Cook County News Briefs

Chronicle Media

Fishing fans line the shore at Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens. A fishing fundraiser for the nonprofit lake will be held April 8.


Metra surveying public about fare option ideas

Metra is asking customers, former customers and prospective customers what they think about a variety of potential fare and ticket options, including off-peak and reverse-commute pricing, one-day and seven-day passes, loyalty programs and other ideas.

The survey, available online, is part of a study that Metra commissioned to evaluate the agency’s distance-based fare structure and fare products and recommend changes that best serve the region’s needs. The scope of work for Metra’s consultant, Four Nines Technologies, includes determining opportunities and costs of potential fare structure changes and developing a model that can help Metra evaluate those potential changes.

The survey is available at through March 31. 

The survey asks respondents for information about commuting habits before asking for opinions about a variety of potential changes. Those include:

  • Their likelihood of buying a one-day pass that would allow them to make round trips, transfer between lines and make unlimited trips inbound and outbound during one day on all lines in their zone pair, similar to a Monthly Pass.
  • Their likelihood of buying a seven-day or weekly pass priced at eight one-way tickets and valid Monday through Sunday, instead of a 10-Ride Ticket.
  • Their likelihood of using a Weekend Pass with extended hours to include Friday evening trains.
  • Their likelihood of switching travel times if Metra offered a lower            fare on weekdays for trains that arrive downtown after 9:30 a.m. and leave downtown before 3 p.m. or after 7 p.m.
  • Whether lower fares for reverse-commutes, travel between non-downtown stations and travel during off-peak hours would encourage them to ride Metra. (It also asks respondents to suggest the level of discount that would motivate their change in travel patterns.)
  • Their likelihood of using Metra more if it offered some kind of loyalty program.
  • The survey also asks about the ease of understanding Metra’s Ventra App and zone-based fares, and allows respondents to provide additional comments about current fares and how they might be improved to meet their needs.

The survey results will be used to guide Metra’s decision-making regarding changes to fares and fare policies. Any proposed changes would be subject to further public comment before being implemented. The study is expected to be completed this summer.

Area teachers are Golden Apple finalists

Four teachers at various Lake County schools have been named finalists for the 2017 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching. They are among the 33 finalists named for their teaching expertise by Golden Apple, a leading nonprofit committed to celebrating and developing great teachers who make life-changing differences in the lives of students.

The awards recognize and honor outstanding teachers for their role in building a stronger, better-educated society. This year’s finalists were selected from a pool of more than 600 nominations, and represent 4th-8th grade teachers throughout Chicago and suburbs.

The finalists include:

  • Cindy Adler, Chute Middle School, Evanston
  • Andrea Beaty, Serena Hills Elementary School, Chicago Heights
  • Michelle Brezek, Heritage Middle School, Berwyn
  • Christina Daskalopoulos, Viola H. Nelson Elementary School, Niles
  • Shannon Dickinson, Chute Middle School, Evanston
  • David Downing, Northbrook Junior High School, Northbrook
  • Dimitra Georganas, Pleasantdale Middle School, Burr Ridge
  • Joseph Gray Jr., Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Elementary School, Oak Park
  • Brigette Hurst, Grove Avenue School, Barrington
  • Michelle Kedzierski, Orland Junior High, Orland Park
  • James O’Malley, Thomas A. Edison Elementary, Morton Grove
  • Hala Tibi Qato, Aqsa School, Bridgeview
  • Cara Spitzner, Ogden Avenue School, La Grange

These finalists will experience a final round of review and classroom observations prior to the selection and announcement this spring of the 10 teacher award recipients. Golden Apple’s selection committee is comprised of college and university professors, educational consultants, administrators and former Golden Apple Award recipients. Committee members utilize industry and research-based professional standards to identify teachers who exemplify the best of the teaching profession.


Fishing contest slated for Lake Katherine

Keen anglers can take advantage of the mild spring weather by fishing the entire shore at Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens for one day only. Fishing fans are invited to secure their place for the Palos Heights nature center’s annual Spring Fishing Classic April 8.

The catch-and-release fundraiser will take place between 7 a.m. and noon at the non-profit park. Anglers are invited to fish for muskie, catfish, walleye and bass. Prizes for the biggest catches of the day will be awarded. Last year, the biggest fish, a 4.5-pound, 18-inch bass, was caught by Wally Findysz Sr.

Participants can register by calling (708) 361-1873 or signing up at the front desk of the nature center, 7402 W. Lake Katherine Drive, Palos Heights. A donation of $100 per competitor includes lunch.


Celtic Fest will be three days of fun, food, drink

All things Irish will be celebrated at the 7th annual Barrington Celtic Fest, March 16 through March 18. The party will be held in two locations. The large heated party tent will return to the 200 block of Park Avenue, just east of Cook Street, for an outdoor celebration. Hours are 5 p.m.-12 a.m. March 16, 11 a.m.-12 a.m. March 17 and March 18. An indoor celebration will be held at McGonigal’s Pub & The Loft (second level), 105 S. Cook St. Hours are 11 a.m.-1 a.m. March 16, 10 a.m.-2 a.m. March 17 and 11 a.m.-2 a.m. March 18.

The three-day festival will feature food vendors, bands and entertainment. The entertainment will include live Irish and rock music, five Irish dance troupe performances and bagpipers. Schedules and band lineups can be found at Admission is free. For more information, call (847) 277-7400.

–Cook County News Briefs–