Sunday, 31 July 2016

Sauk Village 2016 National Night Out - August 2, 2016

Sauk Village Police Department Report - July 26, 2016

Sauk Village Police Department

Board Meeting Report 07/26/2016


By Chief Robert Kowalski

-Police Service Case Summary:  During the period of 07/01/2016 thru 07/26/2016 the Sauk Village Police Department had a total of 39 arrests.     

-CalCom Report: For a period between 07/01/2016 and 07/26/2016 the police department received 1002 calls for service.

-Cases of Note:  

-On 07/01/16 Officers received a call from a battery victim explaining she had been battered and threatened with a knife by her husband.  Officers located the offender and placed him under arrest.


- On 07/13/16 Officers were dispatched to south side address to take a battery report.  The Officers were met by the victims who said they had been attacked by a large group of subjects previous day.  One of the victims said they received information that the attack was posted on a social media.  Officers viewed the video and had the subjects identified as the offenders.  We would like to thank those offenders for posting the video on social media which helped the police make several arrests in this case.


-On 7/20/16 Officers were dispatched to the 21700 blk of Peterson for a domestic dispute call.  The victim explained the offender physically grabbed her and choked her.  The offender had left the area prior to the officer's arrival only to return.  Upon seeing the officers he ran and was eventually arrested for domestic battery.


-Vehicles:  We are having police vehicles decommissioned by Miner Electronics in preparation for salvage or auction.  There are a three more vehicles that need to be done before they can be sold.   

-Training: Officers will be taking a training course in September offered by Sertoma Community Mental Health & Counseling Centre, Inc., on Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety.  This is an 8 hour course that provides officers with more response options to help them deescalate incidents and better understand metal illnesses in order to respond to mental health related calls appropriately without compromising safety.

-Investigation: On July 21st a request letter was provided to the Cook County States Attorney's Office to consider opening an investigation in the mishandling of expungement police records.  Prior to my appointment records which were to have been destroyed via a court order had been provided to the public.  This is a violation of a court order and jurisdiction of the States Attorney's Office and the investigative branch of that office has indicated they are interested in this matter.

-Illinois Speed Awareness Day:  Tomorrow July 27th is Illinois Speed Awareness Day. The Sauk Village Police Department is taking a proactive approach to promote safety for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists through both education and enforcement. In Illinois during 2014, speed was the reason for 32.4% of all traffic fatalities. That’s 348 deaths for the year, or one life every 25 hours. These lives can be easily saved by being aware of our speed and understanding how speeding impacts a crash. Let’s all do our part by taking a proactive approach to prevent fatalities and reduce injuries on the roadways by being aware of our speed and obeying the speed limit signs ALL the time.  If you would like more information about Illinois Speed Awareness Day, please visit

-Gratitude: I received a letter of thanks from a citizen for our Records Department (see the letter below).


This Day In History - July 31st


Former President Andrew Johnson Dies

On this day in 1875, former President Andrew Johnson, the man who had become president upon the tragic assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865, dies of a stroke while visiting his daughter in Tennessee.

Johnson’s career took him from mayor of Greeneville (1834) to the Tennessee legislature (1835) and then to the U.S. House of Representatives (1843). He went home to serve as Tennessee’s governor from 1853 to 1857, but then returned to Washington as a U.S. senator in late 1857. In 1864, he accepted Abraham Lincoln’s offer to run with him as vice president for Lincoln’s second term. Lincoln was shot on the night of April 14, 1865, and died the next day, making Johnson the 17th president of the United States.

In addition to inheriting the presidency in a dramatic way, Johnson’s presidency itself was marked by spectacle. In February 1868, the House of Representatives charged him with 11 articles of impeachment for vaguely described “high crimes and misdemeanors.” (For comparison, in 1998, President Bill Clinton was charged with two articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice during an investigation into his inappropriate sexual behavior in the White House Oval Office. In 1974, Nixon faced three charges for his alleged involvement in the Watergate scandal.) The main issue in Johnson’s trial was his staunch resistance to implementing Congress’ Civil War Reconstruction policies. The War Department was the federal agency responsible for carrying out Reconstruction programs in the war-ravaged and socially disrupted southern states and when Johnson fired the agency’s head, Edwin Stanton, Congress retaliated with calls for impeachment.

