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A Message From Supervisor Al Riley

Permit No. 40 Richton Park, IL 60471

22013 Governors Hwy Richton Park, IL 60471

Rich Township

U.S. Postage

PAID

PRSRT STD

A Publication

of the

Town

of

Rich

for its

Citizens • Fall 2008

Fellow Rich Township Residents, I am pleased to report another year of accomplishments in serving the residents of Rich Township. This recognition comes from entities such as Pace, the Township Officials of Illinois and others who are in a position to know our work. All of our performance measures are up, despite the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression. We did this by anticipating increased need in areas such as the Food Pantry, General Assistance, Senior Services and the Assessors offices. The Township staff is to be commended for their redoubling of efforts to serve you. Above all, you are to be commended for being patient and confident in our ability to partially help you weather this storm. As you are reading this, Spring has sprung. Spring marks new beginnings and we are proud to have dedicated our renovated Youth and Family Center to the late Leonard Robinson. “Len” Robinson was indeed a legendary figure; so integral to, and ingrained in the history of Rich Township and the South Suburbs. You can read more about Len in this issue. One of the Township staffers who is integral to the operation of the Family Center is Melissa Parker. Melissa is in charge of counseling services at the Youth and Family Center. She has done a stellar job in her short time with us, providing comprehensive counseling service to our residents. Melissa’s training is in psychology and mental health therapy. She has served as a counselor in a juvenile detention center and has provided services to adult populations as well. Her main focus will be on helping our homeless residents – especially women – find housing. As a needed adjunct, she will

also offer life counseling and problem resolution services to her clients. In keeping with my “service connector” initiative of the Township, Melissa will also provide referrals to appropriate agencies based on the specific needs of the client. In other words, Melissa will be there to serve as a human services resource for residents who have nowhere else to turn. At this time, the staff and I are preparing for our annual Supervisor Town Meeting in April. We’ll Al Riley have a detailed presentation of the entire year as usual. I’m also going to talk about other vital issues that impact the Township. These issues include the economic stimulus package, the state capital construction bill, and grant funding in general. In closing, I want to express my hearty thanks to you, the residents of Rich Township, for your gracious support. Good people are in place and good things are planned to happen in all levels of government. Let’s make it so. Sincerely,

Al Riley

Al Riley, AICP Rich Township Supervisor

Family Center dedicated to ‘legendary’ Len Robinson During a ceremony on March 17, Rich Township dedicated its newly expanded Family Center to the late Leonard Robinson, who was one of Park Forest’s and Rich Township’s most renowned and respected community leaders. More than 50 people attended the ceremony, including Cook County President Todd Stroger, as well as Yvonne Robinson, the late Mr. Robinson’s wife, and two of their sons, Dr. Leonard Robinson Jr. and Dr. Carl Robinson, both physicians. The building was expanded to twice its size with a federal Community Development Block Grant administered by Cook County. The facility will house a summer camp for junior high school children, a life counseling center, and an information resource center for struggling residents and families. “Naming the building after Len Robinson is fitting because he cared so passionately about young people and social justice,” said Rich Township Supervisor Al Riley. “Up until the day he passed away, he was here directing the Township’s youth programs, tutoring and mentoring our young teens. He held many positions in Rich Township over the years, including township highway commissioner. His family was one of the first African American families to move into Park Forest in 1963. Len Robinson was a legendary figure in the South Suburbs.”

Helping to dedicate the new Leonard Robinson Family Center are (from left), Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, Rich Township Administrator Tim Bradford, Township Supervisor Al Riley, Township Trustee Elliott Johnson, Yvonne Robinson, Trustee Therese Goodrich, Trustee Karen Caesar Smith, Highway Commissioner Calvin Jordan, Dr. Carl Robinson and Dr. Leonard Robinson Jr.

