An uprooted tree in Bellwood a day after a supercell thunderstorm ravaged the Chicago area in June 2022. | File
Sunday, January 1, 2023 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews
As we head into 2023, we’ve rounded up some of the biggest stories that Village Free Press has reported on. Most of the stories we chose had some resonance beyond our Proviso Township coverage area and/or had a significant impact on a particular suburb in our nine-suburb target market.
Proviso teachers strike
In our opinion, the biggest story of 2022 was the Proviso Township High School District 209 teachers’ strike, the first in two decades and perhaps the longest in the district’s history. The strike began on March 4 and ended only after the Proviso Teachers Union (PTU) Local 571 and District 209 Superintendent James Henderson reached a tentative contract agreement on March 23. Students returned to classes on March 28.
Maywood mayor’s arrest, governing woes
If 2021 marked a year of beginnings in Maywood — with the election of Mayor Nathaniel George Booker and, based on the new mayor’s strong recommendation, the hiring of his handpicked village manager, Chasity Wells-Armstrong — 2022 marked the year of discord. By July, after months of tension with the mayor, Wells-Armstrong would be terminated after a damaging report alleged she created a hostile workplace at Village Hall.
If the saga between the mayor and the manager weren’t explosive enough, Mayor Booker’s arrest in May by Chicago police, who found him asleep at the wheel on the Kennedy Expressway, put the village under an even more intense spotlight, with the arrest making headlines for virtually every major local media news outright and causing a wave of chatter on social media.
In 2022, Westchester also experienced some major governing pains. In April, the village’s manager, Paul Nosek, abruptly resigned. That same month, the board was shocked to discover that what they thought would be a major move from their Village Hall on Roosevelt Road to their new digs on Enterprise Drive was anything but. The two Enterprise Drive buildings were empty, leaving village board members scratching their heads and resolved to strengthen oversight.
Climate change gets real with supercell storm, C4 creation
The supercell storm that ravaged most of Proviso Township on June 13 — causing power outages that lasted for several days in some places like Broadview and Westchester, and significant structural damage, including a collapsed apartment roof in Bellwood — may have been the most forceful evidence in decades that climate change and the weird and extreme weather events accompanying it are more than theoretical.
The storm’s impact still resonated on June 23, when west suburban mayors from more than a dozen municipalities gathered at Triton College to announce the creation of the Cross-Community Climate Collaborative (C4), which puts participating suburbs on the hook for achieving a 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
First Latina in 77th District goes to Springfield
The midterm elections on Nov. 8 may have made history for the Red Wave that wasn’t. Still, locally, Proviso East grad and Melrose Parker Norma Hernandez, a sitting Triton College trustee, also made history by beating Republican Anthony Airdo to become the first Latina elected to represent the 77th District in the Illinois House of Representatives.