Month: June 2016

LETTERS: Atlantis Shrimp House Owner: ‘My Comments Were Misquoted’

Letter to the Editor

Thursday, June 30, 2016 || By COMMUNITY EDITOR || @maywoodnews ||@village_free 

 This letter references the article, “With Good Food and Low Prices, Maywood Shrimp House Passes ‘First Year’ Test,” which was published on June 12, 2016.

This the quote in question: “I believe black businesses can do business together,” he said. “I’m tired of other nationalities coming into our communities to drain us.”

Let me first apologize to anyone who may have read the article and was offended as that was not my intention.

I spoke with the publishers of the article and relayed my dissatisfaction about how they misquoted a statement that I made. The statement I made was that I was tired of other nationalities that come into predominately black neighborhoods and take our money and put nothing back into our communities but at the same time take our funds and resources out of the community by not living here.

My belief is that there is no business that provides revenue in our communities that we as African-Americans can’t do or open in our own communities.

My comments were not meant to be seen as if other nationalities should not open in these communities, but as a statement that the ownership of businesses in the community should be reflective of the inhabitants of that community. VFP

— Dvonn Smith, owner, Atlantis Shrimp House, Maywood

Publishers’ note: The quote in question has since been removed from that article and it’s accompanying Facebook post. 

Email your opinions and concerns to info@villagefreepress.com. Submissions are subject to minor editing and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of The Village Free Press. 

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JOBS: Maywood Seeking Part-Time Police Officer — Starting Rate: $16.66/HR

Maywood police badge

Thursday, June 30, 2016 || By COMMUNITY EDITOR || @maywoodnews || @village_free 

The Maywood Police Department is looking for part-time certified police officers. The position starts at $16.66 an hour for certified part-time officers with less than 5 years in grade. Those with more than 5 years start at $17.35 an hour. All applications and/or resumes are due by 5 p.m. on July 31. For more information, see below:

Opening Date: July 1 || Closing Date: July 31, 5 pm

Department: Maywood Police Department 

Reports to: Assigned Supervisor

Salary: $16.66/hour – Certified PTO with under 5 years in grade | $17.35/hour – Certified PTO with over 5 years in grade

Position Type: Union – Teamsters Local No. 700

FLSA: Non-Exempt

JOB SUMMARY

Performs general duty police work in the protection of life and property while enforcing laws and ordinances. Conducts preliminary investigations of crime; perform related work as directed.

Performs general duty police work in the protection of life and property while enforcing laws and ordinances. Conducts preliminary investigations of crime; perform related work as directed.

DISTINGUISHED FEATURES OF POSITION

Responsible for the prevention of crime, apprehension of criminals and the general enforcement of laws and ordinances in a designated area on an assigned shift, or on special assignments in uniform or in plain clothes; position involves an element of personal risk of danger and other hazards. The employee must be able to act without direct supervision while exercising independent judgment in handling emergencies; assignments are carried out under order of superiors in conjunction with pre-described rules and procedures. Valid police officer certifications not required at this time.

EXAMPLE OF DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Answer emergency calls for service, transport individuals as required; assists other personnel as needed; investigates traffic crashes; write appropriate reports for various reasons; protect and preserve evidentiary material; testify in court; processes prisoners; provide emergency first-aid as needed; make appropriate and timely notifications for hazardous and unusual circumstances; provide information about the Village and it’s services; assignments may be on foot, in or on a vehicle, mobile or stationary or in an enclosed area; attendance at regular or extended training sessions; use of force qualifications and proficiency training.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Basic knowledge of the geography of the Village and ability to quickly and safely navigate from any point to any point within the Village by foot or vehicle.
  • Practical knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, State Laws, Municipal Ordinances and Department Rules and Regulations.
  • Ability to react appropriately in stress producing situations.
  • Good communication skills.
  • Ability to see, hear, speak, walk, stand, run, bend, stoop, reach, give hand signals and avoid personal danger as to be able to safely perform general police related duties.
  • Work in all weather conditions, including severe weather conditions. Work day, night or in total darkness.
  • Must be able to read, write, speak and audibly understand the English language proficiently.
  • Must be able to work variable hours, shift work, holidays and weekends as the schedule indicates.
  • Must be at least 21 years of age.
  • Must be able to safely and legally operate a motor vehicle similar in design to the types of police vehicles generally used in law enforcement.
  • Must be able to attend court proceedings to prosecute cases.
  • Must conform to the Police Code of Ethics.
  • Must be able to operate computer equipment.
  • Must live within the 15 mile radius of the Village of Maywood and maintain residency requirement throughout employment.
  • Must pass a background check/physical examination and other requirements of the hiring process.

