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Cleveland Cavaliers guard-forward Max Strus hits a 3-pointer last season over the Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown. Photo courtesy of Max Strus

Hometown Hoops Hero: Stagg alum Max Strus discusses his rise through the NBA, hitting big shots and his annual youth hoops camp

By Xavier Sanchez Correspondent A lot of changes have taken place for Max Strus during the past year. While the Cleveland Cavaliers guard has played in an NBA Finals and been featured as No. 1 on ESPN SportsCenter’s “Top Plays,” among other noteworthy events, the Stagg alum is the same homegrown kid who grew up…

Chicago Red Stars forward Mallory Swanson (left) earned two big awards for her recent goal-scoring spree. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Red Stars’ Swanson picks up Best XI of Month honors

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Chicago Red Stars forward Mallory Swanson picked up some big honors recently, including being named to the NWSL’s Best XI of the Month for June. This is the seventh time in Swanson’s career and the fourth time as a Red Star she has won a best of the month award. In…

St. Laurence finished second in the state in Class 4A and is looking to win it all in 2024. Photo by Jeff Vorva

A bevy of changes ahead for the 2024 high school football season

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent The IHSA’s annual posting of the coming season’s football schedule always gets people talking. This year is no exception. Tears for Fears meets David Bowie as there are changes, changes and more changes; fans might need pencils and scorecards to keep track. As a public service, we here at Southwest Regional…

The Mariano’s store in Frankfort would be among the stores transferred to a new owner if the Kroger-Albertson’s merger is approved. (Photo by Bob Bong)

Comings & Goings: Palos Jewel, Oak Lawn Mariano’s to be sold in merger deal

By Bob Bong Kroger and Albertson’s this week released the list of stores the companies plan to sell, should a merger between the grocery giants be approved by regulators. Jewel Food Stores in Alsip and Palos Heights are among the stores listed for sale as well as Mariano’s locations in Oak Lawn, Orland Park, and Frankfort. The…

Palos Heights native Patrick Bertotelli won the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4 in New York. (Photo courtesy of Major League Eating)

Palos Heights native is top dog in famous eating contest

By Jeff Vorva At one time, it may have seemed impossible for Palos Heights native Patrick Bertoletti to win the Nathan’s Hog Dog Eating contest. After all, Joey Chestnut was roasting opponents year after year by winning 16 titles since 2007 and had a streak of gobbling up championships eight years in a row heading…

Palos Park Mayor Nicole Milovich-Walters is hoping a mobile DMV will return to the village after the July 15 visit was sold out. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

DMV sellout could mean a return visit in Palos Park

By Jeff Vorva Palos Park Clerk Marie Arrigoni announced that appointments for the one-day mobile Department of Motor Vehicles visit to Village Hall are sold out. That’s bad news for those residents who were looking forward to taking care of DMV business right there in town. But it was good news to Mayor Nicole Milovich-Walters.…

The retiring owners left this message on the sign at the Saunoris Garden Center in Frankfort. (Photos by Bob Bong)

Comings & Goings: U-Haul buys Saunoris Frankfort location

By Bob Bong Two years after closing its Chicago Ridge location, Saunoris has closed its garden center in Frankfort. U-Haul has acquired the former garden center at 19600 S. Harlem Avenue. No price was announced, but the property had been listed for $2.5 million on real estate websites. The 6.88-acre property, now called U-Haul Moving…

Houston's Natalie Jacobs (left) and Red Star Ally Schlegel jostle to get to the ball on June 6 at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Swanson scores again, Naeher has clean sheet as Fire edge Dash

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Mallory Swanson is Olympics-ready after scoring her fourth goal in four games. Swanson’s left-footed shot in extra time in the first half was the difference in the Chicago Red Stars’ 1-0 win over Houston on July 6 in an NWSL battle before an announced crowd of 5,566 at SeatGeek Stadium in…

Orland Park's Krysta Stanko (in sunglasses) has won the women's division of the Veterans Liberty run three straight years. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Orland Park woman wins third straight Veterans Liberty Run

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent She did it again. Three for three. Orland Park resident Krysta Stanko won her third straight women’s division championship at the Veterans Liberty Run, held July 3 at Centennial Park in Orland Park. Stanko, an Andrew graduate who will be a sophomore at Governors State, ran the 2-mile course in 12:40.2,…

Worth resident Calista Stefaniak won the Tinley Park Stars and Stripes 5K run for the second year in a row. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Worth resident Calista Stefaniak wins Stars and Stripes 5K

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Calista Stefaniak won her second straight women’s title in the Tinley Park Stars and Stripes 5K, held June 29 at the village’s McCarthy Park. Stefaniak, 25, of Worth, ran the course in 20:22.6. She also won the event in 2023 and was runner-up in 2022. “I love how it makes me…

Sandburg junior Jackson Canellis has made hundreds of sandwiches for BEDS Plus. He plans to run 12 miles from Wrigley Field to Guaranteed Rate Field to raise money for the organization. Photo supplied

Sandburg junior to run from Wrigley Field to Sox Park

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Sandburg junior Jackson Canellis isn’t sure if he will be wearing a Cubs or White Sox jersey on Aug. 10 during a 12-mile run. That decision will be up to those who donate to his cause. Canellis, a volunteer at BEDS Plus, is organizing a unique 12-mile run from Wrigley Field…

Ray Hanania

Orland Park once had a great mayor

How do you assess the failures of Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau? Compare him to his predecessor when it comes to helping people. In July 1996, when Dan McLaughlin was mayor, a dozen areas of Orland Park had been slammed by heavy rainstorms and extensive flooding that caused massive property damage. The Village of Orland…

