Local News

The Weeks | Sept. 17: Many meetings, centenarian wisdom, Homewood Fall Fest, Spotlight Academy fundraiser



Flossmoor District 161 Board of Education will meet in closed session at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18, in Normandy Villa, 41 E. Elmwood Drive.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlights: The board will discuss litigation, personnel matters and the selection of a person to serve on the board to fill a vacant seat.

Homewood School District 153 Board of Education will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18, in the James Hart School media center, 18220 Morgan St. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlights: The board will begin the meeting with a public hearing on the 2023-24 budget and will consider approving the budget during the regular meeting.

Flossmoor Board of Trustees will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18, in village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Attend remotely here or dial (312) 626-6799. ID 876 1674 4797, passcode 60422.
  • Highlights: The board will consider awarding a contract for water meter installation not to exceed $848,684 and a new contract with the Flossmoor Fraternal Order of Police.

Homewood Board of Trustees Committee of the Whole will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, in village hall, 2020 Chestnut Road.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Attend remotely here or dial 312-626-6799. ID 980 4907 6232, passcode 830183.
  • Contact the board at [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.
  • Highlight: The board will discuss lighting and sound issues in the downtown area.

Homewood-Flossmoor District 233 Board of Education will hold a special meeting in closed session at 6 p.m. to discuss pending litigation and will meet in public session at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, in the South Building of H-F High School, 999 Kedzie Ave., Flossmoor.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlight: The board will consider adopting the 2023-24 budget. 

Homewood-Flossmoor Park District Board of Commissioners will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, in the Goldberg Administration Center, 3301 Flossmoor Road.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlights: Commissioners will consider a $10,850 design contract for the Irwin Park playground renovation.

Flossmoor Green Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, in village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road. 

  • Find the agenda here.

Homewood Public Library Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing on the 2023-24 budget at 6:45 p.m. and a regular meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20, in the library, 17917 Dixie Highway. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlights: The board will consider adopting the 2023-24 budget and will get a carpeting project update.

Flossmoor Plan Commission will meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, in village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlight: The commission will consider a special use permit for a daycare center at 19509 Governors Highway.

Stuff to do

Monday, Sept. 18
Underground Railroad Monument ribbon cutting. The Village of Glenwood and the Underground Railroad Monument Committee will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. at the northwest corner of East Main and Young streets in Glenwood.

Reflexology and zone therapy presentation. Abundant Grace United Church of Christ is sponsoring an introduction to the powers of reflexology and zone therapy at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18, at the church, 18200 Dixie Highway in Homewood. Free. Call 708-798-0700 to RSVP.  Refreshments will be served. The church requests that attendees bring packages of toilet tissue which will be donated to The Pantry of Rich Township.

Wednesday, Sept. 20
Art in the Park. Homewood-Flossmoor Park District will host a free art workshop in Goldberg Park, 3301 Flossmoor Road, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 22
H-F VIP Mosaic and Sip. Make mosaics at this workshop from noon to 2 p.m. at Irwin Center, 18120 Highland Ave., Homewood. Lunch of sandwich, chips, cookie and wine will be served. For those aged 55 and over. The fee is $15 for residents, $20 for non-residents.

Stuffed Animal Campout. 
Send your favorite stuffie or doll on a campout. Stuffies will go on hikes, cook dinner over the fire, discover nature and more. Pictures of the stuffies having fun will be posted on social media throughout the night and a picture album will be sent home as a memory keepsake of their adventure. Drop off stuffies at Irons Oaks, 20000 Western Ave., by noon on Friday. Pick up will be between 10 and 11 a.m. on Saturday. Fee is $7. Click here to register.

Saturday, Sept. 23
Community bike rides. Barb and Dan Lawler’s Road Ride starts at 8 a.m. at GoodSpeed Cycle, 2125 183rd St. in Homewood. It’s a 25-mile fitness ride. The Off-Leash ride is a 9-mile ride at about 9 to 10 mph that starts at GoodSpeed at 8:30 a.m. and lasts about an hour.

