Saturday, April 30, 2022

Lions to Distribute Eyeglass Vouchers to the Needy at Archer Heights Library

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

Do you or your children (or grandchildren) need eyeglasses but have trouble affording them because you are a person of limited means?

You may want to head over to the Archer Heights Branch Library, 5055 S. Archer, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 4--where a Lions Club International volunteer will be handing out vouchers worth $200 for people in need.

The vouchers are good for services at select local optometry shops and cover frames, scratch-resistant lenses and more.

To qualify for a voucher, you need to be uninsured, have a Social Security number, and your annual household income must be $23,540 or below (for a one-person household); for each individual household member, add $8,320. Also, you must not have used this voucher program in the past 12 months.

Lions Clubs International is the largest service club organization in the world. More than 1.4 million members in more than 48,000 clubs are serving in 200 countries and geographic areas around the globe.

Since 1917, Lions have strengthened local communities through hands-on service and humanitarian projects, and they extend their service impact through the support of their Lions Clubs
International Foundation. They are focused on supporting vision, the environment, childhood cancer, hunger, diabetes and other needs to help address some of the biggest challenges facing the world.

For more information about Lions Clubs International, visit

A good pair of eyeglasses can change a person's life, especially a child's. So our thanks to the Lions for providing this wonderful service.

And thank you to our friend, Archer Heights Branch Library manager Elizabeth Ptasik, for letting us know about this.

‘We have to protect ourselves’

Women push back against crime

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicao Post

Years ago, a woman taking firearms training was a rare sight, at least compared to the number of men enrolled.

But with spikes in crimes like carjacking, robbery, battery and more, women are increasingly found at gun ranges and in firearms classes—so much so that sessions just for women are becoming less uncommon than before.

“More than ever, we’re seeing women express an interest [in firearms training],” said Patricia Richart, co-owner of Illinois Concealed Training, a locally-owned and operated firm headquartered on Archer Avenue. “More often than not, these appear to be women who normally would never have signed up for a [firearms] training class, or even considered it in the first place. But now, with times being what they are, that has changed. We have to protect ourselves.”

ICT offers a steady schedule of classes of various lengths for people of various skills, novice to experienced gun owners. The women-only class is held several times a year and is a combination of classroom instruction and target practice at a nearby gun range, 16 hours over two days. It is taught by Richart’s husband, ICT founder and co-owner Detective Jose Richart.

“Having a class just for women is important,” Richart said. “Most of the women we see in our classes are not experienced, and most are not gun owners. It may not have been easy for them to decide to take the class, and it could be intimidating if they’re sitting in a class with men who are bigger, more experienced with guns and who may dominate conversations in class.

“It’s important for a woman to feel comfortable in our class, know that there’s no such thing as a silly question,” Richart continued. “That way, she can better learn everything she needs to.”

That includes everything about responsible gun ownership: loading, unloading, assembling, dis-assembling, cleaning, storing and more. It also includes quite a bit about what Illinois law says about the rights and responsibilities of firearms owners, and what a gun owner may (or may not) do in a wide range of situations.

Classes are comfortably small. Some 19 women attended ICT’s women-only class last month.
Jessica Jendrzejak

That was a comfort to Jessica Jendrzejak, a 33-year-old mother of two who grew up near 79th and Kedzie and today lives with her daughters, ages 3 years and 14 months, in Clearing.

Though she has never owned a firearm, yet, she decided to take the ICT class “because of how crazy it’s been getting” with crime and fear of crime. As someone who takes public transportation to and from work in the Loop, she said she sees “how dangerous things can sometimes get.”

She also has been a burglary victim. Three years ago, her home was broken into and ransacked while no one was home.

“You hope that will never happen again, especially if I’m home with my daughters,” she said. “But if it does, I want to be in a position to protect myself and my children.”

Concern about crime is also on the mind of Ana Diazdeleon, a Scottsdale homeowner who sent her 23-year-old son to live with relatives far from Chicago—all because she lives on an otherwise peaceful area menaced by a gang member living on her block.

“You have to watch your back all the time around here,” she said. “Gang members usually just shoot at each other, but we’re always worried about stray bullets.”

Like Jendrzejak, she has been a victim of burglars who hit her home. Also like Jendrzejak, she plans to purchase a handgun for personal protection.

“The class was great,” she said. “It was absolutely wonderful. I wish it was longer. That’s how much I enjoyed it.”

ICT is accredited both by the National Rifle Association and the U.S. Concealed Carry Association. In fact, it has been named one of the nation's top Concealed Carry trainers, by the USCCA, Richart said.

