Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cicero names Ron Opalecky as new fire chief; two promoted to top positions

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Cicero names Ron Opalecky as new fire chief
two promoted to top positions

Town of Cicero – Veteran Fire fighter Ron Opalecky was named fire chief for the Town of Cicero in April and two others were promoted in May to top positions in moves intended to strengthen the Cicero Fire Department.

Opalecky, who has received many awards and distinctions for his service including the Harry P. Schaefer Fire Investigator of the Year Award in 2010, was named Fire Chief effective May 1, 2012.

At the May 22 board meeting, Town President Larry Dominick promoted Dominick Buscemi and Mike Vilumis to top positions in the Fire Department.

Opalecky previously served as assistant Fire Marshal for the Cicero Fire Department’s Fire Prevention and Training. Formerly a Fire Engineer, Buscemi was promoted to the position of Assistant Fire Marshal for Administration. Mike Vilumis, a Fire Department lieutenant, was promoted to Assistant Fire Marshal for Fire Prevention, succeeding Opalecky.


From left: Asst Fire Marshal Dominick Buscemi, President Larry Dominick, Asst Fire Marshall Mike Vilumis and  Fire Marshal Ron Opalecki. Photo Gerardo Lopez


Opalecky was the lead investigator in the Valentine’s Day 2010 arson fire that that claimed the lives of seven children and young adults ranging in age from 3 days old to 21 years. The building’s owner and maintenance director have been charged with murder and arson.

A long time Cicero Deputy Fire Marshal, Opalecky was born and raised in Cicero.  Opalecky is a proud graduate of Lincoln Elementary School, Morton East High school and Morton College in Cicero.

Opalecky joined the Cicero Fire Department in 1987 and actively coordinated and participated in Fire Department responses. 

“I want to congratulate Ron Opalecky for his promotion. It is well deserved. Chief Opalecky has the experience and the dedication to his profession providing fire safety to our residents,” said Town President Larry Dominick.

“I have a lot of confidence in you based on your excellent performance in the job. You are going to be a great fire chief.”

Dominick thanked Larry Moravecek, who served as acting fire chief following the retirement of George Gregory in 2010.

Trustee Dennis Raleigh, who served as a Cicero fire fighter more than 14 years, praised Opalecky, saying “the Cicero Fire Department is the best in the country.”

Trustee Victor Garcia said that Opalecky has consistently demonstrated “that you care about our community, the safety of all of our residents and about professionalism.”

Opalecky said he was humbled by the appointment, noting, “I will do my very best for the people of the Town of Cicero.”

The "Fire Investigator of the Year" program was established in an effort to recognize one fire investigator a year that has made a special contribution to further the investigation of fire causation and/or the fight against arson. Each year in May, the Committee reviews nomination applications and makes a selection for the award.

It was created in honor of Harry P. Schaefer, a long-time and respected investigator with the Illinois State Fire Marshal's office, in 2002.

“Both Dominick Buscemi and Mike Vilumis have earned their promotions and have dedicated themselves to providing safety and fire protection for the people of the Town of Cicero over the years and I am happy to see them both rewarded with promotions for their exceptional careers,” President Dominick said.

Members of the Buscemi family (above)
Members of the Vilumis family (below)  Photos Gerardo Lopez




end

Monday, May 21, 2012

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright makes surprise appearance at Czech dedication

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Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright makes surprise appearance at Czech dedication

Cicero, Il -- Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made a surprise appearance at a Czech dedication at Klas Restaurant, 5734 West Cermak Road, Saturday, honoring the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Petr Necas.

The Town of Cicero was proud to co-host the welcoming reception which also honored the Ambassador of the Czech Republic Petr Gandalovic and the Honorable Consul General of the Czech Republic Dana Hunatova at a special Welcoming Ceremony. Klas Restaurant is one of the Czech Communities leading businesses in Cicero and the oldest Czeh restaurant in the country. The restaurant opened in 1922.

The Czech community has a long tradition of pride and involvement as Americans in the Town of Cicero and pride in their Czech Heritage.

