Category: Consumer Reports

Businessman Wants Renters to Reap What They Sow

Monday, August 7, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

According to a December 2016 study produced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an estimated 26 million people in the U.S. don’t have credit histories with any of the three national credit reporting companies. Less than three months ago, Leonard Dew, 46, was among them.

“I had never in my life used credit,” said Dew, an auto mechanic who owns a body shop in Chicago. “When I was younger, I had child support to pay and once they run your credit and see you got child support nobody wants anything to do with you. So I always paid cash — for everything.”

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Maywood Police Arrest Nine in Connection to Cell Phone App Robberies

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Sunday, June 25, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Nine people were recently arrested in connection to a string of robberies in Maywood, according to a statement released by police.

On June 22, the statement reads, the Maywood Investigations Unit and the Maywood Intelligence Unit apprehended nine people, including four adults and five juveniles, who allegedly “conspired to lure unsuspecting victims by setting up fake accounts and profiles [and] posting items for sale” on the mobile classified apps LetGo and OfferUp.

According to Lt. Dennis Diaz, the suspects would lure people from surrounding suburbs who were looking to sell or purchase items on the mobile apps to Maywood before robbing them.

There have been a number of reports of robberies related to mobile apps around the country. According to a Feb. 17 CBS Minnesota report, “A woman selling her vehicle agreed to meet off Harrison Avenue in St. Paul. Instead of a sale, she was threatened and held at gunpoint while two men stole her vehicle.”

According to an April 16 Delaware News Journal report, “Two men used [LetGo] to post a car for sale. Then, they waited with a gun at a Salisbury home for their victims to arrive, police say.”

In order to avoid scams, police officers recommend that potential buyers meet-up in public areas, “like a police station parking lot. They also say use cash, research the person and check out their reviews.”

For more tips on how to prevent scams, click here. VFP

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Maywood To Lyft/Uber Drivers: ‘Show Your Emblem or Get Fined’ | Police Beef Up Noise, Tobacco Enforcement

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Uber’s new glowing logo sign. |GlowDigi/YouTube

Thursday, May 4, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Drivers who contract with transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft now face fines if they don’t display those companies’ distinctive emblems, or what’s known in the industry as trade dress, while driving customers through Maywood.

At a May 2 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees unanimously passed an ordinance requiring drivers to display the trade dress or face fines of at least $100 for the first offense, at least $300 for the second offense with a year and at least $500 for a third or subsequent offense within a year.

Numerous large cities across the country, including Chicago and New Orleans, have enacted comprehensive regulations on companies like Uber and Lyft. Maywood’s new ordinance, however, is much more limited in scope than those in larger cities.

The ordinance was introduced at the urging of Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley, who said that it would help his department fight narcotics trafficking.

“It’s not that the companies that engage in that behavior, but some individuals use the services [of Lyft and Uber] to engage [in drug trafficking],” Talley said during an April 26 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee meeting where the measure was discussed.

“The services are used to defeat the village’s ability to capture individuals trafficking narcotics and from seizing their properties as assets,” Talley said. “They’re not like taxi cabs or livery cabs, where we can ID them by license or registration.”

Talley said that “Lyft is kind of like Facebook” in that it is not often cooperative with law enforcement’s efforts to fight crime.

“When you try to get information from them by search warrant they don’t want to be very compliant or helpful to our efforts,” Talley said.

“This ordinance requires these different companies to make sure [drivers have] placards. Normally, that’s a regulation [enforced by] the companies, but a lot of these drivers fail to put their placards up.”

Maywood police beef up noise enforcement with purchase of new sound meters

instrumartAt the request of Mayor Edwenna Perkins, Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley presented recent noise statistics to village board members at an April 26 LLOC meeting.

Weeks earlier, Perkins said that she had been getting complaints from some residents about noise levels and a lack of police enforcement of the village’s noise regulations.

Talley said that his staff responded to 80 service calls related to noise from January 1 to April 13.

“The incident listings will reflect we took action and we still plan to put [an officer] out to address noise offenses as we enter into the summer months,” Talley stated in an April 18 memo.

In order to enhance noise enforcement in the summer months, Talley said that he directed a police intern to research sound meters, with the department eventually purchasing two portable devices at around $600 each from a company called “Instrumart.”

Maywood passes ordinance requiring tobacco purchasers in village to be at least 21 years old

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During a May 2 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees passed an ordinance that raises the minimum age required to buy tobacco products in the village from 18 to 21 years old.

The proposed ordinance was introduced at the urging of Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley, who said that the measure would help deter the sale of tobacco products to minors and young adults, “which often leads to loitering concerns around retail tobacco establishments,” according to a village memo.

