Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween, Farragut High, Lvejo Garden, Salaries, City Ordinance, LACC Breakfast Meeting

                 A FUN DAY: Each Halloween almost every Little Village child has walked down the 26th St. business district to “Trick or Treat” at all the stores. Halloween is a big deal for the children in Little Village because it is an occasion for them to dress in disguise and receive treats.  Every “character” imaginable, scary or funny, is represented in the Halloween parade. Many parents participate by dressing-up in costume to carry the youngest of “trick or treaters”. The parade of children is hectic, but fun to see.
                 LAST YEAR, 1,000 children in costumes visited the Little Village Community Council to receive candy, popcorn, or watch a scary movie and listen to the Halloween “Monster Mash” music. This year the LV Community Council, 3610 W. 26th St. will continue the tradition with an added Haunted House for bigger kids. The Council wants the kids to have fun and be safe. Vamos a tener una “Casa de Espantos” para los ninos en La Villita. Free admission. Admision gratis.
                 DAY OF THE DEAD: “Dia de los Muertos” [Day of the Dead] is a Mexican holiday.  Scholars have traced the origin of this modern Mexican holiday dating back hundreds of years and to the Aztec. “Dia de los Muertos” is celebrated immediately ending the celebration of Halloween at midnight for two days, Tuesday, Nov. 1st and Wednesday, Nov. 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.  
                 TO HONOR the deceased, family and friends gather together to pray for and remember those close to them who have died. Private alters are built and decorated with sugar skulls, marigold flowers, candles and the favorite food and beverage of the departed. Grave sites are visited with these gifts along with toys for the dead children and bottles of tequila for adults.
                 IN MOST regions of Mexico, November 1st honors children and infants, deceased adults are honored on November 2nd. Maria Silva, Secretary, Little Village Community Council, is building an alter with “oferta” [offering] for Dia de los Muertos. You are invited to come by and see her alter.

                 FARRAGUT HIGH: Theresa A. Plascencia, Principal of Farragut Career Academy High School, 2345 S. Christiana Ave. in Little Village is resigning from her post.  She has accepted the CPS position as Chief of High Schools for the West Side Network of Chicago.  As Chief of High Schools, Plascencia will have supervision over Farragut Career Academy, Crane, Little Village, Manley, Juarez to name a few of a total of 26 high schools.
                 PLASCENCIA’s last day at Farragut will be Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. She has been at Farragut since 1995 in which she was a teacher, Dean, Assistant Principal and Principal for the past 6 years. “I am most proud of taking Farragut to a Level 2 school. Meaning the school is in good standing. This is the first time in 16 years for Farragut,” said Plascencia.
                 CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard will appoint an interim principal who will serve until the Farragut Local School Council [LSC] members selects a new principal. CPS will officially make the announcement of the Principal vacancy at Farragut.
                 MEMBERS on Farragut’s  LSC are Maria Avila [parent]; Eva Bahena [parent]; Maria Hernandez [parent/chairperson]; Rosa Perez [parent]; Martha Ramirez [parent]; Maria Rodriguez [parent]; August Sallas [community]; Maria Silva [community]; Leslie Andrade [student representative]; Victor Younger [non-teach staff]; Linda Trevino-Garcia [teacher/secretary]; William Nelson [teacher] and Theresa Plascencia [principal].     

Kimberly Wasserman, 
Abraham Duenas, President of 
LVEJO Board of Directors; 
Selene Gonzales, Park Organizer
                 LVEJO GARDEN: The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization [LVEJO] held a press conference Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011 at 2727 S. & Troy Ave. to announce that a former contaminated site will be a future urban farm/community garden. “After 10 years of struggling for this garden and park, we are now here to see it happen,” said Kimberly Wasserman, Executive Director of LVEJO.
                WASSERMAN also announced the City of Chicago’s acquisition of the 23 acre Celotex property, plans for a new 24-acre park development on the site located at 28th & Sacramento Ave. in the 12th Ward in Little Village.  LVEJO’s work for a park on the Celotex park site was highlighted in the Chicago Tribune article by Blair Kamin.
                GUEST SPEAKERS at the press conference were Nelson Chueng, Chicago Dept. of Housing & Economic Development; Martha Boyd, Angelic Organics Learning Center; Fermin Mesa and Elvia Garcia, Little Village residents.
                LVEJO held a Networking for a Healthy Community forum immediately after the press conference at the Little Village Library, 2311 S. Kedzie Ave. to build support for the development of the community garden and park.

