Month: March 2014

We Watch, We Care, We Call the Police: Maywood Government, Law Enforcement Officials And Local Businesses Discuss Collaboration

Edwin Walker and Chief Talley
Edwin Walker IV, Chief Talley and Officer Pirsia Allen.

Monday, March 31, 2014 || By Michael Romain 

Saturday, March 22, 2014, MAYWOOD — Attempting to foster greater collaboration between local government entities and the business community, Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins and Police Chief Valdimir Talley co-hosted a Business Watch meeting inside Village Chambers.

Acting Village Manager David Myers; President and CEO of the Maywood Chamber of Commerce, Edwin Walker IV; Maywood Village Clerk Viola Mims; and Trustees Michael Rogers, Toni Dorris and Audrey Jaycox were also in attendance. Among the business represented were McDonald’s, Seaway Supply and Global Estates.

According to a handout, the Business Watch “is a partnership between the business community, local authorities, the police, and other organizations that represent business interest. It enables individual businesses to take part in preventing and reducing crime through sharing information, raising awareness, and improving communications through meetings and a functional ‘calling tree.’”

“We want to encourage you to be in our village,” said Mayor Perkins. “We’re asking you to work with us, because believe it or not, we are going to bring some economic development here in this community.”

The Mayor said that the Village intends to play its part in providing better services and Board leadership to try to lure more business to the area to offset the heavy tax burden that Maywood residents bear.

Chief Talley invited business owners to attend Village board meetings, in addition to the weekly Maywood Alternative Policing Strategy (MAPS) meetings held weekly by the police department.

While punctuated by a show of gratitude–Mr. Walker commended Chief Talley’s professionalism and competence, calling his recent appointment a “ray of light”–many business owners in the audience responded to the Mayor’s and Chief’s calls for cooperation with some pushback, albeit modulated, of their own.

Some expressed disappointment with the police department’s responsiveness to their concerns, particularly in emergency situations.

Ray Nelson, who owns two McDonald’s franchises in Maywood–one on Roosevelt Road and another on 1st and Lake–recounted several experiences of his own.

“One concern I have at both of our Maywood McDonald’s locations is that we’ve had several instances of loitering and theft happening at the restaurant and when we call police it is 20-30 minutes before officers arrive,” he said.

“Most of our issues arise at the 5th and Roosevelt location. I’ve personally called 911 to have an issue resolved and its 20-30 minutes before reinforcements arrive.”

Mayor Perkins Listens
Mayor Perkins listens to a presenter (Sgt. Daryl Fairley stands in the background).

Another business owner said that he’d experienced a similar problem.

Maywood Community Relations Officer Pirsia Allen and Sgt. Daryl Fairley, in an empathetic tone, advised the owners that anytime that happens, they should call the station again and ask for a shift supervisor.

“We apologize for that. We try to make it to the scene in five minutes, although that feels like an eternity,” said Sgt. Fairley, before updating Mr. Nelson on a specific case that had recently come up.

He said that his department had correctly identified a group of juveniles that were causing trouble at the Roosevelt Road location, a claim that Mr. Nelson confirmed.

But this didn’t quite go far enough in repairing the somewhat strained relationship between business owners and Maywood police–a problem to which this very meeting was designed to address.

Even the Mayor chimed in on her dissatisfactory past experiences with the local emergency response, pushing back on Officer Allen’s advice about calling the shift supervisor. She noted that sometimes when she would call back, the shift supervisor wasn’t present.

“When you call and it takes so long, then you’re reluctant to call again,” she said.

The Chief and his presenting officers, however, seemed focused less on litigating the past than establishing a stronger foundation of mutual trust between the department and the business community.

Trustee Audrey Jaycox addressed a rather sensitive area of the Village’s past, one on which the department seemed adamant to press the reset button.

“Too many times in the past, when people would call the police their names were given,” she said.

Toward the end of his tenure, former Maywood Police Chief Tim Curry, Mr. Talley’s predecessor, noted that he had aggressively rooted out these kinds of practices, but some residents’ suspicions seem not to have diminished.

Officer Allen said that the department once had a confidential phone number for businesses to call in for drug activity. He said that when the number is implemented again, business owners would be notified.

Officer Pirsia Allen
Officer Pirsia Allen presenting at Business Watch meeting.

Sgt. Fairley, however, insisted that skepticism of the police department shouldn’t hinder business owners from calling police when problems arise. And even testifying in court, if the circumstance presented itself.

