Tag: Trustee Yarbrough

Funeral Home Owner Offers to ‘Donate’ Vacant Property to Village, Which Declines

Friday, September 8, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews  

Featured image: Corbin Colonial Funeral Chapel in Maywood, which has been closed for roughly a decade.

During a Sept. 5 regular board meeting, Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins said that she recently got a call from the owner of the abandoned Corbin Colonial Funeral Chapel, located at 1001 Madison St. in Maywood. He had an offer.

Continue reading “Funeral Home Owner Offers to ‘Donate’ Vacant Property to Village, Which Declines”

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Maywood Checkers Shuttered | Maywood Church, Seeking to Expand, Confronts Officials Worried About Losing Taxes

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IMG_5552Saturday, April 29, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Updated: 3:55 p.m.

Less than three years after it first opened in September 2014, the Checkers at 1718 S. First Ave. in Maywood is closed.

The closure seems rather abrupt, considering the store location still has a Facebook page that was active up until March 28 and the location is still listed on the company’s online database of locations.

In a phone interview on Saturday, Trustee Isiah Brandon said that Checkers officials contacted village officials Monday with the news that the store was closing. They also sent an email, he said. Company officials cited low sales as a contributing factor, Brandon added.

In a 2014 interview, Christopher Ilekis, a principal at Vequity, the real estate investment and development company that bought the property before leasing it to Checkers, said that the property, which had formerly been a KFC restaurant, had been in bankruptcy before his company acquired it in a portfolio sale.

The Maywood store opened on the same day as the Broadview checkers, located at 1617 W. Roosevelt Rd. The latter location is still open. The Maywood store, along with the Broadview store, was corporately owned and operated.

No one from Checkers or Vequity could be contacted for comment over the weekend. More as this story develops.

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Maywood church, seeking expansion, runs into village concerns over taxes 

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Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 2.04.28 PMA Maywood church seeking to expand its operations into an area that’s zoned commercial while maintaining property tax exemption encountered some wariness among some village officials at an April 26 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting.

The New Hope Christian Center Church, 14 S. 19th Ave., wants to buildout and modify existing unoccupied commercial space at 2 South 19th Ave., which is separated from the church facility by a vacant, fenced-in lot. The church owns both properties.

New Hope plans to turn the commercial space into theNew Hope Empowerment Center, an “educational agency” that would “focus on teaching Christian principles, as well as academics and technology values to individuals of all ages,” according to project summary released by the church’s pastor, Bishop Anthony G. Wellington.

According to a business plan that Wellington submitted on behalf of his church, the new facility would host weekly job training sessions, prayer meetings, “biblical guidance sessions” and “biblical enhancement sessions.”

But village staff members and some board members stated that they’re worried that “this project may be an expansion of the [tax-exempt] church into the C2 Pedestrian Oriented Commercial District,” according to an April 26 village memo written by Josh Koonce, the village’s planning and zoning officer.

“In fact,” Koonce states, “Mr. Wellington has indicated that the purpose of the new development is to expand the capacity and footprint of the church.”

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At Wednesday’s LLOC meeting, Trustee Michael Rogers expressed some reservations over the village allowing the church to turn the commercial property, which currently generates commercial property taxes, into tax-exempt property.

“The whole concept of our [taking the] limited commercial property that we have off the tax rolls is problematic,” Rogers said.

“That zone, when you cross the tracks, is called Broadway. That’s a heavy commercial usage. The non-conforming uses already there are grandfathered in, but it’s important not to lose any more commercial property with the straits that the village is in.”

Rogers said that, despite his reservations, the church’s proposal should be vetted by the village’s Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeal. Trustee Henderson Yarbrough echoed Rogers’s sentiments.

“I have the same concerns that Trustee Rogers just mentioned,” he said. “With this going to the planning and zoning board, hopefully these questions will be answered during that period of time. We look forward to their recommendations.”

Wellington’s attorney, however, said that the church’s proposal represents the “highest and best” use of the abandoned commercial space, which used to be a paint store.

“Any other commercial use would be an island on that corner,” he said.

The board voted unanimously on village staff’s recommendation to move the proposal to the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeal.

