Friday, February 28, 2020

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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Brighton traffic stop leads to drug bust
Rafael Ceja

A 27-year-old Ashburn man was charged with possession of a controlled substance after he was arrested during a traffic stop in the 3800 block of South California at 5:34 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8.

Rafael Ceja, of the 3900 block of West 84th Place, allegedly was found to be in possession of crack cocaine, police said. 

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Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in and/or own a business in Beats 815 or 821 (see map) make plans to attend your next CAPS meeting, set for 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 4 at St. Bruno School (St. Joseph Room, south end of building), 4839 S. Harding. 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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Refused to leave Orion, police say

A 40-year-old Garfield Ridge man was charged with criminal trespass to land after he was
arrested at Orion restaurant, 5772 S. Archer, at 8:38 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1.

Mario Pecina, of the 5400 block of South Laramie, allegedly refused to leave the
Mario Pecina
establishment when told to do so. A charge of battery was added after Pecina allegedly hit another person.

According to public records, Pecina has been arrested by CPD 15 times since 2014, on such charges as domestic battery, assault, violating an order of protection, criminal trespass to a residence and failure of a sex offender to register with authorities.

According to the Illinois State Police, Pecina was convicted in 2005 of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old child in Alabama.

Pushed me to the ground, elderly man tells police
Cary Wanko

A 33-year-old Clearing man was charged with domestic battery after he was arrested at his home in the 6400 block of West 64th Place at 5:50 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2.

Cary Wanko allegedly pushed a 72-year-old man to the ground during an argument, a CPD spokesman said.

According to public records, Wanko was arrested by CPD last September in the 2600 block of North Narragansett and charged with driving on a suspended license.

Charge woman with drug possession
Christine Chavez

A 49-year-old West Elsdon woman was charged with possession of a controlled substance after she was arrested in the 5700 block of South Meade at 2:33 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5. 

Christine Chavez, of the 5300 block of South Kilbourn, allegedly was spotted “making a drug transaction” with a person sitting in a vehicle, a CPD spokesman said.

Arrest pair found in stolen vehicle
Paige Santana

A 23-year-old Hearst area woman and a 20-year-old Archer Heights man were charged with criminal trespass to a vehicle after they were arrested in the 5000 block of West 45th Street at 4:12 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25.

Paige K. Santana, of the 4500 block of South Lawler, and Jose A. Uribe, of the 5000 block of South Keeler, were reportedly found sitting in a stolen vehicle.

According to public records, Santana has been arrested 14 times by CPD in the last two
Jose Uribe
years on charges that included criminal trespass to a vehicle (five times), possession of a controlled substance and soliciting rides on a public roadway.

Say woman stole from 7-Eleven
Liliana Vasquez

A 22-year-old Clearing woman was charged with retail theft after she was arrested at the 7-Eleven at 63rd and Austin at 11:43 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3.

Liliana J. Vasquez, of the 5800 block of West 63rd Street, allegedly stole snack items from the store, a CPD spokesman said.

According to public records, Vasquez was arrested by CPD in October 2019 in the 1100 block of West Montrose and charged with DUI.

Say man drove on suspended license
Enrique Napoles

A 32-year-old Archer Heights man was charged with driving on a suspended license after his vehicle was curbed by police in the 6800 block of West Archer at 3:45 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20.

Enrique Napoles, of the 4700 block of South Avers, was stopped after police noticed a cracked windshield, a CPD spokesman said.

According to public records, Napoles has been arrested six times by CPD since 2015 on charges that included battery, possession of a controlled substance and failure of a convicted gun offender to report to authorities.

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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Veteran Offers Irish Stick Fighting Class

Martial arts event open to all

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

While most folks see a shillelagh as a quaint and even poetic marker of life in Ireland, Clearing resident William Seiyo Shehan sees it as a wooden stick that can save your life.

He wants to show everyone how.

