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updated: 10/14/2016 1:10 PM

Report: Catholic schools in Cook, Lake show high lead levels in water

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  • More than 70 percent of the Archdiocese of Chicago schools whose sinks and water fountains were found to have unsafe levels of lead are in the suburbs.

    More than 70 percent of the Archdiocese of Chicago schools whose sinks and water fountains were found to have unsafe levels of lead are in the suburbs.
    Bob Chwedyk/Daily Herald file photo

 
 

Most Archdiocese of Chicago schools that had unsafe levels of lead in water drawn from some faucets and drinking fountains are in the suburbs, test results show.

Schools in Elk Grove Village, Park Ridge and Round Lake were at the top of the list for having the highest number of water outlets with problems.

An Archdiocese report, published this week on its website, showed 40 schools in suburban Cook and Lake counties tested positive for lead levels of more than 15 parts per billion in samples of drinking water, the threshold where the Environmental Protection Agency recommends remedial action.

The suburban schools were among 56 with elevated lead levels, out of 180 schools in the archdiocese.

Replace and retest

Archdiocese Schools Communications Director Anne Maselli tells me Queen of the Rosary Catholic School in Elk Grove Village found two drinking fountains and two sinks where lead levels were above the EPA benchmark. Those fountains and faucets were replaced and are scheduled to be retested at the end of the month.

St. Joseph Catholic School in Round Lake discovered lead levels above the EPA standard at three sinks and one drinking fountain, all of which have been put out of service.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom Catholic School in Park Ridge had three sinks with high lead levels and stopped using them. Maselli says the school is installing filtration systems on the sink faucets and will retest before they're used again. In addition, nearly two dozen other schools from Arlington Heights to Waukegan were found to have at least one sink or faucet with lead levels above the standard.

For a list, go to www.archchicago.org.

MacDonald's thoughts

You've read stories in recent days about James MacDonald, pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows. A member of Donald Trump's Evangelical Executive Advisory Board, he denounced the Republican presidential candidate for comments about groping and trying to have sex with women.

MacDonald also authors a blog, called "Walk in the Word," that sheds more light on his effort to reconcile faith and politics. His latest entry "Is Donald Trump repentant and does it even matter?" was published Tuesday. Read it at http://jamesmacdonald.com/blog/.

Turf wars

Wheeling Village President Dean Argiris tells me he's frustrated with the appearance -- and continual reappearance -- of blue and white yard signs by Democratic Cook County Board of Review candidate Marty Stack of Western Springs on public parkways, which Wheeling prohibits.

"We had a community breakfast near Village Hall last Saturday. I couldn't believe all the signs all over the parkways on Dundee, McHenry Road and Route 83," Argiris said. Argiris tells me he paid village workers overtime the next day to remove the signs -- about 175 in all. Argiris supports Stack's opponent -- incumbent Commissioner Dan Patlak of Wheeling -- but says, "If Patlak did that, I'd be in his face. The rules are the rules." Stack's campaign didn't return calls about the issue.

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert departs the federal courthouse in Chicago in April.
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert departs the federal courthouse in Chicago in April. - Associated Press
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Lawyers are scheduled to return to Kendall County Court Friday in a case where a man who says he was sexually abused by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert is seeking nearly $2 million in hush money he says was promised to him by the Plano Republican. Hastert, who's serving a 15-month sentence in a federal prison in Minnesota, has asked for the case to be dismissed.

Everything but the kitchen sink

Merry Marwig, left, and Mike McAuliffe are candidates for the Illinois House in the 20th District.
Merry Marwig, left, and Mike McAuliffe are candidates for the Illinois House in the 20th District. -

You've read here in recent weeks about the highly competitive and expensive race for 20th Illinois House, a district that includes portions of Des Plaines, Rosemont and Park Ridge and where seemingly nothing is off the table. Chicago Democrat Merry Marwig's campaign pounced early on Republican state Rep. Michael McAuliffe for issuing a letter to the editor that used the phrase "my fellow veterans" even though McAuliffe never served in the military. Republicans later said a staffer made the mistake. Now, I'm told McAuliffe's campaign is poised to strike back -- calling out Marwig for saying she was "at the top" of her graduating class at the University of Illinois at Champaign when she did not receive university honors known as the Bronze Tablet. Marwig's campaign spokesman noted she graduated with a 3.93 undergraduate GPA and a 3.91 when she received her master's degree and said criteria for the Bronze Tablet includes other factors.

More than $2.4 million has been spent in the race, making it one of the most costly in the country, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

Reading list

A Glen Ellyn resident's death during the Running of the Bulls is the inspiration for English author Andy Rumbold's novel. Rumbold says "The Last Fiesta" was inspired by what happened to Matthew Peter Tassio -- a 22 year-old who in 1995 was the first to die at the San Fermin festival in Pamplona in many years. The book's been shortlisted for the 2015 People's Book Prize.

Today's snap

Play-by-play announcer Len Kasper of Glencoe talks with Cubs catcher David Ross after the team clinched the National League division series Tuesday.
Play-by-play announcer Len Kasper of Glencoe talks with Cubs catcher David Ross after the team clinched the National League division series Tuesday. - Photo Courtesy of Len Kasper

I was delighted to get this late-night shot from Cubs play-by-play announcer Len Kasper of Glencoe with Cubs catcher David Ross after the team clinched the National League division series Tuesday. By Wednesday, Kasper and the team were both back in Illinois. "Landed at 5:45 a.m. Got home at 7:30. Still haven't slept," Kasper texted.

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