Stroger said Mr. Robinson reminded him of his own father, the late John Stroger, longtime Cook County Board president. “They were both men who cared about people and made things happen,” he said. Stroger also said that in the near future he plans to have an employee in the Cook County Planning Department “concentrate solely on the South

Suburbs. We know a lot of people here who need attention,” he said. “You can depend on us to be there when you need us.” Yvonne Robinson said she still runs across the children’s drawings that Len brought home with him over the years when he worked as the Township’s youth director. Continued on page 2


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R ich Township R eport Spring 2009

Robinson Center…

Continued from Page 1

Yvonne Robinson with her sons, Dr. Leonard Robinson Jr. (left) and Dr. Carl Robinson.

Road District trims trees for spring This past winter ranks among the recent downpours,” Commisthe top four worst in terms of sioner Jordan said. snow accumulation and the numThis spring, the District will ber of days in single-digit temper- begin its annual Beautification atures. Program. “We will be “It’s been a very partnering with the Unirough winter and we’re versity of Illinois Extenall looking forward to sion Program, planting springtime,” said Highflowers and installing way Commissioner Calshade trees,” Commisvin Jordan. sioner Jordan said The Road District is Anyone interested in preparing for its annual volunteering may conArbor Day celebration tact Jayde Winters at on April 24 and also its the Road District office annual Tree Trimming at (708) 228-5050 or Highway and Chipping for Unin- Commissioner email us at highway@ corporated Rich Town- Calvin Jordan richtownship.org ship, which begins “We at the Road DisMarch 30 and continues through trict look forward this spring to May 7. (See schedule below) providing services to residents of The Road District will be Unincorporated Rich Township,” working closely with Sheriff Tom Commissioner Jordan said. Dart’s SWAP team on April 17. For any suggestions on how “This will give the District more the Road District can better serve manpower to remove debris from you—the residents of Unincorthe ditches and allow us to make porated Rich Township—please sure there are no blockages in contact Commissioner Calvin Jordams or in Butterfield Creek from dan at (708) 228-5050.

Tree trimming and chipping schedule The new Rich Township Family Center sign was unveiled at the ceremony.

“He talked about Rich Township all the time—the people and the activities,” she said. “Other than his family, the Township was the other part of his life. So I’m happy you’re doing this, and the Robinson and Gavin families will continue to do what they can for Rich Township.” Dr. Carl Robinson described his father as “smart, athletic and always giving back to the community. He was the richest man I know. The mark he left and what he meant to so many people is more important than money.” Dr. Len Robinson Jr., whose practice is in Rich Township, thanked the Township for naming the building after his father. “He was to me an unbelievable person. He always seemed to have an answer or a solution to any problem. Thank you for honoring him in such a wonderful way.” Dr. Robinson said he plans to start an annual scholarship in his father’s name, which will be given to “someone who is communityoriented and believes in helping people.” Rich Township Highway Commissioner Calvin Jordan said Robinson “touched the lives of a lot of people,” and he was always concerned abut “helping the downtrodden and indigent.” A photo of Leonard and Yvonne Robinson is in the Smithsonian

The Rich Township Highway Department’s Tree Trimming and Chipping Service is for Unincorporated Rich Township only. The dates and areas are as follows: LeClaire & 183rd Street March 30 to April 2 Homeland Road Area April 6 to April 9 Sunny Crest Area April 13 to April 16 Crawford Countryside April 20 to April 23; April 27 to April 30 Maple, Polk, Dewey & Davis May 4 – May 7 The Wood Chip Mulch Program begins March 30 and continues through May 7. This program is on a first-come-first-served basis

The Family Center is named for the late Len Robinson.

Institution in Washington D.C., as part of a permanent exhibit titled “America on the Move.” Mr. Robinson also was the first African American elected to the Board of Education of Rich Township High School District 227 in 1972. He was elected Rich Township Highway Commissioner in 1993, making him the first African American in the state of Illinois to serve as a township highway commissioner, as well as the first black elected official in Rich Township. Therese Goodrich, president of the Park Forest Historical Society, described Mr. Robinson as “a true history-maker.”

Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias helps pack bags for residents in need at the Rich Township Food Pantry, as Pantry Director Vicki Sline looks on. Giannoulias visited the Pantry and the Matteson Area Rotary Club in February.


