6 months ago


The Orland Park Prairie 041218

16 | April 12, 2018 |

16 | April 12, 2018 | The orland park prairie News FROM THE MOKENA MESSENGER ‘Every 21 Seconds’ to make public debut On Friday, April 13, “Every 21 Seconds,” the film based on Mokena native Brian Sweeney’s struggle with traumatic brain injury, will make its public debut at Emagine Entertainment’s Frankfort Theatre. The film previously had been screened by a private audience in January. “Every 21 Seconds” follows Sweeney’s life after he was viciously attacked outside of a bar in Wisconsin in 1992. The attack left Sweeney with a traumatic brain injury. Since then, Sweeney has been on a mission to share his story in the hope that it will raise awareness and spur action for the approximately 2 million people per year who are diagnosed with and suffer from a TBI. “I spent the first five years trying to convince people that there was nothing wrong with me, and every day since trying to get people to understand what the challenges are for folks who go through this, what some of the deficits might be,” Sweeney said in an interview with The Messenger back in January. “But, also, what you can do, not what you can’t do. I always say focus on the capabilities, not the disabilities. “I wanted to be the voice that gave these people a voice.” The movie is based on Sweeney’s book of the same name. The film recently was nominated for several awards — including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Ensemble — by Festigious, a monthly online film festival. Reporting by T.J. Kremer III, Editor. For more, visit MokenaMessenger. com. FROM THE LOCKPORT LEGEND Lockport native to compose piece for Chicago Symphony Orchestra For a final project in his summer course at Northwestern, Jim Stephenson was instructed to write a bad piece of music. The course, Adventures in Bad Music, had a backward approach to helping students discover what they do and do not like. The 24-year-old at the time had never taken a composition course before this one and, surprisingly, wrote a “bad” piece that ended up being enjoyed by his classmates. It was that moment that encouraged Stephenson to begin writing music full-time. “I was like, well, if I try to write a bad piece and someone likes it, let’s see what happens when I try to write good music,” he said. “I started composing at the age of 24, and that grew and grew and grew.” His talent and love for music composition led him to receive an invitation in November 2015 to write a piece for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra that will be premiered during one of their concert weekends in June 2019. “It’s just one of those beautiful things that you never expect,” Stephenson said. “I mean, this is literally the orchestra I grew up listening to. My dream as a kid was to someday play in the Chicago Symphony. That’s not happening, because I don’t play trumpet anymore, but this about as close or maybe even better.” Reporting by Jacquelyn Schlabach, Assistant Editor. For more, visit FROM THE FRANKFORT STATION Frankfort dental hygienist helps create a community with healthier teeth The dentist’s office is not most people’s favorite place to find themselves, but for those who cannot afford a visit, it is even harder to get themselves in that chair. Dayna Mazurek, a dental hygienist at Advanced Family Dental in Frankfort, is not only helping patients find their way to an office but also finding her way to them. After completing an American Dental Association training to become a community dental health coordinator, Mazurek has increased her involvement in the community and on social media. “I bring all my experiences out in the public and to here where I can educate the patients more oneto-one,” noted Mazurek, who said she is able to better talk to patients and educate them about their oral health, both in the office and at public events such as health fairs. Mazurek said it can be difficult for those who are uninsured or underinsured to find the resources they need, but she is hoping to change that by distributing information on those programs more widely. “I grew up in a single-family household,” Mazurek said. “As I was a teenager and younger adult I was on Medicaid. So, I have that experience to help those less fortunate, because I was in their shoes, too.” Advanced Family Dental in Frankfort accepts both private insurance and public aid and has HMO and cash patients as well. Mazurek said the office treats all its patients the same regardless of their insurance status, unlike some dental practices where she has worked in the past. Reporting by Amanda Stoll, Assistant Editor. For more, visit FROM THE TINLEY JUNCTION Tinley Park gas station annexation request faces opposition It was just after midnight April 6 when the Tinley Park’s Plan Commission voted to continue rather than adjourn a public hearing that had already lasted in excess of four hours. A quorum of Commissioners came to a consensus that the advisory group needed more time to deliberate before offering a recommendation to the Board of Trustees on an annexation request that has drawn vocal opposition from nearby