I went to a meeting a little while back.
Not at all unusual. As a teacher, library board member, parish council member, VictorFest committee chair, athletic board member, etc., etc. I’ve been to more meetings than I can count. Many were necessary and worthwhile, others not so much.
The one of which I write about here was different than the others I mentioned. It was a totally voluntary attendance on my part and it was not because I am part of a committee, organization, or board.
It was a planning workshop held at Calumet City Cty Hall on Feb. 20. When asked to sign in, I did, and under the column labeled “association or group” I marked “citizen."
A comprehensive plan for Calumet City is being made by a professional city planning group. They were contracted with a grant form the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
An extensive survey, 15,000 in number, was mailed to Calumet City residents and the survey was also available online. Almost 1,000 surveys were completed. These have been tabulated and reveal some interesting findings.
As a trustee of the Calumet City Public Library, it was edifying to see the library received the highest number of “satisfied” (as opposed to “needs improvement” and “no opinion”) responses in the category regarding people's opinions of various community services. Fire protection, garbage collection, and 911 response weren’t far behind.
As for the categories that had a higher “needs improvement” than “satisfied” rating ... I’ll let you speculate about that yourself or better yet, go to the website and view the report for yourself. calumetcity2013.wordpress.com and click on “documents."
In the “favorite things about Calumet City” category, location by far received the highest rating.
There’s a lot of talk about flooding in town, but 60 percent of the people in the survey have not experienced flooding.
I’ve mentioned before that Calumet City’s proximity to Indiana is detrimental to business in town and the survey backs that up. Most people in Cal City do their shopping in Indiana with groceries being shopped for more than anything else. That is also true of people going to eat out.
And there are a lot of other interesting insights in the report. Check it out.
Anyway, the workshop I attended was to get direct input from citizens and to let them help design what the future of Calumet City might look like. This meeting was about what they call “City Center," the area around City Hall and Memorial Park. Not too many folks came, but it was another of those nasty winter nights we’re all so tired of.
Another workshop took place earlier at the library and it was better attended. I believe there are to be more workshops too.
I don’t know if all the ideas I heard are really plausible, but I was impressed with the professional expertise shown at the workshop and in the survey report. There are realistic possibilities for Cal City’s future.
I also know the city is concerned with the future of Calumet City and that Jimmy Gigliotti, fair housing director for the city, and new economic development chief, Bryan Swanson, have been and will be working to make Calumet City a viable city in which to live, work, and do business.
A lot of people have written off Cal City and we do have significant problems, but it’s equally true that a lot of people are happy with Calumet City, speak well of it, and want its future to be progressive.
If we are to prosper, we need more of the latter.
GOOD FOR ST. FLORIAN SCHOOL
Congrats to all those who worked so hard to convince the Archdiocese to keep St. Florian School in Hegwisch open.
Thanks for reading.
I’ve never really been much of a gear head — you know, way into cars. I’ve been around for a long time, but I’ve only owned three new cars. I’ve had used ones and I tended to keep those a long time. I was a good friend of Terry Nelleman, of the former Terry’s Motors in Calumet City, but not a very good customer. He’d say if he depended on customers like me, he would starve.
But I did find myself at the Chicago Auto show last Sunday. I think it’s only my third visit. I’m not much of a fan of paying money to be advertised to. And I didn’t pay this time because I got some comp tickets from a cousin.
The Chicago Auto show is the largest on the continent and McCormick Place is probably the largest enclosed space I’ve ever been in, or is Grand Central Station larger? (I’ll get back to you on that.)
The crowd was enormous too, at times, uncomfortably so. And everyone has a camera, mostly as part of their phones. But then there’s me who not only doesn’t have a camera on his phone ... that’s right, he doesn’t have a phone.
Anyway, there were some awfully nice vehicles and their presentation and marketing was pretty impressive.
Automobiles have been and are a huge part of America. They have symbolized America’s industrial, creative, and entrepreneurial prowess. And they are the epitome of those very American traits of mobility and freedom.