Spring 2009

R ich Township R eport

Clerk’s Corner

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Jazz in the Park set for July 26 Rich Township Supervisor Al Riley will host “Jazz in the Park for Charity 2009” at Bi-Centennial Park in Olympia Fields on July 26. The public is invited to come and enjoy an evening filled with fantastic cuisine from fine local area restaurants and entertainment by nationally renowned jazz artists. Jazz in the Park was originally developed to benefit not-for-profit organizations in the south suburban region. Thousands of Southland residents have supported this event and know it as an evening not to be missed. Artists that have graced the stage in past years have included jazz legend Ramsey Lewis and singer Dee Alexander. As in past

years, all proceeds will benefit the participating not-for-profit organizations. “I extend an invitation to area businesses and organizations to become the sponsors of this exciting event,” Riley said. “All sponsors will be featured in our program book, listed on signs throughout the venue during the event, and will be featured on our Jazz in the Park for Charity 2009 website.” The 2009 logo for Jazz in the Park was designed by Susan Coleman Parks. For more information about Jazz in the Park or sponsorship opportunities, call Annette Ellis, chief legislative aide to Al Riley, at 799-4364.

Rich Township Clerk Bobbie King, whose day job is victim witness specialist at the Markham Courthouse, registers Sean Berry to vote at the Township Office.

By Bobbie King Rich Township Clerk

Opening of Family Center I am extremely happy to hear about the opening of Rich Township’s Family Service Center. The center will provide life counseling for families and serve as an information resource center for residents seeking outside help and support for their problems and circumstances. This service is very much needed in our Township. In my full time job as a victim witness specialist at the Markham Courthouse, I help the victims of violent crimes and their families navigate through the court system. In too many cases, such as domestic violence, the crimes were committed by family members. It’s also vital that we get the message across to our youth that dating violence is unacceptable behavior. This is what I try to emphasize in a Domestic Violence Education Program that I coordinate within the schools of Rich Township High School District 227. We teach students the warning signs of teenage dating violence. I explain to them that in all the years I’ve worked with domestic violence, I know for

certain that once a man hits you, the abuse will continue and escalate. It’s about power and control. A woman sometimes feels she’s the cause of abuse, which is totally untrue. Nothing justifies hitting a woman and nothing justifies hitting someone you supposedly love and care about. As a domestic violence counselor, I strongly believe that women out there need to know that the most dangerous time for a woman in a domestic violence relationship is when she decides to move out. Don’t be convinced to go back—it could cost you your life and the lives of your children. With the opening of the Family Center, more of our families will find the proper resources to get the help and support they need to break away from a threatening situation.

Vehicle stickers I would like to remind residents of unincorporated Rich Township that 2009 vehicle stickers will be available at the end of May. Meanwhile, unincorporated residents who have purchased a new vehicle can still buy a 2008 sticker at the Township office.

When and where to vote Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day April 7. If you do not know your polling place, call Cook County Elections at (312) 603-0906 or visit www.voterinfonet.com.

Supervisor Al Riley unveils the 2009 logo for Jazz in the Park, which was designed by Susan Coleman Parks, who is pictured at right.

Sign up for summer camp Registration is now in progress for Rich Township’s 2009 Summer Teen Camp for 12- to 14-year-olds that live within the Township. The six-week program begins June 22 and runs through July 31. The camp meets four days a week, Monday through Thursday, from approximately 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Children will enjoy a variety of healthy summer activities under the supervision of youth counselors. Activities include roller-skating, swimming, bowling, miniature golf, a trip to Great America, and more. For more information or to register, call Joe Moran at 748-6722.

Fresh produce available for low-income families

The Greater Chicago Food Depository offers a Fresh Produce Day for low-income residents on the first Wednesday of every month, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in the transportation garage of Rich Township, 22013 Governors Hwy., Richton Park. Please note that doors do not open until 9:30 am. All south suburban residents in need are eligible to pick up a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. The next Fresh Produce Days are April 1, May 6 and June 3. Call Pantry Director Vicki Sline at (708) 748-6722 for more information.

