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Ribbon Cutting Monday for Water Plant Solar Arrays

solar panels at water plant
A solar panel at the water treatment plant. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The Village of Park Forest is hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, Sept. 19 to celebrate the unveiling of the roof and ground-mounted solar arrays at the water treatment plant. The event takes place at Park Forest’s Water Treatment Plant, located at 100 Park Street, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and is open to the public. 

The two-year project has been at the forefront of the village’s solar plan which includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2025. The total cost of the project was $931,000 but taking advantage of the Federal Tax Credit, the ComEd rebate, and the Illinois Shines Adjustable Block Grant Program, lowered our total estimated cost to $300,000.

Rows of solar panels
Rows of solar panels in the field west of the Water Treatment Plant necessitated building upward for the new water storage tank. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Carrie Malfeo, the sustainability coordinator for the village, says the overall goal is for the village to lead by example.

“We are a designated SolSmart Gold community,” Malfeo said. “That pretty much says that we paved the way for residents to take advantage of solar, to mount on their houses. And one of the ways we wanted to encourage that is to do it ourselves.”

underside of solar panels
The underside of a row of solar panels at the water treatment plant. (Photo: Gary K9opycinski)

Malfeo said back in 2018, they did their research and learned the water treatment facility uses the most energy and contributes the most emissions compared to other village-owned facilities.

“So, the water treatment plan is the highest consuming energy facility in the village,” Malfeo said. “So that’s why it made sense for us to work towards getting this solar project in place.”

detail of a solar panel
Detail of a solar panel at the water treatment plant. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

One of the Midwest’s largest solar design and installation firms, YellowLite, installed the solar panels. Malfeo said representatives from the company will be at the ribbon-cutting ceremony with a table to show residents a demonstration of how solar works on a smaller scale.

Solar panels west of the Water Treatment Plant.
Solar panels west of the Water Treatment Plant. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

For more information on ways to go green, click here. For questions, contact Sustainability Coordinator Carrie Malfeo at 708-503-8153 or by email at [email protected]

This news comes to us from the Village of Park Forest.

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Aggravated Assault Charge for Man Who Allegedly Approaches Little Girl: PFPD Reports Through Aug. 15, 2022

Park Forest Police watching
Park Forest Police on patrol. (Photo: PFPD)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A man was charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly told a little girl and told her he wanted to pull her pants down and spank her. This was one of the arrests police made in incidents through August 15, 2022.

Park Forest Police Blotter Reports Through August 15, 2022

Aggravated Assault

Derek L. Williams, 36, 13 Hemlock St., Park Forest, was arrested on August 9 and charged with aggravated assault when an officer was flagged down by a Subway employee to check the area around the business for a suspicious subject. The officer spoke to a customer who said that a man approached her six-year-old daughter, allegedly put his arm towards her, and allegedly said, “I want to pull your pants down and spank you,” according to the report.

The officer spoke with the subject, later identified as Derek Williams, who said that he was in Subway and saw the woman and her daughter and said he used to date the woman, according to police. After investigation, the officer discovered that this was not true, according to the report.

Mr. Williams then allegedly told the officer he does not like “kids in that way” and he just thought the little girl was cute, according to the report.

Mr. Williams has a court date of September 27 at the Markham Courthouse. A condition of his bond was that he not returned to Subway, according to the report.

Cannabis with Intent to Deliver

Lakiethie D. Wright, 26, 3002 Green St., Steger, was arrested on August 10 and charged with misdemeanor aggravated speeding, possession of cannabis, and possession of cannabis with intent to deliver when an officer conducting stationary radar on vehicles traveling eastbound on Lincoln Highway approaching Indiana Street saw a gold Pontiac allegedly traveling 76 mph in a 40 mph zone, according to police.

The officer curbed the vehicle and the driver, Lakiethie Wright, provided his driver’s license and vehicle’s valid insurance information. Police then took Mr. Wright into custody without incident on suspicion of aggravated speeding, according to the report.

Inside the vehicle, an officer recovered a camouflage book bag containing cannabis as well as a black box containing empty Ziploc bags with designs on them, a roll of clear plastic bags, and a scale, according to police. The total weight of the cannabis minus the weight of the packaging was approximately 75 grams, according to police.

Felony Obstructing Justice

Jennifer L. Scianni, 40, 414 W. Lincoln Hwy., Chicago Heights, was arrested on August 11 and charged with felony obstructing justice and issued traffic citations charging one tail light, failure to signal, and also charged with one count of obstructing identification and one count of obstructing justice.

An officer was traveling eastbound on Sauk Trail from Shabana Drive when he saw a silver Ford Explorer traveling westbound on Sauk Trail near Indianwood Boulevard. As the vehicle passed, the officer noted that the vehicle had only one working taillight, according to police. The officer conducted a U-turn and began to follow the vehicle.

