Local News, Opinion

The Weeks | Oct. 15: Hidden Gem MVP, Homewood Stories, Flossmoor trees, Walk Walton, Harry Potter trivia


Organizers of the Hidden Gem Half Marathon are often quick to credit the hundreds of volunteers who work to make the race a success every year. They also started in 2022 to recognize a member of the team whose contributions stand out.

Hidden Gem MVP Katie Sullivan peeps from behind
her fellow race organizers Betsy Cutrara, left, and
Sam Cutrara. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

This year, the Hidden Gem Most Valuable Player was graphic designer Katie Sullivan.

After announcing the top finishers in the men’s and women’s categories this year, Michael Goldberg, a member of the Yellow Jackets announcing team, called out Sullivan.

“This person has worked in the community for many, many years across many organizations,” he said. “Everything you see in the design comes from her genius and her art. The Hidden Gem would love to recognize Katie Sullivan as this year’s MVP.”

Sullivan said she was honored to receive the recognition.

“My inspiration has always been from the people in this awesome community. They are colorful and give me a beautiful story to illustrate in every project I touch,” she said. “It’s been a blessing to have this be part of my career and my story.”

Hidden Gem 2023 MVP Katie Sullivan, right, waves to Patty Houlihan during the first Bike the Gem ride in 2019.
(Chronicle file photo)

She said the group of seven founders of the race are still amazed at what a success it has become. After the first race in 2019, the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) added it to its exclusive Runners Choice Circuit. And the 2022 race was named CARA Race of the Year. Nearly 1,000 runners finished the race in 2023.

“At packet pickup (the day before the race) so many people said they heard we were race of the year and had to come,” Sullivan said. “It’s the village that makes this happen.”

Brent Bachus, who coordinates volunteers for the race, among other duties, was the MVP in 2022.



Flossmoor Board of Trustees will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16, in village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Attend virtually here or dial 312-626-6799. ID 892 4647 4483, passcode 60422.
  • Highlights: The board will consider a resolution approving an intergovernmental agreement with Cook County for funding a portion of the phase 2 engineering work on the downtown Roadway, Pedestrian, and Streetscape Improvements Project. The board will also consider endorsing a request for Class 8 property tax relief for the owner of 19805 Crawford Avenue to support the development of a Rainbow Cone ice cream shop.

Homewood School District 153 Board of Education Personnel Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, in the district conference room at 18205 Aberdeen St. in Homewood. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlights: The committee plans to discuss an analysis of staff retention, the timelines for hiring a Willow School principal and food service director.

Homewood-Flossmoor District 233 Board of Education will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, in the South Building, 999 Kedzie Ave., Flossmoor.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlights: The board will consider contracts for two building maintenance projects, including $1.14 million to replace the E Building chiller plant unit and $513,670 to replace dual duct boxes in the E Building. The board will also consider purchasing  superintendent evaluation software tool SuperEval.

Homewood-Flossmoor Park District Board of Commissioners will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, at Goldberg Administration Center, 3301 Flossmoor Road.

  • Find the agenda here.

Homewood Public Library Board of Trustees will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, in the library, 17917 Dixie Highway. 

  • Find the agenda here.

Homewood Planning and Zoning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, in village hall, 2020 Chestnut Road.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Attend virtually here, or dial 1-312-626-6799. ID 991 8481 1606, passcode 57381. 
  • Highlights: The commission will consider a special use permit request for an indoor cycling and fitness center at 18203 Dixie Highway, a parking variance for the addition of a carry-out restaurant at 810 Maple Ave. and a special use permit request for a salon at 18350 Kedzie Avenue, Suite 202.

Stuff to do

Tuesday, Oct. 17
Homewood Stories. Five guest tellers will entertain at the Tuesday, Oct. 17, session of Homewood Stories: Margaret Burk, Joe Mallon, Paul Teodo, Desmonia “Dusty” Patrick and host Karen O’Donnell. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., but guests can arrive shortly after 6:30 p.m. to select their seats at the Community House at Flossmoor Community Church, 847 Hutchison Road in Flossmoor. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Tickets are available online

Thursday, Oct. 19
Flossmoor Guided Fall Tree Walk. Village arborist David Becker will lead a tour starting at 5 p.m. in the downtown traffic circle in front of Flossmoor Public Library, 1000 Sterling Ave. Enjoy all of the colors of autumn while learning about area trees. The event will take place rain or shine. No registration required.

