Month: February 2015

Loyola Receives Grant to Develop Health Improvement Program for Low-Income Maywood Families

Friday, February 27, 2015 || Originally Published: 2/18/15 || Loyola University Health System Newsroom 

Newswise — MAYWOOD, Il. – Loyola University Chicago health sciences researchers have received a $500,000 grant from the George M. Eisenberg Foundation for Charities, based in Arlington Heights, Ill., for a 10-year study to improve the health of low-income minority residents in communities surrounding Loyola’s Health Sciences Campus in Maywood. The grant is an affirmation of Loyola’s commitment to public health and community service.

Researchers will develop and test a Family-based Lifestyle Intervention Program (FLIP) for low-income African American and Hispanic/Latino families. The program will promote the adoption of healthy lifestyles and help families navigate the healthcare system. Activities include meeting monthly with families, quarterly health assessments (including measuring weight, blood pressure, fitness levels, etc.) and monthly cooking and fitness workshops. Researchers will examine the long-term effects (over 10 years) of such intervention in families. Most previous public-health interventions have had limited durations.

A lifestyle team comprised of a medical student, dietetic intern, exercise science student, public health student and healthcare navigator will administer FLIP. The navigator will receive extensive training in Affordable Care Act coverage options for low-income families, and how to refer these families to Affordable Care Act navigators employed by the state.

Loyola’s Health Sciences Division seeks to reduce health disparities through research that emphasizes improvement in healthcare access and effective disease prevention strategies for underserved populations. VFP

Special Board Meeting/LLOC Tonight, Feb. 25, 6:30 PM

Maywood Flag

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 || By COMMUNITY EDITOR

A Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting is taking place tonight, Feb. 25, 6:30 PM. A special board meeting will follow immediately afterward. Among items to be discussed:

Village Manager’s Report(s):

1) A Resolution Approving and Authorizing execution of a Pool Use Agreement to be entered into between the Village of Maywood and the West Cook YMCA relative to the Fred Hampton Aquatic Facility (2015 Summer Season).

2) An Ordinance Authorizing certain Amendments to the Fiscal Year 2014/2015 (May 1, 2014 through April 30, 2015) Village of Maywood Budget (Amendment Number 1).

C. Proposed 2016 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Infrastructure Improvement Projects.

For more info, click here. VFP

New Maywood Cell Phone Repair Shop Wants to Do Good While Doing Business

DSC_2139Jaime Quintero with Mayor Perkins during a Feb. 21 meet-and-greet at Advanced Tech, 507 W. Lake St, Maywood. (Michael Romain/Editor). 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 || By Michael Romain || Update: 12:59 PM

Jaime Quintero, the owner of Advanced Tech Mobile Device Solutions, opened for business in Maywood in September 2014, but already he’s exploring ways to partner with local government and community leaders to bring about change.

Last Saturday, Feb. 21, Quintero hosted a meet-and-greet with Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins that also doubled as a meet-and-greet with several D209 board and Maywood trustee candidates the Mayor supports.

Politics aside, the event served as an ice-breaker of sorts between Quintero and what’s now his second home, a welcome respite from the near-freezing conditions outside. But the event was more than a social gathering, Quintero said.

“I wanted to reach out to the mayor so that we can partner with schools and the community and maybe do computer classes,” he said. “A lot of older people don’t know about technology, so we can fill that gap for free.”

“We’re encouraging businesses to come here to Maywood and to take part in the community and tell us their ideas they want to present about cleaning up the community,” Perkins said.

Quintero, a resident of Wood Dale, said that he was even tempted to buy a home in the village, lured by its historical pedigree and low prices. However, he couldn’t quite get past the high property taxes.

Still, he hopes that he can be a presence for good in a town where he still owns and operates one of the few stores in town that provides cell phone and computer repair—a service he says is always in demand.

“Everybody has a smart phone,” Quintero said. “One of the best things about us is that we finish within an hour. That’s our biggest selling point.”