ADDITIONAL QUALIFICATIONS, EXPERIENCE AND/OR TRAINING

  • Successful completion of High School Degree or the equivalent is required.
  • Higher education is desired and Spanish/Bilingual or proficiency in another language is desired.
  • Meet the requirements of The Illinois Law Enforcement Standards and Training Board.
  • Valid Police Officer certification is required.

SOME TYPICAL DIS-QUALIFIERS 

  • Felony convictions.
  • Certain Misdemeanor convictions that could create a discredit to the policing agency.
  • Not passing a background check, medical or other requirements as part of the hiring process. Inability to comply with any portion of this job description.
  • Engaging in any conduct or activity that would discredit the policing agency and/or the Village or violating policies and procedures of the police department or Village of Maywood.
  • Non-compliance with residency requirement.

Applications available, and should be submitted (along with resumes if applicable) at:

Maywood Police Department | 125 S. 5th Ave., Maywood, IL 60153 | “PT Certified Police Officer” | EEO/AAE 

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Melrose Park Man Recorded Sex Assaults of 14-year-old Girl to Force Her Silence, Cops Say

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Rodolfo Salazar, 39, of Melrose Park, was charged this week with predatory criminal sexual assault and child pornography. | Courtesy Cook County Sheriff’s Office

Thursday, June 30, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || @village_free 

A Melrose Park man has been accused of sexually assaulting a minor on multiple occasions, recording the assaults and then using the recordings to keep the teenager from speaking up about the attacks. The minor, police say, is a 14-year-old Villa Park girl.

Earlier this week, Rodolfo Salazar was charged with predatory criminal sexual assault and child pornography, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office. During a June 29 court hearing in Rolling Meadows, Salazar’s bond was set at $250,000.

According to a recent report by Patch, sheriff’s police received a report around 1:20 a.m. on June 27, saying the girl “had been sexually assaulted multiple times over three years.”

“During the investigation, detectives learned Salazar taped the assaults and threatened to release the recordings if the victim told anyone about the assaults, the sheriff’s office reports,” Patch reports. “The recordings were found during the investigation.”

Read the full Patch report here. VFP

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Big Changes to Harrison St., Bataan Dr., 1st Ave. Proposed By IDOT

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016 || By Michael Romain ||@maywoodnews || @village_free || UPDATED: 6:16 p.m.

At a June 23 Maywood I-290 Advisory Working Group Meeting, Pete Harmet, the Illinois Department of Transportation’s chief of programming, laid out IDOT’s preferred option among the two that are in contention to be included in the final version of an estimated $2 billion expansion and modernization of 13 miles of the Eisenhower Expressway.

Both those options include major changes to Harrison St. and Bataan Dr. frontage roads between 1st and 25th Avenues, including the introduction of combination one- and two-way traffic along Harrison — a change that some residents found potentially confusing, but that IDOT says will mean better traffic circulation for local drivers.

Last Thursday’s meeting, held at the Maywood Multipurpose Building, was the fourth since the advisory group first met in January. In the beginning of the working group process, IDOT proposed six possible modernization scenarios — four of which entailed closing the entrance and exit ramps at 9th Avenue and the westward ramp at 17th Avenue in order to mitigate safety concerns and free up space along the Eisenhower between 1st and 25th Avenues.

But the prospect of ramp closures was rejected by many residents, who feared that the closures would restrict access into, and out of, the village.

That left two modernization options, which were called Alternatives One and Six. Both would keep the ramps intact, while concentrating the majority of the changes at 1st Avenue.

Both options, Harmet noted, would also rebuild the interchange at 25th Avenue into what’s called a single point urban interchange. According to one expert transportation source, an SPUI “is a type of interchange where the arterial and ramp entrances/exits are controlled by a single traffic signal. This type of interchange can be more efficient than a standard diamond interchange and takes up less space.”

“You won’t be coming through side roads and cutting across traffic and so forth,” Harmet said. “It’ll take you right there. We’ve also proposed to move the traffic signal up to Van Buren and 25th Ave. That’s the same for both options.”

