Friday, September 30, 2016

The Straight Story on 'Stop and Frisk'

Opinion by John T. "Red" Ryan

WE HAVE RECENTLY heard the term "Stop and Frisk" used
in reference to Law Enforcement in New York City as if it were an exclusive program for that municipality. The references were made as the term became a major discussion point concerning the most recent civil disturbances in Charlotte, N.C.; as well as the previous incidents in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore, Md. and Staten Island, N.Y.   

IN REALITY, THE term is one that has been around in usage in both judicial and law enforcement circles for well over 50 years now. The term is a reference to the authority of the state and, in particular to the authority and powers of its police; primarily, front and center in these powers is that of arrest.

WHEN WE HEAR of "arrest," our thoughts automatically picture someone being taken into physical custody, being charged with some violation of state statutes or local ordinance, being printed  and photographed and having to post bail. Most of this that we've just described is actually the booking process. The "arrest" part is really limited to the original stop made by the cops on individual(s). Much in the same way that arrest is used in the medical parlance as "full cardiac arrest"when one's ticker has stopped, so arrest in the area of police work means those instances where a field stop is executed.

IT IS IN the gray area of police work that "Stop and Frisk" owes its origin. The principle provides a sort of rule to follow for the cop on the beat as an investigative tool. As defined briefly, this police power is the application of good judgement when the officers are confronted with what the courts have described as "suspicious conduct" by one or more persons. For example, a group of youths emerging from an alley at 2:00 a.m. This would certainly require a look-see and an investigation. Questions in need of answering would include: Are they under aged  (curfew violation), do they have any business there, have they been engaged in any other illicit activity?

UNDER THIS DOCTRINE, officers conducting such a field interrogation would do a preliminary search (pat down, 'frisk') of the individuals in question to insure that they possess no dangerous weapons. It is a matter of safety for the police. Inasmuch as there has been no criminal conduct one might question if the pat down and weapons search was legal.

WELL, OVER THE years, all courts (until some recent litigation in NYC) have consistently upheld the legality of the "stop and frisk" tenet of law enforcement. One federal judge went so far as to declare the this rule of conduct is, if not so stated, is implied by the very unpredictable situations that are typical of police work.

THIS SORT OF patrol activity is not only preferred by the police departments; but is encouraged, even required to do our job properly. The various administrations of the CPD all have encouraged vigorous application of the Stop and Frisk as a fundamental activity of patrol. But rallying the "troops" to enthusiastically embrace the activity has often been less than highly successful, save for one occasion in our memory.

THE YEAR WAS 1972, and  it was in October. That was some eight or nine years before Chicago cops had a labor contract and prior to the Fraternal Order of Police being chosen as the bargaining agent (union). The militant "Young Turks" on the job were a part of the Confederation of Police (or C.O.P. for short). The membership of C.O.P. voted to have a job action prior to the city budget's being finalized. What they chose was a "ticket blitz" which consisted of writing every traffic ticket to as many people as possible. This was essentially causing many, many more street stops than was the norm, by far.  After a few days, Deputy Superintendent James Rochford admonished the men in the press as if they were doing something wrong.

BUT THE DARK secret that the city administration never acknowledged was that there were some really positive results from this "take no prisoners" style of traffic enforcement. What we, the public were never told was that this stepped up enforcement led to a significantly lower accident rate in Chicago. Not only that, but there was a sudden spike in the number of stolen auto arrests, illegal guns, narcotics and warrant  arrests; all due to all of those traffic stops.  The irony of this being that the police organization did so well what all of the big bosses failed to do.

ONCE AGAIN WE remind all that the courts have upheld the doctrine of "stop and frisk" as being legally permissible. Hell, man, it should not be just allowed; but rather compulsory! (Just think of all of those garage burglaries and auto break-ins that we experience on the Southwest Side that could be prevented!)
~ ~ ~

John T. “Red” Ryan is a retired Chicago police officer and Garfield Ridge resident.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Razpachos Celebrates its Second Anniversary; You're Invited to the Party!