Pete Fejzuloski, president of the Paisans Pizzeria restaurant chain, cuts the ribbon during the official grand opening ceremonies on June 25 at the Oak Lawn location in the Stony Creek Promenade. He is surrounded by family, employees, and members of the community. To the left of Fejzuloski is Mike Sutko, a member of the Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce, Trustee William "Bud" Stalker (5th), Mayor Terry Vorderer, Natasha Miller Williams, president of the chamber; and Steve Loulousis, president of the Oak Lawn Parks Foundation. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Paisans Pizzeria has impressive grand opening in Oak Lawn

Local officials ecstatic about new restaurant By Joe Boyle The origins of Paisans Pizzeria were humble as immigrant Luigi Fejzuloski created the business in a small corner store in Cicero. He was making pizzas in 1985 out of a household kitchen. Soon after that, Luigi was joined by his son, Pete. They both responded to…

Janae Banks

Woman charged in Palos Heights robbery

From staff reports A Chicago woman was charged last month with robbery in connection with an incident in May in the parking lot of the Jewel-Osco at 12803 S. Harlem Ave. Police said Janae Banks, 26, was taken into custody on June 22 at a home in the 8800 block of South Indiana Avenue in…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said at the July 1 board meeting that those who have issues with the board should show up at meetings or identify themselves. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park’s Pekau blasts anonymous critics

By Jeff Vorva Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau used a little Independence Day history to hammer home a point about anonymous critics on social media who are hammering him and the board of trustees. At the July 1 board meeting, Pekau said attacks were unproductive. “We used to have anonymous robocalls and anonymous letters and…

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Comings & Goings

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On party infighting, Illinois’ new GOP chair says ‘start calling those people out’

On party infighting, Illinois’ new GOP chair says ‘start calling those people out’

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com MILWAUKEE – In the parlance of Washington D.C. Republican strategists, deep-blue Illinois is sometimes referred to as an “orphan” state – along with other Democratic strongholds like California, New York and Hawaii. In both 2016 and 2020, Donald Trump lost Illinois in the presidential election by 17 percentage…

Amid heavy rainfall in southern Illinois, Nashville dam system breached; hundreds evacuated

Amid heavy rainfall in southern Illinois, Nashville dam system breached; hundreds evacuated

MOLLY PARKER & BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com Two days of heavy rainfall caused water to overflow and breach the dams of Nashville’s city reservoir on Tuesday, resulting in extensive flooding and the evacuation of about 200 people from their homes in the small southern Illinois town of about 3,000 residents. Initially described as…

Illinois Republicans urged to look beyond traditional base as national party courts unions

Illinois Republicans urged to look beyond traditional base as national party courts unions

By PETER HANCOCK, HANNAH MEISEL & ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com MILWAUKEE – A former Republican congressman from New York told Illinois Republicans Tuesday that to win more elections in their deeply blue state, they need to reach beyond the traditional conservative voting base. “We need to challenge ourselves to get out and talk…

At national convention, Illinois’ beleaguered GOP portrays calm amid internal storm

At national convention, Illinois’ beleaguered GOP portrays calm amid internal storm

By PETER HANCOCK & HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com MILWAUKEE – Illinois Republicans appeared upbeat and optimistic as the GOP’s national convention got underway Monday, calling for unity and showing little sign of the internal party struggles that have been brewing for years. “Everybody’s got a lot of energy. We’re all really hopeful and…

Live updates from the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee

Live updates from the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee

The CNI news team is on the scene at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. Check back frequently for the latest developments:   RNC Day 1: Live updates from Milwaukee 10:45 a.m. – Former primary rivals say they’re united to elect Trump The Republican National Convention is underway in Milwaukee, and Illinois’ delegation kicked of…

Pritzker calls SCOTUS emergency abortion ruling ‘small respite’ as state protections await his signature

Pritzker calls SCOTUS emergency abortion ruling ‘small respite’ as state protections await his signature

By ANDREW ADAMS  Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com Abortion remains legal as an emergency medical procedure in Idaho, for now, after a Thursday U.S. Supreme Court ruling, while a bill that would cement those protections in Illinois law awaits Gov. JB Pritzker’s signature.  The 6-3 decision saw the three liberal justices concur with the order. Three…

Pritzker signs election bill to increase party power in primary elections

Pritzker signs election bill to increase party power in primary elections

By ANDREW ADAMS  Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com Changes to primary election fundraising, the electoral college and the state’s voter registration database are now law after Gov. JB Pritzker signed a wide-ranging bill on Monday. The legislation, containing several unrelated election measures, passed near the end of the legislature’s spring session on a vote of 68-38 in…

National Committeeman Richard Porter looks ahead to GOP convention as party names new state chair

National Committeeman Richard Porter looks ahead to GOP convention as party names new state chair

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Republicans will gather in Milwaukee next week for what promises to be a historic national convention. Former President Donald Trump will be nominated for the third consecutive time as the party’s presidential nominee, the first major party candidate to win nomination that many times since Franklin…

Speaker Welch rebuffs lawsuit from would-be staff union as ‘forum shopping’

Speaker Welch rebuffs lawsuit from would-be staff union as ‘forum shopping’

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch is urging a Cook County judge to dismiss a lawsuit members of his staff filed against him last month seeking to force recognition of their union. In a new filing Monday, attorneys for Welch argued the Illinois Legislative Staff Association has no…

The U.N. calls restraint chairs torture. Illinois jails use them every day.

The U.N. calls restraint chairs torture. Illinois jails use them every day.

by GRACE HAUCK ILLINOIS ANSWERS PROJECT Warning: The following article includes mentions of self-harm and profanity. This is the first in a series of stories. McHENRY, Ill. – Vernon L. Brooks Jr. was distraught. Forced into a chair in a jail cell with a black mesh hood over his head, he panicked as he felt…