Tag Archives: Berwyn

Winter Warming Centers Now Open in Berwyn

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A couple bundles up to face Chicago’s cold winter this year. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.

Now that the weather becomes frightful and the temperature has steadily dropped, five warming centers are open in Berwyn and are welcoming residents and the homeless to come in and escape the freezing cold.

According to the Cook County government, over thirty warming centers are now open across the city of Chicago for the winter season. Those who need a safe place to get warm from the freezing temperatures are encouraged to step inside these centers.

Chicagoans who are seeking a shelter should contact the warming center first to verify that it’s open. In Berwyn, the following public spaces in Berwyn are designated open warming centers for the 2016-2017 winter season, according to the Cook County Homeland Security and Emergency Management website:

  • Berwyn Public Library, 2701 S. Harlem Ave.
    • Hours: Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Contact: (708) 788-2660. For after-hours phone calls, call (708) 795-5600 (police).
  • Berwyn Police Department, 6401 W. 31st St.
    • Hours: 24/7
    • Contact: (708) 788-2660. For after-hours phone calls, call (708) 795-5600.
  • Berwyn Recreational Center, 6501 W. 31st St.
    • Hours: Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Contact: (708) 788-2010
  • Berwyn Township’s Freedom Park Office, 3701 Scolville Ave.
    • Hours: Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Contact: (708) 788-1701

Deputy Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Natalia Derevyanny stresses the importance of keeping warm and keeping safe this winter season.

“We just really want to encourage people to get warm as safely as possible. Especially for residents who are using space heaters, we want to encourage them to turn them off once they leave the room and if they have children or pets to be extra vigilant,” Derevyanny said.

When warming centers that are not open 24/7 close, the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management advises the homeless to go to shelters such as P.A.D.S. in Chicago Heights, Oaklawn, and other south suburban Chicago locations.

 

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Will Berwyn Reap Benefits of Trump, Price Healthcare Changes?

In 2010, the House passed the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and President Obama signed it as a law. The goals were simple: to provide more Americans with health insurance, to provide better care, and to reduce the costs of care.

But since 2010, there have been many critics of the program, mainly Republicans. Their criticisms include that the more people insurance companies cover, the more the actual rates will rise. In addition, under Obamacare, Medicaid became a state decision. Therefore, states that have not expanded Medicaid inevitably increased the number of people who are uninsured.

Repealing and replacing Obamacare has been a conservative talking point for years and it’s removal was a big piece of President-elect Trump’s campaign.

Trump has said he wants to “get rid of the lines around states to increase competition.” As it is, health insurance providers can’t just sell insurance anywhere. There are specific boundaries, although a few states have opened those boundaries, but buying insurance from another state has its own drawbacks under the current system as well.

The question remains if removing all of the boundaries around states would increase competition and foster a freer marketplace. Under Trump’s logic costs would decrease due to a more competitive market. However, Trump has said that he intends to keep pre-existing conditions, a mandate of Obamacare that forces insurance companies to cover expenses and care for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

Recently, the Trump administration tapped Tom Price for Health Secretary, a man who has vehemently opposed Obamacare since its inception. Given his policies and his stance on several issues, two weeks ago the New York Times called Price “a radical choice.”

But what we all really want to know is how is this going to affect our own communities?

We need to start by looking at the statistics. According to IllinoisHealthMatters.org, the number of uninsured residents living in Berwyn, Cicero, and parts of the Oak Park townships is 37,392. In addition, according to Loyola Medicine’s Community Health Profile, 30 percent of residents in Berwyn and Cicero are under the age of 18 and less than 10 percent are over the age of 65.

The most interesting statistic in the Community Health Profile is a chart that shows “years of potential life lost.” The predetermined end age point on this chart is 75-years old, so any end age point prior to 75 is considered a year lost. West Suburban Cook County comes in at 19.1 years lost and Suburban Cook County is at 18.7 years lost.