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

A second anniversary celebration is coming this Saturday,
October 1 at Razpachos, 5611 S. Pulaski. You're invited!

bright, cheerful, comfortable storefront paletería, Razpachos features unique, custom-made, delicious frozen treats and much more--including no fewer than 40 (yes, 40!) different varieties of paletas (frozen treats on a stick).

The celebration runs from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, October 1. Five different treats will be available for just $2 each--about half price.

Those five treats are Gazpacho Moreliano, yogurt with fresh fruit, strawberries and cream, corn in a cup and la Escamocha.

There also will be music and raffles at the festive celebration of culinary success.

What sets Razpachos apart is its quality, customer service
Manuel Bucio
and ambiance, according to Manuel Bucio, an information technology and marketing professional who is one of Razpachos' owners.

But really, what's an I.T. guy doing running a paletería?

It has to do with cherished childhood memories.

"All these products we're selling, I remember eating as a kid in Mexico," he recalls.

Bucio grew up (from age 5 to 15) in Morelia, the capital city of Michoacán.

Strawberry paletas
"In the 1940s, paletas were essentially re-invented in Michoacán," he notes with a bit of pride. "Making paletas there is done by hand--it is considered an artisanal process. That's what we do here at Razpachos. Our paletas are not made by an industrial process. We really put ourselves, our creativity, into this. I really believe it's an art form."

That's the kind of thing that's missing from so many
Oreo paletas, a customer favorite
paletería and neverías on the Southwest Side, he believes.

"When I moved to West Elsdon 15 years ago, there was only one place around here, but it was over on Kedzie--and they did a good job," he recalls. "Then in recent years, all these other places started popping up, but they all had one thing in common: they didn't have quality, and they weren't using authentic recipes."

Lime, a cool treat any time of day or evening
"That's what I think Razpachos brings to the table," he continues. "We only use the best and freshest fruit, cream and other ingredients. We use authentic recipes, yet we also are flexible enough to listen closely to what our customers tell us and adapt to their tastes. Several of our paletas that we sell regularly started off as customer requests."

"So I know I can improve the product, I can improve the taste, I can improve the experience," Bucio adds. "I think that's what helps set us apart from other places. It's not about just going and buying something. You come in here, we'll make it right in front of you, chop the fresh fruit, add fresh cream and so forth. This is an environment where people can sit down, relax and enjoy." 

It's also a place for families to make happy memories.
Razpachos is much more than desserts. Freshly made tortas and more!

"When we first opened, a couple of our customers were pregnant women with cravings for something sweet," Bucio says. "Well, they had their babies and today, their children come in with them. It is my hope that we'll get to see those little boys and girls grow up here, coming back again and again as they start school. Who knows? Years from now, they could be working here," he adds with a smile.

Offering top quality in everything means that prices at Razpachos are just a little higher than what you will find elsewhere.

Razpachos even offers freshly-squeezed orange juice!
"But we will not compromise on that--only the best for our customers," Bucio says. "For us, that has been a good recipe for success because we have earned a reputation where you know you will receive the best quality--and if that means you pay a little bit more--well, OK.

Razpachos is open seven days a week, 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.--year-round, even on holidays.

Razpachos currently has a staff of seven, and is looking to hire bright, cheerful people.

See you on Saturday?

# # #

Pets welcome at St. Sym's blessing

Pet owners are welcome to bring their dogs, cats, rabbits,
turtles, birds, ferrets, fish and other critters to receive a blessing at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 in the parking lot of St. Symphorosa Church, 62nd and Austin.

The blessing will be part of a three-hour pet event that starts at noon, featuring adoptable pets from the Animal Welfare League, a food truck for dogs, a concession stand for people, and more.

