‘I miss you Mom, I miss you so much’

  • Written by Bob Rakow

 Son grieves for mother after Oak Lawn fire claims two lives

  A weekend house fire in Oak Lawn Color-OL-Fire-3-colKathryn Lomac, 73, died after her house on Lawrence Court caught fire. Her caretaker, Mary Bruce, died on Tuesday. Fire fighters from Oak Lawn and several communities extinguished the fire early Saturday morning. Photo by Brigid Rakow.claimed the life of a 73-year-old woman on Saturday and left another woman in critical condition until she died on Tuesday. Kathryn Lomac, 73, was pronounced dead Saturday morning shortly after a 1:30 a.m. blaze at her house in the 10100 block of Lawrence Court, officials said. Her caretaker, 74-year-old Mary Bruce, died at 11:02 a.m. Tuesday at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, according to news reports. There were no smoke detectors in the house and officials have not released the cause of the fire.

  Lomec’s son, Michael, publicly grieved about his mother’s death on his Facebook page. The former Marine gave a heart-tugging tribute to his mother.
  “I miss my mom,” he posted on Sunday. “Why did this happen? Why wasn’t I there why did I not stop this? I should have prevented this. I should have made sure there were operable smoke detectors.
  “I miss Mom. God, I miss Mom. I miss her holding me and telling me she loves me and telling me I am her baby. I miss her holding me and kissing me. I miss hugging her goodbye every time I left and kissing her and telling her I love her. I miss helping her and talking to her and seeing her smile at me every time she saw me. God, I miss my mom. I never knew how much I loved her until this. I want to hold her one more time. Please, God, please I can’t stop thinking of my mom. I miss you Mom, I miss you so much.’’
  Bruce was rescued by firefighters and was in critical condition for two days at Christ Medical Center before she died Tuesday morning.
  A firefighter also was injured while battling the blaze at the single-story home near 103rd Street and Central Avenue. He was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital.
Firefighters found Lomac in a recliner in the living room of the home, officials said.
  There were no working smoke detectors in the house, said fire officials, who are in the midst of a campaign to promote their use in every home.
  The fire, which is under investigation by the state Fire Marshall, was contained to the living room and does not appear to be suspicious, said fire officials.
  Oak Lawn firefighters were assisted by the units from Alsip, Evergreen Park, Hometown and the North Palos Fire Protection District is extinguishing the fire.
  Funeral arrangements were not available as of Wednesday morning.


Let’s Face it, Facebook is on down side but I’m not a ‘hater’

