Around the Southland: Safe driving scholarships, Southwest Highway work, and more

High School students earn scholarships by promoting safe driving

A group of 15 area high school students earned $2,500 scholarships as part of the 2023-24 class of SafeLIGHT Foundation’s Teen Ambassador Program. The program focuses on promoting safe driving messages to teens to prevent crashes and save lives.

This year’s class included students from Southland College Prep in Richton Park, Alan B. Shepard in Palos Heights, Marian Catholic in Chicago Heights, Mother McAuley and Bennett Day School in Chicago and Morton West in Berwyn.

Through social media campaigns and town hall-style meetings at their schools, the teens shared information with their peers on the risks and responsibilities associated with teen driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death for teens.

Donate Life Illinois and Gift of Hope sponsor the Teen Ambassador program with support from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office.

The SafeLIGHT Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting safe driving behavior. Applications are now being accepted for the SafeLIGHT Foundation’s 2024-25 Teen Ambassador Program. Information is at

Southwest Highway construction to close 131st Street

An improvement project on Southwest Highway, from 131st Street in Palos Park to south of 135th Street in Orland Park, is scheduled to begin Monday, May 20, the Illinois Department of Transportation said in a news release.

Through midsummer, 131st Street will be closed between 88th Avenue and Southwest Highway. A posted detour will direct traffic to Harlem Avenue and 135th Street. Access to residences and businesses within the work zone will be maintained throughout construction.

The $20.6 million project consists of reconstructing and resurfacing the road, constructing new ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps, installing modernized traffic signals, replacing the existing box culvert at Mill Creek and drainage improvements. The project will also build new 8 feet-wide sidewalks on the west side of Southwest Highway, between 131st and 135th streets. The project is anticipated to be completed in 2025.

Motorists can expect delays, IDOT said.

District 230 Foundation seeking Legacy Hall nominations

The District 230 Foundation is seeking nominations of prominent alumni who have used their education and experience at Carl Sandburg, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Victor J. Andrew high schools to become successful, positive contributors to society, for its Legacy Hall according to a release from the organization. The annual Legacy Hall dinner is an opportunity to recognize and honor the District 230 graduates.

Legacy Hall inductees are invited to return to their alma maters to spend a day with students interested in their field of expertise.

“Dozens of classes and hundreds of students have an opportunity to speak to inductees one-on-one, an experience the students and inductees will not soon forget, and a practice District 230 hopes to continue,” said Superintendent Robert Nolting.

The 2024 Legacy Hall dinner is planned for Nov. 1 at Silver Lake Country Club in Orland Park. Tickets go on sale in October.

Applications for nominations are at All nominations must be received by July 1.

Homewood Metra Station to reopen Monday

Metra’s Homewood Station will reopen to many customers Monday, May 20, following the completion of a new stairway connecting the station’s pedestrian tunnel and the boarding platform, according to a news release.

While the station will reopen May 20, it will still not be accessible to ADA customers, because Metra is also replacing the elevator connecting the tunnel to the platform. The new elevator is expected to open for service June 30.

Until the elevator is replaced, ADA customers are advised to use the nearby Calumet Station, which is ADA-accessible and has ample parking. The Flossmoor Station, which is also ADA-accessible, is another alternative, Metra officials said.

The stairway and elevator work are part of a $20.7 million reconstruction of the station that began in 2023 and is expected to be complete in the summer of 2025. The work includes the construction of a new, ADA-accessible east headhouse, including a ramp; the renovation of the platform, wind breaks, warming house, and gatehouse; installation of new drainage, ventilation, lighting, and interior finishes in the existing tunnel; and replacement of the elevator and stairs connecting the tunnel to the platform. Also included is the construction of a new Pace bus facility, including three bus bays, a covered waiting area, and driver relief facilities.

Used jewelry sale set in Palos Heights

The Palos Heights Woman’s Club will hold their Annual “used but loved” Jewelry Sale from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 5 at the Palos Heights Farmers Market at 122nd Street and Harlem Avenue.

All the jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pins, etc. will be sold for only $1.00.

Juneteenth Festival planned in Morgan Park

The nonprofit Far South Community Development Corporation will present its 2024 Juneteenth Festival from noon to 4 p.m. June 15 on the northwest corner of Halsted Street and 115th Street in Chicago’s Morgan Park neighborhood.

This free, all-ages event celebrates the Juneteenth holiday by inviting Far South Side communities together for an afternoon of live music, food from local Black-owned restaurants, family activities, a resource vendor fair, housing workshops, and a small business marketplace.

Workshops will focus on resources for homeownership and rentals, as well as making living circumstances more affordable. Registration is free and includes breakfast, a housing trolley tour, and entry into pavilion raffles. More information on the festival and registration for the Juneteenth Housing Pavilion workshops is at

The Far South Community Development Corporation provides strategic community-building services to residents and businesses across Chicago’s Far South Side neighborhoods and south suburban Cook County.

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