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[ Vickroy: She’s on a mission for change ]]> Lead story image

Lucia Mambure is determined to do the seemingly impossible in her home city of Harare, Zimbabwe: open a school for children with special needs. The professor and mother of three is a progressive voice in a country where attitudes about people with disabilities can be primitive. She was in the United States recently to observe the folks at Elim Christian School in Palos Heights and meet with other leaders of the school’s international outreach program. “Where I come from, many people are afraid of people with disabilities,” she said. The disabled, she said, are shunned, locked inside and often considered … ]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:08:31 -0500 <![CDATA[ Christ Medical Center ER holding its own amid epidemic of violence ]]> Lead story image

It’s just after 1 a.m. when the doors to Christ Medical Center’s emergency department slide open yet again. Roberts Park paramedics steer a gurney carrying a 32-year-old man, his head enveloped in bandages, into trauma bay 2. Fourteen doctors, nurses and technicians surround the bed. They remove the man’s shoes, ask where it hurts, take his blood pressure and heart rate. The patient, in shorts and a black tank top, is alert, telling the hospital staff he’s unsure if he was stabbed in the neck with a vodka bottle or a beer bottle. Dr. Ellen Omi, the trauma surgeon on … ]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 02:32:52 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Lifelong friends ‘all in’ for monthly poker get-together ]]> Lead story image

It’s just after 9 p.m. in the basement of Tom Cosgrove’s home in Chicago’s Beverly community when cigar-smoking Matt Moran checks his hand, raises the bet and casually kicks off his shoes. Jim Byrne hands out another round of Beck’s beer. And Chuck Kraling, dressed in a “PETA” T-shirt — People Eating Tasty Animals — gets accused of misdealing again, something he does “more than any other player,” Cosgrove said. Tom Tansey looks up from his hand. “Hey, did you know that Tim McGraw’s great-great-grandfather came over on the same ship as Elvis’ great-great-grandfather?” he said. There is a moment … ]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 02:10:29 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: One man’s journey out of Englewood ]]> Lead story image

Chicago’s ongoing violence problem has landed it in the national spotlight. As city officials and social policy pundits struggle to find solutions, I sat down with a survivor. This is simply the story of one man who’s been there, done that and lived to tell about it. He does not purport to have answers but he hopes that by sharing his story, people will have a greater understanding of what it’s like to grow up in tough, crime-ridden neighborhoods. Maybe that will lead to a solution. Earl Bell has been a gangbanger, a prisoner, a victim and a perpetrator. Today, … ]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 02:08:57 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Doctor’s orders — read to your baby ]]> Lead story image

Brian Yaro is only 2, but he already knows how to read Dr. Seuss’s “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.” Well, he thinks he’s reading it, and that’s all that matters. Reading from memory is one of the many forms of early literacy. “He loves coming here,” his mom, Amy Yaro, said, during a recent visit to the Palos Heights Public Library, where both Brian and his 1-year-old sister Kylie attend story time. “Afterward, he likes to run through the stacks looking for the books we’ve read or for books he knows. He’s proud when he knows the … ]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 02:10:06 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Summer camp more than fun and games for children from violent homes ]]> Lead story image

You might say the frightening, unplanned pregnancy saved her life, and that of her toddler son. When she learned she was pregnant again, she made plans to give up the baby for adoption. Determined not to bring another child into the home where she’d been physically and verbally abused for more than two years, she made arrangements with an agency to take the child soon after birth. But once the baby was born and she’d held her and cuddled her and counted all her fingers and toes, the young South Side mother had a change of heart. So, with the … ]]> Sun, 06 Jul 2014 02:11:45 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Band of teachers, alumni rocks Southland ]]> Lead story image

How to kick off the upcoming patriotic holiday weekend? How about rocking to a homegrown rendition of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” or Smokey Robinson & the Miracles’ “I Second That Emotion”? The local rock band Staff Infection and the South Side Horns, a favorite in the south suburbs, headlines Thursday at Homewood-Flossmoor Park District’s Starry Nights concert. The free event kicks off at 7 p.m. in Irwin Park. The longstanding band plays popular favorites, by popular groups, including the Beatles, the Dave Matthews Band and the Rolling Stones. It’s the eight-member band’s brass section, those South Side Horns, … ]]> Sun, 29 Jun 2014 02:10:29 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: New Lenox twins double the joy, double the success ]]> Lead story image

They have been best friends since childhood. They helped one another through school, played every kind of sport along the way and now are big soccer fans. Not only did they attend the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana together, living in the same dorm and then apartment, helping each other study and proofreading each other’s work, they both graduated with the school’s prestigious Bronze Tablet honors. Indeed, their parents have much to be proud of. But perhaps the bigger story is that these lifelong buddies are brothers. Twin brothers. “He’s always going to be my best friend,” Brandon Mitchell said, … ]]> Sun, 22 Jun 2014 02:10:17 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: One person’s Dullsville is another’s paradise ]]> Lead story image

New Lenox, aka Dullsville. That’s right. This leafy suburb that boasts a host of trails, a French Market farmers market and some top-rated schools is ranked No. 1 on the Movoto Real Estate blog’s list of The Most Boring Places in Illinois. That statement may confirm what certain young people have been saying all along, but for others, being dull as dishwater is a mighty fine way to be. Before we start making each other yawn, it’s important to point out that Movoto is an online brokerage licensed in 30 states. It matches buyers with expert local agents. And it … ]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 06:14:54 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Time has come for healing in young woman’s death ]]> Lead story image

