Tag: Bellwood

One Dead, Another Wounded in Aug. 28 Bellwood Shooting

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews

One man was killed and another man was wounded during a shooting on the 400 block of 24th Ave. in Bellwood, according to a WGN 9 report.

The two men were sitting on their porch at around 9 p.m. on Aug. 28 when a group of people walked up to them and started shooting, police said.

Continue reading “One Dead, Another Wounded in Aug. 28 Bellwood Shooting”


‘Let This Boy Make It’: A Bellwood Shooting Victim’s Story Goes National

Monday, August 21, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews

Feature photo: A screenshot of the Washington Post profile of new Bellwood resident Latee Smith, from the paper’s website. | Washington Post 

Last year, on March 21, 2016, 15-year-old Latee Smith was shot on the West Side of Chicago. He’d barely survived. But as soon as he got out of surgery, his mind kept racing around one theme: killing the person who nearly killed him.

Continue reading “‘Let This Boy Make It’: A Bellwood Shooting Victim’s Story Goes National”

Taste of Bellwood Deemed A Success By Vendors as Mayor Anticipates Next Year

Sunday, August 6, 2017 || By Shanel Romain || @maywoodnews || UPDATED: 8/10/17

Sergio Minniti, of Westchester, and his business partner, Bobby Anzaldi, of Melrose Park, were nothing but smiles on Sunday as the first-ever Taste of Bellwood wrapped up.

Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey said the two-day event, which started on Aug. 5 and happened along Washington Blvd. (between Eastern and 25th Avenues), was perhaps the biggest event of its kind in nearly two decades, attracting a crowd he estimated may have been around 5,000 strong over two days.

Continue reading “Taste of Bellwood Deemed A Success By Vendors as Mayor Anticipates Next Year”

25th Avenue Overpass Named After Former Bellwood Mayor Frank Pasquale

Frank Pasquale Overpass_1

Left to right: State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey, Pasquale, state Rep. Kathleen Willis, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico during the June 16 ceremony naming the 25th Avenue overpass after Pasquale. | Photos by Tara Gray/Feel This Moment Photography via state Rep. Welch/Facebook

Frank Pasquale Overpass_2Friday, June 16, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

During a ceremony on Friday morning, local and state elected officials converged on the 25th Avenue overpass that spans Bellwood and Melrose Park in order to give the structure, which was opened late last year, an official name: Mayor Frank A. Pasquale Overpass.

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.”

Lower left photo: Pasquale shares a light moment with Hillside Mayor Joseph T. Tamburino and Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson. | Tara Gray  


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Montego Bay Brings the Warmth of the Caribbean Islands to Bellwood

Kertis Willie_Montego Bay storyFriday, June 16, 2017 || By MARSHELLE SANDERS || @maywoodnews 

When he was younger, Kertis “Luchie” Willie (his middle name is pronounced loo-chee), never really imagined that he would own a restaurant one day.

A native of the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, Willie (pictured) migrated to the United States in 2004 to pursue a career as a biomedical technician.

Nowadays, Willie owns Montego Bay Restaurant & Grill, located at 700 Bellwood Ave. in Bellwood. When Willie took over the restaurant in 2011, he didn’t expect that he would be responsible for a business that had fallen on hard times.

“The place was literally shut down but that’s not what the previous owner told me,” Willie said during a recent interview inside of the colorful establishment, which is festooned with the flags of various island nations.

“I ended up having to buy him out and that’s how I ended up with the place,” he said. “I kept the name because it had been here for over five years before I bought it and it had an established clientele.”

Along with the restaurant’s distressed condition, Willie also had to contend with the many young people who would sometimes crowd within proximity of his store.

“When I started the place, I wanted to transform it and embrace the youth and at-risk teenagers,” he said. “Sometimes when you ignore them it makes the situation worse. I try to be a father figure to them. I talk to them. They’re easy to talk to. People think they’re bad but they’re not bad.”

By embracing the young people, Willie gained strong bonds and lifetime relationships with them. Recently, he said, a former Bellwood resident stopped by the restaurant to let Willie know that she graduated from Illinois State University and that she is looking to complete her master’s degree at DePaul University next semester.

Montego Bay

“A lot of young people who have graduated from college come back to say hello,” he said. “They were kids coming in to buy fries and would get off the school bus. The police didn’t want them hanging around and fighting. I used to make them come inside and hang out for a little bit and then I would send them straight home.”

