Month: November 2015

What Are You Thankful For?


Thursday, November 26, 2015 || By Rev. Regi Ratliff 

OPINION | Thanksgiving is the time of season where you have an opportunity to give thanks for things that are important to us. It’s a moment to give thanks for making it through another year. Many who started the year with intentions of making it through another year didn’t make it through for various reasons. The painful loss of parents, children, friends and classmates is the unfortunate reality of how precious life is. Many of us can only attest that it was because of God’s grace and mercy that we have breath in our body, the activity of our limbs and a mind to think clearly.

I am thankful for being a child of God. Being called into the ministry means that I have an obligation to serve others before I can think of serving myself. It is because of my Heavenly Father that I am here today. It is because of my Heavenly Father that my prayer requests have been turned into a praise report. That my test became a testimony. That I can truly trust Him, even when I cannot trace Him.

I am thankful for my wonderful wife Monique. Even when I’m not at my best, she remains patient and brings out the best in me. She is a woman who fought off any challenges that came her way to ensure that as a single parent, her three beautiful daughters received the best education and were actively engaged in extracurricular activities.

Through it all, Monique still had enough energy to love me tenderly throughout our courtship. Now, our love is even stronger because we are one. Our family is stronger because we are one. She is my companion and best friend. She completes me and I am truly thankful to have such a beautiful woman in my life.

I am thankful for my children: Jasmine, Jeremiah, Shawn II and Isaiah. Each one of my children has his/her own individual personalities, yet they each get along so well with one another. I am also thankful that each has excelled as a high performing student/athlete. Jeremiah is currently on a college scholarship for academics and track; Shawn is well on his way to receiving a scholarship in academics and basketball; and Isaiah isn’t too far behind.

I am thankful for my parents. Raised in Mississippi and Alabama respectively, they met at a school that was once called Tuskegee Institute (later Tuskegee University). My dad, who served in the Air Force, retired after 32 years of service as an engineer and supervisor at the Main Post Office in downtown Chicago, while my mother retired as an education consultant.

Through the years, my parents faithfully attended our baseball games, basketball games and wrestling matches. As a high school senior, my parents took time off from work to travel to Champaign-Urbana, where they watched my teammates and I win the State Wrestling Championship with Proviso East High School in 1986. They were also there when I became the first African American to win NCAA All-American honors in wrestling at Ferris State University in Michigan. They were there when I graduated from college.

Sharing those moments with them gave me a newfound level of respect for them, because they were there to support me. My parent’s strong family upbringing has led my siblings and I to instill those same values of achieving a good education, working hard and having a never-say-die attitude to our own children.

Last, but certainly not least, I am thankful to call myself a Maywoodian. I was raised in a time when a village raising a child had meaning. Those of us who were raised in the Village of Maywood through the 1970’s and 80’s had a great deal of support from other parent’s as well our own.

They were the parents who coached us during baseball season, fed us when we were hungry after games, allowed us to have sleep over with our friends and even spanked us if they heard us swearing on the block (I won’t get into that!).

They were the business owners who gave us free candy and pop when we received good grades in school and they were the teachers who were in enough physical shape to play in the annual student versus teacher games at school.

Although some of my classmates who grew up during my era have moved out of the state, we are still close to this very day with each other and our former teachers. Thanks to social media, we are able to communicate more effectively than ever by showing pictures of our children, grandchildren, spouses, and posting local events.

As I close this editorial, my question for the reader is what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season? Give yourself a moment to ponder that question before answering. We take advantage of so many things. We receive blessings that we don’t deserve. As we enter Thanksgiving season, I would encourage all of us to become thankful about something that we may have overlooked this past year.

While thinking about things we should be thankful for, think about others whom you may have walked past that you could’ve helped. Being a blessing to them could make a difference between them fighting and giving up.

