Monday, December 6, 2010

Cicero Names new interim police Superintendent Seeks candidates for fulltime post

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Cicero Names new interim police Superintendent
Seeks candidates for fulltime post

Cicero/Illinois – Interim Police Supt. Lori Lelis, the first woman to serve as the town’s top cop, stepped down Monday saying she accomplished many of her goals to crack down on street gang violence. She was immediately succeeded by Deputy Chief Bernard Harrison.

Town President Larry Dominick praised Lelis saying that since she was appointed to the post in May 2009, the town has seen a continued drop in street gang activities and said that Chief Harrison has the experience to fill her shoes.

“Lori did a great job as interim police chief. She always recognized that this was aa interim position as we continued to find someone to lead our police,” Dominick said.

“We continue to interview candidates but until we do find a permanent appointment to the post, Bernie will maintain the high standards that the people have come to expect in their police department. She has had a long and distinguished career with the force and I expect her to continue to dedicate herself to the safety of Cicero’s residents.”

A 25 year veteran of the Cicero Police Department and a longtime Cicero resident, Lelis was appointed interim police superintendent on May 26, 2009 following the retirement of former Police Chief Anthony Iniquez.

She served with distinction on the town's Detective Unit and the Gang Crimes Tactical Unit. In February, Lelis and the Outstanding Warrants Task Force which she leads were honored by the Town Board for their exemplary work in apprehending and bringing to justice over 400 persons with outstanding warrants.

A former US Marine and helicopter combat air crewman during the Vietnam War, Harrison began his police career in Chicago in October 1972 following his honorable discharge from the military. He was hired by Cicero in 1994 as an officer in charge on patrol watch, detective, Deputy Supt of Investigations, patrol Sergeant, and deputy superintendent.

He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Social Justice from Northwestern University, and a Master of Science Degree in Criminal and Social Justice from Lewis University.

“I am honored to be able to hold the position of interim police superintendent,” Harrison said. “I have dedicated my life to fighting crime and since 1994 working to protect the citizens of the Town of Cicero.”


Chicago Tribune cites political contributions of others, but not its own

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The Chicago Tribune wrote a story this week that criticized the newly appointed Police Chief Bernard Harrison because he donated campaign contributions to Town President Larry Dominick.

It's amazing that is the lead story. Although the story implies something was done for political reasons, the Chicago Tribune, as it always does, fails to provide any facts to back up the innuendo and rumors it spreads.

Did Harrison do it for political reasons? Or, did he do it because he supports President Dominick and it is unrelated to his appointment? Harrison is a former U.S. Marine who joined the Cicero Police Department in 1994. Wow. $2,500 in nearly 17 years of service. Clearly, whatever Harrison does is his business and has nothing to do with politics.

The Chicago Tribune, which is biased and usually only writes negative stories about the Town of Cicero, is hypocritical.

Oh yes.

Take a look at the Illinois Campaign Disclosures and you discover that Chicago Tribune officers have donated significantly more money to political candidates it frequently writes about in its newspapers. Yes, $4,050 in campaign contributions from Top Tribune managers.

Burns, Erik
926 W. Carmen

Cihcago, IL 60640
Occupation: IT Manager
Employer: Tribune Co.
Individual Contribution
Friends of Molly Phelan
Hiller, David Dean
1448 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60610
Occupation: Attorney
Employer: Tribune Corporation
Individual Contribution
John Schmidt for Attorney General
Lufrano, Michael
1140 W. Schubert
Chicago, IL 60614
Occupation: Attorney
Employer: Tribune Interactive
Individual Contribution
Citizens for Lisa Madigan
Lufrano, Michael
1140 W. Schubert
Chicago, IL 60614
Occupation: Attorney
Employer: Tribune Interactive
Individual Contribution
Citizens for Lisa Madigan
Trammell, Curtis J
474 N Lake Shore Dr
Apt 4503
Chicago, IL 60611-6488
Occupation: Regional Sales Manager
Employer: Tribune Media Services
Individual Contribution
Preckwinkle for President
Trammell, Curtis J
474 N Lake Shore Dr
Apt 4503
Chicago, IL 60611-6488
Occupation: Regional Sales Manager
Employer: Tribune Media Services
Individual Contribution
Preckwinkle for President
Trammell, Curtis J
474 N Lake Shore Dr
Apt 4503
Chicago, IL 60611-6488
Occupation: Regional Sales Manager
Employer: Tribune Media Services
Individual Contribution
Preckwinkle for President

Maybe the Chicago Tribune should do a story about how it leverages its newspaper's coverage against favorable treatment from elected officials.

No chance you will read that story in the Chicago Tribune.

-- Ray Hanania

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cicero residents received more than $19 million in FEMA grants for flood damage

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Cicero residents received more than $19 million in FEMA grants for flood damage

Cicero residents received more than $19 million in FEMA grant funding, the second highest total funds awarded to homeowners whose properties were damaged by the floods last summer. Cicero was next only to the City of Chicago.

“A major part of the reason why Cicero residents received so much is that the Town of Cicero was on top of the flooding problem days and weeks before other communities realized that they would be able to obtain aid,” said town spokesman Ray Hanania.

