My turn

Here's hoping Cal City can find replacement for Sears

2013-12-19T00:00:00Z 2013-12-19T14:05:07Z Here's hoping Cal City can find replacement for SearsGeorge Grenchik Times Columnist
December 19, 2013 12:00 am  • 

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.

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

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