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Residents sound off about quarry, traffic and flooding

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September 28, 2010

By JANE MICHAELS This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

A heart-stopping quarry blast, destructive flooding and pedestrian hazards were on the minds of south side La Grange residents Monday at the first of three town hall meetings.

Homeowners expressed anger and then fear over the effects of a blast measuring 2.7 on the Richter scale Aug. 31 from the Hanson Material Co. quarry at 47th Street and East Avenue.

"I was sitting at home at my desk and I almost had a heart attack," said Rosanne Welenc, who lives on the 600 block of 9th Avenue. "This is unacceptable. How do we follow up with accountability to the quarry."

Vera Catuara, who has lived on the 800 block of South 10th Avenue for 42 years, said the quarry blast was "like a bomb as opposed to a reverberation."

"I thought the blast was under my house and things would be on fire," Catuara said. "We have to constantly keep after the quarry and tell them we want more information about this specific blast."

Village Manager Robert Pilipiszyn assured residents gathered at Seventh Avenue Elementary School that quarry officials have pledged cooperation in rendering an investigation and full accounting of blasting activities. Hanson also said blasting will be suspended until the investigation is concluded.

Residents, however, said they were concerned about long-term effects of mining activities and the Aug. 31 blast, including damage to foundations and cracks in walls.

"If you have a claim, you need to file it quickly. Pursue your homeowners insurance and go that route," Pilipiszyn advised. "We're not in a position to be able to make those determinations."

Village President Liz Asperger also suggested residents call the quarry complaint hot line at 1-866-934-3278.

One homeowner objected to the fact that blasting regulations are the same in rural areas as in major metropolitan Chicago, and that it would take a change in state law to protect urban areas from mining blasts.

South side residents also applauded village officials for working to reduce the speed limit along 47th Street from 35 to 30 mph, but pressed them for greater enforcement surrounding the pedestrian crossing at 9th Avenue.

Village officials beefed up the crosswalk with flashing lights and increased signage at a cost of $80,000 following numerous complaints and the death of Cari Cook. The 30-year-old Countryside woman was struck while trying to cross 47th Street at 8th Avenue with her two young children in May, 2009.

"Without a shadow of a doubt, people are not obeying it, a good seven or eight out of 10 cars," observed Joe Pardo, who lives at 10th Avenue and 47th Street, concerning cars stopping for pedestrians in the 9th Avenue crosswalk.

Asperger invited residents to have their flooding concerns addressed in detail at a special meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Village Hall, 53 S. La Grange Road.

Two other town hall meetings are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at Ogden Avenue School, Ogden Avenue and La Grange Road, and Nov. 22 at the Community Center, 200 Washington Ave.

Source: PioneerLocal - http://www.pioneerlocal.com/lagrange/news/2754218,la-grange-townhall-093010-s1.article
 

Cari Lyn Cook (Stevens)
(1978-2009)

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