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Wednesday, 02 July 2014 07:42

It's that time of year!

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 Festival season is in full swing, and the St. Haralambos Ladies Philoptochos Society is hard at work preparing for the Big Greek Food Fest of Niles, July 18-20. The ladies have been baking up a storm! Mrs. Voula Apithis (pictured) and others bake thousands of cookies and other sweets, including Melomakarona, for everyone to enjoy.


Thursday, 19 June 2014 08:54

St. Demetrios Shutters Solon Morning Program

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CHICAGO---Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church has closed its longstanding Solon Greek School Morning Program. In a statement issued on June 2, Parish Council President John Laftsidis cited low enrollment and financial reasons for the shutter.

Solon Greek School was founded in 1928, before Saint Demetrios Church was constructed—literally on top of the school building. For decades, the day school was brimming with students. Enrollment has been dwindling over the years. Most recently, the school has only served preschool, preKindergarten and Kindergarten. Due to low enrollment, there was no Kindergarten class in this school year that ended last month. The school, with its amazing program—the only day program of its kind in the city of Chicago—soldiered on with just two teachers—one preschool and one preKindergarten class.

“Historically, our church has struggled to keep this program going despite over 10 years of financial insolvency.  With the annual consistent and significant decline of children enrolling over the last ten years culminating in the minimum number of students required to cover basic operational costs for next school year not being met, this decision was inevitable,” Laftsidis wrote in his statement.

“Everyone involved with the program has made prodigious and often courageous efforts above and beyond the ordinary over the last 15 years to sustain this program: Father Apostolos, several parish councils, many principals and program administrators, education committees, parent organizations and many more. These efforts above all else make this a very difficult reality to accept,” he continued.

The school was nearly closed two years ago. Parents and community supporters rallied to keep the school open.

Laftsidis cited the “changing demographic of this community” as the main reason. His statement also noted that this school was ending the current year with a “$16,000 deficit”, even considering the substantial budget cuts that were made. Continuing the program, he said, would have resulted in even higher tuition increases.

He did leave the door open to re-establishing the program in the future.

“It is my hope as well as the parish council’s and Father Apostolos’ that this suspending of the program will not remain longstanding.  Perhaps someday in the near future, God willing, we will see more families enroll more children to exceed the minimum required to make a morning program successful and financially stable.”

With the closing of Saint Andrew’s preschool program a year ago, and now Saint Demetrios’ Solon, Chicago families are left without an alternative for local Greek American day school programs. They are scrambling to find other alternatives for their children. Alumni have taken to social media to express their disappointment and to reflect on how “incredible” and “fantastic” Solon Morning Program was, and the solid start it gave them. After completing the program, Solon students consistently moved on to academic success. The school boasted a long-time record of its students being accepted into Chicago Public School’s very competitive Selective Enrollment Program.  

Exhibition Result of Partnership with National Hellenic Museum

Chicago 06/02/2014—The Field Museum announced today that it will open The Greeks: From Agamemnon to Alexander the Great in November of 2015. The exhibition will take visitors on an extraordinary journey through more than 5000 years of Greek culture—from their Neolithic origins to the expansion of Greek culture into Asia and Africa under Alexander the Great. Drawing from the collections of 23 Greek museums, it will be the largest exhibition on the ancient Greeks in North America in 25 years.

Lincolnwood, IL— May 28, 2014— “I plan to share this prize with my parents. They have always taken care of me so I want to take care of them,” Petros Marinakos said after winning $300,000 playing Lucky Day Lotto.  The Lincolnwood resident was happy to discover that the numbers on his Quick Pick ticket – 08 - 15 - 28 - 38 - 39 – were an exact match in the April 8 Lucky Day Lotto evening drawing.

On Monday, May 12, at the Roditys Restaurant in Chicago, The Chicago Council of Justice for Cyprus (CCJC) held an event in memory of one of its most dynamic past chairmen, “Celebrating the Life of Basil Portocalis.”

Monday, 19 May 2014 23:16


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EL GRECO. . . An early  painting, a religious icon by Domenikos Kyriakos Theotokopoulos has been loaned to the Santa Cruz Museum in Toledo, Spain for an exhibit that will run through June 14 as part of events for the “El Greco Year” in both Greece and Spain.  The painting’s origins were discovered in 1983 by the culture ministry’s archaelogist GIORGOS MASTOROPOULOS.

MOSAICS…The Classical Art Society welcomed DIMITRI  LIAKOS, Professor Emeritus, Northern Illinois University who was to lecture and examine the unique and magnificent mosaics from churches in Ravenna, on May 15 at 6:00 p.m. at Fullerton Hall of the Art Institute of Chicago.

