Machak to stay at Dist. 124

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  Officials in Evergreen Park School District 124 will not be seeking a new superintendent.
  Supt. Robert Machak has withdrawn his name from the superintendent search in Park Ridge School District 64 where he was one of two finalists for the position.
  “I shared my decision with our board of education and teaching staff last week. I am grateful for the wonderful students, staff, parents and my administrative colleagues here in District 124,” Machak said in an email.
  He added that he is looking forward to seeing projects initiated since he became superintendent 18 months ago come to fruition.
  “I am looking forward to seeing these projects, such as our one-to-one technology initiative and the Central Junior High School transformation into a true middle school, through to their completion,” he said. “I feel blessed to be a member of this school community, and I hope to remain here a long time.”
  Machak met on Jan. 9 with principals, assistant principals and administrators as well as PTO and union representatives, District 64 board president Anthony Borrelli said. The meetings were followed by a three-hour interview with the school board.
  The board was expected to meet Jan. 15 to discuss the candidate visits. Board members will then visit the preferred candidate’s school district. It hopes to announce the new superintendent at its Jan. 28 meeting, Borrelli said.
  Machak is in his second year as District 124 superintendent. Previously, he was superintendent for four years of Emmons Elementary School District 33 in Antioch.
  He also has served as a principal in West Northfield School District 31 in Northbrook for a decade and as an assistant principal in Hawthorn School District 73 in Vernon Hills for a year. He began his career in education teaching English for eight years.
  A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Machak received his master’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University and his doctorate from National-Louis University.

WHATIZIT? 1-23-14

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


Any chances of shutting out the gallery two weeks in a row DR-COLOR-WHAZ-1-16were turned to powder right away when Willow Springs’ Harrison Debre came right out of the box with the correct answer.
  Some other folks got it right — it was chalk that is used by gymnasts. Some got it wrong. But spirits were a little brighter this week after the WHATIZIT? wunderkinds was shut out two weeks ago.
  Scoring perfect 10s were Chicago Ridge’s Kathy Higgins, Dana Oswald and Patty Vandenberg, Hickory Hills’ Jack and Griffin Burke Faddis, Worth’s German Cordova and Robert Solner, Oak Lawn’s Jane Foley, Evergreen Park’s Tom Fitzpatrick and Palos Hills’ Lois Faragher,
  Those who fell off the balance beam were those who guessed flour, baking powder, a tub of ice cream from the Plush Horse and a pan full of powdered sugar “just like the ingredient my wife and I put on our homemade Christmas Kolaches.’’
  This week’s clue: Icon.
  Send those guesses to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Put WHATIZIT in the subject line by Monday night and don’t forget to provide your name and hometown.

Palos Hill changes fence ordinance

  • Written by Kelly White

  Corner-lot homeowners in Palos Hills now need to seek permission from the city council before making changes to their fences.

  Amendments to the city’s fence ordinance went into effect after a vote during Thursday’s city council meeting, altering the ordinance wording slightly, yet significantly.
  The changed portion of the ordinance pertains only to front and side yards of homes and says the constructed fence must still remain six inches inside of the homeowners’ property line.
  Alderman Joan Knox (2nd Ward) said the phrasing being changed in the ordinance pertains solely to corner-lot exceptions. “The property owner must now appeal directly to the city council before any construction of an otherwise permitted fence takes place,” she said.
  Prior to the change, a homeowner was allowed to make the change with permission from his or her neighbor, by having them sign the permit request indicating they had no objections to the changes as long as the homeowner already previously obtained a permit for the fence.
  “The major change to the fence ordinance is now a homeowner needs to come before the city council before making any changes to an already permitted fence,” Mayor Jerry Bennett said. “Before they were able to do so with just the permission of their neighbor; however, now any changes must first come directly before the city council.”
  Knox added that nowhere in the ordinance is there a legal written description on what constitutes the front of a house. Ald. A.J. Pasek felt not determining what constitutes the front of a house may cause future problems for the city.
  “We need to eventually determine what the front of the house is and include it in the ordinance,” he said.

Retro Reporter 1-23-14

  • Written by Compiled by Jeff Vorva

Retro Reporter Art

No toilets needed when the train comes once
50 years ago
From the Jan. 23 1964 edition
  The story: Worth’s Board of Trustees tabled a proposal to meet four times a month instead of the usual two. Trustee Jack Baldwin complained the committee meetings were going to midnight and that the board should hold special meetings on the second and fourth Mondays.
  The quote: “Ridiculous. There is only one train each way and they are very punctual. Nobody is kept waiting for the train to arrive, and if they miss it, there’s no use waiting around the depot. There won’t be another train.’’—The Wabash Railroad’s response in a letter denying Worth a toilet facility at its depot.
  Fun fact: Brooks Going, a 1961 World Baton Champion from Miami, Fla., signed up to teach at Dee’s Studio of Dance in Worth.

