Monday, December 17, 2012

Open Letter: Anita Alvarez, O'Hare Airport 300 SEIU Laid-Off, St. Agnes Christmas Show, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Kathleen Duffy, Meteor Juliana Tamayo, Democratic Committeeman Ray Lopez, Merry Christmas Feliz Navidad

Anita Alvarez

          I hope this e-mail finds you and your family well and enjoying the holiday season!
          MANY of you have watched or read about the 60 Minutes story entitled “Chicago: The False Confession Capital”, which aired on December 9th. I have received a significant amount of negative feedback regarding my participation in that segment and the position those clips portray me as taking on the issue.                    
          GIVEN the manner in which 60 Minutes chose to edit my interview, I am not surprised by the negative feedback. However, I want to address these gross misconceptions head-on and have submitted a letter to the president of CBS News to correct the record and to express my deep dissatisfaction with their segment.
          CBS provided an inexcusably limited narrative of the case and excluded my most pertinent comments regarding the important and troubling topic of wrongful convictions in an apparent effort to provide their story with an antagonist. Their misrepresentation of the facts and my hour-long interview with them did a disservice to their audience and their journalistic credibility.
             MAKE no mistake, I recognize that Cook County has a troubling history of false confessions and wrongful convictions and I will continue to implement solutions to ensure that they do not happen in the future.
          ONLY four months ago, the Chicago Sun Times praised my office’s handling of wrongful conviction cases as "a model for justice" for the rest of the country. My commitment to using my office’s resources to seek justice in such cases remains steadfast. I invite you to verify what I have outlined in the letter yourself and to share the accurate facts with others.
 Wishes and Happy Holidays”,    /s/Anita  Alvarez

For more information log on to 
          A LETDOWN: I always believed Chicago was a city with a heart and a city that cared about its middle class. Today, I am disappointed with our great city—Chicago—as being heartless. Heartless because our City laid-off 300 city employees at O’Hare Airport, before Christmas! This is a sad situation for these are hard working middle class people with families and children during this holiday season.

          CITY UNION WORKERS and their families don’t deserve to be treated so badly. Our great city has created an unnecessary hardship for them and without just cause, their livelihood and their Christmas spirit has been taken from them.
          FOR YEARS the Union workers, members of SEIU Local 1 who include janitors and window washers, have been doing a great  job keeping O’Hare airport clean. Most of the workers are Latino, African-American and Polish with many years of service. Their work at O’Hare airport has been exceptional. SEIU President Tom Balanoff said: “It’s one of the cleanest airports in America.”
          WHY are these workers being laid off? The City is awarding the maintenance contract to United Maintenance Company. Secretary Treasurer, Laura Garza, of SEIU Local 1, in her speech to members said: “They [United Maintenance] will slash the wages and benefits of their workers.”
          SEIU WORKERS are urging Mayor Rahm Emanuel to reconsider his decision and rebid the contract. Chicago has always been a city who cares about its middle class. Let’s hope our Mayor keeps it that way.  
Leonardo Gonzalez [Juan Diego], Lordes Covarrubias [Guadalupe],
Johanna Godinez [servant], Christopher Negrete [Bishop], Laura Ramos [servant]
          CHRISTMAS SHOW: St. Agnes of Bohemia Catholic Church, 2643 S. Central Park Ave., celebrated Mass for Little Village senior citizens at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. During the Mass a reenactment of the apparition Our Lady of Guadalupe was performed beautifully by the young students of St. Agnes Elementary School. The seniors along with fellow parishioners clapped with enjoyment after the performance.
Citlaly Ruiz [Mary] and
Christopher Negrete [Joseph]
          AFTERWARD, 150 seniors  were served brunch by the school children in the school lunchroom. A free raffle and gifts were given to the seniors. Following breakfast, parents, seniors and guests were invited to the school gym to see a performance of the story of the Nativity scene and to hear the school children sing. Along with “Silent Night”  the little children sang “Mamacita Yo Quiero Santa Claus” and the performance ended with everyone in the room, students, parents, seniors and guests  singing “Feliz Navidad, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas.” It was a great event.
        ALL OF the 423 school children from St. Agnes of Bohemia Elementary participated in the Christmas play and performance. Kathleen Duffy, Principal of St. Agnes of Bohemia Catholic School, has been the principal for the past two years. Ms Duffy was a Middle School math teacher for four years before becoming the principal at St. Agnes.  
Kathleen Duffy 
         THE CHRISTMAS event, the Guadalupe reenactment, senior brunch, and teaching the kids how to be servers, was coordinated by 8th grade teachers Eileen Flaherty and Sharon Holdvogt.  Ms. Flores and the office staff cooked the breakfast, Martha Fiscal coordinated the Nativity story skit and all of the decorations and Jessica Conlin, the 5th grade teacher, coordinated the music show.
          ST. AGNES of Bohemia Elementary school is a Pre-K to 8th grade school. “It’s a Catholic school which we make affordable in order for all families to send their children here,” said Principal Duffy. Gabriella Fiscal, Development Director of St. Agnes, said, “The St. Agnes community values the sacrifice our parents make by sending their children to a Catholic school and we feel a tremendous pride in the elderly of our community. Our parents and elderly are why we are here, and this is a way to say  ‘Thank you.’”  Kudos to all the teachers, staff, parents and students for a spectacular holiday event.
Christmas Star Elizabeth Ortiz,
Magi: Nicholas Camacho, Standing: [L] Emanuel Carrera
& Everado Rodriguez
          METEOR: Sophomore Juliana Tamayo [Little Village] was named Meteor of the Month at De La Salle’s Lourdes Hall Campus for Young Women, 3434 W. Michigan Ave., Chicago for the Month of November 2012.
     Juliana Tamayo
        TAMAYO EXCELS in her classroom at De La Salle, by sustaining a 4.636 GPA (grade-point average) and ranking No. 5 in the 110-member Class of 2015 at the Lourdes Hall Campus.
        ADDITIONALLY, to Tamayo academic excellence, she is involved in the Mock Trail program, REACH Club, Science Club, Spanish Club and Book Club. 
       METEORS are nominated by faculty and staff highlighting students who are motivated and enthusiastic about the school’s Lasallian mission inside and outside of the classroom. They are students who stand out amongst their peers by having demonstrated one or more of the Lasallian Principles of Faith, Community, Service, Social Justice and/or Association.
         DE LA SALLE Institute is an independent Catholic secondary school rooted in the tradition of Christian Education established by St. John Baptist de La Salle in 1889. Its mission has been to foster a desire for excellence in education. De La Salle Lourdes Hall Campus principal is Diane Brown, De La Salle President is Father Paul Novak, OSM. We congratulate Juliana on all of her accomplishments. 
Ray Lopez & Patricia Brekke
       15th WARD: Raymond Lopez,15th Ward Democratic Committeeman, attended a Chicago Public School [CPS] community meeting on Friday, December 13, 2012, to discuss the newly-named Back of the Yards High School. The new high school will serve Daley, Lara, Chavez, Hedges, Hamline and Seward elementary schools.
          COMMITTEEMAN Lopez looks forward to working with Principal Patricia Brekke and CPS in increasing neighborhood awareness for the school.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Hispanic Vote, Chinatown Christopher Kennedy, Tony Shu, Martha Gutierrez, Breakfast With Santa Claus, Juan Manuel Marquez

