Archive for May 29th, 2020

Of Interest … citizen makes water rescue

Excerpts from the

On Thursday at about 1:45 p.m. a man fell into the Chicago River near State Street and Wacker Drive. Julie Macholz, a retired Navy pilot who was a lifeguard in high school and college, was walking her dog when she heard a commotion near the State Street bridge. She went over and saw the man bobbing up and down.

Two men jumped a fence and threw life preservers toward the man, but both missed him. Police said a 52-year-old man jumped in to save to the man, but didn’t make it to him.

Macholz then jumped in, grabbed the man as he was going under, and pulled him to the side of the river. When divers arrived, they helped the pair to shore.

The man who fell in the water was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and was listed in critical condition.


Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from the

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to temporarily expand the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program to include firefighters already on payroll. Currently, the SAFER program has a requirement that funding be used only to hire new firefighters at the equivalent cost of a first-year firefighter, which normally would assist a station getting up to required staffing levels with fresh talent.

The members also noted that Congress has given FEMA the authority to waive certain FY19 SAFER requirements, as has memoranda provided by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

“As you consider additional waivers, we encourage you to waive the FY19 SAFER grant spending requirement on new firefighter hires only,” according to their letter.

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An open letter received – Chicago Safety; Re: George Floyd

Dear CFD Engine 94 Team,
I first would like to thank you for your important work in being on the frontlines during this COVID-19 Pandemic. 
I secondly, want to share with you a thought pertaining to the heartbreak the United States is experiencing in reaction to the murder of George Floyd. 
I am a Clinical Psychologist in Chicago and have experience working with both grief and trauma. What is occurring currently in Minnesota and other cities/states with the riots are responses to both, in addition to a traumatic history of racial oppression here in the United States. 
Those of us who are heartbroken over George Floyd’s murder, need to have this emotion acknowledged. By nature of how the trauma response works and how overwhelming grief can be, these protests need to be approached in a trauma-sensitive manner. I can go on at length about the nuances of this but I know you have busy lives. Here is a thought on how authorities like yourselves, the fire department, may approach any protests here in our city, in a trauma-sensitive manner:
What if yourselves, and any other figures of authority who come in to try and tame riots, wear the mottos of the protestors that are declaring the heartbreak for George and all of the other innocent lives taken wrongfully? 
What if you were to put a, “I can’t breathe.” sign on your uniform, your trucks? What if you were to put a “Black Lives Matter” and an “Again?” flag on your equipment? All ways to visually show: “We are with you in this hurt, heartbreak, anger and confusion, but we are here to help you calm down.”
This may help protesters feel less threatened. It may help protestors feel less like being tamed and quieted down by the authority, and bring about a more – We are with you, we are just here to redirect to help keep you all safe but know that, WE HEAR AND SEE YOU!” stance. 
I again thank you for your service and for considering my thoughts in advance. 
Kristen Friedman 
Kristen Friedman, PsyD
Fancher Psychology & Assessment, LLC
Chicago NorthShore Psychologists, Inc. 

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Oak Lawn Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

The Village of Oak Lawn let go of Fire Chief Michael Mavrogeorge on Thursday due to budget constraints, which they attributed to lost revenue caused by the coronavirus shutdown.

Randy Palmer, who has been serving dual roles as Oak Lawn’s police chief and acting village manager, said they looked at numerous options to cut costs to avoid losing staff, including capital expenditures and equipment cuts. Village officials held several meetings with the collective bargaining units for the fire, police, public works, and jail attendant unions, which were not productive.

The village has also eliminated some non-union positions, reportedly eight in total, so the village can make it through the loss of revenue it will face in the coming months, and possibly years to come. At the last Oak Lawn Village Board meeting on May 12, trustees and the mayor discussed a budget shortfall ranging from $8 million to $10 million

“I wish we didn’t have to pay $4 million in overtime to one department,” the mayor said, referring to the firefighters’ union. “But it is what it is. The problem is we have so few options because of agreements with the firefighter’s union.”

Oak Lawn Deputy Fire Chief Zachary Riddle will serve as the acting fire chief. According to the 2019 employee compensation report posted on the village website, Mavrogeorge earned a salary of $141,496, or $164,171 including healthcare and other benefits. Riddle’s total compensation package in 2019 was $215,603, which included his $130,987 annual salary.

Mavrogeorge was reportedly taken off guard by the termination of his contract. He was not offered a severance package, but medical insurance coverage was extended to other village employees that have been laid off.

thanks Dennis

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