According to the village memo, that board will be responsible for determining “whether the proposal fits within the definition of Educational Facility, Vocational School or Training Academy (a special use in the C-2 district – Section 17.4 and Table 8-1 of the Village of Maywood Zoning Ordinance), or if this proposal constitutes an expansion of a church into a commercial district (not permitted).” VFP

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MFA AD_April 2017

The YMCA Taught Hundreds How to Swim at Maywood Pool Last Year — Including a Former Mayor

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Children having fun inside of the Fred Hampton Pool. | File

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

It’s never too late to learn.

Last year, at 74 years old, former mayor and sitting trustee Henderson Yarbrough learned how to swim after taking advantage of the West Cook YMCA’s offer to provide lessons inside of the Fred Hampton Aquatic Center, located at 300 Fred Hampton Way and which the YMCA has operated since 2011.  

In 2012, the pool closed for repairs before reopening in 2013. In 2014, the YMCA entered into a joint revenue-sharing agreement with the village, with each entity contributing to roughly half of the costs of operating and maintaining the pool. 

“When I was growing up in the South, almost all of my friends could swim except for me,” Yarbrough recalled during an interview on Wednesday.

“I was the fastest runner in the group,” he said. “We learned how to swim by people just taking us and throwing us into the lake. There were no swimming pools. We just had ponds and lakes. I never got tossed into the lake, so I never learned.”

Yarbrough was among 248 people, both swimmers and non-swimmers, who participated in the West Cook YMCA’s four-week lessons that met twice a week last year in July and August. They practiced floating, putting their faces in the water, safety protocols, kicking and other skills.

“When the YMCA approached the village with the opportunity, I figured, ‘Hey, why not?’ It wasn’t hard at all,” Yarbrough said of the lessons. “It’s the fear. Once you get over the fear, the rest is just a matter of executing.”

For Kim Polk, the West Cook YMCA’s aquatics director and Yarbrough’s instructor, a summer swimming lesson could mean survival for some people.

According to West Cook YMCA officials, on average, two children each day drown accidentally in the United States. Seventy percent of African-Americans, and 60 percent of Latinos, have little or no swimming ability. 

“We’re trying to teach a life skill,” she said during a Wednesday Legal, License and Ordinance Committee meeting in Maywood, where she and West Cook YMCA [CEO Phil Jimenez] approached the Maywood Board of Trustees with a partnership agreement for the upcoming 2017 season.

“We’re focusing on safety in and out of the water, so not only are you learning a life skill, you’re learning how to be safe and how to save someone if there’s an incident,” she said.

Polk added that 76 percent of the 248 participants were between the ages of 3 and 11 years old. By the time the lessons ended, virtually all of them learned to swim or strengthened the swimming abilities they already had.

In a memo, West Cook YMCA officials said that all of the Maywood trustees “took advantage of the lessons” and were able to swim “from one end of the pool to another in the deep diving well” by the time the lessons were over.

Overall, said Jimenez, last year’s season was the most successful since the YMCA and Maywood began jointly operating the pool in 2014. That year, the Fred Hampton pool served 1,300 people.

“Last year, we served [over 9,400] individuals,” Jimenez said. “In two years, our partnership has significantly profited in terms of the goodwill that we’re building in the village community and just in memories. We believe that if positive memories are being built on a consistent basis, the likelihood of a person growing up and having positive development is much greater.”

In 2015, according to the memo, the pool served 4,700 guests. That year, the YMCA sold 10 passes. In 2016, the organization sold 54 passes.

Jimenez attributed the over 600 percent increase in pool attendance over two years to an aggressive marketing push his organization implemented in the months leading up to last season.

That awareness initiative included direct mailing more than 3,000 residents in Maywood and Melrose Park, conducting personal phone calls to targeted households in those communities and instilling informational banners throughout the area, among other actions.

The West Cook YMCA also partnered with numerous community organizations and businesses, such as Maywood Fine Arts and Margery Daw Daycare.

Jimenez said that the spike in attendance was also due to good weather. The pool was closed for only 11 out 84 operating days — or just 13 percent of the season, compared to a 25 percent close rate in 2015.