He hopes that selling point might be sufficient to attract enough business to grow to scale. His goal, he said, is to eventually franchise his business and operate multiple stores.

“Quick and simple solutions for all of your mobile devices is our motto,” he said. “We want to grow with that motto to more locations.”

As for his first, which employs one repair technician, Quintero said the experience has been relatively smooth sailing.

“My treatment from the village has been good so far,” he said. “I got my license through them. Inspectors came over, no problem at all. So, I’m pretty happy.” VFP

(Below top: Mayor Perkins poses with–left to right–Joe Ratley, Isiah Brandon, Marcius Scaggs and Joslyn Arrington Simmons, all candidates running for three open Maywood trustee seats in the April 7th election. Below bottom: Perkins with Theresa Kelly, Nathan “Ned” Wagner and Claudia Medina–all candidates for D209 board who are running on the 209 Together slate).

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State and local lawmakers react to Rauner’s ‘Chopping Block’ Budget

chopping-block12

Sunday, February 22, 2015 || By Michael Romain 

Over the past several days since Gov. Rauner’s Feb. 18 budget address, there has been a tidal wave of reactions from state and local lawmakers–much of them penchant critiques of the governor’s cost-cutting.

The Chicago Sun-Times created a handy list of ten areas on “Rauner’s chopping block.” Virtually all of the cuts will affect residents of Proviso Township:

10 Areas on Rauner’s Chopping Block

Medicaid:

• $1.5 billion reduction to Health and Family Services budget, including elimination of Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation facilities.

Human Services:

• Division of alcohol and substance abuse – $27.5 million reduction

• Division of mental health — $82 million reduction

• Elimination of Best Buddies, Project Autism, Arc of Illinois, Homeless youth services, Immigration Integration Services, Illinois Welcoming centers

• $23 million reduction to Early Intervention Program

Public Health:

• $19 million reduction from 2015

Pensions: 

$100 billion savings over 30 years in payments

$25 billion immediate reduction in unfunded liability.

$2.2 billion in savings from pension payments in this budget.

Higher education:

•$400 million reduction system wide

•More than 30 percent cut to all public universities over 2015.

•Illinois Board of Higher Education general funds cut by 50 percent

•Illinois Board of Higher Ed grants eliminated.

• Illinois Math and Science Academy reduced by nearly 8 percent.

Public safety:

• Ceasefire funding cut from $4.7 million to $1.9 million

• Elimination of funding for bullying prevention, meth pilot program, South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force

DCFS

• Eliminates services for young adults ages 18-21

GROUP INSURANCE:

•$700 million reduction in budget for group health

 LOCAL GOVERNMENT: 

•Reduces from 8 percent to 4 percent the share of income tax provided to local governments. $600 million reduction.

TRANSPORTATION: 

$127 million reduction in RTA subsidy, which could affect the CTA, Metra and Pace.

Here are some responses to the cuts from state and local lawmakers:

State Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-4th)

Sen. Lightford“Not funding education at a 100 percent rate again this year is simply unacceptable. Ninety-nine percent funding would not be enough, so the proposed 95 percent is certainly not adequate. Furthermore, the possibility of slashing the state’s child care program, worker salaries, Medicaid, and other critical services, while instituting sharper tax cuts for CEOs will not move Illinois forward. It will only lend itself to further alienation and degradation of those unlucky enough to be ill, young, elderly or poor.”

“I still hold hope that I can work with this administration to institute a budget relying on justified reform and facilitating job creation.”

State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-7th)

Chris Welch in DC“With Illinois facing an estimated $5.7 billion deficit next fiscal year, our state faces severe fiscal challenges.  However, we cannot realistically cut our way to a balanced budget. Any approach must include spending cuts and additional revenue to avoid devastating the schools, law enforcement agencies and health care programs on which working families rely.”

“I was encouraged to hear the governor call for an increase in early childhood, elementary and secondary education funding, and I look forward to working with him and legislators on both sides of the aisle to ensure that we accomplish that goal.”

