Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cicero unveils statue honoring Blackhawk great Bobby Hull

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Cicero unveils statue honoring Blackhawk great Bobby Hull

Cicero, Il – Town President Larry Dominick and members of the Town Board joined representatives of the Blackhawks, Wirtz Beverage Illinois and about 600 residents to unveil a statue commissioned to honor hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull.

The statue is located in front of the Bobby Hull Community Ice Rink that was constructed in the Fall of 2011 as a part of improvements at Community Park funded by Wirtz Beverage Illinois and owner Rocky Wirtz.

The Bobby Hull statue is the second now in Chicagoland, with one dedicated at the United Center Stadium on Madison Street in Chicago and designed by famed artist Oscar Leon through the prestigious Rotblatt-Amrany Fine Arts Studio of Highwood Illinois.

“This is a very special day for the town of Cicero. I am so proud to have Bobby Hull here again. Bobby Hull is a great inspiration for anyone who wants to be a great professional,” said President Dominick who was joined by Cicero Assessor Emilio Cundari, Collector Fran Reitz, Supervisor Joe Virruso and trustees Dennis Raleigh, Victor Garcia and Larry Banks.

President Dominick, Bobby Hull, Trustee Larry Banks,
Collector Fran Reitz, Trustee Victor Garcia and Supervisor Joe Virruso.
(Click photo to view high resolution image -- right click to download)

“Cicero is very fortunate that we are able to provide this ice rink to the community, thanks to the Wirtz’s. We give skating free to the residents and no one can beat that. We want our kids to be active. We want them to stay out of gangs, out of drugs, go to school and be here to ice skate. In the winter time, we had 600 to 800 people here every Friday and Saturday ice skating here. And that is a blessing to the town.”

Dominick thanked the town officials and boasted, “No one can compare to us what we do for our residents. Bobby you are the greatest and we were very excited to unveil this statue to remind everyone of your achievements in professional sports and to be a role model for our youth.”

Hull said the statue is one of several now in the Chicagoland area depicting himself and other sports professionals.

“I want to thank the Chicago Black Hawks and their wonderful organization and owner Rocky Wirtz and their beautiful distribution center that is across the street,” Hull said.

“I want to thank the Town of Cicero and President Larry Dominick without whose leadership none of this would be possible. I am truly humbled as this statue depicts me early in my career. And this statue will stand as a symbol for every kid who laced up their skates to reach for their dreams and never let go of what could be.”

Wirtz was represented by its chief attorney Anthony Iatarola, who shared a story he said took place while the Wirtz Building and hockey rink were being built last year.

“Two years ago, right down the street, I was sitting with a man and he asked me, what are you doing building an ice rink? This should be soccer fields. Our kids don’t know how to skate,” Iatarola recalled.

“I said given a chance, your kids will learn how to skate. And with President Dominick’s dream, you will see one of your kids, maybe a few of them, playing professional hockey for the Black Hawks. With this rink, your dreams will come true.”

After unveiling the Bobby Hull Statue, residents lined up to skate at the ice rink which remains open through the Winter. Sunday's skating was free of charge to residents.

Attendees not only received autographs from Hull, they were treated to an array of entertainment including music, reindeer driven hay rides, clowns, magicians, rides and refreshments.

Omri Amrany owner of the studio, Rotblatt-Amrany Fine Arts Studio in Highwood, Illinois, introduced Oscar Leon, the artist who designed the Hull statue. The Amrany studio has designed many other statues including The Spirit: Michael Jordan Statue, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, the Memorial to Pat Tillman, the Vince Lombardi Statue, the Al McGuire Statue, and the statue of Stan Mikita along with many others.

Artist Oscar Leon and studio owner Omri Amrany

President Dominick and Bobby Hull, joined by (far left) Omri Amrany, Oscar Leon, Trustee Dennis Raleigh, Collector Fran Reitz, Supervisor Joe Virruso and Trustee Victor Garcia.

volunteers working the refreshment area

Cicero residents putting on their free skates

hundreds of people participated in the opening night of the Ice Rink


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christmas in the Park at the Bobby Hull Community Ice Rink Sunday 2 pm Nov. 25, 2012

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Christmas in the Park at the Bobby Hull Community Ice Rink Sunday 2 pm Nov. 25, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Roadwork on Laramie (Cermak to Roosevelt) through this week

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Roadwork on Laramie (Cermak to Roosevelt) through this week

Currently, work crews are completing major street and infrastructure renovation on Laramie Avenue between Cermak Road (22nd Street) and Roosevelt Road.

The $1.7 million project will result in new curbs, sidewalks and the long awaited reconstruction and improvement of the CSX Rail Road crossing on Laramie Avenue at 16th Street.

Here is the schedule of improvements:

·         The Laramie Avenue CSX crossing @ 16th Street will be paved on Friday Nov. 16 and opened Saturday morning Nov. 17.
·         CSX is also going to attempt to replace their crossing on 16th Street Between 54th Avenue and Laramie Avenue through Thanksgiving week.
·         The Laramie Avenue Contractor (Orange Crush) is scheduled to complete the HMA resurfacing on Laramie  Ave. – Cermak to CTA by Friday Nov. 16. Detector loop installations will follow next week and striping pending cooperative weather.

