THE WEEK >
Early voting for the April 4 consolidated election is open March 20 through April 3. Locations can be found at the Cook County Clerk’s election website. Sites in the H-F vicinity include:
- Sandridge School gym, 2950 Glenwood-Dyer Road, Lynwood.
- Markham Courthouse, room 238, 16501 Kedzie Ave., Markham.
- Matteson Community Center, 20642 Matteson Ave., Matteson.
- South Suburban College, 15800 State St., South Holland.
- Tinley Park Village Hall, 16250 S. Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park.
Meet the Candidates
The county clerk’s resources can help voters figure out how to vote. The Chronicle’s Meet the Candidates project can help you decide who to vote for. We’ve started publishing candidate-provided profiles, and we’ve conducted interviews with candidates for Homewood and Flossmoor boards of trustees and those running for school district 153, 161 and 233 boards of education. Several videos have been posted and more are being edited and will be released in coming days.
Flossmoor Board of Trustees will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 20, in village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road.
- Find the agenda here.
- Attend the meeting virtually here. Use ID 883 7633 3967 and passcode 60422, or join by calling 312-626-6799.
- Highlights: The consent agenda includes resolutions requesting road closures for the Hidden Gem Half Marathon in September. There are no action items on the agenda, but discussion will continue on the 2024 budget.
Flossmoor Green Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, in the committee room at village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road.
Homewood-Flossmoor Board of Education will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, in the Homewood-Flossmoor High School South Building library, 999 Kedzie Ave. in Flossmoor.
- Find the agenda here.
- Highlights: Under new business, the board will consider accepting a report from the Parent-Teacher Discipline Committee, approving 2023-2024 Parent-Student Handbook changes, approving implementation of Integrated Math starting in the 2024-2025 school year and possibly approving reclassifying an assistant principal to a licensed teaching position.
Homewood Stories will host five tellers at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, in the Flossmoor Community House at 847 Hutchison Road, Flossmoor. Tellers will include Giggy Wagner, Betsey Manzoni, Rives Collins, Melissa Perrin and show producer and host Karen ODonnell. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door.
< THE WEEK
Homewood superintendent announces retirement date
Marilyn Thomas reported on two personnel moves at Homewood School District 153, including Superintendent Scott McAlister’s announcement that he plans to retire in 2026. The district also hired Eric Trimberger to serve as business manager for the district.
Flossmoor commission presents community relations recommendations
The Flossmoor Community Relations Commission presented to the Board of Trustees on Monday, March 13, its recommendations for how the village can move forward in addressing village government and police relations with residents. The commission was asked by Mayor Michelle Nelson to make recommendations after a fall community forum got mixed reviews from participants.
The forum in October was an attempt to promote communication and healing following the police shooting in July 2022 of Madeline Miller.
Train station renovation project resumes
The east side entrance to the Homewood train station was closed Monday, March 13, as Metra begins its portion of the major renovation project. Amtrak’s project upgrading the west side entrance and its boarding platform was officially opened in June 2022.
The closure means commuters need to walk or park on the west side. To help ease the inconvenience on the first day of construction disruption, Homewood staff set up a table near the west side entrance to offer free coffee and donuts to commuters. The staff also handed out printed QR codes that link to the village web page that will provide construction updates.
The village began on Tuesday creating a walkway for pedestrians to make the trek from east to west side safer.
Future of Walmart building uncertain
Walmart closed its Homewood store on March 10. What happens next is not clear. When they were notified of the closing on Feb. 8, village officials immediately began reaching out to business contacts in an effort to recruit a new use for the site. But the future of the site appears to remain under Walmart’s control.
The company has 12 years left on its lease. Presumably, if it complies with the terms of the lease, it could leave the property vacant the whole time. If that happens, it wouldn’t be the first time the village had to put up with a long-term vacancy.
In 1992, Kmart vacated the building at 3055 183rd St. to open a superstore at 17550 Halsted St., the building just left empty by Walmart. Before Brunswick Zone bowling alley moved into the building on 183rd Street, the property sat empty for years. Mayor Rich Hofeld said the situation was frustrating, because Kmart kept making lease payments on the old store, so the absentee property owner was unmotivated to find a new tenant.
Brunswick Zone left the former Kmart building in 2015, so the site has again been empty for eight years. A developer is exploring the feasibility of creating a new use for the site.
The Chronicle has emailed Walmart and property owner Agree Realty seeking information about the future of the Halsted site.
State NAACP conference convenes forum on Calumet Country Club redevelopment
Illinois NAACP President Teresa Haley facilitated a forum Wednesday, March 15, at the American Legion hall in Hazel Crest to answer residents’ questions about the proposed redevelopment of Calumet Country Club from a golf course into a commercial/recreational/industrial complex.
The meeting included a presentation by Catalyst Consulting partners. The firm was hired by property owner Diversified Partners to develop a new concept for the site after Homewood declined to approve rezoning requests for an industrial use. The property was subsequently disconnected from Homewood and annexed by Hazel Crest.
Environmental activists, including Hazel Crest residents, continued to challenge the redevelopment plan, citing concerns about pollution, noise and the environmental impact of loss of greenspace.
Flossmoor hires firm to help attract more retail business
Flossmoor doesn’t have a staff member specifically designated for economic development, so in an effort to attract more retail businesses and continue the upward trajectory of sales tax revenue, the Board of Trustees approved a measure to hire Retail Coach to help recruit new businesses.
Flossmoor author’s book promotes self esteem for those who are ‘uniquely beautiful’
Carrie Steinweg wrote a feature on Flossmoor author Leanne Stuckey’s children’s book, “Beautifully Blemished,” which aims to help people with visible marks on their skin learn to accept themselves and their looks.
Businessman, theater supporter dies
Paul J. Milord, 90, of Homewood, died on March 14. He was a successful businessman and long-time participant and supporter of The Drama Group theater in Chicago Heights.
Conservation ecology internship applications open
The Homewood Science Center will accept applications for its conservation ecology-based internship for middle school students until April 1.
Interns not only learn about environmental conservation, they get to do it. We’ve done several stories about cool projects the interns do. They always help educate the rest of us, too, presenting their findings to the community at the Homewood Farmers Market or at the Artisan Street Fair.
- Conservation interns learn ‘STEMpathy’ and the network of oak woodland species (June 6, 2022).
- Ecology interns design, plant pollinator garden (June 20, 2019).
- Students learn, practice conservation through Homewood Science Center intern program (Sept. 11, 2018).
Homewood-Flossmoor Juneteenth festival and parade organizers seek volunteers
H-F boasts the biggest Juneteenth celebration in the Southland, but it takes a lot of hands to make it all work. You Matter 2, which produces the event, is calling for volunteers to help with registration, setup, vendor check-in, activity booth team and more. Sign up at hfjuneteenthfestival.com/volunteer.
Call to artists
The Homewood Arts Council (HAC) is inviting artists to participate in a pop-up gallery at the Homewood Auditorium, 2010 Chestnut Road, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 19. Local artists aged 18 and up will be considered for one of 10 slots. Organizers are looking for paintings, drawings, printmaking, photography, sculpture of any type of material, ceramics and mixed/multiple medias. Artists will be able to sell their work and keep 100% of the proceeds. The deadline to apply is Friday, April 14. Contact HAC Director Chris Castaneda with any questions at [email protected] or visit homewoodartscouncil.com to learn more about the HAC.