Month: March 2017

Breaking: The son of Congressman Danny K. Davis Dies

Rep. Danny K. DavisFriday, March 31, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Updated: 10:15 p.m.

The son of Congressman Danny K. Davis (7th) has died, according to a statement released by the Congressman’s office today.

“I am sorry to announce the passing of my son, Stacey Wilson on Thursday, March 29, 2017,” Davis stated, adding that Wilson had been “complaining of high blood pressure and as of now we do not know the cause of death.”

Wilson, 47, was the father of Javon Wilson, Davis’s 15-year-old grandson who was murdered inside of his family’s apartment in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood last November.

“It’s tough when you cannot predict for them with any sense of certainty that the quality of life for them is going to be better than what it has been for their parents and grandparents,” Davis told the Chicago Tribune at the time of his grandson’s murder. “I’m not sure I can predict for my grandchildren that the quality of life for them is going to be better than it is for me right now.”

Henderson Yarbrough, a former Maywood mayor and sitting trustee, said that he once worked with the older Wilson.

“So very sad today after hearing of the passing of my friend former co-worker [Stacey] Wilson,” Yarbrough wrote in a March 31 Facebook post. “[Stacey] and I had a very genuine and meaningful relationship and I looked upon him as a son. I will miss his calls and our lively conversations.”

Davis said that funeral services for the senior Wilson are pending. VFP

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At April 1 Town Hall, Maywood Candidates, Residents to Dialogue One Last Time Before Election

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 12.20.13 PMFriday, March 31, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

The Village Free Press, with the generous support of the West Cook YMCA, will sponsor a town hall-style candidate forum on Saturday, April 1, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Maywood Public Library, 121 S. 5th Ave.

We envision this to be a community dialogue designed to address some of Maywood’s most pressing issues with an emphasis on one very important reality: Campaigning for an office is one thing. Governing in that office is something else.

Come out and hear the candidates for Maywood Park District Commission, Maywood Public Library District board, clerk, trustee and mayor talk less about their promises and more about how prepared they are to handle the village’s realities.

This event will be moderated by Michael Romain, editor and publisher of the Village Free Press. The format and agenda of tomorrow’s event are below:

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Breaking: One Man Wounded During Shooting on March 30 in Maywood

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Friday, March 31, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

One man is in stable condition after a shooting that happened yesterday afternoon, according to Maywood police.

On March 30, at around 3:35 p.m., Maywood police officers responded to a call of a subject shot in the 600 block of South 13th Ave. When officers arrived, they found a black male shot in the chest, arm and leg, according to the police report.

The victim, identified as Partee Allen, 35, and from Maywood, was rushed to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he is in stable condition.

The case is currently under investigation, police said. They didn’t say whether or not anyone is currently in custody or whether they have a motive for the shooting.

Officers are urging anyone with information about this case to contact the department’s investigations unit at (708) 450-4452. VFP

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Letters: I Firmly Opposed Home Rule

Letter to the EditorThursday, March 30, 2017 || By LETTERS || @maywoodnews

I firmly opposed to home rule in Broadview. I voted against it and I had a “No on Home Rule” sign in my yard. I’m running for mayor because I want everyone in Broadview to have a say in village government. Home rule would take power away from the people. I signed a petition to allow voters to voice their opinion, and I’m glad the voters decided against Home Rule for Broadview. As Mayor, I’ll continue to work with the people of Broadview to make sure their voices are heard in village government.

I signed a petition to allow voters to voice their opinion and I’m glad the voters decided against home rule for Broadview. As mayor, I’ll continue to work with the people of Broadview to make sure their voices are heard in village government.

— Katrina Thompson, candidate for Mayor of Broadview 

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A Brief Conversation With Broadview Mayoral Candidate Maxine Johnson

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Thursday, March 30, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

On Wednesday, I had a phone conversation with Maxine Johnson, who is running for Mayor of Broadview in the April 4, 2017 election.

Johnson, 57, is running atop the Independent Democrats of Broadview Party slate, which includes candidate for clerk, Debra Gillespie, and trustee candidates, Sandra Taylor, Norlander Young and Craig Flowers.

