Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cicero applauds conviction of first of two suspects in Valentine’s Day arson

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Cicero applauds conviction of first of two suspects in Valentine’s Day arson

Fire claimed life of seven victims, including a 3-day old baby

Cicero Town President Larry Dominick today applauded the hard work of the Cicero Police Department, the Cicero Fire Department, the Illinois State Fire Marshall and the Cook County State’s Attorneys office in securing convictions Monday against accused arson conspirator Lawrence Myers.

Myers was the owner of a three-story building at 3034 S. 48th Court in Cicero that had burned down in the early morning hours of Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2010.

Through an investigation led by the Cicero Fire and Cicero Police Departments, it was determined that Myers instructed his maintenance employee, Marion Comier, to set the building on fire in order to collection on a $250,000 insurance policy.

Myers was convicted by a jury in a two day trial that began Friday. A separate trial is set for Comier.

“President Dominick wanted to thank the jury for convicting Myers in the first of two cases involving the most heinous arson fires we’ve seen in many years,” said Town Spokesman Ray Hanania.

“This case would never have been solved but for the fast action of the Cicero Fire Department in responding to the fire, and also to the hard work of the team of detectives of the Cicero Police Department who obtained undercover audio tapes that were instrumental in the conviction.”

The victims were Byron Reed, 20; Sallie Gist, 19; and their sons Rayshawn Reed, 3, and Brian Reed, 3 days old. The fire also killed Sallie Gist's brother and sister, 16-year-old twins Elijah Gist and Elisha Gist; and family friend Tiera Davidson, 18.

“On Sunday Feb. 14, 2010 at approximately 6:30 am, Cicero police and Cicero fire departments responded to an emergency fire call at a three-story apartment building at 3034 S. 48th Court. As a result of that fire, seven people, ranging in ages from 3 days old to 20 years old, lost their lives,” said Cicero Police Superintendent Jerry Chlada Jr. Earlier this week, Chlada was named to succeed Police Supt. Bernard Harrison who retired but was in charge of the police investigation at the time of the fire.

“The homeowner and the maintenance man were charged with seven counts of first degree murder and several counts of aggravated arson. Today, a Cook County jury found the property owner, Lawrence Martin, guilty on all counts,”

Chlada said the investigation was spearheaded by the Cicero Police Department working in conjunction with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office and the Cicero Fire Department, along with the Illinois State Fire Marshall’s office.

Chlada introduced the detectives involved in the investigation, Detective Sgt. Nino Scimone, Commander Raul Perez and Detective Joseph Melone who was the lead investigator on the case.

“During the course of the investigation, we developed information that the homeowner and the maintenance man had conspired to burn down the building for the purposes of collecting insurance money,” Melone said.

“We located a cooperating witness who agreed to wear a wire and recorded many conversations that more than assisted in this investigation. That’s just a piece of the puzzle though. I want to thank the hard work of our team at the Cicero Police Department, the hard work of the Cicero Fire Marshall Ron Opalecky, the Illinois State Fire Marshall and the prosecutors in the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.”

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cicero celebrates 46th Annual Houby Day with Festival and Parade

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Cicero celebrates 46th Annual Houby Day with Festival and Parade

(Attached is photo of Houby Festival Queen Molly Zajac Clark)



The Town of Cicero will host four days of celebration for the HoubyFest beginning Thursday October 2, capping with the annual parade on Sunday that will feature more than 55 floats and displays.

This years’ Houby Day Queen is Molly Zajac Clark. Amber Morena is the 1st Runner Up Queen, and Isabel Evariz is Miss Congeniality. All three will greet parade attendees from the Queen’s Float.

This year’s Houby Festival is dedicated to the region’s children and the theme of the parade “Children First,” said Special Events Director Patti Dominick.

The HoubyFest Carnival will be held Thursday October 2 through Sunday October 5.

Entertainment includes live music beginning on Friday (October 3), Saturday (October 4) and Sunday (October 5). Bands include: Caliente and 16 Candles on Friday night; The Neverly Brothers, The New Invaders, The Personnel and Libido Funk Circus on Saturday beginning at 2 pm; and, Druha Rava, R-Gang, American English and 7th Heaven on Sunday beginning at 2 pm. The bands and carnival are located on Cermak Road between Lombard Avenue and Austin Blvd, on the L Strip.

The Houby Day Parade will kick-off Sunday at 11 am on Cermak Road at 56th Court in Cicero and continue west into Berwyn. Each year, the direction of the parade alternates beginning in Cicero at 56th Court and in Berwyn at East Avenue. The festival will feature a carnival, children’s stage, crafters, food vendors and entertainment throughout the weekend.

