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Coronavirus COVID-19: State of Illinois Recommendations for Businesses

More than 44 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.

Coronavirus COVID-19: State of Illinois Recommendations for Businesses

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has ordered a ban on in-dining/drinking seating service at all restaurants and bars until March 30. The order allows restaurants and bars with licenses to sell packaged alcohol to take orders and to deliver or allow pick-up from the establishments. But what about other businesses. Here is some information that might be helpful.

The following interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19.

To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, use only the guidance described below to determine risk of COVID-19. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin, and be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed COVID-19. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.

More than 44 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.
More than 44 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.


Recommended strategies for employers to use now:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home:
    • Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [38.0° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
    • Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
    • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
    • Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
    • Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
  • Separate sick employees:
    • IDPH recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees:
    • Place posters that encourage staying home when sickcough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
    • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
    • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
    • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
    • Visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning:
    • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
    • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
    • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
  • Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps:
    • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found at on the CDC website.
    • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
    • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
    • If outside the United States, sick employees should follow your company’s policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.
  • Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of the COVID-19:
    • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
    • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Planning for a Possible COVID-19 Outbreak in the US

The severity of illness or how many people will fall ill from COVID-19 is unknown at this time. If there is evidence of a COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., employers should plan to be able to respond in a flexible way to varying levels of severity and be prepared to refine their business response plans as needed. For the general American public, such as workers in non-healthcare settings and where it is unlikely that work tasks create an increased risk of exposures to COVID-19, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low. The CDC and its partners will continue to monitor national and international data on the severity of illness caused by COVID-19, will disseminate the results of these ongoing surveillance assessments, and will make additional recommendations as needed.

Planning Considerations

All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of acute respiratory illness and lower the impact of COVID-19 in their workplace in the event of an outbreak in the US. They should identify and communicate their objectives, which may include one or more of the following: (a) reducing transmission among staff, (b) protecting people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications, (c) maintaining business operations, and (d) minimizing adverse effects on other entities in their supply chains. Some of the key considerations when making decisions on appropriate responses are:

  • Disease severity (i.e., number of people who are sick, hospitalization and death rates) in the community where the business is located;
  • Impact of disease on employees that are vulnerable and may be at higher risk for COVID-19 adverse health complications. Inform employees that some people may be at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions.
  • Prepare for possible increased numbers of employee absences due to illness in employees and their family members, dismissals of early childhood programs and K-12 schools due to high levels of absenteeism or illness:
  • Employers should plan to monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace. Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism.
  • Cross-train personnel to perform essential functions so that the workplace is able to operate even if key staff members are absent.
  • Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products. Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
  • Employers with more than one business location are encouraged to provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their business infectious disease outbreak response plan based on the condition in each locality.
  • Coordination with state and local health officials is strongly encouraged for all businesses so that timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses in each location where their operations reside. Since the intensity of an outbreak may differ according to geographic location, local health officials will be issuing guidance specific to their communities.

Important Considerations for Creating an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan

All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from COVID-19 while ensuring continuity of operations. During a COVID-19 outbreak, all sick employees should stay home and away from the workplace, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene should be encouraged, and routine cleaning of commonly touched surfaces should be performed regularly.

Employers should:

  • Ensure the plan is flexible and involve your employees in developing and reviewing your plan.
  • Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using your plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected.
  • Share your plan with employees and explain what human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, and pay and benefits will be available to them.
  • Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.

Recommendations for an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan:

  • Identify possible work-related exposure and health risks to your employees. OSHA has more information on how to protect workers from potential exposures to COVID-19.
  • Review human resources policies to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws (for more information on employer responsibilities, visit the Department of Labor’s and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s websites).
  • Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies. For employees who are able to telework, supervisors should encourage employees to telework instead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved. Ensure that you have the information technology and infrastructure needed to support multiple employees who may be able to work from home.
  • Identify essential business functions, essential jobs or roles, and critical elements within your supply chains (e.g., raw materials, suppliers, subcontractor services/products, and logistics) required to maintain business operations. Plan for how your business will operate if there is increasing absenteeism or these supply chains are interrupted.
  • Set up authorities, triggers, and procedures for activating and terminating the company’s infectious disease outbreak response plan, altering business operations (e.g., possibly changing or closing operations in affected areas), and transferring business knowledge to key employees. Work closely with your local health officials to identify these triggers.
  • Plan to minimize exposure between employees and also between employees and the public, if public health officials call for social distancing.
  • Establish a process to communicate information to employees and business partners on your infectious disease outbreak response plans and latest COVID-19 information. Anticipate employee fear, anxiety, rumors, and misinformation, and plan communications accordingly.
  • In some communities, early childhood programs and K-12 schools may be dismissed, particularly if COVID-19 worsens. Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children if dismissed from school. Businesses and other employers should prepare to institute flexible workplace and leave policies for these employees.
  • Local conditions will influence the decisions that public health officials make regarding community-level strategies; employers should take the time now to learn about plans in place in each community where they have a business.
  • If there is evidence of a COVID-19 outbreak in the US, consider canceling non-essential business travel to additional countries per travel guidance on the CDC website.
    • Travel restrictions may be enacted by other countries which may limit the ability of employees to return home if they become sick while on travel status.
    • Consider cancelling large work-related meetings or events.
  • Engage state and  local health departments to confirm channels of communication and methods for dissemination of local outbreak information. When working with your local health department check their available hours.
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Ribbon Cutting: Officials cut ribbon at Nonno Di Mora

Nonno di Moro ribbon cutting March 10, 2020

Ribbon Cutting: Officials cut ribbon at Nonno Di Mora

Town President Larry Dominick and Town of Cicero officials joined with the Cicero Chamber of Commerce to cut the ribbon on the Italian Restaurant Nonno Di Mora which is run by two Morton East High school graduates. (Video of the ribbon cutting, and Spanish language version below)

The Town of Cicero celebrates yet another Grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by Town President Larry Dominick and the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

Nonno Di Mora Ristorante celebrated the big event Tuesday, March 10 at 12pm. The celebration took place right outside the restaurant which is located at 5612 W 35th Street. Nonno Di Mora means Late grandfather.

