Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This One's for Gina

On December 6th, 2008, Chicago Police Sergeant and long-time Mount Greenwood resident, Gina Dwyer-Meliska, suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of a condition called Apical Ballooning Syndrome (ABS). Although she was fortunate enough to receive CPR moments after her collapse, Gina was without oxygen for several minutes and remains in a minimally conscious state, changing the course of her life.

Although Gina's condition has stabilized, her biggest concern remains to be any neurological damage that may have occurred due to her loss of oxygen. Gina initially spent 17 days in ICU and has transferred to acute long-term care facilities. Unfortunately, Gina has faced many setbacks that interrupt her therapy. At this point, Gina faces indefinite, long-term care which will put a financial burden on the family.

Through this ordeal, it has become increasingly obvious how many hearts and lives Gina has touched throughout the years. First and foremost, Gina has always put her family in the number one position. Gina has a husband and three children all of whom Gina adores. Although they have been devastated by her illness, the family has been surviving with an outpouring of love from family, friends, and community.

With that being said, Gina is a remarkable, dedicated individual that has always contributed her time and efforts to others, working on countless benefits and in organizations going above and beyond the call of duty. Gina has been a dear friend and mentor to many, always seeing the good in a person and pushing those she knew to do their personal best, all while achieving her own personal goals: whether it be running a marathon or working towards her Masters degree, Gina has always been an inspiration.

It is at this time that we are asking for your help to aid the Dwyer-Meliska family. Please join us for a benefit:

11 July 2009

115 Bourbon Street

3359 West 115th street

3-8 pm

There will be food, fun, beverages and prizes! If you are unable to make it, but would like to send or make a donation - non-monetary gifts to:

This One's for Gina

c\o Maggie Engstrom

11118 S. Washtenaw

Chicago, IL. 60655

It is at this time that we need to take action for someone who has always given 110% to others...... This One’s for Gina.Thank you in advance for your generosity and consideration,

~The Committee

Additional links for Gina:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The New McKiernan Park

Bits and pieces from the Southtownstar article.

A new playground is being installed at McKiernan Park, 10714 S. Sawer Ave.

The new playgrounds will be completed in about six weeks. Thanks to a donation from Team Reil, a playground company based in northwest suburban Union. The company is also installing artificial turf beneath the playground, eliminating muddy shoes or those messy woodchips one often finds in parks.

The value of the project has been placed at $500,000 by a grateful Chicago Park District, spokeswoman Michele Jones said.

The new playground could lead to more of the same around the city. At least that's the hope of John Cederlund, the president of Team Reil, which represents Missouri-based Miracle Recreation. Miracle makes the playground equipment being installed while Team Reil specializes in fake grass.

Two years ago, Cederlund approached park district officials with the offer of a free playground. Eventually, word got to Ald. Ginger Rugai (19th), who liked the idea.

Cederlund knows that the gesture is appreciated, and hopes it translates to more business for his company. If not, that's OK, too, he said.

"Chicago is too big an account to not try to get back. A lot of influential people live there," Cederlund said of the politically-connected 19th Ward. "All in all, it's great for the kids. This will be nice for them, and we're happy about it. Everybody is happy about it," Cederlund said.
The park district is certainly happy because it's getting a new playground for free.

McKiernan will be the first park in the city to have artificial grass, she said. Cederlund said the product is durable and, perhaps best of all, needs no watering.

Rugai provided $80,000 in city funds to pay for the demolition and a sub-surface drainage system that had to be installed before construction, Jones said. The old playground equipment "was fairly dated," Jones said.

There will be two separate playground structures, Jones said. One is for children ages 5 and younger. The other is for children ages 5 to 12.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Open Post 4/27 - 5/3

Here is the post for miscellaneous comments, questions, etc.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Irish Eyes are Smiling (It's not over yet)

Members of the South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade planning committee are meeting tonight for the first time since voting to end Beverly's annual parade.

The 25-member committee will brainstorm ideas and go over community suggestions for how to celebrate the holiday away from the parade down Western Avenue.

But a decision likely won't be reached until this summer.

"I'm looking at this as a long evaluation process," member Mary Beth Sheehan said today.

Autism Speaks - Jewel shop-n-share

Autism Speaks will hold a Shop & Share fund raising program on the dates of April 20th thru the 22nd and also on April 27th thru the 29th, 2009 at all Jewel-Osco Stores.

By shopping at Jewel-Osco on one of those days, 5% of the total purchase, excluding tax, will be donated by Jewel-Osco to our organization. It’s a great way to help these kids and it will not cost you a cent.

Autism Speaks will use the money generated by their Shop & Share to create awareness and research for a cure.

Anyone interested in helping Autism Speaks by shopping at Jewel-Osco on those dates will need a Shop & Share Identification Slip - please go to the link below for slip.

Please feel free to pass this along. Thanks for helping raise money for Autism

Monday, April 20, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Parade - relocated

The parade hasn't been cancelled just relocated. Thank you to our troops. :) God Speed.

Open Post 4/20 - 4/26

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Future of Special Ed at Mt Greenwood

from the Southtown: Authored by William Lee

Frustrated Mount Greenwood School parents packed a meeting to vent their frustration at the news that some special education students would be moved to a Morgan Park elementary school to alleviate overcrowding at Mount Greenwood.

