Saturday, February 27, 2016

Queen of Peace High School Basketball Team Brings Pride to Hoops Program

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

Congratulations to the Queen of Peace High School
basketball team on a successful 2015-16 season.

Though the girls lost a heartbreaker to Phillips, 43-42 in the IHSA sectionals, the Burbank school's hoops program has made a spectacular 47-game turnaround--from 28 losses during the 2013-14 season to 19 wins in 2015-16.

This year, Queen of Peace won an IHSA Regional championship for the first time in three years.

The duo of Jovanna Martinucci and Kara Shimko carried the load, both offensively and defensively, and led the Pride to a 19-12 record. That's the best record at Queen of Peace since the 1992-93 team, which won 22 games.

Here are some notable stats on Martinucci and Shimko
Jovanna Martinucci and Kara Shimko

Jovanna Martinucci
• second in scoring, with 322 points
• led team in assists with 135
• led team in steals with 136
• GCAC All-Conference
• GCAC Academic Team

Kara Shimko
After recovering from surgery in early August, she:
• led the team in scoring, increasing from 13 ppg last year to 17 ppg this year
• led team in scoring, increasing from 390 points to 485 points
• led the team in 3-point shots taken and made (66/128)
• led team in free-throw shooting at 91 percent (87/96)
• second in assists, with 92
• second in steals, with 95
• third leading rebounder on the team, with 112
• All Conference selection in Riverside Brookfield Christmas tournament
• GCAC Academic Team
• GCAC All-Conference
• one vote shy of being named the GCAC White Division Player of the Year

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Lipinski Hails Metra Expansion on Heritage Corridor Line; Starts in March

Riders on the Heritage Corridor commuter rail line will have
U.S. Rep Dan Lipinski
another option for getting home each weekday starting Monday, March 14, when Metra adds a mid-afternoon departure from Chicago, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) has announced.

The 2:45 p.m. departure from Union Station will expand weekday service on the line from six to seven trains--three inbound in the morning and four outbound in the afternoon/evening--giving downtown commuters more options to get home. The train will make stops at Summit, Willow Springs, Lemont and Lockport before arriving at its final destination in Joliet at 4 p.m.

“After spending many years and countless hours fighting to get Heritage Corridor riders more service, I am happy to finally see another train added to this line,” Lipinski said. “This new departure time will mean more people in the southwestern suburbs and Will County will be able to spend less of their valuable time each day driving on congested roads or traveling to less convenient Metra stations. As the most senior member from Illinois on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I look forward to continuing to work to increase, enhance, and expand commuter rail service across my district and the entire region.”
The new service required agreements from Canadian National, which owns the tracks and operates freight service on the line, as well as Amtrak.

“I want to thank Metra--especially CEO/Executive Director Don Orseno and board member Lemont Mayor Brian Reaves--for working to add this service to the Heritage Corridor,” Lipinski added. “I am pleased that Canadian National and Amtrak have found a way to allow the addition of this train.  There is great demand along this line, and it will continue to grow.  While this is a good first step, more certainly needs to be done to provide the service that the residents of southwestern Cook County and northeastern Will County deserve.”

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

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 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. 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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Man chased, beaten, robbed
A 24-year-old West Side man was chased, beaten and robbed in an alley behind 5127 S. Lawndale at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7. The victim told police that three men approached him from behind, pushed him to the ground and punched him. He was able to get up and flee, jumping a backyard fence before he was caught and told to give the offenders his belongings. He surrendered his black book bag, which contained textbooks and his house keys. The trio then sped away in a small red sedan. The criminals were described as black men age 20-25 wearing black and red clothing.

Man robbed outside his home
A 60-year-old Archer Heights man was robbed at gunpoint as he was about to enter the side door of his home near 49th and Kildare at 12:28 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16. The victim told police that a pair of teenage thugs pulled pistols on him, with one saying, “Give me all your money, and don’t look at me.” They went through his pockets and stole his wallet and cell phone before running away north through an adjacent alley. The criminals were described as Hispanic boys, one age 16-17 and the other age 14-16. Both were wearing beige-colored pants.

Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in Beat 813 or 833 (see map), come to West Lawn Park at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 23 and attend your monthly CAPS meeting. 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.

Suburbanites shot at on 63rd Street
Two residents of suburban Lyons—a 38-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman—were shot at as they sat in a car parked in the 4500 block of West 63rd Street at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16. In what police called a gang-related incident, two teenagers walked up and fired multiple shots. The victims were not hit, but the roof of their car was damaged. The shooters were described as Hispanic boys or men age 15-19. 

Big haul in restaurant burglary

            A burglar broke through a side window of Las Islas Marias restaurant, 8201 S. Pulaski, and stole a safe, assorted liquor bottles and an estimated $18,000, according to the owner, a 36-year-old man. Surveillance video indicated the crime occurred at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 7.

Big take in Komensky garage burglary
Burglars pried open the service door of a garage near 84th and Komensky and stole two snow blowers, four chrome wheel rims, a battery charger, assorted power tools, assorted hand tools, four bicycles, a gas grill, an air compressor and a floor jack. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 42-year-old man, at 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18.

High-end pool cues stolen in home burglary
Burglars forced open the rear door of a home near 83rd and Kilbourn and stole a laptop computer, a printer, six collectible pool cues and $50 cash. The crime was reported by the victim, a 55-year-old man, at 11:45 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18.

Mini-bike and more stolen from garage
Burglars forced open the overhead door of a garage near 70th Place and Hamlin and stole a mini-bike as well as a radio system and speakers from two vehicles parked inside. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 35-year-old woman, at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Pistol stolen by burglars
Burglars kicked in the basement door of a home near 56th and Neva and stole a .25 caliber pistol. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 60-year-old man, when he came home at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8.

Wheels swiped from garage
Burglars forced open the service door of a garage near 60th and Kolin and stole four 24-inch wheels. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 20-year-old man, at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8.

Garage on Lawndale burglarized
Burglars kicked in the service door of a garage near 70th and Lawndale and stole a generator. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 25-year-old man, at 3 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 7.

Mower, blower stolen from garage
Burglars forced open the service door of a garage near 52nd and Millard and stole a lawn mower and a snow blower. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 68-year-old man, at 1:45 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11.

Air Jordans and more stolen by burglars

Burglars broke the rear patio door of a home near 58th Place and Keeler and stole $900 cash, a tablet computer, assorted jewelry and five pairs of Air Jordan athletic shoes. The crime was discovered by the victims, a 40-year-old man and his wife, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6.

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Beware of home-repair con artists after Friday afternoon's gale-force winds

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

In the aftermath of the gale-force winds that struck the Chicago area on Friday, there are sure to be home repair scammers making the rounds.

As a public service, we are reprinting a Better Business Bureau press release issued almost a year ago, but which contains some excellent advice.

* * *

In some cases [in the aftermath of severe weather],
homeowners will need assistance to fix problems. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises consumers to use caution in selecting contractors to make repairs.

“Along with the damage, natural disasters also bring scam artist,” says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “These scammers are known as ‘storm chasers’ and are a real threat; they rip-off consumers with promises of great work at cheap prices.”

Going door to door they’ll make offers of roof and siding repair, removal of downed trees and damaged landscaping even auto repair.

Bernas notes, “If anyone comes to your door offering to begin work on damage, take their information and tell them that you will follow up if you are interested in using them for repairs.”

If your property has been damaged as a result of severe weather, the BBB offers these tips before choosing a contractor:

• When approached by a contractor, ask for proof of licensing and bonding.

• Try to get at least 3-4 quotes from contractors, and insist that payments be made to the company, not an individual.

• Do not pay for the job in advance. Be wary of any contractor who demands full payment up front.

• Do not hire people who show up at your door offering services such as tree or debris removal and roof repair.

• Resist high-pressure sales tactics such as the “good deal” you’ll get only if you hire the contractor on the spot.

• Check out the company first with the BBB at and deal only with reputable local contractors.

