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Elderly man murdered in home on Bemes Road

by Dennis Sullivan
May 16, 2014


Investigators gather outside the ransacked home on Bemes Road less than one-half mile west of Stateline Road. Photo credit: Dennis Sullivan

Will County Sheriff’s Police have made no arrests in the brutal murder of an 85-year-old Crete-area man found unresponsive in his home Wednesday.

Responding to questions from a freelance reporter for the Chicago Tribune Thursday afternoon outside the home on the 3200 block of Bemes Road, Will County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Jungles confirmed that an investigation was under way.

Standing near the more than a dozen responding fire, rescue and diver vehicles — mostly from south Cook County municipalities, Jungles said there was no search-and-rescue of the large pond on the 7-acre property.

He referred all other questions to the Sheriff’s Dept spokesman.

Neighbors gathered Thursday afternoon within view of the Hilton property and its large pond said investigators had been at the home since Wednesday evening.

The Sheriff’s Dept spokesman said 85-year-old Alfred L. Hilton, who lived alone at the residence, was apparently the victim of blunt-force trauma.

The Will County Coroner’s Office, which reportedly removed the body Wednesday evening, had not yet issued a press communication this morning.

The Sheriff’s Dept spokesman said the home appeared to have been ransacked.

The Sheriff’s Dept spokesman said Hilton’s body was discovered by a member of his church Wednesday who was concerned the octogenarian hadn’t appeared at an outreach activity Tuesday.

The Sheriff’s Dept spokesman described Hilton as fit and healthy.

The Sheriff’s Dept spokesman said dive crews had been called as a precautionary measure.

The Sheriff’s Dept spokesman acknowledged around 4:30 p.m. Thursday that the Tribune was the only news outlet to have the story and asked the reporter to withhold publication while investigators looked for two persons of interest. Tribune editors agreed to honor the request.

The Sheriff’s Dept spokesman’s comments appeared in a story carried in the Joliet Herald-News two hours later.

The Sheriff’s Dept spokesman is running for Will County Sheriff.

Original material copyright 2014 Eastern Will County News; all rights reserved.

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Alternate water filtration system studied

Steve Johnson, the village board's liaison to the water department, makes a point as fellow trustee Larry Johnston looks on. File photo. Photo credit: Dennis Sullivan

Steve Johnson, the village board’s liaison to the water department, makes a point as fellow trustee Larry Johnston looks on. File photo. Photo credit: Dennis Sullivan

by Dennis Sullivan
May 16, 2014

Steve Johnson has invited other trustees to join him on a visit to Plano Illinois to inspect that municipality’s Filtronics-brand water filtration system, saying it “piqued our interest.”

Johnson, the village board’s liaison with the water department, recently characterized the system as more closely resembling a “sand-filter system” than the Amiad system being used in Crete’s upcoming pilot test to improve drinking-water quality.

Speaking during his trustee report at Monday’s village board meeting, Johnson said he is continuing to explore possible alternatives to the Amiad system. He said Crete representatives recently visited Warrenville’s water treatment facility, which has “the same exact system” as Plano’s.

Filtronics, Inc., based in Anaheim, Calif., produces municipal and industrial water treatment systems.

Swiss Valley water main work continues
A LaGrange Park-based general contractor is slated to return to the Swiss Valley subdivision to replace the Chalet Lane and Chalet Court water main.

Public Works Supt Phil Hameister said Monday the beginning and end of the work still had to be worked out, minutes after village trustees unanimously approved Suburban General as the project’s low bidder, at $249,785.

The bid covers installing plastic piping, stainless steel valves and magnesium nuts in place of the galvanized products currently in use.

Suburban General did the first leg of what was expected to be a two-leg project in 2013.

“We’ve had very good luck and success working with them,” Hameister told trustees prior to the vote, adding the project would eliminate “80 percent of the problem” when completed.

Village officials had considered also replacing the water main on Hereford Drive, but Mayor Mike Einhorn said the village doesn’t have enough money.

Original material copyright 2014 Eastern Will County News; all rights reserved.

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‘When a trustee’s report is over, it’s over’

Trustees Dean Gaffney and Holly Milburn discuss an issue prior to the village board meeting in this photo taken in January. Photo credit: Dennis Sullivan

Trustees Dean Gaffney and Holly Milburn discuss an issue prior to the village board meeting in this photo taken in January. Photo credit: Dennis Sullivan

by Dennis Sullivan
May 15, 2014

Crete Trustee Dean Gaffney Monday called on other village board members to end their “petty bickering” and focus on improving the quality of life in Crete.

“We’ve gotta give the residents a reason to stick around, a reason to stay in Illinois, a reason to stay in Crete,” he said as he stood facing the back of the room.

