Teen among state’s brightest

Twenty-five students of the Walther Lutheran High School in Melrose Park were recognized for their academic standing this month in being named Illinois State Scholars. Among them is Megan Childs of Forest Park.

Those students recognized represent the top 10 percent of high school students in the state, according to a statement released by the school. Selection is based on standardized test scores and the student’s class rank at the end of their junior year. The distinction was handed out to 17,093 students across the state by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

For Walther Lutheran, the designation was earned by one-fifth of its entire senior class. The recognition does not carry any cash award, but students are encouraged by ISAC to include it on applications for college and scholarships.

Yarbrough sponsors lending bill

A proposal sponsored by Rep. Karen Yarbrough, D-Maywood, seeks to implement more quickly a senate measure aimed at curbing predatory lending. According to a statement released by Yarbrough’s office, Senate Bill 1167 will create a database that tracks lending practices across Cook County to discourage financial institutions from encouraging families to take on debt that they cannot afford. That bill, which was signed into law in November, also establishes a counseling program for first-time homebuyers.

But those reforms will not take hold until June 1, 2008, and Yarbrough is asking lawmakers to support House Bill 4191, which would make those changes effective immediately.

“Since the predatory lending issue recently came to the forefront of national discourse, more and more people have realized that they were victims of unfair lending practices,” Yarbrough said in a written statement. “Therefore, it makes sense to fast track this new law to allow the new protections to take effect before deceptive lenders are allowed to take advantage of anyone else.”

Yarbrough was a House sponsor of the senate proposal. Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, introduced HB4191.

Aquaharmony named in fraud case

A Forest Park company was one of nine Illinois businesses named by the Illinois Attorney Generals office in a suit filed last week alleging they defrauded consumers of more than $625,000. Each of the businesses named specializes in home repair, according to a statement released by state prosecutors, and bilked customers by performing “substandard” work or no work at all after accepting down payments.

“Home repair and remodeling complaints consistently rank near the top of the types of consumer complaints that we receive each year, with 16,268 complaints submitted since 2002,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said.

Aquaharmony Inc., doing business as Aqua Harmony Pool and Spa Company, Aqua Harmony Pool and Spa Professionals and Aqua Harmony Pool and Spa is the village business named in the suit. De London Hawthorne, president of the company, was also named.