Category Archives: Politics

Berwyn Park Districts Loose $800,000 after Gov. Rauner Makes Grant Suspensions

By Lauren Pinkston

Berwyn parks are losing close to $800,000 in grants due to budget cuts made by Gov. Bruce Rauner. Park districts across the state are affected by grant suspensions, including the Berwyn Park District and North Berwyn Park District.

Jeffrey Janda, executive director of the Berwyn Park District, explained the Berwyn Park District is loosing two grants. One for $87,500 that was intended to be used for land acquisition for a new park. The second was for $306,600 to renovate and redevelopment existing parks, especially their water drainage systems

The North Berwyn Park District is also reported to be losing about $400,000 in grants. Joseph Vallez, executive director of North Berwyn Park District, was unavailable for comment.

Janda explained the suspension could not only make these projects unattainable, they will affect potential job opportunities, storm water management, and currently existing programs. Continue reading

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South Berwyn D100 Elects Four New Board Members

by Danielle Golab and Alejandro Cortez

Voters in South Berwyn split their tickets in Tuesday’s elections, choosing school board members from both slates of candidates competing for four seats in District 100.

Lisa Clemente, Jennifer Mitchell and Mark Titzer had run on one slate; Elizabeth Jimenez had run on a competing slate.

District 100 was the only contested race for Berwyn election. Candidates for the Berwyn School Board, Morton School Board and North Berwyn Park board all ran unopposed.

Turnout was less than 9 percent, with only 1,402 of the city’s 16,709 registers voters casting a ballot, according to the Cook County Clerk’s Office.

Clemente led the election with 748 votes, followed by Jimenez, who is the first Hispanic woman elected to the school board, with 747 votes. Third in line was Mitchell with 744 votes. The fourth place was taken by Titzer with 730 votes.

According to Jimenez, district 100 has a population of 81.6% Latinos. Jimenez says that this sends a message of how huge an impact it makes when most of the population is Latino as a support for her campaign.

“I am proud and at the same time humbled to have the opportunity to serve the Berwyn Community,” she said after the election.

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Berwyn is Still Using Waggin’ Tails Animal Shelter Despite Recent Controversy

by Danielle Golab

It’s business as usual at the Waggin’ Tails animal shelter in Cicero, despite reports of neglect and ongoing protests among both Berwyn and Cicero residents.

In November, Chicago television station WFLD aired pictures of dead and abused animals. The photos were taken by people who said they were volunteers at the shelter. Cicero President Larry Dominick attacked the report as false and the volunteers as liars. Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero also has spoken out against the critics.

Recently, a Facebook-based petition drive has gathered 500 signatures calling for an investigation of the animal shelter, review of the employees, publication of health and death records, the hiring of an independent veterinarian to evaluate all animals at the shelter, a public apology from Dominick and the reinstatement of the volunteer program.

The petition organizers plan a rally at Cicero City Hall at 1 p.m. March 8.

Another group, Animal Welfare Advocates for Rescue Excellence, also known as AWARE has met with Cicero spokesperson, Ray Hanania, to discuss changes in the shelter. AWARE will be putting together a proposal for the Cicero town board. One of the topics discussed on the proposal will be concerning the volunteer program.

Some Berwyn residents are also concerned because stray animals in Berwyn go to Cicero’s Waggin’ Tails since the two cities signed an intergovernmental agreement for animal control since March of 2010.

But Dominick’s attacks has not slowed down the critics in Berwyn and Cicero.

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Obama’s Community College Plan Could Impact Morton College in the Future

by Danielle Golab

A new plan created by Obama concerning community college may affect Morton College in the future.

President Obama’s plan for free community college would have a direct impact on Morton College, the institution’s president said.

Obama’s plan would apply to students who attend a community college at least half-time. These students must also achieve and maintain a GPA of 2.5. If students meet this criteria, then their tuition would be removed.

The federal government would pay three-quarters of the cost of college tuition. States who decide to partake in the plan would cover the remaining funds.

Morton College President Dana Grove said he thinks that this will affect all community colleges. He says that enrollment at community colleges will increase.

Although increased enrollment is an advantage to community colleges, there could also be some disadvantage to this. Increased enrollment could also mean increased burdens to community colleges, he said, because it is an open door policy.

This can mean an increase in remedial students and remedial courses. The new plan could also increase a demand for teachers and possibly even more facility space.

Grove guessed that enrollment could increase anywhere between 10 to 20 percent.

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Turano’s Neighbors Prevail in Court

by Alejandro Cortez

Neighbors of Turano Bakery have won a legal victory as a judge has halted the demolition of homes and construction of parking lots behind the Roosevelt Road factory.

At a Feb. 10 hearing, Cook County Judge Kathleen Kennedy ordered the bakery and the city of Berwyn to comply with the city ordinances and receive a zoning permit for the work on the parking spaces.

Since then, Turano has stopped all demolition until it gets its paperwork in order. Neighbors had initially stopped demolition when Judge Kennedy gave them a temporary restraining order against Turano in late January.

“The TRO (temporary restraining order) has been dismissed and Turano is currently in the process of doing the application for a zoning permit but it has not been presented yet,” Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero said last Friday.

A November n explosion and fire at Turano’s parking garage, across Roosevelt Road in Oak Park, put the bakery in a jam. It needed a place to park its delivery trucks.

Later, Berwyn’s 8th District Alderman Nora Laureto wrote a letter to Lovero and the City council stating,

“I am asking for City Council approval to allow Turano to move forward as quickly as possible for demolition and graveling of the area.”

