Tuesday, May 31, 2022

This SW Side Mom Could Use a Break

She's fighting lung cancer, medical bills; will you please help and attend a fundraiser in her honor?

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

A Garfield Ridge mom fighting lung cancer and a growing pile of medical bills is getting a boost from her friends, but more are needed to support a fundraiser coming this month.

Della Benveniste, already living with rheumatoid arthritis, learned she has small-cell carcinoma in January. Since then, she has undergone a rigorous and exhausting regimen of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Della Benveniste

“It’s not unusual for me to sleep 12 or 14 hours a night,” she said. “I’m just that tired.”

The fundraiser is set for 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 12 at Fat Daddy’z, 5437 S. Center, Summit.

Admission is $25 at the door. There will be food (including pizza from Obbie’s), a cash bar, live music performed by several bands, and raffles for prizes such as a 50-inch television, a liquor bucket worth $150 and more.

Businesses helping sponsor the event are Geno Randazzo/All Exterior Contractors, Mike Riordan State Farm Agency, Obbie’s Pizza and Archer Liquors, among others.

For details on the event, call Nicole Rehak at (773) 330-1545 or Michelle Cyrus at (773) 240-7501.

Della grew up in Garfield Ridge, graduating from St. Jane de Chantal School in 1980 and Kennedy High School in 1984. She and her husband, Sam, have raised their son, Vincenzo, in the neighborhood.

“Della is one of the most giving people I’ve ever met,” said Michelle Cyrus, her longtime friend and godmother to her son. “I’ve lost count of how many times over the years I’ve seen her generosity towards me and towards others. I think now it’s time for people to give to her, in her time of need.”

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Chicagoland Pony Rentals Saddles Up for Another Season in the City, Suburbs

Business venture proves popular with kids, parents

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

While the pandemic has contributed to the demise of a number of businesses on the Southwest Side, one has proven pandemic-proof.

Two years after they launched their head-turning, smile-generating pony ride business, two Southwest Side teens continue to roll forward with their successful venture.

The service has brought a lot of happiness to people—little kids, as well as their parents and grandparents—because people just needed a break from the stress of [the pandemic] and they wanted something fun, something that reminded them of when they were kids.

"It" is primarily two 4-year-old ponies pulling small, two-seater carts down a sidewalk--something entirely unique to city kids, and a kind of fun throwback to perhaps a century ago, when it was not that unusual to see a pony in Chicago.

The teens are young entrepreneurs not far removed from high school--alumni of St. Rita and De La Salle.

They started by cutting lawns and saved their money--and then saw that this kind of business—pony rides--had potential.

Their path was made easier by one of the teens' grandfather, an immigrant farmer with a spread in Frankfort that includes trained ponies and other livestock.

Their unique business—simply named Chicagoland Pony Rentals—offers rentals of the ponies and a petting zoo that can include Nigerian dwarf goats, as well as a dwarf pony and chickens.

For those looking to rent the ponies and/or goats for birthday parties, graduation parties or any event at all, the company offers different deals and combinations that can be tailored to meet any need. For example, one package includes two hours of pony rides plus a goat petting zoo for about $400.

For those who want a more earthy experience, Chicagoland Pony Rentals offers a "day at the farm" package in Frankfort: three hours for up to 35 people. It includes pony rides around the farm, an expanded petting zoo, with tents, tables and chairs provided (you bring your own food and beverages)--all for about $550.

The carts the ponies pull can carry several children at a time. The ponies also can be saddled for rides by children, one at a time.

The baby goats are presented petting zoo-style, in a small pen.

The teens also clean up any mess the animals may make while they are at an event.

The teenagers see the venture as perfect for children’s parties and other festive occasions.

The animals are cared for humanely. The teens and others are at the farm daily, ensuring that the ponies and goats are well fed and have fresh water, and that they have access to veterinary care.

Those interested in more information on rental packages are advised to visit Chicagoland Pony Rentals on Facebook.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Feds Announce Bribery Charges Against Summit Police Chief, Building Inspector

Press release from the U.S. Department of Justice/U.S. Attorney's Office/Northern District of Illinois:

"The Chief of Police in the village of Summit, Ill., corruptly accepted money from a local businessman intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with the transfer of a liquor license to another individual, according to a federal indictment.

"The indictment returned Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago alleges that Chief John Kosmowski conspired with a Summit building inspector to accept more than $5,000 from the businessman in 2017. The pair accepted the money, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with the transfer of a liquor license to another person, the indictment states.  Kosmowski allegedly received a cash payment from the businessman on March 23, 2017 and then gave the building inspector a portion of it.

"The charges allege that Kosmowski met with the building inspector earlier this year and informed him of the federal investigation into the payment. During the meeting, Kosmowski allegedly sought to corruptly persuade the building inspector to mischaracterize the purpose of the payment from Kosmowski to the inspector by falsely suggesting that it was a loan, the indictment states.

"The indictment charges Kosmowski, 54, of Lockport, Ill., with one count of bribery conspiracy, one count of bribery, and one count of obstruction of justice.  The building inspector, William Mundy, 59, of Summit, Ill., is charged with one count of bribery conspiracy and one count of filing a false tax return.  

"Arraignments in federal court in Chicago have not yet been scheduled.

"The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; and Justin Campbell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tiffany Ardam and Jimmy L. Arce.

"The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines."

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Donate Your Unneeded Items to "Bundle Weekend" Charity Drive at St. Rene

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

The Two Holy Martyrs chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society is hosting a bundle weekend from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 28 and from 7 a.m. to noon Sunday, May 29 in the church parking lot on the St. Rene campus, 64th and New England.

This is the time to sort through those items you don’t want or need any more. The society is collecting bed linens, blankets, quilts, kitchen and bath towels and washcloths, small kitchen appliances such as toasters, blenders and coffee makers, glassware and silverware, framed artwork, holiday items and table and floor lamps.

Clothes are always welcome, whether it be men’s or women’s and especially kids’ clothing. Shoes, socks, ties, jackets and coats are also accepted.

Other items are accepted, such as suitcases, record albums and compact discs, books, computers, keyboards and printers.

Unfortunately, due to space restraints, no large furniture or appliances can be accepted. Also, any baby items that can be potentially recalled, such as strollers, car seats or cribs, will not be accepted.

You can drop off your items at the truck marked St. Vincent de Paul in the parking lot on the days it will be there.

For more information, contact the Two Holy Martyrs rectory at (773) 767-1523 and ask that a St. Vincent de Paul Society member give you a call back.

Thank you, Donna LeCompte, for sharing this useful information.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago is the oldest charity in the Chicago area, with a history of serving Cook and Lake counties since 1857.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago provides services to individuals and families during tough times. They provide tangible assistance to those in need on a person-to-person basis.