Tag: Trustee Lightford

Maywood Board Denies Park Dist.’s Request To Waive $20K In Permit Fees

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: The 809 W. Madison Building, owned by the Maywood Park District. | File 

The Maywood Board of Trustees recently voted down a request by the Maywood Park District to reimburse $19,454 in building permit and plan review fees associated with the renovation of the park district’s 809 W. Madison building.

Continue reading “Maywood Board Denies Park Dist.’s Request To Waive $20K In Permit Fees”

Maywood Mayor Wants Donuts, Coffee Served Inside Metra Station

Thursday, March 22, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins, Maywood Trustee Isiah Brandon and Metra Executive Director Don Orsino after a grand opening for the new Metra station last summer. | File 

Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins said that she’d like to see a vendor serving coffee and donuts to commuters inside of the village’s new Metra train depot, at the corner of Main St. and 5th Ave. in Maywood.

Continue reading “Maywood Mayor Wants Donuts, Coffee Served Inside Metra Station”

Maywood Trustee Takes Back His Support of Pro-Immigrant Resolution

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Last month, Maywood Trustees Ron Rivers, (far right), and Melvin Lightford, (second from right), expressed regrets over voting on a resolution supporting immigrants. But the village had already sent the letter off to President Donald Trump and other high-ranking state and federal officials. | Michael Romain/VFP

Thursday, April 13, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Last month, Maywood Trustee Ron Rivers asked his board colleagues if they could rescind their support of a resolution that they unanimously passed on March 21.

Rivers referenced a March 27 announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that doubled down on previous threats made by President Donald Trump to withhold federal funds from cities who go against the president’s mass deportation orders.

Sessions threatened that the justice department would deny cities that adopt sanctuary ordinances federal law enforcement grants.

The motion passed by the Maywood Board of Trustees calls for the state and the federal government to “support immigrants in the United States of America.”

Unlike sanctuary city ordinances passed by municipalities like Oak Park and, most recently, Berwyn, Maywood’s resolution does not call for village officials to defy federal authorities in any way when it comes to immigration or other matters.

According to Village Manager Willie Norfleet, a certified copy of the resolution had already been mailed to President Trump, Gov. Bruce Rauner, Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Rep. Danny K. Davis by the time Rivers told his board colleagues about his change of heart.

“I would like for the board to reconsider the motion we passed to send letters to the president and [other officials],” Rivers said during a March 29 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee meeting. “With this notification, I wouldn’t want to put a bull’s eye on our back,” said Rivers, adding that the board hasn’t “asked our citizens how they feel about this.”

Trustee Melvin Lightford seemed to agree.

“In combat, I have enough sense not to put a target at my back,” said Lightford. “Why shake the bush? Just leave it alone.”

Trustee Michael Rogers reinforced his earlier position when a sanctuary city proposal was first introduced by Trustee Isiah Brandon in February. At the time, Rogers said that he would not vote for any ordinance that would put the village at odds with the federal government, but added that the village should nonetheless take a stance in support of immigrants.

“I was careful not to put forward a motion that could be construed as not being in compliance,” Rogers said. “We sent a resolution that urged federal officials up the line to think about what they’re doing and how it affects [people]. It is not a feel-good thing. It is a thing you should do. You should tell your president how you feel about something.

“There is no penalty for expressing your opinion,” Rogers said. “The penalty that the Attorney General is talking about is being in defiance of the law or executive order that was passed.”

Rogers said that if enough municipalities sent similar letters to state and federal officials, “[those officials] would change their tune.”

Brandon said that he stands behind his original proposal for a sanctuary city ordinance in Maywood, an idea that village officials have said they’re still vetting.

“I still stand behind the idea of having a welcoming city,” Brandon said. “And to those who choose to operate in fear, I can’t take that role. Our community is one that is very diverse and we need to let those individuals who are in the immigrant community know that we stand with them.”

“We’re making a large commitment. I have no problem with the label welcoming city,” said Rivers. “I understand we’re all immigrants and we do welcome diverse citizenry but by the same token, I take a stance of why would we put a bullseye on our back?” VFP

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Easter Egg at Empowerment

Maywood Trustee Announces Mayoral Run, Formation of Slate

Trustee Dorris at May 14 meeting

Maywood Trustee Antonette Dorris, top, has announced her candidacy for mayor in the upcoming April 2017 municipal elections. She’ll run on a slate that includes sitting trustee Melvin Lightford, below left, who is running for reelection. | File

Melvin LightfordWednesday, November 2, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || UPDATED: 4:26 p.m.

The field of candidates seeking to run in next year’s municipal election has expanded with the recent formation of the Maywood Visionary Party (MVP), a slate headed by sitting trustee and Maywood Park District Executive Director Antonette Dorris, who is running for mayor.

