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updated: 9/28/2017 5:50 AM

Lester: Immigrant rights event canceled after threats to Arlington Heights library

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  • Arlington Heights Memorial Library board president Deb Smart

    Arlington Heights Memorial Library board president Deb Smart

 
 

Arlington Heights Memorial Library canceled an immigrants rights workshop this week out of "concerns for safety" after the library's voice mail and board president Deb Smart's home phone were flooded with calls from people objecting to the meeting.

"It was an unsettling process," Smart says. "People called the switchboard, saying they'd call (federal immigration officials) and have a raid done." She says she was called names and threatened, and ultimately involved local police.

The free workshop was sponsored by the Community Activism Law Alliance and was advertised as informing immigrants on what to do and say when in contact with immigration and police officers and how to prepare "emergency kits" if they're at risk for detention.

Smart said a similar workshop might be held in the future at a different location.

The library's official statement, posted on its website, says "the decision to cancel the workshop was based on concerns for the safety and welfare of workshop attendees, library staff and library users."

Director's resignation

Smart said she "isn't drawing any correlations" between the canceled event and the resignation on Monday of longtime Executive Director Jason Kuhl. "He did a great job for us," Smart told the Daily Herald.

Kuhl, reached at home this week, reiterated simply that he's resigning for "personal reasons."

Undergarments for packing heat

Marilyn Smolenski of Park Ridge, who is unopposed in the Republican primary in the 55th Illinois House District, owns Nickel and Lace, a business specializing in "concealed carry holster undergarments," which are advertised as both discreet and comfortable. She founded the business after finding holsters "were all really geared toward men," she told Fox Business Network last year.

Democratic state Rep. Marty Moylan of Des Plaines is seeking re-election in the 55th District next November.

Pumpkin record

Highwood is attempting to crack the world's record for most lit jack-o'-lanterns on display, which was won by Keene, New Hampshire, after that town hewed 30,581 orange orbs.

The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival, which benefits Make a Wish Foundation, officially runs Oct. 6-8, but eager residents can start placing pumpkins on scaffolding outside village hall as early as Monday. See www.highwoodpumpkinfest.com.

IEA on the air

Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin of Schaumburg is on the radio in ads running through Sunday for the union's "Partnerships for Resilience," which involves schools, the medical community and social services in the suburbs to help students who come to class with "a heavy weight" on their shoulders. That could be anything from health problems to economic issues to drug or alcohol abuse in the home, or other concerns. The partnership helps meld services so those students can get the help they need in order to learn, spokeswoman Sarah Antonacci says. The ads will run on WBBM-AM and other stations.

Congrats to Connelly

State Sen. Mike Connelly of Naperville
State Sen. Mike Connelly of Naperville

St. Joseph High School in Westchester is honoring Naperville Republican state Sen. Michael Connelly with its St. Joseph the Worker Award. School officials say the award is given to those who've succeeded in business, the arts, science or community service and is traced back to the motto of the school, Vincit Qui Laborat, translated as "he conquers, who labors." Connelly, a 1982 graduate, was recently named assistant Republican leader.

New flak in Roskam camp

Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton has a new communications director. Veronica Vera, a Chicago native, worked at the Illinois Department of Aging and the Illinois Department of Human before beginning this new role. Unlike her predecessors in the office, most recently David Pasch, Vera will be based in Illinois, not Washington, D.C.

•Staff writer Chris Placek contributed to this report.

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