          MY OPINION: It’s been reported that Immigration reform is expected to be taken up by Congress starting next year. It was also reported that the Republican Party and its members in Congress are adamant in their opposition that will give undocumented immigrants amnesty. It’s a foolish position for the Republicans to keep blocking amnesty for undocumented immigrants.
     WE ALL know that America desperately needs a new comprehensive immigration policy. Why do lawmakers want to bog themselves down for years and years with all kinds of ridiculous legislative maneuvers?   
          POLITICALLY, what Republicans don’t realize is how their position will backfire because it will only energize Hispanics to organized, register to vote and to vote against them. It is a fact that the Hispanic voting power is growing. Hispanic power is the only solution that will speed up immigration reform; and it’s the only thing the Republican Party apparently will understand. The Hispanic voters in America will make the Republicans pay for their opposition to amnesty.
          WITH AMNESTY, America can stop breaking up families and start building up its workforce in the marketplace where workers are needed. Lawmakers should instead use their time and energy concentrating on their fiscal responsibilities and solve our country’s gigantic debt problems.
Tony Shu
          CHINATOWN held a Business Luncheon, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 at the MingHin Cuisine Restaurant, 2168 S. Archer Ave., Chicago with Christopher Kennedy, Chairman,University of Illinois Board of Trustees as their keynote speaker.
          WELCOMING remarks were made by Tony Shu, Chairman of the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. Chairman Shu introduced Paula Allen-Meares, the Chancellor,University of Illinois at Chicago for a few remarks then
Chairman Shu introduced Chris Kennedy to the audience for his presentation.
          CHAIRMAN KENNEDY began his speech by introducing Stephanie Neely, Treasurer of the City of Chicago as a long time friend who he met at Smith College in Western Massachusetts. “I understand the importance of commerce and the mission of the Chinese-American community,” said Kennedy. He talked about the importance of the our ties with China that it’s important to all of our interests. “Last year, 3,600 students from China enrolled in our three campuses—University of Chicago, Champaign-Urbana and Springfield,” said Kennedy.
Chris Kennedy 
          WHILE Kennedy was talking, servers were placing food on the tables, but no one was eating while Kennedy was speaking out of respect. Chris told the audience: “I am the eleventh child of Robert and Ethel Kennedy and when I was speaking at the [family] table everyone else was eating. So, please feed yourself, but don’t take my lunch.” His sense of humor, relaxed everyone.
        KENNEDY said that the benefits of the University is not limited to the people of our nation, but is instead global in scope whether it’s in Chicago of Beijing.
      “IN ILLINOIS, Kennedy said, “only good things happen when a lot of different people work together.”  Just recently the Chancellor of Urbana, Phyllis Wise, announced the preliminary plans this fall to construct a University office in China.
          “IF YOU love this country you must care about our research universities. History teaches us that what happens in Illinois will happen to the rest of the country. If we get stronger, the country will get stronger. If we get weaker, so goes the nation”, said Kennedy.
        HE SAID that the State [Illinois] is weaker now than it has ever been before; with rising taxes, including a 4% annual growth rate, declining taxable assets and the fourth highest state debt in the country of $270 billion. Job growth is not rising. Jobs are being consolidated. “Our job growth is not bouncing back,” said Kennedy.
           “CONSOLIDATION is the most important economic trend. The largest grocery store in the United States today is Wal-Mart. Half of the entire food industry today is control by six companies,” stated Kennedy.    
Christopher Kennedy & August Sallas
       DURING his speech Kennedy used a visual chart board. After this speech, Kennedy accepted questions. He was very cordial and had his photo taken with anyone that wanted one. 
Martha Gutierrez
          IN ATTENDANCE at the luncheon was Martha Gutierrez, Associate Director for Community Relations. “Marty”, as she is called, works in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for External Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago [UIC]. She formerly worked in Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration in City Hall for many years; and she has a wealth of experience in government. 
          BREAKFAST WITH SANTA: The 4th Annual Pancake Breakfast with Santa was held at the Cicero Stadium, 1909 S. Laramie, Cicero, IL. Hosting the event was the Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade organization and sponsored by the Bennigan’s Restaurant, 150 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Attendance was 300 parents with children. 
Santa Claus & Aron Flores, 5
          THE CHILDREN had their picture taken with Santa Claus and given a large Christmas sock filled with candy and a toy. Santa put the little kids on his lap and asked them if they were good this year. He was a jolly Santa. Biker Brown Bear and Biker Snowman entertained the children at the breakfast.  One of the coordinators of the breakfast, Robert “Cooch” Kuczera, read the coloring story book “The Adventures of Toys For Tots”, while the “Toys For Tots” officers play acted a role in the story book as the children sat in a circle.         
          ALL THE guests and children were given a copy of the “Toys For Tots” coloring story book. Its story was created by Jerry Kuczera; and special thanks were given to Liz Padilla, Robert Cooch and Sal Massey, local artist. The coloring book was dedicated in loving memory of AJ Massey. 
Juan Manuel Marquez
   THE CHAMPION: Juan Manuel Marquez, 39, Mexican, aka “Dinamita”  knockout Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao, 33, Filipino,  in the sixth round of their fourth rematch Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. With a hard overhand right hand punch to the face by Marquez, Pacquiao hit the canvass out cold and face down. 
          PACQUIAO laid on the canvass for about two minutes before he was picked up dazed by his handlers. Pacquiao was immediately rushed to the hospital after being knocked out and underwent a CT scan, as a precautionary measure to check for a concussion. Marquez suffered a broken bloody nose, but this fight clinched the challenge who was the better fighter.          
          MARQUEZ is considered by some boxing experts to be among the greatest Mexican boxers of all-time. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Toys For Tots" Parade, Santa Claus, Chicagoland "Toys for Tots" Motorcycle Parade Organization, Cicero Election, Movie Review: "Skyfall", "Anna Karenina", "Lincoln", Little Village Toy Drive