“We are proud to welcome the honorable Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Petr Necas to the Town of Cicero and to one of the most important symbols of Czech heritage in Chicagoland, Klas Restaurant,” said Town Assessor Emilio “Emo” Cundari who presented Necas with a Key to the City on behalf of Town President Larry Dominick.

“We are very proud of the history of the Czech people and their contributions to our country.”

A resolution honoring Necas was presented by former Town Assessor John Kociolko who is also the Town Historian.

Children from the Masaryk Czech school of Cicero performed and the Prime Minister spoke to the gathering, acknowledging the presence of many including Albright.

The Town of Cicero frequently partners with leaders of the Czech American community to organize heritage celebrations and events showcasing the great accomplishments and achievements of the Czech community.

=== =========== =============

Photos: Courtesy of Gerardo Lopez.

Photo 1: Town of Cicero Assessor Emo Cundari, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and former Town of Cicero Assessor John Kociolko.


Photo 2: Town of Cicero Special Events Coordinator Cynthia Salvino, Town of Cicero Assessor Emo Cundari, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Petr Necas  former Town of Cicero Assessor John Kociolko, and the owner of Klas Restaurant Frank Saballus.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

2012 Pet Parade Flyer

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2012 Pet Parade Flyer

Click to view larger image

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cicero Post Office raises most donations in regional food drive

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Cicero Post Office raises most donations in regional food drive

Employees at the Cicero Post Office at 2240 S. Laramie Avenue were recognized Tuesday May 15, 2012 for raising the largest donation for the federal agency's annual charity food drive in Chicagoland.

Employees at Post offices throughout Chicagoland participated in the food drive effort to support local food pantries, officials said.

Town Assessor Emilio Cundari and Town Trustee Larry Banks congratulated the employees of the Cicero Post Office on Tuesday.

"We had a lot of participation from our employees who collected food donations on their routes and from family and friends," said Post Office Larrissa McCoy, Union Steward Local 11/ Food Drive Coordinator.

Crates filled with bags of donated food at the Cicero Post Office
waiting for delivery to the local food pantries

Town Assessor Emo Cundary (far left), Post Office Larrissa McCoy, Union Steward Local 11/ Food Drive Coordinator, (2nd  from left front row)  and Trustee Larry Banks (far right) join the employees of the Cicero Post Office to thank them for their achievements.
(Photos courtesy of Gerardo Lopez)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cicero recognized for its budgets and professional financial management

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Cicero recognized for its budgets and professional financial management

The Government Finance Officers Association presented certificates of excellence to Cicero Town President Larry Dominick and Cicero CFO Donald Schultz for “making the extra effort to explain financial conditions on a level easily understandable by its residents.”

The honors were presented to Dominick and Schultz at the May 8 meeting of the Town Board by Mary G. Dankowski who is the president of the Illinois Government Finance Officers Association and also works as the deputy Village Manager in charge of Finance for the village of Park Forest.

The GFOA’s “Certificate of Achievement” program has been awarded each year since 1946 to encourage governments to prepare financial reports of the highest quality for the benefit of citizens and other parties with a vital interest in a government's finances.

“The receipt of this award reflects the professionalism and commitment of numerous individuals as well as many hours of hard work. It also reflects a high degree of dedication and leadership on the part of Town President Larry Dominick and Members of the Board of Trustees of the Town of Cicero and Chief Financial Officer Don Schultz,” Dankowski said.

“The Government Finance Officers Association hopes that this award to the The Town of Cicero will serve as an example and encourage others to strive for the same high standards in their own financial reports.”

The award, Dankowski said, is the premier indicator of excellence in governmental accounting and financial reporting.

Dankowski explained that earning the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting requires recipients to substantially conform to the program’s demanding criteria, which go well beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles.

“The review and evaluation is performed by two members selected from an impartial panel of government finance officers, independent certified public accountants, educators and others with specialized expertise and experience in governmental accounting and financial reporting,” Dankowski said.

“Reports are reviewed and evaluated by members of the GFOA’s professional staff. Only those reports that are judged by all reviewers to have substantially met the program’s criteria are awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.”

Dankowski said Cicero’s budget and financial reports met the rigorous criteria.
“We are very honored by these awards and are committed to representing our citizens in the most professional manner possible,” said Town President Larry Dominick.

