Homewood-Flossmoor art teacher J.R. Willard-Rose with his students who participated in the yarn bombing and Rainworks project. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)
Local News, Opinion

The Weeks | June 4: Celebrate Pride, graduation controversy, farewell to Carole, Walk With Anne

Farewell Carole (but not goodbye)

Carole Headshot2

For much of the Chronicle’s history, Carole Sharwarko has served as ace reporter, digital content manager, roving livestreamer and reliable generator of good ideas. Carole created the daily What You Need to Know Today post that many people depend upon. She sprang into action whenever there was breaking news. One of her livestream events was the first big protest rally and march following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020. She gave the community an on-the-scene look at the contentious Flossmoor village board meetings following the death of Madeline Miller last summer.

She passed the test of a great reporter: We’re all better informed because of her work.

Now, Carole is moving on to a new opportunity, and we’re both sorry to see her leave her role at the paper and excited to see her take on a new adventure. Fortunately, Carole plans to continue developing the nonprofit Southland Investigative Reporting Center and her role as a founding member of the Local News Alliance, so the Chronicle staff will still be able to work with her.

Thank you, Carole!

THE WEEK >

Flossmoor Board of Trustees will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 5, at village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Attend virtually here, ID  830 5033 6356, passcode 60422, or by phone at 312-626-6799.
  • Highlights: The board will consider a number of proclamations, including one honoring Evan Roberson, one recognizing Pride Month and one recognizing Juneteenth. The board will also consider a measure renewing employee insurance coverage.

Flossmoor School District 161 Board of Education will hold a special meeting Monday at 5:30 p.m. in Normand Villa, 41 E. Elmwood Drive, Chicago Heights. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlight: The board will convene in closed session to discussion personnel matters.

Homewood-Flossmoor Park District community input meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, in the Goldberg Administration Center, 3301 Flossmoor Road. The public is invited to share ideas about how to re-imagine underutilized space at its H-F Racquet & Fitness Club. For more information, call 708-799-1323.

Homewood Planning and Zoning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 8, in village hall, 2020 Chestnut Road. 

Starry Nights concert/Pride celebration will start at 5 p.m. Friday, June 9, in Irwin Park, 1800 block of Ridge Road in Homewood. From 5 to 7 p.m., a DJ will provide music and guests can visit vendors. The PriSSillas will take the stage at 7 p.m. The event is a collaboration of the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District and the villages of Homewood and Flossmoor.

The Drama Group will perform “Clue on Stage” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17; then again at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 11 and 18. More information here. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 708-755-3444. 

Dance Away Domestic Violence, a fundraiser for Anew: Building Beyond Violence and Abuse will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 10, on Martin Square in Homewood, 18020 Martin Ave. The event will include line dancing, cardio drumming and jazzercise programs. Drinks and snacks will be served. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for kids ages 6 to 12. The event is free to kids 5 and younger.  Tickets can be purchased at https://bit.ly/DADV23.

Homewood Public Library Summer Reading Block Party on Saturday, June 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the library, 17917 Dixie Highway. There will be games, art, dancing and more activities for all ages to kick off the summer reading program.

< THE WEEK

Indigenous student chooses special cap over diploma walk
Lilliana Ward attended the James Hart graduation ceremony but did not receive her diploma during the presentation after school officials informed her that a cap her sister beaded for her did not comply with the graduation dress code. Her family spoke out after the ceremony to explain the importance of regalia to their Native American culture. School officials stood by the policy. Complicating the situation was a new state law that would have enabled Lilliana to wear her cap, but the law has not yet been signed by the governor. Learn more here.

H-F art students help community celebrate Pride Month
Nick Ulanowski reported on a public art project by students in Homewood-Flossmoor High School teacher J.R. Rose’s Design Thinking class that will help the community mark Pride Month. Students “yarnbombed” trees in downtown Homewood and at Leavitt Park in Flossmoor, decorating them in rainbow colors, the symbol of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Homewood-Flossmoor art teacher J.R. Willard-Rose with his students who participated in the yarn bombing and Rainworks project. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)
Homewood-Flossmoor art teacher J.R. Willard-Rose with his students who participated in the yarn bombing and Rainworks project. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)

Flossmoor, D161 hire Wright to serve as community engagement coordinator
Stephanie Wright, who has been Flossmoor’s events manager for two years, has been hired by the village and Flossmoor School District 161 to serve as community engagement coordinator for both organizations.

DEMOCRACY WATCH

Colton contributes to community access
Homewood has long had two elected officials who regularly make themselves available to the public to answer questions and discuss issues. Mayor Rich Hofeld holds office hours in the lobby of village hall from 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday, a practice he started when he was first elected in 1997. Jay Heiferman has for years invited residents to stop by Starbucks on Harwood at 5 p.m. on the first Monday of every month.

Now Anne Colton, who returned to the board May 9, has added a new way for residents to stay informed and connect with the board. As she walks home from board meetings, she does a livestream video on Facebook providing a summary of the meeting and inviting those watching to post questions and comments.

The village has a Facebook page that residents often use to post questions, comments and concerns, but Colton’s walking meeting recap provides a personal touch and a connection to someone who is in a position to bring residents’ views and ideas to the attention of the rest of the village’s policy makers and administrators.

Colton’s main campaign pledge was to increase the village’s access to and engagement with residents. The video practice makes good on that promise and gives us all another option for working with our elected officials.

Henyard charity finances under scrutiny
Fox 32 published a report on questions about whether public money was used to support a charity apparently started by Dolton Mayor and Thornton Township Superintendent Tiffany Henyard. The section of Homewood east of Western Avenue and north of 183rd Street is in Thornton Township.

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