Category Archives: Social Justice

Same-sex Marriage Rises at Berwyn

Berwyn has become one of the Cook County’s top three suburbs for same-sex marriage licenses during the past year..

The Cook County Clerk’s office released statistics on Feb 18, almost a year after a federal judge gave the go-ahead for Cook County to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The statistics show 59 marriage licenses were issued in Berwyn. Neighboring Oak Park was in second place with 119 licenses. North suburban Evanston was in first place, with 142 licenses.

same-sex couples

Courtesy of Cook County Clerk’s office

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Mission House Café Serves Coffee and Compassion

by Lauren Pinkston



Mission House Café, tucked away in a renovated Victorian home in South Berwyn, brings customer service and community outreach together by using profits from serving food and beverages to benefit local and global charities.

The café’s handcrafted refreshments and rustic atmosphere makes it stand out from the average coffee shop.

Berwyn’s Assemblies of God Pentecostal Church runs the café; its children’s pastor, Joshua Brniak, manages it on a day-to-day basis.

“My goal as the manager is to provide a warm and inviting environment while serving the highest quality coffee and food around, meet and build connections within our community, and provide a meeting place for people from all walks of life,” Brniak said. Continue reading

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Filed under Business, Culture, Food, Leisure and Recreation, Social Justice, Social Services

Berwyn biker on life support

By: Anthony Garcia

After being involved in a biking accident on Dec. 3 around 5 p.m., a Berwyn bike rider remains in critical condition and is on life

Berwyn police investigate the scene of a serious bicyclist accident at the intersection of 26st., and East Ave., in Berwyn, Monday, Dec. 3, 2012.      (Courtesy of Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)

Berwyn police investigate the scene of a serious bicyclist accident at the intersection of 26st., and East Ave., in Berwyn, Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (Courtesy of Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)

support at Loyola University Life Hospital. Justin Carver was struck by a truck at the intersection of 26th and East Ave. as he attempted to cross 26th while the truck

simultaneously made a left turn off of East Ave. Carver was brought into Loyola’s Trauma Center unconscious according to Berwyn fire officials. Continue reading


Filed under Health, Police and Fire, Social Justice, Uncategorized

Youth organizations help the needy


By Anthony Garcia

Young people in Berwyn are taking the lead in bringing the holiday spirit to the less fortunate in Berwyn through organizations like Youth Crossroads and CIACO.

The non-profit Youth Crossroads is dedicated to helping the troubled or at-risk youth of Berwyn through any means necessary, 0providing free counseling and leadership programs and hosting events for the children and their families.

During the holiday season however, the young people helped by the organization look to give back to Berwyn, said Programs Director Joel Wallen.

“Throughout the year, they participated in dozens of volunteer opportunities in partnership with local governments, park districts and other social service agencies. When we presented the opportunity to help distribute food on Thanksgiving Day, it just seemed natural for them to volunteer,” Wallen said. Continue reading

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Filed under Business, Health, Leisure and Recreation, Seasonal, Social Justice, Social Services

Berwyn man awaits Court Hearing

By Jackie Glosniak

A Berwyn man charged with obstructing a police officer will have a hearing at the Maybrook Circuit Courthouse in Maywood on Wednesday, Dec. 12.

32-year-old Francisco J. Torres of the 1500 block of Cuyler Ave. faces one count of obstruction to a peace officer following a report of a man waving a gun at 16th St. and Cuyler Ave. early morning on Sunday Nov. 11.

As police arrived on the scene, Torres began to walk away, reaching into his pockets to pull out what allegedly looked like a black object. After an attempt at tasing the man, he was wrestled to the ground and placed in handcuffs. Officers found the object in Torres’ pocket to be a black leather money clip. No gun was found on either Torres or in the vehicle he had been a passenger in.

