Saturday, August 29, 2009

Police Chief Tim McCarthy turns up on University of Illinois Trustees application list

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Orland Park's esteemed Police Chief Tim McCarthy is among many who have applied to become new trustees at the University of Illinois.

The University is center stage in a scandal involving the placement of unqualified student applicants above more qualified students to be admitted to the state, taxpayer-funded school. Seven of the trustees have resigned and two remained refusing to resign including James Montgomery the former corporation counsel for the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington.

Beleaguered Gov. Pat Quinn has been flip flopping on the scandal like crazy, appointing a "Blue Ribbon Committee" to investigate the scandal and clout. but the committee only investigated one aspect of the controversy, the one involving University officials and trustees. It tried and failed to look into the real culprits and the roles of House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, who had submitted and pressured the University to accept unqualified nominees who were relatives, friends, children of campaign contributors or political cronies.

Read my column on Pat Quinn, Don Quixote or Chauncey Gardener (Being There movie)?

McCarthy would make a great University of Illinois Trustee. He is impeccable as a public servant with one of the most qualified backgrounds. McCarthy is a 1971 graduate of the University of Illinois who, as a secret service agent, was shot and seriously wounded in 1971 saving the life of then President Ronald Reagan during an assassination attempt.

Also on the list is the son of gadfly perennial candidate Jim Oberweis.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Another predator cruising Orland Park streets?

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First it was the White Van last Spring. Now, it's an "older, economy-style van (dark blue with a white stripe) that slowed down near 151st and Orlan Brook Drive this morning following a young female 8th grader near Jerling Jr. High school. The driver appeared to be male, between 55 and 60 years old, according to the report issued today by District 135 Supt. Dennis C. Soustek.

The student acted wisely and turned to go to a friend's home right away for help and the van followed her. When the friend and friend's parent walked out, the van sped away.

"Incidents like these are an unfortunate reminder that children must always be aware of their surroundings and cautious as they walk to school, especially if they walk alone," Soustek said.

"We have been in contact with the Orland Park Police, and they plan to be on special alert. We are grateful for their assistance, and for yours, in being vigilant and supportive of our community-wide effort to keep our students safe."

Soustek said more information would be published on the District 135 school web site at as it becomes available.

You see a dark blue van, older with a white stripe. Better to be safe than sorry and call the police.

Orland Park has the toughest and best police in the Southwest Suburbs. They know what to do.

We don't want another incident like the one in South Lake Tahoe involving the kidnapping of 11 year old Jaycee Dugard 18 years ago and held captive by a deranged sex maniac who then fathered two children. Fortunately, Jaycee was discovered. Maybe her kidnapper rapist, Phillip Garrido, will get the maximum punishment of death. Stealing a child's life deserves nothing less. People used to call Garrido "creeping Phil." He fit the profile, but no one bothered to even look.

Don't be the neighbor who sees the van and worries "what if it isn't?" when stopping it doesn't hurt anyone but only helps if it is.

Be safe, not sorry!

-- Ray Hanania

Orland Mayor Dan McLaughlin details village Greening Initiative and Open Lands strategies

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Interview this morning (Friday August 28, 2009) with Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin on WJJG 1530 AM Radio.

Click here to listen to the Podcast or download it from or

McLaughlin details the Village of Orland Park's Greening Initiative and discusses how residents can participate and help not only improve the environment but also save money by reducing costs on energy and more.

The mayor also said that he uses a Push mower to cut his lawn, like I do, most of the time. Sometimes you have to still use a lawnmower if it gets too high and can't be cut with the push lawn mower but it is an energy-saving environment saving option that he says will be included in the village Greening Initiative if it is already not on the list.

Go to the Village's Web site at

or the special Greening Initiative web site at

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Orland Mayor Dan McLaughlin to detail village's Greening initiatives

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mayor McLaughlin Discusses Orland Park’s

Greening efforts on WJJG Radio Friday 8:20 am

Orland Park – Mayor Dan McLaughlin will outline the village’s overall environmental strategy including Open Lands and Smart Living Orland Park during an appearance Friday morning on “Mornings with Ray Hanania” on WJJG 1530 AM Radio.

