Feature image: Wikipedia
A referendum to lower property taxes could possibly be one result of the new law to revamp state aid to education in Illinois.
Feature image: Wikipedia
A referendum to lower property taxes could possibly be one result of the new law to revamp state aid to education in Illinois.
Thursday, July 6, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
The Illinois House voted 71 to 42 on July 6 to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a revenue bill “that will hike the personal income tax rate — while also voting to override two other budget bills,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Thursday.
For the first time in two years, Illinois has a full budget in place after after a two-year impasse, “the longest such impasse for any state in modern history,” according to a July 6 New York Times report.
“The decision to approve the budget, which includes an income tax increase expected to generate about $5 billion, came as Illinois was sinking deeper into fiscal misery,” the Times reports.
“The state is $15 billion behind in paying its bills; has delayed or stopped payments that have especially affected the elderly, poor and students; and has been warned that its credit rating could sink to junk status, the lowest for any state.”
In the run-up to, and after, the historic vote, local state lawmakers were vocal in their support of the measure.
After the State Senate voted to override Rauner’s veto earlier this week, state Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th), (whose district includes Bellwood, Broadview and Maywood, along with other western suburbs and parts of Chicago), said that the plan “would give our neediest populations and decimated institutions a fighting chance.
“Families, our most vulnerable populations and businesses alike need consistency,” Lightford stated. “It is time for Governor Rauner to set aside his political antics once and for all and do what he was elected to do, enact a budget.”
State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th), whose district includes much of Proviso Township, praised the plan.
“The plan cuts state spending by nearly $3 billion, while protecting our seniors, supporting our most vulnerable citizens, revitalizing our violence prevention programs and funding our schools, colleges and universities,” he said.
In a July 6 Facebook post, uploaded as the House debated the governor’s vetoes, state Rep. Kathleen Willis (77th), (whose district includes all or parts of Bellwood, Maywood and Melrose Park), said that although the measure isn’t perfect, “we must do something. As one of my colleagues said last week the state hemoraging. This is a way to stop bleeding out. My view is that you must stop the bleeding before you can repair the damage.”
Now, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is warning that if the judge keeps the tax from taking effect by August, the county would have to cut 10 percent of its budget.
Per the Chicago Tribune, “In a letter dated Monday sent to all county elected officials, bureau chiefs and department heads, Preckwinkle budget director Tanya Anthony said analysts would be providing them ‘a recommended course of action’ to meet spending cuts needed if Cook County Circuit Judge Daniel Kubasiak doesn’t lift a temporary restraining order that’s preventing the penny-per-ounce tax from being levied.
“Kubasiak stopped the tax, which was supposed to go into effect Saturday, after the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and several grocers sued the county to permanently block it on the grounds it is vague and unconstitutional.
“The county was counting on $67.5 million to be collected through Nov. 30 via the tax on pop and other drinks.”
Read the full Chicago Tribune article here. VFP
Maywood Bishop Willie J. Chambliss opens the Illinois House of Representatives in prayer on Feb. 9. Below, Chambliss with state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) | Photo courtesy: Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch/Facebook
Thursday, February 9, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Bishop Willie J. Chambliss, the founder of Miracle Revival Center in Maywood, delivered the opening prayer for the Illinois House of Representatives on Feb. 9.
‘Zombie Preparedness Month’ will be in October
A resolution filed by state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) last month proposing to designate October “Zombie Preparedness Month” unanimously passed the Illinois House of Representatives on Feb. 9.
The resolution (HR 0030) “urges all Illinoisans to educate themselves about natural disasters and take steps to create a stockpile of food, water, and other emergency supplies that can last up to 72 hours.”
The measure may provoke bouts of laughter when first heard, but what’s at stake is no laughing matter, Welch told the Chicago Tribune.
“I am told that if you are prepared for zombies, then you would be prepared to deal with a natural disaster like tornadoes, blizzards — natural disasters of any kind,” he said.
“Rep. Grant Wehrli, R-Naperville, said while zombies bring levity to the conversation, the measure calls attention to the importance of natural disaster planning.”
The Tribune report notes that the resolution wasn’t without its detractors, with some lawmakers saying that these are no times for laughs considering the state budget’s fiscal condition.
“This may sound like fun, but if you’re really concerned about disaster, the natural disaster that’s happening in Illinois is all economic,” Repulican Rep. Jeanne Ives told the Tribune.