          TOYS FOR TOTS: More than 40,000 motorcyclists gathered at the Dan Ryan Forest Preserve at 87th St. & Western Ave., Chicago Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 at 8:00 a.m. for the beginning of the 35th Annual Chicagoland “Toys For Tots” parade. The weather was perfect; sunny and balmy 64 degrees.
          “EVERY CHILD DESERVES a toy for Christmas” is the motto of the bikers. “This is the largest motorcycle parade, in the country, which collects toys for needy kids,” said Robert “Cooch” Kuczera former president of the “Toys For Tots” organization and this year’s MC. A Proclamation was received by the “Toys For Tots” organization from Mayor Rahm Emanuel. As the bikers waited for the parade to begin they were given instructions by "Cooch" who reminded them of safety being first and “no hot-dogging” in the procession. 
Santa Claus
"Toys for Tots" parade
          BEFORE THE PARADE kicked off at 9:15 a.m. the bikers said the Pledge of Allegiance, and held a moment of silence for the ten [10] bikers who lost their lives in 2012. "Cooch" introduced Santa Claus, who led the parade riding on a Harley-Davidson, and the Marine representatives. Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck joined the caravan. Following Santa was a gigantic empty red wagon with Santa’s helpers and a Christmas train and float. One of Santa’s helpers, Elena Lopez, a 5-year volunteer with the “Toys For Tots” organization, is also a licensed motorcycle rider rode in the big red wagon with friends.
          AS BIKERS EXITED the Dan Ryan Woods, Bishop James Wilkowski [a.k.a.“The biker Bishop”] of the Evangelical Catholic Church blessed them by sprinkling them with Holy Water as they passed him. Biker "Shade" has held the front position in the parade for the past 8 years. The caravan of bikers traveled north on Western Ave. and ended at the Lane Tech High School parking lot on Western Ave. & Addison Ave.; the drop-off point for the toys.
Elena Lopez
          THE TOYS are donated to the Marine Foundation 2nd Battalion for children in hospitals and needy families.
          BIKERS CAME from everywhere. Some bikers wore their “leathers”, [leather pants], helmets and colors identifying their Motorcycle Club [MC]. Each biker carried more than one toy to the parade strapped on their motorcycle. The bikes were large and small and of different colors, shapes, models and all beautifully decorated with a Christmas theme.
          MANY MOTORCYCLE CLUBS were represented in the parade. The MC’s with Latino bikers were Latin American Motorcycle Association [LAMA], Barrio Riders MC, American Veterans Motorcycle Riders Association of Illinois Chapter 7, Wildfire Hog Chapter MC, Alpha Doggs MC [a law enforcement group], and Teamsters Horsemen Association MC, and the Chi-Town Mustang, a non-bikers group who helped with blocking of traffic every year.
Santa Claus riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle
          CHICAGOLAND Toys For Tots Motorcycle Parade Organization Board of Directors are: President George Lester Fortier, Vice President Tom Dertz, Secretary/Southside Coordinator Peggy Estes a.k.a. “The Gate Lady” because she was in charge of the Southside Forest Preserve entrance, Treasurer Wendy Lanleys, Sgt. at Arms “Doc” Henderson, Parade Coordinator Joy Black, Product Coordinator Joe Ziman, Parliamentarian/Historian Maynard Marsh, Northside Coordinator Debbie “Chica” Giampa and her assistant Sam Johnson, Parking Coordinator “Wendal” who did an great job with parking of the bikes at Lane Tech and other surrounding parking lots. Again, the Chicago Police Department did a fantastic job giving service to the bikers.
Bikers Alejandra Lara, Sergio Infant, Margie "GoGo" Reyes
          THE TOYS FOR TOTS organization had a tent in the parking lot at Lane Tech selling many different kinds of T-shirts and “Toys for Tots” souvenirs.
          MANY spectators watched the “Toys for Tots” parade lined-up along Western Ave. The warm weather made the parade a success and festive. It was a colorful and spectacular parade. I salute the Toys For Tots organization and bikers for their dedication and generosity. 
          NEXT EVENT of the “Toys For Tots” organization is a fund-raiser at the Cicero Stadium, 1909 S. Laramie Ave., Town of Cicero this Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A pancake breakfast will be served and Santa Claus will be present to take a photograph with children, free. "Cooch" will read a Christmas story to the kids. Tickets are $6 per person and family of four is $20. There will be a raffle and a 50/50 drawing. For more information contact "Chica" at 630/550-3944.
          CICERO POLITICS: The election for officials in the Town of Cicero, IL is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013.  The deadline for filing was Monday, Nov. 26, 2012. It’s gearing up to be a real political “donnybrook”. Cicero is a suburb west of Chicago with a population estimated to be 84,261, according to the 2011 Census.  Their elections are always full of surprises.
           THERE are five candidates who have announced their candidacy in Cicero election for Town President: incumbent Town President Larry Dominick, Juan Ochoa, Lizveth L. Mendez, Joseph Pontarelli and Ruperto De Loera. The election is non-partisan and the candidate receiving 50+1 votes is the winner.  
          IN THE past 20 years, the racial make-up of Cicero’s population has change dramatically. The town is now 80% Mexican/Latino and the majority is now registered Democrats. This population change is causing the landscape of the politics in Cicero to shift. Cicero’s Democratic Organization Committeeman Charles Hernandez said, “Our organization has endorsed Larry Dominick because he is good for Cicero; and Dominick has the full support of all the local elected Latino leaders”. 
          MOVIE REVIEW: “Skyfall” is an action movie with twists and turns. Skyfall is the twenty-third in the James Bond series of spy films. Actor Daniel Craig who plays James Bond takes a lot of risks as 007. The performance by Javier Barden as the villain in Skyfall was thought provoking. The plot was intriguing and has a surprise ending. I give it 1 star. 
          MOVIE “Anna Karenina” with Keira Knightley as Anna, Jude Law as Alexei Karenin, her aristocrat husband, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays Count Vronsky, Anna’s lover, is a passionate love triangle story in Russia written by Leo Tolstoy.  The performances of the actors, [especially by Knightley]; the storyline, costumes and scenery was outstanding and entertaining. I give it 3 stars. 
          MOVIE “Lincoln” is a biopic drama. The portrayal of Abraham Lincoln by Daniel Day-Lewis was superb. This movie is a historical story of the life of Lincoln, the civil war and the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution; abolishing slavery. The film was suspenseful with graphic scenes of the civil war. Performances by all the actors were great. The audience clapped at the end. Day-Lewis should receive an Oscar. I give it 3 stars. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Farragut Career Academy Tour, State Sen. Steve Landek, State Representative-Elect Silvana Tabares, Principal Tonya Hammaker, Major Peter Ramirez, Quineanera Princess Michelle Calderon, Hector "Macho" Camacho

