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: Quest for eclipse shines light on amateur astronomers ]]> Lead story image

As it turned out, all I really had to do was set the alarm for 3 a.m., stick my head out the front door, which faces southwest, and voila, I would have come face to face with a spectacular astronomical event. But nothing is ever that simple, and maybe that’s a good thing. As with all passions and hobbies that drive people, the destination is the goal, but the journey can be a most rewarding ride. Our story begins beneath murky skies over Chicago’s esteemed Adler Planetarium. At midnight Tuesday, people of all ages and of all walks of life … ]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 02:13:38 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Share Your Soles founder visits Ugandan refugee camp ]]> Lead story image

Mona Purdy may be back from Africa but her heart still beats for the people of the Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda. That’s OK, because if ever there were a heart big enough to envelope the world, it is Purdy’s. Through her nonprofit, Share Your Soles, this Oak Lawn native and Richards High School graduate has helped bring shoes, crutches, wheelchairs and bicycles to some of the poorest people in some of the most primitive regions of the world. In addition to giving them mobility, she says, her mission is to give them a future. Purdy spent two months living … ]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 02:12:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Search for the truth in Worth teen’s death goes on ]]> Lead story image

Nov. 8 dawned ominously for Rebecca Tully. “I just woke up with this horrible feeling,” she said. “Even my Facebook post was ‘It’s one of those days. I really don’t want to leave my kids.’ ” Her premonition was spot-on. The most horrible thing that could happen to a mother happened: Her daughter died. And as if losing her child wasn’t horrific enough, the subsequent investigation into Brittany Wawrzyniak’s death has been an emotional roller coaster, for Rebecca and her family. And it’s caused divisions in Worth that sparked a contentious village board meeting last week. While recounting the night … ]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 02:14:53 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Celebrating 75 years of championing the poor ]]> Lead story image

It was a novel that simultaneously captivated the minds of literary scholars and won the hearts of regular folks. It opened our eyes to social injustice, offered insight into the world of poverty, and amazed us with the human ability to persevere in the most desperate situations. Monday marks the 75th anniversary of “The Grapes of Wrath,” one of John Steinbeck’s most celebrated works and the one that earned him a Pulitzer Prize. First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s sweeping tale of one Oklahoma farm family’s Dust Bowl migration during the Great Depression is a still a regular on many high … ]]> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 02:13:04 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Every kid should have a bike ]]> Lead story image

It’s one of the simplest joys of childhood: riding a bike. There’s nothing quite like feeling the wind on your face as you maneuver a wheeled machine, turning it this way and that, being in control and watching the world go by. It’s fun, it’s exhilarating, it’s freedom. Yet often children with disabilities or medical issues can’t balance or manipulate a traditional bicycle. Happily, there are adaptive bikes that can make almost everyone mobile. But the custom-made machines often come with hefty price tags. Scotty Curtiss, a student in the autism program at Shepard High School in Palos Heights, has … ]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 02:27:49 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Oceans and lakes awash in trash ]]> Lead story image

As if the horror of a missing airplane with 239 on board isn’t enough, another disturbing issue has come to light as a result of the Malaysia Airlines mystery — the amount of trash in our oceans. Even from our vantage point thousands of miles away from saltwater, the images of floating piles of debris — some of them big enough to be mistaken for airplane parts — is upsetting. And largely our fault. The oceans generate most of the oxygen we breathe. More than 3.5 billion people depend on them for their primary source of food, as do sea … ]]> Sun, 06 Apr 2014 02:09:20 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Kindergartners befriend seniors on field trip ]]> Lead story image

Who knew Nathan Pawlak and Ethel Orszulak— separated by a good 84 years in age — both would choose milk as their favorite beverage? Or that blue would be the most favored color among young and old alike? Our small world was made even more familiar Tuesday morning when kindergartners from St. Cajetan School went on a field trip to Smith Village retirement community just a few blocks away in Chicago’s Beverly/Morgan Park community. The 6-year-olds spent about an hour chatting with the elders, asking questions about pets and cousins and favorite snacks, then they all took a break to … ]]> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 21:56:18 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Astronomy program more than glancing at the stars ]]> Lead story image

There are 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, and there are several hundred billion galaxies in the universe. Some 6,000 of those stars are visible to the naked eye. No wonder we wonder. Though stargazing by no means is limited to any specific season, there’s no denying it’s more comfortable to search the heavens without a parka and gloves. Plus, it might surprise you to know that the viewing is, in some ways, better during the warmer months than in the winter, said Jim Carpenter, who’s been an amateur astronomer for 40 years and director of the Sand … ]]> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 02:07:23 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Midlothian neighbors band together to fight flooding ]]> Lead story image

Helen Lekavich and her Midlothian neighbors have lost another round in their ongoing battle against water. Their hopes for a last-resort buyout of their property have been dashed. And so, for now, they will continue to live a life of panic and fear, of picking up and cleaning up, of repairing, replacing and rebuilding. “When the forecast calls for 3 inches of rain, I set my alarm every two hours,” Lekavich said. “I live in fear of leaving this house.” That’s because every time it rains steadily, the storm sewers near 149th and 147th streets and Kildare Avenue spill over. … ]]> Sun, 30 Mar 2014 02:07:36 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Nigerian immigrant a public speaking phenomenon ]]> Lead story image

