Saturday, January 22, 2022

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Tax levy resolution – District 215 Board Agenda 1/25/22

District 215
The District 215 main office is located at 18601 Torrence Avenue in Lansing. (Photo: Landon Ford)

District 215 Board regular meeting – In person at TF Center for Academics and Technology

LANSING, Ill. (January 22, 2022) – The January 25 public hearing and regular meeting of the District 215 School Board will take place at 6 p.m. in person at the Thornton Fractional Center for Academics and Technology. The full board packet and materials for the meeting, including all exhibits and other relevant materials, can be viewed here.

Regular meeting agenda

  1. Welcome
    • Call to Order / Pledge of Allegiance
    • Roll Call
  2. Communication
    • Freedom of Information Report
    • Public Comment
    • Building Reports
  3. Superintendent’s Report
  4. Future Meetings
    • February Meetings
  5. Approval of Minutes
    • Minutes for Approval – Open and Closed Minutes
  6. New Business
    • Contract for District-wide video surveillance system replacement
    • Revised Policies 2:20, 2:110, 2:120, 2:220, 2:220 E1, 2:220 E5, 2:220 E8, 2:240 E2, 2:260, 3:40, 3:60, 7:70
    • Semi-Annual Review of Written Closed Session Minutes for Release and Closed Session Recordings for Destruction (18 months or older)
    • Resolution Regarding the Death of Thornton Township Supervisor Frank Zuccarelli
    • 2020/2021 Audited Financial Statements
    • Purchase of TF North Auditorium Seating
    • Purchase of TF South Auditorium Seating
    • Bid for TF North Auditorium Sound System
  7. Closed Session
    • Motion to go to Closed Session to discuss personnel, student discipline, pending litigation, and collective bargaining matters
    • Motion to Reconvene Open Session
  8. Action Items
    • Finance Report
    • Personnel Report
    • Student Discipline #819759
    • Student Discipline #819825
    • Student Discipline #819805
    • Student Discipline #819305
    • Student Discipline #818805
  9. Adjourn

District 215 Regular Schedule

The D215 Committee of the Whole meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. and Regular Monthly Meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. Meetings are currently being held at the TF Center for Academics & Technology, located at 1605 Wentworth Avenue, Calumet City, IL.

Open Meetings Act

The Open Meetings Act requires that “An agenda for each regular meeting shall be posted at the principal office of the public body and at the location where the meeting is to be held at least 48 hours in advance of the holding of the meeting.”

Boys Basketball wins in tight game Saturday

TFS Sports
(Photo: Josh Bootsma)
By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill. (January 22, 2022) — In the last couple days, TF United competed in a swim meet, and the TFS Boys Basketball team added both a blowout loss and a close win to their record.

Friday, January 21

TF United Swimming

Opponent: TFS played both Argo and Tinley Park High Schools

Score: TFU lost to both schools. The scores were: Tinley Park – 122, Argo – 115, TFU – 19.

Junior Cody Ziemkowski posted his career best time in the 500 freestyle.

Boys Basketball

Opponent: Lemont High School

Score: Lemont beat TFS 65-36.

TFS’ overall record is 7-10 and 3-3 in conference play.

Saturday, January 22

Boys Basketball

Opponent: Brooks High School

Score: TFS beat Brooks 62-60

The win, achieved at the Chelby Frazier Memorial Shootout, puts TF South at 8-10 overall.

The TFS Sports calendar is available on TF South is located at 18500 Burnham Avenue in Lansing.

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Sunnybrook School District 171 Board Agenda 1/24/22

District 171
The District 171 main office is located at 19266 Burnham Avenue in Lansing. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

District 171 Board regular meeting – January 24, 6:15 p.m.

LANSING, Ill. (January 22, 2021) – The January 24 meeting of the District 171 School Board begins at 6:15 p.m. with a budget meeting. The meeting will occur at Heritage Middle School, 19266 Burnham Avenue in Lansing.

