Category: People

BRIEFLY: Halloween Fun Overtakes Villages | Maywood Tosses Landmark Removal Proposal | Sun-Times Revisits Tom Wood Murder 10 Years Later | More

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Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley with attendees at the Maywood Park District’s annual Halloween Fest on Saturday. | Photo submitted || Below: Participants during Broadview Park District’s haunted house. | Broadview Park District/Facebook

Broadview Haunted House.jpgSunday, October 30, 2016 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

Residents in Maywood and Broadview enjoyed Halloween festivities on Saturday thanks to numerous social service organizations and the two park districts in those towns.

In Maywood, the fun took place outside, on the grounds of Veterans Park, 125 S. 5th Ave. Participants were treated to a hay maze, hot chocolate and cider, candy prizes, pony rides and more.

In Broadview, participants enjoyed a haunted house, along with free entertainment and candy, among other fall activities.

Sun-Times Revisits Tom Wood Murder, 10 Years Later

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Ten years after the death of Maywood Police Officer Tom Wood, whose Oct. 23, 2006 murder is still unsolved, reporter Robert Herguth revisited the long-dormant case for the Chicago Sun-Times in a story featured on the cover (sans Cubs wraparound) of the paper’s Sunday, Oct. 30 edition.

Herguth catches up with former Maywood Police Chief Elvia Williams, who is currently running the Richton Park police department, and also talks with current Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley.

Williams tells Herguth that, while she still doesn’t know who murdered Wood, she’s optimistic the case will be solved sometime in “the next couple of years.”

Randy Brown, the Maywood detective who works the Wood case part-time, tells Herguth that the department will make a renewed push next year to start “re-interviewing people.” Talley adds that, next year, evidence in connection to the case will be re-examined, among other developments.

“‘I owe it to the family,’ Talley says, as well as fellow cops and the community ‘to bring closure. I’m definitely committed to getting this resolved.'”

To read the full Sun-Times report, click here.

Maywood Liquor Sales Could Start an Hour Earlier on Sundays

liquor.jpgAt a Oct. 26 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted unanimously to send to a regular board meeting for final approval a motion that would allow retail liquor sales to start at 11 a.m. on Sundays, an hour ahead of the current 12 p.m. start time that current regulations call for.

The Maywood Liquor Commission, which is chaired by Mayor Edwenna Perkins, unanimously recommended that the board approve the the motion, which retailers say will allow them to compete with retailers in nearby communities that sell liquor earlier in the day.

According to village officials, each holder of a liquor license in the village is in compliance with regulations and in good standing. Officials say there are currently 15 active liquor licenses in Maywood as of Aug. 17.

The board is expected to make a binding vote on the new hours at a regular meeting on Nov. 1.

Maywood Board Tosses Proposed Landmark Removal Ordinance

At the Oct. 26 LLOC, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted 4-3 for “the outright denial and rejection” of a proposed ordinance that would allow owners of properties in the village that have been designated local historic landmarks to remove that designation by appealing directly to the Board of Trustees, and bypassing the Historic Preservation Commission.

Trustees Antonette Dorris, Melvin Lightford and Ron Rivers, who pushed for the proposal, have argued that landmark status could hamper potential development, particularly of the Maywood Home for Soldiers Widows, near the corner of Lake St. and First Ave.

Maywood Trustee Michael Rogers, who made the tersely stated motion, argued that landmark status is no different than any other regulation that protects the historical character and integrity of the community.

Cook County Board of Commissioners Presents Resolution in Honor of Iberia Hampton 

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During an Oct. 26 meeting, the Cook County Board of Commissioners honored longtime Maywood resident Iberia Hampton, the mother of Fred Hampton, with a resolution.

The legislation was sponsored by Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), in whose district Hampton lived until her death on Oct. 17 at age 94.

You can read the full resolution by clicking here.

State Rep. named ‘Legislator of the Year’

Rep. WelchState Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th), whose district includes Maywood, was honored on Oct. 28 by the Illinois Association of School Social Workers as the “Legislator of the Year” for his 2016 legislative work in Springfield.

Welch was presented the award during the organization’s 46th Annual Conference, which took place in Lisle.

The group, which honored Welch’s body of education-related work, specifically referenced his hand in the passage of HB 4996 — a law signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner allows school districts “to appoint social workers as the district’s liaison with the Department of Children and Family Services to help coordinate services to foster children within a school district,” according to a statement released by Welch.