What price retribution? There are no winners in this story. A young woman is dead, her family devastated, a young man is in prison, and another young woman awaits her day in court. Furthermore, witnesses are no doubt traumatized from watching their friend die. And then there is the public. Whether its interest was casual, civic-minded or driven by compassion for all that was lost, many who chose to follow the case of Brittany Wawrzyniak signed on for an emotional roller coaster that began with two young women allegedly plotting revenge for an apparent act of vandalism and ended with … ]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 06:10:10 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Dads hand down wisdom, support and fun ]]> Lead story image

On Father’s Day, we celebrate all that Dad is, from bug slayer to problem solver to duct tape wizard. While there are many ways for children and fathers to bond, some dads and kids are lucky to share a hobby that becomes a lifelong passion. Dan and Dave Horton were hooked on their dad’s favorite pastime early on. Both sons remember fishing with their father, Glenn Horton, first at local ponds and later at the family’s place in Florida. Over the years, their love for reeling in a catch has grown in proportion to the sizes of their trophies. Dave, … ]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 06:40:45 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Classic literature in comic form has broader reach, teachers say ]]> Lead story image

A dragon-slaying hero. A ginormous insect. A kingdom besieged by betrayal and revenge. Ah, the stuff that great stories are made of, right? Not if prospective readers are too intimidated to crack their covers. Sure there always will be high school students who can muddle through “Beowulf,” “The Metamorphosis” and “Hamlet,” but for many more, those classic works of literature will seem too daunting to approach. For many, the medium will compel them to take a pass on the message. There is a movement afoot to change that, though, to broaden the accessibility of Shakespeare, Kafka and even earlier English … ]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 16:25:28 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Longtime art teacher hangs up her palette ]]> Lead story image

Nancy Calkins had three rules for her art students: no stick figures, no corner suns and no saying, “I can’t.” Abiding by that mantra, the 700-plus students she taught each week at Brodnicki School in Indian Springs District 109, delved into the right brain world of self-expression. While there, the K through sixth graders learned about colors, techniques, patterns and famous artists. Mostly, though, they learned about themselves and their own ability to create. “Art is a different kind of education. It encompasses everything — reading, writing, math, history,” Calkins said. “It’s a totally open book.” And it was totally … ]]> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 06:14:35 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: 70 years after their D-Day-driven wedding, the Kulas still are madly in love ]]> Lead story image

In the chaos of war, couples often are separated, plans interrupted and priorities made crystal clear. Perhaps that’s why the love story that survives war’s hell is so profoundly touching, even decades later. Back when the United States was entering World War II, Lorraine Hering and Frank Kula were two teens growing up on the same block on the Northwest Side of Chicago. The story goes Frank had a reputation as a guy who could impress the local ladies with his unique ability to unlatch the lock on the gate to his yard without so much as slowing down on … ]]> Sun, 06 Jul 2014 07:33:29 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Saving money while saving lives ]]> Lead story image

Bargain hunting is big in this era of penny pinching and repurposing. But for many of the folks who make the Neat Repeats resale shops possible — the shoppers, helpers, donors — there is a greater motivator than just snagging something for a steal. Margaret Burch likes that the blouses, books and housewares attractively arranged inside the Worth shop represent hope to people in desperate situations. “I’m very cautious about to whom I donate,” said Burch, who lives in Chicago but frequents the shop near 111th Street and Harlem Avenue. “I come here about once a month because this is … ]]> Sat, 05 Jul 2014 06:15:42 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Oak Lawn Hall of Famer helped level playing field for disabled athletes ]]> Lead story image

There isn’t much Ella Chafee can’t do from her wheelchair — flip a toddler onto her lap, handle an epee with precision and grace, make a basket from beyond the three-point line. But her most impressive skill, many say, is her ability to inspire. The Oak Lawn grandmother was stricken with polio at age 6. Although the disease left her partially paralyzed, it hasn’t stopped her from doing much, including working in Chicago’s Loop, raising two children and becoming the first disabled woman to make a three-pointer in basketball. “I’m a sports nut, always have been,” she said. Her endearing … ]]> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 06:27:58 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Oak Forest students perform in their own circus ]]> Lead story image

There were amazing feats of strength, superhuman displays of agility and astounding acts of showmanship when students at Morton Gingerwood School in Oak Forest put on their version of the greatest show on Earth on Wednesday. The two-ring circus featured acrobats, jugglers and more than a few mustached clowns. Mohamad Oubaid awed with balancing sticks. “It’s fun to do new things and see new friends,” the 8-year-old said. His favorite part of the show? “When we all climb onto the ladder.” Wearing a colorful top hat, Olivia Hughes, 8, was “a natural” at walking atop the rolling globe, teacher Vicky … ]]> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 06:19:57 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Ingalls doc marks 30 years of emergency medical care ]]> Lead story image

Since he was a little kid growing up in Brighton Beach, New York, Bernard Heilicser has been running toward the sirens, toward the fires, toward the people in distress. “I’ve always had a fascination with what’s going on,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to help.” In that department, he goes above and beyond. This year he celebrates 30 years of practicing emergency medicine at Ingalls Hospital in Harvey, as well as three decades at the helm of South Cook County Emergency Medical Services system. He is a volunteer firefighter with the village of Flossmoor and he chairs the ethics committee … ]]> Fri, 27 Jun 2014 06:12:47 -0500