Of the 11 counts, several went to the core of the conflict between Johnson and Congress. The House charged Johnson with illegally removing the secretary of war from office and for violating several Reconstruction Acts. The House also accused the president of hurling libelous “inflammatory and scandalous harangues” against Congressional members. On February 24, the House passed all 11 articles of impeachment and the process moved into a Senate trial. The Senate trial lasted until May 26, 1868. Johnson did not attend any of the proceedings and was not required to do so. After all the arguments had been presented for and against him, Johnson waited for his fate, which hung on one swing vote. By a vote of 35-19, Johnson was acquitted and finished out his term.

When Johnson’s presidency ended, he and his wife Eliza moved back to their home state of Tennessee. In 1869, they suffered tragedy: their son succumbed to alcoholism and committed suicide. In early 1875, he launched a political comeback and was re-elected to the Senate in June of that year, but was never able to assume office. He suffered a stroke and passed away on July 31, 1875.

This Day In History - July 30th


President Eisenhower Signs “In God We Trust” Into Law

On this day in 1956, two years after pushing to have the phrase “under God” inserted into the pledge of allegiance, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a law officially declaring “In God We Trust” to be the nation’s official motto. The law, P.L. 84-140, also mandated that the phrase be printed on all American paper currency. The phrase had been placed on U.S. coins since the Civil War when, according to the historical association of the United States Treasury, religious sentiment reached a peak. Eisenhower’s treasury secretary, George Humphrey, had suggested adding the phrase to paper currency as well.

Although some historical accounts claim Eisenhower was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, most presidential scholars now believe his family was Mennonite. Either way, Eisenhower abandoned his family’s religion before entering the Army, and took the unusual step of being baptized relatively late in his adult life as a Presbyterian. The baptism took place in 1953, barely a year into his first term as president.

Although Eisenhower embraced religion, biographers insist he never intended to force his beliefs on anyone. In fact, the chapel-like structure near where he and his wife Mamie are buried on the grounds of his presidential library is called the “Place of Meditation” and is intentionally inter-denominational. At a Flag Day speech in 1954, he elaborated on his feelings about the place of religion in public life when he discussed why he had wanted to include “under God” in the pledge of allegiance: “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.”

The first paper money with the phrase “In God We Trust” was not printed until 1957. Since then, religious and secular groups have argued over the appropriateness and constitutionality of a motto that mentions “God,” considering the founding fathers dedication to maintaining the separation of church and state.

Friday, 29 July 2016

National Night Out

National Night Out was established in 1984 with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), U.S. Department of Justice. The program is administered by the National Association of Town Watch, a nationwide organization dedicated to the development, maintenance, and protection of community-based, law enforcement affiliated crime prevention activities.

National Night Out was developed as a crime prevention program that emphasizes building a partnership between the police and the community. Community involvement in crime prevention is generated through a multitude of local events, such as block parties, cookouts, parades, contests,

youth activities, and seminars. With continued funding from BJA, participation in National Night Out crime prevention activities has increased from 2.5 million people in 400 communities in 1984 to more than 32 million people in 9,530 communities in 1999. Project 365, which helps communities target specific problems over the course of the year, was also developed through BJA funding.

National Night Out’s objectives include refining the nationwide crime prevention campaign, documenting successful crime prevention strategies, expanding Project 365, disseminating information about successful community-based strategies, providing technical assistance on crime prevention program development, and developing the National Night Out Web site. With continued support from BJA,

National Night Out is making communities across the nation safer places to live.

Sauk Village Administrative Services Report - July 26, 2016

Sauk Village Administrative Services Board Meeting Report

July 26, 2016 

By: Director Sherry Jasinski

The Code Enforcement night court call for July was 324 tickets

7 were found not guilty
  • 15 were found guilty
  • 10 were paid prior to court
  • 292 were found guilty for failing to appear and fines were doubled
I have placed night court procedures on the web page so everyone is clear on the process and time of court
The part time employee for the administrative office started on July 11, 2016 she has been working on entering Village Stickers and filing them, helping answer the phones and is observing the cash register procedure.

This Day In History - July 29th

President Eisenhower Authorizes Creation of NASA

On this day in 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an act that creates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He called the signing an [sic] historic step, further equipping the United States for leadership in the space age.

