Friday, April 26, 2019

Garfield Ridge Civic League President Blasts Water Dept. Over Lead Poisoning


By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

The head of the Garfield Ridge Civic League has blasted City Hall, saying that its explanation of how its own actions appear to have caused elevated levels of lead in water in thousands of Chicago homes is nonsense.

“To me, that’s a bunch of hooey,” GRCL President Henry
Henry Pukala (left) listens to DWM engineers at the GRCL meeting.
Pukala said to two Chicago Department of Water engineers who spoke at the group’s April meeting.


Pukala said 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.

Alluding to the health and well-being of his teenage daughter, Pukala said he regrets allowing the city to install a smart meter at his home.

“I’m upset. I don’t know about everybody else in this room, but I’m upset,” he said, as some voiced their agreement with him. “They removed lead from paint in the 1980s…I don’t understand why they can’t keep lead out of our drinking water that we need to sustain life. This is not satisfactory for me…everybody is drinking water every day. Millions of people live in this city.”

Pukala added, “I don’t know why the city just doesn’t replace the service lines and be done with this problem,” Pukala said, as some of the 30 or so GRCL members in attendance nodded their heads in agreement. “If I knew then what I know now, I would never have agreed to have the city install a water meter at my house—unless they also replaced the lead service line at the same time.”

The DWM sanitary engineers, Jaylen Taylor and Nina Jones, downplayed the significance of the study. Jones said that the data is “preliminary and [the percentage of water-meter homes with elevated levels of lead] appears to be coming down a bit.”

Jones also said for those smart-meter homes that have experienced elevated levels of lead after installation, “Any increase should go away after a while of coating the new meter and everything (with orthophosphate, which the DWN adds to the municipal water supply).”

She did not say if she knows how long that would take.
Speaking to an audience of older adults, Taylor said, “The big thing with lead, lead has issues with developmental…studies show If you’re an adult, you’re done developing.”

After the meeting, a man who was in the audience said, “He can say that all he wants. But I have grandchildren in my house every weekend, drinking my tap water. And what if I decide to sell my home and downsize to a condo? Chances are, the prospective buyers of my home will be a couple with children or a couple planning to have children. If they find out there are high levels of lead in my drinking water—all because of what the Water Department did—and that lowers my property value and makes my house hard to sell, is the Water Department going to make up the difference?”

All 130,000 homes with smart meters may sign up to receive lead testing, as well as water pitchers and filters to help reduce lead in drinking water, according to a letter many Southwest Siders received earlier this year from DWM Commissioner Randy Conner.

“The people from the Water Department can do their best to put a happy face on this situation, but it looks to me like a scandal,” added Garfield Ridge resident David Santos. “If there’s no problem, why are people with water meters all of a sudden getting letters from the top guy at the Water Department? If nothing’s wrong, why are they offering to test for lead? If nothing’s wrong, why are they giving away water filters?

“It would be like if City Hall said, ‘Hey, there’s nothing wrong with the air,’ but then started handing out gas masks,” he concluded.

The next GRCL meeting is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 15 in the community room at TCF Bank, Archer and Austin. All Garfield Ridge residents are invited.









Thursday, April 25, 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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Slain execution-style on 61st Street
A 25-year-old man from suburban Dolton died after he was shot multiple times at about 10:10 p.m. Monday, April 15 as he sat in the driver’s seat of a vehicle in the 3400 block of West 61st Street. Eugene Cooley, of the 700 block of East Sibley Boulevard, was shot in the throat, face, back and arms, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said they had no witnesses to the crime. No one is in custody.





Reputed gang member shot on 53rd Street
A 30-year-old man said by a law enforcement source to be a gang member was shot in the back and left leg as he sat in a vehicle in the 4400 block of West 53rd Street at 9:45 p.m. Friday, April 19. The shooter fired from a sedan, police said. The victim took himself to Stroger Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. No one is in custody.






Charge man with groping girl
Ivan Villegas


A 26-year-old West Elsdon man was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse after he was arrested at his home in the 3800 block of West 58th Place at 12:24 a.m. Tuesday, April 16.

Ivan Villegas was apprehended without incident. The arrest came eight days after he allegedly grabbed a 16-year-old girl from behind, put his hand down her shirt and touched her inappropriately, police said.

The incident allegedly occurred in the 2400 block of West 36th Street at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 8. Police did not indicate what led them to believe that Villegas committed the crime or why the arrest came eight days later.

According to public records, Villegas was arrested in February of this year on the West Side and charged with solicitation of a sexual act.







