Pickwick closure, school COVID policies, string lights caught readers’ attention – Chicago Tribune


The approaching closure of the Pickwick Theatre, disagreement over how faculties ought to reply to COVID-19 and an off-duty Chicago Police sergeant being charged with battery towards a Park Ridge 14-year-old had been among the many tales that caught and held Park Ridge readers’ eyes in a packed and infrequently turbulent 2022.

Have a look again at a number of the most generally learn tales of the yr in Park Ridge.

1. Pickwick Theatre plans to shut in January — however a brand new operator may very well be ready within the wings

Information that co-owners Dino Vlahakis and Dave Loomos deliberate to cease exhibiting motion pictures out of Park Ridge’s treasured Pickwick Theater ripped via Uptown and higher Chicagoland earlier this month, inciting a tidal wave of reminiscences and substantial hypothesis over how motion pictures would possibly proceed exhibiting within the 1928 Artwork Deco palace. Over a fast-paced week, Vlahakis and Loomos noticed ticket gross sales skyrocket and curiosity in taking on the 900-seat theater soar, prompting Vlahakis to inform Pioneer Press/Chicago Tribune “the excellent news is the theater will most likely shut as operated by the Vlahakis and Loomos household, however there can be anyone taking its place.”

Vlahakis, whose household has owned the Pickwick since 1967, mentioned he plans to maintain his possession of the constructing, which hosts 24 tenants past the movie show itself. He later informed Tribune leisure critic Michael Phillips that attainable heirs to the film operation included Basic Cinemas CEO Chris Johnson and Music Field Theatre proprietor William Schopf. The Metropolis of Park Ridge has additionally met with the households, Mayor Marty Maloney confirmed to Phillips.

The ultimate screening of the Vlahakis and Loomos period is deliberate for Jan. 12, 2023, with two showings of Gone With the Wind.

2. Faculty board’s tie vote upholds masks necessities in Park Ridge-Niles District 64 after fiery assembly

Early within the yr, controversy over whether or not Park Ridge-Niles Faculty District 64 ought to preserve or eradicate its masking requirement for elementary and center college college students rocked a February college board assembly, with nearly 75 audio system providing public remark. Among the commenters informed the board to “develop a spine” or known as board members evil, whereas others advocated for maintaining the mandate in place out of issues for the well being of immunocompromised college students and faculty workers.

Capacity restrictions were placed on the Feb. 7 meeting of Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 Board of Education at Emerson Middle School, where a motion to remove COVID-19 mitigation measures, including mask requirements for students, was on the agenda.

The board voted 3-3 on a movement to take away the masks mandate, retaining the established order on masks insurance policies at district faculties. Some college board members requested police escorts to their vehicles following the five-hour assembly and the Park Ridge Police division stepped up its presence round district faculties the next day trip of “normal concern.” Barely per week later, a call from the Joint Committee on Administrative Guidelines prompted the district to go mask-optional.

3. In Park Ridge, even the mayor has string lights in his yard, however officers uncover they’re unlawful

Yard string lights exploded in recognition over the pandemic as individuals sought out secure methods to spend time collectively. However till earlier this yr, the lights had been technically prohibited in Park Ridge, the place the zoning code didn’t permit unshielded, or unshaded, gentle.

Resident Thomas Fisher introduced this to Metropolis Council’s consideration in June after a neighbor complained in regards to the string lights in his yard.

“I’m not assuming it’s going to vary, however the request you’re making is affordable,” mentioned Mayor Marty Maloney, himself a string gentle proprietor. “I’m making an attempt to get a decision as quick as we are able to.”

Park Ridge amended its zoning code the subsequent month to permit the lights so long as they aren’t hung greater than 10 toes from the bottom and don’t exceed a sure stage of spillover illumination onto neighboring properties.

4. Park Ridge residents categorical anger over little one of colour being pinned to pavement; police chief asks for witnesses

Indignant Park Ridge residents packed a Metropolis Council assembly just a few days after an off-duty Chicago Police sergeant, later recognized as Michael Vitellaro, grabbed a rising Maine South freshman and pinned him to the sidewalk in Park Ridge’s Uptown space and accused the boy of taking his son’s bike. The boy is of Puerto Rican descent, and the incident prompted many Park Ridge residents to share their fears in regards to the stage of inclusion and acceptance for individuals of colour locally with metropolis leaders.

All three high schools in Maine Township High School District 207 have seen extensive renovations over the last year.
Park Ridge Citizens packed the July 5th City Council meeting to demand answers about why an off-duty Chicago police sergeant wasn't arrested after he held a local teen facedown on the sidewalk  with a knee on his back outside a local Starbucks.

About six weeks after the incident occurred, Cook dinner County State’s Legal professional Kim Foxx accredited fees of aggravated battery and official misconduct towards Vitellaro, who was relieved of his police powers and later indicted by a grand jury. The case is now making its manner via the Cook dinner County Circuit Courtroom system, and the boy’s household has employed the legislation agency Romanucci and Blandin to characterize them and their son.

5. Park Ridge Park District voters approve $33.4 million referendum to improve ice enviornment

Park Ridge voters gave the go-ahead to the Park District to concern $33.4 million value of bonds for a battery of upgrades to Oakton Ice Enviornment and Oakton Park within the Nov. 8 election. The bonds will add about $136 to the property tax invoice for a house with the realm median worth of $437,000, the district mentioned. Enhancements the referendum will cowl embrace altering the cooling system and chemical for the ice rink itself, making the sector’s bogs and locker rooms extra accessible to individuals with disabilities, a relocated canine run and a brand new strolling path round Oakton Park.

Jordan Mann is the facility supervisor at the Oakton Ice Arena. The Park Ridge Park District Board has voted to place a $31.7 million referendum on the November 2022 ballot to fund renovations at the ice arena. (Brian O'Mahoney for the Pioneer Press)
The Oakton Ice Arena, January 10, 2022. Park Ridge voters earlier this year agreed to add a median of $136 onto property taxes to pay for a series of upgrades at the arena and Oakton Park. (Brian O'Mahoney for the Pioneer Press)

It was the second huge current value hikefor Park Ridge taxpayers after Park Ridge-Niles Faculty District 64 determined to supply full-day kindergarten. District 64 issued bonds for building of services for kindergarten, which in the end totaled about $43 million after prices rose and the district expanded the scope of the undertaking.

Building is about to start on Oakton Park in 2024, Park District Govt Director Gayle Mountcastle mentioned.


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