Month: May 2016

WBBM Broadcast Recognizes Maywood’s Patriotic Past In Historic Soldiers Widows Home

soldiers widows home

The Maywood Home for Soldiers Widows after improvements were made to the building’s exterior last year. | Courtesy Trustee Michael Rogers

Monday, May 30, 2016 || By Michael Romain || UPDATED: 5/31/16 

To recognize Memorial Day, WBBM set its sights on Maywood’s historic Home for Soldiers Widows, 224 S. First Avenue.

The “beautiful red brick Georgian building” was featured in a May 30 broadcast along with Maywood Historic Preservation Commission Chairman Tom Kus, who described the building as “one of the few structures that still links Chicago to the Civil War.”

The building was constructed in 1924, 60 years after the Civil War ended, but as CBS points “there were still some Civil War widows around.”

The Georgian Revival building was designed by renowned Maywood architect Francis E. Dunlap and built in 1924 to house the widows and children of Union Civil War veterans.

In the late 1970’s, after the last of its Civil War-related clientele had either died or moved out, the building was re-purposed to house the mentally ill. In 2003, however, a kitchen fire resulted in the building’s vacancy and it’s been vacant ever since.

In 2008, the Village of Maywood purchased the building and the two lots adjacent it, eventually pouring nearly $70,000 in TIF funds to restore part of the building’s exterior.

According to the radio report, “Preservationists are in the process of trying to get the building landmark status and have it listed on the National Register of Historic places, Kus says.

“The building is historic, but Kus and other Maywood leaders hope its future use is as a restaurant or a club, anything that can bring revenue to the suburb that has had its struggles.

“Kus says the home is a reminder of Maywood’s rich patriotic history.

“‘This is a very strong veteran community here,’ he says.” VFP

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Milestones: Maywood Senior Helps Raise $250 For Flint Water Effort | Mayor Completes Juvenile Justice Seminar

George Robinson.png

George Robinson speaks during an April 19 village board meeting, where he was recognized by Maywood Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh, below left, for his efforts at raising more than $250 for the residents of Flint, Michigan. | Courtesy Larry Shapiro

George Robinson and Chief.pngSaturday, May 28, 2016 || By Michael Romain 

When Maywood Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh spoke to the Maywood Senior Club about the department’s February launch of a water drive for Flint residents, club member George Robinson rose to the occasion, quite literally.

“After the chief spoke, George Robinson stood up and said he wanted to help,” said Senior Club Director Larry Shapiro.

The next week, Shapiro recalled, Robinson delivered “a massive number of cases of water to the fire department.”

He didn’t stop there.

At the next club meeting, Robinson stood and asked the 80 seniors in attendance if they’d considered contributing.

“Suddenly hands holding bills raised up,” Shapiro said.

“I worked up a sweat collecting that money,” Robinson recalled at an April 19 board meeting, where Bronaugh presented him with a certificate of recognition.

“It was so inspiring to see how God can touch people’s heart,” Robinson said. “I would like for the word to go forth from Maywood to the people in Flint. This is truly a village that shows the love that only comes from God for their fellow man. This is the light that can make Maywood shine bright.”

Robinson and the seniors wound up raising more than $250 for the Flint effort.

Mayor Completes Juvenile Justice Seminar

Mayor recognized.jpg

Mayor Edwenna Perkins and Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley during a May 11 board meeting, where Perkins was recognized for completing a Juvenile Justice 101 training seminar. 

At a board meeting earlier this month, Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley presented Mayor Edwenna Perkins with a certificate of completion after she took part in a program called Juvenile Justice 101 on May 10.

The program was hosted by the Maywood Police Department, in partnership with the West Suburban Gang Intelligence Group and other local law enforcement entities.

“We had 100 people attend the training,” said Talley at the May 11 meeting, adding that Perkins joined other participants who included police officers, judges and states attorneys.

The seminar was designed to offer awareness and instructions to government and law enforcement leaders on various juvenile-related laws, gangs and criminal screenings, among other areas. VFP

Bellwood Felon Among Buyers Of Guns Sold Illegally By Indiana Man


Friday, May 27, 2016 || By Michael Romain || UPDATED: 12:36 a.m.