Major Peter Ramirez, State Rep. Silvana Tabares,
Principal Tonya Hammaker, State Sen. Steve Landek 
          FARRAGUT  TOUR: State Sen. Steve Landek [11th District] and State Representative-Elect Silvana Tabares [21st District] were given a tour of Farragut Career Academy, 2345 S. Christiana Ave. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 by Principal Tonya Hammaker. 
          BOTH SEN. Landek and State Rep. Tabares were impressed with the curriculum, student body, JROTC program, teachers and the overall cleanliness of the facilities. Maj. Peter Ramirez escorted the visitors to the Gen. George S. Patton Jr. Academy ROTC section of the campus. Two ROTC officers, LTC Humberto Castellanos [senior] and Cadet Major Hildelisa Vera [senior] lead Landek and Tabares to the ROTC classrooms, and showed them the school murals, photos, flags and trophy case. 
Principal Tonya Hammaker, State Rep. Silvana Tabares, Major Cadet Hildelisa Vera,
LTC Humberto Castellanos, State Sen. Steve Landek
          FARRAGUT’S NEW JROTC Director, Major Peter Ramirez, had the ROTC cadets stand in attention in the stairways and hall while Landek and Tabares were in the Patton ROTC area of the school. It was an outstanding presentation in honor of the two state officials by student cadets. 
Cadet Major Hildelisa Vera,
LTC Humberto Castellanos,
State Sen. Steve Landek
          PRINCIPAL HAMMAKER guided her visitors to the college room, staff physical fitness room, Spanish classroom, Care room, Learning Center and Law Center, Band room, automotive shop and the North gym. “We have many students who participate in academic clubs and sport activities,” said Hammaker. 
          HAMMAKER INFORMED the legislators how Farragut Career Academy has earned a Level II and is in good standing; no longer on probation. She reported Farragut is staffed with 92 teachers for a student body of 1,300 [279 students are JROTC cadets] and school attendance is now at 87%. 
LTC Humberto Castellanos,
State Rep. Silvana Tabares,
State Sen. Steve Landek 
          THE LEGISLATORS THANKED Principal Hammaker and Major Ramirez for an excellent tour of Farragut.  Hammaker thanked the legislators for visiting the school and have invited them to return.
          QUINEANERA PRINCESS: On Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, parents David and Norma Calderon celebrated their daughter,  Michelle Calderon,  15th birthday with a “Quinceanera”, a Mexican fiesta tradition. Family, friends and guests were invited to start the celebration by attending Mass at St. Pancratius Church, 4025 S. Sacramento Ave., Chicago. 
Michelle Calderon 
          MICHELLE, dressed in a beautiful Aqua colored grown, was escorted to the front of the altar by her Chambelanes of Honor Rafael Ramirez and Chambelanes [escorts]Jose Serna, Martin Watson, Pedro Blanco, Joseph Ruiz, Josem Gonzalez and Luis Melendez. Mariachi musicians played during the procession and Mass. 
          A RECEPTION of 400 guests celebrated the evening with food, refreshments, Mariachi music and danced to Banda “Karibe” music.
          MICHELLE, graduate of Brighton Park Elementary, a freshman at Kelly High School. She has been an honor roll students since Pre-K and is recipient of the Citizenship Award; an award given for helping other students. Michelle’s mother, Norma, said: “Michelle loves to sing; and is in the choir. She also enjoys playing soccer and dancing”. Michelle will be travelling to Mexico in December with her family. 
          A TEN COUNT: Retired Hector “Macho” Camacho, 50, a Puerto Rican boxer tragically died of a heart attack in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Nov. 21, 2012. He received a serious gunshot wound to his face causing Camacho to be brain dead. “It would be a miracle recovery medically we can do nothing,” said Rafael Rodriguez Mercado, president of the Medical Sciences Campus. 
Hector Camacho
          FLASHY CAMACHO was a skillful and colorful showman of a boxer. He would enter the ring dressed as a gladiator, an Indian, or cowboy. He won 88 fights, losing only six. The fans loved to see Camacho fight because he was a slugger and his punches were fast. “His fights were nothing short of violent performance act”, it was  reported. 
          HE FOUGHT Edwin Rosario, Julio Cesar Chavez, Ray Mancini, Jose Luis Ramirez, Vinny Pazienza, Oscar DeLa Hoya, Sugar Ray Leonard lost to Greg Haugen. For refusing to touch gloves at the start of the final round, Camacho lost a point fighting Haugen. 
          IT IS a tradition in the sport of boxing when a boxer dies he is given a “Ten Count” by hitting the ring bell slowly 10 times signifying that he is out. This is done while family, boxing officials and fans stand silently in memory of the boxer. 
Hector was famous for saying, “It’s Macho Time.” Yes, it was. May he rest in peace. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Celebration: Blanca M. Vargas-Magana, CEDA Service Julieta Bolivar, HUD HOPE Meeting, 26th Ward Ald. Roberto Maldonado, Marine Math & Science Academy