The two alternatives would also both involve aesthetic improvements and greater pedestrian and bike access with the installation of modernized traffic signals and wider sidewalks along crossing bridges, among other features.

Along 1st Avenue north of I-290, IDOT has proposed a raised barrier median along dual left turn lanes, “with a flush/painted median to the north for improved access to commercial development along 1st Avenue, Congress St., and the Eisenhower Tower,” according to an IDOT slide. A wide median would accommodate improved access.

“The difference between Alternatives One and Six is how things are designed at 1st Avenue,” Harmet said. “Everything beyond that interchange is exactly the same between the two alternatives.”

In Alternative One, traffic on Harrison St. and Bataan Dr. frontage road would go through 1st Avenue; in Alternative Six, Harrison St. frontage road traffic would connect to the entrance at the Checkers restaurant while Bataan Dr. would connect to 2nd Ave. (See below):

Alts 1 and 6.png

At 1st Avenue, Alternative One would have six pedestrian crossing points while Alternative Six would have four. The crossings, according to IDOT’s slide presentation, would likely take more than one traffic cycle for either alternative.

Harmet said that IDOT utilized cellphone data to determine the amount of through trips on Harrison St. and Bataan Dr. Around 90 percent of through trips Harrison St. and Bataan Dr. are non-local, he said, meaning those commuters aren’t stopping in Maywood.

IDOT is proposing a curbed median at the northern leg of 1st Avenue, said Harmet, adding that the addition is a standard approach. IDOT  recommends Alternative Six, because it would entail fewer signal phases and improved efficiency at 1st Avenue, among other reasons; however, Harmet stressed that the recommendation is only preliminary, since their proposed plans haven’t been finalized.

Alternative Six would allow traffic to enter and exit Checkers from 5th Avenue and would allow for drivers the restaurant’s parking lot to access 1st Avenue. There would be two-way traffic between 5th and 3rd Avenues and one-way westbound traffic between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Harmet said the changes would give local drivers more circulation options.

Some attendees at last Thursday’s working group meeting, though, were skeptical of the updated travel routes on Harrison.

“That’s going to be confusing,” said resident Loretta Robinson. “You can go so far and you’re on a two-way street, but then you past [a point] and you’re on a one-way street. How are you going to show us how that’s an improvement when it’s confusion and not improvement.”

Robinson and other residents also had concerns about the impact the changes would have on Harrison’s width.

“A combination of one and two-way streets is common throughout the country,” Harmet said. “We handle it with signage and striping. But Harrison is really wide. It’s two lanes and then it has parking lanes. It’s probably 48 feet wide in some places, so in terms of a two-way street, you don’t need 48 feet. So, we’d fit [the Alternative Six changes] within the existing property that’s available.”

Storm water solutions

Village storm water overflow area.png

Harmet also noted that IDOT plans on installing a large drainage pipe under the frontage roads, which would connect with the main sewer pipe in order for more storm water to flow into the Des Plaines — instead of onto the Eisenhower, neighborhood streets and even into residents’ homes.

“Today, storm water comes off of village streets and waste water from your homes goes into the sink pipe eventually,” Harmet said. “Particularly with hard rains, that system gets overwhelmed and goes up onto the land and into houses. The overland flow eventually makes its way onto the Eisenhower, which is a bathtub.”

In addition to constructing a separate drainage pipe under frontage roads, IDOT would also construct a trunk sewer underneath the expressway in order to lessen the burden the combined sewer system that exists currently. Along with the additional piping, retaining walls would be built along frontage roads.

Harmet said that IDOT will be accepting comments from the public up until July 14. A fifth advisory working group meeting is scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, with a public town hall meeting scheduled sometime in August.

To see the complete IDOT presentation at the June 23 Working Group Meeting #4, click hereVFP

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C A N ‘ T   M I S S   E V E N T

Old TimersThis year will mark the 20th Anniversary of the annual Maywood Old Timers Picnic, one of Maywood’s most anticipated community-wide events that was started as a way to reconnect the village’s present with its past.

“I was running into people at funerals and visitations I hadn’t seen in years and we would sit and talk,” said Marilynn Jefferson, a longtime Maywoodian, now retired and living in Georgia, who helped establish the first Old Timers Picnic.

