Category: Health

Loyola to Offer Free Cervical and Breast Cancer Screenings Aug. 19

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 || By Community Editor | Loyola Medicine Newsroom|| @maywoodnews || Photo: National Cancer Institute 

Free mammograms and Pap tests will be offered at Loyola University Medical Center to qualifying uninsured women on Saturday, August 19.

The See, Test and Treat® event will be held at the Loyola Outpatient Center, 2160 S. First Ave., Maywood, Illinois. Advance registration is required and the number of appointments is limited. Women ages 30 to 64 interested in participating are invited to call 888-584-7888 to verify eligibility and make an appointment.

Continue reading “Loyola to Offer Free Cervical and Breast Cancer Screenings Aug. 19”


Mosquito Spraying Aug. 9 in Maywood, Broadview

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 || By Bob Uphues/Riverside-Brookfield Landmark || @maywoodnews 

The Des Plaines Valley Mosquito Abatement District will be spraying in a number of west suburban areas on Aug. 9 between 8 p.m. and midnight. Spraying is a way for the district to control the adult mosquito population during a time in which the district is seeing an increase in positive tests for West Nile Virus.

Continue reading “Mosquito Spraying Aug. 9 in Maywood, Broadview”

In Maywood, a Gardening Revolution Could Be Slowly Taking Root


Christopher Epps, the full-time gardener responsible for cultivating the Proviso Giving Garden in Maywood. | Michael Romain/VFP

Saturday, July 8, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

The closing of Aldi in Maywood last year, and Ultra Food in Forest Park and Meijer in Melrose Park this year, have created something of a desert in Proviso Township when it comes to places residents can go to get fresh produce.

But on Madison St. in Maywood, right across the street from Proviso East High School and adjacent ReUse Depot, there’s an oasis.

“I grew too much,” said Christopher Epps, 36, during an interview on Saturday. Epps is the full-time gardener who is slowly, deliberately making the Proviso Partners Giving Garden the start of what he hopes will be a paradigm shift in how Proviso Township residents relate to the food they eat.

He pointed his soiled hand to raised beds of carrots, egg plants, bell peppers, jalapeños, yellow and blue watermelons, collard greens, brussels sprouts, swiss chard, tomato, rhubarb, basil, cilantro, dill — all of it grown organically on a sliver of land that’s roughly the size of someone’s backyard.

“I’m aiming to grow 4,000 pounds of [food],” Epps said. “Right now, I’m at, like, 487. At this rate, I might get more than 4,000 pounds.”

The work of Epps and the Giving Garden are the result of around $2.5 million in grants that Proviso Partners for Health (PP4H) will receive over five years from Trinity Health.

Formed in 2014, PP4H is a coalition of stakeholders that united to fight against childhood obesity in the western suburbs.

The community stakeholders include “Loyola University Health System, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, as well as Proviso-Leyden Council for Community Action, Proviso East High School, Quinn Community Center, Green Business Network and more than a dozen other community and social service organizations, government agencies and businesses,” according to,” according to a 2016 Loyola statement announcing the series of Trinity grants.

Epps said he partnered with PP4H and Trinity in order “to teach all of the kids in the area how to grow food.” The grant funding allows Epps to work the garden full-time, 40 hours a week. Epps volunteers another 45 hours on top of the hours for which he’s paid. 

“This was a trial period,” Epps said of the garden, adding that if all goes according to his ambitions, the Madison Street garden will be the first of 13. He plans to set down 12 more gardens in Bellwood, Broadview and Maywood over the next three years.

Each Saturday this summer, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., volunteers will be selling produce grown in the Giving Garden on Madison at a farm stand erected in front of ReUse Depot. Prices for vegetable bundles, such as carrots and chard, range from $1 to $3.

What isn’t sold is donated to charities and social organizations like the Quinn Community Center in Maywood, where all of the produce from the garden is stored after its picked.

By September, Epps said, the garden’s produce will be sold on shelves in four corner stores — two in Maywood, one in Forest Park and one in Oak Park.

“The idea is to make Proviso Township a sustainable food hub,” said Epps. “Some people have to leave outside of the township just to get food and it shouldn’t be that way. You can have a neighborhood that way but you can never have a community that way.”

Epps said that the idea of eating organic produce is a learning process for many residents, one that he helps expedite by often giving away food to residents who live nearby and to the elderly.


Keion Mackey, a Berkeley resident who volunteers with the Proviso Giving Garden in Maywood. | Michael Romain/VFP

“This is food is healing people,” he said. “It’s also a tool for the elderly in the neighborhood to come out. Each morning I speak with them and we exchange ideas.”

The garden is also a place to cultivate young minds like that of Keion Mackey, a teenager who lives in Berkeley but who volunteers his time on the weekends at the garden.

