Park Forest Hall of Fame Honors Seven

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— The Park Forest Historical Society held its annual Hall of Fame awards ceromony Sunday at Freedom Hall, honoring seven people for their contributions to Park Forest. Newly inducted members include Mary McCall, Jane Nicoll (Stover), Rev. Daniel O'Sullivan, Anna T. Saul, James D. Saul, George C. Townsend, and Theresa (Terry) Townsend. The president of the Historical Society Boards/Awards Committee, Theresa Goodrich, served as master of ceremonies.

Each of those honored were provided the opportunity to say a few words. Mary McCall, credited as the originator of the Park Forest Scenic 10 with her late husband, Tom, said, “It’s a key race in the runner’s training session for the Chicago Marathon.  And the runners don’t care a bit about paying the elite runners.” Jane Nicoll, honored in part for "impelling Park Forest to document, preserve, celebrate and share with the world its unique history," according to the program, said, “I hope that the work I’ve done will help carry Park Forest’s story well into the future.” George Townsend said he was "somewhat surprised" at his nomination, and complimented his wife, “As I looked at Terry’s works, one of my biggest jobs is keeping up [with her].”

But the quote of the day belongs to the Rev. Danial O'Sullivan, pastor of St. Ireneaus Church in Park Forest. O'Sullivan was introduced by Joe McDonnell, who called O’Sullivan, "the storyteller of Park Forest.”

Fr. O’Sullivan told those gathered, “I’m damn proud to be in Park Forest, and I hope to goodness that I’ll be here for years to come.”

The following are the biographies of those inducted included in the program for the event:

MARY McCALL

Mary McCall was the primary shaper of two significant events in the history of the Village of Park Forest. Along with J. Ron McLeod, she spearheaded the fundraising effort to build Freedom Hall in the 1970s after the village received Federal Revenue Sharing funds to create a bicentennial building.

After it was completed in 1976, she became its first administrator, and developed the Freedom Hall series, and scheduled speakers as varied as Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and Buckminster Fuller in the Nathan Manilow Theater as well as planning events in the main meeting rooms. She truly integrated Freedom Hall into the fabric of the community and helped it blossom into a village asset.

The prestigious Park Forest Scenic 10-Mile Run began in 1977 with a group of runners who wanted to create such an event. Mary was the originator of the race with the help of her late husband, Tom. Over the years she contributed most of the ideas that made the event so distinctive, including that of having musical groups at various locations on the route. This event has become one of the most important distance races in the Chicago area, attracting runners from around the world, and has long been named the "Race of the Year" by the Chicago Area Runners Association.

As a reporter for the Park Forest Reporter, Mary won a "Golden Dozen Award" for her article "Let's Get it All Together," which reflected on the integration of Park Forest.

"There's something about Mary," and that something is a legacy she has given Park Forest through her talent, energy and dedication.

JANE NICOLL (STOVER)

Jane Nicoll (Stover) has been one of the most important "prime movers" impelling Park Forest to document, preserve, celebrate and share with the world its unique history. She was co-founder of the Park Forest Historical Society in 1985 and has served continuously as the archivist. She represents the Society at innumerable public relations efforts and is instrumental in planning and executing many of its programs. Jane was one of the original creators of the Park Forest Hall of Fame and continues to support its mission. Another of Jane's creations, with the help of volunteers, is the Park Forest House Museum. She has been the volunteer curator since 1998. The Museum has attracted professionals and individuals, locally and nationally.

For 25 years, Jane has been the village's Archivist and expanded the holdings of print and graphic materials from a meager beginning to 30,000 items. Through a government grant, she has transferred parts of the Archive onto electronic websites. Her position of Archivist was a secondary job title while employed as Reference Librarian at the Park Forest Library from 1979-2005. She also volunteered much of her time as an archivist. She continues to maintain an invaluable active volunteer role as Archivist for the Park Forest Historical Society. Selections from the archives are a part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Jane has been called "our activist archivist."

