Friday, August 3, 2012

LV Block Party, "La Garra de La Villita, Antonio R. Guillen, Frank Avila, Alejandro Valadez, Isabel Veliz, Louis Villarreal, AugustFest

          LV BLOCK PARTY: The 7th Annual Community “Back to School” Block Party will be held Sunday, August 5, 2012 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 26th St. & Central Park Ave. “La Garra deLa Villita” [garage sale] will also be part of the block party event.
          FREE BACKPACKS with school supplies will be given to Little Village grammar school children. The children will also be given free popcorn and hot dogs. A jumping jack, an animal petting farm will be part of the block party. Children will be able to ride on a pony for a $5 donation. A public washroom [porta potty] will be available at the block party.
           “LA GARRA” vendors will be selling a large assortment of items, clothing, jewelry, household goods, birds, shoes, Mexican food and ice cream at the Block Party.
          THE BLOCK party is hosted by the Little Village Community Council and sponsors are Little Village SSA#25, El Milagro Tortilleria, Walgreens, Meyer Steel Drum, Inc., Polar Ice Co., Aztec Mall, State Rep. Lisa Hernandez, Lawndale News, Midwest Generation, H.O.P.E. organization and Second Federal Savings.
Antonio R. Guillen
          COMMUNITY BANKER: Banker Antonio R. Guillen is the new branch President of Second Federal Saving, 3960 W. 26th St. in Little Village, a Branch of Hinsdale Bank & Trust Company a Wintrust Community Bank.
          WINTRUST reported: “Second Federal Savings was closed and placed in receivership with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation [FDIC]. In order to keep the bank open and protect depositors, the FDIC sold the deposits of Second Federal Savings to Hinsdale Bank & Trust Company, part of Wintrust Financial Corporation.”
          WINTRUST is a holding company who buys banks. They took control of Second Federal on Friday, July 20, 2012.  “I was on the job the next day Saturday, July 21st, we didn’t miss a beat” said Guillen. With Wintrust, Guillen is a Senior Vice President for commercial lending and Diverse Markets Manager. He has 33 years of banking experience.
          GUILLEN STATED there will be no name change for Second Federal Savings at this time. “We are here to make positive changes,” said Guillen. There will be a new Board of Directors who will be selected to represent the community. “We want to operate as a community bank. I am a community banker,” said Guillen.
          GUILLEN, a Mexican-American, is meeting with Little Village community leaders to develop a relationship. “People are losing their personal relationships with neighborhood banks. We want to start anew. The commitment starts from the top and we are here to embrace the community. We want to serve the needs of its residents”, said Guillen. Meeting Guillen was a pleasure. He was open, friendly and gracious. Someone you should know.     
Frank Avila
           FRIENDS OF AVILA: A fundraiser was held by friends of Commissioner Frank Avila, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago last Thursday, July 26, 2012 at the Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave. It was attended by many of his family, friends and supporters.
          COMMISSIONER AVILA is an environmentalist, civil engineer and a land surveyor with more than 40 years of experience. He was elected to the Board of Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago in 2002. Commissioner Avila is Chairman of the Engineering Committee and the Committee on Maintenance and Operations. “My office is important for the environment. We treat waste water,” said Avila.
          AVILA RECEIVED his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil engineering from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and a Master of Science in Finance from the University of Arizona.
          “MY TOP priorities are environmental protection and fiscal control,” said Commissioner Avila. The Commissioner is married to Sherry Avila and lives in the Edison Park area of Chicago for the past 30 years. They have three children Frank Jr., Quinn, and daughter Audrey.
          CONTRIBUTIONS can be made payable to Friends for M. Frank Avila, 6201 W. Touhy Ave., Chicago, IL 60646. Or call for more information 773/763-2300 and/or Email:
Alejandro Valadez
          GANG AND GUN VIOLENCE: Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez proposed and drafted a new law that increases criminal penalties for street gang members who are arrested by police with loaded weapons. The measure was signed into law in December of 2009 and is currently in effect throughout the State of Illinois.
          THE NEW law was named in honor of slain Chicago Police Officer Alejandro Valadez, who was killed in June of 2009 in a drive-by shooting. Defendants convicted under the new law are now given a mandatory prison sentence instead of being eligible for parole. Hundreds of street gang members have been charged under the new law and nearly 90 percent of those cases have resulted in convictions.
          ANITA RETURNED to the courtroom for the first time since her election as State’s Attorney to personally prosecute the offenders who have been charged with the murder of Officer Valadez. She secured a guilty verdict in the jury trial of the first defendant in September of 2011 and the trials against the two remaining defendants are pending.
Isabel Veliz and Ald. Proco Joe Moreno
          SUCCESS STORY: Young swimmer, Isabel Veliz, a resident in the 1st Ward, won five swimming contests. “During Ward Night last Tuesday, I was thrilled to see one of my favorite young constituents, Isabel Veliz” said Ald. Moreno. Last year Ald. Proco Joe Moreno sponsored her to go to swimming camp and again this year because of her successes, talent and obvious passion.
          Ald. MORENO said:I sponsored her for camp at Indiana University, and I'm proud to report she won five [swimming] races. Isabel is too young for the Olympics this time around, but I'm hopeful to one day have a 1st Ward Olympic medal winner and she just may be the person to do it”.
FIRST WARD office is located at 2058 N. Western Ave. Phone: 773/278-0101.
Louis Villarreal

          IN MEMORY: A South Chicago friend, Louis Villarreal, a.k.a. “CTA Lou” passed away on July 14, 2012. His wake was held at Elmwood Chapel, 112th & Ewing Ave. on the eastside of Chicago. Louie was a father, paratrooper, steelworker, CTA bus driver, truck driver and former Commander of the South Deering American Legion Post 1238.
          LOU WAS married to Susan and parents of four children, Robert, Richard and two deceased children, Steve and Yolanda. He graduated from J. N. Thorp Elementary School and Bowen High School. He did basic training at Fort Lewis, Washington and trained at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. He earned the rank of Sergeant and trained troops to parachute jump. He was discharge in May 1955.
          VILLARREAL WAS active in the South Chicago community and very active in veteran’s affairs. He lost to lung cancer. We thank and salute Commander Villarreal for his service to our community and country.

                            CALENDAR OF EVENTS
          AUGUST 10, 11 & 12--AugustFest on Friday, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sun. from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Carnival Rides/Juegos Mecanicos, food booths, music and raffle. AugustFest is sponsored by St. Agnes Church, 27th Street & Central Park Ave. More info call 773/522-0142.