The festival is celebrated by all but honors the Czech and Slovak heritages of Cicero and Berwyn. Houby is the Czech word for Mushroom which is a symbol of the Czech harvest.

The HoubyFest represents four decades of rich cultural tradition in the Berwyn Cicero area. The weekend long festival draws local residents as well as people from all around to experience food booths, vendors, carnival, arts and crafts, music, sidewalk sale, Houby Queen Pageant and much more. There are a variety of events scheduled throughout the week leading up to the weekend celebration. The Parade steps off Sunday at 12 Noon on Cermak Rd. Last year, more than 25,000 people lined Cermak Road to cheer the four hour parade.


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Monday, September 15, 2014

Cicero’s Mexican Independence Day Parade attracts 15,000

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Cicero’s Mexican Independence Day Parade attracts 15,000

The Mexican Independence Day Parade and a weekend of celebrations that included El-Grito attracted more than 15,000 attendees, parade organizers said.

The events were hosted by the Cicero Mexican Cultural Committee and the Town of Cicero’s Special Events Department, and included a weekend of entertainment, food and family events.

Guests included Town President Larry Dominick, Mexican Consul General Carlos Jimenez Macias and his family, and Daphne Via Senior who was selected as the Parade Queen at a community pageant last week.

Also attending were officials of the Town of Cicero including Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias, Supervisor Joe Virruso, Collector Fran Reitz, Assessor Emilio Cundari, and trustees Dennis Raleigh, Larry Banks, Victor Garcia and Lorraine Walsh.



Committee spokesperson Maru Ayala said, “We awarded Mario Contreras, one of the best horsemen in the United States, a recognition from the Cicero Mexican Cultural Committee of his great achievements.”

The Cicero Mexican Cultural Committee members also include Gerardo Solis, Araceli Ramirez, Josephina Vega, and former State Rep. and Cicero community liaison Frank Aguilar.

“We are proud to celebrate the heritage of the Mexican American community,” said Town President Larry Dominick. “This is one of my favorite festivals of the year.”

The festival grand finale included fireworks and a confetti parade. Entertainment was provided by the Mariachi Group Los Viejos.

Assessor Emilio Cundari said this was one of the largest turnouts for a Mexican Independence Day celebration he has seen, and Trustee Victor Garcia said the weekend was a spectacular celebration of Mexican Culture.

The Mexican Independence Day weekend included the Morton High School District 201 Marching Band, which performed at El Grito, and School cheerleaders who participated in the parade.

District 201 Board President Jeffry Pesek said, “Morton High school is proud to participate in the parade. Our students are actively engaged in the community and are our future leaders. I am very proud of their participation and their great performance.”

State Rep. Lisa Hernandez praised the Town of Cicero and President Dominick for organizing the weekend event.
“It was one of the finest salutes to Mexican American heritage,” said Hernandez who sponsored a float in the parade. “The turnout was just fantastic.”


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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cicero Police arrest 31 protestors for disrupting traffic on Cicero Avenue Thursday

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Cicero Police arrest 31 protestors for disrupting traffic on Cicero Avenue Thursday

The Cicero Police arrested and charged 31 individuals on Thursday for disrupting traffic and placing themselves in harms way. The 31 individuals, men and women, were among 300 protestors who gathered at 29th and Cicero Avenue as a part of a national demonstration in support of raising the minimum wage.

Cicero Town President Larry Dominick and officials of the Town of Cicero support the State raising the minimum wage and we offered to work with the protest organizers to find a safer location where they could make their point, but the organizers refused.

Police blocked off Cicero Avenue, one of the most heavily trafficked streets in Northern Illinois and urged the public yesterday to seek alternative routes to avoid the protests which we anticipated.

“We tried to work with the protestors and find them an alternative and safer way to make their point but they rejected our offers of support,” said Town Spokesman Ray Hanania. “Although most of the 300 demonstrators conducted themselves properly, 31 intentionally walked into the middle of Cicero Avenue and tried to sit down in the center of the roadway to block traffic. All 31 were arrested and charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct.”

Hanania said that the priority for the Cicero Police is public safety not just for the protestors but also for motorists and residents. The protest lasted more than 90 minutes.

(Letters between organizers and Town of Cicero attached)


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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cicero urges residents to avoid protest area

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The Town of Cicero is urging members of the public to avoid using Cicero Avenue on Thursday Sept. 4  between 10 am and 3 pm to avoid an expected protest officials fear will seriously disrupt and possibly block one of the state's most heavily trafficked roadways.

Town of Cicero officials have learned that several unions seeking an increase in the minimum wage will protest along Cicero Avenue at 29th Street to make their demands. From social media and other information, Cicero officials believe the protestors will be disruptive and cause Cicero Avenue to be blocked, in order to gain media attention for their goals.