residents, who cite concerns over traffic, safety and property values from Lenny’s Food N Fuel, located at 19420 S. Harlem Ave. Owner Leonard McEnery petitioned the Village to annex a 4.87-acre parcel of property that operates as a diesel and regular fuel station, Dunkin’ Donuts drivethru, car wash, and propane fueling station. The parcel is located in unincorporated Will County, and receives water and sewer services from Frankfort. The agreement is contingent upon the Village the rezoning the property from C-2 to B-3 and creating a new liquor license to allow for the sale of packaged liquor, as well as 24-hour video gaming in compliance with the Illinois Gaming Commission’s definition of a “truck stop.” The businesses in operation also would need two special use permits to operate within Tinley Park. Officials said the annexation could bring in $408,000 of revenue annually from sales, property, and video gaming taxes. The public hearing is scheduled to continue Thursday, April 19, at the next Plan Commission meeting. Reporting by Cody Mroczka, Editor. For more, visit FROM THE HOMER HORIZON Healthy Kids Running Series returns to Homer for second year The Esquivels from Lockport all have one thing in common — running. Robert participates in halfmarathons and marathons, and his wife, Rebecca, joins him on Saturdays for their running club. In the last year, their 5-year-old daughter, Graysen, began to follow in their footsteps and lace up her own sneakers to participate in the Healthy Kids Running Series in Homer Glen. The series, which features five races over five weeks, began Sunday, April 8, and will continue for the next four Sundays at Stonebridge Park. “My husband was running marathons and half-marathons, and [Graysen] loved to go watch,” Rebecca said. “She always runs with him to get his medal, so she’ll run the last 75 feet or so, whatever she can. So when [the Healthy Kids Running Series] came up, it was like, ‘This is yours; you can do this for yourself,’ and she loved it.” Greysen participated in the series’ inaugural year in Homer Glen in 2017, winning her division in the 50-yard dash. Children in prekindergarten run the 50-yard dash, while kindergartners and firstgraders run a quarter of a mile. Second- and-third-grade students run a half mile, with the fourth- and fifth-graders running a full mile. The series is held twice a year in the spring and fall. In 2017, there were 130 children that participated between both. Currently, approximately 70 children signed up for this year’s spring series. Parents can register their children online at www.healthykids homer-glen-il-2. The cost is $35 for the series, or $10 per race. Reporting by Jacquelyn Schlabach, Assistant Editor. For more, visit FROM THE NEW LENOX PATRIOT Police: Phone charger may have caused house fire that killed man, dog A 69-year-old New Lenox resident died Friday, April 6, following a house fire April 3 that took place in the 2200 block of Sanford Avenue in New Lenox. Larry Crabb Sr. reportedly was removed from the burning house by his son, Larry Crabb Jr., and a utility line worker, who was working nearby. The family’s dog died during the fire, according to New Lenox Deputy Chief Louis Alessandrini. The elder Crabb’s wife was not home at the time of the incident, Alessandrini added. Crabb Sr. reportedly was taken to Silver Cross Hospital and was later transferred to Loyola Medical Center’s Burn Center in Maywood. Alessandrini said Crabb Jr. was out to take the family’s other dog to the vet and came back at around 9:30 a.m. to find that the house was on fire. He solicited help from the aforementioned utility line worker to help save his dad. The tri-level home sustained “extreme” damage before it was extinguished by the New Lenox Fire Protection District and several other fire departments, including Mokena, Frankfort, Orland Park, Homer Glen and Lockport, according to a press release from the New Lenox Fire Protection District. Alessandrini said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but he was told by detectives at the scene that an off-brand phone charger may have been the source of an electrical fire. Reporting by James Sanchez, Editor. For more, visit

® Sound Off The orland park prairie | April 12, 2018 | 17 Poetry in OP ‘Ode to a Summer’s Day’ Lin Peterson Contributing Columnist I sit, relaxing, on my deck; safe within my screens from summer’s pests. I hear the ducks on the pond outside, quacking away. The geese squawking back, calling to each other in loud raucous honks … All.Day.Long. I hear the trash trucks BEEPING as they back into place, the engines REVVING as the hoist their loads, the grind of gears as they move to the next stop. The lawn mowers are here now, Engines ROARING, two or three at a time. Must get everything done in a hurry and move on. Leaf blowers and weed whackers join in. Dogs BARK at the landscapers as they walk or ride by, Neighbors SCREAM at the dogs to be QUIET. Cars pass, radios BLARING OUT POUNDING BEATS. A ball bounces constantly on the basketball court in the playground. Passing walkers YAK LOUDLY on their phone about things I’D RATHER NOT KNOW! THIS