The owners, Reynaldo and Rigoberto Mora, were raised in Cicero. They both attended Cicero Public Schools and are proud Morton East Graduates. The Mora brothers passion of becoming business owners began when they were young working at Reynaldo Mora’s godfathers restaurant.

Nonno di Moro ribbing cutting March 10, 2020
Nonno di Moro ribbon cutting March 10, 2020

 

“We wanted to bring something new to the community. Cicero gave us a lot and we wanted to give a little bit back to the town,” said Reynaldo Mora. He also explained how helpful the business licence department was throughout the entire process.

The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“It is a friendly environment for families, kids are welcomed, any private events you would like to host you can host here, we do private catering as well,” said Jacqueline Mora Rigoberto Mora’s wife.

Right before the ribbon cutting Chef John Torres said, “We are still in our infancy, but we have a lot of aspirations. Please come visit.” Chef Torres has been a chef for over 40 years.

“On behalf of Town President Larry Dominick and my colleagues on the Town Board we want to welcome you and wish you the best,” said Town Assessor Emo Cundari.

“Thank you for choosing Cicero. We wish you a lot of luck,” said Town Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias.

Happiness and applause took over once the red ribbon was finally cut.

“Come by! Check us out!” said Rigoberto Mora with a smile.

Attending the event were Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias, Trustees Victor Garcia, John Cava, and Bob Porod, Assessor Emilio Cundari and Collector Fran Reitz along with officials from the Town’s departments including Senior Center Director Diana Dominick, Business License Director Ismael Vargas and Building Commissioner Tom Tomschin.

Cicero Town Officials celebrate ribbon cutting and grand opening for Nonno di Moro restaurant, March 10, 2020
Cicero Town Officials celebrate ribbon cutting and grand opening for Nonno di Moro restaurant, March 10, 2020

 

Cicero celebra otra ceremonia de inauguración y corte de cinta organizada por la Cámara de Comercio de Cicero.

Nonno Di Mora Ristorante quedó oficialmente inaugurado el martes 10 de Marzo a las 12 p.m. La celebración tuvo lugar justo frente al restaurante ubicado en el 5612 W. 35th Street.

Nonno Di Mora significa abuelo difunto.

Los dueños, Reynaldo y Rigoberto Mora, fueron criados y educados en Cicero. Ambos asistieron a las Escuelas Públicas de Cicero y son orgullosos graduados de la Secundaria Morton East. La pasión de los hermanos Mora de convertirse en dueños de negocios, comenzó cuando eran jóvenes trabajando en el restaurante propiedad del padrino de Reynaldo Mora.

“Queríamos aportar algo nuevo a la comunidad. Cicero nos dió mucho y queríamos devolverle un poco a este pueblo,” dijo Reynaldo Mora. También explicó lo útil que fue la ayuda del ‘Departamento de Licencias Comerciales’ durante todo el proceso.

El restaurante sirve desayuno, almuerzo y cena.

“Es un ambiente agradable y acogedor para todas las familias, los niños son bienvenidos, cualquier evento privado que quisiera organizar puede organizarlo aquí, también hacemos catering privado,” dijo Jacqueline Mora, esposa de Rigoberto Mora.

Justo antes del corte de cinta, el chef John Torres dijo: “Todavía estamos en nuestra infancia pero tenemos muchas aspiraciones. Por favor vengan a visitarnos.” El chef Torres ha sido chef por más de 40 años.

“En nombre del Presidente Larry Dominick y de mis colegas en la Junta de Síndicos queremos darles la bienvenida y desearles lo mejor,” dijo el Asesor Municipal Emo Cundari.
“Gracias por elegir Cicero. Les deseamos mucha suerte,” dijo por su parte la Secretaria Municipal María Punzo-Arias.
Hubo felicidad y se escucharon los aplausos cuando finalmente se cortó la cinta roja.

“!Vengan! !Visitenos!” dijo Rigoberto Mora con una sonrisa.

Click here to view the video of the event or use the widget below:


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Community media discusses strategies to help businesses

From left Maru Ayala, Ana Maria Montes de Oca, Leticia Alonzo, Martha Gonzales, Gabriela Cadrano, Claudia Montanez and Christopher Montes de Oca pose after the chamber meeting.

Community media discusses strategies to help businesses

Editors of local community newspapers meet with members of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce to discuss ways to strengthen their business and their public identity through advertising and public relations strategies. View a video of the event below.

Leaders of The Town of Cicero’s vibrant Spanish/English language news media participated in a panel seminar during a meeting on Feb. 26, 2020 of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

Participants on the panel included La Prensa Publisher Martha Gonzales and editor Gabriella Cadrano, El Dia Newspaper Editor Christopher Montes de Oca and co-founder Anna Maria Montes de Oca Rojas, La Nueva Semana Newspaper publisher Leticia Alonzo, Lawndale News Managing Editor Ashmar Mandou, and Entretenimiento Magazine Publisher Claudia Montanez.

Each of the editors discussed the many methods that businesses can use to promote their services and attract new customers, or to reinforce public awareness of the business services.

From left Maru Ayala, Ana Maria Monte de Oca, Leticia Alonzo, Martha Gonzales, Gabriela Cadrano, Claudia Montanez and Christopher Monte de Oca pose after the chamber meeting.
From left Maru Ayala, Ana Maria Montes de Oca, Leticia Alonzo, Martha Gonzales, Gabriela Cadrano, Claudia Montanez and Christopher Montes de Oca pose after the chamber meeting.

 

You can view a video of the meeting posted on NewCiceroTV.com by using the widget below or by clicking this link to view the video of the Cicero Chamber conference meeting seminar.


 

All of the newspapers provide Spanish and English news and feature reporting and provide support for advertising needs to the local businesses.

Ashmar Mandou, managing editor of the Lawndale News newspaper, praised the Cicero Chamber for organizing the meeting, and she described the services that the Lawndale News newspaper provides.