BEST WISHES. . . to LOUIS G. APOSTOL, Executive Director and counsel for the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board who was elected Chair of the NIU College of Law Board of Visitors at its Annual Meeting in April.

STAR CHEF. . . Chicago chef JIMMY BANNOS, JR., of River North’s The Purple Pig, was a co-winner in the Rising Star Chef category at the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards held in New York.

HONORED. . . MRS. KAREN COOKE and MRS. ALEXANDRA SMIRNIOTIS upon their retirement---for the many years they have dedicated to the Sts. Constantine and Helen Church Sunday School administration.

CHRISMATION. . . VASILIOS (WILLIAM) SENSENBRENNER with Eleni T. Lemberis as Sponsor. . . . NICOLETTA  DODARO with Maria Visvardis as Sponsor.      .

40 DAY CHURCHING. . . SEAN JR., son of Marina Dedes and Sean Gallagher. …JULIAN, son of Bobby and Darice Alvertos…CONSTANTINA and ALEXIA, children of Fotios and Ruby Psyhogios.




Also…. STAR Editor DIANE ADAM…GEORGIA MITCHELL on the 12th…ERNEST NEOKOS on the 26th…GEORGE PATERAKIS on the 30th…JOHN  H. SECARAS on the 16th…HARRY J. SECARAS on the 19th…MARY YANNIAS on the 28th.


KORAES GRADS. . . CONSTANTINE ALEMIS…NATALIA  CVETKOVIC …ANNABELLA GOFIS and  NICHOLAS GEORGIOPOULOS attained “A” Honor Roll at Nazareth Academy.  EVAN SELLAS achieved “B” Honor Roll status. Koraes students scored in the top 10% nationally in standardized testing.

AWARD. . .The Illinois Associated Press Media  Editors (IAPME) annual contest winners includes  DAN MIHALOPOULOS  who received 3rd place in business for his “Clout in Session.” 

CONDOLENCES to the family of the late GEORGE THOMAS TSOKOLAS who fell asleep in the Lord on April 18.  He was the husband of Sultana (nee Papanikolaou) and son-in-law of Father Byron and Presvytera Cynthia Papanikolaou.  May his memory be eternal.

One is rich


 through one’s possessions,


through that which one can

with dignity

do without



As has been done in previous years, the American Legion Hellenic Post 343 will be paying tribute to the Veterans by sponsoring events that will honor their accomplishments as well as their sacrifices.

ARTOCLASIA SERVICE: On Sunday May 18, an Artoclasia was held at St. George Orthodox Church in Chicago.  Commander S. Betzelos, Adjutant M. Nichols and Past Commander N. Lianos had made arrangements and preparations for the Artoclasia with the help of the priests and the church’s administrative staff. 

Veterans and their families were welcomed to the Artoclasia Service which started at 9:30 a.m. where  they were guided to sit together.  Veteran badges were issued by the Adjutant as they entered the  church.  After the Liturgy and Artoclasia, arrangements had been made for a Fellowship hour to take  place in the social center.  It was recommended that all Veterans bring their caps to wear during the  coffee hour.



On Monday, May 26 at 11:00 a.m. there will be a Memorial Ceremony at the Veterans’ Monument at Elmwood Cemetery, to pay tribute to all Greek Americans who served in the defense of this country.  

Previous and current administrations of Post 343 have done a great job in recording the names on giant marble slabs of those Greek Americans who have donated their time, their talents and in some cases  their lives to defend Democracy and Freedom.



In addition to the religious memorial at St. George Orthodox Church, plus the memorial at the Monument, another memorial takes place in Washington, D.C. several times during the year.  This memorial incorporates a free one day trip to our nation’s capital to visit the World War II Memorial, as well as the Korean and Viet Nam memorials.  These memorials contain very artistic statues and displays of what took place during these conflicts.  

During a couple of visits to Washington. I visited these war memorials myself and was very touched by most of the artwork.  There was one particular display that did impress me the most, and this was the Wall of Gold Stars.  I was really amazed when a tour guide told me that there were 4,048 gold stars, as each Gold Star represents 100 American servicemen that lost their lives during World War II.  The grand total of U.S. servicemen who lost their lives in this war totals 404,800.  This number should be repeated as often as possible in order to make sure that all Americans are well aware that 404,800 Americans gave their lives during WW II.


Poppies will be available for distribution, during these celebrations, to anyone that is willing to help in the funding of all Veteran programs.

The “Honor Flight Chicago” is available to any Veteran who participated in WW II as well as the Korean and Viet Nam Conflicts.  As indicated above, in order to participate in this free and worthwhile event, please call Adjutant Mike C. Nichols at 847-296-4595.  More details will be outlined in future articles.


