Riverside resident Nikole Crane was one of more than 80 local high school students who recently earned Girl Scouts of the USA’s most prestigious national honor for girls, the Girl Scout Gold Award. 

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana honored their accomplishments during a special ceremony at the Hilton Rosemont Hotel in December.

Crane, a member of Girl Scout Troop 44616, received her Gold Award after completing a complex series of requirements, including the implementation of a significant community service project.

Crane, 17, earned her Gold Award by initiating “Not Just Lip Service.” Her project raised awareness for Smile Train, an organization that repairs the cleft palates of children in developing countries.

“I feel empowered after finishing my Gold Award, not only because of the impact I have made on society,” she said, “But also because I know that I have completed an award that only a few girls actually receive.”

 In addition, Crane’s efforts on behalf of Smile Train also caught the notice of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

Crane, a senior at Trinity High School in River Forest, was also awarded the 2014 Cook County Sheriff’s Youth Service Medal of Honor in December for volunteering more than 100 hours in the past year by making, packaging and selling lip balm. 

Through that effort, she donated more than $3,000 to Smile Train, which provided 12 surgeries for children.

Poet back for Brookfield reading

Former Brookfield resident and poet Laura Van Prooyen will be back in town next week for a reading related to her latest book of poetry.

Three years ago, Van Prooyen moved to San Antonio, and her newest collection of poems, Our House Was on Fire, won the McGovern Prize from Ashland Poetry Press and was released in January.

Van Prooyen will be in Chicago for events related to the book’s release, including a reading and gathering at Salt Creek Wine Bar, 8900 Fairview Ave., on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.

Admission is free and the public is welcome to attend.

St. Louise volunteer honored

At the evening of the St. Louise de Marillac School Christmas play in December, Diane Dietz of the St. Louise FSA presented Vickie Paradee with the Spirit of St. Louise Award.

Paradee is a tireless volunteer, serving in the kitchen during Bing each moth and at countless special events throughout the year presented by the parish and school. She has two children enrolled at St. Louise School and one who graduated last year and is a freshman at Nazareth Academy.

She worked as an aide in the St. Louise preschool classrooms for many years and has recently become an aide in the Superkids class.


Riverside officer attends funeral in NYC

Riverside police Officer Fabian Navarro attended the funeral of one of the two New York City police officers killed in an ambush-style shooting in December. Navarro joined hundreds of fellow officers to pay tribute to Wenjian Liu, who was slain with Officer Rafael Ramos on Dec. 20, 2014.

“I am honored to be representing the village of Riverside and the Riverside Police department in remembering and honoring our fellow brother in law enforcement who gave the ultimate sacrifice for his community,” Navarro said.

Navarro flew to New York courtesy of JetBlue Airways, which offered free flights for police to attend the funeral. 

Riverside Deputy Police Chief David Krull has received the prestigious Public Safety Executive Leadership Award from Northwestern University Center for Public Safety. The award was presented at the center’s School of Police Staff and Command graduation ceremony in December.

Krull has successfully completed the center’s entire sequence of management programs.

Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel has been appointed to the Chicago Committee of the National Alliance on Mental Health. The committee is made up of leaders from the greater Chicago area who agree that incarcerating youths experiencing mental health problems is costly both fiscally and socially.

“I believe that law enforcement plays an important role in the treatment of juvenile mental health issues through the criminal justice system and there is a need for increased services, not only by law enforcement, but our social service systems in grater Cook County,” Weitzel said.

Weitzel also serves on the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission. He was appointed to that post in 2014 by former Gov. Pat Quinn.


Student raises $3,000 for charity

Riverside resident Nikole Crane, a senior at Trinity High School in River Forest, was awarded the 2014 Cook County Sheriff’s Youth Service Medal of Honor in December for volunteering more than 100 hours in the past year.

Crane made, packaged and sold lip balm and donated the profits to Smile Train, an organization that fixes cleft lips and palates in developing countries. She raised more than $3,000 for the charity, which provided 12 surgeries for children with cleft lips and palates.


On campus

Among those receiving diplomas at the December 2014 undergraduate graduation ceremony at Lewis University in Romeoville were Brookfield residents Daniel Cardoso (accountancy) and Cody Marquette (marketing) and Riverside resident Sally Alvarado (nursing).

Meanwhile, Catherine Jasionowski (mathematics), of Brookfield, and Meghan Martin (accountancy), of Riverside, were named to the 2014 fall semester dean’s list at Lewis, attaining a GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4-point scale.

