Latest news from The Southtown Star Online en-us Wed, 28 Jul 2010 14:10:16 PDT Southtown Star logo 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Kadner: IHSA protecting its financial secrets ]]> Lead story image

Quasi-governmental organizations often perform what appear to be government functions but contend that they are exempt from the laws pertaining to government bodies. The Illinois High School Association is such an organization and is being sued by the Better Government Association, which wants to find out how it spends its money. The IHSA runs state athletic competitions, governs recruiting processes for schools, sets drug policies and generates millions of dollars each year from events involving primarily public schools. The BGA filed a request under Illinois’ freedom of information law, asking the IHSA for “any and all IHSA contracts,” including those … ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:09:44 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Quinn, Oak Lawn water and politics ]]> Lead story image

Gov. Pat Quinn shoveled cash and dirt in Oak Lawn during a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for a $171 million improvement project for the village’s water distribution system. The system, one of the largest in Illinois, provides Lake Michigan water to about 325,000 Southland residents in the village and 12 other suburbs. When completed in five years, the project will increase Oak Lawn’s water supply capacity from 55 million gallons a day to 111 million gallons. Officially, Quinn stopped in Oak Lawn to sign legislation expanding the state’s Clean Water Initiative. A spokesman for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency said the … ]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:16:09 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Military vehicles alarm Southland ]]> Lead story image

“The immigrants are coming! They’re bringing children from Central America here!” That was the cry that arose from some panicked Southland residents this week after more than 100 military vehicles suddenly appeared on the campus of Cook County’s Oak Forest Health Center, 159th Street and Cicero Avenue. “I’m almost 100 percent positive they will be shipping all the illegals from Mexico by the hundreds of thousands there ...” one man emailed, sending a photo of the vehicles to illustrate his point. Others called the SouthtownStar convinced that teenage immigrants from Central America soon would be camped out on the grounds … ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:40:19 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: A vote on mental health care funding in Cook County? ]]> Lead story image

Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Doody Gorman (R-Orland Park) wants to place a referendum on the November ballot asking voters if they want to increase funding for mental health care. Gorman said she will ask the county board to vote on the referendum Wednesday. “This is an issue that affects everyone in some way,” Gorman told me. “Everyone knows someone who is suffering from a mental illness, or is abusing drugs as a way to self-medicate due to a mental illness.” The proposed referendum reads, “Shall the General Assembly of the State of Illinois appropriate additional funds to provide necessary mental … ]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 17:21:13 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Who has a plan to save the south suburbs? ]]> Lead story image

As the quality of life slowly erodes in a number of Southland suburbs, elected officials who might be able to do something about it sit idly by. Last week, I wrote about the financial situation in Blue Island, where desperate city officials grabbed more than $400,000 from the public library’s tax levy. Without that money, it’s questionable whether the city could continue to provide adequate police and fire protection services or pay its bills. Members of the public library board are threatening a lawsuit if the city doesn’t return the cash. I’ve written about this sort of thing before and … ]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 02:10:32 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Library threatens to sue Blue Island ]]> Lead story image

To avoid a pending financial crisis, the city of Blue Island claimed more than $400,000 in property tax money that the local public library claims rightfully belongs to it. An expert in the area of public library law told the SouthtownStar that the city likely acted illegally if it took tax money intended for library maintenance and uses it for some other purpose. Library board members, who are appointed by the mayor, discussed filing a lawsuit on Wednesday if the city does not return the funds. Mayor Domingo Vargas and Blue Island Treasurer Carmine Bilotto told me that in their … ]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:13:29 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: ‘Wretched refuse’ not wanted here ]]> Lead story image

“Give me your tired, your poor, “Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, “The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” So reads, in part, the poem inscribed on a tablet within the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. The words have become as iconic as the Pledge of Allegiance or the statement that “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence. I doubt the sentiment expressed in the poem would have been as admired had it included a disclaimer at the end, like … ]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 16:32:29 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Third airport could be cargo leader ]]> Lead story image

Responses to a state request for South Suburban Airport marketing strategies appear to be far more optimistic about attracting cargo traffic to a new airport than commercial passenger flights. The SouthtownStar obtained responses to an Illinois Department of Transportation “Request for Information” publicly posted in February through the Freedom of Information Act. The purpose of the RFI was to “obtain specific ideas and goals that will help generate a comprehensive and effective strategy to market commercial air passenger and air cargo activity” at the South Suburban Airport, according to a statement by IDOT. There were four responses in all, none … ]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:51:07 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Tinley headed for term limits duel? ]]> Lead story image

Tinley Park could be headed to a messy and costly legal battle over dueling referendums on term limits for elected officials in the village. SouthtownStar staff write Mike Nolan reported Monday that a village board committee on Tuesday night will discuss placing a binding referendum on the November ballot that would impose term limits on local officials. During an advisory referendum on the subject in 2012, 72 percent supported term limits, with 17,000 residents voting in support and 6,600 opposed. That initiative was spearheaded by Tinley Park attorney Stephen Eberhardt, who would run unsuccessfully against nine-term Mayor Ed Zabrocki in … ]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 02:08:25 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: ‘Do Not Call’ a battle of technology ]]> Lead story image

