Very good, boys and girls.Some of the people here at the Reporter/Regional have an opportunity to guess the photos of WHATIZIT? before it hits the streets and none of our sharpies were able to get that this “something that needs to be cleared” was a hurdle. Here, we had people guessing tables and desks. No one guessed a hurdle and this particular one was found at an indoor track meet. But 100 percent of the WHATIZIT? players got it right. Chicago Ridge’s Dana Oswald was the first out of the blocks to get it right. Others who crossed the finish line without tripping were Palos Heights’ Crystine Busch, Oak Lawn’s Justin Antos and Jane Foley, Hickory Hills’ Jack and Griffin Burke Faddis, Worth’s Darrel Hardin, Jerry and Carol Janicki, Theresa and George Rebersky and Russ Martin, Willow Springs’ Harrison Debre and Evergreen Park’s Henrietta Mysliwiec and Vince Vizza. There were no incorrect guesses (except for those within the walls of our building). This week, we know it’s a brush, but what kind of brush? The clue is that guys named Buddy or Keith or Neil may have used this kind. Extra credit will go to those who can tell me who Buddy, Keith and Neil’s last names. Send those guesses to
. Don’t forget to put WHATIZIT? in the subject line and give us your name and hometown by Monday night.
The Democratic primary battle for the bench in the Cook County Circuit Court’s 15th judicial subcircuit (Sterba vacancy) went to the wire Tuesday night and spilled into early Wednesday before the Cook County Clerk’s Office released a final count, at 1:13 a.m., showing that Chris Lawler of Palos Heights had edged Michael B. Barrett of Orland Park by a mere 14 votes. With all 291 precincts reporting, Lawler finished with 4,168 votes (25.98 percent), with Barrett an eyelash away with 4,154 votes (25.89 percent). Bringing up the rear in the race were Robbin Perkins of Matteson with 2,996 votes (18.67 percent), Sondra Denmark of Matteson with 2,785 votes (17.36 percent), and Mary Beth Duffy of Tinley Park with 1,942 votes (12.10 percent). Lawler did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday night. He ran a highly visible campaign, with prominent blue and white yard signs across Palos Heights, in his race to best Barrett, who was the slated candidate of the Cook County Democratic Party. Barrett, reached at his home in Orland Park on Tuesday night, that “win, lose or draw, this campaign has been a great experience. I’ve met some fantastic people, had tremendous support for which I’m grateful. It really strengthened my faith in our system.” Barrett’s candidacy began long before the official announcement of his campaign when he began making the rounds of speaking appearances before area senior citizen and other community groups and fraternal organizations, discussing the law and his interest in the sport of hockey, as both a referee and president of a youth hockey organization. Lawler already serves as a judge, appointed to his position last year by the Illinois Supreme Court upon the retirement of Judge David Sterba, also a Palos Heights resident. He is assigned to the 6th District Courthouse in Markham. The race also was a test of political muscle, with both Barrett and Lawler lining up camps of local committeemen, mayors and others. Lawler had the backing of Palos Heights Mayor Robert Straz, as well as the mayors of Crestwood, Midlothian, and Oak Forest. Barrett was supported by Orland Park Mayor Daniel McLaughlin, Palos Hills Mayor Gerald R. Bennett, and Orland Hills Mayor Kyle Hastings. Both men claimed the backing of the mayors of Alsip and Tinley Park. Both men had lined up significant support from organized labor.
Doody vacancy Less frenzied and noticed was the other race in the 15th judicial subcircuit, to fill the Doody vacancy. Orland Park resident Patrick Kevin Coughlin fought his way to victory in a fairly tight race. With all 291 precincts reporting, Coughlin finished with 6,694 votes (44 percent), besting Flossmoor resident and incumbent Judge Diana Embil, who trailed with 6,198 votes (40.74 percent), and Orland Park resident John S. Fotopoulos bringing up the rear with 2,321 tallies (15.26 percent).
By a margin of a single vote, voters who live in unincorporated Palos Township defeated the electrical aggregation referendum on Tuesday’s Illinois primary election ballot —473 No votes to 472 Yes votes, or 50.05 percent to 49.95 percent. Those are unofficial vote tallies reported on election night by the Cook County Clerk’s Office. The official canvas of vote totals is conducted at a later date. Palos Township Supervisor Colleen Schumann, who had supported passage of the referendum, agreed that it was stunning that it should be defeated by only one vote. “It’s so surprising, too, because it was predicted to result in savings of 8 to 9 percent” on residents’ electricity bills, she said when reached for comment on election night. Voters in Palos Park, Palos Heights and Orland Park handily passed municipal electrical aggregation referendums that appeared on the ballots in those suburbs in the 2012 March primary election two years ago. Officials of those towns have all reported savings on residents’ utility bills since making the switch from ComEd to other power suppliers. “I’m disappointed,” Schumann said of the different result in Palos Township in this election. “We could have saved them money.” Turnout on the ballot question was only 14.23 percent of voters, and Schumann pointed to that as a possible reason for the referendum’s narrow defeat. “If people are not educated on an issue they automatically vote no.”