“Cicero officials, coordinated by Town Assessor Emilio “Emo” Cundari, were able to process thousands of homeowners whose properties were damaged beginning the day after the flood. Residents came to Cicero and filled out damage assessment forms. They were also told to document all the damage now rather than later. Tragically, some other communities took weeks to respond with damage assessments and may not have had the documentation. We told Cicero residents whose homes were flooded to take photographs of their damage so they could use that when FEMA opened its doors to process claims.”

FEMA, impressed with the work of the Town of Cicero, decided to locate a FEMA processing center in the town at 5410 W. 34th Street.

“The fact that Town President Larry Dominick was able to convince FEMA to open a damage processing center in the Town of Cicero also helped insure that more Cicero residents could more easily and efficiently apply for grant funding. In many cases, the grant money was mailed to the homeowners within days of completing the FEMA applications,” Hanania said.

President Dominick and the Town of Cicero Board praised the work of FEMA officials and members officials in Cook County who coordinated much of the effort.

David Ramos, Sr., Executive Director/Coordinator Office of the President Cook County Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, has worked closely with all of the suburban communities hit by the record-setting rainfalls on July 24. Ramos praised the work of Cicero Town President Larry Dominick and flood coordinator Cicero Assessor Emilio “Emo” Cundari.

Ramos said that flood victims had until Nov. 18 to file for reimbursement. Cicero has provided one of the four offices to help residents. That claims center was in the Cicero Public Safety Building at 5410 West 34th Street.

Residents in the West suburbs qualified for flood relief when President Barack Obama declared Cook and DuPage counties disaster areas. FEMA is still evaluating requests for reimbursement relief from the various government agencies which have spent more than $14 million in government services to fight the flood.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Cicero appoints Lawrence Moravecek Interim Fire Marshal

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Cicero appoints Lawrence Moravecek Interim Fire Marshal
(Cicero, IL) The Town of Cicero Tuesday voted unanimously to name Lawrence Moravecek at the town’s Interim Fire Marshal succeeding Fire Marshal George Gregory who retired after 39 years of service last week.

Moravecek began his career as a Cicero firefighter in 1975, working his way up from firefighter to Fire Engineer in 1981 and Fire Lieutenant in 1998.

A graduated of Morton East High school, Moravecek attended Morton College. His parents are Robert and Aida Moravecek. The Moravecek’s, who first settled in Cicero in the early part of the 20th Century, owned and operated a funeral home in Cicero for many years.

Moravecek will celebrate 36 years in the Fire Department in February.

“I lived across the street from the fire department and I went to Mary Queen of Heaven school when I was young. The school is located across from the fire house and after school I would go by the fire house and see the firemen and talk to them. Becoming a firefighter just got into my blood,” Moravecek recalled.

“I am very grateful for being given this opportunity. Being a good firefighter is something I have been working towards all my life. It is a great honor to now become the interim fire marshal.”

Moravecek said the worst fires he fought included two that had the highest fatalities, one more than a decade ago which claimed the lives of 9 people at 19th and Cicero, and the Valentine’s Day fire this year which took the lives of seven people ages 3 days old to 20 years old.

“Those were terrible fires. You never can forget those,” Moravecek said. Öur job is to make sure we don’t see tragedies like that again.

Moravecek has five brothers and one sister. The Fire Marshal salary is $110,000 annually.

Retiring Fire Marshal George Gregory served 39 years in the Cicero Fire Department, beginning in 1971. He also worked his way up the ranks, drove fire trucks, became a deputy chief. He was named Fire Marshal by President Dominick.

Gregory’s father was also a former Cicero Fire Marshal.

“We’re very proud of the work that our firefighters perform. Chief Moravecek is a very dedicated individual who is willing to put his life on the line to protect our residents. I know that he will do a good job,” said Town President Larry Dominick.

Peter Smith, the 3rd Platoon Assistant Fire Marshal, was named to succeed Moravecek as Deputy Fire Marshall.

Trustee Dennis Raleigh, also a longtime and now former firefighter, praised Moravecek as did Trustee Victor Garcia during the unanimous vote by the board.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Filing deadline for flood relief extended again through Nov. 17

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The Office of the President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners,
Todd H. Stroger, President
Cook County Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management
Media Advisory:  For Immediate Release
Media Contacts: Ray Rubio, Public Information Officer 312-603-8180, 312-523-8601,
James Ramos, Public Affairs and Communications, 312-603-0365, cell 312-590-4209,
Cook County Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management announces additional time to Cook County residents to apply for disaster assistance
Chicago – October 19, 2010 – Cook County residents have additional time to apply for disaster assistance for damages from the severe storms and flooding that occurred on July 23 and 24, 2010.
In Cook County alone more than 123,000 households have applied for assistance and more than 1,000 people a day are still applying. FEMA has approved $260 Million dollars for Cook County residents.  “This is the biggest disaster in the history of FEMA’s region”, said David R. Ramos, Executive Director, Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management. Due to the size of the disaster and the continuing number of people applying for disaster assistance, the deadline to apply has been extended by FEMA to Wednesday, November 17, 2010.
The Disaster Recovery Center locations are:
• Chicago State University, Emil and Patricia Jones Convocation Center,
9501 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago, IL 60628
• Stephenson County Highway Administration Building, 295 West Lamm Road
Freeport, IL 61032 (near County Road 12 – South Walnut Avenue.
• Cicero Public Safety Building, 5410 West 34th Street, Cicero, IL 60804
• St. Joseph High School, 1840 Mayfair Ave., Westchester, IL 60154
• Austin Area, (former Old Navy building), Washington Square
4905 West North Ave., Chicago IL 60639
Applications can still be made online at or by calling toll free 1-800-621-3362.  
69 W. Washington St. – Suite 2630 · Chicago, Illinois  60602 · 312-603-8180 · Fax 312-603-9883

