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2012 brings bouncing new 'edition'



My name is Amy Richards, president of Regional Publishing, and I would like to welcome you to my ninth annual report.

Greetings from maternity leave! I hope all of you have had a great 2012. Each year in January, I take a look at what we accomplished in the previous year here at Regional Publishing. Very similar to last year we were able to achieve a modest profit in 2012 by maintain our spending cuts put in place a few years ago and producing slight increases in revenue over last year.

I am very glad that despite these challenging times, our readers have continued to value their subscriptions to The Regional News and The Reporter. I believe that is a testament to our hardworking staff and contributing writers. I am truly thankful for the support the members of this community have shown The Regional News and The Reporter Newspaper. We will continue to provide you with the news that matters most to you - what is going on in your own backyard.

For me, the most exciting news of 2012 was the birth of my son Sullivan Elliot Chamberlain on December 13. He was 8 pounds 4 ounces and he has been a wonderful addition to our family. We are so excited he is finally here! His arrival gave my husband and I a new appreciation for the holiday season and I hope all of you had a good one.

Top News Stories of 2012

Former Chicago Ridge resident H. Richard Landis, who founded Landis Plastics with his father, Henry, was inducted into the National Plastic Hall of Fame. Landis, who now lives in Burr Ridge, is recognized as an innovator in the plastics industry. The company revolutionized injection molding, made the first Cool Whip containers, and patented the tear-strip 5-gallon bucket.

Students in Evergreen Park School District 124 missed eight days of school in October after teachers went on strike. The Evergreen Park Federation of Teachers struck after contract negotiations with the district stalled. Classes were cancelled between Oct. 2 and 12, and resumed after the teachers' union and the district reached a compromise at an all-night negotiation session.

Construction begins on development of former Evergreen Country Club property. The retail portion of the development will be anchored by Meijer and Menard's, while the recreation portion will feature a dog park, sled hill and disc golf course.

Evergreen Park High School's football team advanced to state semifinals for first time in school history.

The North Palos School District 117 board of education began looking into the possibility of expanding or renovation Conrady Junior High School. The district held an open house at Conrady attended by several hundred residents, many of who expressed their preferences of rebuilding the school. The district is considering placing a referendum for a property tax increase - the money from which would go toward the project - on the spring election ballot.

The reconstruction of 88th Avenue between 87th and 111th streets began in March and was completed Dec. 7. The project required 88th to be reduced to a one-way street for nearly the duration of the project. Work included the addition of curbs and sidewalks, the installation of new storm sewers, and the excavation of a storm-water detention area at 99th Street.

The Metra station, 9525 S. Tulley Ave., was named Patriot Station in honor of the firstresponders and civilians who died in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. A first-responders memorial sculpture had previously been erected at the station.

Adrian Kois of Worth was the second baby born in Cook County in 2012. Adrian was born to Celina and Slawomir Kois one-tenth of a second after midnight on Jan 1. He entered the world after another baby born 1/100 of a second after midnight.

Worth banned using well water for drinking, cooking or bathing because of two separate petroleum spills that occurred in 1993 and 2003. The Illinois EPA has determined water flowing beneath the village is contaminated and cannot be used as a potable water source.

Orland Park village Trustee Brad O'Halloran was named chairman of the Metra commuter rail service in October. He is also a candidate for e-election to his seat on the Village Board on a slate led by Mayor Daniel McLaughlin, who announced his candidacy for a sixth term as mayor in late November.

Baumann's Bakery closed shop for the last time on the last day of June after creating fine baked goods in Palos Heights for nearly 29 years. Owner Cathy Baumann's decision to close the beloved bakery, 12248 S. Harlem Ave., came a few weeks after an auto, driven by an 84-year-old Orland Park woman, crashed through its front plate-glass window.

Corrosion caused a pipeline burst on Aug. 27 that shut down a section of Route 83 in Palos Park for five days. It spilled 32,000 gallons of jet fuel in the soil and ditch west of Highwood Drive and 250 to 500 gallons into the Calumet-Sag Channel.

