By Community Editor, The Forest Park Review
COUNTRY OF COOK COUNTY CLERK DAVID ORR
Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, most Illinois 17-year-olds will be eligible to register and vote in a primary election – a first in our state’s history, Cook County Clerk David Orr said Monday.
The new “suffrage at 17” law will let voters choose in the primary election which candidates will be nominated to represent political parties in the general election.
“This expansion of voter registration will allow more young people to participate than ever before,” Orr said. “Suffrage at 17 will also get teenagers registered to vote before they leave high school, and studies show that establishing voting habits early boosts the likelihood of participation for years to come.”
U.S. citizens who were born on or before Nov. 4, 1996 can register and vote in the March 18, 2014Primary Election because they will turn 18 by the Nov. 4, 2014 General Election.
A countywide “Democracy Week” to register 17-year-olds is scheduled for Feb. 3-7. Clerk Orr’s office is coordinating with more than 80 suburban Cook County high schools to set up voter registration drives. The Chicago Board of Elections is working with the Chicago Public Schools to do the same.
Both election offices are partnering with deputy registrar organizations including (but not limited to): the League of Women Voters, Mikva, ICIRR, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, NAACP, National Action Network and the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Chicago.
“It will take a mighty effort to register students at every high school in suburban Cook County, so we are looking for deputy registrars to join the effort,” Orr said. VFP
By Michael Romain
At a December 17, 2013, board meeting, the Village Board approved the payment of $23,000 as part of a legal settlement of a lawsuit filed against the Village of Maywood by the Better Government Association (BGA), an investigative watchdog news outlet. The case, Better Government Association v. Maywood, was filed on August 21, of last year after the Village refused to release a grand jury subpoena, an action that the BGA said was a violation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Based on its ruling, apparently a Cook County Circuit Court judge agreed with the BGA and ordered the Village to turn over the subpoena. The Village ultimately complied.
In an article published on the organization’s website the same day it filed the lawsuit, BGA President and CEO Andy Shaw said, “Maywood officials have a documented history of playing games and hiding public information […] We’re tired of it. The public is entitled to know how a local government is being managed, or mismanaged, and whether corruption is involved, and this subpoena may help us assess that.”
For its part, the Village stated its position in a letter addressing the matter, some of the contents of which were disclosed in the case file. The Village claimed that “the grand jury subpoena is exempt from disclosure because its release would a) ‘interfer[e] with a pending or actually and reasonably contemplated law enforcement proceeding conducted by the the Village’s Police Department;’ (b) ‘endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel’; and (c) ‘obstruct an ongoing criminal investigation by the Village’s Police Department,’ respectively […]”.
The BGA, not satisfied with this explanation, retorted in the August 21, article that “other news organizations are routinely provided copies of subpoenas upon request, and in 2007 the BGA successfully sued state government to obtain copies of federal subpoenas that then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich tried to keep secret.
“What’s more, as the new lawsuit asserts, Maywood’s reasons for withholding the subpoena don’t hold water under state law, which spells out when a public agency may or may not keep a public document from public view.”
The Chicago-based law firm Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, filed the BGA’s suit pro bono. As part of the settlement agreement, the Village has to pay the firm $23,000 in legal fees. Those fees were approved by the Board at the December 17, meeting as part of an omnibus agenda.
Kirkland & Ellis also filed pro bono a 2011 suit brought against the Village by four Maywood citizens–Mayor Edwenna Perkins and Trustee Cheryl Ealey-Cross among them–who alleged similar FOIA violations. That suit also led to a large settlement for both the legal firm and the individual plaintiffs. VFP
From the Chicago Tribune:
December 28, 2013 || Bob Narang, Special to the Tribune
Let the hype begin about Monday’s semifinal at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament between No. 2 Stevenson and No. 9 St. Joseph.
Jordan Ash scored 26 points, Joffery Brown added 16 and Glynn Watson scored 13 in St. Joseph’s 68-61 victory against No. 13 Proviso East on Saturday to set up a meeting of undefeated teams.
Glynn and Stevenson’s Jalen Brunson are two of the top junior point guards in the country, with the highly recruited Ash set to square off with Stevenson shooting guard Connor Cashaw at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
“We’re really excited to be finally playing (Stevenson),” Watson said. “That’s a game we’re trying to win to just stay undefeated. It should be a great matchup. Me and Jordan versus Brunson and Cashaw. It should be a good show. But it’s a team game.”
Ash, Brown and Watson combined for 55 points Saturday. Proviso East (8-2) shot 4-for-20 from 3-point territory and couldn’t recover from a 17.9 percent first-half shooting display. West Virginia-bound guard Jevon Carter scored 20 points, but was 2-for-12 on 3-point attempts.
“I couldn’t get my shots to fall this game,” Carter said. “I have to pick it up next game.”
Ash, a junior, scored 11 of St. Joseph’s first 26 points and broke loose for 10 points in a three-plus minute span in the fourth to stop a Proviso East rally. The Chargers (11-0) overcame 18 turnovers and a 19-for-31 effort from the free-throw line.
“We could be a really good team by the end of the year, but we got to get smarter,” St. Joseph coach Gene Pingatore said.
Player of the game: Jordan Ash, St. Joseph, 26 points, 8 rebounds, 3 3-pointers.
