Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District responds to calls for accountability from Cicero

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Officials of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago said they have heard the demands from Cicero residents for accountability for recent flooding. The MWRD announced that it will organize a Community Forum to be held Tuesday Sept. 13 at Morton College in the main auditorium beginning at 6 pm.

As many as 22 suburban communities have been hit with flooding as a result of heavy rains and storms during the past two years. Last year, the Town of Cicero worked with local communities and residents to apply for Federal Emergency Management Association reimbursement to cover damage caused by extensive flooding. The town's residents received millions of dollars in FEMA funds after completing applications organized by the Town.

The MWRD is the government agency tasked with managing rainwater run-off, according to its mission statement and its web site. But the agency has, in the past, been unresponsive to resident concerns. The Town of Cicero organized two protests with as many as 200 residents whose homes experienced some levels of flooding during this summer's storms. The first protest was held at the MWRD's Stickney offices at 39th and Austin Blvd. A second protest was organized two weeks later at the MWRD downtown offices on Erie and Rush Streets.

"When we complained demanding answers from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, instead of getting answers, the district officials would point a finger at everyone except themselves," said Town President Larry Dominick. "When residents called to ask for help, the Water Reclamation District told the callers,w hose homes were flooding, that they should complain to the local communities asserting that the flooding was the result of bad sewer pipelines. That's ridiculous. Do you mean to tell me that every suburban community and every sewer and water line is damaged?"

During the second protest at the MWRD headquarters, District officials said they would address the issues directly with area residents at the forum.

"We are glad to see them responding and being accountable and we hope it continues," Dominick said.


Cicero urges Springfield to make ComEd accountable for impact of frequent power outages

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                 Ray Hanania
Tuesday August 23, 2011                                                                        708-656-3600 ext 855

Cicero requests Illinois Legislature to Hold ComEd Accountable

Cicero, Il -- Cicero officials Tuesday approved a resolution urging the Illinois Legislature to more strictly regulate and demand accountability from ComEd in response to a series of power outages and brown outs by the company.

Town President Larry Dominick said that Cicero, like many communities in the suburbs, have been experiencing frequent power outages.

"It's inexcusable but because the Town of Cicero and other municipalities do not regulate ComEd we have no real power to make them accountable. That's why we are taking this issue to the legislature in Springfield," Dominick said.

"We have experienced outages lasting from several hours to several days and that is unacceptable. Many other communities have also experienced the power outages. We can't get a response or explanation for these outages from ComEd officials."

Dominick said the Town Board resolution urges the Legislature to require ComEd to improve its services to prevent these frequent power outages by being accountable to local communities like the Town of Cicero.

"We're not only asking for accountability, but we want ComEd to be held financially responsible for the suffering that their lack of service has caused for the citizens of our community," Dominick said.

Dominick said that the Town understands that unusual weather related circumstances may cause some of the outages. But he said that the outages have been more frequent, unrelated to weather conditions and have caused a great inconvenience to not only homeowners but to local businesses.

"There is no excuse why ComEd officials refuse to provide answers to our concerns and why they should not be held accountable when their services fail for no fault of anyone except for them," Dominick said.

The Resolution is attached below:

WHEREAS, the Town of Cicero (the “Town”) was created by a charter enacted by the Illinois General Assembly (the “Charter”); and

WHEREAS, the Corporate Authorities of the Town (as defined below) are governed by the Charter and the Constitution of the State of Illinois and the statutes of the State of Illinois when not specified in the Charter; and

WHEREAS, the Town is a home rule unit of local government as is provided by Article VII, Section 6 of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, and as a home rule unit of local government the Town may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs; and

WHEREAS, the Town President (the “President”) and the Board of Trustees of the Town (the “Town Board” and with the President, the “Corporate Authorities”) are committed to protecting the Town’s residents and business owners from unexpected power outages (“Outages”), which disrupt business and recreational activities within the Town; and

WHEREAS, many areas in the Town have suffered from Outages lasting several hours up and at times up to several days; and

WHEREAS, the Outages are becoming more frequent in nature and have cost businesses and residents substantial inconvenience, harm and monetary losses; and