The crowd of nearly 100 parents met with Chicago Public School officials and Ald. Ginger Rugai (19th) Wednesday at the Mount Greenwood Park fieldhouse, 3721 W. 111th St., to discuss the plan that would move special education students to two other schools.

In light of a surge of new applicants for the 2009-2010 school year, some parents recently received letters that their children would be bused elsewhere.

The parents of autistic children were told their children would be transferred to Clissold School in Beverly, which has a similar program. The parents of children with Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities were told their children would be sent to Esmond School, 1865 W. Montvale Ave., which CPS officials say is the only area school with adequate space.

None of the nearby public schools had proper space to take in new special education students, said Jawanda Hairston, a senior manager with CPS' office of specialized services. While the transfer plan was not a done deal, it was a "frontrunner," Hairston said.

The plan caused a furor among parents, who were either disliked the idea of busing their children out of the neighborhood or were concerned about the safety at Esmond.

"My biggest frustration is that nobody asked me anything," said Nancy Cranston, whose 9-year-old son Danny has Down Syndrome and attends Mount Greenwood. Cranston echoed many parents' comments saying they felt a strong sense of community.

Katie Kettering, who helped arrange the meeting with several other mothers, said safety for her son Charlie was her biggest concern.

"I know that when he's here, he's going to be watched over," Kettering said. "The older kids will make sure he won't go off by himself. His safety is a huge issue," she said.

Rugai said she understood parents' concern over the move, saying that while she'd witnessed positive changes at Esmond, that it sat in "the most volatile section of our community."

Rugai said she would fight to keep the students at the school and was open to other options such as converting other spaces into classrooms or even stopping Mount Greenwood's preschool classes.

The fight to stay at Mount Greenwood could also reignite tensions over student residency - a hot-button topic in the community - or increase demands to close open enrollment, as some parents did at the meeting.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Local Author - "Just a Boy From Home"

Jim McMahon asked me to post this about a local author -

I just finished reading a book written by a woman from the neighborhood, Catherine “Bourke” Chambers. Many of us know Cathy from different neighborhood functions and sporting events as she and her husband Tom raised their 3 sons here in Mt Greenwood, while many more know her from when she was the Crossing Guard at 103rd & Central Park . If this still doesn’t ring a bell, I’m sure you’ll remember the incident when she was seriously injured as she fell victim to a “hit and run” driver at that intersection while she was working back in about 1998. She returned to work briefly but has since resumed her teaching career at Marist High School .

The name of the book is “Just a Boy from Home,” a biography about her Father “William Bourke” who immigrated to the United States of America from County Mayo, Ireland and settled on the southside of Chicago. It’s an eloquently written book full of wit & wisdom with all the funny stories, history, heartbreak and sayings that you could only expect from an Irish family growing up in Chicago . This book will take you back to a much simpler time and as I read it, it became apparent that nobody else other than a family member could have so vividly expressed the love and emotions in a biography than Cathy did for her Father. It’s written straight from her heart and was particularly fun for me to read because my Mother came from County Mayo too, and speaking from first hand personal knowledge, these hard working people were the “Salt of the Earth” and a rare cast of characters, “that we’ll never see the likes of again!”

I give this book a ringing endorsement as a literary masterpiece and would highly recommend it to anyone that grew up in Chicago , no matter where your roots are from. Please patronize this local talent by reading “Just a Boy from Home.” Here’s how you can get a copy:

Ø Winston’s @ 7961 W. 159th Street in Tinley Park
Ø Irish Imports @ 111th Street in Chicago ,
Ø Touch of Green @ 6761 W. 95th in Oak Lawn
Ø Shamrock imports @ 3150 N. Laramie in Chicago (Northside)
Ø St Xavier Bookstore on 103rd Street in Chicago
Ø Marist HS Bookstore on 115th Street in Chicago

You could also e-mail Cathy at:
or call her directly at (708) 910-8306

Monday, April 13, 2009

Best Buy - $$$$ for Grades

Go to the customer service counter with your child's original report card (Grades Kindergarten through 5th only) and your child will get $3.00 per "A" with a $21.00 gift card maximum. Nothing is better than free!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Open Post 4/13 - 4/19

This week's open post. Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all our bloggers out there!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Year Round Schools

I was reading an article the other day that got me thinking about year round schools. The article talked out the different programs that the CPS and Park District were going to do over the clean up week (this week) to keep kids out of trouble (in certain areas). Do you seriously have to keep them busy for a week to keep them from killing each other??? What is the CPS going to do when they are off for 2 MONTHS STRAIGHT for summer???

There are quite a few CPS schools that are year round. They work on different schedules, so some may have 3 weeks off in November, while some schools are in session. They still do the same amount of days of school, just different break schedules.

Now I will be happy when, next week, my kids will be home on Easter break. No school lunches to make, don't have to worry about uniforms, etc. Woo-hoo! However, a week or two is all I need and want because then I am ready for them to go back to school...See ya later, don't let the door hit you on the way out! Seriously, get out, you're driving me nuts!!!

Personally, and this is my opinion only, I would rather send my kids to school year round. I think they will retain more knowledge with shorter breaks, it would make it easier for parents to arrange daycare, etc.

What do you think. Public or Catholic. Would you prefer year round rather then the straight 10 month calendar our schools have now in 60655?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Baseball Post - The Final Push

Only a week (give or take) to go!

For those of you who like the baseball posts, here ya go!

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