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Committee receives new member

By Elisa Juliano

Architect Emilio Padilla was appointed to the Historic Preservation Committee at the city council meeting on March 25th.

“Emillo’s resume is quite impressive and he will do a fine job at his commission,” said Mayor of Berwyn Robert Lovero.

Padilla was sworn into office by city clerk Thomas Pavilk. Following being sworn in he posed for pictures with the mayor.

He currently works for BauerLatoza Studio. The company was founded in 1990 and has received over 30 design awards.

Padilla has worked on numerous projects including the restoration of the six iconic domes at the Museum of Science and Industry and the restoration of the DuSable Museum roundhouse.

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District 100 to pilot PARCC test

Chicago Public Schools faced many issues during testing week with students opting out and parents and teachers boycotting the test. Berwyn schools however have heard no fuss about testing and are set to pilot a new standardized assessment.

Some Berwyn students will be taking the The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test instead of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test the week of March 10-21.

“The PARCC test is the test that all the students of Illinois will be taking next year,” said Jane Bagus, the assistant superintendent for the South Berwyn District 100.

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Barking Dog ordinance still in committee

By: Rene Howard-Paez

The Berwyn city council has taken no action on a barking dog ordinance more than six months after it was originally proposed.

According to City Council minutes, the ordinance, which would fine residents who allow their dogs to bark for excessive periods of time, was originally proposed by Fourth Ward Alderman Michele Skryd on March 13.

The matter was referred to the Business License and Taxation committee, with a recommendation to invite a representative from the Police Department.  And that’s where it’s stayed, according to City Clerk Thomas Pavlik.

“The matter was referred to the business license committee and no action has been taken, it is still in committee.”

This ordinance is modeled after a similar ordinance that was passed in Los Angeles.

The fines would start at $250 and work up to $1,000 with the third offense.

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Where To Register To Vote In Berwyn

By: Lavell Garner

Election Day is right around the corner, and the citizens in Berwyn have a couple of locations where they can register to vote and vote early.

Berwyn residents can register at Berwyn City Hall until Oct. 9, according to Angela Jones, spokesperson for Cook County Clerk David Orr. They also can go online to cookcountyclerk.com under Suburban Elections and print a mail registration form, the form must be completely filled out and signed before putting it in the mail, she said.

Berwyn residents who want to vote early, before Nov. 6 Election Day can go to the Berwyn City Hall located at 6700 W. 26th St. Berwyn, IL 60402. Early voting takes place from Oct. 22 to Nov. 3.

To find polling spots for Nov. 6, go to

http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/elections/pollinglocations/Pages/default.aspx

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Residents and city officials of Berwyn work together to keep rein on blight

Katherine Henrici has lived in the same three-story yellow bungalow in Berwyn since 1948 and thought she had seen it all.

That was, until the rats came. Continue reading

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Berwyn officials have high hopes for redevelopment of Harlem and Cermak

 

 

Artistic sketch of the planned architectural set-up for the new plaza.

Berwyn city council members have high hopes that a planned redevelopment of the northeast corner of Harlem and Cermak will help revitalize the city’s economy.

The council unanimously approved the plan on Sept. 14 and the agreement with the developer on Sept. 28, to turn the area into an eating and shopping center.

The chief planner, Timothy Hague, of Keystone Ventures, believes that renovations will bring tax revenue, higher real estate values, and new employment to Berwyn.

According to Hague, Keystone Ventures, partnering with Bern Realty and J&P Properties, will most likely be working on the project for the next year. The originator of the project was the Berwyn Development Corporation, said Drew B. Krisco of Bern Realty, LLC.

Berwyn’s 7th Ward Alderman, Rafael Avila, has high hopes for the area, and said that it should bring in new residents to Berwyn.

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Berwyn redevelopment of Harlem and Cermak gets the green light

 
Berwyn’s Committee of the Whole Meeting, which took place on Tuesday, September 14th, 2010, ended with the council voting on many proposals affecting the community.
One major decision was the unanimous vote to approve redevelopment plans on the northeast corner of Harlem and Cermak. Timothy Hague of Keystone Ventures said that the next step is to introduce the redevelopment plans to the community, once redeveloping agreements are made, outlining responsibilities for developers. According to Hague, Keystone Ventures, partnering with Bern Realty and J& P Properties, will most likely be working on the project for the next year.

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City Hall holds 1st All Berwyn Committee Meeting

On Thursday, September 16, Berwyn held it’s 1st All Berwyn Committee Candidate’s Forum at City Hall. Before the meeting, we met Treasurer Debi Suchy, an active member in the Berwyn community. Suchy, who holds several positions, told us about several upcoming events in Berwyn. Oaktoberfest and Hobyfest and the 26th Annual YMCA Community Fest were only a few examples off her multi-colored calendar. She even invited us to the Roosevelt Road Business Association meeting which is being held at 8:30 a.m. on October 13th.

After a few more community members and council chairs joined us, the meeting began. After the Pledge of Allegiance, 8 new members of the Berwyn community were sworn into office, which was about half of the people in attendance. The next order of business was the upcoming election in November. Due to scheduling conflicts, only two candidates were able to come and speak, Robert C. Grota who is running for Cook County Assessor and Scott K. Summers who is running for the Illinois State Treasurer. .

The committee meets on the 3rd Thursday of every month and is open to the public.

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North East corner of Harlem and Cermak to see redevelopment

On Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010 at Berwyn’s Committee of the Whole Meeting, the council came to a unanimous decision to approve a proposal for redevelopment on the North East Corner of Harlem and Cermak.

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