Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Garfield Ridge Civic May Call for Mayor Lightfoot to Audit City Water Department

Dissatisfied with ‘lead in drinking water’ explanation

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

Members of the Garfield Ridge Civic League are expected to vote on a resolution calling upon Mayor Lori Lightfoot to investigate the city Water Department.

The vote may be taken at the GRCL’s next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 19 in the community room at TCF Bank, Archer and Austin. All Garfield Ridge residents are invited.

The resolution was drafted after the group’s April meeting, where two Chicago Department of Water Management engineers spoke about elevated levels of lead in drinking water.

In the question and answer period that followed their presentation, GRCL President Henry Pukala said their explanation of how DWM actions appear to have caused elevated levels of lead water in thousands of Chicago homes, is nonsense.

“To me, that’s a bunch of hooey,” Pukala said, adding that the GRCL will contact local elected officials to demand more and better action to address what some call an environmental health scandal.

The GRCL may also reach out to other civic groups across the Southwest Side and rally them to action.

Citywide, more than 130,000 homes have voluntarily participated in the Department of Water Management’s MeterSave program since it was launched in 2009. Central to the program is installation of “smart meters” said to save homeowners money.

In recent months, the DWM’s own data has shown that as much as 20 percent of homes with smart meters have elevated levels of lead in their drinking water.

An investigation launched in 2016 appears to indicate that smart meter installation disrupts the protective orthophosphate coating in water pipes, meaning that lead seeps into drinking water. Just about every single-family home in Chicago built before 1986 has lead pipes running from the water main at the street to the home itself.

Lead is a heavy metal that is toxic. It accumulates in the body and causes brain damage and neurological disorders, especially in children. Federal health authorities have long stated that no level of lead is safe.

For more details, call or text Pukala at (773) 562-0071.

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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Park District outdoor pools, water playgrounds are open for the season

News from the Chicago Park District:

The Chicago Park District’s 48 outdoor pools and the only
inland beach at Humboldt Park are officially open for the season. They will remain open through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., unless otherwise posted.  

Admission is free to Park District pools, but fees vary for lap swim and instructional classes.
The Chicago Park District has 28 indoor pools and 49 outdoor pools. It also runs swimming programs at 14 Chicago Public School indoor pools that offer community programming. Most of the indoor pools are open year-round. 

Many pools offer learn to swim lessons, which are free of charge for youth ages 6-17. All "learn to swim" programs are taught by certified American Red Cross water safety instructors. "Learn to swim" is a valuable class that teaches a lifesaving skill and promotes fitness and safety. For more information about the "learn to swim" and all available swim lessons, click here.

Swimming programs with nominal fees are also offered for toddlers 36 months to 5 years of age and for adults and seniors. For a full list of aquatics offerings and other Chicago Park District summer programs, click here.

Many of the Park District pools have accessibility features such as ADA stairs, pool lifts and zero-depth entry.  At a few locations with pool lifts, direct wheelchair access to the pool area may still be limited. 

To find a pool near you and for more information about Chicago Park District pools and programs, click here or call (773) 363-2225.

Humboldt Park Beach, Humboldt Park Beach, located at
1440 N. Humboldt Boulevard, will be sampled seven days a week along with the lakefront beaches and information will be reported to the public via Chicago Park District website and social media accounts, beach hotline, and a color-coded flag system at the beaches.

Water quality conditions can change dramatically from day to day, therefore, faster results provide more accurate information for the public and better protection of public health. For updated information about Humboldt Park Beach, please visit

More than 140 water spray features and 13 water playgrounds are also open for the season at parks across the city. For a complete list, visit

For more information about the Chicago Park District, visit or call (312) 742-PLAY.

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Archer Avenue Cruise a Success

Hundreds of car-loving men, women and children turned out
Friday night, June 14 along Archer Avenue in Garfield Ridge for the annual "Archer Cruise Night" auto show sponsored by the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch and the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce.