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cicero purchases foreclosed homes, rehabs them and resells them to the public

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Cicero purchases foreclosed homes, rehabs them and resells them to the public
(Note event date change to Oct. 28)

Town President Larry Dominick will break ground Thursday on the conversion of a bank-foreclosed property that has been acquired by Cicero that will be offered for public subsidized sale.

Cicero has so far purchased three bank-foreclosed properties in the past two years, rebuilding them and offering them to the public with a subsidy from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP).

The groundbreaking with take place Thursday (October 28, 2010) at 10:30 am at the site where the new homes will be built, 5111-13 W. 29th Place.
The first foreclosed home Cicero purchased is located at 2725 S. 58th Court. 
The second foreclosed home Cicero purchased is at 2724 S. 58th Court, across the street from the first home. 
The newest foreclosed home Cicero has purchased is a home at 5111 W. 29th Place and a vacant lot next door at 5113 W. 29th Place that together will become a future duplex, town home.

“We do not want these foreclosed properties to go unattended and turn in to hangouts for gangs or drug dealers,” Dominick said.

“We do not want to see anyone lose their homes. But once the bank takes a property, their record is not very good at maintaining them. I do not want these homes to turn into eyesores that impact their neighbors. This program will insure that the properties are renovated and in some cases rebuilt from scratch and then resold to the public as family residences.”

Cicero has purchased three foreclosed properties and rebuilt or renovated them to be sold as public subsidized housing. The first property has already been purchased by a family, stabilizing their block. The second property, located at 2724 S. 58th Court, has been renovated and is now on the market.

“This second home is being sold right off of the Town’s web site at,” explained Tom Tomschin, grant administrator for the Town of Cicero Housing Department.

“The third property is actually one home that was foreclosed on that the town purchased from the bank. It has an adjacent vacant property and we are going to convert that single family home in to a Town House duplex.”
Tomschin said buyers must meet income ceiling criteria. For example, one person buying the home must have an income of no more than $63,650. A four-member family could earn up to $90,000 and qualify for the home purchases under NSP. A six-member family could earn up to $104,000. Tomschin said prospective buyers go through a rigid criteria to determine their status and incomes. 

“We are working to get the homes placed on the MLS system to increase public awareness but we have some hurdles to overcome. But they are available to anyone who meets the NSP criteria and are income-qualified,” Tomschin explained.

The proposed duplex will provide two residences each with three bedrooms and two and one-half baths. Each unit will also have a two-car garage. They will sell for $160,000 each, including all appliances. It will be located at 5111 and 5113 W. 29th Place.

The property at 2724 S. 58th Court is listed at $182,000 which is now available for purchase. It has 3 bedrooms, two baths, unfinished basement, two and one-half car garage, is energy efficient and includes all major appliances (stove, refrigerator, microwave, dish washer and granite countertops.)

Both the 29th Place and 58th Court properties are demolitions and rebuilds. The first house sold for $179,000 was a gut rehab, rather than a demolition or rebuild. It is located at 2725 S. 58th Court, across the street from the 2nd foreclosed home.

Tomschin said through NSP regulations, the town is prohibited from making a profit on any of the sales, but can recover acquisition costs and costs of construction. All proceeds collected at closing are recycled back into the program to continue the process of acquisition, redevelopment, and sale.

For more information on purchasing one of these rehabbed homes, visit the Town of Cicero web site.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Cicero Police Superintendent Receives Honor

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Cicero Police Superintendent Receives HonorLawndale News
By: Ashmar Mandou
         Young Latinas across the city can learn a thing or two from Cicero Police Superintendent Lori Lelis.  Not only has she worked through the ranks for 26 years to become Superintendent, Lelis also dedicates her time to keeping the streets of Cicero safe for families to enjoy, reaches out to women who have suffered through domestic violence, and is actively involved with non-profit organization Mujeres Latinas en Acción.  On Tuesday, Oct. 5th Lelis’ contributions were honored by the Latinos of Berwyn and Cicero organization, in which Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez led the ceremony.  “Every year we highlight individuals who shown done admirable amount of support to our community, especially the Latino community,” said Charlie Hernandez, president of Latinos of Berwyn and Cicero (L.O.B.O).  “She was honored for her innovative programs in law enforcement and the ‘Safe Our Streets’ program.  She goes beyond just being a Cicero resident.  Lelis is committed to public service.” 