“Currently, Illinois school districts serve over 10,000 foster kids across 800 districts, and there is no mechanism in place to properly track services provided,” the statement noted. ” HB4996 will correct this issue, and it will also help Illinois as it prepares to comply with the new Federal Every Student Succeeds Act.” VFP

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Proviso West Alum to Open New Specialty Brew Cafe in Oak Park

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Darrell and Reesheda Washington outside of their soon-to-open coffee shop, L!VE Cafe, in Oak Park. The space will be a one-of-a-kind gathering spot for visionaries and coffee connoisseurs alike. | William Camargo/Wednesday Journal

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Reesheda Graham-Washington, a graduate of Proviso West High School, is looking forward to opening what she and her co-owner husband, Darrell Washington, say could be one of the few specialty coffee shops in the western suburbs. But their ambitions go beyond serving cups of java.

L!VE Cafe, scheduled to open in mid-November at 163 S. Oak Park Ave., will be “an event cafe and creative space that aims to build bridges between communities with different demographic make ups, specifically the Oak Park and Austin communities,” said Darrell.

A self-described coffee enthusiast, Darrell said in addition to that larger mission, the cafe’s product will be more sophisticated than most west suburban and West Side consumers may be used to. 

“Specialty coffee shops don’t exist anywhere in the area,” he said. “This will be a place where you can experience a coffee tasting, a nitro brew and really dive into the culture of coffee as opposed to going somewhere with the mindset, ‘I need coffee, so I’ll just get a cup.'” 

The owners said L!VE will have two primary roasters of specialty-grade coffee — Wheaton-based River City Roasters and I Have a Bean — each of which blends their roasting production with social values.

“River City is very mission-driven and focused on building relationships — not just stateside, but across the waters where farmers themselves are,” Darrell said. “I Have a Bean focuses on hiring felons. They’ve developed a process of roasting that’s easy enough for someone coming fresh out of jail who needs money to learn and make a living on without spending years in school.”

Reesheda, a former school teacher, said the couple envisions the space as an intersection of diverse ideas, people and experiences.

“We have a significant heart and passion for bringing communities together,” she said. “When we see communities like Austin that are resilient in non-fiscal ways, robust and dignified and proud, and they’re situated next to communities like Oak Park, which may have many of those same tenets in addition to having financial resources along with socioeconomic robustness — we think there’s an opportunity for some mutuality. We think those communities can learn from each other.”

Reesheda said they want to “shift away from” a model of philanthropy that’s a one-way street, with limited resources flowing from wealthy communities into relatively impoverished ones with little to no reciprocity.

“We want to think about the assets of both communities and how they can strengthen and grow each other,” she said.

The couple provided much of the startup capital for the cafe out of their own pockets, she said, but additional resources came in the form of people they consider partners giving small donations over a period of roughly a year, plus volunteers giving time and in-kind donations (like furniture for the cafe), and substantial funding from Community Bank of Oak Park-River Forest.

The latter, the couple said, decided to take a risk on the non-traditional nature of their business concept.

“They were willing to work with us and come up with a plan and some possibilities that have helped us to exist,” Resheeda said, “so we’re grateful for the pliability that they’ve exhibited as a partner.” VFP

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Spotlight: In Broadview, an Art Gallery Hides in Plain Sight

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Robert Walker, the owner of Gold Elite Jewelers, inside of the small gallery space adjacent the jewelry store earlier this month. | Shanel Romain/Village Free Press 

robert-walker-iiFriday, September 30, 2016 || By COMMUNITY EDITOR || @maywoodnews

A west suburban artistic gem could be hiding in place sight, despite its affiliation with one of Broadview’s business staples — Gold Elite Jewelers, 2140 S. 17th Ave.

The jewelry store has been located on the corner of 17th Ave. and Roosevelt Rd. for nearly a decade. Owner Robert Walker runs a smooth ship.

“We’ve been in business for about 15 years and have been here for about nine years,” said Walker, who also serves as an associate pastor at Broadview Missionary Baptist Church, located just down the street from his business.

The spacious store is open and relaxed, with comfortable seating for customers to contemplate the store’s numerous offerings — from engagement and wedding rings to jewelry cleaning and small lending services.

But what’s perhaps less well known, however, is the gallery space adjacent the jewelry store, where the work of well-known Chicago area fine artist Rodney Wade (also known as The Idealist), among other talents, line the walls.

“My son is the one who really operates the gallery,” said Walker. “He and Rodney are really good friends. So, Rodney’s stuff is on display and so are other artists, who have their stuff up on consignment. We also host art shows and other events.”

Walker said the gallery space has been in existence for roughly a year and is more heavily used during holidays than at other times of the year.