“We are a hybrid-local publication with boots-on-the-ground reporting,” Mandou said. “We report on everything from education, entrepreneurship, cultural events and our aim is to change the narrative of the Hispanic community in Cook County and across the region.”

Ashmar Mandou Managing Editor of the Lawndale News newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Ashmar Mandou Managing Editor of the Lawndale News newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

La Nueva Semana Newspaper publisher Leticia Alonzo addressed the audience in Spanish and in English, and discussed how her newspaper works with businesses to provide both traditional news coverage and advertising support along with online social media support.

“Our newspaper is a bi-lingual, weekly newspaper covering Cook County, Kane County and including in the Milwaukee region,” Alonzo said.

Leticia Alonzo of the La Nueva Semana Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Leticia Alonzo of the La Nueva Semana Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

“We believe in traditional marketing but we also have our whole edition bi-lingual online.”

Christopher Montes de Oca, marketing manager of El Dia newspaper, noted the family-run, free bi-lingual, weekly newspaper was established in 1995 by his parents and publishes about 10,000 issues each week distributed on Fridays.

“Studies show that 39 percent of people recall the ads they see in local newspapers. If you don’t advertise your business in a newspaper is like placing a business without a sign,” Christopher Montes de Oca said.

“Your advertisements in the newspaper will be posted online and on our website free of charge.”

Christopher Monte de Oca of El Dia Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Christopher Monte de Oca of El Dia Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

Monte de Oca pointed out that supporting local newspapers like El Dia helps to keep revenues and the economic benefits remain in the community for the benefit of the community. He noted that chamber members will get a special discount for advertising in their newspaper.

Gabriella Cadrano and Martha Gonzales addressed the Chamber members next and discussed in Spanish and English the benefits that their newspaper, La Prensa, offers. A bi-weekly newspaper, it covers Cicero, Berwyn and Melrose Park.

“We provide coverage not only in our newspaper but also online, which appeals to growing audience of consumers who are young,” Candrano explained. “We have more than one million visitors online each month. We offer cost and design in providing our advertising. We bring it to life and we want to help your business grow.”

Gabriela Cardano editor of La Prensa Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Gabriela Cardano editor of La Prensa Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

In other business, Maru Ayala discussed a new service of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce to assist businesses that want to organize a ribbon cutting, grand opening or a re-grand opening.

“Every business can organize a ribbon cutting, grand opening or even a re-grand opening to promote their business and both the Cicero Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Cicero want to help,” Ayalay explained to attendees.

Chamber Grand Opening and Business Support Liaison Maru Ayala addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Chamber Grand Opening and Business Support Liaison Maru Ayala addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

Ayala said the chamber charges $175 to help organize two ribbon cuttings/grand opening events each month that receive wide ranging coverage. The events are covered by Cicero Channel 6 TV which is broadcasts 24/7 on Channel 6 Comcast TV, and by the Town of Cicero Newsletter which is distributed to every home. Additionally, local news media, including many of the publications attending the panel discussion, will run press releases to help promote the event. And, businesses will receive an impressive plaque with scissors and data embossed into the plaque memorializing the event that is then presented as a gift to the business to showcase on their wall for their customer.

“It’s a very effective way to announce the grand opening of a new business, or to remind the public that your business is here and about the services that you offer.”

Ayala urged residents to reach out to her through the contact page on the Cicero Chamber of Commerce website.

Ray Hanania, who is serving as the interim organizer for the Chamber, also announced that the chamber will host a Job Fair on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 from 10 am through 3 pm in which businesses can host a table for free — at no cost — and meet residents and members of the public who are seeking employment.

“This is a good way for businesses to meet individuals who could be future employees or who could fill employment vacancies,” Hanania said.

Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

Click here to view the video of the Community Media event or use the widget below:


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Pritzker provides 0pportunity for Minority-Owned Businesses to become state vendors

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Pritzker provides 0pportunity for Minority-Owned Businesses to become state vendors

The Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) announced today it will be providing an opportunity for traditionally underrepresented minority-owned businesses in the IT/Telecom industry to become vendors for the state. The department will issue a Project/Resource Sheltered Market (PRSM) solicitation in the coming weeks.

The PRSM program offers minority, women and persons with disabilities owned businesses in the IT/Telecom industry the opportunity to bid on State projects, with the goal of increasing supplier diversity in Illinois. Businesses interested in responding to the solicitation must be Business Enterprise Program (BEP) certified in order to participate.

“Under the leadership of Governor Pritzker, we are making reforms to ensure minority, women-owned, and persons with disabilities can compete for and win State contracts,” said Janel L. Forde, Acting Director of Illinois Department of Central Management Services and Chairwoman of the Business Enterprise Council. “This initiative demonstrates our commitment towards inclusion and provides BEP firms an opportunity in the IT/Telecom industry.”

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

The upcoming PRSM will be the third solicitation developed in response to the Sheltered Market Report conducted by the Business Enterprise Council in 2013. The report found significant disparities in the State of Illinois’ contracting with minority and women business enterprises in the IT/Telecom industry. Participation in sheltered market solicitations is limited to entities certified by the Illinois Department of Central Management’s (CMS) BEP program.

“PRSM will supplement our current state technology resources by providing short-term and specific skill sets from a diverse group of suppliers,” said Ron Guerrier, Illinois CIO and Acting Secretary for DoIT. “This initiative offers businesses owned by minorities, women and persons with disabilities the ability to grow their business and will provide them with opportunities to become prime contractors.”

PRSM is targeted toward BEP-certified vendors when there is a resource needed for a specific and well-defined project. An Invitation for Bid (IFB) will be issued to prequalified PRSM vendors, who are able to bid for projects that fall into the following IT skills categories:

• IT Planning Services
• Information Security Services
• Software/Application Development Services
• Teaching and Learning Services
• Mobile Technology Services
• Web Content and Development Services
• Desktop Services
• Networking Services
• Infrastructure Services
• Customer Support Services

Minority IT/Telecom suppliers wanting to work with the State of Illinois through PRSM, who are not currently BEP certified, should contact CMS’ BEP office at 312-814-4190 or via email at BEP.CMS@illinois.gov to obtain information on certification.