According to a statement released today announcing MVP’s formation, joining Dorris on the slate are project manager Steven R. Smiley, a candidate for clerk; sitting Maywood trustee Melvin Lightford, who is seeking reelection; T&JJ’s Supreme Steaks and Catering Service co-owner Joseph A. Wilson; and real estate broker and former Bellwood District 88 school board member Drena Lanier.

Joseph A. Wilson, Steven R. Smiley and Drena Lanier round out the Maywood Visionary Party slate. | Courtesy Maywood Visionary Party 

“We are tired of failed leadership in the village of Maywood resulting in no economic development, the continuance of estimated water bills, and the lack of adequate public services to all constituents,” noted Dorris in the statement.

“MVP offers our residents a combination of experience, vitality, and the ability to bring elected officials, [village manager] and staff together behind a vigorous new plan to improve Maywood,” the trustee added.

The party will open a campaign office at 510 S. 5th Ave. after Dec. 1, the statement notes. Although the election isn’t until April 4, 2017, the deadline period for filing nominating petitions for next year’s election is sometime in December.

A total of five seats on the Maywood Board of Trustees, including those of Mayor Edwenna Perkins and Trustees Michael Rogers, Dorris and Lightford, will be contested next year; along with the seat of Village Clerk Viola Mims.

Dorris, a former Bellwood District 88 school board member, was elected to her first term as Maywood trustee in 2013, when she ran on the Maywood United Party slate. The slate also comprised Rogers and Lightford, both of whom also won that year. Yarbrough, then the village’s two-term mayor who headed the slate, was narrowly defeated by Perkins.

With Dorris’s formal announcement, the field of likely mayoral candidates expands to at least four, with Perkins, Yarbrough and liquor commissioner Mary “May” Larry having indicated that they’ll be running for mayor next year.

For a complete list of sitting Cook County elected officials, click hereVFP

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‘We’ll Create 50 to 60 Full-Time Jobs,’ Says Trucking Co. CEO Eyeing Move To Maywood

Fore Trucking

A truck that’s part of a fleet owned by Fore Transporation, Inc., based in Harvey, IL, and which is looking to expand its operations by building a second location in Maywood. | Fore Transportation

James Apa.jpgThursday, April 28, 2016 || By Michael Romain 

A Harvey-Based trucking company is seeking to expand its operations by purchasing village-owned land at the corner of 9th and St. Charles, and constructing a 6,500 square-foot building to house its inventory of refrigerated trailers. James Apa, (pictured), the president and CEO of Fore Transportation, Inc., said his company would also use the Maywood location for truck repairs and the sale of parts.

Apa pitched his proposal to the Maywood Board of Trustees at an April 27 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting. The board voted to move the measure to executive session, where they discussed a sales price for the vacant parcel, which Apa said he’d been interested in for more than two years.

According to data provided on its website, Fore, a family owned company, generated $30 million in sales in 2013. Apa said the company employs over 200 people. He noted that, if the deal goes through, the company hopes to add another 50 to 60 full-time positions at the Maywood location. Apa said the average starting wage for positions at his company is $20 an hour (“time-and-a-half after 40 [hours], full benefits”).

Apa, a native of Melrose Park who currently lives in Elmwood Park, said his company would be looking to hire licensed truck drivers, certified mechanics, salespeople, operations personnel and safety personnel for the Maywood location.

The Elmwood Park resident said that, when it comes to hiring preferences, his company would be looking for qualified applicants who live close to the facility, particularly when it comes to hiring truck drivers.

“We want people to be employed as close to our terminal as possible,” Apa said. He noted that, due to government regulations that restrict the number of hours drivers can be on the road, “The further the driver lives from the terminal, the less time they have to be on the street making me money. So, if I can have all my drivers live across the street from my terminal, it would make me a lot happier.”

The board met Apa’s April 27 presentation with general approval, although some trustees had concerns about how the location would affect the quality of life for residents who live in the area.

“Our Fifth Avenue corridor has got to be dealt with and more truck traffic is the least thing we need,” said Trustee Ron Rivers.

Apa, allaying Rivers’s concerns about his trucks possibly clogging already congested, truck-heavy 1st and 5th Avenues, said that his drivers would take “as many state routes as possible.” That would mean hewing to state-owned corridors like Lake Street and Mannheim Road, he said.

When Trustee Melvin Lightford expressed concerns about the night-time noise level related to a proposed facility that would operate 24 hours a day, Apa said that most night-time activity would be restricted to trucks driving in and out of the terminal.

“My trucks aren’t going to be blowing their horns, they’re going to be entering and exiting the property,” Apa said.

“The repairs, like putting the engine in and that kind of stuff, is going to be done during the day. The main heavy engine machinery work is done on first shift. You’re not going to have a driver with an 18-wheeler barreling down the street hitting his horn. If it happens, it’s only going to happen once. That I can tell you. My drivers aren’t going to do it again.”

