Sunday, November 4, 2012

Whole Foods: A whole lotta of hassle going on

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Whole Foods: A whole lotta of hassle going on

Anyone who has been following my writings know that I used to be a big Jewel Osco fan. I loved the store the way I loved the Chicago Cubs. It was in a competition with Dominicks, but instead of winning the World Series, Dominicks collapsed and disappeared, leaving only Jewel.

And as soon as the competition vanished, Jewel went down the tubes. The food stayed on shelves longer than usual, so that it didn't last as long when you brought it home to cook and eat. There was far more spoilage and far less enjoyment. Prices skyrocketed. But as the only game in town, they had no reason to care. It was either Jewel or a trip to Cubs Food which is a cultural disappointment.

So now comes a place called Whole Foods. I guess it's supposed to be some kind of a "green" type of save the environment place. They butcher animals but they do it in a nicer way. I don't think the animals care that they are naturally fed or chemically plowed with nutrients. Either way the poor animals end up on our dinner tables in a justified form of animal cannibalism.

But I need my tabouli and that means fresh tomatoes, green onions, parsley and cucumbers. And a bag of cracked wheat, which I used to be able to get from Jewel but for some reason has been discontinued. I always have to go to a mainstream store and then take a detour to al-Khayam, the Arab grocer on 159th Street next to the abandoned Orland Video Super Store.

Hating Jewel as much as I do, I had to go to Whole Foods. I actually loved going to that spot years ago when it was a borders Book Store at 153rd and LaGrange Road. Borders was my favorite store, too. But then they died, too, and left us with the culturally vacant and uncreative Barnes & Noble across the street. I might as well sit and sulk at Hooters for lunch.

My tiny basket with its small selection of food items that took me one hour to collect

It only opened a few weeks ago but the parking lot was packed, as packed as it was when it served Borders. I could manage. But when I got to the entrance of the store, it was frightening.

Does anyone know how to run a good grocery store any more?

The baskets were packed into the smallest entrance I had ever seen. Maybe that's why they made the baskets so much smaller than the American-sized Jewel baskets. By the time I struggled to pull a green basket out of the line of baskets, I was shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers, all of them sour-pusses fuming steam over the annoyance of being near other people.

It was a nightmare. Did Whole Foods open during the Halloween season on purpose?

I couldn't walk two steps before people were snarking and pushing their carts in front of each other like a mad traffic jam on a snow covered Lake Shore Drive, struggling to find relief. As soon as I walked in, there was the parsley, and the tiniest cucumbers I'd ever seem for 2 for $300. The tomatoes were huge, and only five feet to my left. But that five feet might as well have been one mile of beachfront at Normandy on D-Day on June 6, 1944. Shoppers were strewn across the landscape, their dignity torn from their egos. Crawling through the maze of human hazard.

Who designed this place? Fire him. Or her. It's ridiculous. It's the tiniest grocery store I had ever been in, next to Trader Joe's. But I NEVER go to Trader Joe's to shop for groceries. I only swoop in for a specific food item. That place is small and packed. But Whole Food was like a cattle car packed with cows. And some of the shoppers were cows.

You know, we Americans are fat. We eat so much. We waste so much. Most of the people pushing those tiny little green food baskets that made them look four times fatter than they really are didn't need to be shopping on Sunday. They should be a Lifetime laying out a strategy to lose weight and improve their health.
Don't tell me all of those people can't help it. That's baloney. Maybe a few poor souls are overweight because they have no control over their bodily growth, but the some of them are stuffing their faces like pigs in a trough ready for the slaughter.

This used to be a Border's book store. Now, it's a sardine can for consumers

The aisles at Whole Food were so narrow they hold two and half people shoulder to shoulder. When two carts park across from each other, there is no passing until the puzzlement on the faces of the shoppers is resolved. Standing there staring at a shelve with neatly arranged cans of diced tomatoes and boxes of pasta.

I made my way through the store up and down the aisles, one at a time, looking for all that I needed to make tabouli. I was disappointed, of course. They have all kinds of "ethnic foods" limited to Mexican and Italian. Nothing else.

The deli counter was on the other end. It was crunched into such a small space that it was no fun. Yes, I have fun going to the deli counter in Jewel. I just wish Jewel's food was fresher than it is. I stand there and stare at the variety of salads, remembering when I could down a gallon of potato salad and still drive a car. 

Ah, the old days!

Worse, the store made the replenishment of the deli bar a customer hassle, not an employee problem. The Glass case opens out into the crowd, not into the employee section. 

Kind of symbolized what the whole problem with Whole Foods is. This is about the store and its owners. It's not about the grocery store consumer. It's about them. And when you shop at Whole Foods is squeezing your way through crowded aisles is "shopping," you are quickly reminded that you don't matter much there at all. Not as much as the owners and their consultants who thought hey, let's take a neat idea and squish it into a match box and make a whole lotta money!


-- Ray Hanania

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A cynical look at the Orland Tax Rebate Program

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A cynical look at the Orland Tax Rebate Program

Well, I will always be a cynic, I guess, especially when it comes to money and politics.

For example, the Village of Orland Park announced they will re-implement the tax rebate program this month (beginning October 29, 2012).

I think it is a great idea. But the timing is oh so suspicious. And I can't but help look at the motives of the village trustees. 

It's a funny thing about the word trustees. It includes the word "trust." And right now I have come to not "trust" all of the village trustees at all. Not all of the TRUSTees are TRUSTworthy in the village of Orland Park.

The Rebates will be processed beginning Oct. 29, and you can expect checks to arrive in your mail boxes in March sometime. March? You mean just before the next Orland Park consolidated election in which voters will be asked to rubber stamp the list of trustees and this time the Village clerk and village president.

The clerk, Dave Maher. is on my naughty list because of the shenanigans from the last election with his pampered son, Pat Maher. (What a mess Maher left at the Orland Fire Protection District, where I was asked to help with communications -- at a lesser cost than the one Maher had, by the way. But Maher's relatives and the relatives of the controversy-plagued former fire chief continue to twist the district's politics for their own selfish benefits.)

With the exception of Trustee Brad O'Halloran, I have never had much confidence in the trustees at all -- one in particular who is simply so hypocritical, but isn't up for election this time around.

I know Mayor Dan McLaughlin wants to do the right thing, but he is handicapped by a collection of trustees elected by little fiefdoms in the village. Each one has their political bases and alliances.

But playing politics with the tax rebate program? Come on folks. Don't you think it is transparent to people?