            L.O.B.O was established in 1984 as a way to showcase Latino leaders making an impact in their community.  It also aims to inspire youth to get involved with local organizations by offering services and workshops to augment leadership skills, and offering seminars to educate the communities of Cicero and Berwyn about the various services that are available to them.  Its mission is to continue education and inspiring residents and showcasing Latinos who continually strive for change.  “Through our efforts to highlight hard working Latinos, we hope we are able to inspire younger generations,” said Hernandez. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chicago business to expand in to Cicero

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Chicago business to expand in to Cicero

Cicero, Il – Cloverhill Bakery, which employs more than 900 people at its bakery in Chicago on south Narragansett Street will move its distribution center from Chicago to Cicero, bringing as many as 40 new jobs.

William A. Gee IV, Executive Vice President of Operations for Cloverhill Bakery, told members of the Town of Cicero board that they are excited to be expanding into the western Chicago suburb and relocating the distribution to 1540 S. 54th Avenue.

“We’ve been working on this for quite a while and we want to express our gratitude to President Larry Dominick and to the Town Attorney Mike Del Galdo for their help,” Gee said.

William A. Gee IV, Cloverhill Executive Vice President of Operations
addresses the board as (from left) TIM Hakin (COO) and attorney Brian Liston look on

“We've been making individually-wrapped pastries for quite some time and very successfully. It’s a wonderful aroma and you will be able to smell the difference in Cicero when this becomes reality. It will definitely change the neighborhood.”

Gee said the company currently has 900 employees at its plant at 2035 N. Narragansett Ave. in Chicago. He said the company is expanding the line to include muffins which will be the first line to be introduced to the new location once expansion is completed.

He said Cloverhill will be closing down its current distribution facility at Pulaski Road near the Stevenson Expressway to relocate the 40 employees to Cicero.

Cloverhill has been in business since 1960. Since then, they have expanded the company twice.

“We need more space and we are landlocked where we are now located and we need to do bigger and better things.

Gee, who was accompanied by attorney Brian P. Liston and Cloverhill COO Tim Hakin, said that in past developments, the company has invested in helping to improve local infrastructure including repaving streets.

“We want to create an environment that is beneficial to our employees and mindful of the surrounding neighborhood and the Town in which we are proud to work in,” Gee said.

Gee said that in expanding in Chicago years ago, the company took over a property that was being used by street gangs as a crack house. “We took it over, cleaned it up and today that location has improved dramatically,” Gee said.  “We will be fixing up the property and adding new fencing. That area will look a lot nicer when we are done.”

Gee said that the company expects that many of the existing employees will choose to relocate with the company and move in to Cicero. He said that Cloverhill bakery will also work with the Town to promote new job positions to the town’s residents.

In response to questions from trustees Maria Punzo-Arias, Dennis Raleigh and Town Collector Fran Reitz, Gee said that great care will be taken to route delivery trucks away from any local schools where children might be present.


FEMA Workshop for homeowners to protect their homes from flooding Mon. Oct. 18, Cicero Community Center

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“Protect Your Property From Basement Flooding” Program

FEMA will host a workshop to help homeowners protect their homes from future flooding problems. The workshop will be held on Monday Oct. 18 at 6:30 pm at the Community Center, 2250 S. 49th Ave. (behind Town Hall).

This Program consists of a 22 minute talk using a PowerPoint slide show to discuss what homeowners can do to minimize basement flooding. A FEMA Mitigation specialist will introduce simple, affordable home maintenance/retrofitting ideas using graphics to show how to accomplish this and include information on the National Flood Insurance Program. A Question & Answer session will follow the slide presentation. Our talk will stress code compliance and remind residents to speak with their local building official for permitting requirements. Any highly technical questions will be referred to a contractor/professional, as we merely want to propose ideas.

This Program is targeting small groups such as homeowner’s association, service clubs, civic organizations, fraternal clubs and church groups in areas with significant basement flood damage.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wonderful profile of Maureen Carroll in the Berwyn-Cicero Life Newspapers this week.

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Wonderful profile of Maureen Carroll in the Berwyn-Cicero Life Newspapers this week.

Check it out. As director of Cicero’s Community Mental Health Board, Carroll began a support group for local military families.

In May 2009, she organized a military appreciation ceremony that is now a regular event at many of our Town Board meetings.

Click here to read the article

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Emergency Food Stamps Available to Flood Affected Residents in Cicero

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Emergency Food Stamps Available to Flood Affected Residents in Cicero
USDA's Food and Nutrition Services has authorized the Illinois Department of Human Services to offer a special Disaster SNAP benefits for residents of 7 counties declared federal disaster areas as a result of flooding in late July.

Monday, August 30 through Friday September 3rd from 8:30 AM until 4:00 PM each day.

Disaster SNAP Benefits

Disaster SNAP benefits will be provided to families based on total income and assets available to a household during the disaster. Non-reimbursed disaster-related expenses are allowed as a deduction from income and assets. A qualifying 2 person family with net income less than $1815 would receive $367 and a one person household with net income less than $1503 would receive $200. Most benefits will be available within 3 days of the date of application.

SNAP benefits can be used to purchase food for human consumption, but cannot be used to buy alcoholic drinks, tobacco products or non-food products. Benefits must be used within 90 days.