“I finally said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice where we had time we could all be together and it would not be a sad occasion?’” Jefferson reminisced during an interview at last year’s event.

Since its founding, the event has become a source of history for those interested in mining the village’s rich past.

This year, the picnic will be held on Aug. 20 at Maywood Veterans Memorial Park, 5th Ave. and Fred Hampton Way (or Oak St.).

Bring your family and friends. There will be food, fun and entertainment. For more information, call (708) 740-0747. Please leave a voicemail if you don’t get through.

East Hoops Legend To Be Chicagoland Sports Hall of Famer | Lady Pirates Deemed Champions

James Brewer.pngWednesday, June 29, 2016 || By COMMUNITY EDITOR ||@maywoodnews || @village_free

James “Papa” Brewer — who led the Proviso East Pirates men’s varsity basketball team to its first state championship in 1969 before going on to a standout career at the University of Minnesota and, eventually, in the NBA — will be inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame.

Brewer, pictured, will be joining some other notable Chicago area sports legends in the Class of 2016. They include Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, Chicago Cub Ryne Sandburg and Chicago White Sox Carlton Fisk.

According to a biography on the Pirate Pride website, Brewer was the first hardwood star to come out of East, leading a wave of other basketball standouts that would include his nephew Doc Rivers, Donnie Boyce, Sherrell Ford, Michael Finley, Dee Brown and Shannon Brown, among others.

At Minnesota, Brewer was the teammate of Dave Winfield, who would become an MLB Hall of Famer player. He was part of the famous 1972 Olympic basketball team that lost a controversial matchup against the Soviet Union and was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the second pick in the first round in 1973.

Brewer would play for nine seasons in the NBA before commencing a career overseas. After retirement, he went into coaching.

The Hall of Fame induction will take place Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at McCormick Place West Building, 2301 S. Indiana Ave., Chicago. For more information, click here.

Lady Pirates Deemed Champions 

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The Proviso East ladies’ varsity basketball team was honored for its accomplishments on the court during the 2015-16 season at Wednesday Journal sports writer Marty Farmer’s second annual “Night of Champions,” held June 15 in Oak Park.

Thee Lady Pirates went 27-4 overall and 12-0 in conference play, finishing the season ranked 15th in the state by MaxPreps.

The team lost a hard-fought game in the IHSA Sectional Final against Whitney Young, which stretched into overtime before finishing 82-76. VFP

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Enough: Illinois Budget Standoff Must Be Resolved, Says State-Journal Register

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016 || By State-Journal Register Editorial Board 

Approximately 65 Illinois daily and weekly newspapers are running editorials today through the beginning of July, many on their front pages, on the need for an end to the state budget standoff. The State Journal-Register editorial board shared this editorial and urged other newspapers to weigh in on the need for a resolution to Illinois’ budget crisis.

letter i.jpgllinois’  budget standoff must be resolved, and must be resolved now. Whether or not our leaders manage to pass a stopgap funding measure this week, Illinois still needs the stability of a full budget to restore the health of our state and its economy.

For a year, our state’s elected leaders have engaged in what can only be called political malpractice.

Illinois is the only state in the country that doesn’t have a budget. For a year, because of that failure, it has stiffed small businesses, social service agencies and its higher education system, leaving them trying to operate without money they’re owed. State operations have been cobbled together through a patchwork of court orders, and the state gets deeper in debt by the minute.

Gov. Bruce Rauner said on Monday the state was on the verge of crisis, and that it would be an “outrageous, tragic failure” if schools don’t open on time this fall.

With all due respect, Governor, the state is already in crisis and the budget standoff has already been an “outrageous, tragic failure.” A stopgap may delay imminent emergency and we desperately need that. But it’s still not enough.

As legislators return to Springfield today — for the first time this month — Illinois’  historic, serious problems have been made even worse by the failure to compromise on a balanced, long-term spending plan.

The political war between Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan has been confounding and unconscionable.  Rauner has insisted on passage of the so-called Turnaround Agenda, a series of pro-business measures, as a condition of the budget. Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton have seemed focused primarily on thwarting the governor.

Neither the governor nor the legislature has put forth a balanced budget. Decades of delaying action and willfully ignoring issues like the state’s epically ballooning pension obligations have devastated its financial stability. The state must make cuts, and yes, more revenue will be needed to stanch the economic bleeding.

The consequences of having no budget have been harsh and far-reaching.