The rebate program was a genius idea first suggested by Mayor McLaughlin back in 2002, after the village voted to impose a .75 cent increase in the local sales tax, and after the village had their elections. McLaughlin's proposal was a good one. The sales tax would impact everyone including the large number of non-Orland Park residents who came to Orland Park to shop. To lift the burden off the backs of the taxpayers, the village offered an automatic tax rebate program so that residents would get a significant share of their taxes returned to off-set the impact of the sales tax hike.

In 2003, the average tax return was around $240 per household.

In 2008, the village decided they needed the money. The trustees thought enough time had passed and the taxpayers wouldn't remember the reasons for the rebate and the burdensome sales tax rebate. So they partially rolled the rebate back. In 2009, they eliminated the rebate. 

And in 2010 two incumbent trustees, Pat Gira and Ed Schussler barely won re-election. In fact, though they were elected, they got less than 50 percent of the vote. In fact, more Orland Park voters voted for someone else rather than them. Shameful and embarrassing performance if you ask me. (And I'll say it if you don't ask me, too!) 

The idea to re-implement the tax rebate plan came up right after that brutal election. They were concerned.

That was a shock to the Orland Machine. The bigger shock was the beating Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Liz Doody-Gorman handed to the Orland Machine first in her re-election bid to beat down Pat Maher's feeble, crippled challenge. And then her backing that upset the cozy apple cart Maher had at the Orland Fire Protection District.

Orland's Machine doesn't like shocks and the trustees started to whimper. So, they decided let's give the voters money. Maybe that will make them happy. The economy sucks. Voters are stupid with short-memories. They'll take the money and be happy.

Well, the money being returned doesn't even come close to the money that was returned before. The trustees set a limit on how much can be returned to voters -- err, sorry, taxpayers, just in time for the next local consolidated election. They decided to return ONLY $2.5 million. If all 18,500 qualified taxpayers apply (it's not automatic this time, the village wants us to trust the trustees to make sure recipients qualify), then the average rebate will be a paltry $135.

That's about half what was returned in the past. Just estimating how inflation has devalued the dollar over the past 10 years, I would say the $135 would represent only 30 percent of the amount rebated to taxpayers in 2002 to off-set the oppressive local sales tax hike we continue to pay. That's 1/3rd of what we should be getting back compared to what we used to get back. (Don't promise something and not keep your word. The tax rebate plan was given for political reasons, and returned for political reasons.)

Yes, the economy is bad. But it's not as bad as the performance of some of our trustees on the village board.

And there is an election coming up and the village officials don't want to get b-slapped again. That election was a whooping!

The economy was the excuse, but the real issue is leadership. And when it comes to most of the village's trustees, leadership is about as watered-down as the election campaign tax rebate will be this Spring.

-- Ray Hanania

Friday, September 21, 2012

Orland Fire Protection District hosts "Media Day" Friday Sept. 28 -- meet new recruits, officials, and view training strategies

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Orland Fire Protection District hosts "Media Day" Friday Sept. 28 -- meet new recruits, officials, and view training strategies

The Orland Fire Protection District is hosting a special “Media Day” at the district’s Training Center, 10728 west 163rd Place to chronicle the Academy training and processing of our new Firefighter hires. The event will be held on Friday September 28, 2012 from 9:30 to 11:30 AM

The media will be allowed to view firsthand a series of fire training exercises including:

·         Live fire training
·         Engine operations
·         Hose line advancement
·         Forcible entry
·         Search and Rescue Techniques
·         Fire Extinguishment

Lunch will be provided afterwards at 11:30 am.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Palos Heights Restaurant showcases local comedians

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Palos Heights Restaurant showcases local comedians

Sam Buca’s in Palos Heights will showcase a lineup of local comedians at a special performance Wednesday Sept. 26.

Performers will include longtime club owner and comedian Bill Brady, comedians Brian Hicks, Paul Kelly and a special appearance by Southwest News-Herald Columnist Ray Hanania.

The show begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10 each with a two drink purchase minimum. Dinner is also available for guests during the show.

For information, call Sam Buca’s, 12231 S. Harlem Avenue, at 708-361-1226.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Finally struggling through real exercise

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I've only been a member of Lifetime Health Club now for about three weeks and I finally learned what a real workout is all about. Until now, I've been power walking and jogging on the treadmills. And I thought THAT was exercise.

No. It's socializing. I have been power walking and jogging one hour each morning. I do feel great, that's for sure. But it was just helping me keep my health balance. It wasn't really moving me to slim down my waist, which is my goal. I'm 59. I'm not going to trim down into a six-pack abdomen. My goal is just to be healthier.

Exercise is when you push yourself so far that you can barely complete what you are doing. I had a trainer help me start a real exercise program. And I barely could finish what she had me start.

I've been lucky most of my life. I had a high metabolism. I rarely gained weight and was always slim. Good heart (despite valve replacement surgery in November 2010). I didn't need to exercise, although exercise never hurts. It can only help. But now, I need to exercise. The weight doesn't come off that quickly, but it packs on much faster. Suddenly, when I lived a life with no weight at all and describe as being skinny, now I was putting on the weight without any effort.

The trainer (I'll spare her the harassment of being my trainer : ) so I won't name her) was phenomenal. Very professional. And good. She had me do some basic exercises, not on the treadmill or the popular machines, but at the weights section. Halfway through the hour I had to take a break. She was pushing but she must have thought, maybe you should be on TV's "America's Biggest Loser" program. I won't take that program for granted any more.

The weight machines. The lifts. The large ball and balance. The biggest problem I had besides getting up off the ground was keeping my balance. Heels under the shoulders. Arms straight. Breathing. Keeping your face and shoulders forward. Lifting and pulling the weights.

When the hour was up, I dragged myself out of Lifetime to the car. It was a killer. But it had to be done. Next time I do the session, maybe my Trainer will even let me actually put weights on the machines.

Hey. I'm working my way up to 10 pounds! : )

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Village of Orland Park Presents Ninth Annual Taste of Orland Park Food, Music and Entertainment Highlight Weekend

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Village of Orland Park Presents Ninth Annual Taste of Orland Park
Food, Music and Entertainment Highlight Weekend

ORLAND PARK, IL - August in Orland Park means the Taste of Orland Park. The ninth annual event will showcase 18 of Orland Park’s favorite eateries, selling a variety of food and drinks. The Village of Orland Park’s three day food fest opens at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 3 and closes at 9 p.m. on Sunday, August 5. Admission and parking are free.

