Month: May 2014

CeaseFire Launches Safe Summer With Free Food & “Shot Of Love”

Stop Killing Don't Shoot
Volunteers setting up for the CeaseFire Safe Summer event on Friday. (Photo by Michael Romain for The Village Free Press).

Friday, May 30, 2014 || By Michael Romain 

Maywood–Volunteers and workers with CeaseFire’s Maywood and Austin branches were out Friday evening serving residents free barbecue and a side of love. They setup in a parking lot on 17th and Maywood Drive, just north of the Prairie Path.

Sandra Harrison, the Executive Director of Youth Outreach Services, the organization that facilitates CeaseFire in Maywood, said that the event was planned to coordinate with Mayor Edwenna Perkins’s Safe Summer initiative. Safe Summer, the product of a partnership between the Mayor, Youth on the Move, and a variety of businesses and nonprofits such as CeaseFire, is designed to provide seasonal recreational and service activities for youth in Maywood.

“CeaseFire has a fund in its budget dedicated to community block building,” Harrison said. “We’re about collaboration, so we decided to double up with Safe Summer.”

Karl Bell, a program manager for both the Austin and Maywood CeaseFire branches, said that the day was about more than free food and posters.

“We need a shot of love in our communities,” he said. “We need to learn to respect and love each other. Black love has value.”

Mayor Perkins and Isiah Brandon, the Executive Director of Youth on the Move, hope that this event serves as a powerful marketing tool to get the word out about Safe Summer’s array of future programming–including field trips, community pool days and swimming lessons, volunteer activities and book clubs–all of which are free.

Left to right: Derrick Green, a CeaseFire employee, encourages passersby to stop and feast for free; community members and CeaseFire workers intermingle at the food table. (Photos by Michael Romain for The Village Free Press). 

Man on Bullhorn IIGathering

While content to publicize CeaseFire’s current services and collaborations, Carl O’Neal doesn’t want people to forget what makes CeaseFire’s programming possible. O’Neal, a project manager for CeaseFire Maywood, focused attention on the enormous budget cuts that his organization has recently experienced.

“It’s not enough people,” he said. “We only have three outreach workers, one supervisor and one part-time manager.”

Last October, Frontline reported that Chicago had dropped CeaseFire from its anti-violence strategy, “deciding to focus instead on community policing and other strategies to combat the city’s high murder rate.”

O’Neal said that CeaseFire Maywood has also experienced deep budget cuts. The statewide organization has undergone rather intense scrutiny within the last year after the very public arrest of Tio Hardiman, its Illinois director. Hardiman, a Hillside resident and former gubernatorial candidate, was accused of assaulting his wife, but the charges were later dropped.

And the program may never shake its reputation for hiring people on whom society has largely given up. In the Frontline report, Hardiman had noted that six of the anti-violence organization’s workers had returned to lives of crime.

However, O’Neal believes that to associate CeaseFire exclusively with what are minor issues in the grand scheme of things is unfair both to the organization and the people it helps. He notes that the organization may be the last, best hope for some residents that just need a chance in a society that can be much too cruel in selecting whom it chooses to redeem.

“[A lot of] felons can’t get jobs anywhere else,” O’Neal said. “You need former gang members to convince other gang members that there’s another way out. How can they find their way back if they don’t have an opportunity?” VFP

Left to right: Isiah Brandon directs a youth; Sandra Harrison with husband Darryl Harrison (left) and Karl Bell; the back of Sandra Harrison’s t-shirt; Mayor Edwenna Perkins (center front), with Sandra Harrison, Debra Vaughn of The Answer, Inc., Carl O’Neal and Daryl Washington, a former CeaseFire employee; Larry Smith, a CeaseFire volunteer works the grill; a young woman sits on a car in the parking lot. (Photos by Michael Romain for The Village Free Press). 


What if you couldMayor Perkins

Man on GrillWoman on cell phone



Breaking: Woman Dies In Early Morning House Fire; Identified As Clementine Williams, 64

Firefighter entering home
A Maywood firefighter enters the home on the 400 block of South 14th Avenue that caught fire early Friday morning. (Photo by Michael Romain for The Village Free Press).

Thursday, May 30, 2014

The woman who was rushed to Loyola University Health Center in the wake of a fire that broke out at approximately 8 AM today has been identified as Clementine Williams, 64. She was found unresponsive by firefighters on the first floor of a multi-unit building on the 400 block of South 14th Avenue and was rushed to the hospital, where she later died. Her son and grandson, Leroy Williams, Jr., and Leroy Williams III, were said to have resided on the second floor of the building. Officials would not say whether Mrs. Williams died from smoke inhalation or burns. The fire department is still investigating the cause of the fire. More as this story develops. VFP

Breaking: Early Morning Blaze Destroys Maywood Home; One Hospitalized

Firemen inspecting the building on the 400 block of South 14th Avenue after an early morning fire. (Photo by Michael Romain for The Village Free Press).

Friday, May 30, 2014 || By Michael Romain 

MAYWOOD–A fire has destroyed a home on the 400 block of South 14th Avenue. According to officials, emergency dispatch received a call at 7:59 AM about a possible fire at 434 S. 14th Avenue. When the fire department arrived on the scene, they discovered that the fire had engulfed both floors of the multi-unit building, where an elderly woman lay unresponsive on the first floor. She was rushed to Loyola University Health Center. Her condition is currently unknown.

