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Worth Museum doors are open while village searches for new home

  • Written by Sharon L. Filkins

worth museum photo 7-6

Photo by Sharon L. Filkins


Summer has arrived, school is out and parents are faced with their annual dilemma; what is there to do? The deciding factor for this question is generally something close to home and free of cost.

For Worth residents, at least for the time being, the answer can be a visit to the Worth Historical Museum, located in the Worth Park District’s Terrace Centre at 11500 S. Beloit Ave. The museum is currently open five days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and there is no charge for admission. However, it may soon be looking for a new home.

Visitors need to be advised that their visit will be a walk-through on their own as there is no longer a museum curator on hand to explain the various historical exhibits on display.

According to Robert O’Shaughnessy, director of Worth’s Parks and Recreation Department, the curator position was eliminated last year in order for the park district to channel funding to its new priority, upgrading the Veteran’s Memorial Park at the intersection of 111th Street and Harlem Avenue.

“The museum is still intact with everything in place, just as it was and we are taking care of it. But we would like to get out of the management of it and move it to another location. The park district is really not in the museum business,” he said. “We want it to stay in the community but the park district is not the best group to be running it. Ideally, we would love for a school, or library or a civic organization which might have room for it, to take it over,”

He added that times have changed and the park district has grown. “We could really use the space more productively.”

O’Shaughnessy said if anyone is interested in housing the museum and its contents for the public to visit, call him at the park district office at (708) 448-7080.

The Worth Historical Museum was first opened in 1995 at the Terrace Centre by the Worth Historical Society. In 2004, the museum was expanded with funding from the Department of Natural Resources Illinois State Museum’s Public Museum Capital Grant.

For six years prior to last July, Colleen McElroy, a former village trustee, served as curator for the museum and successfully increased the collection of historical objects, photos and historical documents. She also interviewed many descendants of families who helped found the Village of Worth. In 2012, she authored the book “History of Worth,” which is still available at the Worth Public Library. All the photos used in the book are stored in the archives of the museum.

Even though museum visitors are not given a guided tour, the written history of Worth and many photos are displayed in large frames along the wall of the hallway leading to the museum at the Terrace Centre, providing an introduction to the museum.

Inside the museum, a visitor’s gaze is drawn to a large reproduction of The Bishop Store and Post Office, a major focal point of the early days in Worth. The store was located on the northeast corner of 111th Street and Depot.

According to information in the museum, the store was built by Edward Payson Bishop in 1881. He sold items like candy, groceries, lunch meats and candles. Items like coffee, tea, spices, rice, beans, flour, sugar, salt, cornmeal and molasses were also sold in the store. Those items were stored in large bins and bags, crowding the shelves and floor of the store.

A potbelly stove was one of the trademarks of Bishop’s Store. Residents of Worth would gather at the store, sit by the stove and discuss politics, current events and memories of “Old Worth.” The actual stove is on display in the reproduction. It was donated to the museum by the Zuidema family.

The museum is filled with information such as the history of the Bishop Store. Individuals or families can stop by the Terrace Centre during park district hours and ask if they can tour the museum while it is still at its current location.

If anyone has any suggestions on where the museum can be moved to, contact the Worth Park District’s Terrace Centre at the above number.

Friendship Fest to celebrate veterans and Moraine's 50th anniversary

  • Written by Joe Boyle

The annual Palos Hills Friendship Fest will again draw large crowds, feature musical entertainment and plenty of rides for kids.

But this year’s festival, which begins today (July 6) at the usual location of the Moraine Triangle at 107th Street and 88th Avenue, will mark two occasions. The city will be honoring all veterans and Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, on its 50th year.

Ald. Ricky Moore (4th Ward) helped organize the veterans committee last year and played a large role in organizing the event for the veterans. The veterans’ dedication ceremony will be held Saturday at the Friendship Fest at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Opening remarks will be delivered by Mayor Gerald Bennett.

“We just want to do something for them for what they have done for us,” said Moore.

After the mayor’s opening remarks, the posting of the honor guard will take place, followed by the pledge of allegiance. A Moraine Valley student and U.S. Marine will lead the pledge of allegiance.

“I think this this is something we should do,” Bennett said. “We should be honoring the veterans and not just today, but every day.”