“If we need to do something like Zombie Preparedness Month to get people’s attention to an important issue like preparing for a natural disaster, then so be it,” Welch countered.
To read the full Tribune article, click here.
Members of the Melrose Park-based nonprofit P.A.S.O. demonstrating against mass deportations. | Photo courtesy P.A.S.O.
On Feb. 8, Welch co-sponsored HB 0426, which would “establish protections for immigrants from Immigration & Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) or agencies working with I.C.E.”
“The goal of this legislation is to protect people’s rights from invasive actions by the government,” Welch said in a recent statement. “We must stand with those who feel that their government is not fighting for them. Illinois should be a welcoming place to those who are trying to make a better life for themselves.”
According to the proposal, safe zones are defined as elementary and high schools, places of worship, colleges and universities, and health care facilities. If the legislation passes, governments would be “prohibited from entering the safe zones without a court-ordered warrant,” the statement notes. Additionally, students and their families will only be required to share their immigration status with schools,
“Additionally, students and their families will only be required to share their immigration status with schools, colleges and universities in a few instances.”
At a pro-immigrant rally in Oak Park last Saturday, a few days before that village passed an ordinance declaring itself a “Sanctuary City,” Welch led a chant.
“No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all!”
“We are going to take this fight all the way to the state and make Illinois a safe zone,” Welch said. “We don’t believe your kid should go to school the day after the election, like they did last year, worried about getting deported. We don’t think you should go to the hospital and worry about those health officials reporting you to ICE … We believe that Illinois should be a welcoming state just like Oak Park is a welcoming city.”
In the statement, Welch said that, while the bill won’t require Illinois to become a sanctuary state, it would at least “acknowledges the fear of deportation many families face and provides them with somewhere they can go to feel safe.”
“While the bill does provide immigrant families with protections they need, it also puts in place policies that make our community stronger,” he said. “As we try to find ways to move the state forward, common-sense immigration policies like this need to be part of that conversation.”
HB 0426 is currently in the House’s Human Services Committee.
According to a report in the Southern Illinoisian, state Sen. Kimberly Lightford’s (4th) proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2021 “will not be discussed as part of the Illinois Senate’s “grand bargain” until further negotiations are held.”
Lightford, the bill’s sponsor, said that the “Senate is still working on establishing a minimum wage proposal that different supporting groups can agree on.”
“It’s still part of the package,” she said. “We are just not ready to call it.”
To read the specific reasons for why negotiations may have hit a wall (at least temporarily), click here. VFP
Photo above right, Associated Press.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
A bill that would require students to undergo social and emotional screenings as part of the process for enrolling in school was signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Jan. 20.
State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th), the bill’s primary sponsor, introduced the legislative proposal in 2015. State Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (78th) was the bill’s lead sponsor in the house. Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) was also a co-sponsor of the legislation.
The new law (SB 0565), which takes effect this June, “requires the Department of Public Health to develop regulations to include age-appropriate social and emotional screening in the health examination that already includes other health and dental exams for all school children in the state,” according to a report published on the ACEs Connection Network.
“The rules will be developed in conjunction with statewide organizations representing school boards, pediatricians, and educators along with mental health experts, state education and healthcare officials, and others,” the report states.
“I want young people struggling with mental health to have the option to get help. I want families to know that if their child is battling a mental health issue, it is normal, they have treatment options, and it does not have to stand in the way of their greatness,” Lightford said in a recent statement.
Lightford added that the new law, while a good first step, needs to be reinforced with greater investment.
“Requiring screenings for our children is a good step forward, but we are going to have to invest more effort and resources to deal with these issues,” she said. “I will continue working with advocates and communities to bring more comprehensive solutions to mental health issues.”
State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, left. | Photo: Rep. Welch
State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) was recently appointed chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education. Before this most recent appointment, Welch was the committee’s vice-chairman. He also serves on the House Appropriations Committees for Elementary and Secondary Education and Higher Education.
“Our colleges, universities and their students are facing challenges like never before,” Welch said in a recent statement. “I’m honored to lead this committee and be a part of the process that will oversee important legislation to increase access to higher education and make it affordable. We must protect institutions and put polices in place that help our state grow economically and foster tomorrow’s leaders.”