“Proviso East stands next to two gas stations and we found that 18 year olds capture [tobacco] products from those gas stations, bring them into school and sell them,” Talley said.

The village has a partnership with the health advocacy organization Proviso Partners 4 Health, which is affiliated with Loyola University. Representatives with PP4H have been advocating for a new ordinance as a public health measure.

Talley said that if the measure passes, then retail establishments who sell tobacco products to minors would face a range of penalties,  including the revocation and suspension of their business licenses, that are similar to those for illegally selling alcohol.

Other municipalities that have raised the minimum age of tobacco sales to 21 years old include Oak Park, Chicago and Evanston. VFP

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Study: Area Residents Crushed By College Debt | Congressman and State Rep Seeking to Help Ease the Pain

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Sunday, February 26, 2017 || By Michael Romain & Igor Studenkov || @maywoodnews

According to a recent study by LendEDU, which describes itself as “a marketplace for student loans and student loan refinance,” 70 percent of college graduates who live in the 7th Congressional District — which covers all or parts of Maywood, Bellwood, Broadview and Melrose Park — leave school with debt. The average student debt per borrower in the district is almost $30,000.

“In 2017, more than 44 million Americans are working to repay student debt,” the LendEDU study notes. “And, the average borrower is working to repay more than $28,000 after graduation.”

Two lawmakers at the state and federal level, however, are working on plans to help ease that heavy financial burden.

U.S. Representative Danny Davis, who represents the 7th Congressional District, is working on legislation to could make it easier for first-generation college students to pay for their education and he wants his constituents’ input.

The details of the proposal are still being worked out, Davis said, but the goals are clear. The congressman wants to create something that would not only help cover tuition but things like room and board, transportation and supplies.

Davis’ Education Advisory Committee, which is working on the proposal, held a public hearing on Feb. 18 in Chicago. The congressman said that residents are welcome to call his office to share their ideas of what the bill should include.

As Davis explained during the Feb. 18 meeting, the committee is just one of the many committees he has set up to help him create legislation.

“We have advisory committees on almost everything we can think of,’ he said. “When we run for office we ask [voters] to give us the ability to represent them. The reality is, I don’t know what you think and how you feel, and what your priorities are, so I spent a great deal of time asking people how they feel.”

The idea from this particular bill, he said, came directly from conversations with constituents.

“Every year, I encounter students who went [to college] for the first semester, but couldn’t go the next semester because they were in debt to the school,” he said.

To give your input, contact Davis’s district office, located at 2746 West Madison St., at (773) 533-7520. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also visit his website at davis.house.gov.

At the state level, Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th), whose district spans all or parts of Maywood, Bellwood, Broadview and Melrose Park, has co-sponsored House Bill 3447,  which would establish the Tuition Reduction Act. The bill is currently in the House Higher Education Committee, which Welch chairs.

Rep. WelchThe bill provides individual grants to full-time undergraduates in Illinois who are enrolled at public universities in order to help offset tuition costs.

The bill also requires “each university to annually report updated estimates of the total amount in grants awarded in an academic year to the governor and the appropriate committees of the General Assembly,” according to a summary of the legislation.

“As Chair of the House Higher Education Committee, I see a lot of proposals that would affect a student’s ability to enroll into one of Illinois’ many public universities,” said Welch.

“Constant tuition increases can prevent students from applying to state universities and colleges,” he added. “It can also force them to look at colleges out of the state, and many times these students do not move back to Illinois after receiving their degree.” VFP

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Bellwood’s in the Homebuilding Business | Area Home Prices Still Below Pre-Crash Peak — Crain’s

Caption and photos from Crain’s: “Bellwood officials built the new, larger homes on Englewood Avenue that complement the smaller 20th-century offerings on the same street.”

Thursday, October 20, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Bellwood resident Chimanga Williamson, a CTA employee, told Crain’s Chicago Business that she had her eye on buying a home in Westchester or Hillside before considering the town where she now resides.

What fixed Williamson’s gaze were the homes. Not the thousand-square-foot, mid-20th Century homes that dominate Bellwood’s landscape, but ones that are twice as big and that were built by the local government within the last five years.

“It’s good for the village to have these more spacious houses available,” Williamson told Crain’s, which recently published an article on Bellwood’s foray into homebuilding.

“Five years ago,” Crain’s reports, “Frank Pasquale, mayor of west suburban Bellwood, found he had two overlapping problems on his hands.