Town of Cicero officials have asked representatives of the two unions involved, the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago and the Service Employees International Union, to relocate the protests to a public area that is safer and can accommodate the more than 2,000 people that activists on social media claim will be protesting.

"President Larry Dominick absolutely supports increasing the minimum wage in Illinois for workers. For us, that is not the issue, though” said Town Spokesman Ray Hanania. 

“Our concern is also for the safety of our residents and the motorists who use Cicero Avenue daily. We can’t verify the number of protestors who will show up tomorrow, but we believe that any protest there will seriously disrupt traffic on Cicero Avenue between Cermak Road (22nd Street) and 39th Street.”

Hanania said the Town has offered to give the protestors access to a highly visible Community Park at 35th and Laramie where protestors can rally and express their views without disrupting Cicero Avenue.


I have attached two letters of correspondence between the Town of Cicero and representatives of one of the Unions involved that defines the issues involved.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mexican Independence Day Pageant, Parade preview Tuesday August 12 at the Cicero Town Board 10 am

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Mexican Independence Day Pageant, Parade preview Tuesday August 12 at the Cicero Town Board 10 am

The Cicero Mexican Cultural Committee is announcing the festivities for Mexican Independence Day in Cicero with President Larry Dominick and regional elected officials. The public will choose the candidate to represent Mexico in the Independence Day Parade and at the events from a field of 6 finalists who are identified below. All of the candidates were selected by the Cicero Mexican Cultural Committee.



The Mexican Independence Day pageant winner will be announced on Thursday, September 4, 2014 at the Annual Senorita Cicero Pageant Gala Banquet to be held at the Cicero Community Center, 2250 S. 49th Ave, from 6:00PM-11:00PM.

The Cicero Mexican Independent Day Parade, which brings out tents of thousands of spectators, will be held on Sunday Sept. 14 from 12 noon until 2 pm on Cermak Road It will be followed in the evening by the El Grito Festival that same evening from 9 pm until 9 pm at Cicero  Community Park at 34th and Laramie where Mexican Independence Day festivities will be held all weekend.  Special Mexican Guest Super Star Graciela Betran will be preforming Sunday night.

But, all of the Contestant Finalists will be officially introduced to the Town Board on Tuesday August 12 at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Town of Cicero Board, which begins at 10 am at the Town Hall, 4949 W. Cermak Road. The finalists are:

1. Natalia Valdez, 18 yrs. old,
    University of Illinois Chicago
    Major: Biology, Pre-veterinary medicine

2. Melody Pedraza 23 yrs old
    University of Illinois Champaign
     Major: Community Health: concentration in Health Planning &  Administration   

3. Kelin Hernandez 20 yrs. old
    Morton College
    Major: Early Childhood Education

4. Karen Rebecca Hernandez  18 yrs. old
    Morton College
     Major: Business Management  

5. Alma Delgado  21 yrs old
    Morton College  & Paul Mitchell School
    Major: Criminal Justice & cosmology

6. Dafne  Villasenor   21 yrs. old
    Morton College
    Major: Business Finance & Marketing

Governor Pat Quinn and the Consul General of Mexico Carlos Jimenez Macias will join Pres. Larry Dominick at all of these events.


END

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Officials dedicate $4.5 million in METRA improvements

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Town President Larry Dominick joined officials of METRA and the Cicero Town Board on Wednesday morning to cut the ribbon on $4.5 million in improvements completed this week on the Metra Train station at 49th Avenue and 25th Street. Planning for the improvements began in 2005 with funding approved in 2009. The groundbreaking took place in August 2012. 

Improvements include rebuilding Cicero’s  platforms and shelters, which were in badly needed repair.  The 18-month-long renovation project is part of a $136-million, state-funded public works program that includes three new Metra stations and rehabbing 25 dilapidated facilities.  Metra has more than 230 stations serving about 315,000 daily riders. 

One challenge at the Cicero Metra station is a pedestrian access tunnel and ramp at a few hundred feet east on Cicero Avenue that leads to the main train platform. The tunnel needed to be to be rebuilt to comply with the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act. It was complicated by the nearness of one platform to a freight railroad yard. The parking lot, which was a dirt field previously, was paved and offers 146 parking spots. It features new inbound and outbound platforms, tactile warning strips, new and brighter lighting, an enclosed heated warming house on the outbound platform, and a head house and ADA compliant ramp enclosure with a heated waiting area on the inbound side. Suriveillance cameras  have also been added. The station is located 7 miles from Chicago’s Union Station and is served by 41 trains each weekday.

“We’re very proud of the work that has been done not he station. We have plans to redevelop the area with offices, commercial and residential properties, too. The improved public transportation center here will help us move forward with those plans now,” Dominick said. 



