Friday, September 25, 2009

Teacher Mourned At Proviso Math and Science Academy...

In twos and threes, some crying, some talking, students at the Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy spent their lunch hours Friday remembering their teacher, coach, mentor and friend, Tom Dix.

After a long, hard battle with cancer, Dix, 39, founder of the Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy robotics club, died early morning Sept. 17.

"This is an unfortunate loss for the Proviso family. Our hearts go out to him and his family. He will be sorely missed," School Board President Chris Welch said. "He left an impression on PMSA that will live on for a long time. Our robotics program was extremely successful and the kids loved him."

Dix started teaching at PMSA in the 2006-2007 school year. School officials said the innovation lab where the robotics club worked will be dedicated to Dix.

"He took an empty shell and made it into a vibrant lab and used it in the way it was intended," PMSA Principal Ed Moyer said.

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology program participant Jackie Moore, team manager for the Chicago Knights robotics team, said Dix was an honored FIRST knight.

"We met in May of 2006 when he was looking to start a (FIRST Lego League)," Moore said. "His passion for teaching and the value of FIRST was so great that he changed schools twice before he started the team."

Moore said of the many people she had helped form robotics teams, Dix was the most persistent and consistently committed.

"Shortly after aggressive (cancer) treatment, he managed to sit in the stands and cheer his team on last year," she said. "That is a memory of him that I will hold dear."

Parent and robotics club volunteer Jocelyn Gougisha said Dix was more like one of the students in the club than a teacher.

"His enthusiasm was like that of the teenagers," she said. "He put his heart and soul into it when he brought the robotics team to PMSA."

Gougisha said Moyer saw that enthusiasm and gave him support.

"You have no idea what it means to this area to introduce the kids to the world of robotics and engineering," she said. "He's inspired friends, parents and other teachers to come in and help. That's his legacy."

Moyer said Dix helped rebuild the physics program and spent countless hours working on the robotics program.

"The first year was entirely his own," Moyer said. "He was incredibly committed to kids and I deeply value that in a teacher. He was an amazing person."

The news of Dix's death spread through the building like wildfire, Moyer said, and many students knew about it before the staff.

"It impacted the robotics students the hardest, but he had made an impact on so many kids," he said. "Kids organized a gathering in his classroom during the lunch periods. It was the opportunity for students to say anything they wanted to. Or to not say anything. Some were crying. Some were drawing. They started signing the first robot they had made."

Moyer said staff wanted to make sure they were there to support students.

"This is our first loss as a community," he said. "It was hard. Today was better. Monday will get a little better still. He would have wanted the kids to go on."

The challenge now is to keep the work alive. The team is solid with students and parents and community volunteers, but Moyer said he has to find someone with the background in science and engineering.

"We will miss (Dix's) leadership. All the things he took care of, we have to make sure those don't fall through the cracks," Moyer said. "We will see who we can recruit. But the kids have put in too much time and effort - this season is going to be for Mr. Dix."

There will be a memorial service honoring Dix at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27, at the 19th Century Club, 178 Forest Ave. in Oak Park. RSVP to Judy Erickson, or call (708) 386-4330. Donations are welcome to PMSA's robotics club and can be sent to Janet Redmond at PMSA.

(This story was written by Mario Bartoletti of the Proviso Herald Newspaper.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Chicago Sun-Times Ranks Proviso West Football In Top 25!!!

The Proviso West Panther Football team has been ranked in the Chicago Sun-Times Top 25 for the first time ever. The Panthers, behind the strength of top national prospect Kyle Prater, have started the season 4-0 for the first time in the school's 51 year history. Prater has already been signed the USC Trojans.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Grocery Store Opening In Maywood Soon!!!

According to the Proviso Herald, the Village of Maywood took a giant step forward in finalizing a full-service grocery store by officially closing with Maywood Market LLC and Plaza Bank on Aug. 20.

The title to the 601 S. Fifth Ave. property was conveyed to the store owners and the financing was put in place.