First District Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (pictured top) and State Sen. Don Harmon (D-39)

Boykin VFP“Governor Rauner proposes to cut $50.4 million dollars from Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Facilities. Commonly  referred to as “Smurfs,” these facilities provide needed crisis stabilization services and an opportunity for individuals wrestling with mental illness  to transition back to community-based living with supportive services that reduce the risk of homelessness.

Don HarmonWithout the availability of services in the community, individuals will be forced to rely upon services provided by our township governments, hospitals and jails. Such an influx would place great strain on the budgets of Cook County, and the villages, cities and townships we represent. The resulting burden on our local property taxes would increase to an even greater level.” VFP

Maywood, Melrose Park, Other Suburbs Could Lose Millions in Revenue Under Gov. Rauner’s Budget

Gov. RaunerGov. Bruce Rauner. Illinois News Network.

Sunday, February 22, 2015 || By Michael Romain

More than $1 million could be at stake for Maywood if Guv’s budget is approved

Newly elected Illinois governor Bruce Rauner has already riled many interest groups and residents in the state with the announcement, during his Feb. 18 budget address, of deep cuts in essential government programs.

The implications of Rauner’s cost-cutting are far-reaching. Among his main targets are the state’s Medicaid program, which would be cut by $1.5 billion; the state’s human services department, which would be cut by more than $100 million, $23 million of which would come from that department’s Early Intervention Program; and local governments, which would experience a 50 percent reduction of their share of the state income tax (from 8 percent to 4 percent).

That means a significant cut in a major source of revenue for many municipalities, even the most affluent.

According to a report by the Wednesday Journal, Oak Park, for instance, could stand to lose $3.1 million. River Forest could lose $700,000. Forest Park could lose $600,000.

According to their 2013 financial audits, the most recent ones available on the comptroller’s local government warehouse, $2,379,476 of Maywood’s revenue, and $2,421,169 of Melrose Park’s revenue, came from their share of the state income tax. A loss of half of that would be $1,189,738 for Maywood and $1,210,585 for Melrose Park.

“Local governments across Illinois are still feeling the effects of the 2008 recession,” reads a statement released by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus.

“They have acted in a fiscally responsible manner during the economic downturn and have been reducing personnel, cutting services and controlling spending to balance their budgets over the last several years. The Governor’s proposed 50 percent reduction will lead to more layoffs; additional delays and cancellations of more infrastructure projects; and increase local taxes and user fees.”

“I’m not sure Governor Rauner understands the effect this proposal will have on local governments,” said Daniel J. McLaughlin, Mayor of the Village of Orland Park and Chairman of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus.

“Our annual budgets have already been adopted. Communities are counting on their share of the income tax to pay for local services. Reducing revenues will force communities to have to make further decisions to lay off police officers and firefighters, end repairs to critical infrastructure and cut other key services. These are real decisions that will impact the everyday lives of our citizens. They’re not just moving commas in a ledger like they may be doing in Springfield.” VFP

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Proviso East Auto Program Seeking Car Donations

suburban automotive programThe automotive program at Proviso East High School in Maywood needs your help. It is in desperate need of more cars for its students to work on. Caption and photo by WGN TV. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015 || Originally Published: 1/20/15 || WGN TV || By Sarah Jindra 

MAYWOOD, Ill — The automotive program at Proviso East High School in Maywood needs your help.  It is in desperate need of more cars for its students to work on.

There are 250 students at the school who take the mechanics class, but they only have three cars right now to work on.

They should have about 15 cars but last year, debris from a fire at the school damaged some of the cars beyond repair. Others were stolen right from the school.

So the school is reaching out now asking the public for help.

They’ll take anything but are specifically looking for vehicles made after 2000. They have nice, new scanning systems and technology, but can’t use them because the cars they currently have are too old.

They feel confident that donations they receive will be around for awhile. They now have additional security, new lighting system and a locked fence to keep any new cars donations safe.

