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Friday, May 22, 2015
City of Highland Park, Fire Department to Host Memorial Day Blood Drive to Support Firefighter’s Daughter’s Recovery    view comments tweat me share on facebook
The City of Highland Park and the Highland Park Fire Department will host a Memorial Day blood drive to support a fellow firefighter's daughter's continued fight against a rare cancer, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 23, at Headquarters Fire Station #33, 1130 Central Ave., Highland Park The blood drive is sponsored by Chicagoland blood center LifeSource. This is the second year that the fire department has supported Kylia Abbott, 2, the daughter of firefighter Nathan Abbott, with a Memorial Day blood drive. He's a former U.S. Marine who was awarded the Purple Heart during Operation Iraqi Freedom. For Abbott's colleagues, the chance to again honor his daughter with a blood drive on the military's most solemn day is the perfect fit. "We're in the career of service-including service to our own," says Highland Park Fire Chief Dan Pease. "In our endless effort to save lives, we now focus on trying to help a brother and his family in their time of need." cComments Got something to say? Start the conversation and be the first to comment. ADD A COMMENT 0 Kylia Abbott's stage four neuroblastoma diagnosis came after her one-year exam in January 2014. It's a rare cancer where malignant (cancer) cells form in nerve tissue of the adrenal gland, neck, chest, or spinal cord. Her aggressive treatment at University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital required nearly 20 blood transfusions.
Highland Park News

Aurora firefighter now battling pension board    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Firefighters know that call can come in at any time. In this case, it was around 4 a.m., even before daybreak on Sunday, May 15, 2011. Lt. Jack Westphall, leading Engine Company 4, realized immediately it was a bad one. A fully involved multi-complex fire at 760 Claim St. in Aurora. People inside. The adrenaline kicked in immediately. It was still dark en route to the fire, but long before arriving, Westphall could see smoke and flashing lights in the distance. And he could hear the screams. With the truck hooked up to the hydrant, Westphall and Engine 4 members donned air tanks and other heavy gear, then entered the building through the front door. It was pitch black, with smoke making it even more impossible to see much ... except for flames sprouting up all around, he said. A search of that first floor, where it would later be determined the fire started, turned up no one. But by this time the oxygen tanks were ringing, indicating firefighters were running short on air. The team exited the apartment, put on new tanks and went back inside.
Aurora Beacon News

Quincy man sentenced to 10 years in prison for arson, theft    view comments tweat me share on facebook
The Quincy man accused of burning down the Newcomb Hotel in 2013 was sentenced to 10 years in prison on an unrelated case Thursday afternoon, according to court records. Mathew C. Clark, 25, pleaded guilty in February to felony burglary and theft charges for stealing two delivery trucks and equipment from two Quincy businesses. He was also ordered to pay over $41,000 in restitution. Clark was arrested last August for stealing delivery trucks from County Market and Transitions, along with other equipment. He later burned down a barn in Pike County, Illinois, with the Transitions truck inside. Clark was sentenced to 7 years in prison in Pike County back in January for the same case. He pleaded guilty to arson and theft charges. The arrest came less than a year after the Newcomb Hotel burned down. Clark was accused of setting the historic building on fire, but was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to one count of felony burglary.
WGEM-TV Quincy

Wood River firefighters raising money for vets    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Individuals driving by the Wood River Fire Department on Friday might notice a different fashion statement from the city’s firefighters. Starting this week, firefighters will wear a t-shirt on Fridays to raise money and awareness for the AFFI Warrior Program, a not-for-profit program that purchases and modifies vehicles for disabled veterans. The front of shirt says “Honor the men and women who protect your family’s freedom.” Nate Kamp, an engineer paramedic with the department and president of Wood River Firefighters Local 2371, said he and other local fire departments began seriously discussing the idea in February after learning more about the program’s efforts in other parts of the state. “It just seemed like a really deserving cause. With all the resources that we have here in the Metro East, I thought we could get the locals together and pull it off and do something special here in the Metro East,” Kamp said. In total, nine local fire departments from the Metro East Professional Firefighters organization — Alton, Belleville, Collinsville, East Alton, Edwardsville, Godfrey, Granite City, Maryville and Wood River — will participate in the program with the goal of presenting a disabled veteran with a modified vehicle in September. Kamp is a co-chair of the Metro East effort.
Alton Telegraph

Thursday, May 21, 2015
Barrington sues fire district for $1.2 million in pension funds   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Barrington sues fire district for $1.2 million A lawsuit filed by Barrington Wednesday charges the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District is refusing to pay at least $1.2 million owed to a formerly joint firefighters pension fund. But the fire district, in an audit, claims it has no liability for the pension fund. The suit states that when the fire district split from the village-run fire department on Dec. 31, 2013, the pension fund was short $1.9 million. Village officials argue the fire district's leaders in 2005 agreed to pay 64.25 percent of "fire services costs," which includes pension obligations. That amounted to more than $1.2 million at the time of the split, according to the lawsuit. The village is also seeking more than $800,000 from the district in long-term disability insurance costs. "I think the agreement was pretty straightforward," said Village President Karen Darch. "I hope they will recognize that and we can avoid an extensive discussion in the judicial system." Tom Long, the president of the fire district's board, said he hadn't seen the lawsuit, but called the allegations "half-truths and falsehoods." The final price tag might actually be higher, though. The suit also contends fire district officials asked the village to recalculate the outstanding pension liabilities based on a state pension-funding formula. That calculation increased the district's costs to more than $2 million. A judge will not only have to determine whether the fire district owes the village anything, but if so, whether it's $1.2 million or the new $2 million figure. The two sides met in an attempt to resolve the dispute in September 2014, but could not agree, village officials said. Village Manager Jeff Lawler said the village was left with no recourse but to sue.
Illinois Daily Herald