Awards

The Regional News won an award for editorial excellence in 2012. This brings the total amount of awards on The Regional's "Wall of Fame" to 689.

Sports Editor Ken Karrson's work was honored with a first place award in the category of Headline Writing from the Illinois Press Association.

Bob Jaderberg, earned a second place award for The Reporter from the Illinois Press Association in the category of Single News story. He received the award for this story "Girl fails to arrive home from first day of school."

New Equipment Purchased

In 2012 we updated some of our older computers and also made a significant investment into new software systems for circulation management.

***

My parents, Charles and Gerri Richards, still live in Palos Heights and enjoy several summer visits to their home in Iron River, Wis.

Q: Why have we been making this annual progress report every year for the past 47 years, since Regional Publishing is a private family-owned corporation?

A: The success of our company, like few other businesses is dependent upon the support of the majority of the families in each of the communities we serve. You have placed your trust in us and we promise to bring you a comprehensive progress report each year.

Uncivil War

Guest Column

By Don White
Contributing Columnist

Nothing could have prepared America - North or South - for what the year 1862 would bring. Both sides were busy building large armies that would face each other on battlefields across the country. (Most battles were fought in southern states.)

At Shiloh, a small hamlet in Tennessee east of Memphis and north of Corinth, Miss., the armies of Gens. Albert S. Johnston and Ulysses S. Grant met on Sunday morning, April 6. When the fighting ended on April 7 it ended the bloodiest battle that had ever been fought on U.S. soil, with more than 24,000 people killed, wounded and missing.

The battle was a terrible loss for the South, as early in the afternoon on the first day Johnston was shot in the right leg and died from loss of blood. For the north, Grant had his back to the river at Pittsburg Landing when fighting ended on the first day. Many in the north said Grant was drunk and only won the battle because Buell's army arrived in time. Grant was not drunk, but the arrival of Buell's army certainly played a huge part in the victory. But I don't believe Grant would have retreated even if Buell's army had not come up in time.

By early March, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln had had enough of Gen. George McClellan as general-in-chief and relieved him from those duties. (Lincoln and Stanton would now attempt to handle this job.)

The general would still command the Army of the Potomac with more than 100,000 troops at his disposal. The army began moving via the Virginia Peninsula. Lincoln was concerned for the safety of the capital, so he made sure there were enough troops to protect the city.

All of this strategy and troop movements were leading up to Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign and McClellan's Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days' Battles. The wounding of Gen. Joseph Johnston on May 31 during the fighting at Seven Pines resulted in the promotion of Gen. Robert E. Lee to command of the army. At one point the Union army had pushed to within six miles of the Confederate capital of Richmond, Va.

Soon after his appointment, Lee had his troops building earthworks around Richmond. Soldiers and citizens alike dubbed him "The King of Spades." Things changed as Lee led the army through the Seven Days' Battles and drove the Union Army away from the capital. This change in command would do more than anything to prolong the war.

After the first of the Seven Days' battle, McClellan telegraphed Secretary Stanton and said, in part, "I have seen too many dead and wounded comrades to feel otherwise than that the government has not sustained this army. . . . If I save this army now, I tell you plainly that I owe no thanks to you or any person in Washington." (Lincoln and Stanton did not see these words until much later as the telegraphic supervisor thought they were treasonous and deleted them from the message.)

Although McClellan scored a victory at Malvern Hill, the last battle of the Seven Days', he would not follow up his success unless and until he received 100,000 more troops. Needless to say he did not get them, as Lincoln had none to send.

The success of Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign prevented Washington from sending re-enforcements to Mc- Clellan. After Jackson defeated Banks in a series of battles, Lincoln sent Gens. Fremont and Shields to trap and defeat Jackson. Of course, this did not happen, as Fremont was defeated on June 8 at Cross Keys, and on June 9 Shield's command was defeated at the Battle of Port Republic. (James Shields was the only man to challenge Abraham Lincoln to a duel; the duel was never fought.)

