Month: August 2013

Weekly Maywood Foreclosure Listings @ Zillow

The following are Maywood foreclosure listings found at zillow.com:

1815 S. 23rd Avenue

— beds || 2 baths || 1,012 square feet || 5,360 square foot lot || Built in 1931

1 day on Zillow || $66,800 || Zestimate: $139,000

No Photos Available

618 N. 3rd Avenue

3 beds || 2 baths || 1,311 square feet || 5,449 square foot lot || Built in 1904

4 days on Zillow || $67,500 || Zestimate $113,000

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212 S. 16th Avenue

2 beds || 1 bath || 1,036 square feet || 6,300 square foot lot || Built in 1923

9 days on Zillow || $61,900 || Zestimate: $101,000

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1824 S. 19th Avenue

3 beds || 1 bath || 1,800 square feet || 4,007 square foot lot || Built in 1926

13 days on Zillow || $89,900 || Zestimate: $132,000

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2016 S. 10th Avenue

4 beds || 1 bath || 1,400 square feet || 4,704 square foot lot || Built in 1926

16 days on Zillow || $39,500 || Zestimate: $132,000

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From the Forest Park Review: Proviso East To Acquire $1.4M in Bonds for Repairs, AP Courses Now Offered and More

The Forest Park Review is Now Partnering with The Village Free Press

The following District 209 update is by Jean Lotus, editor of the Forest Park Review, a publication we’re proud to consider a partner:

Proviso East High School needs $22 million worth of repairs,” said the Todd Drafall, the new finance director for Proviso Township High School District 209, on Friday. “And I’m sure I could find more work that needs to be done if I looked for it.”The subject of repairs to the district’s ailing buildings has come up repeatedly in D209 school board meetings over the past year. Proviso East needs the most work, according to the district. One part of the building is 102 years old and repairs have been made on an emergency basis.

Most critical for repairs at PEHS is the ceiling of the field house, which needs $441,600 worth of work, according to the district.Bringing experience from his former job with the West Aurora School District, Drafall has suggested a new type of bond to help address these repairs.In July the district applied to the Illinois State Board of Education for $1.4 million in Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB), which were just approved.”These bonds are not well known, but they have been used by the Chicago school district for several years,” Drafall said.

QZAB bonds were approved by Congress in 1997 as a way to raise money for school districts with high concentrations of low-income students. At D209, 73 percent of students are eligible for free-or-reduced lunch.

QZAB bonds represent an interest-free loan created by selling bonds paid back over 12-16 years. Instead of interest, the federal government issues a tax credit to the buyers of the bonds (usually banks or other big institutions) in an amount approximately equal to the market rate.

To apply for the bonds, Drafall and the district had to drum up 10 percent of the amount they wanted to borrow in the form of donations from private businesses. These can be in the form of cash gifts or in-kind donations.

The district found three donors to pony up in-kind donations. They are also vendors with the district: Legat Architects, Ehlers Financial Advisers and an educational consultant named Barbara Parker. The total pledged donations add up to $141,185.

Oak Brook’s Legat Architects, a company specializing in architectural services for school districts, has been D209’s go-to architect for several years. They compiled the original life safety repairs list used by the district in 2008 and have updated it every two years. They also supervised roof repairs on both Proviso East and West in the past year. In 2012, the district paid Legat $173,453.01, according to http://www.Openthebooks.com, a government watchdog website.

According to D209’s application to the ISBE, Legat will donate an in-kind total of $119,299 to support the school. This contribution includes a discount of $53,179 on a bill for master plan services in October, a donation of principal time for master plan services of $19,300 and three summer internship/job shadow opportunities in 2014-2016, valued at $15,440 each.

Financial advisers Ehlers Inc., of Lisle, will donate 50 hours of professional service time, provided by advisers Steve H. Larson and Bradford J. Townsend, totaling $10,000.

Parker, a Aulander, N.C.-based education consultant, donated the cost of a $5,943 leadership retreat, including 30 hours of prep time at $75 an hour.

Other than the field house ceiling, Drafall said he chose $1,033,609 worth of projects on the life-safety repair list.

“I picked the projects that had been on the list longest,” he said. The punch list of projects includes replacing dozens of door assemblies, correcting deteriorating walls, providing fire detectors, re-securing and replacing tiles, removing and replacing carpeting, masonry, replacing glass panels with tempered glass and other renovations.

Although these repairs will be a drop in the bucket from the total list of $22 million life-safety projects, it’s a start, Drafall said.