Budget Meeting

  1. Call to Order
  2. Pledge of Allegiance
  3. The mission of Sunnybrook School District 171 is to maximize student achievement by cultivating: critical thinking skills, innovative instructional practices and collaborative school, home, and community partnership.
  4. Roll Call
  5. Any person wishing to address the Board about an item that is on the agenda should do so when that item is up for discussion. Visitors’ statements will be limited to two minutes per person. A total of 30 minutes will be allocated for visitor comments. All comments about items not on the agenda will be held until the Visitor’s statements at the end of the meeting. Items related to personnel issues will be redirected to the appropriate Administrator.
  6. 2021-2022 Amended Budget
    • Open Budget Hearing
    • Close Budget Hearing
    • Approval of Adoption of amended budget resolution
    • 2021-2022 Amended Budget
  7. Visitors’ Statements
  8. Adjournment


  1. Call to Order
  2. Pledge of Allegiance
  3. Mission
    • The mission of Sunnybrook School District 171 is to maximize student achievement by cultivating critical thinking skills, innovative instructional practices and a collaborative school, home, and community partnership.
  4. Roll Call
  5. Address the Board
  6. Recommended Motions
    • “to approve the minutes of the Regular Board of Education meeting of December 20, 2021, approval of Township Treasurer’s Report, approval of January bills and December payroll in the amount of $1,828,697.18, as presented.”
  7. Informational Items
    • FOIA request
      • Illinois Retired Teacher Association
    • Chief School Business Official, Mr. David Shrader
      • Public Act 102-0519: Property Tax Recovery Levy Law
      • Bloom Township Trustees of Schools Annual Investment Report
      • FY 22 South Cook ISC4 Health/Life Safety Visit Report
  8. Board Reports
  9. Administrator Reports
    • Superintendent, Dr. Erika Millhouse Pettis
    • Chief School Business Official, Mr. David Shrader
    • Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Dr. Lori Owens Stranc
    • Interim Director of Special Services, Mrs. Kathy Martin
    • Technology director, Mr. Mike McGowan
    • Principal, Heritage Middle School, Mrs. Chantelle Cambric
    • Principal, Nathan Hale School, Mr. Joseph Kent
  10. Recommended Motions – Employee Transactions
  11. Recommended Motions – FMLA
  12. Further Recommended Motions
  13. Visitor’s Statements – restricted to two minutes per person.
  14. Closed Session
  15. Return to Open Session
  16. Adjournment

Schedule and Open Meetings Act

Sunnybrook District 171 Board meetings are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on the third Monday of each month.

The Open Meetings Act requires that “An agenda for each regular meeting shall be posted at the principal office of the public body and at the location where the meeting is to be held at least 48 hours in advance of the holding of the meeting.” District 171 posts agendas and minutes on its website.

Staying informed

Lansing Journal subscribers receive an email each morning with links to Lansing headlines, so they stay informed about items being discussed at public meetings, as well as news that happens between meetings.

Obituary: Lola M. Coulombe

May 15, 1936 – January 22, 2022

information provided by Smits Funeral Home

Lola M. Coulombe, nee Swansey, age 85, of Lowell, IN, formerly of Harvey, IL, passed away on Saturday, January 22, 2022. Beloved wife of the late Thomas A. Coulombe Sr. Loving mother of Denise (Terry) Eckrich, Thomas Coulombe Jr., and Suzanne (Mark) Van Drunen. Cherished grandmother of John, Steven (Sheri), Amanda (Mike), Terry Jr. (Tricia), Samantha, Ryan, Sarah (Jonathan), and Karen; great-grandmother of Bianca, Wyatt, and Aria. Preceded in death by her sister, Linda Lybe, her brother, William Donald Swansey, and by her parents William and Mary Swansey. Lola was loved by many and will be deeply missed.

Visitation Friday, January 28, 2022, from 12:30 p.m. until time of the funeral service at 3:30 p.m. at Smits Funeral Home, 2121 Pleasant Springs Lane, Dyer, IN with services conducted by Rev. Jason DeVries. Memorial contributions may be given to the Alzheimer’s Association or The Wounded Warrior Project (230 W Monroe St Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60606). For more information, please call 219-322-7300 or visit our online obituary and guestbook at

Saturday: Morning flurries, then breezy

Lansing Public Library

Local weather sponsored by the Lansing Public Library

information gathered by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (January 22, 2022) – The Lansing Journal is continuing to test a weather feature that we hope will be useful for our subscribers. We ask for your patience and we appreciate your input while we figure things out.

Current conditions; four-hour forecast; five-day forecast

7:09am4:54pm CST
Feels like: 12°F
Wind: 11mph W
Humidity: 52%
Pressure: 30.07"Hg
UV index: 0

Thank-you to our sponsor

Lansing Public Library

Sponsorship opportunities

Interested in sponsoring a category of news like this? Contact [email protected] to see what’s available.

Weekly COVID-19 data, published January 21, 2022

7-day new cases in Lansing down by nearly 200 compared to last week

information gathered by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (January 21, 2022) – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 183,722 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including an increase of 746 deaths since January 14, 2022.