A general out west by the name of John Pope had earned fame that brought him to Lincoln's attention. He was called east and given command of the newly formed Army of Virginia. These were troops taken from the commands of McDowell, Banks and Sigel. With his new assignment Pope had command of all the troops in the east except those of McClellan.

Lincoln and Stanton realized that they could not continue to function dually as generalin- chief of all armies. Lincoln called Gen. Henry Halleck from the west to fill that position.

"Old Brains," as he was called, held this post until Grant replaced him in March of 1864.

At that time Halleck was demoted to chief-of-staff.

Fighting took place in some places that we all remember and others in remote areas that are little known or written about. In the east: Second Bull Run/Second Manassa, Aug. 29 to 30; Antietam/ Sharpsburg, Sept. 17 (the bloodiest single day in the Civil War with over 26,000 killed wounded and missing); and Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, were the main ones. In the west: The fall of New Orleans to Commodore Farragut's Fleet, April 25; Perryville, Oct. 8; and Stones River/Murfreesborough, Dec. 29 to 30.

Throughout the year, as battles were won and lost, generals rose and fell - more in the north than the south - Lincoln tried to find someone who could fight and win. When Gen. Fremont refused to serve under Pope, he was relieved of his duties and soon after resigned. After the Second Battle of Bull Run, General Pope was gone, as was Gen. McDowell and Gen. Porter, the latter who was later placed under arrest. He was found guilty and dismissed fromthe service. After Antietam, McClellan rode off into the sunset only to resurface to run against Lincoln in the 1864 presidential election. On election day McClellan, resigned his commission, and soon after he lost the election left for an extended stay in Europe.

Buell was relieved of command soon after the Battle of Perryville.

Next week: Part II

Don White is the author of "Facts, Quotes and Anecdotes of the Civil War: A Perpetual Calendar of Civil War Times and Events." He lives in Palos Hills.

Remembering our Presidents

Guest Column

By Don White
Contributing Columnist

During February, as we celebrate President's day, I felt it was important to remember something about a few of those 43 men who have served as president. Most of us know something about Washington and Lincoln, but did you know that two others were born in February?

George Washington: born Feb. 22, 1732 - died Dec. 14, 1799. Our first President served from 1789 to 1797 and gave the shortest inauguration speech.

William H. Harrison: born Feb. 9, 1773 - died April 4, 1842. Our ninth President served only one month as he had contracted pneumonia late in March and died on April 4. He gave the longest inauguration speech. His grandson, Benjamin Harrison, was our 23rd president from 1889 to 1893.

Abraham Lincoln: born Feb. 12, 1809 - died April 15, 1865. Our 16th President had just begun his second term when on the night of April 14, 1865, he was shot by John Wilkes Booth and died the next morning.

Ronald W. Regan: born Feb. 6, 1911 - died June 5, 2004. Our 40th President is the only one to be born in Illinois and the oldest man ever to be elected to the office.

While growing up in Peoria it was easy for school kids to learn the first five presidents in order. The downtown streets were named, starting from the Illinois River:

Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe. Then, of course, the sixth president was John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams. So we have had two families with father and son presidents.

Did you know that Martin Van Buren was the first person born in the United States to become president? Did you know the Roosevelts were distant cousins?

About half of the 43 men were lawyers and more than half served in the military including Lincoln who served for a time as a captain in the Illinois Milita during the Black Hawk Indian War. The men who are most remembered for their military service are Washington, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.

As I said, Reagan was the only man born in Illinois to become president. Others who lived in Illinois and either ran for president or vice president were Lincoln, Grant, Steven A. Douglas, Adlai Stevenson I (VP), William J. Bryan (1896, 1900 and 1908), Charles Dawes (VP), and Adlai Stevenson II (1952 and 1956).

So you think politics is wild now? How about the presidential election of 1800 where John Adams ran against Thomas Jefferson? Jefferson and his running mate, Aaron Burr, tied in the electoral college vote as each member was allowed two votes. Jefferson finally won on the 36th ballot of the House of Representatives. (This early flaw in the Constitution was soon corrected.)