Immediately after doing so, the Ford maneuvered into the two-way center turn lane and turned into the driveway of a home in the 200 block of Sauk Trail, allegedly failing to signal, according to police. The officer activated the emergency lighting on his patrol vehicle and positioned his vehicle behind the Ford, according to police.

The officer identified the Illinois registration of the car and learned that the registration was for a 2019 Cadillac, not a Ford Explorer, according to police.

The officer approached the vehicle and spoke with the driver who was later identified as Jennifer Scianni. The officer informed Ms. Scianni of the reason for the stop and asked for her driver’s license and proof of insurance. Ms. Scianni could provide neither and stated that she had just recently purchased the vehicle and provided the officer with an Illinois title, according to police.

The officer asked Ms. Scianni her name and date of birth and she allegedly told the officer a name different from Jennifer L. Scianni. She also provided an address in Flossmoor as her address, according to police.

The officer returned to his patrol vehicle and learned that the name of the woman Ms. Scianni allegedly provided was an actual person who had of valid Illinois driver’s license but with a different address than that provided by Ms. Scianni, according to police. The officer also received a driver’s license photo of the woman whose name Ms. Scianni provided and the image did not resemble Ms. Scianni, according to police.

When told about the photo discrepancy, Ms. Scianni allegedly told the officer that the photo actually belong to her cousin, according to police. The officer then returned to his patrol vehicle and conducted numerous inquiries to try to identify the cousin. While doing so, another officer who had arrived on the scene called the original officer and informed him that Ms. Scianni had shown him the settings application on her phone which stated that the phone actually belong to a “Jennifer,” according to the report.

At this time, Ms. Scianni then allegedly stated that her name was on the vehicle title that she provided the officer earlier. The officer inspected the title which stated that Jennifer Scianni was the person who purchased the vehicle, according to the report. The officer then instructed Ms. Scianni to exit the vehicle and she complied.

Police took her into custody on suspicion of obstructing identification. While processing her, the arresting officer learned that Ms. Scianni had two arrest warrants against her, one from Cook County on a charge of retail theft and another warrant from the Hodgkins Police Department also on a charge of retail theft, according to the report.

Warrant

Kristin D. Tribett, 23, 21837 Merrill Ave., Sauk Village, was arrested on August 12 and processed on a bond forfeiture warrant out of Will County on a charge of forgery and issued a municipal citation charging expired registration when an officer on patrol observed a Chevy Equinox allegedly traveling 50 mph in a 35 mph zone eastbound on Sauk Trail from Orchard Avenue, according to police.

About Police Reports

Please note that we repeatedly say “according to police” in these reports and often use the word “allegedly.” We are not asserting in any way that those arrested and/or charged have committed any offenses. We report on what is in the media reports furnished by police. As those charged are innocent until proven guilty, the burden is on prosecutors and police to prove all alleged crimes.

eNews Park Forest has always published the addresses of those arrested and will continue to do so. 5 ILCS 140/2.15 states that the governmental body (for these reports, the Police Department), shall release information on those who have been charged, including their name, age, and address. This information is necessary to ensure the proper identity of those arrested.

An arrest does not mean that a person is guilty. All those arrested are presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is the policy of eNews Park Forest to not remove items in the public record from publication. If your name is listed in the police reports, we will only add information relevant to the final disposition of the case at hand, e.g. “Mr. Smith was subsequently acquitted,” “Mr. Smith entered a guilty plea,” or “All charges against Mr. Smith were subsequently dropped.” We will do so upon receiving and verifying proof of such disposition.

All of the incidents in this report were captured on body-worn and/or dash-mounted cameras by officers at the respective scenes, according to police. All Park Forest police officers wear body-worn cameras. These devices are now typically abbreviated BWC in the reports.

Persons wishing to leave anonymous information on any criminal matters including narcotics or gang activity are encouraged to call the Park Forest Police Department Investigations Division at (708) 748-1309.

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Altered Sign Creates Confusion About Opening of Somonauk Nature Adventure Park

banner showing a lagoon with opening date at the top
The sign announcing the opening of the Somonauk Nature Park was modified without village permission to show 2024. The “4” has now been removed, restoring the date to 2022. (Photo John Hudzik)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Residents visiting Somonauk Park over the last couple of weeks may have been surprised to see the banner proclaiming the opening date of the Nature Adventure Park altered from 2022 to 2024.

eNews Park Forest contacted Kevin Adams, Park Forest Director of Recreation, Parks & Community Health, who stated the sign alteration was not done by the village and was not authorized. The sign has been restored and currently shows the original 2022 date.

The individual responsible for altering the sign is not known, but a photo showing the 2024 date generated a significant response on social media.