DoIT anticipates PRSM will be published in the coming weeks. DoIT is encouraging vendors who intend to submit offers for the upcoming solicitation to register now in the Illinois Procurement Gateway, and the Illinois Procurement Bulletin (BidBuy). To submit bids, vendors must also have a current Department of Human Rights Employer Eligibility Number. Taking these steps will help to ensure that vendors are ready and have completed some of the required paperwork in advance of the solicitation posting.

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State officials outline services to Cicero Businesses

State officials detail programs available to small businesses in Cicero. Photo courtesy of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

State officials outline services to Cicero Businesses

Officials from the State of Illinois offered details on the many programs that the state offers to local small businesses at a meeting of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce held in Cicero on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. More than 45 business leaders attended.

ENGLISH (SPANISH version below; Video of meeting below) Also view a video of the event below.

State officials detail programs available for business at Chamber meeting

Officials from the State of Illinois outlined several programs that local businesses may qualify for to help them be more successful during a meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce held on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020.

Speakers included Manuel Lopez, Regional Economic Development Manager of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, Joe McKeown from “Team RED,” and Pedro Pineda from the Illinois Central Management Office (CMS).

The event was organized by Cicero Town President Larry Dominick and was co-sponsored by State Rep. Lisa Hernandez.

Rosa Gaytan, administrative assistant to State Rep. Lisa Hernandez, addresses attendees. Seated are (from left) Pedro Pineda from the Illinois Central Management Office (CMS)., Manuel Lopez, Regional Economic Development Manager of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, and Joe McKeown from “Team RED." Photo courtesy of the Town of Cicero
Rosa Gaytan, administrative assistant to State Rep. Lisa Hernandez, addresses attendees. Seated are (from left) Pedro Pineda from the Illinois Central Management Office (CMS)., Manuel Lopez, Regional Economic Development Manager of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, and Joe McKeown from “Team RED.” Photo courtesy of the Town of Cicero

 

“One program that is very helpful for small businesses provides capital investment loans that offer lower interest rates than what you might obtain from your local bank,” Lopez told the 45 business owners and representatives who attended the free meeting.

“All you have to do is reach out to us, and bring your company overview, a description of how many jobs you have and a projection of your capital investment data.”

Pineda explained that the State also provides certifications to businesses, large and small, to certify that they are women-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned and disabled-owned, categories that allow the state to provide additional resources and support.

State officials detail programs available to small businesses in Cicero. Photo courtesy of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.
State officials detail programs available to small businesses in Cicero. Photo courtesy of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

Businesses owned by women, the disabled, minorities or by veteran may qualify for contract award set-a-sides.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have enough veteran-owned businesses that are certified with the state. If you are a veteran-owned business, you should reach out to us and get certified to qualify for these contracts,” Pineda said.

Pineda said that “The state has set-asides specifically to help small businesses to succeed and to stay in their community. It’s only for small businesses.”

McKeown added that in most cases, the state can significantly reduce the interest rate that a business would pay for a loan.

“We can also help businesses when they need to meet with a bank to obtain assistance,” McKeown said.

They explained that the state also provides grants, although most are for infra-structure improvements.

The state provides a wide range of programs to help new businesses launch, provide certifications for Food Service Sanitation Managers, register to become a vendor among many other programs. Business owners can visit the state’s website at Illinois.gov/business for more information.

Ismael Vargas, the Town of Cicero Business License Director, also addressed the attendees explaining services and support the Town provides.

“It’s important that you reach out to us if you need assistance or information. We are there to help you,” Vargas said.

The new Cicero Chamber of Commerce was launched in November with support from Town President Larry Dominick and the Town’s business license department.

Meetings are scheduled each month and include on Wednesday, February 26 a program to connect business owners with editors and publishers of the local community news media to better understand how a business can promote its services and products.

On Tuesday, March 31, the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce will host a Job Fair to connect businesses that have job openings and who are hiring with residents who are seeking employment. Businesses will be given tables to meet and speak with community residents who are encouraged to bring their resumes.

For more information on Chamber activities visit the Chamber website at www.CiceroChamberofCommerce.com. There, businesses can register online to receive information on all of the Chamber’s free programs and services.

 

SPANISH

Funcionarios estatales presentan los programas disponibles para los negocios en la reunión de la Cámara de Comercio

Los funcionarios del estado de Illinois describieron varios programas para los que las empresas locales pueden calificar, para ayudarlos a tener más éxito durante una reunión de la nueva Cámara de Comercio de Cicero celebrada el miércoles 29 de enero de 2020.

Los oradores incluyeron a Manuel López, Gerente de Desarrollo Económico Regional del Departamento de Comercio y Oportunidades Económicas de Illinois, Joe McKeown del “Equipo RED” y Pedro Pineda de la Oficina Central de Administración de Illinois (CMS).

El evento fue organizado por el presidente de Cicero Larry Dominick y fue copatrocinado por la representante estatal Lisa Hernández.

“Un programa que es muy útil para las pequeñas empresas proporciona préstamos de inversión de capital que ofrecen tasas de interés más bajas que las que podría obtener de su banco local”, dijo López a los 45 propietarios y representantes de negocios que asistieron a la reunión gratuita.

“Todo lo que tiene que hacer es comunicarse con nosotros y brindar una visión general de su empresa, una descripción de cuántos trabajos tiene y una proyección de sus datos de inversión de capital”.

Pineda explicó que el Estado también proporciona certificaciones a empresas, grandes y pequeñas, para certificar que son propiedad de mujeres, minorías, veteranos y discapacitados, categorías que permiten al estado proporcionar recursos y apoyo adicionales.

Las empresas propiedad de mujeres, discapacitados, minorías o veteranos pueden calificar para la adjudicación de contratos.