The 16th Street and Laramie Avenue Rail Road Crossing which is controlled by CSX and has been in disrepair. President Dominick has been seeking to improve the rail road crossing for many years but it wasn’t until recently that the CSX Rail Road agreed following the derailment of one of their boxcars on the line.

The funding for this project is NOT coming from your real estate tax dollars and this project will have NO IMPACT WHATSOEVER on the taxes you now pay or will pay in the future to the Town.

We know these repairs create inconveniences for motorists who have routine driving patterns along Laramie Avenue.

But these improvements are very important to increase safety and provide a more efficient thoroughfare for our residents and businesses.

These improvements are a part of ongoing road improvements taking place throughout the Town to improve service and keep safety our community safe.


# # #

Cicero wins recognition for budget management from National Organization

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Cicero wins recognition for budget management from National Organization

For the Third Consecutive Year The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has announced that the Town of Cicero, Illinois has received the GFOA's Distinguished Budget Presentation for its budget for the Fiscal Year Beginning January 1, 2012.

The award represents a significant achievement by the Town of Cicero and the Administration of Town President Larry Dominick.  It reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff in meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting.  In order to receive the award, the Town of Cicero had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation.  These guidelines are designed to assess how well the Town's budget serves as:

*  a policy document
*  a financial plan
*  an operations guide
*  a communications device

"Once again, the Town of Cicero is very proud of our budget management and our financial team," said Town President Larry Dominick.

"While other communities are facing cutbacks, large property tax hikes and increases in fee, the Town of Cicero has managed its budget efficiently and professionally, maintaining the same spending levels while increasing our programs through improved spending management. We're fortunate to have Donald Schultz and his team of financial professionals managing our Town Finances and embracing the vision I defined for fiscal responsibility when I was elected."

The Town's budget had to be rated "Proficient" in all four categories, and the fourteen mandatory criteria within those categories, to receive the award.

The recognition, which follows similar awards in 2010 and 2011, comes int he wake of the Town's announcement that for the 3rd year in a row, Cicero will not raise the tax levy maintaining the same tax level in the next budget. The town has only raised the tax levy a small percentage only twice during the past seven years since 2005 when President Larry Dominick was elected Town President.

The Government Finance Officer's Association is a nonprofit professional association serving nearly 17,400 government finance professionals throughout North America.  The GFOA's Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program is the only national awards program in governmental budgeting.

# # #

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cicero Officials to distribute Smoke Alarms to residents

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Cicero Officials to distribute Smoke & CO Detectors to residents
Special detectors available to families with disabled members

Cicero, Il – Town President Larry Dominick joined Fire Marshall Ron Opalecky and members of the Town Board to begin the distribution of smoke and CO detectors funded through a Federal grant.

Dominick said the town received $80,000 in Federal money and matched $20,000 to purchase 3,000 combination smoke and CO detectors, and also 150 special detectors for individuals who are disabled.

The first smoke detectors were presented on Wednesday to homeowners during a kick-off ceremony held at the home of Margarita Cervantes, 2409 S Lombard Ave. The Cervantes family has a disabled family member.

“One of my priorities is to keep Cicero residents safe. That includes from our active campaign to fight street gangs and keep them out of our community to insuring that every home and apartment dwelling as a smoke and CO detector in the event of a fire,” Dominick said.

In presenting the combination Smoke and CO Detector to the Cervantes family, Dominick was joined by Opalecky and Town officials including Supervisor Joe Virruso, Collector Fran Reitz, Assessor Emilio “Emo” Cundari, Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias, and trustees Dennis Raleigh, Lorraine Walsh, Victor Garcia and Larry Banks.

“Smoke detectors and CO detectors can save lives. We see it all the time when we battle fires in homes and apartments,” Opalecky said. “The alarms give residents the time they need to escape a fire and save lives.”

Dominick said the Town is constantly seeking federal and state funds to cover costs for resident services to hold the line on taxes and fees. This year, for example, the Town of Cicero proposed a property tax levy that reflects no change over last year. In the past seven years, five of those years had no tax increases and two only had minor increases.

Opalecky said the combination Smoke and CO detectors are available to residents by visiting the Cicero Fire House at 5303 W. 25th Street beginning on Monday Nov. 19.

Kathy Ordman, the director of the President’s Office of Disabilities in Cicero and who also attended the kickoff of the smoke detector campaign, said the 150 special Photoelectric Smoke Alarms which feature Compliant Strobes made for disabled residents can be picked up from her office at the Department of Disabilities.

The special detectors plug into an electrical outlet with backup battery power. They have green flashing lights to alert the disabled residents and also firefighters called to the property.

“It helps the fire department know that the home may have a disabled resident on the property,” Ordman said.

Residents seeking the free smoke alarms need to verify their Cicero residency, Opalecky said.

