Monday, April 30, 2012

Cicero opens new SOS Task Force to increase response to citizen needs

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Cicero opens new SOS Task Force to increase response to citizen needs

Nearly 500 people turned out for the opening of the new SOS Task Force center on Tuesday April 17 at 5444 W. 35th Street.

The new center was created by Town President Larry Dominick to consolidate the Town’s responses to help residents in need regardless of their problem. Dominick, in inaugurating the official opening of the SOS Task Force building said the new office will “bring resources across the board” to respond to residents’ needs.

Cicero Police Officer Dan Wolff, who is the director of the SOS Task Force, said the center is a “full service facility” that will be open 7 days each week to respond to community needs.

“We had a vision to make this building into something to benefit the entire community,” Dominick told the audience at the opening.

“Cicero is going straight and in the right direction. Our priority is to help our citizens and provide services. The SOS Task Force was created to increase our response to the needs of the community.”

Wolff praised Dominick and acknowledged all of the department heads and elected officials who joined in the dedication. They included Town Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias, Town Assessor Joe Virruso, Town Assessor Emo Cundari, Town Collector Fran Reitz and Town Trustees Lorraine Walsh, Dennis Raleigh, Victor Garcia and Larry Banks.

“Look around you everyone. This is a community and as a community we need to work together and help each other out. The SOS Task Force was created to coordinate all of the Town Services to respond to any problem that comes up. If you have a problem and you can’t get it resolved, contact us and we will help,” Wolff said.

“This was a vision of Larry Dominick. He was a former police officer and has worked in this town a long time. He knows what services are here and what services are needed.”

Wolff said the SOS Task Force, which stands for “Save Our Streets,” will offer a rapid response to situations that may need more than just one agency’s response.

“If you have a problem, you will meet a specialized trained SOS officer to work with you. You will have a telephone number to calls o you can follow up. We need to help each other out. It has to be community that responds. When someone has a problem, we need to join forces and help that person out,” Wollf said.

“If you see a problem, call us and we will respond. You do not need to be identified or intimidated or live in fear. You shouldn’t have to worry about making eye contact in fear of retaliation. We have the backing of every department head in the town because everyone here cares. We need to close the gap between government and residents and become one.”

Dominick also took the opportunity to point to the many new services and the expansion that has been taking place in the Town of Cicero since his election to office in 2007.

“There are many great things happening in the Town. We have the Wirtz property being built down the street, the new Bobby Hull Community Ice Rink across the street and that will be used as a roller skating rink in the summer … we also have Wal-Mart opening here … it will be in $3 to $4 million a year for the town,” Dominick said.

“Pretty soon we will be putting out bids for a new Aquatic Center at 18th and Laramie that will serve Cicero’s families and youth. We also are planning to open a new dog park and a new animal shelter. These are some of the new things coming that are on the horizon for our future.”

Dominick noted the Town has already opened a skate board park to take kids off of dangerous parking lots and put them in the safety of a park where they can skateboard in safety and without causing interference in parking lots.

“We opened a skateboard park here in Community Park and we are planning to build one at 18th and Laramie. We also have roller skating coming this summer at the Bobby Hull Community Ice Rink. We had a terrific hockey season where we had a lot of kids ice skating who never skated before,” Dominick said noting that residents can skate for free, but must have their own skates.

Most importantly, Dominick said, the new Wirtz Beverage Illinois Center at 34th and Laramie and the soon to be built Wal-Mart at 34th and Cicero Avenue will be looking to hi employees.

Dominick said he anticipates that the two companies will be hiring nearly 500 people from Cicero and the Cicero area.

To contact the SOS Task Force, call 708-656-3600 ext 368.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sun-Times continues its biased political campaign with more inaccurate information

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Chicago Sun-Times continues its libel against the Town of Cicero

Steve Warmbir the reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times who clearly has an agenda or is working for someone other than the newspaper to slander the Town of Cicero again lied in his news report today (Tuesday April 25, 2012) on the controversy involving Michael Iniquez, an employee who on his personal time posted controversial comments on his Facebook Page.
  • Town President Larry Dominick immediately denounced the postings.
  • Michael Iniquez immediately apologized for the postings and took responsibility for them.
  • The Town of Cicero Internal Affairs director reviewed the controversy and recommended that the Town suspend Mr. Iniquez for 3 days without pay and to require him to take sensitivity classes. President Dominick endorsed the recommendations.
All that was given to the Sun-Times in response to their inquiry and witchhunt, but Steve Warmbir, the biased reporter, lied and said that Ray Hanania "refused" to respond or give information to him.