While sitting as vice president, Burr fought a duel with Alexander Hamilton. The duel was fought on July 11, 1804 on the Island of Weehawken, N.J. Hamilton was killed and Burr was not charged with murder. Did you know that Lincoln was once challenged to a duel by James Shields? It was never fought.

We have had nine "accidental" presidents - vice presidents, many of whom would have never attained the office of president on their own. There were eight deaths, of which four were by assassination and one by resignation. Two others were almost impeached, Andrew Johnson and William Clinton, so we could have had 11 accidental presidents. Some of them did well while others did not. A list of presidential ratings that I saw had two of the nine rated as near greats. They were Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman.

During the Civil War there were seven men who served in the military and later became president. Two of these were accidental presidents, but they never saw action in the field. Andrew Johnson was appointed military governor of Tennessee by Lincoln. Chester Arthur served the state of New York as inspector general and quartermaster. The other five were Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley.

Some other presidential facts:

Herbert Hoover was the first president born west of the Mississippi River.

Ronald Reagan was the only president to be divorced. He appointed the first female Supreme Court justice, Sandra Day O'Connor.

Woodrow Wilson became blind in his right eye in 1895. He is the only president buried in Washington, D.C., at the Washington National Cathedral.

John Calvin Coolidge is the only president to be born on the Fourth of July. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826.

William Taft was the largest president - over 300 pounds.

James Madison was the smallest president - about 100 pounds.

Chester Arthur, one of the accidental presidents, sold wagon loads of furniture from the White House for $8,000 - not realizing that they were priceless.

Garfield was the last of seven presidents to be born in a log cabin.

Ulysses S. Grant's real name was Hiram Ulysses Grant. His name was changed when the application to West Point submitted by his congressman listed him as Ulysses S. Grant.

As many of you know, my interests are of Lincoln and the Civil War, so I will close with a few thoughts about our 16th president. Did you know that Abraham and Mary Lincoln never had their picture taken together? Likewise, there was never one of the Lincoln family until after Lincoln's assassination when many engravers and lithographers created composites. None of these were very well done. Artist Francis B. Carpenter had spent six months at the White House painting the family and members of the cabinet. He was commissioned to do a composite family picture and it stands as the definitive portrait of the Lincoln family that we have.

The latest information that I saw was that there were over 16,000 books written about Lincoln. Carl Sandburg, Winston Churchill, former Sen. Paul Simon, William Herndon (Lincoln's last law partner), and John Nicolay and John Hay (Lincoln's two main secretaries) are a few of the more well-known men who have written about Lincoln.

I ask myself this question over and over as I continue to study Mr. Lincoln: How could someone from those humble beginnings in the backwoods of Kentucky and Indiana, with little formal education, wind up being elected to the highest office in the nation?

Lincoln became a man during his years spent in New Salem from 1831 to 1837. He tried many jobs just trying to keep himself fed and clothed. He also began to study for the law. These were his college days, so to speak. The people elected him to his first of four terms to the Illinois House of Representatives.

In 1836 he passed the bar exam and was issued his law license. Then in 1837 he moved to Springfield and began to practice law with his first partner, John Stuart. So at the age of 28 Lincoln made the most exciting move of his young life. The most ironic thing was the timing of the move; it was that he had already lived half of his life. He was 56 years old when he died. Those last 28 years of his life are amazing to behold. He married Mary Todd and they had four boys. Only Robert would live a full adult life. Edward died at age 3, William died at age 11 and Thomas was 18. The Lincolns lived in Springfield until they moved to Washington, D.C., in 1861. They did spend some parts of two years in Washington when Lincoln served his one term as U.S. representative from 1847 to 1849.

During those Springfield years, Mr. Lincoln became a successful lawyer and the family was content in their house on Eight Street. As we all know, Lincoln could not stay away from politics and by 1858 he was back in action running for senator against Stephen A. Douglas. Even though Lincoln won the peoples vote, he was defeated in the Illinois House and Douglas retained his position as senator from Illinois.

