Monday, May 11, 2015

Suburban mayors honor Cicero’s Larry Dominick for public service

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Suburban mayors honor Cicero’s Larry Dominick for public service

The West Central Municipal Conference (WCMC) presented Cicero Town President Larry Dominick with one of its most prestigious public service awards at a formal banquet on Friday (May 8, 2015).

Nearly 500 people attended the banquet at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center hosted by the WCMC which represents 44 public and government entities in the West suburban Chicagoland region.

Also honored at the event were Cook County Commissioner and McCook Mayor Jeffrey Tobolski, and Lyons Village President Christopher Getty who was elected the organizations’ new president.

Dominick was presented with the prestigious “Donald E. Stephens Award of Excellence,” which is given to one regional official each year for proven exemplary public service.

“President Dominick has done much to provide services to his residents and including to Senior Citizens,” Getty said in presenting the award.

In accepting his award, Dominick said, “I am proud to receive this honor from the West Central Municipal Conference. This organization provides enormous support to the communities in the West Suburbs and is a voice for advocating for the needs of our residents and taxpayers. I’m proud to be here and will continue to serve my constituents expanding services during these times of tight budgets for our youth, our families and especially our senior citizens who have worked so hard to support their communities.”

Elected President of the Town of Cicero in 2005, Dominick has transformed the community significantly, increasing services to youth, families and seniors, while also hiring more professional Fire and Police officers

“When I was first elected, we had more than 16 street gang related killings. It’s something that as a former police officer and deputy police commissioner I was committed to addressing and changing to make Cicero safer for its residents,” Dominick explained.

Noting that street gang activity has dropped significantly during the past decade in Cicero, Dominick said, “We have only had one street gang related killing in the past 30 months. That comes from understanding how to respond to street gangs and also engaging the community in public events and activities.”

Cicero is also known as being one of the Midwest’s most “Senior Citizen friendly” communities.

“We do a lot for our senior citizens because they have done a lot for us as a society,” Dominick explained following the event.

“We provide free transportation to and from not only doctor visits and grocery store visits but also for social events. We shovel their snow and mow their lawns. We provide grants to help them with home improvements and we have a handyman program that assists with everyday home needs. Seniors are very important and we take their needs seriously.”

As a former Police Officer, Dominick recognizes that overcoming street gangs requires getting residents involved in their neighborhoods. Dominick engages the public through high profile public services and special events targeting families and seniors intended to bring them out of their homes.

“Street gangs thrive on communities that live in fear forcing residents to shut themselves in their homes,” Dominick explains. “When the public gets involved, they can make a difference. But we must give them the support they need to be involved.”

Dominick also implemented an aggressive anti-graffiti program and founded programs such as the “Parent Patrols” in which parental volunteers walk with school children before and after school. He expanded the Town’s Parks, hired more police officers, and coordinated reading programs with local schools.

With safer neighborhoods and streets, businesses from around the country and state relocated to Cicero. Included among more than two dozen businesses that have opened in Cicero are Wirtz Beverage Illinois, Wal-Mart, Menards, Sonic, Fullers, and Clover Hill Bakery, creating more than 1,500 new jobs.

The WCMC event is considered one of the most important governmental events in the region and attracts a huge following of elected officials and activists.

Attending the event were regional representatives including State Senator and Bridgeview Mayor Steven Landek, State Rep. Lisa Hernandez and State Rep. Silvana Tabares. Also in attendance were State Rep. Kathy Willis, Elmwood Park Mayor and Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri, Lyons Township Supervisor Bill Mundy, and Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough.

Officials and members of the WCMC also celebrated the achievements of several other municipal and government leaders including 16th District Cook County Commissioner and McCook Mayor Jeffrey Tobolski, who was recognized for his efforts on behalf of veterans.

Officers elected along with Getty include Western Springs President William Rodeghier as vice president, River Grove Mayor Marilyn May as Treasurer, and as Directors Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero, Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone, River Forest President Catherine Adduci, Tobolski, Northlake Mayor Jeffrey Sherwin, Westchester Mayor Sam Pulia, Hillside Village Administrator Russ Wajda and Western Springs Village Manager Patrick R. Higgins.

