Category: People

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


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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