• Get a written contract that specifies the price and the work to be done and a time frame. In Illinois state law requires a written contract with all costs enumerated for home repair or remodeling work over $1,000.

• Prices are often high in the immediate aftermath of a storm. Buy only the services that are necessary to make your home safe and habitable. Wait at least a few days to hire other contractors because the rates are likely to drop.

• Pay by credit card, if possible; you may have additional protection if there’s a problem. Otherwise, pay by check. Never pay in cash.

• Check that the contractor’s vehicle has signs or markings on it with the business name and phone number.

• Be sure that all promises made are put in writing.

Bernas cautions that consumers should never sign a blank or
partially blank contract. “Make sure all oral promises are put in writing. Be wary of vaguely worded provisions, exclusions or limitations which could pose a problem later,” Additionally he notes, “In Illinois a contract is required for all repairs totaling more than one thousand dollars."

Typically, a down payment of one-third the total contract price is made with additional payments due after completion of each phase of work. Final payment should not be made until the job is completed and you have inspected the work. 

Before signing any home improvement contract consider the following tips from the BBB:

• Research for details and free information on contractors you can trust at and consider using the BBB’s free online service eQuote to obtain estimates, proposals or general information from BBB Accredited contractors.

• Get all estimates in writing.

• Never sign a contract with blank spaces or one you do not fully understand.

• Homeowners should check with local and county units of government to determine if permits or inspections are required.

• Determine whether the contractor has the proper insurance.


The BBB is a non-profit, non-governmental organization.  It is supported by businesses to protect consumers against scams and other unethical business practices.  The group accomplishes this by educating both consumers and businesses, and by highlighting trustworthy businesses. By developing reports and ratings on businesses and charitable organizations, the BBB encourages people to use these as resources and referrals to utilize the free services before making a purchase or donation. The BBB helps resolve buyer/seller complaints through its alternative dispute resolution process. In 2014, the BBB provided more than 13,700,000 instances of service.  Over 78 percent of consumer complaints to the BBB were resolved. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois is a member of the international BBB system that services the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Play Ball! Clear Ridge Little League Holding Signup This Saturday at Hale

A sure sign of spring on the Southwest Side:

Little League signups!

Our friends at Clear Ridge are holding theirs this Saturday at Hale Park.

Click the flyer for full details. Enroll your sons and daughters now in one of the very best youth athletic associations in Chicago!

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CPD Burglary Prevention Seminar Coming to Daley College This Month

Convicted burglars will offer advice on how to prevent
residential and commercial burglaries at a seminar set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20 at Daley College, 7500 S. Pulaski.

The convicts, who are giving the advice as part of their efforts to turn away from crime, are associated with the Safer Foundation’s “Keeping it Real” program.

The event, organized by the Chicago Lawn (8th) District CAPS office, will also include advice from a Chicago police detective and an evidence technician.

For more information, call (312) 747- 8730 and ask for the CAPS office.


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Catalytic converter thieves strike area

At least 10 Southwest Siders have reported that thieves
stole the catalytic converters off their vehicles in recent weeks, according to police.

The crime scenes reported are:

• The 5000 block of South Knox on Jan. 26.
• The 4700 block of South Lavergne on Jan. 26.
• The 5800 block of South Sayre on Jan. 27.
• The 5600 block of South New England on Jan. 28.
• The 5800 block of South Rutherford on Jan. 28.
• The 5600 block of South Newland on Jan. 28.
• The 5800 block of South Newcastle on Jan. 28.
• The 5800 block of South Meade on Jan. 28.
• The 7100 block of South Sawyer on Jan. 30.
• The 7200 block of South Francisco on Jan. 30.

In each instance, it appears the catalytic converters were
stolen in the overnight hours.

Police continue to encourage those who see anything suspicious to call 911 promptly, as well as get an accurate description of the offenders, their vehicle, its license plate number and direction of flight.