Adams, who assumed the Director post when Rob Gunther retired last month, stated that the village will be providing updated information soon. Residents living near the park will receive an update by mail within a week. Details will then be shared on the village website and social media.

The original village plan called for the park, which will feature kayaking, fishing, and zip lines, to open in the Summer of 2022. Delays due to the pandemic, equipment availability, and labor strikes caused that date to be missed. In July, Gunther reported that he hoped to have the majority of the park open by the end of this year, with kayaking delayed until Spring, 2023.

eNews Park Forest will update the information when it becomes available.

Somonauk Park
Somonauk Park is still on its way to completion. (MGN)
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Cook County’s Racial Equity Week Begins Monday

racial justice
Credit: wildpixel

Cook County, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Monday marks the kick-off of Cook County’s fourth annual Racial Equity Week, to be held September 12-16, 2022. This year’s theme “Many People, One Goal” reflects the breadth and depth of the County’s diverse residents and the desire for a thriving, safe and just county for all.

This year, Cook County will continue to offer a week of events available to the public and to Cook County employees. Some events will be held in-person and outside, following public health guidelines, and most events will continue to be offered virtually. Events during the week will be posted on the County’s website and details will be shared on social media.

“Racial Equity Week presents a unique opportunity for Cook County residents, community leaders and stakeholders to engage in meaningful dialogue on race at all its intersections,” said President Preckwinkle. “The events being hosted this week promote the well-being of everyone in Cook County regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or national origin. I encourage the public to participate and look forward to using the outcomes from these discussions to advance racial equity in Cook County.”

Racial Equity Week 2022
Racial Equity Week 2022

See below for a full list of events:

Monday

Racial Equity Week Kick-off Event in the Forest Preserves of Cook County

Where: Thatcher Woods Pavilion – 8030 Chicago Avenue, River Forest, IL 60305 (Register here)

When: Monday, September 12 |10:30 AM -11:30 AM

What: President Preckwinkle will join residents and County officials for a “Culture and Healing Connections in Nature” event. Forest Preserves of Cook County Naturalists at River Trail Nature Center will lead a walk in Thatcher Woods and provide space to share cultural and healing connections to nature.

White Supremacist Ideology and Indoctrination Conversation Presented by Simon Weisenthal Center

Where: Virtual Event (Register here)

When: Monday, September 12 | 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

What: The event will feature a one-on-one moderated discussion between Simon Wiesenthal Center Midwest Director Alison Pure-Slovin and ex-Nazi Jeff Schoep on understanding white supremacist indoctrination.

Tuesday

CMAP Talks: How can we design safe and complete streets with an equity lens?

Where: Virtual Event (Register here)

When: Tuesday, September 13 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

What: Join Victoria Barrett from Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, representative policy makers and planners from the Northeastern Illinois region, and Cook County’s Department of Transportation and Highways to talk about designing safer streets for all. Traffic safety, especially for people walking and cycling, has never been more urgent in Cook County. Decades of racial inequity and discrimination in planning policy and design have led to inequities in streetscapes that cause safety issues, while conversations around traffic safety often focus on enforcement. In this moderated discussion and Q&A, panelists will discuss how residents can design safer streets for all and create more vibrant, walkable communities with an equity lens.

A Candid Conversation with Native Americans Reflecting on the Urban Indian Relocation Program 60 Years Later

Where: Virtual Event (Register here)

When: Tuesday, September 13 | 5:00 PM – 6:15 PM

What: President Preckwinkle will join key leaders in the Cook County Indigenous community for a candid discussion of the Urban Indian Relocation Act of 1948, the subsequent Urban Indian Relocation Program and the unintended consequences that continue to impact our region today. Panelists include Kim Vigue, Executive Director of the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, Native Filmmaker Robert Hicks, Native Funder Cindy Soto. The panel will be moderated by Native Scholar Dr. Meredith McCoy.

Wednesday

Illinois Muslims: Needs, Assets, and Opportunities – Cook County Roundtable

Where: Virtual Event (Register here)

When: Wednesday, September 14 | 12:00 PM -1:00 PM

What: Cook County is the most diverse County in Illinois. Within that population is the largest per capita Muslim population in the state – and the nation. Who are Cook County’s Muslim population? What are their needs and assets? Join Dr. Dilara Sayeed, President, IL Muslim Civic Coalition, and Dr. Joseph Hoereth, Director, Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement, University of Illinois Chicago, to learn about the findings of the recent report “Illinois Muslims: Needs, Assets, and Opportunities,” and to have a conversation about opportunities to support and collaborate with Cook County’s Muslim communities. 

Emergency Management and Regional Security (EMRS) Preparedness Fair

Where: Daley Plaza, 118 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL

When: Wednesday, September 14 | 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

What: Participants are invited to engage with the #RacialEquityWeek table at Cook County’s Preparedness Fair. Members of the Racial Equity Leadership Council will be on hand to answer questions, share resources and talk about why racial equity matters in Cook County and across the nation.

