Heritage Middle School Mathletes Add It Up

by Lisa Knych

Morton West High School recently hosted a junior high math competition for their feeder schools. Heritage Middle School attended the competition with 13 participants from both seventh and eighth grade. The team was coached by Margaret Navolio, an eighth grade math teacher at Heritage Middle School and another seventh grade math teacher. The team had students who placed second and third in some of the individual events, Navolio said. The team event randomly put students from each school on teams together; four students placed in the team event.

Leave a comment

Filed under Awards and Honors, Education

Berwyn Attracts Same-Sex Couples

by Lisa Knych

Since the early 2000s, Berwyn has continued to become a more diversified community.

In reports from the 2000 to the 2010 Censuses, Berwyn has had a 41 percent increase in households reporting same-sex couples. It is also among the top five cities in the state with same-sex couples per 1,000 households, according to the Berwyn Development Corporation’s promotional web site, http://www.whyberwyn.com

Berwyn’s marketing campaign efforts have drawn these couples in throughout the years, according to BDC officials.  Amy Crowther, the BDC’s director of chamber services, said the “marketing campaign focuses its efforts with outdoor advertising in high traffic areas of Chicago. Other campaign tactics include radio, digital, social media and outreach.”

Third ward Alderman Margaret Paul remembers the initial drive.

“That campaign began in approximately 2007,” she said. “It was called the ‘Why Berwyn’ campaign and it focused on showing people in Chicago how conveniently located Berwyn was to Chicagoland points of interest.”

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Mission House Café Serves Coffee and Compassion

by Lauren Pinkston



Mission House Café, tucked away in a renovated Victorian home in South Berwyn, brings customer service and community outreach together by using profits from serving food and beverages to benefit local and global charities.

The café’s handcrafted refreshments and rustic atmosphere makes it stand out from the average coffee shop.

Berwyn’s Assemblies of God Pentecostal Church runs the café; its children’s pastor, Joshua Brniak, manages it on a day-to-day basis.

“My goal as the manager is to provide a warm and inviting environment while serving the highest quality coffee and food around, meet and build connections within our community, and provide a meeting place for people from all walks of life,” Brniak said. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, Culture, Food, Leisure and Recreation, Social Justice, Social Services

Pav YMCA Hosts Snow Days for South Berwyn Students

by Lauren Pinkston

Berwyn working parents now have a safe and supervised place to take their students during district emergency closings. Stephanie Robinson, School Age Childcare and Family Director at Pav YMCA, collaborates with South Berwyn district 100 to host a “fun-filled,” emergency closing day when the district cancels school.

“This is a great way for parents to know their child is safe, while they’re at work,” Robinson said, “It is convenient and we allow drop ins, so those parents who cannot take the day off when their children are out of school have a place where their child can go.”

During inclement weather closings, school-aged children are invited to engage in a variety of entertaining activities while their parents are away at work.

“Our program starts at 6:30 a.m. and goes until 6:00 p.m. From 6:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. our staff takes registration and plays board games, cards, or other quiet activities,” Robinson said, “9 a.m. – 4 p.m. is our program time where we swim, play in our gym, do art projects, and engage all of the children in a large group activity.”

The event hosts about 10-20 children on average and costs $20 or $25 for members and nonmembers respectively. The YMCA has hosted emergency closing days on Jan. 7, Jan. 5, Feb. 2, and Feb. 19 this school year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Leisure and Recreation, Schools, Social Services

Pre-trial for Cicero murderer continues

By Elisa Juliano

Erick M. Maya. Photo courtesy of Will County's Sheriff Office.

Erick M. Maya. Photo courtesy of Will County’s Sheriff Office.

The pre-trial of Erick M. Maya of Cicero will continue on May 23 at 9:30 at the Will County Courthouse.

Maya’s, of the 5600 block of Park Avenue, pre-trial began on April 15. Maya is being represented by a public defender.

Maya was charged on March 18 with shooting a woman and her daughter outside of their home in Romeoville, Il.

The daughter Briana Valle, 15, was in a relationship with Maya prior to the shooting. The couple allegedly met in 2012 on Facebook.

Valle was pronounced dead on Feb. 17 at  Loyola University Medical Center. Valle died from sustained a gunshot injury to the head.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Police and Fire

‘Pinkolandia’ receives three stars

By Elisa Juliano

Maritza Cervantes as Beny and Hannah Gomez as Gaby in Pinkolandia. Photo Courtesy of Anthony Aicardi.

