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the village free press Vol. II No. 24@village free@maywoodnewsJUNE 13, 2018thevillagefreepress.orgBroadview public works investigation closed Village officials,…
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the village free press Vol. II No. 24@village free@maywoodnewsJUNE 13, 2018thevillagefreepress.orgBroadview public works investigation closed Village officials, however, aren’t saying what they discovered By IGOR STUDENKOV Contributing ReporterBroadview appears to be moving on since an ABC 7 investigation conducted last May indicated that some village employees may have been using a public works facility for off-the-books auto repairs. Since then, two public works employees have been terminated and Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson said that the village has wrapped up its own internal investigation into the matter, but village officials are mum about what they found. Last year, ABC 7’s I-Team made public video footage that appeared to show public works employees running an off-the-books auto repair operation in a village-owned garage. Matt Ames, the village’s public works director, told I-Team investigators at the time that he was unaware of the operation. In addition to discovering the off-thebook repairs, the I-Team reported that Judy Brown-Marino, a village trustee, said that the board had “signed off on a large number of invoices for auto parts that just listed part numbers. Now she’s questioning if taxpayer money is being used for private repairs.” See BROADVIEW PUBLIC WORKS on page 3SHANEL ROMAINRUNNING FOR A CAUSE: Police officers from departments in Bellwood, Broadview, Forest Park, Maywood, Melrose Park and Westchester participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics on June 9.Police host Torch Run for Special OlympicsThe June 9 event, a multi-village effort, part of a national initiative By SHANEL ROMAIN ContributorOn Saturday, police officers from Bellwood, Broadview, Maywood, Forest Park and Westchester ran more than fourmiles in the rain — from the Westchester Police Department in Westchester to Constitution Court in Forest Park — for a good cause. The June 9 event was one leg of theLaw Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. The annual run, which is open to all employees of police departments and their relatives, takes place nationwide and See TORCH RUN on page 62thevillagefreepress.orgVillage Free Press | June 13, 2018OUT & ABOUT the village free press Editor & Publisher Michael Romain Strategic Consultant Kamil Brady Advertising Director Dawn Ferencak Editorial Designer Debbie Becker Advertising Design Support Andrew Mead Mark Moroney HOW TO REACH US Village Free Press c/o Wednesday Journal 141 S. Oak Park Ave. Oak Park, IL 60302 PHONE: 773-626-6332 FAX: (708) 467-9066 thevillagefreepress.org Twitter: @village free Facebook: @maywoodnews The Village Free Press is published weekly by Michael Romain. It is distributed free of charge at locations throughout Maywood. © 2018 Village Free Press We’re proud to partner with Wednesday Journal, Inc.Publisher Dan Haley“To learn to be human is to develop through the give and take of communication an effective sense of being an individually distinctive member of a community.” —John DeweyChambers unite for annual awards banquet On June 6, at Triton College, 2000 S. 5th Ave. in River Grove, the Bellwood, Maywood, Broadview and Melrose Park Chambers of Commerce hosted their annual Proviso Township Joint Chambers of Commerce annual scholarship and awards banquet. At least 300 people packed the college’s large dining space for the event, which featured J.B. Pritzker, the businessman and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, as the scheduled keynote speaker. Due to a family emergency, Pritzker didn’t take the podium. His running mate, state Rep. Juliana Stratton, spoke instead. Six young people received $1,000 scholarships while eight community members received awards for their service.$1,000 Annual Scholarship Award recipients John Dawson | Proviso Math & Chelsea James | Proviso Math & Shalisha Hill | Proviso West High Science Academy graduate who Science Academy graduate who School graduate who will attend will attend Southern Illinois will attend Howard University Northern Illinois University University Kayla Mendoza | Proviso Math Talia Robinson | Proviso Math & Joseph Douglas | Proviso East & Science Academy graduate Science Academy graduate who High School graduate who will who will attend who will attend will attend Bellarmine University attend Concordia University Miami University Bellwood Chamber of Commerce 2018 Award Honorees Business of the Year Award Civic Person of the Year Award Community Person of the Year Nicor Gas Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey Award | Pastor Pamela Lawrence (Meca Elementary) Maywood Chamber of Commerce 2018 Award Honorees Person & Business of the Year Distinguished Service Award Stan Community Service Award Award | Donald L. Williams Huntington (Maywood Public Eric Dean (Cintas Corporation) (State Farm