Photo caption:

Cicero and Metra officials cut the ribbon at the access ramp of the renovated Metra station at 25th and 49th Avenue, a half block west of Cicero Avenue. From left (front): Cicero Assessor Emo Cundari, Town President Larry Dominick, State Rep. Lisa Hernandez, State Senator Martin Sandoval, Meatra Executive Director Don Orseno, and trustee Victor Garcia. Backrow: Trustee Larry Banks, Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias, Trustee Dennis Raleigh. Photo courtesy the Town of Cicero.


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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Walmart Supercenter officially opens in Cicero with 420 new jobs

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Walmart Supercenter officially opens in Cicero with 420 new jobs

Officials of the Town of Cicero officials and Walmart Tuesday cut the ribbon on a new 191,000 sq ft Walmart Supercenter store at 33rd and Cicero that created more than 400 new jobs in the West suburban community.

Town President Larry Dominick and store manager Lisa Perez, a Cicero resident, said nearly one quarter of the new jobs have gone to Cicero residents. The store officially opened to the public the following day on Wednesday May 21.

Walmart officials said more than 8,300 people submitted applications for the jobs during hiring events coordinated with the Town.

“I began my career with Walmart a little over 18 years ago as an hourly associate at the Joliet store. I have had six different positions and I am now proud to lead this great team of people into this Cicero community. They are excited as I am to be here and provide our customers with the best shopping experience,” said Peres, who lives in Cicero along with several of the new stores management.


“We have an expanded Hispanic grocery selection offering and many locally produced product offerings.  … At Walmart, it is our mission to help our customers to save money so they can live better on what they want and what they need. Our store is about making our community stronger.”

The ribbon cutting included performances by the Morton High school Marching Band and the Morton High school Mariachi Band. Town officials who participated at the opening included Town Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias, Supervisor Joe Virruso, Collector Fran Reitz, and Trustees Dennis Raleigh, Victor Garcia and Larry Banks. Assessor Emilio Cundari and Trustee Lorraine Walsh both saluted the Walmart opening but were unable to attend Tuesday’s ceremonies.

Dominick thanked the Town officials and the Town’s legal team for finalizing the deal that took nearly a decade to complete.

“I want to thank Mike Del Galdo and his law group for so many countless hours of working on this. We started in 2005 and it took a long time, but we are finally here,” said Dominick, who also acknowledged the work of Cicero Project Manager Craig Pesek in completing the negotiations.

“I want to thank all the Town officials. They have been very patient. I can’t believe we are finally here. It has been a dream of mine to have Walmart here in Cicero. I love Walmart. I shop at Walmart. And we are glad they are here today. We’re very happy that so many local residents were able to find positions at the new store, too.”

Dominick thanked Perez for several charitable donations that Walmart has made to local schools and to the local park districts.

Dominick presented Perez with the Code Enforcement License so the store can serve food to the public, and the License Department that recognizes the store as a legally licensed establishment.

Dominick said he was so inspired by the performance of the Morton High school bands that he will donate $500 to help them with their projects.

Perez said that the Cicero Walmart Supercenter will continue to hire employees and estimated that at least 40 more jobs remained unfilled.

“We will be continuing to review job applications to fill those positions,” Perez promised. Interested applicants can go online to www.Walmart.com/apply to fill out an application.

Cicero is home to Walmart’s sister company, Sam’s Club, which is ranked as the number one revenue producing store in the country. Officials said they believed the new Walmart will also lead the country in Sales.

“Over the years, we have worked hard to prove to businesses and companies throughout the country that Cicero is the best place to locate in terms of retail success and also industry and employment,” Dominick said.

Dominick noted that since 2005, more than two dozen major companies have relocated into Cicero including Wirtz Beverage Illinois, Menards, Sonic Restaurant, Fuller’s Car Wash, and Clover Hill Bakery.

Also present at the store launch were representatives for local officials including State Senator Martin Sandoval, State Senator Steven Landek, State Rep. Lisa Hernandez, State Rep. Mike Zalewski and State Rep. Silvana Tabares.

(PHOTO CAPTION: Cicero and Walmart officials cut the ribbon on the new 191,000 sq ft Cicero Walmart Supercenter, located at 33rd and Cicero Avenue.)



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Monday, May 5, 2014

Cicero celebrates Cinco de Mayo with Mexican Consul General

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Cicero celebrates Cinco de Mayo with Mexican Consul General


Town President Larry Dominick and the Town of Cicero co-hosted the annual celebration in honor of Cinco de Mayo honoring the Mexican Consul General Carlos Jimenez Macias and the Town’s Mexican American community.