“The Village of Orland Park has a great weekend in store for everyone,” said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin. “We have 18 great restaurants, exceptional entertainment on two stages, community wide participation and something for every age group,” the mayor said.

The Taste of Orland Park features a rich tapestry of culinary delights ranging from American classics to a variety of ethnic fare. Participating Orland Park restaurants include Baby’s Steak and Lemonade; Beggar’s Pizza; Blissful Banana Café; Burrito Jalisco; Café Gaston; Cooper’s Hawk Winery; Culver’s; El Pueblito; Hienie’s McCarthy’s; Mo’s Chinese Kitchen; Oberweis Dairy; Old Town Pizza; Orland Park Bakery; Palermo’s; Papa Joe’s; Riviera Country Club; RoccoVino’s and Rock Bottom Brewery.

Participating restaurants must be located within the Village of Orland Park and each “taste” is no more than $4 a dish. Select restaurants will serve alcohol, including beer, wine and a number of specialty drinks. All food vendors will sell pop and water.

“The village started the Taste of Orland Park in 2004 as a way to showcase the great restaurants we have in town,” said Trustee Pat Gira, chair of the village’s Recreation and Parks Committee. “The village staff works on this event for months, lining up the restaurants, community groups, the entertainment and making sure that we put on a great event for the community. They do a great job every year,” Gira said, “It’s a nice weekend to try some of Orland Park’s great restaurants, enjoy live music and see old friends,” she said. 

Along with indulging in a variety of cuisine, the three day fest includes live entertainment on two stages, community groups offering children’s activities, Kids’ Day on Saturday, a classic car show on Sunday, Bingo inside of the Civic Center both days and more.

The festival begins at 5 p.m. on August 3 with the 70s rock band, The Juke Box Band. That will be followed by the Orland Park Improv Team performing on the community stage with country line dancing instruction inside of the Civic Center. At 8 p.m., the village will host Live Band Karaoke on the community stage, inviting brave attendees to sing with a live band.  The first day of entertainment will conclude with the country and western band, Jin and Tonic, on the main stage from 8:30 p.m until 11 p.m.

Activities on Saturday, August 4 include Kiwanis Club Bingo inside of the Civic Center from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Saturday is Kids’ Day at the adjacent John Humphrey Sports Complex, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Activities include face painting, spin art craft, Thanks for the Memory Photo Booth, Pop A Shot Speed Pitch and Basketball, and “Touch a Truck.” There will also be a moon jump, obstacle course and slide for kids to enjoy, provided by Moon Jump Inc.

The annual Family Water Balloon Toss contest will be held at 2:30 p.m. at the Humphrey Complex and teams may include siblings or a parent and child. The Family Egg Drop Competition will follow at 3:30 p.m. Each team, which must include an adult and a child, must create and bring a device to catch the falling eggs. Eggs will be dropped from a cherry picker at increasing heights. The egg-catching devices must be no larger than two feet in diameter and pillows and hands may not be used. Pre-registration is not required for either of the free contests. Winners of each contest will receive a free Centennial Park Aquatic Center pavilion rental with twelve passes to the village’s pool.

A number of Orland Park organizations will be present during Kids’ Day, including the Orland Fire Protection District, Orland Park Police Department, Orland Park Pioneers Football and Cheerleading, Orland Park Soccer Club Soccer Combine, Orland Youth Association Girls’ Program, Joon Lee’s Taekwondo, the Village of Orland Park Karpov International Chess Institute and the Village of Orland Park Fencing Program.

Kids’ Day participants will also include the Bulls/Sox Academy, Independence Winter Guard, ISU FireBirds Ground Quidditch Team, Micro-Reality Stock Car Racing, Team USA Martial Arts, and Victory Martial Arts.

Saturday’s main stage entertainment includes Bopology performing at 1:30 p.m., the Chicago Tribute Anthology performing at 4:30 p.m. and the Journey tribute band, Infiniti, performing at 8:30 p.m.
The third and final day of the Taste of Orland Park begins with the Classic Double K Car Show at the adjacent John Humphrey Sports Complex from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday. Food vendors open at 1 p.m. with Confetti performing on the main stage, playing everything from 40s swing to pop.

The Orland Park Lions Club will host Bingo inside of the Orland Park Civic Center from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Sunday.  The final round of “Orland Park’s Got Talent” will be held on the community stage at 2 p.m., with Five Guys Named Moe performing on the main stage at 4 p.m. American English, the Beatles tribute band, will close the fest Sunday night, performing on the main stage at 7 p.m.

“The Taste of Orland Park is a great showcase of the Orland Park community,” McLaughlin said. “The restaurants, the community booths, the sponsors, the local performing groups, the school groups --- everyone makes it a great weekend showcasing what makes Orland Park the great town that it is,” he said.
A full schedule of events, complete with restaurant menus, appears on the Village of Orland Park’s website at with printed schedules available at all village buildings. For more information, call the Village of Orland Park Recreation Department at 708/403-7275.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Finally joined a health club, LifeTime, to lose weight and trim up

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You get older and your metabolism slows down. And as your metabolism slows down, you start to put on weight. Most people put on weight in "shifts." That means as you age 10 or so, your weight increases and adjusts to a new "normal." Many people try to off-set weight gain by eating healthy. But eating healthy isn't enough. Remember, your metabolism slows, so what used to be "regular eating habits" are now excessive eating habits for you. What you used to eat before, now is adding weight as the process of burning calories naturally slows with your metabolism.

So you have to exercise. Exercise helps compensate for metabolism slow-down. It actually helps boost your metabolism.

Well, in the 20s, 30s and even the 40s, my metabolism was always good. Now that I'm in my 50s, I can't rely on it to eliminate the calories and weight that I have been putting on. I reach a natural plateau in the 50s of 220 lbs. Everyone has a different natural plateau of weight. That's mine. But, when you enjoy eating the way I do, the weight starts to pack it in, and it doesn't spread around equally. For some reason, weight gain loves to hang around my waist. 

And that weight gain adds stress and the stress wears you down and pushes your metabolism down, too. It's a vicious cycle.

I tried dieting. I did the Atkins Diet in the 40s and 50s and it worked great. Sure Atkins died of a heart attack. Basically, everyone does, eventually. The Atkins Diet is great for fast weight loss but the real challenge isn't getting used to the boring daily menu of all protein for 10 days or more, but rather when you are done and lost 30 pounds, how do you keep it off.

