Follow Up: Orland drug-prevention program causes stir among community leaders
A heroin and substance-abuse prevention program presented by the Orland Fire Protection District has sparked a public spat between fire district officials and Orland Park's mayor, police chief and local school district leaders. Fire officials said the July 15 event at the district's administrative building was a straight-talk session designed to get kids and parents talking about alcohol and drug abuse, particularly heroin. Battalion Chief Michael Schofield, one of the organizers, said the presentation was "not sugarcoated."
But Orland Park's mayor and police chief said comments during the presentation falsely portrayed police and school districts as unresponsive to a growing heroin problem that Schofield, called "a terrorist attack on our children."
"I think it painted a very misleading picture of what the village, police and our schools are doing," Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin said.
"Every day, parents throughout this community ask themselves, 'Are my kids going to be safe?' 'Will they fall victim to drug or alcohol abuse?' That's horrifying enough without it being fueled with inaccurate and misleading information provided by fire district officials," Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy said in a statement issued by the village early Friday evening.
Freeport City Council approves financing for new firetruck
A new firetruck will be protecting the city in 2015. The Freeport City Council approved a financing plan for as much as $540,000 Monday to purchase the engine for the Freeport Fire Department. The loan would be paid off by 2020. The cost of the truck would be covered by local sources in the fire improvement fund through ambulance call billing.
“It’s a really good purchase for the city,” said Freeport Fire Chief Scott Miller. “It’s a good piece of equipment that is intended and designed to last us quite a long time.”
Durability will be key for the new vehicle. Miller said the custom-made pumper will be housed at the Adams Avenue station and primarily service the east side of town, allowing for a reconfiguration of the fleet. A 7-year-old engine currently at the Adams Avenue station will be moved to the central station and split duties with a ladder truck. Miller said the old engine has nearly 50,000 miles on it and is starting to show wear.
“By utilizing both of those pieces of equipment and dividing the calls that they go on, it will extend the life of both of those vehicles,” Miller said.
The new vehicle’s lifespan as a primary engine is estimated at 15 years. Miller anticipates receiving the vehicle in the spring of next year.
Following an ambulance upgrade scheduled for 2015, Miller said Freeport’s fleet will hopefully be in good standing for the long term.
Crews recover teen’s body from Third Lake, near Grayslake
Crews recovered the body of a teenager Monday night who had been swimming in far north suburban Third Lake, near Grayslake. The victim's name has not been released, but a family friend said he's 16 years old. The waters here at the time of the drowning were calm, but officials say it appears the teen was not wearing a life vest.
"It's very shocking, very surreal. It's a good bunch of kids just hanging around and having fun, and then a tragedy happens," said Mario Villanueva, Third Lake resident.
Emergency responders descended upon the serene waters of Third Lake shortly after 4:00 p.m. Monday after getting a call about a missing teenage boy who'd been on a boat with several others on the lake.
"We were informed that there was one individual missing. He was struggling while he was swimming, went down and never resurfaced," said Chief John Christian, Grayslake Fire Protection Dist.
"I can't even imagine what his family is going through, and I also think about the other kids that were with him and the guilt and the sadness they're all going to go through," said Jeanne Hendrickson, Third Lake resident.
WLS-TV ABC 7 Chicago
Fire closes Illinois state building in Springfield
The Illinois Secretary of State's office has closed its Howlett Building in Springfield for the day because of a small fire. Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker says the fire happened about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday in a mechanical room at the building, which is part of the Illinois State Capitol complex.
He says firefighters quickly put out the blaze but the air conditioning in the building isn't working and crews need to work on mechanical issues.
Druker says the agency hopes to reopen the office building on Wednesday.
The building serves between 750 and 1,000 employees and members of the public. Among the services, motorists can purchase license plates and vehicle stickers there.
Fire chiefs drub mayors in 2nd Battle of the burbs softball game in Crestwood
Crestwood Mayor Lou Presta thought it would be great for his community to see elected officials and public servants working together for a great cause. Softball and charity were the two things he used to make this possible.
“I thought it would be kind of fun to get the mayors together and play with fire chiefs,” Presta said. “We’re trying to work with all of the towns. It’s good publicity.”
The second annual “Battle in the Burbs” took place in Crestwood’s Standard Bank Stadium on Sunday night. The Battle in the Burbs is a seven-inning softball game that pits south suburban police and fire chiefs — Team Gunsmoke — against a team of Southland mayors and members of various departments, the Big Hitters.
Gunsmoke bested the Big Hitters, 19-8.
Lynwood Police detective Larry Weinbrecht participated in last year’s game.
“Obviously, this is for a great cause,” Weinbrecht said. “To play against the mayors is a lot of fun.”
Weinbrecht also said that the police and fire team wants bragging rights.