Wade’s colorful, energetic abstractions are more than selling points. They create an ambience that make for great conversation and warm backdrops to live music.

“We don’t get much daily traffic,” Walker said, adding that a more intense marketing campaign might change that.

Marketing or no marketing, area art enthusiasts should learn about this museum-like nook on Roosevelt Road seemingly hidden from plain sight. Once inside, you’ll find a world that you may not want to leave. VFP

Bottom left, the work of Chicago artist Rodney Wade lines the walls of the gallery space adjacent Gold Elite Jewelers. The space also features the work of other artists. 

 

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A Maywood Court of Mercy Administers Second Chances

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Limmy Williams, 49, of Bellwood, receives recognition for completing two years in a Cook County drug court treatment program during a small courtroom ceremony last month. | Below, the court’s presiding judge, Ramon Ocasio III, presents participants with their certificates of completion. | William Camargo/Wednesday Journal

Judge Ocasio.pngFriday, June 17, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || @village_free

Nowadays, Bellwood resident Limmy Williams, 49, is grateful for the little things — like a tooth brush, toothpaste, deodorant and sobriety.

“I thought I’d never be standing here today,” Williams said during an unconventional graduation ceremony last month inside of a courtroom at the Fourth Municipal District Courthouse in Maywood.

The fourth district is home to one of the first three drug treatment courts in the Cook County court system. The treatment courts are one of five types of specialty courts — including ones for veterans, mental health treatment and prostitution — that emphasize alternative means of punishment over the meting out of conventional justice.

“This is about the criminal justice system treating you as a person instead of as another case or another disposition,” retired judge Lawrence Fox told the six graduates at a May 26 ceremony.

For 12 years, Fox presided over the first Rehabilitation Alternative Probation, or RAP, program, established at the county’s main criminal division court at 26th and California in 1998. Since then, alternative treatment courts have been established within all of the county’s municipal divisions and more than 3,300 people have participated, according to county court officials.

The six graduates were all leaving the program after two years of close monitoring and intense treatment — starting with 120 days at one of the county’s residential treatment programs and subsequent months of weekly drug testing and monthly appearances before a judge. Each participant’s progress is closely tracked by a team, including a probation officer, a public defender, a prosecutor and at least one judge, among other officials. Fox said he meets frequently with the court’s presiding judge, Ramon Ocasio III, to discuss each defendant.

“There’s a lot of brainstorming,” Fox said. “We’re always thinking, ‘Well, what can we do or say? What are the next steps? Are we giving this person everything they need? Are they trying hard enough to take advantage of what they’re being offered?”

Ocasio said he likens his role to that of a mentor or life coach, the process being premised more on empathy than strict jurisprudence.

“I’m constantly thinking about what issues are they facing, how they’re doing, have they found a job or are they involved in job training,” Ocasio said. “These are people who are dealing with all sorts of challenges.”

In order to be eligible for the treatment program, defendants have to be willing to participate, admit their drug addiction, and their convictions must be non-violent. Fox said he personally supervises around 19 eligible individuals in his post-retirement.

“The typical participant is in his mid-40s, has been using for almost 10 years, and is a repeat offender with felony cases,” Fox said. “A really good percentage of them have been in the penitentiary before, so this program is really their last, best hope. And that’s really the point. We want to target the most challenging cases because the research says that they respond much better to what we do than people who don’t have as extensive criminal records.”

According to county data, the RAP program has a 40 percent completion rate. And recidivism rates for graduates who have completed the program after three years have been cut by 84 percent.

Williams and his fellow graduates rejoiced at learning from Ocasio that all of their outstanding court fines and probation fees would be waived and their cases dismissed.

“It’s going to be like this never happened,” said Ocasio. “In drug treatment court, we have a presumption of mercy.”

That presumption and the support system he had for two years constantly reinforcing the sense that he could beat his addiction is why he’s sober today, Williams said.

“I never completed anything in my life,” Williams said. “This is the only thing I completed and I’m proud of it. That addiction was truly what was holding me back. Now that the courts have given me another chance, I’m going to take it and roll with and do something positive.” VFP

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Milestones: Maywood Native Paris Lee Makes ISU Basketball History For … | Village Salutes 100-year-0ld

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Paris Lee #1 of the Illinois State Redbirds looks to keep the ball in bounds against the Wichita State Shockers during the MVC Basketball Tournament Semifinals at the Scottrade Center on March 7, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. | Caption and photo by Getty Images/Dilip Vishwanat.