He also plans to apply for a district-wide lighting upgrade grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), which should significantly reduce electricity use.

“We can use the resources from that savings to put into more life-safety repairs,” Drafall said.

 Tip hotlines rediscovered

After a community safety forum on July 16, D209 Superintendent Nettie Collins-Hart said she would look into a tip hotline for community members to alert the district about planned fights and other threats to student safety.

What she found out was that the district already had such hotlines set up at Proviso East and West high schools and listed in the student handbooks. The district created a new number for Proviso Math and Science Academy.

The tip hotlines are: Proviso East, 708-202-1731; Proviso West, 708-202-6351; and PMSA, 708-338-4188. These numbers will be publicized in all student handbooks, weekly newsletters and posters in the school. The district said the hotline would be checked three times a day for messages.

Committee mulls school uniforms

 Are school uniforms in the future of D 209 students? Collins-Hart told the school board Aug. 20 that a committee was meeting to discuss whether school uniforms should be instituted in D209. Barbara Cole, who runs Maywood Youth Mentoring, suggested uniforms at the community safety forum in July.

Cube to broadcast sports

Starting Aug. 31 at the home opener against Nazareth Academy, Proviso East and West football games will be broadcast on High School Cube, an Internet-streaming sports channel.

The company has been broadcasting the Proviso West Holiday Basketball Tournament since 2010. At no cost to the district, the company will also help students learn broadcasting technology, so students can produce volleyball and soccer games, as well as freshman and sophomore football games, according to a memo presented to the board Aug. 20. The district could also produce 15- to 60-second spots promoting the schools, the memo said. Calvin Davis, Proviso West’s assistant principal for athletics is trying to get a live “Game of the Week” show at WCIU-TV. He organized a similar agreement when he taught in Chicago Public Schools.

 Gatorade pact questioned

A tentative agreement with Gatorade has been crafted to put vending machines in Proviso West High School, with the option to place the machines in Proviso East as well. The agreement was spearheaded by Davis at Proviso West.

But school board member Kevin McDermott said the machines would send a mixed message to students about healthy nutrition.

“There are 34 grams of sugar in a bottle of Gatorade,” McDermott said. “Sugar is known to cause diabetes. We want to provide the best nutritional choices for our students.”

The district is also looking into selling signage in the gymnasiums and stadiums, especially if games are being broadcast. Nike and Home Team Marketing are being approached about sponsorship opportunities, according to a D209 memo.

 AP courses now offered at PMSA

Proviso Math and Science Academy is offering Advanced Placement courses this year, the D209 school board was told Aug. 20. Classes being offered are AP English Language and Composition, AP Calculus and AP Biology. The district received a start-up grant last year of $49,374 from the College Board, which administers the AP exams.

Fifty Years Ago Today

Ebony Cover
Cover of Ebony Magazine, November 1963.

In the November 1963 issue of Ebony magazine, Lerone Bennett, Jr. wrote of the march, “It was the beginning of something, and the ending of something. It came 100 years and 240 days after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. It came like a force of nature. Like a whirlwind, like a storm, like a flood, it overwhelmed and stunned by its massiveness and finality. A quarter million people were in it, and of it: and millions more watched on TV and huddled around radios. There had never been anything like it.”

Marchers sitting under elms
“Sitting under spreading elms, marchers open bags and boxes and lunch while listening to speakers and singers” (Ebony).

“A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look at thousands of working people displaced from their jobs with reduced incomes as a result of automation while the profits of the employers remain intact, and say: ‘This is not just’ (Martin Luther King Jr.,1967).

Jobs For All
Jobs For All Now! (Ebony).

“Power and pressure are at the foundation of the march of social justice and reform […] power and pressure do not reside in the few, and intelligentsia, they lie in and flow from the masses. Power does not even rest with the masses as such. Power is the active principle of only the organized masses, the masses united for a definite purpose” (A. Philip Randolph, 1941).

Marchers in overalls
Men in overalls, a status symbol among the marchers indicating participation in sit-ins (Ebony).

“You can’t talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you’re messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry […] Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is  wrong […] with capitalism […] There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe American must move toward a democratic socialism” (Martin Luther King, Jr., 1966).

A demonstrator in a wheelchair
A wheelchair-bound demonstrator (Ebony).

“The reconstruction of the Negro must involve the introduction of the new social order–a democratic order in which human rights are recognized above property rights” (A. Philip Randolph, 1919).