Nearly 100,000 people were estimated to have attended the festivities which began with a welcome from Mr. Macias on Friday followed by a weekend of celebrations that included entertainment, food and family carnival rides.

On Sunday night, President Dominick was joined by Town Officials and members of the organizing Cicero Mexican Cultural Committee (CMCC).

“We are very proud to welcome all of the residents to celebrate this important holiday honoring an important date in sustaining Mexico’s independence and today helps recognize the many contributions that Mexican Americans contribute to this country,” Dominick said.

The celebration of Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over the forces of Napoleon III on May 5, 1862 at the battle of Puebla. The battle ensured Mexico’s independence.

Cicero Mexican Cultural Committee Chairman Frank J. Aguilar told the crowd, “Do you realize how important you are, the people of Cicero, that the Consulate General of Mexico came to Cicero to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?” Aguilar said, noting that Cicero’s celebration was the only one in which Macias attended.

Macias thanked President Dominick and the Cicero Mexican Cultural Committee for their commitment and wide-ranging services to the Mexican Community.

“Cinco de Mayo is an important event in our community in celebrating the history and the culture of the people of Mexico. This event symbolizes how the people of Mexico came together, united to force the French forces out of our beloved Mexico to bring forth a stronger nation. Que viva Mexico!” Macias said.

“I love coming to Cicero. I always feel warmly welcomed when I come here. I look forward to seeing this great community in September.”

Macias was acknowledging the festivities that Cicero and the CMCC

Each year, in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, Cicero officials and the Mexican American community host the annual “Cicero President’s Cup” soccer competition at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, hosted with the support of State Senator Steven Landek who is also mayor of Bridgeview.

The championship was won by the Cicero-based Clyde Park District soccer team, defeating Chicago’s Championship Team The Dragons, which has held the “President’s Cup” named in honor of President Larry Dominick, for the past two years.

Dominick, Consul General Macias, and Cinco de Mayo Festival “Senorita Cicero” Lupita Diaz Donato congratulated the Clyde Park District Soccer team, which is based in Cicero. The Clyde Park Soccer Team defeated Chicago’s Dragon’s Soccer Team by a score of 2 to 0.

Also congratulating the team were Trustee Larry Banks, Town Assessor Emilio Cumdari, Dr. Dana Grove of Morton College which was a soccer tournament sponsor. The Trophy was presented to the winning team by 1st princess Marisol Campos and 2nd princess Mary Ester Sanchez. Also attending the event were Supervisor Joe Virruso, Collector Fran Reitz, Trustees Victor Garcia, Dennis Raleigh and Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias. A special welcome was read from Trustee Lorraine Walsh.

Dominick thanked members of the committee who also helped including tournament organizer Gerardo Solis and Josefina Vega, members of the President's Office of Special Events & Recreation including Patty Dominick, Cynthia Salvino and Jeff Pesek, and Maru Ayala of Mas Enterprises for their hard work in organizing a successful weekend.

“I am very proud at our successful festival,” Ayala said. “With the help of President Dominick, the officials of the Town of Cicero, our sponsors, organizers, the volunteers, the Office of Special Events, and the support from the Cicero Police Department, we have had a great Cinco de Mayo celebration here in Cicero. I think everyone agrees that ” 

We would like to thank our Cicero Police Department for keeping everyone safe during this festival.

(PHOTO CAPTION: From left, President Larry Dominick, Consul General Carlos Jimenez Macias, Assessor Emilio Cundari, Trustee Larry Banks, and Frank Aguilar. Photo Courtesy of the Town of Cicero and Gerardo Lopez.)

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Cicero abates $8.2 million to hold down property taxes

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Cicero abates $8.2 million to hold down property taxes

The Town of Cicero Board approved the abatement of $8.2 million in an action recently to help hold down property taxes for Cicero property owners.

Had the abatement not been approved, property taxes would have increased $8.2 million.

Since his election as Town President in 2005, Larry Dominick has made it his priority to hold the line on municipal property tax increases through sound financial management that has been recognized by national and regional financial associations.

President Dominick and the Town of Cicero Board have not issued any requests for borrowing, which creates property tax increases. Instead, President Dominick and the Town of Cicero Board have worked to pay off the existing debt, which was approved just prior to his election, and they have renegotiated the interest rate on the outstanding borrowing to further reduce the burden on taxpayers.

The impact of the Town’s actions have reduced the tax burden but do not reflect increases imposed by the many other government agencies such as the Water Reclamation District, Cicero officials noted.

“Some residents have seen their property tax bills increase but that is mainly because of increases imposed by other taxing bodies including the county and government agencies such as the Water Reclamation District,” said Town Spokesman Ray Hanania.