Apa requested a Class 6b tax incentive, which allows new industrial developments in Cook County to qualify for a property tax reduction. According to the County County Assessor’s Office, properties receiving the incentive are only assessed at 10 percent of their market value for the first 10 years, 15 percent in the 11th year and 20 percent in the 12th year of their existence. Ordinarily, industrial real estate in the county is assessed at 25 percent of its market value.

Apa said he envisions a domino effect in the area if his company’s purchase of the land at 9th and St. Charles goes through — similar to the transformation that took place in Harvey after Fore moved into town in 2008.

“We bought the land. The road we were on was not conducive to truck traffic. We got together with the state and they put all new roads in,” he said.

“That whole industrial park that we’re located in has grown ten-fold since we’ve been there. When we moved there, we had less than 50 employees. We’ve brought 150 permanent jobs, 90 percent of them are from the area. And we’ve increased the value on our property and all properties around us significantly in an economic downturn.” VFP

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A N N U A L  E A R T H  D A Y  C L E A N  U P, A P R I L  3 0

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In honor of the late Lennel Grace, a tireless Maywood advocate for clean paths, sidewalks and streets, attend this year’s annual Illinois Prairie Path Cleanup, Saturday, April 30, 8:45 a.m. to 12 p.m., starting at 11th Avenue and Prairie Path, in Maywood. RSVP JoAnn Murphy, so she can plan accordingly.

Operation Uplift to host April 30 reunion kickoff/fundraiser, in lieu of annual luncheon

West TownOperation Uplift, the Maywood nonprofit that operates the West Town Museum of Cultural History and hosts an annual Martin Luther King, Jr., luncheon, has announced that it will be hosting a reunion kickoff to help support and bring awareness to its daily services in lieu of a luncheon this year.

“Please help us continue to provide more cultural awareness to our local community, stimulate individual growth,  community pride, and educate the Proviso Township area about the collections of art, artifacts and significant historical materials we hold within our doors,” according to a recent release put out by the organization.

The reunion kickoff activities will include educational tours, an African attire fashion show, live entertainment and food.

It will take place on Saturday, April 30, from 1 PM to 4 PM, at Operation Uplift/West Town Museum, 104 S. 5th Avenue, Maywood.

Donations or pledges of any amount are greatly appreciated. Those who give via checks should make them payable to: Operation Uplift, Inc.

For more information please call Jeri Stenson at 708-289-4955 or email operationupliftinc@gmail.com. VFP

WOW Fundraising Event, May 1

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Maywood Board Votes To Approve License For Video Gambling Bistro

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Friday, March 18, 2016 || By Michael Romain 

At a March 15 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees approved a Class M Liquor License for Lacey’s Place, a proposed video gambling bistro seeking to locate at 611 W. Roosevelt Rd.  It would be the first gambling bistro to open in the village.

Village attorney Michael Jurusik said, as a condition of being granted the license, the business has to post no loitering signs outside of the property and enforce the village’s no-loitering regulations on the property. The owners are also required to either an install audio/visual surveillance system, or employ a security guard, on the premises.

But those conditions aren’t enough to calm the concerns of some trustees and residents, who fear that the business will attract unwelcome attention and that the board should consider higher quality development proposals

“We should work a little harder getting economic development back in the community that will service at least 65 percent of the people,” said Trustee Antoinette Dorris, who along with Trustees Ron Rivers and Melvin Lightford, voted against granting Lacey’s the liquor license.

Trustees Isiah Brandon and Michael Rogers, who are two of the proposal’s most outspoken supporters on the board, tried reassuring residents that a video gambling bistro is not the threat they may envision.

“I’ve seen it work in other communities,” said Brandon, who lauded what he believes will be the potential tax and fee revenue the business will bring to the village. At a Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting last month, Jeffery Rehberger, one of the Lacey’s co-owners, estimated that the potential tax revenue could be upwards of $30,000 to $40,000.

At the March 15 meeting, Maywood Village Clerk Viola Mims said that her office has received multiple applications from other video gambling establishments looking to setup shop in Maywood.

“I need some clarity, because if we’re not going to want these establishments, why are we accepting their applications?” Mims asked.

An additional ordinance that would set a maximum number on how many video gambling establishments can locate in the village, and where they can locate, is still under review.

Village staff and Trustee Michael Rogers recommended that the number be capped at three. The draft ordinance also prohibits the establishments from locating within a certain distance from entities such as schools and churches that are frequented by young, elderly and other vulnerable residents.