“Desafortunadamente, no tenemos suficientes negocios de veteranos que estén certificados con el estado. Si usted es un veterano-dueño de negocio, debe comunicarse con nosotros y obtener la certificación para calificar para estos contratos”, dijo Pineda.

Pineda agrego que “el estado ha establecido apartados, específicamente para ayudar a las pequeñas empresas a tener éxito y permanecer en su comunidad. Es solo para pequeñas empresas”.

McKeown agregó que en la mayoría de los casos, el estado puede reducir significativamente la tasa de interés que una empresa pagaría por un préstamo.

“También podemos ayudar a las empresas cuando necesiten reunirse con un banco para obtener asistencia”, dijo McKeown.

Explicaron que el estado también otorga subsidios, aunque la mayoría son para mejoras de infraestructura.

El estado ofrece una amplia gama de programas para ayudar al lanzamiento de nuevos negocios, proporcionar certificaciones para los Gerentes de Saneamiento del Servicio de Alimentos, registrarse para convertirse en proveedor entre muchos otros programas. Los dueños de negocios pueden visitar el sitio web del estado en Illinois.gov/business para obtener más información.

Ismael Vargas, el Director de Licencias Comerciales del Town of Cicero, también se dirigió a los asistentes explicando los servicios y el apoyo que brinda el municipio.

“Es importante que se comunique con nosotros si necesita ayuda o información. Estamos allí para ayudarlo”, dijo Vargas.

La nueva Cámara de Comercio de Cicero se lanzó el pasado mes de noviembre con el apoyo del presidente municipal, Larry Dominick y el Departamento de licencias comerciales de la ciudad de Cicero.

Las reuniones se programan cada mes e incluyen el miércoles 26 de febrero, un programa para conectar a los dueños de negocios con editores y el personal periodístico de los medios de comunicación de la comunidad local para comprender mejor cómo una empresa puede promocionar sus servicios y productos.

El martes 31 de marzo, la nueva Cámara de Comercio de Cicero organizará una Feria de Empleo para enlazar a las empresas que tienen vacantes de empleo y que quieran contratan a residentes que buscan trabajo. Las empresas recibirán mesas para reunirse y hablar con los residentes de la comunidad a quienes se les anima a traer sus currículums.

Para obtener más información sobre las actividades de la Cámara, visite el sitio web de la Cámara en www.CiceroChamberofCommerce.com. Allí, las empresas pueden registrarse en línea para recibir información sobre todos los programas y servicios gratuitos de la Cámara.

Click this link to view a video of the event or use the widget below

VIDEO OF THE JAN. 29, 2020 MEETING

State officials detail programs available to small businesses in Cicero
during a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce held on Jan. 29, 2020.

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Press Release: Chamber offers program to help businesses with State Programs

Chamber meeting Jan. 29, 2020 on State Programming. Spanish

Press Release: Chamber offers program to help businesses with State Programs

Chamber meeting Jan. 29, 2020 on State Programming. Spanish
Chamber meeting Jan. 29, 2020 on State Programming.

 

ENGLISH VERSION

State Programs to Assist businesses

Guest Speaker will be Manuel (Manny) Lopez, the Regional Economic Development Manager of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.

The Town of Cicero, and State Rep. Lisa Hernandez will join the Cicero Chamber of Commerce in hosting a meeting on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at the Cicero Community Center, 2250 S. 49th Avenue, beginning at 5 pm to discuss programs that the State of Illinois offers to the business community.

Our Guest Speaker will be Manuel (Manny) Lopez, the Regional Economic Development Manager of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity. He will discuss programs and services from the State of Illinois that are available to local businesses.

Lopez will also be joined by Joe McKeown from team RED, and Pedro Pineda from the CMS (Central Management Office) will also be accompanying addressing the meeting. Pineda speaks about the BEP (Business Enterprise Program) and the certification process and how it could be a benefit to small business owners.

Business License Director Ismael Vargas

“I’ve been with the state for 12 years. I started with Department of Human Services as a caseworker for 5 years then got promoted to CMS Department of Examining and Counseling where I worked for 4 and a half years and then moved to CMS Business Enterprise Program since 2018 where I’ve worked as the Outreach Coordinator. I graduated from Loyola University with a BA and attended Lewis University where I obtained my MBA. Long time South Side resident,” Pineda said.

Business License Director and Cicero Chaplain Ismael Vargas will also be present to answer questions about Cicero business requirements and needs at both meetings.

We will have guest speakers from the state of Illinois and the Illinois Legislature who will discuss how businesses can tap resources at the state level to achieve their business goals.

Watch for more details on this program which is free to our business members. Make sure to fill out the online membership form (free) so that you will be kept up to date about all of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce’s events.

Members must send an email and RSVP in order to attend the meetings. There is limited seating but we will try to accommodate all of the Chamber members. Please let us know if you will be attending by sending an email noting the meeting date and topic.

For more information visit the Chamber’s website at www.CiceroChamberOfCommerce.com

SPANISH VERSION

Cícero anuncia programas de ayuda financiera para negocios

Manuel (Manny) López, Administrador de Desarrollo Económico Regional del Departamento de Comercio y Oportunidades Financieras de Illinois, será el orador invitado en una presentación especial

El municipio de Cícero y la Representante estatal Lisa Hernández (D-24) se unieron a la ‘Cámara de Comercio de Cícero’ para realizar una reunión en que serán presentados y discutidos los diversos programas de ayuda financiera estatal que Illinois ofrece a los comerciantes y dueños de negocios. El seminario será el Miércoles 29 de enero de 2020, a las 5 de la tarde, en la Casa Comunal de Cícero (Cícero Community Center), 2250 S. 49th Avenue.

El orador invitado será Manuel (Manny) López, Administrador de la oficina de Desarrollo Económico Regional del ‘Departamento de Comercio y Oportunidades Financieras de Illinois’ quien hablará sobre los diversos programas y servicios financieros que Illinois ofrece a todos los negocios locales.

Entre tanto, el Director de Licencias Comerciales y Capellán de Cícero, Ismael Vargas, también estará listo en la reunión, para responder cualquier pregunta o inquietud sobre los requisitos de negocios en el municipio.

