In and Around Park Forest – April 13, 2009


(Photo: Wendy Heise)

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— Thanks to everyone who has sent information about their  upcoming events. If your club, organization or local business will be holding activities or events in our community during the upcoming week or if you would like to announce personal events such as engagements, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, etc., please send an e-mail to Rosemary Piser, Associate Editor, with the details. Submission deadline is noon on Friday of each week.

Village of Park Forest – Legislative Activities

Federal Stimulus Funds

Village Staff met this past week with representatives from Baxter & Woodman, the Village’s consulting engineer, to get an update on any number of water, sewer and road projects being pursued as part of the federal government’s stimulus funding initiative. Park Forest currently is pursuing stimulus funds for water main replacement needs, sewer repair work, rehabilitation of the Village’s sanitary sewer overflow facility and a roadway project (Orchard Drive). Funding for these projects is being pursued through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Troubled Building and Property Task Force

The Village’s Troubled Building and Property Task Force met on Friday, April 3rd. Mayor John Ostenburg was in attendance with staff from the Administration, Police, Community Development and Fire Departments. Items discussed included the Village’s Crime-Free Housing Program and some minor changes that may be needed for this ordinance. Additionally, Village Staff reviewed logistics for a vacant-building registry program that would aid the Village in its ongoing efforts to maintain and upgrade the quality of life for all Park Foresters. Questions about the Troubled Building and Property Task Force can be directed to the Village Manager’s Office of Village Hall at 708-748-1129.

Village of Park Forest – Community Development

This week, 213 inspections were performed. These included new construction, re-occupancy, inspector initiated and referral/complaint. In the month of March, a total of 39 building permits were issued for a total new construction cost valuation of $615,484 with $7,195 collected in fees.

In Civil Court action on property maintenance code enforcement matters, several liens and foreclosures on Village liens were processed by the Village attorneys. The end goal is for the Village to have outright ownership of these vacant lots for future redevelopment.

As part of the department’s continuing education programming, all three Housing Inspectors and the Administrative Assistant attended a Managing Multiple Priorities, Projects and Deadlines course this week.

Village of Park Forest – Economic Development

Village Staff will participate in a Developer’s Forum with the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, Diversity Inc., and the Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation, and other municipalities that are part of the South Suburban Housing Collaborative. The purpose of this forum is to present to the development community in the region the South Suburban strategy for the use of Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds authorized by Congress in 2008. The forum will be held on Tuesday, April 14, in South Holland. Development partners interested in more information can contact Hildy Kingma at 708-283-5622.

A film student at Columbia College will use the vacant Marshall Field’s building to film a segment of his short film. Filming will take place on Friday, April 17.

Park Forest Fire Department

The Park Forest Fire Department responded to 65 calls for assistance this week, including 12 double calls. Automatic aid assistance was provided once to South Chicago Heights and received three times from Matteson. Mutual aid assistance was provided once each to South Chicago Heights and Matteson.


This week, members of the career division had a three point focus to their training. First, they began the process of preparing for their next required paramedic continuing education examination on medical emergencies and strokes. This is the second of three such sessions each paramedic goes through annually to maintain their skills and license. Secondly, they began updating pre-plans on buildings. A pre-plan provides vital information to responders, such as utility shut-off locations, in the event of a fire or other emergencies at the location. Finally, members of “A” Shift are preparing for a live-burn exercise on Friday evening, April 10, as a combined drill with the Paid-On-Call (POC) division and automatic aid companies. The department is required to drill without automatic aid companies to get full rating credit for their participation in emergencies. As one of the few departments who has a training facility available to them, preparation for a live-fire training event takes preparation and planning to assure it will be as safe as possible and an effective training opportunity.

CART Training

Members of the fire department’s technical rescue team got together with members of the Combined Agency Response GRAY Team, to perform a practical rescue simulation last week. Recently, members of the GRAY Team (a regional technical rescue cooperative team) assembled to simulate the rescue of victims from a storm sewer. This type of rescue is labor and equipment intensive and is best suited to a regional cooperative effort. Participants used supplied-air respirators, hard-line communications, tripods, haul systems and victim handling equipment to rescue a dummy from a 30” storm sewer. Confined space rescue is one of four disciplines the CART team focuses on throughout the year. Other topics include high/low angle rescue, trench related incidents and structural collapses.