Be thankful that what you thought was a medical scare turned out to be nothing at all. Be thankful that you even have the ability to give a homeless person some change, a bite to eat or offer words of encouragement. Be thankful for when your feet hurt after a hard day’s work (it shows that at least you can feel your feet). Be thankful for making it to Thanksgiving season.

This is the season to reflect, a season to make peace and a season to give thanks! VFP

Reverend Regi Ratliff is the Founder and Executive Director of Eternal Light Community Services, located at 200 S. Fifth Avenue in Maywood. Eternal Light provides the following programs:public speaking, financial literacy, health and wellness, and entrepreneurship classes to youth, ages 5-18.

Contact Rev. Ratliff at (708) 813-4722 to register your child for one of our programs today.

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.

BREAKING: Bellwood Man Injured In Nov. 25 Daytime Shooting in Maywood


Thursday, November 26, 2015 || By Michael Romain 

One man was shot yesterday afternoon, Maywood police say. Tavin Miller, 19, of Bellwood, was driving a 1998 Mercedes on the 600 block of South 19th Avenue when an unidentified black male wearing a black hoodie began firing at Miller’s vehicle, police say.

The incident happened Nov. 25, at around 1:30 PM. Miller was hit three times in the right leg and twice in the left leg. He drove himself to the Bellwood Fire Department, where he was then taken to Loyola University Medical Center. Police haven’t disclosed his condition and noted that the shooting is under investigation. The offender is still at-large.

They’re asking anyone with information into the case to call (708) 450-4471. VFP

Briefly: Maywood Overnight Parking Suspended For Thanksgiving; Free Soup, Shoes; Trinity Funding; More

Nu World Ryders

GIVING: Volunteers serve food to the homeless, and to deserving residents, at an event hosted by Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins and Nu World Ryders last Saturday, Nov. 21 in Maywood. | Photo by Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley

Wednesday, November 25, 2015 || By COMMUNITY EDITOR 

Maywood overnight parking suspended for Thanksgiving holiday

The Maywood Police Department will not be issuing citations for overnight parking between Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, 2015, and Nov. 27, 2015. Enforcement will resume the morning of Saturday, Nov. 28.

Trinity Health to invest in partnerships that address root causes of poor health

Trinity Health today announced programs that will result in the investment of about $80 million in grants, loans, community match dollars and services for a number of communities over the next five years as collaborating partners work together to improve community health and well-being.

The initiative, called Transforming Communities Initiative (TCI), is being offered through Trinity Health hospitals, such as Loyola University Health System (LUHS), to community coalitions focused on addressing “the reduction of obesity, tobacco cessation and the improvement of environmental determinants (i.e., housing, food access, early childhood development, education) that impact current and future health outcomes.”

If you think your organization qualifies, or to receive more information on this, click here.

Free soup for those in need


On Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, from 11 AM to 3 PM, inside the Maywood Multipurpose Building, 200 S. 5th Ave., Maywood, Trustee Isiah Brandon and the Missions & Outreach Ministries of Progressive Life Giving Word Cathedral will be hosting a soup give-away.

Health, fitness and nutrition program for Maywood residents to run from Jan. 4, 2016 to March, 4, 2016

Turn Up

Vision of Restoration conducting a shoe donation drive through Dec. 15

Vision of Restoration is conducting a shoe donation drive from October, 22, 2015 through December 15, 2015 to raise funds for their supportive services, which serves at risk youth, ex-offenders re-entry programs, veterans and those facing homelessness.

Vision of Restoration will earn funds based on the number of pairs collected, as all donated shoes will be re-purposed into a usable material good (such as tires). Those dollars will benefit our supportive service programs; youth employment, emergency housing, veteran supportive services, and re-entry.

In addition, the company that receives the shoes also supports micro-enterprises in developing nations. Not to mention that by re-purposing shoes we are reducing what goes into landfills

Anyone can help by donating gently worn, used or new shoes to Vision of Restoration located at 1221 Madison Ave, Maywood.

Maywood Public Library Events

Remaining events for November

Real Estate Education Presentation

On Monday, November 30, at 5:15 pm in room 201, Housing Helpers will offer a workshop for first time homebuyers.