Masked bandit robs Boost Mobile
A masked bandit robbed the Boost Mobile store at 5101 S. Cicero at 11:10 a.m. Thursday, April 18, making off with a bag full of cellphones and a gold chain belonging to a 28-year-old sales clerk. Employees told police that the robber walked in the store, pulled a pistol and said, “You know what time it is.” He then ordered the two employees into a rear stockroom and told them to fill a bag with cellphones. They did, and the bandit also ordered an employee to take off his gold chain and hand it over. The robber then ran into the alley behind the store and may have fled in a bronze Jeep Cherokee. He was described as a black man about 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, with brown eyes and a medium complexion. He wore a black hoody and a black face mask, with dark pants.






Homeless man charged in drug rap outside Walgreens


Lee Turner


A 47-year-old homeless man was charged with one felony count of possession of a controlled substance after he was arrested at 9:45 p.m. Friday, April 19, in the parking lot of the Walgreens at 7136 West Archer.


• Lee Turner was apprehended without incident. Police responding to a 911 call about a man slumped over the wheel of a vehicle found Turner asleep in the vehicle. A CPD spokesman said that officers at the scene spotted a clear plastic bag with suspect heroin inside, in plain sight in the vehicle. A search of Turner yielded more heroin, police added.


• According to public records, Turner has been arrested three times by CPD since 2017 on such charges as possession of a controlled substance and soliciting unlawful business.


Turner is currently held on $25,000 bond and is due in court on May 8.



Arrested for the 16th time in 15 months
Michael Jackson


A 19-year-old Chicago Lawn man was charged with domestic battery and violating an order of protection after he allegedly spat in the face of a 23-year-old woman at 5:56 p.m. Sunday, April 7 at the Aloha Motel, 8515 S. Cicero.

Michael Anthony Jackson, of the 6300 block of South Artesian, was apprehended without incident.

According to public records, Jackson has been arrested 16 times by CPD since January 2018 on charges that included loitering by a gang member, assault, criminal trespass to a residence, criminal trespass to real property, soliciting unlawful business and cannabis possession.





Back to prison for convicted felon
Luis Salgado



A convicted felon was charged with an “armed habitual criminal” offense after he was arrested by police at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 9 at his home in the 5300 block of South Kolin.

Luis Salgado, 22, was apprehended by police executing a search warrant.

They added that they found a gun and cartridges at the home, and that Salgado had been wanted on a warrant relating to a parole violation.

According to public records, Salgado was convicted of armed robbery in 2015 and sentenced to six years in prison. He was released on parole in 2017.







Burglar steals $15,000 in eyeglass frames
A burglar used a crowbar to smash the front-door glass of the Pearle Vision store at 5153 S. Pulaski, enter and stole about 150 pair of designer eyeglass frames said to be worth a total of $15,000. The crime was discovered by police responding to an alarm at about 3:45 a.m. Thursday, April 18. The store’s owner, a Downers Grove man, shared video surveillance footage with police. There was no description of the burglar.





Lawn mower, compressor taken from garage
Burglars broke into a garage in the 4400 block of South Lawler and stole a lawn mower and an air compressor. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 54-year-old woman, at about 5 p.m. Thursday, April 18.






Gone only an hour, returns to find burglary
Burglars kicked in the back door of a home in the 5400 block of South New England and stole assorted jewelry, bank statements, a car title and a collection of silver dollars. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 44-year-old woman, at 6:19 p.m. Thursday, April 18. The victim told police she had been out shopping and had only been gone from her house for about an hour.



garfieldridgenw.com















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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Luau Bingo Coming Up at St. Sym's

Our friends at St. Symphorosa Parish want everyone to know about their "Luau Bingo" set for Sunday May 19 at the Sharp Center, 5940 West 62nd Street.

Doors open at 12:30 p.m. Games begin at 1:30. Admission is $20 at the door and includes one set of game cards.

All are encouraged to wear Hawaiian-style clothing.

Polynesian-inspired food will be available.

Sounds like hau Ľoli nui ("big fun") to us! See you there?



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Friday, April 19, 2019

Online Registration for Park District Day Camp, Summer Programs Starts Soon


The Chicago Park District’s online registration for its popular
summer day camp and park programs opens April 22 at 9 a.m.

This year, the summer day camp curriculum will celebrate the Chicago Park District's 85th anniversary and its commitment to enhance the quality of life in Chicago by becoming the leading provider of recreation and leisure opportunities for children and families of all abilities and interests.

The Chicago Park District’s new camp theme ‘PLAY: Every Day, Every Way’  will enhance the summer day camp experience by engaging campers in inclusive activities and education programs, as well as weekly physical fitness routines that encourage campers to interact with one another.

