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Homewood rings in Railroad Safety Week, unveils mural

Officials came together for National Rail Safety Week in a ceremony Tuesday morning in Homewood between the tracks and Harwood Avenue.  A sidewalk mural was unveiled, a proclamation made and contributions were recognized.  

  Members of Girl Scout Troop 65113 pose with
  the certificate marking their winning mural
  in the Rail Safety mural contest cosponsored
  by CN Railway and the village of Homewood.
  They painted the windows at at Jonathan
  Kane Salon and Spa, 18065 Harwood Ave.

  (Photo by Quincy Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Officials came together for National Rail Safety Week in a ceremony Tuesday morning in Homewood between the tracks and Harwood Avenue.  A sidewalk mural was unveiled, a proclamation made and contributions were recognized.  

  Lisa  Komorowski, left, 
  co-owner of Loulou 
  Belle boutique, shows 
  a certificate recognizing 
  the shop for its support 
  of the Rail Safety Week 
  mural contest. Brooke 
  Wians, right, was 
  honored by CN Railway 
  and the village for the 
  mural she painted on 
  Loulou Belle’s windows. 
  Wians’ mother, Dodi 
  Wians is co-owner of 
  the shop.
(Photo by 
  Quincy Crump/H-F 

The new mural, on the sidewalk near the railroad viewing platform in downtown Homewood, depicts a bright yellow sign displaying a CN railroad engine and the words “Look, Listen, Live” in bold, black letters. 

National Rail Safety Week, Sept. 24 through 30, aims to raise awareness of the need for rail safety education and to keep people safe near highway-rail grade crossings and railroad rights-of-way. 

“Creating a culture of understanding and promoting railroad safety and awareness is a shared responsibility. The railroads invest heavily into developing relationships with police agencies, fire departments, communities and community leaders,” said CN Railroad Police Special Agent Eric Graf, who emceed the event. 

  Brooke Wians’ rail 
  safety mural.
  by Eric Crump/H-F 

Chip Pew, the Illinois coordinator for Operation Lifesaver, was on hand. National Rail Safety Week has been promoted since the 1970s by Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit educational organization.

Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld addressed the gathering and signed a proclamation declaring this Railroad Safety Week in the village.
“It’s a railroad town,” Hofeld said. “We’re absolutely delighted to have the U.S. headquarters of CN here in Homewood.”

“There may be no better example of a successful strategic partnership than that of the one between the village of Homewood and the CN Railroad,” Graf said.

The village and CN Railroad announced the winners of a cosponsored art contest. Downtown businesses gave window space for murals  promoting Railroad Safety Week. 

The winning mural in the adult category is at Loulou Belle, a jewelry and craft shop, at 2049 Ridge Road. The mural was painted by Brooke Wians, daughter of Loulou Belle co-owner Dodi Wians.

The winner in the kids category was painted by Girl Scout Troop 65113 at Jonathan Kane Salon and Spa, 18065 Harwood Ave.

Graf also recognized the contributions of three police officers for their efforts to promote rail safety education. Oakbrook Police Chief James Kruger, Park Ridge Deputy Chief Lou Jogmen and Plainfield Sergeant Eric Munson were presented with keepsake mementos. 
John Orr, CN vice president for the southern region, said he hopes the sidewalk mural helps residents consider their safety around trains and tracks.
“I’m reminded of the partnership we have with the community of Homewood every time I look at our water tower and proudly see ‘Homewood CN Campus,’” Orr said. “We have to leverage the relationships and the partnerships that we have to make sure that our message is clear, that while we may have dissenting points of view from a commercial perspective or even a political perspective, our view on safety isn’t wavering.” 
CN maintains a 55,000-square-foot employee training center at 17650 S. Ashland Ave., which was opened late in 2014. The company’s U.S. headquarters is across the street at 17550 Ashland Ave.
  Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld delivers remarks at a ceremony 
  Tuesday morning marking National Rail Safety Week. The event 
  was cosponsored by the village of Homewood and CN Railway. 

  (Photo by David P. Funk/H-F Chronicle)


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