The shy girl who allowed her Nigerian accent to keep her from speaking up for so long has blossomed into a poised public speaking sensation. Moyo Abiona, a junior at Sandburg High School, recently took sixth place in the Impromptu Speaking event at the Illinois High School Association’s state competition. It was a small speech in terms of time allotment, but it represented a giant leap on the confidence scale for the young lady who now hopes to double major in filmmaking and journalism when she heads to college. For those of you who either ditched class or blacked out … ]]> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 19:37:17 -0500 <![CDATA[ Will the stars align for good viewing in April? ]]>

From Joliet Junior College’s Trackman Planetarium newsletter: The Big Dipper now is overhead at mid-evening. Mars is at its closest to Earth, 57.7 million miles, on April 8. On April 14, Mars will be seven degrees above the moon. Jupiter will start high in the western sky at the beginning of April and will be low in the western sky by the end of the month. At mid-month Saturn rises at 9:30 p.m. Saturn will rise earlier every night, and by May it will be in the evening sky. Venus is the very bright object in the eastern sky before … ]]> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 20:16:45 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: A wish for Ukraine ]]> Lead story image

Janine Gawel wants America to know there’s so much more to Ukraine than recent headlines. There are beautiful churches, rich comfort foods, a stunning coastline and, among its people, a spirit of compassion and generosity that persists despite their many hardships, she said. Gawel, 29, recently returned from Slavyansk, in eastern Ukraine, after a 2½-year stint with the Peace Corps. She worked as a community development volunteer, advocating for vulnerable groups such as orphans and people with disabilities. She also worked to increase awareness of a growing HIV/AIDS problem there. “It is a country with some of the nicest, most … ]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:03:13 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Deadly crash reopens wounds in Crete ]]> Lead story image

In a winter rife with sad stories, the news about Sarah Sanaghan’s death was yet another blow to our collective psyche. You didn’t have to know the Dyer, Ind., woman, a nurse and mother, who was killed in a Feb. 27 car crash near Crete to feel a surge of sorrow. You only had to know of the strikingly strange aspect of her death — the accident occurred close to where her twin sister and two friends were killed by a hit-and-run driver in 1996. Anyone who has children, anyone who struggles to overcome tragedy, anyone who has a heart … ]]> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 06:40:47 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Frankfort man bides time on heart transplant list ]]> Lead story image

Frank Obodzinski has learned to be a patient man. Still, it’s the waiting that takes the greatest toll. Since June 2011, Obodzinski has been on the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network list for a heart transplant. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) runs the transplant network under contract with the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And while it’s hopeful that Obodzinski is high on that list, designated as 1A status, he understands the obstacles that still stand in his way — time and competition. UNOS reports that most Americans waiting … ]]> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 13:22:18 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Former St. Rita coach in fight for his life ]]> Lead story image

Editor’s Note: The following story was published in (name of paper) in (time -- be as specific as you can). It is being republished as part of Progress 2014, a salute to “Caring in our Communities.” Coach Jim Angsten has a reputation for being tough and demanding but always fair. He’s also known for getting the best out of his football players. So it’s a cruel twist of fate that the former St. Rita High School coach faces the fight of his life, against an opponent that couldn’t care less about playing fair and that likely will get the best … ]]> Sat, 05 Apr 2014 06:26:05 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Hospital magicians enchant sick kids, turn frowns to smiles ]]> Lead story image

It is dinnertime on a Thursday at Advocate Children’s Hospital, and as the sun sets outside, the halls of the colorful Oak Lawn health care facility seem to get a little brighter. The magicians have arrived. Dressed in black coats, carrying their bag of supplies, Christine Gravel-Lippoldt and Ed Barry are all set to work their magic. They don’t pull rabbits out of hats, they don’t saw doctors or nurses in half and they don’t swallow any swords. They do something even better: They make sick kids forget they’re sick, even if just for a little while. “Hi, I’m Christine, … ]]> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 06:32:31 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Adoptive parents needed in south suburbs ]]> Lead story image

While it’s not necessarily easy to adopt children through the foster care system, it does have its rewards. Actually, that’s an understatement if you ask Donald Adams, of Blue Island. Over the past 10 years, Adams figures he’s helped raise 50 to 100 teenage boys. About 20 came to him through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services foster care system. Others by association — through his own children’s friends or through his church. Adams also adopted three of the boys, two of whom still live at home. “I was raised without a father,” said Adams, who is divorced … ]]> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 06:18:13 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: After 70 years, Edith and Harold still are crazy in love ]]> Lead story image

A coquettish smile, an affirming nod, a look of understanding, a love that knows no bounds. After 70 years, the magic is just as enchanting and just as special as it was on their first date at the old State Theatre in Chicago’s Roseland community. “I can’t remember the movie,” Harold Bessett said. “I was too interested in what was sitting beside me.” What was sitting beside the then-16-year-old Fenger High School student was his then-15-year-old neighbor and soon-to-be sweetheart, Edith. Growing up across the street from each other, Edith said they’d known each other through grammar school. “But I … ]]> Mon, 24 Mar 2014 06:34:12 -0500