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: Local filmmaker gets cooking with ‘Broiled’ ]]> Lead story image

What are the odds that two sets of dreamers would decide to rob the same bank on the same day? It could happen, and it does — in “Broiled,” a quirky, twisted and locally produced independent film shot on location this summer in rural DeKalb County. The movie, which features a local all-volunteer cast, is the brainchild of Palos Heights resident Megan St. John, a 2012 graduate of the University of Chicago. At the tender age of 23, St. John is founder/executive producer of Third Wheel Entertainment, a Chicago-based video production company that does promotional work for bands and small … ]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 02:11:58 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Turning sorrow into hope for at-risk job seekers ]]> Lead story image

Donna Cole-Scott is a big believer in second chances. The Homewood mother of three has worked for 17 years with kids who have wandered outside the boundaries and needed a second chance to get back on track. So when she struggled with what to do with her recently deceased husband’s suits, belts and other dress items, she knew he would want her to find a way to put them to good use, maybe even turn a sad situation into something hopeful. “I had called around to different consignment shops, but they all said they didn’t take men’s clothing because they … ]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 02:09:51 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: How to save the Cubs ... or at least their fans ]]> Lead story image

Help. The Cubs need help. So much help. And so do their waning, apathetic, disaffected fans. At a party Saturday night, a consensus arose among the mix of Cubs and Sox fans. Everyone — to a man, woman and child — agreed they would rather watch Jackie Robinson West play than either of Chicago’s major league baseball teams. “Win or lose, that’s a no-brainer,” one guy said. Though I’m ecstatic about the enthusiasm for the South Side’s Jackie Robinson West and all of the teams in the Little League World Series — those kids know how to generate excitement — … ]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 02:08:52 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Southland group helps men learn to grieve ]]> Lead story image

Walter Knight was angry. “Angry at God, the church, everyone,” he said. “Mostly, I was angry at myself. How did I let this happen? And why I couldn’t I have fixed it?” Like a lot of men who grieve the loss of a spouse, Knight had insisted for months after his wife, Deborah, died in 2009 that he was fine, that he’d get through this. “I kept saying, ‘I got this,’” he said. But the reality was he didn’t “have this.” It was bigger than him, and everything he tried to do to ease the pain backfired. “Staying in bed … ]]> Sun, 17 Aug 2014 02:10:11 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: What teachers do on summer vacation ]]> Lead story image

Here’s what some students might think their teachers did during their summer break: sit in a chaise lounge by the pool popping bonbons. But here’s what some local teachers really did during the offseason — traveled, wrote, performed on stage and conducted science experiments. Many teachers across the Southland spent their summer vacations learning, growing and working toward becoming better teachers. Alexis Morford traveled to Cuenca, Ecuador, to visit exchange students whom her family hosted when she was a student. Over the years, she has kept in touch with the three women whom she credits with helping her decide to … ]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 02:10:29 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: When genius isn’t enough: No humor in mental illness ]]> Lead story image

Dr. Rian Rowles was with a patient when he learned the news about Robin Williams. The chairman of psychiatry and substance abuse services at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn said: “I’d just watched ‘Good Will Hunting’ three weeks prior. I was definitely a fan but I was also aware of some of his struggles.” The nation exhaled a collective sigh Monday when it learned that the 63-year-old comic actor had committed suicide at his home in the San Francisco Bay area. How could someone with a gift for making millions of people happy be so incredibly sad, sad enough … ]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 02:10:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Beverly mom on mission of kindness ]]> Lead story image

The book sat on Kerry Lynch’s nightstand for a good two months. “I couldn’t bring myself to read it, just because I knew it was going to mirror our life,” she said. The book was “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio, and the life was that of a child with craniofacial syndrome. But like the bestseller’s title promises, once the mother of two from Chicago’s Beverly community cracked the cover last summer, she couldn’t put it down. In addition to giving her insight into what lies ahead for her 2-year-old daughter, Mary Cate, the book has blessed her with a platform from … ]]> Sun, 10 Aug 2014 02:09:02 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Oak Forest teen, science academy pioneer, survives stroke ]]> Lead story image

When last we saw Andy Beahan, just before Labor Day 2013, he was packing up to head east. The Oak Forest teen was among a handful of American and Chinese students chosen last year to participate in the inaugural class of Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science (PRISMS) in Princeton, New Jersey. The coeducational, non-denominational private boarding school provides a rigorous inquiry-driven education for highly talented students who have a passion for math and science. And what a year it was. Not only did Andy, 16, live away from home, he produced work on alternative energy that is now … ]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 02:11:02 -0500 <![CDATA[ ‘A year with Gianna,’ Chicago Heights teen writes cook book ]]> Lead story image

There are three things that help Gianna West cope with being in constant pain. Since the 16-year-old, who was born with spina bifida and a host of complications, can’t go horseback riding every day and since the Jonas Brothers are, ahem, spoken for, she spends a lot of time in the kitchen of her family’s Chicago Height’s home chopping, stirring and devising recipes. “Cooking helps me escape, it helps me forget about the pain,” said Gianna, whose condition — marked by the incomplete development of the spinal cord, compounded by hydrocephalus (water on the brain), chiari (a structural defect of … ]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 02:10:24 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Morris Ellis backyard concert a musical trip down memory lane ]]> Lead story image

The phlox are bursting with pink, the temperature is an easy 75, and as the sun sets over Chicago, the jazzy instrumental “Europa” carries Leslie and George Jackson once again to Cloud Nine. The Jacksons, of the city’s South Shore community, met on Christmas night 1960, dancing to the music of Morris Ellis at the Parkway Ballroom in the Bronzeville neighborhood. Now, here they were again — basking in the entertainer’s greatness, right in his back yard in the Beverly community. “We’ve been married 51 years,” George said. “This is very special to us,” Leslie added. The concerts are special … ]]> Sun, 03 Aug 2014 02:09:39 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: A century later, World War I still matters ]]> Lead story image

A hundred years is a long time. Though the United States was directly involved in World War I for just a year and a half, it nevertheless felt the impact of what had been billed, “The Great War.” That impact not only lingers, it plays an integral part in the chaos that reigns today in the Middle East, the power struggle that Russia is now perpetrating in Ukraine and the way we define personal freedom right here in the United States. As we mark the centennial of the start of WWI, it is quite obvious that much has changed since … ]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 02:09:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Doctor becomes patient, gains new insight ]]> Lead story image

Of course doctors know a lot more than the rest of us when it comes to medical care — all that schooling and training. But there’s a unique insight that can’t come from any medical books: having been the patient. An obstetrician/gynecologist for the past decade, Dr. Brady Reis has been on staff at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park for six years. She also treats patients at Women’s Health Center in Burbank. She has a stepdaughter, Olivia, but until last fall had not given birth. All that changed with the arrival of daughter Quinn, who now is … ]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 02:08:34 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vickroy: Parents pursue their daughter’s legacy of hope ]]> Lead story image

In the eight months since their daughter, Julia, succumbed to pediatric cancer, Jeff Janes and Leslie Bazzo Janes have been moving full speed ahead toward fulfilling the promise they made to their youngest child: to raise awareness and help find a cure. “Julia wanted for us to continue,” Jeff Janes said. “So many of her friends (with cancer) have passed. So many are still fighting. We know we have to do something.” One in about 300 kids in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer before age 15, Jeff said. So at a school the size of Tinley Park’s … ]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 02:10:40 -0500 <![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 … ]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:10:19 -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 … ]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:04:52 -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, … ]]> Sat, 16 Aug 2014 06:13:24 -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 … ]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 06:13:31 -0500