“We cannot control the taxes imposed by others but President Dominick has made it his priority to increase and maintain the highest level of public services without increasing property taxes. That includes abating taxes and reducing interest rates paid on outstanding borrowings imposed on us by prior administrations.”

Dominick’s sound financial management has been recognized by many regional and national associations that monitor municipal finance.

In recent weeks, Cicero was notified by Standard & Poors that its Credit Rating remains at a strong A-Plus (A+) rating, and it has received three top national honors for its professional and transparent financial reporting procedures.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA), a professional association with over 17,500 members, whose purpose is to enhance and promote the professional management of governments for the public benefit by identifying and developing financial policies and best practices and promoting their use through education, training, facilitation of member networking, and leadership, has bestowed upon Cicero its three major awards in budgeting and financial reporting: The Distinguished Budget Presentation Award; The Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting; and, The Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting.

Cicero Finance Director Donald Schultz said that the series of announcements have not only highlighted the strength of Cicero’s financial management on a national scale, but most recently contributed to the Town’s strong credit rating, which helped Cicero achieve a taxpayer savings of $1.5 million on its most recent bond offering.

“The Town of Cicero has the distinction of being one of only a handful of municipalities in the State of Illinois to receive all three national awards of recognition from the Government Finance Officers Association,” Schultz noted.

“The rating from Standard and Poors determines what interest rate municipalities and governments must pay in order to borrow money,” Schultz explained at a recent board meeting.

Schultz pointed out that at the time Larry Dominick was elected the Town President of Cicero, prior administrations had strapped the town with major debt borrowing in excess of $148 million, which has been reduced to $94 million, or 36.5% during Dominick’s first two terms, with no additional long term debt financings.

“It was a terrible debt to unload on Cicero taxpayers, but President Dominick immediately moved to address Cicero’s financial challenges and those efforts have been repeatedly recognized by the financial associations that matter,” Schultz said.

“By maintaining a strong credit rating, President Dominick has been able to renegotiate the loans on four separate occasions to significantly reduce interest rate charges saving taxpayers more than $5.4 million in interest debt payments.”

Schultz said that the reduction is money the taxpayers would have been forced to pay since borrowings are guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the Town through real estate taxes.

The recognition from the Government Finance Officers Association only reinforces Cicero’s attention to careful long-term financial planning and its successful efforts to eliminate debt and reduce the burden on taxpayers.

Of the 485 Illinois cities and counties that are current GFOA members, only six local governments, including the Town of Cicero, have received all three awards, representing only 1.4% of eligible local units of government.

Reflected in the Town’s national recognition is the Award for Distinguished Budget Presentation for the Town’s Annual Budget for the Fiscal Year Beginning January 1, 2013.  In its presentation, GFOA states that the Award “reflects the commitment of the governing body and its staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting.  In order to receive the budget award, the entity had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation.  These guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves as (a) a policy document; (b) a financial plan; (c) an operations guide; and (d) a communications device.”  Cicero’s budget was rated proficient in all areas by an independent panel of GFOA national reviewers.

Following its presentation of the highly coveted Award For Distinguished Budget Presentation, GFOA presented the Town of Cicero with its Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial reporting for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the
Fiscal Year Beginning January 1, 2012. “The Certificate of Achievement,” states the announcement, “is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.”

The third Award presented to the Town of Cicero by GFOA was an Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting for the Town’s Popular Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2012.  “The Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting,” states GFOA’s award announcement, “is a prestigious national award that recognizes conformance with the highest standards for preparation of state and local government popular reports.”

“These Awards,” announced Schultz, are strong indicators of the Town’s commitment to sound financial management, long-term planning, and transparency in the reporting of the administrations goals, achievements, and results of its financial operations.


end

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cicero Town Board honors UIC student David Guerrero for heroism

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Cicero Town Board honors UIC student David Guerrero for heroism

The Town of Cicero Board Tuesday applauded the "courage and heroism” of a 19-year-old Cicero resident who intervened to assist a fellow student at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) who on March 31 was the victim of a sexual assault in the bathroom of one of the school’s dormitories.

David Guerrero, who is a freshman student at UIC, heard a fellow student calling for help from the woman’s shower in his dormitory and rushed to her assistance. Guerrero helped the young woman and remained on the scene to identify the alleged suspect when police arrived. Police have since charged 28-year-old Tavares Humphries with charged with attempted murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping, battery of a police officer and residential burglary.

“What you did David was an act of heroism. It was an act of courage. Too often, people see bad things happen but do nothing. You acted,” said Town Assessor Emilio Cundari during the board’s presentation.

Guerrero was accompanied by his mother. His father is a part-time Cicero Police Officer.

