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.”


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.