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: A British policeman learns much about policing in America ]]> Lead story image

Much of my time with Gary Watters, a sergeant in the United Kingdom’s Greater Manchester Police Department, was spent talking about guns — or the lack of them. I just couldn’t understand how police officers in England manage to arrest a criminal without carrying a sidearm. Watters spent October with the Park Forest Police Department as part of a professional/cultural exchange program sponsored by the International Police Association. At 42, Watters has spent 14 years working for the Greater Manchester PD, including a couple of years in what they call a firearms unit, which means he was among the 2 … ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 02:09:34 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Cook County sheriff begins Harvey PD ‘assessment’ ]]> Lead story image

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart sent his inspector general and two officers to Harvey on Tuesday, a day after the city council passed an ordinance asking the sheriff’s department to evaluate the city police department. “We just wanted to get started right away,” Dart said, noting that this was the first time the sheriff’s department had undertaken such an extensive evaluation of a suburban police force. “We’re going to take a look at the evidence room, case files, staffing and just try to keep an open mind and see what we find,” Dart said. “We don’t want to go in … ]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:04:39 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Pat Quinn is invested in the Southland ]]> Lead story image

A week before the election for governor, I find myself wondering why there isn’t more enthusiasm in the south suburbs for re-electing Gov. Pat Quinn. Quinn has been the strongest advocate for two of the largest public works projects in the state, the South Suburban Airport and Illiana Tollway. Both not only would create thousands of jobs but potentially stimulate long-overdue economic development in the Southland. Quinn’s Republican opponent, Bruce Rauner, has not committed to either of the projects, vowing to study them further if elected. Critics contend that the projects, envisioned as private-public partnerships, would potentially waste millions of … ]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 02:09:19 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Voliva’s crusade to help our children ]]> Lead story image

I was listening to Southland school officials complain about the devastating financial impact of a proposed change in the state’s school aid formula when I found myself thinking about Sharon Voliva. There are no buildings named after the late Dolton PTA leader, no statues of her in Springfield. But there ought to be. About 18 years ago, Voliva launched a statewide crusade to change the way public education is funded in Illinois that resulted in parent demonstrations and the ouster of about six incumbent legislators. I thought of Voliva on Thursday night, during a town hall meeting at Sandburg High … ]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 02:09:43 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Why Tinley Park’s paying $4.16M for the old mental health center land ]]> Lead story image

Tinley Park is moving to purchase 280 acres formerly occupied by the Tinley Park Mental Health Center and Howe Developmental Center. In a letter to Simone McNeil, acting director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, Mayor Ed Zabrocki says the village attorney has been directed to draft a purchase contract for $4.16 million, with the money placed in installments in an escrow account until a tentative closing date of June 19. When asked what plans the village has for the property, Zabrocki said, “the better question is ‘why?’ ” “We want to make sure we can control what … ]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:30:03 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Oremus buys Windy City ThunderBolts ]]> Lead story image

Alan Oremus, grandson of former Bridgeview Mayor John Oremus, now is the sole owner of the Windy City ThunderBolts baseball team in Crestwood. Oremus, who had a 20 percent stake in the Frontier League team, said he bought out the two other investors. “If the cost isn’t prohibitive, I’m hoping to replace the grass field with turf,” Oremus told me, “so we can hold concerts there and soccer games as well as baseball games.” Oremus said the grass field sometimes caused games to be postponed and made it difficult to hold concerts at Standard Bank Stadium, 14011 Kenton Ave. The … ]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:10:17 -0500 <![CDATA[ Term limits vote cleared for Country Club Hills ]]> Lead story image

The Illinois Appellate Court has ruled that a term limits referendum can remain on the Nov. 4 election ballot in Country Club Hills. If approved by voters, the referendum would prohibit longtime Mayor Dwight Welch from running for re-election in April. The referendum asks voters to limit the terms of the mayor, aldermen, city clerk and city treasurer to five consecutive four-year terms, or a total of 20 straight years in office. Welch has been mayor for 27 years. Attorney James Nally, who represented two residents who tried to block the referendum, said an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court … ]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:46:24 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Early voting underway for Nov. 4 election ]]> Lead story image

Voters anxious to cast their ballots for the Nov. 4 election arrived Monday for the first day of early voting at the Orland Township Hall, which in recent elections has been the busiest site in suburban Cook County. I didn’t see any lines for the polling booth, often evident in previous years when the polling place was across the street at Orland Park Village Hall. But parking spaces were hard to find at the township hall, 14807 Ravinia Ave., which has a much smaller parking lot than the one for the village hall and civic center. I saw only two … ]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 02:05:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: An education on school funding ]]> Lead story image

If a politician opens his mouth to talk about school funding in Illinois, chances are good he’s lying. That’s the one hard and fast recommendation I have for voters and taxpayers after writing about education financing in this state for nearly 25 years. It holds true for the current election for governor, where both candidates are promising to improve public school funding. It’s all about helping the children, don’t you know. I was the first to expose the shell game that state legislators played with state lottery money, which was sold to the public for many years (via radio commercials) … ]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 02:11:48 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Guns really aren’t the problem ]]> Lead story image