This year, West Cook is recommending the village increase its spending on the pool from $48,000 last year to $60,000 this year in order to pay for additional staffers to handle the increase in pool users. Last year, the pool was over budget by $21,000 because of the surge in attendance.

Jimenez said that his organization is also in talks with Proviso East High School to develop a partnership that could result in up to 30 local hires for the upcoming season, which will run from June 12 until Sept. 4.

“We are literally a signature away from partnering with them to certify lifeguards out of Proviso East,” he said, adding that 33 students at the high school have expressed interest in the jobs.

The students would have to meet a number of prerequisites before getting hired, Jimenez said, but once they pass the test, they will get top priority in the application process.

“We have the potential to hire between 10 and 30 lifeguards,” Jimenez said, before qualifying that 30 is “a high number.” This year, as with last year, the pool staff will offer complimentary swimming lessons.

The village board voted unanimously to send the agreement to the next regular board meeting to be voted on. VFP

For more info about the Fred Hampton Aquatics Center, including prices and hours of operation, click here.

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Four People Make the Final Cut to Run for Maywood Mayor

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Trustee Henderson Yarbrough, Liquor Commissioner Mary “May” Larry, Mayor Edwenna Perkins and Trustee Antonette Dorris are the four mayoral candidates who will appear on the ballot on April 4. | File

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Barring anyone withdrawing his or her candidacy, voters in Maywood will choose from a pool of four candidates vying to run for mayor in the April 4, 2017 municipal elections.

Incumbent Mayor Edwenna Perkins, sitting trustee and former mayor Henderson Yarbrough and sitting trustee Antonette Dorris all survived challenges to their nominating papers and will appear on the ballot. Liquor Commissioner Mary “May” Larry, who is the only mayoral candidate who didn’t face an objection, will also appear on the ballot.

Two other mayoral candidates, Kathy Travis and Quincy Johnson, were removed from the ballot after objections to their candidacies were upheld earlier this month.

During the Jan. 23 local electoral board hearings where the last of the candidate objections were discussed, Attorney Luther Spence and trustee candidate Rolando Villegas were both removed from the ballot.

Ten candidates vying for the three open trustee seats on the village board will appear on the ballot, with three of those four running with parties.

The Maywood United Party includes Yarbrough as its mayoral candidate; sitting trustee Michael Rogers, former trustee Audrey Jaycox and businessman Antonio Sanchez as its three trustee candidates; and former District 209 school board member Readith Esther as the slate’s candidate for clerk.

According to numerous sources close to the candidate, Rogers is likely to withdraw from the race. The candidate himself will not yet confirm or deny the speculation. Candidates are required to formally file withdrawal documents with the village clerk’s office before they can leave the race. The deadline for filing those documents is Jan. 26.

So far, it hasn’t been confirmed whether or not the party has found someone to replace Rogers if he withdraws.

The Maywood Visionary Party includes Dorris as its mayoral candidate; sitting trustee Melvin Lightford, businessman Joseph Wilson and realtor Drena Lanier as its trustee candidates; and Steven R. Smiley as the party’s candidate for clerk.

The My Maywood Party includes Larry as its mayoral candidate; former trustee Marcius Scaggs, library trustee Tanya T. Butler and Sammie B. Rogers as its trustee candidates; and sitting village clerk Viola Mims as its candidate for clerk.

Kimyada Wellington, who is running as an independent, joins Perkins as the only two candidates remaining from the People’s Choice Party — an informal slate of all independent candidates.

The slate’s two other trustee candidates, Villegas and Elijah Goodwin, who withdrew from the race earlier this month, will not appear on the April ballot. The slate’s candidate for clerk withdrew not long after the slate was formally announced last year.

There are no independent candidates running for village clerk. This story will be updated to include candidates for other taxing bodies, such as park district, library district and local school boards. VFP

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Breaking: Henderson Yarbrough Faces Petition Challenge

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A local electoral board hearing held today inside of Council Chambers, 125 S. 5th Ave. | Photo submitted

Monday, December, 12, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || 12/13/16

Former mayor and sitting trustee Henderson Yarbrough is facing a petition challenge. Lawyers for Yarbrough and Maywood resident Linda Reedy, who filed the challenge, gathered inside of Council Chambers, 125 S. 5th Ave., Monday morning to argue their sides.