At first glance, this chart doesn’t offer any indication that would connect years lost to healthcare. But another chart follows the first. This second chart depicts the leading causes of death and the top five are as follows: heart disease, cancer, stroke, COPD, and pneumonia. The rates of mortality due to heart disease, cancer, and stroke in West Suburban Cook County are higher than the state average.

The reasonable conclusion that we can draw from this is that the residents of Berwyn, Cicero, and other parts of Cook County are not getting the healthcare they need and the healthcare that they deserve.

I think the question that we all need to ask ourselves is, has Obamacare failed us? Wouldn’t it be a wise choice to at least give Trump’s plan a try given the clear shortcomings depicted in the Community Health Profile?

The Berwyn Health Department did not return repeated requests for comment.

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Canadian Visa Change for Mexican Citizens Gives Hope to Undocumented Student

By Natalie Rodriguez

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Rosario Hernandez

Former Berwyn local, Rosario Hernandez, lived in limbo since she was 7 years old. She lived as a Mexican undocumented immigrant. All of that has changed. She now has legal status and new hope as an immigrant.

Canada made that change possible.

Canada has made life easier for Mexican citizens. As of Dec. 1, 2016, Mexican citizens are able to visit Canada without a visa.

“The lifting of the visa requirement for Mexican citizens will strengthen Canada-Mexico ties and build momentum to expand trade, investment and tourism, strengthening people-to-people ties that will provide lasting benefits for both countries,” according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Hernandez moved to the small city of Saskatoon in the province of Saskatchewan in July. She believes that the lifting of the visa  requirement has been beneficial. Continue reading

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Public Art in Berwyn is Changing

By Melissa Rohman

Public painting in Berwyn is changing as the amount of general and gang graffiti is decreasing and authorized public art is increasing.

Gang graffiti has decreased over the past five years because of the Berwyn Police Department’s proactive Tactical Unit and police work regarding gang activity in the city, according to Berwyn’s Acting Police Chief Michael Cimaglia.

Division Commander Joe Santangelo is in charge of graffiti removal; graffiti is searched and removed Monday through Friday and on the weekends, designated graffiti removers are called in. Most graffiti ] that has been found in the city is gang “tagging” with an identifying symbol or nickname to mark one or more specific areas.

“It’s generally reported in alleys on garages, however we have located it on street signs and playground equipment in parks,” Cimaglia said. Continue reading

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District 201 Schools Rally for Funding

By Rich Bodee

On the morning of Oct. 6, before school even began at both Morton East and West high schools, students, parents, and faculty rallied in support of three things: K-12 and college education funding, a call to end standardized testing, and education funding equality.

“The rallies were sponsored by the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS), which is a national coalition between labor unions, mainly the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association,” Robert Bartlett, a teacher at Morton West said. Continue reading

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Morton West Graduate Competes in International Singing Competition

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By Marty Carlino

Inspired by a post-concert meet and greet with pop star Mike Posner, Berwyn native Adam Martinez headed straight to his own studio.

Martinez, sporting his usual black Sennheiser headphones, tossed his black acoustic guitar to the side and used nothing but his powerful vocals to record his latest cover.

Martinez does nearly all of his work in his bedroom, which also serves as his recording studio. The space is equipped with his personal collection of recording software and instruments. Continue reading

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Republican Andy Kirchoff Challenges Lisa Hernandez in the 24th District

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Pictures: Map of the 24th District (left) and Republican candidate Andy Kirchoff (right).

By Rich Bodee

Political season is upon us and in a few weeks we will be electing our newest batch of representatives from each political district.

Two candidates are Republican Andy Kirchoff, who is running against Democrat Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez for the Illinois 24th District House seat.

Typically, an Illinois state representative will represent around 108,000 residents in their district. The 24th District encompasses much of Berwyn and Cicero, as well as parts of Riverside and Brookfield. Continue reading

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Fun and games at Berwyn’s Oktoberfest!

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by | September 20, 2016 · 12:27 pm

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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Magic, Games, and Sing-A-Longs, What More Can You Ask for?

