Friday, March 30, 2012

Today's Parents Ruining Kids With "Too Much, Too Easy, Too Early," Speaker Says

Parents today, overly permissive and indulgent of their children’s whims, are not only setting up their sons and daughters for failure but are jeopardizing the economic future of America, a nationally known motivational speaker told an audience of Southwest Side parents and children earlier this week.

“We give our kids too much, too easy, too early,” said Milton “Bigg Milt” Creagh. “Momma and Daddy, stop it. Absolutely stop it.”

Creagh delivered his straight-talk remarks to an audience of about 75 in the auditorium of Kennedy High School. It was his fourth presentation of the day, having spoken with larger audiences of students at several local public elementary schools.

Raised in the South Side’s Englewood neighborhood, Creagh drew contrasts between parent/child relationships of 40 years ago and today.

“Today, we buy kids crap all year long; and then at Christmastime we have to throw toys away just to make room for the new toys,” Creagh said. “When our kids are old enough to drive, we buy them cars. Not the kind of used cars we had when we were their age. We buy them new cars. Nice cars. Expensive cars.”

“Drive past most high schools today,” he continued. “Look at the faculty parking lot, and then look at the student parking lot. Which one has better cars? You guessed it. The student lot.”

“Momma and Daddy, there is something wrong with this country when a snot-nosed kid with no high school diploma, no college degree and no full-time job is driving a better car than his teacher---a person with a high school diploma, a college degree and a full-time job.”

Creagh stated that today’s parents are unwittingly raising the next generation to have unrealistic expectations about success in life. “When you give your child the best, you are starting them off at your level. But what they don’t understand is that mom and dad didn’t start there. It took mom and dad years to build themselves up to that point. But kids don’t buy into the concept of taking time and effort to build themselves up, because they weren’t taught that. They were taught they can have everything now. So when they go out into the world, they discover they can’t instantly recreate their parents’ level of income, so they feel like failures. That helps explain why 50 percent of your kids will end up living with you, as a dependent.”

Creagh chided parents who do not require their children to regularly do chores around the house; and parents who do assign chores, but pay their kids to do them.

“What we have produced in this country is a generation that is smart but lazy,” he said, “and that has very serious and negative consequences for our economic future.”

Noting the title of his new book (“Nobody Wants Your Child”), Creagh stated, “If you don’t teach your child to respect money and to budget money---and if you don’t teach your child how to work, no employer will want your child.”

He offered anecdotal evidence to argue that many employers in the U.S. today do not want to hire American-born teenagers of any race, preferring instead to hire immigrants who they see as having a much stronger work ethic.

“And beyond that, you know who employers prefer to hire these days?” he asked. “Senior citizens and people who are mentally challenged. Why? Because they are dependable. They show up on time, and they work hard.”

Creagh incorporated his own family history (his great-grandfather was a former slave who risked imprisonment and lynching in Georgia when he violated local laws against teaching African-Americans to read) as he discussed the importance of education as a tool of empowerment. He urged all parents to push their sons and daughters harder to “put in the hours” to succeed academically and become better citizens.

He also spoke out again cyber-bullying, its de-humanizing effects and sometimes deadly consequences.

Creagh’s visit to Chicago was sponsored and paid for by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, as part of their national Drug Awareness Program (DAP). The Elks have partnered with Creagh to implement his “UR Choice UR Voice” training program to educate teens about the dangers of drug abuse and motivate them to make responsible and healthy choices in life. His talks on better parenting are designed to support the messages he delivers to teenagers.

“This is important work, and we are pleased to partner with Milt,” said Elks DAP Assistant Director Frank J. Burr. “He is a great speaker and motivator who makes a strong and positive impact on both students and parents. He fits in well with DAP, which is the largest voluntary drug awareness program in the U.S., and which reflects the Elks’ ongoing commitment to eliminating drug abuse.”

Creagh’s visit also was made possible through the efforts of Garfield Ridge resident Tina M. Haran, Illinois Elks Association convention coordinator and secretary of the Elks’ Oak Lawn Lodge 2254; and Kinzie School Principal Martin W. McGreal. Haran is the mother of a Kinzie student.

"We are grateful that Bigg Milt joined us today," McGreal added. "While his message about coddling children is blunt, he is also very supportive of parents who accept his challenge to set and enforce rules designed to push their sons and daughters toward lives as responsible, self-sufficient, successful adults."

