Thursday, November 9, 2017

Zalewski to Speak at Civic Meeting

Twenty-third Ward Alderman Michael R. Zalewski is scheduled to be the featured speaker at the next public meeting of the Garfield Ridge Civic League, set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 15 in the auditorium at Kennedy High School, 56th and Narragansett.
Alderman Zalewski


Zalewski will offer remarks about the ward and then field questions from the audience.

For details, send a text message to GRCL President Henry Pukala at (773) 562-0071.

Also, the GRCL and Clearing Civic League will host a Christmas party fundraiser at New Warsaw Restaurant, 6250 W. 63rd St., at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, November 18.

Cost is $20 per person and includes a cash bar and a hot Polish-style buffet. Call (708) 269-9094 for reservations by November 15. Payments will be accepted at the door.



Friday, November 3, 2017

Stan Podlasek Retires; Barber Shop Was an Archer Avenue Favorite for Decades

Cutting Hair at Archer and Normandy since 1965

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

After nearly 52 years at Archer and Normandy, Stan
Stan Podlasek
Podlasek has put down his barber shears.


“Life has been good to me. I can’t complain,” Podlasek said as he sat in his iconic shop, closed since April, when health concerns—both Stan’s and his wife of 67 years—forced his retirement at age 89. He turned 90 in September.

“I don’t miss the business, but I miss the people. I really do,” he added. “Some customers become your friends. Some still call me at the house.”

A native of the Archer Heights community, Podlasek grew up above his family’s business, Podlasek’s Tavern, at 47th and Kedvale, opened immediately after Prohibition ended in the early 1930s. (Today, the site is home to Illinois Bar and Grill.)

He attended St. Bruno School and Tilden Tech. He has one brother, a Garfield Ridge resident still going strong at age 93.

After his father died, Podlasek took over the tavern in 1951 and ran it for nine years. An uncle ran Podlasek’s grocery store nearby.

That same year, he and his wife moved into a house near 54th and Oak Park, when new homes were sprouting up quickly in what had been a vast Garfield Ridge prairie.

Over the years, they were blessed with four daughters and a son; and later, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He attended barber college and worked in Hinsdale for several years before building his own shop on Archer—a twin storefront: half for his shop and half an income property.


The unmistakable glow of Stan's blue neon sign, in a SWCP photo from 2011.
Stan’s Barber Shop opened just after Christmas 1965—not the best time for barbers, especially new ones trying to get a toehold in business.

With the Beatles, Rolling Stones and other British Invasion rock stars sporting longer hairstyles, millions of boys across the U.S. starting growing their hair over the ears—and then to their shoulders as the hippie styles reached their peak during the Summer of Love in 1967.

“Yeah, it was something,” Podlasek recalled with a chuckle.

He tells the tale of a time when one of his daughters’ young suitors stopped by the house for the first time.

“So my wife meets him at the door. She looks at him. He’s got hair down to his shoulders,” Podlasek recalled.

“My wife says, ‘You know what my husband does for a living? He’s a barber. Why don’t you go see him?’ My wife was always a character,” he adds with a chuckle.

Today, the young man—now sporting a short and stylish cut—is his longtime son-in-law.

Just about the longest-running business in Garfield Ridge, Podlasek can look out his window and tell visitors what used to be at any given location. MacNeal Hospital’s clinic used to be Jewel Foods. Dr. Coler’s chiropractic office used to be Normandy Deli and Widen’s Bakery. The day care center across the street used to be a shop that made prosthetic eyes; and before that, it was a tailor/dry cleaner’s. Before 1976, Obbie’s Pizza was Geno’s Pizza. And on he goes, a living history book of Garfield Ridge commerce.

While Podlasek has retired, the barber pole has started spinning again at his shop. A younger barber is renting the space and has decided to keep the “Stan’s Barber Shop” name and sky-blue neon sign.

“I’ve had a very good life,” he concluded. “I’m surrounded by family and friends. My daughters still call every day. It’s a blessing.”

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

CPD Warns of Man Trying to Lure Boy

The Chicago Police Department has issued a community
alert after a man tried to lure an 11-year-old boy into his vehicle near 67th and Kilpatrick at about 3:15 p.m. Monday, October 30.

The boy told police he was walking down a sidewalk in the 4700 block of West Marquette Road (near Azuela Elementary School) 
when a dirty, older-model gray van or SUV pulled alongside.

The driver stated that he was told by the victim's mother to pick the victim up from school. The driver repeated the statement several times. The victim refused to get in the vehicle and walked away. The driver then sped away.

The offender was described as a white man about 50-60 years of age, balding with blonde/brown hair.

