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.

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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. ├ľur 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.

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