Eventually, Atkins weight loss stops working if you do it too often. Maybe it causes liver problems or gall bladder problems, too.

I lost 40 pounds once on Atkins. I kept it off for about a year, but eventually it slowly crept back on with a vengeance. Lost weight doesn't like Atkins and when it comes back, it packs in the fat even more.

In the 30s and 40s, I used to belong to the East Bank Club downtown. It really wasn't to lose weight but to have fun. It was a power convergence point where you met clients, old and new. It was fun, more like a country club for people who liked to spend a lot of money on exercise-wear, the fashionable sexy stuff that looks great on models, people like Jillian Michaels and on TV commercials, but looks funny when on regular people. There is a whole industry in fitness clothing and now technology, too. 

Maybe I should find a fitness business for a client to help them because most really don't know how to market beyond the community demand they enjoy -- people who come to them rather than being led to them to join.

Teh Nova Plates at the EBC were great. The pool on the rooftop was the best in Chicagoland. Hot women, too. Isn't that why most men join a health club? To meet hot women? 

Maybe so. But that's before they start to put on weight.

So last week, after a decade of ignoring the physics of life, I decided to join LifeTime in Orland Park. It costs about $140 a month for a family of three, including my son.

Why not? I thought. I waste a lot of money other ways in life, especially on technology that doesn't last very long.

I have to tell you the past week has made a huge difference for me. I've moseyed on up to 2306 pounds. Yikes. I can't help it. I'm Middle Eastern and I love food. Being Middle Eastern is an advantage when it comes to healthy living. That Mediterranean Diet is phenomenal and does a lot of good. Though I had a heart valve replacement surgery several years ago, my arteries were clean and clear. Because of the extra virgin olive oil and the hummus and garbanzo beans and the Tahini. Believe it! That Mediterranean diet works and can help you clean your system.

Of course, some people are genetically inclined to bad health. My dad smoked for 60 of his 70 years, two packs of Camel filterless cigarettes a day. He lived 70 years, but probably would have lived 100 had he not smoked. (I smoked when I was in college but quit during basic training in the Air Force and never picked it up again. That was more than 40 years ago.)

In one week, I'm down 10 lbs. I went from 236 lbs to 226 lbs and I am eating the way I always eat. The only difference is I go to the healthclub every morning around 5:30 or 6 am -- sounds early but I am up at 5 am every morning and I usually sit at a computer and write for 2 1/2 hours before heading for a hectic day of managing media and political consulting clients who are ALWAYS ON THE FRONTLINES OF CONTROVERSIAL NEWS. In the media almost everyday. That's stressful, the other killer of people besides age.

I have a plan. I power walk one hour every morning. That's it. That translates into about 3 miles with the treadmill set at "3."

I was going to buy a treadmill. I found a ProForm 850 that normally costs $1,200 at Walmart for only $490. Almost bought it. Fortunately, I don't have an SUV any more so I couldn't get it home and changed my mind. The next day, I joined Lifetime.

Of course, the only problem with Lifetime is they have been doing this so long they don't care any more. The service there is pretty shabby. There's no follow-up. Just the fast-talking sign-up pitch and then pay. I was going to join anyway.

The equipment is out-of-date. So 80s. The treadmills don't connect to the technology. You can't plug in your iPod into the treadmill or any of the equipment. They told me they are going to install WiFi in September. If you have to wait that long, you obviously don't understand how important wireless is to today's society.

They have a wall of TV sets each tuned to a different channel and you can listen in to any of them by using an FM radio set to the channel. (91.1 FM, for example.) The problem is the system sucks. I don't want to go out and buy a radio. I dropped the radio and all the other technology that followed like the Walkman when the iPod and iPad and iPhone were born, about 5 years ago.

You can go to Radio Shack and buy a $20 adapter to plug into your iPod Touch or iPhone to listen to the TV FM broadcast signals of your choice. (There are about 10 of them). But they don't work on the iPod Classic or on the iPad which has a 10-12 hour battery strength. The iPhone lasts a few hours but you will be burning up battery power pretty quick.

So I set the iPad on the Treadmill ledge that is there coincidentally. Not as a ledge to hold an iPad but as a design feature. I just lucked out. And I use a Bluetooth earphone system -- Back Beat Go from Plantronics. And I play an audio book and listen while I work out.

It makes the time go faster, especially learning more and more about Internet marketing and media and PR from the audio book I purchased.

Lifetime is not the power location to meet clients, either. Which is good, I guess. It's worn down looking. The in-door and out-door pools are good, but we're members of the Orland Pool, which for $150 a year is the BEST! The only advantage of Lifetime is that their in-door pool is heated and open all year round, and a great choice after the outdoor pools there and at Millennium Park close for the Fall.

The food isn't bad at their little restaurant at the entrance. Very healthy and very affordable, too. A good buy.

Anyway, it's just been 10 days. But the results of daily exercising speak for themselves.

I'll keep you updated when I am down to a svelte 180 lbs and have a 8 ridge washboard stomach. Well, just  being able to look down and see all of my feet without leaning forward, well, that's something any baby boomer would hope for these days.

-- Ray Hanania

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Township residents saved more than one million on prescription medications in 2012

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Township residents saved more than one million on prescription medications in 2012
July 3, 2012 - ,IL  – The Coast2Coast Rx free discount card program has saved township residents more than $1,029,153.67 on their prescription medications this year.  The 47 townships with the Coast2Coast Rx program, in counties across Illinois, have saved an average of 50% off of their prescription medications.  To combat rising healthcare costs, townships have offered this valuable resource to its residents.

The Coast2Coast Rx Program was first implemented in Niles Township in October 2010.  Niles Township Supervisor, Lee Tamraz said, “The Coast2Coast Rx Program is a great program. I have received unbelievable feedback that leads me to only speak highly of the program.”  He added, “There is a need for a program like this because people don’t have the income they had ten years ago.  It makes me feel much better knowing I have done something like this to help the residents of the [Niles] Township.  Endorsing this program was one of the happiest moments I have had as Supervisor.”  The Coast2Coast Rx Program has saved Niles Township residents over $600,000 on their medications thus far.

Orland Township, Supervisor  O’Grady said, “When we decided to  make the Coast2Coast Rx Discount Program available to our residents, we weren’t sure what to expect, but after 7 months of making the program available, our residents have filled over 5600 prescriptions, using the Coast2Coast program, and have saved over $230,000.  In these tough economic times, I’m proud that Orland Township took the initiative to offer this program, which has provided a significant benefit to many of our residents, at no cost to the tax payers.”