                SALARIES: Juan Rangel’s yearly salary is $266,000 as the CEO for United Neighborhood Organization [UNO], a not-for-profit organization. As CEO Rangel oversees 10 charter publicly funded schools. Chicago Public School CEO Jean-Claude Brizard receives a yearly salary of $250,000 overseeing Chicago’s 486 elementary schools and 107 high schools; Mayor Rahm Emanuel, $216,210; Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, $260,004; Police Assistant Superintendent Beatrice Cuello, $188,316; Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff, $202,728; Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino, $179,109; Alderman Ricardo Munoz, [part-time] $108,086; Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinckle, $170,000; Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, $85,000 per year. Both Illinois House of Representative and Illinois State Senator base salaries are $67,836 per year, plus $132 per diem. [Per diem, from the Latin term "per day" or "for each day". Usually refers to the daily rate of any kind of payment. In employment it means that you are working on a day to day basis.]

                 CITY ORDINANCE:  “Title 8 of the Municipal Code of the City of Chicago. Section 8-4-057, states: Excessive barking—Prohibited. “It shall be unlawful for any person who owns, controls, has possession of or is charged with responsibility for caring for any dog or other animal to allow such animal, while the animal is outside, to bark excessively in a manner that unnecessarily disturbs the comfort, quiet, peace or repose of any other person in the vicinity anytime day or night.  Any person who violates this section shall be fined not less than $50.00 or more than $250.00 for each offense. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense.
                 FOR PURPOSE of this section, the term “bark excessively” means any continued, repeated or habitual barking, whining, crying, howling, whimpering or loud noise common to an animal’s species that exceeds more than ten consecutive minutes in duration.”

                 LACC BREAKFAST MEETING: The Latin American Chamber of Commerce is hosting a LACC Business Roundtable breakfast meeting this Friday, Oct. 28, 2011 at Lazo’s Restaurant, 2009 N. Western Ave. The meeting will feature Eva Aquino, SBA Director, Citibank, as their guest speaker
                  REGISTRATION and networking begins at 8:00 a.m. Breakfast will be served at 8:15 a.m. and the presentation at 8:45 a.m. Ms. Aquino’s topic will be “SBA Loan Programs from a Lender’s Perspective.” Donation for members and members’ guests: $25; and Non-members: $30.
                 THE LATIN American Chamber of Commerce is located at 3512 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago. The LACC Business Roundtables provides “a forum where its members exchange ideas, network and address issues related to financing, contract procurement, emerging economic topics and legislation impacting commerce and industry.”  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

openchicago, Veterans in Action, Vandals, VA Tour, Chicago Public Library

           MUSEUM A HIT: More than 100 people, from all over the city, visited the Museum of Mexican Culture and History in Little Village last weekend. Visitors came as part of the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s citywide openhousechicago neighborhood tour event. Curator, William “Guillermo” Luna, explained the history of the Mexican Revolution of 1910 with a pictorial setting of photos of the era to guests. Luna’s presentation was interesting and in depth. Here are some Open House photos:

           STUDENTS from Jesuit Cristo Rey High School in Pilsen participated as guides and assisted curator Luna. Many visitors were interested in the history of Aztecs and Mayan depicted in colorful paintings of the Aztec Emperors and the World of the Aztecs.  “All the visitors asked interesting questions and were impressed by many of the Mexican articles in the museum,” said Luna.
SCHOOLS, churches, community organizations and anyone who may want to visit the
Museum of Mexican Culture & History, 3610 W. 26th St. call Bill Luna at 773/551-4750.

Commander Joe Ramirez
painting at the plaza
           VETERANS IN ACTION:  Angered by the vandalism that was done last month to the Manuel Perez Jr. Memorial Plaza mural, 26th St. & Kolin Ave. in Little Village prompt Post Commander Joe Ramirez to call a special Post 1017 meeting. The veterans met to discuss a course of action for the restoration of the mural and the Manuel Perez Jr. Memorial Plaza to its military status.  
            VANDALS desecrated the image of PFC Manuel Perez Jr. in the mural by spreading black paint on Perez’s face. PFC Perez Jr. was killed in action and awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously. The veterans of the Manuel Perez Jr. American Post 1017 marched to the plaza and whitewashed the wall for the repainting of a new [military] mural. 
“WHAT SOME community groups or people in general have to understand is that the Manuel Perez Jr. Memorial Plaza is not a playground, but a sacred memorial plaza paying homage to the Mexican-American soldiers that gave their lives for this country. Also, to give recognition to the veterans and members of the military,” said Commander Ramirez.
           MEMBERS of Post 1017 have worked hard to keep the plaza grounds free of debris by raking up leaves and sweeping the area.  “It is our objective to restore the respect the Manuel Perez Jr. Memorial Plaza deserves,” Ramirez said.   
        IN 1980, during the dedication of the Manuel Perez Jr. Memorial Plaza, Mayor Jane M. Byrne said, “The veterans members of the Manuel Perez Jr. Post in Little Village are the caretakers of the plaza.”
Director Anaya &
Sen. Tony Munoz
           VA TOUR: Newly appointed director, Michael A. Anaya, Sr. of the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, 820 S. Damen Ave. held a reception at his office Monday, Oct. 17, 2011 in celebration of 2011 Hispanic Heritage Month. Special visitor at the reception was Illinois State Senator Antonio “Tony” Munoz.         