"We are pleased that another major step has been taken so our community can have a full-service grocery store," stated Mayor Henderson Yarbrough Sr. "We eagerly anticipate that by Thanksgiving, Maywood Market will officially open its doors to our village," he added.

Since the closing, the developer has been actively rehabilitating the existing building and planning for improved parking on the site.

Maywood Market will contain a bakery, meat and seafood departments, a deli, frozen food section, fresh fruits and vegetables and dairy perishables. The grocery store will carry a full line of products found in major grocery stores, with a mixture of private label and national brands.

School DIstrict 89 Deadlocked Over Board Vacancy...

According to the Proviso Herald, although seven candidates showed up Friday with hopes of filling a vacant Elementary School District 89 School Board seat, no one was selected.

School Board members interviewed the potential candidates to fill former board member Guy Ric Cervone's seat until April 2011. Cervone resigned from the board seat after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges in July.

Those who were being considered for the board seat were: Johnny Diggs, Hugues Zoffoun, Corey Cooper, Gladys Culbreth, Antonio Favela, Veronica Lopez and Marsha Ballenger.

The board went into executive session to interview all of the candidates. But when the board reconvened in the open meeting, the six members were split down the middle on their selections.

A motion was made to appoint Diggs to the seat, but failed 3-3 due to lack of a majority vote. Board members Maria Urso, Jaime Anguiano and Loretta Gustello voted against his appointment and Lequita Neely, Regina Rivers and Grady Rivers Jr. voted in favor of it.

Another motion was made to appoint Veronica Lopez to the seat, but it also failed 3-3 with the three trustees who voted against Diggs voting in favor of Lopez and the other three board members voting against Lopez.

"I supported Johnny Diggs and we had to narrow it (the field) down and we could not come to an agreement," Neely said.

"Other names could have been called and that's what it boils down to. I wish we could come to an agreement. I had no idea it would be a stalemate. I thought we were going to be able to decide on a board member."

"If you are indecisive, you should abstain," she said. "So that (the vote deadlock) took me by surprise. Are you truly voting your conscience or are you voting to block something?"

The School Board has 45 days to choose a replacement. Rivers said the deadline for the board to choose a replacement is Sept. 28 and believes the board will not be meeting until next month, which is when their next scheduled board meeting will take place.

Illinois School code states that if a school board does not fill the vacancy within that time frame, the regional superintendent of schools has the authority to fill the seat within 30 days.

This isn't the first time the District 89 board has been evenly split in voting on issues. At their Aug. 13 meeting the board was split on whether or not to keep the district's health insurance broker.

Elementary School District 89 serves parts of Maywood, Bellwood, Melrose Park and Broadview.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cook County Property Tax Bills Delayed!!!

A due date of no earlier than Nov. 16 is anticipated for the second installment of Cook County property tax bills for tax year 2008, according to information from the Cook County Treasurer's Office.

Final figures to print the bills have not yet been received by the Treasurer's Office. Bills will be finalized, printed and mailed out after other agencies complete their calculations and testing, according to the Treasurer's Office

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bellwood Commemorates 9/11!!!

The Village of Bellwood commemorated the tragic events of 9/11/01 today with a ceremony at the Bellwood Village Hall. The ceremony was hosted by Bellwood Mayor Frank Pasquale who was back from surgical procedure, and numerous dignitaries from across Proviso Township attended. The Proviso West High School Band and the Bagpipes of Drums of the Emerald Society were the featured attractions and neither group disappointed the large crowd in attendance. Keynote Speaker Rev. Charles Ingram, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Bellwood, that the lessons of 9/11/01 should have taught all of us to "Stand Together."

What did you do to commemorate 9/11? What did you learn from that tragic day?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger Has 10% Voter Approval According To Chicago Tribune...

According to a Chicago Tribune news poll, battered for championing Cook County's sales tax increase and for hiring friends and relatives, Board President Todd Stroger heads into the election season with a strikingly low job-approval rating and thin support from voters, a Tribune/WGN poll has found.

Only 1 in 10 Cook County voters approve of the job he is doing, and just as few want to see him re-elected following a first term marked by tax and hiring controversies, the poll found.

