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Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau encourages dialogue between residents and elected officials. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Pekau encourages discussions between residents and officials

By Jeff Vorva Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau was philosophical about local and national politics. During the Dec. 4 village board meeting, he relayed a story about some events he recently attended and how he got to know some high-profile politicians in a more relaxed setting, and he encouraged residents of Orland Park to do…

Marist’s Stephen Brown finishes with a dunk in the RedHawks’ 49-44 overtime win over St. Laurence on Dec. 1. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Basketball | Marist unbeaten heading into clash with Marian Catholic

By Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Four quarters were not enough time to determine a winner between Marist and St. Laurence in a Chicago Elite Classic matchup. The RedHawks prevailed, doubling up the Vikings in overtime to take home a 49-44 win and improve to 6-0. The game was played December 1 at Credit Union 1 Arena…

Stagg senior Connor Williams, seen here in a Dec. 2 game against Bolingbrook, has helped Stagg jump out to a fast start this season. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Basketball | Stagg off to a strong start, dr

By Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Stagg has started the season strong, opening by winning the title at their own John McBride over Thanksgiving weekend. The Chargers won the championship game, 49-45, over Plainfield South. Senior guard Connor Williams was named MVP of the tournament, and teammates David Ortiz and Domas Narcevicius were named to the All-Tournament…

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at High 5 Heights, 12213 S. Harlem, Palos Heights, on November 29. (Photos by Kelly White)

High 5 Heights retail shop opens in Palos Heights

By Kelly White The first retail store to train, employ, sell products made by adults with special needs opened its doors in Palos Heights. The store, called, High 5 Heights at 12213 S. Harlem, Palos Heights, provides a new era of opportunity for adult students with special needs within the District 218 community. High 5…

Suphi Kurdi, brother of the late Murod Kurdi, and their mother, Fadia Muhamad, are joined by attorney David Petrich after the hearing. They vowed to seek justice. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Fine, community service for woman who killed man in fatal accident

Victim’s family outraged over outcome By Steve Metsch Six months after the car she was driving hit and killed Murod Kurdi, Leanne Cusack had her day in court. On Tuesday, she was found guilty of failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident – the only charge against her – for the fatal June 5…

Penelope Maka, 7, of Palos Heights, and her brother, Jacob, 10, met with Santa at the Palos Heights Kris Kringle Market on Friday night. (Photos by Kelly White)

Palos Heights celebrates holiday season at Kris Kringle Market

By Kelly White The Palos Heights community welcomed in the Christmas season by showcasing its small-town charm and holiday cheer this past weekend. Residents from Palos Heights, along with those from surrounding communities, came out to celebrate the Holidays in the Heights at the city’s Kris Kringle Market on December 1 and December 2 at…

Saint Xavier running back Amari Venerable tries to break a tackle in a loss to Northwestern (Iowa) in the NAIA quarterfinals. Photo courtesy of Saint Xavier University Department of Athletics

College Report | SXU football falls in quarterfinals

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer For three quarters, Saint Xavier went nearly toe-to-toe with the No. 1-ranked football team in the nation. Justin Pringle had returned a kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown to bring the Cougars to within three points of Northwestern (Iowa), the top-seeded team in the NAIA playoffs and the defending national…

Richards grad Sean Lewis is the new football coach at San Diego State. Photo courtesy of San Diego State University Athletics

Area Sports Roundup | Richards grad Sean Lewis ready to air it out in San Diego

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The rollercoaster ride continues for Sean Lewis. The Richards alum went from being the head coach at Kent State to the offensive coordinator at Colorado, one of the most talked about college football programs in the country this season because of Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders. He was then demoted…

Argo's Alizza Quinones gets ready to pass the ball against Andrew at last year's Sandburg Holiday Tournament. The Argonauts are scheduled to return to this year's tournament in Orland Park. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Girls Hoops | Sandburg and Oak Lawn to host holiday tournaments

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The field has been finalized for the third Sandburg Holiday Classic, which is the only girls basketball holiday tournament in the area to feature 16 teams. The host Eagles will be joined in the event, to be held Dec. 27-29, by area teams Oak Lawn, Richards, Argo and Riverside-Brookfield. Also…

Oak Lawn Community High School students, Aiden Alarcon, 15, of Hometown and Sarah Abdallah, 14, of Oak Lawn, donating food to the high school's Student Council Food Drive. (Supplied photo)

OLCHS Student Council Thanksgiving Food Drive aids needy

By Kelly White Donating to those in need during the holiday season are students at Oak Lawn Community High School. The Student Council at the high school, 9400 Southwest Hwy. in Oak Lawn, recently hosted its annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. “I like the Student Council Thanksgiving Food Drive because it’s an opportunity to give back…

A chart depicting future changes for Oak Lawn Community High School, including an additional parking lot, were provided during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting Tuesday morning. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn approves new parking lot, fieldhouse for OLCHS

By Joe Boyle An additional parking lot and an athletic fieldhouse has been approved for Oak Lawn Community High School. Joseph McCurdy, assistant superintendent for Oak Lawn Community High School District 229, gave a brief slide presentation detailing some of the plans for the parking lot and an athletic fieldhouse during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting Tuesday morning. The Zoning…

Games designed by Palos 118 ALPS students Shea Currran (from left), Carol Pack, and Marley McCall all took home awards from this year’s Young Inventor Challenge. (Supplied photos)

Palos 118 students win at 2023 Young Inventor Challenge

Fourth-grade students from Palos School District 118 took home three awards at the 2023 Young Inventor Challenge. Students from Palos East and West Elementaries participated in the event on November 4 and 5 in Chicago. The program gives students ages 6 to18 an opportunity to develop and pitch their original inventions to toy and game companies and…