Welch noted that he also anticipates appointments to the House Committees on Cities & Villages, Judiciary – Civil and Labor & Commerce. VFP
Illinois State House Capitol, Springfield | Getty/eyecrave
Friday, January 20, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-4th), of Maywood, has proposed a bill that would raise the minimum wage in Illinois, “currently $8.25 an hour, by 50 cents each year until reaching $11 in 2021,” according to a report by the Herald and Review. The House has proposed a bill that “would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by October.”
A 2014 advisory referendum found that more than 60 percent of voters supported raising the adult minimum wage to $10 by Jan. 1, 2015.
Lightford’s bill, the Herald and Review reports, is part of a “bipartisan budget package,” or “grand bargain,” that would include spending cuts, tax increases and new casino licenses, among other features.
The package has the support, so far, of Senate President John Cullerton (D-6th) and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-41st).
“Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate have said lawmakers from both parties will support all the pieces of the package,” the Herald and Review reports.
To read the full Herald and Review article, click here.
State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th), whose district includes all or parts of Maywood, Bellwood and Broadview, wants constituents to provide their ideas for new bill proposals during the new General Assembly that started on Jan. 11.
“Making government more accessible is a top priority of mine,” Welch said in a Jan. 20 statement. “We have the opportunity to work together to improve our community, and a great place to start is brainstorming concepts for new laws.
“Even if it is something that might seem small, such as putting a stop-sign in at an intersection, a lot of people might benefit. I go to Springfield to be your voice, so if you want the law changed, tell me.”
“I look forward to reviewing the new proposals from residents as they come to my office,” Welch said. “I always appreciate constituent feedback and involvement in the democratic process. I hope that anyone with a great idea comes forward and talks to me.” VFP
Volunteers from Loyola University Chicago volunteering during Loyola’s annual Day of Service on July 31. | Courtesy Loyola Medical Center
Last weekend was one of giving in Maywood and surrounding suburbs.
On Saturday, more than 100 people from Loyola University Chicago (LUC) and Loyola University Health System (LUHS) volunteered their time and energy on projects that included painting, planting and cleaning numerous cites throughout Maywood.
The initiative was part of Loyola’s annual Day of Service, which commemorates the feast day of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, or the Society of Jesus — a religious congregation within the Catholic Church. Loyola University Chicago was founded by Jesuits in 1870.
“Ignatius taught us to use our values in service to humanity,” noted John Hardt, vice president, mission integration, in a statement put out by Loyola Medicine. “It is our honor and duty to give back to the community where we work, study and treat patients, body and soul.”
“To start the day, the participants gathered at Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine, where they listened to reflections from Hardt, Marcius Scaggs, Neighbors of Maywood Community Organization, and Heidi Renteria, Maywood Fine Arts,” the statement notes.
Volunteers worked at sites all over the village and surrounding areas, including Maywood Fine Art, St. Eulalia Catholic Church/Quinn Community Center, Housing Forward, Mission of Our Lady of the Angels and Urban Garden Connection.
More than 250 families listen to state Sen. Kimberly Lightford during her annual Uplift Our Future back-to-school bash at Brookfield Zoo. The attendees, who packed a conference room at the zoo during several different lunch sessions, were given free school supplies, among other uplifting treats.
On Sunday, state Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th) was in the giving and serving spirit as well. The Maywood elected official gave away free book bags, schools supplies, food and fun to hundreds of students.
Around 800 people attended Lightford’s 7th Annual Uplift Our Future back-to-school giveaway at Brookfield Zoo on July 31. In addition to getting school supplies, attendees were also treated to free parking and a zoo visit.
“When Sen. Lightford was a little girl, she wanted to have a big party,” said businessman Phillip Jackson and executive director of BlackStar Project, a youth education organization.
Jackson also collaborates with Lightford on the senator’s popular Saturday University, which offers free learning in reading, writing and math for area young people.
“As a 7-year-old, (Lightford) couldn’t throw a party, but as a senator of one of the best districts in the country, she can,” Jackson said.
“Education is something you must have and Sen. Lightford believes every child deserves a decent education,” said Wanda Sharp, a former Maywood trustee.
Lightford said the idea to host the annual giveaway came to her seven years ago, when she decided to brand something she had been doing for a long time.
“I was giving out (hundreds of) backpacks to (different people and to colleagues),” she said, before noting that, after giving them out, her giving would often go unmentioned.
The partnership with Brookfield Zoo, she said, is a way to put her unique stamp on her tendency to give — and to partner with numerous companies to help her do it.