Blanca M. Vargas-Magana
          A CELEBRATION: Blanca M. Vargas-Magana will be honored Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 for her 35 years of dedicated service in Illinois State Government. Everyone is cordially invited to join Blanca at Lobo de Mar Restaurant, 5503 W. Cermak Road in Cicero, IL from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  In lieu of a gift, guests are asked to donate $50.00 to the LULAC National Scholarship fund by making their check payable to: LULAC #5004, P.O. Box 508472, Cicero, IL 60804.  
          BLANCA is well-known in the Mexican and Latino community in Illinois for her activism and advocacy for Latino empowerment. She joined the League of United Latin American Citizens [LULAC] in 1972 and has served in many elected and appointed positions. LULAC is the largest and oldest Hispanic organization in the United States; serving all Hispanic nationality groups. 
          SINCE 1993, Blanca has served as LULAC National Vice President for the Midwest, National Chaplain, Illinois State Director,President of the Local LULAC Council of Cicero. Currently, since 2009, she serves as a member of the Board of Directors for National LULAC Educational Centers and in 2012 Illinois Deputy State Director for Women. 
          SINCE 1973, to the present, Blanca built her career professionally in the State of Illinois Government by serving in Spanish Speaking Affairs; and since 1981, she was the Community Relations Liaison for the Department of Human Rights. In this position, Blanca developed numerous community outreach programs and participated in many events to increase awareness of the services and benefits provided by the State to protect human rights. 
          BLANCA has a long history of community involvement too numerous to mention. To name a few she conducted U.S. Citizenship workshops, Voter’s Educational Registration Drives, Senior Citizens Rights, Veterans and persons with Disabilities workshops. In 2003, Blanca co-chaired the LULAC of Illinois Education Summit on Hispanic high school dropout and awarded scholarships to high school and college students. 
          ON ADVISORY COUNCIL: Blanca is a member of the Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez Hispanic Advisory Council, MALDEF of Chicago, Cook County Complete Count Committee for the U.S. Census 2010. Politically, Blanca was elected delegate for Jimmy Carter in 1980 and for John Kerry 2004 National Democratic Convention representing the 5th Congressional District.
          SHE CHAIRED the 2007 LULAC National Convention in Chicago Navy Pier, Co-Chaired 2011 National Women’s Convention and helped coordinated the National Commission’s Domestic Violence conference. Blanca was honored with LULAC National Life Time Membership; LULAC National Membership Expansion; LULAC National Youth Program and National LULAC Women’s Commission’s Women Hall of Fame; National LULAC for the Elderly in Chicago and was awarded the CARESS in Public Service; Mexican Community Service and Life Achievement by MALDEF and the OTHLI Award by the Mexican Government on Foreign Affairs from President Vicente Fox.
          BLANCA has two daughters Bianca and Sarah and a brother named Martin. She is a 30 year resident of the Town of Cicero. 
          MEMBERS ON BLANCA’S celebration committee are: Yanet Bahena, Alfonso Barrera, Rose Mary Bombela, Julie Contreras, Nelida Smyser DeLeon, Hilda Frontany, Omayra Giachello, Antonia D. Gamez, Cynthia Guerrero, Esperanza Gonzalez, Guillermo Hincapie, Angelina Huerta, Elda Leal, Jose L. Lopez, Bianca Magana, Sarah Magana, Adrian Mendieta, Estelle Michopoulos, Zeke Montes, Pedro Pineda, Maria Ponton, Fernando Pavon, Hilda M. Ramos, Jesus J. Reyes, Maggie & Joe Rivera, Lupita Rodriguez & Eduardo Rodriguez, Mike Salazar, Jose A. Valdes, Micaela Vargas, Roberto & Hilda Vargas, Micaela Vidana, Evelio Mora and Martha Fragozo. 
          FOR MORE information and to RSVP contact Rose Mary Bombela, LULAC Illinois State Director at 312/437-6644 or email: 
Julieta Bolivar
          CEDA SERVICE: Julieta Bolivar, bilingual intake volunteer for Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, Incorporated [CEDA], will be accepting applications from low-income families for financial assistance for gas and energy bills. Julieta will be at the Little Village Community Council, 3610 W. 26th Street this Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. 
Ayuda de luz gas para familias le bajos ingresos. REQUIREMENTS: 