Friday, February 26, 2016 || By COMMUNITY EDITOR || Updated: 5:20 PM

Paris Lee, 20, a sophomore point guard for Illinois State University, made that school’s athletic history books during a 70-53 win in Carbondale on Feb. 25 against Southern Illinois University.

Lee, a Proviso East Pirate, led all scorers with 21 points, a career high, according to SB Nation. Lee’s two steals also moved him “into second place on the Redbirds all-time list with 182. He is 40 behind record holder Ron Jones.”

Lee’s performance boosted his team into second place in the Missouri Valley conference. They “can finish no lower than third heading into the conference tournament.”

As a Pirate, Lee averaged over 10 points and 5 assists a game, helping a 29-4 team advance to the Illinois High School Association 4A semifinal game, where they lost to eventual state champion Chicago Simeon. Lee also played for the renowned Mac Irvin Fire AAU program.

Maywood salutes 100-year-old Bithella Bulger

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100-year-old Bithelle Bulger with (left to right): Maywood Police Sgt. Daryl Fairley, Maywood Trustee Isiah Brandon, Maywood employee Jonette Greenhow and Maywood Deputy Police Chief Elijah Willis. | Photo courtesy Maywood Police Department.

At a Feb. 24 Maywood Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, the village Board of Trustees presented Bithelle Bulger with a resolution marking her 100th birthday.

The longtime Maywood resident turned 100 on Feb. 25, according to the resolution, which noted that Bulger “continues to amaze everyone with her positive attitude and her ever-present warm and friendly smile.”

It also noted that Bulger “is a faithful member of the community and it is well known that few have accomplished as much in their lifetimes as Mrs. Bulger,” who still leads a full life and maintains a good sense of humor.”

Maywood Fine Arts To Kickoff New Studio Construction With March 5 Fundraiser

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[MAYWOOD FINE ARTS] Maywood Fine Arts and Stairway of the Stars Alumni are coming back to Maywood to put on a show that shouldn’t be missed. Over 30 Alumni will be performing on March 5 at Maywood Fine Arts.

The show entitled “Dig a Little Deeper” features dancing, singing and comedy skits performed by this extremely talented group. Stop by the old bank vault for a beer, wine or a signature “Stairway Girl” cocktail. Margaritas and Tamales will be served in the newly renovated art studio.

Hors d’oeuvres will be served throughout the night and our band, Phase 2, will hit the stage at 11 PM.  This fundraiser will also kickoff the construction of the brand new $1.8 Million Dollar Dance Studio, which will unify Maywood’s Arts District.

The show has a casino/construction theme and the message is to “Double Down” and give to the children of Maywood and its surrounding communities.

Tickets can be purchased by clicking “Dig a Little Deeper” by clicking here. VFP

N O T I F I C A T I O N 

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Black Female United Airlines Pilot Is A Broadview Native And Lindop Grad

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Nia Wordlaw sits for a PBS interview. Below, she’s pictured in the September 2015 issue of Marie Claire magazine. Wordlaw was born in Chicago and raised in the western suburbs, attending grade school at Lindop in Broadview. She currently a first officer of a B-787 airplane and is based in Houston, Texas. 

Wordlaw IIMonday, November 2, 2015 || Published: The Beachwood Reporter || 11/1/15 || By WNET

Chicago area native Nia Wordlaw is one of 15 women featured in American Masters: The Women’s List [which premiered nationwide in September] on PBS and locally on WTTW. The film is available same day on DVD via Perfect Day Films Inc. at shoppbs.org and is streaming on the American Masters website.

Wordlaw is one of approximately 25 black female pilots flying for a major airline in the U.S. today.

She attended Lindop Elementary School in Broadview, IL, Oak Park and River Forest High School in Oak Park, IL, Lewis University in Romeoville, IL and is an alumnus of Southern Illinois University, where she did her flight training. She moved to Houston in 2007 and is currently employed by United Airlines.

At age 10 she knew she wanted to fly after attending space camp, even though she had never seen a Black female pilot. She heard that a funeral was being held in the area for Janet Harmon Bragg, a pilot who circumvented racist attitudes about Black pilots and in the 1940s helped to build an airfield in the then-all-Black town of Robbins, Ill.”

When she met a black female pilot at the service, she hugged her and cried. Now, as a pilot who’s been flying commercially for 15 years, with regular routes to South America, Africa and Europe, Wordlaw said she hopes she can be a role model to kids who stare at the sky like she once did.

She is that role model to at least one local teenager. Her 13-year-old son dreams of being a pilot one day, just like his mom.