IS NOT THE SUM- MER OF MY CHILD- HOOD! Social snapshot Top Web Stories From as of Friday, April 6 1. Police: Gunshot victim found in parkway likely result of suicide 2. D230: Students recognized for academic achievements at packed meeting 3. The Dish: Miller’s Ale House offers family dining ‘from high chair to wheelchair’ 4. Orland trustees open discussion about reverting mayoral role to part-time status 5. Palos Orland League to advocate for gun violence prevention Become a Prairie Plus member: Orland School District 135 posted the accompanying image Friday, April 6, with the note, “During National Youth Art Month, Park School artists created new masterpieces to adorn the hallways. Under the direction of art teachers Nancy Heuser and Sharon Grasman, each grade level created one painting. The artists who inspired these paintings were: Claude Monet, Jasper Johns and Gustav Klimt. Students were delighted to take this artistic journey and display their talents on beautiful canvases. #OSD135” Like The Orland Park Prairie: “Despite the forecast, live like it is spring!” @PrisSteinmetz — Priscilla Steinmetz, co-founder and executive director of The Bridge Teen Center Follow The Orland Park Prairie: @opprairie Sound Off Policy Editorials and columns are the opinions of the author. Pieces from 22nd Century Media are the thoughts of the company as a whole. The Orland Park Prairie encourages readers to write letters to Sound Off. All letters must be signed, and names and hometowns will be published. We also ask that writers include their address and phone number for verification, not publication. Letters should be limited to 400 words. The Orland Park Prairie reserves the right to edit letters. Letters become property of The Orland Park Prairie. Letters that are published do not reflect the thoughts and views of The Orland Park Prairie. Letters can be mailed to: The Orland Park Prairie, 11516 West 183rd Street, Unit SW Office Condo #3, Orland Park, Illinois, 60467. Fax letters to (708) 326-9179 or e-mail to From the Editor BILL JONES This week’s cover story focuses on the Orland Park Village Board, which has dealt with on-again, off-again spats ever since Mayor Keith Pekau took office last May. That is not to place all of the blame squarely on Pekau, but, since his victory, a Village Board — that largely favored his competitor and former Mayor Dan McLaughlin to retain in the race — has found itself at odds with its Village president. It has faced bouts of disagreement over the likes of commission and committee appointments, development — hell, they couldn’t even agree on a single Year in Review when The Orland Park Prairie requested it at the end of 2017. That is not to say everything has been a fight, but the breaks from the norm, for obvious reasons, take the spotlight. And that spotlight was white-hot during last CONTACT Expensive experimentation week’s Finance Committee meeting, when Trustee Patricia Gira publicly broached the topic of reverting the mayor’s full-time role to a part-time one, not even a year into the first term since it was changed from part-time to full-time. But Gira herself admitted there are no real guidelines nor review process for the new full-time role. That’s like giving someone a job, giving him no instructions, having no process to review his work and then saying he has been doing it wrong. It all lends a little credence to Pekau’s theory that they want to take it away because “their guy” didn’t win. At the very least, it seems to confirm it was a role designed with a single person in mind, with a shoddy contingency plan for the results of an uncertain election. It suggests that, as implemented, maybe it was a bad idea from the start. Maybe the Village of Orland Park should have stuck with a recommendation to hire another individual — one with the skill set to do the economic development job it needed — rather than leave it to the chance of an open election. Yet, none of this precludes the fact that the Village Board HELP YOUR CUSTOMERS INTO ACTION THIS SEASON. The Orland Park Prairie DANA ANDERSON 708.326.9170 ext. 17 has a right to be concerned with how things are going. Maybe Pekau simply isn’t doing the job well. And maybe he will need to put his money where his mouth is in addressing a change to which he was vocally opposed from the start. But maybe no one else would be finding any more success — getting anywhere more than a few conversation-starters — in that role. That corridor has been stagnant for years, despite being called a prized piece of land for developers. And that includes the many years the former mayor served the Village (albeit part-time). But this structure also very well still may work going forward. Maybe it just hasn’t had the time it needs to take root and grow results. It is all possible, but at the very least the Village Board finally realized it has some pressing questions to ask about the mayor and his role, and plans to do so in May. It’s just a shame they’re doing it a year-and-a-half too late, following an experiment that could end up costing taxpayers more than half a million when the budget is already tight. Oof.