“At a time when the State has had to discontinue the Illinois Cares Rx program, it’s reassuring to see that the Townships are providing leadership to assist those most in need” said Debby Karton, Illinois distributor of the Coast2Coast Rx Discount program.

Providing savings for residents through this Rx program came at no expense to the townships.  Besides the discount on prescriptions, the card also provides 50% to 80% discounts for lab and imaging tests, and discounts on dental, veterinary, vision, diabetes supplies and equipment and hearing services, further helping residents save even more money on their healthcare costs for these services.  The Coast2Coast Rx card allows all township residents, regardless of income, age, or health status to participate in the program and save on the cost of their medications.  Even pets and other people living outside the townships are able to take part in the program.  The Rx card is distributed free of charge and may be used at all pharmacy chains and most independent pharmacies and includes over 60,000 drugs in its formulary.

The Coast2Coast Rx Program is in Algonquin, Avon, Barrington, Benton, Berwyn, Bloomingdale, Bremen, Calumet, Cuba, Dorr, Downers Grove, Ela, Elgin, Elk Grove, Evanston, Hanover, Lemont, Leyden, Libertyville, Lisle, Lyons, Maine, Milton, Moraine, Naperville, Niles, Northfield, Nunda, Oak Park, Orland, Palatine, Palos, Rich, Riverside, Stickney, Schaumberg, Thornton, Vernon, Warren, Wauconda, Waukegan, Wayne, West Deerfield, Winfield, Worth, York, and Zion Townships.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cuzzin's Cafe - Italian Comfort Food

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I love stuffed artichokes. You can't always get them. I used to go to Palermo's in Oak Lawn, but they are often out and don't have this delicacy that years ago an Italian date told me was something to share with someone you really loved.

So when I heard Cuzzin's Cafe in Orland Park served stuffed artichokes, I figured, why not make it a meal, and took the family there to enjoy a nice authentic Italian  meal.

The food was very good, for the most part. I can't say it was bad. But it was off when we went tonight. Right off, I ordered the stuffed artichoke. It was tough, although the stuffing was phenomenal. Usually, you work your way through the maze of artichoke leaves covered in thick stuffing and the artichoke meat is soft. But this one was a little under cooked, maybe. Tough tough. The heart was like stone and it's the first time I didn't finish eating it, even though Alison kept telling me that "It's fattening." Not referring to her but to me where fatty foods have been making their presence a little too known.

You eat artichokes with your hands, grabbing one leaf at a time and scraping the stuffing and the artichoke meat off with your teeth, discarding the tough leaves. It's messy but fun. And when you can share it with someone you love, it's just that much better. Alison tried it but Aaron hasn't evolved into a food experimentor yet. He's still too young. 

Anyway, I figured, no problem. Then they brought the bread. It was a few slices of fresh Vienna bread with a plate of marinara sauce, olive oil and grated cheese. Another reminder that there wasn't enough but that's okay because it's too fattening. 

Everything Italian is fattening, honey! Not that pleading does any good.

So I ordered heart attack on a plate, Fettucini Alfredo. The sauce was too thick, like peanut butter. Another excuse for my wife to tell me, "It's fattening, don't eat so much." I didn't.

I ordered a side of meatballs and so did my son, Aaron. My meatballs were over mixed with stuffing, and not enough meat. It tasted like stuffing more than a meatball. So I didn't eat them all. In fact, my wife was happy because I really didn't eat much at all. "Too fattening."

I know. I know.

Anyway. we'll give it another try again. The food had real authentic Italian flavors and taste. It is more of a casual dining room setting, which was nice. Maybe like a little cafe like the ones were visited when we crossed over from France into Italy a few years backed and spent the day in Menton along the French Riviera.

All Cuzzin's needs is an outdoor fountain and some little tables. It would be fun. 

Sometimes restaurant's have bad days. So I don't want to be too hard because I know the place is great. It really warmed my heart when I heard one of the waitresses say, "Hey Mom, I need a plate of ..." Family run and family operated. You have to give them the benefit of the doubt. So while I am having funw ith this experience, I;m not going to trash the place because it is great.

Try it. You'll like it!

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Middle East restaurant coming to Orland Park, one of Northern Illinois' best

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It's called the Nile Restaurant and it's located in a strip mall at 87th and Harlem Avenue in Bridgeview. For the most part, mostly Middle Eastern men eat there. Some Americans. It's like a community insider's preference.

But it is the best Middle East restaurant in Northern Illinois, by far surpassing every other restaurant in a 100 mile radius of the Southwest Suburbs. No restaurant comes close to the food. But it is spartan. Stripped bare with essentials, only. Not the kind of place a family would go to enjoy an afternoon lunch or an evening dinner.

That will change soon, though, with the opening of The Nile II in Orland Park in the Jewel Osco Mall at 159th and 94th Avenue, where the Pita Oven tried and failed to work. The new Nile restaurant is bringing over the chef from 87th Street that has given that restaurant its phenomenal reputation. American Arabs know to go there when they can. The food is simply perfection.

The Mensiff -- lamb, rice, pita bread and the Jameed (lamb milk based sauce), is superb. No one makes it better than The Nile. It's usually the featured dinner on Fridays, which is the Muslim sabbath.

When it opens, you have to try this place. If you like Middle Eastern food, you will absolutely love The Nile II when it opens.

So many Middle East restaurants have tried and failed. Al Bawadi in Bridgeview is good and among the region's best, but it can't compete with The Nile.

-- Ray Hanania

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Police Robo-call on car-jacking 167th and LaGrange

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Nothing online yet about a car-jacking reported by the Orland Park Police in a late night robo-call to residents.

The call reported a car-jacking at 167th and LaGrange Road around 2 am, warning residents that police were conducting a field search for an individual described as being 6 foot 5 inches tall.

That would put it at around Orland's Marcus Theater parking lot.

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Orland Trustee Pat Gira plays politics while ignoring her responsibilities to village taxpayers

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Village Trustee Patricia Gira is engaged in a transparent political game to promote her allies in the upcoming spring village elections. That's good to see, considering that she has spent her entire public career closing her eyes to the problems of her political pals.

Gira is angry that Pat Maher, the son of Village Clerk David Maher, was thrown out of office in the last election at the Orland Fire Protection District. Gira and Maher ran together, her for village trustee -- a seat she barely won -- and Maher to use the OFPD as a base to launch a career to higher office.

Neither really cared about the public's interests.