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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Southwest Siders brave cold, rain to stand up and cheer for Chicago Police

By Joan Hadac
Southwest Chicago Post Editor and Publisher

The last time a crowd of men, women and children
stood at Archer and Nashville and cheered so loudly that they caused a gaper’s block in traffic was eight months ago, after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.
The commotion happened again Tuesday evening, but the Blackhawks—more than 900 miles away in Colorado—had nothing to do with it.
Instead, the crowd in the heart of Garfield Ridge rallied in support of heroes wearing a different uniform, that of Chicago Police officers.
“These are our heroes right here,” said Garfield Ridge
Neighborhood Watch President Al Cacciottolo, gesturing to several Eighth District officers standing nearby, watching a GRNW rally of more than 60 people who braved rain and near-freezing temperatures to show support for the city’s men and women in blue.
Cacciottolo said that GRNW board members have long considered staging a public event in support of police, but were “kind of pushed over the edge” by a recent report in a daily newspaper that he said unfairly tarred and feathered Garfield Ridge as a home for police officers accused of misconduct.
“As a Garfield Ridge resident and a member of the local

business community, I continue to say that our police out here do a phenomenal job of protecting people and property,” he said. “They are fast, efficient, professional and fully deserving of our respect, admiration and gratitude.”
As Cacciottolo manned a bullhorn and led chants of “Eight is great!” and others waved homemade signs praising police, hundreds of passing motorists slowed to a crawl—many honking their horns and giving thumbs-up in support.
      The rally attracted young and old, including a group of uniformed Cub Scouts from St. Symphorosa Parish.
“I’m here to show respect for our police officers, and I want to teach our kids to respect police officers from a young age,” said Scout leader Ray Kirchhardt, a Clearing resident, as he kept a watchful eye on his young charges: Liam Kirchhardt, Joaquim Flores, Sebastian Gutierrez, Alexander Norbut and Jack Jania. “We need to see more of this. The rest of the city can take lessons from what we’re doing here tonight.”
Garfield Ridge resident Chuck Dryden, known locally for rallying support for law enforcement by helping others wrap trees, light poles, railings and more with blue ribbons, said the inclement weather should not deter anyone.
“It might be raining out, but when you need the cops, they come out no matter what the weather,” he said. “They’re there for us, we’re here for them.”
        Another man, who declined to give his name, said he was fed up with downtown news coverage of police and the neighborhoods where they live.
        "I’ll be damned if I’m going to apologize for living in a neighborhood that is patriotic, law abiding, orderly and respectful of police officers, firefighters and others in public
safety,” he said. “No one here is blindly supporting all police, all the time. We are against misconduct as much as everyone else. But we don’t like it when City Hall or the news media or these political protesters sneer at police as a group or us as a neighborhood. That’s unfair. We won’t put up with it.”
Mary Shilney, a founding member of the Clearing Night Force neighborhood watch group, said she was out in the cold “to support our police officers, who do so much for us. Police appreciate events like this. They need that psychological support.”
        Police at the scene appeared to agree.
“When I first pulled up (at about 6:30 p.m.), I said, ‘I’m sitting here all alone,’” said Officer Jane Fudacz. “But now look at all these people who came out in the cold and rain.”
        Officer Liz Sullivan echoed the sentiment.
 “I’m very grateful for and overwhelmed by the support,” she said.

      About the GRNW

       The GRNW is widely viewed as one of the most effective citizen-led crime prevention organizations in the city or suburbs
Born with assistance from the Clearing Night Force, the GRNW has helped start neighborhood watches in city neighborhoods as far away as Hegewisch and as close as West Elsdon, as well as in suburban areas like Central Stickney, Summit and Oak Lawn.
GRNW do not pursue criminals or get directly involved with crimes in progress, but they do serve as extra sets of eyes and ears for police, providing direction that has helped police solve crimes in some cases and prevent others. Their toll-free tip line played a role in the capture several years ago of a man who attempted to rob a local Walgreens at knifepoint.
       The next GRNW public meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday, March 21 at a location that will be announced in the weeks ahead. Those interested in joining the group now are encouraged to send a message to

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