“I’ve been gardening since I was little, when I did it with my grandmother,” he said. “It feels like I’ve been doing this my whole life. My family owns land in Arkansas and Mississippi that we lease to the government to grow soil.”

Alyssa Post, a rising senior at Illinois State University and aspiring dietician who is undergoing an internship at Loyola, said her time at the garden is essential to her career path.

“When I graduate this upcoming spring, I have to do dietetic rotations and Loyola has a master’s program that I eventually want to enroll in,” she said.

Until then, she takes in the hard-earned mastery of Epps, who was on an entirely different career trajectory before taking up gardening.

“Five years ago, I was a forklift operator at Waste Management,” he said. “I was stuck, though. My pay had peaked at around $19. I said, ‘I need to do something else.’ I saw an ad for an internship with the Chicago Botanical Garden. I applied, got it and graduated at the top of my class. They introduced me to PP4H.”

Epps said that, in addition to scaling up, his plans for the Madison St. garden point are sky high — quite literally.

“It’s going to get better,” he said. “I’m thinking about expanding to the roof. You know McCormick Place has the largest rooftop garden in the Midwest. I helped put it up there.” VFP

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Organic Veggie Boxes, Cooking Classes and Farm Visits Offered Right Out of Maywood

Maywood Garden XIII

Monday, May 15, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

Time is running out to sign up for a veggie box for pickup in Maywood this summer. Deliveries begin on Thursday, June 8 and the last day to sign up is Saturday, May 27.

Here’s a sample of last season’s boxes to give you an idea of the colorful variety you can expect through the season:

The CSA (Veggie Box) Program

  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)* creates a direct relationship between a farmer and the people who eat their food; it’s more than just a box of​ vegetables! You’ll receive crop descriptions, recipes, and newsletters about life on the farm. Through a CSA, you become a “member” of the farm, not just a customer.
  • Kings Hill Farm, a certified organic farm from Wisconsin, will be providing 10- or 20-week veggie boxes (CSA) June 8-Oct 19 in Maywood.
  • You can select either a large or small share and you may select either size every week (20 weeks) or every other week (10 weeks).
  • Pickups will be on Thursdays at the Quinn Center at St Eulalia.
  • Costs for a seasons’ worth of organic veggies range from $255 to $615.
  • Link card can be used to pay for membership and, through a generous grant, Link CSA members will receive additional monthly coupons to help cover approximately 25% of the cost (Link payments and pick-ups will be at PLCCA, 411 Madison, Maywood).
  • Any questions? Call Robin 708-370-8017 or email
  • You can sign up online at for any of the shares, but feel free to contact me (Robin) if you’d like any of the membership applications or other info to promote this within your networks or to sign up with a hard copy by mail.

If you are connected with a congregation, perhaps you’d like to create a Congregation Supported Agriculture program at your church by having the church purchase a few shares for distribution or by promoting the program within your congregation.

Congregations provide a natural setting for a CSA, and no doubt, a part of your church’s mission is stewardship of the Earth which is furthered by support of a small-scale farm that grows food sustainably. Let me know if I can help you reach out within your congregation.

If you are from outside the Maywood area or just want to learn more about CSAs, check out this Chicagoland CSA Guide.

The Farm Visit

Kings Hill Farm is hosting an Open House for CSA members on June 3rd. Sign up for your summer share now and RSVP with the farm to see where your summer bounty is coming from!

The Cooking Class

See the attached flyer for information about a healthy Cooking Class being held at Quinn Center on the evening of May 26th for Adults and Children age 10 and up. The class will be led by the folks at CLOCC (Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children). RSVP to (CSA membership is not required for this free event.) VFP

At Resource Fair, Maywood Seniors Enjoy Chair Yoga

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Senior citizens participate in Chair Yoga during the April 22 Ideas for Life Senior Fair held in Maywood. Below, a senior receives a free health screening. | Michael Romain/VFP

Maywood Senior Fair_1Thursday, April 27, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

More than 100 senior citizens packed the Maywood Multipurpose Building, 200 S. 5th Ave., last Saturday for several hours of free health screenings, resource workshops, socializing and even Chair Yoga.

The April 22 event, dubbed the “Ideas for Life Senior Fair,” was organized by the Village of Maywood and Solutions for Care, an organization started in 1972 to assist senior citizens and adults living with disabilities. The fair was the first of its kind in the organization’s history.

“The purpose of this was to connect seniors in Maywood and other areas in Proviso Township with resources and have them all in one room,” said Christine Flynn, a representative with Solutions for Care.

Along with Solutions for Care, other local anchor institutions and organizations were represented at the fair, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Westlake Hospital, Oak Street Health, the West Cook YMCA and Proviso Township.

