Category: Economy

Lightford Blasts Proposed Currency Exchange Check-cashing Fee Hikes

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 || By Igor Studenkov/Wednesday Journal || @maywoodnews 

State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th), whose district includes all or parts of Bellwood, Broadview, Maywood and Melrose Park, has come out strongly against a proposal to increase the fees that currency exchanges charge every time a customer cashes a check.

Continue reading “Lightford Blasts Proposed Currency Exchange Check-cashing Fee Hikes”

Report: Seaway Bank’s Failure Was Self-inflicted, Acquiring Maywood Bank Didn’t Help

Friday, September 22, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

A report released in August by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation concluded that Seaway Bank & Trust failed because of bad governance and risk management practices that flowed from the institution’s board of directors.

Continue reading “Report: Seaway Bank’s Failure Was Self-inflicted, Acquiring Maywood Bank Didn’t Help”

Navistar to End Engine Production in Melrose Park, Lay Off 170 Workers

Thursday, August 3, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews || Photo: Getty Images

Navistar, the international truck and engine corporation based in Lisle, will stop producing engines at its Melrose Park location, according to an Aug. 3 report in Crain’s Chicago Business.

The move, which will reportedly take effect next year, will mean that 170 employees will be laid off, a company spokesperson told Crain’s.

Continue reading “Navistar to End Engine Production in Melrose Park, Lay Off 170 Workers”

County Judge Dismisses Sugary Drink Beverage Lawsuit

Monday, July 31, 2017 || By Thomas Vogel/Forest Park Review || @maywoodnews

A Cook County judge on July 28 dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) aimed at stopping a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages.

The tax will go into effect on Aug. 2, according to a press release from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

The ruling, announced last Friday afternoon, comes about a month after the new tax, passed in November 2016, was to be implemented. Friday’s decision is the latest twist in a weeks-long legal battle.

Continue reading “County Judge Dismisses Sugary Drink Beverage Lawsuit”

Caputo Cheese Brings on New Culinary Executive Chef | Suburban Rents are Too Dang High

Chef Erika Durham.jpgMonday, June 26, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Caputo Cheese — the maker of craft cheese with two stores, Caputo Cheese Market, located in Lake Forest and Melrose Park — has hired executive chef Erika Durham (pictured).

“”We look forward to having Chef Erika join our team,” said Natale Caputo, the company’s president, in a statement. “She has a wealth of experience and brings an innovative and dynamic perspective to our organization. We look forward to seeing her gourmet creations for our customers.”

Durham obtained a degree in culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu in 1996 and had worked in restaurant and hotel kitchens before going into corporate catering, the statement reads. Her clients include Oprah Winfrey, the Lyric Opera House, People Magazine and Herman Miller.

Durham has also worked with celebrity chefs, including Art Smith, Paul Prudhomme, and Paul Bartolotta.

Too high indeed … 


“Apartment landlords in the suburbs keep hiking rents, and their buildings are a little emptier as a result,” according to a June 12 report in Crain’s Chicago Business.

According to Appraisal Research Counselors, a consulting firm based in Chicago, the “median net suburban apartment rent rose to $1.44 per square foot in the first quarter, up 3.6 percent from a year earlier,” Crain’s reports.

That makes for an interesting dilemma, the publication notes: “suburban apartment rents hit an all-time high in the first quarter while the suburban occupancy rate slipped to its lowest level in more than five years.”

PICTURE THIS: Well, first this (credit for above image of James McMillan III, founder of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party): Robert James Algeo/ 

Now this: “A hypothetical 1,000-square-foot apartment in the suburbs now rents for $1,440 a month, up 36 percent from $1,060 in 2009, when rents last bottomed out.”

Crain'sIllustration: Crain’s

BY THE WAY: Suburban apartment rents aren’t the only high-priced shelters …

ALSO: Suburban rents aren’t just rising in Chicago suburbs. Per a new report by Zillow Research, “Nationwide, rents in the suburbs rose at a faster pace year-over-year than rents in urban areas.”

“For the first time in four years, suburban rents are rising faster than rents in urban areas,” Zillow reports. “The median monthly cost of a suburban rental is up about 2.5 percent year-over-year, while the median cost of an urban rental is up 2.3 percent. At this time last year, the median urban rental price was up 5 percent year-over-year, while median suburban rental prices were up 3 percent.”

SO WHY?: Zillow offers a possible explanation:

“The foreclosure crisis pushed many former homeowners to rent the same kind of single-family homes they had owned just a few years prior – many of them very likely located in the suburbs.

“Laws prohibited many former homeowners from buying again for seven years after their foreclosures. The housing market reflects the shift: 19.2 percent of single-family homes were rented last year, up from 12.7 percent in 2005. Metro areas that had the most intense foreclosure activity – places like Las Vegas and Phoenix –have seen some of the greatest increases in the share of single-family home rentals.”

Zillow.pngIllustration: Zillow Research

WAIT, THERE’S A CONNECTION: The wave of grocery store and retail closures (both possible, pending and complete: think Aldi in Maywood, Ultra Foods in Forest Park, Meijer in Melrose Park, Sears on North Avenue, Payless ShoeSource in Broadview …) doesn’t bode well for relatively high-rent communities.