REV. DANIEL O'SULLIVAN

Rev. Daniel O'Sullivan came to Park Forest in the mid-1980s to be the Pastor and manager of Saint Irenaeus Parish. He promotes a sense of community in his parish. He has demonstrated this with his pride in maintaining the appearance of his parish by performing a great deal of the yard work himself and inspiring others to follow. He is an advocate for the village and is willing to work collabora-tively with others to forward a meaningful, practical and compassionate solution to problems.

He is community-minded. He demonstrates civic dedication with his participation in numerous Park Forest Activities and functions. Some of these include: being a member and planner of the Park Forest Interfaith Association, selling candy for the Knights of Columbus SPRED program and presiding at the annual Blue Mass for Police and Firelighters. Rev. O'Sullivan has an "open door" to his parish and rectory for varied endeavors: PADS, "Courage," and other community efforts in addition to individual needs. He indicated that "we try to provide service for the betterment of Park Forest residents."

Rev. O'Sullivan feels that he is a "great cheerleader for Park Forest" which is exemplified by his involvement in and with the village.

ANNA T.SAUL

Shortly after Anna and Jim Saul moved to Park Forest in 1953, Anna became involved in the community. In 1954, she organized mothers in the Eastgate area to patrol school buses taking children to Dogwood School. The PTA chapter entered the project into the Carol Lane Awards competition, sponsored by Shell Oil Company and conducted by the National Safety Council. This project won an award for the Dogwood PTA. Anna also became safety chairman for the Dogwood PTA.

As a member of the Park Forest League of Women Voters, Anna spoke to PTAs urging the adoption of the new Illinois Constitution as a solution to the Illinois public school funding problems. She was a League member for 15 years and served as treasurer.

Her involvement in the local Unitarian Universalist Church made her aware of the bitter conditions for area migrant workers, and she participated in the building of a new community center for Ford Heights. This included preschool classes for the children.

Anna took part in many activities in both the community and the surrounding area.

JAMES D, SAUL

Jim Saul has been active in Park Forest since the late 1950s when he joined the Social Action Committee of the local Unitarian Church and soon became its chairman. This committee, working with the Park Forest Human Relations Commission, played a crucial role in the peaceful integration of Park Forest. With a small group, Jim helped locate and assist the first black family that was willing to move into Park Forest. "In White America," a play about slavery and race relations from the mid-1700s up to the 1957 integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, absorbed much of Jim's time and energy in the 1960s. The cast performed in many Chicago area locations.

Jim's interest in the environment led him to serve two terms on the Environmental Conservation Commission. That commission surveyed the village for houses to nominate and then select for beautification awards. When McDonalds proposed building a restaurant on the Orchard/Lakewood site, the commission persuaded them to use a design without their garish golden arches.

He also worked on a crime prevention committee that helped the Park Forest police force with tasks that would free officers for law enforcement duties.

GEORGE C. TOWNSEND

George C. Townsend and his wife, Terry, have been residents of Park Forest for 47 years. They raised their four children in Park Forest and he participated in many of their activities. Along with his wife, George provided 25 years of public service to Rich Township. He served 12 years as Rich Township Assessor, 20 years as Republican Committeeman and is currently Deputy Registrar. While committeeman, he was co-chairman of the Committee for Legislative Reform in 1980. In the past, he worked with now Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn to eliminate "bullet" voting and return to the practice of one-person, one-vote. In order to make life easier for residents of Rich Township, he helped them with voter registration, village information, and made house calls to help the elderly with tax problems.

He has been visible in the village as a volunteer. He is currently active in Kiwanis, serving as treasurer. He is regularly involved in the Kiwanis Peanut Day and Pancake Day. Donut Tag Day, Salvation Army bell-ringing and delivers Meals on Wheels. He is a humble person and is not one to seek recognition for himself.

THERESA (Terry) TOWNSEND

Theresa (Terry) Townsend has contributed to the life of her church, the school and the community. She feels that "faith has a way of preparing you for life." She personifies an individual who always exceeds in whatever is required of her. She has been a resident of Park Forest since 1960 and an active member of St. Irenaeus Church. She has participated in numerous roles in the church including lector, choir member and Spiritual Life Commission member. Terry has been very active in school activities that included leadership positions in PTA/PTO. She initiated the first Book Fair at Mohawk School and was a mentor for the third grade reading program.