Westlake healthcare providers administered free health screenings while representatives with Proviso Township passed out literature promoting the township’s array of senior services, which include free transportation to and from medical appointments, handy man services application-writing assistance, among other services.

Representatives with the West Cook YMCA guided a roomful of at least 40 seniors in Chair Yoga exercises as David Myers, Maywood’s Assistant Village Manager, who helped coordinate the event, looked on with a smile.

“We wanted this to be an event where our seniors could get hardcore information that would be a resource to them,” Myers said. “I talked to Larry Shapiro, the Maywood Senior Club coordinator, and he thought it was a good idea.”

Connie Riales, a senior club member who helped Shapiro organize the event along with Myers and Flynn, said that most of the members of her club were in attendance.

“I think this is important because seniors still make a difference,” she said. “Without their wisdom, [the world] wouldn’t exist. We need the wisdom of our seniors.” VFP

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Autism Awareness Leader, the Focus of a PBS Special, Uses Maywood, River Forest to Illustrate Disorder’s Racial Divide

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A PBS NewsHour segment profiles Debra Vines, below left, James Harlan and their adult son Jason Harlan, pictured above during his childhood years. | Screenshot

Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 9.22.05 PM.pngTuesday, February 7, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews

Debra Vines, the founder and executive director of the Forest Park-based nonprofit The Answer, Inc., looked into the camera with a disarming smile to put autism and other mental impairments on notice.

They may exist, but they won’t define those who have them — especially not her son, Jason Harlan.

“Jason is going to be the first autism model on the cover of GQ magazine,” Vines told special correspondent John Donvan in a PBS NewsHour segment that aired Tuesday night.

PBS profiled Vines, her son Jason and her husband James Harlan for the segment, called “Children of color with autism face disparities of care and isolation.”

“When you’re black and autistic, you face a set of disparities,” Donvan said during a voice-over narration set against footage of the family preparing food in their kitchen.

“They begin with the fact that, when it comes to autism, diagnosis skews white,” the correspondent says bluntly, summarizing the analysis of Laura Anthony, a neuropsychologist with the Children’s National Medical Center.

“If you’re anything other than a 7-year-old white boy, even if you’re a 7-year-old white girl, you’re less likely to be identified with autism,” Anthony said.

To illustrate that racial chasm, Vines took Donvan to a bridge along Madison Street that spans the Des Plaines river and is like an invisible wall separating predominantly black Maywood and predominantly white River Forest.

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PBS Correspondent John Donvan interviews state Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) during a Feb. 7 segment on autism’s racial divide. | Screenshot

“Once you’re in River Forest, the services for special needs are like the Holy Grail,” Vines told Donvan. “The services just open up for special rec, for education, for advocacy, for ADA.”

Pointing in the direction of Maywood, “There’s no special rec this way,” Vines said.

The segment also explores Vines motivations for starting her now well-known nonprofit, so-called, Vines said, told Donvan because of its unique mission (“so many families are always asking questions [about autism and other mental impairments], so we want to be able to provide them the answers”).

Vines told Donvan that she realized that there was something lacking in her capacity to provide for Jason, that she “doing it all wrong,” after going out of her community to a support group, where she was the only African-American. The disadvantages, she realized were “because of where [I] lived.”

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A graphic showing Center for Disease Control statistics during the FEb. 7 PBS segment. 

“Meanwhile,” Donvan noted, “she also learned that her own African-American community was not entirely accepting of Jason’s difference.”

James Harlan said that he had to also deal with the feeling of shame that he experienced during his encounters with those in his community who weren’t very sensitive to his son’s needs.

Learn more about Debra’s and James’s experiences raising their son Jason, and about their fight to bridge the racial resource and awareness gap between blacks and whites who area dealing with autism by watching the entire PBS segment here. To read more about The Answer, Inc., click hereVFP

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Westlake Hospital Offering Free Mammograms During Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Monday, October 3, 2016 || By COMMUNITY EDITOR || @maywoodnews

According to the 2016 Ford Warriors in Pink Survey, nearly all Americans (98 percent) “are aware breast cancer is a serious health threat; 98 percent recognize that it affects women, while 89 percent recognize it affects men.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so organizations like Ford Warriors are taking to media platforms like the Today Show to broadcast messages of prevention and wellness.

Westlake Hospital, 1225 W. Lake St., in Melrose Park is celebrating the month by offering free mammograms, as it does every year, to residents living in the west suburbs.

All participants must be at least 4o years old, or between 35 and 40 with a strong family history of breast cancer, and are required to some proof of residency, such as a photo ID, driver’s license or utility bill.

All FREE screenings must be scheduled and take place in October. A physician’s order is also required. Call (708) 783-5000 to setup a screening mammogram today. Space is limited. VFP

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