Gaffney cited a recent Chicago newspaper article about a general exodus from Illinois to Indiana,relating it to his own experience of going to the mailbox, and “boom,” finding his “personal property taxes went up $1,000.”

Gaffney, elected in 2013 on a slate opposing the current mayor, recalled that he previously golfed on the nights when the village board met. He said he was wearing his golfing cap Monday night to emphasize his commitment to serving the village.

He offered no specific solutions.

It was the second time in two weeks Gaffney has used his building-and-grounds time to address unrelated issues.

At the April 28 meeting, he used the time to:

  • Blast fellow trustees’ 4-1 vote to expand the role of the village’s financial consultant,
  • Complain that he had insufficient information to cast an informed vote and
  • Criticize the village clerk for providing an agenda that didn’t include the financial consultant’s full name.

Gaffney returned to that issue during Monday’s meeting in the time set aside to amend, correct and approve the April 28 meeting minutes.

Again taking issue with the clerk, Gaffney publicly chided her for including Mayor Mike Einhorn’s response to his building-and-grounds report.

Gaffney insisted that Einhorn’s defense of the financial consultant’s credentials and experience be deleted from the portion of the minutes describing his report.

“When a trustee’s report is ended, it’s ended,” he said.

Original material copyright 2014 Eastern Will County News; all rights reserved.
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Honoring America’s heroes

CreteMemDay2013P1010316by Dennis Sullivan
May 13, 2014

Crete’s annual Memorial Day celebration on Monday, May 26, will begin with an 11 a.m. Veterans Memorial Service at Crete Park. The parade will step off from the park at noon, heading down Main Street to Burville Road.

The 2014 event, titled, “A Time to Honor America’s Heroes,” will honor the service and memory of veterans, while continuing to support and honor members of the armed forces currently serving our nation to secure democracy and preserve freedom.

P1010359The Memorial Service will include patriotic music, an invocation and benediction by local clergy, the placing of a wreath in remembrance of our fallen heroes and a guest speaker who provides insight into this special day.

In addition, the names of Crete veterans who lost their lives for our country are read aloud “so the community never forgets the sacrifice they made. We urge all members of the public to join us in the very special tribute to our veterans.”

CreteMemDay2013P1010344Deadline for parade permit
Friday, May 23, is the last day for parade participants to submit a completed application and liability waiver at the village hall. The neccessary paperwork is available at the village and can also be downloaded from the village Website.



  • Floats will line up in the west parking lot at Crete Park;
  • Police & fire vehicles and automobiles will line up on First Street, west of Lumber Street;
  • Politicos will line up on Benton Street between First and North streets;
  • Equestrian participants will line up in the vacant lot on the west side of Lumber Street, south of Holland Manufacturing, and
  • Marching Units, Musical Units on foot and Walking groups will line up at the park.

CreteMemDay2013SailorsP1010339Parking for parade walkers is available at Zion Lutheran Church, located on Main Street north of Burville Road. Post-parade information is included in the parade application.

Donations accepted
Individual and business donations help support Crete’s Annual Memorial Day event. Checks can be made out to the Crete Memorial Day Parade Committee and dropped off at the village hall.

Original material copyright 2014 Eastern Will County News; all rights reserved.

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Village targeting worst Crete sidewalks

Larry Johnston

Larry Johnston

by Dennis Sullivan
May 13, 2014

Crete officials have agreed to reactivate the village sidewalk maintenance program, setting aside $25,000 for concrete replacement. Trustees Monday unanimously approved the program, which had been suspended for financial reasons.

Trustee Larry Johnston is compiling a list of the village’s worst sidewalks.

Public Works Supt. Phil Hameister recalled Crete previously allocated $25,000-$50,000 a year. “We haven’t done it for seven or eight years because of the crunch,” he said.

“Most of our curbs are handicap-accessible,” Hameister said, adding that village crews have been making sidewalk corners more accessible “as we resurface roads.”

Mayor Mike Einhorn said the northeast corner of Main Street/Dixie Highway and Burville Road, which has “serious topographic issues,” and sidewalk in tax increment financing district 2 would probably be addressed separately.

Responding to a question from Trustee Steve Johnson, Einhorn said he is unaware of any grant funding available for replacing municipal sidewalks. Village Administrator Tom Durkin said some grants have been available for maintenance/replacement on student routes to school.

In other business:

  • Trustees set the next village board meeting for Thursday, May 22, to avoid a conflict with Memorial Day.
  • Crete Village Clerk Debbie Bachert reported residents are paying less than two-thirds of ComEd’s rate for electricity, thanks to the village’s participation in the Will County Government League Aggregation Group. The rate — 36.5 percent less — is good through October. Beecher and Peotone are also in the group. The current supplier draws energy from 100 percent renewable sources, according to the WCGL.

