Berwyn's Arts Blog
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
CARE/Strategic Planning Community Meetings
As many of you know, Berwyn needs to improve its education system. I am a charter board member of a new group, or CARE, Citizens Aligned to Renew Education, which formed approximately six months ago under the care and tutelage of 3rd Ward resident Shelley Titzer.

At last night's CARE meeting, the Presidents of School District 98 and 100 were present and announced Strategic Planning Community Meetings, which is where you the resident get to attend and suggest positive ideas to better our schools.

School District 100, which encompasses the south end of town, is having two Strategic Planning Community Meetings. The firest is Monday, May 8, 2006, at Freedom Middle School. The second is on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 at Heritage Middle School. Both meeetings begin at 7:00 p.m.

School District 98, which encompasses the north end of town, is having its Strategic Planning Community Meeting on Tuesday, May 9, 2006, at Lincoln School, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

If you can, please attend and show your positive suppport for Berwyn's education system. After all, a strong education system makes for a strong community.

Sunday, April 23, 2006
April 11, 2006 City Council Meeting
This was a long meeting, with sixty items on the agenda. I will write about the relevant items.
The landscaping tabulations were picked: McAdams will be in charge of Ogden Avenue and the Depot District. B. Davids will be doing Cermak Road.
The North Berwyn Park District by agreement with the City, will be providing services at the 16th Street Community Center.
City Vehicle stickers' prices will not be raised for the coming year.
All ice cream truck drivers will now be fingerprinted.
Berwyn will now be working with the Illinois Housing Development Authority concerning its affordable housing programs.
An ordinance passed on a 5-4 vote, with the Mayor breaking the tie, wherein all buildings located in the City will have 100 amp main breaker circuit breaker panels.
Fees for working without a permit, i.e., putting a new roof on and not getting a building permit, have been increased. Almost all work in Berwyn requires a permit. Please check first or pay the price.
Again, 5-4 vote, wiht the Mayor breaking the tie, fees for compliance and occupancy certificates will not be raised.
An ordinance was passed wherein when the City reviews plans for a permit application, there will be a non-refundable deposit. If you apply for the permit and do the work, the deposit will be credited to the permit fee.
An ordinance was passed in which I voted against the passage, wherein Committee of the Whole meetings can only take place on City Council meeting weeks, so now, there can only be Committee of the Whole meetings during two weeks of the month.
An ordinance was passed, wherein if someone buys a house "as is", and the price of repairs is estimated to be less than $3,000.00, then rather than putting money in escrow, an attorney's letter will suffice.
An ordinance was passed wherein awnings erected over a business can now have a name, adress, phone number and website place on the awning.
The speed limits on Windsor and Stanley from Ridgeland to Harlem will now be 25 mph, down from 30.
Since there are two policeman retiring, the City has allowed 3 new patrolmen to go the Police Academy. This means that there will be one new policeman. The budget gave money for 3 new policemen this year. 3 is the optimal amount of policemen to go to the Police Academy, so when one more policemen retires or leaves this year, we will get to hire the 2 additional policemen.
The gravel lot at the library will be paved this year.
The Berwyn Development Corporation will be reviewing the retail overlay maps/plans to address the shortcomings and ineffective passages so that the overlay will make sense.
A $35,000.00 loan was approved for Kaleidoscope Kids located at Hoome and Windsor.
A banner desing has been approved by the City Council to be hung from light poles. Hopefully, the banners will start appearing on light poles by the end of the year.
The City Council meeting set for April 25, 2006, shall be quite interesting.

Finally, please remember that my second 3rd Ward Town Hall meeting is taking place on Saturday, April 29, 2006, at 10:00 a.m. at Trinity Church, located at 26th Street and Riverside. Continental breakfast will be served.

Monday, April 17, 2006
CARE(Citizens Aligned To Renew Education)
The next C.A.R.E. (Citizens Aligned to Renew Education) meeting will be at Irving School (35th and Clinton) on Monday, April 24th at 7:30pm. in the Teachers' Lounge. Agenda items include a good news report from each district, reports from existing committees, and a discussion regarding the implementation of a new discipline structure at Morton West. Please come and bring a neighbor!!

If you care about education, please join us.

Berwyn House Tour, June 6, 2006
The tour will take place Sunday, June 6 from Noon - 5:00. I will need approximately 50 docents for that day. Docents will serve one of two - 2 1/2 hour shifts and will receive a free tour ticket.

