Category: Economy

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”

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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 … 

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“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/thirty.inabsentiapress.com. 

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.”

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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

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Community Bank AD_April 20 2017

 

 

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

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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

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

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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’

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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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Aldi to Spend $180M Remodeling Most Chicago Area Stores

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A remodeled Aldi store | Crain’s Chicago Business | Below: The redesigned Aldi in Virginia | Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

Aldi redesign.jpgThursday, May 25, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

According to a May 16 Chicago Tribune report, “Aldi, one of the fastest growing grocery chains in the U.S., plans to spend about $180 million remodeling 130 of its 150 Chicago-area stores by 2020 — part of a broader effort to move its no-frills model into modern times.”

The remodel positions the grocery chain to compete with high-end chains like Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s. Aldi is also looking to build 400 new stores by 2020, going from 1,600 to 2,000, the Tribune reports.

“We’re becoming more and more mainstream with more customers,” Aldi U.S. CEO Jason Hart told Crain’s in February. “We’ve got older stores. We need to get up to date.”

Bellwood, Broadview and Melrose Park each have an Aldi location. Last December, the Aldi located in Maywood (the village’s only full-service grocery store), closed due to high property taxes and lagging sales, according to company officials.

So far, there’s been no word on whether the Bellwood, Broadview and Melrose Park Aldi locations will be included in the $180 million Chicago area remodeling effort. Attempts to contact company officials were unsuccessful.

For an idea of what the remodeled stores will look like, refer to a redesigned Aldi that opened on Montrose Avenue in Chicago in April.

According to a report on the store opening in the Daily Herald, “Remodeled stores will also get a more modern design, open ceilings, natural lighting and environmentally friendly building materials, such as recycled materials, energy-saving refrigeration and LED lighting.”

And last October, Aldi debuted a newly designed store in Richmond, Virginia that Business Insider said “looks almost identical to Whole Foods’ new cheaper chain of stores called 365 by Whole Foods.”

“The Aldi store has softer lighting than its older stores, as well as a larger fresh produce section, wider aisles, and electronic displays on the walls.” VFP

Get to eating healthy now!

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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.

NYT schools graphic

P A I D  A D V E R T I S E M E N T S 

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