Magic, Games, and Sing-A-Longs, What More Can You Ask for?

Mary Macaroni returns to the World’s Largest Laundromat entertaining children with games, sing-alongs, and magic. It was held on Wednesday from 5p.m.-7p.m.

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World’s Largest Laundromat is located at 6246 Cermak Rd., Berwyn, IL, hosting events that incorporate children to interact and makes it a much fun and easier way for parents to do laundry. Their children stay entertained.

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Dr. Suess Birthday Party at North Berwyn Community Center

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Children coloring and doing crafts.

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Girl making homemade slime for cornstarch.

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Berwyn fire fighters read Dr. Suess stories to children.

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Same-sex Marriage Rises at Berwyn

Berwyn has become one of the Cook County’s top three suburbs for same-sex marriage licenses during the past year..

The Cook County Clerk’s office released statistics on Feb 18, almost a year after a federal judge gave the go-ahead for Cook County to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The statistics show 59 marriage licenses were issued in Berwyn. Neighboring Oak Park was in second place with 119 licenses. North suburban Evanston was in first place, with 142 licenses.

same-sex couples

Courtesy of Cook County Clerk’s office

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Berwyn Development Corporation Gears Up for 2nd Annual Green Mile Pub Crawl

by Lauren Pinkston

The Green Mile Pub Crawl gives revelers a chance to get a jump on St. Patrick’s Day with a March 13 party along Berwyn’s Roosevelt Road.

Don’t expect too many marching bands, however.

Organizer John Aranza said it will highlight Roosevelt Road as a “destination point”.

“It’s not a typical St. Patrick’s day parade,” Aranza said, “It’s more to showcase the quality of businesses we have.”

Local businesses, such as Fitzgerald’s, Big Guys Sausage, Autre Monde, and others will host special music performances and food and drink specials for the evening.

And this year the organizers are going to showcase more musical acts, including the Band of Brothers Pipes and Drums.

“Band of Brothers is a group of retired firefighters from the Illinois area who play traditional music,” Aranza said. “They’ll be moving to different locations on Roosevelt to play bagpipes throughout the night.”

The Pub Crawl is set to kick off on Friday, March 13 at 5 p.m. and going to  11 p.m. Wristbands for the event costs $10 and include a shuttle service down Roosevelt Road as well as drink specials at participating venues.

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Berwyn Public Library Hosts Anime Monday for Teens

Berwyn teen anime fans come together to enjoy the Japanese-style animated movies and television shows at the Berwyn Public Library with like-minded fans individuals each week.

Marion Olea, invites anime fans to come together every Monday.

“I think it’s just a unique event to expose themselves to this big culture of anime,” said Marion Olea, the library’s teen services assistant. “It’s a nice way for them to unwind and experience anime for themselves.”

Currently attendance at Anime Monday maxes out at about eight young adults, but Olea hopes to encourage more attendees by including snacks and alternative activities in the future.

The Berwyn Public Library, located at 2701 Harlem Ave., has been hosting Anime Mondays for about one and a half years. Anime Monday takes place every Monday from 4 – 5 p.m.

 

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A pothole or a black hole?

Pothole

Bad winter weather has led to bad pavement conditions in Berwyn.

Outside the Beauty Marty on 7105/7107 Roosevelt Rd., in the Cappuccino Plaza, a large hole has formed.

“People complain all the time,” said John Cho, owner of Beauty Mart.

No one has come to fix the pothole, he said last week.

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Berwyn Tests Positive For Lead in Water

by Cory Lesniak

Berwyn residents are in the midst of a year of testing for lead in their water after high levels of toxic lead had appeared in their water lines for the second time in four years.

According to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) the City of Berwyn has exceeded lead in 1992, 2011 and most recently in 2014. After the last round of tests by the city Some Berwyn water customers received a flyer explaining the problem in November, according to Kim Biggs, a spokeswoman for the IEPA said.

The IEPA has given Berwyn until Oct. 1 to identify the lead service lines and remove 7 percent of the lines they own. Berwyn’s water comes from the City of Chicago but the pipes the water flows through is to blame.

“Many of the service lines may be owned by homeowners, so the city would not be responsible for removing those lines,” said Dave McMilan, manager of the Division of Public Water Supply at the IEPA.

Additionally, Berwyn has to take and test 60 waters samples for lead and copper in the first six months of 2015 according to the IEPA.

Berwyn officials say they’ve already been doing the testing.

“The program absolutely exists, we’re full blown into it. We do the advance sampling (30 to 60) samples. Anyone with a water tap or a water meter by law must receive one of these mailers (pamphlets),” said Kristofer Hasman, Water Plant Operator for City of Berwyn said.