The First 1,800 Days

Where: Virtual Event (Register Here)

When: Wednesday, September 14 | 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

What: President Preckwinkle will join Erikson Institute President & CEO Dr. Mariana Souto-Manning for a virtual discussion about the importance of the first 1,800 days of a child’s life through a racial equity lens. The discussion will center on how we can ready our schools to build on the brilliance and strength of our children and focus on the whole system that will do right for the majority of children today.

Championing the Unsung: A Fireside Chat with filmmaker Adewole A. Abioye and Cook County Manager of Archives Skyla S. Hearn

Where: Virtual Event (Register here)

When: Wednesday, September 14 | 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

What: This event will include screenings of Adewole A. Abioye’s original works Red & Purple (2011) and My Father Lives Here (Unreleased). Following the film screenings, there will be a discussion highlighting the importance of the role of media to document and preserve the experiences and voices of underrepresented individuals, communities and movements. Abioye is a filmmaker that lives and works in Chicago. His cinema seeks to champion underrepresented voices through the prism of race, identity, history and place.

Thursday

Cook County United Against Hate Community Activation Event featuring the Mobile Art Cart of William Estrada

Where: Tyner Interpretive Center, 2400 Compass Road, Glenview, IL (Register here)

When: Thursday, September 15 | 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM

What: Join Cook County United Against Hate for an interactive event designed for residents to learn and begin to take action against hate in all its forms. Participants will explore this initiative through art, social justice stations, cultural exchange and educational opportunities.

Friday

Dare to Connect: Turbulent Times, Courageous Stories Live Storytelling with Dr. Ada Cheng

Where: Virtual Event (Register here)

When: Friday, September 16, | 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

What: Professor turned storyteller Dr. Ada Cheng will present a curated series of intersectional and personal narratives by local performers that follow the theme of this year’s Racial Equity Week.

For a list of events and details, visit www.engagecookcounty.com/racialequity

All virtual events will be livestreamed on www.facebook.com/cookcountygov

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A Tower Rises in the Village

leaf lifted to new water tower
A leaf is lifted in early August to the new elevated water storage tank. (Photo: Chief Water Plant Operator Wendy Schafer)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A tower rises in the Village of Park Forest. The new water edifice is currently under construction just east of the Water Plant and will replace the in-ground storage tank nearby. It will hold half-a-million gallons of water once completed, according to Director of Public Works Roderick Ysaguirre.

The project shows in the 2022/2023 Capital Plan at $3.389 million. The engineering behind the project was $124,450. According to Village Manager Tom Mick, the project came together through funding from the CARES Act of 2020 (a COVID-19 aid and relief project from the federal government), allocations from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), a low-interest IEPA loan, and local funds.

A worker welds leaves of the new water tower together.
A worker welds leaves of the new water tower together beside the blue dome of the current concrete storage tank. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

The original concrete storage tank structure is developing stress cracks, is leaking, and is reaching the end of its design life, according to Village engineers.

Another water tower was built several years ago at Autumn Ridge to boost water pressure for that neighborhood. It was former Trustee Katie Armstrong who spoke up at a budget meeting after Fire personnel shared concerns about water pressure in case of a structure fire at the Autumn Ridge Apartments. The Park Forest Fire Department and Public Works called for the project and Trustee Armstrong suggested at the time that the board consider prioritizing that tower.

As a member of that board at that time, I recall we all agreed.

Water storage tower
The water storage tower from west of the Water Treatment Plant. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

The Village is not building this tower because of concerns regarding water pressure. Currently treated water flows from the water treatment plant to the concrete storage tank and then, as needed, flows back to the plant where it is shot into the system via two high-intensity pumps. When the new tower goes online, these pumps will be used instead to fill the storage tower. Water will then flow to the distribution system from the tower, this time pressurized by gravity.

Rows of solar panels
Rows of solar panels like this one in the field west of the Water Treatment Plant necessitated the Village reaching upward for the new water storage tank. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

All in all, this appears to be a good move for the Village of Park Forest. But why a water tower? Why not another in-ground concrete tank?

Solar panels west of the Water Treatment Plant.
Solar panels west of the Water Treatment Plant. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

According to Chief Water Plant Operator Wendy Schafer, up was the only direction possible after a solar panel array was built on the land west of the Water Plant. The Village will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for the solar panel array on September 19, Monday, at 6:00 PM. These solar panels are slated to save the Village over $56,000 a year, offsetting the energy demand for the Water Treatment Plant by 45% according to current estimates.

We will have more on the solar panel unveiling and that project in general shortly.