# # #

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Sweet Little Girl Needs Your Help

Has it really been three years since we first reported the news about Alexandra Toma?

These kids grow up so quickly, right?

Well, here is an important update from Alexandra's mom, Bridgett:

"We have taken things a step further and have established our foundation, an official 501(c)(3) Non Profit organization, Alexandra's Ambition Foundation. The mission of our foundation is to assist children with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita in obtaining the medical and therapeutic care they need to enhance their quality of life. We will be hosting our 1st Annual Race to Walk in October.

"We, the Toma family--Alexandra and her family (mom, dad, sisters, Abby and Audrey, and brother, Aiden)--now live in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Mom, Bridgett and dad, Tim, were born and raised and lived in Clearing on the Southwest Side until Tim's job took us to Kenosha. All of our family and friends remain on the Southwest Side, which is where our hearts and most of our doings remain. Our foundation, Alexandra's Ambition Foundation, is based on the Southwest Side of Chicago.

"Alexandra has continued to thrive over the past three years.
She is now 3 1/2 years old and started school in the special education program last October. She loves school and is doing well. Alexandra still faces many physical challenges related to her condition, Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC) but has learned to adapt in an effort to accomplish her activities of daily living. Although Alex's legs still don't work at this point, we remain hopeful that with continued therapy and the right tools, she will be up on her feet one day. Despite the obstacles Alexandra faces everyday, she is a happy, life-loving little girl who strives to get all she possibly can out of life. We thank all for their continued support."

Remember, folks, even if you can't make it to the 5k on October 2, you can still make a donation. More details at

# # #

Original Southwest Chicago post story from FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2013:

A Sweet Little Girl Needs Your Help

Passing along information about an important fundraiser for a sweet little girl whose parents are originally from the Southwest Side.

Alexandra's mom attended St. Rene and St. Symphorosa schools, and then went on to Mt. Assisi Academy. Dad attended Hale School and went on to St. Rita High School.

Please help if you are able. Thanks!

# # #

Friday, September 23, 2016

"Jurassic Park' Coming to St. Sym's

Dinosaurs coming to Clearing? Yes, at least on the outdoor
screen at St. Symphorosa Church, 62nd and Mason.

The award-winning thriller "Jurassic Park" will run at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, September 24.

No admission charge.

Event will be held rain or shine. (If it rains, the film will be shown inside.)

Pet-friendly event, assuming your pet is friendly. Bring the family dog, if you want.

Bring a picnic basket if you'd like. There also will be a concession stand with hot dogs, nachos, cotton candy, etc.

This family-fun event is sponsored by the St. Symphorosa Parish Transformation Team.

See you there?

# # #

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Annual Pumpkin Parade Set for Oct. 29

The 2016 Pumpkin Jamboree Parade is set for Saturday,
October 29.

The parade will step off at 11 a.m. at Archer and Nordica, travel east on Archer to 55th Street, then continue east to Merrimac, then turn south and end at Wentworth Park.

The annual event is hosted by U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) and 23rd Ward Alderman Michael R. Zalewski. 

The parade will feature entries from local businesses, fire departments, police departments, Scout troops, civic organizations and marching bands.

At the parade's end, the fun will continue costume judging, free hot dogs, refreshments and treats.

Any organization interested in participating in this year’s
Pumpkin Jamboree Parade should contact Frank Salerno at Lipinski’s office at (773) 948-6223.

Here's a bit of Throwback Thursday: to check out a few images from the 2012 Pumpkin Parade on Archer, click here:

# # #

Updates on Archer Business Concerns

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

An impromptu update of a handful of concerns in Garfield Ridge was offered at the September meeting of the Garfield Ridge Civic League, by business owner Al Cacciottolo.

The meeting was held at the TCF Bank branch at Archer and Austin. About three dozen people attended.

Perhaps the most visible of the handful of stagnant properties in the neighborhood is the old Garfield Ridge Trust & Savings Bank, 6353 W. 55th St., long an eyesore at the southeast corner of Archer and Narragansett.