The City of Berwyn has always added a chemical called orthophosphate to the water. Berwyn pumps this chemical into the water system to limit lead and copper, which is normal according to the IEPA. Continue reading

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Berwyn is Still Using Waggin’ Tails Animal Shelter Despite Recent Controversy

by Danielle Golab

It’s business as usual at the Waggin’ Tails animal shelter in Cicero, despite reports of neglect and ongoing protests among both Berwyn and Cicero residents.

In November, Chicago television station WFLD aired pictures of dead and abused animals. The photos were taken by people who said they were volunteers at the shelter. Cicero President Larry Dominick attacked the report as false and the volunteers as liars. Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero also has spoken out against the critics.

Recently, a Facebook-based petition drive has gathered 500 signatures calling for an investigation of the animal shelter, review of the employees, publication of health and death records, the hiring of an independent veterinarian to evaluate all animals at the shelter, a public apology from Dominick and the reinstatement of the volunteer program.

The petition organizers plan a rally at Cicero City Hall at 1 p.m. March 8.

Another group, Animal Welfare Advocates for Rescue Excellence, also known as AWARE has met with Cicero spokesperson, Ray Hanania, to discuss changes in the shelter. AWARE will be putting together a proposal for the Cicero town board. One of the topics discussed on the proposal will be concerning the volunteer program.

Some Berwyn residents are also concerned because stray animals in Berwyn go to Cicero’s Waggin’ Tails since the two cities signed an intergovernmental agreement for animal control since March of 2010.

But Dominick’s attacks has not slowed down the critics in Berwyn and Cicero.

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Berwyn Health Department Talks Vaccines

by Danielle Golab

Berwyn health officials are confident that the city’s children will be safe from measles, which is spreading in other parts of the country because of some parents’ resistance to vaccinations.

Nurse Tina Kloess at the Berwyn Health Department said that Berwyn is “not taking extra precautions at this point in time because there have been no outbreaks in the area”.

Students are required to provide records of vaccinations to their schools. Many vaccinations are needed in order for a student to be enrolled in school.

Kloess said that there are many different vaccinations that children need by a certain age. By kindergarten every child must have five — DTaP, polio, measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations.

By sixth grade children must have a hepatitis, Tdap and meningitis vaccine. Influenza vaccines are optional.

Kloess said that every school year nurses go over students’ records and see if they are vaccinated or not. If they are not they are put on a susceptible list and are not allowed to return to school until they show proof of vaccinations to the school. And

Oct. 15 is an exclusion day for children who have not been vaccinated. They are not allowed back in school until they show proof of vaccination.

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Obama’s Community College Plan Could Impact Morton College in the Future

by Danielle Golab

A new plan created by Obama concerning community college may affect Morton College in the future.

President Obama’s plan for free community college would have a direct impact on Morton College, the institution’s president said.

Obama’s plan would apply to students who attend a community college at least half-time. These students must also achieve and maintain a GPA of 2.5. If students meet this criteria, then their tuition would be removed.

The federal government would pay three-quarters of the cost of college tuition. States who decide to partake in the plan would cover the remaining funds.

Morton College President Dana Grove said he thinks that this will affect all community colleges. He says that enrollment at community colleges will increase.

Although increased enrollment is an advantage to community colleges, there could also be some disadvantage to this. Increased enrollment could also mean increased burdens to community colleges, he said, because it is an open door policy.

This can mean an increase in remedial students and remedial courses. The new plan could also increase a demand for teachers and possibly even more facility space.

Grove guessed that enrollment could increase anywhere between 10 to 20 percent.

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Turano’s Neighbors Prevail in Court

by Alejandro Cortez

Neighbors of Turano Bakery have won a legal victory as a judge has halted the demolition of homes and construction of parking lots behind the Roosevelt Road factory.

At a Feb. 10 hearing, Cook County Judge Kathleen Kennedy ordered the bakery and the city of Berwyn to comply with the city ordinances and receive a zoning permit for the work on the parking spaces.

Since then, Turano has stopped all demolition until it gets its paperwork in order. Neighbors had initially stopped demolition when Judge Kennedy gave them a temporary restraining order against Turano in late January.

“The TRO (temporary restraining order) has been dismissed and Turano is currently in the process of doing the application for a zoning permit but it has not been presented yet,” Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero said last Friday.

A November n explosion and fire at Turano’s parking garage, across Roosevelt Road in Oak Park, put the bakery in a jam. It needed a place to park its delivery trucks.

Later, Berwyn’s 8th District Alderman Nora Laureto wrote a letter to Lovero and the City council stating,

“I am asking for City Council approval to allow Turano to move forward as quickly as possible for demolition and graveling of the area.”

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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.

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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.”

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Mission House Café Serves Coffee and Compassion

by Lauren Pinkston

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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

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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.

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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.

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‘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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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