The state’s colleges and universities, which ought to be linchpins for growth and economic development, instead have been starved. Hundreds have been laid off, programs have been shuttered. High school graduates look at this mess, fear for their future, and enroll in out-of-state colleges. Our best and brightest may not come back after they complete their education elsewhere.

Meanwhile, more than 130,000 low-income students have had financial aid snatched away. Do these students who wish to better themselves and their future job prospects through education have other resources to continue? In most cases, no.

One million of Illinois’ most vulnerable people — the poor, the at-risk kids, the elderly, the mentally ill, the homeless, the victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault — have been directly harmed by the state’s dereliction of duty, as social service agencies cut services.

Hospitals and medical providers are owed hundreds of millions in unpaid state employee medical bills and delayed Medicaid payments.

Countless business owners, large and small, have struggled to survive because they haven’t been paid. Cities and small towns have been left holding the bag for unpaid state bills.

And yet, it could get even worse.

More than $2 billion in active road construction projects might be shut down, leading to as many as 25,000 workers losing their jobs.

The state’s corrections system says it’s on the verge of not being able to feed inmates and operate prisons.

Social services agencies will continue to turn away the ill, the homeless, the elderly.

The state’s schools were spared last year by a separate appropriation. But this year, many districts face the very real possibility of not opening or not being able to stay open.

But what have citizens seen from the Capitol? We have seen political posturing. We have seen a governor who campaigned as a practical business leader dedicated to finding fixes instead act as an ideological purist. We have seen elected representatives apparently unable to stand up to Madigan, Cullerton and Rauner to demand a resolution to the crisis. We have not seen compromise.

Perhaps the most damaging long-term effect is the toxic cynicism and frustration this crisis has created among its residents, who have to wonder at this point if Rauner, Madigan and Cullerton simply view the toll on Illinois’ people as mere collateral damage. At a recent Better Government Association panel on the impasse’s impact, multiple social service providers said flatly they don’t believe leaders care about their plight.

Many long-term changes are needed to restore Illinois to solid ground. Redistricting reform is a critical piece of restoring true political competitiveness that will lead to legislators facing more accountability to the voters they represent.

But the day has come. Illinois’ people cannot be held hostage for a second year without a budget.

Voters must revolt and demand better.

Enough. VFP

Maywood Old Timers Picnic Turns 20 | Summer Meals Off to Hot Start

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Merque Polk, 93, enjoys an Old Timers Picnic held in 2014. The event will be held this year on Aug. 20. | File

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 || By COMMUNITY EDITOR ||@maywoodnews || @village_free

This year will mark the 20th Anniversary of the annual Maywood Old Timers Picnic, one of Maywood’s most anticipated community-wide events that was started as a way to reconnect the village’s present with its past.

“I was running into people at funerals and visitations I hadn’t seen in years and we would sit and talk,” said Marilynn Jefferson, a longtime Maywoodian, now retired and living in Georgia, who helped establish the first Old Timers Picnic.

“I finally said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice where we had time we could all be together and it would not be a sad occasion?'” Jefferson reminisced during an interview at last year’s event.

Since its founding, the event has become a source of history for those interested in mining the village’s rich past.

This year, the picnic will be held on Aug. 20 at Maywood Veterans Memorial Park, 5th Ave. and Fred Hampton Way (or Oak St.).

Bring your family and friends. There will be food, fun and entertainment. For more information, call (708) 740-0747. Please leave a voicemail if you don’t get through.

Summer Free Meals Kickoff a Success 

Summer Meals Kickoff I

Volunteers, including village liquor commissioner Dr. Mary “May” Larry, help serve free food and other resources at the annual Free Summer Meals Kickoff, hosted by Nathan Lee, of Nate Comic, Inc. | Below: Lee, second from right, with several volunteers and event organizers.

Summer Meals Kickoff IIAn annual Free Summer Meals Kickoff, hosted each year by Nathan Lee, was held on Monday at 300 Oak St. in Maywood. It was a rousing success, said its organizers.

The event featured free food, music and a big game truck, among other forms of entertainment. The Maywood-based radio station Smooth Jazz WGSJBC 90.5 FM Radio was also on the scene.

The kickoff also marks the beginning of PLCCA’s Summer Food Service Program, which administers free breakfasts and lunches to youths ages 1 to 18 years old. See more information on this free service below. VFP

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