Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cicero Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Day

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Town of Cicero officials and residents and dignitaries gathered Thursday Jan. 14, 2010 to honor the memory of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Cicero Community Center, 2250 S. 49th Ave.

Guest speakers included Circuit Court Judge the Honorable Lawrence Terrell and Kasumba Kal Lawanga, the executive assistant to Cicero Town President Larry Dominick. The event was emceed by former legislator Frank Aguilar who now heads up Cicero's Community Affairs Department.

As about 100 people gathered in preparation for the ceremony, speeches from Dr. King were broadcast on the Community Center PA System. Among those offering support at the event were City Clerk Marylin Colpo, Township Supervisor Joe Virruso, and trustees Maria Punzo-Arias and Dennis Raleigh. Also attending were Cicero Police Chief Lori Lelis and Cicero Fire Marshal George Gregory.

"As we gather here this morning, we can listen to the echoes of a great man's voice who reminded us we are one people living in one world," Aguilar said as he introduced the event's speakers.

Judge Terrell noted that the Town of Cicero "never celebrated or acknowledged Dr. King's legacy until Larry Dominick was elected President of the Town of Cicero. President Dominick believes that Dr. King represented a noble fight for the civil rights of all Americans."

Terrell said that Dr. King would be amazed, had he lived, to see the country elect its first African American president, and cited the achievements of many African Americans in American life including Oprah,. Denzel Washington "and individuals working in law, as judges and astronauts."

Terrell added that King helped to "move America to a post-racial society where character means more than the color of your skin."

Lwanga, speaking on behalf of the entire town of Cicero, offered a compelling and moving speech:

"It is an honor for me to be able to speak before you today, residents of the Town of Cicero, members of the Town Board of Trustees, His Honor Cook County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Terrell and my beloved boss, our Town President, Larry Dominick, on this important commemoration of the life and the legacy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"Dr. King is an inspiration to all Americans. He wasn’t just an African American leader. He was an American leader. Today and on the holiday Monday, Americans around the country will pause to reflect on his achievements and remember his sacrifice.

"Dr. King’s fight to enforce the civil rights of African Americans was really a fight to strengthen the civil rights of all Americans.

"His words today are an inspiration that are often quoted and remembered for the power of their simplicity. His words helped to bring Americans closer together as a people.

·        In looking back over some of the amazing, inspiring speeches Dr. King gave during his life, I was struck by a reoccurring theme in them, a belief I very much share. Even though Dr. King marched and fought and spent time in jail cells on behalf of African Americans, his ultimate goal was to carry forth the imperative that all Americans, no matter what our color, ethnic background, religion, gender, race or any other outward difference between us, that all Americans are created equal. That all of us have unalienable rights. That all of us, whether we worship in a church, or a temple, or a mosque or a synagogue, or in our own homes in our own way are all equally loved, without prejudice, by our respective Higher Power.

·        I myself, was raised as a Catholic. In our church, there comes a point during the Mass where we turn to each other, say “Peace be with you,” or “La paz del Señor que este con usted” and shake hands. As a sign of peace, in recognition of what Dr. King dreamed of, I would appreciate it, if you turned to your neighbor now, shook hands and offer tidings of peace.

·        Thank you very much. Now, in his last speech, the one he delivered on April 3, 1968, the night before he died, Dr. King talked about, what I think of, as his eternal optimism about the future. Even though black sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn., were engaged in a bitter, difficult fight for improved working conditions, even though threats had been made against his life, Dr. King told the gathered people that he had seen the proverbial “Promised Land.”

"He said in that speech: “We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the Promised Land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

"Dr. King foresaw a moment like this. A moment in which a skinny black man with a funny last name would stand in a town like Cicero, in front of a group with African-Americans, and Italian-Americans and Lithuanian-Americans, and Polish-Americans and Czech & Bohemian-Americans and Mexican-Americans, Puertorriqueños and Latinos and Americans of all stripes and colors, that we would sit next to each other, shake hands and wish each other peace.

"If you seek the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., look around you. It’s happening right now, in this room, in all of us. Thank you and God bless you."


Town of Cicero Attorney Michael Del Galdo named "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers Magazine

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Cicero Attorney Michael Del Galdo selected by 
Super Lawyers Magazine for "Illinois Rising Stars 2010"

Cicero, Il) -- Michael Del Galdo, founding attorney and managing member of Del Galdo Law Group, LLC, a firm comprised of 14 attorneys concentrating in the governmental and public sector practice area, was selected by Super Lawyers Magazine for their "Illinois Rising Stars 2010" honor.

Del Galdo is currently general and special counsel to some of the largest units of government in the Chicago metropolitan area and also represents numerous local, county, and state elected officials. He is the Attorney for the Town of Cicero and City of Berwyn, along with several local school districts and suburban communities.

The recognition as a "Rising Star" in the field of law is the result of a detailed and comprehensive selection process by Super Lawyers Magazine which includes evaluation of 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Only 2.5 percent of lawyers in any state will be considered for this recognition each year.

"I am very honored and humbled by the recognition," Del Galdo said.

"My commitment remains to provide the best legal representation to clients in order to better serve the communities and their constituents."

Among their clients, The Del Galdo Law Group represents 24 suburban Chicagoland municipalities and government and public agencies. His practice areas include Government, Cities and Municipalities, State Election Law, and, Land Use and Zoning.