  • Written by Bob Rakow


Bobs Column - The B SideFacebook is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The first question that comes to mind is if the popular social media site will be around 10 years from now to mark another milestone birthday.
I’ve seen numerous stories indicating that Facebook is past its prime. Anyone remember MySpace? People, especially the hip and trendy younger generation, have moved on, experts contend. Facebook has lost ground to Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and other apps, they say. Then again, Facebook has more than one billion users, so I doubt it’s going away anytime soon.
I’ve never used these other social media applications and really have no desire. I know, Grandpa Bob is behind the times. I do, however, spend time on Facebook practically every day. Most days I visit the site more than once. But rarely, if ever, do I post a status. Why? I don’t think most people care about what I think or have to say.
So why do I visit Facebook on a routine basis? Habit more than anything. There’s rarely anything life-changing or earth-shattering posted on my news feed. I have about 200 Facebook friends. Not a big number. Of those friends, only a handful post statuses routinely. Most of them, unfortunately, say very little.
Parents post endless updates about their children’s accomplishments. That’s fine to an extent. I proudly announced when my son won a college scholarship, my daughter got straight A’s on her first high school report card and posted pictures of the kids before school dances and graduations. But some people are of the mind that every cute thing their child says or does is adorable and interesting. It’s not.
I’m also not too interested in what you ate for dinner, nor do I need to see a picture of the meal no matter how appetizing it appears. If you shoveled the snow, good for you, so did I. And, yes, it sure is cold outside. You saw a good movie, attended a great concert, went on vacation—not that interested.
Jeff Vorva, my insightful editor, reminds me that time spent on Facebook is time wasted. He chides me for engaging in mindless debates on Facebook. I know he’s right, but I still get drawn into them from time to time. I like to have an opinion and defend it. Sadly, I’ve learned that Facebook isn’t about opinions or debating an issue. Rather, it’s about agreeing with those who post. Click the “like” icon or simply concur with your friends’ posts. To do otherwise, I’ve learned, is unwise.
For example, I recently opined that the Northern Illinois University football team did not belong in the Bowl Championship Series discussion because they are a mid-major school that does not play with the big boys in a major conference. I’m not alone in that thinking, and I don’t have anything against the Huskies. It’s just an opinion.
But the reaction from NIU apologists was fierce. One poster was kind enough to explain how the bowl selection process works. After all, I couldn’t possibly understand the process if I was opposed to NIU’s selection. The thing is, I didn’t need the explanation. Rather, I was hoping an NIU backer could defend their team’s inclusion in a major bowl. Make a case. Don’t attack me.
I once pointed out that Derrick Rose was wrong to sit out during the playoffs last year. He was well enough to play and by not doing so let his teammates down, I argued. Show me the hockey player who would do the same. I was personally attacked for that remark. I don’t recall the specific remark one person made, but he chose to rip me rather than defend Rose’s decision. I let him know it had gotten personal for him and the point wasn’t worth further argument.
I’ve even been called a “hater” on Facebook during a debate on a social issue. The poster doubled back to explain she wasn’t being serious when she deemed me a hater. Too late. I removed her from my list of friends that day. I know this person outside the Facebook world, but if personal attack is your only response to an opposing view, why should I bother?
Heck, I once was told to “shut up, Mr. Rakow” by a teenager who disagreed with me in some silly debate about hockey. That he disagreed was fine. The ease at which he could lob “shut up” at an adult was shocking. I guess it’s easy to disparage someone when standing behind the protection of Facebook. At least he remembered his manners and called me Mr. Rakow.
To be fair, there are some positives to Facebook. Groups created to promote a fundraiser or school reunion are extremely useful. I would not have reconnected with classmates from my elementary school was it not for a page dedicated to our graduating class and a potential reunion. More importantly, I marched on two occasions in the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk in support a classmate who bravely announced on Facebook that she had the disease.
Another small group of classmates gets together on Facebook during each Blackhawks game to cheer on the team, make good and bad comments, etc. I haven’t participated as much this year, but I can count on the group being there game in, game out.
Most newspaper reporters—myself included—post their stories on Facebook to promote them as well as our papers. It’s a great tool for putting stories in front of people who otherwise would not read them. I’ve even monitor various Facebook pages that are dedicated to crime in a community, for example, to keep up with what’s important to residents.
So despite my somewhat negative outlook on Facebook, it’s unlikely I’ll close my account any time soon. Don’t look for me to post very often. Instead, I’ll be in the background reading and disagreeing with your posts.