Einhorn said Monday the village didn’t hire a finance director, as was reported by Eastern Will County News. “All that was was a motion to assign her a title,” he said in response to village resident Don Seehausen’s question about the April 28 board action. Einhorn said the finance director continues as a consultant. EWC News regrets the error.

Original material copyright 2014 Eastern Will County News; all rights reserved.


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Taking the ‘S’ out of Exchange Street

Exchange Street's 'S' curve will be only a memory once the realignment-reconstruction project is completed in late 2015.

Exchange Street’s ‘S’ curve will be only a memory once the realignment-reconstruction project is completed in 2015.

by Dennis Sullivan
May 12, 2014

The Exchange Street realignment/reconstruction project was scheduled to begin in earnest today as crews continue preparing a new, more direct, roadway north of the current right of way east of Crete Village.

Will County Engineer Bruce Gould this morning predicted periodic closures related to Crete Village’s water-main-construction project are likely to occur after June 1.

In a move to detour traffic on state and county roadways the alternate route will use Steger Road to connect Illinois Routes 1 and 394. Residents on the south side of Exchange Street between Crete Road and Cottage Grove Avenue should be able to access their homes, he said.

But at this point, the new-road construction shouldn’t dramatically affect the current roadway, Gould said, estimating it would be at least a year before the current right of way is closed to switch to the new Exchange Street. “We don’t have a final date,” he said.

The current Exchange Street probably should be open this winter, he said.

Work also includes extending Cottage Grove Avenue, which already ties in with Route 394, with the new, more northern portion of Exchange Street.

Safety was the driver
Gould said safety concerns prompted the decision to create a “more gradual curve than the “S” curve. There have been quite a few crashes out there.” The new 1.5-mile-stretch will feature a center median.

Gould said the county would transfer authority for the current stretch of Exchange to the Crete Township Highway Dept, once the new stretch is tied in with Cottage Grove and Crete Road. He said the roadway needs to remain open because it provides access to several residences.

Crete Township Supervisor Tony Recupito was less than excited about the transfer.

“It’s going to become a burden to us,” Recupito said this morning, adding, “the amount of dollars we’re getting isn’t enough to offset the cost of maintaining the road and mowing.”

But Recupito was quick to acknowledge the new configuration would be safer.

Cottage Grove Avenue would be extended north to connect with the new portion of Exchange Street. Photo Credit: Dennis Sullivan.

Cottage Grove Avenue would be extended north to connect with the new portion of Exchange Street. Photo Credit: Dennis Sullivan.

“In the end, that’s better for everybody,” he said.

$9M project
The Illinois Department of Transportation is administering the approximately $9 million project, with the Will County Highway Department responsible for direct oversight because Exchange Street is also County Road 49.

Thornton-based Gallagher Asphalt Corporation was the lowest of five bidders, at $5,178,888, for the road construction portion of the project. Work includes installing a new storm sewer and box culvert, new pavement, curb and gutter, and replacing the water main.

Trees have already been felled as part of the realignment and reconstruction project intended to eliminate the “S’ curve.


Original material copyright 2013 Eastern Will County News; all rights reserved


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Introducing the EWC News Comment Policy

by Dennis Sullivan
May 9, 2014


We’re establishing a comment policy.

The policy, which should have been established long ago, responds to two recent comments that have been rejected. One comment was from a commenter using a bogus name, while the other personally criticized — at length — a lower-level village employee. We apologize to both posters for the previous lack of guidelines and thank them for their attempted participation.

Your views and those of other Eastern Will County News readers are essential to an active exchange of ideas and we encourage your participation. 

We anticipate robust appraisals, comments and criticism of public officials and public figures. Public officials have, or are generally perceived to have, substantial responsibility for — or control over — the conduct of government affairs. Public officials include local/area elected officials, heads of staff and high-level administrators. Public figures include individuals leading public conversations.  



  • Provide your real name and 
  • Limit your comments to the topic under discussion


  • Swear or curse, 
  • Defame or personally insult individuals, 
  • Threaten, 
  • Use hate speech targeting race, religion, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex, disability, age or sexual orientation or 
  • Promote or endorse for-profit services or products.

We reserve the right to not publish comments. Accurate, fair and courteous comments have the best chance of being posted.

Your comments are welcome at any time, but our limited resources may affect how quickly your reviewed comment is posted. Ideally, we’ll post reviewed comments before the end of the next business day. Thanks in advance for your patience.

In providing your comments, you grant Eastern Will County News permission to copy, distribute, make derivatives or display your work publicly and free-of-charge.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy, which may be revised, updated and/or rewritten as needed. 




Original material copyright 2014 Eastern Will County News; all rights reserved.

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