Yarbrough is running at the top of the Maywood United Party ticket, which includes former District 209 school board member Readith Esther as its clerk candidate and local businessman Anthonio Sanchez, former trustee Audrey Jaycox and sitting trustee Michael Rogers as its three trustee candidates.

Reedy claims that Yarbrough’s petition signatures are invalid because the date at the top of the petition papers listed the Feb. 28, 2017 primary election, instead of the April 4, 2017 municipal election, when area voters will go to the polls.

“The elections for the mayor and trustees have always been in April,” Reedy said in a phone interview on Monday evening. “I think that’s a misrepresentation.”

Reedy, who was in attendance at the Dec. 12 hearing, added that the Yarbrough’s attorney argued that the date difference is insignificant and shouldn’t be cause for invalidation. Neither Yarbrough nor his attorney could be reached for comment.

In a separate phone interview Monday evening, Jaycox said that, by listing the Feb. 28 date, Yarbrough was just following protocol.

“Once a local party files, anybody can take that party title and, if they do, there would have to be a primary,” Jaycox said, before offering up a scenario that would require a primary.

For instance, she said, if someone else filed to run for mayor as a Maywood United Party member in the April 4 election, then that person and Yarbrough would have to run in February in order to determine which of them would represent the party as a mayoral candidate in April.

According to Reedy, the three-member local electoral board — which includes Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins, Maywood Village Clerk Viola Mims and Trustee Melvin Lightford (all of whom have announced their intentions to run in April’s election) — called for a continuance and will hear more argumentation, and could be expected to make a ruling, on Friday, Dec. 16.

Candidates who plan on running in the April 4, 2017 election have until Dec. 19 to turn in their petitions to the village clerk’s office. VFP

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly noted the date of the April 4, 2017 municipal election. VFP regrets the error. 

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Maywood Could Ban Class M Video Gaming Cafe/Bistro Liquor Licenses

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Thursday, December 1, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

At a Nov. 30 Legal, License, Ordinance and Committee (LLOC) meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted 5-2 to consider prohibiting the issuance of any new Class M (Video Gaming Cafe/Bistro) liquor licenses at its next regular board meeting later this month.

The move comes in the wake of the Nov. 8 election, during which Maywood residents voted 56 percent to 44 percent in favor of the prohibition. The referendum question was non-binding, which meant that village officials aren’t required by law to follow the public’s lead on the issue.

After the election, however, numerous trustees argued that, although the referendum is non-binding, the board should still follow the will of the voters and pass an ordinance prohibiting the issuance of the licenses.

“Seeing how it did go to the public and, from an advisory standpoint, there was [roughly 56 percent of voters] that indicated they would like to see this pursued, I think it’s advisable to follow that lead,” said Trustee Michael Rogers, who introduced the motion that the board formally vote on the prohibition of Class M licenses at the next board meeting.

In March, the board voted 5-2 in favor of issuing a Class M liquor license to Lacey’s Place, a video gaming establishment seeking to move to 611 W. Roosevelt Rd., on condition that the establishment meets minimum requirements, such as securing a lease, pulling a permit and building out the space. 

The decision prompted outrage among some residents, who don’t want the vide gaming establishments in Maywood. In June, a group of residents created an online petition expressing their opposition to video gaming that garnered more than 100 signatures. In July, the board voted 4-2 to put the issue on the ballot as an advisory referendum.

So far, Lacey’s Place, which hasn’t opened yet, is the only establishment in the village that’s been granted a Class M license.

If the board formally votes to adopt an ordinance enacting the prohibition at the regular board meeting in December, no new businesses would be allowed to apply for Class M liquor licenses.

“The ordinance complies with a recommendation of the advisory referendum,” said attorney Michael Jurusik at the Nov. 30 meeting. “This ordinance will put a prohibition ban on new licenses, it would recognize the one license issued to Lacey’s Place moving forward; but that license would be subject to renewal, and [would need to comply] with the normal liquor code and with other village code requirements.”

Jurusik said that if the board passes the ban, the issue could still be revisited in the future and, theoretically, the ban could be reversed. 