Insurance) Library) Broadview Chamber of Commerce Melrose Park Chamber of 2018 Award Honorees Commerce 2018 Award Honorees Civic Person of the Year Award Business of the Year Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin Los Comales RestaurantMaywood swears in new police officer, a Proviso East grad During a regular meeting on June 5, members of the Maywood Board of Fire and Police Commission conducted a ceremonial swearing-in for the police department’s newest officer and he’s homegrown. Chris Fuqua, a Maywood native, attended Proviso East High School, where he played basketball, before going on to play for Triton College and Valley City State. At Triton, Fuqua helped the Trojans advance to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in the 2005-06 season. He also earned all-conference and all-region credentials before signing with Valley City State in 2007. At the same meeting, Maywood police officers Michael Babicz and Daryl Fairley were both presented with their promotional certifications from the commission. Babicz is now a sergeant and Fairley is now a lieutenant. In addition, former Maywood Police Officer Pirsia Allen, who retired this year, was presented a merit award from Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. CONTACT: thevillagefreepress@gmail.comVILLAGE peopleDistrict 89’s Skittles match wits and skills with the world’s best Each May, more than 1,400 of the highest-scoring Destination Imagination teams from 45 states and 14 countries travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to showcase their innovative solutions to various Challenge in the STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Math) fields. This year, a team of District 89 students were among that elite pool of teams. The Destination Imagination Global Finals, held May 22 through May 27, allow students from around the world to compete in a tournament that requires them to think outside of the both onTHE SKITTLESinnovative solutions to various Challenges. The students also took courses on making props and costumes with balloons, among other skills workshops. The six-member Skittles team from District 89 placed 32nd in the Instant Challenge, which requires students to “quickly assess a situation, make a plan, and work together to create a solution in a very short period of time,” according to Destination Imagination’s website. The Skittles placed 45th overall. CONTACT: thevillagefreepress@gmail.comthevillagefreepress.orgVillage Free Press | June 13, 20183Broadview daycare in jeopardy as village moves to sell Precious Heart Daycare’s owner said has to be out of property by June 30By IGOR STUDENKOV Contributing ReporterFor the last 13 years, Gloria Lynch has been operating Precious Heart Daycare out of a village-owned building at 2301 W. Roosevelt Road in Broadview. But now, the village is looking to sell the building and it wants Lynch out by June 30. In the meantime, Lynch said in anBROADVIEW PUBLIC WORKS Issues resolved? from page 1 At the time, the I-Team reported that one public works employee had been suspended. In addition, the Cook County Inspector General and Broadview’s attorney both launched investigations into “whether a private auto repair business was run out of Broadview Public Works. The attorney was also “reviewing the conduct of Public Works Director Matt Ames after learning what the I-Team uncovered.” The ABC 7 investigation was televised less than two months after Thompson was elected to succeed former Broadview mayor and current trustee Sherman Jones. During a regular board meeting on Dec. 16 — when trustees were debating whether or not to authorize the “temporary and probationary” hiring of a part-time and fulltime laborer in the public works department — Thompson said that dealing with the scandal had consumed most of her attention when she first got into office. She said the two hires, in addition to a cashier, would be the first since she was elected last April. “We had two [public works] employeesinterview last month, she’s been trying to secure a loan so that she can purchase the building herself. If that doesn’t happen, the livelihoods of nearly 100 people — from kids to employees — could be upended. Matt Ingersoll, Broadview’s special counsel, said that the village is trying to get out of the landlord business. “The village’s primary role is to provide services like picking up trash,” he said in a phone interview last month. “The role of a landlord – it’s a bit burdensome. It would be better if private citizens owned the property.” There has been some disagreement between village officials and Lynch about the leasingterminated — one full-time and another part-time and we haven’t replaced them,” Thompson said. “They are needed in those departments. The department is shortstaffed.” At the time, a motion required for the authorization of Thompson’s three recommended hires failed for lack of a second. Since then, the board has approved the hiring of a full-time public works employee. At a March 19 regular meeting, the board voted unanimously to hire Jay Green as a new full-time employee in the