Thursday, September 29, 2011

Expungement Workshop, Feria del Mole, Clean-up, Harry “Bus” Yourell

Attorney Jorge Montes
& Blanca Jara explaining
the process for service at the
Expungement Workshop.

          A SUCCESS: The first Expungement Workshop in Little Village took place on Sat., Sept. 17, 2011 and drew more than 270 individuals who were anxious to clean-up their criminal records. The workshop, held at the New Life Church, 2657 S. Lawndale Ave., was sponsored by the Little Village Community Council, Attorney Jorge Montes, Baltarza Enriquez, H.O.P.E.; Blanca Jara, Hispanic Liaison/Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court and State Representative Elizabeth Hernandez.
          ALSO SERVING on the Workshop Committee were Ambrosio Medrano, Luis Carrizales from Enlace/Chicago, Jesse Barazza, Little Village Community Council; Reggie Gonzalez, Mayor’s Latino Affairs Council, Charles G. Hernandez, Democratic Committeeman/Town of Cicero; Mario Martinez, Little Village Community Council; Elizabeth Young, Cristo Rey High School and Israel Rodriguez, Confederación de Federaciones Mexicanas [COMFEMEX].
           THE PURPOSE of the workshop was to aid ex-felons expunge or clean up their criminal record. Eight defense attorneys and one immigration attorney volunteered their time to assist, inform and give guidance to the attendees.
           ATTORNEYS at the workshop were: Camila Gardner, Eric Shaw, Juan Baltierres, Jose Gonzalez, Alma Alvarado, Beth Johnson, Jesus Salazar, Neil Toppel and Rosa Silva. All of the attorneys did a tremendous job helping their clients. Plans for a 2012 workshop are being considered with the addition of the Pilsen community.
           ATTORNEY MONTES said: “Everyone these days is increasingly involved in preserving our environment and in recycling.  That's a great thing, but there probably is no greener activity than that of helping recycle lives.  Our first-ever expungement workshop in Little Village helped close to 300 people in at least giving many of them direction and hope that they can get a second chance in life.  Montes & Associates is proud to have been part of the team to start what will become a yearly event."
           MANY THANKS to all the volunteers who helped make the Expungement Workshop a successful reality!

Eloisa Siguenza
            MOLE FEST: Forty contestants competed in the Universidad Popular 6th Annual “Feria del Mole” by serving their secret mole recipe to 1,500 attendees. The Feria was held Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 at the Arturo Velasquez Westside Technical School, 28th St. & Western Ave. in Little Village. Visitors attending the fest had an opportunity to taste test homemade mole from different regions of Mexico and vote for their favorite.
            [Mole is a Mexican sauce and comes in various flavors and ingredients, with chili peppers as the common factor. The classic mole version is the variety called mole poblano, which is a dark red or brown sauce served over chicken or meat.]  
            THE MOLE cook-off was festive and lively. Entertainment of live Mexican music was played by local groups which had several visitors dancing. Contestants dressed in authentic costumes, scarves and jewelry native to their state in Mexico.  Their tables were also beautifully decorated with hand-made Mexican pottery and flowers.
            THE COMPETITION was fierce. All of the moles represented were delicious, having their own distinctive and secret favors. Most contestants served their mole in a
 “cazuela” [thick heavy clay caldron], but constantly stirring in order to keep the mole from burning.  
Ahiren Bernal,
Francisco Garcia Flores,
Jefe Delegacional,
Milpa Alta, Mexico & Nancy Oviedo
            “LA REINA DE MOLE”: Eloisa Siguenza was crowned the first place winner, as maker of the “The Best Mole In Little Village.” A wreath of beautiful flowers was placed upon her head and a colorful sash stating, “La Reina de Mole”, was draped over her shoulder. Eloisa received a plaque, a $500 cash prize and a trip to Mexico City to attend the International Mole Expo and Fair in October.
            ELOISA, a humble winner, accepted  her prize saying, “Muchas gracias. Y quiero invita a todos ustedes en el Estado de Oaxaca en el Corazón [heart] de México.” “Many thanks. And I want to invite all of you to my State of Oaxaca.” Her home state Oaxaca is in heart of Mexico.
            SECOND PLACE winner was Tomasa Roman who received a cash price of $400. Winner of the best “Decorated Table” was Carman Celio, she received $250 and winner for the best “Cultural Dress” was Marcelina Hernandez, who received $150.  I congratulate Universidad Popular for another success event!

Cuahutemoc Morfin
            CLEAN-UP: Pilsen activist Cuahutemoc Morfin led 50 community residents to take matters in their own hands and cleaned up an unsafe area below a viaduct. The viaduct, near 24th St. & Western Ave., is where parents with their children cross every day to get to school. A group called “Eyes of the Community”, organized by Cuahutemoc Morfin and Lindsey Rose, organized the clean-up campaign Saturday, July 23, 2011. “There are deplorable and neglected sites in the Pilsen community that need to be cleaned up,” said Morfin.
            MORFIN WAS a strong aldermanic candidate in the 25th Ward who supported the enactment of the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance. “I made the Ordinance the centerpiece of my campaign. We will not compromise the health of our children and families in our communities,”
said Morfin.
            EYES OF THE COMMUNITY will be organizing future cleaning and recycling projects. For more information call Morfin at 312/287-6610.

Harry Yourell
            FARWELL: To a good friend, Harry “Bus” Yourell, a World War II veteran and an honest and hard working politician. “Bus”, 92, died Monday, Sept. 19, 2011. He was a Democratic Committeeman in Worth Township, State Representative, Cook County Recorder of Deeds and a Commissioner with Metropolitan Water Reclamation District [MWRD]. I’ve knew “Bus” for 30 years. He was a down-to-earth kind of guy, who loved politics, dancing and had a good sense of humor.
            “BUS” TOLD this story at the “Meet The Candidates” dinner meeting hosted by the Hispanic American Labor Council, at that time he was running for re-election as Commissioner with MWRD.  “Bus” said, “rumors were flying around before I appeared at the Cook County Democratic Party Slating Committee that I was too old to run again”.  Bus continued:  “When I took the podium, I made my usual pitch and said I’m going for the senior vote and I ended by saying; I have my own hair, I have my own teeth and I don’t use Viagra!”  “I was endorsed unanimously,” Bus said proudly.
            HISPANIC LABOR always supported Yourell because he consistently backed Union people, veterans and the underserved. For his military service, he earned a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. He was a loyal Democratic Party leader, winning 40 local elections. It was an honor to have known Bus.