Those with useful information to share about the incident are asked to call CPD Area Central Detectives at (312) 747-8380
and refer to case number JA-492179.

In the wake of the crime, police offered this advice:

• Be aware of this situation and alert your neighbors.
• Call 911 to report any suspicious persons, vehicles or activity in your neighborhood.
• Do not let children walk or play alone. Identify safe havens along your child's route to school and home, such as businesses or trusted neighbors.
• Always be aware of your surroundings. 

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

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 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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Gang member punches, robs boy as he plays basketball
In what police are describing as a gang-related incident, a 16-year-old Brighton Park boy was punched in the face and robbed of his cellphone as he played basketball with friends in the alley behind 5600 S. Mayfield at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17. The victim, a student at Kennedy High School, told police that three teens walked up and one asked, “What you be about?” (a common question used to determine gang affiliation). The victim said he replied that he does not belong to a gang. One of three then demanded his cellphone. When he refused, a struggle ensued. The three then ran away. The victim told police he knew the name of the teen who hit him and snatched his cellphone. No one is in custody, and police continue to investigate.

Garfield Ridge man charged with domestic battery
A 39-year-old man was charged with domestic battery after he allegedly struck an ex-
Sean Brown
girlfriend during an Oct. 4 argument near 107th and Calumet. Sean Brown was arrested outside his home in the 5200 block of South Moody at about 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, nearly two weeks after the incident. Bond was set at $7,000, and Brown is due in court at 555 W. Harrison on Nov. 7.










Robbed while walking to work
A 44-year-old Archer Heights man was robbed at gunpoint as he walked down a sidewalk in front of 4800 S. Cicero at 5:25 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 12. The victim told police that two men approached, and one pulled a pistol and demanded cash and valuables. The victim handed over his cellphone, wallet and black coat. The offenders ran away east on 48th Street. They were described only as Hispanic men age 18-22.

Bust Cal City man on freight train burglary rap
A 24-year-old Calumet City man was arrested and charged with burglary after he and three other men allegedly were spotted breaking the seals on freight train boxcars in the Norfolk
Jacoby Williams
Southern yard just west of Southwest Highway and Western Avenue, at 7:45 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19. Jacoby Williams was apprehended by police as he walked near 3111 W. Columbus and was positively identified by railroad security agents, according to the police report. Bond was set at $50,000, and Williams was due in court yesterday at 51st and Wentworth.





Man screams, burglar flees
A 41-year-old West Lawn man’s scream frightened off a burglar at his home in the 6300 block of South Kilpatrick at noon Wednesday, Oct. 18. The victim told police that he was in the bathroom when he heard his doorbell ring; and then minutes later, heard someone kick in his back door. When the victim screamed, the offender ran out of the house. There was no description of the offender.


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Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in Beats 815 or 821 (see map), come to St. Bruno School (south entrance), 4839 S. Harding, at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 1 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.

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Spurious utility worker may be home burglar
Burglars pried open the side door of a home in the 4500 block of South Harding and stole assorted jewelry and a collection of silver coins. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 64-year-old man, at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18. A man working on a home nearby told police he had earlier seen a man dressed as a utility company employee, walking around and carrying a yellow crowbar. He described the person as a Hispanic man age 20-30, about 5-foot-11 and 160 pound, wearing a safety vest over a light gray hoody, blue jeans and mechanic’s gloves.

Cubs World Series watch swiped in burglary
Burglars forced open the window of a home in the 3700 block of West 64th Street and stole a Chicago Cubs World Series watch, assorted jewelry and collectible coins, five purses and other items. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 67-year-old woman, at 7:45 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16.


Nothing missing in Pizza Hut heist
Burglars pried open the back door of Pizza Hut, 5109 S. Pulaski, and opened a safe—although nothing initially appeared to be stolen. The crime was reported by a manager on Monday, Oct. 16, five days after it occurred.

Burglar in white hits La Victoria
A burglar smashed a front window of La Victoria grocery store, 3927 W. 63rd St., and stole a cash register, as well as an undisclosed amount of money from other cash registers. The crime was discovered by a man who called 911 at about 2 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17. He told police that a man dressed in white was the offender. No one is in custody.

garfieldridgenw.com

Both doors damaged in Vittum Park burglary
Burglars broke into a garage in the 5000 block of South Laramie and stole a lawnmower, a snow blower, an air compressor, a bicycle and assorted tools. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 58-year-old man, at 8 a.m. Friday, Oct. 20. Both the overhead door and service door were damaged, the victim told police.

Back from restaurant, finds apartment burglarized
Burglars pried open the door of an apartment in the 6000 block of West 63rd Street and stole four ladies’ silver rings. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 54-year-old man, after he came home from a restaurant at noon Friday, Oct. 20.