Loyola Health Screenings

Loyola medical students will visit the Maywood Public Library District to perform health screenings for the community between 5:00 pm and 6:30 pm on Wednesday, December 2nd. This will include blood pressure checks, nutrition counseling, advice on how to quit or cut down on smoking, and chronic diseases. This event is free to the public.

Flight Academy

The Maywood Public Library District and Windy City Squadron will be hosting a “Kids Flight Academy” event on Saturday, December 5th, 2015, from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm, which will be free to the public.  Participants will learn to play the Star Wars X-Wing® miniatures game by FFG.  Star Wars X-Wing® is a fun and fast paced game for ages 11+. Parents are encouraged to join in the fun.  Game pieces will be provided by Windy City Squadron Events for participants.  Players can win a host of prizes by completing challenges and a host of fun game activities. Registration for the event is encouraged.

The Maywood Public Library District to Hold 2nd Christmas Holiday Sing Along Event

Please mark your calendars for Saturday, December 12th, 2015, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm.  The Maywood Public Library District is holding its second Christmas Holiday Sing Along, which is free to the public. There will be live music, food, giveaways and the jackpot drawing for the Split-The-Pot Raffle. Raffle tickets are currently available at the Maywood Library Lending Services Department.  MaywoodPublic Library District is located at 121 S. 5th Avenue, Maywood, IL, 60153. For more information, please contact Stephanie Samuel, at 708-343-1847 x 30.

Quilting: Step-By-Step Instruction

Making a sampler quilt is a great way to learn or practice different piercing and quilting skills.  If you are interested in learning how to construct quilts, please leave your information for Mildred A. Green at the Library by calling 708-343-1847, and ask for Information Services. The Quilting class meets at the Maywood Public LibraryDistrict on every Tuesday from 12:00 noon until 2:30 pm in rooms 201 and 202.

Instructions in Sewing
People who are interested in learning some of the basic skills involved in constructing clothing will want to take this free class in rooms 201 and 202 of the Maywood PublicLibrary District on Thursdays from 12:00 noon until 2:30 pm.  Space is limited. In order to begin taking classes, please leave your information for Mildred A. Green at 708-343-1847.

Rebirth of Live Jazz in Maywood, Dec. 5

Root of Jazz

T&JJ’s, home of the “Rebirth of Live Jazz in Maywood,” proudly presents living legend Robert Irving III as our next attraction. Known as “Babee,” he is the former musical director, producer and keyboardist for the immortal Miles Davis.

He is the founder and leader of the Chicago-based African Arts Emsemble and has performed on 22 CD’s by various artists.  He has produced three Grammy Award -nominated albums, four film/television scores and presently leads his own group School of Cool.  T&JJ’s is honored to bring him to the Chicagoland musical scene. VFP


Patch: Maywood Man Says He Stole Red Bull For Gas Money To Find Job

Melvin HarrisWednesday, November 25, 2015 || Originally Published: Patch || 11/23/15 || By Morgan Searles 

A man arrested for stealing Red Bull from a gas station told police he sold the stolen energy drinks for gas money so he could get to a temporary employment agency to find work.

Melvin Harris, 53 of the 200 block of South 17th Avenue in Maywood, was arrested Nov. 19 and charged with felony retail theft, according to Riverside police.

Officers were called at 7:44 a.m. Nov. 18 to a gas station in the 3300 block of South Harlem Avenue for reports of a retail theft.

The caller said a man came in the store and bought lottery tickets, then went to the back of the store and put 23 cans of Red Bull in his jacket. The caller said the man fled to a waiting car in the parking lot, and the car went westbound on East Quincy Street from Harlem Avenue, police reported. Part of a license plate number and a description of the car were given to police.

Surveillance video from the store led police to the full license plate number, listed to an address in the 700 block of South 6th Avenue in Maywood.