“Here’s the problem with that building, and I’ll tell you why,” Cacciottolo told the GRCL audience. “The gentleman that owns that building paid a lot of money for it…$2.5 million. That building is now for sale for $1.9 million. That building is a total wreck inside. They’ve had major damage. I was in there about a month ago. It’s really bad inside. They had 20 feet of water in the basement, so there are mold issues. It’s going to take a lot of money to refurbish that building. I would rather see it just knocked down and something brand-new go up.”

Without revealing specifics, he said that several suitors—including a not-for-profit--have been looking at the 50-year-old building, and something could happen soon.

Cacciottolo said one thing that hampers commercial growth in the community is “the same old problem: everybody who owns property on Archer thinks it’s worth a million dollars. It’s hard to open a new business on Archer when you have to pay a million dollars for a piece of property and then put in another million in repairs.

“I tell you--I know if I had two million dollars, I’d be on a beach somewhere,” he joked, drawing chuckles and “Me, too” from a number of people.

Cacciottolo praised 23rd Ward Ald. Michael R. Zalewski and 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn for what he called their diligence in pressuring several property owners to get moving on developing their properties or sell to someone who will.

Several people at the meeting noted signs of hope on Cicero Avenue, especially near 65th Street, after years of stagnation.

“When it came to Cicero Avenue, nobody wanted to be a pioneer,” Cacciottolo said. “Everybody was waiting, waiting, waiting. So then development exploded in Bedford Park (on the west side of 65th and Cicero). And now that the City of Chicago has loosened some of its reins on its regulations, things are starting to happen on the other side of the street. So now there’s going to a hotel on the east side of Cicero, at about 65th Street—and then a hotel at 53rd and Cicero. A Lou Malnati’s [pizzeria] is near 66th and Cicero.

“You watch,” he continued. “Now that these things are starting to happen on Cicero Avenue, everyone and his brother are going to want to get in on it. There will be businesses flocking to Cicero Avenue.”

Cacciottolo reiterated what 23rd Ward Ald. Michael R. Zalewski said publicly earlier this year—that an ALDI concept store will be coming to the southeast corner of Archer and Harlem sometime in 2017.

He said that the recently-shuttered Joe & Frank’s Market building will be razed, along with two other buildings immediately south on Harlem Avenue, as well as “a couple of [nearby] homes” that have been purchased.

The result will be an L-shaped parcel that includes a “brand-new ALDI concept store, similar to the one at 132nd and LaGrange Road,” Cacciottolo said, “It’s going to be nice, it’s going to be clean, set back with plenty of parking. It will be a good addition to the neighborhood.”

He also said that the traditional warehouse-style store operated by ALDI at 5775 S. Archer (near Archer and Lorel) will be closed when the new one is open.

In response to a request for comment, ALDI Valparaiso Division Vice President Matt Thon ended months of silence on the issue and wrote, "We are committed to opening an ALDI store in Chicago at Archer Avenue and Harlem Avenue, with construction currently planned to begin in spring 2017 and an anticipated opening by the end of 2017.

"People have always known ALDI for its great quality at low prices and simple, efficient shopping experience. That hasn’t changed, but we have listened to our customers to provide even more of the products they feel good about. We offer an incredible variety of fresh produce, delivered daily to our Chicagoland stores, as well as USDA Choice meats, the liveGfree gluten-free product line, the SimplyNature line of products free from over 125 artificial ingredients and preservatives and our Never Any! line free from antibiotics, added hormones and animal by-products.

"We feel good about helping our customers save up to 50 percent on their grocery bills, and we look forward to continuing to serve the Chicago community."

Other news
“At Archer and Cicero, where Brandy’s [restaurant] used to be is going to be a Starbucks and a Corner Bakery,” Cacciottolo said, as the audience broke into smiles and nods of approval.