The Lincoln-Douglas debates pushed Lincoln into the forefront of national politics as a Republican candidate for president in 1860. At the time no one would have given him any chance of being nominated, but the rest of the country did not have a clue how politics were played in Illinois. (Not much different than today.)

The Republican Party of Illinois chose Lincoln the "Rail Splitter" as their man and then set about getting the national convention held in Chicago - and the rest is history. He was nominated for president and when the Democratic party split - North and South - and a fourth party joined in. Lincoln's election was assured.

In April 1865, as the war was winding down, the Lincolns planned a night out at the theatre. The Grants and the Stantons were invited to attend, but neither Mrs. Grant nor Mrs. Stanton could tolerate Mrs. Lincoln, so they both declined the invitation.

On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater. He died the next morning at 7:22 a.m. Stanton said, "Now he belongs to the ages." And I think he does.

Don White lives in Palos Hills.

Where is the line drawn on drones?

Inside the First Amendment

By Gene Policinski

Much attention has been focused in recent days on the Obama administration's semi-secret "drone" program and on reports of covert surveillance and lethal attacks on terrorist targets in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The use of such deadly force through the use of remotely piloted aircraft by the U.S. military certainly deserves scrutiny - as does the news media's role in keeping citizens up to date on such overseas programs, secret or not.

But First Amendment and related privacy issues back home in the United States also are raised by the rapid growth and future use of the use of such drones by local government authorities, regulatory agencies or even our fellow citizens.

The Associated Press, New York Times and the Washington Post are all reported to have agreed at differing times since 2011 to withhold the location of a secret drone base established in Saudi Arabia. An Associated Press spokesman said that the wire service agreed to keep silent after U.S. officials make a case that revealing the location would make the base a target of extremists, endangering U.S. personnel directly, and would endanger counter-terror efforts.

AP has noted that it did report on "secret drone operations operating from the region." And there are reports that in 2011, FoxNews.com and the Times of London both reported the creation of U.S. bases in the Horn of Africa region, and in Saudi Arabia.

Some press critics and those opposed to lethal drone strikes have criticized the decisions not to publish the base information as soon as it was known and confirmed. But others have responded with a blunt axiom that has guided such decisions for many journalists through the years: Do you want to risk causing the death of even one American by printing what you know?

There are no easy answers to balancing this concern with the role of a free press as a "watchdog on government."

But beyond that conundrum are a host of other constitutional issues by the rapidly developing technology of drones and pilotless aircraft - some the size of small airliners and others literally as small as a hummingbird - that as citizens we need (pardon the expression) "to keep an eye on."

Even as the "unmanned vehicle systems" industry gather for a conference in suburban Washington, D.C., federal lawmakers and a variety of states are considering legislation to regulate where, when and how much such devices are allowed to gather, record and report.

Potential uses by local police and fire departments include the use of drone aircraft in hostage rescue or lost-child searches, to replace expensive piloted helicopters in daily duty such as traffic and accident reporting, and to track forest fires without endangering human crews. And beyond law enforcement, drones are being touted as easy, inexpensive devices for everything from surveying remote locations to keeping track of crop growth or the spread of agricultural diseases.

But balancing the benefits are concerns ranging from high-tech "peeping Toms" to threats to Constitutional rights.

"Our founders had no conception of things that would fly over them at night and peer into their backyards and send signals back to a home base," said State Sen. Donald McEachin, D-Va., and a sponsor of a bill setting out a two-year moratorium on police and official agency drone use in the state, according to report by Fox News.

Legislation requiring court-issued search warrants in the police use of drones has been introduced in states including Montana, Maine, Oklahoma, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Florida, Oregon and California, according to various news reports.

It isn't science fiction any longer to consider the Orwellian impact on public demonstrations where a government "eye-in-the-sky" linked to facial-recognition software now used in land-based cameras could enable police to identify each person in a march or picket line - and perhaps in the process also "tag" bystanders or journalists. And what should we make of private companies or private investigators someday using airborne devices to monitor workers or to gather evidence on errant spouses?

Privacy concerns about new technology have been around since long before drones entered the headlines. In 1890, future U.S. Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis co-authored a law journal article on the "right to be let alone" in the face of new inventions of the era: photography and mass circulation newspapers.