Disabled homeowners should go through the Cicero Office of Disabilities by calling 708-656-3600 ext 537to arrange to receive a free smoke detectors. The disabilities department will also provide handymen to install the smoke detectors in their homes.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Latin King criminally charged with harassing Cicero election worker

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Latin King criminally charged with harassing Cicero election worker

Cicero, Illinois – Police Tuesday arrested and charged a member of the Latin Kings Street gang after he harassed and then stalked a female election volunteer at a local polling place in Cicero.

Maria Medina, 41, said she was handing out “Thank You” cards to Cicero voters on Tuesday morning at a polling place at the Lincoln School, 3601 S. 61st Ave, when a known Latin King Orlando Cintron began sexually threatening her, according to police.

Medina said she left to go to another polling place at the Freshman Center at 1801 S. 55th Ave, to “get away from Cintron.” But she was then confronted by Cintron and another known Latin King street gang leader, Alfredo Gonzalez, who was accompanied by four other male associates.

“They surrounded me and threatened me and they started to make sexual gestures. I challenged them for picking on me and they got angry. That scared me,” Medina said.

“The guy [Gonzalez] started to unzip his pants in public and make disgusting gestures so I asked someone to call the police.”

Click image to view larger high resolution image

Cicero Police said that several Latin King street gang members, including Gonzalez, have been identified as working on the election campaign of Juan Ochoa.

Gang Crimes Police Supt. Jerry Chlada said disorderly conduct charges were filed against Gonzalez, who has a court appearance set for Dec. 4 at the Maywood Court House.

“Ms. Medina was very frightened,” Chlada said. “I can’t blame her. The individuals around her are all known Latin King leaders.”

Cicero Town Spokesman Ray Hanania charged that the Latin King members were brought into Cicero by Juan Ochoa to work in his campaign.

“We don’t need the Latin Kings in the Town of Cicero. It’s irresponsible for Ochoa to bring these street gang thugs into Cicero to work on his election campaign and to harass people who are doing nothing more than exercising their Democratic rights,” Hanania said.

“President Dominick and the Cicero Police have worked hard successfully over the past seven years to confront the street gangs and put them in jail. It’s tragic that Ochoa would bring them to Cicero to work on his election campaign and to intimidate voters. I have never seen any candidates recruit street gang members for their campaigns. It’s shocking.”

Dominick has accused Ochoa of recruiting street gang members from the Latin Kings with support from U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez.

Town officials said that in addition to Gonzalez and Cintron, Ochoa is also working with Johnny Resa, a former City of Chicago Water Department employee convicted in 2007 of lying to a federal grand jury about his role in helping place allies in city jobs.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cicero to again hold the line on spending; No property tax increase

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Cicero to again hold the line on spending; No property tax increase

Cicero, IL – The Town of Cicero will unveil a proposed budget for 2013 that again maintains spending at current levels with no increase in property taxes or other taxes, Cicero Town Assessor Emilio “Emo” Cundari said.

President Larry Dominick said the Town has been able to maintain and even increase public services such as street cleaning, police and fire, events programming and senior services without asking the public for additional taxes.

Cundari said the proposed amount of Cicero’s 2013 Tax Levy is $27,172,230 and represents no increase over the levy for the current year, 2012.

“In fact, the Dominick Administration has been responsible for seven tax levies (2006 through 2012), and no increase was proposed in five (5) of these levies,” Cundari explained.

“While addressing rising health care and pension costs, expanded town services, and a slow-to-recover state and local economy, President Dominick and the Town Board have held the line on the town's annual tax levy through seven years of service.”

Dominick said that this year has seen a significant increase in new businesses that have relocated to the Town of Cicero and the town will benefit from increased sales taxes from retail sales and from the new businesses.

“I know the past few years have been very difficult times for the average citizen. The public has been forced in this economy and cut back on their spending and I don’t think it is fair to ask them to do more,” Dominick said.

“Government can work harder and better, as we have done, with what we have.”

The Town has absorbed the majority of the water rate increases imposed by the City of Chicago.

“The water rate hikes from Chicago, which the Town of Cicero has no control over, have been unfair to our residents. The Town has absorbed most of the increases to alleviate the burden on homeowners for water usage,” Dominick said.

Dominick said that Cicero continues to enjoy more public and government services than any other community in the Chicagoland suburbs.

“No other community can match what we do for our residents.”

Dominick said he was particularly proud of the extensive programs and events that Cicero provides to Senior Citizens, youth, families, the disabled. For the 7th year in a row, Cicero will host a clothing and toy giveaway in December for families in financial need providing clothes, school supplies and toys to the children.

“Our streets are clean and they are safe. Cicero has an aggressive anti-street gang program to keep our residents safe against street gang related crimes,” Dominick said.

“We were named one of the safest cities in America in 2010 and we are proud to continue that record of confronting these street gang criminals. We do not want them to come back to Cicero. Those groups that are cozying up to street gangs are hurting everyone in the Town of Cicero.”