For example, Gira has been sending out letters to senior citizens in Orland Park inciting them tp fear using lies and exaggerations. Gira claims the OFPD is weighing closing Fire Station #6.

Not only is that an outright lie, but OFPD President Jim Hickey publicly stated that he opposed any proposal to close a fire station. In fact, it wasn't the OFPD board that brought up the issue of "closing Fire Station #6." It was in fact Pat Gira who brought up the idea?

Why would she do that when she knows that is a lie?

Well, she is using fear mongering to incite the community and to confuse seniors about the facts. She wants to build up a challenge against the OFPD in the next election in the Spring in the hopes of electing her allies to the board.

Gira ignored than nearly $2.6 million that the OFPD cut from the budget of the Fire District, the budget that her ally Pat Maher rammed through the board in January 2011. 

Gira was silent over the fact that the OFPD for the first time in FIVE YEARS has a budget UNDER $30 million.

But she did complain that the Fire District has "three public relations consultants." Not true, of course. When Gira and Maher were running the Fire District, the OFPD had four media consultants and PR consultants.

The new board under Jim Hickey, however, cut the costs of the PR workers saving more than $12,000 a year. The OFPD pays $36,000 a year for a PR consultant (me) compared to the $48,000 that Gira and Maher paid before I was hired.

Of course, Gira is hoping to incite fear and raise phony issues hoping you won't ask, for example: "How much does the Village of Orland Park which has raised property taxes how many times over th eyears, pay for public relations and PR?"

I've sent an FOIA under the Village of Orland Park's so-called transparency program to find out exactly how many hundreds of thousands the village is paying. We'll see how they respond and I'll publish it here.

It is a shame that Pat Gira is using her public office in the village to run her election strategy against the Orland Fire Protection District. Her letters are signed by her Village Title and are being sent as a Village Trustee. Is the Village of Orland Park paying for that electioneering? Maybe the Cook County State's Attorney should investigate if any village money or resources are being used by Village Trustee Patricia Gira to pay for her political campaign against the Orland Fire Protection District.

In the Spring 2011 elections, Orland taxpayers declared they have had enough with lying and cheating elected officials. They forced Maher to quit the race after his lies were exposed. Pat Gira backed him and distributed his re-election literature. 

Not only did they vote against Maher but the majority of Orland Park voters voted AGAINST PAT GIRA in that same election. She barely got 40 percent of the village vote. Nearly 60 percent of the vote went to someone else rather than Pat Gira. She doesn't even have the backing of a majority fo the residents. She knows this is probably her last term in office so she has decided to throw mud, as she did in the last election, and attack the integrity of the Orland Fire Protection District.

CANDIDATE/PARTY     ......................................................% .....................Votes

Edward G. Schussler (Orland Park United)          14.25                        2,616
Patricia A. Gira (Orland Park United)                      13.65                       2,504
Carole Griffin Ruzich (Orland Park United)            12.05                        2,211

(Their votes add up to 39.95 % of the total votes cast)

I'm not going to let that happen. I'm not going to let selfish Pat Gira undermine the will of the voters who spoke loud and clear and demanded that the new OFPD better manage spending and taxpayer dollars. They demanded the OFPD cut budget spending to prevent taxes from increasing as they have in the past.

Gira is really a disgrace. That she would fear monger and incite seniors especially into believing that Fire Station #6 will be closed when she knows that is a lie and she knows that she manufactured the issue to create fear and concern, is disgraceful.

-- Ray Hanania

More reading:

Click here to read Village of Orland Park breaks promise to refund property taxes to offset Sales Tax increase

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Outdoor cafes and restaurants in Orland Park

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Outdoor cafes and restaurants in Orland Park

I love Memorial Day Weekend for a lot of reasons including I get to relax and really enjoy the community. in Orland Park. And one of the real beauties of Orland Park in the summer are the many outdoor patios that several restaurants and cafes have here.

So I stopped by Shami Restaurant in the old Borders Book Store Plaza -- I miss Borders -- and sat out on the patio to enjoy some good Middle Eastern food, the great weather and the people who were buzzing about doing their shopping or just driving through.

Shami is one of the few Middle Eastern restaurants in the area, even though there are a lot of Arab Americans living here. Orland has the beautiful Mosque, and although the majority of Arabs here are Christian there is no Arab Church in Orland Park. That's too bad. Maybe it's because they can go to any church and worship whereas Muslims don't really have that many choices.

So Shami and a few other Arab bakeries including my favorite, Laila's Grape Vine on John Humprhey Drive in the Horton Plaza, really add some spice to the food options among the many great restaurant choices that are out here.

I ordered a small hummus plate, Jerusalem salad (diced tomatoes, cucumbers with tahini -- sesame seed -- dressing), a small hummus (crushed garbanzo beans with Tahini) and the Royal Plate which seemed to be a large plate of mixed chicken, lamb, ground beef with parsely (kifta kabob) and basmati (Persian) rice. And several cans of Diet Coke and enough bread to eat the hummus and feed some of the Sparrows brave enough to come near the tables and stare.

A lot of American soldiers returning from service in the Middle East have become patrons of these Arab restaurants. They went to Iraq to fight and came back loving the hummus, falafel, tahini, salads, kibbis and kabobs. Even the ones who went to Afghanistan, which isn't Arab or Middle Eastern, of course, but does share some of the same cultural foods.

The food was great but the weather was even better. And it was enjoyable, eating the hummus with cuts from the Syrian Pita Bread. One thing you learn when you serve in Iraq or visit a Middle Eastern country is that you can put the tahini-based salads on the rice to make it taste even better. That Tahini is great. (If you like Middle Eastern foods, go to my facebook page and check out one of the groups I belong to called Mediterranean Foods. You'll meet a lot more people who share their food recipes or experiences in Middle Eastern foods.)


Jerusalem, Tahini Salad

Royal Plate Chicken kabob, lamb kabob and kifta kabob

Shami is one of several restaurants in Orland Park worth checking out. And sitting out on the patio to enjoy the food makes the whole experience in Orland Park even more enjoyable.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Can racists seek hate crimes charges against attackers

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Police in Tinley Park and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force continue to investigate the violent brawl that took place Saturday afternoon at the Ashford House Restaurant, an Irish diner at 7990 W. 159th Street in Tinley Park on the border with Orland Park.

Mayor Ed Zabrocki, in an interview with Radio Chicagoland, said that police are still investigating but believe that some of the victims were members of a White Supremicists group. They were having a lunch meeting at the restaurant when a group of 15 to 18 anti-White supremicist individuals, youth wearing hoods and carrying bats and hammers, converged on the restaurant meeting and attacked the other activists.