CN Railroad Emergency Responses

Chief Robert Wilcox, Deputy Chief Bruce Ziegle and Lieutenant Phillip Myers attended a Canadian-National Railroad emergency responder introduction at Prairie State College on Tuesday, April 7. At this meeting, representatives of CN explained their emergency response policies and procedures to area fire and police departments. They discussed how the parties could function cooperatively in such an emergency and the training the CN Railroad was willing to make available to emergency responders. This meeting was part-and-parcel to the CN Railroads acquisition of the former EJ&E Railroad.

Park Forest Police Department

Grant Writing Seminar

Chief Tom Fleming and Officer LaTara Chaney attended a grant-wiring seminar held at Olympia Fields Police Department. They are pursuing grants for Park Forest youth programs, police department building additions, new squads and additional civilian employees.

Restorative Justice

Officer Chaney attended the latest Restorative Justice Seminar held at Governors State University. The seminars work with the South Suburban Police Departments and the University to institute programs where juvenile offenders can be brought before peer juries and hear victim-impact speakers. The restorative justice concept is to show the offenders consequences of their actions in a more immediate timeframe in a locally based community setting.

FBI Academy

Commander Chris Mannino has just begun his ten-week course at the FBI National Academy on Police Supervision. The Academy is held at Quantico, Va. Commander Mannino will graduate in June. Chief Tom Fleming and Deputy Chief Mike McNamara, along with Detective/Commander Peter Green are also FBI National Academy graduates.

Stranger Danger Class

Officer LaTara Chaney taught an additional “Stranger Danger” class to young children at Aunt Martha’s.

Park Forest Health Department, 350 Victory Center (lower level)

Income Tax Preparation – Last Call

Free income tax preparation, including electronic filing will be available for those over 54 years of age, as well as for all ages with middle or low income. This service will be available through Wednesday, April 15, and is being held at the Park Forest Health Department in the Park Forest Village Hall. For an appointment, please call the Rich Township Senior Center at 708-748-5454.

Health Stop

Rich Township women who are 60 years of age and older are invited to schedule their appointment for the “Senior Ladies’ Festive Tea” on Thursday, May 21, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Park Forest Health Department.

The Festive Tea and Tests are FREE. The menu of the screening tests are: PAP test, lipid (cholesterol) profile and glucose (fast 9 to 12 hours), urinalysis, hemoglobin (anemia test), stool occult blood screening with instruction kit, breast exam, height/weight. Don’t wait to call – appointments fill up quickly. Call 708-748-1118 to schedule.

Access to Care

Can’t afford to see a doctor? Access to Care can help! If you live in suburban Cook County with a low family income, no health insurance, and ineligible for Medicare or Public Aid, you may be eligible for Access to Care.

Non-refundable annual enrollment fees are $20 for one person, $40 for two people and $50 for three or more adult members in one family. Access to Care offers Doctor’s Office Visits for $5, Prescription Medication for $10 to $30, and Lab tests and X-rays for $5.

Walk-ins are always welcome to sign up for Access to Care, Monday through Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Park Forest Health Department. Call Brenda Walker at 708-748-1118 for more information or if you would like a list sent to you about affordable health care clinics.

Blood Pressure Screening

A free Blood Pressure Clinic will be held at the Park Forest Health Department Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Walk-in or call ahead at 708-748-1118. Elevated blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. .

Immunization and Flu/Pneumonia Clinics

Immunization and flu/pneumonia clinics will be held on Monday’s from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Friday’s from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Call 708-748-1118 for details and to schedule an appointment at the Park Forest Health Department. The Health Department is a low cost provider for children and adult immunizations.