Maritza Cervantes as Beny and Hannah Gomez as Gaby in Pinkolandia. Photo Courtesy of Anthony Aicardi.

Chicago Tribune writer Kerry Reid gave the 16th Street Theater’s performance of “Pinkolandia” three stars in her review.

Reid said ” light and projections design, soundscape and a spare but retro set” allowed  audience members to easily transition between imaginary and real scenes.

Reid also stated under director Ann Filmer’s guidance adult actresses made for “believable kids.”

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Awards and Honors, Culture, Theater

Volunteers help to beautify South Berwyn

By Elisa Juliano

Photo Courtesy of South Berwyn Park District.

While some may be relaxing on Saturday, Apr. 26, volunteers will be working to cleanup South Berwyn.

Check-in for the “2014 South Berwyn Earth Day Kickoff” will begin at Hermitage Middle School at 8:15 am. The event will take place from 9-12 pm.

“It’s a chance for volunteers to get together and beautify South Berwyn,” said Hillary Fulara, a recreational programmer for Proska Park.

Fulara said volunteers will focus on cleaning up designated areas and preparing the community gardens at certain schools.

“It’s part of our strategic plan to institute or install environmental literacy among our residents,” said Fulara of the event.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Leisure and Recreation, Schools, Seasonal

Committee receives new member

By Elisa Juliano

Architect Emilio Padilla was appointed to the Historic Preservation Committee at the city council meeting on March 25th.

“Emillo’s resume is quite impressive and he will do a fine job at his commission,” said Mayor of Berwyn Robert Lovero.

Padilla was sworn into office by city clerk Thomas Pavilk. Following being sworn in he posed for pictures with the mayor.

He currently works for BauerLatoza Studio. The company was founded in 1990 and has received over 30 design awards.

Padilla has worked on numerous projects including the restoration of the six iconic domes at the Museum of Science and Industry and the restoration of the DuSable Museum roundhouse.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, Politics

7th Annual Wellness Fair

By Elisa Juliano

Heritage Middle School’s gym was buzzing with many adults and children attending the 7th Annual Wellness Fair on March 13.

The fair had many exhibition booths and lots of free give aways. McNeal Hospital, the YMCA, the Berwyn Police Department, the Berwyn Fire Department and many other organizations participated in the fair.

In addition to visiting the many exhibits, attendees were also able to participate in numerous activities ranging from relaxing massages to adrenaline pumping exercises.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, Food, Health, Police and Fire, Schools, Uncategorized

District 100 to pilot PARCC test

Chicago Public Schools faced many issues during testing week with students opting out and parents and teachers boycotting the test. Berwyn schools however have heard no fuss about testing and are set to pilot a new standardized assessment.

Some Berwyn students will be taking the The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test instead of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test the week of March 10-21.

“The PARCC test is the test that all the students of Illinois will be taking next year,” said Jane Bagus, the assistant superintendent for the South Berwyn District 100.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, Schools, Uncategorized

Special Spaces gives Berwyn teenager’s room a makeover

Special Spaces Chicagoland knows that for children with life threatening illnesses a room can be a place of comfort.

Julissa Alvarez, a thirteen year old Berwyn resident with a rare form of cardiac cancer, received a room makeover this Tuesday from Special Spaces.

“I like the colors and everything, its a girly girl room,” said Julissa.

Julissa with her parents and siblings pose for a family portrait in her newly decorated room.

Julissa with her parents and siblings pose for a family portrait in her newly decorated room. (Photos courtesy of Special Spaces Chicagoland)

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Health

Comedian films at local lounge

By Elisa Juliano

While most of the crowd at Cigar and Stripes BBQwere enjoying beers, 12-year-old Trevor Burke was sipping chocolate milk waiting to perform.

On Feb. 5 comedian Trevor Burke filmed the pilot for his new reality TV show at the neighborhood restaurant and bar in Berwyn.With cameras, microphones, and directors on deck Cigar and Stripes BBQ looked more like a Hollywood movie set.

“I’m kind of transforming from a kid doing stand-up comedy and acting into something huge,” said Trevor.

The show will follow Trevor’s journey to perform comedy while often being rejected by clubs because of his age. Trevor, a St. Charles resident, is only 12-years-old, most clubs have a 21 and over age restriction.

Trevor said his humor appeals more to adults than children.