Plenty of oohs and aahs as men, women and children showed their appreciation for a wide range of cool, classic vehicles: from modern muscle cars to 100-year-old Fords to a 1950s ambulance to a 1960s VW bus to classic motorcycles to a quirky, custom-built wooden car.

Several food trucks were on hand, doing a brisk business, as the success of this annual event picks up steam like a drag racer approaching the flag.

Beyond the obvious fun, the purpose of the event was to show everyone that, given a good reason, people from the neighborhood (and beyond) will come to Archer Avenue and spend money--and that therefore, it can easily be a vibrant commercial strip--and is a good choice for businesses looking for a profitable location.

We at the Southwest Chicago Post were there with a camera and are pleased to share a few images.

A great event in one of Chicago's best neighborhoods!

A tip of our cap to the men and women volunteers who worked the event and helped successfully showcase Garfield Ridge as a fun and cool place!

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Garfield Ridge Run is More Than Fun

About building a stronger and safer community

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

A typical 5K run is held for fitness, fun and often to raise funds for a charity.

But the Garfield Ridge Stars & Stripes 5K Run, set for
Saturday, June 29, is all that and something more.

“This is more than a race—it’s basically a community challenge,” said Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch President Al Cacciottolo, whose crime-fighting organization is a supporter of the effort. “We want as many people as possible to run in the race—but for those of us who are not in shape to run a race like that, we want everyone to step away from the TV, the computer, whatever, and go out to the curbs of the course and cheer on the runners, and get outside and meet each other. A secure neighborhood starts with good people making connections, of getting to know each other and look out for each other.”

A number of the runners will be police officers, firefighters and active-duty military, he added.

“That’s one reason this is being held when it is,” Cacciottolo added. “It’s just before the Fourth of July, and it follows the annual Patriot’s Day Parade (set for Friday, June 28 this year). In a way, it’s an opportunity for our community to step outside and thank those men and women who protect us.”

The race will start and end at Wentworth Park, 57th and Narragansett. The course stretches as far west as Nordica Avenue, as far east as Merrimac, and between 56th and 59th Streets.

Opening horn sounds at 8 a.m., and an awards ceremony in the park at 9:30 will end the morning’s action.

The entire event is a product of Tri-Builders, a non-profit youth triathlon team that since its founding in 2013 has worked to encourage boys and girls to embrace physical fitness, said Juan Ortega, a founder of the group, whose teenage daughters are members of the group.

A catcher and outfielder for Kelly High School back in the 1990s, Ortega today participates in distance running and related events.

This year's event honors the memory of CFD diver
Juan Bucio
Juan Bucio, a Clearing resident who died a hero last year, while trying to save another person's life.

Donations made in honor of Juan Bucio can be made by visiting

All proceeds will go directly to the 100 Club of Chicago.

Participants must be capable of maintaining a 16:00/mile pace for the 5K run. There are multiple categories for adult runners and for youths.

Entry fee is $30 for adults, $20 for children age 12 and younger. Registration and more information can be found at

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Monday, June 10, 2019

St. Sym's Family Fest Coming in July!

Our friends at St. Symphorosa Parish want everyone to know about their 25th Silver Jubilee Family Fest, coming up in July.

Big family fun! Thrilling carnival rides, games of skill and chance, lots of delicious food and thirst-quenching beverages, plus a great lineup of live entertainment.

Mark your calendar now and don't miss it. Round up your family, friends and neighbors and head on over to 62nd and Austin!