Who Qualifies

Illinois residents who lived or worked in a disaster area within one of these counties at the time of the disaster may qualify for this special program. To qualify, persons must have had damage to home or business, disaster-related expenses not reimbursed, or loss or reduction of income during the period 7/22/10 through 8/20/10.
Persons receiving regular SNAP benefits that were affected by the disaster may also apply for this special program. They may qualify for additional SNAP benefits to bring their benefit level up to the maximum benefit amount for the month of the disaster.

Where to Apply

Special applications for the Disaster SNAP benefits are available at certain Illinois Department of Human Services offices known as Family Community Resource Centers (FCRCs) (see the listing below of office addresses/contact information) located in the following counties that were designated as federal disaster areas: Cook, Carroll, DuPage, JoDavies, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago.

When to Apply

Applications will be accepted on weekdays from Monday, August 30 through Friday September 3rd from 8:30 AM until 4:00 PM each day. Those applying must apply at one of the designated offices and complete a paper application.

What to Bring to Apply

Applicants must bringproof of their identity and
proof of their residence or job in a disaster area prior to the disaster.

Special Considerations

Persons committing fraud with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP) may be disqualified from the program, may be fined up to $250,000 and put in prison up to 20 years or both.
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, the Illinois Department of Human Services is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs, or disability.

FCRC Contact Information

West Suburban
2701 West Lake Street
Melrose Park, IL 60160-3800
Phone: (708) 338-7600
Nextalk: (866) 439-3720
Fax: (708) 338-7638

Thursday, August 19, 2010


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I am proud to announce that President Barack Obama has declared Cook County and DuPage County DISASTER Areas as a result of the flooding that occurred on June 23 and again on July 24th.

As you know, Cicero sustained more than $40 million in damages to personal property owned by individuals and by businesses.

Not only was Cicero impacted, but the entire region of suburban communities including parts of Chicago were flooded.

We are also proud to have been told that much of the decision to declare the region a disaster area was based in part to the detailed damage assessments that the Town of Cicero collected immediately after the flooding. As you know, many communities tried their best to collect damage assessments but the deadline to apply was very fast.

Cicero processed damage assessment reports from more than 5,000 homeowners over a two day period beginning on Sunday morning, within 24 hours of the flooding reports. I declared Cicero a disaster area on Saturday morning. That was followed by disaster declarations by the county and by the state, and now, by the White House.

County officials who initiated the process as the first of several steps said that our reporting weighed heavily on the President’s Decision.

We want to thank our local legislators State Sen. Martin Sandoval and State Representative Lisa Hernandez for working so quickly to help us organize those damage assessments. We also want to thank Cook County EMA officials David Ramos and Kevin Joyce, and we also want to thank Congressman Dan Lipinski for his support and Cook County Commissioner Mario Moreno who worked closely with us to get the information and also support we received from Jeff Tobolski, the mayor of McCook and the candidate for the Cook County Board 16th District.

Dominick gave special thanks to Cicero Assessor Emilio "Emo" Cundari who supervised and organized the collection of data on July 25-26 that was used to determine damage eligibility.

As we understand it, the declaration impacts only individuals and businesses. They can begin the process to apply for FEMA assistance by either visiting the FEMA web site at or by calling 1-800-621-3362 …or 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing impaired. The toll free numbers will operate from 7 am until 10 pm. Seven days a week until further notice. This process will begin tomorrow morning, Friday August 20 at 7 am.

We urge residents in Cicero to begin the process immediately. It was their participation that helped make this possible and we are grateful for the consideration we have received from the county, the state and from the federal government.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Town of Cicero files $42 million lawsuit against Water Reclamation District

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Town of Cicero files $42 million lawsuit against Water Reclamation District

Cicero – Town President Larry Dominick Tuesday filed a lawsuit seeking $42 million in compensation from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago for damages caused during two floods June 23 and July 24 to nearly 5,000 Cicero homeowners.

Dominick announced the filing of the lawsuit at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled board meeting questioning the failure of Water Reclamation District officials to protect homeowners from flooding, the mission behind their $1.69 billion annual budget.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday morning at 9 am in the Cook County Circuit Courts, seeks to make the Water Reclamation District accountable not only to Cicero residents but to the residents in 18 other communities in the West suburbs that also suffered damage during the floods that swept through the regions during both storms.

“Over the past two months I have been working closely with other elected officials including mayors from other communities, officials from the county and state Emergency Management Agency offices, and with officials of FEMA. During all that time, we have no leadership or representation from the Water Reclamation District,” Dominick said.

“There was a press conference this past Monday in Westchester where Cicero and mayors from 18 other communities, the county and the state were represented. The Water Reclamation District was absent from there, too. The fact is that the Water Reclamation District has the most direct influence on the communities that were impacted by these two flood events and they did absolutely nothing, except, when residents called for help and compassion, blame everything on the local suburban communities, like Cicero. Our lawsuit is intended to make the Water Reclamation District do its job.”

In the lawsuit, the Town alleges that the MWRDGC “failed to use its systems devices and historical data to adequately anticipate the need to open its devices to receive and dispose of all sewage collected with the Town.”

The lawsuit also states that during the floods, “The Town, its residents and property owners desperately tried to contact MWRDGC for help with no success … and the telephone representatives of MWRDGC openly blamed The Town for the sewage backup flooding.”