If you would like to donate, contact Frank Bexes at Proviso East High School: fbexes@pths209.org VFP

Campaign Manager, Mom, Business Owner–All on Five Hours of Sleep

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Friday, February 20, 2015 || Originally Published: Forest Park Review || 1/17/15 || Tom Holmes

In addition to owning the Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor and being the mother of three children, Forest Park resident Connie Brown has been investing 30 hours a week as the campaign manager for Ned Wagner, Claudia Medina and Theresa Kelly who are running for seats on the District 209 school board, which includes Proviso East High School and the Proviso Math and Science Academy in Forest Park.

Brown described a typical day.  “I got out of bed at 6:30 a.m.  I dropped one child off at band practice and took the other two to their school.  I went home and finished some emails, picked up some material from the campaign headquarters in Westchester,  ran to the store to edit some video, drove to a restaurant supply store, drove back to pick up my children but on the way I forgot that I was supposed help Claudia Medina with some translation into Spanish, so I rushed over to her house, but that meant I couldn’t pick up my kids so Claudia’s husband picked them up and brought them to the Medina home where my husband Matt picked them up on the way home from his job.” 

“Then I ran to the office supply store and then home to make dinner.  After the three children were in bed I went back to the Brown Cow to bake cookies and pies for the next day, after which I came home to finish editing some documents and got to bed at 1 a.m.  The next day it started all over again.”

Brown has three answers to the question everyone asks her: “Why are you doing this when the three candidates don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting elected let alone changing the system in District 209?”

Her first reply is that she is investing herself in this campaign because only 58 percent of Proviso East High School students actually graduate, only 7 percent are ready for college when they do, and Proviso East is ranked 608 out of 677 high schools in the state.  And these statistics seem to indicate why families move out of Forest Park when their children approach high school age, draining the village of people who invest in the community.  “Our oldest son, Keagan,” Brown offered as an example, “is now in 7th grade, and he is the only person left from his kindergarten class.”

Her second response is that most of the blame for what she calls “a dysfunctional system” should be placed on the shoulders of the members of a dysfunctional school board.  “There are seven members on the school board,” she said. “For the past 20 years, five or more of those spots have been held by people with deep political ties. Chris Welch, our 7th district state rep, and the mayor of Melrose Park, Ron Serpico, have had a hold on these spots for the last 12 of those years which you can tell by following the donation money trail and by seeing who was offered which jobs. Under their ‘leadership,’ the schools have gone from bad to the worst in the state of Illinois. This is not opinion — it is fact; in 2009 the State of Illinois put in place a Financial Oversight Panel — one of only three such panels out of all the school districts in the whole state and you can see the decline in our Illinois school report cards.”

Third, she believes the time is right for change to happen.  Responding to those who say her slate of candidates doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting elected, Brown believes that she is seeing a snowball effect, i.e. what began as a few people asking “what if” has snowballed into a movement with people “coming out of the woodwork” to help with time, money and expertise.  Brown herself has a background in marketing, and the campaign is going on at a time when business is slow.  The demand for an ice cream cone is low when the temperature outside is in the single digits.

She said, “For the first time we have three people with the same goals who are not tied politically to anybody, who are willing to put in the time and effort and who have the experience and expertise to bring to the school board the changes that are required.  Besides that, they have an ally [Kevin McDermott]  already on the board, so for the first time there’s actually hope that if all three of these people get elected, a majority can be formed which can get something done.”

Finally, Brown says her commitment to the campaign is rooted in a moral ground.  “This is not about politics,” she said.  “This is a moral obligation — to provide education to our children in a safe school environment.”

Brown takes the issue personally.  She and Matt moved to Forest Park right after getting married 15 years ago. She started a business here. The couple is raising three children in town. And they have grown to love Forest Park.  What is painful to them is that when they went to a financial advisor, she stated that they would not have enough money to send their children to private high schools, to finance college education for them and to retire.  One of the three had to go, and so the Browns will be putting their house on the market in the near future.

So why is she investing 30 hours a month in the campaign when she intends to move?  She replies to the question by declaring, “There’s no direct benefit to me but to the town I love, and I refuse to go without a fight.” VFP