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Friday, June 7, 2019

Crime News Update

Editor's note: The crime news reported by the Southwest Chicago Post---taken directly from Chicago Police Department incident reports---is not by any means an exhaustive catalogue of all crime reported in the Chicago Lawn (8th) District. For example, it typically does not include news of crimes committed in the eastern sectors of the district---because the Southwest Chicago Post's coverage area is primarily the neighborhoods that border Midway Airport and secondarily because including the relatively large volume of crime news from elsewhere in the district would be a logistical challenge. We make this note to offer a little helpful perspective and remind everyone that while crime is definitely a concern in all parts of the district (as it always has been), crime remains relatively low overall in the western section of the district. May all of us work together diligently to keep it that way. May all of us also remember that a person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Knife was at my throat, man says
A 48-year-old Chrysler Village man told police he was robbed at knifepoint in the alley behind 5751 W. 63rd St. at about 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 21. The victim said he had just bought a cup of coffee at a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts and was walking through the alley when a robber approached from behind and put a knife to his throat before taking his cellphone and $275 cash. The bandit then ran to a white vehicle with no license plate, which then sped away. He was described as a Hispanic man about 5-foot-7, wearing all black clothing.

Claim man punched woman in the face
James Montenegro

A 25-year-old Little Village man was charged with domestic battery and aggravated assault after he allegedly punched a woman in the mouth during an argument in the 5700 block of West 64th Place at 1:48 a.m. Sunday, May 26.

James Montenegro, of the 2300 block of South Central Park, was taken into custody at the scene.

According to public records, Montenegro has been arrested five times by CPD since 2014 on such charges as cannabis possession and obstructing identification.

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Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in and/or own a business in Beat 812 (see map) make plans to attend your next CAPS meeting, set for 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 12 at the Clearing Branch Library, 6423 West 63rd Place. Hear updates on crime in your neighborhood and learn how you can work with neighbors and police to make the community safer and better for all.

* * *

Say man violated order of protection
Benny Mena-Gomez

A 22-year-old Little Village man was charged with violating an order of protection after he was arrested inside a residence in the 5700 block of South Kenton at 2 a.m. Thursday, May 23.

Benny Mena-Gomez, of the 2700 block of South Lawndale, was apprehended without incident. Police declined to elaborate.

Say man burglarized home on his own block
Demetrius Redd

A 33-year-old Scottsdale man was charged with burglary after he was arrested on the street in the 8500 block of South Pulaski at 7:04 p.m. Monday, May 20.

Demetrius A. Redd, of the 8500 block of South Karlov, allegedly burglarized a house on his own block and was pointed out by a victim.

He also was wanted on two warrants, although police declined to say what he was wanted for or what jurisdiction issued the warrants.

According to public records, Redd has been arrested four times by CPD in the last four years—once for violating an order of protection.

Big burglary haul at Beverly Country Club
Burglars broke into a maintenance building at the Beverly Country Club, 87th and Western, and stole an estimated $40,000 worth of equipment, including utility vehicles, lawn mowers, weed trimmers, leaf blowers, water pumps, a power washer and other items. The crime was reported to police at 6:48 a.m. Sunday, May 19 by a facility manager, about two hours after it was discovered.

Bust Blue Island woman on shoplifting rap
Odaiche Okasili

A 43-year-old Blue Island woman was charged with retail theft after she allegedly stole merchandise from a store at the shopping center at 87th and Kedzie.

Odaiche Okasili, of the 13800 block of South Western, was apprehended at the scene after an employee pointed her out to police, who would not say which store was involved nor what allegedly was stolen.

According to public records Okasili has been arrested three times by CPD in the last three months, all on retail theft charges.

Claim man swiped stuff from 7-Eleven
Antonio Wright

A 19-year-old Oak Lawn man was charged with retail theft after he allegedly stole merchandise from the 7-Eleven at 5953 W. 63rd St. at 10:42 p.m. Saturday, May 18.  

Antonio D. Wright was apprehended at the scene.

Police declined to say what exactly Wright allegedly stole.

According to public records, Wright has been arrested four times by CPD in the last six months, on such charges as domestic battery and criminal trespass to vehicles.

Claim man would not leave Jewel-Osco
Joseph Holubek

A 45-year-old Clearing man was charged with criminal trespass to land after he allegedly refused to leave the Jewel-Osco near Archer and Mayfield at 9:47 a.m. May 24.

Joseph Holubek, of the 6000 block of South Massasoit, was apprehended without incident. 