"We are also grateful for all the Elks do with our local elementary schools---not only through their Drug Awareness Program, but through their work with Honor Flight Chicago, teaching students about the importance of supporting our nation's military veterans."

For more information on the Elks’ DAP, visit

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Tix Still Available For This Saturday's "Spring Swing"

Chances to win an $8,000 raffle prize, as well as bid on a wealth of interesting and valuable auction items, are still available for St. Joseph School's annual Spring Swing, set for the evening of Saturday, March 31 at European Chalet, 5445 South Harlem Avenue.

“This is one of our most enjoyable fundraisers of the year, and an important one for the boys and girls of our school,” stated St. Joseph School Principal Lawrence Manetti. “We invite all friends of the school---alumni, alumni parents, our local business community and others---to purchase tickets right now and then join us this Saturday evening for great food, lively entertainment including a Rat Pack tribute, and an exciting auction of some truly outstanding items.”

“Spring Swing will feature nearly 70 raffle baskets and 20 auction items, so it’s fair to say that just about everyone will go home with a unique and valuable prize,” he added.

Auction items include tickets to a Madonna concert, an American Girl doll, Disney “park hopper” passes, a Caribbean vacation package (St. Lucia and Antigua), a Nook color reader, a digital camera, golf clubs and golf package, a genuine Harley Davidson helmet, Panera Bread for a year, tickets to some of Chicago’s best theaters and restaurants, and more.

Cocktails will be served at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, with dinner served at 7:30 p.m.

Admission/dinner tickets are $40 each, or two for $75. A table of 10 is $375.

Grand Raffle tickets are $100 each----with only 200 being sold to maximize the odds of winning one of the prizes: $8,000 grand prize, $2,000 second prize, $1,000 third prize, and $500 fourth and fifth prizes.

Spring Swing tickets will not be available at the door, but are on sale this week on a pre-sale basis. To purchase tickets, contact the school office, 5641 South 73rd Avenue, Summit, 708-458-2927; or the St. Joseph Parish rectory, 7240 West 57th Street, Summit, 708-458-0501.

For nearly a century, St. Joseph School has provided a Catholic elementary education to boys and girls in Garfield Ridge, Summit and other communities.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Local Crime Roundup

Chicago Lawn (8th) District Map
Editor's note: The crime news reported by the Southwest Chicago Post 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 and southern 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 Sector 1. May all of us work together diligently to keep it that way.

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An armed robber made off with $700 after holding up the 7-Eleven at 5953 West 63rd Street at 1:20 a.m. Monday, March 19.

According to police, the offender (a 20-25 year old black man, 5'9 and 130-150 pounds, black curly hair and wearing a black jacket and blue jeans) walked behind the convenience store front counter, hit the 55-year-old clerk in the face with a pistol, and demanded cash.

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Two men snatched a gold chain from the neck of an 86-year-old Clearing man as he was doing yardwork in front of his home near 61st and Mayfield at 10:50 a.m. Tuesday, March 20.

The offenders, driving a 2007-09 black Chevy Silverado, gained the man's confidence by stopping their vehicle in the street, rolling down the windows and calling "Hey, pops" to the victim, who then walked over to the vehicle.

* * *

Burglars kicked in a door and stole an air compressor and assorted tools from a garage near 63rd Place and Nashville sometime during the day on Tuesday, March 20.

A 49-year-old resident of the home discovered the burglary when she returned home at 10:40 p.m.

* * *

Burglars stole a laptop computer, a television, a video player, a radio and a mahogany jewelry box from a home near 51st and Laramie on the morning of Wednesday, March 21.

A 62-year-old resident of the home discovered the burglary when she came home at around mid-day.

* * *

Burglars pried open a side door and stole a battery charger from a garage near 54th and Linder overnight between Wednesday, March 21 and Thursday, March 22.

A 21-year-old resident of the home discovered the burglary at 9:00 a.m. The woman succeeded in thwarting the burglars' attempt to steal her lawn mower and snow blower, which were securely chained in the garage. The woman explained to police that she purchased and used the chain after she was a victim of a past burglary.

* * *

All Southwest Side residents are invited to a Chicago Police burglary prevention seminar set for 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturday, April 21 in the first-floor auditorium of Daley College, 7500 South Pulaski.

