Hickory Hills man fends off ruse burglars

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  A Hickory Hills man believes he was set up for a ruse burglary Aug. 13 by a man who claimed he was doing concrete work at a neighbor’s house, police said.

  The incident occurred in the 9300 block of 83rd Avenue at 6:10 p.m. when the man knocked on his door and asked to come inside. The resident would not let the man enter but asked what he needed, according to reports.
  The man said he needed the homeowner to move things that were in his driveway. The resident said he would move the items at a later time, police said. The offender again asked to come inside to use a pen and paper. The homeowner had a pen and paper with him and offered it to the man at the door, according to reports.
  The offender wrote his phone number on the piece of paper, which led the homeowner to suspect he was being setup for a ruse burglary, police said.
  The man then asked for water for his car, which the homeowner provided. He heard banging on the front door while he retrieved the water. When he opened the door, he was greeted by a woman who asked to come inside to get a glass of water and use the bathroom, police said.
  The homeowner agreed to get her a glass of water. When he returned the man and woman left in an SUV that was parked in a neighbor’s driveway. Nothing was missing from the house, police said.

Satan Disciples gang members arrested at Fall on the Green fest

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  Two admitted gang members and another man were arrested Friday on drug and weapons charges at Oak Lawn’s Fall on the Green festival, police said.

  Mohammed Ziko, 19, of Bridgeview; Andrew T. Miller, 22, of Harvey; both members of Satan Disciples, and Daniel J. Holdcroft, 21, of Worth, were arrested at 11 p.m. near the entrance of the Oak Lawn Library, police said.
  Police recognized the men, as they had spoken with them earlier in the evening at the fest, according to reports. The men said they were leaving the fest when they were stopped by police.
  Holdcroft was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, after he told police that he was carrying a knife, police said.
  Ziko and Miller were charged with possession of marijuana and drug equipment. Miller also was charged with intent to deliver marijuana, police said.
  Police said Miller placed something in a flower bed, which turned out to be a plastic bag containing marijuana and a pipe. He tried to walk away from police when they approached him.
  A police officer activated his taser and ordered Miller to the ground. He complied and was arrested. He was in possession of a digital scale.
  Ziko told police the marijuana and pipe belonged to him and he placed them in the flower bed, which led him to be arrested, police said.

Ridge man robbed by a couple of posers

  • Written by Bob Rakow

   A man was robbed Sept. 4 in Oak Lawn by two men posing as undercover police officers, police said.

  The Chicago Ridge man told police he was driving south in the 9500 block of Parkside Avenue at 8:50 p.m. when a dark-colored Chevrolet Tahoe cut him off, causing him to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision, according to reports.
  Two men got out of the SUV and walked toward the car, police said. They both were wearing dark polo shirts with shield or badges attached, leading the man to believe they were police officers, reports said.
  The men appeared to have bullet-proof vests under their shirts and wore belts with various gadgets attached. The victim did not recall if either man had a gun, police said.
  One of the men approached the driver’s side window and asked the driver for his driver’s license and registration, police said. The driver removed the items from his wallet, and the offender grabbed the wallet from his hand, according to police.
  Both men met at the front of the victim’s car for several seconds and then one of them returned to the car, returned the wallet, and told the driver, “You’re good to go.” The victim later realized that $47 was missing from his wallet.

Just call her Iron Woman

  • Written by Claudia Parker


DOUBLE-RUN-COLOR-4-COL-IRONCourtney Javorski of Worth has triumphed over cancer and finished the Ironman competition in Louisville in August. She sports her medal which she won for finishing in the competition. Photo by Jeff Vorva   

Worth athlete survives cancer and grueling Ironman race

When a diagnosis threatened the life of this active mom, she made a run for it.