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Pot Use and Driving Don’t Mix: Police Blotter Reports Through August 8, 2022

impaired driving on marijuana, DUI
An officer made it very clear to a Park Forest man: one can get a DUI when driving under the influence of marijuana. (MGN)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Two men were charged with unlawful possession of adult-use cannabis in a motor vehicle. One of the men told police he was aware that one could get a DUI “in some countries” from smoking pot and driving. The officer told him he was in one of those countries.

These reports cover arrests from August 2 and August 8, 2022. Other incidents include a DUI, criminal damage to property, and criminal trespass.

Park Forest Police Blotter Reports Through August 8, 2022

Unlawful Possession of Adult-use Cannabis in a Vehicle

Jahiem R. Williams, 21, 14511 Sawyer Ave., Midlothian, was arrested on August 2 and issued traffic citations charging failure to signal when required, improper lane usage, operation of an uninsured motor vehicle, failure to yield to an authorized emergency vehicle, and unlawful possession of adult-use cannabis in a motor vehicle. Mr. Williams has a court date of September 13 at the Will County Courthouse.

The arresting officer noted an odor of cannabis emanating from his vehicle and also observed small amounts of cannabis “shake” on the passenger floorboard and near the shifter, according to the report. Mr. Williams also had colorful ziplock bags, an open green/yellow “Cannaa Banana” ziplock bag that had no dispensary label, and another ziplock bag with approximately 2 grams of cannabis flower with a CA (California) state label.

The baggies containing the cannabis were not in a sealed, child-resistant, odor proof
container, according to the police.

Police also found in his possession 17 debit cards that were not imprinted in his name, according to police. Police are investigating why Mr. Williams had the recovered debit cards.

Police pulled Mr. Williams over when they saw a white Dodge charger traveling southbound on Western Avenue that maneuvered from the left-hand lane into the left-hand turn lane at Steger Road allegedly without signaling, according to police. When the Dodge was given a green light and proceeded to turn eastbound onto Steger Road, the vehicle did so again allegedly without signaling, according to police.

Warrant

Jimmy D. Sorrell, 22, 1023 Ashridge Lane, University Park, and taken into custody on a bond forfeiture warrant out of Will County when an officer saw a Pontiac G6 with expired registration driving on Sauk Trail, according to police.

Unlawful Possession of Adult-use Cannabis in a Vehicle

Troy X. Newborn, 24, 341 Merrimac St., Park Forest, was arrested on August 5 and issued traffic citations charging unlawful possession of adult-use cannabis in a motor vehicle and unlawful consumption of cannabis in a motor vehicle.

An officer was dispatched to the area of Indianwood Boulevard and Sock Trail to assist a motorist, according to police. SouthCom Dispatch related that a black SUV was stopped in traffic with no lights on. When the responding officer arrived he found a black Jeep renegade stopped in the middle of traffic with no lights on. Behind the vehicle was a man later identified as Troy X. Newborn, according to the report.

The officer approached the vehicle and spoke with Mr. Newborn, asking him if he was out of gas. Mr. Newborn said that he was not and just needed a jump. The officer asked if Mr. Newborn had anyone on the way to assist him and Mr. Newborn said that roadside assistance was on their way, according to police.

The officer offered to help Mr. Newborn move the Jeep out of traffic until help arrived but Mr. Newborn said that the vehicle could not be put into neutral because it was a push-to-start vehicle, according to police. The officer shared with Mr. Newborn that such vehicles have an override cable which is usually located near the center console and offered to help Mr. Newborn locate that cable.

Mr. Newborn accepted the officer’s help and the officer opened his car door to search for the switch, according to police.

Immediately after opening the door of the vehicle, the officer noted that a “copious amount of smoke billowed from within the vehicle, along with the strong odor of burnt cannabis,” according to the report.

The officer questioned Mr. Newborn about the cannabis and asked if Mr. Newborn had been smoking cannabis in the vehicle to which Mr. Newborn allegedly replied, “Yeah.” The officer asked Mr. Newborn why and Mr. Newborn said that it was something he sometimes did and had been doing for a while, according to police.

The officer then asked Mr. Newborn if he realized he could get a DUI for smoking and driving to which Mr. Newborn said that he was aware but “only in some countries,” according to the report. The officer informed him that he was in such a country and could get a DUI here in this country if he was smoking and driving, according to police.

The officer did not issue him a DUI, according to the report.

DUI

Keahnna M. Thompkins, 27, 3536 William St., Steger, was arrested on August 7 and issued traffic citations charging improper Lane usage, failure to signal, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, violation of child restraint, and driving under the influence of alcohol. Ms. Thompkins was additionally charged with one count of endangering the life or health of a child, according to police. Details of this incident are here.

