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: Cook County School District 130 wants money from TIF ]]> Lead story image

School board members sent Crestwood Mayor Lou Presta a clear message this week, “Show us the money!” Presta appeared at a meeting of the board in Cook County School District 130 (which serves students in Blue Island, Robbins, Alsip and Crestwood), desperately seeking approval to extend the life of a special taxing district by 12 years. Because Crestwood failed for 10 years to pay down the principal on a $34.7 million bond issue for the 135th Street and Cicero Avenue tax increment financing district, the village is facing a crippling payment schedule for the remaining 12 years of the TIF … ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:14:29 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: A political web war in Oak Lawn ]]> Lead story image

In what’s likely a foreshadowing of suburban politics, opponents in Oak Lawn are using the Internet to wage war. Mayor Sandra Bury recently fired a shot on her blog at former Mayor Dave Heilmann, accusing him of using a social media website, the Oak Lawn Leaf, to “anonymously” attack her administration and spread “negative information.” “Willful deception is always wrong,” Bury states on Mayor Bury’s Blog, “but it is especially vulgar when it is served to unsuspecting residents by individuals who now hold or have held elected office. In the case of the Oak Lawn Leaf, current and former political … ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 21:23:26 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: A $17,000 tax error to be corrected ]]> Lead story image

Mary Lou and Tom Riley, owners of a Hazel Crest house that disappeared from Cook County property tax rolls, will be getting a refund check for more than $17,000. I originally wrote about their tax trouble last month. Although the couple have lived in their home since 1978, the single-story house mysteriously vanished from the records of the Cook County assessor’s office from 1996 to 2007. After the office learned of the situation, the Rileys were notified in 2010 that they owed the county more than $17,000 in overdue property tax because their property had been underassessed as vacant land … ]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 02:13:03 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Chicago water hikes spur suburban revolt ]]> Lead story image

There is apparently no independent agency monitoring the skyrocketing cost of Chicago water in the suburbs. While the Illinois Commerce Commission must approve rate increase requests by ComEd and Northern Illinois Gas, there is no entity with regulatory authority over the cost of Lake Michigan water from Chicago. That’s become an issue in the suburbs, where Chicago water customers have seen the cost of water jump 25 percent in 2012 and 15 percent in every year since. There’s another 15 percent price hike scheduled for 2015. A SouthtownStar story by my colleague Susan DeMar Lafferty on Monday revealed that Mokena … ]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 02:11:18 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Rauner vs. Quinn: Round 1 no draw ]]> Lead story image

In the first face-to-face confrontation between Gov. Pat Quinn and his Republican opponent in November, Bruce Rauner, I thought Rauner came away the winner. The two men appeared on the same stage Friday before an assembly of the Illinois Education Association, the largest teachers union in Illinois. Each man claimed to be the champion of ordinary schoolteachers. Both said education spending ought to be a top priority for Illinois government. Quinn obviously was more popular among the IEA delegates. Rauner, who has bashed government unions for being too influential in Illinois, deserves high marks for walking into the lion’s den. … ]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 02:15:05 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Blaxican a portrait of American greed ]]> Lead story image

Eric Jaglicic telephoned the other day to say he was going to be featured on a TV show called “American Greed.” And the fact that he would boast about appearing on a show that features scam artists tells you all you need to know about the rapper better known as “Blaxican.” He went to prison in 2008 after perpetrating one of the most outrageous frauds in the history of Illinois. Although he denies some of the details to this day, Jaglicic allegedly talked a businessman in Chicago Ridge into financing a movie he called “The Record Deal,” which was going … ]]> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 16:33:32 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Why term limits may not help Illinois ]]> Lead story image

I would like to run a private equity firm and play with hundreds of millions of dollars. You’re probably thinking, “That’s cool. But what the heck is private equity, and what do you know about it?” Nothing. Not even sure what the words mean, although I have a general idea that it involves stuff like leveraged buyouts, mergers, downsizing and venture capital. Despite my lack of experience, I think I know a guy who would consider hiring me. His name is Bruce Rauner. Rauner is a multimillionaire who is the former chairman of a private equity firm and is now … ]]> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 02:07:46 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Seeking justice for her stepfather ]]> Lead story image

When people become news stories, you often don’t get a sense for who they really were. John Wrana died last summer at 95 during an altercation with Park Forest police at an assisted-living center in the village. He was hit five times by beanbag rounds fired from a shotgun at close range in his apartment and then shoved to the ground by a police officer using a riot shield, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. His death was ruled a homicide by the county medical examiner, and a Park Forest officer, Craig Taylor, was charged with felony reckless … ]]> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 02:12:50 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Hospital sale should help mentally ill ]]> Lead story image

Nearly half of any money generated from the sale of the shuttered Tinley Park Mental Health Center would have to be spent for mental health services in the Southland under legislation proposed by state Sen. Mike Hastings. Under current law, the proceeds from the sale of any state-owned mental health center could be spent at the discretion of the Department of Human Services, Hastings, D-Orland Hills, said. Under Senate Bill 822, sponsored by Hastings, “at minimum 40 percent of the resulting net proceeds (of the sale of a closed mental health facility) shall be made exclusively in the facility’s geographical … ]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 16:29:11 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: How ‘angels’ defeated the demons ]]> Lead story image