           INTRODUCING Director Anaya to the visitors was Jessie J. Castaneda, Hispanic Employment Program manager, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.
DIRECTOR ANAYA introduced Sen. Munoz and presented him with a plaque in appreciation for his support of veterans and to the Medical Center. “I would like to thank Director Anaya, his staff and all the employees here at the Medical Center for the work they are doing to help our veterans,” said Munoz. Sen. Munoz is an army veteran and his son is a U.S. Marine doing a tour in Afghanistan.

SOME OF guest at the reception were Abundio Zaragoza, Superintendent of Veterans Assistance Commission; Victor Franco Jr., former Post Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart; Jose L. Martinez, Korean War veteran and the first Mexican-American wounded in action in the Korean war and yours truly.  A tour of the modernize facility was given to the visitors. For more info on the VA Medical Center call: 312/569-8387.      

           GRAND OPENING: A new library, the Little Village Branch, 2301 S. Kedzie Ave. opened its doors Monday, Oct. 3, 2011. The library was full of neighborhood parents and students who were excited about the new facility. Many shelves were empty and Head librarian, Teresa M. Madrigal, explained that the library would be receiving more books.
           LIBRARY HOURS: Monday and Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
                                               Tuesday and Thursday: Noon to 8 p.m.
                                               Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
                                               Sunday: CLOSED.

“Great spirits have always encountered
 violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
                           --Albert Einstein

Thursday, October 13, 2011

openhousechicago, VA Medical Director, Boxers, Notary PublicPolitics, 60 Minutes

              openhousechicago: The Chicago Architecture Foundation's inaugural openhousechicago event named the Little Village Museum of Mexican culture an official OPEN HOUSE site. You, your family and friends are cordially invited to visit the Museum of Mexican Culture and History, 3610 W. 26th St in Little Village this Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15 & 16, 2011 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
             THIS FREE ADMISSION event offers a 'backstage' pass to the little-known venue in the Little Village community. The Museum of Mexican Culture and History, offers visitors a chance to see Maya pictures, calendar and maps, 12 Azteca Emperors’ paintings, 1910 Mexican Revolution photos of  Pancho Villa and Zapata, Mexican food samples, military equipment, cowboy [vaqueros] sombreros, saddles and cowboy gear and much more on display. Museum curator William Guillermo Luna [773/551-4750] will make a presentation on Mexican culture and history and answer questions about the items in the Museum.
              PARENTS, children, students, senior citizens, history “buffs,” veterans and tourist will find the museum interesting, educational and fun. I hope to see you at the museum.

Michael Anaya, Sr.
              NEW APPOINTMENT: Michael A. Anaya, Sr. has been appointed Jesse Brown VA Medical Centers’, 820 S. Damen Ave., new Medical Director. His appointment began Monday, June 6, 2011.
              ANAYA, SR., a 22-year veteran of the armed forces started his military career as an enlisted United States Air Force Pharmacy Technician. While on duty, he obtained an undergraduate degree in Healthcare Administration from Wayland Baptist University and a Master of Public Administration degree from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX.                  
              HE ALSO had a commission in the Medical Service Corps for the United States Navy and served in numerous operational leadership positions in the military healthcare system and on the staff of the Surgeon General of the Navy, Bureau of Naval Personnel and TRICARE, prior to retiring from active duty as a Lieutenant Commander in 2001.                 
              MICHAEL was former Chief Executive Officer/President of ANSR Group, LCC, located in Fort Morgan, Colorado. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
              THIS IS Mr. Anaya’s first appointment within the VA and he is enthusiastic about the opportunity to serve his fellow Veterans. In a message to his staff Michael stated, “I am eager to meet each of you and to work with you in caring for the men and women who have sacrificed while serving our great Nation. As a Veteran, I am most appreciative of those who are meeting and caring for our veterans’ needs, day in and day out.  I recognize this is the spirit that reflects our strength and character”. 
              “I HAVE always believed our Veteran family is one of diversity and one of inclusiveness.  Veterans caring for Veterans — whether you served or are caring for those who have served — I am inspired. I look forward to serving with you at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.” We salute Anaya and wish him well in his new position.