On the down side, the automobile has pretty much addicted us to the burning of fossil fuels in enormous quantities. And unless you’re one of those folks who are still confused why Columbus didn’t fall off the edge, you know that burning all that fuel has caused some adverse effects on our climate.
At the auto show there were still plenty of massive vehicles which, even with efficient engines, burn a lot of fuel.
But on the flip side, there are more and more hybrid technologies which depend much less on gas. And some that don’t use any gas. Plus there were a good number of much smaller cars available
It was also interesting to see that the price of the 2014 model of the Toyota Prius, a hybrid, was the same or even a little less than what I paid for my 2008 Prius. As new technologies become more widespread, price often comes down.
I just hope we are wise enough to see and disciplined enough to act in ways that lessen the threat to our environment.
A great big crowd was in place for the annual meeting of T.F. North and T.F. South’s basketball teams. Since I’m “on the north side of fractional” I was a little down about the double defeat the Meteors (North) were handed by the Rebels (South). Particularly in the boys contest where a last-second shot by North that would have sent the game into overtime just missed.
But between the large crowd, the enthusiastic tumblers, the dance and cheer squads, the band, the honoring of the North seniors between games, the number of staff and administrators in attendance, it was a pretty good evening.
This Saturday is the annual Candlelight Bowl sponsored by the Friends of Jim Perniciaro. The event remembers Jim Perniciaro and raises money to fight cancer, the disease that took him much too early.
The time is 8:30 p.m. at the Lan-Oak Lanes, 2524 Ridge Road in Lansing. It’s a fun event and supports a great cause and remembers a great man.
For further info contact Denny Halloran at (708) 862 4874.
Thanks for reading.
Well I see that St. Florian Catholic School in Hegwisch is slated to be closed next school year by the Archdiocese of Chicago. That’s a shame.
But it’s an unfortunate financial reality that’s not uncommon these days with a lot of worthwhile enterprises.
Many factors are at play here. There are fewer school age children overall, as our birth rate continues to decline. There are fewer active Catholics these days. Various reasons can be cited for this. And some, like the priest sexual misconduct problem that’s been in the news again lately, are pretty sad and unfortunate.
The economic reality is tough. When St. Florian School like almost all other Catholic schools from around that era began, it was staffed largely by nuns. The Franciscan Sisters of Chicago served the school when it opened in the early 1900s.
As time went on, the numbers of women who dedicated themselves to service as nuns dwindled. And as many orders of nuns allowed their members to pursue ministries other than teaching, more and more lay teachers comprised the faculty and administration of the school.
Until more recent years, the good sisters were paid very little. School budgets were easier to balance and tuitions were easier burdens to bear.
That isn’t the reality anymore.
To attract and keep good lay teachers, salaries must be decent and benefits must be adequate. With that reality and the fewer numbers of kids, and not being in a high-end suburb in unsteady economic times, having a Catholic school is a tough slog.
I’m not pretending to be an expert about St. Florian. But I lived their reality 10 years ago when the Archdiocese of Chicago closed St. Victor School where I had taught for 34 years. Five other Catholic schools closed, too, that year. There was some seeming consolation then, as a new consolidated school, Christ Our Savior, was created. But that hardly made our closing any easier. And the consolidation itself created some new problems.
I do know St. Florian School as a friendly rival when I was in charge of the basketball program and was the academic coach at showdown contests for St. Victor. Also, a good friend and former co-teacher at St. Victor with me, Lyn Keever, was the longtime principal of St. Florian.
I knew St. Florian was, and I’m sure still is, a good school.
I also don’t want to be writing an obituary for St. Florian School. An effort has been mounted to save the school from closing. Since the announcing of the closing several weeks ago, the Archdiocese has given St. Florian time to arrange a plan to make up the budget shortfall.
Efforts by the school, church, alumni, and community are underway. There is a short time to convince the archdiocese that St. Florian can remain financially viable.
The school is asking people to become “angels” by making a commitment to support the effort to keep St. Floiran a viable educational option in the Hegwisch community as it has been for more than 100 years.