Police watched the home Nov. 19 and stopped a car, matching the description, at 7 a.m. after it left from the house. Police arrested Harris, who was a passenger in the car.

Harris was identified as the thief by a witness and from the surveillance video, and he acknowledged his role in the theft, police reported. He then told investigators a “bizarre sequence of events.” VFP

‘We’re At War,’ Says Son of Fred Hampton In Response to McDonald Video

Fred Hampton Jr

Fred Hampton, Jr., right, at a Nov. 24 press conference held at the Chicago site where Laquan McDonald was murdered last October. | William Camargo/Wednesday Journal.

Jesse Jackson JrWednesday, November 25, 2015 || By Michael Romain 

CHICAGO | During a Nov. 24 press conference held at 41st and Pulaski in Chicago, near the spot where the body of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald lay smoldering last October from Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke’s 16 rounds, the Rev. Jesse Jackson fielded a question that, by now, has become standard fare at these kinds of gatherings.

Before comparing McDonald’s murder last October to the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, Jackson urged a federal investigation into the city’s conduct. He said an investigation should be held that includes those who saw the tape and worked to suppress it, in addition to the police officers who were at the scene of the killing.

“Not just black people, but people of goodwill everywhere must say no to this,” Jackson said. “The tape told the story.”

After his comments, Jackson and the bevy of community members and activists flanking him, took a question from a white reporter, who wanted to know what he had to say about the code of silence that exists in the black community when it comes to black-on-black crime.

The question roused the ire of one large man with black shades and a skull cap, who had been exhausting himself, it seemed, to contain his smoldering anger before it finally boiled over.

“The Chicago police is the biggest gang in this city!” he said indignantly, lunging his argument forward, along with his body. It seemed like a physical confrontation might erupt between him and the white reporter.

There was more back-and-forth between the man and the reporter before Jackson calmly intervened. He explained, as he has time and again during press conferences like these, that there’s a wall of mistrust between the police and black people.

“Some people fear the police, because they don’t trust them,” he said, without explicitly pointing out the gaping bias in the question.

During a press conference called to raise awareness about the brutal police killing of a mentally ill man who posed no immediate danger to an officer who, nevertheless, shot him 16 times; and about what appears to be a massive attempt by the police and city government to cover up the crime (a cover up largely dependent on a code of silence among police officers, government employees and elected officials) a white reporter asked about a putative code of silence among relatively powerless black people.

The black man on Jackson’s left side was enraged. After all, he is the son of Fred Hampton, the Maywood native who was killed by the police in 1968 during a raid on his West Side home. His death is often described by many legal and law enforcement experts as an execution.

After the press conference ended, Hampton, Jr., spoke more about McDonald’s murder.

“We are at war. It’s a continuous war being waged on our people. They may call it a war on drugs, a war on gangs; it’s actually a war on our people. And its not police brutality, its police terrorism.”

When asked whether or not he anticipated a violent backlash to the video among black Chicagoans on the West and South Sides, he stuck to his narrative.

“The violent backlash  is what we deal with on a day to day basis. We’re concerned with 15-year-old brothers on 79th Street being stripped naked with these drug searches. The violent backlash is grandmothers getting their doors kicked in.

“This is the continuous violence we’re subject to on a day to day basis. We’re subject to state violence. The media has to start looking deeper at who are the criminals and who are the victims.”

If this is the case, Hampton, Jr., was asked, then why do some people seem so blind to the reality?

“They can afford the luxury not to,” he said. “They can afford not to.” VFP

Triton College Names New President

edit_MaryRita_7063_pp_8x10B.jpgTuesday, November 24, 2015 || By Michael Romain 

Roughly a year after the retirement of former president Patricia Granados, Triton College has announced her replacement. On Nov. 23, the college’s board of trustees approved the selection of Mary-Rita Moore, 54, to the position. She will be the eighth president to head the school in its 51-year history.