In response to a question Cacciottolo said that the shuttered Danny’s Pizza, 6021 S. Archer, will re-open later this year or possibly in the spring as a pizzeria owned and operated by its former competitor, Villa Rosa Pizza, 5786 S. Archer.

The shuttered Tina’s Pizza, 5440 S. Narragansett, should re-open within weeks as a restaurant/bar, he added. The husband/wife owners are local: “He’s a fireman and she’s a phenomenal Italian cook. They’ve gutted the whole inside, and it’s really going to be nice.”

The next GRCL meeting is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19 in the community room at the TCF Bank branch at Archer and Austin. All Garfield Ridge residents and business owners are invited to attend.

# # #

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

False Alarm: CPD Cancels Warning About Two Men Luring Schoolgirl

Update from CPD at 9:10 a.m. Wednesday, September 21:

"It was discovered that the victim and two individuals are friends. The victim and the two individuals often travel home from school together and were attempting to call the victim over to offer her a ride home. The two individuals thought it would be humorous to wear the masks."
* * *

Original story (below) from Thursday, September 15:

CPD Warns of Two Men Trying to Lure Schoolgirl Near 62nd and Narragansett

Chicago Police sounded a note of caution today (Thursday,
September 15) about two men who tried to lure an adolescent girl into their minivan near 62nd and Narragansett.

Police said that at 2:51 p.m. Tuesday, September 13, the victim was walking home from school when a light-blue Dodge minivan drove alongside her and stopped on the 6400 block of West 62nd Street. The passenger stated, "Come here!" The victim then ran home to safety, as the offenders followed in their vehicle.

The offenders were described as:

●Offender #1 (driver) – Believed to be a male 35- to 45-years-of-age, wearing a black bandana over his face.

●Offender #2 (passenger) - Believed to be a male 35- to 45-years-of-age, wearing a tan Halloween mask from the movie "The Purge" with dark clothing.

An image of the suspects' minivan, released to the press by CPD.

In the wake of the crime, police offered the following advice:

●Be aware of this situation and alert your neighbors.
●Call 911 to report any suspicious persons, vehicles or activity in your neighborhood.
●Do not let children walk or play alone. Identify safe havens along your child's route to school and home, such as businesses or trusted neighbors.
●Always be aware of your surroundings. 

Those with useful information to share about the crime are encouraged to call the CPD Area Central Detectives at (312) 747-8380 and refer to case HZ-43446.

# # #

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Be Safe, Not Sorry, Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch Says at Meeting

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

Garfield Ridge residents would be wise to be a little more
skeptical and a little less gullible, members of a local crime prevention group said this month.

“Compared to so many other places—city and suburban—Garfield Ridge has relatively little crime, so maybe it’s easy for us to forget that there are bad guys out there who want to separate us from our hard-earned money and our belongings,” said Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch President Al Cacciottolo at a GRNW meeting of about 40 men and women at Valley Forge Park.

In a recent month, Cacciottolo said he was told by a police source that some 114 vehicles parked in police Beat 811 (Garfield Ridge west of Central Avenue) were “opened up” by burglars in search of everything from high-end electronics to loose change to support drug habits.

He described them that way because the vehicles showed no sign of forced entry and were thought to be unlocked.

“That’s 114 people who left their cars unlocked,” Cacciottolo said, saying that police believe the vehicle burglars are a man and woman “just walking nonchalantly down the street, checking car doors. So please, lock your doors. It’s just that simple.”

He added that Chicago Lawn (8th) District Commander Ronald A. Pontecore has committed to adding extra resources to go after and stop the pair burglarizing vehicles in Beat 811.

“He’s really a great guy, and I think you’re going to like him a lot,” Cacciottolo said of Pontecore, noting that the new commander is expected to elaborate on his plans at the next GRNW meeting, set for 7:00 p.m. Monday, October 17 at St. Jane de Chantal Parish’s Ward Hall, 52nd and McVicker.

