No first-day jitters for Julian TV star

The last time ABC’s Good Morning America featured Percy Julian Middle School on its broadcast was nearly a year ago, when they covered the school’s crackdown on hugging in the hallways between class periods. There was no such fuss during the first week of school this year when cameras returned to feature eighth-grader Jake Shadrake.

The 13-year-old was featured in a Sept. 9 segment on kids nationwide returning to school and their impressions of the first day. Shadrake talked about learning to socialize and getting used to school again, admitting to hardly recognizing Julian, 416 S. Ridgeland Ave. He also recalled the buzz cut he had back in the third grade while sporting long, rocker-style hair. In fact, he mentioned wanting to be either a rock star or roller-coaster designer as a profession. Shadrake was featured along with a kindergartner from New Jersey and a high school junior from Indianapolis.

Click here to see the video

OP official sues Downers Grove

Almost four months after getting terminated from a city manger position in Downers Grove, an Oak Park official is countering.

Cara Pavlicek, Oak Park’s interim parking manager since June, is suing the Village of Downers Grove. She was fired in May, and the suit, which was filed earlier this month, alleges the termination was for political reasons. She did not receive severance pay and is seeking $150,000, about one year’s salary, according to published reports.

In a press release, Downers Grove says Pavlicek’s suit is “without merit” and plans to “vigorously” defend itself. The village contends it had cause to fire the former manager, and does not owe her severance pay. The release says Pavlicek failed to comply with her employment agreement and village codes, but does not elaborate further.

She started the Downers Grove job in late 2005. She still lives in Downers Grove, is married, and is searching for another city manager position in the area. Pavlicek is not interested in taking on the parking job in Oak Park full-time. She’s been in city management for 18 years.

“But I’m definitely enjoying it and probably will be here for a while,” she said, declining to comment on the lawsuit.

Taking our pulse

Still unhappy with parking rates? Rather have saltier streets this winter?

Well, Oak Park wants to know. The village has mailed out surveys to hear residents’ opinions about quality of life and services. People are being selected randomly, and their identities will remain anonymous, according to a press release.

Questions touch on everything from snow removal to taxes to how safe you feel in Oak Park.

The National Research Center is conducting the survey, which it also did in 2000 and 2004. Guess where they’re located? Boulder, Colo., same place that Village Manager Tom Barwin recently applied for a city manager position. He subsequently swiped at the city’s sushi-loving population after coming in second place. Is this Boulder’s chance to bite back again? We’ll see how the results turn out.

Trustee in the hospital

Oak Park Trustee Ray Johnson couldn’t make it to Monday’s village board meeting because he was recovering from surgery.

Reached Tuesday morning at West Suburban Hospital, Johnson said his appendix got infected Sunday morning and he had to have emergency surgery that afternoon.

“They moved it along quickly because it was pretty serious,” he said.

Johnson was sitting in the hospital Tuesday, with his board packet at the side of his bed. He was a little disappointed he couldn’t make it to Monday’s meeting, and the hospital doesn’t carry VOP-TV6.

“I told the nurse, as long as all the surgeons were Democrats, I was a happy man,” he said.

Johnson said he can’t drive for a week after being released, which will probably happen in the next few days. So he’ll probably miss next Monday’s board meeting.

“I’ll kind of play it by ear, but obviously rest and get better,” Johnson said.

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