“I want to thank you for this. It’s a great honor. I grew up in Cicero and I love our community,” Guerrero said.

Trustee Dennis Raleigh read the resolution honoring Guerrero and then congratulated him for his “act of courage.”

Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias said, “When I heard the story of what you did, it brought tears to my eyes not just because you are from Cicero but because in today’s world, so many people see someone in need but no one helps. You did help and that was important.”





Below is the resolution that was adopted:

RESOLUTION HONORING DAVID GUERRERO

WHEREAS David Guerrero is a student and freshman at the University of Illinois at Chicago and his family is from the Town of Cicero

WHEREAS on Monday March 31, David Guerrero, 19, was in his dorm when he reported hearing someone yell that another student was being sexually assaulted in the women’s shower in the dorm

WHEREAS Guerrero reported to police that he went to the entrance of the shower and loudly asked if anyone was in need of help, and heard a young woman scream from inside

WHEREAS Guerrero said that he immediately entered the shower area and saw a young woman scared, distraught and pleading for help on the ground with an older man standing over her

WHEREAS Guerrero and other students called 911 to report the emergency and Police have since identified the suspect as 28-year-old Tavares Humphries, who is not a UIC student;

WHEREAS by showing complete concern for the victim and not hesitating to help and become directly involved, Guerrero helped save the victim from further assault and also resulted in the arrest of the suspect by Chicago Police

AND WHEREAS the suspect has been since charged with attempted murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping, battery of a police officer and residential burglary according to public reports

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by Town President Larry Dominick and the Town of Cicero Board that David Guerrero’s intervention on behalf of the victim be regarded as an Act of Heroism not only in helping to prevent injury to an innocent victim but to also result in the arrest of the violent suspect and that the Town of Cicero Board congratulate and applaud David Guerrero for his courage and concern for the well-being of a fellow citizen.

LARRY DOMINICK
TOWN PRESIDENT

MARIA PUNZO-ARIAS

TOWN CLERK

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Town looking for community input on transportation study

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Town looking for community input on transportation study

The Town was awarded a grant through the RTA and IDOT to develop a Transportation Oriented Development (TOD) study for the Town for the areas surrounding the CTA Pink line stations and the Metra station. The project is called "The Cicero Connections Initiative." There is a survey that details the various concepts the consultants have developed and they are seeking community input as to which concepts the community would like to see.

This is your chance to help. Please click the link and add your opinions to the project and help contribute to the improvement of transportation in our Town. Thanks

Here's a direct link to the survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6QGCPYF

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cicero approves credit card payments for services & fees

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Cicero approves credit card payments for services & fees

The Town of Cicero Board Tuesday approved a contract to begin accepting payments by credit cards to cover costs for services.

The new contract was bid out and Vantiv, a credit card processing company based in Cincinnati, Ohio was selected from five companies that submitted bids.

Vantiv offered the lowest processing fee of only 1.5 percent plus 5 cents per charge processed. The second lowest bid was 2 percent plus 20 cents per processed charge, said Finance Director Don Schultz.

“It’s definitely going to help not only the resident who pay their bills and service fees, but also the Town of Cicero,” Schultz said. “It’s another convenience service that we want to offer our residents.”

Vantiv also works with the Town’s Bank, which is Fifth 3rd Bank.

“Every department will have the capacity to accept credit cards,” Schultz said.

Services and fees covered include vehicle stickers, parking violations, pet tags, water bills, building permits and business licenses, Schultz said. Everything except police bond payments will be accepted, he added.


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Monday, March 17, 2014

Cicero unveils new memorial to Pearl Harbor attack, honors local hero of USS Arizona

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Cicero unveils new memorial to Pearl Harbor attack, honors local hero of USS Arizona

03-11-14BdMeetPearlHarborRelicThe Town of Cicero unveiled a new memorial honoring American Military Veterans who served and fought at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Cicero resident Joseph Philips Steffan (click here for more information) was killed while serving on the USS Arizona, which todays is a national Veteran's War Monument.
The Pearl Harbor museum donated a metal relic taken from the sunken battleship which was placed in a memorial display that the Town of Cicero Board of Trustees will soon permanently fix to the outside wall at the entrance of the Cicero Board Council Chambers.
The USS Arizona relic is rare, but because a resident of Cicero served and died in the attack on the USS Arizona, the US Military agreed to provide a relic from the ship that could serve as a reminder of the sacrifice that American military veterans make to defend their country and citizens.
"We are proud of Chief Petty Officer Joseph Philip Steffan's service to his country. He made the ultimate sacrifice and we are honored to be able to remember him and all of the veterans who have served our country," said Town President Larry Dominick.
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Cicero unveils new memorial to Pearl Harbor attack, honors local hero of USS Arizona

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Cicero unveils new memorial to Pearl Harbor attack, honors local hero of USS Arizona

The Town of Cicero unveiled a new memorial honoring American Military Veterans who served and fought at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Cicero resident Joseph Philips Steffan (click here for more information) was killed while serving on the USS Arizona, which todays is a national Veteran's War Monument.