Así mismo, habrá panelistas invitados del estado de Illinois y de la Legislatura estatal que explicarán a los comerciantes la mejor manera de solicitar y aprovechar los recursos estatales disponibles que les ayudarán a lograr sus metas financieras comerciales.

Pedimos que estén pendientes de otros detalles sobre este útil programa, ofrecido totalmente GRATIS a todos los miembros de la Cámara de Comercio de Cícero / Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

Si desea convertirse en miembro y participar en los seminarios para aprovechar estos programas, asegúrese de llenar los formularios de membresía ofrecidos también GRATUITAMENTE en nuestro portal electrónico, en donde además le mantendremos al tanto de los futuros, informativos e interesantes eventos que estará organizando periódicamente la Cámara de Comercio de Cícero / Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

Los comerciantes miembros que planean asistir al evento, deben enviar un correo electrónico y responder a una reservación (RSVP). El cupo es limitado pero trataremos de acomodar a todos los miembros de la Cámara de Comercio que deseen participar. Por favor, si planea ser parte del seminario, envíe un correo electrónico dejando su nombre, el nombre de su negocio, además de la fecha y el tema del evento que le interesa.

Para más información visite  nuestro portal de Internet:

www.CiceroChamberofCommerce.com.

SPEAKER BIO

Manny Lopez is the Regional Economic Development Manager for Cook County. As the newest member to join Team RED (Regional Economic Development) at DCEO, Manny helps businesses, communities, and workers learn about different State resources that are available to assist them.

Prior to joining team RED, Manny has worked in many different fields that included customer service and sales & operations. These roles have been spread over a career in companies that included Comcast, Colorado Technical University, and Enova Financial.  A proud United States Navy veteran, Manny has served in Hawaii, the Persian Gulf and even lived in South Korea for two years.

Manny earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration on marketing from DeVry University. He is a family man who loves spending time with his children and is dedicated to helping people thrive in their everyday life.

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Press Release: Cicero Chamber of Commerces Launches new chapter

More than 44 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.

Press Release: Cicero Chamber of Commerces Launches new chapter

More than 44 businesses, and 20 leaders from the Town of Cicero and community groups launched the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce during a dinner meeting at Langostinos Restaurant on Laramie Avenue in Cicero on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.

The effort was led by Town President Larry Dominick who told the gathering that the business community needed to reorganize to re-establish a professional business networking association to become stronger and more successful.

“It’s very important for the businesses in Cicero to come together and network and work with the Town of Cicero. The Town wants our businesses to succeed and coming together through the Cicero Chamber of Commerce is the first step towards making that happen,” Dominick told the business leaders.

Town President Larry Dominick greeted each of the businesses that attended the Cicero Chamber of Commerce "Launch Meeting" on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.
Town President Larry Dominick greeted each of the businesses that attended the Cicero Chamber of Commerce “Launch Meeting” on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.

“The Town of Cicero is here to help you and I am proud that we are able to help bring this organization together after a long absence.”

Dominick also reported on the continuing fight to make Cicero the safest community in the state, noting that the activities of street gangs continues to fall and how many of the street gangs that once were in Cicero have fled.

“When I came to office in 2005 there were more than 14 street gang related killings as well as many other acts of violence. Today, that has dropped significantly to one a year. And that is still unacceptable and we continue to work to achieve a total zero tolerance for street gang activity and presence,” Dominick said.

Speakers at the first “Launch Meeting” of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce included Ismael Vargas, the director of Business Licensing. Vargas spoke about the services that the Town of Cicero officers to help businesses. Speakers also included representatives to the Cic era Policer Department, including Captain of Police Mathew Ramirez and Detective Edgar Alba who discussed the increasing safety in the town and how businesses can make their retail efforts safer.

Also attending were Cicero Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias, and State Rep. Lisa Hernandez who detailed state programs that are available to help businesses.

Organizers said the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce will meet monthly beginning in January after the holidays and will provide speakers who can help businesses to strengthen their sales, practices and achieve their goals. The chamber will also offer many other services including hosting a jobs fair to help them find qualified employees from within the community. The chamber will also help publicize and promote businesses by spotlighting them on the chamber’s new website at www.CiceroChamberofCommerce.com. The website lists many of the services the new chamber hopes to provide.

Currently, there is no fee to join the chamber although the chamber’s interim board will at a later date set an affordable and appropriate membership fee to cover services and benefits. Membership in the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce is open to any retail business that has a business license from the Town of Cicero.

Formore information on upcoming meetings, topics and services visit the chamber’s website at www.CiceroChamberofCommerce.com.

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New Cicero Chamber of Commerce hosts “Launch Meeting”

More than 44 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.

New Cicero Chamber of Commerce hosts “Launch Meeting” & Video

The Cicero Chamber of Commerce held its “Launch Meeting” on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 at Langostinos Restaurant and it was a tremendous success.

More than 44 businesses attended the meeting, enjoyed the buffet dinner and participated in a discussion with representatives from the Town of Cicero, the Cicero Police Department and the Director of the Cicero Business License Department, Ismael Vargas.

The program included presentations by several officials that included: Mathew Ramirez, Cicero’s Captain of Police, who discussed new innovative ways to contact the police; Cicero Detective Edgar Alba who spoke about safety issues for businesses, cautioning them to watch out for a new crime that is occurring more and more in suburban communities throughout the Chicagoland area, the theft of ATM Machines; Business License Department Director Ismael Vargas spoke about what his department can do to help Cicero businesses and discussed some of the procedures and typical questions that businesses, new and old, have; Town President Larry Dominick also addressed the Chamber meeting, telling the business leaders that the Town of Cicero is there to help them be successful; and, State Representative Lisa Hernandez discussed programs the state can offer to help new businesses.

Town President Larry Dominick greeted each of the businesses that attended the Cicero Chamber of Commerce "Launch Meeting" on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.
Town President Larry Dominick greeted each of the businesses that attended the Cicero Chamber of Commerce “Launch Meeting” on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.