Mayor Edwenna Perkins said that the American Legion, 1219 Madison St., was considering applying for a Class M liquor license in order to install video gaming machines in its facility.

If the board prohibits the issuance of Class M licenses, however, the Legion would not have that option.

“You will knock them out of getting an opportunity [to get the Class M license],” said Perkins, adding that the Legion, after undergoing a change in leadership, had been hoping to realize some additional revenue with gaming machines.

Trustee Henderson Yarbrough, who said he’s a member of the Legion, added that he was told by the organization’s leadership at one time that it wasn’t prepared to apply for the Class M license; however, since that time, the leadership had changed and “now they’re interested.”

“I was interested in seeing them make an application and maybe get a license to operate,” Yarbrough said. “I would not want to stand in the way of that. That’s why I [asked] the attorney if this could be revisited after it passed.”

Trustee Isiah Brandon suggested that Jurusik research what options the Legion has for securing the ability to install video gaming machines in its facility, but Rogers insisted that to do so would be to confuse the issue.

“The motion was specific to Class M licenses, which is what was on the referendum,” said Rogers. “I’m not backing off of that.”

Perkins and Yarbrough voted against the motion. Rogers, Dorris, Rivers and Lightford voted in favor of the motion. Brandon, who was silent during the voice vote, effectively abstained. VFP

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Trustee Yarbrough Confident In His Chances at a Third Mayoral Term

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Trustee Henderson Yarbrough, the former Maywood mayor, right, shakes hands with Metra executive director and CEO Don Orseno during a Nov. 7 groundbreaking for a new Metra train depot on 5th Ave. in Maywood. | File

Thursday, November 10, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Former mayor and sitting trustee, Henderson Yarbrough, stood with petition sheets in hand outside of Irving Middle School, 805 S. 17th Ave., as voters filed into the school’s gymnasium to vote on Tuesday.

During a brief interview, he defended claims about his two-term tenure made by incumbent Mayor Edwenna Perkins, shared his motivation for running for trustee in 2015 and another mayoral term next year, and expressed confidence in his chances come April, 4, 2017.

“I guess you can say I was encouraged to run by people I trust and have confidence in and people who trust, and have confidence, in me,” said Yarbrough. “It certainly wasn’t my plan, when I was out, to come back and run for trustee. I didn’t intend to come back to run for [mayor], either.”

Yarbrough, who recently retired, didn’t specify who those encouragers were, but noted that they may have been motivated to push him into the race “based on who is running and who is not.”

The former mayor — who served two terms from 2005 until 2013 before he was narrowly defeated by Perkins — heads up the Maywood United Party ticket, the same party he rode into office with over a decade ago.

Former Proviso Township High Schools District 209 board member Readith Esther is the ticker’s candidate for clerk. Maywood businessman Antonio Sanchez, former Maywood Trustee Audrey Jaycox and sitting Maywood Trustee Michael Rogers are the ticket’s trustee candidates. All of those candidates, except for Sanchez, have run on the Maywood United platform before.

While formally announcing her bid for reelection last weekend, Perkins said that, under Yarbrough, the village sustained a pattern of business failure. The sitting mayor made her announcement in front of the shuttered Corbin Colonial Funeral Chapel, 1001 Madison St.

The business’s owner, Randy Corbin, claimed the chapel’s closure in 2009 was, in part, due to the village’s unwillingness to extend tax relief in the form of alley easement rights (which he said could’ve qualified him for TIF incentives). In 2008, he told West Suburban Journal, his second installment property taxes were $110,000.

When asked about Corbin on Tuesday, Yarbrough said that it’s misleading to claim that the chapel closed because of him.

“Mr. Corbin came to see me and we had a conversation and he said his taxes went way up and he wasn’t going to be able to stay in business,” the former mayor said. “I put him in touch with [economic development coordinator] Angela Smith and they had a conversation to see if there was anything for us to do to help him out.”

Yarbrough said that when Corbin first opened the chapel, the businessman “wasn’t really asking for anything in particular, or at least not that I’m aware of.”