department. But the status of other issues related to the public works scandal — such as the inquiry into the conduct of Ames, who still works for the village, and whether or not taxpayer funds were used for private repairs — is still murky, since village officials won’t release any details despite conceding that an internal investigation has closed. After a request for more information last month, Thompson confirmed that the investigation is closed but she didn’t provide any additional details into the matter. Matt Ingersoll, Broadview’s village attorney, also wrote in an email that he was also unable to speak about the investigation. And the public works department did not respond to calls seeking comment. In late May, Village Free Press filed a FOIA request with the village clerk’s office, asking for “any reports related to the conclusion of the internal investigation regarding thearrangement Broadview had with Precious Heart. Ingersoll said that, to the best of his knowledge, the business had an annual lease with the village until Dec. 31, 2012. After that, the lease became month-to-month. Lynch, on the other hand, said that while there was an agreement about how much rent she would pay, the village never set anything down on paper. Both sides agree that her ability to pay rent wasn’t an issue. Lynch said that the village moved to evict her in December 2017. After she met with village staff members in February and May, the deadline was pushed back – first to the end of May and then to end of June. But deadlines can only be pushed back for so long, so Lynch has been trying to buy the property herself. She said that she tried to get a personal loan, but that didn’t work. Now, she’s trying to get a business loan. As of late last month, she did not know whether she had secured the loan or not. Ingersoll said that Broadview has no issue with Lynch buying the property, but it alsowanted to give other potential buyers an opportunity to purchase it. Lynch said that she hoped she’ll be the one who buys the property — for the sake of her employees and the families who rely on the daycare. She said she’s been operating Precious Heart in Broadview for 13 years, but has had the business for 20 years. She said that she’s put around $100,000 of her own money into making the space usable. Currently, Lynch said, the business employs 15 people and takes care of around 60 kids from Broadview, Maywood, Bellwood and other nearby suburbs. “With [the village] trying to rush it, it’s hard, because I’m trying not to lose my business,” she said. “And that’s a lot for [families] to deal with all of the sudden.” Multiple attempts to contact Lynch about the status of her business loan application and any alternative plans she may have for her business if she can’t remain at her current location were unsuccessful. CONTACT: thevillagefreepress@gmail.comScreenshotCASE CLOSED?: After an ABC 7 I-Team report showed footage that appeared to be Broadview public works employees conducting private auto repairs, the village vowed to do its own investigation. The results, though, are still unknown..MATT AMESalleged misconduct of now-former employees of Broadview Public Works as documented by ABC 7 News in the spring of 2017.” In response to the records request, Clerk Kevin McGrier replied in an email on June 6 that the village “did not generate any reports related to the aforementionedinvestigation.” Attempts to reach out to officials with the Cook County Inspector General on the status of that investigation into the Broadview Public Works department were unsuccessful. More as this story develops. CONTACT: thevillagefreepress@gmail.com4thevillagefreepress.orgVillage Free Press | June 13, 2018D209 hires new HR head in second board vote Anthony Brazouski will start July 1By MICHAEL ROMAIN EditorThe second time was the charm — at least when it comes to Anthony Brazouski, who was hired as Proviso Township High Schools District 209’s new assistant superintendent of human resources, safety and athletics. The school board voted 4-3 to approve his appointment at a regular meeting on May 8. The vote came roughly a month after the school board had initially voted 4-3 against Brazouski’s appointment at a regular meeting on April 10. Brazouski, who starts on July 1, will receive a base salary of $144,960, in addition to $15,040 that will be put into the Teachers Retirement System. Health and dental benefits total $33,980. Brazouski replaces Kim Waller-Echols, who announced in April that she was resigning to join another school district. He comes to D209 from various schooldistricts in Wisconsin, where he has worked as chief academic officer, chief executive officer and executive director of academic achievement. According to district officials, he has been a consultant for the district for two years and once applied for the principal position at Proviso West. Brazouski earned a doctorate in Advancement of Leadership, Learning, and Service and a master’s in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University. He has a bachelor’s degree in English literature and education from