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R ich Township R eport Spring 2009

From the Assessor’s Office: Seniors must Notices, reminders, and new exemptions

spouse, as long as the spouse owns the property, lives there, and does not remarry. Exemptions may be transferred to a new property if the surviving spouse moves to a new primary residence and does not remarry. The new exemption takes effect for 2007 taxes (paid in 2008). Exemption Amount: $5,000 for disabilities of 75% or more $2,500 for disabilities between 50% and 75%

Disabled Person Homestead Exemption This exemption is available Deputy Township Assessor Pam Barton (right) helps Barbara Jackson Hicks of Country Club Hills file for a Senior Exemption for owner-occupied properties on her property taxes at Rich Township. owned by a “disabled person” again, we will be glad to assist you in preparing this form The Cook County Assessor’s and also notarize it free of Office recently mailed the Se- charge. nior Freeze Renewal Applica- Reminder: Pay Your 1st tions. This mailing was sent Installment Tax Bill to those seniors who received The 1st installment tax bills a 2007 Senior Freeze Exemp- for 2008 (payable in 2009) tion. To qualify for the Senior were due March 3, 2009. If Freeze, you must be 65 years you have not already paid this of age or older, own your installment, please do so as home for at least the past two soon as possible. A penalty of years, and have a total house- 1.5% per month will accrue hold income of $55,000 or less on all unpaid balances. for tax year 2008. In addition, for tax year 2008, those prop- New exemptions erties that had a 2007 Senior Two new exemptions are Exemption, and have not sold, the Disabled Veterans Stanwill be pre-qualified to receive dard Homestead Exemption the 2008 Senior Exemption. and the Disabled Person Homestead Exemptions.

Senior Freeze renewal applications

Homeowners Exemption Booklet

No date has been set for the mailing of the Homeowners Exemption Booklet. Seniors who do not file their renewal forms by the deadline and new homeowners should receive this booklet. Homeowners under the age of 65, who have previously had the Homeowners Exemption, should receive their exemption automatically.

Senior Homestead Exemption

who is liable for paying the property taxes on the property. A disabled person is a person who is “unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” The exemption amount is $2,000. The new exemption takes effect for 2007 taxes (paid in 2008). Property owner can prove disability by: Receiving Social Security disability benefits; Having an Illinois Disability Identification Disabled Veterans’ Card showing a Standard Homestead Class 2 disability; Exemption Meeting the disability This exemption is available standards of the Social for owner-occupied residencSecurity administration. es owned by “veterans with a service-connected disability” How to contact us The Rich Township Assesof a certain percentage, “as certified by the United States sor’s office can be reached at Department of Veterans Af- 748-6722, Monday through fairs.” This benefit is also avail- Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., able for a veteran’s surviving and Wednesday until 7 p.m.

Anyone who recently turned 65 in 2008 is now eligible to apply for the Senior Homestead Exemption. A driver’s license or state ID—with your current address, and a recent tax bill—are needed to file this application. If you need help filling out any of these forms, please contact my office. We will be happy to assist you.

Notary reminder The Senior Assessment Freeze application needs to be notarized and your 2007 total household income is needed Dee Marnell, assistant to the Assessor, helps Jesse Cox of Country to complete this form. Once Club Hills appeal his property taxes at the Rich Township office.

refile for Circuit Breaker benefits Senior Citizens are reminded that the time has come to once again file your NEW 2008 Circuit Breaker-Illinois Cares Rx Application (Form IL-1363. This application is required to receive your next Rent/Property Tax refund, and your next license plate discount. It is also required to continue receiving help with your prescription drug costs in 2010. Even if you just recently submitted your 2007 Circuit Breaker/Illinois Cares Rx application in 2008, you must submit another application for 2009. It is required by the state that you must file early every year to continue receiving any of the three benefits. The 2008 applications are available now in the Shirley J Green Senior Center, 297 Liberty Drive, Park Forest. Remember, three benefits are available, but only one application is required for everything: your Rent/Property Tax Refund, mediations and license plate discount. If you need help filing your application, call the Senior Center at 748-5454 to make a reservation.

Nurses needed for blood pressure screenings The Rich Township Senior Center is in need of nurses to take blood pressure readings on Thursday mornings from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Interested volunteers may call Senior Center Director Sally Fuhrmann at 7485454. The Township Food Pantry is asking for volunteers to work at the Greater Chicago Food Depository once a month to help the Township Pantry earn credit dollars. Volunteers would work twice a month. Transportation is provided. More information is with Vicki Sline at 748-6722.