The lawsuit demands that the MWRDGC do its job properly and in conjunction with suburban communities such as the Town of Cicero and be accountable.” It further argues that the MWRDGC can manage flood water levels through the opening and closing of locks into several reservoirs and Lake Michigan.

“We believe that the Water Reclamation District has put other interests, such as the quality of Lake Michigan, above the interests and safety of the residents in the Town of Cicero and in other suburban communities,” Dominick said.

“We believe that if it comes down to a choice between Lake Michigan and the homeowners that the Water Reclamation District’s first choice should be to protect the interests of the homeowners.”

The $42 million is the estimated damage assessment collected during a two day inventory with residents whose properties were impacted by the July 24 flood.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

FEMA to tour Cicero Monday afternoon August 9, 2010

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FEMA has announced that Cicero will be one of only two communities in Cook County which will undergo an initial assessment for the flood damage. 

More than 75 Cook County communities, taxing bodies and agencies (Townships, Municipalities, park districts, school districts, etc) are involved in collecting damage assessment data for FEMA in our effort to get President Obama to declare Cook County a disaster area.

FEMA chose Cicero based on the amount of "need" that we reported as well as our efficiency in reporting and assessing damage to residents and government efforts(collected during two days of community reporting that we organized at Town Hall on Sunday and Monday after the flood, July 25-26).

On Monday, at 2:00pm, at the Westchester Village Hall (Roosevelt Road, a few blocks East of LaGrange Road/Manheim Road), there will be a press conference with officials from Cicero, Westchester, FEMA and the Illinois EMA.

After the press conference in Westchester, a damage assessment team will come to Cicero and perform some assessments. FEMA officials will visit several properties in both towns to look at the flood damage, view some photographs. A second team will be examining the public (government) portion of our submission on behalf of the town to review costs associated with the flooding.

We want to thank the Cook County EMA office for the tremendous effor tthey made in helping communities like Cicero organize this assessment. We are hopeful that a declaration of a disaster area will bring some relief to our residents and also raise the issue of the need to have communities work together to address the flooding problems.

ALSO -- Cicero will file and announce its lawsuit against the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago during its regular Tuesday morning board meeting which begins at 10 am at Town Hall, 4949 W. Cermak Road. I'll have details on the suit after the board meeting, though Town President Larry Dominick and other officials will have comments during the board meeting.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Housing assistance available for those in need

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The Cicero Housing Authority was notified by the Housing Authority of Cook County about information regarding immediate assistance to families who are in need of paying their rent. This assistance is for ANY family residing within Cook County. The information our office was provided with is as follows:
  • Cook County has received over 4 million dollars for people that are currently behind in rent due to lack of work, or illness. Students may also be eligible for assistance. If you or someone you know is having problems paying rent due to loss of job, or illness, or who have become homeless, please contact Gloria Mullins at 312-603-1006, or, call 847-866-2952.
Please use this information for any residents, which may possibly need rental assistance. This funding is not only for Section 8 families, but rather, for any resident of Cook County. If you have any questions, please call me at (708) 212-4205. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cicero collects $43 million in home loss damages: prepares to file lawsuit against Water Reclamation District

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Cicero collects $43 million in home loss damages: prepares to file lawsuit against Water Reclamation District

The Town of Cicero board this morning (Tuesday July 27, 2010) officially approved a resolution declaring the Town of Cicero a Disaster Area, one of 18 suburban communities seeking FEMA assistance.

Cicero Town President Larry Dominick said the town collected information from families representing more than 5,000 properties that reported flooding from the July 24 rain and storm. Dominick said an estimated 100 businesses in the Town also reported flood water damage.

"We understand collecting this estimate is the first step in appealing for federal relief and we appreciate the support we have received from the Cook County Board and President Todd Stroger, and from the Illinois Legislature and Gov. Pat Quinn," Dominick said at Tuesday morning's regularly scheduled board meeting. Both Quinn and Stroger have approved declarations designating Cook County communities as disaster areas.

Dominick also announced the town law department is exploring a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, expressing outrage and anger that when residents call MWRDGC employees, instead of offering support and help, those MWRDGC employees pointed fingers of blame at the 18 suburban communities.

"One of the responsibilities of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago is to manage stormwater. They did a very poor job. To make it worse, and so cowardly, the Water Reclamation District spent all its time responding to the cries of help from community residents not by offering them help and support but by telling them it's not their fault and they have nothing to do with it. They instead pointed fingers of blame at the 18 suburban communities and municipalities who share in this disaster."

Dominick said that the town witnessed the water filling up and shooting upwards from several manholes flooding mainstreets such as Austin Blvsd. When the Water Reclamation District opened the flood gates, the water started to immediately reverse and recede "as if someone pulled a plug from a bathtub. The Water Reclamation District owes all of the people of Cook County an explanation as to what happened, instead of shirking their responsibilities."

State Sen. Martin Sandoval, a former member of the Reclamation District board, expressed his outrage at the district's comments to residents and joined in condemning the failure of the MWRDGC to respond to resident needs.

"That is their job. Their job is to manage stormwater run-off. They brag about how they prevent flooding on their web site and in their mission statement. I support the Town of Cicero's decision to pursue legal action against the Metropolitical Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. The public needs answers," Sandoval told the board.

