Tag: Chicago Tribune

How Melrose Park Became the Inspiration for the Melrose Pepper

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews

Feature photo: Melrose Peppers “sautéed in olive oil with a little red sauce.” | Photo and recipe: Proud Italian Cook

The Chicago Tribune recently published an eye-opening story about Joseph and Lucia Napolitano, a couple who traveled to Ellis Island from Italy in 1903 before settling in Melrose Park.

Continue reading “How Melrose Park Became the Inspiration for the Melrose Pepper”

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Savers Warehouse Facility in Bellwood to Layoff 23 By End of August

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Feature photo: jessieholeva.com/

A Savers warehouse in Bellwood is scheduled to close at the end of this month, which will result in 23 workers losing their jobs, according to a July 10 Chicago Tribune report that cites a company spokeswoman. The facility is located at 4700 W. Proviso Drive.

Continue reading “Savers Warehouse Facility in Bellwood to Layoff 23 By End of August”

Tribune: ‘Everything Seemed Normal’ Before Broadview Woman’s Death on Skyway, Relatives Say

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 6.25.16 PM.pngFriday, June 23, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews  

According to the relatives of Lisa Fisher (pictured) — the 49-year-old Broadview woman who was killed on June 21, the victim of an apparent murder-suicide committed by Christopher Pena, 30 — there was no indication of trouble before the tragedy.

“Everything seemed normal,” her oldest son, Leon Williams, 30, told Chicago Tribune reporter Rosemary Regina Sobol.

“There was no indication that she was in any kind of trouble. She got in the car, and I’m sad to say that was the last time I saw her alive,” Williams said. “She said, ‘See you in the morning.'”

To read the full Tribune report, published on June 32, click here. VFP

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Cook County’s Property Tax System Burdens the Poor, Blesses the Rich, Shows Tribune Report

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A three-part Chicago Tribune investigation reveals gaping inequities in Cook County’s property tax system. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews

A comprehensive three-part investigative report by the Chicago Tribune’s Jason Grotto lays bare not only Cook County’s deeply unfair system of taxing property, but also what appears to have been deep negligence and/or blithe neglect on the part of Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios.

The Tribune’s report “reveals that for years the county’s property tax system created an unequal burden on residents, handing huge financial breaks to homeowners who are well-off while punishing those who have the least, particularly people living in minority communities.”

Those communities include Bellwood, Broadview, Maywood and Melrose Park — all “working-class neighborhoods” where property owners “were more likely to receive property tax bills that assumed their homes were worth more than their true market value, the Tribune found.”

“Meanwhile, many living in the county’s wealthier and mostly white communities — including Winnetka, Glencoe, Lakeview and the Gold Coast — caught a break because property taxes weren’t based on the full value of their homes.”

The Tribune report concluded that the tax assessments “have been so far off the mark for so many years that the credibility of the entire property tax system is in doubt.”

A statement by the assessor’s office countered that it “believes the valuation and uniformity opinions formed by the Chicago Tribune are not sufficiently credible.”

The Tribune reports that, contrary to the assessor’s office boast about its state-of-the-art computer models, the office’s system is actually quite faulty. Sure, the report claims, property owners who have issues with their assessments can appeal, but the tax appeal process is one utilized much more often by the wealthy.

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And, since 2009, “Cook County’s assessments have been so inaccurate they violated standards set by the International Association of Assessing Officers, a professional organization that develops guidelines used around the world.”

Among the people the Tribune talked to is Melrose Park resident Barbara Garner, who lives in a home that’s smaller than 800 square feet. She pays more than $4,000 a year in property taxes, the Tribune reported.

The problem?

“Garner’s tax bill was higher than she expected because the assessor overshot the price she paid for the house by a factor of two, the Tribune found. The county had valued the home at $164,640, just months before she bought it for $75,000.”

The Tribune report shows that the assessor’s office has exhibited a pattern of overvaluing lower priced homes. In 2009, the office “had overvalued lower-priced homes by as much as 150 percent.”

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Part 2 of the Tribune investigation shows that, “On average, even after appeals, people who own homes in the bottom 25 percent of values paid nearly $500 more a year in property taxes than they would have if the system were fair, the research shows.

“The reason: Wealthier neighborhoods appealed at much higher rates and regularly received significant assessment reductions even though homes in those areas were more likely to be undervalued. In poorer neighborhoods, homeowners not only are more likely to have their properties overvalued by the assessor, they are less likely to appeal.”

Part 3 reveals that, “For more than a decade, the Cook County assessor’s office hid a secret inside the massive computer programs used to calculate property tax assessments for single-family homes.”

That secret “created erroneous valuations for homes throughout the county, affecting the tax bills sent to more than 1 million residential property owners every year.

“What the code did was deceptively simple: It decreased every estimated home value in the county by about 40 percent, a troubling practice that ignored legal requirements set out in county ordinances.”

Read the entire 3-part Tribune investigation in full here. VFP

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Broadview Payless ShoeSource May Close

Children pick out their free shoes and try them on inside the store at Payless ShoeSource on November 20, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio. | Joey Foley/Getty Images

Saturday, May 27, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Updated: 10:15 a.m. 

Payless ShoeSource, the national retail chain based in Topeka, Kan., has announced that it might close at least another 400 stores, including a store located at 102 Broadview Village Square in Broadview, according to company officials.

This is just the most recent round of possible store closings. Last month, while filing for bankruptcy protection, the company announced its plans to close up to 400 stores, according to a Chicago Tribune report.

The Tribune noted that, since filing bankruptcy, Payless “has been trying to negotiate reductions in rent at some additional stores.”

In a bankruptcy court filing, company officials said that, “While many of those negotiations have been successful and significant savings have been realized, other negotiations have not been as successful.”

So far, 22 Payless locations in Illinois have shut down. The company’s remaining Illinois stores could also be closed if “ongoing [rent] negotiations fall through,” the Tribune reported.

The Payless ShoeSource at 1234 Winston Plaza in Melrose Park is not among those stores undergoing rent negotiations, according to a company document.

For the full list of recently announced Payless closings, click here. To read the full Chicago Tribune report, click here. Like Village Free Press on Facebook by clicking hereVFP

A D V E R T I S E M E N T 

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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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Breaking: Melrose Park Meijer to Close This Summer

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Meijer in Melrose Park, located at 950 Winston Plaza, is scheduled to close this summer. | Google Earth

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews

According to numerous media reports, Meijer plans to close two of its Chicago area locations this summer due to low sales, according to company officials, who announced the closures yesterday.

One of those stores is located in Melrose Park at 950 Winston Plaza. The other location is in Berwyn.

The Melrose Park store, which opened in 2011, will close on June 17, according to a Chicago Tribune report, which references a Meijer news release.

“About 300 employees will be affected by the store closings, though some will find employment at other Meijer stores in the area. Employees were notified Tuesday.”

The Tribune reports that a company spokesman referenced both stores’ “underperforming” sales volume when explaining the closures, “but declined to provide any additional details on why the sites will close. Meijer, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., is a privately held company.” VFP

To read the full Tribune report, click here

P A I D  A D V E R T I S E M E N T 

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