Tools, kiddie clothing taken from garage
Burglars broke into a garage in the 5700 block of South Kenneth and stole a lawnmower, a weed trimmer, three hand drills and assorted children’s clothing. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 24-year-old man, at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20.

No sign of forced entry in Keeler burglary
Burglars entered a basement apartment in the 6500 block of South Keeler and stole an Xbox video game console. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 21-year-old man, at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 19. There was no sign of forced entry, police said.

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Garage on Laramie burglarized
Burglars forced open the service door of a garage in the 5300 block of South Laramie and stole a snow blower, a weed trimmer, an air compressor, a pair of electric clippers, a grill, a five-gallon gas container and other items. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 50-year-old man, at 6 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17. 

Elderly woman thinks relative stole her stuff
A 74-year-old Scottsdale woman reported that someone broke into her house in the 8500 block of South Karlov and stole a TV and a video game console. She discovered the crime at 1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16. She told police she believes a relative committed the crime.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Police hunt killer of Gage Park dad

Rear-ended, pushed two blocks by pickup truck

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Police have opened a homicide investigation into the traffic-related death of a Gage Park man early Sunday morning, but they are not yet saying if they think the killer knew the victim—or if the crime was a road-rage incident between strangers.

Eduardo A. Pena, 21, died at 4:44 a.m. at Stroger Hospital, about 2½ hours after his 1998 Ford Ranger was rammed behind by a black pickup truck near 55th and Kedzie and pushed two blocks south—where it hit a tree near 57th and Kedzie.

The driver of the pickup truck sped away and is not in custody. On Friday, October 27, CPD released video of the start of the incident. It shows both vehicles at the stoplight at 55th and Kedzie, facing south. The video clip ends with the pickup truck ramming Pena's vehicle.



Pena was extricated from his mangled vehicle by paramedics.

He leaves behind a wife and year-old child, according to relatives who have organized an online GoFundMe campaign to pay for his funeral expenses. As of Tuesday afternoon, seven people donated a total of $1,340 toward the $7,000 goal.

Pena’s cousin, Klarissa Lopez, said the homicide “breaks my heart into millions of pieces,” and she has publicly appealed for witnesses to share information.

“Please, if anyone knows anything, come forward!” she wrote in a Facebook post. “To drag a man two whole blocks and then to leave him to die...you're a special kind of sick and u deserve to rot in prison. I pray every minute they live, their conscience hunts their minds

The fatal clash began steps away from the entrance to St. Gall Church, where parishioners outside Mass last Sunday expressed shock and sadness.

“There is already so much evil in the world. Do we need more?" asked Josefina Parada, mentioning the funeral service held for a Gage Park family in the church in 2015, after they were slain in a home near 57th and California. “There’s so much to live for. Why are people killing each other?”

Maria Rodrigues-Campos said the killing illustrates “why I don’t drive at night. There are too many young drivers—hotheads—out on the road at night. You look at them the wrong way and who knows? Maybe you’re the one they’re running off the road.”

Pedro Ortiz said he is confident that police will be able to find the killer.

“With so many video cameras around these days, you know some camera somewhere has footage of that pickup truck making a getaway, he said. “Plus you know police will be looking for that truck, which has damage no other truck in the city has. Just a matter of time.”

Those with useful information to share are encouraged to call CPD Area Central detectives at (312) 747-8380.


Pena with his infant son, from a photo posted publicly by his relatives.
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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Pumpkin Jamboree Parade 2017


Stempien VFW Post Collecting Clothing, Household Items, More for Needy Vets

Members of the PFC Ted Stempien VFW Post 8821 will
conduct their semi-annual clothing drive from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday, October 28 at the post, 5104 S. Archer.

Donations of clothing will be accepted and later taken to the Jesse Brown VA Hospital, where they will be distributed to needy and homeless veterans.

Also part of the "day of change," as post members are calling it, will be speakers on personal health care and suicide prevention.

Breakfast will be served at the event. Donations of “household goods” will be accepted and shared with “veterans who have recently found housing but have no possessions to their name, other than what they can carry on their backs,” a post representative said.

For more information, contact post Commander Mike DeRoss at (773) 403-3789.

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Midway Homeowners Call Out Rahm

Fed up with Aviation Department, want mayor to step in

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Midway area homeowners organizing themselves to fight the
Chicago Department of Aviation had no plans to expand their battle, but that is what happened at a public meeting Monday night.

Angry residents called out Mayor Rahm Emanuel, something they have not done before, at least publicly.