Per Zillow: “Department and general merchandise store employment dropped sharply during the first quarter of 2017.”

Zillow retail chart.png

Illustration: Zillow Research

“In the first three months of 2017, the number of jobs in department and general merchandise stores fell by 2.3 percent from the quarter prior, or 71,000 jobs, to 3.11 million – essentially erasing two years of growth in the sector, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[1] The quarterly decline was the biggest such 3-month drop since early 2012.[2]

Retail jobs pay rent



Community Bank AD_April 20 2017



Broadview Opts Out of Minimum Wage Ordinance | 25th Ave. Overpass to be Dedicated to Former Bellwood Mayor


A member of the Chicago-based advocacy group Black Workers Matter during a June 15 march in Forest Park protesting that village’s decision to opt-out of the Cook County minimum wage ordinance. | William Camargo/Wednesday Journal 

Thursday, June 15, 2017 || By Michael Romain || OPINION || @maywoodnews || Updated: 7 p.m.

Last week, the village of Broadview opted out of the Cook County’s minimum wage ordinance, contrary to my original reporting that indicated that Broadview would automatically be subject to Cook County’s minimum wage ordinance because of its non-home rule-status.

Cook County Chronicle reporter Jean Lotus was in attendance at last Monday’s board meeting where the decision was made. According to Lotus, the village’s decision could open it up to a potential lawsuit.

Lotus noted that Despres Schwartz and Geoghegan, a public interest law firm, has issued a memo stating that non-home-rule municipalities are liable to lawsuits if they opt out of the county law.

Back in April 2015, nearly 85 percent of Broadview residents voted against giving the village home rule authority, which allows municipalities to override the mandates of larger governments, namely the State of Illinois.

In the case of a new Cook County ordinance that would bring the minimum wage up to $10 an hour, home rule municipalities have the authority to “opt-out” of going along with the county ordinance so that businesses located within those towns’ borders only need to comply with the statewide minimum wage of $8 an hour.

Broadview isn’t a home-rule town, but it adopted an ordinance stating that the Illinois Constitution “provides that if a home rule county ordinance conflicts with an ordinance of a municipality, the municipal ordinance shall prevail within its jurisdiction.”

In an email letter, attorneys with the village’s contracted law firm, Del Galdo Law Group, noted that, “In effect, this provision of the Illinois Constitution serves as a check on the expansive powers of home rule counties, not as a limitation on the powers of home rule or non-home rule municipalities.”

According to the ordinance, Broadview officials found that the county’s minimum wage ordinance places “an undue burden on employers within the village given the current rights of employees available under federal and state law.”

Read the full ordinance below. This article will be updated to include the village board vote breakdown.

Village Free Press regrets the error. 


25th Avenue overpass to be dedicated to former mayor Frank Pasquale


The 25th Avenue overpass will be named in honor of former Bellwood mayor Frank Pasquale, pictured below.


Officials are preparing for a bridge dedication ceremony to take place on June 16, 10 a.m., at the 25th Avenue overpass, which will be named after former Bellwood mayor Frank Pasquale, who served in the position for 16 years before stepping down last year.

State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) introduced a House resolution that made the bridge naming possible.

“I have known Mayor Pasquale for many years, and am proud to have worked alongside him to make Bellwood a better place for everyone,” said Welch in a recent statement. “As mayor for 16 years, Frank gave so much to Bellwood, and this small token of gratitude will solidify a legacy of community service for many more years to come.” VFP

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Boykin Blasts Cook County Beverage Tax, Calls it a ‘Bad Deal’

Boykin town hall broadview.jpg

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

During a town hall meeting he co-hosted in Broadview on Saturday. Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) blasted a tax hike that adds a penny per ounce to the retail sale of sweetened drinks in the county.

The measure was passed by the Cook County board last November, with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle providing the tie-breaking vote. The tax goes into effect on July 1.

“I voted against that that beverage tax,” Boykin said during the June 3 meeting, which Boykin co-hosted with Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson.

“I thought that it was a bad deal for the people of Broadview and everywhere else,” Boykin said. When you go to the grocery store and you get that 64 ounce of grape juice, we’re going to add 64 cents to it.”

According to a June 1 Chicago Tribune article, Preckwinkle said that while raising “revenue was never my first choice,” the measure nonetheless “provides important revenue, not only to avoid damaging cuts for public health and public safety systems, but also to expand our community-based interventions in both arenas.”

Preckwinkle added that the tax also stabilizes the county’s financial status for the “next three fiscal years, during which we will not have to approve any additional tax increases.” County officials expect the tax to bring in $224 million in additional revenue each year. 

During a March 24 meeting Boykin convened at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, most of the business owners, beverage industry representatives and local elected officials in attendance seemed to disprove of the beverage tax as well.

Deno Andrews, a recently elected Oak Park trustee who owns Felony Franks, the hot dog restaurant in Oak Park, said that he’s already overtaxed as it is. A sales tax increase, he said, will only add to his financial burden.

“My small restaurant is 1,799 square feet and I pay about $25,000 a year in property taxes,” he said. “That’s essentially $500 a week. What’s sad is I pay more for property taxes than I pay any single employee on a weekly basis. I can’t pay my staff what I would like to pay them because I have another staff member — the government. That makes it very difficult.” VFP

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