  • Social Security numbers for all members of the household 
  • Current gas and electric billing statements 
  • Most recent employment payroll check stub 
  • A print-out of SSA and SSI benefits
  • If paid in cash bring in a letter from employer stating payroll status on employers letterhead which includes Employer name, address and telephone number. NO APPOINTMENT NECESSARY. 
          HUD MEETING: Baltazar Enriquez, President of the “Helping Others Progress Economically” [HOPE] organization is sponsoring an open public meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 at HOPE office, 3610 W. 26th St. A HUD Representative has been invited to answer questions relative to HUD guidelines.
          THE AGENDA: The purpose of the meeting is to help homeowners save their home from foreclosures and/or their home from a bank takeover. “We are asking homeowners to attend the meeting to learn how they may protect themselves from the loss of their home to a bank,” said Enriquez. 
          ENRIQUEZ is a certified HUD Housing counselor and HOPE is a non-profit organization which has been in existence five years in the Little Village area. “Based on our experience, we have learned some banks have treated some of their mortgagees unfairly,” said Enriquez.
          FOR MORE information, call Enriquez at 773/522-2552 or log 
          26th WARD NEWSLETTER: Alderman Roberto Maldonado announced he has been lobbying strongly to relocate Marine Math & Science Academy, 145 S. Campbell Ave. The goal is to move the academy into the building which currently houses Ames Middle School, 1920 N. Hamlin Ave.  Maldonado said, “As the Alderman and a parent, I feel it is my duty to provide our children with a viable option to get a quality education in the 26th Ward”. 
Roberto Maldonado
          MARINE MATH & Science is a level 2 school which has seen significant growth in graduation rates. “A high school diploma is no longer sufficient to reach the American Dream.  Our parents deserve a high school in our ward which will send the majority of their graduates to college”, said Ald. Maldonado.
          MARINE MATH & Science, with 92% of their graduates accepted into four year colleges, has delivered both academic and programmatic support to families who need to make college a reality.  In 2012, Marine's graduates received approximately $4 million dollars in scholarship awards.  As part of their college counseling program, seniors are required to have 3 admissions letters in their file. 
          MARINE MATH & Science students are over 60% Latino and many of these students come from the 26th Ward. “Relocating or expanding this school will not only benefit the current students but give the 26th Ward its first high school that provides a safe learning environment,” said Ald. Maldonado.