The numbers are lower than the 13 percent Gov. Rod Blagojevich had just months before his December arrest on federal corruption charges.

Even more unpopular than Stroger is the 1 percentage point sales tax increase that he pushed through the County Board and has repeatedly protected by vetoing repeal measures. More than three-quarters of Cook County voters polled said the tax hike should be repealed.

Stroger's poor poll results come as he prepares to pitch his re-election to Cook County Democratic slatemakers at their endorsement session Thursday. Democratic committeemen are expected to hear from up to four potential challengers looking to unseat Stroger in the February primary: Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown; U.S. Rep. Danny Davis of Chicago; Metropolitan Water Reclamation District President Terrence O'Brien; and Chicago Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th).

Joseph Berrios, the Cook County Democratic chairman, said the large field of candidates makes an endorsement less likely. "It's going to be tough," he said.

Some Democrats have privately questioned whether Stroger would be a liability on the Democratic ticket for the 2010 general election. The poll found Stroger's support was not much better among Democrats than voters overall.

Fully 70 percent disapprove of the job Stroger is doing, according to the poll of 300 Cook County registered voters. Asked whether they would like to see Stroger re-elected, 72 percent say no.

The telephone poll was conducted Aug. 27-31 by Market Shares Corp. and has an error margin of 6 percentage points. It did not measure support for other potential candidates.

Stroger released a statement criticizing the Tribune poll, saying the sample size was too small and it did not accurately reflect the support he has around the county. Stroger also accused the Tribune of being biased, citing critical editorials in the paper's opinion section.

In a county dominated by Democrats, the survey raises questions about Stroger's ability to muster support for a second term.

Stroger has long counted on African-American support but now faces as many as three other black elected officials in the primary. Only about 1 in 5 African-American voters polled approve of the job Stroger is doing or want to see him re-elected, while more than half oppose him.

In a controversial move, Democratic Party leaders in 2006 chose Stroger, a low-profile alderman and former state legislator, to replace his ailing father on the general ballot. Stroger nevertheless defeated Commissioner Tony Peraica, the Republican candidate.

Stroger persuaded a majority of county commissioners to support a penny-on-the-dollar increase in the county sales tax last year, arguing it was necessary to prevent decimating cuts to the county's vast public-health and criminal-justice systems. He has vetoed three attempts by the board to repeal all or part of the increase.

Critics of Stroger also have frequently blasted him for political hiring in his administration. The highest-profile example was former steakhouse busboy Tony Cole, a former college basketball star whom Stroger personally hired for an administrative post.

Cole, who was making $61,000 a year, was fired in April after less than six months on the job for allegedly lying about his criminal history on his job application. A week later, Stroger forced the resignation of Chief Financial Officer Donna Dunnings, his first cousin and a powerful presence in his administration who had twice bailed Cole out of jail.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica Loses Office Lease!!!

According to the Chicago Tribune, it looks like Cook County Board Commissioner Tony Peraica might have to find a new district office.

His County Board colleagues have voted to terminate the lease for Peraica's district office after the county Ethics Board alleged that Peraica's landlord donated more to his campaigns than allowed under an ethics ordinance.

In what he described as an effort to avoid a more costly legal battle, Peraica said he already has paid $4,500 to his landlord, Oak Brook businessman and Republican politician Asif Yusuf, to return in-kind contributions of office space to Peraica’s campaigns. Peraica did that after the ethics board concluded Yusuf’s contributions exceeded county limits.

But the Tribune and Commissioner William Beavers (D-Chicago), who is often at political odds with Peraica, later posed questions to the Ethics Board about further in-kind office-space donations from Yusuf to Peraica’s campaigns for higher office, and the panel took another look at the issue.

The Ethics Board now contends that Yusuf contributed an additional $28,000 to Peraica’s campaigns that exceeded the limits on how much county vendors can give to commissioners.
Peraica called the amount “just plain ridiculous” and said it’s the result of his political opposition to Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, who is Beavers’ ally.

“I don’t owe a single penny,” said Peraica (R-Riverside). “This is nothing but political nonsense