An investigation conducted by the Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force, in cooperation with the Bellwood Police Department and other area law enforcement agencies, has found that an  Indiana man, Willie Lee Biles, Jr., may have sold guns purchased from licensed dealers in that state to gang members in Chicago and a Bellwood man convicted of a felon.

Law enforcement officials noted that Biles, Jr., sold four guns to Bellwood resident Otto Lewellen, who pleaded guilty last year to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to a May 26 statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In a plea agreement, Lewellen admitted to purchasing four firearms from Biles, two of which were later recovered by authorities. The other two guns Lewellen claimed to have sold to a man he identified only as “Red.” Neither Red nor the guns could be located by authorities. Lewellen was sentenced to 18 months in prison last year.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Biles made multiple trips in 2013 from his home in Indianapolis to Chicago on a Megabus, “each time bringing with him a gym bag full of handguns.  Biles had legally purchased more than 30 firearms from licensed dealers in Indiana.”

“Once in Chicago, Biles would sit on the porch of a residence on the city’s West Side and sell firearms to individuals for two to three times the price that Biles had paid for them,”

On Wednesday, a jury found Biles, 44, guilty of willfully selling firearms without a license. Biles’s guilty charge carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. He’s due back in court on Nov. 16 for a sentencing hearing.

The Biles case gives anecdotal support to a 2015 report by Trace, a media organization funded by former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg that seeks to resolve the nation’s gun crisis.

Using data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Trace demonstrates in an infographic that roughly 60 percent of guns used in Illinois crimes come from outside of the state.

The data would seem to resolve the paradox, often harped upon by gun rights activists, of the Chicago area having the’toughest in the nation’ gun laws, but nonetheless alarmingly high levels of gun violence.

Bellwood resident Lewellen’s gun came from the state where most guns that are traceable outside of Illinois come from — Indiana.

mic gun chart.png

As Tom McKay, of Mic, noted:

“Most of the firearms used in crime originated from within Illinois. But such widespread interstate firearm trafficking is why ‘the chief of the ATF’s violent crime and intelligence division has compared trafficked guns to cockroaches in the apartment complex,’ writes the Trace. ‘If you aggressively treat the problem in one place, while leaving it unchecked elsewhere, the infestations will continue.'” VFP

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Maywood Board Likely To Close Down ‘New’ Captain Fresh Farm | Video Gambling Bistro Stuck In Limbo

captain fresh

The site of the ‘old’ Captain Fresh Market, which was shut down by the village earlier this year. Allegations have arisen that the new business that leases the same building, Maywood Express Market, is employing Captain Fresh workers or relatives of the former store’s owners — which is prohibited according to the conditions the new store agreed upon with the village. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016 || By Michael Romain 

Captain Fresh Farm, 1001 S. 9th Ave., may have been resuscitated from the dead after the Maywood Board of Trustees voted unanimously in January to direct staff to revoke the business’s license.

After the owners’ appeal of the revocation was dismissed in Cook County Circuit Court, they may have found a loophole. The village allowed a new licensee to operate the convenience store in the same building on the condition that “none of the former licensee’s corporate members, family members of corporate members, agents or employees would work at the new store,” according to a May 19 village memo.

The ‘new’ store, called Maywood Express Market, is allegedly employing family members of the previous licensee, Captain Fresh, according to the village memo.

At the May 25 LLOC, trustees unanimously directed village staff to launch a thorough investigation into the allegations. Maywood Express Market would be required to provide the names and identifying information, including place of residence and birthdates, of each of its employees.

If the village verifies that former Captain Fresh employees, or the family members of that establishment’s owners, are working at Maywood Express Market, the village will issue an order to revoke Express Market’s business license.

“I think most of us know what the deal is there and I don’t want to drag our feet like we did before with whatever we’re going to do with the establishment,” said Trustee Ron Rivers during a May 25 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting.

“I’m tired of looking like a fool,” Rivers said.

Gambling Bistro, Looking To Move To Roosevelt, Locked In Lease Dispute

video gamblingThe Maywood Board of Trustees may have voted in March to approve a Class M liquor license for Lacey’s Place, a proposed video gambling bistro seeking to locate at 611 W. Roosevelt Rd., but the establishment’s opening is far from guaranteed.