“There wasn’t really much I could do about the taxes, because he’s not the only one [with high property taxes],” Yarbrough said. “Most of our businesses are suffering from high taxes and we want to do anything and everything we can to keep business here.”

Yarbrough said that Maywood needs to create an environment that’s more inviting to new businesses.

“We talk a lot about new businesses, but the businesses we have really do need a lot of help with these new taxes,” he said. “Outside of grants and some other state and federal funding, there isn’t much we can do about it, except to try to build more businesses and bring in more businesses.

“In order to do that, we have to get our house in order here, too,” he said. “People have to want to come here for a reason. People located to certain places based on the reputation of the town, so we have to do some stuff in house.”

On Tuesday, Yarbrough had his own criticisms of Perkins, noting that, while she’s been mayor, she hasn’t done anything that he’s aware of.

“I don’t see anything she’s done,” he said. “She hasn’t brought anything or offered anything. If she has, I don’t know what it is.”

During her campaign launch last Saturday, Perkins pointed to a development that failed because of board opposition.

In 2013, at the beginning of Perkins’ term, a developer approached the village looking to build a new facility that would house retail establishments and a Maywood branch of Hinsdale Community Bank.

The developer, InSite Real Estate Investment Properties, said that they would complete the new facility by September 2014, but the board failed to marshal the five-vote supermajority among trustees that was required to vacate an alley near the land targeted for development.

The alley vacation was necessary in order for the project to be completed, Maywood attorney Michael Jurusik said at the time.

Trustees Audrey Jaycox, Rivers and Dorris, who were in support of an offer to purchase Lake St. and 1st Ave. by a different developer, would not vote for the alley vacation, thus effectively shutting down the bank and retail center proposal. Yarbrough wasn’t on the board at the time.

Yarbrough also called out the mayor for what he said is her inability to work with people she considers her adversaries.

“She doesn’t really understand how to reach out to the people on the board, the people who have worked, the people who have to work with her,” he said. “She doesn’t seem to be inclusive. And to me, it doesn’t make sense not to do that. I’m a totally inclusive person. If I think you got something to offer, even if you didn’t run on my ticket, we can work together.”

Since his election to the board in 2015, Yarbrough has voted in the majority with Perkins on numerous key proposals and also presented an important vote that blocked the mayor’s office from being relocated from 125 S. 5th Ave. to 40 Madison St. — a move that Perkins was staunchly against.

“For some reason, I don’t know what it is, she’s never seemed to appreciate anything about me,” Yarbrough said of the current mayor. “And I never, ever disrespected her. Ever.”

Yarbrough also addressed Trustee Antonette Dorris’s bid for mayor. Dorris, who is also the current executive director of the Maywood Park District, served as Yarbrough’s executive assistant for several years before she was elected trustee on the Maywood United Party ticket in 2013. She’s also been a trustee for the Bellwood District 88 school board.

“[Dorris] always said she wanted to run if I didn’t run,” Yarbrough said. “She’s been saying that from the beginning. She also said that, if I do run, she’d want to be on my ticket. But I couldn’t make up my mind. I wasn’t planning on running, really.”

Yarbrough said that, by the time he decided to run, Dorris had already decided to stay in the race. He said there’s no antipathy between them.

Dorris has since formed a ticket of her own, the Maywood Visionary Party, which includes which includes Lightford, businessman Joseph A. Wilson and real estate broker Drena Lanier as trustee candidates. Project manager Steven R. Smiley is the slate’s candidate for clerk.

The sitting clerk, Viola Mims, is running on the My Maywood slate, which comprises mayoral candidate Mary “May” Larry, a village liquor commissioner; and trustee candidates Marcius Scaggs (a former trustee appointed by Yarbrough), Tanya Butler (a sitting Maywood Public Library commissioner) and Sammie Rogers, Jr.

Perkins is supporting a group of independents called the Peoples Choice Party, which includes U.S. military veteran and state employee Kimyada Wellington, businessman and U.S. Air Force veteran Elijah Goodwin and businessman Rolando Villegas. Tamika Commier is the group’s candidate for clerk.

When asked how he thought his chances of victory are this April, Yarbrough expressed confidence.

“I’m very confident,” he said. “It’s not going to be an easy run, though.” VFP

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