If you would like to help, I suggest you call the school. The number is (773) 646-2868.
Gook luck in your effort.
Thanks for reading.
Well, it’s gotten cold again.
But it’s not what I call stupid cold like what we had a week and a half ago that shut most everything down. That was pretty brutal.
I had to travel on the Monday of the polar vortex (we all learn new phrases now and then). And for an unfortunate reason, namely a funeral. And on the Tuesday it was off to Midway Airport to get my son on his flight back to New Mexico — two cancellations, but the third time was a charm. He tells me that when he got there he was amused as folks were complaining about it being cold. It was in the 40s.
We all survived though not without some travail. The notable and sad exception being the three children who lost their lives in the Hammond fire that apparently was caused by circumstances trying to heat a home against the terrible cold. A massively sad situation.
In all that cold and snow however, where would we be without the help of our intrepid TV weather reporters?
There were such great insights shared by them with us. Here are some I found particularly enlightening:
- It’s really cold outside.
- You should put on warm clothing if you go outside.
- There is a lot of snow outside.
- When the wind blows, the snow piles up in drifts.
- When the wind blows it feels colder.
- Ice is slippery.
- It’s harder to drive when roads are icy.
Pretty good advice, no? I wrote a lot of them down for future reference. Maybe you’d like to also.
End of sarcasm.
Can anyone please tell me why the TV people say and do such inane things to show us it’s cold and/or snowy? Do they assume we’ve never been outside before? Why do you tell us about the danger of frostbite while your standing out in sub zero weather often hatless? If you announced that it’s snowing outside from inside the studio, do you think we wouldn’t believe you? Can we get at least one credit hour toward a degree in meteorology by listening to Tom Skilling?
I feel better now.
I was out on Jan. 5 — that was the day of the blizzard and the cold — to see if the streak would continue.
The streak would be the St. Victor Community Meal. Every Sunday for 27 years without a miss, a meal has been served to those who need it on Sundays in St. Victor rector hall. Our recent frightful weather didn’t break that streak.
Props to Alderman/state Rep. Thaddeus Jones’ group for being there to host the meal. And a shout out to Norma Lessner and her core of helpers who organize and coordinate the endeavor.
All things considered, I believe the public works folks did a pretty decent job keeping Calumet City moving during our polar period.
Some people complain, but if we had streets and alleys cleaned as fast as some would like, we’d be paying taxes that would make Barrington's tax bill look like a bargain.
Congrats to T.F. North coach Tim Bankston and his team for the success of the Coaches vs. Cancer basketball tournament held at the high school last weekend. Some great basketball was played and money was raised for a great cause.
I note the passing of Ray Scoleri whose six kids I taught. He was a great father, coach, ref, and all around community- and church-orientated man. Peace to the family.
On Jan. 25 Ed Vockell and I will be hosting our periodic Trivia Nite Out at St. Victor church hall at 7:30 p.m. Bring snacks, buy beverages from us, have your brain tested. We always have a good time. Contact me for details.
Thanks for reading.
Well, we’re barely into this new year. This is usually a time when folks think about people of the past year and look forward to the next. So will I.
Last year saw the rise and demise of two remarkable men. Both are of great age. (I’m starting to call anyone older than I am, a person of great age.)
Jorge (cool name) Mario Bergoglio, in an unanticipated development, became Pope Francis after his predecessor did something not done in centuries; namely retire. The pope has the platform and the high profile to be heard, seen and heeded.
In a short time Pope Francis has generated, for lack of a better more theologically appropriate word, quite a buzz.
He hasn’t changed a thing about the doctrines and teachings of the Catholic Church. Changes in these matters take time, sometimes eons of time. But he has changed the tone and emphasis of the focus of the church. He’s talking about less scolding and warning about what not to do and more about lifting up and feeding those in distress and need. He’s done this with words and more powerfully, in his actions with the poor, the ill, the marginalized.
When it comes to issues that seem to divide the church and our society, I have already found myself using one of his profound comments — who am I to judge?