Free anemia test The Park Forest Health Department will administer a FREE hemoglobin test for anemia on Thursday, April 12, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Shirley J. Green Senior Center, 297 Liberty Drive, Park Forest. No fasting is required, and no reservation is required. Those participating can also take advantage of the Senior Center’s free weekly blood pressure screening. More information about the anemia testing is with the Park Forest Health Department at 748-1118.

Annual Town Meeting on April 14 Rich Township will hold its annual Town Meeting at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 14 at the Shirley J. Green Senior Center, 297 Liberty Drive, Park Forest. More information is at 748-6722.


Spring 2009

R ich Township R eport

More people using Township services

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Riley named Supervisor of the Year

According to Rich Township Administrator Tim Bradford, the statistics listed below show that due to the economic downturn, more people have been using Rich Township services during the first quarter of 2009. ❱❱ Township buses transported 16,138 riders from January through March 2009. ❱❱ The Food Pantry provided food to 2,000 families or 7,132 individuals from January through March 2009. ❱❱ The Rich Township Assessor’s Office provided tax assistance to about 2,500 people and had over 3,000 phone calls from January through March 2009. The Rich Township Clerk’s Office provided the following services for the first quarter ( January through March of 2009): ❱❱ Registered 12 individuals to vote. ❱❱ Processed 31 passport applications. ❱❱ Assisted 23 people in obtaining permanent disabled parking placards. ❱❱ Issued 9 temporary disabled parking placards. ❱❱ Provided free Notary Public service. ❱❱ Issued 37 Cook County vehicle stickers to residents of unincorporated Cook County. Rich Township Senior Center statistics A total of 9,489 participated in senior services and activities from January through March 2009. The breakdown is as follows: ❱❱ In-Home Service Clients: 159 served ❱❱ Case Management Contacts: 627 contacts ❱❱ Home-delivered Meals: 1,242 meals delivered Participation increased in the following senior activities:

❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱

Movie: 46 Flexercise classes: 1,125 Cards: 123 Needlework class: 86 Art class: 84 Health Screening: 73 Monthly trip: 125 Podiatrist: 160 Blood pressure: 308 AARP Safe Driving Class: 34

❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱

Line Dancing: 196 Senior Chorus: 62 Walking Club: 41 Yoga: 87

Special Senior Programs: ❱❱ CNN Party (February 13): 85 ❱❱ St. Pat’s Party (March 17): 120

Rich Township Trustee Elliott Johnson interviews Norris Jackson, a senior at Rich South High School. Jackson has applied for a Township Officials of Illinois scholarship. He plans to attend Bradley University, majoring in business management.

Al Riley was named Illinois Township Supervisor of the Year for his commitment to providing senior services. The award was presented by the Illinois Township Association of Senior Citizens Services Committee. “Al has always been a person to help our seniors,” said Sally Fuhrmann, director of Rich Township Senior Services. “If he finds a need out there, he will do all that he can to assist those individuals, and he will look at all options to achieve his goal.” Riley, in his capacity as state representative, worked on the Mass Transit Bill to ensure all aspects of the bill met the needs of the south suburban region. As a result of the Mass Transit Bill’s passage in February 2008, Rich Township was able to receive funds through PACE to continue full operation of its paratransit service for senior citizens age 55 years and older, disabled resident of any age, and low-income meal recipients. The Township’s paratransit service provides 70,000 trips annually and has the largest ridership of any paratransit service in the south suburbs. “He impacted the lives and freedom of thousands of south suburban seniors,” said Pat Peters, director of Rich Township’s Transportation Department. “Without our transportation system, many seniors would be homebound because there’s no public bus system available in the south suburbs. They’d be forced to rely on relatives, friends and neighbors for simple tasks like grocery shopping.” Riley also steered Rich Township to apply for an RTA ICE grant.

