COMMUNITY NEWS – March, 2013

| March 1, 2013


John Mick who was on the Leyden Board of Education for more than 19 years resigned from the position on January 24. John is a Regional manager for an engineering firm and felt that it was time to let someone else “have the wonderful experience of being a public servant.” Greg Ignoffo, Board president, was saddened to hear of his leaving but was grateful for the many years John contributed to the Board. John, or “Tex” as he is called, is an active member of the community and organizes the annual St. Patrick’s Day Party which this year will be held on March 15 at 6 pm at the Underpass Restaurant.


According to Mayor Brad Stephens, the company that operated a private video network in more than 150 shopping malls was scheduled to be sold at auction by its creditors.  Akoo is in receivership. Village officials paid Doyle Sign Company $19,850 to take The Akoo signage down and install on the building the new Rosemont Theatre signage. Originally, Akoo paid $1.5 million for the naming rights for the theatre.


Ever dream of a fantasy wedding? Well if you’d like to see a sample of one, mark your calendar for the weekend of May 24-26. Neil B. Shah of Hoffman Estates and the bride, Urvi A. Tailor of Des Plaines are planning a three-day traditional Indian wedding with over 600 guests. The wedding will be held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. Over the course of three days, there will be dancing in the street (made possible by police blocking off River Road) in which the groom’s side dances and walks over to the convention center to greet the bride’s side of the family. Other traditions include the Mehndi Ceremony where the bride and other females in the bridal party get ornate mehndi patterns applied on their hands and feet. Raas-Garba is a night of energetic and playful dancing that takes place before weddings. On the actual day of the wedding reception, May 26, the groom will arrive at the wedding hall in grand fashion with his dancing entourage. He will be traditionally garbed and riding a white horse! This promises to be a wedding not to be missed. Best wishes to the bride and groom!


The Balmoral Avenue extension project has chosen the contractors for the first phase. The two-phased , $59 million project calls for the widening of Mannheim from Irving Park Road on the south in Schiller Park to the I-90 overpass north of Higgins Road in Des Plaines. The second phase calls for extending Balmoral Avenue in Rosemont west over Mannheim Road onto O’Hare Airport property where it will connect with Bessie Coleman Drive near the International Terminal. The extension project will funnel thousands of additional cars and people in and out of Rosemont. The extension of Balmoral into O’Hare will provide a second entrance-exit into the facility. Those exiting O’Hare will travel east toward River Road funneling traffic right into the heart of Rosemont where the Akoo Theatre, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, MB Financial Park at Rosement, hotels, and the fashion outlet mall are located. Funding for the project will come from the State of Illinois and city of Chicago.


Since The Dome in Rosemont’s opening, bookings for tournaments, games and practice sessions have weekends sold out for months. The 140,000 sq. ft. facility if located on Pearl Street just south of Balmoral Avenue and west of the Tri-State Tollway. Two diamonds with outfield fences make up the dome facility. The Dome allows people a chance to play games and practice year round. The facility will also accommodate seven-on-seven indoor football games this upcoming April and May. There is no admission fee for softball and baseball tournaments and games within the facility.


Although video gambling is legal in Franklin Park, only three establishments have applied to open in the village, two of which are new businesses and one established.  The American Legion Hall also has them installed. Video gambling has the potential to be lucrative for some. The state gets 25 percent of revenue, the municipality 5 percent and a tracking company .7275 percent. The machine owner and the establishment split the rest. As an example of profits, Grand Avenue Entertainment in River Grove pulled in a net (after payouts) of $5,656 and Bellwood Memorial Post 5081 gained a net of $4,550. Many establishments feel it would help their businesses and make up for the lost revenue that the ban on smoking has taken away. They also feel they can at least compete in a small way with the Rivers Casino.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK.  Would video gambling be a plus or minus in your own town?  Let your thoughts be known.  Call us at 847-260-5670 or email us at  We will publish opinions in our April edition. Send by March 20th.


Village officials saw an opportunity to become more environmentally friendly, and jumped at it. They recently used a grant to install two electric-vehicle charging stations in the village.

The charging stations aren’t going to let anyone with an electric-vehicle cruise around for free – residents must register their vehicles, and can only use the charging stations for up to four hours, far 496_3138737-Electric-Carless than is normally required for a full recharge.

But Elmwood Park Village President Peter Silvestri said the EV charging stations are just a positive addition to the efforts to improve the environment. “It’s another step to become a greener community,” he said.

The two stations opened about two months ago. One is located behind village hall, 11 Conti Parkway; the other is in the village hall parking lot, next to the firehouse.

Elmwood Park Village Manager Paul Volpe said residents using electric cars or plug-in hybrids that run on electricity and gasoline must register their vehicle with the village before using thcharging station. They will receive a permit and it must be displayed during the charging session.

Volpe said at the present there isn’t much demand for using the charging station, but hopes that changes once the word gets out about it. “We certainly want to participate in the effort for more alternative fuel methods for cars,” he said. Use of the charging station is available to village residents 24 hours a day, but there is that four-hour-per-visit maximum. Also, reservations must be made with the village to use the charger and are taken on a first-come, first served basis.

Silvestri encourages residents to take advantage of it.