Its next women-only class is set for June 25-26. The full schedule of classes is posted at

Feeling confident and empowered, the women who took the most recent ICT class smile for the camera.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Garfield Ridge Stars and Stripes 5K Coming to Wentworth Park; All Invited

Will honor fallen CPD commander

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Hundreds of men, women and children will run, jog, walk or roll through the streets of western Garfield Ridge in about nine weeks, in part to honor the ultimate sacrifice made by a Chicago Police commander.

The Stars and Stripes 5K Run will be held Saturday, July 2 at Wentworth Park, 57th and Narragansett. Participants must be capable of maintaining a 16-minute per mile pace for the event.

“Commander Paul Bauer was a man whose sacrifice must be remembered and honored,” said Juan Ortega, a Chicago policeman and founder of the non-profit Tri-Builders youth athletic association, the principal sponsor of the 5K. “He was liked, respected and admired by those he commanded, and so many others in and out of law enforcement.”

Commander Paul Bauer was shot and killed on Feb. 13, 2018 while attempting to arrest a man who had just run from other officers near the Thompson Center.
Commander Paul Bauer

Other officers had attempted to conduct a subject stop on the man in connection with a shooting that had occurred several days earlier. The man fled from the officers. Commander Bauer, who was in the area for a meeting, observed the man and attempted to stop him in a stairwell. The man opened fire, killing Commander Bauer. He was 53 years old and had served on the force for 31 years.

The man convicted in the slaying is currently serving a life sentence in prison.

To honor Commander Bauer, Tri-Builders will be giving proceeds from the event to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, The 100 Club (providing for the families of first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty) and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Ortega said Commander Bauer’s widow and daughter have been invited to attend the 5K as honored guests.

The 5K was founded in 2017 and grew steadily in each of its first three years, reaching about 800 participants in 2019. The pandemic caused the cancelation of the event in 2020. Last year, about 425 people ranging in age from babies in strollers to a 72-year-old man, participated. Ortega anticipates a similar number this year and said that while most of the runners and walkers are from the Southwest Side, he expects entrants from out of state.

Race day begins at 7:30 a.m. when the start line opens. There will be a course talk at the start line at 7:40 a.m. with an honor guard opening ceremony at 7:45 a.m. The race begins at 8 a.m. and an awards ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. back at Wentworth Park.

The cost to register is extremely reasonable. Prices will increase on June 1, so participants are encouraged to register soon at

The race course starts near 57th and Narragansett, then south to 59th Street, west to Nordica, north to 56th Street, east to Merrimac, south to 58th Street, west to Narragansett and then north to about 57th Street.

Street closures will take place from 7 to 9:30 a.m. on 59th Street from Merrimac to Nordica, 56th Street from Merrimac to Nordica and Narragansett from 59th Street to Archer.

For those not participating directly as runners/joggers/walkers, Ortega said there are three other ways to help:

• Serve as a race volunteer.
• Make a monetary contribution to the race.
• Simply line the course and cheer on participants.

“Garfield Ridge is one of the best and most beautiful neighborhoods you’ll find anywhere,” Ortega added. “There are a lot of old-fashioned values here. Neighbors look out for each other; and on race day, a lot of people come out of their homes to cheer on the runners and even offer refreshments. The Stars and Stripes 5K showcases the best of Garfield Ridge.”

Parking will be available at the Kennedy High School parking lot near 56th Street and Narragansett. The lot closes at 7:25 and re-opens at 9:30 a.m. Parking is also available at the old TCF bank at 55th Street and Narragansett.

There are more than a dozen award categories for both adults and kids 12 and younger. The course is USATF certified. 

For more information, visit

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

It's a Big, Fun, Community Yard Sale

Looking to buy unique rummage items at bargain prices?

Head over to the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch's Sell-A-Bration, set for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 14 in the west parking lot of Kennedy High School, near 56th and Narragansett.

The Sell-A-Bration will feature literally dozens of people from the area who have cleaned out their closets, attics, basements and garages to sell items of all kinds: clothing, housewares, sporting goods, works of art, craft knick-knacks, appliances, collectibles, you name it.

There also will be a "trash to treasure" table offering various rummage items donated to the GRNW by folks from the neighborhood. Proceeds from that table and space rentals at the event will help fund the GRNW’s various neighborhood improvement initiatives.

Space rentals are still just $20 for a 10 x 10 space. You provide your own table, chairs, display racks etc.--whatever you need, within reason, to sell you rummage items (or other items if you are a small-business vendor). To reserve your space, please call Arlene at (773) 229-1993.

With the pandemic tapering off, the GRNW is bringing back its popular food stand at Sell-A-Bration. Featured are barbecue pork chops right off the grill, as well as other food items and beverages.

Our thanks to the GRNW volunteers who, year after year starting in 2014, have given their time, talent and energy to make this a fun--and profitable for the sellers--community event. See you there?