"Steve Warmbir is a liar. He exaggerates facts, ignores facts that don't suit his personal political agenda and fabricates issues," said Ray Hanania, Cicero Town Spokesman.

"I repeatedly gave Mr. Warmbir information but he wants the public to think that I refused which is a lie. The Chicago Sun-Times is a disgrace and has been for many years, reflected in their pathetic circulation numbers which show the newspaper is being read less and less by the public."
  • Additionally, Hanania noted that Town President Larry Dominick was the first president in the Town of Cicero to initiated a town-wide commemoration honoring the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The Town has been celebrating the commemoration for seven years since Dominick was elected president.

  • President Dominick has an intense sensitivity to race issues that is personal for him, not only for African Americans but for the Mexican American community: President Dominick's step mother was African American and he lived with her for almost 25 years as a child; President Dominick's wife is Mexican American
Hanania said Warmbir refused to include any of these points in his libelous and inaccurate stories because he intentionally wanted to hurt the Town of Cicero and President Dominick.

Hanania said Warmbir is distributing the letter from the Berwyn organization Berwyn Cares which has been criticizing Iniquez and when Hanania challenged Warmbir he clammed up and then wrote his story of lies.

"Steve Warmbir is a fraud. His repeated libels against the Town of Cicero take small facts and then exaggerates them into ridiculous front page stories that make the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper look stupid," Hanania said.

"I am embarrassed that I ever worked at the Chicago Sun-Times. It's shameful conduct and the bias is so obvious I don't know how the Chicago Sun-Times can call itself a newspaper."

Hanania called on the Chicago Sun-Times to release its emails showing Warmbir scheming with critics and political activists to create the stories that he writes.

The bottom line is the Town of Cicero has conducted many public events honoring African Americans and Mexican Americans but it is the Chicago Sun-Times that is slandering them by refusing to cover any of the events.

"There have been many commemorations honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King and Cicero's Mexican American community as well as all of the town's various ethnic and racial groups including Greeks, Czechs, Bohemians, Italians, Polish and more, yet the Chicago Sun-Times has NEVER covered any of these events," Hanania said.

"Why have they refused to cover these events but continue to write as if the Town doesn't respect these groups? Because Steve Warmbir and the Chicago Sun-Times have a political agenda and Warmbir is a bald-faced liar!"


Friday, April 20, 2012

Dominick and Sandoval declare war on gangs

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State Senator Martin Sandoval (D) joined Town of Cicero President Larry Dominick in declaring war on gangs in the West Suburban community. On Thursday April 12th, Cicero President Larry Dominick hosted State Senator Martin Sandoval’s Western Suburban Region Law Enforcement Summit to discuss new and more powerful strategies to combat gang activity.
Recently, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that: “Gangs have sent juveniles to Riverside to burglarize homes and steal televisions, computers, jewelry, cash and whatever else they could grab. In Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park, gang members recently painted graffiti on 30 different locations before they were nabbed. In Cicero, police busted a high-ranking Four Corner Hustlers member for possession of heroin. ‘The Chicago police are doing a really good job of pushing the crime west,’ said Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel, chairman of a ten suburb gang task force formed about five years ago.”
In response Senator Sandoval stated, “Enough is enough. This law enforcement effort is a united front on protecting our communities. We will continue partnering with President Dominick and all my mayors of West Cook to take swift action against gangs in our towns.” I firmly believe in zero tolerance,” said President Dominick. “Senator Sandoval’s leadership and vision for a safe summer in Chicago and West Suburban Cook County is a breath of fresh air,” added President Dominick.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Another vicious Sun-Times slander against the Town of Cicero

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"We held a Commemoration for Martin Luther King Jr in January, something President Dominick initiated when he was elected – the first ever commemoration for an African American in the Town of Cicero and the Chicago Sun-Times refused to cover it. Yet, when an employee makes a reprehensible comment on his Facebook Page, that the Town of Cicero and President Dominick denounced, the Chicago Sun-Times wants to argue that somehow President Dominick and the Town of Cicero officials are responsible for the alleged racism. That's bias."
-- Ray Hanania, Cicero Town Spokesman

The Chicago Sun-Times published another distorted, vicious and slanderous attack against the Town of Cicero and Town President Larry Dominick this morning.

Once again, the biased Chicago Sun-Times publishes half the facts and then goes out of its way to distort them by blaming the issue on the Town and the Town President.

President Dominick immediately condemned the report that an employee on his personal Facebook page had used a racial epithet in one of his online postings. Yet, the Chicago Sun-Times story struggles to blame the use of the inappropriate and offensive word on the Town and the Town President.

In other words, the Sun-Times really doesn't care about the issue of race or racism, just using it for its political agenda and its biased politically motivated campaign to slander the Town.