Town Assessor Emilio Cundari reported to the board that the town was also organizing a clothing and food drive to help residents who lost their possessions during the flood. A collection drive is being held in the Town of Cicero Friday July 30 at the Public Safety Building, from 9 am until 3 pm Friday located at 5410 W. 34th Street.

"We had several families including with little children who lost their homes and we have been working with them to find them temporary shelter," Cundari said.

"We have even more families who lost much or all of their possessions and we want to help them recover as best we can."

Three town officials were among those whose properties were severely damaged by flooding.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Flooding Update: 1 pm Monday July 26, 2010: $12 million damages identified during first day of tabulation

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We totaled the data collected from Sunday's effort to identify individuals and properties damaged by flooding this past weekend, and the estimate of the damage that was provided by home and property owners.

More than 3,000 people came to town hall between 12 noon and 8 pm on Sunday. That represented about 2,000 actual properties.

The total damage for the properties is $12 million.

I anticipate that this number will steadily climb as we continue to collect more information from residents who are coming to Town Hall (4949 W. 22nd Street) through this evening at 8 pm.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cicero Town President declares Cicero a flood disaster area

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Cicero Town President declares Cicero a flood disaster area 

UPDATE 5:20 pm 7-24-10: Cicero employees and officials will be at Town Hall Sunday and Monday to help fill out an INITIAL DAMAGE ESTIMATE FORM for each resident so that the Town can meet requirements to get an official Disaster Area designation. The detailed forms with photographs of the damage can be provided at a later date if and when a Disaster Area status is declared.

Watch for updated new on when the forms will be available at town hall. If you fill out the form online, provide as much information as possible. The MOST IMPORTANT information we need besides your complete identification (name, address, and contect information) is the estimate of damage that you suffered. That estimate will be compiled and used to justify a county and state designation of a Disaster Area to possibly qualify for funding.

Once the County and State Official declare Cicero a Disaster Area, then we will need each employee to detail the damage their suffered and [IMPORTANT] include photographs of the damage. PLEASE TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS of that damage and keep them ready for when the detailed form needs to be completed.

7-24-10 11 am: Town President Larry Dominick has declared areas of Cicero Disaster Areas as a result of intense flooding caused by last night's and this morning's heavy storms. Like many suburban communities, homes and properties have experienced serious flooding, the second time in four weeks as a result of heavy rain storms.

This time, most of the damage has been caused by flooding and we have not experienced the same level of tree damage that we experienced June 23.

Cicero officials are meeting with county and state officials to identify assistance that might be available to assist homeowners and residents.

The Town of Cicero has posted "Flood Damage" forms online asking every resident who experienced flood damage to document that damage and return the forms to Town Hall (with photographs) so that they can be collectively presented to officials in Cook County and the State of Illinois to support our request for grant funding and low-interest loans to flood victims.

Several Town officials also experienced flooding. While some residents are concerned the problem is the sewer and water lines, Cicero's problems reflect problems that have swept through the West Suburbs and the Chicagoland area during this storm damage.

Resident can obtain copies of the form from the Town's Web Sites. The forms are being placed online as of this notice. Residents can return the forms to Town Hall at the Reception Desk (4949 W. Cermak Road). Make sure the forms are completed in their entirety:

The forms with instructions are now available at:

The forms with instructions will soon be available at:

(Spanish language instructions -- form is in English)

The town's response to last month;s storm çost the Town of Cicero $250,000. It included the rmeoval of two dozen trees that had uprooted and collapsed on homes causing extensive damage, emergency relief efforts to rescue individuals from flooded homes, and overseeing efforts to expedite the removal of rainwater from town streets.

Crews were on the street whent he storm began late last night and continue to work streets and assist homeowners.



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The Town of Cicero and President Larry Dominick have declared Cicero a disaster area suffering from major and serious flooding damage twice in the past four weeks.

We are asking every resident to fill out the form below and return it to the Town of Cicero Reception Desk beginning Monday morning. (First Floor, main entrance, 4949 W. Cermak Road 22nd Street).

These forms will be used to help the Town of Cicero apply for funding assistance to provide to homeowners who suffered damage. It is very important that every property owner who suffered any property damage or flooding fill out the forms. Please also carefully read the instructions before doing so and return one copy to the Town of Cicero Reception Desk.

Here are the instructions followed by the form that must be filled out.