Ronnie Carswell, who lives two blocks away, was driving on Washington Boulevard, on his way to work, when he saw the smoke.

“When I saw the smoke, I thought somebody was barbecuing,” he said. “But then I saw flames coming out the window. They just started popping out. A minute seemed like a day. The grandson said his grandmother was in the house, but by that time it was nothing you could do.”

Ladder trucks from at least two other surrounding communities, Broadview and Bellwood, were seen in the area to support the Maywood Fire Department. Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh said his men had to use heavy water to slow the fire down. He didn’t say how long it took to extinguish, but by 9:30 AM the fire was out.

According to officials, the first floor of the home was occupied by Leroy Williams, Jr. and his son Leroy Williams III. The unidentified woman, who is apparently the mother and grandmother of the two, lived on the first floor, where the fire is reported to have started in a backroom.

More as this story develops. VFP




Maywood Ceasefire Safe Summer Kickoff, Friday, 6 PM

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Join Maywood Ceasefire Community Block-Building & Safe Summer Kickoff, Friday, May 30, 2014, 6 PM to 8 PM, at the corner of 17th & Maywood Drive. Joining forces to build a safer summer. CALLING ALL MEN! 100 Men from our community will kick off the Safe Summer Initiative. BE THERE! For more information, please contact Carl O’Neal, Ceasefire Maywood, (708) 494-9221. VFP

Safe Summer logo IIceasefire_logo_banner_201-smallYOS Logo

Death And Funeral Notices: Wesley Wade, Jr.; Bishop Willie Dugan; Mrs. Shirley Higgins

Sponsored By Villegas Headstones & Monuments

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Updated: 10:25 PM

Mr. Wesley “Scooter” Wade, Jr. 

The visitation for Mr. Wesley Wade, Jr., affectionately known as “Scooter,” was held at Wallace Broadview Funeral Home, 2020 W. Roosevelt Rd., Broadview, IL 60155, on Wednesday, May 28, 3 PM to 8 PM. The homegoing services were also held at Wallace on Thursday, May 28.

Bishop Willie Dugan

Bishop Willie Dugan, longtime Maywoodian and pastor emeritus of Christian Unity Baptist Church in Bellwood, will lie in state at his home church, 2140 Washington Blvd., Bellwood, IL, on Friday, May 29, from 3 PM to 7 PM. The homegoing services will be held at Second Baptist Church, 431 S. 13th Avenue, Maywood, on Saturday, May 30, 2014, 10 AM to 11 AM (viewing) and 11 AM to 12 PM (service).

Mrs. Shirley Higgins

The visitation for Mrs. Shirley Higgins, longtime Maywoodian and mother of the late Cynthia Higgins, a former Maywood Park District commissioner, will be held at Corbin Funeral Home, 5345 W. Madison, Chicago, IL 60644, on Saturday, May 31, 3 PM to 7 PM. The homegoing services will be on Sunday, June 1, at First Baptist Church of Melrose Park, 2114 Main Street, Melrose Park, IL 60160, from 1 PM to 2 PM.

If any information on your loved one is missing  from these postings, and/or is inaccurate, please email corrections, obituaries, death notices and/or service times to No charge associated. All obituaries are subject to changes at the editor’s discretion. VFP

Mayor Perkins Presents A Community Job Fair, Tomorrow, May 30th, 10 AM to 2 PM

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins and PI Management present: EMPLOY (Enrich, Motivate & Prepare Leadership Opportunities for Youth) Community Job Fair. The Fair will take place at Mariella’s Banquets, 124 S. 5th Avenue, Maywood, IL, 10 AM to 2 PM. Come prepared to interview. Dress for success. Bring plenty of resumes. Employers will include: Dempsey Staffing Firm, TCF Bank and UPS.

Press Release: Loyola Brings Wellness Challenge To Maywood Kids

Thursday, May 29, 2014

MAYWOOD, Ill. – Loyola University Health System was excited to be a part of the first annual Turn Up Your Health Youth Wellness Challenge, which encouraged young people in the Maywood community to make healthy lifestyle choices. The program recently concluded with an awards ceremony for the participating kids and their parents held on May 21, 2014, at St. Eulalia Parish in Maywood.

The program was led by OsCiriah W. Sostan and Armetria N. Humphrey, third-year medical students at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and  sponsored by the Eternal Light Community Services and Loyola Pediatric Weight Management Program. It was a community outreach project funded by Trinity Health.

The weekly after-school program was held once a week from February through May at Quinn Community Center of the St. Eulalia Parish. The goals included educating and influencing kids to choose a healthy way of living in relationship to food, exercise and self-esteem.

During the awards ceremony all the participating children and teens were lauded for their participation and received a certificate and a gift. Three individuals were acknowledged for their outstanding work during the challenge. Criteria for special recognition included attendance, completing homework and demonstration of healthy behavior. The winners were:

Gold winner:  Kiara Floyd, age 12 , $300

Silver winner:  Kiera Bentley, age 15, $150

Alexandria Willis, age 13, $75

Loyola is dedicated to improving children’s health in communities across the Chicago area. To continue to bring wellness to our neighbors, next year’s challenge will be conducted at another site in the community.

Follow Loyola on: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. VFP