Local News, Opinion

The Weeks | Nov. 12: Many meetings, a reader responds about speeding, ‘Hunger Games’ movie marathon at HPL, sandwich contest

In my October Page 2 column, “Locals agree: Slow down,” I suggested we might need to think about regional solutions to the problem of irresponsible drivers because the South Suburbs form an economic network that generates traffic between municipalities, making the problem difficult for any one village to solve. 

Homewood resident Sean Nettle has a different perspective. He replied:

Regarding our current epidemic of speeders and reckless drivers:  In case you did not read Laura Washington’s recent Tribune column about Illinois law and reporting stats on the racial make-up of annual traffic citations, she stated that Driving While Black is still a problem in Illinois, and the Illinois law that requires municipalities to report the statistics on traffic citations by race is not being followed.  And Springfield is letting them get away with it.”

But to my point: We do not need a regional task force on reckless driving. We need speeding cameras on the main thoroughfares in towns such as Homewood and Flossmoor. 

And we cannot have them because the Black caucus in Illinois — a group of people I never voted for to run state government — have consistently and explicitly stated that they will not support legislation that would be detrimental for low income persons of color.  And this is absolutely ridiculous.

How about, if you can’t afford a ticket, then don’t get one?” Nettle argues.  “And if you do get a ticket and can’t afford one, tough. And gutless politicians such as Rich Hofeld are letting them get away with this nonsense.

I live near the intersection of 187th & Highland, which has a four way stop, and you would not believe the things we see.  Show me the stats on the racial make up of traffic citations in this state, and if DWB is a problem, then fix that. Then change the law on speeding cameras, and let each town decide.  And if Black politicians don’t like it, too Bad!”

I’m not sure how Homewood Mayor Rich Hofeld can be blamed for traffic enforcement policy set by the state legislature, a body he is not a member of, but Mr. Nettle and I agree on one thing. The inability of enforcement to persuade drivers to stop speeding and weaving is frustrating. I know local police are trying. Homewood increased traffic monitoring this year. I need to check and see what impact that has had on the number of citations.

Judging by my own experience and by reports from other residents, enforcement hasn’t yet tamed the wild drivers out there.

It would be simplest, and is therefore tempting, to say that people who speed should get tickets and if they don’t want tickets they shouldn’t speed. I can understand Mr. Nettle’s advocacy for that approach. It does work to some extent, too.

A Pro Publica story, “Chicago’s ‘Race-Neutral’ Traffic Cameras Ticket Black and Latino Drivers the Most” that was published in January 2022, notes that speed cameras generally do improve public safety. Unfortunately, they also have disparate financial impact on Black and brown people. 

The article provides a good look at the complexities of using cameras as enforcement tools. I was interested in the part of the article that addressed the influence the environment has on speeding. Wide roads with narrow or non-existent sidewalks and low population density encourage drivers to speed. The camera-generated ticket data bears that out pretty dramatically in one example, the article provides.

I thought of 183rd Street in Homewood.

ProPublica quoted Priya Sarathy Jones, the national policy and campaigns director at the Fines and Fees Justice Center, referring to the disproportionate number of camera-generated tickets to Black and brown motorists: “We end up fixing something and creating a different kind of harm.”

That’s humans for you, I’m afraid. Every solution contains the seeds of a new problem. But unless we want to just accept the old problems, we still need to search for better solutions. Enforcement, by cameras or officers, will always be part of the system, but I still think there must be something else, something better, that we just haven’t thought of yet. 

Or maybe we just need to speed up the adoption of self-driving cars. The common denominator in all our traffic complaints? Human drivers.


Flossmoor School District 161 Board of Education will meet at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, at Normandy Villa, 41 E. Elmwood Drive, Chicago Heights. 

Homewood-Flossmoor School District 233 Planning Committee will meet at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, in the Viking Room of Homewood-Flossmoor High School, 999 Kedzie Ave.

  • Find the agenda here.

Flossmoor Public Art Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, in the Flossmoor Fire Department training room, 2828 Flossmoor Road. 

  • Find the agenda here.

Homewood School District 153 Board of Education will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, in the James Hart School media center, 18220 Morgan St.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlights: The annual awards for students and staff will be presented. The board will consider approval of the preliminary tax levy. 

Flossmoor Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, in village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlight: The board plans to convene in closed session to discuss the employment of specific individuals, property acquisition and litigation.

Homewood Economic Development Committee will meet at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, in village hall, 2020 Chestnut Road.

Homewood Board of Trustees will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, 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.
  • Highlights: The board will honor two police department retirees, Deputy Chief Robert Misner and Records Clerk Betty Deenik. The board will also discuss the tax levy, which will be voted on at its Dec. 12 meeting, and a redevelopment agreement with Bergstein’s NY Deli & Sandwich Shop planning to move to 18064 Martin Ave.