As of last night, 6,054 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 972 patients were in the ICU and 560 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.


The South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association maintains a COVID dashboard aggregating data from villages throughout the south suburbs. Highlights from Lansing are listed below:

  • 7-day new cases: 312 (last week: 506)
  • Cumulative total cases to date: 6,446
  • Cumulative total of COVID-19 deaths: 25 (Previous reported total: 25)
  • Seven-day positivity rate: 9.25% (Last Friday: 14.5%)

Illinois interactive graphs

The graphs below are created by HiGeorge and are “live,” so they are continually updated as new data are released from official sources.

Illinois cases

Illinois deaths

Illinois testing

Indiana interactive graphs

Indiana cases

Indiana deaths

Indiana testing

Lake County interactive graphs

Lake County cases

Lake County deaths

Video: Superintendent Jones gets a haircut, and other news from the CTE Showcase

CTE Showcase
by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (January 21, 2022) – “I just left TF North, and I was overwhelmed with joy seeing so much interest in the programs by our students,” wrote Dr. Sophia Jones-Redmond in an email to The Lansing Journal on Thursday, January 20. She had attended Thursday’s CTE Showcase at North and reached out to invite us to the TF South version that would take place on Friday. “The media should witness what I am seeing,” she said.

It was just this past summer that District 215 established a new Career Development Department to offer TF South and TF North students hands-on learning opportunities in a variety of fields. Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses are available to juniors and seniors, and several of the programs equip students with the licensing or certification they need to be employable immediately upon graduation.

The CTE Showcase was designed to make current sophomores aware of the program and entice them to enroll. Teachers as well as current CTE students set up tables, trade-show style, to answer questions about careers in fields such as engineering, automotive technology, graphic design, construction, business, child care, culinary arts, and teaching.

Barbering and cosmetology are among the most sought-after CTE programs of study, with dozens of sophomores expressing interest in a class that is limited to 10 or 11 students. The Lansing Journal responded to Dr. Jones-Redmond’s invitation, and we were on site at the CTE Showcase at TF South, where we learned some of the reasons the program is so popular.

More information about the Career Development Program is available from the following sources:

The District 215 administrative office is located at 18601 Torrence Avenue in Lansing, Illinois.

Illinois unemployment down, payroll jobs up in December 2021

Unemployment rate at 5.3 percent in December

Information provided by the Illinois Department of Employment Security

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (January 21, 2022) – The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced that the unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 5.3 percent, while nonfarm payrolls increased by 22,800 in December, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The preliminary report for November monthly payrolls was revised from +19,500 to +19,900 jobs. The November unemployment rate was unchanged from the preliminary report, remaining at 5.7 percent.

The December payroll jobs estimate and unemployment rate reflects activity for the week including the 12th. The BLS has published FAQs for the December payroll jobs and the unemployment rate.

In December, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Professional and Business Services (+9,400), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+8,500), and Leisure and Hospitality (+2,200). The industry sectors that reported monthly payroll declines were: Financial Activities (-1,800), Educational and Health Services (-300), and Government (-100).

“Today’s data reflects continued encouraging growth across Illinois’ economy,” said Deputy Governor Andy Manar. “Illinois will continue to take collaborative steps to strengthen our workforce and connect workers with employers across the state. IDES encourages job seekers and businesses to utilize tools such as, Illinois’ free and accessible job board with over 160,000 available jobs.”

The state’s unemployment rate was +1.4 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for December, which was 3.9 percent, down -0.3 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was down -2.7 percentage points from a year ago when it was at 8.0 percent.

The number of unemployed workers was down from the prior month, a -6.0 percent decrease to 333,100, and was down -32.1 percent over the same month for one year ago. The labor force was up +0.5 percent over-the-month and up +2.0 percent over-the-year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

Obituary: Charlotte G. Rietveld

Charlotte G. Rietveld

June 11, 1934 – January 21, 2022

information provided by Smits Funeral Home

Charlotte G. RietveldCharlotte G. Rietveld, nee Jansma, age 87, of Beecher, IL went home to her Lord and Savior on Friday, January 21, 2022. Beloved wife of the late Peter H. Rietveld. Loving mother of Joy (late Bob) Huizenga, Paul (Lucille) Rietveld, Peter (Jori) Rietveld, and mother-in-law of Michele (Brian) Rutledge. Cherished grandmother of 15 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. Preceded in death by her son, Don Rietveld, by her great-granddaughter, Kora Abbott, and by her parents Charles and Grace Jansma. Charlotte was loved by all and will be deeply missed.

