30 by 60 foot flag on I-80 Stolen? Why?

Why would anyone go through great lengths to steal a huge flag? What does one do with a flag this size, beside fly it over a busy interstate?

The Cook County Board is kicking off a series of meetings, for those unfortunate people who have had to use the Cook County Hospital System, because of being uninsured, under insured or whatever unfortunate circumstances that led them to have no choice but Cook County Medical care.

Sheriff Tom Dart will be spending more time at Burr Oak, now that more bones have been found. Dart let clergy take a tour of Burr Oak in Cook County Buses and consecrate the burial grounds. Hopefully this is the only time clergy will be riding in Cook County Sheriff's buses.

It will take one to three weeks before a giant American flag is flying over Interstate 80 again.
Augie Juricic, manager of Berland's House of Tools, said a similar flag has been ordered to replace the30-by-66-foot banner that was stolen about 9 p.m. Saturday from its site behind Berland's, 1695 New Lenox Road, Joliet Township.
The $2,000 flag, which flew 100 feet into the air along I-80, was erected several years ago in memory of Shawn Pahnke, an Army private from Manhattan who was killed in Iraq in 2003.

Will County sheriff's police said it appears two men used a 2-by-4 to crank the flag down to the ground.
Sheriff Paul Kaupas, a Vietnam veteran, called the theft "unfortunate" and said he couldn't understand the motivation for it, other than a prank.
"I've had regular-size flags stolen from my house, but what would you do with a flag that big?" he asked.

Anyone with information about the stolen flag is urged to call sheriff's police at (815) 727-8574.

Cook County hospital officials will descend on the Southland next week for the first in a series of public meetings asking what people think of their government-run hospital system.

The South Holland stop Monday on the so-called listening tour comes as the system grapples with potential budget cuts due to the county board's tax rollback and an increasing number of uninsured patients - all while south suburban activists decry services moving to Chicago's inner city.

"We felt strongly that we really need to have community involvement in this process to seek out from our people their perceptions of the health system, what they feel we're doing good, what are areas for improvement," said William Foley, the system's chief executive officer.

The meetings are part of creating a strategic plan for the county's health and hospitals system board - a nine-member panel created last year to depoliticize the operation of Cook County's massive and cash-strapped health care system.

County hospitals have been on the front lines of the crisis created by ballooning numbers of uninsured Americans. The public institutions serve as the hospitals of last resort - safety nets - for those who often rely on an emergency room for primary care.

"You have a really disgusting situation where people can't get health care and they're driven into bankruptcy if they get ill," said Dr. Quentin Young, an observer and sometimes critic of the county system who once was chair of the Department of Medicine at Cook County Hospital.

And while the hospital system juggles its budget and patient load, Young said, it is trying to address a bureaucratic infrastructure.
"They don't have efficient systems," the doctor said. "People like me who want to support the public sector, and I do, have difficulty because citizens say, 'Look at the misfunction and waste.' Nobody likes that."

Meanwhile, Cook County commissioners voted Tuesday to rollback half of the penny-on-the-dollar sales tax hike passed more than a year ago. The move, which may prove veto-proof, would siphon 10 percent of the hospital system's revenue, or $85 million, and require cuts to the system, Foley said.

"If it happens, then that needs to be in our strategic and financial plan," he said. "We know that we're not going to get more revenues. We know we can't do everything ourselves."
The hospital system makes up the lion's share of the county's budget. For this year it was allocated $882 million.

Another 40 bones surfaced yesterday in back sections where other remains had been found dumped, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said.

We are gathered together to reconsecrate, to say a prayer over this land," prayed one of many ministers who met at Burr Oak Cemetery Wednesday to bless ground that authorities said had been ripped up over the last four years so graves could be scandalously resold for cash.

The 100 or so ministers representing so many faiths - multiple Christian denominations, Jewish - descended on this historic black cemetery in Alsip to tour the 150 acres where some 100,000 have been buried. From 200 to 300 graves have been destroyed, according to Cook County sheriff's investigators who've been overseeing the criminal case.

"We must trust in the Lord to take care of those people and bring them to justice and bring them to the right repentance the right remorse and the right turning away from their sins," he said, referring to the four employees accused in the scam that netted them at least $300,000.

clergy toured the cemetery still closed to the public in sheriff's buses, not permitted to walk around freely. Nor were they allowed to view select parts still walled off as crime scenes where FBI evidence technicians continue to sift through the dirt for more human remains.

Another 40 bones surfaced yesterday in back sections where other remains had been found dumped, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said.

His office plans to launch a searchable Internet database on Friday or Saturday, which relatives of the deceased can search for information about the graves of their loved ones.
Once the database is up and graves have been properly marked, the cemetery will reopen, said Roman Szabelski, head of the Catholic Cemeteries of Chicago now tasked with operating the cemetery. Szabelski said he should have a plan by August 1 for reopening details.


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