“Building on our theme, the Chicago Park District is excited to invite Chicagoans of all ages, backgrounds and walks of life to celebrate our 85th anniversary by playing and engaging in our parks citywide,” said Michael P. Kelly, General Superintendent and CEO. “The Chicago Park District offers a menu of camps and programs at parks throughout the city and ensures that we are able to accommodate everyone who wishes to participate in all our programs, from recreational to cultural.”



The Chicago Park District experienced record numbers again in 2018 for program registration. Compared to 2012, park program enrollments increased by 47 percent. Since 2014, the Park District has surpassed 100,000 registrations in nine separate sessions. Last summer, the Park District recorded a four percent increase in enrollments in summer programs, and summer camps reached 99 percent of its capacity with over 50,000 enrollments.

Day camp will provide participants with the opportunity to participate in energetic team building and cooperative games, visual arts and writing activities, outdoor and environmental education, performing arts and imaginative play, and active games and fitness activities.

Online registration begins Monday, April 22, at 9 a.m. for parks located west of California Avenue, and on Tuesday, April 23, at 9 a.m. for parks located east of California.

In-person registration for summer programs will begin either Saturday, April 27 or Monday, April 29, depending upon the park.

Standard day camps, for ages 6 to 12 years old, run six weeks, from June 24-August 2, typically from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. or 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Play Camp offers options for children ages 3 to 5 years old, and Teen Camp for participants ages 13 to 15 year olds. Numerous specialty camps are also available, including Sports Camps. Late Summer Camps offer extended opportunities to engage in park activities from August 5 to 9 or 16; date varies by park. Early bird and extended options offer convenient hours to cover the full day (eight to ten hours, varies by park).

Gymnastics centers, one of the Park District’s most popular programs, will open online registration for the summer season on Tuesday, April 23, at 12 p.m. Summer program registration for McFetridge Sports Center & Morgan Park Sports Center opens Tuesday, May 28.

Fees vary depending on location, offerings and hours.  No child will be turned away for inability to pay.

Given the popularity of programs, patrons are encouraged to browse through the list of programs for 2019 and create wish lists in advance here.

Financial Assistance

The Chicago Park District has limited funds available to provide financial assistance for families who wish to enroll in the 2019 summer day camp program. Financial assistance and family discounts are available.  Financial assistance is only available to City of Chicago residents. Eligibility for financial assistance does not guarantee a slot for day camp and cannot be used in conjunction with any other reduced/voucher programs. Applicants that do not qualify for financial assistance may inquire about the payment plan option at their local park.

For more information on how to solicit the scholarship, please visit the day camp page.

The Chicago Park District aims to provide summer camp financial assistance to thousands of children each year, requiring more than $2 million. Tax-deductible gifts of any size may be made to the Summer Day Camp Assistance Fund to help support children and families across the city through this financial assistance program here.

NEW FOR 2019:

In order to facilitate patrons being able to receive the financial assistance discount (50%) at the time of summer online registration, financial assistance documentation is being accepted in-person at parks now.  Once completed and approved, the related registration (ActiveNet) account will be updated to include this financial assistance pre-requisite. When registering for summer camp, an account holder with the pre-requisite will automatically be charged 50% of the camp cost. 

If this step isn't completed prior to summer online registration, patrons still have the option to register for summer camp online by paying 100% at the time or registration and then presenting the documentation at the park to receive the 50% refund.

Family Discount

When patrons register for two or more programs for family members less than 18 years of age in one transaction, the order qualifies for a 10% discount on the less expensive program(s).

Discount is available for online and in-person orders, but cannot be combined with the CHA or DCFS discount programs.  All family members should be entered into one account on the Chicago Park District’s registration system.

Summer Food Service Program

In accordance with the Illinois State Board of Education’s Summer Food Service Program and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) federal regulations, the Chicago Park District will participate in the Summer Food Service Program in conjunction with summer day camp.  Lunches and/or snacks will be provided for enrolled children at most camps.

Meals are made available to all eligible participants without regard to race color, national origin, disability, sex or age.  Any person who believes that he or she has been discriminated against in any USDA-related activity should write immediately to: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 202/720-5964 (voice and TTD).

For more information, contact your local park, visit chicagoparkdistrict.com or call 312-742-PLAY.






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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Boys rob man at gunpoint
A 38-year-old Ashburn man was robbed at gunpoint as he stood in the driveway of his home in the 7700 block of South Trumbull at 9:06 p.m. Thursday, April 4. The victim told police that three teens pulled up in a gray Dodge, got out and approached him. One put a gun to the side of the victim’s neck, while the others demanded his wallet. The victim replied that his wallet was in his car. While he was held at gunpoint, the other two robbers rifled through his car, stealing his wallet, cellphone and house and car keys before fleeing in their vehicle. They were described only as black boys age 14-17, wearing back hoodies and baseball caps.





