New mayors elected in Lincolnwood, Niles
by Jason Merel and Cyryl Jakubowski
The villages of Lincolnwood and Niles will have new mayors while mayoral incumbents in Skokie, Norridge and Harwood Heights were elected for additional terms in the April 6 consolidated election.
In Lincolnwood, it appears village Trustee Jesal Patel will be the new village president as he is leading trustee Georjean Hlepas Nickell by 59 votes according to unofficial results from the Cook County Clerk’s Office as of press time.
Vote totals are not final and are expected to change after mail-in and provisional ballots are counted and certified later this month.
Patel received 1,299 votes, or 51.16 percent of total votes cast, and Nickell received 1,240 votes, or 48.84 percent. Barry Bass did not seek reelection for mayor.
"We pushed early voting very, very hard," Patel said. "The result remains to be seen so weÕll keep hitting refresh."
"Residents worked very hard on my behalf," Nickell said. "To have spent only $2,000 and have it turn out to be such a nail-biter is incredible and speaks to the will of the people."
In the race for three open trustee seats, incumbent trustee Ronald Cope is ahead of Lincolnwood Alliance Party candidate Mohammed Saleem by 6 votes as of press time, according to results.
Cope received 1,140 votes, or 16.64 percent, and Saleem received 1,134 votes or 16.55 percent.
Incumbent trustee and alliance party candidate Jean Ikezoe-Halevi received 1,191 votes, or 17.38 percent, alliance candidate Grace Diaz Herrera received 1,204 votes, or 17.57 percent. Independent candidates Raul Tomsa received 996 votes, or 14.54 percent, Stewart Sami Solaka received 990 votes, or 14.45 percent, and Sanhita Agnihotri received 197 votes, or 2.88 percent.
Patel’s trustee seat was not up for election so a mayoral win requires an appointment for his vacancy. He said he was a part of three appointments during his tenure and his intention would be to have an open and collaborative process if elected village president.
In Niles, Trustee George Alpogianis, who owns Kappy’s restaurant in Morton Grove, was elected the village’s new mayor after he ran unopposed.
Former Niles mayor Andrew Przybylo didn’t run for the post because he reached his term limit after serving two terms.
Alpogianis received 1,726 votes, according to unofficial results.
"I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you the great citizens of Niles as well as my running mates and current board members. None of this would be possible without all of you. Hoping to make everyone proud of their choice. We’ve got a great village with a great future in front of us and know that we will all work hard on your benefit," Alpogianis posted on his Facebook page.
Alpogianis was elected village trustee in 2009 but was forced to resign the post because felony convictions from his teenage years in the 1980s prevented him from serving as an elected official in a municipality.
Alpogianis reportedly pleaded guilty to crimes involving a pipe bomb being set off in the parking lot of the Wolfy’s restaurant at Peterson and California avenues that damaged all of the windows on Christmas Eve in 1983 and for a brawl involving a large group of teenagers, also in the early 1980s, according to reports. His past was an issue in that trustee race in 2009.
In 2012, Alpogianis received a pardon for his convictions from former Governor Pat Quinn and later ran and was elected to the board of trustees in Niles the following year.
Candidates elected trustees in Niles included Joe LoVerde, who received 1,604 votes, or 34.61 percent, John Jekot, who received 1,520 votes, or 32.97 percent, and Danette OÕDonovan Matyas, who received 1,503 votes, or 32.43 percent, according to unofficial results.
Village of Skokie mayor George Van Dusen ran unopposed, and five of the six open trustee seats went to members of the Skokie Caucus Party.
Caucus party trustee candidates Edie Sue Sutker, Keith Robinson, Khem Khoeun, Ralph Klein and Alison Pure Slovin were elected, along with independent candidate James Johnson.
Sutker received 3,420 votes, or 15.82 percent, Robinson received 3,435 votes, or 15.89 percent, Khoeun received 3,347 votes, or 15.49 percent, Klein received 3,318 votes or 15.35 percent, Slovin received 3,401 votes, or 15.74 percent, and Johnson received 2,617 votes or 12.11 percent of total votes cast. Caucus party trustee candidate Billy Haido received 2,076 votes, or 9.6 percent.
The Norridge Improvement Party swept the Village of Norridge elections, after village president Daniel Tannhauser won reelection and received 1,677 votes, or 53.84 percent of votes cast. Challenger Thomas Benigno received 1,438 votes, or 46.16 percent of votes cast.
Village of Norridge trustee candidates Debbie Budnik, Frank Avino Jr. and Andrew Ronstadt were elected to the three seats.
The United TEAM Party swept the Village of Harwood Heights elections, after president Arlene Jezierny and trustee candidates Lawrence Steiner, Annette Brzezniak-Volpe and Guiseppe “Joe” Zerillo were elected to the posts.