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Local News

Here First | March 18

Quote of the week

“If you do something new or innovative, expect trouble. But think critically about it because if you’re wrong, you want to be the first one to know that.”
Eugene Parker, astrophysicist

The future

What’s happening next week.

  • Flossmoor Board of Trustees will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 21, in the board room at village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road. Check here for the agenda.
  • Homewood School District 153 Board of Education will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, March 21, in the James Hart Media Center at 18220 Morgan St. Check here for the agenda.
  • Homewood Board of Trustees will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, in the board room at village hall, 2020 Chestnut Road. Check here for the agenda. The board is expected to receive a report from staff suggesting next steps for improving safety on 183rd Street.

The past

You were there because we were there.

Indigenous Peoples Day
Marilyn Thomas’s story about the District 233 board’s decision to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day sparked debate on social media. Some people cheered the decision, noting the decline of Columbus’ reputation in recent years as more people learn about his abuse of the native people he encountered, while some objected to the change, noting the purpose of the observance is to celebrate Italian heritage. A link is posted to local Navajo student Nizhoni Ward’s 2020 Voyager article offering the perspective of someone with indigenous roots, “A fight for Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” It’s worth a read.

Above ground pools in Flossmoor?
Bill Jones reported on a petition started by Flossmoor resident Jennifer Curtis seeking to persuade the village board to consider allowing residents to install above ground pools in their yards. Trustees expressed a willingness to explore the issue, but no firm decisions about how to proceed were made. As of midday Friday, the petition had 131 signatures.


The walls are starting to take shape in this March 18 photo as the Hartford Building evolves at Ridge and Martin in downtown Homewood. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)


Flossmoor gets a shoutout from Thrillist magazine as a Chicago suburb worth visiting. That’s not news around here, but it’s nice to get a mention elsewhere.

Voting continues for Juneteenth royalty
You Matter 2 is giving the community an opportunity to help choose the royal court for the 2022 Juneteenth celebration. Voting for Mr. and Miss Juneteenth (ninth through 12th graders), Junior Mr. and Miss Juneteenth (sixth through eighth graders), Little Mr. and Miss Juneteenth (third through fifth graders) and Mini Mr. and Miss Juneteenth (kindergarten through second graders) continues until March 31. Votes cost $1 each, with proceeds going to support the June 19 community event.


With case rates plummeting and the easing of mask mandates in most public places and schools at the end of February, March 2022 is beginning to feel like May 2021. Then, the lifting of restrictions brought a palpable sense of relief as the weather warmed and people could again gather and socialize. It was a welcome respite, but of course it did not last. The year ended with the worst surge of the pandemic so far.

News from around the world suggests that we might want to enjoy this moment while we can, too. There are reports that an Omicron subvariant of the virus that causes COVID-19 is generating new spikes in China, Hong Kong and parts of Europe. In the past, European trends especially were good forecasts of what would happen in the U.S.

There also remains one mask mandate in effect to remind us that we aren’t necessarily out of the pandemic woods. The mask mandate on public transportation remains in place. The federal Transportation Safety Administration announced March 10 that it was extending the requirement until April 18.

Keep those masks handy. We might need them again.


Eugene N. Parker, formerly of Flossmoor, died March 15 at age 94. The legendary astrophysicist first developed the theory of solar winds in 1958. He made his mark on Flossmoor, too, inspiring music and art to honor his work and sharing his expertise with the community.

Michael Towns, one of the founding co-owners of Culture in downtown Homewood, died suddenly on Feb. 26 at age 55. Towns was an entrepreneur and successful music executive with Culture co-owner Joan Sullivan for many years. In addition to co-founding Culture, he helped manage four record labels as part of Kingdom Records.

Michael Towns addresses the Homewood Board of Trustees in September 2019 to present the idea for Culture, which replaced the former Grape & Grain on Dixie Highway in Homewood. (Chronicle file photo)

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