The Friendship Fest that will be held beginning today through Sunday, July 9. Admission is free. Free parking is also available. Along with the salute to veterans, the city will honor Moraine Valley at 7:05 p.m. Sunday, July 9 at the fest. Dr. Sylvia Jenkins, president of Moraine Valley Community College, is scheduled to be on hand to talk about the anniversary.

“We appreciate the efforts of the City of Palos Hills,” said Jenkins. “This is a great honor.”

The college was founded by the Oak Lawn Rotary and opened its doors on Feb. 18, 1967. Members of the Oak Lawn Rotary were responsible for helping to put the question on a ballot asking residents if they would support the creation of a community college district. The ballot received overwhelming support from the local community.

Bennett has described the festival as a neighborhood gathering in which everyone is invited. This year is especially gratifying for the mayor because of the recognition of the veterans and Moraine Valley.

“We want to show our appreciation of what they (the veterans) have done and what they mean to us. And we honor Moraine Valley for their 50th year and what they have meant to Palos Hills. They have allowed us to use their grounds for the festival and that means a lot to us. But we also want to recognize them because they are very good neighbors.”

The festival kicks off from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday, July 6. Pay one price day of $20 will also be offered from 6 to 10 p.m. The food court opens up at 6 p.m. Free face painting will be offered from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and bingo will be available from 7 to 10 p.m. The Moraine Valley Kids Entertainment Stage will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. featuring stilt walker Jason Kollum. The Brass Buckle Band will perform beginning at 7:30 p.m.

During a Palos Hills City Council meeting last month, the board also honored Don Berry on his retirement as a Tech 1 and heavy equipment worker for the city’s Public Works Department. He has been a full-time employee since 1983. He had worked part-time for the city for a couple of years before that.

“We wish him the best,” said Bennett.

The board then discussed the Friendship Festival. The Wilson Family Carnival will be open from 6 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, July 7. The food court and arts and crafts vendors will open at 6 p.m. July 7. Bingo will be available from 7 to 10 p.m. that night. Reptiles with Jim Galeno will be at the Moraine Valley Kids Entertainment Stage from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The musical lineup on July 7 includes the Walk-ins at 6:30 p.m. American English, the popular Beatles tribute band, will take the stage at 9 p.m. Both performances will be held at the Beer Garden.

The carnival will be open from noon to 11:30 p.m. and pay one price of $20 will be available from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 8. The Palos Hills Horsemen Association will be at the fest from 1 to 4 p.m. Radio stations The Mix (101.9) and WSHE (100.3) will be broadcasting from the fest from noon to 2 p.m. Free pony rides and a petting zoo will be held from 1 to 5 p.m., and bingo can be played from 7 to 10 p.m. on July 7.

The kids stage will include the Vest Dance Troupe at 12:30 p.m., the Spoon Guy at 1 and 2:30 p.m., and the Storyteller at 1:30 and 3 p.m. The musical acts begin with The Browns at 4:30 p.m., followed by Sundance Band at 6:15 p.m. Infinity, who feature ‘70s and ‘80s music, will close out the musical acts with a performance beginning at 9 p.m. on July 8.

The Double K Productions Classic Car Show will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 9 at the Friendship Fest. Registration begins at 9 a.m. The fee is $20 the day of the show. More information can be obtained at www.doublekproductions.com.

Like Bennett, Moore is looking forward to the festival, especially since Moraine Valley is being recognized on their 50th anniversary and veterans will be honored.

“This is just wonderful,” said Moore. “I’m a professor at Moraine Valley so this is very special to me. It is an opportunity to honor them. They are part of our community. This will be a great celebration.

Oak Lawn native and MLB ump Tumpane saves a life in Pittsburgh

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

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Photo by MLB.com

Oak Lawn native and St. Laurence graduate John Tumpane speaks to the media after saving a woman’s life in Pittsburgh.

 

“Truly heroic.”

“God bless him.’’

“Don’t boo this umpire!”

Wait a minute…are people in social media praising an umpire?

You bet.

St. Laurence graduate and Oak Lawn native John Tumpane may have been the object of much Twitter scorn for his performance calling balls and strikes in a June 25 game in Kansas City (“I think it’s fair to ask if $ was on the line or are you that bad of an umpire?” one disgruntled Royals fan Tweeted) but three days later, this Major League Baseball arbiter was praised in the Twitter world – and real world, too -- for his quick-thinking and compassion as he helped save a woman’s life in Pittsburgh.

