Oak Park’s Sixth Annual Earth Day Festival

It may have been raining outside on Saturday, but Mother Nature was in full bloom indoors at Oak Park’s sixth annual Earth Day Fest.

The event was held at 201 South Blvd. and had over 40 green businesses and organizations from organic farms, recycled material books, and pet products. There is even a new green initiative grocery store coming to Oak Park, where all of their products are grown by farmers who do not use pesticides or hormones.

Maria Onesto Moran, owner of Green Home Experts and the coordinator of the event said that approximately 900 people will come though the event each year and that it has always been very well attended.

“It is always easy to get the vendors to come out each year. These people are very passionate about what they do and it is obvious by looking at them. They are not just sitting behind their tables. They are engaging with the people and talking about how excited they are about their products,” Onesto Moran said.

This year, the waste management trucks were available for children to climb inside, honk they horn, and get to see how the trucks operated.

“We hope to continue this event in rain or shine for years to come,” Onesto Moran said.



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Easter Egg Race at Taylor Park

by Lisa Knych



Children racing to pick up brightly colored eggs in a field.




The Easter Bunny makes an appearance to take pictures with children and their families.

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Berwyn Alderman Proposes Free Vehicle Stickers for Veterans

by Danielle Golab

Alderman Ted Polashek of the 6th ward in Berwyn released a new proposal that would grant free vehicle stickers to veterans.

Polashek thinks that this proposal will make a positive statement in Berwyn. He believes that this proposal will show gratitude for veterans as well as their families.

“I feel that if you are a veteran than you deserve a vehicle sticker. You cannot put a price on their service. It is a small gratitude to show them our appreciation” he says.

Senior citizens already get free stickers so if the proposal were to be approved then veterans would just have to show proof of their service in order to obtain a free sticker.

Polashek says that he has gotten some criticisms but he has also gotten a lot of support and appreciation from the community as well.

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Berwyn Park Districts Loose $800,000 after Gov. Rauner Makes Grant Suspensions

By Lauren Pinkston

Berwyn parks are losing close to $800,000 in grants due to budget cuts made by Gov. Bruce Rauner. Park districts across the state are affected by grant suspensions, including the Berwyn Park District and North Berwyn Park District.

Jeffrey Janda, executive director of the Berwyn Park District, explained the Berwyn Park District is loosing two grants. One for $87,500 that was intended to be used for land acquisition for a new park. The second was for $306,600 to renovate and redevelopment existing parks, especially their water drainage systems

The North Berwyn Park District is also reported to be losing about $400,000 in grants. Joseph Vallez, executive director of North Berwyn Park District, was unavailable for comment.

Janda explained the suspension could not only make these projects unattainable, they will affect potential job opportunities, storm water management, and currently existing programs. Continue reading

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South Berwyn D100 Elects Four New Board Members

by Danielle Golab and Alejandro Cortez

Voters in South Berwyn split their tickets in Tuesday’s elections, choosing school board members from both slates of candidates competing for four seats in District 100.

Lisa Clemente, Jennifer Mitchell and Mark Titzer had run on one slate; Elizabeth Jimenez had run on a competing slate.

District 100 was the only contested race for Berwyn election. Candidates for the Berwyn School Board, Morton School Board and North Berwyn Park board all ran unopposed.

Turnout was less than 9 percent, with only 1,402 of the city’s 16,709 registers voters casting a ballot, according to the Cook County Clerk’s Office.

Clemente led the election with 748 votes, followed by Jimenez, who is the first Hispanic woman elected to the school board, with 747 votes. Third in line was Mitchell with 744 votes. The fourth place was taken by Titzer with 730 votes.

According to Jimenez, district 100 has a population of 81.6% Latinos. Jimenez says that this sends a message of how huge an impact it makes when most of the population is Latino as a support for her campaign.

“I am proud and at the same time humbled to have the opportunity to serve the Berwyn Community,” she said after the election.

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Supreme Pizza from Paisan’s Pizzeria Voted Berwyn’s Best


Photo courtesy of BDC

By Lauren Pinkston

Paisan’s Pizzeria and Bar, 6226 W. Ogden Ave, won the Berwyn Development Corporation’s promotional “Berwyn’s Best Pizza” competition last month. Paisan’s Supreme Pizza, topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, came up the winner..

Waldo Cooney’s Pizza, Bubba’s Place, Benny’s Pizza and Nonno’s Pizza also competed for the award, determined by a public poll and blind taste test by local foodies and public figures, including Brendan O’Connor of Big Guys Sausage Stand, Brian Pabst of the City of Berwyn, Alma Ortiz of BMO Harris Bank, Jamie Kucera of Pav YMCA, John Aranza of Autre Monde Café & Spirits, and Nancy Vesecky of Vesecky’s Bakery.

According to Stacy Stott, General Manager, Paisan’s Pizzeria set itself apart from the competition.

“We use super premium ingredients and everything is made from scratch daily,” said Stott, “It’s a very cool place with excellent service.”

Paisan’s Pizzeria also offers new specialty pizzas every Friday and is planning to open a new location in Lisle.

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The Friendly Tap Opens Internet Café in Response to Local Demand

By Lauren Pinkston

Friendly Tap patrons now have a place for coffee and conversation in the morning, as well as stronger beverages at night, with the Roosevelt Road bar adding an Internet lounge.

Customers had been asking for , “a place in Berwyn to hang out and have coffee in a social environment,” said owner Rob Pierce. So he opened the lounge last May

Pierce made some renovations to create a warm, lounge vibe, inspired by artistic coffee houses found in New York City’s Greenwich Village in the 1960s. In addition to coffee, the lounge serves flavored sodas, mimosas, bloody marys, muffins, bagels, and other simple breakfast foods.

“People really enjoy it,” Pierce said. “It’s a really easy place to hang out and it’s one of the more social coffee house environments I’ve ever experienced.”

The Friendly Lounge is at 6733 W. Roosevelt Rd. and is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m..

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In the Flesh at Wire

by Lisa Knych

Pink Floyd hasn’t toured in years, but fans can get the sound and feel of the iconic English band at the Wire music club on April 10 when In the Flesh comes to town.

In the Flesh is from the Chicagoland area with original band members Paul Willaert on guitar and Pete Papageorge on vocals, with five other band mates who are excited to play at Wire for the first time.

“It’s our first time there, and we couldn’t be more excited about the new partnership with Wire. More than any other venue in the area, it’s real focus is live music- excellent sound, great lighting and stage, it’s an amazing place to see a band,” Willaert said.

Fans can see In the Flesh on Friday April 10, 2015 at 9 p.m. at Wire, 6815 Roosevelt Rd, 18-and-over show.

Tickets are $10 and half price admission at the door with a college I.D. Check out their Facebook event page and Promotional ad for the show.

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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


Children coloring and doing crafts.


Girl making homemade slime for cornstarch.


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?


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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