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 www.DisasterAssistance.gov 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.