The real irony here is that the Sun-Times has ignored all of the Town's diversity programs. When Larry Dominick was elected President, one of his first acts was to initiate the Town's first-ever commemoration in honor of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The commemoration has been held every year for the past seven years. And NEVER ONCE has the Chicago Sun-Times bothered to cover the commemoration.

In fact, one could argue that the Sun-Times is disrespecting all races and ethnicities by ignoring an important event to commemorate an important civil rights leader.

It's only ONE of a dozen programs hosted every year by the Town of Cicero and President Larry Dominick to recognize the richness of the Town's growing diversity and race relations, issues the Sun-Times claims it is concerned about but demonstrates its total disrespect for in its news coverage. The Sun-Times doesn't care about diversity or race issues. They only care about using those issues to sell papers. And, as statistics show, it is not doing a very good job of selling newspapers with its circulation dropping below 200,000 papers a day.

How can the Chicago Sun-Times place the blame on President Dominick in the face of the facts that were provided to the newspaper? The Sun-Times routinely ignores and distorts the facts.

Here is the statement that President Dominick released in response to the Sun-Times last minute call hours before it was ready to publish another one of its outrageous slander. The Sun-Times ignored the statement -- as they have routinely refused to publish Letters to the Editor from the Town responding to their many false allegations and distortions and lies in the past:

President Dominick believes the use of such a racial epithet is both offensive and highly inappropriate. We were not aware of this until now.

Both in his professional and personal life, President Dominick has demonstrated a strong commitment to racial diversity. The President has worked hard to provide equal opportunity and respect to all racial groups. His wife is Mexican American and his stepmother married to his father, who died in 1993, is African American.

One of his first acts when he was elected in 2005 was to initiate the town of Cicero’s first ever commemoration in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Mike Iniquez is an official of the High school district which represents six townships and communities, not just Cicero, and is elected by the public. As an employee of the Town, Mr. Iniquez is subject to our employee policies where we expect all of our officials to conduct themselves with the highest level of integrity and not bring discredit to the Town. The President is turning the matter over to the Inspector General for further review.

As for Jeff Pesek, we are unaware of the report you cite. He has and continues to provide the town with the highest level of work ethic as a consultant.

The Chicago Sun-Times doesn't want the truth. They don't care about accuracy. They do not care about the citizens of the Town of Cicero. That is clear by their record of failing to cover the town's many events and achievements. They only care about exaggerating an distorting the truth to achieve their politically motivated agenda.

This most recent story is both offensive and disturbing in the context of the Sun-Times effort to slander an entire community because of the action of one employee on his personal Facebook page.

(Note: The Town of Cicero does not have a specific policy on social media sites like Facebook but includes all public utterances including postings on public online sites as falling within the scope of our expectations of conduct.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cicero Vehicle Stickers now on Sale

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                           Ray Hanania
Tuesday April 17, 2012                                        708-656-3600 ext 855

Cicero Vehicle Stickers go now Sale

Cicero – All vehicles must display a 2012-2013 Cicero vehicle sticker on the passenger side of their windshields before July 1 to avoid late fees and traffic violations.

All outstanding vehicle parking tickets must also be paid in full before a sticker can be obtained by a vehicle owner.

Cicero vehicle stickers are $40 for passenger vehicles, and for each of the first four vehicles in one family at one address. A sticker for the 5th vehicle is $145 and the fee for a 6th vehicle is  $185.

There is no fee for Seniors and active duty members of the military to obtain the first vehicle sticker, but the cost of a second sticker for a second car at the same address is only $15.

Vehicle stickers for trucks range between $80 and $180.

“We are encouraging people to apply for their vehicle stickers now because if they wait until before the deadline, as unfortunately so many people do, the wait time is often up to four hours. Right now, it will take you less than five minutes to fill out the application and get your vehicle sticker,” said Cicero Town Collector Fran Reitz.

“We encourage everyone to get their vehicle stickers sooner rather than later to save them time and to do so before the deadline to save them money and avoid the $50 late fee.”

Applicants must also provide proof of current vehicle insurance. The Town Collector’s office is located on the first floor of the Town Hall building at 4949 W. Cermak Road. Applicants can pay using a check, money order or cash.

The cost to transfer an existing sticker is $10. Vehicle owners have 30 days from the date of purchase of a vehicle to obtain a vehicle sticker before the late charge applies.

Car owners can also obtain Guest Parking permits, El-Strip Hang Tags for $15 a quarter or $55 for the whole year. Morton High school students with IDs can obtain El-Strip Hang Tags for their vehicles for a discounted price of $5 per quarter or $15 annually.