Since the end of World War II, the United States had worked to make breakthroughs in rocket science. This particular legislation expanded the original National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) into NASA. NASA research, which was generously funded by Eisenhower’s successors, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, was responsible for successful and groundbreaking American achievements such as the Apollo 11 lunar landing in 1969 and the development of the space shuttle, first launched in 1981. More recently, NASA has sent robotic exploratory missions to Mars and launched a spacecraft to view Pluto. NASA’s research has also contributed to advances in consumer-oriented goods such as telecommunications satellites and computer technology.

Although NASA currently engages in cooperative projects with other nations, Eisenhower at the time had to add a cautionary note when signing the legislation that created the new agency. He warned that NASA’s research into peaceful projects could be shared only when international treaties outlining such projects were authorized first by the president and the U.S. Senate. Ike, the former Army general who oversaw the Allied invasion of Normandy in World War II, wanted to ensure that NASA would not share information that was vital to national security.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Sauk Village Senior Committee Report - July 26, 2016

Sauk Village Senior Committee Report

July 26, 2016

Fraud Alert!  Scams can happen to anyone.  If you have Medicare, you are a target for scammers.  Remember that Medicare never calls you for personal information, they already have it.  Scammers play on emotions, including your love for your cats and dogs.  If you are scammed, do not be embarrassed, report what happened.  Call Illinois SMP (Senior Medical Patrol) at AgeOptions (800)699-9043.

Senior Committee Open Senior Activity - Fridays 12:30-3:30 p.m. with coordinators Steve Shymkus and Frank Williams.  No meeting, no membership and no dues, just come and join the fun with your peers.  Light refreshments and bottled water served.  The Rummikub game (a tile game similar to the rummy card game) is very addictive.  Other games are available plus computer, TV and our library program.  Watch for a detailed flyer on a monthly Saturday Open Senior Activity with a potluck meal. 

The Bloom Township annual senior picnic is on Thursday, August 5th at Veterans Memorial Park, 19101 Halsted St., Glenwood from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Tickets ($4.00) are only on sale at the township office, NO tickets will be sold on the day of the picnic. FREE transportation to the picnic for township seniors only, call Bloom Township Senior Wheels at (708) 754-8200
The SV Blue Grass resumes this Sunday, July 31st from 6:00-10:00 p.m., and for vacation Sundays, July 17th and 24th.

This Day In History - July 28th

14th Amendment adopted

Following its ratification by the necessary three-quarters of U.S. states, the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing to African Americans citizenship and all its privileges, is officially adopted into the U.S. Constitution.

Two years after the Civil War, the Reconstruction Acts of 1867 divided the South into five military districts, where new state governments, based on universal manhood suffrage, were to be established. Thus began the period known as Radical Reconstruction, which saw the 14th Amendment, which had been passed by Congress in 1866, ratified in July 1868. The amendment resolved pre-Civil War questions of African American citizenship by stating that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States…are citizens of the United States and of the state in which they reside.” The amendment then reaffirmed the privileges and rights of all citizens, and granted all these citizens the “equal protection of the laws.”

In the decades after its adoption, the equal protection clause was cited by a number of African American activists who argued that racial segregation denied them the equal protection of law. However, in 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that states could constitutionally provide segregated facilities for African Americans, so long as they were equal to those afforded white persons. The Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which announced federal toleration of the so-called “separate but equal” doctrine, was eventually used to justify segregating all public facilities, including railroad cars, restaurants, hospitals, and schools. However, “colored” facilities were never equal to their white counterparts, and African Americans suffered through decades of debilitating discrimination in the South and elsewhere. In 1954, Plessy v. Ferguson was finally struck down by the Supreme Court in its ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Sauk Village Beautification Committee Report - July 26, 2016

Sauk Village Beautification Committee Report

July 26, 2016

The Beautification Committee will soon tour our village in search of Hootsie Award candidates to be awarded in August.

The committee meets on the third Wednesday each month at 10 am.

The committee is always in need of volunteers and/or committee members and welcome those who wish to join us in our goal to add and maintain beautiful images to view.  

