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Local News

Assisting with necessary household items during difficult times are Zelda’s Kitchen Witches, a non-profit organization spearheaded by a group of dedicated women who stocked kitchen shelves and counters in Transitional Housing apartments with small appliances, dishes, pots, pans, and everything else that one may need in the kitchen for daily use. (Supplied photos)

Zelda’s Kitchen Witches bring new hope to women in need

By Kelly White For years, the Crisis Center of South Suburbia has been helping women in need. “By the time a victim of domestic violence finds the courage to leave and come to our emergency shelter, they are barely hanging on,” Sarah Tygart, Director of Victim Services at the Crisis Center for South Suburbia, said.…

District 230 Business Services Supt. John Lavelle probed the district’s interest in building a baseball/softball field for special needs students at the Sept. 30 meeting. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

SD230 joins discussion on special needs field in Orland

By Jeff Vorva The Village of Orland Park is not the only government body exploring the possibility of erecting a special-needs baseball/softball field in the village. Consolidated High School District 230 Assistant Supt. for Business Services John Lavelle brought up the possibility of tag-teaming with Orland School District 135 to provide a field for special-need…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau and the board of trustees feel shortchanged with COVID relief money. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park says village shortchanged by feds in rescue plan allocation

By Jeff Vorva Orland Park village trustees and Mayor Keith Pekau are now taking issue with the federal government. After months of taking umbrage with county and state government bodies for various reasons, Pekau and Co. are fed up with the Feds for being allocated $5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act when similar…

Justice village officials get ready to begin last week’s village board meeting. Photo by Carol McGowan)

Justice board appointments inspectors

New ‘smart’ water meters on the way By Carol McGowan The Justice Village Board made two appointments at last week’s meeting and announced new water meters are coming. Jason Horn was appointed electrical inspector, and Edward A. Shilka was appointed framing inspector for the period to end May 15, 2022. Both appointments were unanimous. Clerk…

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New hours for Moraine Valley COVID-19 test sites

New hours for the free COVID-19 testing clinics at Moraine Valley Community College’s sites went into effect this week. The Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) saliva test is being administered in the Moraine Rooms in Building M on the main campus in Palos Hills, and at the extension sites in Blue Island and Tinley…

Khalil Demir works with U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar last year to distribute fresh produce and dairy to those struggling in Minneapolis days after a police officer killed George Floyd. Zakat Foundation of America delivered about 14 tons of fresh produce and dairy in that distribution, part of more than 2.4 million pounds the organization gave in emergency relief in 2020. (Photo courtesy of Zakat Foundation of America)

Zakat Foundation makes its mark on the world

Bridgeview-based Muslim relief agency celebrates 20th anniversary By Jeff Vorva Khalil Demir can’t keep up. How could he? How could anyone? His Zakat Foundation of America turns 20 this year and the generosity of the group is so far-reaching that there is no way he has been able to visit all of the places Zakat…

Teachers Union President Toni Jackman addresses the Lyons School District 103 Board with a list of concerns. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

SD103 teachers union unhappy with district, start of school year

By Steve Metsch The teachers union in Lyons School District 103 is not pleased with COVID-19 cleaning, some paycheck issues and operation of its preschool. Union President Toni Jackman, at the school board’s meeting on Sept. 28, voiced the concerns of the 218 teachers she represents. Three other union members – of the two dozen…

Purple and black bunting mourns the passing of former Lyons mayor Marie Vachata. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Former Lyons mayor Marie Vachata gets a fond farewell

By Steve Metsch Pat Wideman will never forget the first time she met Marie Vachata. “When I first moved to Lyons 50 years ago, she was the very first neighbor who welcomed me to Lyons,” Wideman said while sitting on a bench outside the village hall. Vachata resided two doors down on 46th Street when…

In what could have been the final inning of his life, Midway Baseball Association coach Julian Ortiz (left) needed a pinch hitter to spark a rally. A fellow MBA coach, Lisa Segura (right), did exactly that—donating her kidney and winning the game for Ortiz and his family. --Supplied photo