The idea behind the charging stations was that it “encourages residents to switch to using an electric vehicle and even if some don’t, having it available certainly helps improve the environment,” he said.

For more information on the EV charging station, call 708-452-7300.

Village Board approves deal for new McDonald’s restaurant

Part of Grand & Harlem Redevelopment project

ELMWOOD PARK – The Elmwood Park Village Board has approved a redevelopment agreement (RDA) between the village and Gullo Property, LLC to build a new McDonald’s restaurant near the corner of Grand and Harlem Avenues.

“This is another major step forward in our economic revitalization of Grand & Harlem,” Village President Pete Silvestri said. “We’re excited about the new revenue, jobs and activity this will mean to the village.”

Under terms of the agreement, the village will contribute to the development four parcels of land it has strategically acquired. The developer has a ground lease with McDonald’s, which plans to construct an approximately 4,000 square foot, single story, restaurant with a dual-lane drive-thru. The Elmwood Park restaurant will be independently owned and operated, as are more than 80 percent of McDonald’s restaurants.

“We’re glad to have McDonald’s as a new member of our vibrant and growing business community,” Silvestri said. “McDonald’s has always given back to its local communities either by supporting local charities or taking steps to improve neighborhoods.”

McDonald’s corporate office says that the new Elmwood Park restaurant could create up to 60 new jobs. In addition, the company says that on average, its restaurants return more than 47 cents of every dollar earned to local economies.

The Grand & Harlem redevelopment plan has been underway for several years and includes a new Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Market on the northwest corner. More recently, the Village has launched a variety of improvements, including new streetscaping, lighting and a new welcome sign for the village. It’s part of President Silvestri’s and the board’s ongoing program to keep Elmwood Park clean, safe and beautiful.


The Land of Lincoln Health, Inc., board of directors has appointed William Donahue, 52 of Schiller Park, interim president of Land of Lincoln Health, a consumer operated and oriented plan. Donahue was the president and CEO of New York Life’s group health plans in the 11-state Midwest market and was formerly the CEO of United Healthcare of the Gulf Coast region in Florida. Within the insurance industry, Donahue has focused primarily on the startup and turnaround of life and health insurance companies. His experience in managing both publicly traded and mutual companies gives him a unique perspective on the inner workings of insurance companies. Donahue is an alumnus of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Dominican University.

 EARTEarth_ImageH HOUR

On Saturday, March 23rd at 8:30 p.m., thousands of cities around the world will go dark for one hour during Earth Hour, WWF’s annual campaign that raises awareness on environmental challenges.

Villages participating are asking residents to turn off their non-essential lights and take part in Earth Hour. Learn more at


The Cook County Radon Awareness Program is encouraging residents of Cook County to test their home for radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep into a house through cracks in the basement floor and walls, around the openings of the sump pump or through crawl spaces. It’s easy to test for radon and it’s simple to fix your home, if necessary. With people spending more time indoors due to the cold weather, now is the ideal time to test.

As a part of our Radon Awareness Program, Cook County and the State of Illinois distribute radon information and detector kits. The kit can be ordered for the low cost of $7 through the Cook County Department of Environmental Control. It can be obtained by mailing a check or money order, along with their return address, to:

Cook County Dept. of Environmental Control

69 West Washington Street, Suite 1900radon radon_testkit

Chicago, IL 60602.

The only way to know if you have radon in your home is by testing. Should a home have high radon, the names of licensed specialists in radon reduction can be provided.

For questions, residents may call the Radon Awareness Hotline at 708-865-6177 and leave their name, address, and phone number. Additional information is also on our website at

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) states that radon is associated with 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year. Almost 50% of the homes in Illinois and nearly 30% of the homes in Cook County that were tested by professionals had radon levels higher than what is recommended by the USEPA, according to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
See below links to two helpful handouts from Cook County regarding Radon. Please contact the Cook County Radon Awareness Hotline at the number above if you have any questions. 


The Greater O’Hare Chapter of IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals) will be holding their annual Spring Luncheon fundraiser on April 13 at the Rosewood Banquets in Rosemont. Their speaker will be giving a history of candy in Chicago. The IAAP is the leading professional organization for all administrative professionals. This is the group that holds the office together to get things done. Door Open 11:30 am. Cash Bar, Raffles. For further information contact Liz Dorgan, 312-865-2670 or email


Did you know that Melrose Park has a computer resource center available for all Melrose Park residents?  It is also available for corporate meetings.  DSC07511It’s located at 1270 Winston Park Plaza, Melrose Park. For further info call 708-865-5745.  Hours are Monday-Friday 10 am to 10 pm and Saturday 9 am to 7 pm. Closed Sundays.  This is a FREE resource center for village residents.  DSC07510







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Category: Articles, Community News

About the Author ()

Barbara is the publisher of People and Places Newspaper which she started in August of 2011. A lifelong resident of Schiller Park, she always felt it important that residents needed to be kept informed about their communities. Since newspaper coverage for Schiller Park stopped about twenty years ago, she made it a goal to bring a newspaper back to the area. She tries to include all of Leyden Township in her reporting and wants to keep true with the mission of the paper to "inform, educate and entertain."

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