“That’s one of the major things with business owners who don’t want to call the police. That’s a major problem we have with our community right now, but that also hinders our ability to prosecute people to the utmost,” he said.

“A lot of these guys aren’t scared by a Village ordinance citation, but we need the business owners to stick with us and go to court with us. You guys have to work with us. You have to sign these complaints and let them know you won’t tolerate that activity in front of your business.”

In addition to discussing his proposal to implement an anti-gang unit, Chief Talley said that his department plans on printing out stickers that say, “No Guns.” By displaying the sign in their windows, they’d be allowing the police an opening to confiscate illegal firearms in such a way that doesn’t violate Illinois’s new Concealed Carry law, which allows residents to carry licensed guns in public places.

“I have a big concern about gunplay in the Village and so Officer Allen is going to get us some stickers that say ‘No Guns’,” the Chief said.

“I’m asking that you all to put those in your windows. My intent is that when someone comes into your business with a firearm, I’m going to take it off of them whether they have a concealed carry or not. Right now, we’re working on the Village ordinance so that matters of concealed carry do not come into play for the Village so it can strengthen our role as we address firearm issues. I’m a proponent of firearms but not for illegal firearms.”

Officer Allen urged business owners to provide their names and numbers so that the police would have contact information in the event that they receive alarm notifications and need to go inside the premises to check for intruders.

Chief Talley, acknowledging the department’s past problems with its surveillance camera technology, tried reassuring residents and business owners by emphasizing the new service agreement with Current Technology Corporation (CTC), the company that installed the cameras, and his department’s renewed focus on better management of the surveillance system.

David Myers Speaks With Business Owner
David Myers (green jacket) speaking with business owner at end of meeting. Village Clerk Mims in red jacket.

“We have a company called Current Technologies and we just re-entered a contract with them. For whatever reason, the cameras weren’t being managed appropriately. They will be managed appropriately now. We’re looking at Current to come back out to do repairs to cameras that are inoperable and they made a proposal to me for cameras that will augment those that are already existing. Some of the cameras were being rotated when they needed to be fixed in place. That’s the staff’s problem, too, because they could’ve fixed to them to an extent, but they weren’t trained up.”

Both the police department and representatives from various Village departments struck a tone of reconciliation and collaboration.

Maywood Village Clerk Viola Mims said that her office is making sure that businesses are informed of the ordinances that are already on the books and that the filing process necessary to do business is smooth for owners.

“We are doing our best to assist and make sure that the ordinance regarding business and liquor licenses are being upheld and we are making sure that everything is being implemented in a timely and effective manner,” she said.

At the end of the meeting, owners and residents in attendance were given posters that read, “We watch, we care, we call the police”–a slogan that government officials hope will be less a reflection of rhetoric than one of reality. VFP

To access the Village Ordinance Book, click here (Refer to Title XI: Business Regulations and Title XIII: General Offenses). 

Officer Allen praysHandouts

Trustee Jaycox talks with business ownerSgt. Fairley fielding questions

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Health Care Application Deadline TODAY, March 31st–Extra Time Allotted To Those Who Start Enrollment Process Today

Monday, March 31, 2014 || By Michael Romain

Today is the last day to apply for coverage under the new Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare. After this point, those who remain uninsured will face penalties of $95 per adult, up to $285 per family, or 1 percent of one’s taxable income. However, federal officials announced on Tuesday that if consumers at least start the application process today, they won’t face subsequent fines.

According to a recent Washington Post article, “all consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, but who do not finish by Monday, will have until about mid-April to ask for an extension.”

“Under the new rules, people will be able to qualify for an extension by checking a blue box on HealthCare.gov to indicate that they tried to enroll before the deadline. This method will rely on an honor system; the government will not try to determine whether the person is telling the truth.”

In the past several months, there has been a push by Democratic legislators such as Congressman Danny K. Davis and State Rep. Chris Welch to inform consumers of the new law and get people signed up. Earlier in March, Rep. Welch sponsored an ACA enrollment event at the Maywood Public Library, one of several enrollment events that the Library has hosted within the past year.