He also said there is evidence to suggest that an old phone scam targeting senior citizens is hitting Garfield Ridge.

“This just happened today: an elderly gentleman living near 54th and Narragansett received a call from a man claiming to be the police chief of a town where this elderly man’s grandson went to college,” Cacciottolo said. “The man claiming to be a police official told the elderly man that his grandson had been arrested and needs $5,000 for bail or else he’d have to stay in jail.

“So then this [fake police official] hands the phone to a young kid pretending to the grandson, and he starts crying on the phone and says, ‘Oh Grandpa, don’t tell Mom or Dad. I don’t want to get in trouble,’” Cacciottolo continued, adding that the elderly man believed the tale and went to a local bank to withdraw $5,000 cash.

Fortunately, he said, an alert bank official saw what was happening and alerted the elderly man’s daughter as a precaution. She, in turn, alerted police.

“In the end, no money was lost because the [fake police official] never showed up at the house,” Cacciottolo said. “He probably saw the real police car in front of the house, and that scared him away.”

He urged everyone in the room to spread the word to senior citizens on their blocks, regarding to confidence trick.

Also at the meeting, GRNW officials encouraged everyone to call their toll-free tip line, 1-855-811-TIPS, to report non-emergency information about crime in the neighborhood.

“Some people, including seniors, are uncomfortable calling police directly,” said GRNW board member Arlene White. 
This gives them an option to speak with us confidentially and safely—perhaps passing along information that could be important in preventing crime or solving a crime.”

The tip line played a role in the capture several years ago of a man who attempted to rob a local Walgreens at knifepoint.

Founded in 2011 by three people fed up with crime in the area, the GRNW has grown in size and strength and has been credited with helping reduce crime in Garfield Ridge, long one of Chicago’s safest and best neighborhoods.

Born with assistance from the Clearing Night Force, the GRNW has helped start neighborhood watches in city neighborhoods as far away as Hegewisch and as close as West Elsdon, as well as in suburban areas like Central Stickney, Summit and Oak Lawn.

GRNW members do not pursue criminals or get directly involved with crimes in progress, but they do serve as extra sets of eyes and ears for police, providing direction that has helped police solve crimes in some cases and prevent others. 

# # #

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Dogs, Cats, Turtle Blessed at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church

Thanks to Pastor Julio C. Pena and First Lady Claudia C. Fuentes-Pena of Spirit of Love Community Ministry for leading a blessing of pets--dogs, a couple of reluctant cats and even a turtle--at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, 56th and Merrimac, at an outdoor prayer service--inspired by St. Francis of Assisi--on Sunday afternoon, September 18.

(Spirit of Love is now housed at the church, along with Good Shepherd.)

Helping out were Girls Scouts from a from troop sponsored by Good Shepherd.

Here are a few shots we were fortunate enough to snap:

# # #

Friday, September 16, 2016

City Will Spray Insecticide in Parts of the Southwest Side on Monday Night

Crews hired by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) will spray insecticide throughout part of the Southwest Side on Monday, September 19, in the evening.

The insecticide is designed to kill mosquitoes that may be carrying the West Nile Virus. Areas targeted are those where infected mosquitoes have been found in recent days.

Weather permitting, the spraying will begin at dusk (abut 7:30 p.m.) and continue through the night until approximately 1 a.m., with licensed mosquito-abatement technicians in trucks riding up and down streets and alleys, spraying an ultra-low-volume insecticide spray up into the air.

On the Southwest Side, the area to be sprayed includes sections of West Lawn, Clearing and Garfield Ridge. The boundaries zig and zag, and go as far east as Central Park Avenue, as far west as Nottingham, as far north as 55th Street, as far south as 71st Street. Here is a the map provided by CDPH, in two pieces:

Eastern section of spray area.

Western section of spray area.