“‘It just makes a difference to see someone who looks like you,’ she says in the documentary, noting that she has been hugged and kissed while walking through airports in her uniform.” VFP

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Michael Curry, Baptized In A Maywood Church, Becomes First Black Head of Episcopal Denomination

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Bishop Michael Curry, who was installed as the new presiding bishop of the 2.5 million-member Episcopal Church. | Jill Knight.

CurryMonday, November 2, 2015 || Originally Published: The Christian Century || 11/2/15 || By Adelle M. Banks

Curry was baptized in St. Simon of Cyrene Church, the Maywood congregation where his father served as a priest

WASHINGTON (RNS) || After knocking loudly three times on the door of the Washington National Cathedral, Bishop Michael Curry was installed as the new presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church Sunday (November 1), the first African-American to lead the 2.5 million-member denomination.

Curry preached on how his father was moved to become an Episcopalian after watching a church welcome his then-fiancee to drink from the common Communion cup in the often-segregated 1940s.

“The Holy Spirit has done evangelism and racial reconciliation before in the Episcopal Church,” he told a congregation of almost 2,500. But he added: “God is not finished with this church. God has work for us to do. Jesus has shown us the way and we are the Jesus movement, so my brothers and sisters, walk together, children, don’t you get weary.”

The service of almost three hours encompassed the traditions of the church and the diversity Curry, 62, is encouraging it to embrace. He was elected during an unprecedented first ballot at the church’s General Convention this summer after serving 15 years as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.

When church leaders, including his predecessor, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, welcomed him into the door of the cathedral, Curry declared himself a “child of God, baptized in St. Simon of Cyrene Church,” the Maywood, Illinois, congregation where his father [pictured below] served as a priest.

He then used boxwood fronds to sprinkle the worshippers with holy water to remind them of their baptism. Instrumentalists later played Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.”

A dashiki-clad gospel choir from a Philadelphia Episcopal church sang its rocking rendition of Bill Gaither’s “He Touched Me.” Piscataway Indians drummed and chanted as 150 bishops processed into the cathedral and Scriptures were later read in Spanish and Lakota. Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim faith leaders took turns offering prayers of blessing for Curry.

In his sermon, in which he quoted Charles Dickens, Bobby McFerrin (“Don’t worry, be happy”), and Jesus, Curry gave a new interpretation of the Good Samaritan story. He noted that a Muslim might be the one to care for a person in need.

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“Or change it even more: A police officer was beaten and wounded and it was an African-American young man or a Latino young man or woman who brought healing,” he said.

At the same convention where Curry was elected, the Episcopal Church voted to make marriage liturgies available to same-sex couples across the church while protecting the conscience of clergy who oppose such ceremonies.

A supporter of LGBT rights, Curry has said he nevertheless intends to keep his denomination open to those who may not share his perspective.

“I really do believe that when Jesus said ‘go make disciples of all nations,’ ‘all’ really meant all,” he told Religion News Service in a recent interview. “That means traditionalists and progressives.”

Todd R. Dill, rector of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Waxhaw, North Carolina, was among the theologically conservative Episcopalians who attested to Curry’s inclusive nature. Though he and Curry differ on the issue of marriage, he said they agree on feeding the hungry, caring for the marginalized and preaching the gospel.

“I believe that Bishop Curry’s fervor for the Lord has shaped his faith and his leadership and has uniquely positioned him as a unifying and reconciling voice during these deeply divided times,” Dill said. “He has done that in North Carolina and it is my prayer that he can help bring this sense of unity to our national church and our international communion.”

Members of the Union of Black Episcopalians, who have called Curry’s election their “Obama moment,” hosted a vigil Saturday at the D.C. Armory, allowing more people to celebrate his installation. That group also provided a live-stream of the installation on large screens at the same location as dozens of churches held viewing parties across the country.

Annette Buchanan, president of the Union of Black Episcopalians, said about 2,000 people, mostly black Episcopalians, gathered for the vigil.

“But in addition to that it was a rainbow of people from across our church—every culture, every ethnicity participated in the service,” she said. “It absolutely embodies what he stands for, which is the whole church being reconciled to Christ.”

Anne Hodges-Copple, suffragan bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina, said Curry’s focus on evangelism will bridge divides in the nationwide church.

“The Episcopal Church has never been cold but I think that Bishop Curry turns up the heat,” she said. “He takes the fear factor out of evangelism.”

Curry informed those gathered that the ceremony was less about him and more about them becoming part of what he calls the “Jesus movement.”

“That’s why we are here,” he told them. “That movement turns the world upside down.” VFP