Edwin Espinoza

Off-duty Chicago police officer dies in Oak Lawn crash

By Bob Bong An off-duty Chicago police officer was killed Sunday morning when a vehicle crashed into a tree at 95th Street and Harlem Avenue in Oak Lawn. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the driver as Edwin Espinoza, 35, of the 5300 block of South Merrimac Avenue on the city’s Southwest Side. Chicago…

regional 11-28 palos park police cadet food drive 2023

Palos Park police cadets holiday food drive underway

The Palos Park Police Cadet program annual Holiday Food Drive is underway. The cadets are looking for donations of non-perishable foods such as canned goods or boxed goods. The cadets will accept donations at the Palos Park Police Department located at 8999 W. 123rd Street. Donations are accepted through January 1.  This is another way…

An Evil Elf is among the terrors at Christmas Fear in Oak Lawn on December 15-17. (Supplied photo)

Midnight Terror serves up a different kind of spirits at Christmas Fear

By Bob Bong The Halloween fans at Midnight Terror in Oak Lawn have decided to extend the haunted house season into the holidays with their eighth annual Christmas Fear weekend in December. Savage Santas, eerie elves, and sinister snowmen will be running amok and showing off their own kind of Christmas spirit at the haunted…

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Pritzker releases new plan for spending multi-billion dollar Volkswagen settlement

Pritzker releases new plan for spending multi-billion dollar Volkswagen settlement

By GRACE BARBIC Capitol News Illinoisgbarbic@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration released a revised plan for how to spend the state’s share of a multi-billion dollar Volkswagen settlement, which found the vehicle manufacturer in violation of the federal Clean Air Act. Illinois initially received approximately $108 million from the settlement. The plans that were…

Ethics commission finds ex-Exelon lobbyist sexually harassed colleague

Ethics commission finds ex-Exelon lobbyist sexually harassed colleague

By SARAH MANSUR Capitol News Illinois smansur@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD — A state ethics commission has found a former Exelon lobbyist sexually harassed one of his female colleagues on two separate occasions in Springfield, in violation of the Lobbyist Registration Act. David Fein, formerly Exelon’s senior vice president of state governmental and regulatory affairs, will have to…

CAPITOL RECAP: Governor's office unveils energy overhaul bill

CAPITOL RECAP: Governor’s office unveils energy overhaul bill

By Capitol News Illinois SPRINGFIELD – The governor’s office unveiled a 900-page energy overhaul bill Wednesday, accelerating a yearslong process which advocates hope will end in a comprehensive clean energy platform as the session nears its final month. The stated goal of the bill is to drive Illinois to 100 percent “clean” energy by 2050.…

Judge finds firearm ownership card law invalid – as applied to one Illinois woman

Judge finds firearm ownership card law invalid – as applied to one Illinois woman

By SARAH MANSUR Capitol News Illinois smansur@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD — For the second time, a county judge in southern Illinois has ruled the state’s Firearm Owner Identification Card law unconstitutional, as applied to one state resident, Vivian Brown. The ruling from Judge T. Scott Webb means the Illinois Supreme Court will, also for the second time,…

Pritzker unveils energy plan amid session’s final stretch

Pritzker unveils energy plan amid session’s final stretch

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker’s office unveiled a 900-page energy overhaul bill Wednesday, accelerating a yearslong negotiating process which advocates hope will end in a comprehensive clean energy platform as the session nears its final month. The stated goal of the bill is to drive Illinois to 100…

State lawmakers consider lifting ban on betting on in-state colleges, universities

State lawmakers consider lifting ban on betting on in-state colleges, universities

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinoisjnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – State lawmakers are considering a number of changes to Illinois gambling laws, including a measure that would lift the prohibition on gambling on in-state colleges and universities. Other measures discussed by the House Executive Committee Wednesday would legalize and regulate certain internet gambling programs, or I-gaming, and…

State invests $15 million to fuel two new manufacturing programs downstate

State invests $15 million to fuel two new manufacturing programs downstate

By GRACE BARBIC Capitol News Illinoisgbarbic@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker announced Wednesday the state was distributing funds to two downstate Illinois community colleges for electric vehicle manufacturing and renewable energy generation training programs. Pritzker made the announcement at Heartland Community College in Normal, where one of the new programs will launch. “I’m committed to…

GOP calls out Pritzker for backtracking on independent maps

GOP calls out Pritzker for backtracking on independent maps

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinoisphancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Senate Republicans on Wednesday harshly criticized Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker, accusing him of breaking a campaign pledge to support an independent commission to redraw congressional and legislative district maps. “What I want to say is, the gerrymandering train is on the tracks,” Senate Republican Leader Dan…

Officials provide vaccination update as doses administered top 9 million

Officials provide vaccination update as doses administered top 9 million

By TIM KIRSININKAS Capitol News Illinoistkirsininkas@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Public health officials gave an update on the status of the state’s vaccination efforts Tuesday as the number of vaccines administered in Illinois topped 9 million. Speaking in a joint hearing of the House Human Services and Health Care committees Tuesday, Illinois Department of Public Health Director…

Pritzker signs health care reform measure backed by Black Caucus

Pritzker signs health care reform measure backed by Black Caucus

By TIM KIRSININKAS & RAYMON TRONCOSO Capitol News Illinoistkirsininkas@capitolnewsillinois.comrtroncoso@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker declared health care “a right, not a privilege” Tuesday as he signed a massive reform bill backed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, the last of four policy pillars introduced as part of an anti-racism agenda last year. The “Illinois Health…