Residents of Illinois who are seeking to enroll in the new healthcare program can apply online here. To enroll at the national site, click here. For help enrolling, click hereVFP

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS: West Cook YMCA Looking For Tutors, Life Guards, Summer Camp Counselor, Chief Financial Officer And More

Monday, March 31, 2014

The West Cook YMCA, which serves Maywood, Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park, among other West Cook County municipalities, has openings available in a wide range of positions, from preschool assistants to lifeguards to chief financial officer. For more information on specific job openings and employment opportunities, click here. VFP

Maywood Police Reports & Notable Developments

 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Screenshot 2014-03-31 at 3.36.32 PM

Police Reports

Alleged Members of Latin Kings Arrested for Loitering

March 28, 2014, 11:22-11:31 PM

Steve Ramirez, Eduardo Hernandez, Agustin Mariscal, Brian Medina, Effrain Medina and Cristian Rodriguez, all alleged members of the Latin Kings street gang, were arrested within the vicinity of 4th and Lake, and 8th and Huron, for gang loitering.

Man Arrested for Domestic Battery and Drug Possession 

March 29, 2014, 5:33 AM

Ray Rashon was arrested at 1830 S. 9th Avenue for domestic battery and possession of a controlled substance.

Woman Arrested at Police Station for Drug Possession 

March 29, 2014, 10:56 PM

Seleena T. Reives was arrested at 125 S. 5th Avenue for possession of cannabis.

Notable Developments 

  • The Department also reported that 95 percent of its sworn officers were trained on the new squads last month.
  • Officer M. Bacbciz seized $2,900.00 in currency due to several drug arrests.
  • Officer G. Rangle conducted a traffic stop on February 24, 2014, at 4:38 PM, which led to the seizure of 248 grams of cannabis and an arrest at 8th and Harrison.

  • Police Chief Talley and Community Relations Officer Pirsia Allen have implemented an anti-bullying prevention program in partnership with District 89. The program will run from April to May and will serve elementary students in grades 4, 5 and 8. VFP

From The Review: Maywood, Another Look

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

Jacques Conway
Rev. Jacques Conway

Originally published: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 || By Tom Holmes, The Forest Park Review

Rev. Jacques Conway has been the pastor of Neighborhood Methodist Church in Maywood since 2003. When asked to describe the relationship between Forest Park and Maywood, he replied, “There is none.”

Indeed, when fifteen Forest Park Chamber of Commerce members were asked to recall the last time they had spent money in Maywood, six said that couldn’t remember, and one replied, “1985.” Since New Year’s Day, only one had spent even a dollar in our neighboring village to the west, and that was two months ago.

Maywood is the next door neighbor we don’t know.

In terms of shopping, dining or drinking, there is almost nothing in Maywood to attract Forest Parkers. Rev. Conway, who lives in River Forest, underscored that point by saying that the biggest source of tax revenue from businesses in Maywood is at the corner of Lake St. and First Ave., a business district containing a Walgreens, a gas station, and two fast food restaurants. Even the race track bearing the town’s name is really located outside of Maywood.

Michael Romain, who was born and raised in Maywood and now publishes the Village Free Press there, knows his hometown as well as anybody. He agreed with Rev. Conway that the relationship between the two towns is “not very substantial,” and that in terms of business, Madison is a one-way street heading east.

The absence of Forest Park residents in Maywood is especially striking when compared to the involvement of Oak Parkers in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. Oak Park residents are doing everything from tutoring to urban gardening to manning food pantries with their neighbors to the east. Forest Park residents complain about Proviso East High School but don’t seem to be doing anything in an organized way to mitigate the problems there.

Although Romain will be the first to acknowledge Maywood’s issues, he also believes there are opportunities for mutuality. One place is the high school. On the one hand, he was a student at Proviso East for two years before moving to River Forest, and he thinks that many criticisms of the school are valid. On the other hand, he said that the reality there, “is not nearly as bad as the perception.”

But more importantly, the young publisher had this to say about the problems at Proviso East: “Ironically Forest Parkers and Maywoodians are probably united in a common disdain for the school. That may be one area where they have a common bond, because everyone is angry at the school.”

The mistake people in Forest Park make, Romain continued, is to blame the culture in the school on the culture in Maywood.

“This is where the prejudice comes in,” he said. “From a Forest Park perspective, the school is that way because of the people in Maywood are that way. It’s easy for someone living outside of Maywood to blame the culture at Proviso East on Maywood. I don’t think that’s fair.”

“Some areas of Maywood, like north of Washington Boulevard, which is integrated, have higher household incomes than some areas in Forest Park. The blocks between 9th  and 14th  and between Madison and Roosevelt Rd., sometimes referred to as the Seminary District, is a pretty decent middle class community,” Romain added.

