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The Weeks | June 11: Flossmoor viaduct project questioned, Thornton Township assessor locked out, honoring school retirees, kudos to Hazel Crest chief

THE WEEK >

Flossmoor School District 161 Board of Education will meet at 6 p.m. Monday, June 12, at Normandy Villa, 41 E. Elmwood Drive, Chicago Heights.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlights: The board will consider a food service contract, appointments of Flossmoor Hills School principal and Parker Junior High School assistant principal.

Homewood School District 153 Board of Education will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, June 12, in the cafeteria at James Hart School, 18220 Morgan St.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlights: The meeting will start with a public hearing on an updated e-learning plan. The adoption of the plan is on the agenda for the regular meeting, which follows the public hearing. Also on the regular agenda is approval of a food service contract, long-range planning goals and revisions to the student discipline handbook. 

Flossmoor Public Art Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, June 12, in the committee room at village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road.

  • Find the agenda here.

Homewood Board of Trustees will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 13, in village hall, 2020 Chestnut Road. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Attend virtually here. ID 980 4907 6232, passcode 830183.
  • Write to the board by sending email to [email protected] or by placing written comments in the drop box outside village hall. Comments submitted before 4 p.m. on the meeting date will be distributed to all village board members prior to the meeting.
  • Highlights: The board will consider posting a notice of proposed sale for the village-owned property at 2124 183rd St., the site of the former Citgo gas station; measures to authorize the summer street resurfacing program; and two special use permits, one for a spa at 18350 Kedzie Ave. and one for a massage therapy business at 920 175th St.

Flossmoor Public Library Board of Trustees will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 13, in the library conference room, 1000 Sterling Ave.

  • The agenda will be posted here when it is available.

Bloom Township Board of Trustees will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 13, at 425 S. Halsted
Chicago Heights.

  • The agenda can be found here when it is available.

< THE WEEK

Resident raises concerns about safety, cost of Flossmoor viaduct project
John Yast spoke out at the June 5 Flossmoor board of trustees meeting about a proposal to divert excess stormwater from the Flossmoor Road viaduct to a detention basin that would be built near Heather Hill School. The village is continuing to discuss the proposal with District 161 and the H-F Park District, each of which will be affected by the project.

Homewood police arrest armed teen found in store early Friday
Police said an 18-year-old was found in a store on Halsted Street shortly before 2:30 a.m. on June 9 and allegedly had two handguns and a face mask in his possession.

Thornton Township assessor locked out of office
We republished with permission a story reported by Melanie Jongsma and Josh Bootsma in the Lansing Journal about another controversy in Thornton Township government. Assessor Cassandra Elston was locked out of her office last week, and tax payer records were stacked in a common area outside the office. The story also was covered by Fox 32 TV. On May 31, the station ran another story that questioned apparent spending of public money by Dolton Mayor and Thornton Township Supervisor Tiffany Henyard on a charity she started.

The area of Homewood east of Western Avenue and north of 183rd Street is in Thornton Township.

Thornton Township Assessor Cassandra Elston talks with Lansing Journal reporters after being locked out of her office.
(Melanie Jongsma/Lansing Journal)

Farewell to retiring educators, staff
We published our annual series of stories paying tribute to the retiring educators and staff who have served local schools for years. This year’s stories were about:

Residents offer input on upcoming changes at racquet club
Before submitting a grant application for updating the H-F Racquet & Fitness Club facility, the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District sought residents’ input on what uses they would like to see. Marilyn Thomas reports on some of the ideas that came up during a meeting last week.

Flossmoor honors young man for service to community
Jalyn Edwards reported on the village’s recognition of Evan Roberson for being a positive force in the community.

Flossmoor Mayor Michelle Nelson, left, recognizes Evan Roberson at the June 5 board meeting. (Jalyn Edwards/H-F Chronicle)

Juneteenth fest returns with two-day celebration
Reporter Faith Lee provided a preview of the upcoming H-F Juneteenth celebration, which will include a festival on June 17 and parade on June 19. The event celebrates Black pride, culture and power with entertainment, education and hundreds of vendors.

Deadline to sign up for Homewood 4th of July parade
June 23 is the deadline to sign up to participate in Homewood’s 4th of July parade. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. July 4 starting from St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 17951 Dixie Highway, and ending at Izaak Walton Nature Preserve, 1100 Ridge Road. 

The Homewood 4th of July begins for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. (EC)
The Homewood 4th of July parade returns in 2022 the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. (Chronicle file photo)

DEMOCRACY WATCH

Democracy works best when local government officials provide information residents want and need in an accessible way. Here’s a belated shout-out to Hazel Crest Police Chief Mitchell Davis for a video he recorded and posted March 31 on YouTube and Facebook

Screenshot of Mitchell Davis’s March 31 video report on crime in Hazel Crest.
(Provided image)

In the video, Davis provided explanations for several issues that residents had expressed concern about, including the absence of village officials at a public meeting hosted by District 152.5 (the meeting conflicted with the Hazel Crest Board of Trustees meeting), a shots-fired incident captured on a resident’s security camera showing a village squad car nearby (the car was not occupied by an officer at the time of the incident) and a printed flier making claims about violent crime in the village (Davis said a number of the photos on the flier were not taken in Hazel Crest). 

The video is nearly 13 minutes long and provides clear explanations on issues residents were worried about and the village’s strategy for addressing the problem. Davis identified as the top problem facing the village (and the region) the number of guns available to young people. 

He cited as an example two Hazel Crest children who were in custody for allegedly being involved in gun crimes. 

“These two young people at 12 and 13 years old have wreaked havoc in the village of Hazel Crest and the entire South Suburbs,” he said. “We’ve got to help these families out when they have children like this. These are not isolated incidents. There are young people that are holding their families and their communities hostage. We’ve got to come up with systems to try to help them.”

Crime is a problem that creates fear, but fear can be exploited by those who use misinformation to fan the flames. It’s difficult to counter misinformation once it spreads in a community, but silence certainly won’t help. Thanks to Davis for providing better information to counter rumor and to include residents in the project of addressing a difficult problem.

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