Irish stick fighting (or Bataireacht) is the art of stick fighting in
Ireland, using a bata or shillelagh. It is a complex style including many strikes and parries, unarmed techniques and grappling. Irish stick fighters are some of the best in the world, Shehan said.

Tuition is $125 person, $100 for those who register before
March 17. There is a $20 discount for military veterans, active-duty military and their families. There is a $10 discount for City of Chicago and suburban municipal employees.

Tuition includes a free bata (fighting stick).

Adults of all ages and physical abilities are invited. Previous martial arts training is not required. Teens under age 18 are welcome to register, as long as they have a parent’s written permission.

“Irish stick fighting has value for people who are in top physical shape and already trained in martial arts—all the way to senior citizens who use canes, people who use wheelchairs and those with zero martial arts experience,” Shehan said. “It has something for everyone.”

For registration details, visit or find Shehan's group on Facebook.


Shehan has a motto he lives by: do what you can, when you can, with what you have on hand.

The 52-year-old Army veteran was in the news in 2016 as he worked to draw public attention to the tragedy of suicide among military veterans.

Shehan understands the challenges that veterans face. On
a daily basis, he deals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, nerve damage and other health issues, including a traumatic brain injury resulting from a 1990 stateside training accident when his Army Humvee went down a ravine and flipped.

After hospitalization and therapy, Shehan decided that  moving around made PTSD more bearable. Moving is something Sheehan is very familiar with, having done a lot of it while as a boy.

While growing up, he called Charleston, S.C. home. His grandparents were missionaries who took his mother and then him on their trips. His mother attended school in Edinburgh, leaving her with a Scottish accent. When it was Shehan’s turn, he visited about 10 foreign countries; some in Central and South America, Mexico and Pakistan.

When his grandmother was in her 70s and decided “she couldn’t handle a teen boy,” Shehan attended a boarding school in South Carolina. He was 20 when he enlisted in the Army in 1987.

After being discharged from the Army, Shehan decided to roam. “The way I dealt with PTSD? I didn’t drink, didn’t do drugs, none of that. I would go and move from town to town. As soon as I got into a place where people got to know me, got comfortable with me, the more I got uncomfortable, and so I would move.”

He also moved from company to company, always climbing the ladder to success. Shehan acknowledges that while this may have seemed like a positive thing, he was still moving.

Shehan landed in Chicago 18 years ago, the longest he has lived anywhere in his life.

“When I came here, my wife got ahold of me and we got some help at the VA,” he recalled. “I did things just for veterans, and I did a lot of that for a while. I got into chess. I figured if I could control 64 squares on the board, not that I could control them very well, but I could get some control. It allowed me to gain some control over my life.”

He also had support from his wife, Renee, and two daughters, Ava and Mia.

A convert to Buddhism who serves as a lay chaplain at the Jesse Brown VA center on the West Side, Shehan integrates his religious beliefs with martial arts and physical fitness.

“The type of Buddhism I practice is not just about avoiding bad things or being detached from physical things. It’s about getting your ass there and doing something to make the world a better place.”

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Cheers, Tears Mark Emotional End to Career of Acclaimed Rock Drummer

Family, friends, neighbors applaud Tom Salzburg

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

Tom Salzburg’s 40-year career as an acclaimed rock musician came to an end earlier this month, as the Clearing man battling a formidable disease put down the drumsticks for the last time.

At an emotional farewell concert at a nightspot in Lemont, Salzburg—assisted by his son, Tommy Jr. (also a rock drummer)—played with Bad Medicine, a nationally famous Bon Jovi tribute band.

“It was a bittersweet moment for me,” said Sue Schulz, whose sister, Kelly, is Tom Salzburg’s wife. “Sad and happy tears all mixed together. I couldn't be any prouder of Tom. He is a true inspiration.”

Tom Salzburg (second from left) accepts thunderous applause from an emotionally-charged audience at his last performance as a rock musician. Standing with him, literally and figuratively, are (from left) his wife, Kelly; daughter, Ashley; daughter, Amber Rivera; son, Tommy Jr.; and son-in-law, Will Rivera.

