Local News

The weeks | Sept. 4

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Democracy Day all month
Sept. 15 is International Democracy Day.  The Chronicle is participating in a collaborative journalism project sponsored by the Montclair State University Center for Cooperative Media.

Quote of the week
“Democracy is not what governments do; it’s what people do.”
Eric Liu

In my Page 2 column for September, we took a look at local government meetings, a regular opportunity to stay informed and get involved in issues that matter to everyone in a community. But meetings aren’t for everyone, or at least not all the time. Sometimes the business on the agenda is pretty routine and hard to get excited about, even if it is important in its way. Sometimes the timing is not good. Meetings have to compete with family life, date nights, big games on TV and other much cooler diversions. 

There are other ways to get in the game: Talk with elected officials outside official meetings. 

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I’ve encountered some elected officials who proclaim “My door is always open. Just make an appointment with my secretary.” Gee, thanks. 

Fortunately, Homewood and Flossmoor residents have elected officials who are more accessible than that. 

Homewood Mayor Rich Hofeld holds office hours, “Meet the Mayor,” in the lobby of village hall every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. The sessions are advertised every week in the village’s email newsletter. Usually, a member of the village’s staff will be on hand, too, to answer residents’ questions and hear about their concerns.

I stop by most Saturdays to see what’s going on, ask questions and meet new people. I’m not alone. Every Saturday residents and other visitors (county, state and federal elected officials have a standing invitation and occasionally stop by) come with their concerns or, sometimes, just to thank village officials the work they do. 

Sometimes they bring problems in their neighborhood that they want the village to address. Sometimes they take issue with a village policy or something the village did or didn’t do. Sometimes they bring ideas for how to solve problems or for a new business they would like to start. 

Everyone who walks in the door gets a chance to have a say.

Flossmoor Mayor Michelle Nelson doesn’t currently have a regular session like Homewood’s, but she stops by Homewood village hall with some regularity and has admired the format. She hosted a weekly “Meet the Mayor” on Fridays last year, but she said the timing might not have been ideal and she’s rethinking how to adjust so more people can attend.

“What has worked better for me in terms of engagement is regularly attending local HOA and civic association meetings, school and community/neighborhood events and having an active online presence,” she said. “Instead of having folks come to me, being present in many different forums seems to work better. I also regularly have residents contact me to discuss specific situations, and you can see me walking through the neighborhoods or grabbing ‘coffee’ with folks throughout the week at Dunning’s or Starbucks.”

Homewood Trustee Jay Heiferman also makes himself available regularly to talk with residents about anything on their minds. He hosts a listening session at the Starbucks at 18051 Harwood Ave. from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. the first Monday of every month. 

Week ->

Flossmoor Board of Trustees will meet at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road, one day later than usual in consideration for the Labor Day holiday. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlights: The board will consider a memorandum of understanding with CESAM LLC, which plans to develop a recreational cannabis dispensary at the former Sunnycrest Greenhouse property, 19725 Governors Highway. The property currently is owned by the village.

Labor Day impact:
Flossmoor and Homewood village halls will be closed on Monday, Sept. 5.

Homewood Disposal will follow a holiday week schedule. Pickup will be one day later than usual.

Brew & View
The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District will host a showing of the film “Footloose” at dusk on Thursday, Sept. 8, in Irwin Park, 18120 Highland Ave. in Homewood. Starting at 6:30 p.m. a number of food trucks parked along the 1800 block of Ridge Road, including Zap a Pizza, That’s a CakeThe Nacho Lady and Sweet Toothe PastriesFlossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery and Wiley’s Grill will be on hand serving cold brews.

Flossmoor residents cheer a runner passing their home during the 2021 Hidden Gem Half Marathon. (Chronicle file photo)
Flossmoor residents cheer a runner passing their home during
the 2021 Hidden Gem Half Marathon. (Chronicle file photo)

Hidden Gem/Flossmoor Fest: There will be more than 13 hours of fun in Flossmoor on Saturday, Sept. 10, as the third annual Hidden Gem Half Marathon starts at 7:30 a.m. and Flossmoor Fest ends about 8:30 p.m. 

Race organizers recommend spectators find a place along Flossmoor Road. The route winds through all the village neighborhoods and involves temporary road closures, so anyone who needs to leave the village Saturday morning should travel away from Flossmoor Road. Organizers suggest if you live south of Flossmoor Road, head south to exit your neighborhood. If you live north of Flossmoor Road, head north. Flossmoor Road will be blocked off from Crawford to Western Avenue for most of the morning.

The Homewood-Flossmoor High School marching band will kick off the Flossmoor Fest at 1 p.m. marching into downtown Flossmoor to perform the national anthem. Sterling Avenue and Central Drive will be closed starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, and will remain closed until the festival ends and cleanup has been completed.

Mums for sale
The Irons Oaks Foundation is holding its annual mum sale. Each mum is $15 each or $13 each for three or more. All proceeds from the sale directly benefit the Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center. Visit www.ironsoaks.com/shop-2/ to order. The sale ends on Friday, Sept. 9.

Racial Equity Week
Cook County is hosting a series of events for Racial Equity Week. Some of the events are in person, some are virtual. 

Virtual events include:

  • “White Supremacist Ideology and Indoctrination Conversation” presented by Simon Weisenthal Center on Monday, Sept. 12.
  • “CMAP Talks: How can we design safe and complete streets with an equity lens?” from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13. 
  • “A Candid Conversation with Native Americans Reflecting on the Urban Indian Relocation Program 60 Years Later” from 5 to 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13.
  • “Illinois Muslims: Needs, Assets, and Opportunities – Cook County Roundtable” from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 14.
  • “Championing the Unsung: A Fireside Chat with filmmaker Adewole A. Abioye and Cook County Manager of Archives Skyla S. Hearn” from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 14.
  • “Dare to Connect: Turbulent Times, Courageous Stories Live Storytelling with Dr. Ada Cheng” from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16.

None of the in-person events posted so far are in the immediate H-F area.

<- Week

A work of bike rack art installed in the 2000 block of Ridge Road in Homewood.
(Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Bike racks installed. The spring public art project this year by the Homewood Business Association in partnership with the village of Homewood and GoodSpeed Cycles was decorated bike racks.

There was a delay of several months getting the racks installed near local businesses, but a number of them were placed by Homewood Public Works crews during the past week or so. The purpose of the project was not only to brighten the downtown area with the colorful U-shaped racks but encourage more shopping by bicycle.

Cedar Park update
Work is under way to install new playground equipment at Cedar Park in Homewood on the southwest corner of Cedar Road and Highland Avenue.

Work has begun on updating the equipment at the Cedar Park playground in Homewood. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

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