If interested join us at our regular meeting or contact us at:   

Sauk Village Public Works Report - July 26, 2016

Sauk Village Public Works Report

by; Director Kevin Weller
July 27, 2016

: PUBLIC GROUNDS & BUILDINGS – Cutting on going all village locations, slowing down due to weather and some emergencies. Staff started to cut vacant homes going through the list, checked 102 homes 20 that needed cutting. Received quote for fence to go around detention pond AT Village Hall.

:  STREET LIGHTS – Staff repaired 3 street light faults 22256 Peachtree new wire, 1826 Sauk Trail and 1836 215pl tree removal. Lights still need power to be reconnected by Com Ed. ALL CALL HAVE BEEN MADE.

: DAY TO DAY REGULAR OPERATIONS AND EMERGINCIES -  All job direction changes, dept. ordering ,special seasonal  event prep setup, vender calling  work with all departments and public complaints AND LAST MINUTE CHANGES. Received quote from A better door for window repairs Jeffery ave.

:  BUILDINGS – Work performed on 2 HVAC units at P.D. 1 unit still needs work.  Found sump pump float stuck at P.D. repaired. Damage to memorial spot light again waiting to replace with some direction.

  :  WATER - Day to day schedules & EME CALLS. Completing all tests required by IEPA per month. 2 Extra staff members started south side shut off   list totaling 214 still on going. Staff has had 4 main breaks in July 21813, 21793 Peterson, 22336 Yates and 22242 Cornell, rough month.

: GARBAGE – Day to day cleanup. IF YOU SEE ILLIGAL DUMPING PLEASE CALL POLICE, HELP KEEP OUR TOWN CLEAN. All regular trash pickup will be completed as regular mowing and summer upkeep resumes. I will as code to ticket resident who dump garbage or grass debris from there parkway into the street. This is the main cause of storm sewer backup and flooded streets.

: HYDRANT & VALVE REPAIRS/REPLACED - Staff replaced the hydrant and main valve located 2000 223 St. Staff also repaired the hydrant located across from 2450 Sauk Trial broken 4” port.

 : VEHICELS/ EQU-   Public works staff is doing their best to keep all vehicles within the department running safe. We are also trying to help each department with their repairs to keep moving forward.

: SANITARY SEWER COMPLAINTS – P.W. received 2 sewer complaints 1 HOMEOWNER, 1 BACKUP, line were cleaned and back in service. Also staff from R.E. started smoke testing on July 19th on the north side all affected residents were notified.   

: TREE REMOVALS – Staff started and completed ash tree removal in deer creek, several trees were left at this time, still in good condition. Staff will continue removals village wide.  

: PARKS – Staff started working on several parks repairing the fence at 218st, and wood chips at Village hall more to follow as fund are available.

:  LANDSCAPE WORK   Staff also started landscaping last year’s digs from b box, main breaks, and any other digs, slow going. Residents will have to wait for concrete work to complete final dirt work. Funding is slow going.    

Illinois Speed Awareness Day - Urban Facts On Speeding

Illinois Speed Awareness Day - Rural Facts On Speeding

Illinois Speed Awareness Day - Interstate Facts On Speeding

Sauk Village Police Join Forces with Agencies Statewide for 2016 Illinois Speed Awareness Day Campaign

Sauk Village, IL – During Illinois Speed Awareness Day this July 27th, the Sauk Village Police Department is taking a proactive approach to promote safety for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists through both education and enforcement. In Illinois during 2014, speed was the reason for 32.4% of all traffic fatalities. That’s 348 deaths for the year, or one life every 25 hours. These lives can be easily saved by being aware of our speed and understanding how speeding impacts a crash.

On Interstates speeding can have the following consequences:

  • The probability of death, disfigurement, or debilitating injury grows with higher speed at impact. Such consequences double for every 10 MPH over 50 MPH.
  • When a vehicle crashes it undergoes a rapid change in speed. However the occupants keep moving at the vehicle’s previous speed until they are stopped, either by hitting an object or by being restrained by a safety belt or airbag.
  • The effectiveness of restraint devices like airbags, safety belts, crumple zones, and side beams decline as impact speed increases.
  • 37.4% of the speed-related crashes result in injuries.
  • Speeding extends the distance required to stop a vehicle in emergency situations.
  • Crash severity increases with the speed of the vehicle at impact.
  • Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to navigate safely around curves or objects in the roadway.
  • Speeding can lower gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds.

