Smokers’ Corner Busted

By Ivana Kosir

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Twenty-eight teenagers, many who attend Niles West High School, congregated on private property across the street from the school and were issued $75 tickets for trespassing on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 2:43 p.m., according to a Morton Grove police report.

Students who were issued tickets said they were upset with Morton Grove’s police department for issuing the tickets.

“It was just  a random spot that people started going to. It’s not like it ever bothers the lady [who owns property]. Sometimes she even comes outside,” said one of the students who was ticketed.

Despite the refusal of the private property owner to comment on the case, Morton Grove’s Commander of Investigations Paul Yaras claims that the meetings are irksome.

“For years, we’ve had issues with students crossing the street and congregating. It’s been a nuisance,” he said.

Yaras additionally commented on the abundant trash found on the site.

“They flick trash, cigarrette buds, rolling papers, pop cans, matchbooks. no matter how many times you warn them, it’s still the same thing,” Yaras said. “It comes down to being a good neighbor.”

Although the 28 people were ticketed for trespassing, some were involved in activities, such as smoking. Yaras clarified Morton Grove’s position on such grounds.

“We are not going to tolerate anybody congregating for illegal activity. We understand that they are teenagers, and we’re not trying to come down hard so it’s hard for them in the future. We’re trying to be reasonable,” he said.

Yaras said that the Morton Grove police department works closely with Niles West’s deans and administration when incidents like these occur.

Gabby Abesamis and Jackie Povitsky contributed to this article.

Photos by Ivana Kosir.