Hopefully, his witness will guide us in our families, our communities, in our nations, to lift up those in need.
The other man is Nelson Mandela. Earlier I used the word “demise” in regards to him, but reaching 95 years in a life so amazing, and passing on to your reward, is hardly a “demise.”
Anyone would be hard pressed to find someone more revered by a larger number of people than Nelson Mandela.
From prisoner to president. He had 27 years to foster and breed disdain and hatred for the people and the system that had unjustly imprisoned him.
But what did he do? He found ways to reconcile with the people and the system that had kept the majority of his countrymen including himself, in a kind of semi-slavery.
Sadly, in so many places today we can see how political power is fought for and used to the detriment of the people who are supposed to be served by those in power. And not just in faraway places, but here at home.
My hope for the new year is that we and our leaders are moved more in the direction that these two titanic figures have shown. From Congress and the White House to the Statehouse and governor’s mansion, to the City Council and City Hall in Calumet City, may we and our leaders tend to those in need and reconcile their differences for the common good.
SOME GOOD SIGNS
The Calumet City Fraternal Order of Police, the Calumet Memorial Park Distinct, Victor Care, and Calumet City Recourses as well as others, individually and in groups, worked to see that numerous families that could use a little lifting up were taken care of. May that spirit continue and expand through this new year.
With more that a few buildings abandoned and/or torn down in Cal City, it was neat to see one go up. Well, not actually go up, but a 12-unit apartment that had been uninhabited for at least three years has been completely rehabbed. It was cool to see some Christmas lights twinkling in one of the windows. I’m taking that as a good omen.
And there is a new business going up on Sibley on the site of the old Lincoln’s sandwich restaurant.
Happy and a hopeful new year everyone, and thanks for reading.
The opinions are solely those of the writer. George Grenchik is a longtime Calumet City resident and retired instructor at Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Well, I went to River Oaks recently. Christmas shopping should be easy for me, just the wife and my father. And it should be even easier this year than most. That’s because we are getting a new basement floor, newly painted walls, and of course, sundry other items to compliment the “new” room.
And since all this involves a notable outflow of funds, my wife and I decided to buy each other half a new couch for Christmas and not much else. But the “not much else” is the kicker for me, especially the “much” part. I shouldn’t complain. She does all the heavy shopping ... she’s very good at it. My part is the heavy check writing part.
But still what to get?
Another quandary struck me as I wound through the corridors of River Oaks in Calumet City, which is the city’s economic engine. There was a load of people, but was that enough? Carson’s and Sears always had business, but in the tight, cut-throat world of retail, they figured it was not enough, I guess, and just left. Even with some tax breaks and favorable rulings on tax appeals, Sears, an original tenant of River Oaks since its inception in 1966, left. From what I know there was little if any advance word that this might happen. Surely Sears realized that the departure of a store that large and that rooted in the community would have a profound effect. And if they didn’t have a legal responsibility to say something, you would think there would be a moral obligation. I guess business doesn’t work like that anymore.
I guess it’s good that they only recently came to a City Council meeting and expressed their concern for the well-being of the community that had for so long supported it well. Hopefully they will work with the city in doing something with the property which, unlike other tenants of River Oaks, it owns. We’ll see.
It’s sort of contradictory that the season of such important religious importance symbolized by a baby being born in a stable, is so wrapped up in consumerism to the point that the nation’s economy holds its breath to see how well the holiday spending season turns out.
Jim Bolda was a longtime Calumet City resident. He was a proud military veteran, and, like his twin brother, Jerry, was a longtime carpenter for the city of Calumet City. He and his brother also did a marvelous job at redesigning and building an almost new choir loft for St. Victor Church. Jim, like his brother Jerry, sang in St. Victor choir. A fitting tribute at his funeral was the playing of his singing of "Ave Maria." It was great hearing his powerful voice once again echo through St. Victor church.
Joe Horvath was someone, like so many others, who I met when he was a kid. I didn’t teach him, but I got to know him first as a softball player from Blackburn Park in Burnham. Back in the day when the Calumet Memorial Park District had softball leagues for both kids and adults, and I coached the Downey Park teams, I remember Joe getting the big hits to beat us.