Visitation Monday, January 24, 2022, from 9 a.m. until time of the funeral service at 11 a.m. at Smits Funeral Home, 2121 Pleasant Springs Lane, Dyer, IN. The service will be live streamed at Private family interment at Skyline Memorial Park – Monee, IL. Memorial contributions to Providence Hospice (18601 N Creek Drive, Tinley Park, IL 60477) are greatly appreciated. For more information, please call 219-322-7300 or visit our online obituary and guestbook at

Longtime Lester Crawl teacher organizes car seat donation for families

Car seats
Lynda Torres poses with 57 car seats she gathered in recent months. (Photo provided)
car seat
A Lester Crawl parent has a car seat installed on Wednesday, January 19. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Caring through car seats

By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill. (January 20, 2022) – As pandemic concerns caused Lansing schools to limit in-person interactions as much as possible, Lester Crawl Primary Center started sending staff out to receive students from their vehicles, rather than having parents or guardians walk their children into the building.

As Lynda Torres helped unload her students from their cars, she noticed a concerning trend: some of the cars she was seeing did not have adequate car seats.

“Every day, I’m more and more shocked at the kids that aren’t in car seats or booster seats. And then I felt worse because I’m putting them in cars to go home and they’re not in booster seats. And I know that it’s the law and I know it’s important,” Torres said.

Doing something

Lynda Torres has worked at Lester Crawl for 31 years. (Photo from

A turning point for Torres was a day that she received a student from a car that also had a baby inside.

“As I turned to say goodbye to the mom, I looked back and she had an infant on her lap. And it just broke my heart,” she said.

Torres said she regularly listens to motivational speeches on her way to work, and the next day she heard something that stuck with her: “So many people like to complain about a situation, but they don’t do anything about it.”

57 car seats later, Torres has bucked the trend: she saw a problem and did something to fix it.

Car seat campaign

In her own preschool class, Torres — who’s worked at Lester Crawl for 31 years — knew she’d need eight car seats. She then sent a Google survey to school staff to share with parents, which determined that 55 families needed 57 car seats, either booster seats or larger five-point harness seats for younger children.

Torres said over the last few months, she’s used all kinds of help to gather the funds needed to buy the car seats. After an initial influx of 27 car seats from her generous network, Torres came to her church, Dyer United Methodist, and asked if they could help her campaign. They provided $1,200 toward the purchase of car seats.

“I asked my friends and family to buy them for me for Christmas this year. So my niece and nephew bought me a car seat for Christmas, my brother bought be a car seat for Christmas, my sister bought me a car seat for Christmas, and my own kids bought me a car seat for Christmas,” Torres said.

“The FedEx guy finally said, after the fifth car seat, he said, ‘There is no way these people have more than five kids of their own.’ He finally said, ‘Do you want to just open the garage? Because I have 11 today,'” Torres said.

Car seats
Lynda Torres poses with the car seats she gathered in recent months. (Photo provided)

The car seats range from large five point harness seats for younger children to booster seats designed for older children. Torres said the larger seats can be later converted to a booster, meaning families will not have to buy a replacement seat when their child gets older.

Torres also said some families have different family members that regularly pick up children, such as a grandparent or other relative. Any family member that needed a car seat could pick one up as well.

“Any Lester Crawl family that needed one is getting one. Even if it’s a second one,” Torres said.

Car seat installation

The five-point harness seats were installed into vehicles after school on Wednesday, January 19. Officer Dana Tatgenhorst from the Lansing Police Department is a certified as a Child Passenger Safety technician, and installed the car seats in vehicles.

car seat
Lansing Police Officer Dana Tatgenhorst answers a question about child safety during Wednesday’s car seat donation. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Torres said parents have been very appreciative of the car seats.

“On Friday, we started taking a few kids that just were getting the booster, and one of the seats had dinosaurs on it, and this little boy wanted to carry it to the car. He was so excited. He skipped all the way to the car. That is what made it for me, that there was actually a kid excited to get their car seat,” Torres said.

Hearts for children

Though Torres was quick to say the event wasn’t about her, Lester Crawl Principal Dr. Kim Morley praised Torres, and the efforts of everyone involved.

“My staff is pretty much private. They don’t like to toot their horn. But I’m going to do it for them. I think this is phenomenal,” Morley said. She said of Torres in particular: “She definitely has a heart for these kids. She’s probably the longest standing teacher in this building. … She’s been here and worked with preschool students. … Her heart just goes out to all children.”

Lester Crawl Primary Center is located at 18300 Greenbay Avenue in Lansing.