Here is a link to a larger version of the map:

"When our mosquito traps indicate that the West Nile virus may pose health risks in a community, we take action quickly," said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D. "But spraying is just one step to protect our city, residents must also take appropriate steps to protect themselves."

CDPH reminds residents to take precautions against mosquitoes that may carry the virus, including:

• Use insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
• Eliminate standing water. This includes emptying water from flowerpots, gutters, pool  covers, pet water dishes and birdbaths regularly.
• Keep grass and weeds short to eliminate hiding places for adult mosquitoes.
• When outside between dusk and dawn, wear loose-fitting, light colored clothing including long pants, long sleeve shirts, socks and shoes.
• Check that all screens, windows and doors are tight-fitting and free of holes and tears
• Check on neighbors regularly who may need additional assistance, including the elderly.

Each year, CDPH conducts a mosquito surveillance, prevention and control program to protect residents from West Nile virus and other diseases spread by mosquitoes.

Though mosquitoes found to carry the Zika virus are not native to Chicago, CDPH has launched a recent campaign, #StopZika, to educate residents traveling to Zika-infested regions how to protect themselves. The campaign also reminds residents how the department is working to prevent mosquito-borne viruses that are endemic to Chicago, including West Nile virus.

In addition to spraying, CDPH's mosquito abatement program includes dropping larvacide in catch basins--starting in spring--which helps limit the number of mosquitoes that can carry the virus, and regularly testing mosquitoes caught in traps throughout the city.

The material being used to control the adult mosquitoes, Zenivex™, is approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has been widely applied to control mosquitoes in outdoor residential and recreational areas across the city. The spray will be applied by licensed mosquito abatement technicians from Vector Disease Control International, described by CDPH officials as a leader in the mosquito control industry. Guiding the crews through the streets will be supervisors from the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation. 

While the spray is not believed to be harmful to people or pets and is routinely sprayed in residential areas across the nation, residents of targeted neighborhoods may choose to stay indoors and close their windows while spraying is underway, as an extra precaution. CDPH staff are leaving door hangers in parts of the affected areas to notify residents that the spraying will occur.

"Spraying to kill adult mosquitoes is an effective component of an integrated pest management program," added CDPH Environmental Health Medical Director Cort Lohff, M.D. "It is our expectation that this effort will further limit the mosquito population and prevent cases of human illness in Chicago."

As part of ongoing response efforts, CDPH will continue to collect mosquitoes from traps located throughout the city and test these mosquitoes for West Nile virus. Using results of these tests, CDPH will determine the appropriate steps to be taken in order to best protect Chicago residents.

West Nile virus cannot be transmitted from person-to-person. Instead, it is transmitted strictly through mosquitoes.

# # #

Friday, September 9, 2016

My Z-Mall World Childcare Invites Everyone to Open House on Saturday

Looking for a good child care center for your son, daughter,
Alejandrina Cerna and several students.
grandson or granddaughter (ages 1-7)?

Check out My Z-Mall World Childcare, 6655 West Archer (right next to the popular Coler Chiropractic Center).

Stop by their open house, set for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, September 10.

Food, beverages, school supplies, goodies!

Teachers will be on hand to show you around and talk about why My Z-Mall World (pronounced "My Small World") is an excellent choice.

Newly opened, My Z-Mall World is owned and directed by Garfield Ridge resident Alejandrina Cerna, a social worker with a degree in early childhood education--who also has worked as a teacher in several settings, including catechism at a Catholic parish.

The center includes a bilingual program--conducted in English--that teaches Spanish to children.

My Z-Mall World also serves organic food to the children it serves and even offers tips for parents to do the same.

The center is open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.

Currently, 10 children are enrolled, with space for more.

For more information, call (773) 912-6387.