 

“I want to thank all of the businesses that are here. It’s important to me that you showed up and are concerned. Make sure you stay active. Don’t make this a one time thing,” President Dominick said in welcoming the attendees.

“Our town is only as good as the businesses. We always extend a hand to the businesses. We ask that you follow the rules and if you follow the rules we treat you all the same. I believe in treating everyone fairly.”

Dominick also noted how safe Cicero has become in the past 14 years since his election as Town President in 2005, pointing out that the number of street gang killings have dropped significantly from when he took office, graffiti vandalism has decreased significantly, too, and more businesses have relocated to Cicero.

Cicero Captain of Police Mathew Ramirez discussed new ways for business owners to stay in contact with police and to provide information about potential crimes anonymously and online.
Cicero Captain of Police Mathew Ramirez discussed new ways for business owners to stay in contact with police and to provide information about potential crimes anonymously and online.

 

Officer Ramirez spoke about the new innovations that the Police are using to support businesses. Ramirez, who is the assistant Watch Commander working.

“We have new systems to help you as a business. One of them is online reporting. Essentially the Cicero Police Department has come up with a way to file reports online to make things easier for you,” Ramirez said. “It is there for you, 24/7. It will expedite your reporting as well.”

Ramirez said the Cicero Police also maintain a new tip line called Tip411, another way to communicate with thePolice. “You can remain anonymous. You can send us a text and we will send a police car to check out the area and the problem. Send a text to 847411,” Ramirez said.

Cicero Police Detectir Edgar Alba discusses a growing crime trend in the Chicagoland suburbs involving the theft of ATM machines from businesses.
Cicero Police Detectir Edgar Alba discusses a growing crime trend in the Chicagoland suburbs involving the theft of ATM machines from businesses.

 

Detective Edgar discussed a new problem involving criminals who are breaking into businesses and stealing the ATM machines which dispense money.

“They are very light and they are often not bolted down,” Alba said.

Alba explained the ATM thefts are being targeted by a ring of individuals who are using stolen vehicles.

“We believe that 30 to 40people are involved in there rings. It’s not just in Cicero, we are partnering with Police agencies in all of the Western suburbs,” Alba said. He said that the criminals will check the ATM during store hours, often pushing or shaking the machines to see if they are loose.

“They then come back after the store closes,” Alba said. “If you have any suspicions about this, please feel free to give us a call.”

Business License Director Ismael Vargas

 

Vargas said his priority is to help the businesses and assist them in meeting the Town’s business requirements.

“I think the main goal as President Dominick has explained is to bring the businesses together so we can work together to make changes that benefits all of us,” Vargas said.

“You are one of the most important pieces in our community to help the youth, to help our schools. You bring jobs. You are a part of the community. This chamber is an opportunity for you as a business owner. My Department wants to be here to care for and work with you. We are there to serve you.”

Vargas also credited President Dominick and the Cicero Police who have helped to make Cicero one of the safest communities in the state. He said that as a result of the increased safety in Cicero, 2,400 new small businesses have opened in the Town of Cicero since 2015.

Business attendees enjoy the food buffet served by Langostinos Restaurant, 3036 S. Laramie Avenue.
Business attendees enjoy the food buffet served by Langostinos Restaurant, 3036 S. Laramie Avenue.

 

Langostinos served a fish buffet to the attendees and the groups spent several hours afterwards networking and meeting each other.

Town Spokesman Ray Hanania ended the meeting explaining that the new Chamber will receive strong support from the Town to organize new programs including organizing job fairs each year and helping to promote and publicize the businesses through the monthly Town Newsletter, a new Chamber eNewsletter, the Chamber website, and through activities such as organizing “Grand Openings” and “Ribbon Cuttings.”

“If you have business, even if you have been here 20 years or more, there is nothing wrong with having a re-Grand Opening, we will cover it, we will take pictures, video and help you publicize your presence in this Town,” Hanania said.

More than 43 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.
More than 44 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.

 

Hanania introduced Maru Ayala who supervises the Grand Openings and Ribbon Cuttings.

“We want people to know that you are here and we want to help you grow your business,” Ayala said.

Also attending the evening event were Senior Center Director Diana Dominick, Cicero Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias, and several members of the Cicero Business License Department.

State Rep. Lisa Hernandez told the attendees she is working with the Town to ensure that any state services available to businesses will be made available to Cicero businesses.

Future meetings will address many topics including parking issues, the benefits of TIF districts, speakers who can help the businesses do better customer outreach, and more.

Watch the video of the meeting using the widget below or click this link to see it online.


More photos:

Attendees at Cicero Chamber of Commerce Launch Meeting Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019 at Langostinos Restaurant

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New Cicero Chamber of Commerce hosts membership meeting

Cicero Business License Director Ismael Vargas

New Cicero Chamber of Commerce hosts membership meeting

The New Cicero Chamber of Commerce is hosting a membership drive for owners of business physically located inside the Town of Cicero.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 at Langostinos Restaurant, 3036 S. Laramie Ave., beginning at 5 PM. Buffett will begin at 5:30 PM. Program of speakers will begin at 6:30 PM.

YOU MAY PARK AT 32nd and Laramie Avenue Parking Lot
as parking around Langostinos Restaurant may be tight.

Business owners interested in attending and learning more about the Cicero Chamber of Commerce are invited to attend. Please RSVP to:  CiceroChamberofCommerce@gmail.com

Cicero Business License Director Ismael Vargas
Cicero Business License Director Ismael Vargas

A $20 donation is requested to defray the cost of the dinner and refreshments.

Speakers include a representative of the Cicero Police Department who will discuss safety for businesses, and Business License Director Ismael Vargas who will discuss the top 10 issues businesses are most concerned about and lead a discussion on how to address them.

The Cicero Chamber of Commerce will provide support to businesses including assistance in publicity and PR for events and activities, help organize Grand Openings and Ribbon Cuttings for businesses that are expanding, or launching new services, and provide assistance in understanding rules and regulations in the Town of Cicero for businesses.