Leave the guns at home, please

  • Written by Tim Hadac

 Half marathon officials worried about race fans packing heat at May event

If you’re coming to the run, don’t bring your gun, organizersPAGE-1-COLOR-2-col-cops-and-gunsThe 2014 First Midwest Half Marathon will have less of a gun presence from police this year but race officials are concerned that fans will be bringing concealed weapons to the May event. Photo by Jeff Vorva. of the 2014 First Midwest Bank Half Marathon said last Friday.
“We don’t want guns at the race, and Illinois law allows us to prohibit them at an event like this,” said Jeff Prestinario, chairman of the event committee that met at the Palos Heights Recreation Center, 6601 W. 127th St.
“It’s like the Wild, Wild West. Check your guns before you come into the town,” he added with a chuckle.
The issue was raised by Palos Heights police Sgt. Adam Nagy, when he told his fellow committee members that while implementation of the state’s Firearm Concealed Carry Act is proceeding slowly, there may be some local residents who have concealed carry permits by May, when the event will be held.
“I don’t want to infringe on anyone’s rights,” Nagy told the group, “but the law allows guns to be prohibited at special events or public gatherings that require a permit.”
He added that if the committee chose to ban guns, it would need to obtain a permit from Palos Heights and then post signs about the ban at regular points along the race route.
Prestinario said that he and others on the committee will move forward with the permit and signs, although details—including the exact wording—need to be worked out.

Bury gives Rivet-ing village address

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury used her first state of the village address TuesdayPAGE-3-2-col-rosieSandra the mayor meets Rosie the Riveter. Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury, bottom photo, uses a slide of Rosie the Riveter, above, to show the strength of the village when it works together during her state of the village address on Tuesday. Photo by Jeff Vorva.Page-3-2-col-Sandra to tout several accomplishments and outline some plans for the future.

Bury spoke before members of the Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the annual speech during a lunch at the Oak Lawn Hilton.

She also used visuals aids that included plenty of facts, figures and a slide of the iconic Rosie the Riveter to explain the importance of everyone in the village working together.
Bury was flanked by several village department heads, who she said were largely responsible for the village’s 2013 achievements.
Bury announced that Flap-Jacks Restaurant, a popular Oak Lawn eatery that closed in November after an 18-year run near the corner of 111th Street and Cicero Avenue, would reopen at the former Top Notch Beefburgers, near 95th Street and Hilton Drive. Top Notch closed in 2010 as a result of declining sales.
Keeping the popular restaurant in town was important, said Bury, who added that the village issued 40 business licenses in 2013.
Bury touched on several accomplishments achieved by the village board since she was sworn in 10 months ago. For example, the board:
Worked out a $3.2 million impact fee with Christ Medical Center, which Bury termed “historic.”
The launch of a new website that is easily navigable and gives resident access to information not available on the previous site.
The referendum on the March ballot that will allow voters to decide on term limits for elected officials.

Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook: Good reception — a salute to local radio stations

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

jeff column

A few weeks ago, I attended a wake of a guy by the name of Don Ladas.
For 50-plus years, he was a sports announcer and ad salesman for WJOL radio in Joliet and hosted a long-running show dedicated to local bowling. He also published a sports newspaper in the area and was the second person to ever pay me money for writing.
He was a giant in the Joliet area. It wouldn’t surprise me if a few of our readers heard about him out here.
Ladas and the other people during the station’s heyday represented something that some people don’t get to experience – a community radio station.
While people around here have Chicago stations to turn to, people in Joliet and Will County swear by WJOL. Sometimes they swear at it but mostly they swear by it.
When I was growing up, it was local during all Page-3-3-col-jv-colDon Ladas, who died in January, was a part of a community radio station for a half decade. He was honored at the Rialto Square Theatre in 2009. Photo by Jeff Vorva.of the daytime hours and most of the nighttime hours with music, area news and sports.
Now it’s a part of a big media conglomeration, but still has local morning and afternoon drive-time programming and high school football and basketball games.

The rest is syndicated shows. It’s not the same time frame, but the reduced local clock they work with still has plenty of quality programming.
People turn to their local radio stations for news about what’s going on in their town. This station covers the usual stuff such as board meetings and elections. But Joliet is pretty lively with big time crimes and gang violence dotting the landscape and the Will County area has its shares of tornados and floods to report on.
Joliet is also a town with the Des Plaines River running through it and five drawbridges that could muck up traffic. The station used to announce which bridge was up and which bridge was next to rise. My old man always wondered how they knew that, but there was some electronic gizmo in their previous studios on what they called “Top Radio Hill’’ that would alert them when a bridge was ready to lift.