Brandeis and colleague Samuel Warren warned more than 120 years ago that "numerous mechanical devices threaten to make good the prediction that "what is whispered in the closet shall be proclaimed from the house-tops."

We can only wonder what they would have made of a small camera-and-radio equipped device hovering over those very same rooftops.

Gene Policinski is senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn. Web: www.firstamendmentcenter.org. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Letters to the Editor

Historic opportunity in North Palos 117
Dear Editor:
  On Tuesday, April 9, North Palos District 117 voters will have an historic opportunity to knock down and replace a structurally sound junior high school built in 1965 and modified in 1974 and 2000, to build a brand new school of a little bigger size. This concept of destroying such a facility has been rejected by virtually every district in the state when this choice was put before them.
  There’s a reason for this. Whenever a plan like this has been proposed, it’s been found to be wasteful, uneconomical, and fairly ridiculous by well-informed voters.
  The district’s claim that the destruction and rebuilding of the school is somehow “less expensive” than a renovation and “necessary” falls apart under objective analysis.
  The district added 20 years of assumed maintenance and renovations to the cost of the addition to compare with a completely new school. Even with overestimating addition costs and underestimating the new school costs, the “equalized investment” of the projects don’t meet until 2022. If the difference in spending dollars today for a new school versus a decade from now for maintenance and renovations is considered, the payback will be far longer, if it is ever reached!
  The fact that the school report cards show enrollment has dropped by about 70 students last year also call into question the board’s enrollment growth claims.
  This wouldn’t be the first time that the board has in my opinion misled voters about tax increases. In 2005 it convinced voters that it “needed” a massive tax increase “for the children.” Over the last six years of revenues and expenses provided in the school report cards since the refendum passed, the Board has levied taxes for $11 million more than its spending over that period. The district financial evaluation is provided on the ISBE web site at ftp://ftpfinance.isbe.state.il.st.us/AFRProfile/2012/07016117002.pdf.

  When you consider that hundreds of homes are in foreclosure every year in the district, you have to seriously question the judgement and compassion of the board when it comes to taxing the community.
  The fact is, students’ needs can be met if this referendum is justifiably defeated. The surplus from the unnecessarily large tax increase of 2005 can fund the addition, and life safety funds can be used to address any safety issues in the school.
  Feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for additional information on this ill-conceived project.
Bob Shelstrom
Palos Park

Barker bites back
Dear Editor:
  My name is Lynn Barker née Heveran. I am running for village clerk of Chicago Ridge on April 9. My opponent, George Schleyer, has been publicly attacking my credibility and 12 years of service as a Chicago Ridge School District 127½ board member, and I feel compelled to counter his inaccurate accusations.

  Like all taxpayers, my opponent receives a tax bill that outlines where collected dollars are utilized. Illinois school districts heavily rely upon local property taxes to sustain themselves. During my 12 years on the school board, during which his family was serviced by district 127½, Mr. Schleyer never once approached the board expressing concerns or complaints about the district’s funding or management. One can only assume that my opponent harbored no objections to the operation of the district and was quite accepting of the tax money generated to ensure services by the district for his family. Now that Mr. Schleyer’s family no longer requires the services of district 127½, and since he is running for office against a former school board member, he has now developed a disdain for that he once found agreeable.
  Mr. Schleyer is misrepresenting the facts. His half-baked “warning” about me willfully misleads the community by contending that I turned my back on the taxpayers of our village and single-handedly began imposing unreasonable and unwarranted taxation. I do not personally possess the authority to levy taxation; I merely honor my obligation to pay my fair share of taxes.
  As village clerk, I will proudly serve as a representative and voice for the citizens of Chicago Ridge. To that end, I promise that as Clerk, I will defend the interests of all taxpayers, work diligently to keep taxes low, and responsibly perform my duties.
Lynn M. Barker
Chicago Ridge
 