There is a contingent of black folk in Maywood who trace their roots in the town back to before World War I.

“Maywood had one of the richest African American communities in the western suburbs,” said Romain. “Blacks have been in Maywood a long, long time. The West Town Museum at the corner of 5th  and St. Charles has archives showing that around the turn of the century Maywood had a large community of black domestics and was a stop on the Underground Railroad.”

Another opportunity west of the Desplaines River is housing at what Romain calls “bargain basement prices.” Patrick Jacknow at Jacknow Reality here Forest Park lists a brick bungalow in Maywood with an asking price of $159,000. When asked what a comparable house would cost in Forest Park, Jacknow estimated it selling for around $260,000.

And it’s not just the cost of housing that is attractive. On the north side of Maywood are homes which would fit right in any part of River Forest. Maywood, in fact, has16 homes and properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Romain suggested that Maywood’s historical housing might be the occasion for Forest Parkers to get to know their neighbors to the west.

“There are some things already going on,” he said,” that actually do attract people to Maywood. The Historic Homes House Walk is a pretty big hit in the summer.

“For $15 you get a guided tour on a trolley of the historic homes of Maywood. Some of the unknown history of Maywood will blow your mind,” Romain said.

Another opportunity to get to know Maywood is the annual Bataan Day celebration. “Last year,” he recalled, “about 300 people sat under a big white tent while a military band played and people made speeches. Maywood has a strong base of veterans who fought in the Bataan Peninsula of the Philippines during World War II. Many have moved on, but they come back every year.”

Conway noted that business opportunities would abound for Forest Park merchants if a stronger relationship could be fostered between the two communities. He said that Maywood doesn’t have a bakery, flower shop or a full service super market. To shop for groceries, he said, many drive north to Meijer’s in Melrose Park. Romain added that he will soon be selling advertising in his Village Free Press publication.

Romain also looked at the big picture and into the future.

“What people don’t realize,” he pointed out, “is that Maywood is centrally located — Forest Park, River Forest and Oak Park to the east, LaGrange to the southwest, Riverside to the south — you have all these suburban hot spots, some of the nicest suburbs in the state in this very region, and Maywood is centrally located.”

Rev. Conway went to another place to motivate Forest Parkers to reach out and get to know Maywood. “I think it boils down to being good neighbors,” he said. “Neighbors at least talk over the fence. Ask the elected officials when was the last time they talked seriously to people in Maywood.”

“There hasn’t even been a time of conversation in the same place at that the same time to talk about mutuality and challenges, just a conversation between people of these communities of positives and negatives [would help],” he said.

“It has to start with an initial time of coming together. That will be a huge opportunity.” VFP

 

Dear Hope: I’ve Been Raped

By Gwendolyn Young

Dear Hope:

What would you say to a girl who has been raped and doesn’t feel like she could ever be whole again? — Torn on the Inside

Dear Torn on the Inside:

Wow! I must admit this question startled me initially, because I wasn’t expecting something so sensitive.  First, let me thank you for being courageous enough to ask the question.  Your courage to begin speaking about it signifies the start of healing on your journey.

I personally believe that God is a healer and if you allow him to do so, he can take this crude act of violence that was committed against you and make you whole again. I would say, “YOU ARE NOT WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU!”

I would say, “IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.” There is something deeply wrong with the individual who committed this violent act against you.

I would say, “BE COURAGEOUS” and share your story to help other young women heal.

I would say, “Don’t be ashamed to get the professional counseling and treatment you need and deserve to move past this part of your journey in life.”

I would say, BEING WHOLE is a choice, so choose wholeness today; choose life; choose to take this experience and educate people on the topic of rape.

I would say, “YOU ROCK.”

Life is unfair, people have forgotten the value of a life and commit heinous acts against others on a daily basis and we all have a cross to bear, but at the end of the day we must choose LIFE, we must choose not to let our negative experiences dictate how our lives and our destiny will turn out.

I am seeding for the greatness in you and I know that you will feel whole again.

This column is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical, legal or financial advice.  The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Village Free Press. Questions may be submitted anonymously or via pseudonym to thevillagefreepress@gmail.com, or gyoung@mysoh.org. Gwendolyn Young, M.A., C.P.C., is the Executive Director of Seed of Hope Foundation, a nonprofit girls mentoring organization based in Westchester, IL.

SEEDING THE GREATNESS IN YOU!

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