Ignorance and fear. These often are the partners that combine to thwart what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” And yet, sometimes, perhaps more often than not, they falter when confronted by ordinary people of extraordinary goodwill. On Friday, the Crisis Center for South Suburbia, a shelter for victims of domestic violence, held an event celebrating 35 years of service to the south and southwest suburbs, during which it has touched the lives of more than 55,000 people. The drive to create the shelter was launched in 1978, in the kitchen of Dianne Masters’ home, where a … ]]> Sun, 06 Apr 2014 02:08:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: A mental illness in the family ]]> Lead story image

The shootings at Fort Hood this week again have focused the nation’s attention on mental illness. But most Americans who suffer from a mental disorder (more than 50 million people 18 and older, according to the National Institute of Mental Health) live ordinary lives. Too many, however, end up living in jails, on the streets and in nursing homes. Beverly Sailer, of Park Forest, knows that her brother fits into that last group of people mentioned. “Looking back, I can see now where Kent showed signs of mental problems growing up as a child,” Sailer said. “My father spent a … ]]> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 15:34:33 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: A new plan to finance the schools ]]> Lead story image

At long last, someone has proposed changing the antiquated, unfair and confusing school funding formula in Illinois. Unfortunately, no one is certain what the proposed changes would actually mean. The legislators supporting the funding reform legislation contend that they have simplified and streamlined the process to make it more understandable. But after glancing at the bill, which is more than 400 pages long, I can’t figure out how it’s actually going to work. And neither do the folks at the Illinois Association of School Boards. As for the average person, few know what the words “state school funding formula” even … ]]> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 15:49:54 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Bridge in The Island may reopen ]]> Lead story image

A key bridge in Blue Island that has been shut down for five years could reopen in 18 months, according to state Rep. Robert Rita. Rita, D-Blue Island, said the Illinois Department of Transportation has approved a $500,000 grant to launch an engineering study of a potential repair project for the Division Street bridge over the Calumet Sag Channel, a few blocks south of Vermont Street. But after the study is done, cash-strapped Blue Island still would have to find more than $1 million to finance its portion of the repairs. The closing of the bridge due to unsafe conditions … ]]> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 02:10:26 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Rita serious about state-owned casino ]]> Lead story image

A surprising silence has greeted a plan for a state-owned casino in Chicago. It has been three weeks since state Rep. Robert Rita, D-Blue Island, proposed legislation creating a state-owned mega casino in Chicago, and Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have yet to comment on it. “I take that as a good sign,” Rita said during an interview at his Blue Island legislative office Monday. “I think they’re actually taking the time to study the options I’ve proposed.” Rita, the chief sponsor of gambling expansion legislation in the House, has added two amendments to an existing gambling bill. … ]]> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 15:45:49 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Sen. Hastings’ bill would extend Crestwood TIF ]]> Lead story image

State Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Orland Hills, said he supports extending the length of a special taxing district in Crestwood. Crestwood is seeking a 12-year extension on the 135th Street and Cicero Avenue TIF district, which is set to expire in 2025. The village failed to make any payments on the TIF bond principal of $34.7 million for nearly a decade. Because a TIF prevents government bodies (including school districts) within its boundaries from accessing any increase in property tax revenues, Crestwood has asked 10 other government entities within the TIF to sign off on the extension. But Cook County Elementary … ]]> Sun, 30 Mar 2014 02:08:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: A sheriff’s crusade for mental health ]]> Lead story image

As Gov. Pat Quinn was explaining why Illinois needs more money, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart was testifying before a U.S. congressional committee in Washington on Wednesday. “The unfortunate, undeniable conclusion is that, because of dramatic and sustained cuts in mental health funding, we have criminalized mental illness in this country; and county jails and state prisons are where the majority of the mental health care treatment is administered,” Dart said. Dart has been carrying that message to anyone willing to listen for years now. Of the 11,000 or so inmates in the Cook County Jail, about 3,500 at any … ]]> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 16:07:24 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: School, taxes and a little truth ]]> Lead story image

“For too long, Illinois has underfunded its schools and overburdened its property taxpayers,” Gov. Pat Quinn said Wednesday. Well, it’s hard to argue with a man who repeats a message that I’ve been sending to readers of this column for 20 years. The property tax is the most unfair tax of all and not based on ability to pay, the governor said. Absolutely true. But Quinn never actually spoke the words that everyone was talking about following his state budget address. The governor wants to make the 2010 state temporary income tax hike (which raised the rate from 3 percent … ]]> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 15:11:05 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Metra repairs Richton Park station ]]> Lead story image

Metra officials have made several repairs to a Richton Park commuter train station where water leaked through a roof onto commuters’ heads, according to a spokeswoman for the transit agency. One other repair to the roof may be done this weekend, weather permitting, she said. State Rep. Al Riley, D-Olympia Fields, contacted Metra officials after a column I wrote last week about Richton Park Mayor Rick Reinbold’s complaints about water leaking through the station roof, graffiti and other maintenance issues at the station. “Rep. Riley came out here and did a personal inspection of the station after your column,” Reinbold … ]]> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 15:59:57 -0500