Draft Form and Instructions Created 01/2008, Revised 01/2009
 County/City – Include the county and the city or unincorporated area where damage is being assessed.
 Date – Date of Event
 Type of Event – Flash flood, Riverine flooding
 Completed by – Name of the person performing damage assessment.
 Phone Number – Phone number of person performing damage assessment
 Date(s) of Assessment Start ____ End ____
 Page ___ of ___
 Use a separate line for each dwelling number and street.
 If damage to individual apartments can be determined, apartments should be listed on separate lines. If all apartments in a building have similar damage, record them as a group on the same line and indicate the number of apartments.
 If there is a business in the home, record the home and business on separate lines and note in comments.
#2 - SF/MF/MH/B
 Indicate if damaged dwelling is:
SF – Single Family Home
MF – Multi Family Structure (Apartment Building, Duplex, 2-Flat, etc.)
MH – Mobile Home
 If damaged building is a business, indicate with B.
 Indicate if the occupant owns or rents the dwelling by recording O or R. If unknown record UNK.
 Record depth of water in the basement in feet (‘) or inches (“).
 If no water in basement, record 0.
 If no basement, record NA (Not Applicable). (The dwelling may be on a slab or in an upper apartment.)
 Record depth of water in the first floor of the dwelling in feet (‘) or inches (“).
 If no water in first floor, record 0.
 If apartment is in the basement or an upper floor, record NA.
 Determine, if possible, if the basement is used as an essential living area, such as space that is used as a required (verses an optional) bedroom and record Y, N or NA.
 Family rooms are not considered essential living areas. A finished basement does not necessarily make it an essential living area. A basement apartment or garden apartment is considered an essential living area.
#7 - INS – H/R/F ?
 Determine, if possible, if the occupant has Home Owners, Renters and/or Flood insurance.
 If they do not have any insurance, record N (for No).
 If they have Home Owners insurance, record H.
 If they have Renters insurance, record R.
 If they have Flood insurance, record F.
 If it can’t be determined, record UNK (for Unknown).
 If there is obvious/visible structural damage to the dwelling, record Y (for Yes) and briefly describe the damage in the Comments Column. If no obvious/visible structural damage, record N (for No).
 If there is structural damage, briefly describe it here. Examples of brief descriptions are: basement wall collapsed, house off foundation, foundation cracks.
 Other types of common information to be recorded in this column using the corresponding letter are:
A – No one living in dwelling at time of flood
B – Dwelling was not a primary residence
C – Water in crawl space only
D – Damage caused by sewer back up only
E – No one home during damage assessment, cannot determine damage
F – No one home during damage assessment, information obtained by observation
(waterline on house, for example) or from another source (neighbor, local

SF - Single Family INS - Insurance
MF - Multi Family H - Home Owners
MH - Mobile Home R - Renters
B - Business F - Flood
A – No one living in dwelling at time of flood
B – Dwelling was not a primary residence
C – Water in crawl space only
D – Damage caused by sewer back up only
E – No one home during damage assessment, cannot determine damage
F – No one home during damage assessment, information obtained by observation (waterline on house, for example) or from
another source (neighbor, local official)


Sunday, July 18, 2010

5 Suspects held in kidnapping of Cicero businesswoman

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Aggravated kidnapping information
Ray Hanania

Kidnap location:      4902 W Cermak,     Salon Impresiones

Date & Time: 14 July 2010,  2143

Kidnap Victim:         Paniagua, Zita   F/WH/06-14-65  5’3/145/brn/brn/ wearing pink shirt, beige or tan  capris and Carrying black Coach purse. Beauty shop owner …

Vehicles used:    Possible: red Ford Aerostar (or similar), beater condition with roof rack and ladder on top, wide side molding, missing right rear hubcap

Kidnap for ransom.  Demanding $200, 000

Held her for 21 hours

Charges:   The following 5 offenders have been charged with 1 count each of AGGRAVATED KIDNAPPING.  The kidnapping took place on 14 JUL 10 in the 4900 Block of Cermak Rd., Cicero IL:

Personnel Assigned:            Sgt Greg Dybas, Dets E.Acevez, Laslie, Jimenez, Wojtowicz, M. Ramirez, DS Harrison

Narrative:      Victim exited her place of business and approached her parked vehicle at which time she was dragged into, or made to enter above vehicle which then fled West Bound to 50 ave and then North Bound.  Phone calls were made to husband demanding $200,000 ransom.  Cicero police were notified and Cicero police then notified the FBI.

The following 5 offenders have been charged with aggravated kidnapping.  The kidnapping took place on 14 JUL 10 in the 4900 Block of Cermak Rd., Cicero IL:
In Custody:

1)CADENAS, Marco     DOB 06-01-1975  of 3968 S. Emerson, Schiller Park IL
2)SOLIS, Blanca      DOB 09-17-1971  of 3968 S. Emerson, Schiller Park IL
3)MORENO, Gerardo    DOB 01-02-1971  of 5147 S. Homan, Chicago IL
4)MENDOZA, Victor    DOB 03-19-1976  of 4638 S. Mozart, Chicago IL
5)LOPEZ, Rigoberto   DOB 01-04-1984  of 4046 S. Montgomery, Chicago

All being held in Cicero Lock-up  … anticipate bond hearing maybe Monday – because they didn’t cross state lines, the fed’s helped but it remains in local jurisdiction

The feds surveilled the money drop … the kidnappers wanted the husband to drop off the money … the husband drove around on a wild goose chase as the kidnappers had him drive around … feds were at 2 other locations … they went in to the house and recovered the victims …

Cicero Police Chief Lori Lelis: “I am very proud of the persistence of the detectives. They worked countless hours on this. They never dropped this and have the victim’s family staying with them at the station. We contacted the Federal Authorities and we worked together hand in hand. The federal authorities went in to this full steam .”

Victim recovered Thursday at around 4:30 pm

Two vehicles involved …

10 am Bond hearing in Maybrook, 

Blanca Solis

Gerardo Moreno

Marco Cadenas

Rigoberto Lopez

Victor Mendoza