A. Philip Randolph, Godfather of the Civil Rights Movement, Marches (Ebony).
A. Philip Randolph, Godfather of the Civil Rights Movement, Marches (Ebony).

“At the end of that historic day, after he had introduced King and cheered the younger man’s announcement that ‘we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt,’ Randolph sent the marchers home–but first, all those present pledged in thunderous unison to give ‘my heart, and my mind, and my body, unequivocally and without regard to personal sacrifice, to the achievement of social peace through social justice'” (John Nichols, 2011). VFP

Martin Luther King
“The hero of the day” (Ebony)

BREAKING: Anthony Thomas, Maywood Compliance Coordinator, Dies

Anthony Thomas, the coordinator of compliance in the Village’s code enforcement division, died suddenly on Sunday. Information is limited as to what may have caused Mr. Thomas’s death.

“He was a very caring, giving person,” said a colleague who requested to remain anonymous. “The man was a building inspector’s inspector. He was knowledgeable, intelligible and he knew his job.”

Mr. Thomas, a resident of Maywood, worked for the Village for more than 31 years, according to a source.

A viewing is scheduled for next Wednesday, from 3pm to 7pm, at Wallace Funeral Home in Broadview. The wake and funeral will take place Thursday at Wallace from 10pm to 11pm and 11pm to 12pm, respectively. VFP

Trustee Cheryl Ealey-Cross Sworn In, Disrupts Business As Usual

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By Michael Romain

LAST TUESDAY, MAYWOOD — Moments after she took the oath of office to assume the trustee seat vacated by Mayor Edwenna Perkins, Cheryl Ealey-Cross faced the half-full Village chamber, noticed that she had no microphone at her seat like the other Board members and rather volubly requested that one be provided in the future. That’s when several audience members assured her that they could hear her louder than some of the other members with microphones.

Mrs. Ealey-Cross’s appointment marked the rather anti-climactic culmination of a community-wide debate over just how the appointment process should be handled. When former Mayor Henderson Yarbrough appointed Trustee Audrey Jaycox to fill the seat vacated by Trustee Michael Rogers several weeks shy of Mayor Perkins’s swearing-in, there was a mini firestorm of protest among residents.

Some considered Mr. Rogers’s resignation a political maneuver to deprive Mayor Perkins of two Board appointments. Others expressed shock at Mayor Yarbrough’s appointment of Ms. Jaycox, who Mr. Yarbrough considered the best qualified candidate for the seat, but who gave up her own position as trustee to run a campaign for the Village clerkship—a campaign she eventually lost to current clerk Viola Mims.

“If Jaycox is going to resign as trustee, then why is she going to accept another trustee position [for two years]?” said one resident.

The Neighbors of Maywood Community Organization (NoMCO) endorsed a plan that would involve Mayor Yarbrough appointing the next-highest-vote-getting candidate for trustee in the April consolidate election—Marcius Scaggs of the All In For Maywood (AIM) party.

Mr. Yarbrough referred to the plan as sensible before claiming that, according to the NoMCO plan, Ms. Jaycox would qualify as the next-highest-vote-getter, even though she did not run for trustee. At the board meeting during which Ms. Jaycox was appointed, citizen outrage ran well past adjournment and spilled onto the sidewalks and into the dimly lit Fifth Avenue night.

The atmosphere at the August 20 board meeting, however, was staid by comparison—even though Mayor Perkins herself skirted the NoMCO plan in appointing Mrs. Ealey-Cross to the Board. Unlike Ms. Jaycox, Mrs. Ealey-Cross did run for trustee; however, she was not the next-highest-vote-getter in the race. For whatever reasons, the fervent pressure put on Mayor Yarbrough to adhere to the procedural fairness of the NoMCO plan was blatantly absent this time around.

Mrs. Ealey-Cross’s ascension to the Board comes after a nearly two-month’s long silent war of attrition between the Mayor and the Board. Since the outset of the Mayor’s term, the five trustees flanking her had unanimously refused to so much as discuss Mrs. Ealey-Cross’s impending appointment in public. Her assumption of Mayor Perkins’s vacated trustee seat occurred in wake of the Board’s second refusal to give it a vote, after which, the Mayor has the right to make the appointment anyway.

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In the lead-up to her August 20th swearing-in, there were claims made by some present and former trustees that the appointment was being held up, not because of a partisan stubbornness on the part of the Maywood United Party (the party ticket on which all five trustees ran) to block Mayor Perkins’s every move, but because Mrs. Ealey-Cross was difficult to work with.