WHEREAS, the condition of the electrical grid that is located in and/or that provides service to the Town is a cause of the Outages; and

WHEREAS, in addition to the foregoing, the quality of service provided by Commonwealth Edison (“ComEd”), the provider of electrical service within the Town, requires improvements, which include new or improved response time procedures during Outages; and 

WHEREAS, the Illinois General Assembly (the “State Legislature”) has the power and authority to regulate ComEd; and

WHEREAS, the Corporate Authorities have determined that it is in the best interests of the Town and its residents to call upon the State Legislature to: (1) hold ComEd to a greater degree of accountability for the service that it provides; (2) provide a stronger standard for reliability; (3) provide steeper financial penalties for slow response times; and (4) provide greater incentive to ComEd to bury overhead power lines wherever practical.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the President and the duly authorized Board of Trustees of the Town of Cicero, County of Cook, State of Illinois, as follows:

Section 1.0     Findings.
The Corporate Authorities hereby find that all of the recitals hereinbefore stated as contained in the preambles to this Resolution are full, true and correct and do hereby, by reference, incorporate and make them part of this Resolution as legislative findings.
Section 2.0     Purpose.

The purpose of this Resolution is to call upon the State Legislature to hold ComEd accountable for the Outages and to require improvements to ComEd’s service, so as to alleviate the substantial inconvenience, harm and monetary losses to Town residents and business owners caused by the Outages, and to authorize the President or his designee to take all action necessary to carry out the purpose and intent of this Resolution.


Section 3.0     Authorization.
That the Corporate Authorities hereby call upon the State Legislature to: (1) hold ComEd to a greater degree of accountability for the service that it provides; (2) provide a stronger standard for reliability; (3) provide steeper financial penalties for slow response times; and (4) provide greater incentive to ComEd to bury overhead power lines wherever practical. The President or his designee and the Town Attorney are authorized to take all action necessary or reasonably required by the Town to carry out and give effect to the purpose of this Resolution and shall take all acts necessary in conformity therewith.


Section 4.0     Headings.
The headings of the articles, sections, paragraphs and subparagraphs of this Resolution are inserted solely for the convenience of reference and form no substantive part of this Resolution nor should they be used in any interpretation or construction of any substantive provision of this Resolution.
Section 5.0     Severability.

The provisions of this Resolution are hereby declared to be severable and should any provision of this Resolution be determined to be in conflict with any law, statute or regulation by a court of competent jurisdiction, said provision shall be excluded and deemed inoperative, unenforceable and as though not provided for herein, and all other provisions shall remain unaffected, unimpaired, valid and in full force and effect.
Section 6.0     Superseder.
All code provisions, ordinances, resolutions, rules and orders, or parts thereof, in conflict herewith are, to the extent of such conflict, hereby superseded.
Section 7.0     Publication.

A full, true and complete copy of this Resolution shall be published in pamphlet form or in a newspaper published and of general circulation within the Town as provided by the Illinois Municipal Code, as amended.
Section 8.0     Effective Date.

This Resolution shall be effective and in full force immediately upon passage and


Houby Day Parade -- seeking this year's Queen

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This year the Town of Cicero and the City of Berwyn are sponsoring the Houby Day festivities together beginning September 30 thru October 2.

The 43rd Houby Day Parade will take place on Sunday October 2 beginning at noon starting at Central Ave.  and Cermak Road and travel west to Riverside Drive.   

"The Houby Day Parade is one of our most important events and it is the most popular event for our community," said Town President Larry Dominick. "We are working closely with the City of Berwyn to make the 43rd annual Houby Day Parade spectacular."

The Town of Cicero is inviting local vendors to participate along the Cermak Road Parade Route.  On every corner from Central to Lombard will be pre-parade activities such as a man on stilts making balloon figures, live music, dancers. Pre-parade activities will start at 10:00 a.m. on parade day.

The Houby Committee is also looking for candidates for Houby Day Queen.  Candidates must be residents of the Town of Cicero or the City of Berwyn and be between the ages of 16 and 21 years. The Houby Day Queen will receive a $1,000scholarship.  

For more information and for an application for the parade or the Houby Day Queen or to participate as a Houdy Day vendor, you can contact the Town of Cicero at 708-656-3600 x288.  