In November, the RTA awarded the Township a $150,000 grant to purchase a Global Positioning System and scheduling software. The grant will enable the Township to expand transportation for medical appointments to any hospital or facility in the Chicagoland area for outpatient surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments and other medical procedures. Rich Township is currently the only township in the region to provide this type of transportation. According to Peters, the grant will also enable the Township to partner with the neighboring townships of Bloom, Bremen, Thornton, Peotone and Frankfort, as well as surrounding municipalities, and regional agencies like the American Cancer Society in Tinley Park. “Now we’ll be able to expand this important transportation program throughout the south suburban region so our seniors and other residents can travel long distances to their hospital of choice for outpatient treatment,” Peters said. “We believe the new GPS system and scheduling software will potentially open up medical transportation service to 20,000 new senior customers. There’s such a pressing demand for bus service to medical appointments for outpatient procedures. So many seniors have absolutely no one to take them to weekly chemotherapy and radiation treatments, or laser treatments to improve their eyesight,” Peters said. More information about Rich Township’s transportation program is at (708) 748-6722.


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R ich Township R eport Spring 2009

Police and firefighters deliver meals to seniors Library staff members join the effort

Park Forest Fire Capt. Mike Wheeler (from left). Lt. Steve Bobzin and firefighter Pat Heisel load frozen meals into their department cars to deliver to homebound senior citizens in Juniper Towers. Park Forest police and firefighters are helping deliver meals to homebound senior citizens within the community. The two departments alternate delivering 200 meals to the residents of Juniper Towers on behalf of the Community Nutrition Network and Senior Services Association, located inside Rich Township’s Shirley J. Green Senior Center in downtown Park Forest. Everyone from Chief Tom Fleming to regular beat police officers pack the frozen meals into their squads on the third Friday of the month. Meanwhile, fire officials deliver on the second Friday of each month. Bill Wheeler, a volunteer firefighter with the Steger Estates Fire Department in Crete, delivers on the first Friday of the month. “I love our Park Forest police and fire,” said Sandra O’Neill site manager of the CNNSSA nutrition site. “They’re more than willing to help. They’re very involved in the community. Our seniors are a priority to them. Both the police and firefighters have been coming to our meal site at Rich Township for more than five years. They judge our Halloween party, donate prizes, and have served food to our seniors on many occasions.” O’Neill said her husband Scott used to deliver the meals himself ev-

ery single Friday for two years. When he died suddenly a year ago, Sandy and a food aide tried to take over the job, but it was extremely difficult. “I decided to call Deputy Chief Michael McNamara. He was more than willing to help. I also called the fire department and they said the same thing. In December, Mike McNamara was out here on the worst day of year getting those meals to seniors. I was so grateful. He was my hero.” O’Neill said the involvement of the police and firefighters is a good thing for the community. In the past few months, even more community groups have become involved. Staff members of the Park Forest Public Library now deliver meal packs on the fourth Friday of the month. “This is how it should be—we should all care about our seniors.” Chief Fleming said that he is “happy to have an opportunity to help people who need taking care of.” The frozen five-pack meal program is partly funded by the Meals on Wheels Foundation. The CNNSSA also offers a weekday senior lunch program at the Senior Center for a suggested donation of $2.25 per meal. “It’s more than dining—it’s socializing,” O’Neill said. “People dining here have made truly great friends.” More information about the lunch program is at 747-2700.

Administrator’s Message Normally I use my message to talk about the Township’s latest accomplishments and statistics. But today, I would like to pay tribute to Elonzo W. “Lonnie” Hill, who was a resident of Country Club Hills and Rich Township. There are many in Rich Township who know of the passing of Mr. Hill and have expressed their sorrow; but to those who did not know him, allow me to comment about this exceptional man who left us far too soon. I recall Adlai Stevenson once saying, “It is not the years in a life that count, it is the life in the years.” Township I would like to tell you a little about the Administrator Lonnie Hill that I knew. Mr. Hill was a longTim Bradford time transit advocate for the South Suburbs. He had the ability to look at transit issues from the point of view of the everyday commuter. He was a man who was comfortable wherever he went and with whomever he was sharing his time. Mr. Hill always met every person and situation he encountered with enthusiasm, concern and energy. As the Vice Chairman of the Metra Board, he fought for improvements in service and funding for the residents of the South Suburbs that use the electric line. When Lonnie Hill set his hand, mind and will to some task, he did it with a vitality that made you realize he was not going to let go until the job was finished. He was always giving of his time as a mentor in the Rich Township Youth ProLonnie Hill gram, and he always spoke to the need for donations for the Rich Township Food Pantry. Lonnie Hill had no enemies; there were people who disagreed with him—and that included me from time to time—but we all respected him, and his opinions as well. Indeed, Lonnie Hill was respected by all as a man of honor and integrity. This is the life of which I write; this is the vitality—this was Lonnie Hill. I and the many, many friends he left behind will always cherish that memory.