Terry has been a dedicated member of Kiwanis since 1995, serving on many of their committees and projects. She started a scholarship program for the Key Clubs and is presently the Kiwanis liaison for the Rich East High School Key Club. She had the honor to serve as Grand Marshall of the Special Olympics in 2006. Terry is very proud of donating 21 trees and three park benches to start the Kiwanis Grove in Somonauk Park. She was Deputy Clerk for Rich Township, served leadership roles with the South Suburban Republican Women and now serves as Americanism Chair. She is a life-long member of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority.

 

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Kidnapping on Tamarack – Victim Safe, Charges Filed Against Two Men

Updated Saturday, April 14, 2007 – 9:00 p.m. 

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— Park Forest Police Chief Tom Fleming issued an updated press release Saturday evening in reference to the alleged kidnapping by Lester Muhammad of a 24 year old victim from Tamarack St.  Two men have been charged in the case

According to the updated report, on Thursday, April 12th, 2007 at 11:05 p.m., Park Forest Police patrol units responded to a single family residence in the 400 block of Tamarack St, Will County, in reference to an armed home invasion and kidnapping.  Responding units learned from the family that the offender, a former boyfriend, thirty year old, Lester Muhammad, had forced in the front door, allegedly menacing family members with a handgun and forced the twenty four year old female victim at gunpoint into his vehicle and fled the scene.

Park Forest Police Investigators and Tactical Officers responded to the crime scene and worked throughout the early morning hours to locate the victim.  It was discovered that the victim had recently ended a dating relationship with the Muhammad who is currently on parole with the Illinois Department of Corrections.  The offender’s vehicle was located in the parking lot of the Colony Apartments on Steger Road in Steger, Illinois.  Police learned that the offender regularly frequents two different apartments. At approximately 2:30 a.m., PFPD Investigators set up a surveillance of two apartment buildings in the complex.  During that time the Will County States Attorney’s Office was consulted and advised of the situation. 

Midmorning on Friday, at 10:15 a.m., the investigating team located the hostage and initiated a tactical rescue and assaulted both apartments consecutively.  The victim was located and rescued from the second apartment. She was being held in a bedroom by the offender.  Also located in that bedroom was the apartment occupant, 24 year old, Brandon Williams of 315 West 35th St. Apt. 210, Steger, and the four year old son of Muhammad (no relation to the victim). Investigators seized a loaded pistol grip shotgun, a loaded AR-15 assault rifle, $10,000 United States Currency and a quantity of cocaine and cannabis from the bedroom, according to the report.

The victim was physically unharmed and reunited with her family.  Muhammad and the second subject were transported to the Park Forest Police Station.  The child was placed in the custody of his grandfather and the Department of Children and Family Services has been notified.

Saturday evening, the Will County States Attorney’s Office has approved the following charges:

Lester Muhammad/ 30 years old   lester-muhammad-pfpd-photo-041407
Aggravated Kidnapping Class X Felony
Armed Home Invasion Class X Felony
Possession of Cocaine Felony
Aggravated Assault     
Domestic Battery        
Possession of Cannabis  
 
Brandon Williams / 24 years old brandon-williams-pfpd-photo-041407
Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon (two counts)
Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon
Traffic Warrant served

Both offenders will be transported to the Will County Jail and will appear before a Judge on Monday. 

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Kidnapping on Tamarack – Victim Found Safe

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— Park Forest Police Chief Tom Fleming issued a press release on this date at 2:00 p.m. in reference to the alleged kidnapping by Lester Muhammad of a 24 year old victim from Tamarack St.

According to the report, on Thursday, April 12th, 2007 at 11:05 p.m., Park Forest Police patrol units responded to a single family residence in the 400 block of Tamarack St, Will County, in reference to an armed home invasion and kidnapping.  Responding units learned from the family that the offender, a former boyfriend, thirty year old Lester Muhammad, had kicked in the front door and forced the twenty four year old female victim at gunpoint into his vehicle and fled the scene.