Orland Park in Chicago’s Southwest Suburbs has been a leader in greening initiatives, including reducing lawn maintenance mowing and fertilizing by growing natural “prairie” plant life and brush. The first village building to go Green is the village’s award winning Police Headquarters.

Information on Orland Park’s Greening Initiative is located at

For information on Orland Park’s greening program and initiatives, also visit

Orland Park Prairie newspaper

“Mornings with Ray Hanania” is broadcast Monday thru Friday on WJJG 1530 AM Radio, located in Elmhurst, Illinois and covering the Chicagoland area. The show is also broadcast live on the Internet at


Monday, August 24, 2009

Scam artists solicit donations for phony disabled veteran charities -- watch out Orland Park

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A man called the house using a Private Number Monday night around 9:25 pm saying he was sorry for calling so late but wanted to talk to me about disabled veterans and their needs. When I could hear in the background the room full of telephone banks where these scam artists pretend to raise money for disabled vets but take the majority of the money for themselves.

Where is Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on that issue? AWOL as usual.

When I interupted the caller and asked for their name of their company and a telephone number, and when he hesitated, I said I could not donate, he told me to "f--- off"and he hung up."


Solicitors who call "Private Caller" are ALWAYS scam artists and you should NEVER answer the telephone. These individuals ask you to donate money using your credit card for what sounds like great causes, and then take the majority of the money. In fact, they never identify themselves nor do they tell you their contact number.

They are on the dime and they don't want to waste time with people who call their bluff. So don't be afraid to tell them to f-off because they are lying low-lifes who are exploiting tragedy for their own profit. These telephone bankers are hired to solicit money from the public but it goes into the pocket of the person hiring them.

Don't be afraid to hang up on them. You are NOT insulting disabled veterans. In fact, when they fail to identify themselves and not give you a telephone contact number that you can call back, they are con artists. By hanging up, you are doing a great service to help the disabled veterans and other worthy charities by not giving your money to scammers.

-- Ray Hanania

Friday, August 21, 2009

Jim Dodge candidacy for Il Comptroller picks up steam

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Jim Dodge picking up steam in his bid for the Republican Party nomination for Illinois Comptroller.

Click here to read the story in the Orland Prairie, which has huge circulation.

Click here to read Dodge's press release on his candidacy, which was picked up by newspapers across the state.

Dennis Cook of District 230 and former State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka and my colleague at WJJG Radio, are also both reportedly contemplating a run. Dodge says he's in to stay regardless.

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reducing the Carbon Footprint more at the Hanania household

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And I mowed the lawn again using the push mower. Great exercise, for sure. It took about 90 minutes to mow the front and back, and then trim the edges with the push mower -- no gasoline and no carbon emissions. It takes about the same amount of time and 1 1/2 gallons of gasoline to mow the lawn using the gas mower. The gas mower is neater, and cleaner -- it mulches while the push mower does not.

But hey, we have to do something to fight global warming and air pollution and wasting energy and adding poisons to the lawnscape. Not sure yet if I am going to dropt he fertilizer or maybe find something more organic. Doesn't sound appealing, but maybe Ill try.

I wonder if I can let the grass just grow like the prairie at the Orland Park Police Headquarters and never mow or do anything except live in the Tall Grass.

Sadly, though, mwoing the lawn is the only exercise I get. The push mower is a real workout. I need it.

Next week I go back on the Atkins Diet for the first four weeks, and then I'll shift to the Mediterranean Diet to keep the weight off. You can't rely on Atkins too long. It's going to be a program on the Radio Show, too.

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Orland moves up slowly to top 5 in southwest suburban home foreclosures

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Orland Park ranks number 5, but not in the nation's best communities, but rather in the Southwest suburbs' top 5 places for home foreclosers, according to Block Shopper. Therer have been 25 foreclosed homes so far in 2009, and that doesn't include those in the process.

Above Orland are, number 1, Burbank, followed by Tinley Park, Oak Forest, and Alsip.

Just below are Summit, Palos Hills, Worth, Chicago Ridge and Bridgeview. Home foreclosers represent not only the sleazy practices that were common among some realtors in the region who pushed people into homes, mortgages and re-mortgages they could not afford --many re-mortgages were based in realtors artificially inflating home equity values to permit larger loans i order to capture the process fees.