People were leaving because the houses were too small, but builders wouldn’t build in the town. The solution, Pasquale found, was for the village to build the homes itself.

Since 2012, Bellwood has built and sold eight new homes, with prices starting at around $260,000 for three-bedroom models. And another 20 could be on the way. Pasquale said the program has, so far, been a success.

To read more on Bellwood’s homebuilding plans, click here.

Home prices in area zip codes still well below the pre-crash peak

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The average percent change in price of a single-family home in the west suburbs since Sept. 2006.

In another Crain’s report from earlier this month, “Home prices in the Chicago area peaked in September 2006, dipped infinitesimally in October and soon started a downward path that didn’t reach bottom until March 2012.”

“Chicago’s home prices,” the publication notes, “at times among the slowest recovering in the nation, have returned to their decade-ago peaks in only a few neighborhoods and suburbs.”

Unfortunately, Bellwood, Broadview and Melrose Park weren’t among those fortunate few (Maywood’s zip code wasn’t included in Crain’s analysis, which looked at data provided by the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices).

The following charts track the “average percent change in price of a single-family home in” zip codes in Bellwood, Broadview and Melrose Park. “Using September 2006 prices as a base, the line shows the percent change from that point to any other month, through May 2016.” (Visit the full Crain’s interactive by clicking here).

Percent change in home prices

Bellwood

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Melrose Park

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Broadview

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Bellwood among worst performing zip codes in Chicago-area market

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Circuit Court Clerk to Waive Overdue Fines from Oct. 17-21

Dorothy BrownMonday, October 17, 2016 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

From Oct. 17 through Oct. 21, the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County will be waiving collection fees related to past due fines that Cook County residents may owe to the office.

During what’s called Amnesty Week, west suburban residents can make full or partial payments to Clerk Dorothy Brown’s Daley Center office downtown, over the phone or at the locations listed below

“This is a great opportunity for customers to pay past due fines minus the collection fees that are normally attached, thereby saving themselves a substantial amount of money,” Clerk Brown told the Chicago Defender. “It is also the best time to pay any past due fines or fees owed to the Clerk’s Office to avoid the possibility of additional penalties.”

Payments can be made in cash, check, money order or credit, and either over the phone or in person. Some people who qualify may be eligible to get their drivers license reinstated if they pay all past due traffic fines during Amnesty Week, the Defender noted.

Clerk of Court Amnesty Week Locations

Monday, Oct. 17, through Friday, October 21, 2016

  • Richard J. Daley Center, all divisions and the Accounting Department, Room 1005: 8:30 m.– 4:30 p.m.
  • All Suburban District Clerk’s Offices, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 m.
  • Criminal Courthouse, 2600 S. California Ave., 5th floor: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 m.
  • TO PAY BY PHONE: Call (312) 603-2933 for District 1 – Chicago, or(708) 974-6449 for Suburban Districts 2 – 6; tell the customer service representative that you are making an Amnesty payment.

For more information on the Clerk of Court Amnesty Week, visit www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org. VFP

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Triton Grads Rank Among Nation’s Highest Paid, Survey Says

Triton H Building Outside

The entrance to Triton’s health and sciences facility, or H Building, which was recently renovated. | Wednesday Journal file

Thursday, October 6, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

According to a national report recently released by Payscale, the online salary information company, Triton College produces some of the highest-paid graduates of two-year institutions in the country.

The River Grove college ranked 25th out of nearly 400 two-year colleges nationally. The rankings were based on how much those institutions’ students are paid, on average, after graduating.

The 2016-17 Payscale College Salary Report notes that Triton grads reported earning a median salary of $37,500 during their first five years of post-graduate career life and a median salary of more than $63,000 at least 10 years after graduating from the two-year school. Among Illinois community colleges, Triton ranked highest in the Payscale survey.

According to a statement released by Triton on the survey ranking, the highest paid profession for Triton graduates is registered nurse, earning more than $30 an hour on average.

The survey also included other professions of Triton graduates, including:

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“For example, the next generation of health care professionals are learning their craft in Triton’s new Health and Sciences Building, which opened in 2015.””Triton’s state-of-the art equipment and facilities, innovative programs and dedicated faculty give graduates the edge when entering the workforce,” the statement noted.

The renovation of the new health and sciences building was part of Triton’s $53 million Campus Renewal Project, which also included modernizing the student center and child development center.

This fall, college officials noted, Triton also launched a new associate’s degree program in cybersecurity information assurance that will equip “students with skills that will help them protect businesses and organizations against cyberattacks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, security analysts earned almost $89,000 per year on average.”

To see the full Payscale survey rankings, click hereVFP

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