According to village officials, the proposed store is locked in a lease dispute with Rossi Real Estate Corporation, the company that manages the Maybrook Plaza Shopping Center, where Lacey’s Place would be located.

According to a memo drafted by Carlo M. Rossi, Jr., Rossi’s vice president, the management company signed a lease with Lacey’s Place last year, but that lease was terminated on Feb. 18, 2016 — roughly a month before they were approved for the liquor license.

Lacey’s is also still in the process of acquiring a business license, which is subject to various code inspections.

“If they don’t have a lease in place, they won’t be able to operate a video gaming café,” said village attorney Michael Jurusik at May 25 board meeting. VFP

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Maywood Park District’s Payroll Data Has Been Breached, Says Director


Wednesday, May 25, 2016 || By Michael Romain || UPDATED: 3:30 p.m.

The Maywood Park District is dealing with a possible breach in its payroll processing procedures, according to Antoinette Dorris, the district’s executive director.

In a May 17 statement, Dorris noted that the park district had been investigating a possible breach in its accounts over the last four months and that whoever was responsible for the breach may have also had access to district employee information, including names and social security numbers.

“The investigations of all breaches are ongoing,” the statement notes. “The Maywood Park District is working with local law enforcement agencies in an effort to aggressively prosecute all individuals involved.”

“The District has also provided “Lifelock” for one year for each current and previous employee who may have been affected by this breach. We sincerely regret this incident and any inconveniences it may cause our employees.”

When contacted Wednesday afternoon, Dorris said the district knows the individual responsible for the breach and that the Maywood Police Department is investigating the matter.

She said the incident, which involved both a breach of sensitive security and stolen funds, happened between January and May this year, but wouldn’t disclose the individual’s identity or what had been taken. She said that the stolen funds had been recouped.

Dorris said she had been directed by the district’s attorney not to discuss such details until the Maywood Police wrapped up their investigation. Once that happens, she said, the park district board would be willing to press charges.

Read the full statement below:

MPD Press Release_May 17.png

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LLOC Meeting Scheduled Tonight, May 25, 7 PM

Maywood Flag

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 || By COMMUNITY EDITOR

A Legal, License Ordinance and Committee (LLOC) meeting of the Maywood Board of Trustees is scheduled for tonight, Wednesday, May 25, 7 p.m., at 125 S. 5th Ave. Among items to be discussed (for full agenda packet, click here): VFP

1) Discussion and consideration regarding Proviso Area for Exceptional Children (PAEC) utilizing space at the Multipurpose Building located at 200 South 5th Avenue, Maywood, IL for PAEC Transition Program for the 2016-2017 school year.  The organization agrees to pay the Village of Maywood the current rate in place with the Maywood Park District the amount of  $1,340.00 per month, beginning August 15, 2016 through June 9, 2017.
PAEC Transition Program 2016-2017.pdf
2) Discussion and consideration to appoint Joshua M. Carter to the Historic Preservation Commission.
Joshua M. Carter Appointment to Historic Preservation Comm..pdf
B. Village Manager’s Reports
1) Discussion and consideration to approve Traffic & Safety Commission application for a handicap sign to be erected at 1517 South 4th Avenue, Maywood, IL for Claria G. Searcy and Sandra L. McIntosh.
2) Discussion and consideration regarding Summary Abatement RFP bid results for the Village of Maywood Public Works Department.  The results show the pricing dependent upon lot sizes for initial cuts and follow up maintenance, with follow up maintenance occurring on a two week return basis for each assigned location to prevent grass from re-exceeding the six inch limit.  Magnus & Anderson Landscaping, Inc was the lowest bidder for service.
Summary Abatement RFP Bid Results.pdf
3) Discussion and consideration regarding Pedestrian Doors repairs for the garage area at Village Hall (40 Madison St.) Maywood, IL.  The contractors are proposing to furnish and install two double sets of gauge steel swing doors and frames welded into existing door jams and weather sealed with thresholds.  The two bidders are Acme Door, Inc., bidder price $14,545.00 and Bennett Door Service Inc., bidder price $15,250.00.  Mr. West, Public Works Director is recommending Acme Door’s quote be accepted and contracted to perform this service.
Village Hall Pedestrian Doors Entry Repairs Quotes.pdf
4) Update regarding Lacey’s Place LLC Series Maywood, 611 Roosevelt Road, Maywood, IL
Agenda Item – Lacey’s Place Memo.doc
Rossi Real Estate Corp. Re Tenants and Property at 611 W. Roosevelt Rd..pdf
5) Discussion and consideration regarding Windom Production soliciting a proposal for a streaming service Video on Demand or Pod Cast to the Village of Maywood.  The project will upload storage and bandwith a monthly fee of $350.00 on a six months trial basis.
Windom Production Proposal for Streaming Service – Video On Demand or Pod Cast.pdf
6) Discussion and consideration regarding Danka’s Basketball League (DBL) to enhance their various programs by continuing service at the Multipurpose Building located at 200 South 5th Avenue, Maywood, IL gymnasium Monday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. and Saturday from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
DBL Basketball League – Use of 200 Building.pdf