Homewood Farmers Market. The market will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Martin Square between Chestnut Road and Ridge Road with live music, fresh produce, baked goods, craft vendors and more. Liz Smith will lead a free yoga for kids class. 

Meet the Mayor
Homewood Mayor Rich Hofeld will hold open office hours in the village hall lobby, 2020 Chestnut Road, from 9 a.m. to noon. Joining him will be Deputy Fire Chief Steve DeJong.

Homewood Fall Fest
The village’s annual fall festival will take place on Martin Avenue from Hickory Road to Ridge Road from noon to 9 p.m. The festival includes live music, vendors, a pumpkin patch for kids, free rock climbing wall, face painting and the annual Chili Cook-off.


Spotlight Performance Academy is holding a fall fundraising campaign. SPA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization “dedicated to supporting students of the arts in the south suburbs of Chicago by providing educational programing and performance opportunities so our community can thrive.” Donations go to operating costs and scholarship opportunities for families in need.



Centenarian advice: Slow down
When a person has reached 100 years old, they’ve seen a lot of life, learned a lot of lessons and have the credentials to offer advice to those who have fewer years to their names.

I was fortunate to have a chance to talk with John Gibson of Danville on the occasion of his 100th birthday party, hosted by his granddaughter, Shannon Allred of Flossmoor.

I asked him the question you have to ask everybody who reaches the century mark, “What’s the secret to your longevity?” Everybody wants to know if there’s a trick they can try.

Gibson said he didn’t have much of a secret. In fact, he doesn’t claim any credit for reaching 100.

“I had nothing to do with it. The man upstairs controls that,” he said. “You stay in with him and try do most of what he says. Life is like a gold coin, and Christ is polishing it. When he gets it pure enough, he takes it. It’s not pure yet. He’s still working the blemishes out. I’ve done nothing different than anyone else.”

But he does have another bit of advice, which he’s rather emphatic about and which H-F residents exasperated with bad driving behavior will certainly concur with.

“Slow down! If you’re in a hurry, leave early,” he said. “Wherever you’re going, it’s going to be there when you get there. I will guarantee you it hasn’t moved an inch in 50 years.”

And he isn’t referring only to drivers. He said he’s advised his doctors to take it easier, too. He said they seem like they are always rushing from one patient to another.

He said he tells them: “Do what you can do and go home and get some rest.”

Grandpa Gibson has a special place in Allred’s heart. She was raised by her grandparents and confessed to being a “grandpa’s girl.” She said she always wanted to tag along with him.

“At one time in Georgia I used to write insurance and (Shannon’s) mother used to ride with me. Her spot was the passenger seat in the car. Shannon was like, ‘I’m taking that over.’ Everywhere I went, she would go.”

Gibson served in the Navy during World War II. He was a mortician for most of his career, moving to Chicago a few years after the war. He eventually started his own business, Gibson Memorial Chapel, which he operated in Chicago, then Champaign and later in Danville. He still maintains his mortician certification and believes he is probably the oldest licensed mortician in the state.

After undergoing triple bypass surgery in 2011, he had to slow down, but he remains active and still golfs when he can.

Gibson was born and raised in Brunswick, Georgia, and while the city, like most of the South, was strictly segregated during his childhood, he said there was little of the trouble that plagued other areas.

“We didn’t have problems like that,” he said. “We had fights. The whites went east-west to school and we went north-south and at one point you had to meet somewhere. There wasn’t any bricks thrown. No guns. You got up and you went on to school and they went on to school.”

The school he went to did suffer from lack of resources, as was common in segregated Black schools. He said his school never got new books but would get used books from the local white school.

He said things like the infamous vigilante killing of Ahmaud Arbery by three white men near Brunswick in 2020 never happened when he lived there.

John Gibson, left, and his granddaughter, Shannon Allred, at his 100th birthday party. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

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