Zabrocki said that five people were in custody when their car was spotted by an alert female member of the Tinley park Police Department. The other suspects involved in the attack fled but police believe the arrested suspects could lead to identifying the entire group.

Zabrocki said that police believe the group that attacked the alleged supremicists were members of the Anti-Racist Action group. Facebook shows a listing for more than a dozen such groups named Anti-Racist Action in the United States. The group, if it is the one involved, describes itself as:

The Anti-Racist Action Network (ARA) is a decentralized network of anti-fascist and anti-racists in North America. ARA activists organize actions to disrupt neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, and help organize activities against fascist and racist ideologies. ARA groups also oppose sexism,homophobia, heterosexism, anti-Semitism, and the pro-life movement. ARA originated from the skinhead and punk subcultures.HistoryAnti-Racist Action was founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the late 1980s by members of the anti-fascist skinhead group Minneapolis Baldies and other activists. ARA then expanded to several communities in the United States and Canada. Members of Love and Rage, a revolutionary anarchist organization, played a major role in building ARA groups and the ARA Network in the 1990s, and the group's structure was formalized in 1994 at the first Midwest Anti-Fascist Network conference, in Columbus, Ohio.

"About 15 to 1 yesterday, there was a group of 10 to 12 people eating int he restaurant. Most were men maybe one or two men. Someone made a reservation for them and they were going to have a meeting," Zabrocki said.

"About 15 individuals came in with masks on hoods, black hoods if I recall, and they proceeded to beat up the 10 or 12 people who were meeting there. There was some confusion because there was a bridal shower going on in an adjacent room but it had nothing to do with this It was not gang related."

Zabrocki said the information was "kind of speculative" at this point.

"A lot of those folks from looking at their addresses were not even from Illinois," Zabrocki said.

"The group that came into it, I'm not sure because there were a number of names kicked around. It was an anti-racist group, anti-Homophobic group. The first group had a web site and the other group infiltrated it. It was not racial in the usual sense. No Middle Eastern connection," Zabrocki said during the radio show.

Zabrocki called it an isolated incident.

"A very sharp female sergeant got a call that they were looking for a particular car and she was very observant and she spotted the car at 159th and Harlem," he said. "She pulled the car over and got five of them. This could lead to the rest of them. They are in our lock-up and I am not sure of their status at this point."

Zabrocki said the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force came out in force, in part because they were on the ready because of the NATO protests.

"I believe there were nine people hurt, six refused treatment and three were treated<' Zabrocki said.

Click here to listen to the radio interview (about 25 minutes into the Radio Podcast.)

The irony here is that the victims, who reportedly are involved in White Supremicy issues, could file racism charges against the alleged attackers who were allegedly reported to be members of an anti-racist group.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Village of Orland Park Board Chooses Illinois Based Electrical Aggregation Company

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Village of Orland Park Board Chooses Illinois Based Electrical Aggregation Company
Village Residents Could See More Than 40% Savings by Summer’s End

ORLAND PARK, IL – At its May 7th meeting, the Village of Orland Park Board of Trustees directed village staff and legal counsel to finalize a contract with Nordic Energy Services of Oakbrook Terrace as the community’s electricity supplier.

During the Tuesday, March 20th Presidential Primary Election, Village of Orland Park voters approved the electrical aggregation referendum by more than 65%, giving the village permission to seek lower electricity supply rates for its residents and small businesses through an opt-out electricity aggregation program.

Orland Park continues to play a leadership role in helping its residents and businesses conserve energy and save money,” said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin. “We took the savings message to the public and our residents resoundingly approved electrical aggregation for the village,” the mayor added.

The village’s electrical aggregation consultant, David Hoover, founder and executive director of the Northern Illinois Municipal Electrical Collaborative (NIMEC), addressed the board on May 7th, explaining what each of the six bidders had offered for Orland Park.

“Just this afternoon, we learned the new ComEd rate will increase as of June 1 from 7.73 to 8.5 cents per kilowatt hour,” Hoover said. The new rates will result in a savings of 43% on the supply portion of the bill,” Hoover noted.

Addressing McLaughlin and the village trustees, Hoover said, “This makes your decision to start this process six months ago even more advantageous for the community.”

Six companies submitted bids for the Village of Orland Park’s electrical service with three being designated finalists, Direct Energy, FirstEnergy and Nordic Energy Services.

FirstEnergy’s rate was 4.79 cents per kilowatt hour versus Nordic Energy’s being 4.82 cents per kilowatt hour. A majority of the Village Board voted that the advantage of using an Illinois-based company offset the three-hundredths of a cent per kwh difference, or about $5.00 per year per household.  The typical household savings will be over $300 per year.

“I’m happy that we’ll be partnering with an Illinois based company,” McLaughlin said. “We’re going to be able to save village residents more than 40% on the energy portion of their electric bills. The $300 per year will be put to good use by our residents,” the mayor said.

“Village residents, as a whole, should save about $9 million dollars through this program. That’s money that will remain in Orland Park,” Hoover noted.

Nordic’s two-year contract rate is 4.82 cents per kilowatt hour. The cost to procure 25% of the energy from renewable sources is nominal, adding 0.03 cents per kilowatt hour to the cost of energy.

A January 1, 2010 state law allowed municipalities to aggregate and transfer their residents’ and small commercial retail customers’ electric accounts to alternative electric suppliers. Electrical power would be produced by a company other than ComEd with ComEd continuing to supply electricity to residents over ComEd’s electricity grid. ComEd customers who are part of the group purchasing will continue to be billed by ComEd and will continue to contact ComEd with service needs.

Village residents will receive a letter from the village in late May that will include information about the village’s chosen supplier. Details on how to opt out of the program will also be included for those who choose not to participate. Residents will have two opportunities to opt out of the money saving program. And, those who have already signed on with other electric service companies will be able to opt into the village’s program with Nordic.

“We’re looking forward to residents starting to see the savings on the supply portion of their electric bills later this summer,” McLaughlin said. “Their bills will continue to come from ComEd and Nordic Energy Services will be listed as the supplier on the bill,” he said.

Nordic Energy Services, LLC is an independently owned, Oakbrook Terrace-based, Alternative Retail Electric Supplier (ARES) and Alternative Gas Supplier (AGS) licensed by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) and is also licensed in Indiana as an AGS. In addition to supplying energy and providing related services to commercial and residential customers behind six utilities in Illinois and Indiana, Nordic has also developed and is producing oil and natural gas reserves.