Evergreen Park will continue to make village-owned facilities Americans with Disabilties Act compliant using Community Development Block Grant funds it receives this year. The village board on Monday agreed to apply for the funding, which it expects to receive in about six months, Mayor Jim Sexton said. The village has received approximately $1 million in CDBG funds over the past five years, but finding uses for the money is getting tougher because of program’s limitations, he said. “It’s getting difficult,” Sexton said. For example, the program maintains on its website that “not less than 70 percent of CDBG funds must be used for activities that benefit low- and moderate-income persons. In addition, each activity must meet one of the following national objectives for the program: benefit low- and moderate-income persons, prevention or elimination of slums or blight, or address community development needs having a particular urgency because existing conditions pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community for which other funding is not available.” Evergreen Park has used the money to renovate the senior center, 9547 S. Homan Ave., which was formerly a church, as well as the community center, 3450 W. 97th St. “This year our plan is to make (the facilities) more ADA compliant,” Sexton said. The mayor expects the village to receive about $100,000 this year. “We always try to get something,” Sexton said.
Video gaming has been boosting revenue for the City of Hickory Hills and its businesses. During the video gaming’s first full year in in the city in 2013, annual net profits reached a total of $127,000. Out of the $127,000, $38,000 was distributed to the State of Illinois with five percent going to Hickory Hills, leaving $88,000 to be split evenly between the video gaming machine vendor and the location provider of the machines. “This has brought in a tremendous amount of revenue for our local city’s businesses,” City Treasurer, Dan Schramm said during a recent committee meeting. In January, 2013, the city had video gaming in seven machines in two locations totaling a net profit of $717. Last December, video gaming had increased to nine locations throughout Hickory Hills with a combined number of 37 machines, totaling a net profit of $5,900. “As you can see, increasing the number of locations and machines increased the revenue dramatically from the start of 2013 in January through December,” Schramm added. The city receives a five percent share on the total net profit monthly from each location, with 30 percent of the total net profit going to the State of Illinois. The city’s year-to-date grossed revenue from video gaming stands at $4,200. Jan. 2014, the city saw in increase of interest again in video gaming as three more locations introduced the machines, resulting in 48 machines in 12 locations throughout Hickory Hills, totaling in a net profit of $6,300. Schramm added two of the locations that added video gaming machines in January failed to see any profits; Les Brothers, 7730 W 95th St., due to its closing for renovations as a result of a kitchen fire, and Stella’s Place, 8067 W 95th St., for opening later on during the month. “Les Brothers actually lost money for purchasing the machines when they did,” Schramm said. The city received a total of 15 application listings for video gaming, with 12 locations running actively. Three of the locations are still pending approval or awaiting the machines. The 12 active gaming locations are: Great Wall Restaurant, 8110 W 95th St., Janosiak’s Banquets, 9126 S. Roberts Rd., Stella’s, 8067 W 95th St., Kowal’s, 9401 S Roberts Rd., Dirty Sock, 9300 S. Roberts Rd., Roadhouse, 9090 S. Roberts Rd., Aunt D’s, 8703 W 95th St., Primetime, 7750 W 95th St., Les Bros Restaurant, 7730 W 95th St., Nick & Vito’s, 9644 S. Roberts Rd., Cravens, 8833 W. 87th St. and Hickory Hills Properties. “Once an application is received, it still takes about 90 days to receive the machines if their application is accepted,” City Clerk, Dee Catizone said before last Thursday’s city council meeting. “If businesses or banquet halls within the city are interested in having these machines up and running come spring or summer time, I suggest they get their applications in soon.” Three businesses are seeing the largest activity from video gaming in their locations: Primetime, Roberts Roadhouse and Janosik Banquets. Besides the two restaurant/bar locations, Mayor Mike Howley noted Janosik Banquets is probably seeing such an excellent turnout in video gaming activity due to wedding receptions, dinner events and other large banquet events hosting a large number of people, especially from out of town. Some locations, including Aunt D’s Wine Bar, 8703 W 95th St., have stopped by at senior citizen events throughout the community handing out coupons and flyers to help promote their businesses. “This brings in residents who wouldn’t normally go into these businesses, or maybe they didn’t even know they were out there, and once they visit them they see and take part in the video gaming,” Howley added. Hickory Hills is hoping for a continued rise in both video gaming activity and locations in 2014. • The council announced the retirement of Deputy Director of Public Works Regan Rice, who has been with the city for 39 years.