“We are also very proud of the hard work that our CFO Donald Schultz performs for our Town.”

Schultz said that President Dominick made it easy for him to “look good.”

“The President has done so much to hold the line on increases in taxes and fees while telling me over and over again that we will not cut back on services. In fact, in many cases, the Town has increased services at the President’s direction,” Schultz said.

“When you look at the challenges facing neighboring communities and cities around the country in these tough economic times, the Town of Cicero is doing something for its citizens that few other communities are doing. We’re increasing services. Holding down costs and giving our residents their moneys worth.”

END

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Armed Robbery charges filed in string of Cell phone store robberies

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Armed Robbery charges filed in string of Cell phone store robberies

On May 6, 2012 at 1:38pm, an Armed Robbery was committed at the Boost Mobile Store located at 1647 S. Cicero Ave Cicero, IL. Two male suspects entered the store displaying a handgun and ordered two female employees to lie on the floor, shouting obscenities and placing a 32.caliber handgun to the manager’s head demanding money. After taking $3048.00 USC, the suspects fled from the store on foot traveling eastbound from Cicero Ave.  


Cicero patrol officers and detectives responded to the scene and with the descriptions provided by the victims patrolled the area and observed two subjects in the area matching the description of the suspects. 

A foot pursuit ensued and Cicero Patrol Officers and Detectives discovered the subjects hiding in the back yard of a nearby residence still in possession of the proceeds of the robbery. A canvass of the immediate area resulted in the recovery of a .32 Caliber handgun. Both subjects were immediately placed into custody and transported to the police station for processing.

During the course of the investigation the armed robbery victims positively identified the subjects. Detectives reviewed (2) two previous Cicero Cellular Phone Stores Armed Robberies committed in Cicero and matched both subjects to them.

Cicero Detectives reviewed area Cellular Phone Store Armed Robberies contacted the Elmwood Park Police and Chicago Police Departments and provided them with suspect information and identification for their similar Armed Robbery cases.

Elmwood Park Police Detectives working with Cicero Detectives filed charges against the subjects for an Armed Robbery of a Cellular Phone store committed in their town and Chicago Police Detectives have matched the subjects to possibly (3) three Armed Robberies committed in Chicago.

(Photos Above: Charged Suspects Anthony Riley, below, Wallace Edgar. Mugshots courtesy of the Town of Cicero Police Department)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cicero recognized for its budgets and professional financial management

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Cicero recognized for its budgets and professional financial management

The Government Finance Officers Association presented certificates of excellence to Cicero Town President Larry Dominick and Cicero CFO Donald Schultz for “making the extra effort to explain financial conditions on a level easily understandable by its residents.”

The honors were presented to Dominick and Schultz at the May 8 meeting of the Town Board by Mary G. Dankowski who is the president of the Illinois Government Finance Officers Association and also works as the deputy Village Manager in charge of Finance for the village of Park Forest.

The GFOA’s “Certificate of Achievement” program has been awarded each year since 1946 to encourage governments to prepare financial reports of the highest quality for the benefit of citizens and other parties with a vital interest in a government's finances.

“The receipt of this award reflects the professionalism and commitment of numerous individuals as well as many hours of hard work. It also reflects a high degree of dedication and leadership on the part of Town President Larry Dominick and Members of the Board of Trustees of the Town of Cicero and Chief Financial Officer Don Schultz,” Dankowski said.

“The Government Finance Officers Association hopes that this award to the The Town of Cicero will serve as an example and encourage others to strive for the same high standards in their own financial reports.”

The award, Dankowski said, is the premier indicator of excellence in governmental accounting and financial reporting.

Dankowski explained that earning the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting requires recipients to substantially conform to the program’s demanding criteria, which go well beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles.

“The review and evaluation is performed by two members selected from an impartial panel of government finance officers, independent certified public accountants, educators and others with specialized expertise and experience in governmental accounting and financial reporting,” Dankowski said.

“Reports are reviewed and evaluated by members of the GFOA’s professional staff. Only those reports that are judged by all reviewers to have substantially met the program’s criteria are awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.”
Dankowski said Cicero’s budget and financial reports met the rigorous criteria.