But just as Salzburg was putting down his sticks, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and even complete strangers are picking up the pace to pull together a “Salzburg Strong” benefit set for 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday, April 19 at Bourbon Street, the popular entertainment venue at 3359 W. 115th St., Merrionette Park.

The benefit—designed to raise funds to pay down some of Salzburg’s mounting medical bills—will feature live entertainment all day, food and drinks, raffle baskets, split the pot and other raffles, and more.

Tickets are $35 at the door for adults (age 21 and up), $30 in advance. Tickets are $15 for those ages 5-20. Admission is free for children under age 5.

For details on the April event, as well as other Salzburg Strong fundraisers coming up in March, visit Individuals, families, organizations and businesses are welcome to pitch in and donate to make the event a success.

“The event planning is taking shape,” added Schulz, a co-chair of the fundraiser. “We have seen so many people come forward to offer help. It's amazing to see how people come together for one family. My co-chair, Jessica, and I appreciate all the help we can get.”

People who want to donate in a more immediate sense are encouraged to visit the Salzburg Strong GoFundMe page online. Since it was started on Nov. 13, the GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $22,000 from 208 donors. The goal is $50,000.

“I want to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for your generous donations,” Sue added in a post online. “To say that Tom and Kelly are overwhelmed with the love and support shown is an understatement.”

For those who don’t want to make a donation online, checks made payable to Salzburg Strong may be set to BMO Harris Bank, 101 Burr Ridge Parkway, Burr Ridge, IL 60527, attention: Jason K. Refer to the account number ending in 5432.


On his 54th birthday last August, Tom Salzburg received confirmation that he is battling Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig Disease).

The confirmation came about six months after Tom noticed his jaw felt tight, his speech was occasionally slurred and he was coughing while eating or drinking. At first, he brushed off the symptoms as perhaps a winter cold or simply sore muscles.

But after several months of medical tests, the diagnosis came.

Tom has Bulbar Onset ALS. Relatively uncommon, Bulbar Onset ALS affects the speech, swallowing and breathing functions first before spreading to the limbs. It is a progressive disease that causes the death of neurons that control voluntary muscles leading to paralysis of the entire body. There is currently no cure; and since his diagnosis, Tom has declined at a rapid pace, according to a profile posted online.

The diagnosis would be tough enough for the average person—but more so for Tom, a machinist and welder by day and a rock drummer and singer by night.

In the 1980s, Tom earned his stripes with No Mercy and Tattoo. In recent years, he has been a key member of Bad Medicine and Motley II. He founded and fronted Cooper’s Dead Things, an Alice Cooper tribute band. Tom’s son, Tommy Jr., is the drummer in that band.

Tom no longer has the strength to wear his welder’s helmet, and he can no longer play in the band he created. Things most folks take for granted are a chore for Tom. It can take him an hour just to eat a small meal, if only because chewing and swallowing are becoming impossible.

“I’ve learned a lot [from the ongoing ordeal],” said Kelly Salzburg, Tom’s high school sweetheart and wife of 25 years. “I’ve learned that insurance companies suck. They are a nightmare.

“But I’ve also learned some very good things,” she adds. “I’ve learned that there are many people out there willing to help—and they’re not just family and friends.”

“People have asked me, ‘What can I do?’ and sometimes I struggle to answer because I don’t always know what we need,” Kelly continued. “But as time goes on, I’m learning what that is.”

A number of those helping continue to make home-cooked meals for the Salzburgs. To help guide the actions of others who have asked to assist in other ways, the Salzburgs have put together a wish list on Amazon. To find the link to the list, visit and join the Salzburg Strong group on Facebook.

The Southwest Chicago Post is proud to be a friend of Salzburg Strong, as well as an in-kind donor to the Salzburg Strong fundraisers. Community support for Tom Salzburg and his family is a just one of many examples of what makes this corner of Chicago such a great place. Please click on the links embedded in the story above and join in, won't you?

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