Driver Kris Phelps (left) and passenger Ursula Nordquist of Park Forest stand next to Rich Township’s newest PACE van. It’s the Township’s first bus that can hold four wheelchairs and its largest passenger vehicle, with a 15-person capacity.

CNN site offers nutritious lunch

Park Forest Police Chief Tom Fleming packs frozen meals into his squad car to deliver to homebound senior citizens.

Senior citizens of all income levels are invited to lunch weekdays at the Community Nutrition Network site, located inside Rich Township’s Shirley J. Green Senior Center, 297 Liberty Drive, Downtown Park Forest. All seniors, regardless of their income level, are eligible for the CNN lunch program. The CNN site is open to all south suburban residents, including those living outside of Rich Township. Participants must be 60 years of age or older. The suggested donation for lunch is $2.25. Lunch is served Monday through Friday at noon. Bingo begins at 11 a.m. For more information or to make a reservation for lunch, phone 747-2700.


Spring 2009

R ich Township R eport

Senior Fair 2009 set for May 15 The public is invited to Senior Fair 2009 on Friday, May 15, from 9 a.m. to noon, at Rich Township’s Shirley J. Green Senior Center, 297 Liberty Drive, in Downtown Park Forest. The fair will offer information about services and activities available to seniors by agencies in the south suburban area. Toward the end of the fair, there will be a raffle with great prizes. A large item donated by the Senior Fair will also be raffled off. The event is a joint venture between the Park Forest Rotary Club, the Park Forest Senior Com-

mission and Rich Township. Further information is at 748-5454. Those 60 years of age and older are welcome to have lunch at the Community Nutrition Network Senior Dining site located in the Senior Center. The suggested donation is $2.25. Those interested in having lunch are asked to call 747-2700 in advance to make a reservation. The only requirement to have lunch is that you or your spouse be 60 years of age or older. If you need transportation, reduced fair rides are available by calling Rich Township Transportation at 748-6727.

Volunteer for Hunger Walk The Rich Township Food Pantry needs walkers to take part in the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s annual Hunger Walk on Saturday, June 20, along Chicago’s beautiful Montrose Harbor. Proceeds from the 2 1/2-mile walk will help the Township Food Pantry provide food to the more than 2,000 people every month. A bus will depart from the Township Office at 7:30 a.m. and should return home by 1 p.m. The walk begins at 9:30 a.m. Re-

freshments, snacks and a t-shirt will be provided to all walkers. Pledge sheets can be picked up at the Township Office, 22013 Governors Highway, Richton Park. Those who cannot attend may sponsor a walker or send a donation to the Township. Every pledge directly benefits the Rich Township Pantry. Participants who would like to ride the Township bus to the Hunger Walk may call Pantry Director Vicki Sline at 748-6722.

Bargain shop at the Lighthouse Outlet The deadline is April 6 to make reservations for a bargain shopping trip to the Lighthouse Outlet in Michigan City, Indiana. There are a wide variety of stores to choose from—and bargains galore. A few of the designer stores to choose from include Anne Klein, Bass Shoes, Coldwater Creek, Jockey, L’eggs-HanesBali-Playtex, Old Navy, Van Heusen, Wilson Leather, Yankee Candle and Bath & Body Works. The cost of the trip is $17. Par-

ticipants pay for their own lunch at a local eatery. The bus departs promptly at 9:30 a.m. from the parking lot of the Shirley J. Green Senior Center in Park Forest. Payment for the trip must be made within two days of making your reservation Reservations will be taken only by phone on Monday, April 6. Call 748-5454 to make your reservation. Callers are asked not leave a voicemail message when making a reservation.