Homewood-Flossmoor School District 233 Board of Education will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, in the Viking Room of the South Building, 999 Kedzie Ave. in Flossmoor. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlights: The board will consider approving course proposals and changes for the 2024-25 school year, setting the tax levy and applying for a tax relief grant.

Flossmoor Public Library Board of Trustees will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, at the library, 1000 Sterling Ave.

  • Find the agenda here.

Homewood Public Library Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing at 6:45 p.m. on the tax levy followed by a regular meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, in the library, 17917 Dixie Highway. 

  • Find the agenda here.

Flossmoor Plan Commission will meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, in village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlights: The commission will consider a request for a special use permit amendment, site plan review and plat consolidation for a project at 19581 Governors Highway by Flossmoor Animal Hospital and a request for a special use permit to operate a day care center at 19509 Governors Highway from Andrea Fourte.

Stuff to do

Monday, Nov. 13
Hunger Games” movie marathon. Homewood Public Library will host viewings of “Hunger Games” movies, one per night this week, to celebrate the release of the latest movie in the franchise, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” on Nov. 17. The movies will show from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the F.O.R.T. upstairs at the library, 17917 Dixie Highway. For teens. Register here.

Tuesday, Nov. 14
African Americans in World War II. Hidden Histories Book Club will discuss “Half-American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad” by Matthew F. Delmont from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Homewood Public Library meeting room, 17917 Dixie Highway.

Friday, Nov. 17
“Hunger Games” trivia. To celebrate the release of the latest “Hunger Games” movie, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” Homewood Public Library will host a “Hunger Games” trivia contest from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the F.O.R.T. upstairs in the library, 17917 Dixie Highway. 

Saturday, Nov. 18
Getting in Tune with Susan Voelz. Homewood Arts Council will host a conversation with Susan Voelz from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at Senior Hall in Izaak Walton Nature Preserve, 1100 Ridge Road in Homewood. The doors will open at 6 p.m. Voelz is a violinist and founding member of the eclectic rock band Poi Dog Pondering. She is the president of the Chicago Chapter Board of the Recording Academy, the organization that selects winners of Grammy Awards.

Candlelight jazz. The music of Grover Washington Jr. will be featured in a performance by saxophonist Peter Jordan. The tribute to Washington’s music and life will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Freedom Hall, 410 Lakewood Blvd. in Park Forest. Purchase tickets here.

IPO concert. The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra concert at 7:30 p.m. in Ozinga Chapel at Trinity Christian College, 6601 W. College Drive, Palos Heights, will mark the first of three world premieres by IPO Composer-in-Residence Oswald Huỳnh. The conert also will feature IPO Concertmaster Azusa Tashiro on Astor Piazzolla’s “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.” The evening will close with Mozart’s “Gran Partita.” Purchase tickets here.

Wine tasting. Family Wine & Liquors, 18707 Dixie Highway in Homewood, will host a wine tasting event from 2 to 5 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 19
Butterball Burner run. Burn off those extra Thanksgiving calories in advance this year with the Butterball Burner 5K Fun Run sponsored by the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District. The race will begin at 8 a.m. at the H-F Racquet & Fitness Club, 2920 183rd St. in Homewood. All ages welcome. Registration is $30 before Tuesday, Nov. 14. Day of race registration is $35. Click here to register.

Bel Canto Choir Concert. Spotlight Performance Academy will present the Bel Canto choirs as they perform folk songs, show tunes, multicultural pieces and crowd favorites that span the decades in this multigenerational concert at 3 p.m. at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, 999 Kedzie Ave. in Flossmoor. Purchase tickets here.


Bergstein’s sandwich contest. Construction has begun on Bergstein’s New York Deli in the space on Martin Avenue formerly occupied by Homewood Florist. To celebrate progress, Bergstein’s is inviting patrons to enter a sandwich contest. The winner will have a spot on the menu when the deli opens in its new location. Email sandwich ideas to [email protected]. Deadline to enter is Nov. 30.

Recycle candy wrappers. The Village of Homewood and the Flossmoor Public Library are participating in Trash or Treasure, a program that offers a way to dispose of candy wrappers to help keep them out of landfills and waterways. A collection box is located near Green Central Station in the library, 1000 Sterling Ave. in Flossmoor. Patrons are encouraged to bring in their candy wrappers and deposit them into the box. Please note that the box is only for candy wrappers. Paper, food and aluminum cannot be recycled in the receptacle. The box will be available until Nov. 17. Homewood will accept candy wrappers at village hall, 2020 Chestnut Road, until Nov. 30. Wrappers can be dropped off in the west entrance Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

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