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A sign for Rosie

Rosie Colucci 8 can see her name lights along Kennedy Expressway thanks John Novak Novak ConstructiApril 17 2013. | JoAnne

Rosie Colucci, 8, can see her name in lights along the Kennedy Expressway thanks to John Novak and Novak Construction, April 17, 2013. | JoAnne Colucci Provided Photo

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Updated: May 19, 2013 7:46AM



A beacon of hope. . .

It’s riveting for Rosie!

†Translation: Rosie Colucci, an eight-year-old who has been battling inoperable brain cancer for the past five years, now has her own star in the twinkling firmament atop the Novak Construction Company, which looks over the Kennedy Expressway near Addison Street.

†Heart shot: A new sign emblazoned with two hearts and Rosie’s name was a love letter to her from the firm’s owner, John Novak -- when he learned she used his holiday lights as a switch to turn off the pain while traveling to the hospital.

“A scary emergency trip to the hospital in the middle of the night is made less scary because of your lights,” Rosie’s mother, JoAnne Colucci, told Novak.

“But I think Rosie now looks at one of the hearts as a symbol for love of others and all children whose lives have ended due to disease or tragedy.”

“Children like Martin [Richard], the eight-year-old who was killed in the Boston Marathon; an unimaginable terrorist horror. Rosie would want that heart to celebrate all their lives.”

The creation of Rosie’s sign began with her mother’s letter to Novak, whose company website about their holiday decor reads: “We believe life is meant to be celebrated!”

Colucci’s letter read, in part:

“I have to share something with you and your entire company. Novak Construction has touched our hearts, blessed us, so often over the last 5 years or more. . . Your holiday lights display has become so important to us, it holds such great meaning for our family that I just had to thank you.

“Rosie has confronted more than most people 10x’s her age and she deals with life head on. She sees the good in the world and she sees your company’s signs shining bright!

“Rosie has been riding by your company since she was just 10 months old; she is now 8, making long trips on 1-90 downtown to Children’s Memorial Hospital, now Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. It is the highlight of her trip, a reward after a long, 8-10 hour day of chemo, feeling nauseous and throwing up, to see your signs light up the night.

“I want to thank you for your belief that life is to be celebrated.”

Recently, Novak told Rosie’s family he had a surprise for their daughter and asked them to drive by his building. “It was raining en route and Rosie had fallen asleep while trying to guess what the surprise sign would say. . . like “Live In the Moment” or “Celebrate Life”. She awoke when we rounded the corner and was stunned when she saw her name.”

God bless you, John Novak.

The Metra file. . .

Sneed hears rumbles embattled Metra Executive Director Alex Clifford may be canned Friday, according to Metra sources.

Buckshot: “His performance wasn’t what the Metra board anticipated,” said a top Sneed source. Clifford, whose contract expires in 10 months, has been trying to meet individually with each board member in an effort to improve his evaluation.

† Sneedshot: It was under Clifford that Metra, the system of 11 rail lines connecting Chicago to six counties in Northeastern Illinois, has seen its security department go from bad to worse. “We have been derailed by understaffing, poor equipment and leadership without a mission,” a Metra police source told Sneed in March.

†Backshot: The Sun-Times reported on Friday that Metra board members met in a closed session to discuss Clifford’s job performance and the status of his $252,500-a-year contract. Clifford was not present at the meeting.

†The big question: The future of Metra’s “security” chief Sharon Austin, who has been blamed for ineffective leadership and kept on by Clifford “who had an opportunity to move her,” according to a Metra security source.

Sneedlings. . .

Condolences to the family of Gene & Georgetti’s Tony Durpetti, whose beloved brother Sonny died Tuesday... as well as condolences to the family of former Chicago Board of Trade chief Tom Donovan, whose beloved mother, Dorothy A. Donovan, died this week. . . Thursday’s birthdays: Conan O’Brien, 50; James Woods, 66, and America Ferrera, 29.



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