  Nearly five years ago, during a routine obstetrics appointment, Courtney Javorski of Worth discovered she had cervical cancer.
  So a half decade later, what was she doing on Aug. 25?
  And biking.
  And swimming.
  Long, long distances.
  Javorski, who has been cancer-free for two years, competed in the Ironman event in Louisville Kentucky. This elite competition consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run. The rigor of a race like this is taxing for a healthy competitor let alone someone who is injured or sick.
  The former Chicago Ridge redident said she finished the raced in 14 hours, 20 minutes and 19 seconds. She was happy she could finish the race but it was not an easy competition.
  “I was surprisingly calm,” she said. “The swim occurs in the Ohio River and my goal was to finish in 120 minutes. But there was a current pushing me in the opposite direction and water kept getting in my goggles. I must have swam harder than I realized because I finished the swim in 108 minutes.
  “When I got on the bike, I felt great. I smiled so much my face hurt. I was just happy to be there.”
  Happiness soon turned to pain as she ran the marathon-distance third leg of the competition.
  “The run was the most difficult and visually terrifying,” she said. “It was hot — 90 degrees. My feet throbbed every step. I saw people passing out from a full standing position, face first. Some vomited. Some cramped and screamed out in agony. I saw a few people who appeared delirious from fatigue. It was scary.’’
  But she finished to the cheering of more than 20 friends and family members.
  Five years ago, she received the news about her cancer but it did not progress during the pregnancy and her daughter, Eva, was born healthy.
  Six weeks following Eva’s birth, Javorski, underwent a full hysterectomy. She was in remission for two years but it returned necessitating 33 radiation treatments and six weeks of chemotherapy. Javorski felt the best way for her to get through her fight was to continue on with life.
  She did so by not telling anyone of her disease except her husband Todd, his parents and her parents.
  “Life needed to move forward,” she said. “When I was fatigued from chemotherapy, I took a nap.”
  She didn’t want her son, Shane, who was 15 at the time, to be concerned about her illness.
  “He should be worried about his football season, not me,” she said.
  Her efforts to keep things under wraps went undetected initially. She continued to work as a fitness instructor at X Sport Fitness, as an Esthetician promoting healthy skin and as a massage therapist.
  As a lover of all things fitness, she kept competing in multiple triathlons and other races.
  However, after running First Midwest Bank’s Half Marathon in Palos Heights in 2011, she finally opened up about her plight.
  “I finished that race slower than normal. A friend I was running with probed and I lost it. I told her everything.”
  Javorski may have felt weak but her therapy team at Accelerated Rehabilitation in Orland Park saw strength.
  Team members volunteered to sponsor her for the pinnacle of endurance sports, The Ironman.
  Javorski also suffers from Lymphedema, a condition that causes localized fluid retention and tissue swelling. It’s frequently seen in patients who had radiation treatment. For Javorski, the swelling and severe pain is localized to the right leg. Another source of her discomfort is Plantar Fasciitis, it’s the connective tissue or ligament on the bottom surface of the foot.
  Most people complain it causes stabbing pain with every step. Javorski realized competing in The Ironman would defy all odds but she wasn’t going to allow anything to hold her back. With the help of trainer, Jennifer Harrison, Javorski trained four times a week for eight months. When she wasn’t running, swimming or biking, she was spinning or doing yoga. She remained under a doctor’s supervision the entire time. She was provided with a custom compression sleeve for her leg and custom orthotics’ to lessen the pain in her feet.
  A race of this magnitude also requires hydration and nutrition. Javorski drank an estimate of two-gallons of water and 60 ounces of electrolytes. She ate 2,100 calories, snacking on waffles and peanut butter bars during the bike portion of the race. When she started the run, she took in another eight ounces of water per mile.
  Javorski recalled visualizing herself finishing and imagined running alongside other cancer survivors. She wanted to feel as though she had support from people who could relate to her experience.
  She said she is not a role model but she does have a message to anyone who thinks they can’t accomplish big things because they are sick.
  “If you don’t feel, you’re not living. Don’t lie on the couch, numbing your situation. Get moving. Keep going.”


OL Park District stalls citizens’ full court press for hoop removal

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  An Oak Lawn trustee’s proposal to remove basketball hoops from all village parks was not well-received Monday by park district commissioners.

  “I didn’t get a good vibe from the board,” Trustee Carol Quinlan said after Monday’s park board meeting. “I’m not very optimistic.”
  Quinlan was one of approximately 30 residents who live near Little Wolf Park to attend the meeting. She asked commissioners to consider removing the hoops following an Aug. 14 fight at the park that led to two arrests.
  The fight took place at about 9:20 p.m. near a foot bridge that connects Little Wolfe Park with walking trails that stretch to the rear of Richards High School.
  Stephen Hyde, 18, of Oak Lawn, and Hexadore Randall, 19, of Chicago, were arrested and charged with battery after they were picked out of a lineup by teenagers injured in the melee, police said.
  The duo said the fight was racially motivated and broke out after a group of white teens used racial slurs, according to police. They said they were walking the trails adjacent to the park when they encountered the white teens, who shouted racial slurs before hitting them, police said.
  The white teens offered a different version of events. Two teens told police they were punched in the face while another said he was jumped, according to reports.
  Quinlan said problems have been ongoing throughout the summer and residents are concerned about the potential for more fights or mayhem.
  “It was not an isolated case,” Quinlan said. “I am not exaggerating at all.”
  She added that the park no longer attracts families or younger children. Instead, older teens and adults from outside Oak Lawn play basketball at the park, 109th Street and Laramie Avenue.
  “Mothers are not coming with their children. I think that we’re bringing in an element that’s from outside Oak Lawn,” said Quinlan, who lives near the park.
  She said she receives complaints routinely from residents who do not feel comfortable at the park. Those who use the basketball courts park on both sides of Laramie Avenue, shout profanities and litter in the park, Quinlan said.
  Police Chief Mike Murray met with Park Director Maddie Kelly recently to discuss park security, he said at Monday’s meeting. Murray and Kelly discussed increased lighting at Little Wolfe Park and the possibility of clearing dense brush and foliage that has grown along the paths.
  Murray added that there have been more than 300 police patrols at park since the Aug. 14 incident. No other confrontations have occurred at the park in the past month, Murray said.
  Park commissioners said they would consider Quinlan’s proposal at a future meeting when a full board was on hand. Commissioner Mary Margaret Wallace did not attend Monday’s meeting.
  Park Commissioner Donna McAuley said “safety is a concern for all of us,” but was hesitant to remove recreational opportunities from the parks. She added that recreational equipment is added to parks after the district receives feedback from residents.
  Kelly also was tentative about taking down the basketball hoops.
  “We hate to take out any recreational amenity in any park,” she said.
  Commissioner Gary Callahan said inappropriate conduct in the parks is not solely associated with basketball. He said the district’s skateboard park, near 89th Street and Ridgeland Avenue, has drawn inappropriate behavior from some teens who use the facility.
  Quinlan asked commissioners to consider removing the nets for a six-month trial period. If they are removed permanently, the courts could be replaced by sand volleyball courts, she said.
  Some residents who attended the meeting were unhappy with the park board’s failure to make a decision on the issue.
  Dennis Zator said park commissioners are ignoring a safety issue.
  “They’re doing it their way,” he said.
  Jim Durkin, who also lives near the park, said removing the basketball hoops was a “simple fix.”