Communications Manager
Village of Orland Park

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sales tax rebate fiasco raises re-election fears at the village

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Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin this week said what some of the village officials have been privately saying for the past few months, that the village may restore the Sales Tax rebate that was suspended in 2009. Trustee Brad O'Halloran has been vocal about urging that the sales tax rebate be reinstated. It was promised! You don't break promises on taxes to taxpayers.

McLaughlin has done a good job as mayor and the project at 143rd Street - with the exception of the luxury town homes and the huge investment of taxes from taxpayers -- is coming along.

But that's not enough for the village officials who are seeking re-election in the Spring of 2013. They just witnessed two trustees, Pat Gira and Ed Schussler barely return to office. The two trustees couldn't even get a majority of the vote cast, and nearly 60 percent of the voters rejected their re-elections. The only reason they won was that there was a third slate of independents who in the April 2011 election, giving voters three choices rather than two for each trustee seat. The "independents" actually were responsible for saving Gira and Schussler. (See the chart at the bottom of this column.)

One of the reasons why Gira and Schussler did so bad (and it was BAD) was that they backed the past repeal of the sales tax rebate which was promised to Orland Park residents by Mayor McLaughlin when the board moved to increase the sales tax, and didn't support calls to have it re-instated.

In October 2008, the village proposed reducing the sales tax rebate by half, to test the waters of public reaction and to not torpedo their re-election chances. The economy wasn't as bad for many in Orland Park at that time, as some suggest, but it was headed for deep recession. McLaughlin and his slate were re-elected the following year. And as I predicted in the Orland Parker that they would do, after that election the village board eliminated the remainder of the sales tax rebate.

Gira and Schussler were the first to face the full wrath of the voters; had it not been for the  independent slate, they and their new running mate Carole Ruzich would have soundly lost the election.

Now, going into the Spring elections, McLaughlin's running mates are scared. With the sales tax rebate still a sore issue with voters (including with this column), they can't take the chance. So, they will reverse it hoping that restoring half of the sales tax rebate might be enough. They'll do some polling to make sure but if it doesn't then they will restore the entire sales tax rebate.

Of course, the "spoilers" could come back and help the incumbents get re-elected. But in a one-on-one face-off, the incumbents will lose.

That is due in part to the meteoric rise of Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman who while the village of Orland Park was busy jacking up property taxes and eliminating the sales tax rebate for taxpayers, Gorman was busy defending the taxpayers. She led the fight to repeal the Todd Stroger Sales Tax. The first two efforts fell short but she persisted and it was repealed with partisan support on the third try.

That's the kind of honest leadership voters want. They don't want wishy-washy elected officials-for-life who do nothing but talk about tax relief. They want real tax relief leadership. That distinction helped Gorman trounce Pat Maher, the scandal-plagued former president of the Orland Fire Protection District, they guy that left the district in a spending mess. He's the son of Village Trustee Dave Maher, who is most likely planning to run for re-election with McLaughlin and the other trustees in the spring.

She then backed two new candidates for the Orland Fire Protection District (where I now work as the communications consultant for $12,000 a year LESS than the consultant who Maher retained) and they won big time. Maher was backed by the "power" of the village but clearly, the sales tax rebate fiasco hurt the village badly. That's why Gira came to an Orland Fire Protection District board meeting to unfairly criticize the board with wild and unsubstantiated assertions.

(Gira complained that she emailed the OFPD board through their web site and no one responded to her email. OFPD President Jim Hickey immediately responded when the issue was raised. However, That SAME DAY, I went on the Village web site and emailed Gira and till this day I never got a response!)

In the past year since his election as OFPD President, Hickey and the board members have CUT spending at the Fire District significantly. That's a first and the taxpayers see it. That did two things.

First, the new board prevented the budget from going up as it has continuously over the year. Had they not acted, the old OFPD board would have increased spending and taxes by $1 million. 

Second, the new board cut back nearly $1 million in spending to reduce the budget to UNDER $30 million for the first time in five years!

When Hickey noted that the budget was under $30 million for the FIRST TIME in FIVE YEARS, former Trustee Salvatore Cacciato, who deserves credit for continuing his interest in the fire district by attending OFPD board meetings, WRONGLY accused Hickey of exaggerating, claiming the budget was only above $30 million for the last two years. But that's not true, The budget has been above $30 million for the past five years, and error Cacciato should have known before making the criticism.

Gira didn't come to thank the board for putting the taxpayers first, of course, Why should she? She hasn't done that at the village. She came there to make it clear she and the village board are against Gorman and her allies who are putting the taxpayers first!

McLaughlin can't win re-election with all the dead weight around him and the village board's poor record on tax increases.

The first thing he should do is immediately restore the entire sales tax rebate. That's what the board promised in exchange for increasing the village sales tax which would have collected new revenues from sales to the many consumers who come into Orland Park and are not residents or Orland Park taxpayers.

Second, find some quality running mates. Brad O'Halloran has consistently been on the right side of the issues in the past few years. Keep him and do your best to ask Gira to do everyone a favor and step down ... and encourage a few of her colleagues to do the same.

They screwed up by backing Pat Maher and all of his scandals that plagued the old OFPD, and they screwed up by turning their backs in the past on taxpayers.

Do the right thing mayor, fully restore the sales tax rebate and work with O'Halloran to find a better slate of candidates for next year's election. Take a leaf from the phenomenal job at the Orland Township by Supervisor Paul O'Grady.

# # #

CANDIDATE/PARTY     ......................................................% .....................Votes

Edward G. Schussler (Orland Park United)          14.25                        2,616
Patricia A. Gira (Orland Park United)                      13.65                       2,504
Carole Griffin Ruzich (Orland Park United)            12.05                        2,211

Molly McAvoy Flynn (Fiscal Voices for Orland)         11.18                        2,052
John M. Brudnak (Fiscal Voices for Orland)             11.01                       2,021

John S. Fotopoulos (Independent)                            10.41                       1,910
Tom Cunningham (Independent)                              10.16                       1,864

Steven Williams (Fiscal Voices for Orland)               9.53                         1,748
Rich Kelly (Independent)                                               7.76                         1,424

(Maybe the Fiscal Voices challengers should consider putting John Fotopoulos on their slate along with O'Halloran.)

More resources: Orland Sales Tax Rebate dead

-- Ray Hanania