Norwood Park deputy fire chief hangs up the hose   view comments tweat me share on facebook
The last day of Deputy Chief John Kovalcik's 28-year career at the Norwood Park Fire Department was marked by a farewell from the people of Norridge and Harwood Heights, who gathered at the fire station on Lawrence Avenue on May 8 for his retirement party. Although the guests who stopped by Friday afternoon to share cake, coffee and stories with Kovalcik attended the party to celebrate his retirement, Kovalcik — who started his career as a firefighter in 1987 at the Norwood Park Fire Department — said he's not quite ready to hang up his fire hat just yet. On May 26, Kovalcik will start a new job as an administrative analyst for the Des Plaines Fire Department — a position he took, he said, because he was ready for a new challenge. "Being here for almost 30 years and living in this town for my whole life — it's hard to leave my comfort zone — but it's also fun to be able to do something different and take on new challenges," Kovalcik said. "The intriguing part is that Des Plaines is three times the size of Norwood Park, so when the offer came up I decided it could be a good fit for me." The father of three daughters — Katie, 19, Ashley, 21, and Amy, 23 — has deep roots in Norwood Park Township. He went to Ridgewood High School, where he met his wife Laurie, and volunteered on the Pennoyer School Board for four years from 2007 to 2011. Between the long hours spent at the fire house, Kovalcik stayed engaged in his community by volunteering as a mentor at Pennoyer and Ridgewood schools, he said.
Norridge News

Naperville buys drone, eyes policy issues   view comments tweat me share on facebook
perville plans to put drones into use soon, although it's unclear so far exactly how, when or where it will be done. The city last month spent $1,200 on a drone – a remote-controlled, unmanned and camera-equipped aircraft – for the Fire Department. But policy issues need to be considered before drones are activated by the city, longtime city resident Todd Peterson and Mayor Steve Chirico both said this week. Peterson, who said he's been studying drones extensively, supports the devices' use for public safety purposes. He worries, however, about other ways they could be used. "There are also bad people out there that will case construction zones with droids, or drones, to find out when (crews) show up, when they leave, where the electric cables are, copper piping, that type of thing," he said, alluding to materials that frequently are stolen for their resale value. Bad people, and the potential unintended consequences of allowing anyone to have a drone, brought Peterson before the City Council Tuesday to weigh in on the matter.
Naperville Sun

Chicago: Woman stabbed, house set on fire during argument in West Pullman neighborhood   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A woman was stabbed and her house set on fire during a domestic incident Wednesday morning in the West Pullman neighborhood on the Far South Side. The 25-year-old woman was stabbed in the chest and both arms by a 27-year-old man during a dispute in the 11700 block of South Justine about 11 a.m., police said. The victim then left the house with a family member, but as they were leaving, they noticed the house was on fire, police said. A police source said the suspect is the woman's ex-boyfriend, who followed her home, stabbed her, attacked her grandfather and set the house on fire. The blaze was quickly extinguished, police said. The grandfather received only minor injuries. A firefighter suffered minor injuries and was taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said.
WFLD-TV MyFox 32 Chicago

Hancock County EMTs show passion for work   view comments tweat me share on facebook
When there is a medical emergency near Nauvoo, the Gallaher family is ready to help. Dan and Vicki Gallaher, their son, Kendall and his wife, Joanne, are all volunteers of the Nauvoo EMS service. Son Robert and his wife, Makayla, are in EMT training. “It is interesting,” said Vicki, about the family being EMTs. “We can cover for each other if one person is going to be out of town,” said Vicki who is a critical care flight paramedic as well as serving Nauvoo EMS chief. Dan is Nauvoo Fire Chief and Kendall is fire department captain. “Sometimes with a family gathering, someone has to leave in the middle. But we are all able to relate to each other. We have a good support system.” This is not unusual, according to Hancock County EMS interim coordinator, Tyler Wilson, from Warsaw, whose mother and sister are also EMTs. “Our mom did it as we were growing up. It just becomes a natural part of what we do. That takes away the fear of helping in a medical emergency,” Wilson said, obviously proud of all the men and women who stand ready to help in Hancock County. Wilson is coordinator for EMS services in the southern two-thirds of Hancock County. Nauvoo and LaHarpe communities each voted to fund ambulance services in their areas. Dallas City and several townships in the north central part of the county are served by Lomax Ambulance Service from Henderson County.
Hancock County Journal-Pilot

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