Criminal Damage to Property

Detrice L. Smith, 49, 1537 Greenwood Ave., Ford Heights, 7-Eleven damage to property. Upon arriving, an officer observed that a chain-link fence that typically stands upright on the exterior of the business had been knocked over, according to police. An officer met with an employee who pointed out one man, Detrice Smith, who had allegedly caused the damage to the fence, according to police. The officer reviewed security footage of the incident and was able to identify the subject who allegedly caused the damage, according to police. By that time, Mr. Smith was at the nearby Shell Gas Station.

When an officer approached Mr. Smith, he found that Mr. Smith had signs of intoxication: slurred speech, balancing issues, and bloodshot eyes, according to police.

Mr. Smith claimed that he had not been at 7-Eleven and that officers should look at security cameras. At that time, police took Mr. Smith into custody and applied handcuffs, according to police. According to the report, on the surveillance video Mr. Smith can be seen walking up to the chain-link fence in question, not appearing to stumble, and pulling the fence toward him, causing the fence to fall over and damage the frame and a handle of the gate, according to police.

Police charged Mr. Smith and released him with an I-Bond. Due to Mr. Smith’s intoxicated state, an officer provided Mr. Smith a ride to the Beacon Hill area, per his request, where a member of his family lives, according to police.

Criminal Trespass

Derek L. Williams, 36, 13 Hemlock St., Park Forest, and charged with criminal trespass to real property and processed on a warrant charging criminal trespass to real property when police responded to a business in the first block of Main Street in reference to a report of an unwanted subject. The report notes that the responding officer has had more than a dozen encounters with Mr. Williams and Mr. Williams had previously been banned from the business, according to police. The officer informed Mr. Williams that he would need $2,075.00 To post bond on the warrant, according to the report.

About Police Reports

Please note that we repeatedly say “according to police” in these reports and often use the word “allegedly.” We are not asserting in any way that those arrested and/or charged have committed any offenses. We report on what is in the media reports furnished by police. As those charged are innocent until proven guilty, the burden is on prosecutors and police to prove all alleged crimes.

eNews Park Forest has always published the addresses of those arrested and will continue to do so. 5 ILCS 140/2.15 states that the governmental body (for these reports, the Police Department), shall release information on those who have been charged, including their name, age, and address. This information is necessary to ensure the proper identity of those arrested.

An arrest does not mean that a person is guilty. All those arrested are presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is the policy of eNews Park Forest to not remove items in the public record from publication. If your name is listed in the police reports, we will only add information relevant to the final disposition of the case at hand, e.g. “Mr. Smith was subsequently acquitted,” “Mr. Smith entered a guilty plea,” or “All charges against Mr. Smith were subsequently dropped.” We will do so upon receiving and verifying proof of such disposition.

All of the incidents in this report were captured on body-worn and/or dash-mounted cameras by officers at the respective scenes, according to police. All Park Forest police officers wear body-worn cameras. These devices are now typically abbreviated BWC in the reports.

Persons wishing to leave anonymous information on any criminal matters including narcotics or gang activity are encouraged to call the Park Forest Police Department Investigations Division at (708) 748-1309.

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PFPD: Steger Woman Gets DUI with Infant in Car

TimStrong Squad 204 police pfpd
The #TimStrong Squad 204 of the Park Forest Police Department. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A Steger woman was charged with a DUI after she allegedly sped down the center turn lane on Western Avenue, drifted between lanes, and struck a curb, all with an infant in the back seat.

Keahnna M. Thompkins, 27, 3536 William St., Steger, was arrested on August 7 and issued traffic citations charging improper lane usage, failure to signal, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, violation of child restraint, and driving under the influence of alcohol. Ms. Thompkins was additionally charged with one count of endangering the life or health of a child, according to police.

An officer was traveling northbound on Western Avenue from Trail at 2:33 AM when he saw a car traveling southbound on Western Avenue from Main Street at a high rate of speed, according to police. Using his front-mounted radar unit the officer found that the vehicle was traveling at 55 mph in a posted 35 mph zone while driving in the center two-way turning lane, according to police.

The officer conducted a U-turn and began following the vehicle southbound. The vehicle was still driving in the center two-way turn lane but then maneuvered back into the left-hand lane, according to police. The officer activated his squad vehicle’s emergency lighting and attempted to catch up to the car. While traveling southbound after passing Indianwood Boulevard, the officer noted that the vehicle began to veer left and right in the left-hand lane, according to police. The vehicle then allegedly maneuvered into the curb lane without signaling, according to police.

The car then struck the curb near Court H-2, according to police.

The officer caught up to the car as it turned westbound onto Hemlock Street from Western Avenue. The officer was now able to identify the vehicle as a silver Pontiac and could read the car’s registration. The vehicle finally curbed on Hemlock Street just west of Western Avenue, according to police.