And of course, now the banks are paying through the nose and the only saving them -- a health insurance for the banking robber barons and investment low-lifes in the government bailout begun under former President George W. Bush. It's kind of like giving the banks a public health insurance option for their sickness, something denied to the public and people in need.

-- Ray Hanania

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Scoop: Jim Dodge will announce for Illinois Comptroller

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Orland Park Trustee Jim Dodge is expected to formally announce his candidacy next week for the office of Illinois Comptroller, the seat vacated by 19th Ward Democrat Dan Hynes who is running for Governor against Pat Quinn in the February 2 Democratic Primary.

Hynes' move creates an open race. Dodge, who has strong ties in the Republican Party and years of experience in government, will be able to take advantage of several factors that give him an edge in his run. The major media will be focussed will be on the top three races of U.S. Senate, Illinois Governor and Cook County Board president. With no incumbent in the comptroller's office, it comes down to which candidate will have the best name recognition in second-tier offices.

Dodge has both a great name and strong party backing. And he's going to reach out beyond party lines, noting that the hardships caused by today's economy nationally and Illinois do not distinguish among party affiliation.

Dodge and his wife Linda have two children, Ashley and Jimmy. A technology consultant by profession, Dodge has proven leadership experience in government and community.

He was re-elected last April to his 6th term on the Village of Orland Park Board as a trustee. Orland Park remains one of the state’s leading municipalities.

He has served on the METRA board as a director since 2004. Dodge doesn't talk from two sides of his mouth. He serves on the METRA board and he rides the METRA train from his Orland Park home to his office downtown. Practicing what you preach is a unique qualification in Illinois politics that will help him.

Dodge served as the Orland Township Republican Chairman from 1994 to 1996.

He served as the Cook County Vice-Chairman of the Illinois Young Republicans.

Dodge has a BS Degree in Psychology from DePaul in the Honors Program. He has an MBA in Economics and Finance from the University of Chicago.

A veteran, Dodge served in the Illinois Army National Guard as a Sergeant 178th Infantry Battalion, 44th RAOC, from 1988-1996.

--Ray Hanania

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mayhem and madness at the Orland Park pool

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Our first real super hot day of the summer, over 90 degrees and came close to 100. Or so they said. Regardless, it sure felt like it. And it sure felt even better to have a membership at the Orland Park Centennial Pool.

Members get in at 11 am, and it was already steaming and humid. And guests don't get in until noon. So, when we got there early Sunday, we were able to easily find some lawn chairs and stake out a nice spot in the sun, partially covered by an umbrella.

The OPCP is one of the best. It has two large pools, many slides and diving boards and a lazy river that is very cool. It has a grassy knoll that surrounds the north end of the pool complex so there is extra space to stretch out and enjoy the sun. The food -- pizza mostly -- isn't bad. And the place is always clean.

But when it's pushing 100 and it's the first real hot summer day of the summer, you know that place is going to be packed like a sardine can. And by 1 pm the place was crammed. And I mean crammed.

The biggest problem, of course, is when non-resident non-members come in after paying (I think it is $12 a person) to get in and they can't find chairs to sit, they get upset. They start roaming the pool like wolf packs, prowling for unsuspecting chairs. Literally, people would stand next to a chair that had a towel and book on it, and if no one was looking, they'd nudge the towel and book on the pool deck and then lift the chair and walk it across to the other side.

It was brutal. Cutthroat. People were eying chairs like they were naked super models. You could not leave your cluster alone without seeing a chair disappear. And I must have had 100 people come up to me while I protected the chair for the wife and one for my son, and ask, "Is that chair taken."

"No, people in Orland Park are so rich they buy towels and then throw them away when they're finished. Why wash them? Just toss them."

Of course, that's what I wanted to say, but most of the time the people asking couldn't speak very good English anyway. I didn't realize we had such a large community of foreign language speakers. So I would say, "Yes, they are taken."

They'd turn and go to the next person and it went on and on all day. if you started to get up as a family. If Alison and Aaron and I got up at the same time, we would be surrounded by tag teams ready to fight for the chairs.

Sorry folks. If it were up to me, I'd charge an entrance fee based on the temperature. The warmer it is, the most costly. For $150 a year, why not just buy a membership fee and not hassle with all the problems.