While most were drinking beer and cocktails Trevor Burke sipped on chocolate milk.

Trevor Burke taking a break and playing on his phone.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, Food, Leisure and Recreation, Music, Theater

Memorial expected to attract 50,000 to Berwyn

By Elisa Juliano

Photo courtesy of Berwyn Park District.

Photo courtesy of Berwyn Park District.

This summer the Berwyn Park District expects many will flock to Berwyn to see “The Moving Wall” on display at Proska Park.

“Through our marketing efforts the number that has been thrown around is 50,000 people,” said Hillary Fulara, a recreational programmer for Proska Park.

According to Fulara, Aurora hosted the wall in November and received over 150,000 visitors.

“The Moving Wall” has been touring the county for almost 30 years and is a half-size replica of the Veterans Vietnam Memorial located in Washington, D.C.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Awards and Honors, Leisure and Recreation, Police and Fire, Seasonal

Berwyn Annual Healthy Heart Fair makes a change

By Elisa Juliano

Berwyn’s annual Healthy Heart Fair will not include a blood drive this year.

“This will be the first Healthy Heart Fair where we don’t have a blood drive,” said Tina Kloess, the registered nurse of the Berwyn Public Health District.

Kloess explained that it was too difficult for participants to fast 12 hours before their appointments and then donate blood.

“To give blood you need to make sure you’ve had a nice meal and are well hydrated,” said Kloess.

Kloess said that a blood drive would be held in the future.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Health, Social Services

Bubbles and magic in the air at local laundromat

By Elisa Juliano

The World’s Largest Laundromat had a few tricks up its sleeve, presenting customers with a magic show and free pizza this Wednesday.

James Sanden, a local Chicago magician, entertained the children of customers with card tricks, disappearing acts and balloon animals for about two hours. Customers also snacked on free cheese and sausage pizza delivered fresh every 20 minutes.

In the past the laundromat has hosted other magicians such as Mary Macaroni.

According to his website, Sanden has performed in Japan and Costa Rica, in both Japanese and Spanish.

The laundromat does pizza night every Wednesday and free coffee and donuts daily. Sanden is set to perform again at the laundromat on Feb. 16 at 4:00 p.m. and March 12 at 5:00 p.m . For more information visit www.worldslargestlaundry.com.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leave a comment

by | February 2, 2014 · 7:07 pm

Identity thefts hit Berwyn

There have been seven reported identify thefts in Berwyn since Dec. 3. Sgt. Joe Santangelo said these cases are currently under investigation.

Santangelo gave tips on how to avoid being a victim of identity theft. Never throw away credit cards without first shredding them. Be careful about what information you save onto the internet; don’t save your social  security number or passwords on any web page.

“You can check your banking website regularly to watch your accounts,” Santangelo said. “There are also trusted websites that do a free credit check to monitor your accounts.”

Two of the seven identity thefts occurred on the 2200 block of S. Kenilworth. Two more occurred on S. Euclid. Other cases occurred on Harvey, Elmwood and Grove.

Leave a comment

Filed under Homes, Police and Fire

Christmas spirit in the Depot District

Santa and his reindeer visited Berwyn’s Depot District last night for Berwyn Development Corp. “Deck the Depot” to get the city into the Christmas spirit.

Santa's car

Santa’s car

Visitors enjoyed free horse driven sleigh rides, trolley rides and a petting zoo. They even got to sit on Santa’s lap to tell him their wish list and get a free photograph.

Berwyn girl telling Santa what she wants for Christmas

Berwyn girl telling Santa what she wants for Christmas

The event also collected new unwrapped toys for the “Holiday Cheer Program” in Berwyn and canned goods and non-perishable food items for Berwyn Food Pantries at participating businesses with collection boxes.

Donated goods

Donated goods

Depot District merchants stayed open late offering some complimentary goodies. Also, there was a raffle worth more than $200 for adults 21 and older who spent $10 in the Depot District. Open Houses took place at Giovanni’s World’s Best Ribs Inc, Olive or Twist Martini Bar, BMO Harris Bank N.A., The James Joyce Irish Pub, Off the Traxx and Wishbone.

Sleigh riders say hello

Sleigh riders say hello


The 12th Annual Deck the Depot was presented by Santa Sponsor Suburban Life Media and Reindeer Sponsors The James Joyce Irish Pub, Off The Traxx and La Notte Café.