# # #

Thursday, September 8, 2016

New Police Commander in 8th District Says Beat Integrity is His Top Priority

Pontecore praises neighborhood watches, CAPS fans

By Joan Hadac
Editor & Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

Police will do all they can to fight crime in the Chicago Lawn (8th) District, and citizens can
enhance their effectiveness by joining their local neighborhood watch group and participating in CAPS meetings, new Commander Ronald Pontecore Jr. said late last week.

A day after he took the reins as commander, Pontecore sat down to talk about his plans.

“I love them,” the new commander said of neighborhood watch groups and block clubs as he recalled successes they contributed to in another district where citizens used such tactics as positive loitering to roust a drug dealing operation in a house.

“Criminals expect the police to come out and do our jobs,” he said. “What they often don’t expect is when the community comes at them from the other end, but working in concert with the police. That really throws criminals for a loop.

“When that happens, we typically have more success,” he continued. “Criminals need to know that people in a neighborhood won’t put up with their behavior. They need to know that ‘if I go hang on this corner, not only will the person at this house call [911], but this one is, this one is and this one is.’”

In what will doubtless be music to the ears of Garfield Ridge and Clearing residents, Pontecore said he will “have the same commitment” to their neighborhoods as did Commander John Kupczyk, a highly respected and admired police official who died suddenly in January 2012.

“I understand that we have our issues on the east end of the district, but we cannot forget what happens on the west end, as well,” he said as he discussed “beat integrity,” a Kupczyk tactic designed to ensure that beat cars in the district’s west end stay in their beats and are not redeployed to east-end hot spots.

“Beat integrity will be my number one priority,” Pontecore said. “Beat cars will stay on their beats, and they will be responsible for their beats.”

Pontecore also praised citizens who attend monthly CAPS beat meetings, “especially those who attend regularly. They may not always have a problem to bring up, but just by being there, they show that they have an interest in their neighborhood—and they know the value of persistence in fighting crime.”

The new commander described himself as a leader who “leads from the front” and said he is committed to being visible at CAPS meetings and other community events. “I want to be out there and hear for myself what people are thinking,” he said. He has worked in the district for about the last six months, in a top position helping lead while his predecessor was on medical leave.

He also plans to make sure officers in the district “make more contact with the community. I want to see my officers out of their vehicles. I want to see foot patrols at least once or twice during their tours of duty—and when weather permits, I want to put the bicycles back out again.”

In what will most likely be cheered by the Archer Heights Civic Association and other groups battling “quality of life” crimes like prostitution and traffic violations, Pontecore said he will work to use CPD resources—typically specialized units that operate citywide—to confront the so-called lesser crimes.

In recent months, Archer Heights residents and others complaining about prostitution near 49th and Cicero and other concerns have essentially been told by police that CPD’s focus on “index” crimes like homicide, battery, robbery and sexual assault means that resources are mostly unavailable to fight other crimes.


Pontecore grew up in a family-owned six flat on 38th Place in Brighton Park. He was the fourth generation in his family to enroll at the old St. Joseph and St. Anne School. When the family moved to 57th and Troy in 1976, Pontecore transferred to St. Gall School. He graduated in 1982.

He went on to Brother Rice High School, where he was a linebacker for the Crusaders. As a senior, his team upset powerhouses St. Laurence and St. Rita and went all the way to the IHSA championship game before falling to East St. Louis.

He then earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology (with a minor in business) from DePaul University. He later worked as an assistant mill buyer with Ryerson Steel.

Years later, prodded by a friend who wanted to be a police officer, he took the police exam.

“I think in my family, the expectation always was that I’d be a fireman,” he said, noting that his father is a retired CFD captain and that other men in the family have served as firefighters.

“Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but respect for firemen—I mean, those guys are crazy, running into burning buildings when the rest of us are running out,” he said with a smile. “But [a career as a policeman] turned out to be my path.”

Pontecore became a policeman in 1991 and met his future wife, today a CPD detective, in the police academy. They live on the Northwest Side and have three adult children, including two in college.

He also holds a master's degree in criminal justice from Lewis University.

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