Update, May 9, 1 p.m.: Reportedly in intensive care following cardiac arrest
By Anthony Caciopo
Regional News Editor
Alderman Dolores Kramarski collapsed in the City Hall parking lot after leaving Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting.
Bystanders rushed to her aid, including Sgt. Jeff Crowley and Officer Mike Mathis of the Palos Heights Police Department. Both attended the Council meeting, which had ended about 10 minutes prior.
“They realized she was in cardiac arrest and initiated CPR,” said Deputy Police Chief Bill Czajkowski, who spoke with The Regional shortly after the incident.
She was transported to Palos Hospital. Calls there regarding her condition were not immediately returned Wednesday morning before The Regional’s print deadline. A Regional reporter was able to confirm she has a room.
“Hopefully that quick response…how critical those first few seconds and minutes are,” he said.
At her side with the police officers were City Manager Dan Nisovic, Ald. Don Bylut, Ald. Jerry McGovern, Ald. Brent Lewandowski and others until paramedics arrived.
Some sought to comfort Kramarski’s distraught husband, Bob, alongside the couple’s Chevy Silverado pickup truck where the alderman had fallen.
Only minutes before she collapsed, Kramarski had been inside the City Council meeting room speaking to Alan Fulkerson, whose final meeting as an alderman had just concluded.
“Take care,” she said, hugging Fulkerson. “Really great knowing you.”
“I’m not gone,” said Fulkerson with dry humor.
Earlier, during the meeting, thanks and appreciation were expressed to Fulkerson by several of his colleagues for many years of service to the City of Palos Heights.
Kramarski said, “I’d like to say goodbye to Ald. Fulkerson. I’ve worked with Alan for almost 20 years. He’s been a great asset to Ward 3 and to the entire city. You’ll be missed, Alan.”
Fulkerson and Kramarski served Ward 3 at the same time. Palos Heights has a two-alderman-per-ward system. Brent Lewandowski, who took the oath of office at Tuesday’s meeting, is the new Ward 3 alderman.
With Fulkerson’s retirement from office, Kramarski is now the longest currently-serving alderman on the Council.
The boundaries of Ward 3 can be loosely described as College Drive (Route 83) on the north; 127th Street on the south; Harlem Ave. on the east (extending to 69th Court between 125th and 127th streets); and much of the area between 76th Avenue and 80th Avenue on the west, including the Palos Health medical campus.
Fulkerson’s sendoff included two rounds of applause and a standing ovation.
He became alderman in 1997 but had already served the City in committee positions more than 10 years prior.
Fulkerson established Palos Heights TV Channel 4 and championed it until his final minutes on the Council Tuesday evening when he said, “Once again I invite anyone in our viewing audience who is interested in participating in the televising of these meetings, other camera work and offsite interviews that we conduct to please contact Ron Jankowski at City Hall and express your interest.”
A look back at Fulkerson’s long career in city government and his stewardship of Channel 4 was published in the April 18, 2019 edition of The Regional News.
“I’m feeling no different than I was three weeks ago,” Fulkerson told The Regional after the meeting. “It’s final now. This decision was made almost two years ago. I’m not having regrets.”
Updates on Ald. Kramarski’s condition will be posted here and on The Regional’s Facebook page.