After the morning docents complete the first shift they can go on the tour until the tour ends at 5:00 p.m. The afternoon docents can go on the tour before they start their afternoon shift. Their shift begins at 2:15 p.m. Each docent will be stationed in a particular room in one of our six tour sites. They will have short written scripts that will be prepared by Doug Deuchler, author of our "Berwyn" book. House captains will be on hand at each tour site to also help docents.

We have approximately 30 docents signed up at this time. If you know of anyone who might be interested in helping, please send them to me at my shop Serendipity Antiques, 6733 Stanley, Wed.- Sat. 11:00 - 6:00 and Sun. Noon - 5:00 and I will personally sign them up.

Thanks - Lori Thielen, 795-6733,
President, Berwyn Historical Society

Monday, April 10, 2006
Special City Council Meeting, March 30, 2006
The 2006 budget passed.

City Council Meeting, March 28, 2006
Printed below is the events of the March 28, 2006 City Council Meeting as depicted by a 3rd Ward resident. Kudos.

Oh what a council meeting it was… Again I’m going to skip the items that were of no consequence, bored me, are a matter of routine, or I can’t think of anything witty to say. Actually, that would mean all the items… scratch that last one… Also, due to hitting paste instead of copy, I’m doing all of this from memory… some days it’s just better to stay in bed…. I need a Fresca.Anyway… Alderman Weiner is on holiday with his wife and was excused.
(B) OPEN FORUMThe Berwyn little league thanked everyone for their sponsorship and participation, and announced that for the first time ever, North and South are going to be in a league together. Never fear though… the South will rise again.An irate gentleman who’s name I did not catch, but do know that he organized the Berwyn Nite at Sox Park last year, scolded the council and mayor for their behavior and inability to get something as relatively simple as a parking ordinance in place among other things. He literally yelled at them, which prompted Tom Pavlik to remind him that he’s allowed to speak to the council, not yell. Obviously this only pissed off the gentleman even more. When he was through, he walked out the rear door and got a few “atta boys” and “right ons” from the crowd as he passed… including one from me. As fired up as this guy was, it’s probably good that he left because someone surely would have died at his hands had he stayed and saw what transpired.
(D) BID OPENING - TABULATIONS1. 16TH ST. COMMUNITY CENTER REHABThe bids were opened but not awarded. The building director felt the lowest bid was a little too low and needed investigating.
J) BERWYN DEVELOPMENT CORP.-BERWYN TOWNSHIP/HEALTHDISTRICT1. BDC- ENVIRONMNTL AGR & REVISED NOTE & PAYMENT SCH-SEDGWICK2. BDC-CITY WIDE BANNERS3. BDC-SEDGWICK ZONING VARIANCESThese items were brought forward. There was discussion and confusion surrounding them. The clerk was confused as to what line items were being voted on when and what had been combined with what… I don’t blame him… nothing on the agenda seemed to match what they were talking about except the banner item.I believe that within these items (no notes, can’t be sure) there was a voice vote on one item that the clerk asked who voted nay, but the Mayor said it did not matter as it was a voice vote. The clerk explained that he wanted the minutes to accurately reflect the votes so that they wouldn’t have to be amended at the next meeting. The Mayor insisted that it didn’t need to be done. Then Alderman, Lovero and Chapman volunteered that they voted nay, prompting the mayor to sarcastically tell the clerk to do a call of roll “to make sure you get it right”… not so sure I would have handled it as well as he did… much less the second and third time he said it throughout the meeting.For the most part the motions were approved.The citywide banners were also shown. One was a sunrise and the other a kinda dopey looking stained glass window design. Both had the verbiage: Rediscover Berwyn. I’m not a fan of it. To me it implies negativity in the past. But the panel of citizens seemed to like it and I’m sure they know a good marketing slogan when they hear it. My suggestion? This item was sent to COW.
