Thursday, July 12, 2012

"La Garra de La Villita", Commander Maria Pena, Little Village Arch, Calendar of Events

          Sat., July 14th--Garage Sale "La Garra de La Villita, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 26th St. & Central Park Ave. to 25th St. & Central Park Ave. Open to the public. Free [Gartis] admission.
          More info call: 312/286-3405. 
          NEW LEADERSHIP:  Commander Maria Pena has been in charge of the 10th District Police Station, 3315 W. Ogden Ave. since March 5, 2011.  Born and raised in Chicago, with 25 years experience as an officer, Commander Pena is familiar with the city and the needs of her district.
Commander Maria Pena
          “MY TOP PRIORITY is gang violence. We are working with the clergy, with Basketball groups not affiliated with gangs, and several similar organizations willing to help solve the gang problem,” said Commander Pena.  She expressed the importance of police engaging with the community to make a difference and as part of the solution to gang violence.
          COMMANDER PENA said, “I like to meet and talk with people. It’s actually fun to be a police officer. On Friday nights, I’m on call driving around the district as an effort to show my presence and to build the confidence of our citizens,” said Pena. She is a hands-on manager.  
          THE 10th POLICE district is very diverse and covers the North Lawndale and the Little Village communities. The station was built in 2005 at a cost of $15 million and is located in the 24th Ward. 308 police officers are currently under Pena’s watch.
          THERE ARE 23 Police Districts in Chicago. In the Bureau of Patrol Division, Pena is one of six female district commanders. Others are in the 3rd District [African-American]; 10th District [Puerto Rican]; 14th District [Mexican American]; 15th District [African-American], 17th District [Caucasian], 20th District [Asian].
           RESIDENTS ARE URGED to attend CAPS meetings. To find out more about CAPS call the District phone number: 312/747-7512.
          WE COMMEND Commander Pena for being a tenacious advocate in trying to solve the gang violence in her district.
Ronald Baltierra & Dave Ramirez
          LITTLE VILLAGE ARCH: Contractors Ronald Baltierra and Dave Ramirez built the Mexican Arch in 1990.  The arch is the east entry way into the Little Village Mexican community on 26th St., between Kedzie Ave. and Albany Ave., formerly in the 22nd Ward.
          CONTRACTOR Ron Baltierra is President of dr/Balti Construction and Dave Ramirez is Vice-President of the company. It was dr/Balti Construction who won the contract for the building of the Mexican Arch, as the lowest bidder. Cost to build the arch was approximately $240,000. The designer of the arch was Adrian Lozano, who has since passed away. “From start to finish it took us six months to build the arch,” said Baltierra.
          THE LITTLE VILLAGE CHAMBER of Commerce organized all the businesses on the main strip of 26th Street; and in partnership with the City of Chicago, was the financial backing of Arch project. The city funds came from a Community Grant block dollars and Chamber members.
          THERE WERE MANY DONERS: Lopez Lumber [out of business] made the donation of paint. El Tornillo Hardware [out of business] installed the clock, imported from Mexico, into the Arch. The clock was a donation from President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, of Mexico. However, because of Mexico’s different electrical system, the clock has never worked.          
           BALTIERRA and Ramirez are military veterans; Baltierra, a Vietnam Sgt. Special Force Infantryman and Ramirez, a Vietnam Specialist E-5 Combat Engineer. Both felt honored to be the contractor of record for the Mexican communities.
Mexican Arch surrounded by scaffolding and planks near its final rough stages of completion. 
           THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect in constructing the Arch was building a solid foundation. “Because of our experience in leveling ground we did the physical demolition of the sidewalks, as well as the masonry, carpentry, excavating and preparation for the pouring of the concrete for the foundation,” said Baltierra.
The Arch in the raw stage, standing just as beautiful completed. 
           “THE CITY and Chamber still owes [us], dr/Balti Construction Company, $23,000. We asked former Ald. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia [22nd Ward] to help us but said he couldn’t do anything about it. We were told to consider it [our work] as a donation. We initially took a reduced fee by bidding low. We didn’t make anything from the job,” said Baltierra. Designer Lozano also took a loss of $6,400. “The experience was unsettling, however, we’re two proud Mexican-American veterans to have been the contractors for building the Arch,” said Dave Ramirez. 
                                   CALENDAR OF EVENTS
           Saturday, July 21Summer Night of Soccer, 7:30 p.m. Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL. Chicago Fire vs. Aston Villa. Tickets are available for $10 each. Call 708/594-2113. 
          Thursday, July 19th2nd Annual Birthday Golf Outing for State Rep. Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez [24th Dist.] Gleneagles Golf Course, 13017 McCarthy Road, Lemont, IL For info call Lilly Kinney at 708/417-5680.
          Saturday, July 28th—Tequila & Mezcal Fest, 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie Ave. Entrada Gratis. $10 pasaporte para probar tequila y mezcal. For info: 312/276-0631.