As he was walking on the Roberto Clemente Bridge several hours before calling a game between Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, Tumpane grabbed a woman who was climbing over a railing on the bridge, which spans over the Allegheny River. He said she told him she wanted a better look at the city’s skyline but he wasn’t buying it. The woman appeared to be suicidal and Tumpane kept hanging on and talking to her until more help arrived.

“I saw her put her leg up on the rail, Tumpane said during a news conference. “Obviously that grabs your attention. I saw the situation and I was lucky enough to be there to help.

“I had to think of everything I could do to just hang on to her and when she was thinking of going the other way, I was like ‘not on my watch…please.’ We were both just hanging on and thankfully there were other people around with cellphones and we had the right people helping us.’’

A police boat, helicopter, ambulance and fire truck arrived at the scene.

Tumpane, who is listed by MLB.com as living in Burbank, talked briefly with her after the rescue.

“She said ‘you’ll just forget me after this,’ ’’ Tumpane said. “I said ‘no, I’ll never forget you.’ It was an unbelievable day and I’m glad to say that she is going to have another day with us and I’m glad I was in the right place at the right time.

“This isn’t about me. This is about her and people who care about her. I’m glad it’s a positive story and not a sad story.’’

According to reports, the woman was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Tumpane, 34, graduated from St. Laurence in 2001 and made his Major League Baseball debut on Aug. 2, 2010.

On Aug. 21 2015, he was behind the plate when Houston starter Mike Fiers threw a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also worked the World Baseball Classic in 2013.

Some St. Laurence community members were not taken aback by Tumpane’s heroics.

“I have been fortunate to be friends with John for 20 years now,” said former classmate and teammate Adam Lotus, who is St. Laurence’s alumni director and assistant baseball coach. “I am not shocked one bit by this. He is one of the most thoughtful people I have ever been around.  

“John is the most humble person as well. I am sure he doesn't want all this attention but something like this shouldn't go unnoticed.  He comes from a great family who I also know very well so again not shocked by this. He was a great teammate and still a great friend.’’

‘Hams’ have a Field Day at park in Worth

  • Written by Brian Laughran

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Photo by Anthony Caciopo

Operating his ham radio rig from a car battery being charged with a solar panel, Linas Matonis, of Hickory Hills, transmits from his tent at the annual Hamfesters Radio Club Field Day, held this year at Altman Park in Worth. The battery enabled him to carry on making contact with fellow radio operators into the night.


In this age of constant communication -- where friends are just a text, tweet, or SnapChat away - few are readily prepared for the possible worst case scenario: a natural disaster happens, traditional power sources fail and there is no way to know what dangers lay ahead.

And yet, that is where a technology that has existed since Marconi comes in and, thankfully, there are those practicing for these moments of crisis in a time where most people think they can handle anything.

Hamfesters Radio Club-W9AA held their annual 24 hour Field Day on June 24 and Sunday in Worth’s Altman Park. The day is designed for Ham radio operators -- “Hams” for short -- to set up various stations in order to use their equipment to make contacts around North America for competitive points as well as to ensure that their equipment works in the field in case of an emergency.

Jim Riley, club chairman, former proprietor of Riley’s Trick Shop and lieutenant for the Emergency Management Agency, explained, “My wife says, ‘Why do you do this?’ I tell her, ‘Field Day is not a matter of life and death: it’s much more important than that.’ Of course, when her birthday falls on Field Day, that’s another story.”

The hams do indeed take Field Day and their practice very seriously. A stroll about the grounds -- only 1,000 feet in circumference -- reveal five separate stations using different antennas and forms of communication ranging from the relatively low tech Morse Code to high-tech new age forms of radio involving computers and solar panels.

Each station operates completely on power that would only be available in the case of an emergency. Former club president and commander in the Emergency Management Agency Don Pointer explained the importance of hams being prepared for scenarios like this.

“The National Weather Service relies extremely heavily on the Ham radio community,” Pointer said. “Many, many ham radio operators are also trained weather spotters. So, when they phone in a report, the weather service takes it very seriously. When ham radios call in [the National Weather Service] then can get that information on their website and out to the local media.”

W9AA is a collection of people who have been practicing the art of ham radio and have actively participated in reporting on natural disasters for decades; several, including Pointer and Riley, were active during the Plainfield tornado of 1990.