“We need Mayor Emanuel to let us know what he is personally doing to answer our concerns…the same concerns that our aldermen have relayed to Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans on several occasions,” said Anne Prevenas, a founding member of the newly formed Midway Defective Window Recipients non-profit group. “He has been silent. We want that to end.”

She made her remarks at MDWR’s first public event, a strategy meeting held in the gymnasium at West Lawn Park. About 100 Southwest Side men and women attended—more than anticipated, as Park District workers scrambled to set up extra rows of folding chairs to accommodate the people lined up at the registration table.

Echoing Prevenas’ view was Chrysler Village homeowner Pam Zidarich, who said that the Chicago Department of Aviation “has put us through hell with their delays and their lies.


Pam Zidarich
“If Rahm Emanuel found out that he had these defective and possibly toxic windows in his house—and if a member of his family was diagnosed with cancer or a respiratory condition--you can be sure that the Department of Aviation would respond in the blink of an eye to put things right quickly and completely,” she continued. “That’s the kind of response we want and deserve, but it’s been almost exactly the opposite from the bureaucrats at the Department of Aviation—and those people report to Rahm.”

A request for comment from the Mayor’s Office was not answered earlier this week.

Background

The defective windows and doors have been provided to homeowners near Midway and O’Hare in recent years through the Chicago Department of Aviation’s Residential Sound Insulation Program, an initiative designed to improve the quality of life for people living near the airports by reducing jet-engine noise in their homes.


Anne Prevenas
Homeowner concern over RSIP windows and doors was first reported exclusively by the Southwest News-Herald in early June, with a number of front-page follow-ups as the story developed over the summer. Prevenas said she first learned of the issue from a story in the Southwest News-Herald.

While the large majority of the more than 10,000 RSIP homeowners near Midway have not voiced complaints, a small minority—about 250 households--report that their windows and doors are emitting foul-smelling fumes. Homeowners, some of whom have been diagnosed with cancer in recent years, are highly concerned that the fumes may be toxic—causing or at least exacerbating their serious illness, and possibly having long-term, negative effects on the health of their children.

It appears that years of exposure to heat and sunlight may be breaking down the materials used in the manufacture of the windows and frames. One of those materials is polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a known carcinogen banned in some countries outside the U.S.

Also Monday

In attendance Monday night were 13th Ward Ald. Marty
Alderman Zalewski (left) and Alderman Quinn.
Quinn and 23rd Ward Ald. Michael R. Zalewski, both of whom have publicly criticized the Department of Aviation and pressured it to take steps to resolve the concerns to the satisfaction of local homeowners. They were applauded by homeowners for their efforts and expressions of support.


Not in attendance Monday night but also praised by homeowners for their efforts were U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd), Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-22nd), 14th Ward Ald. and City Council Committee on Finance Chairman Edward M. Burke, and 15th Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez.

Only a handful of children were present at Monday’s meeting, but several homeowners, including mothers with infants and toddlers at home, expressed concern and fear that the RSIP fumes in their homes could be damaging the brain and motor-skill development of their sons and daughters.


Prevenas called up her nephews, Nathan, 13, and Noah, 10, as an example of what she said is at stake. The boys have lived in a Chrysler Village home since 2005, with RSIP windows installed in 2006. The windows have turned out to be defective and are emitting fumes.

She told the audience that she wants to know why the boys “are constantly plagued with respiratory symptoms, why they have to take massive amounts of prescription medications, why they’re sick all the time, why they’re at the doctor’s office all the time, and why they’re experiencing progressively worsening symptoms as they get older.

“These boys deserve an answer,” she continued, her voice cracking as she looked at the boys, “and we’re going to get it for you guys.”

Zidarich likened the RSIP situation to environmental scandals in suburban Crestwood, as well as Flint, Mich., where the negligence and dishonesty of elected and appointed officials were shown to have damaged the health of the people they were entrusted to serve.

She encouraged the homeowners at the meeting to be
patient and persistent in a fight she said will drag on into 2018. MDWR’s next step is to hire an independent, accredited environmental firm to conduct in-home air quality tests next year.

CDA’s contractor is doing a small sample of indoor air right now, but MDWR homeowners say they are skeptical that those government-funded tests will provide an accurate picture of what is actually in the fumes emitted.

MDWR plans to stay in touch and update local homeowners via email and Facebook, as well as through announcements to the Southwest Chicago Post, Southwest News-Herald and other news organizations.