Police officers leading the seminar will explain in detail how burglars typically operate: how they choose which home or garage to burglarize----and they will offer a number of practical steps everyone can take to minimize their risk of being a burglary victim. 

Admission and parking are free.

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Marijuana Bust in Garfield Ridge

A citizen call to 911 about alleged gang activity in front of a house in Garfield Ridge led to the arrest last Tuesday night of a 21-year-old man on drug-related charges.

5211 South Normandy
Fernando "Babyface" Diaz was arrested on charges of possession of cannabis, possession of a cannabis plant, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is scheduled to appear in court, 51st and Wentworth, at 1:00 p.m. Friday, May 11.

Police said that they arrived at the house, 5211 S. Normandy, at about 9:40 p.m. and encountered two men on the front porch. While questioning them, the responding officers said they smelled the odor of burnt marijuana wafting from the front door and window, which were open.

After they requested and received consent to search the premises, they found marijuana at various places in the house, including on top of the kitchen refrigerator and at various points in a basement bedroom, including stufffed inside a baby's shoe hanging from a wall. Also recovered in the basement bedroom was a glass pipe used for ingesting narcotics.

Police report that the occupants of the house admitted that the marijuana and pipe were theirs.

The house and its occupants were briefly a topic of discussion about 24 hours earlier, at a meeting of the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch (GRNW).

According to public records, the house is owned Shivraj Nijjar. Efforts by the Southwest Chicago Post to reach Shivraj Nijjar have been unsuccessful thus far.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Strong Turnout at Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch Meeting

A strong turnout at Monday night's meeting of the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch (GRNW) impressed new Chicago Lawn (8th) District Commander David R. McNaughton and made for a lively discussion of crime prevention.

The meeting was held at Valley Forge Park, 7001 West 59th Street.

“Recently, I was at a CAPS meeting for Beats 831 and 832 (east Marquette Park), and there were just eight people from the neighborhood in attendance,” McNaughton said with a note of disappointment. “But tonight, I come here and it’s so crowded I almost couldn’t find a parking spot; and then inside I see a room that is not only full but overflowing into another room. It’s great to see this kind of involvement, and it shows that Garfield Ridge is in good hands."

Commander McNaughton
Most GRNW meetings in 2011 saw about 35-50 people in attendance, most of whom were GRNW members. Monday’s meeting was attended by about 60-70 people, the majority of whom were there for the first time.

“Wow! This is great,” said GRNW President Al Cacciottolo when dozens of hands were raised in response to a question about first-time attendees. “This is the kind of interest we need to continue to build this group and build a better and safer Garfield Ridge for everyone. If you want to get involved in your neighborhood, this (GRNW) is a great way to do it.”

McNaughton, the evening’s featured speaker, offered brief remarks and noted that “index” crimes (such as murder, shootings, robbery, burglary and theft) are at about the same level in Garfield Ridge as they were in 2011. He described that as a good news/bad news situation, and encouraged everyone to join with police in bringing the numbers down.

Because the meeting was running long, McNaughton cut his remarks short so he could field questions. One concerned a situation near 52nd and Normandy, where alleged gang members are renting a house and possibly using it as a base for criminal activity.

GRNW court advocates
When one audience member expressed uncertainty about the people living in the house and whether or not they should call 911, McNaughton responded, “Let’s go from ‘maybe’ calling 911 to calling the police right away. When you do that, you help us build a record; and when we have that, it gives our officers cause to have suspicion and then take appropriate action. So please do not hesitate to let us know about a situation like that.”

“Gangbangers are like rats,” McNaughton continued. “They follow the path of least resistance. If they know the community will not put up with them, they will move on. They will leave."

McNaughton pledged to look into the situation closely and “call in” the house’s owner to ask about the rental.

Cacciottolo added that the GRNW is also aware of the situation. “We’ve handled situations like this three times already; and we’re working with the alderman on this one, too.”

There was also a brief discussion of graffiti that drew an emphatic response from Cacciottolo. “Look, if you see graffiti, particularly gang graffiti, you’ve got to report it right away. Don’t wait for your neighbor to do it. Because if graffiti is up there too long, the gangbangers know they’ve won.”

“We have to do all we can to squelch these gangbangers,” he added. “I always say it’s like a game of Whac-A-Mole. Whenever gangbangers pop up---Bam!---you’ve got to hit them fast. That’s what we’ve been doing in Garfield Ridge, and that’s what all of us need to keep doing."