He went on to play many years in the adult league where I saw him play many times. For my money, he was the best player I ever saw in the Cal City league. He passed way too young.
Peace to both families.
May the Christmas holidays find you and your families in good cheer and in God’s good grace.
Thanks for reading.
I hope I haven’t given up the fight, but I caved early this year.
Christmas is a grand feast day, holiday, holy day. But much of the secular Holiday Season is troublesome to me, especially the near iconic status bestowed on that most onerous, contrived “holiday”, Black Friday (which now starts on Thursday and lasts the whole weekend). I have taken to calling it Thanksgiving’s evil twin sister.
The caving in part is that I’ve decided, with urging from my wife, to help get the Christmas decorations out of the crawl space and do a little lighting of the house. I don’t do well with this. Cold weather, tangled light strands, and general ineptitude are to blame.
But I’m thinking this is all right. The religious Christmas season doesn’t technically start until Christmas Eve. The Catholic Church considers the four weeks before Christmas as Advent; a season of waiting and preparation. I’m not seeing a lot of Advent stuff in the stores or in the avalanche of advertising. But my lights and snowmen are there in preparation and watch.
There are a lot of cool things about the weeks before Christmas. One of them will be Friday. At 6 p.m. at Calumet City Hall on Pulaski and Wentworth, the city will light its Christmas decorations and welcome Santa, who, in the true Advent spirit, will be watching (he does that a lot) and preparing.
After that, a short walk to the Memorial Park field house down Wentworth Ave. will bring one to the lighting of the park district’s trees and buildings. The very fine TF North band under the able directorship of Mr. Joe Malik will perform as will the Hoover School choir. Yours truly and the St. Victor choir will also be laying out a few tunes.
And, along with some goodies, the good folks of the Calumet Memorial Park District and the City of Calumet City will present a fireworks show in the ball field behind the field house.
These season beginning festivities have always been pretty cool. Plan to stop by.
On Sunday Al Jackson the South Suburban Chorale accompanied by several excellent soloists and the Chicago Gargoyle Brass Ensemble will give a concert at St. Victor Church on Memorial Dr. and Hirsch Ave. at 4:00 pm. This is the 13th Christmas concert by the Chorale at St. Victor and the last for Al Jackson as he retires from South Suburban College. If you like really good music, do yourself a favor - stop by.
Congrats to Artie Rogers, head coach of T.F. North football, as he steps down from the position. His teams always played hard and were fun to watch. Thanks for maintaining a class program.
Congrats to the Mount Carmel football team on last week’s state championship. With coaches Frank Lenti and Mark Antonietti among others, and many of the players, there are plenty of South suburban connections.
The Calumet City, Il Pride Facebook site has doubled in size. And Carrie Steinweg has started a similar Facebook site for Lansing. Sign up.
Mike Pivoriunas passed away recently. He was a football coach at St. Victor and a baseball coach in Cal City and just a generally good guy who passed too soon. Peace to his family.
Jack Sullivan passed recently in Florida where he had retired. Jack was a policeman in Calumet City for 35 years and retired as the chief. He was the father of eight kids, five of whom I taught. And one of his granddaughters was my first grand student (child of one of my students).
Jack was just a great family, community, and church oriented man. He is one of my “breaking in” parents. Those are the ones who taught me as a young teacher about life and kids and Cal City. Peace to his family.
Thanks for reading.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.
Well, it happened again.
I was visiting a local establishment for some relaxation and refreshment. As happens, I ran into an acquaintance and exchanged a few pleasantries.
The conversation was quickly turned by him into a diatribe, very colorfully expressed and in terms not fit for a family newspaper, about the evils of his hometown, Calumet City, where this establishment happens to be (he had moved out of Calumet City some time ago).
I made it clear that I did not agree with his robust attack, much of it charged with nasty racial overtones, against his childhood and my adopted hometown. (I also think he may have ingested some bad ice.)