Let’s all do our part by taking a proactive approach to prevent fatalities and reduce injuries on the roadways by being aware of our speed and obeying the speed limit signs ALL the time.  If you would like more information about Illinois Speed Awareness Day, please visit


This Day In History - July 27th

Nixon Charged With First Of Three Articles Of Impeachment

On this day in 1974, the House of Representatives charges President Richard M. Nixon with the first of three articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice after he refused to release White House tape recordings that contained crucial information regarding the Watergate scandal.

In June 1972, five men connected with Nixon’s reelection committee, the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP), had been caught breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. A subsequent investigation exposed illegal activities perpetrated by CREEP and authorized by senior members of Nixon’s administration. It also raised questions about what the president knew about those activities. In May 1973, the Senate convened an investigation into the Watergate scandal amid public cries for Nixon’s impeachment. Nixon vigorously denied involvement in the burglary cover-up, most famously in November 1973 when he declared, “I am not a crook.” Although Nixon released some of the tapes requested by the Senate in April 1974, he withheld the most damning of them, claiming executive privilege. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court rejected Nixon’s claim of executive privilege and ordered him to turn over the remaining tapes. When he refused to do so, the House of Representatives passed the first article of impeachment against Nixon for obstruction of justice. On August 5, with the impeachment process already underway, Nixon reluctantly released the remaining tapes.

On August 8, 1974, Nixon avoided a Senate trial and likely conviction by becoming the first president to resign.

This Day In History - July 26th

Congress Establishes U.S. Post Office

On this day in 1775, Congress establishes the United States Post Office and names Benjamin Franklin the first United States postmaster general.

William Goddard, a Patriot printer frustrated that the royal postal service was unable to reliably deliver his Pennsylvania Chronicle to its readers or deliver critical news for the paper to Goddard, laid out a plan for a Constitutional Post before the Continental Congress on October 5, 1774. Congress waited to act on the plan until after the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. Benjamin Franklin promoted Goddard’s plan and served as the first postmaster general under the Continental Congress beginning on July 26, 1775, nearly one year before the Congress declared independence from the British crown. Franklin’s son-in-law, Richard Bache, took over the position on November 7, 1776, when Franklin became an American emissary to France. Franklin had already made a significant contribution to the postal service in the colonies while serving as the postmaster of Philadelphia from 1737 and as joint postmaster general of the colonies from 1753 to 1774, when he was fired for opening and publishing Massachusetts Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson’s correspondence.

While postmaster, Franklin streamlined postal delivery with properly surveyed and marked routes from Maine to Florida (the origins of Route 1), instituted overnight postal travel between the critical cities of New York and Philadelphia and created a standardized rate chart based upon weight and distance. Samuel Osgood held the postmaster general’s position in New York City from 1789, when the U.S. Constitution came into effect, until the government moved to Philadelphia in 1791. Timothy Pickering took over and, about a year later, the Postal Service Act gave his post greater legislative legitimacy and the service more effective organization. Pickering continued in the position until 1795, when he briefly served as secretary of war, before becoming the third U.S. secretary of state. The postmaster general’s position was considered a plum patronage post for political allies of the president until the Postal Service was transformed into a corporation run by a board of governors in 1971.

Monday, 25 July 2016

This Day In History - July 25th

The First Railroad Accident

The first recorded railroad accident in U.S. history occurs when four people are thrown off a vacant car on the Granite Railway near Quincy, Massachusetts. The victims had been invited to view the process of transporting large and weighty loads of stone when a cable on a vacant car snapped on the return trip, throwing them off the train and over a 34-foot cliff. One man was killed and the others were seriously injured.

The steam locomotive was first pioneered in England at the beginning of the 19th century by Richard Trevithick and George Stephenson. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad began operation in 1828 with horse-drawn cars, but after the successful run of the Tom Thumb, a steam train that nearly outraced a horse in a public demonstration in 1830, steam power was added. By 1831, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad had completed a line from Baltimore to Frederick, Maryland.

The acceptance of railroads came quickly in the 1830s, and by 1840 the nation had almost 3,000 miles of railway, greater than the combined European total of only 1,800 miles. The railroad network expanded quickly in the years before the Civil War, and by 1860 the American railroad system had become a national network of some 30,000 miles. Nine years later, transcontinental railroad service became possible for the first time.