Late-inning rally

Baseball coach safe at home with new kidney By Kelly White When baseball coach Julian Ortiz learned he would need a kidney transplant, he and his wife, Claribel, were quick to act. For three years, the couple and their four children literally searched the world for a suitable donor; but little did they know the…

U.S. Rep. Marie Newman (D-3rd)

Railroad crossing tie-ups to continue

No 65th Street overpass until 2025 or later, Newman aide says By Dermot Connolly Motorists looking for relief from railroad tie-ups in Clearing will have to wait until the end of 2025 at the earliest, a top aide to U.S. Rep. Marie Newman (D-3rd) told local business leaders last month. “The [Illinois Department of Transportation]…

Joan Hadac

Donna can’t wait, and neither should we

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] The Faith-Based Subcommittee of the CPD’s Chicago Lawn (8th) District is hosting its Police and Families Appreciation Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23 in Kennedy High School’s west parking lot, near 56th and Narragansett. I spoke with Donna…

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Lighting a memory for a fallen comrade

CPD Officer Carlos Yanez Jr. shows the commemorative lantern presented to him recently by Geno Randazzo of All Exterior Contractors, as well as Tracie Ellis, and her daughter, Jennifer New. The battery-powered lantern (inset) includes a likeness of fallen CPD Officer Ella French. Both Yanez and French were shot in the head during a traffic…

Thirteenth Ward Ald. Mary Quinn (wearing dark sport jacket) joins Culver’s officials and frontline crew in cutting the ribbon on the company’s new restaurant at 6541 S. Cicero. --Greater Southwest News-Herald photo by Tim Hadac

Cicero Avenue rebirth marches forward

Culver’s is latest to join parade By Tim Hadac A four-block strip of Cicero Avenue that once stood stagnant in dilapidated ugliness is catching up to its prosperous suburban cousin across the street. Late last week, as Culver’s officials smiled for the cameras and cut the ribbon on their new restaurant at 6541 S. Cicero,…

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda shows a bit of a smile as he addresses Lithuanian-Americans at Nativity BVM Church on Sept. 23. --Greater Southwest News-Herald photo by Kathy Headley

Lithuanians greet president in Marquette Park

Praises keepers of Lithuanian language, culture By Kathy Headley Traffic slowed to a crawl on California Avenue late last week as drivers took notice of the Lithuanian National Guard standing on either side of the Darius-Girenus monument at Marquette Park’s northeast corner. A short walk away, another Guard contingent was lining up in the center…

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Family love in full bloom

On a recent outing to a farm in Indiana, 10-year-old Jesus Gonzalez Jr. used his own money to purchase a giant sunflower to brighten the day of his little sister, 6-year-old Maya. Jesus also bought sunflowers for his older sister, Itzel, and his cousins, Katelynn and Amelia. Jesus is the son of Evy Duran-Gonzalez and…

Detective Ginny Georgantas (center), flanked by Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart (left) and Cook County Sheriff’s Police Chief of Public Safety Leo P. Schmitz. --Supplied photo

Detective who cracked cold-case killing wins int’l award

IDed mom as killer of twin baby boys By Tim Hadac The Cook County Sheriff’s Police detective who solved the cold-case deaths of twin infant boys in Central Stickney has been named the 2021 Officer of the Year by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart recently announced. Detective…

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas

Pappas to refund $25.4 million to taxpayers

Going to property owners who overpaid From staff reports Almost 11,500 property owners who overpaid their First Installment taxes will automatically get back $25.4 million in refunds this month, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas said recently. Almost 4,000 refunds go to homeowners who are receiving property tax exemptions. The value of those exemptions is applied…

pancake100321

Let’s all ‘get behind the vest’

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Hi everyone. I hope you’re enjoying the mild days of September. Fall is here and brings with it many community events I hope you can take part in. Twenty-third Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares, the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch and St. Daniel the…

Young men whooping it up around Mexican Independence Day crawled on a CTA bus, forcing the driver to stop for more than 15 minutes near 47th and Pulaski. --Supplied photo