Extended Wednesday hours The Clerk’s and Assessor’s Offices are open every Wednesday until 7 p.m. to better serve the residents of Rich Township.

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Senior Companions Needed Volunteers are needed for Rich Township’s Senior Companion Program. Volunteers will receive a tax-free monthly stipend, mileage and meals allowance and paid holidays. Applicants must be 60 years of age or older, live in south suburban Cook County, and meet income guidelines. Preference will be given to applicants who own a car. Senior companions visit frail, homebound senior citizens for at least 15 hours a week. More information is with Commodore Edmond, director of the Senior Companion Program, at 228-5038.

Apply for passports at Rich Township Passports are now required for all travel outside the continental limits of the United States. The Rich Township Clerk’s Office is a Passport Acceptance Facility and is currently processing passport applications. All the forms necessary to apply for a passport are available at the Township Office, 22013 Governors Hwy., Richton Park. The total processing fee is $100 for individuals 16 years of age or older; and $85 for children under the age of 16. The fees and requirements are exactly the same at all passport acceptance facilities. Processing takes approximately 4-6 weeks from the date of application. An applicant must bring in proof of citizenship, such as a certified copy of a birth certificate; two headshot photos against a white background; and identification, such as a driver’s license or state identification. The U.S. Department of State now requires everyone, including children, to appear in person at the passport facility. Passports are processed 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; and 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Call Deputy Clerk Debbie Pascarella at 748-6722 for more information.

Learn about elite police units The Cook County Sheriff’s Office will come to the Shirley J. Green Senior Center on Tuesday, April 7 at 10 a.m. to discuss the Hostage Barricade Terrorist Team. The elite team is comprised of cross-trained officers from the Sheriff’s Police who assist Cook County and other requesting law

enforcement agencies with 24hour tactical response to high risk or critical incidents. Please call the Senior Center at (708) 748-5454 to sign up. S.A.L.T. is an extension of the Cook County Sheriff’s Senior Law Enforcement Academy. Refreshments will be served.

AARP meets April 20 The Rich Township Chapter of AARP will host its monthly meeting at 1:15 p.m. on Monday, April 20 at the CNN Senior Dining site, located at the Shirley J. Green Senior Center, 297 Liberty Drive, Park Forest. After the usual order of business, a guest speaker will offer an informative program. Refreshments will be served. More information is at 748-5454.


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R ich Township R eport Spring 2009

Your Rich Township Officials Supervisor Al Riley 748-6722

Seniors Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Clerk Bobbie G. King 748-6722

Assessor Carol Ranieri 748-6722

Collector Carol Marshall 748-6722 Norm Pepin

Road Commissioner Calvin Jordan distributes his surprise St. Patrick’s Day gifts to senior citizens at the party.

Highway Commissioner Calvin Jordan 747-3616 Trustee Karen Caesar-Smith 748-6722

Trustee Therese H. Goodrich 748-6722

Jack Foreman

Trustee Manny Hoffman 748-6722

Trustee Elliott H. Johnson 748-6722

Township Administrator Tim Bradford 748-6722

Editor’s Note The Rich Township Report is written, edited and photographed by Mary Paleologos, Public Information Director for the Township. Layout and Design by Cory Ottenwess.

Mary Bjorkland

(From left) Township Administrator Tim Bradford, Park Forest Police Chief Tom Fleming, CNN Site Director Sandra O’Neill, and Park Forest Manager Tom Mick. Are you a senior citizen who wants to socialize more, or enjoy a nutritious lunch while making new friends? Start enjoying the companionship of hundreds of other seniors simply by making a phone call to Senior Services Director Sally Fuhrmann at 748-5454 or CNN Site Director Sandra O’Neill at 747-2700. Or stop by the Senior Center at 297 Liberty Drive, downtown Park Forest.

Clerk Bobbie King serves lunch to seniors.


Rich Township Spring 2009 Newsletter