Ooops. Husband accidently shoots wife after argument
25 years ago
From the Jan. 26, 1989 edition
  The story: Ganine Eads, 25, of Oak Lawn received a minor wound while fighting with her husband, Gary, police said. Police said while they were arguing, Ganine pulled out a gun. Then she dropped the weapon. Gary then picked up the chrome plated .45 automatic handgun and the gun accidentally discharged and she suffered a superficial wound to her right shoulder. No charges were filed, police said.
  The quote: “The chance to improve the court system is a wonderful challenge. [We want people to say] ‘Yep, that’s a place where we get good service.’”-- Circuit Court Clerk Aurelia Pucinski of the pending opening of the new courthouse in Bridgeview on the border of Palos Hills.
  Fun fact: Several local actors were involved in a comedy play “E.R.” under the colorful name of Argyle Gargoyle Productions.

Fire to come to soon-to-be-built Bridgeview stadium
10 years ago
From the Jan. 22, 2004 edition
  The story: The Chicago Fire soccer team agreed to play in a proposed stadium in Bridgeview that would hold 20,000 to 25,000 people. They planned to play there in 2006.
  The quote: “I have some big shoes to fill. Joel Tomas was a lifelong neighbor, I always thought he was always going to be there.’’ — Palos Hills alderman-to-be Kelly O’Brien who was replacing Tomas, who had died while serving his term.
  Fun fact: Survivor singer/songwriter Jim Peterik and his World Stage Band were set to perform at Moraine Valley. The group featured former members of Night Ranger, Blackhawk, the Storm and Pride of the Lions.

Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook: Two runs, less guns

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


Race security shouldn’t be as threatening

jeff column There were police helicopters, bomb-sniffing dogs, snipers on roofs and plenty of unconcealed machine guns.
  Was it a hostage situation?
  Was it a bank robbery?
  Was the President in town?
  It was the 2013 running of the First Midwest Bank Marathon in May.
  On April 15, terrorists bombed the finish line of the Boston Marathon leaving deaths and injuries in its wake. While the cops and government officials pieced together what had happened in Boston, the men that ran the half-marathon here at home were a little edgy.
  Co-race director Mel Diab was actually running the Boston Marathon but was miles away when the explosions hit. Still, he was shaken by the events. The next morning he said he was sad and angry, saying “These are cowardly, terrible human beings that did this.”
  The other co-director, Jeff Prestinario, was spitting mad.FRONT-COLOR-2-col-Marath2Last year, there was still plenty of fun at the First Midwest Bank Half Marathon as Tinley Park’s Rold Talusan crossed the finish line wearing an anatomy running suit. But there was also a serious presence of cops (above) with machine guns and police helicopters (bottom photo) at the event, which was held weeks after the Boston Marathon bombing. Photos by Jeff Vorva. Prestinario is normally a low-key friendly guy with a smile on his face but during that time, he was trying to get ready for one of the biggest events in his village, and a flood of thoughts were running through his head, including possibly cancelling the May 5 event.
  But those thoughts quickly were erased and he, Diab and several law enforcement organizations teamed up for a day in which there was a heavy security presence. Cops with machine guns milled around with the thousands of kids, runners and spectators at the race. Shortly before the race started, a helicopter from the Chicago Police Department made an appearance and buzzed around for a little while checking things out.
  The day went without incident and Prestinario was back smiling again.
  The organizers had their first committee meeting for the May 4, 2014 race on Friday, and while the emotions from the Boston bombings are in the past, they aren’t forgetting that tragic event, either.
  In the coming months, there will be a game plan for security but it doesn’t figure to be a severe.
  “The terrorism created as huge problem for our race,” Prestinario said on Friday. “It happened soon before our race. The police and fire department and city will be discussing FRONT-COLOR-3-colwhat level they will supply services and security for this year.
  “I don’t think it will be at the level of last year. Knock on wood, this won’t be an issue. The security last year was unbelievable. We had more security than probably any race you have seen.’’
  Palos Heights Sgt. Jeff Crowley had a big hand in security last year. This year, Sgt. Adam Nagy will take over for Crowley but Crowley was at Friday’s meeting in Nagy’s absence and agreed with Prestinario’s assessment.
  “We incorporated a lot of things last year because of international events’’ Crowley said. “We don’t anticipate we’re going to do that much again. But we will go over all of that.’’
  There figures to be a fair presence of security this year but not as prevalent as last year.
  Outsiders may scoff that last year was overkill. After all, why would a terrorist want to make a statement by bombing a race in Palos Heights?
  But at the time it made sense. It was an uncertain time and it was smart to be too cautious than to underplay the safety of thousands.
10K saves the day
  The seventh running of the race has been saved and it looks like it will be alive and will be for three years, thanks to the First Midwest Bank sponsorship.
  But it was almost shut down because of costs. During the holidays, it was still up in the air. But adding the 10K race to the half marathon could defray some costs.
  “We talked about it and I met with Mel [Jan. 2] and we did some numbers and figured out what we needed,” Prestinario said. “At that time, we had to decide if we wanted to do it another three years. It was close.


  “People don’t understand that the cost of running this race from top to bottom is expensive.” Presitinario added. “We needed to do something to bring in more runners. A 10K was the most natural way.’’