Keahnna M. Thompkins
Keahnna M. Thompkins. (Photo: PFPD)

The officer approached the vehicle and spoke with the driver, identified as Keahnna M. Thompkins. Ms. Thompkins was unable to provide either a driver’s license or proof of insurance and stated that she did not have them on her person, according to police. The officer asked where she was coming from and Ms. Thompkins told the officer she had been at McDonald’s.

The officer noted an infant in the back seat in a front-facing child seat with no restraints on, according to police. The infant was 20 days old, according to the report.

The officer requested that Ms. Thompkins exit the vehicle and perform a standardized field sobriety test and she complied. Afterward, the officer informed her that she was under arrest on suspicion of DUI and she was taken into custody, according to police.

After being taken into custody, Ms. Thompkins “became irate and belligerent with officers and began yelling that if anything she was high on weed,” according to the report.

Ms. Thompkins was later released on an I-Bond and assigned a mandatory court appearance on September 27, 2022. Police provided Ms. Thompkins with all citations, the Illinois Warning to Motorist, Law Enforcement Sworn Report, Tow Report, and Administrative Vehicle Seizure, according to the report.

About Police Reports

Please note that we repeatedly say “according to police” in these reports and often use the word “allegedly.” We are not asserting in any way that those arrested and/or charged have committed any offenses. We report on what is in the media reports furnished by police. As those charged are innocent until proven guilty, the burden is on prosecutors and police to prove all alleged crimes.

eNews Park Forest has always published the addresses of those arrested and will continue to do so. 5 ILCS 140/2.15 states that the governmental body (for these reports, the Police Department), shall release information on those who have been charged, including their name, age, and address. This information is necessary to ensure the proper identity of those arrested.

An arrest does not mean that a person is guilty. All those arrested are presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is the policy of eNews Park Forest to not remove items in the public record from publication. If your name is listed in the police reports, we will only add information relevant to the final disposition of the case at hand, e.g. “Mr. Smith was subsequently acquitted,” “Mr. Smith entered a guilty plea,” or “All charges against Mr. Smith were subsequently dropped.” We will do so upon receiving and verifying proof of such disposition.

All of the incidents in this report were captured on body-worn and/or dash-mounted cameras by officers at the respective scenes, according to police. All Park Forest police officers wear body-worn cameras. These devices are now typically abbreviated BWC in the reports.

Persons wishing to leave anonymous information on any criminal matters including narcotics or gang activity are encouraged to call the Park Forest Police Department Investigations Division at (708) 748-1309.

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Bats and Medicare: Park Forest Library Announces October Events

Park Forest Public Library

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Interested in learning about bats (the flying kind, not baseball) or would like a little help navigating the intricacies of Medicare? How about a Zoom discussion with acclaimed author, Jesmyn Ward, a Fall-themed craft kit, or a book group discussion? Whatever your interests, the Park Forest Public Library has you covered in October.

logo showing a flying black bat
Incredible Bats will bring bats and other creatures to the Library on October 18 (Image PFPL)

For something a little different, and to get you into the Halloween spirit, stop by the library on Tuesday, October 18 at 5 p.m. for the “Incredible Bats! Live Bat Show.”  Dan and Sharon Peterson from Incredible Bats will be bringing some of their bats and other creatures for you to meet and learn a little more about. Registration is required and opens on September 19. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Following their recent workshops on Medicare Fraud, the library is hosting a Medicare Awareness session from DM Consulting Service on Tuesday, October 25 at 11 a.m. in the Ringering Room. Registration is required and opens at 9 a.m. on October 17. More information on the program is available from Katherine Goosby on 708-748-3731, extension 18.

Photo of woman sitting in a chair with image of a book in front
Jesmyn Ward is the featured speaker at October’s Illinois Libraries Present series. (Image PFPL)

Jesmyn Ward is the featured speaker for October’s Illinois Libraries Present session at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 12 via Zoom. Ward is a two-time National Book Award winner, most recently for “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” a novel about a family living in the fictional town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi. The book was named one of the New York Times’ Ten Best Books of 2017. A professor of creative writing at Tulane University, Ward will discuss how her experiences with social injustice influenced her literary vision. Online registration is now open.

book cover with iamge a woman with hair blowing in the wind
“Nightcrawling” by Leila Mottley is the featured book in October for the Rooted in Truth Book Club (Image PFPL)

The Rooted in Truth Book Club will meet on Monday, October 31 at 11 a.m. in the library’s Ringering Room. The October book is the New York Times Best Seller, “Nightcrawling” by Leila Mottley. The Rooted in Truth Book Club focuses on books written by authors of color (including, but not limited to, American, Caribbean, African, and European authors). The book is available for pick-up at noon on October 3. For more information contact Kaitlyn at [email protected].

drawing of lectern on stage
PFPL Image

The library is resuming its Virtual Potpourri of Lectures in October with sessions focused on healthcare. Discussions are held each Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via Zoom. Information on the topic to be covered each week, as well as instructions to access the Zoom session, is posted on the library website.

