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Friday, May 2, 2014



Memorabilia to bring back ‘some good memories’ Anniversary exhibit will be at Loveland Community House BY MATT MENCARINI    EXT

DIXON – Fifty years of Petunia Festival memories and memorabilia will be on display at Loveland Community House in June. Dave Johnson, vice president of operations for the festival, wants to have a piece of memorabilia from every year, and he wants residents to chip in what they have to help. Posters, buttons, brochures and other items can be donated or lent to Loveland, which already has some items, Johnson said. Starting June 1, all items that have been collected will be on display. “It’s a big deal for us – 50 years,� Johnson said. “We have seen some of the old brochures, and it brings back some good memories.� The 50th anniversary of the Petunia Festival will start July 1 and go

A beanbag doll was often made for each Petunia Fest year. In 1999, a Pinky Petunia was sold to commemorate the festival.

Got Petunia Fest memorabilia? 4ODONATEORLENDYOUR0ETUNIA&ESTIVALMEMORABILIA TO,OVELAND#OMMUNITY(OUSEFORTHETHANNIVERSARYDISPLAY CALL3TEVE7ILSONAT   through July 6. It will include a parade, a family fun night, and musical performances, among other events. Loveland has already been collecting some items, Executive Director Steve Wilson said, adding that he was expecting to get a set of buttons Thursday afternoon from the first Petunia Festival. So far, Loveland has

been given T-shirts, a beer sign, old programs and some small stuffed animals, Wilson said. The items will be displayed on the main floor outside the museum starting in June, he said. Petunia Festival organizers also have “a stack of 45s� with the festival’s song and a newsreel film from one of the early years, Johnson said.


Photos by Alex T. Paschal/

Steve Wilson, Loveland Museum curator, shows off a board of all 50 Petunia Fest buttons that will be on display at the Loveland House in June. The festival is celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer.





Professor writes book on Violent teen crews linked to famous Chicago mobsters 40 percent of city’s shootings BY BURT CONSTABLE $AILY(ERALD

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS (AP) – From his boyhood memories of the raid on a bookie joint under the Chicago apartment where he grew up to the murder cases he worked on as an officer with the Chicago Police Department’s organized crime division, Harper College professor Wayne A. Johnson has been steeped in the violence of mobsters. Isolated murders, such as the infamous Valentine’s Day Massacre or the beating deaths of brothers Anthony “Tony the Ant� and Michael Spilotro, have become scenes in mob movies. “But nobody ever put it in one place before,� says Johnson, who has done that with his new book, “A History of Violence: An Encyclopedia of 1,400 Chicago Mob Murders.� From the stabbing death of Harry Bush during the newspaper “circulation war� on July 6, 1900, to the Aug. 31, 2006, disappearance of 71-year-old Anthony “Little Tony� Zizzo of Westmont, Johnson has used court documents, police records, newspaper accounts and 14 years of personal research to compile more than a century of suspected mob murders. “You know what makes it so insidious? Their ability to get into places that affect every aspect of our lives,� says Johnson, who notes

AP Photo/Daily Herald, Burt Constable

Harper College professor Wayne A. Johnson, author of a new book about mob murders titled “A History of Violence: An Encyclopedia of 1,400 Chicago Mob Murders,� points to his grandfather, Albert “Abby� Kelfstrom, who happened to be a witness in the background of this photograph taken in 1930 after a mob hit on Alfred “Jake� Lingle. cases where politicians, judges and police officers cooperated with mobsters. “Once you are into these guys, they own you.� Appearing in countless articles and TV shows as an expert on the mob, Johnson spent 25 years as a Chicago police officer and served as chief investigator for the Chicago Crime Commission before getting his doctoral degree in education. He’s now an associate professor and program coordinator of law enforcement programs at Harper College. The stereotype of the Chicago mob as the Italian Mafia known as Cosa Nostra is a myth, says Johnson, who says organized crime boasts a diverse collection of people, includ-

ing many immigrants, who learned how to make money through illegal methods. The criminal groups formed partnerships and cut deals with each other, he says. Of the 1,401 murders Johnson details, he lists only 278 as “solved,� and the number of people convicted of those murders is even lower. “Just because they weren’t charged doesn’t mean it’s not solved,� says Johnson. In teaching his “Organized Crime� class, Johnson tells the Harper students that reputed mob boss Tony “Big Tuna� Accardo, who died in 1992 at the age of 86, lived the last years of his life just a short drive away, on Algonquin Road in Barrington Hills.

NEW YORK (AP) – There are more than 300 of them in New York – violent crews of dozens of 12- to 20-year-olds with names such as Very Crispy Gangsters, True Money Gang and Cash Bama Bullies. Police say these groups, clustered around a particular block or housing project, are responsible for about 40 percent of the city’s shootings, with most of that violence stemming from the smallest of disses on the street, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. “It’s like belonging to an evil fraternity,� said Inspector Kevin Catalina, commander of the New York Police Department’s gang division. “A lot of it is driven by nothing: a dispute over a girl, or a wrong look, or a perceived slight.� The trend of smaller, younger crews has also been seen in Chicago

and Northeast cities over the last few years as police have cracked down on bigger, more traditional gangs, experts said. While the Bloods, Crips and Latin Kings still exist, operating such money-making schemes as drug dealing, their members are usually older and understand the timeworn mantra of organized crime: Violence is bad for business. Not so for the crews, whose recklessness prompted former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly in 2012 to launch an initiative to confront the crews dubbed Operation Crew Cut. Investigators now focus on gathering intelligence about specific crews – understanding their activities, allegiances and feuds, which they glean through traditional street policing and trolling of social media sites, cellphone photos and

even recorded jailhouse calls. Police have also stepped up arrests of the most active crew members. In Manhattan, prosecutors set up an internal email alert system that notifies them when crew member are arrested, even on minor charges, and provides beyond-therap-sheet details for bail arguments. The prosecutor might mention that the person was a suspect in another crime or had made threats on Facebook, for instance. In a recent case in Harlem, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. says a 2009 killing kindled years of vendetta attacks, including three killings and 30 shootings. Sixty-three people were rounded up, and at least 62 entered guilty pleas, including crew members so young that one told another to “mob up� after school.

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