Marquette University. According to a statement released by district officials on June 1, Brazouski has deep personal roots in Proviso Township — particularly in Melrose Park, where he grew up. “I am proud to join a school district that has for over a century provided excellent educational opportunities to the community, including members of my own family,” he said in the district statement.Board members Della Patterson, Theresa Kelly and Amanda Grant had been against Brazouski’s hire since Supt. Jesse Rodriguez recommended him to the board in April. They argued that the process that resulted in Brazouski’s appointment was not fair and echoed concerns of some people on the hiring committee, specifically members of the teachers union, who said that Brazouski was not the best candidate to have emerged from the multi-tiered hiring process, which included four parts, including writing and interview components. Since then, Rodriguez and other board members have pointed out that some of the claims made by those on the hiring committee were based on inaccurate information. Rodriguez and several board members have since noted that Brazouski was, by far, the most qualified candidate in the hiring pool. Board Vice President Sam Valtierrez switched his vote, making Brazouski’s hiring possible. Valtierrez said he changedBroadview giving out free smoke alarms The initiative is part of larger community outreach effort By MICHAEL ROMAIN EditorBroadview residents can now receive free smoke alarms as part of an initiative implemented by the Broadview Fire Department, the nonprofit Illinois Fire Safety Alliance and Office of the State Fire Marshal. “The Be Alarmed! Smoke Alarm Installation program provides smoke alarms and fire prevention materials to Illinois fire departments in an effort to both educate residents on fire safety as well as to provide them with lifesaving devices in their home,” Broadview Fire Department officials said in a recent statement. “Smoke alarms are the most effective early warning device there is,” said Anthony Monks, a Broadview fire inspector who reached out to those other organizations about the initiative. “Just having a working smoke alarm in your home reduces your chance of dying in a reported fire in half.” As part of the program, Monks will install the smoke detectors free of charge, conduct a non-punitive safety inspection and help families create a safety plan in the event of a fire. “Our program includes educating residents to have a home fire escape plan, so they know what to do if the smoke alarm sounds,” Monks said. The Be Alarmed! program is part of a more comprehensive array of community outreachefforts planned throughout the summer that the fire department will have a role in administering. Broadview’s certified car seat installers (Firefighters Scafidi and Nolan) can install infant or toddler car seats and explain all of the safety features for new parents, daycare providers, grandparents and others who are responsible for taking care of infants and toddlers. Contact administrative assistant Kris Murphy at (708) 343-6124 (dial zero) to make an appointment. On June 21, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the Broadview Fire Department will host a “Meet Your Firefighters BBQ” at the fire department. The firefighters and paramedics “would like to show you what it takes to provide excellent service to the community. They will explain the roles they provide and give safety tips as well.” On June 29, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the village of Broadview will host a women’s leadership camp at the Broadview Fire Department, 2400 S. 25th Ave. in Broadview, for young women, ages 11 to 15. The camp, #WeCanToo, is designed to give young women insight into the requirements and demands of community leadership, and tips on working in areas of the workforce that were once male dominated. The camp is free and lunch will be provided. For more info or to secure a spot, contact administrative assistant Kris Murphy at (708) 343-6124 (dial zero). CONTACT: thevillagefreepress@gmail.comhis mind after receiving more information about the hiring process, adding that his vote in April regarding Brazouski’s hiring was based on “hearsay” instead of factual information. “Just because I might have changed my mind doesn’t mean that I’m not looking out for the best interests of my students, parents, community or teachers,” Valtierrez said. “The information is right there. It’s on paper, it’s not hearsay. Last time, unfortunately, I made a mistake. It was hearsay.” Board President Ned Wagner said that after he reviewed the hiring process, “it seemed to be complete, fair and handled properly.” He added that the decision to put the matter back on the agenda for a second vote was cleared by the district’s legal counsel and that the hiring falls within the board’s nepotism and hiring policies. CONTACT: thevillagefreepress@gmail.comTeach them to fish, feed them for a lifetime Maywood trustee’s fishing trips open to young people, 10 to 15 By MICHAEL ROMAIN Edi
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