Additionally, Reitz said, pet owners can also apply and obtain their Pet Tags. No more than 3 licensed animals all permitted in any home, residence, business or apartment in the Town. All pets in the Town of Cicero must have their tags by Nov. 30. Pet Tags are due every November. Pet owners need a Rabies Vaccination Certificate for each pet, the payment of the fee in check, money order or cash. Pet tags are $10 each but only $5 if the pet is spayed or neutered. The fee for Seniors with pets is only $5 per pet. The late fee is $10.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wal-Mart purchases Cicero land for new Supercenter Store

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 Ray Hanania
Tuesday April 10, 2012                                 rhanania   @    thetownofcicero  .   com

Wal-Mart purchases Cicero land for new Supercenter Store

Cicero – The Town of Cicero approved the sale of 24.67 acres of land, the remaining half of the former Sportsmans Park property, to Wal-Mart Business Trust at its regularly scheduled board meeting Tuesday April 10.

The agreement calls for Wal-Mart to complete construction within 18 months of the purchase, with a six month extension option for completion under certain circumstances, and will create 400 new jobs and 200 temporary construction jobs.

The new Cicero Wal-Mart will offer 190,000 square feet of retail space and is considered one of the largest in Wal-Mart’s growing Illinois retail presence. In comparison, the Orland Wal-Mart Supercenter offers 205,000 square feet of retail floor space.

Cicero is selling the property, which fronts on Cicero Avenue between 35th and 34th Streets for $7.5 million. But Cicero will continue to own 10 acres of the property reserved for future retail expansion and development. No incentives were required as a part of the sale, but Cicero will benefit from both new jobs and an increase in revenues for the retail tax base.

“We’re very proud to have Wal-Mart open their next Supercenter here in Cicero,” said Town President Larry Dominick.

“The new store will create 400 permanent new jobs and 200 temporary construction related jobs. Both the Wirtz property and the Wal-Mart property demonstrate that despite the challenged economy facing everyone in Illinois and in the country, Cicero continues to be one of the most sought after communities for cutting edge businesses and new jobs.”

Last year, Cicero sold the western portion of the land to Wirtz Beverage Illinois which built a 600,000 square foot warehouse and office center to consolidate the services of five existing centers in the state. Wirtz invested more than $70 million in the new distribution, office and training center which officially opens on May 2.

Wal-Mart officials said they anticipate that about 50 of the positions will go to seasoned Wal-Mart employees from Cicero and the Cicero area an the remaining 250 jobs will be offered to the public.

“We think a new Walmart store in Cicero can be part of the solution for folks who need a job or just want more affordable grocery options close to where they live or work,” said Stephen Restivo, Director Community Affairs

Dominick said that Wal-Mart and Cicero have agreed to establish a hiring center prior to the store’s opening to promote the Town’s desire to provide employment opportunities to Town residents.

The Wirtz property will house more than 1,000 employees including about 150 new hires, officials said when the deal was announced.

Both the Wirtz property and the Wal-Mart are expected to also feature retail out lots, two adjacent to Wirtz and five adjacent to the proposed Wal-Mart.

Dominick said he anticipates that the new establishments will be restaurants.

“And that will mean more jobs for area residents,” Dominick stressed.

“Cicero has made tremendous advancements across the board in terms of improving safety for our residents, increasing services to our youth, seniors, the disabled and families. We’ve held the line on property taxes, absorbed many of the Chicago-imposed water rate hikes and built new parks and recreational centers including the Bobby Hull Community Ice Rink in Community Park.”

Dominick said that the addition of Wirtz and Wal-Mart to Cicero is “only the beginning as Cicero continues to grow and we strengthen our family-based community.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Parent Patrol volunteers receive Easter Hams from Town President Larry Dominick

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Town President Larry Dominick and town officials including Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias handed out Easter Hams to members of the Parent Patrols who assist students as they go to and from school each day.

The Hams were gestures of gratitude from the Town to the volunteers who help insure the safety of school children and engage parents in the schedules of the students.

"The Parent Patrols are very important to assist in providing guidance and safety to our school children and I appreciate the time and work that these concerned parents and community volunteers put into the program," Dominick said.

"These Easter Hams are just another gesture of gratitude from the Town of Cicero for the effort and time that each member of the Cicero Parent Patrols put into this important effort."

Click here to read a story about the Town of Cicero Board saluting the efforts of the Parent Patrols in November 2011.

Click here to read a story about the Town of Cicero saluting the efforts of the Parent Patrols in May 2011.

The Parent Patrols began with five parents from Unity School and continues to expand to include more parents from other schools including Morton High school and local grammar and schools.