The instance I described is certainly not the first time I’ve encountered folks who have moved from Calumet City who in one way or the other, rant all kinds of invective about where they used to live. Other people I know who have left Cal City don’t engage in that kind of thing and often find reasons — church, park programs, civic activities, old hangouts — to come back to their former town.
I wonder what makes the difference.
It reminds me of my brother who moved to Florida. I loved him but he had this thing about bad mouthing the area where he grew up and thinking that people who stayed in the “Region” were less than smart for doing so.
I don’t get it. People move or stay in a place for all kinds of reasons. Folks may or may not agree with the reason others have for staying or leaving a city, but why not accept people’s choices without all manner of incriminating comments?
I guess some people are nostalgic and want places to be the idyllic haunts of their childhood.
Along these lines, there is a new Facebook group started by Ryan Pammer called Cal City Pride. The group looks for postings that reflect the title of the group. Pammer, as I do, peruses other groups on Facebook about Calumet City. He started this group because he was tired, as am I, of so many nasty and brainless comments bashing Cal City that seemed to crop up in some of those groups’ postings.
There are around 50 members of the group and hopefully, more to come. If you’d like to check it out, go to Cal City Pride or Ryan Pammer on Facebook. Sign up.
Congratulations to the volleyball team from Bishop Noll. They made it to the state championship game. Though they couldn’t quite pull off a state title, they had a fabulous run, and have great prospects for next year.
Speaking of volleyball, the St. Francis de Sales girls team made it to the “Sweet 16” this year. Congrats to them and their coach Arlene Ramos who is retiring after a fine coaching career at my alma mater.
Even though these aren’t the “good old days” (if there ever was such a time), we have much to be thankful for in our country and in our little piece of it. One thing for sure is our luck in escaping the worst of the storms last Sunday.
But as bad as some places in Indiana and Illinois were there was the disaster in the Philippines. I hope many will use one of the myriad vehicles of help to reach out to the survivors.
If you are looking for a way to give thanks, come to the St. Victor Thanksgiving day Mass at 9 a.m. St. Victor is on the corner of Hirsch Avenue and Memorial Drive in Calumet City. There will be some refreshments and fellowship after in our newly floored church hall.
Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for reading.
Well, with Halloween gone, we’ve passed the last commercial speed bump before the onslaught of advertising prep for the “big one” — Christmas, the season of Biblical spending. (That’s kind of ironic, no?)
And poor Thanksgiving just doesn’t get that much commercial play, except maybe for the new feast day known as Black Friday.
Actually I believe that Halloween has become the second biggest commercial holiday of them all. There’s the “treats” and the costuming and more and more, the house decorating inside and out. All in good fun mostly. There are some who see some demonic and dark overtones to the day. Well, to each his or her own.
This year I helped a little with the Calumet Memorial Park District’s Haunted Hay ride. The event occurred on the Friday and Saturday before Halloween. I worked the Saturday shift as a guide on one of the wagons loaded with hay bales which was pulled by a park district tractor. I announced myself as the “fright” attendant.
The 15-or-so minute trip through the Burnham Woods Golf Course was cool. At times it was a bumpy ride; the hay wagon is not equipped with shocks. But there were more that a few “shocks” along the way for the young, and some not so young, passengers.
A team of about 20 ghouls, goblins, and assorted other frightening characters lurked on the route. They all stopped to “visit” the passengers of our little golf course tour.
Toward the end of the trip, a disheveled young woman desperately tried to board the wagon claiming that there was someone out there wanting to do her serious harm — “I’m not making this up” as she would tell the usually stunned passengers.
Soon we all knew what she was talking about. A chainsaw wielding, zipper-faced reprobate, who spoke not except through the roar of his instrument of doom, made quick work of the poor victim. He would then jump on the outside of the wagon and observe our screaming little tour group.
I’m pretty sure what he had wasn’t a chainsaw, but it looked like one and made a loud, threatening sound. Great theater.
Anyway, it was a fun time. It’s amazing how many people love and will pay money to be scared out of their wits.