Over the years, Willie said, Montego Bay has become a community hub, attracting people of diverse personal backgrounds and cultures. At the center of everything, of course, is the food — jerk wings, jerk catfish, oxtail, grilled red snapper, curry goat and jerk ribs cooked in an authentic Caribbean style that is both unique and inviting.

“We have people from Belize, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Trinidad, you know, so we bring those food cultures together,” Willie said, adding that the restaurant will soon start serving jerk salads.

“Some countries prepare their food differently but they have a taste from each island blended in one plate,” Willie said. “It’s a taste of the Caribbean and it’s authentic. We come in the morning and prepare the food fresh every day. We want to make our customers happy with their food. We want to prepare it the way they’re used to eating it.”

To create a lively and welcoming atmosphere for his customers, Willie hosts a Domino Hang Out night on Friday and Saturday nights. The wholesomeness works to crowd out any negative elements that may ward off business. It also helps that the Bellwood police are fans of the restaurant.

“Bellwood police officers come in on the regular,” Willie said. “They’re the best thing you can find around a business because if someone is up to something, that person will think twice before they do anything. It’s not bad when you see the police. It’s a good thing. We make everybody feel safe and comfortable.”

Willie said he has a few words of advice for anyone who wants to open a restaurant of his or her own: Do your homework.

“You have to do your research on where you want to open the restaurant,” he said. “Make sure all of your legal stuff is together. It will cost you a little money but it will save you in the end.”

Montego Bay Restaurant & Grill is open Monday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information about prices and the menu, call (708) 547-4625.

Michael Romain contributed to this report. 

Know a local business that deserves to be spotlighted? Tell us about it at: thevillagefreepress@gmail.com. 

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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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Theft on the Rise in Bellwood, Broadview Maywood, Melrose Park, Says Police Chief


Saturday, June 10, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Crime is decreasing overall in Maywood and surrounding communities, but instances of theft are becoming more frequent, said Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley.

The chief provided the information during a regular crime update he delivered at a June 10 regular breakfast meeting of the Proviso Township Ministerial Alliance, held at Freedom Baptist Church in Hillside.

“[The increase in theft] is expected,” Talley said. “It’s summer.”

The chief, however, added that, so far, this summer has been marked by more reports of theft than this time last year.

“Some of you are getting checks back from the IRS,” he said. “If you get a new television, cut the box up. If you bought that 72-inch plasma TV and you put the box out, I can almost guarantee that somebody is going to break into your house.”

Talley said that the there was a 100 percent difference in the number of theft reports logged in May 2016 versus those logged in May 2017. In Bellwood and Melrose Park, there were close to 20 thefts reported in each village during the month of May, Talley said.

“Melrose Park usually has zero around this time,” he said.

In Maywood, 34 thefts were reported, double the amount reported in May 2016, Talley said.

Maywood-Broadview 911 consolidation moving along

Talley also provided a brief update on the consolidation of Maywood’s and Broadview’s dispatch centers.

A new law that went into effect last January requires municipalities with populations of less than 25,000 to consolidate their 911 dispatch systems. The law also revokes the authority of local governments to collect surcharges from telecommunications and wireless carriers while enacting a uniform statewide surcharge.

Village attorney Michael Jurusik said at the time that Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration “is all about consolidating these multiple municipal governments, so they looked at all these public safety access points, or PCAPs. These are your dispatch centers. They said, it’s too many of these things out there; let’s get everybody to consolidate.”

Jurusik also noted that part of the state’s motivation for the bill was the lack of quality emergency dispatch systems in rural areas largely concentrated downstate.

“The idea behind the legislation was to get everybody to a basic floor,” he said. “Most towns in metro Chicago are at the ceiling with good technology and good 911 systems; but other parts [like rural areas and much of downstate] didn’t have any 911 [dispatch centers].”

Since those talks last year, Broadview and Maywood have moved closer to combining their respective dispatches into a single dispatch system called Ike Communications, Talley said. The dispatch operation will be housed in Broadview, which is expanding and modernizing its dispatch center.

“We have to have something in place by December 30 of this year,” Talley said, adding that by December 30, 2018, all dispatch systems in municipalities of less than 25,000 that haven’t been exempt from the state law will go dark.

“Broadview is an excellent partner to be with because we have the same union, the Fraternal Order of Police, the same … computer systems,” and other similarities, Talley said.

He added that two additional dispatchers could be brought on to shore up the staff of the consolidated system. Maywood currently has eight tele-communicators and Broadview has three. VFP

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly mentioned that Bellwood and Maywood were consolidating dispatch centers. 

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