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Worth mayor said vandalism may result in thousands of dollars in damage

  • Written by By Sharon L. Filkins

Worth Mayor Mary Werner voiced her displeasure during the board meeting on March 16 about reports of damage to property that has occurred recently in the village.

Werner read a prepared statement about what she said has been excessive damage over the last seven weeks to village, park district and school properties.

“To repair and restore the damaged areas will cost in the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, of taxpayer dollars,” she said.

Reportedly, the damage has been caused by an individual, or individuals, driving a vehicle recklessly on the properties. Damage has occurred at the Water’s Edge Golf Course, Altman Park, and twice each at Homerding Park, Stahlak Park and Gale Moore Park.

Additionally, the Worthwoods School and the School Administration Building were vandalized during the same time frame.

Werner said she was bringing this to the public’s attention, not just as a public service announcement, but as a request for help.

“If any suspicious activity is witnessed in our parks or other areas, please do not hesitate to contact the police. We want to continue to keep our village, parks and schools looking good. Any assistance or help in trying to prevent this type of activity from continuing will be appreciated,” she said.

Her remarks came on the heels of an announcement from Village Clerk Bonnie Price, who stated in her clerk’s report that security cameras were installed at the Metra Train Station on Friday.

Werner said she hoped the cameras would become a deterrent to the vandalism. “The recent damage to Gale Moore Park was caused by vandals who stole large bags of rock salt from the train station and scattered it across the grassy areas in the park, which has effectively killed all the grass,” she said.

At the board meeting, two new police officers were sworn in to serve and protect.

Taking the oath of office were Officers Joseph Vityk and Michael Wirth, bringing the total number of police officers in the village to 26. Price administered the oath. Both Vityk and Wirth graduated on Friday from the Cook County Police Academy in Chicago after completing three months of intensive training. According to a police department spokesperson, the two officers will then complete an additional week of training with the academy. The week is an optional choice and will involve taser training.

Vityk and Wirth are scheduled to begin their duties with Worth on Monday, March 28.

After the ceremony, Werner said, “I am grateful when we have young men such as these, stepping up to be police officers in this day and age. It makes me feel safe.” Werner told the officers she was proud of them. She attended their graduation on Friday.

In other board action, a business license and ordinance approving a special use to operate an automobile repair shop was approved for A Plus Auto Repair Inc., located at 6445 W. 111th St., with a stipulation that prevents the company from test driving vehicles southbound on Natchez Avenue, as it is a residential street. Also outlined was a requirement that vehicles not be stored on the lot for more than 72 hours.

A license was also approved for the Hookah Shoppe d/b/a Worth Tobacco, located at 10718 S. Harlem Ave. The license is contingent upon having passed all inspections and being in compliance with all codes and ordinances, which does not allow paraphernalia, such as glass pipes to be sold.

A license approval for The Walk-in Closet, 6955 W. 111th St., was removed from the consent agenda because the owner was not present. Werner said attendance is mandatory for owners of businesses seeking business licenses. She noted it will be visited again at the next regular board meeting.

Also approved were Tag Day requests for the Worth-Ridge Panthers on May 21 and for Blue Cap on Aug. 19 and Aug. 20.

Trustees Tedd Muersch Jr. and Kevin Ryan were absent from the meeting due to work conflicts.