This Day In History - July 24th

Kennedy’s Goal Accomplished

At 12:51 EDT, Apollo 11, the U.S. spacecraft that had taken the first astronauts to the surface of the moon, safely returns to Earth.

The American effort to send astronauts to the moon had its origins in a famous appeal President John F. Kennedy made to a special joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961: “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.”

Eight years later, on July 16, 1969, the world watched as Apollo 11 took off from Kennedy Space Center with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin Jr., and Michael Collins aboard. After traveling 240,000 miles in 76 hours, Apollo 11 entered into a lunar orbit on July 19. The next day, at 1:46 p.m., the lunar module Eagle, manned by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, separated from the command module, where a third astronaut, Michael Collins, remained. Two hours later, the Eagle began its descent to the lunar surface, and at 4:18 p.m. the craft touched down on the southwestern edge of the Sea of Tranquility.

Armstrong immediately radioed to Mission Control in Houston a famous message: “The Eagle has landed.” At 10:39 p.m., five hours ahead of the original schedule, Armstrong opened the hatch of the lunar module. Seventeen minutes later, at 10:56 p.m., Armstrong spoke the following words to millions listening at home: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” A moment later, he stepped off the lunar module’s ladder, becoming the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.

Aldrin joined him on the moon’s surface at 11:11 p.m., and together they took photographs of the terrain, planted a U.S. flag, ran a few simple scientific tests, and spoke with President Richard M. Nixon via Houston. By 1:11 a.m. on July 21, both astronauts were back in the lunar module and the hatch was closed. The two men slept that night on the surface of the moon, and at 1:54 p.m. the Eagle began its ascent back to the command module. Among the items left on the surface of the moon was a plaque that read: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the moon–July 1969 A.D–We came in peace for all mankind.” At 5:35 p.m., Armstrong and Aldrin successfully docked and rejoined Collins, and at 12:56 a.m. on July 22 Apollo 11 began its journey home, safely splashing down in the Pacific Ocean at 12:51 p.m. on July 24.

There would be five more successful lunar landing missions, and one unplanned lunar swing-by, Apollo 13. The last men to walk on the moon, astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt of the Apollo 17 mission, left the lunar surface on December 14, 1972.

This Day In History - July 23rd

Miss America Resigns

On this day in 1984, 21-year-old Vanessa Williams gives up her Miss America title, the first resignation in the pageant’s history, after Penthouse magazine announces plans to publish nude photos of the beauty queen in its September issue. Williams originally made history on September 17, 1983, when she became the first black woman to win the Miss America crown. Miss New Jersey, Suzette Charles, the first runner-up and also an African American, assumed Williams’ tiara for the two months that remained of her reign.

Vanessa Lynn Williams was born March 18, 1963, in Millwood, New York, to music teacher parents. She attended Syracuse University and studied musical theater. In 1982, while working a summer job as a receptionist at a modeling agency in Mt. Kisco, New York, photographer Thomas Chiapel took the nude pictures of Williams, telling her they’d be shot in silhouette and that she wouldn’t be recognizable. After Williams became Miss America, the photographer sold the pictures to Penthouse without her knowledge. Williams later dropped lawsuits against the magazine and photographer after it was learned that she had signed a model release form at the time the photos were taken.

The Miss America pageant, which prides itself on projecting a wholesome, positive image of women, began in 1921 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as a stunt developed by local businessmen to extend the summer tourist season. In 1945, the Miss America Organization handed out its first scholarship. Today, it provides over $45 million each year in cash and tuition assistance to contestants on the national, state and local levels. In 1954, the competition was broadcast live for the first time. Beginning in the 1980s, contestants were required to have a social platform, such as drunk-driving preventionor AIDS awareness, and Miss America winners now travel an estimated 20,000 miles a month for speaking engagements and public appearances. In 2006, following a decline in TV ratings, the pageant moved from Atlantic City for the first time in its history and took place in Las Vegas, where a new Miss America was crowned in January instead of September.

Vanessa Williams rebounded from the Miss America scandal and went on to a successful entertainment career as an actress and recording artist, performing on Broadway as well as in movies and television and releasing a number of popular albums.