The Pearl Harbor museum donated a metal relic taken from the sunken battleship which was placed in a memorial display that the Town of Cicero Board of Trustees will soon permanently fix to the outside wall at the entrance of the Cicero Board Council Chambers.

The USS Arizona relic is rare, but because a resident of Cicero served and died in the attack on the USS Arizona, the US Military agreed to provide a relic from the ship that could serve as a reminder of the sacrifice that American military veterans make to defend their country and citizens.

"We are proud of Chief Petty Officer Joseph Philip Steffan's service to his country. He made the ultimate sacrifice and we are honored to be able to remember him and all of the veterans who have served our country," said Town President Larry Dominick.






Cicero’s applauded for strong economic base reducing burden on taxpayers

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Cicero’s applauded for strong economic base reducing burden on taxpayers

The financial burden on taxpayers continues to increase in cities across the State of Illinois, but major financial institutions and finance associations have applauded the Town of Cicero for its strong and healthy financial basis.

In recent weeks, Cicero was notified by Standard & Poors that its Credit Rating remains at a strong A-Plus (A+) rating, and it has received three top national honors for its professional and transparent financial reporting procedures.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA), a professional association with over 17,500 members, whose purpose is to enhance and promote the professional management of governments for the public benefit by identifying and developing financial policies and best practices and promoting their use through education, training, facilitation of member networking, and leadership, has bestowed upon Cicero its three major awards in budgeting and financial reporting: The Distinguished Budget Presentation Award; The Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting; and, The Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting.

Cicero Finance Director Donald Schultz said that the series of announcements have not only highlighted the strength of Cicero’s financial management on a national scale, but most recently contributed to the Town’s strong credit rating, which helped Cicero achieve a taxpayer savings of $1.5 million on its most recent bond offering.

“The Town of Cicero has the distinction of being one of only a handful of municipalities in the State of Illinois to receive all three national awards of recognition from the Government Finance Officers Association,” Schultz noted.

“The rating from Standard and Poors determines what interest rate municipalities and governments must pay in order to borrow money,” Schultz explained at a recent board meeting.

Schultz pointed out that at the time Larry Dominick was elected the Town President of Cicero, prior administrations had strapped the town with major debt borrowing in excess of $148 million, which has been reduced to $94 million, or 36.5% during Dominick’s first two terms, with no additional long term debt financings.

“It was a terrible debt to unload on Cicero taxpayers, but President Dominick immediately moved to address Cicero’s financial challenges and those efforts have been repeatedly recognized by the financial associations that matter,” Schultz said.

“By maintaining a strong credit rating, President Dominick has been able to renegotiate the loans on four separate occasions to significantly reduce interest rate charges saving taxpayers more than $5.4 million in interest debt payments.”

Schultz said that the reduction is money the taxpayers would have been forced to pay since borrowings are guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the Town through real estate taxes.

The recognition from the Government Finance Officers Association only reinforces Cicero’s attention to careful long-term financial planning and its successful efforts to eliminate debt and reduce the burden on taxpayers.

Of the 485 Illinois cities and counties that are current GFOA members, only six local governments, including the Town of Cicero, have received all three awards, representing only 1.4% of eligible local units of government.

Reflected in the Town’s national recognition is the Award for Distinguished Budget Presentation for the Town’s Annual Budget for the Fiscal Year Beginning January 1, 2013.  In its presentation, GFOA states that the Award “reflects the commitment of the governing body and its staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting.  In order to receive the budget award, the entity had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation.  These guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves as (a) a policy document; (b) a financial plan; (c) an operations guide; and (d) a communications device.”  Cicero’s budget was rated proficient in all areas by an independent panel of GFOA national reviewers.

Following its presentation of the highly coveted Award For Distinguished Budget Presentation, GFOA presented the Town of Cicero with its Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial reporting for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the
Fiscal Year Beginning January 1, 2012. “The Certificate of Achievement,” states the announcement, “is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.”

The third Award presented to the Town of Cicero by GFOA was an Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting for the Town’s Popular Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2012.  “The Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting,” states GFOA’s award announcement, “is a prestigious national award that recognizes conformance with the highest standards for preparation of state and local government popular reports.”

“These Awards,” announced Schultz, are strong indicators of the Town’s commitment to sound financial management, long-term planning, and transparency in the reporting of the administrations goals, achievements, and results of its financial operations.


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