As general counsel, Del Galdo's governmental clients have combined annual budgets in excess of $1 billion.

A graduate of DePaul University College of Law, Del Galdo is also a frequent lecturer on municipal government.

Del Galdo graduated from Drake University and has his law degree from DePaul University College of Law. He is married to Beth and they have two children.

Del Galdo Law Group, LLC, offices are  located at 1441 South Harlem Avenue, Berwyn, IL 60402. The web site is:

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cundari, Reitz sworn-in to new terms on Town of Cicero Board

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Emilio “Emo” Cundari sworn in as new Town Assessor
Fran Reitz sworn in to third term as Town Collector
Town board salutes outgoing Assessor Jose Alanis

In a brief ceremony Tuesday night, Dec. 22, Emilio “Emo” Cundari was sworn in as the new Cicero Township Assessor. Cundari also assumed his seat on the Town of Cicero Board as a trustee. Fran Reitz was sworn in to a new term.

Reitz and Cundari were elected last February. Cundari defeat Jose Alanis, who was originally elected in 2005. Unlike the other offices who are sworn in immediately after the election, state law requires the posts of Assessor and Collector to officially begin at the last meeting of the Town’s board of trustees in December many months after the election.

Town President Larry Dominick and The Town of Cicero board trustees adjourned to accept the official resignation of Alanis from his seat.

In an unprecedented gesture of openness, Dominick and board members praised Alanis, who had run on the slate of an opposing political party, and he was offered an opportunity to remain working for the citizens of Cicero.

“Over the years, we have come to work with you and know you and recognize your professionalism,” said Town President Larry Dominick.

“I have asked you to stay on our team and continue working for the citizens of the Town of Cicero because you are a fine young man and an asset to our community.”

In past administrations, the transition from one to another has often been scarred by rancor and political fighting.

But Dominick said that despite any differences, “as long as a Town of Cicero employee puts the best interests of the Town of Cicero first above their politics, they are welcome to continue working here.”

Alanis received praise from all off the trustees and from Town Clerk Marylin Colpo who said, “You have always been a gentleman and a professional.”

Trustee Dennis Raleigh said, “You have been a great public servant. You have a great future. You will do well in whatever career path you choose.”

Cundari also praised Alanis and wished him well. Alanis is expected to assume a position in the Housing Department in an existing position made vacant by Cundari’s election to office.

“I want to congratulate Emile and Fran and thank President Dominick and the entire board,” Alanis said. “I want to thank my family and also thank the citizens of Cicero because we all work for you.”

Cundari was then sworn along with Reitz, a lifelong resident of the Town of Cicero and a graduate of Morton East High school.

“I promise to continue to serve and to do the best job I can for each and every citizen in Cicero,” Reitz said.

Said Cundari, “I am very proud to be a part of this team. I was proud of our election because the ‘good guys’ won. I want to thank the voters of Cicero for their supporting and voting me in to office last February. We will make everyone in this town proud,” Cundari said.

Bio: Emilio “Emo” Cundari

Emilio "Emo" Cundari, a certified public assessment officer, has served the town of Cicero as Director of Community Development since 2005. Prior to joining the Town of Cicero, Cundari served the State of Illinois for 10 years.

A 1988 graduate of Saint Rita High School, Cundari went on to earn his Bachelors in Political Science in 1992 from DePaul University and his Masters in Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2003. In 2008, he was recognized as UIC's Alumni of the Year.

While with the Town of Cicero, Cundari organized the Town's annual "Keep Cicero CLEAN", a multi-pronged Town-wide safety and beautification program. Cundari also oversaw the administration of the Town's Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

In 2003, Cundari married his wife Melissa. They have two children, Cara and Dean.

Bio: Fan Reitz

Life-long Cicero resident, Collector Fran Reitz, attended Our Lady of Charity grammar school and Morton East high school in Cicero.

She went on to attend Elmhurst College and majored in Business Administration. She spent the summer of '84 working as an intern with the Town of Cicero as a component of her second major, Urban Studies. Upon college graduation, she was offered a full-time position as a town employee with Cicero.

Fran has been working for the Town of Cicero for 25 years. During her tenure with the Town, she has worked for the Building Department, Blight Department, Assessor's Office, Personnel Department, Community Planning & Development Department, Town Newsletter Department, Cicero Youth Commission and currently serves as Town Collector since '04.

Volunteer Work includes:

·         Cicero Senior Commission, Commissioner
·         Cicero Youth Commission, Advisor
·         Town Board Anti-Gang Committee, Chairman
·         CeaseFire and Corazon Community Services, Advocate
·         Morton High School PTO, Member
·         Morton College Board of Trustees, Chairman

Fran is the proud mother to her three children, ages 15, 12 and 10 and is currently attending graduate school at DePaul University and will graduate in the summer of 2009 with a Masters Degree in Public Services.

She is thrilled by the opportunity to continue to serve the Town of Cicero, improving the town and the lives of its citizens. Fran greatly admires the direction that Town President Larry Dominick has led the "New Cicero". She is proud to serve with him on the Town Board as they work diligently to continue to move forward making great progress and improving the quality of lives for the families and residents of the Town of Cicero.