Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Hours and Telephone Hotline for Animal Care/Waggin'Tails

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New Hours and Telephone Hotline for Animal Care/Waggin'Tails

NEW HOURS AND TELEPHONE NUMBERS for the Animal Care/Waggin' Tails center. The new hotline number is 708-606-8400. 

The new hours are Monday thru Thursday 10 am until 8 pm. Closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Use the hotline during off-hours and days). 

Make sure to monitor your pets and don't leave them unattended outdoors during the severe weather and sub-zero temperatures.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Police Make Multiple Graffiti Arrests, Ask Residents to Remain Vigilant

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Police Make Multiple Graffiti Arrests, Ask Residents to Remain Vigilant

Felony Charges have been filed against a suspect for serial graffiti and damage to property in a series of incidents that began just after Christmas, police officials announced.

Jorge Alejandre, 34, was charged with felony criminal damage to property after he was arrested twice, Dec. 28, 2013 and Jan 18, spray painting obscenities and threats against police and government officials.

During the first incident Alejandre and two other suspects, Irving Vargas, 18, and Alejandro Herrera, 24, were involved in nine separate graffiti damage incidents. All three are self-admitted members of regional street gangs.

“Graffiti is a critical component of street gang crimes. It’s the first step in street gang violence and crime,” said Deputy Police Chief and former Gang Crimes Deputy Jerry Chlada.

“In the case of Mr. Alejandre, police officers witnessed him damaging a property and then three weeks later witnessed him doing it again.”

Felony charges are rare, but police believe Graffiti should not be considered a “victimless crime.”

“There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that where you have graffiti, you have street gang violence. 
When you do nothing about graffiti, the street gangs thrive, believing that the community doesn’t care,” said Cicero Town Spokesman Ray Hanania.

“When you crack down on graffiti, the street gang members get the message loud and clear and move to other cities where enforcement is lax.”

The graffiti focused on the Town government and Cicero Police, using vulgar language threatening the two bodies, and included gang markings. Police said all three suspects confessed to spray-painting the graffiti.

Each was charged with nine counts of criminal damage of property and was ordered to appear before the Town’s Administrative Ordinance Court, where they failed to make an appearance. They have one more opportunity to appear before the court before they receive an automatic judgment against them.

At the January 18, incident, police witnessed Alejandre marking a building with gang-specific tags and language. The circumstances enabled police to bring the charges to the state’s attorney, who then charged Alejandre with one count of felony criminal damage to property. He will face an initial hearing at the Maybrook Courthouse, 1500 Maybrook Drive in Maywood.

Police said that during the questioning of one of the suspects for the initial graffiti activity admitted to targeting Cicero Police and the Town government, including Cicero Town President Larry Dominick, because the Town has been hard on the gangs, a comment which invoked pride from Dominick.

“When I first took office as President, I made it a priority to reduce and eventually eliminate gang activity in our Town,” Dominick said. “Our work is not done, but hearing a self-admitted gang member complain about our tough efforts against their street gangs means we are effective.”

Cicero Police urge Town residents to remain vigilant in spotting graffiti activity, especially in the back alleys and underpasses in their neighborhoods. Anyone who witnesses someone vandalizing a wall or -building with graffiti is encouraged to contact the Cicero Police Department at 708-652-2130. If someone notices graffiti already marked on a building or wall, they can call 708-878-3731.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cicero Warehouse fire suspect arrested and charged; second nearby house fire caused by spaceheater

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Cicero Warehouse fire suspect arrested and charged; second nearby house fire caused by space heater

Cicero Police and Fire officials announced that charges have been filed against a Cicero high school-aged teenager for allegedly starting the 5 Alarm fire that destroyed a vacant warehouse and a neighboring business on 54th Avenue on Tuesday night, Jan. 21.

Fire officials said that a second house fire in the early morning a few blocks east of the warehouse fire was also resolved and determined to have been caused accidently by a space heater.

Cicero Town President praised the firefighters for their work in containing the fires, and Fire and Police officials for their hard work in identifying the cause of both fires and arresting a suspect.

These are terrible tragedies and many lives have been disrupted,” Dominick said. “I’m proud of the hard work that our employees and Fire and Police officials put into protecting our community and responding to emergencies."

The warehouse fire raged for more than 12 hours through Wednesday morning and required assistance not only from the Cicero Fire Department but also from about a dozen other Fire Departments.

Both properties, the vacant warehouse at 1829 S. 54th Ave., and the Central Steel Fabricators at 1843 54th Ave, were completely destroyed by the fire. No one was injured in the two industrial building fires.

According to the investigation, the juvenile suspect in the warehouse fire was arrested on Friday night at around 5 pm after information was given to the Cicero Fire Department investigators who took the information to the Cicero Police.

“We’re very pleased that this fire has been resolved and a suspect has been identified,” said Fire Chief Ron Opalecky.

The suspect, who has been charged with two counts of arson, was apparently with a group of possibly two other high school-aged teenagers who went to the warehouse and then started a fire, possibly to keep warm. The suspect began playing with the fire and in so doing, caused the fire to spread, at which time they teenagers fled.

The suspect does not go to an arraignment, because he is a juvenile.

Nobody else will be charged in the warehouse fire, Police Supt. Bernard Harrison said.