Park Forest Public Works

Inflow and Infiltration Engineering Evaluations

Village Staff is completing the Inflow and Infiltration Engineering Evaluation Report required by the Thorn Creek Basin Sanitary District. This report summarizes all work/projects completed and expenses paid for the last three fiscal years to identify and eliminate inflow and infiltration of rain and ground water into the sanitary sewers.

Engineering Service Agreements

Village Staff is reviewing Engineering Service Agreements from the Village’s consultant, Baxter and Woodman, for flood testing of the central sewer system, smoke testing of the north sewer system, a sanitary sewer rehab project, and for the design and construction of water main replacement on Orchard Drive.

Western Avenue Improvements

Village Staff is preparing to meet with IDOT for a final inspection meeting for the Western Avenue widening and resurfacing project.

Field Operations

This week, street lights were reclamped Village-wide. The street light wiring that was broken under the road at 6 Illinois Court was also repaired.

Sanitary sewers were cleaned.

Crews plowed and salted Village streets following the April 5th snow fall.

A water main valve was replaced at 89 North Orchard Drive.

Water Plant

Doug Knopp and Paul Narcisi attended a Pump Maintenance Course held in Countryside, Il.

Park Forest Recreation and Parks

Aqua Center

The 2009 Aqua Center Brochure is being prepared for mailing this week. Season passes for the 2009 season will be ready for purchase soon. Members of the parks staff have been completing some painting inside the concession stand at the pool and several pumps have been sent out for periodic reconditioning to ready them for another season. Plans are underway to paint the Zero Depth pool before the coming season.

Park Forest Bark District

A “Coming Soon” banner was installed at the Park Forest Bark District site this week to announce its coming to passers-by. The actual site will be staked out as soon as the site dries out so the fencing contractor can begin work. Members of the parks staff are preparing to install the drinking fountains as well. Software for registration and the key fob access system was received and installed last week.

Human Interest

Diversity Dinners

The 12th annual Diversity Dinner will be held on Thursday, April 23. This annual event is organized to get together a diverse group of people to share a meal and conversation in someone’s private home. If you would like to participate in the dinner or would like to be a host, please call Barbara Moore at 708-481-5251.

Park Forest Hall of Fame

The Park Forest Historical Society is proud to announce the Park Forest Hall of Fame Inductees for 2009. Those receiving the recognition include Village Trustee Gary Kopycinski, Myrtle Martin, Marty O’Neill and John Ray. A ceremony and reception will take place Sunday, April 19, at 3:00 p.m. at Freedom Hall, 410 Lakewood Boulevard. The event is open to the public.

Donate to Troops Serving Abroad

The Village of Park Forest is currently seeking the names and addresses of local military personnel currently serving overseas so that they may receive packaged donations from Park Forest residents. If you are a Park Forest resident and have a family member from your household currently deployed or if you have recently returned from a tour of duty, please call Judi Lancaster at 708-283-5608 or stop by the Manager’s Office at Village Hall, 350 Victory Drive.

Arts and Entertainment

Park Forest House Museum, 141 Forest Boulevard (Corner of Forest & Fir)

Dolls of the 1950s are on exhibit at the 1950s Park Forest House Museum through May 31, 2009. The Museum is open on Saturdays from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults; children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Group tours are by appointment. Call 708-748-3731.

Park Forest Library, 400 Lakewood Boulevard

The following activities will be conducted this week at the Park Forest Library:

Monday, April 13th at 6:30 p.m. Jazz on Monday Nights features the music of Sonny Rollins.

Tuesday, April 14th at 2:00 p.m., the Fine Art Matinee hosts a documentary film on the artist Salvador Dali.

Wednesday, April 15th at 2:00 p.m., the library hosts a free film for children titled Over the Hedge.

Saturday, April 18th at 1:00 p.m., Flowering Tree Giveaway. Beautify the community by planting a pink flowering crab tree. Absolutely free!

Saturday, April 18th at 2:00 p.m. the Kidworks Touring Theatre Company brings global warming myths and facts to life in an eye-opening new performance on climate change, geared for children aged 4 to 12.

For more information about these events, call 708-748-3731.