Key performers: Proviso East — Kalin Fisher, 22 points; Antonio Williams, 13 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals. St. Joseph — Joffery Brown, 16 points, 5 rebounds; Glynn Watson, 13 points, 3 rebounds. VFP
December 27, 2013 || Patrick Z. McGavin (Sun-Times Media)
Basketball is the most unpredictable of games. The frequency of possessions only intensifies the randomness of chance.
Homewood-Flossmoor had chances to pull the upset Friday of Proviso East to advance to the Proviso West Holiday Tournament quarterfinals.
Homewood-Flossmoor played with toughness and purpose against the quick and athletic Pirates, but the Vikings missed 19 free throws and failed to make the plays down the stretch in the 43-40 second-round loss in Hillside.
“We’re normally a good free-throw shooting team,” Vikings coach Jim McLaughlin said of his team’s 10-of-29 performance. “(Friday) there was just a lid on the rim.”
Proviso East’s Jevon Carter hit two crucial three-pointers and scored eight of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter.
Center Tai Odiase shouldered the load offensively for the Vikings and posted a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Time and again in the second half, he brought the Vikings back from the brink. The UIC recruit was the only Homewood-Flossmoor player to score from the field in the second half.
The Vikings (6-4) shook off a slow start and rode the strong play of Odiase and Destin Barnes (9 points, 10 rebounds) to lead by as many as six points in the first half. Consecutive turnovers led to Proviso East breakaways that narrowed the Vikings’ margin to 25-23 at the break.
“We were trying to run our offense and spread the lead out to eight, 10 points and we just had two horrible possessions there. Suddenly, instead of up six, we’re up just two,” McLaughlin said.
The swing foretold the struggles of the third quarter. Homewood-Flossmoor missed 12-of-13 field-goal attempts in scoring just two points, an Odiase dunk, in the period. Proviso East shot just 2-of-9 in the quarter and led by two.
Carter’s three-point shooting put the Pirates up 33-27 but Odiase scored six unanswered points on strong post moves to forge the final tie at 33. Proviso East’s Antonio Williams (11 points) scored on a putback with 4:18 remaining for a 35-33 Pirates lead.
Carter’s second three-pointer extended the margin to 40-34.
Odiase responded with a three-point play, his only made free throw of the game, that pulled the Vikings to within three.
Homewood-Flossmoor’s Davon Smith had a chance to forge a tie after he was fouled on a three-point attempt with the Vikings down 41-38 with 20 seconds remaining. He missed the first free throw.
The Vikings had a final chance to tie when trailing 42-40 but Williams stole the ball with five seconds remaining. He split two free throws, and Smith’s desperation three-pointer hit off the back of the rim.
McLaughlin saw positives.
“I really liked the way we competed and fought hard,” he said. “The whole reason of being in this tournament is playing against other great competition. That sixth-place trophy is still out there for us. That’s something we’re going to play for.” VFP
December 28, 2013 || Mitch Smith and Kate Thayer, Chicago Tribune
Cook County said goodbye Saturday to officer Cuauhtemoc Estrada, the sheriff’s investigator and Marine Corps veteran who was shot and killed last weekend while protecting his daughter and her boyfriend from armed robbers.
In Holy Name Cathedral, Estrada was celebrated as a dedicated officer who cared deeply about his family and his community. He died serving both, and law enforcement officials from every corner of Cook County and beyond filled the pews at the Near North Side church to pay their respects.
“He was just a good, strong person with a lot of love for our family,” said Felipe Gallegos, a nephew who gave the eulogy. “He’d give out the best helping hand he could give to you.”
Suburban, county, state, Chicago and federal law enforcement officers lined the street outside the Roman Catholic cathedral before the service. The block in front of the church remained quiet until a band of bagpipes and drums signaled the hearse’s arrival.
The officers and deputies, many wearing dress uniforms with black mourning bands across their stars, saluted Estrada’s casket, which entered the church draped in an American flag. Many passing pedestrians stopped to watch and photograph the procession, which also included a police color guard. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez were among those in attendance.
After the service, Ford Crown Victorias, Ford Explorers and Chevrolet Tahoes from dozens of jurisdictions sped off toward the burial site at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in west suburban Hillside with their blue and red lights flashing.
Estrada, 50, died Dec. 20 after two men in ski masks and hoodies attempted to rob Estrada’s daughter and her boyfriend outside a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in west suburban Bellwood, according to prosecutors. The couple were carrying food inside from a car when they were attacked.
Estrada, who was hosting a holiday party at the building and was off duty, went outside and attempted to break up the robbery, police and prosecutors said. When he reached for his gun, he was shot by one of the men. The officer, a nearly 20-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, was later pronounced dead at Loyola University Medical Center.
Police tracked footprints from the crime scene to a nearby house, where they arrested two men. Brandon Jackson and Gage Thornton, both 22, were ordered held without bail on Monday. They face charges of first-degree murder and attempted armed robbery.
The slaying was a tragic contradiction of the holiday spirit Estrada was celebrating that night, said Monsignor Dan Mayall, who gave the homily.
“What happened on the 20th of December was sudden, was horrible,” said Mayall, Holy Name’s pastor.
But the priest said the hundreds who gathered at the cathedral were a testament to the promise that, despite the heartbreak, there was hope.
“On a day like this, a unique day, when you commend someone with whom you worked, served — someone you loved, respected — you want to say and do all the right things,” Mayall said. “That’s exactly what we’re doing this morning. The light always wins. The light always wins.” VFP