Trustee Rogers said that the approval of that draft ordinance is a separate issue from granting a license to Lacey’s. VFP

Video Gambling Café One Step Closer To Moving To Roosevelt Road; Kathy’s Kitchen To Relocate From 5th To 17th


Patrons at Penny’s Place, a video gambling facility in Calumet Park, in 2015. | Gary Middendorf/Daily Southtown

Thursday, March 10, 2016 || By Michael Romain || Updated: 4:02 PM

At a March 9 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees approved a motion to place a request by Lacey’s Place LLC, a proposed video gambling café, for a Class M liquor license onto the agenda of the March 15 regular board meeting for final approval.

The board voted 5-2 in favor of the proposal. Trustees Antoinette Dorris and Ron Rivers voted against the measure.

The March 9 vote wasn’t binding and was only the prelude to what could still turn out to be a rather lengthy approval process even if the board gives the business — which would be located at 611 W. Roosevelt Rd. — its final stamp of approval.

According to village attorney Michael Jurusik, the applicant would still need to address “certain code compliance issues,” such as building out the facility in compliance with state and local codes and paying certain business fees.

“That will be the condition of approval, because that’s part of the template of your stock liquor ordinance … That way, you’re protected,” Jurusik said, addressing the board.

While there are already village ordinances on the books with specific regulations pertaining to video game cafes (see here and here), an ordinance that would seek to regulate their proliferation throughout the village is still under review (see here).

At a Feb. 24 public hearing on the matter, several trustees Dorris, Rivers and Lightford had voiced misgivings about allowing a video gambling business to setup in the village for a variety of reasons, including what some officials and residents considered it’s potential for attracting public nuisance problems, such as loitering.

Trustees in support of the proposed establishment — which is essentially a place where several video game machines are setup — noted that the potential revenue from the business could be significant and that, contrary to some people’s perceptions, the establishments are typically low-key affairs more likely to be frequented by senior citizens looking for entertainment than rowdy groups of teenagers.

At the Feb. 24 meeting, Jeffery Rehberger, the proposed venture’s co-owner, estimated that, based on figures from other video gambling establishments he’s opened, the Roosevelt Rd. location could generate between $30,000 and $40,000 of annual revenue for Maywood from taxes and fees.

Since the state legalized video gambling in 2012, gambling establishments have proliferated, particularly throughout Chicago’s western suburbs.

According to an October 2015 Chicago Tribune report, Oakbrook Terrace had nine, and Countryside had 17, such establishments at the time.

Some suburbs that have welcomed the establishments, such as Chicago Ridge, have seen tax revenue from gambling nearly double over the course of a year.

Opponents of the establishments, however, note that the tax revenues pale in comparison with what the owners of the businesses stand to profit and aren’t worth what they perceive to be substantial quality of life issues.

“I’m not looking to have a large number of these,” said Trustee Michael Rogers, countering some of the criticism lodged against the the gambling businesses. “I can’t see myself approving more than three initially and growing as we see how it goes. But [the] ordinance does exist, this type of business does exist without many problems in a number of towns [and] it is potentially a revenue source.”

“You can’t just have it all. You can’t say no to every business and then expect there to be revenue sources. We have to say responsibly yes and responsibly no to certain things — that is what this process is all about.”

Kathy’s Kitchen, a Fifth Avenue staple, seeks a move to Madison

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A ‘No Trespassing’ notice posted on the door of Kathy’s Kitchen in Maywood by the Cook County Sheriff’s Department | Village of Maywood

Kathy’s Kitchen, one of a handful of dine-in restaurants in Maywood, is seeking to move from its longtime home at 9 N. 5th Ave. into the former of location of Coleman’s Barbecue at 1008 S. 17th Ave.

Kathy’s Kitchen was evicted from its 5th Ave. location roughly two weeks ago, according to village officials.

At a March 9 board meeting, Trustee Antoinette Dorris expressed surprise and disappointment at the restaurant’s closing.

“I received a couple of phone calls from people who frequent that restaurant and they wanted to know why they closed,” she said. “I just want to find out did we do everything possible to assist in helping this business?”

Village officials noted that the closure wasn’t a result of any dereliction on their part and that the apparent suddenness of the closure was typical of business closures.

“The village was not an instrument in that closure,” said Trustee Michael Rogers. “I think the thing on the window is something the County Sheriff does on behalf of the owner … There was nothing we did that was involved with that process. It was a dispute between the owner and a tenant, essentially.”

The owner of Kathy’s Kitchen, Dennis Moran, was present at the March 9 meeting, but declined to comment. His daughter noted that they had already signed a lease for the 17th Avenue property.

“Kathy’s Kitchen was [one of the] only places we could go to sit down and have a meal,” said Maywood resident Gloria Clay, who is also a member of the village’s police and fire commission. “Whatever needs to be done, let it be done; give this man an opportunity to open [back] up … because we need somewhere to sit down without going to Oak Park or some place else.” VFP

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