              TWO MEXICAN CHAMPIONS: Two of the most exciting bouts of the evening at the Chicago Teamsters Hispanic Caucus Friday Night Fights, were between John Escutia vs. Corrie Wilkins and between Nicholas Asbury vs. Ricardo Chavez. The event, held on October 7, 2011, was at the Teamster City auditorium.
            ESCUTIA vs. WILKINS, 160 lbs. novice bout.  Escutia represented Harrison Park Boxing Club, and won by a unimous decision in a three bout slug-fest. Escutia’s power punches won him the fight.
            ASBURY vs. CHAVEZ, Super Heavyweights was a bloody bout. Chavez, representing the Chicago Boxing Club, won a tough battle against Asbury, a 6’2’’ fighter and much taller than Chavez 5’8”. Chavez, however, fought like a raging bull and out boxed his opponent.

       Escutia and Chavez displayed their skills as champion amateur boxers. I congratulate both of them on their outstanding performance.      

        NOTARY PUBLIC: Want to become a Notary Public? Here’s how you do it. First, contact Finn Insurance agent Marcella Porres at 708/447-8300 and tell her you want to buy a $5,000, 4 year Notary bond; cost $35. Marcella will provide you with a Notary bond certificate. Next, log onto the website and download the Notary Public application from the notary services, Form 171, or write a request and mail it to the Secretary of State, 213 State Capitol, Springfield, IL 62756.
            SEND your Notary application [Form 171], with the $10 fee check [payable to the Secretary of State], and the Notary Bond certificate to the Secretary of State. Within 10 days, you should be notified by the Cook County Clerk’s office that your commission certificate has arrived in their office. You must go, in person, to the Cook County Building, 118 N. Clark St. and register for your three year “commission” as a Notary Public with the County Clerk’s office; cost: $5. 
            FINALLY, you will need to order your “Seal” stamp [see sample]. This can be done at Tampico Graphics in Pilsen, 1919 S. Blue Island Ave., phone: 312/243-5448 or at any stationery store; cost: $25. Total cost to become a Notary Public; $75.

            POLITICS: Ald. Ricardo Munoz [22nd Ward/IPO] candidate for Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court failed to receive the endorsement of the Cook County Democratic Party slate makers at a meeting held Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. However, Munoz did have the support of Toni Preckwinkle, President of the County Board. Incumbent Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown received the endorsement for a third term. Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez received the endorsement of the Democratic Party slate makers for a second term. Alvarez received heated opposition from the City Council Black Caucus. However, Anita prevailed with 80% of the Committeemen voting to endorse her.  Anita must be more vigilant to her constituents.

                60 MINUTES: One of my favorite TV shows on Sunday evening is “60 Minutes.” I especially enjoyed the commentaries of Andy Rooney, 92, who [unfortunately] signed off the show Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011. For me, Andy was a regular guy always honest and straightforward with his opinions and comments. His remarks were clear and to the point; and his subjects were interesting. During Andy’s last televised segment he stated he was not retiring because “he is a writer and a writer never stops being a writer”. Andy signed off saying, “I wish I could do this [60 Minutes] forever.” Andy is a role model and my kind of regular guy.