The warehouse fire was first reported to 911 by Cicero Town Water Department Supervisor, David Duran, who had just completed repairs on a broken water pipe a few blocks away. Duran saw fire coming out of the warehouse windows. His quick action may have prevented the fire from spreading to other businesses nearby, Fire officials said.

Fire Marshal Ron Opalecky said that investigators also determined that the second fire at a residence at 1410 S. 50th Court, reported late the same evening as the warehouse fire, was caused by a space heater.

The house fire at 1410 S. 50th Court in Cicero’s Grant Works neighborhood was reported at around 3:30 am Wednesday morning as firefighters were putting out the warehouse fire. The house fire quickly spread to the home next door at 1412 S. 50th Court, but the damage there was contained.

A space heater had been left on after the homeowners had gone to sleep, Opalecky said.

The 1410 S. 50th Court home property was completely destroyed and torn down on Thursday. The second home property at 1412 S. 50th Court had minor damage and the owners were allowed back in the home after some minor repairs were completed.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

News: Two fires brought under control overnight in Cicero

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A second fire at 1410 S. 50th Court in Grant Works was reported at around 3:30 am this morning, as firefighters were putting out last night’s fire at 18th and 54th Avenue when the fire alarm call came in. The fire quickly spread to the home next door at 1412 S. 50th Court.

Fire rescue reports that all of the individuals believed in the building at the time of the fire are accounted for.

As the Cicero Fire Department with the help of a dozen other communities were wrapping up the fire last night at 1829 S. 54th Ave., when the second fire was reported.

Click here for video of fire. (You must have Facebook)

Click here for another video of the fire.

Click here for another video of the fire.

At 3:47 am, Firefighters reported that the 1829 S. 54th Avenue property rekindled and that fire was being addressed.

As of now, all of the fires are under control.

No one was injured at the 54th Avenue fire.

The Cicero Alternative School at 1874 S. 54th Avenue will not open this morning. The school was used through the night and this morning as a warming center for firefighters and emergency response teams.

Town President Larry Dominick and the Town Board officials expressed their gratitude to the members of the Cicero Fire Department and the Cicero Police Department and support Town departments for their efforts throughout the night fighting these two tragic fires. He expressed his gratitude to Fire Chief Ron Opalecky and the Fire Department;s Deputies, and Police officials Chief Bernard Harrison, Deputy Chief Jerry Chlada and all of the police officers who also assisted through the night. Click for more info on Opalecky.

“The Town of Cicero wants to express its gratitude to the many different fire departments that came to the assistance of the Cicero Fire Department in fighting these fires,” Town President Larry Dominick said.

“Because of the extreme colds last night, water was a concern, but Chicago brought in a hose truck that was able to also pump in water from Roosevelt Road. The most important issue is that everyone is safe.”

(Roosevelt Road is the northern municipal border with Chicago.)

Dominick said Cicero Fire and Police are investigating the causes of both fires.

Last night, a Cicero Water employee Dave Duran had just repaired a broken water main and was returning to the garage on Laramie Avenue when he saw flames shooting out of a window in the vacant warehouse at 1829 54th Avenue. He immediately notified the Fire Department. His quick action may be responsible for preventing the fire from destroying more buildings than the one that was also destroyed next door to the south, Central Steel Fabricators at 1843 54th Ave.

Dominick praised Duran's quick thinking and response.

The Fire has been upgraded to Five Alarm with support units from surrounding communities including Chicago.


Monday, January 13, 2014


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Contact Person:  Emilio “Emo” Cundari
Cicero Township Assessor,
 (708) 656-3600

Cicero senior citizens received renewal applications for senior citizen property tax exemptions earlier this week, and will have until February 5 to return them to the Cook County Assessor’s office.  Local senior citizens should feel free to call the office of Cicero township Assessor Emilio “Emo” Cundari for help completing the forms.

Eligibility for Senior Citizen Exemptions.  There are two senior citizen tax exemptions:

1)         The Senior Exemption, available to all seniors regardless of income, reduces property taxes by about $550.  It is available to any owner-occupied residential property whose owner was born in 1948 or earlier. 

2)         The Senior Freeze provides some seniors with additional savings if the combined income of all members of the household is less than $55,000, and if the senior has been an owner-occupant of the property since January 1, 2012.

The senior applications that have been mailed are for 2013 property taxes, which are paid in calendar year 2014.  The savings from the exemptions will appear on the second installment tax bills that will likely be mailed in July of 2014. 

Law on Erroneous Exemptions.  A new law requires taxpayers to repay tax savings received from tax exemptions that they are not eligible for.  If a senior citizen recently died or moved, the property may not be eligible for a senior exemption this year.

If the senior resided at the property at any time during 2013, the property will be eligible for the 2013 senior citizen exemptions for taxes paid in calendar year 2014.  But the property will not be eligible for senior exemptions on the 2014 taxes (paid in 2015), unless the senior left a surviving spouse who was sixty-five or older.  A surviving spouse who completes an application may continue receiving the senior exemptions.

Information for Seniors not Receiving Mailings.  Homeowners who were born in 1948 turned sixty-five in 2013, and thus are likely to be eligible for one of the senior exemptions for the first time.  “Taxpayers who recently turned sixty-five will not receive application forms when the senior renewal forms are mailed,” Assessor Cundari said. “I encourage such individuals to call my office to obtain the forms and information necessary to receive the senior benefits.  The forms are also available online at”