risk in back end of an electrical agreement contract now than there was in the past.
“If we signed on to a three-year electrical agreement contract, during the first year of the contract, we may be slightly paying a lower rate than what ComEd is offering,” he said. “However, in years two and three, we could very well be paying much more than ComEd’s rate at that time.”
Hickory is in a two-month window where the council members have time to debate whether or not to go back to electrical aggregation or remain with ComEd.
During the three one-year aggregation agreements, Hickory Hills residents saved an estimated $30 a year Howley said.
“It’s really not as significant of a savings as people may think it is.” he said.