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cicero residents protest at MWRD building downtown over flooding concerns

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Nearly 200 residents of the Town of Cicero took their flooding complaints to the board meeting of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago offices on Erie and Rush Street Thursday to demand that the government agency with a $1 billion budget be accountable to their needs.

The MWRD has refused to be accountable for their spending and has blamed all flooding problems on communities that have experienced rising rainwater troubles over the past several years.

But it is the MWRD that is responsible, as stated on their web site, for managing rainwater flow, a job they have failed to to respond to the flooding that has plagued residents of 22 west suburban communities including the Town of Cicero.

The MWRD allowed 41 members of the protesters to attend the board meeting while the other protesters paraded outside in front of the building. MWRD officials finally agreed to organize a community forum in Cicero, probably at Morton College, to allow residents to address their concerns and listen to the needs of the community.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Man arrested and charged with Felony theft after swallowing $1,600 diamond wedding ring

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Wilfredo Gonzalez-Cruz, 30, was remodeling a home in Cicero at the 1600 block of Central Avenue on Friday night August 5 when he asked to use the bathroom at the home. Afterwards, the woman of the house noticed that her diamond wedding ring valued at $1,600, which was in the bathroom, was missing. 

The woman and her husband confronted Gonzalez-Cruz demanding he return the ring. A struggled ensued. Instead of returning it, Gonzalez-Cruz reached down to his shoe, where he had hidden the ring, and pulled the ring out. They tried to get it from him. That's when the suspect swallowed the ring.

The family had called Cicero police who arrived minutes later at an 10 pm. Gonzalez-Cruz was read his Miranda Rights and he admitted to stealing the ring. He agreed to take an x-ray at the nearby McNeal Hospital in Oak Park. He was given some medication to assist in the recovery of the diamond ring. 

Gonzalez-Cruz was placed in a Rubber Room in the Cicero Police Lock-up which has large bed pans (the room has a self-cleaning water system). He "delivered" the ring very early Monday morning.

The room is often used for individuas who are inebriated or who are suspected of having swallowed evidence, or even packages of drugs that must be recovered.

Gonzalez-Cruz was charged with one count of Felny Theft and faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

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Photos Cicero Police Department

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cicero residents protest inaction of Metropolitan Water Reclamation District

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07-31 Protest NEW from Steven K on Vimeo.

Nearly 200 residents signed a petition and joined a protest demanding action from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District for suburban region flooding problems.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Youth Leadership Project conducts garden and community cleanup

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Youth Crossroads Youth Leaders partner up with the Town of Cicero on a community greening project to beautify the corner of 34th and Laramie.

Monday, August 1, 2011

New promotions at Town of Cicero approved by Town Board July 26, 2011

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The Town of Cicero Board approved five promotions in the ranks of the Town of Cicero Police at its regularly scheduled board meeting Tuesday July 26, 2011.

They include:

Jacob Camacho to the rank of Sergeant.

Jennifer Gilpin to the rank of Sergeant.

Vincent Acevez to the rank of Sergeant.

Bernard T. Harrison, currently Town Police Supt., to the rank of Lieutenant for pay purposes.

Waldemar Cruz to the rank of Lieutenant.

The promotions were approved by the Town Board. Town President Larry Dominick swore in the officers to their new ranks.

Pictured from left to right Sgt. Vincent Acevez, Lt. Waldemar Cruz, Police Supt. Bernard T. Harrison, Sgt. Jennifer Gilpin and Sgt. Jacob Camacho. (Click the image to display a larger more detailed photo.)

Pictured left to right, Deputy Supt. of Gangs/Tactical Jerry Chalada, Sgt. Vincent Acevez, Deputy Supt. of Patrol Jose Gonzales, Lt. Waldemar Cruz, First Deputy Supt. of Police Patrick J. McGee, Police Supt. Bernard T. Harrison, Sgt. Jennifer Gilpin, Sgt. Jacob Camacho, and Deputy Supt. of Administration Barrett Marlar, Deputy Supt. of Investigations Anthony Mazza. (Click the image to display a larger more detailed photo.)

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