The one thing that all hams seem to have in common, whether they are old hat or relative rookies, besides a general interest in radio communications, is a shared love for technology. Linas Matonis, of Hickory Hills, oversaw one of the most interesting rigs in the entire camp: a radio attached to a car battery powered by a solar panel.

“I got into [ham radio] because I have a general interest in electronics,” Matonis said while manning a rig that mixed one of the oldest forms of mass communication with one of the trendiest power sources available.

Each Ham is a master of technical speak, talking to one another in a sort of secret code that they are always glad to explain to outsiders. Those outsiders play a key role in Field Day. Aside from providing friendly competition and preparedness awareness to Hams around the country, the day also works as a sort of recruitment tool.

All were welcome to try their hands at the craft of amateur radio and some outsiders did, including Palos’ own in-house baseball team as well as this reporter.

The act itself of making a contact with one of upwards of 40,000 hams across North America is one that requires patience and focus. So much patience and focus, in fact, that a short burst of applause was in order when I managed to make contact with a station in north Florida (call letters K4FC). There is a certain undeniable thrill that comes from shouting, “Whiskey-Nine-Alpha-Alpha!” (radio call letters must be delivered phonetically for clarity) into the microphone and hearing back from someone hundreds of miles away. While a Florida contact may be impressive to a greenhorn at ham radio, many hams partaking in this field day have made contacts from around the globe.

Riley’s trailer wall is lined with postcards from far-flung correspondents in Nigeria, Estonia and Tahiti. Matonis boasts of a contact as far away as Indonesia.

In Altman Park, there were only five tents set up, but the hams were in full force that day, ready to make contact.

Hamfesters Radio Club-W9AA meet on the first Friday of every month at the Crestwood Community Center at 14025 S. Kostner Ave. Meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. and typically last until 9:30 p.m. For more information on upcoming events or how to join, visit www.hamfesters.org.

Chicago Ridge has stake in wrong-way driving resolution

  • Written by Dermot Connolly

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Steven Smith


 

The Chicago Ridge Village Board unanimously approved a resolution in support of House Bill 303, which would make driving the wrong way an “aggravating factor” in sentencing of people convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.

As of last Friday, the bill had passed both the Illinois House and Senate, and is awaiting the signature of Gov. Bruce Rauner. State Rep. Michael Zalewski (D-23rd) introduced the bill, and state Rep. Fran Hurley (D-35th) is among the co-sponsors.

The board members have been known to argue about many issues, but not this one. Intoxicated, wrong-way driving hits especially close to home for Chicago Ridge officials and residents alike since village police officer Steven Smith was killed on Sept. 13, 2015, when the vehicle he was riding in was struck by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 294 near Hinsdale.

Smith was a decorated Marine Corps veteran and Richards High School graduate who grew up in Chicago Ridge. His cousin was driving him back to the western suburbs to retrieve his vehicle left there by another relative after a wedding when the collision occurred at 3:45 a.m. He was scheduled to work later that day.

Sara Lopez, 22, of Bristol, Ill., was charged with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, but members of the board expressed indignation at the relatively light sentence she received.

“The person who did this only got five years,” said Trustee Debby Pyznarski, whose husband is Police Chief Rob Pyznarski.

“This village will not walk away from this. She was going 105 mph the wrong way for 9.5 miles on I-294,” said the trustee. Pyznarski cited statistics showing that of 283 wrong-way traffic crashes in Illinois, 82 percent were found to be DUI-related.

HB 303 amends state statutes to include driving in the opposite direction of traffic on one-way roadways an “aggravating factor” in sentencing when a person is charged with driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol or any intoxicating compound

“It is terrible. It is inexcusable. People are saying that it is tantamount to murder,” said Mayor Chuck Tokar. “There were 100 calls to 911 about (Lopez) driving the wrong way, and she couldn’t be stopped.”

“She only got five years because driving the wrong way was not considered an aggravating factor.”

Smith’s mother, Lisa Smith, was not at the meeting, but she has been advocating for the bill to be passed since Zalewski introduced it. She has been quoted as saying that her son was “murdered” by Lopez, using her 3,000-pound car as a weapon.

Tokar said he hoped the ongoing inability for state lawmakers to pass a budget will not delay Rauner signing the bill into law. He and other board members said it would be nice if it was called “Steven’s Law.”