Park Forest Police Investigators and Tactical Officers responded to the crime scene and worked throughout the early morning hours to locate the victim, according to the release.  The offender’s vehicle was located in the parking lot of the Colony Apartments on Steger Road in Steger, Illinois.  Information was learned that the offender regularly frequents two different apartments. At approximately 2:30 a.m., Park Forest Police Detective Investigators set up a surveillance of two apartment buildings in the complex.  During that time the Will County States Attorney’s Office was consulted and advised of the situation. 

This morning, at 10:15 a.m., the investigating team initiated a tactical rescue and assaulted both apartments consecutively.  The victim was located and rescued from the second apartment. She was being held in a bedroom by the offender.  Also located in that bedroom was a 24 year old male subject, and the four year old son of Muhammad (no relation to the victim).  Investigators seized a loaded pistol grip shotgun, a loaded AR-15 assault rifle, $9,000 United States currency and a quantity of cocaine and cannabis from the bedroom.

The victim was physically unharmed and reunited with her family.  Muhammad and the second subject were taken to the Park Forest Police Station.  The four year old child was placed in the custody of his grandfather.  The investigation continues and formal criminal charges will follow.

eNews Park Forest will update this story as new information becomes available.

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Vote Early – But Not Often

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— Park Forest residents living in both Cook and Will counties may now vote early.  Will County residents may vote at Park Forest Village Hall during normal business hours.  Cook County residents are able to vote at any of the early voting sites throughout Cook County.  Sites closest to Park Forest include Chicago Heights City Hall, 1601 Chicago Rd., and Matteson Village Hall, 4900 Village Commons.

Debbie Pasquerella, who works for Rich Township Clerk Bobbie King's office, commented on the added availability of voting sites in Cook County, "If you work in Des Plaines, and you wanted to run out on your lunch, you can vote there.  All Cook County voters can vote at any of these sites.  If I worked in Hoffman Estates, I can vote at [Hoffman Estates Village Hall]."  Pasquerella observed that now there really is no excuse to not vote, "All the records for all Cook County, not Chicago, but Cook County are at these sites.  And it makes people that are taking the train, and running close, and tired after the day’s work, and ‘I’m not going to stand in this line,’ they can go vote."

Cook County hours at all sites are from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The complete list of Early Voting sites in Cook County is available here, from the Cook County Clerk's web site. 

The Cook County Clerk's web site specifies:

Early voting is available to any registered voter in Will County, due to House Bill 1968.  An early voter is not required to state a reason, unlike absentee voting.  Early voting begins 22 to 5 days prior to an election.  During this time you may vote early at:   

  Will County Clerk's Office
302 N. Chicago Street, Joliet Illinois
Monday thru Friday 8:30am-4:30pm
Saturday 9am-12:00 Noon                           
 

Or at any of the following offices conducting absentee/early voting in Will County.  You must live within the city, village, or township in order to vote there with the following exceptions.

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Village of Peotone – you must live in Peotone, Washington, Will, or Wilton Townships

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City of Wilmington – you must live in Custer, Florence, Reed, Wesley, or Wilmington Townships

 The complete list of Early Voting sites in Will County is available here, from the Will County Clerk's web site.

 

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Indiana House Committee Votes Against Anti Same-Sex Marriage Amendment

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)– Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, issued the following statement today regarding an Indiana House committee voting five to five to kill a state constitutional amendment bill banning same-sex marriage. This vote by the Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee effectively kills the bill for the Indiana General Assembly session that ends April 11.  

Said Solmonese:

“Today we applaud each Indiana legislator who bravely took a stand against excluding certain families from their rights and who refused to write discrimination into their state’s constitution.  We commend Indiana Equality, Indiana Stonewall Democrats, PFLAG and our members and supporters for working to kill this harmful amendment.  We also thank our corporate allies for their support and leadership in ensuring that their employees are treated equally and fairly in Indiana.”  

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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