Cut off, curbed, beaten and robbed
A 41-year-old West Lawn man was beaten and robbed on the street in the 7100 block of South Harding at about 1:50 a.m. Sunday, March 31. The victim told police he was driving his car when it was cut off and blocked by two men in a red sedan. All three men got out of their vehicles, and the victim was punched in the face by the two men. They took his house and car keys and sped away. The victim suffered cuts to his face, but reportedly refused medical assistance. The two attackers were described as Hispanic men about age 25, 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds.







Woman says man trespassed in her home
William Richter


A 32-year-old Sleepy Hollow man was charged with criminal trespass to a residence after he allegedly entered his neighbor’s home in the 4400 block of South Keating and hollered at the homeowner, a 38-year-old woman.

William D. Richter III was apprehended by police in a nearby vacant lot. Police said that he resisted arrest, forcing them to taser him and use other emergency submission methods.

At least one officer was injured while trying to subdue Richter. Charges of aggravated battery and two counts of resisting arrest were added, police said.





Man charged with domestic battery
Kenneth Schoot



A 44-year-old Archer Heights man was charged with domestic battery after he allegedly hit a 56-year-old woman at his home in the 4900 block of South Knox.

Kenneth Schoot was arrested at his home at 7:01 p.m. Saturday, March 30.

The alleged battery occurred earlier in the day, police said.

According to public records, Schoot was arrested at the same address in February and charged with domestic battery.






Bust man on drug rap on Archer
Michael Williams



A 51-year-old Garfield Ridge man was charged with three felony counts of possession of a controlled substance, as well as one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, after he was arrested at 1:52 p.m. Wednesday, March 27.

Michael C. Williams, of the 5100 block of South Parkside, was apprehended on the street in the 6800 block of West Archer after officers on patrol “observed him in a verbal altercation with a female subject,” a CPD spokesman said. “A protective pat-down of Williams revealed a pocket knife and suspect narcotics.” Police would not elaborate on exactly what they found.





Laptop swiped from Hearst School
A burglar entered Hearst School, 4640 S. Lamon, and stole a laptop computer. Surveillance footage showed that the crime was committed at 9:12 p.m. Wednesday, April 3. The offender appeared to be a black man age 25-45, about 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds, with black hair and a dark complexion. He wore a black skull cap with red writing on the front, a reflective yellow jacket with white stripes and dark blue pants.






Ford City Drive apartment burglarized
Burglars entered a second floor apartment unit in the 4200 block of West Ford City Drive and stole a pair of roller skates, an iPad, an iPhone, a pair of Beats headphones, a pair of athletic shoes and a jacket. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 49-year-old Chicago Ridge man, at about 8 p.m. Thursday, April 4.





Clearing man busted on theft rap
Joseph Holubek



A 45-year-old Clearing man was charged with retail theft after he was arrested at his home in the 6100 block of South Parkside at 5:48 p.m. Friday, March 29.

Joseph Holubek allegedly stole merchandise worth about $90 from Family Dollar, 6190 S. Archer. Police did not indicate how they came to believe that Holubek stole the merchandise.

According to public records, Holubek has been arrested nine times by CPD since 2017, on charges that included domestic battery (four times), violating an order of protection and criminal trespass to land.






Catalytic converters swiped from vehicles
Thieves stole a catalytic converter from a Jeep Liberty parked on the street in the 6000 block of South Kildare. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 63-year-old man, at about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 3.
Thieves stole a catalytic converter from a Hyundai Tucson parked on the street in the 4800 block of South Knox. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 35-year-old woman, at 8:17 a.m. Tuesday, April 2.
Thieves stole a catalytic converter from a Jeep Liberty parked on the street in the 6100 block of South Tripp. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 28-year-old woman, at about 7 a.m. Tuesday, April 2.
Thieves stole a catalytic converter from a Dodge Nitro parked on the street in the 4200 block of West 63rd Street. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 43-year-old woman, at about 8 a.m. Tuesday, April 2.
        Thieves stole a catalytic converter from a car parked on the street in the 5400 block of South Sawyer. The crime was reported to police by the victim, a 61-year-old man, at 3:37 p.m. Tuesday, April 2.



garfieldridgenw.com


Unlocked window is entry point for burglars
Burglars opened the unlocked window of a basement apartment in the 5000 block of South Tripp, entered and stole an iPad and a laptop computer. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 38-year-old man, at about 11 p.m. Thursday, April 4.















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