Partiers trash Pulaski

Mexican Independence Day celebrations ‘out of hand’ By Tim Hadac Crowds of Mexican Independence Day revelers trashed Pulaski Road last weekend, prompting a heavy police response and touching off a firestorm of debate within the Archer Heights neighborhood. The worst of it appeared to occur on Friday night, as revelers—mostly young men—raced cars up and…

Chicago Lawn (8th) District Commander Bryan Spreyne. --Photo by Lorena Paredes/lmpphotography.org

New top cop in 8 outlines vision

People have a right to feel safe, commander says By Tim Hadac The new police commander in the Chicago Lawn (8th) District is assuring residents of his commitment to all communities in the district, including those on its far ends. Commander Bryan Spreyne said he understands the unique needs of Clearing, Garfield Ridge, Ashburn, Scottsdale…

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Illinois News

Report: Nursing homes in crisis with staff shortages

Report: Nursing homes in crisis with staff shortages

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – A new report released Wednesday says staffing shortages at nursing homes in Illinois have reached crisis proportions and that people of color are most at risk of suffering the consequences. That’s because those individuals are more likely to live in understaffed facilities or in “ward” rooms…

Springfield transportation hub to relieve rail congestion

Springfield transportation hub to relieve rail congestion

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – A railway improvement project intended to greatly improve traffic congestion between St. Louis and Chicago reached a milestone Tuesday as work began on a multimodal transportation hub in the capital city. Gov. JB Pritzker was joined at a groundbreaking ceremony by U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and…

CAPITOL RECAP: Congressional redistricting hearings begin

CAPITOL RECAP: Congressional redistricting hearings begin

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – The process of redrawing congressional district maps in Illinois got off to a slow start Thursday when only one person showed up to testify at the first legislative public hearing, which was held in Chicago. Ryan Tolley, policy director for the advocacy group CHANGE Illinois, urged the House Redistricting…

Task force considers changes to qualified immunity for Illinois law enforcement officers

Task force considers changes to qualified immunity for Illinois law enforcement officers

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – A new state task force continued discussions Thursday as to what changes could be made to the way state law approaches qualified immunity for law enforcement officers. Qualified immunity is a court doctrine granting protection for law enforcement officers and other government officials from certain civil…

Only one testifies at first congressional redistricting hearing

Only one testifies at first congressional redistricting hearing

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The process of redrawing congressional district maps in Illinois got off to a slow start Thursday when only one person showed up to testify at the first legislative public hearing, which was held in Chicago. Ryan Tolley, policy director for the advocacy group CHANGE Illinois, urged…

Plaintiffs: New legislative maps dilute Latino vote

Plaintiffs: New legislative maps dilute Latino vote

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Plaintiffs in two lawsuits challenging the state’s legislative redistricting plan have filed new complaints in federal court charging that the district maps that lawmakers approved in August dilute Latino voting power and thus violate the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Mexican…

Officials outline progress in Cairo river port development

Officials outline progress in Cairo river port development

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – A proposed river port development in the southern Illinois town of Cairo is drawing much attention and interest from companies that believe it could open up greater access to international markets, officials behind the project said Tuesday. The Alexander-Cairo Port District project has been on the…

Report details disparities faced by aging LGBTQ Illinoisans

Report details disparities faced by aging LGBTQ Illinoisans

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Many aging LGBTQ Illinoisans face barriers to health care and financial security and fear discrimination in senior communities, according to a combined report from senior and LGBTQ advocacy groups released Tuesday. The Disrupting Disparities: Challenges and Solutions for 50+ LGBTQ Illinoisans report by the senior advocacy…

Law enforcement steps up efforts to fight online child exploitation

Law enforcement steps up efforts to fight online child exploitation

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – State Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined local and federal prosecutors Monday to announce new efforts to combat a rise in online child exploitation in Illinois. The efforts include greater outreach and education for parents and teachers, and a new mobile computer forensics unit that will…

Pritzker order aims to end subminimum wage for disabled people in state contracts

Pritzker order aims to end subminimum wage for disabled people in state contracts

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker signed an executive order Monday that would prevent companies contracting with the state from paying disabled workers at less than the minimum wage. Pritzker took the action in what he said was a broader effort to try to push federal lawmakers to change…

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