Woodland pumpkin hunt. A daylight pumpkin hunt for kids from 2 to 6 years old from 5 to 6 p.m. at Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center, 20000 Western Ave. in Olympia Fields. Kids will learn how animals prepare for the cold weather and camouflage in the winter foliage, all while enjoying a hike, activities and a fun story. Each student will hunt for their perfect (pie size) pumpkin to the decorate. A non-paying adult must accompany participant. The fee is $10 for residents, $15 for non-residents. Click here to register.

Witches Night Out. Homewood Business Association and the village of Homewood are sponsoring a night of Halloween fun from 5 to 8 p.m. Twelve participating businesses will have specials, and the first 75 witches get a free goodie bag and can register for the best witch’s hat contest.

Friday, Oct. 20
Pumpkin painting. Homewood Public Library will host a pumpkin painting session from 1 to 2 p.m. for kids from 3 to 12 years old. Click here to register.

Saturday, Oct. 21
Help keep Flossmoor green. 
Volunteers are needed to help the Village Public Works Department and the Flossmoor Green Commission plant trees throughout Flossmoor. Meet at village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road, at 8 a.m. Volunteers should wear closed-toed shoes and bring work gloves and, if possible, their own transportation to reach planting sites. Necessary tools will be provided. For more information, contact Stephanie Wright at [email protected] or 708-335-5472. Click here to sign up.

Witches and Wizards Trivia Night sponsored by The Friends of The Flossmoor Library. The gathering of Harry Potter cognoscenti will pit teams of five against each other to test their knowledge of the wizarding world from 6 to 9 p.m. at Flossmoor Public Library, 1000 Sterling Ave. Individuals can sign up, too, and will be placed with a team. There will be cash prizes for first, second and third place teams. Tickets are $4 for individuals and $20 for teams of five. Space is limited to 10 teams. Register by contacting Jamie Paicely at 708-798-3600 x206 or email [email protected].

Sunday, Oct. 22

Walk Walton 2017-10-22 112
Cathy Pfister helps kids explore critters
who live in Izaak Walton waters
during a previous Walk Walton
event. (Chronicle file photo)

Walk Walton. The annual nature fest and fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Izaak Walton Nature Preserve, 1100 Ridge Road, benefits Homewood Science Center. This is a rain-or-shine event. Tickets are $10 for children up to age 17, $5 for adults 18 to 64. Admission is free for seniors 65 and older, but organizers ask seniors to register.

Activities include:

  • Illinois Natural History Survey’s traveling exhibit.
  • Insect petting zoo from the University of Illinois Extension.
  • Ms. Dominique’s spooky science in Black Bear Lodge.
  • Marine biology at the pond with University of Chicago Professor Cathy Pfister.
  • Explore nature with Forest Preserves of Cook County.
  • Take part in a special project led by the Middle School Conservation Ecology Interns.
  • Decorate a jack-o-lantern at our Pumpkin Patch.


Popcorn fundraiser for You Matter 2. Every purchase from the Double Good Popcorn Fundraiser helps youth and community programs. The sale ends at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17. 

Flossmoor seeks projects for the 2024 MLK Day of Service. Local businesses, non-profits, volunteer groups, neighborhood clubs and associations, friends and neighbors can register a service project with village to be part of the 10th annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. Make a suggestion for a volunteer project, including your location and volunteer needs, via this online form, or contact Stephanie Wright at 708-335-5472, [email protected].

Tell your pet love story and help the South Suburban Humane Society. The Petco Love Stories campaign celebrates the bond between pets and their humans and raises awareness about the importance of pet adoption. Submissions close on October 31, 2023, for the Petco Love Stories campaign. The campaign’s winning tales will receive grants for the organizations the pets were adopted from. Enter your story here.


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