Marine Math & Science students stand in attention for an early morning drill. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

OHMS Club, Purple Heart Medal, South Chicago Vietnam War Memorial, Anna Garcia, CEDA Service, Happy Thanksgiving

                                STRIDES” CLUB 
Left to right: Jaime Garcia, OHMS Board member; Marco Calderon, President;
Eric Aponte, Sgt. at Arms; Silvana Tabares, Ruben Almendarez, Tresurer;
Joe Blanco, Vice-President; Jose Barrios, Vice-President
          O.H.M.S. is the acronym for “Organized Hispanics Making Strides.” In electrical terms, an OHM is a unit of electrical resistance equal to one volt. The 20 active club members are Latino Union electricians members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union, Local 134. President of the OHMS Club, Marco Calderon, has been an  IBEW Local 134 member for over twelve years; and the president of OHMS for the past six. “Our mission is to promote more Latinos for apprenticeship positions and ultimately to become journeymen members of Local 134”, said Marco. 
          ON SATURDAY, Nov. 3, 2012, the OHMS club sponsored a Candlelight Bowl fund-raiser in the Town of Cicero. They also hold a an annual Toy Drive, plus the OHMS members volunteer in the “Rebuilding Together” program; a program designed to help low income families with electrical repairs. 
          IN THE POLITICAL arena the OHMS club members support candidates seeking public office who support the aims and goals of IBEW Local 134. “We try to promote the involvement of our members in IBEW Union affairs,” said Marco. 
          STATE REPRESENTATIVE Silvana Tabares [D-21st District] was a special guest at the Candlelight Bowl. “A member of  my family is an electrician and several members are Teamsters. I am pro-labor,” said Silvana. Tabares thanked the OHMS members for their support. 
          THE OHMS Club meets at 7 p.m. every second Tuesday of the month at the ShyWays S.A.C., 2272 S. Blue Island Ave. For more info call Marco at 312/735-0406. 
          PURPLE HEART: The first purple heart medal was called the Washington’s Badge of Military Merit and was established in 1782. It was a purple-colored, heart-shaped cloth badge. It was awarded to soldiers in the Continental Army for both heroism and meritorious service. Only three have been known to be presented. 
          AFTER THE American Revolution, the Continental Army was disbanded and the “purple heart” was forgotten for 150 years. Gen. Douglas MacArthur in 1932 revived the purple heart award as a full-sized medal. MacArthur looked at Washington’s purple heart badge as inspiration. The new purple heart had an entirely different purpose. 
          THE PURPLE HEART medal is awarded to U.S. military soldiers wounded in combat by the enemy. The medal itself is heart-shaped, with the profile of President George Washington in white on a purple background. Recipients are eligible to join The Military Order of the Purple Heart, a veteran organization. 

          THE VIETNAM WAR Memorial monument, 3201 E. 91st St., South Chicago bears the names of eight Purple Heart recipients: Antonio C. Chavez Jr., Peter Rodriquez, Joseph A. Quiroz, Michael S. Miranda, Dennis J. Rodriguez, Alfred Urdiales, Charles Urdiales Jr. and Edward Cervantes. 
          OTHER MEXICAN-AMERICAN recipients of the Purple Heart are as follows: Jose M. Lopez, Ferdinand Marcos, Kristian Menchaca, Ron Benavidez [Medal of Honor], Angel Mendez, William Miranda, Lupe Martinez, Robert Cardenas, Benito Garcia, Pedro Cano, Joe R. Martinez, Felix Z. Longoria, Jr., Baldomero Lopez, Agustin Ramos Calero, Joe Sanchez, Carlos Lozada, Manuel Perez Jr. [Medal of Honor], Emily Perez, Victor M. Franco Jr., Fernando Luis Garcia, Marcario Garcia, Victor Franco Sr., Tommy Gomez, David M. Gonzalez. There have been 1.7 million Purple Hearts awarded. 
Anna Garcia
          DIABETES DAY:  Anna Garcia, Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, from St. Anthony Hospital Diabetes Center, administered diabetes screening tests to twelve people last Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 at the Little Village Community Council. The attendance was sparse due to the heavy rain storm Saturday. 
          ANNA GARCIA has worked at St. Anthony for the past four years. She was born in Chicago and lives in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood. She graduated from Whitney Young High School, attended the University of Champaign-Urbana earning a degree in psychology and at the University of Chicago [U.I.C.] a degree in Human nutrition. 
          TO PREVENT DIABETES Anna recommends making healthy food choices and control meal portions. “Eating healthy foods like whole grains, lean meats, lots of vegetables and fruits can help prevent becoming a diabetic,” said Anna. 
          GARCIA is a registered dietitian [RD], license dietitian [LD]and a certified dietitian educator [CDE].  Co-worker, Jose Rodriguez, Community Relations Assistant from Saint Anthony Hospital also helped with the diabetes screening test assisting Anna Garcia. Jose can be contracted at 773/484-4397. 

                       Ayuda de luz gas para familias le bajos ingresos. 

          CEDA SERVICE: Julieta Bolivar, bilingual representative from the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, Incorporated [CEDA] will be accepting applications from low-income families for financial assistance for gas and energy bills on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Little Village Community Council, 3610 W. 26th Street. 