Craig Hall’s Dance From Maywood To The New York City Ballet

Hall and Whelan.jpg

Craig Hall dances with ballerina Wendy Whelan during a performance in 2014. 

Craig HallWednesday, May 25, 2016 || By Michael Romain 

Craig Hall, 36, is counting the days until he executes his final tour en l’air as a soloist with the venerable New York City Ballet (NYCB). He’ll be ending his nearly 20-year career with the company in July, according to a glowing May 23 New York Times review by dance critic Alastair Macaulay.

Last Sunday, Hall saved his last dance at New York City’s Lincoln Center for the ballerina Tiler Peck, just one of the many world-class talents with whom he’s partnered, and, in the words of Macaulay, shared “the spirit,” over the years.

That Hall is leaving a successful career as a soloist and partner in one of the world’s foremost dance companies is newsworthy; but just as newsworthy is where he began — right here in Maywood.

If, on May 22, Hall had his last dance onstage at Lincoln Center with Peck, he may have had his first with Lois Baumann, his instructor at the Maywood Fine Arts dance program Stairway of the Stars. He was three years old when he started, said his proud mother Dorothy.

“The whole family was in Maywood Fine Arts,” said Dorothy. “That was our activity, but he just took it to higher heights.”

Did she know then that her son would become what he is now?

“Yes, we did,” she said, without hesitation. “He never complained about going. He was always just there. He’d be in four or five skits. Most of the kids would be in one or two of them.”

At a point, however, her son’s talents nearly overwhelmed her family’s finances. Help from the Baumanns kept young Hall pirouetting toward the bright lights.

“Lois would say, ‘He needs a costume for this and for that.’ I had five kids! But she always worked with us and always kept us going.”

Hall maximized the learning he got at Stairway, moving up to train at the Chicago Academy of Arts, where he learned tap and jazz dance and was forced to navigate through a world he told one interviewer was inherently intimidating to a newcomer.

“[T]here was a major intimidation factor going on there,” Hall told Dance Magazine in 2011, adding that he was in a class of 35 guys, all of whom had formidable technique.

From CAA, Hall climbed his way to the Ruth Page Dance Foundation and eventually the School of American Ballet — the NYCB’s official breeding ground for would-be star talent, according to a biography of Hall by the Indianapolis City Ballet.

In 1999, Hall became an apprentice with the world famous dance company before joining as a corps de ballet a year later. In 2007, he was promoted to soloist.

In his Dance Magazine interview, Hall explained that he doesn’t consider himself a classical dancer; rather, “I do more of the roles where you really give your heart or something else — a mysterious side, a sexual side, some kind of intensity. I like looking into a dancer’s eyes and pulling something out of them that’s also pulling something out of me.”

Craig hall bw

Hall became the first African American dancer at NYCB to perform as Apollo during the company’s prestigious season-ending program “Dancer’s Choice.”

When he leaves as a soloist with NYCB in July, Hall will start a new life as a “ballet master supervising the repertory of the choreographer Justin Peck,” according to Macaulay. He’ll also accept some dance engagements elsewhere.

Perhaps the Maywood native will have more time for a few other passions, namely his stunning street photography (see photo right or follow his instagram lsweaters).

And tennis.

“I love tennis,” Hall told Dance Magazine. “If I weren’t a ballet dancer, I would have gone after pro tennis.” VFP

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