Mary Macaroni returns to the World’s Largest Laundromat entertaining children with games, sing-alongs, and magic. It was held on Wednesday from 5p.m.-7p.m.

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World’s Largest Laundromat is located at 6246 Cermak Rd., Berwyn, IL, hosting events that incorporate children to interact and makes it a much fun and easier way for parents to do laundry. Their children stay entertained.

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Berwyn Development Corporation Gears Up for 2nd Annual Green Mile Pub Crawl

by Lauren Pinkston

The Green Mile Pub Crawl gives revelers a chance to get a jump on St. Patrick’s Day with a March 13 party along Berwyn’s Roosevelt Road.

Don’t expect too many marching bands, however.

Organizer John Aranza said it will highlight Roosevelt Road as a “destination point”.

“It’s not a typical St. Patrick’s day parade,” Aranza said, “It’s more to showcase the quality of businesses we have.”

Local businesses, such as Fitzgerald’s, Big Guys Sausage, Autre Monde, and others will host special music performances and food and drink specials for the evening.

And this year the organizers are going to showcase more musical acts, including the Band of Brothers Pipes and Drums.

“Band of Brothers is a group of retired firefighters from the Illinois area who play traditional music,” Aranza said. “They’ll be moving to different locations on Roosevelt to play bagpipes throughout the night.”

The Pub Crawl is set to kick off on Friday, March 13 at 5 p.m. and going to  11 p.m. Wristbands for the event costs $10 and include a shuttle service down Roosevelt Road as well as drink specials at participating venues.

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Berwyn Public Library Hosts Anime Monday for Teens

Berwyn teen anime fans come together to enjoy the Japanese-style animated movies and television shows at the Berwyn Public Library with like-minded fans individuals each week.

Marion Olea, invites anime fans to come together every Monday.

“I think it’s just a unique event to expose themselves to this big culture of anime,” said Marion Olea, the library’s teen services assistant. “It’s a nice way for them to unwind and experience anime for themselves.”

Currently attendance at Anime Monday maxes out at about eight young adults, but Olea hopes to encourage more attendees by including snacks and alternative activities in the future.

The Berwyn Public Library, located at 2701 Harlem Ave., has been hosting Anime Mondays for about one and a half years. Anime Monday takes place every Monday from 4 – 5 p.m.

 

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Berwyn Tests Positive For Lead in Water

by Cory Lesniak

Berwyn residents are in the midst of a year of testing for lead in their water after high levels of toxic lead had appeared in their water lines for the second time in four years.

According to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) the City of Berwyn has exceeded lead in 1992, 2011 and most recently in 2014. After the last round of tests by the city Some Berwyn water customers received a flyer explaining the problem in November, according to Kim Biggs, a spokeswoman for the IEPA said.

The IEPA has given Berwyn until Oct. 1 to identify the lead service lines and remove 7 percent of the lines they own. Berwyn’s water comes from the City of Chicago but the pipes the water flows through is to blame.

“Many of the service lines may be owned by homeowners, so the city would not be responsible for removing those lines,” said Dave McMilan, manager of the Division of Public Water Supply at the IEPA.

Additionally, Berwyn has to take and test 60 waters samples for lead and copper in the first six months of 2015 according to the IEPA.

Berwyn officials say they’ve already been doing the testing.

“The program absolutely exists, we’re full blown into it. We do the advance sampling (30 to 60) samples. Anyone with a water tap or a water meter by law must receive one of these mailers (pamphlets),” said Kristofer Hasman, Water Plant Operator for City of Berwyn said.

The City of Berwyn has always added a chemical called orthophosphate to the water. Berwyn pumps this chemical into the water system to limit lead and copper, which is normal according to the IEPA. Continue reading

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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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Berwyn Health Department Talks Vaccines

by Danielle Golab

Berwyn health officials are confident that the city’s children will be safe from measles, which is spreading in other parts of the country because of some parents’ resistance to vaccinations.

