By Devin Rose
Nursing home resident killed by another patient
Lawyers representing the family of an 80-year-old man who was killed by a fellow patient at Oak Park Healthcare in February have said the lawsuit against the facility could be resolved as late as March 2013.
Anibal Calderon, a man with advanced dementia and a history of wandering, was walking around a third-floor nursing unit at the nursing home, 625 N. Harlem Ave. on the night of Feb. 12, when he was struck by another patient, 66, who also had dementia. Calderon's death was ruled a homicide by brain injury.
A report by the state Department of Public Health showed the facility did not have a policy in place to deal with residents' physically aggressive behavior at the time of the attack. Calderon's family filed the suit in March.
In October, about 20 employees of Oak Park Healthcare staged a protest over low wages, patient treatment, quality care and short staffing. The facility was one of 50 targeted that day in the state by SEIU Healthcare, part of the Service Employees International Union.
Teenager dies in Oak Park of a heroin overdose
Nolan Hitt, a 17-year-old former Oak Park and River Forest High School student, died of a suspected heroin overdose in April.
Hitt's mother, Joyce, said her son had been at a party in Villa Park when he used the substance. He was driven back to his father's Oak Park home by a friend. His father found him dead when he returned from driving the friend back to Villa Park, said Joyce Hitt, who said adults need to be better educated about drugs and signs of their use and that kids need to make a greater effort to help their friends if a friend is going through a time of crisis. She warned that it's not just alcohol and marijuana parents need to be concerned about.
Kristine Raino-Ogden, chairwoman of the local parent group IMPACT, and Bert Patania, youth interventionist supervisor at Oak Park Township Youth Services, both agreed that there needed to be a stronger reaction from the community following Hitt's death.
Police say Velvet Rope fire was arson
No arrests have yet been made in the June fire that destroyed a gay nightclub in Oak Park, but police said the cause was arson.
When the lead police investigator was asked later in the summer if the department had identified any persons of interest or suspects, he said they had but did not elaborate. He also could not comment on speculation that owner Frank Elliott may have been involved in the fire.
Elliott said over the summer that two floors of tables, chairs and equipment were destroyed. His debit card and $15,000 in checks were also stolen, he said. While he waited for police to finish their investigation, Elliott said he was concentrating on opening a bar in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. He said he planned to reopen Velvet Rope, but it might not be in the same location.
A woman who loaned $100,000 to the club in 2008 sued Elliott and the former owner of the business, claiming they defaulted on the loan.
Elliott's lease was up in July, and building owner Mike Fox said in October he was going to repair the space so it would be ready to lease out.
Reports from the Oak Park and River Forest police departments were not sent as of press time this week. They will be included in next week's police blotter.