Johnson, who served as the village’s clerk from 2009 until 2013, is a former ally of Broadview’s current mayor, two-term incumbent Sherman Jones. Johnson won her clerk seat running on Jones’s ticket nearly a decade ago. Now, she’s a big reason why he won’t be running for a third-term as mayor.

“I was the one who initiated and organized the term limit referendum in Broadview,” Johnson said, adding that she was motivated to run for mayor partly due to the response she received from residents during that referendum campaign, which she said started roughly a year ago. Johnson said that most of her running mates helped organize that referendum campaign.

The ballot measure, which passed on Nov. 8 with 65 percent of the vote, stated that “no person shall be eligible to seek election to or hold the office of Village President where that person has been previously elected to the office of Village President of the Village of Broadview for two (2) consecutive full four (4) year terms.”

The referendum appeared on the ballot despite numerous attempts by the mayor’s supporters to persuade the courts to remove it. They argued that the measure was largely a personal attack on Jones by his opponents on the board. That it did not apply to any trustee positions, they said, bolstered their claims.

In our conversation, Johnson — a former nonprofit grant writer and longtime advocate for victims of domestic violence — framed her candidacy as a grassroots uprising against the outgoing mayor. She also addressed some of the criticisms lodged against the referendum.

Johnson is running against Katrina Thompson, who heads the Broadview People’s Party, on which Jones is running for trustee; independent candidate Princess Dempsey; Better Broadview Party candidate Judy Brown-Marino; and independent candidate Vernon Terry.

So, what was the motivating factor behind your decision to launch the referendum? 

We took the initiative from former governor Pat Quinn. [Last year, Quinn launched a petition drive to limit Chicago’s mayor position to two terms].

When people are voted into positions like mayor and governor, they tend to make it a lifetime thing. Just look at all the people who are running in Broadview now and who aren’t afraid.

Why didn’t you all apply the term limits referendum to other positions, such as trustee seats? Some critics of the referendum say this is about a personal vendetta against Jones and they bring up the fact that the term limit referendum only applied to his seat.

They say that the people who organized the referendum are connected to the strip club [that’s been trying to come into Broadview for years]. That’s not true. We’ve been aware of the strip club since 2007. The strip club lawsuit was going on when I was clerk. Independent Democrats oppose the strip club and we oppose Mayor Jones for taking strip club money.

There isn’t any technical reason why we didn’t include the trustees as part of the referendum. We were just taking our cue from Quinn. We took his initiative and ran with it in Broadview. It wasn’t that we were looking to move Sherman out. We really didn’t even know how the residents would react to it.

But extending term limits to the trustees is something I’m in support of. Some of the present trustees would also like to see term limits applied to those other board seats. I would like us to bring the younger generation on so we can mentor them and teach them our government. Hopefully, someone else can organize [a referendum that applies to trustee seats] or a new board can come up with something.

What are some areas in which you disagree with Jones? And what governing vision does your party have for Broadview?

I really oppose everything Sherman has done. And we oppose Thompson because she wants to carry on some of the same things Jones was considering, such as home rule. We’re against that.

[Home rule communities have greater self-governing power than non-home rule communities, particularly the ability to raise taxes with fewer restrictions from the state. Click here for more information].

The reason we oppose home rule has a lot to do with taxes. If we become a home rule community, it would give too much power to the board to keep increasing our taxes. I think we’re taxed enough. For example, we shouldn’t have tax levies every year. We should only have them when it’s necessary.

I also don’t think Jones has done enough for seniors, so we want to expand senior services. He did establish some programs, like snow removal, for seniors and we want to continue that. But we also want to do more for the seniors. For instance, we want to beef up home repair services for seniors.

And mainly, we want to return good services, like street cleaning, to all of Broadview’s residents. Under Jones, if you weren’t a friend or family member of the mayor, you didn’t receive the same kind of services.

We’re also looking at new technology, such as a cell phone app that allows residents to pinpoint crimes, report problems, get a calendar of events and other things. We would like to integrate that program within our police department.

Why should voters elect you and your running mates?