Don’t give up on the national “Do Not Call” registry. That’s the message from Bikram Bandy, national coordinator of the program for the Federal Trade Commission, who said he understands that a lot of telemarketers are violating the law. Bandy said the FTC is handling on average about 300,000 complaints a month from people who registered their telephone numbers with the federal government to prevent pitchmen from calling their homes. While one FTC official told me the number of calls violating the federal regulation is in the billions, Bandy refused to go that far but explained that the math is … ]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 02:09:07 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Three towns join to protect seniors ]]> Lead story image

In an effort to improve the quality of life of senior citizens, three suburbs have formed an intergovernmental agreement with Calumet Township to form an Adult Protective Services Program. The three suburbs, all within Calumet Township, are Blue Island, Calumet Park and Riverdale. According to the agreement, the program is designed to established a “professional uniformed response for at-risk and high-risk senior citizens.” “The purpose is to coordinate services between governments, who are all dealing with dwindling resources, to prevent senior abuse, neglect and provide wellness checks during inclement weather,” said Calumet Township Supervisor Robert Rita, who also is a … ]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 15:43:26 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Where police don’t need any guns ]]> Lead story image

Patrol officers don’t carry guns in England. My wife and I recently have been watching a bunch of British detective shows on TV. One of the more fascinating aspects of these police dramas is that the officers typically do not carry guns. In most of the episodes I have watched, the criminals are unarmed as well. It’s just TV, of course, and as anyone knows from watching American TV police shows, they often distort reality. But the fact is that only about 5 percent of police officers in England are authorized to carry firearms. The rest, including officers who walk … ]]> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 16:42:03 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Telemarketers ignoring ‘do not call’ ]]> Lead story image

You’ve put your telephone number on the national “Do Not Call” registry and years later the telemarketing calls start coming again. “I keep getting calls from the same people,” an obviously annoyed Don Hines, of Midlothian, said. “I’ve received unsolicited, unwanted telephone calls on my home phone for about a year now. “For the past several months, I’ve been getting calls from the same company, identifying themselves as ‘card member services’ and stating this is a final notice for us to take advantage of lower interest rates. Their automated appeal is to ‘press 1’ to speak to a representative or … ]]> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:38:13 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Life has become cheap in Chicago ]]> Lead story image

During a social gathering recently that included many people who live in other states and others who often travel internationally, I asked what the perception of Chicago is among people living in other places. “Murder capital of the world,” several people said. “Chiraq!” said another. The murder rate in Chicago may be at its lowest level since the early 1960s, but the perception is that it’s one of the most dangerous places in the world. The outbreak of violence over the July 4 holiday weekend, with more than 70 people shot and 13 dead, is likely to reinforce that view. … ]]> Tue, 08 Jul 2014 02:08:07 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: A bad day for state pension reform ]]> Lead story image

No matter how bad you thought things were in Illinois, they got worse Thursday. The state Supreme Court ruled that a 2012 change in health benefits requiring government retirees to contribute something toward their health insurance violates the Illinois Constitution. The constitution makes no reference to health insurance benefits. But Article XIII, Section 5, does refer to “pension and retirement rights.” “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or … ]]> Fri, 04 Jul 2014 02:07:54 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: They’re making it harder not to vote ]]> Lead story image

Gov. Pat Quinn this week signed a bill making it easier for people to vote in November. Republicans immediately denounced the legislation as a Democratic scheme to increase voter turnout. I’m not sure why Republicans feel making it more difficult to vote helps their party, although it may have something to do with their view that all Democratic voters are lazy idiots. If there are more idiot voters than intelligent ones (and I would suggest there is evidence to support such a theory), the Republicans might do well to reach out to them. “Vote GOP. We’re dumber than you think.” … ]]> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 19:17:49 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: State buys Bult Field for $34 million ]]> Lead story image

Illinois has purchased Bult Field, a general aviation airport in the footprint of the proposed South Suburban Airport, for $34 million. That’s $32.5 million more than the state could have paid for the 288 acres about 10 years ago. Jim Bult, a wealthy and idiosyncratic man, constructed the airport in 2007 on the site of the former Sanger Field, 28261 Kedzie Ave., in Will Township. Having grown up nearby, Bult became an aviation enthusiast and grew tired of the seemingly endless talk about the state’s plans to construct a giant airport near Peotone. He purchased property nearby that included the … ]]> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 02:11:17 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: A controversy that shouldn’t exist ]]> Lead story image

Tinley Park was at the heart of a controversial change in Illinois’ freedom of information law that was vetoed by Gov. Pat Quinn. The FOI law mandates what public documents the public is entitled to and how governments must comply with requests for that information. State Rep. Robert Rita, D-Blue Island, was a chief sponsor of the measure that generated outrage among good-government groups by increasing the amount of time that a government could take to respond to “voluminous” requests and also allowing governments to charge as much as $100 in certain cases. Rita said he sponsored the bill because … ]]> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 02:07:22 -0500