Michael A. Nikischer, of Riverside, was among nearly 1,500 graduates who received degrees from the University of Nebraska in ceremonies on Dec. 19 and 20, 2014. Nikischer earned a bachelor’s degree in turfgrass and landscape management from the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Brookfield resident Jennifer Paliatka, associate professor and assistant reference/instruction librarian at Elmhurst College, was recently initiated into Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines.

Paliatka is among approximately 32,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year. Membership is by invitation and requires nomination and approval by a chapter.

. Membership into Phi Beta Kappa is by invitation and only the top 10 percent of college seniors and 7.5 percent of juniors are eligible for membership.

Brian Brown, a Riverside resident who is studying mathematics and economics at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, was named to the 2014 fall semester dean’s list for attaining a grade-point average of at least 3.75 on a 4-point scale.

Brown, a graduate of Riverside-Brookfield High School, is the son of Jerome Brown and Vilma Brown-Muralles.

Joseph Aieta, of Riverside, was named to the 2014 fall semester dean’s list at Arizona State University by earning a GPA of at least 3.5 during the semester.

Francis Loconti, of Brookfield, was named to 2014 fall term dean’s list at the Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, by attaining a semester GPA of at least 3.5.

Bradley University in Peoria has announced that Brookfield residents Kristin DiMaggio, Scott Duda and Lorelei Volpe were named to the 2014 fall semester dean’s list by achieving a GPA of at least 3.5 for the semester.

Hope College in Holland, Michigan, announced that Joseph Zych, of North Riverside, has been named to the dean’s list for the 2014 fall semester. He attained a GPA of at least 3.5.

Among those named to the 2014 fall semester dean’s list at Augustana College in Rock Island were Brookfield residents Colleen Brown (sophomore, communication science and disorders); Paul Landahl (senior, mathematics and history); Kaitlynn Markowski (senior, psychology and sociology); and Kelly Wallner (sophomore, communication sciences and disorders) and North Riverside residents Monica Fiala (sophomore, psychology) and Kristen Santoro (junior, communication sciences and disorders).

Brookfield resident Sonja Davy was named to the 2014 fall semester dean’s list at Wheaton College. Davy, an elementary education major, attained a GPA of at least 3.5 during the semester.

Jacqueline Skokna, of Brookfield, was named to the 2014 fall semester dean’s list at Belmont University in Nashville by attaining a GPA of at least 3.5 during the semester. 

Riverside resident Tara Kaplan was named to the dean’s list for the 2-14 fall semester at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, for maintaining a GPA of at least 3.75. 

The following local students were recently named to the dean’s list for the 2014 fall semester at the University of Dayton for attaining a GPA of at least 3.5: Brookfield residents Christopher Crisanti, Anthony Reyes, Katelyn Reynolds and Anne Sventy; North Riverside resident Alexandra Luna; and Riverside resident Stephanie Rodriguez.

In addition, Reynolds graduated from the university at the school’s commencement ceremony on Dec. 20, 2104 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Nazareth Academy in LaGrange Park announced in December that Robert Schneider, of Brookfield, has been recognized as a 2015 Illinois State Scholar.

The award is given annually by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Illinois State Scholars rank in the top 10 percent of high school seniors from 671 high schools across the state.

In addition, Mount Carmel High School in Chicago announced that Riverside resident Callen Vais had been recognized as an 2015 Illinois State Scholar.

Brookfield resident Rachel Larsen, a junior at Lyons Township High School, was one of 17 students recently recognized at the 16th Annual Elmhurst College High School Art Show.

Larsen’s piece, an untitled drypoint, earned an Honors distinction. 

The Lyons Township High School Speech Team finished up its regular season with their third first-place trophy. The team has had its most successful season in recent history.

At the Waubonsie Valley High School “The Reel Thing” tournament on Jan. 17, LTHS won a total of 18 medals, including four first-place awards and a first-place team trophy.

Among those placing at the event was junior Killian LeClainche, of Brookfield, who placed fifth in impromptu speaking.

Eighteen Lyons Township High School students, including three from Brookfield, were named to the Technology Center of DuPage A-Team by earning an A during the first semester in their respective programs.

Among those recognized were Daniel Drozda (automotive technology), Skye Kienitz (certified nursing assistant) and Kiarra Sims (certified nursing assistant). All are seniors at LTHS.

Firefighters donate toys to Ronald McDonald House 

Members of North Riverside Firefighters Local 2714 made the holidays a little brighter for several children at the Ronald McDonald House on the campus of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood in December.

Firefighters donated gift for five boys and seven girls at the hospital and also purchased toys for the hose itself. Among those representing the local were Firefighters Rich Gray, Firefighter Dave Rajk, Lt. Gary Jurecka and Firefighter Austin Nicholl.

This piece has been changed to correct information related to Jennifer Paliatka’s induction into the Phi Kappa Phi honors society.