In his public comments at a board meeting in June, former trustee and Village clerk Gary Woll said that he’s served on committees with Mrs. Ealey-Cross that “she destroyed.” “She’s very bright, she works hard, but the littlest thing […] she gets angry […] There are other people who support Edwenna who are much better to work with.”

Trustee Toni Dorris concurred with Mr. Woll. “I’ve watched and known Mrs. Ealey for six years […] go from commission to commission. I’ve seen her advocate for things she was going to do and never get done.”

In her first board meeting as a sitting trustee, Mrs. Ealey-Cross seemed poised to both confirm and falsify those sentiments by completely dismantling a routine omnibus agenda—an act that would seem to support Mr. Woll’s characterization of her as difficult, but laying waste to Trustee Dorris’s claim of ineffectiveness.

Of the twenty-eight items — listed ‘A’ through ‘BB’ — that were contained in the massive omnibus agenda, Mrs. Ealey-Cross pulled twenty, effectively forcing the Board to consider and vote on each one in isolation. In all, when combined with the one item pulled by Trustee Ron Rivers, twenty-one items were struck from the omnibus agenda. (Omnibus means “for everything” in Latin and allows the Board to approve a range of different items in a single vote, instead of voting on each item separately).

Among the items considered for approval in the omnibus package were routine payments to the City of Chicago’s water department for $533,459.08; to Allied Waste in the amount of $324,326.88 for June and July garbage pickup and disposal service; and to payment to Blue Cross Blue Shield in the amount of $220,538.47 for employee health insurance for the month of August.

Not long into the discussion of item ‘A’ of the omnibus agenda (“Consideration to approve payment to AFCO in the amount of $57,734.11 for the 3rd of 9 installment payments for general liability insurance payment”), Trustee Ealey-Cross requested a copy of the actual contract.

And so it went. For practically every item she pulled from the omnibus agenda, she requested contract information and other technical and legalistic minutiae with which the typical elected official doesn’t bother to grapple.

To the casual observer, the newest member of the Village Board may have appeared obstinate, but it was also obvious that she’d done her homework—a fact that not even her staunchest detractors could’ve comfortably denied.

During the Board discussion of item ‘L’ regarding payment to Edwin Hancock Engineering Company in the amount of $82,543.29 for engineering-related services done in Maywood in August, Trustee Ealey-Cross requested to “see a copy of the contract as well as to know the process in how we are billed and if there’s an ordinance that states or requires a written agreement.”

On item ‘S’, a proposal to purchase three fully-outfitted 2013 Dodge Chargers for the police department, Trustee Ealey-Cross harkened back to the discussion at last week’s LLOC meeting.

“Questions from this board were addressed and there was the question regarding procedures in place as to the vehicles and destruction and I thought the manager was going to report back to the board tonight on his findings,” she said.

Regarding item ‘Z’ (“Resolution authorizing an agreement with IAFF for management of various grant projects on behalf of West Cook County Cooperative”), Trustee Ealey-Cross wanted to know what progress had been made since Maywood became a member of the Cooperative. “Do we get an annual report?” she said.

When Mr. Barlow said that the IAFF orally reports to the board from time to time, but does not present the Board with a written annual report, Mrs. Ealey-Cross retorted, “It seems to me if we’re being asked to pay people to do certain things for us we should be asking them to give us at least annual updates as to their progress. If we’re paying for something we need to see results.”

At certain points, Village Manager Bill Barlow appeared a bit flustered by Trustee Ealey-Cross’s onslaught of requests and questions. In the middle of taking note of another of her contract requests, Mrs. Ealey-Cross waved a sheet of paper in Mr. Barlow’s direction. It was an advance copy of each of her requests for information.

The move prompted some snickering from the audience, punctuating what may have appeared to be mere grandstanding or showboating if Trustee Ealey-Cross’s actions hadn’t yielded such obvious results.

Outside of Trustee Ron Rivers’s sensible concern regarding the Village’s monthly maintenance fee of $19,390 to Current Technologies to maintain cameras that are “down very, very severely,” Trustee Ealey-Cross presented the only significant scrutiny of an omnibus agenda that comprised more than $2 million in Village expenditures.

Ealey-Cross’s pulling of item ‘AA’ (a motion “to authorize the execution of a negotiated light duty policy for union members of the Fire Department”) from the massive omnibus agenda enabled Trustee Rivers to inquire as to what “light duty” actually entailed. In fact, there was such confusion about the issue that the Board unanimously motioned to table the issue for further discussion at an LLOC meeting.