Video below:




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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

For now, it's a kind of free-for-all

Opinion by John T. "Red" Ryan

JUST WHEN IT seemed that politics and elections would be off center stage for at least a little breather, we find that the first term for Governor, Bruce Rauner, will be up with the inauguration of the next administration sometime in January, 2019. This next 4 years could be filled by Rauner, or by whoever else wins it.  Bringing us to that point of this next term will be the March 20, 2018 Democratic and Republican Primaries; which will be followed by the General Election of November 6, 2018. That certainly would appear to be a lot of politicking ahead but it doesn't even take into account the long days and weeks of campaigning, debating and near constant bombardment of the airwaves with those political ads. 

AS OF THIS writing, we have several candidates and potential candidates on the Democrat side. Most prominent in the news and in the Madison Avenue world of Advertising are the incumbent Republican,  Governor Bruce Rauner (himself) and Democrats Christopher Kennedy and J.B. Pritzker. Of these two Democrats (there are several other possibles), only Kennedy has held any public office; with that being the non-elected, appointed Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the University of Illinois. Kennedy is the son of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of the late John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States.

THE EXPERIENCE OF J.B. Pritzker includes no elected office or public service; but rather extensive experience and successes in the private sector. Born as "Jay Robert" Pritzker, he got his underclass degree from Duke University and his Law degree from Northwestern University. He has operated a private investment firm right here locally, in Chicago. 

IF ONE WERE to judge just who is running and how the still distant Illinois Gubernatorial race is going by the volume of political advertisements on the television stations, you'd conclude that it was a Pritzker vs. Rauner match-up. The airwaves are filled with minute spot pitches for getting your vote by both of these two men. As of the time of this writing, we've seen not hide nor hair of any commercials for Christopher Kennedy, nor any other candidate, regardless of party affiliation. The mode of attack demonstrated in both men's approach is very unusual and oddly enough, quite similar. 

IN THE SEVERAL commercial spots offered by the Pritzger camp, the theme is that of painting him as a reformer. He is the guy you want and we need in Springfield. According to their campaign's message, Illinois needs a good "house-cleaning" and Pritzker is your man for the job. The one central flaw in the whole operation here is that their campaign both blames and attacks the incumbent Governor Rauner's administration; which has not yet hit the three year mark. The true target of any political attacks should be those who have run both the State Senate and the State House of Representatives for the past 40 or 50 years.

OUR CURRENT STATE  Chief Executive, Bruce Rauner, much like J.B. Pritzker, has a background in business. Following his graduation from Dartmouth College and receiving an MBA from Harvard University, he got into investment banking, while at the same time serving without salary for Chicago tourism and for improvement of public education. 

THE ONE GREAT flaw and potential Achilles Heel in the Rauner campaign for re-election as Governor lies in internal conflict within his own party. Whereas the incumbent Governor paints himself as a "reformer", he doesn't align himself with President Trump; who is also bent on "draining the swamp" of Washington, D.C. Much like so many in the G.O.P., he distances himself from "the Donald"; even recently refusing to discuss who he had supported in the2016 Presidential Election. If Bruce had any intestinal fortitude, he'd own up to Republicanism and to the Trump administration. 

UNTIL SUCH TIME we have a sort of "free for all" and nonsensical brawl of reformer vs. reformer fighting for the Governor's mansion.

NOTE: We have to take this time to examine that word "Gubernatorial" which is the adjective form of "Governor". We wonder how it acquired such a dramatically different spelling. After all, we're taught that a "Guber" was a peanut; so does this mean that a Governor should "work for peanuts? 

~ ~ ~

John T. “Red” Ryan is a retired Chicago police officer and Garfield Ridge resident. 

Halloween Party for the Kids!


Saturday, October 21, 2017

And the winner is...Scottsdale!

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

When I heard that a small group of determined people in the
Scottsdale neighborhood were struggling with their first-ever attempt to organize a charity 5K run/walk, I thought well, even if they attract 30 or 40 participants--hey, it's a decent start, something to build on.

Well, the first-ever Scottsdale 5K trick or Trot Walk and Run went off today at 83rd and Kostner, starting and ending at the St. Bede Parish grounds.

But it wasn't 30 or 40 people. Some 105 men, women and children had registered in advance, bolstered by about 20 day-of registrants.

Impressive, I'd say!

Congratulations to the winner, Scottsdale resident Tim Cummings--as well as everyone else who ran or walked (or even pedaled, as two women did).

Congrats and thanks, as well, to event chairman Jason Huff and all those who volunteered their time, talent, brains and brawn. You make St. Bede Parish and the Scottsdale neighborhood one of the best places in Chicago!

Thanks, too, to 18th Ward Alderman Derrick Curtis, who was there at the start of the event, even though he was feeling under the weather. He left a bit early, so he's not in the photos we shot, but he was there when it counted. That's leadership...

In no particular order, here are some photos we shot at the event. Enjoy...
















































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