Freedom Hall Nathan Manilow Theatre, 410 Lakewood Boulevard

Get your tickets now for the final event in the Children’s Series as “Max and Ruby” will be presented on Thursday and Friday, April 23 and 25. Performances at 10:00 a.m. each day are presented for school groups and a 7:00 p.m. performance on Friday evening, April 24 is open to the public. Get your tickets now for the Friday evening performance. Call the Box Office at 708-747-0580 to order your tickets today.

Congratulations to Freedom Hall Staff, Chuck Sabey and Naomi Fell for another wonderful season.

Illinois Theatre Center, 371 Artists Walk, Downtown Park Forest

The Illinois Theatre Center (ITC) will present the musical THE IMMIGRANT for a three-week run, opening Friday, April 17th. In 1909, Haskell Harelik, a Russian Jewish immigrant, arrived in the little farming town of Hamilton Texas, selling bananas from a pushcart. 75 years later, his grandson, actor-playwright Mark Harelik, turned the story into a play, which later became a musical.

ITC’s production is directed by Etel Billig. The cast features ITC veterans Peter Robel as Haskell, Jessica Lauren Fisher as Leah, and Mary Jane Guymon as Ima. They are joined by newcomer Richard Marlatt as Milton,

Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are priced at $21 on Friday and Saturday and $19 all other times. For tickets, call 708-481-3510.

Tall Grass Arts Association, 367 Artists Walk, Park Forest

Five decades of the photography work of Richard Burd are presented in the exhibit “A Life in the Light” through May 2, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

For more information, call 708-748-9132.

Educational Lectures

Governors State University, 1 University Parkway, University Park

Puzzled Together

GSU celebrates the visual arts in a series of exhibitions and artist lectures during “Puzzled Together.” Exhibitions placed throughout the University showcase the diversity of the graduate art program through a range of media such as collage, drawing, mosaics, painting, and photography. Artists and curators will discuss their works on April 13th and April 20th from 7:30 p.m. to 10:20 p.m., in room F1622. A reception will be held on April 20th from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in the F wing. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, call 708-534-4013.

Civic and Community Engagement

On Wednesday, April 15th from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., the Honorable Abner Mikva will speak on “Promoting Civic and Community Engagement.” As a former U.S. Congressman and Federal First District Court Judge, Mikva understand the importance of civic involvement and the need to promote it at all levels. He has also served as White House Counsel and on the faculty at the University of Chicago Law School – Mandel Clinic. The presentation is free and open to the public. For more information, call 708-534-4578.

Prairie State College, 202 S. Halsted, Chicago Heights

PSC is awarding Board of Trustee scholarships that cover tuition and fees for each semester the student is enrolled at PSC. To learn about the scholarship requirements or to apply for a scholarship, visit www.prairiestate.edu and select the “Scholarship” link. The application deadline is April 30th. For more information, contact Carissa Davis at 708-709-3562.

This and That

St. Mary School, 227 Monee Road

St. Mary School is holding a Meet and Greet on Sunday, April 19th from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. for anyone who is interested in possibly attending the school. There are openings in all grades Pre-K through 8th grade. St. Mary’s offers a faith centered curriculum with high academic standards. Students test scores are above the national levels. Come out and see what St. Mary’s has to offer. For more information, call 708-748-6686.

Open Auditions

The Southland Area Theatre Ensemble (SLATE) at Governors State University will be holding auditions for its production of “Into the Woods.” Roles for adults and children ages 8 though 12 are available. Individuals wishing to audition should visit the SLATE website at www.slatetheatre.org to download the audition form and view character descriptions and casting requirements.

Auditions are scheduled by appointment only, which can be made by leaving a message on the audition hotline, 708-235-2244.

Sources: Village of Park Forest Weekly Manager’s Report; Park Forest Library Newsletter; Freedom Hall, Tall Grass Arts Association, Illinois Theatre Center, St. Mary School, Prairie State College, Governors State University, and Park Forest Historical Society websites. Additional information provided by the Folks on Spokes Bicycle Club.