Gov. Pat Quinn wants to ban assault weapons in Illinois. His opponent, Republican Bruce Rauner, does not. During their second debate Tuesday evening before a mostly black crowd at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, Rauner said the “most important thing we can do with guns is to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.” The candidates’ positions on the gun issue are why I feel that debates are not enlightening and actually serve to confuse the public. For example, can anyone out there tell me what an assault … ]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 10:01:39 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: The cost of saving on mental health care ]]> Lead story image

When I saw the news release about a Cook County Board hearing today to “look into mental health needs and services,” I was sort of surprised. Surprised because it has been my experience that hardly anyone in this state cares very much about the needs of the mentally ill as long as such people don’t shoot them while they’re eating burgers at a McDonald’s. Since the closing of the Tinley Park Mental Health Center in 2012, Cook County Jail has become the largest facility treating mentally ill patients in Illinois. The city of Chicago shut down six of its 12 … ]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:18:09 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Beverly community rallies to support John Rooney and his family ]]> Lead story image

John Rooney suspected while interviewing Dawn Clark Netsch, six days before her death from ALS in 2013, that he probably had the fatal disease himself. But he didn’t mention it because, well, Netsch — a former state senator, Illinois comptroller and Democratic candidate for governor — was the story, not the guy writing about her battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Now it’s Rooney’s turn to be interviewed and, while gracious and willing, he’s not comfortable being the face of ALS. A longtime resident of Chicago’s Beverly community, a reporter for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and an active volunteer in … ]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 02:12:08 -0500 <![CDATA[ Fifty years later, retired Army colonel ends Vegas boycott ]]> Lead story image

Fifty years ago, 25-year-old Army Lt. Eugene Scott was looking forward to a trip to Las Vegas with fellow military officers, a break from combat tank training in the California desert. “The white officers I was going with, I was the only black, came in to tell me I wouldn’t be able to join them,” Scott recalled. “The hotels in Vegas didn’t allow black people.” Scott vowed “never to visit that place” the rest of his life. After two tours in Vietnam, receiving the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star, retired Col. Eugene Scott will be breaking that vow … ]]> Fri, 10 Oct 2014 10:11:15 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Illiana Tollway snarls Illinois’ long-range transit plan ]]> Lead story image

Calling the Illiana Tollway project a “runaway train,” a key transit planning agency voted Wednesday against its long-range transit plan, setting up a battle with Gov. Pat Quinn and the Illinois Department of Transportation. Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett, chairman of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, led the attack on the Illiana, saying it will put taxpayers on the hook for more than $2 billion. “IDOT tried to sell us this idea for the Illiana last year as a public-private partnership,” Bennett said, “but it’s become clear there is no private partner willing to assume the financial risk. Taxpayers … ]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 18:32:55 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Lipinski tells colleagues to return to D.C. ]]> Lead story image

Congressmen should leave their campaigns for re-election and return to Washington, D.C., to focus on the ongoing war with ISIS, according to U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski. In a news release, Lipinski, D-3rd, also questions whether the Obama administration has proper congressional authority to conduct bombing attacks on ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. “I don’t think it was the right thing for Congress to adjourn and leave Washington to campaign for re-election while there remain so many unanswered questions about what we’re doing in Iraq and Syria,” Lipinski told me in a telephone interview Tuesday. Lipinski said that although the … ]]> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:34:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ Southland mayor again hopes to kill plan for Illiana Tollway ]]> Lead story image

A Southland mayor who heads a key transportation planning agency says he will try to kill the Illiana Tollway this week because it would put taxpayers “on the hook for as much as $1 billion.” Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett, board chairman of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), said the tollway cannot work as a public-private partnership as envisioned by the state and that taxpayers would have to take on “all the risk, not private investors.” A crucial CMAP vote is expected Wednesday that could determine the future of the controversial project. However, another mayor remains strongly supportive … ]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 02:10:28 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: It looks like a prank but joke’s on us ]]> Lead story image

This had to be a prank. That was my first thought as I looked at the Cook County clerk’s website and examined the referendums on the Nov. 4 election ballot. Some teenage computer hacker must have gotten access to the website and was probably laughing himself silly. There was no other logical explanation. I was wrong. Here’s the language on the website that also will appear on ballots (including all the capital letters): “PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE 1970 ILLINOIS CONSTITUTION NOTICE: THE FAILURE TO VOTE THIS BALLOT MAY BE THE EQUIVALENT OF A NEGATIVE VOTE, BECAUSE A CONVENTION SHALL BE … ]]> Sun, 05 Oct 2014 02:15:03 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Fretting over the Ebola virus and ISIS/ISIL ]]> Lead story image

My attention was focused on ISIS when the Ebola virus attack broke out. Actually, I was wasting a lot of time trying to figure out why the terrorist group that was lopping off the heads of Americans was called both ISIL and ISIS. The talking heads on TV kept blaming ISIS, a name that sounded like some horrible creature from an alien planet that could eat its way out of someone’s stomach. But President Barack Obama kept saying it was ISIL that we should all be worried about ISIL sounds like a neurotic character in a Woody Allen movie who … ]]> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 02:10:35 -0500