(E) REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE MAYOR1. PROC-NATIONAL LIBRARY WK-APRIL 4-8, 2006Reading is a skill. The Mayor is on board.The motion passed.2. APPROPRIATION ORD-2006 BUDGETHere’s where things took a hairpin turn for the worse. Before the clerk was done reading the statement, Alderman Erickson made a motion to deny. The Mayor cut him off and asked what the motion was denying. Erickson said the motion was to deny approval of the budget. It was seconded and went to a roll call vote.Alderman Chapman stated that she had a three page statement, but wouldn’t read all of it. The Mayor patronizingly told her, “Please read all of it… by all means…” (paraphrasing) and then leaned back in his chair and put his arm up on the side of his pulpit. Body language clearly demonstrating his disdain… Alderman Chapman said her piece and voted aye. Alderman Ramos asked if there was enough money in the budget for the changes made in the public hearing earlier that evening. The Mayor snottily says that it’s right there in the budget… which had not been distributed to them. Not exactly sure what he was actually voting for… Alderman Ramos said nay… making sure that he wanted to approve the budget.Skryd wanted to move on and also voted nay.Brocato wanted more time to review it and voted aye. As did Phelan, Lovero, and Erickson.The motion to deny approval of the budget passed. Or, the budget was not approved.
(2) HR. PRKNG SIGNS-GROVE TO HOME AVE.Aldermanerman Lovero was assured that these signs would be removed immediately from Cermak road.The motion passed.
3. CHAPMAN –WATER RATESAlderman Chapman just wants to move on. I think we all agree. The motion passed.
5. CHAPMAN-LIMITATIONS OF COW MEETINGSI’ll lump these two items together. Basically the meetings must end by 10 unless a 2/3 majority votes to continue discussion. This is to prevent late hours and/or Alderman walking out of the discussions.
(I) STAFF REPORTS1. LAW DEPT. CITY & NBPD AGREEMENTOn this item Alderman Lovero made a motion to excuse Alderman Phelan. The Mayor, for whatever reason, insisted that Phelan state why. Alderman Phelan said that everyone knows why, but the Mayor said he wanted to hear it anyway. So remember, if you’re going to ask to be excused, you damn well better have a reason why.Discussion ensued. Alderman Phelan offered an explanation and was rebuked by the Mayor telling him that if he has excused himself, he should not speak. Never mind that he’s on the NBPD board and has intimate and needed knowledge…The motion passed.
2. H.R. DIR-SEASONAL RECREATION DEPT. EMPLOYEESThe hiring freeze was waived for summer employees. Phelan voted nay. I’m guessing on principal, but I’m guessing we’re talking about teenagers and college students getting summer jobs here. How will they buy dope and get into keggers in the fall semester Alderman Phelan?
3. BLDG DIR-AMEND ZON ORDINANCES – SEC-1422 &1424The Building Director wants to change the plumbing code from Chicago to Illinois code, and the electrical code from Chicago to National code. Apparently the Chicago codes are not as progressive.Alderman Chapman wanted an example cause she didn’t understand the difference. The Building Director pulled one out of his butt and tried to explain it. Alderman Chapman, not being a plumber, did not understand. There was back and forth which ended up with the Building Director telling her that if she doesn’t understand where he’s coming from then do what you want. In some cases you just need to defer to the resident “expert”. The motion passed.
5. BLDG DIR-TERMINATION-CRYSTAL MAINT. CLEANING SERVThe $hit can is rolling for Crystal Maintenance who’s performance was deemed as “sub-par”… and if they’re responsible for cleaning the restroom at the police station I’d say that calling it “sub-par” is extremely generous.Alderman Chapman wanted to point out that the city doesn’t need just the cheapest bidder, but the most qualified as well. The motion passed.
6. BLDG DIR-3301-27 EUCLID-CONSTRUCT PUBLIC PARKING GARAGEMacNeal parking garage. There was a great deal of back and forth on this issue both in this meeting and in COW. The discussion was they don’t want to MacNeal to go thru the process of developing a proposal of what they want to build without the public’s input, but can’t get the public’s input without knowing what MacNeal wants to build.What a conundrum… If I understood correctly zoning is going to hold a public hearing to gauge the public sentiment, which unofficially is not positive, towards the garage.The motion passed… I think… who knows.
E. SIDEWALK & CURB & GUTTER REPAIRSBy this point most people were walking out and or holding side discussions, but all were approved. At least that’s what I heard.

Third Ward Town Hall Meeting is on April 29, 2006, at Trinity Church, 26th and Riverside, 10 am, continental breakfast to be served.

Neighborhood Watch Captains are needed, as always. All you need to do is contact me or the Police Department. This is a great way to positively get involved in the community. You are the link between the residents and the Police. MarkWeiner1@Hotmail.Com or 708-484-7512.

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