This confusion was extremely revealing, since its reasonable to assume that had Trustee Ealey-Cross not pulled item ‘AA’ from the omnibus agenda, the Board would’ve voted on its approval despite not really knowing much about the matter. This begs the question of how much the Board actually knows about the very payments it approves. And if it doesn’t know much, why does it routinely elect to approve these payments in massive omnibus agendas that effectively preempt any kind of detailed discussion of each item?

When Trustee Ealey-Cross requested a copy of the contract for Hackie Cement Corporation, which was to be paid $29,890 for sewer collapse repair, she was told that the Village did not issue one to the company. “It’s on a timely and material basis. It’s outlined in the invoice,” said Mr. Barlow. “The invoice serves as the contract in this case,” attorney Michael Jurusik said.

Mr. Barlow informed the Board that the Village waives the bid process for emergency services, which is why there was no contract. But if emergency services are consistently going to one company, doesn’t the frequency of service provided and amount of money paid out constitute at least an implied agreement of regular service?

“May I ask for an overview of how much we’ve spent with this company so far?” said Trustee Ealey-Cross.

If her findings show that Hackie was being paid to do emergency sewer service on a regular basis, then it would be reasonable to conclude that the Village has been contracting emergency sewer services with a company without a sufficient written contract laying out terms and conditions.

“I’ve seen their name on the agenda several times and the amounts haven’t been minimum. I’m always concerned about inferior quality of products and services, so without a contract […]” she said.

The discussion ended with Mr. Barlow consenting to lay out the typical terms of a contract with Hackie, Mr. Jurusik suggesting a bid process be setup for next year’s emergency services and Trustee Ealey-Cross suggesting that a procurement officer be hired to negotiate contracts on behalf of the entire Village.

“Are we considering that in the future to reduce our costs? Because if each department is out negotiating on its own, are we getting the best deal?” said Ealey-Cross.

“We can put it on our future LLOC agenda,” Mr. Barlow consented.

One may have wondered, as all this was transpiring, whether the soothsaying of Gary Woll echoed in the heads of the other trustees. “She will destroy your board,” Mr. Woll told them before Mrs. Ealey-Cross’s appointment. Considering the impressive results of her destructiveness, however, one begins to think that Mr. Woll may have been on to something. VFP

Corrections: August 15 – 26

In the August 15, posting “Maywood Entryway Signs Unveiling, August 17,” we misspelled the names of Charles Divers, writing Charles Drivers, instead; and John S. Van Bergen, writing John S. Van Beyer.” This post has since been amended.

In the August 21, posting “The Weekend in Review,” we mispelled the names of Walter William and Pete Bozeous (this is the closest we’ve come to a correct spelling. If anyone has information either verifying this spelling or providing a more accurate spelling of Pete’s last name, please let us know). This article has since been amended.

In the August 26, posting, “Hinsdale Community Bank Hoping to Build Branch in Maywood,” we incorrectly referred to Hugh Franklin as the director of community lending for InTel development. Mr. Franklin is the senior executive vice president and community development officer for Proviso Community Bank. This article has since been amended.

 

 

VFP<INTEGRITY FIRST

 

 

Governor Pat Quinn Signs Rep. Chris Welch’s Bill Providing Park Grants for Distressed Communities

The following is a statement released by the office of Rep. Chris Welch:

WESTCHESTER, Ill. – Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, to provide land conservation grants in distressed areas for the purpose of developing parks and outdoor facilities was signed into law Friday.

“This grant will improve local neighborhoods and help provide families with more opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities,” Welch said. “Many local governments struggle to complete projects due to shrinking budgets. This will help to relieve some of the financial pressures and ensure that all children have a place to exercise and utilize open space.”

Senate Bill 1341 – which Welch introduced in the House – expands finically-challenged municipalities’ access to grants for public park projects such as picnic and playground facilities, outdoor nature interpretive facilities, sports facilities, campgrounds and park roads. Welch’s measure requires the Department of Natural Resources to provide distressed local governments with Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grants for up to 90 percent of the total cost of a project. Previously, these grants could only be used to cover 50 percent of a project’s cost.

The measure received bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, and is Welch’s seventh bill signed into law during his first legislative session.  Last week Governor Quinn signed Rep. Welch’s Homeless Bill of Rights into law.

“This important piece of legislation will make more communities eligible for these grant funds which expand recreational opportunities throughout the state,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller. “Parks and open space should be accessible for everyone and this bill will help leave no child inside.”