The reason why I ran, and why we are better candidates, is because we’re not politicians. We’re all advocates in the community and we can bring our passion to Broadview and to collaborating with local governments across Proviso Township, such as communities like Maywood and Bellwood.

You have to be able to reach out and meet people where they’re at. When you have a hunger for community like we do, it makes you a better person. VFP

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Quick Fix: Want Better Schools? You Might Have to Pay More for Your House, Make a Longer Commute

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Thursday, March 30, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews

The New York Times’ “The Upshot” blog has developed an interesting interactive graphic that shows the correlation between the price of homes (per square foot), the quality of schools (based on grade-level proficiency) and the average commute time of residents within a given school district.

The authors of the post, 

“There are many factors in a home price, of course, but economists have estimated that within suburban neighborhoods, a 5 percent improvement in test scores can raise prices by 2.5 percent. And for many cities, this is largely the pattern — prices rise with school quality. But there are some districts that break this pattern: schools that deliver on quality with homes that are relatively cheap.

Using home price data from Redfin, a national real estate brokerage, and school quality data based on test scores from the Stanford Education Data Archive, we developed a set of charts that look at school quality, home price and commute.”

You can read the entire article here. Below, we’ve extracted information available in the graphic that’s relevant to the Chicago area, particularly four local school districts.

For instance, Bellwood District 88, where residents pay $80 per square foot for housing, students perform 1.9 grade levels below average. The average commute time is less than 30 minutes.

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County Commish Drops Off $250K Check in Maywood for 18th Ave. Improvements

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Maywood officials, Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways Superintendent John Yonan and Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) pose with a blow-up check for $250,000. | Michael Romain /VFP

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

At a March 29 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee meeting, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) dropped off a $250,000 dummy check with the village’s trustee board. The funds will be used to pay for roadway improvements along 18th Ave., from Madison Street to Washington Blvd.

At a Dec. 20 regular meeting, Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet Jr. said that village officials were anticipating the funds, adding that the county was “highly considerate of Maywood.”

Village officials didn’t give any timeframes for the project, which totals $351,600. The village will pay all of the costs related to design and construction engineering, which amount to an estimated $101,600.

The work will include “the removal and replacement of deteriorated concrete curb and gutter and sidewalks, the installation of hot-mix asphalt pavement leveling binder and surface courses,” among other improvements, according to the text of the Intergovernmental Agreement.

The 18th Ave. improvement project amounts to one of three major roadway improvement projects the village could embark on this year. In December, the village board approved $240,000 worth of services related to street, sideway, driveway apron and drainage improvements, among others, made to 17th Ave., from Madison St. to Washington Blvd.

In January, the board approved $1.15 million worth of roadway improvements for streets on 19th Ave., Quincy St., 4th Ave. and Wilcox.

At Wednesday night’s LLOC meeting, Boykin was accompanied by Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways Superintendent John Yonan.

When I came into this job two-and-a-half years ago, I asked folks how much money had each part of the [1st District] been receiving and that number was very, very low,” Boykin said. “Since we’ve been in , we’ve been able to get that number increased.” 

Yonan said that Boykin was putting it mildly, adding that the amount of money that was being directly allocated for roadway improvements in the 1st District was “pretty much zero,” before praising Boykin’s advocacy at county board meetings on behalf of communities like Maywood.

“This wouldn’t have happened without the village manager and his work, making sure he dotted all the ‘I’s’ and crossed all the ‘T’s’ and without the mayor and trustees’ support,” Boykin said, before praising Yonan for “transforming” his department.

“Nobody has done a better job at leading this agency than John Yonan,” Boykin said. “He’s always prepared and he runs a great, top-flight department.”

“Commissioner Boykin, many times when I’m up there appropriating millions of dollars, has raised his hand and said, ‘What’s my district getting,'” Yonan said, after also praising Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle for her focus on infrastructure improvements. “The answer was pretty much zero for his suburban communities.

“Under Commissioner Boykin’s leadership this is hopefully only the start of making public investments that are really significant … in Maywood,” Yonan said.

The Maywood Board of Trustees unanimously voted to move the IGA agreement solidifying the $250,000 grant to the next regular board meeting on April 4 for final approval. VFP

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