This year, she said, sponsors included Brookfield Zoo, Nicor, People’s Gas, Meyers and the Illinois Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, among others.
“God wants me to make sure that every child (gets) a quality school, a good teacher and a good education,” she said, before noting that, in addition to raising the standard of education, she was also trying to pass legislation that would increase the minimum wage.
Maywood resident Rolando Villegas, who was at the event with his wife and two children, lauded the senator’s largess.
“I think she’s to be commended. This is a great way to bring the community together and it gives us the opportunity to have some fun,” Villegas said. VFP
Friday, November 13, 2015 || Originally Published: Chicago Sun-Times || 11/12/15 || By Jon Seidel
George Brown allegedly boasted his goon had no problem “breakin’ somebody’s legs.”
But when he and Paul Carparelli began to plot a “f—— thorough beating” for used-car dealer R. J. Serpico in Melrose Park, the feds say, Brown had a concern: He thought Serpico was the son of Melrose Park Mayor Ronald Serpico, (pictured, photo by Sun-Times).
Brown was wrong. But he warned Carparelli the mayor might “run” to alleged mob bosses Pete and John DiFronzo, according to records filed in federal court Thursday. Or, as Brown called them, “Uncle Pete and Uncle John.”
This has just got a special set of circumstances,” Brown allegedly said.
Federal prosecutors revealed that detail in paperwork they filed seeking a prison sentence of as high as six years for Michael “Mickey” Davis. A jury convicted Davis, 58, in June of extortion and attempted extortion. The feds accused him of ordering R.J. Serpico’s “break-both-legs beating” to collect on a $300,000 debt.
Davis is set to be sentenced Tuesday. His attorneys have asked for a sentence of as little as 13 months for a man they claim has a “genuine concern for the well-being of others, willingness to help those in need, and generous spirit.”
R.J. Serpico is the nephew of the Melrose Park mayor. The DiFronzos have business ties in Melrose Park, and a spokesman for the mayor acknowledged the mayor is aware of the brothers. But the spokesman denied there is any connection between the case, the mayor’s relative, the DiFronzos or their business endeavors.
The looming, broad-shouldered Davis approached R.J. Serpico in the office of his Melrose Park used car dealership in January 2013, months after loaning R.J. Serpico and his father $300,000 according to trial testimony.
Davis dropped a sheet of gambling debts owed by R.J. Serpico’s father down on the desk and said, “this wasn’t the f—— agreement,” Serpico testified. R.J. Serpico said Davis leaned back and asked, “how my wife and my kids were, and if I still lived in Park Ridge.” Serpico said he took it as a threat.
R.J. Serpico vomited often because of his fear of Davis, according to prosecutors. They said that fear was fueled not only by that conversation, but by Davis’ alleged association with Pete DiFronzo.
The feds say Davis arranged for Serpico’s beating by contacting Gigi Rovito, who recruited Carparelli, who sought out Brown. Carparelli allegedly told Brown the person seeking the beating was “Mickey,” adding that person was “Solly D’s” — an apparent reference to Chicago Outfit member Salvatore DeLaurentis.
Brown wound up cooperating with the feds. Carparelli pleaded guilty in May to three counts of conspiracy to commit extortion in a separate case, and he is set to be sentenced Dec. 21.
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D – Maywood), along with Riveredge Hospital and the Glen Ellyn Area Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., is hosting a mental health open forum event and resource fair that will seek to provide communities with the resources, education and empowerment needed to combat the stigma associated with mental illness.
Representatives from the local mental health community will be present to answer questions and discuss concerns people might have about mental health, such as – What resources are available and where to find them? How can I get help for myself or a loved one? Who can I talk to in a safe, comfortable environment?
State Senator Lightford and representatives from the local mental health community will be present to answer questions and discuss concerns, including: Riveredge Hospital, Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, County Care and CCHHS, Chicago Dept. of Public Health, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Oak Park Township Mental Health Board, Pillars and Proviso Township Mental Health Commission.
The second in a series of town hall resource fairs offering an unique and important opportunity for everyone in attendance to ask mental health professionals questions about mental illness and receive information, while the event also acts as a springboard for new community and legislative efforts to find better ways to identify and treat mental illness.
WHEN: Tuesday, November 17, 2015 || 7 PM to 8:30 PM
WHERE: Riveredge Hospital, 8311 Roosevelt Rd, Forest Park, IL VFP