This meeting is only open to businesses licensed to operate inside the Town of Cicero only.

As the Chamber evolves, we will provide information on annual membership, monthly activities, and a full range of support services.

 

Ismael Vargas bio:

Ismael Vargas is the Director of the Business License Department at Town of Cicero and serves as the Police/Fire Chaplain. Mr. Vargas was previously the Manager for the Intervention Program/Gang Specialist at Corazon Community Services.

He previously was the Assistant Director, advocate, and trainer at Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE). His responsibilities included developing and presenting workshops and helping parents and Local School Councils understand and carry out their responsibilities for their children’s education. He is a strong role model for parents and youth, as he served at the board chair of William Finkl School Local School Council for six years and member of Chicago Public School (CPS) LSC Advisory Board for two years. Ismael Vargas was also a board member for 4 years of the Carole Robertson Center for Learning.

He represented PURE on the Education Committee of Sen. Miguel del Valle, and the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative and was a regular member of evaluation teams for the annual School Leadership Award for Outstanding Principals and board member of the Partnership to Encourage the Next Century’s Urban Leaders (PENCUL). Mr. Vargas currently serves as an Associate Pastor at Vida Abundante Church, Cicero Public Library Board President, Chair of the Graffiti Committee and a Member of the CYTF (Cicero Youth Task Force) Safety Committee in Cicero and also the S.O.S Task Force Board Member for the Town of Cicero.

Specialties: For 20 years now, my principle interest has been to maintain an intense and constant fight for the rights of students and their parents, and to impel a better education. I had fought for immigrant rights and for improvements to our communities and fight against Violence in the community.

Click for Ismael’s LinkedIn Account.

 

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How Cicero’s increasing safety has attracted more businesses

How Cicero’s increasing safety has attracted more businesses

Larry Dominick took office as Town President with the promise to improve the lives and well-being of Cicero residents, emphasizing programs for families, children, senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Since his election in 2005, President Dominick has fulfilled his pledge to substantially decrease gang violence and gang-related homicides, expand recreational opportunities for Cicero youth, increase employment opportunities within the community, strengthen the business community and improve the efficient delivery of Town services.

Introduction: Two decades ago, the Town of Cicero and its population of nearly 89,000 people, located in the west suburbs of Chicago, was tormented by street gangs and rising crime. The crisis was fueled by a lack of new jobs fueling poverty, disconnected youth recruited by the street gangs, and a lack of resources.

Today, under new leadership since 2005, the Town of Cicero is on a new path under the innovative leadership of Town President Larry Dominick.

Dominick’s vision has resulted in ground-up action and tangible results to improve the lives and well-being of Cicero residents, emphasizing programs for children, senior citizens and people with disabilities. President Dominick, with the support of the Town of Cicero Board of Trustees, is reversing the crime rate, expanding a new vibrant business environment and strengthening a healthy family and senior community base.

Since President Dominick’s election in 2005, Cicero has expanded recreational opportunities for Cicero youth, increased employment opportunities within the community, and improved the efficient delivery of essential Town services.

Cicero was named one of the Nation’s Top 20 Safest Cities by the National Realtors group, HouseHunt.com in 2011 and 2013. That safety record has continued through 2019.

President Dominick has achieved the goal of creating a safe environment for Cicero’s 108,000 to 120,000 residents, families and businesses is the result of a broad program that included expanding services and creating a public engagement program of festivals, activities and services. (This includes an additional 18,000 to 30,000 undocumented residents who are recognized as full Town of Cicero citizens).

Within two years of his election, Dominick constructed a new Town Hall complex which included a community center that serves as the hub for family, youth and senior activities. The center includes a gymnasium, class rooms, computer learning labs, meeting rooms and auditorium in which Town programs celebrating Cicero’s rich ethnic diversity are held.

Here is an overview of the many policies and changes implemented by Town President Larry Dominick to improve the life, safety and economy for every citizen:

Safety: Cicero was named one of the Nation’s Top 20 Safest Cities by the National Realtors group, HouseHunt.com in 2011 and 2013. That safety record has continued through 2018.

Crime is down significantly as Cicero Police make it more and more difficult for street gangs to operate in Cicero. Dominick has boosted safety by: doubling the size of the Gang Crimes Unit and hiring more uniformed police officers; creating the Parent Patrols that help protect students going to and from school; creating the SOS Task Force to provide rapid response to resident needs.

During the past year (2018), crime is down by as much as 91 percent. President Dominick believes that even one death is too many and he continues to strive to eliminate all street gang activity.

Increased Police & Fire: President Dominick has hired more police and firefighters to increase safety in the Town of Cicero. The Town has added more than 15 new police officers to the Police Department in the past 4 years, and hired a dozen firefighters strengthening our emergency response.

The Town has purchased special police vehicles to raise public awareness of police efforts, launched neighborhood roll calls and neighborhood protection networks in areas where crime or street gang activity and graffiti appears, and bolstered the Cicero Police units fighting street gangs.

New Businesses/Jobs: By improving safety in the Town, Dominick created a magnet for new business development, attracting dozens of new retail and industrial developments including attracting several major retailers. Among them are:

  • Break Through Beverage (formerly Wirtz Beverage)
  • Menards
  • Wal-Mart
  • Sonic Restaurant
  • Fuller’s Car Wash
  • Bimbo Bakery (formerly Clover Hill Bakery)
  • Chipolte
  • New Providence Bank
  • Hoots Restaurant
  • CubeSmart Storage
  • Bridgepoint Industrial Centers

Already in the community is a Sam’s Club, which is considered one of the busiest in the nationwide chain.

President Dominick has and continues  to attract new industrial and commercial development to the Town, approving the construction of two industrial centers with Bridge Development Partners, one opened in 2017 featuring 323,000 square feet of industrial and commercial space, and a second that broke ground in October 2018 for a 675,000 industrial center. Both centers have created hundreds of temporary construction jobs and project an estimated 350 new permanent jobs.