Leave a comment

Filed under Leisure and Recreation, Seasonal, Uncategorized

An option for Illinois residents without health insurance

Get Covered Illinois is a new website, launched Oct. 1, that allows people to find the right health coverage.

“For the first time in U.S. history, quality health coverage is available to you regardless of your current health, income level or employment,” according to the website.

The website, set up by Gov. Pat Quinn, allows Illinois residents to review their health care and insurance options under the new Affordable Health Care Act as proposed by President Barack Obama, according to State Representative Lisa Hernandez.

Jose Espinoza is a state-certified Navigator for Get Covered Illinois who facilitates enrollments and assists those interested in coverage. He said Get Covered Illinois received money from a grant to serve cities out of Chicagoland suburbs. This enables Navigators like Espinoza to provide free assistance. 

“Community outreach and education is essential so our citizens know how this law works and what they need to do to get enrolled in they don’t have coverage,” said Espinoza. “Our goal is to reach as many people as possible and enroll those interested in doing so.”

Why is this so important now? People can only get coverage during special enrollment periods, according to Espinoza. Those who want coverage starting Jan. 1, 2014 need to enroll by Dec. 23, 2013. The final deadline for enrollment is March 31, 2014. Anyone who seeks coverage after this deadline must pay a $90 penalty. 

The first step in using this website is to go to getcoveredillinois.gov. The second step is to click “See your options.” This provide questions a user needs to answer that will decide if the user is qualified for Medicaid or for marketplace insurance.

For more information on how to get covered, visit Get Covered Illinois or contact Navigator Jose Espinoza at jespinoza@cbhonline.org or (312) 913-9449.

Leave a comment

Filed under Health

Berwyn business is booming

Existing businesses are improving and new businesses are opening all across Berwyn. In August, Mayor Lovero said  business development would be something to keep an eye on in Berwyn, and he was right.

“There were approximately 50 businesses that opened in 2013,” said Business and Licensing Supervisor Anthony Perri. 

This success can be attributed to business assistance provided by Berwyn Development Corp. Total investment in TIF areas, including Roosevelt Road, Harlem and Cermak, Odgen Avenue and the Depot District, rose from $4,135,141.74 in 2007 to $8,330,957.23 in 2012, according to Development Executive Director Anthony Griffin.

“There is a comprehensive approach set by the city of Berwyn that allows business to start up and improve,” said Griffin.

Berwyn Development Corp. has a number of programs and services to help with improving commercial areas and stimulating business growth, including TIF financing, commercial loans, micoloans, site location assistance, and technical assistance. 

“There have been more restaurants opening, giving Berwyn a more diverse food culture,” said Berwyn resident Iridian Hernandez. “It’s also good that Berwyn has more places to shop, and hopefully that will attract more young people to the community.”

“We take great pride in helping existing business adapt to new trends and helping new businesses open,” said Griffin.

All of the projects completed in 2012 include Meijer, Big Guys Sausages, Wing Boss, The Vitamin Shoppe, Verizon, Play N Trade, Off the Traxx, Karasek Park, J.D. Byrider, Lou’s Pizza and Beef, Collision Centers of America, Start the Party, Capri Ristorante & Catering, Bounce Sportsplex, Reel Art, Riddles Comedy Club and Chipotle.

For updated information on current and completed projects, visit http://www.berwyn.net/economic-development.

1 Comment

Filed under Business, Culture

Berwyn boys receive recognition

Julian Garcia (left) and Nathan Rodriguez (right)

Julian Garcia (left) and Nathan Rodriguez (right)

Mayor Lovero presented honorable mentions to Julian Garcia and Nathan Rodriguez for taking action to save a woman’s life on Halloween.

On Halloween night, the two friends visited a house in the 3700 block of Harvey Avenue. They knocked, but only heard barking dogs. The back door was open, so they looked inside and saw the woman laying on her basement floor at the bottom of the stairs. They immediately ran to alert their parents who called the authorities.

The woman, in her late 60s, said she had fallen down the stairs three days before and hadn’t moved since, according to MySuburbanLife.com. She had a cervical fracture and was treated for hypothermia.

“I am very glad of myself,” Rodriguez said after receiving awards. Garcia quickly agreed, “Me, too!”

Garcia and Rodriguez  are third-graders at Pershing School.

“The community is our eyes and ears, and these guys did a great job. We thank them,” said Police Chief James Ritz. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Awards and Honors, Police and Fire