But people come from as far as Chicago, Mokena, New Lenox, Oak Lawn and Joliet to enjoy the Orland Park Centennial Pool. I can't blame them.

But it's a dog-eat-dog world out there.

-- Ray Hanania

Friday, August 7, 2009

Orland Police station starting to get national recognition for Green commitment

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When I first saw the "weeds" growing around Orland Park new police station at 151st Street just west of LaGrange Road, I was a little shocked. It really looked bad. Finally some signs were put explaining that this was a first step in a village-wide Green Initiatve, to co-exist with the environment in a positive way.

But over the past two years, I have become accustomed to seeing the prairie weeds around the station. And they are trimming the grass along the easements along the streets giving it an "intentional look," rather than a bureaucratic goof -- someone forgot to pay to have the lawn mowed.

Then they put up signs explaining what they were doing. Fine. And ever since, the move has drawn a lot of national attention. Of course, those reporters don't have to drive past the police station everyday to take their kid to summer camp or school.

This week, the station got a nice feature write up in the Chicago Tribune, giving it some real prominence. The Tribune explained what it took several years for neighbors here to realize that the decision to let the "all natural prairie" would result in positive environmental things like conserving water, eliminating the use of lawn chemicals and pesticides, and reduce the carbon emissions from lawn mowers.

The whole idea is the brain child of Orland Park Mayor Dan Mclaughlin. I give him credit. This whole Green-thing has not been easy for any of us. But the Green Initiative has put Orland Park on the national map in a positive way. (Of course, maybe some of the au-natural prairie growth is the result of stores closing down in this terrible economy burdened by Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's oppressive sales tax that County Commissioner Liz Gorman has been so far successfully fighting to change.)

Several years back, I actually got into recycling at our home. I am amazed today how the balance between recyclables and garbage has shifted so dramatically. Before, we had maybe one plastic container of recyclables and two large garbage cans of garbage. Now, I have barley one bag of garbage and I have to struggle to find garbage to toss in one can to put out every Thursday while the recycling container -- this huge blue plastic thing that has to be lifted by a recycling truck hoist -- overflows.

They pick up the recycling once every two weeks and the garbage every week. I think that should change and grab the recyclables every week and the garbage once every two weeks.

And, because I live in the Green Initiative Capital of the World, I went out and spent just under $100 and bought my self a souvenir from the past. A hand-pushed lawnmower. Yes, it has a set of four rotating curve blades that spin when I push it over the grass. I bought it at Sears. It took a few minutes to put it together. Wasn't bad and it tested great. Okay it was raining Friday afternoon when I finally got it out on a test flight and the grass cuttings were sticking to everything.

When I was a kid, we had one. But then, when I was a kid, our lawns were about two square feet in size in Chicago with bungalows packed together like sardine cans.

But I figure, hey, if Mayor McLaughlin thinks going Green is important, fine. I'll do it. Doesn't mean I won't pull out the Toro lawnmower now and then, especially when the grass grows like a jungle. But now that it's getting into the warmer weather and the grass growth is slow and weak, why burn up all that gasoline and ruin my son's future.

The Carbon Imprint at the Hanania household is going to get a little bit smaller.

Of course, the other alternative is to let every homeowner turn their lawns into an Orland Park Police Department jungle. Hey. No fertilizer. No more watering every other morning between 7 and 11 am on even and odd dates that match the even or odd ending of your street address.

It might make it easier for the Coyotes that roam Orland Park in packs at night to find more cover.

Okay. Green. It's not my favorite color. But, in today's world, we have to do something to help bring down the ozone layer, slow down glabl warming and bring back that summer sun-tan.

UPDATE: Okay. It's a lot of work. Of course, I tried it when the grass was wet and did the entire lawn. I'm not sure my wife is going to like the grass cuttings tracking everywhere. And while it cuts nice, when the grass is wet, it jams slightly ... but then, I won't always want to rush out and try the new "toy." And it doesn't do a great job with the edges or corners. Okay. Fighting Global Warming has its price. But it is a lot cheaper, for now, than buying one of those new and overpriced environmentally friendly electric-gas combo cars.

-- Ray Hanania