New junior high Needed
Dear Editor:
  Last November, the board of education of North Palos School District 117 passed a motion to place on the April 9 ballot a referendum that if approved by voters would authorize $30 million bond issue for the purpose of building a new Conrady Junior High.
  Why did I vote to place the $30 million bond issue on the ballot? There are numerous reasons, however, the most important ones to me are:
  1) As a 117 board of education member, I took an oath to provide the best educational opportunities for more than 3,100 students. We need a new junior high to continue our outstanding programs.
  2) Conrady renovations to upgrade and maintain the current building would cost millions of dollars and certain areas like narrow hallways and the limited number of classrooms would remain the same.
  3) Our current curriculum will suffer throughout the district because monies that fund our excellent programs will have to be spent on fixing the old Conrady; excellent programs that enabled Glen Oaks to achieve the covenant Blue Ribbon Award earlier this year.
  4) If the bond issue passes, home values likely will rise and more families will seek to move into the District 117 community because of our schools and successful programs. This will benefit every home owner and renter.
  5) Historically, low interest rates make an excellent time to borrow money. Also, the need for new construction at a time when most companies are looking for work will allow us to obtain the most competitive pricing opportunities.
  Our community will grow and continue to be a favorable destination to live as long as the schools continue performing at high levels. Everyone has to make an individual choice regarding the bond issue on April 9th. Please consider all the reasons before making your final decision.
Tom Kostes,
President
North Palos School Dist. 117
Board of Education

Dear Editor:
  Why I Support the Conrady Junior High School modernization referendum.
  On April 9th voters residing in School District 117 have an opportunity to approve a referendum to fund much needed improvements to Conrady Junior High School. Conrady was built in 1965 and there have been additions to the building in 1973, 1979 and 2000. Due to a more than 20 percent increase in the student population over the last 15 years, District 117 this year installed four mobile classrooms in the parking lot to add teaching space. Despite the same school boundaries, projections indicate that the enrollment growth will continue for the foreseeable future. While the increased enrollment is a clear sign of the vitality of our community, this has caused significant overcrowding in an already outdated junior high building.
  As many of you know, the school district recently has funded necessary facility improvements to Glen Oaks, Oak Ridge and Sorrick Schools. Over the last few years I have heard from parents and school district officials that Conrady is woefully inadequate, outdated and in dire need of significant improvements. While I was not necessarily skeptical of these claims, I certainly felt it necessary to see for myself. During a recent open house, I walked throughout the school and realized that it has not changed much since 30 years ago when I was in junior high. On the evening that I toured the school we had a significant rain earlier that day. One of the science classrooms had water streaming down a wall through a leak in the roof and there appeared to be mold in a corner of the ceiling. The other classrooms, cafeteria and music room were all quite outdated and very cramped. Indeed, reports are accurate that the overcrowding has resulted in teachers utilizing storage rooms and non-instructional space for instruction.
  In my opinion, the current junior high building truly fails to provide our children with an adequate educational environment relative to most junior high schools in the area. Despite the estimated cost to homeowners, I believe that the substandard facilities and increasing enrollment projections are compelling reasons to support the referendum. It is proven that the strength and stability of a community is directly correlated to the quality of its educational system. I believe that supporting this referendum is the right thing to do at the right time for the children of District 117 and for the future of our community.
Mike Howley
Mayor, Hickory Hills

Wait ’til next year
Dear Editor:
  Maybe we can thank President Barack Obama for his radical socialist views that he has perpretated on our country and which have brought us to this low point in our economy and general malcontent.
  Maybe we needed just this to bring the Republican conservatives together to defend their pinciples once again which define the essence of the American Dream and its historical beginnings. Last weekend we watched the Conservatve Convention defend and define its philosophy as eloquently as I have ever heard them. The young audience was on its collective feet all through those two days especially when they heard statements like “personal responsibility,” “limited government” and” personal freedom”. They knew these are the only guarantee for personal well-being that have inspired our citizens both here and abroad since the country’s beginnings.
  They heard these same sentiments from potential candidates as well as those now in office. This bodes well for 2014.
Mildred Para
Evergreen Park