“We are very honored by these awards and are committed to representing our citizens in the most professional manner possible,” said Town President Larry Dominick.

“We are also very proud of the hard work that our CFO Donald Schultz performs for our Town.”
Schultz said that President Dominick made it easy for him to “look good.”

“The President has done so much to hold the line on increases in taxes and fees while telling me over and over again that we will not cut back on services. In fact, in many cases, the Town has increased services at the President’s direction,” Schultz said.

“When you look at the challenges facing neighboring communities and cities around the country in these tough economic times, the Town of Cicero is doing something for its citizens that few other communities are doing. We’re increasing services. Holding down costs and giving our residents their moneys worth.”

END

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cicero cuts ribbon on new Wirtz Center

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Cicero cuts ribbon on new Wirtz Center

Town President Larry Dominick officially helped cut the ribbon on the opening of the new Wirtz Beverage Illinois center at 34th and Laramie in the Town of Cicero, Friday May 4. More than 500 people celebrated the opening of the center which will house WBI’s statewide offices, warehouse and distribution center. The 600,000 sq ft Center occupies sits on 33 acres, or about half of the former Sportsman’s Park. The remaining land will be used for a new 190,000 sq ft Wal-Mart that will begin construction in 2013.

“We’re very proud to have the Wirtz family come to Cicero,” Dominick said. “This new center is part of our continued efforts to stimulate business and industrial growth in Cicero. The Wirtz center will bring 1,100 jobs to Cicero and we anticipate will create up to 200 more jobs. The new Wal-Mart next door will create more than 500 new jobs. Together, they will serve as a magnet to showcase the new face of the Town of Cicero, a diverse community that last year was named one of the top 20 safest cities in America.”

“From a development standpoint, this was a significant project,” said Anthony Iatarola, Senior Vice President, Wirtz Realty Corporation, project developer. “We were fortunate to have the cooperation and support of everyone from the Town of Cicero, Cook County and the State of Illinois. Because of that, we were able to complete it on budget and ahead of schedule."

To celebrate the grand opening, Wirtz Beverage Illinois and Wirtz Realty co-hosted an evening reception for approximately 400 guests, ranging from supplier partners from around the world, local dignitaries and sports and media executives, to government officials and Chicago Blackhawk Ambassadors.

A number of dignitaries from Wirtz Beverage Illinois and also from regional governments attended the grand opening including Wirtz. William Rockwell "Rocky" Wirtz, president of Wirtz Corporation, a diversified conglomerate headquartered in Chicago and members of his family, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, Congressman Dan Lipinski, Congressman Mike Quigley, Cook County Commissioner Pete Silvestri and Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman. Also attending were former Black Hawks players Bobby Hull. Stan Mikita and Tony Esposito.

The festivities included tours of the facility as well as cooking and cocktail demonstrations in The Alchemy Room.  A special time capsule ceremony was also in honor of the company’s past, present and future.

Among the items placed into the capsule to be opened in 2045, marking the 100 year Anniversary of the Wirtz family’s entrance to the beverage business, were:

·         Family and historic photos from 1945-current day
·         Commemorative items from wine and spirits suppliers, including one-of-a-kind etched bottles
·         A Chicago Blackhawk Hockey Team jersey signed by the 2011-2012 team
·         A proclamation from the State of Illinois declaring May 2, 2012 Wirtz Beverage Group Day
·         A DVD and brief summary chronicling the project from inception to the opening
·         A DVD of the grand opening of the Bobby Hull Community Ice Rink in Cicero

“The new facility serves as more than warehouse and office space,” says Julian Burzynski, senior vice president, Wirtz Beverage Illinois.  “It’s taking everything we do and bringing it together under one roof. Very few distributors in the country have been able to put the best of everything – sales, marketing, operations, logistics, technology and training – together in this way. Plus, it’s close to the airport and close to the city. Collectively, we think it’s a real point of differentiation and advantage for Wirtz Beverage and its partners.” 