Moore had been serving as interim president since January. She was selected from among a group of four finalists in which she was the only Illinois representative. Michael Gavin, Jeremy D. Brown and Anthony Cruz were the other finalists.

“I am delighted to accept the position of Triton College president, and I fully embrace the important responsibility of leading the college in providing student-centered programs and services with excellence,” Moore noted in a Nov. 23 statement.

Moore, a native of Norridge, has worked at Triton for more than 20 years. She started her tenure there as an academic adviser before rising to the ranks of associate dean of student services, dean of enrollment services, and eventually associate vice president of strategic planning — a position to which she was appointed in 2012.

In that position, Moore “led the development of Triton’s seven-year strategic plan and also played a critical role” in maintaining the college’s accreditation, according to the statement.

Mark Stephens, Triton’s board chairman, Moore’s long tenure at the college, which he said “has included working in a variety of areas that give her the knowledge and insight that will serve Triton College well as she works with our entire staff to move Triton forward with the benefit of our students and community.”

When it was under discussion, the board’s proposed contract for Moore entailed a $225,000 a year salary over four years. By press time, it wasn’t known whether or not those terms had changed before the board vote. School officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

Moore comes along at a time of significant change at the institution — and some controversy. Last year, the board raised some eyebrows when it voted to approve a 27.4 percent salary increase for Moore’s predecessor, bumping her salary to $310,000 at the time of her retirement and making Granados the highest-paid community college top executive in the state.

The salary increase triggered what is called the “6 percent penalty,” which is a fine imposed by the state to discourage final-year pay hikes to outgoing educators, since they cause an undue burden on the state’s already over-burdened pension system.

The salary increase triggered what is called the “6 percent penalty,” which is a fine imposed by the state to discourage final-year pay hikes to outgoing educators, since they cause an undue burden on the state’s already over-burdened pension system.

Triton is also in the middle of one of the largest capital renovations in the school’s history. Earlier this year, Triton reopened its health and science facility, or H Building, after a $16 million renovation largely funded by state capital grants. In addition, the college is in the middle of a $53 million Campus Renewal Project. 

A multitude of other projects are in the works — a roughly $14 million renovation to the east athletic complex is scheduled to be completed in December. The renewal project also includes modernizing the student center and child development center, among other capital improvements.

A previous version of this article incorrectly noted that the H building renovation was funded through the college’s $53 million Campus Renewal Projects. The Village Free Press regrets this error. VFP

Welch Announces Reelection, Selected As Clinton Delegate

Rep. WelchMonday, November 23, 2015 || By Michael Romain 

Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch has formally announced his bid reelection, a day after he announced via Facebook his selection as one of Hillary Clinton’s Illinois Delegates at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, more than 500 candidates applied for 102 slots.

“The folks running to be pledged Clinton delegates to the DNC convention in Philadelphia next summer ‘will become the face of the campaign’ in Illinois, [co-leader of the selection process Kevin] Conlon said.”

Today, Welch announced that he had filed his own nominating petitions with the Cook County Clerk’s Office in a statement that doubled as a quick case for his reelection.

“My legislative record has been recognized by the Chicago Teachers Union; Leading Age Illinois, an advocacy group for seniors; and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless because the bills that I have sponsored or co-sponsored will improve education, reduce crime, help our most vulnerable and assist our homeless population,” the statement reads.

In a subtle jab at unnamed colleagues, Welch noted that, in his three years in the General Assembly, “I have had 12 bills signed into law. Some of my colleagues who have served for 12 years can’t match that accomplishment.”

“In just three years, I’m proud to say that I’m proven and effective. However, my work is not yet done in the General Assembly, and I won’t rest until it is complete.  Over these next few months, I may knock on your door, call your home, or just send you some literature.  In doing so, I hope I make the case to you, the voter, to re-elect me to a third term in the General Assembly to continue serving you, the people of the 7th District and the great state of Illinois.”

Last week, former Forest Park commissioner Chris Harris announced that he intends to challenge Welch for the 7th District seat. VFP