Other matters discussed at the GRNW meeting included:

 ** praise for the GRNW’s court advocacy efforts, in which local residents attend court proceedings to support local crime victims and witnesses and encourage judges to be tough on crime. Singled out for praise were Arlene White, Peg Forte, Cecelia Loan and Bernadine Buzzelli.

** an update on a court case involving a purported gang member who in 2009 beat a local teenager with a bat. The offender was convicted and is awaiting sentencing. (Editor’s note: a full story on this case will appear in the days ahead, at

** an update on successful efforts to fight companies that tape unsolicited advertising leaflets to garage doors.

** a request from a local woman that police take action against local teens who gather at the railroad tracks south of 59th Street and east of Valley Forge Park. The woman said the teens routinely get drunk, urinate in public and are a general nuisance. Police said they would investigate and respond.

** an update on GRNW efforts to assist a local homeowner of limited means who can’t afford to hire an extermination company to remove raccoons from an attic---after the Chicago Department of Animal Care and Control refused to remove them or provide a trap.

** a discussion of two recent residential burglaries and efforts to apprehend the offenders. In related comments, Cacciottolo urged everyone to attend a Chicago Police burglary prevention seminar set for 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturday, April 21 in the first-floor auditorium of Daley College, 7500 South Pulaski.

Further, the Watch still maintains its toll-free telephone line (1-855-811-TIPS) for Garfield Ridge residents to report non-emergency situations relating to crime.

The GRNW membership roster stands at 77, although many more are supporters but not yet dues-paying members. Full details on how to join the group may be obtained by going online to or by attending the Watch’s next monthly meeting, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 9 in the underground facility at Wentworth Park, 5625 South Mobile.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

New Police Commander in Eighth District Vows Continued Effectiveness Against Crime

Consistent, assertive policing in the Chicago Lawn (8th) Police District---praised by many during the leadership of the late Commander John Kupczyk--- will continue throughout 2012, new Commander David R. McNaughton said recently.

“Our whole structure is designed to reduce crime by setting priorities and intervening early and effectively,” he said. “We know what works, and we will continue in that direction.”

As an example, McNaughton talked about thwarting burglars and other thieves as a means of preventing more serious crime. “We know that a thug is a thug; and chances are, if he has no problem with stealing a car or burglarizing a home, he may have no problem---if he has a gun in his hand---of committing armed robbery or even murder. If we can catch these thugs early on---if, for example, we can take away their cars and get them off the streets---we can prevent a lot of serious crime down the road.”

McNaughton also pledged to maintain the current system of “beat integrity” that has proven popular in much of the district. In recent years, beat integrity has led to improved communication between neighborhoods and local police; and has meant a more consistent police presence throughout the district. In the years before beat integrity was implemented, people in the west end of the district often complained that their neighborhoods were poorly covered when CPD frequently flooded east-end “hot spots” with police resources.

“With some of the additional resources that the Department has provided to us in recent months, we have a rapid-response capability designed to address (hot spots); so we are well positioned to maintain beat integrity throughout the district.”

The new commander praised the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch (GRNW) and similar crime-fighting groups in the area. “These groups, as well as the everyday efforts of individuals to be aware and report suspicious activity promptly, are very important to our overall strategy of reducing crime,” he added.

In fact, McNaughton will speak at the GRNW’s next public meeting, set for 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 19 at Valley Forge Park, 7001 West 59th Street. All Garfield Ridge residents are welcome to attend.

He urged everyone in the district to call 911 promptly to report suspicious activity. “A lot of crime that could have been stopped is not, if only because a neighbor who saw something is reluctant to call because they’re not certain that what they’re seeing is a crime. In a situation like that---if there is any doubt---pick up the phone and call right away. Let us decide what the response should be. We’ll take appropriate action.”

McNaughton grew up in the Jefferson Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side, graduating from Gordon Tech and DePaul University. He is one of 13 children of Norine and (the late) Robert L. McNaughton, a union plumber and Purple Heart veteran of the Korean War.

With more than 20 years of CPD service, Commander McNaughton is the first member of his family to serve as a Chicago Police officer---although he has two younger brothers who followed him onto the force, as well as two others who are Chicago firefighters.

Before his current assignment, he served as commander of the CPD’s Jefferson Park (16th) District for more than two years.

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