(Photo courtesy Gerardo Lopez. From left, Congressman Dan Lipinski, Cook County Commissioner Pete Silvestri and Liz Gorman, and Town President Larry Dominick)

The facility’s new warehouse has the capacity to hold 2.5 million cases of wine and spirits and includes a 25,000-square-foot temperature-controlled wine storage facility, the largest in the country. The advanced conveyor system sorts and moves up to 10,000 cases per hour to 39 shipping and receiving bays. The building will serve as the central headquarters for nearly 1,000 Wirtz Beverage Illinois employees and 1,500 premier beverage products. 

Two stories of corporate offices, a full gym with locker rooms for employees and a company-cafeteria, emphasizing healthy fare, also complement the facility. The Alchemy Room, designed by chefs, sommeliers and mixologists, features a commercial kitchen and demonstration bar with high-definition video screens for training, education and beverage development. The facility was developed by Wirtz Realty Corp., a subsidiary of Wirtz Corporation, in 13 months. A public plaza, pedestrian path and commercial outlots join the facility on 66 acres of land formally known as Sportsman’s Park Race Track.

Wirtz also donated the construction of a regulation-size hockey ice rink at the nearby Cicero Community Park.

end

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cicero hosts Memorial Day Civil War re-enactment May 26

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President Larry Dominick
invites you to
Memorial Day Ceremony
&
Civil War re-enactment
in honorof the 150 Year Anniversary

Saturday May 26, 2012 1:00p.m.

Cicero Community Park
34 & Laramie
 Cicero

Featuring:
John S. Kociolko as Abraham Lincoln
Richard Hargreaves:  2nd Kentucky Calvary

For further info, contact Dept of Special Events, 708-656-3600x288

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chicago Sun-Times continues to slander the People of Cicero

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Chicago Sun-Times continues to slander the People of Cicero

We're trying to remember a time when the Chicago Sun-Times wasn't slandering the people of Cicero.

In their uninformed editorial this week, the Chicago Sun-Times continues to slander the people of the Town of Cicero. They make excuses for why they do not cover the many achievements that in Cicero, claiming that the good things in the town are what elected officials are expected to do.

The Chicago Sun-Times doesn't use that excuse in its coverage of more affluent communities in Chicagoland's suburbs where many of their editors and writers live. They ignore controversy in those communities and write about their events all the time.

But when it comes to Cicero, the Sun-Times has reservations. Is it because Cicero is an ethnic community with a large minority population that is not reflected in the Chicago Sun-Times? It's almost as if the Sun-Times criticism is driven by racism.

You have to wonder where this vicious bias originates.

Cicero Town President Larry Dominick came into office in 2005 and did the right thing when it was learned in 2007 that the Library board was giving its elected board members health insurance for life. He backed new candidates who were elected and then, when they had the vote, changed the policy.

Yes, when an individual is elected to an office, you cannot strip them of the benefits they were promised or given when they were elected. Can you imagine the Sun-Times writing editorials demanding that the elected officials in more affluent communities return their benefits? You'd see what little advertising the newspaper now has quickly vanish. So they pick on communities where the newspaper does not have an economic interest or political alliances.

The real issue is that the law in question was adopted in 1998 -- 14 years ago -- and the Chicago Sun-Times never wasted its time doing any research. That would require effort, facts, accuracy. President Dominick changed that policy!

But you won't read that fact in the Chicago Sun-Times. President Dominick has implemented many programs that go far beyond what elected officials are expected to do. Attracting new businesses, implementing innovative programs to help the needy, disabled, youth, seniors, minorities, and other ethnic groups ... but the Sun-Times basically says the newspaper doesn't care about people from Cicero. New parks, new services, less crime, more safety, all while holding the line on taxes and fees, means nothing to the Sun-Times. But suggesting that the state law be violated, well, that's something the Sun-Times can champion! As long as it doesn't hurt their political pals.

No one is proud of the Chicago Sun-Times slander campaign. Their facts are wrong, their motives are suspect and unjournalistic, and their purpose is to sell newspapers. Clearly, it's not just their failed journalism or their inaccurate reporting that is the failure. Their circulation, which is the lowest ever, reflects the growing lack of public trust in the newspaper.

But the Chicago Sun-Times will continue to slander the town and ignore events that bring pride and community strength to the people of Cicero. And their circulation will continue to drop.

Clearly, no one misses the Chicago Sun-Times or their biased news reports at all.

end