  • Social Security numbers for all members of the household
  • Current gas and electric billing statements
  • Proof of Income of the last 30 days
  • Employment Check Stubs
  • If paid in cash bring in a letter from employer stating payroll status on employers letterhead which includes Employer Name, address and telephone number

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Victory: Re-election of President Barack Obama, Halloween Children, November Diabetes Awareness Month, Noche de Los Muertos, OHMS Candlelight Bowl, Fly the American Flag Veterans Day

          A VICTORY: The re-election of President Barack Obama is a victory for all of America. He will move America forward. The middle class, seniors, veterans, unions, small businesses, military, schools, students, unemployed, underprivileged, immigrants, uninsured and the forgotten do not have to fear for Obama’s agenda has been clinched for the next four years.
          STRENGTHENING THE economy continues to be one of Obama’s top priorities. A stronger economy means more jobs for Americans. But these jobs must be jobs located here in America, not outsourced overseas.
          PRESIDENT OBAMA understands he has a tough road ahead of him, with a Republican controlled Congress, however the political gridlock must stop.
          UNDER PRESIDENT Obama’s leadership progress can be accomplished; he has proven himself time and again since 2008.  The political bickering must stop.  Balance and respect must be restored in American politics; this is a national issue imperative for America to survive globally. America, as a united nation, must demonstrate to the world how a government, with different political ideologies can govern democratically for the betterment of the country. The American people depend on our political leaders to meet in the middle and make a country stronger for every American, not a selected few. Let’s hope our leaders can finally work together.
          AMERICAN CAN only become a stronger nation if the politicians can work together to move America forward.
          Congratulations to all the winners in the General Election of Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.  
Risa, 4, [giraffe] &
Jaron Bush, 4, [Incredible]
            HALLOWEEN: Every year children, along with their parents, in the Little Village neighborhood come out in Halloween costumes on Oct. 31st to roam down 26th Street from Kedzie Ave. west to Kostner Ave. Visiting stores and shouting “Trick or Treat” the children all look cute in the costumes. Most of the stores, restaurants, and businesses open during that time have treats for the children.
          MORE THAN 800 children visited the Little Village Community Council office for their treats. Candy distribution into the Halloween bags was done by volunteers/students from Farragut Career Academy and Cristo Rey High School. 
          LVCC received candy and/or a donation to purchase Halloween treats from: Charles Hernandez, Cicero Democratic Committeeman; Mario Martinez [Violetas], Walgreens, TCF Bank, State Senator Steve Landek [11th District], State Representative Silvana Tabares [21st District], Victor M. Franco Jr. [Military Order of the Purple Hearts]. 
Alex Juarez, 7,
a.k.a. Capt. America
          LVCC thanks its sponsors.    
          DIABETES: The month of November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. If you would like to be screened for diabetes, St. Anthony Hospital personnel will be providing free diabetes screening. The event is this Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 at the Little Village Community Council, 3610 W. 26th St. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. No appointment is necessary.
          SYMPTOMS OF Type II diabetes may include:
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Drowsiness, lethargy
  • Sugar in urine, tested by your doctor
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fruity, sweet, or wine-like order on breath
  • Heavy, labored breathing

          IF YOU HAVE any one of these symptoms, call your doctor or come and get your FREE diabetic screening this Saturday at the LVCC. Diabetic screening is also available for children.
          PREVENTION begins with annual physical exams, routine eye exams and a healthy lifestyle.
          FOR MORE information on Diabetes Screening Day, call 312/286-3405
Mara Castillo places
a cross on the alter
          THE “NOCHE DE LOS MUERTOS” event held on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 at the Manuel Perez Jr. Memorial Plaza in Little Village was a success. The event was attended by 90 parents, students and children some wearing mask and carrying paper flowers for the dead [“flores de mueto en papel]. A moment of silence was observed by all.
          SPEAKERS were State Rep. Lisa Hernandez, Post Commander Joe Ramirez, August Sallas, Maria Alvarez and Mike Rodriguez. All the speakers spoke against violence in the community. A public altar was dressed with small crosses, articles and photos of the deceased.
          FOOD AND REFRESHMENTS were served to all the attendees. The event was sponsored by the Chicago Youth Network and coordinated by Mara Castillo and Jessica Suarez.
          “ORGANIZED HISPANICS MAKING STRIDES” CLUB: OHMS, is a Latino Union member’s club within the Electrical Workers Union, Local 134. They sponsored a Candlelight Bowl fundraiser at the Grand Palace Bowl, 5330 W. 256th St., Cicero Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. More than 100 guests and members attended the Candlelight event. A raffle, Mexican food, and refreshments made a fun-filled evening for everyone.
          PRESIDENT OF the OHMS Club is Marco Calderon who has been an  IBEW Local 134 member for over twelve years; and president of OHMS for the past six. “Our mission is to promote more Latinos for apprenticeship positions and ultimately to become members of Local 134”, said Marco.
          IN ADDITION to a Candlelight Bowl, the OHMS club sponsors an annual Toy Drive and members are involved in the Rebuilding Together” program which helps low income families who need electrical repairs. Politically, the OHMS club members help public candidates by following the lead of the IBEW Local 134. “We try to promote the involvement of Latinos in Local 134,” said Marco.
          SPECIAL GUEST at the Candlelight Bowl was State Representative Silvana Tabares [D-21st District]. “One of my family members is an electrician and I have several who are members of the Teamsters Union. I am pro-labor,” said Silvana.
Left to right: Jaime Garcia, OHMS Board member; Marco Calderon, President;
Eric Aponte, Sgt. at Arms; Silvana Tabares, Ruben Almendarez, Treasurer;
Joe Blanco, Vice-President; Jose Barrios, Vice-President
          THE OHMS Club meets at 7 p.m. every second Tuesday of the month at the ShyWays S.A.C., 2272 S. Blue Island Ave. For more info on OHMS, call Marco at 312/735-0406. 

                              FLY THE AMERICAN FLAG 
                  VETERANS DAY, SUNDAY, NOV. 11, 2012