Nurse Tina Kloess at the Berwyn Health Department said that Berwyn is “not taking extra precautions at this point in time because there have been no outbreaks in the area”.

Students are required to provide records of vaccinations to their schools. Many vaccinations are needed in order for a student to be enrolled in school.

Kloess said that there are many different vaccinations that children need by a certain age. By kindergarten every child must have five — DTaP, polio, measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations.

By sixth grade children must have a hepatitis, Tdap and meningitis vaccine. Influenza vaccines are optional.

Kloess said that every school year nurses go over students’ records and see if they are vaccinated or not. If they are not they are put on a susceptible list and are not allowed to return to school until they show proof of vaccinations to the school. And

Oct. 15 is an exclusion day for children who have not been vaccinated. They are not allowed back in school until they show proof of vaccination.

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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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Pav YMCA Hosts Snow Days for South Berwyn Students

by Lauren Pinkston

Berwyn working parents now have a safe and supervised place to take their students during district emergency closings. Stephanie Robinson, School Age Childcare and Family Director at Pav YMCA, collaborates with South Berwyn district 100 to host a “fun-filled,” emergency closing day when the district cancels school.

“This is a great way for parents to know their child is safe, while they’re at work,” Robinson said, “It is convenient and we allow drop ins, so those parents who cannot take the day off when their children are out of school have a place where their child can go.”

During inclement weather closings, school-aged children are invited to engage in a variety of entertaining activities while their parents are away at work.

“Our program starts at 6:30 a.m. and goes until 6:00 p.m. From 6:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. our staff takes registration and plays board games, cards, or other quiet activities,” Robinson said, “9 a.m. – 4 p.m. is our program time where we swim, play in our gym, do art projects, and engage all of the children in a large group activity.”

The event hosts about 10-20 children on average and costs $20 or $25 for members and nonmembers respectively. The YMCA has hosted emergency closing days on Jan. 7, Jan. 5, Feb. 2, and Feb. 19 this school year.

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Identity thefts hit Berwyn

There have been seven reported identify thefts in Berwyn since Dec. 3. Sgt. Joe Santangelo said these cases are currently under investigation.

Santangelo gave tips on how to avoid being a victim of identity theft. Never throw away credit cards without first shredding them. Be careful about what information you save onto the internet; don’t save your social  security number or passwords on any web page.

“You can check your banking website regularly to watch your accounts,” Santangelo said. “There are also trusted websites that do a free credit check to monitor your accounts.”

Two of the seven identity thefts occurred on the 2200 block of S. Kenilworth. Two more occurred on S. Euclid. Other cases occurred on Harvey, Elmwood and Grove.

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Christmas spirit in the Depot District

Santa and his reindeer visited Berwyn’s Depot District last night for Berwyn Development Corp. “Deck the Depot” to get the city into the Christmas spirit.

Santa's car

Santa’s car

Visitors enjoyed free horse driven sleigh rides, trolley rides and a petting zoo. They even got to sit on Santa’s lap to tell him their wish list and get a free photograph.

Berwyn girl telling Santa what she wants for Christmas

Berwyn girl telling Santa what she wants for Christmas

The event also collected new unwrapped toys for the “Holiday Cheer Program” in Berwyn and canned goods and non-perishable food items for Berwyn Food Pantries at participating businesses with collection boxes.

Donated goods

Donated goods

Depot District merchants stayed open late offering some complimentary goodies. Also, there was a raffle worth more than $200 for adults 21 and older who spent $10 in the Depot District. Open Houses took place at Giovanni’s World’s Best Ribs Inc, Olive or Twist Martini Bar, BMO Harris Bank N.A., The James Joyce Irish Pub, Off the Traxx and Wishbone.

Sleigh riders say hello

Sleigh riders say hello

 

The 12th Annual Deck the Depot was presented by Santa Sponsor Suburban Life Media and Reindeer Sponsors The James Joyce Irish Pub, Off The Traxx and La Notte Café.

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