Dominick was accompanied by Town officials including Trustee Dennis Raleigh and Cicero Town Attorney Michael Del Galdo, as well as with his two sons, Derek and Brian.

“President Dominick is very deserving of this recognition from the West Central Municipal Conference,” said municipal attorney Michael Del Galdo whose clients include Cicero.

“In his 10  years in office, President Dominick has quietly gone about refacing the Town of Cicero with new economic development and new programs for children and senior citizens.  His programs and anti-crime initiatives has made Cicero a great environment to live and raise a family.  What is most remarkable is that President Dominick has created the "New Cicero" without raising taxes and while shrinking the Town's debt."  For those of us that know Larry Dominick and how much he cares about the residents of Cicero, it's rewarding to see him recognized for his hard work."

Dominick has dedicated his life to Public Service in the Town of Cicero where he has lived more than 50 years. After taking an entry-level position in the Cicero Streets Department, Dominick worked his way up over 6 years to management. He later joined the Cicero Police Department where he rose to the rank of First Deputy Police Superintendent and retired after 20 years of service.

Dominick resumed his public service to the residents of the Town of Cicero when he was elected as Cicero Town President. Sworn into office on May 10, 2005, Dominick celebrates his 10th anniversary this month and third term as the Chief Executive Officer of one of Illinois’ largest municipalities.

Dominick created a program to hire the disabled, and launched a job-training program for senior citizens and individuals in need. He built the Town’s Animal Shelter, which saves thousands of abandoned pets every year and adopts them into new homes.

Dominick built a Senior Center and expanded the Senior Services Department to provide a wide-range of services including mowing lawns, shoveling sidewalks, and providing minor household repairs through a Town Handyman Program. Luncheons for seniors often bring out more than 800 attendees. Seniors receive many free Town services including transportation, home gutter cleaning, window washing, and garbage collection. They can apply for $500-a-year in major home repair reimbursements.

Dominick expanded services without raising taxes by implementing sound financial strategies. As a result, Cicero has received top national honors in financial reporting procedures five-years in a row from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). Under Dominick, Cicero maintains a strong A-Plus (A+) rating from Standard & Poors.

When Dominick assumed the presidency in 2005, the Town was saddled with $148.1 million in outstanding debts, or about $1,765.68 per Cicero resident. Last year, the debt was reduced by 42%, to $85.9 million, or $1,024.25 per Cicero resident.  By the end of Dominick's current term in 2017, the total debt will be reduced by 53.4% to $69 million, or $823.03 per resident. By 2021, total indebtedness is projected to be reduced 78% to $32.4 million, or $386.69 per resident.

A graduate of Morton East High School, Dominick attended Morton Community College before beginning his service to the Town of Cicero. Dominick has volunteered his time with the Berwyn/Cicero Youth Baseball League and has served on the Cicero Police Pension Board and the Morton 201 High School District Board.


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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Señorita Cicero Dafne Villasenor discusses bullying with students at Unity Jr. High and Cicero East and West

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Señorita Cicero Dafne Villasenor discusses bullying with students at Unity Jr. High and Cicero East and West

A victim of bullying herself, Senorita Cicero 2014, Dafne Villasenor made it her platform to address it, and bring awareness to this silent but destructive behavior that is destroying many young lives. Dafne has been visiting many schools in the Town of Cicero bringing awareness to many children on how bullying can destroy the lives of not just the victim but also the perpetrator. She explained many forms of bullying from cyber social media, to verbal, and physical abuse. 

"This is an epidemic that is destroying our children and it must stop, and it begins with every individual one child at a time." she added. 

Dafne continued her presentation with facts and fugues which ultimately led to suicide in some cases.. She concluded her talk on how she over came from being victimized by a positive attitude, accepting oneself for who they are as a human being, and surrounding herself with people who care. 

Dafne Villasenor is finishing her education at Morton College and plans to continue studying at the University of Illinois majoring in business administration.    




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