The Life Ripples Book Club will meet at the library on Saturday, October 22, at 12:30 p.m. This month the club will discuss “The Haunting of Hill House,” a classic gothic horror story by Shirley Jackson which was made into two feature films. For more information or to obtain a copy of the book, call 708-747-3731, extension 16.

There are several craft projects available to patrons during October including a Gnome Mystery Painting kit (for 50+), a Moon Macrame Wall Hanging kit (adults), a Hocus Pocus Diamond Painting kit (teens), and a Diwala Lantern kit (teens/adults). Details on the projects and registration can be found on events page of the library website.

Additional details and registration links for October events appear on the library’s monthly water bill insert (shown below) or at pfpl.org/calendar. Information on the remaining September events can be found here.

The library is located at 400 Lakewood Boulevard and is open for all services from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

October-2022-Water-Bill

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One Man Dead After Two Shot on Gold Street

police line do not cross
(Credit: 11Alive / YouTube)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- One man is dead and a woman injured after two people were shot on Gold Street Wednesday evening according to a statement released by police. The statement was issued Thursday afternoon.

Police and Paramedics were dispatched to the 200 block of Gold Street in Park Forest on Wednesday, September 7, 2022, at approximately 8:11 PM after a report that two people had been shot while standing near the rear of their residence, according to police.

Responding officers discovered a 33-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman who had each been shot multiple times, police said.

Officers immediately began assisting with medical care until the paramedics’ arrival. The injured subjects, both Park Forest residents, were rushed to Franciscan Saint James Hospital in Olympia Fields and later transferred to a regional trauma center.

The man died, succumbing to his injuries. The woman currently is hospitalized in stable condition, police said.

Gold Street runs between East and West Rocket Circle south of Lakewood Boulevard near Freedom Hall.

The Illinois State Police Crime Scene Investigation Unit responded to process the crime scene and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force was requested to assist the Park Forest Police Department Investigations Unit.

Preliminary investigation indicates that this shooting was not random and there is no ongoing threat to the public, police said. Police said they are not releasing additional information at this time as the incident remains an active investigation.

Anyone with information about this crime is urged to contact the Park Forest Police Department Investigations Unit at (708) 748-1309.

“The members of the Park Forest Police Department extend their condolences to the family and friends of both victims and pledge their full efforts in bringing those responsible for this crime to justice,” police said in the statement.

The red mark below shows Gold Street but not the location of the shooting. Police have not released that information.

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Marist High School To Announce Expansion of its Campus

The new complex is slated to support the school’s college preparatory curriculum, athletic and arts programming, as well as alumni and prospective student outreach.

A rendering of the expanded facility at Marist High School.
A rendering of the expanded facility at Marist High School. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Marist High School announces the expansion of its Mt. Greenwood campus with the purchase of a 75,000 sq. ft. facility, located in Palos Heights, Illinois. The building will undergo extensive renovations and once complete is slated to provide a state-of-the-art indoor center to support the school’s growing college preparatory curriculum, developing athletic and arts programming, as well as ongoing alumni and prospective student outreach.

The conceptual design of the 75,000-square-foot complex consists of four sections: two turf arenas, one all-purpose court, as well as three multi-purpose rooms located at the east end of the complex. The facility will feature cutting-edge flooring, lighting, and playing surfaces designed to accommodate any type of activity. Additionally, divider curtains will separate each section into smaller areas. Further amenities will include air conditioning, boys’ and girls’ locker rooms, concessions, and a full line of audio-visual equipment.

“Our commitment to excellence drives us to continually be forward-thinking,” shared Larry Tucker, President of Marist High School. “This facility is an investment not only in the future of our school, but in our holistic approach to educating and caring for the body, mind, and spirit of each and every student, alumni, donor, and community member.”

The development of the facility will provide infrastructure relief to Marist High School’s main campus. The new space will enhance the welfare of the entire student body, expand sports medicine, sports performance, and athletic training opportunities within the school’s curriculum and co-curricular offerings, and increase alumni, student, and future RedHawk engagement. The indoor center also will create a year-round, climate-controlled venue for mission retreats, band practices, and performances, as well as event space for reunions, leagues, and more.

“The school’s facilities are consistently maxed, utilizing every available space,” said Meg Dunneback, Principal of Marist High School. “The new facility allows us the opportunity to further support initiatives related to student mental health and wellness while building a curriculum that leads into many of the advanced fields our students are looking to enter once they complete high school and beyond.”

As Marist redevelops the complex located along Ridgeland Ave. in Palos Heights, Illinois, the school is working with an exploratory committee to refine facility utilization and operations. 

This story was provided by Marist High School

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