 CICERO, ILL.---The Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY), a PanOrthodox organization dedicated to educating and preventing alcohol and substance use/abuse among teens, will host an important town hall meeting for parents and students, this May 22 at 7:00 pm at Saint Haralambos Church, 7373 N. Caldwell, Niles, Ill. The theme of this event is “Keep Prom & Graduation Safe & Sober.”

              “Statistics show that alcohol is the most used/abused substance among adolescents because it is so easily accessible. Our efforts to educate and therefore prevent underage substance use can only succeed when parents, educators and legislators understand and support our mission; which in turn, encourages funding by government Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drug [ATOD] prevention agencies,” stated Gordana Trbuhovich, coordinator of OCCHY Chicago.

                As a recognized partner of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and its National Underage Drinking Prevention initiatives, OCCHY was invited to host a town hall meeting to coincide with SAMHSA’s National Prevention of Underage Drinking Week, which takes place during the week of May 19, and focuses on the prevention of underage drinking. SAMHSA is the lead agency for the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking, and has sponsored these events every two years since 2006 as a way for communities to learn more about preventing this public health problem. With the invitation, SAMHSA offers a grant to subsidize this important program.

                The town hall meeting will feature local experts, who will help to educate parents and teens about refraining from using alcohol and other substances, and why it’s so crucial to their well-being.

                Ted Penessis, Education Manager for the State of Illinois Liquor Control Commission, oversees the tobacco enforcement operation, alcohol server training program and underage drinking awareness programs.  Penessis is a government and communications professional with twenty years’ experience, including serving local municipalities and school districts, and has considerable experience in PR and marketing consulting, and previously was a TV Producer/Director for an NBC affiliate in Rockford, IL. He will speak to teens about Illinois programs and efforts toward underage prevention and the health and safety ramifications of alcohol consumption.

                Lisa A. Razzano, PhD, CPRP is a tenured Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Deputy Director of the Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She is the co-Principal Investigator for the 5-year, federally funded UIC National Research and Training Center on Psychiatric Disability and Co-Occurring Medical Conditions and serves as the Director for the James Scholar Program at the UIC College of Medicine. Dr. Razzano has been PI or co-PI for federally funded research focusing on mental health service interventions and psychiatric rehabilitation.  Her research and contributions have been recognized internationally, including research awards from the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Chicago, and the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group.  She is an award-winning practitioner, counselor, speaker and advocate of alcohol and substance abuse prevention, and sits on numerous National, Federal & International Government Advisory boards and panels. Dr. Razzano will present, “Science Meets Your Brain,” a talk relating the brain with alcohol and substance abuse.

           Christina Jones, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice. Ms. Jones received her Master’s in Social Work from Loyola University in 1995. She has worked with adolescents in the in-patient setting at Charter Barclay Hospital; and was the family therapist at Hellenic Family & Community Center as well as the Senior Addiction Counselor at Grateful House, a recovery center for women over 18. She earned an Executive Scholar Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Northwestern Kellogg School of Management in 2011 and spent four years as Executive & Clinical Director of Hellenic Foundation, a not for profit social service organization, where she developed education and intervention programs for adults and adolescents in many areas including addiction. Ms. Jones is a motivational speaker, author, workshop facilitator and clinical consultant. She works extensively with individuals, couples and families in the area of addiction/recovery, co-dependency, domestic violence, eating disorders, and trauma as a result of sexual abuse. Ms. Jones is passionate about educating and empowering individuals, particularly teens and young adults to make healthy choices.

                Commander Brian Baker and Officer Frank Czajka of the Skokie Police Department will address current trends and data on adolescent behaviors, parent cooperation, arrests, and consequences associated with alcohol and substance use.

                This event is one not to be missed. Education is critical to prevention. Peer pressure is rampant and can be extreme. Let’s give our teens the tools they need to stay strong, stay sober, stay healthy, and stay safe.

                 OCCHY-Chicago is a faith based coalition under the auspices of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of America and is based at Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cicero, Ill. OCCHY serves high school district 219 in the townships of Niles, Lincolnwood and Skokie, as well as the nearly 80 Orthodox Christian parishes of all jurisdictions, throughout Metropolitan Chicago.  For more information, contact Trbuhovich, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 708.298.9770.

# # #

The PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation is proud to support the arts and culture through an invitation to attend a special performance by virtuoso mandolinist Dimitris Marinos.  The event, MUSIC ANALECTS VI, An Odyssey to a Starting Point, will take place on Sunday, May 18, at 4pm in the Chicago Symphony Center's Buntrock Hall, located at 220 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL.

Saturday, 10 May 2014 15:57

Bomb hoax forces Acropolis Museum evacuation

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) —A bomb hoax forced Greek authorities to evacuate the Acropolis Museum in Athens and an adjacent subway station for more than an hour.

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