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Filed under Police and Fire, Social Justice

Berwyn Sheds Light on Domestic Abuse

By Jackie Glosniak

A recent shooting in Berwyn has led authorities to urge residents to be vigilant about the signs of domestic abuse, and to take action when they see it.

Earlier this month, a suicide and attempted murder struck the North Berwyn community. During the early morning hours on Oct. 5, a man shot and wounded a woman before killing himself in a home in the 1300 block of Home Avenue. When Berwyn Police arrived at the scene, they found two victims bleeding from their faces.

Juan Quezada, 35, of Westchester, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the mouth and was pronounced dead on the scene. Before turning the gun on himself, Quezada shot his 30-year-old wife. The woman, whose name was not released, was immediately taken to an area hospital, but had no life-threatening injuries.

At the time of the shooting, the two victims were separated. The wife had recently moved to Berwyn with her three young sons-all under the age of 10. The sons were sleeping during the shooting and were not harmed.

According to Berwyn Police Commander James Sassetti, the police had not received any prior phone calls from the house or from neighbors suspecting trouble. No neighbors had reported seeing anything suspicious in the month that the mother and her sons had lived in the house, he said.

Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero said domestic abuse is a perennial issue. Continue reading

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Initiatives to Stop the Crimes

By Jackie Glosniak

With the interesting mix of crimes Berwyn has experienced in the past month, police want to ensure that the public is safe and encourage residents to participate in Neighborhood Watch.

During past few weeks, the suburb has seen a restaurant robbery, a mugging at gunpoint, and several arrests for guns and drugs.

  • On Aug. 21, three men robbed Lolita’s Mexican Food at 6320 Ogden Ave., but escaped with only a small amount of money.
  • On  Aug. 29 and Aug. 30, three separate arrests took place for drug and weapon crimes. One man was arrested for selling two handguns along with 729 grams of cocaine with a street value around $219,000 to undercover officers. Two other men were arrested for selling 600 grams and 450 grams of marijuana to undercover officers and also charged with growing and delivery of the substance. These men were targeted by Berwyn Police and Cook County Sheriff’s deputies in a months-long street gang investigation, according to the Berwyn Police Department.
  • On Sept. 2, two men robbed a Berwyn mat at gunpoint near 27th St. and Harvey Ave., taking the $1,119 the victim was taking to pay his rent

Berwyn police have responded to the crimes, Lt. James Sassetti said.

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Filed under Police and Fire, Social Justice, Social Services

Berwyn helping the homeless

As Winter edges closer so do the longest nights for the homeless. Back in March, Berwyn’s public library began buying up bus passes to give to the homeless. The library has to close at night and that means kicking out people that have nowhere to go. The intention of the passes are to give someone the means to find an overnight shelter or to at least find somewhere that’s warm and open at night.

West Suburban PADS, an organization that provides the homeless with shelter and housing, currently operates two emergency overnight shelters in Berwyn. St. Mary of Celle Church located on 1428 Wesley Ave. operates every Saturday. First Lutheran Church on 6720 31st St. operates every third and fourth Saturday of the month. Both shelters open their doors at 7:30 p.m. and close at 7:oo a.m., they provide dinner, breakfast and a to-go lunch.

Battling homelessness is no easy task, but organizations like West Suburban PADS are a good place to start.

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Local not-for-profit offers high employment rates for the disabled

Jerry Bach

Jerry Bach works as a meeter and greeter in Seguin's used car lot

The soft buzzing of Jerry Bach’s automatic wheel chair fills the silence. Bach, “like the composer” he says, works as a meeter and greeter at Seguin Services’ used car lot, the not-for-profit that supports children and adults with disabilities. The morning is a dull gray pierced only by the neon green stickers on the car windows, but Bach remains energetic despite that. His job entails welcoming, talking and helping customers look for cars. Although he admits that he doesn’t know the names of car models when asked. He isn’t your standard used car employee but he isn’t alone here either. Bach is one of 27 disabled employees currently working at Seguin Auto Center.

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