A really cool thing is that the event, which drew almost 800 “tourists” was pulled off with all volunteer help. And plenty of helped was needed. From the guides, to the “scarers” to the hot chocolate servers, to the hotdog makers, and others who I am now not remembering, around 40 or so volunteers made it happen.
Congrats to the park district and thanks to the volunteers.
The haunted hayride, and before that, the haunted house, in Calumet City had its origins from the youth group from St. Victor Parish back in the mid- to late 1980s.
St. Victor had a staff person full time for youth ministry, Sister Barb Marzewski. One of the group’s activities was to turn the four-bay priests’ garage into a haunted house. It was quite the successful venture. So successful that it outgrew its venue. The haunted house was moved to the old Memorial Park pool building, which has since been torn down.
The park district took over running the haunted house when St. Victor no longer had a full-time youth ministry. The event was moved to the Finneran Park pool building. A haunted hay ride was added and has been done for several years now.
So Halloween lives on in Cal City.
Thanks for reading.
I met up recently with some old friends from my earliest teaching days at St. Victor School in Calumet City. Tom Pietrasek, Sue Schmakel, Sister Therese Del Genio, and I taught together for several years in the early to mid 1970s.
Tom and Sue showed me that not all romances in the junior high are among the kids. Tom and Sue married soon after they had left St. Victor and have remained so for a while now (Sue may read this, so I’ll leave the exact number to your speculation).
Sister Therese left after a few years of teaching at St. Victor, but she returned at the request of the Rev. Leo Mahon not to teach again, but to do ministry work.
And minister she did. She was at the forefront of the formation of an outreach team to counsel and help the addicted. Sister Therese, with others of the good sisters of Notre Dame de Nemur, started Victor Care, an organization which worked mightily to put into action the Gospel mandated to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and give shelter to the homeless.
Victor Care exists today as CCR — Calumet City Resources. And the work remains the same: to help those in need. And some of Victor Care also remains at St. Victor to offer assistance to those in need at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and before the start of the school year.
Sister Therese was in town last Sunday for the 20th anniversary of Southwest Chicago PADS which she founded in 1993. PADS stands for Public Action to Deliver Shelter. PADS provides emergency shelter, food, clothing and referrals for people who are homeless. This is done while respecting the value and dignity and uniqueness of the people being served. PADS also tries to educate the wider population of the plight of the homeless and near homeless in our midst.
Since 2002 Southwest Chicago PADS has been permanently located on 71st Street in Chicago across from Marquette Park and very near to Holy Cross Hospital where Sue Schmakel (now Mrs. Tom Pietrasek) worked and now teaches as an X-ray tech. Old acquaintances were renewed.
Last Sunday’s meeting of the four of us, a fundraising for PADS, was the second time we had gotten together to help Sister Therese fund this most worthy cause. PADS receives no government funding (which these days is a blessing I guess). It depends on private contributions.
You can help. Southwest Chicago PADS needs contributions and volunteers. If you’re of a mind to help, you can contact the organization at (773) 737-7070 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And here in Calumet City, CCR accepts donations of in season clothing, food, and smaller household goods which are distributed to Calumet City residents in need. Monetary donations are always welcome. They are at the corner of 155th Place and Wentworth Avenue. Their number is (708) 891-9330. CCR is open from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
BIG GOLF TOURNAMENT NEWS
The first, promised to be annual, Calumet Memorial Park District Mini-Golf outing was a huge success. As many as 500 contestants ponied up $5 to compete on the exquisite mini golf course in Memorial Park. Each of the nine holes had multiple corporate and individual sponsors.
And the winner? The park district’s Needy Family Fund. The fund has been around for decades having begun under former park superintendent Sandy Wartman. The fund helps kids and families identified by local school social workers as needing some help. The fund takes care of a lot of these folks, especially at Christmas time. The mini golf tournament’s success has led to the thought of offering some scholarships to deserving kids who might need a hand.
Congrats to Director of Operations Eric Schneider who was the impetus behind this event.
Thanks for reading.
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