According to public records, Holubek has been arrested 11 times by CPD since 2017, on such charges as domestic battery (four times), violating an order of protection and retail theft.

Man hit with domestic battery rap
Rogelio Torres

A 28-year-old Clearing man was charged with domestic battery and violating an order of protection after he allegedly hit another man during an argument at 1:45 a.m. Wednesday, May 15.

Rogelio Torres, of the 6500 block of West 63rd Street, was arrested at his home. A CPD spokesman declined to offer further details.

According to public records, Torres has been arrested three times by CPD since 2014, on such charges as burglary, theft, criminal trespass to a vehicle and theft of services.

Claim Bridgeport man drove drunk
Giovanni Lugo

A 25-year-old Bridgeport man was charged with DUI and obstruction of traffic by a motorist after police discovered his vehicle sitting in the middle of the 5200 block of South Keating at 2:22 a.m. Friday, May 17.

Giovanni Lugo, of the 2900 block of South Quinn, also was charged with driving on a suspended license and transportation of open alcohol in a vehicle. Police declined to say what alcohol was allegedly transported.

Bust Gary man who allegedly threatened bar employee

A 24-year-old man from Gary, Ind. was charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly
Jeric Addo
threatened an employee of the bar attached to Lindy’s/Gertie’s, 6544 W. Archer, at 3 a.m. Sunday, May 19.

Jeric B. Addo was apprehended at the scene. An employee told police that Addo walked into the bar but was told that it had closed for the night. Addo then allegedly claimed he had a gun, then a knife, before police arrived and arrested him.

According to the police report, no weapon was recovered.

Witnesses told police that Addo and several companions were intoxicated and had been thrown out of several bars west of Lindy’s/Gertie’s, as well as the 7-Eleven at Archer and Nashville, before police were called by the employee of the bar at Lindy’s/Gertie’s. 

According to public records, Addo has been arrested three times by CPD since 2014, on charges that included intoxication and retail theft.

Nab Little Village man on MDW trespassing rap

A 30-year-old Little Village man was charged with criminal trespass to land after he was
Fred Sepulveda-Sanchez
arrested in a parking garage at Midway Airport at 1:25 a.m. Friday, May 17.

Fred Sepulveda-Sanchez, of the 3000 block of South Drake, was apprehended without incident. A charge of theft was added after he was found to be in possession of another person’s wallet, police said.

According to public records, Sepulveda-Sanchez has been arrested four times by CPD in the past 15 months on such charges as retail theft, possession of a stolen vehicle and drinking alcohol on the public way.

Bust employee of game store
A 24-year-old Brighton Park man was charged with misdemeanor theft after he allegedly stole customer cash deposits from his employer, an electronic game store in the 5100 block of South Pulaski. William H. Patterson, of the 4600 block of South Talman, was arrested at the store at 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 14. Police did not say how exactly how much was allegedly stolen.

Michigan woman allegedly stole from 7-Eleven
Adalis Vera

A 34-year-old woman from Grand Rapids, Mich. was charged with theft after she allegedly stole merchandise from the 7-Eleven at Archer and Central at 5:14 p.m. Friday, May 17. 

Adalis Vera was apprehended nearby after she was pointed to police, a CPD spokesman said, declining to say exactly what was allegedly stolen.

A charge with identification obstruction was added after Vera allegedly gave a false name to police.

Relative may have committed burglary
Burglars entered a house in the 4900 block of South Lamon and stole two TVs and a video game console. The crime was discovered at about 5 a.m. Wednesday, May 22 by a 35-year-old man who told police he was housesitting for his 55-year-old mother, who is planning to sell the residence. The man told police he suspects a disgruntled relative may have burglarized the home.

Burglars ransack grandma’s home
Burglars entered a home in the 4700 block of South Kedvale, ransacked a bedroom and stole $10 cash off a dresser. The crime was discovered by the victim, an 86-year-old woman, when she returned home at about 7 p.m. Sunday, May 19. She had been away from her home to attend her granddaughter’s high school graduation.

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