“A writer’s job is to tell the truth.”  ---Andy Rooney

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vandalism, AFL-CIO

            VANDALISM: Who splashed black paint on our mural? Who did this disgraceful act? At a time when Mexicans and Latinos should celebrate our history, culture and accomplishments during Hispanic Heritage Month [Sept. 15-Oct. 15]; some ignoramus vandalized the Manuel Perez Jr. Memorial Plaza mural. The mural, located in the heart of the Mexican community of Little Village, depicts Mexican heroes who should be held in the highest regard and honored by the Mexican/Latino community.
            SHAME on those vandals. Their actions have brought disgrace to our Mexican community. Why would anyone tag a mural honoring our Mexican/Latino heroes and parents? In my opinion, using black paint to cover the faces of our heroes symbolizes that their struggles were not significant and their lives do not matter to these vandals.
Mexican mother with children
students in Little Village.
          BLACK PAINT splashed on the faces of PCF Manuel Perez Jr., a recipient of the  Congressional Medal of Honor; labor leader Cesar E. Chavez, union organizer, civil rights leader, founder and president of the United Farm Workers Union who fought for justice for the farm workers; Dr. Hector P. Garcia, Founder of the American G.I. Forum and World War II veteran; Corporal Rodolfo P. “Rudy”  Hernandez, Korean War, 187th Airborne and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina to serve on the United States Supreme Court, is shameful.  
         MANUEL PEREZ JR. Memorial Plaza was built in 1980 to honor and pay homage to all Mexican-American soldiers and veterans. Every year members of local veteran groups hold ceremonies to honor their military comrades at the plaza. The plaza is also the namesake of the Manuel Perez Jr. American Legion Post 1017 in Little Village.
Dr. Hector P. Garcia,
a student, Rudy Hernandez  
        TO LEARN more about these heroes, I urge you to YouTube their names and watch a video on their lives. Their contributions make us proud to be Hispanic. Encourage our young people to learn about our heroes and respect their legacy.  This is especially important since our [Mexican] community does not have many heroes. 
            WHY the mural was vandalized will always be a mystery. Who did it will always be a mystery. But it is clear the vandalism was done by someone in our own community.
            LOOKING AT the damaged mural, in full, it is obvious the vandal[s] must be connected to an independent political organization. Why? All of the faces in the mural were defaced, except for one. The vandals[s] intended to make a statement and left their message for all the community to see. The action is a pathetic commentary of the independent political organization’s understanding of the lives portrayed in the mural. How sad.
            EVERY Mexican, but especially veterans, Union members, and muralist should be outraged over this vandalism. Those of you who believe in decency and respect to public property, I invite you to come to the Manuel Perez Jr. Memorial Plaza at 26th St. & Kolin Ave. in Little Village.  See, for yourself, the damage these vandals did to our beautiful mural.

               POLITICS: Many years ago, I met with Steelworker Labor Leader, Joseph “Joe” LaMorte, the Sub-District Director for the United Steel Workers of America, District 31, to discuss labor’s political agenda. Joe’s office was in South Chicago at the USWA Local 65 building. At that time, I was a young trade unionist and Chairman of the AFL-CIO Committee On Political Education [COPE] in the South Suburbs.
                JOE TOLD me something that really stuck in my mind and made quite an impression on me. He said, “Augie, we [unions] are victims of our own success.”  I asked Joe what he meant. Joe answered: “Unions have been successful fighting for decent wages, working conditions and benefits for our members. Our success made it possible for our members to move out of the city and into the suburbs, buy a big house, a fancy car, play golf and rub elbows with professional people; and then [our Union members] politically end up voting for REPUBLICANS!”
                 UNIONS WOULD not have so many problems today if their members would only stop voting for Republican candidates. I personally know of some Union members who vote Republican and are proud of it! It boggles my mind; I just can’t understand why they would vote against their own best interest. The father of the labor movement, Samuel Gompers, the first president of the AFL, encouraged union members to take political action to "elect their friends" and "defeat their enemies."

JOE WAS RIGHT. There are some International Unions who openly endorse and financially support Republican Party candidates. These Unions, and their members, forget it is the Republican Party who wants to destroy Unions in America. It is the party who protects corporations, the rich, and wealthy from paying their share of taxes. It is the Democratic Party who supports the Unions, the middle class, and disadvantaged.
Wake up Union members and heed to Gompers’s advice before it’s too late!

                     CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Friday, October 7, 2011-- BOXING NIGHT: Chicago Teamsters Hispanic Caucus Scholarship Program is sponsoring a “Friday Night Boxing” show. Teamster Local 705 Hall, 328 S. Marshfield Ave. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Opening Ceremony 7:00 p.m. Mariachi Band, Salsa Band, DJ Tunes. Exciting boxing matches! Tickets $20.00 each. Everyone is invited!

Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011—Mexico City Committee Marathon Cheering Station, 8 a.m. to 12 Noon at Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago, 204 S. Ashland Ave. (Cor. Adams & Ashland Ave.) Over 2,000 Mexican athletes travel to Chicago for the Marathon. Help welcome them. The largest contingent of foreign runners!
Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011—“Courage to Quit”, smoking cessation classes. Every Tuesday, 7 weeks, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at 1401 W. 18th St. For more info call 312/455-9455 ext. 0.

Saturday, Oct. 15 & Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011-- OPEN HOUSE: The Museum of Mexican Culture and History, 3610 W. 26th St. in Little Village from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Curator William Guillermo Luna, 773/551-4750. Free admission, donations for the museum accepted.

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 Rainbow House’s La Noche del Arcoiris hosted by City Clerk Susana Mendoza, 6:00-9:00 P.M. National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 West 19th Street. Donation: $50. Tickets can be purchased in person the day of the event. Or, contact