Friends of VIP helps local families

Opinion: Letters to the editor

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With a committee of six, the first measurable snowstorm of the year and less than four weeks before Christmas, the Friends of the VIP still managed to have one of their most successful fundraisers to date. 

Last year this same group of residents held a Halloween party and were able to provide 45 families with a full Thanksgiving dinner. This year the same group, along with the help of the management and staff at Miller's Ale House, a barrage of raffle prizes including a large screen TV and the countless donations from the residents, raised over $5,000 (with donations still coming in as of this date).

This will help in assisting over 100 families in North Riverside enjoy a Christmas dinner along with a night at the movies, with families receiving theater tickets. The fun did not stop there as even the local area businesses participated in the festivities as a group of about 30 people had their very own Ho-Ho-Ho Holiday Stroll and traveled to each of the businesses and enjoyed spirits and food.

Our VIP group of government leaders not only make North Riverside one of the best communities to live in the western suburbs, but they also are champions for such causes as this. 

So on behalf of the Friends of the VIP and as a resident of the community, I wish to thank Kathy Ranieri, Terri Sarro, Fernando Flores, Jason Bianco, Joe Mengoni and Debbie Czjaka for their countless hours of work and the kindness of over 120 residents that came out in support of the event and donated this holiday season in helping these families have the merriest of Christmases.

We may be a small community but our hearts are huge.

P.J. Folz

North Riverside

Reader Comments

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Chase Pava  

Posted: November 8th, 2017 4:55 PM

nice letter, I agree. it was prime and tender

Steven Spiro  

Posted: December 28th, 2016 10:39 AM

I hope your holidays were enjoyable, too, Sally.

Sally Danihel  

Posted: December 28th, 2016 8:45 AM

I'm sorry Mr. Spiro but you sound like a raving lunatic. This was a wonderful thing that was done for people who may have been in need of some holiday cheer. What do all your RANTS have to do with kindness that has been shown to our neighbors and friends? Sounds like you have a huge chip on your shoulder for some reason or another and choose to attack something that was done out of kindness and compassion. Hope your holidays were enjoyable although I'm thinking not.

Steven Spiro  

Posted: December 26th, 2016 9:23 AM

Fasten your seat-belts. Here's an unimaginable shocker from the Cook County Record, December 23. "A Chicago appeals court has ruled a state hearing officer was within his discretion when he decided not to swallow a suburban village's contention it didn't contribute to fire and police pensions, because of financial hardship brought on by the Great Recession and its impacts on the village's economy". Yet another legal loss by our Village, in a string of legal losses, all costing the village taxpayers an estimated millions of dollars. My questions are what further legal actions can be taken by our village officials to continue to snatch our hard-earned taxpayer money out of our hands, and to stuff it into the bottomless pockets of the lawyers? What can village officials do to continue their attempts at presumed retaliation against the union and its firefighters? After all, the lawyers shouldn't be forced to drive Elantras, and village officials shouldn't be forced to stew in their own retaliatory juices. Maybe, a typically vacuous quote from the mayor on the topic will shed some light on just how the village plans to justify another legal maneuver flushing more of our taxpayer money down the drain? More likely, I think, will be a cover-your-posterior rationalization for the frivolous spending such as, "It was our effort to save taxpayers money in the long run". Yeah, but the effort failed. Miserably. Totally. It was a complete waste of taxpayer money (perhaps, not in the lawyers' opinions). And, for this, we should re-elect Hermanek and other members of the VIP?

Steven Spiro  

Posted: December 16th, 2016 7:09 AM

On behalf of the "Bootlickers of the VIP" which, coincidentally, I'm a member of, I'd like to pat us on the back for our incredible efforts in reaching out to our community. Take the example of Mrs. Giomanninetti, a widow on SSI, living on Second Avenue. After she responded to our robocall proclaiming that she had a chance to win a trip to the south of France with several of our village attorneys, we met with her in village hall. There, we feted her with a $2.00 Wal-Mart gift certificate, a pass to be among the first ten people at the long-anticipated grand opening of the heralded Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, and, most excitingly, a front seat at a monthly puppet show in village hall with the head puppeteer, and his entertaining band of tethered bobbleheads. Unfortunately, the show she attended was marred by the presence of several firefighters, their wives, and their children protesting some crap about job security. But, we easily overcame that by letting her know that her name was going to be prominently displayed, right beside the names of the head puppeteer and bobbleheads for all to see on that delightfully aesthetic digital billboard at First and Cermak. You know, the one that proclaims, "North Riverside, the small village with the big heart"? The one that a former, beloved, VIP mayor left us a part of his enduring legacy? Well, I'm happy to report that we won her over. So, before the local election, if you see a hunched-over, elderly woman hobbling up to your door supported on both sides by bobbleheads, please allow them in to hear how you, too, can support our efforts. If you do, your name will be entered into a drawing to receive one free legal document, such as a bequest to our village, from an attorney. You should jump on this because the actual cost of one document-preparation, by our local standards, can easily exceed $20,000.00.

Steven Spiro  

Posted: December 15th, 2016 7:59 AM

As the big heart of a small community, please don't think me vane in pumping myself up by extolling my efforts to strengthen the fiber of our village. I'm pleased that I could redirect the flow of your tax money into the pockets of the hard-working lawyers that represent us. When I see their new Mercedes' and hear of their trips to the south of France, I just flush with pride. Pride should be coursing through you, too, for having followed me, your big heart, on this benevolent journey. You may feel that I've been squeezing you, tightening up on you, but I think you'll all agree that having a "few" less dollars in your pockets to buy your statins is worth the cost. I know that many community members feel that I merit plaque in my chamber for having redirected much of the flow to my cronies as well. Believe me, it's been little strain on me to have clogged their wallets with hundred dollar bills from outlandish paychecks. I believe in exercising the principles of "Do the minimum, receive the maximum", "Family works harder or better than strangers", and "If you ain't with us, you're against us". One thing I need to get off my chest. The firefighters. My intention is, when I'm done with them, they'll need life support. I throb at the notion that it will be provided by PSI. Following that, let them eat cholesterol-laden cake.

Steven Spiro  

Posted: December 14th, 2016 1:19 PM

Nice cop-out, Brian. So, you have no idea as to whether the amounts I guessed at were "outrageous", do you? Maybe, the VIP mayor or trustees will eventually clear this up for us. We'll certainly press them to do so before election day. Your mother wrote, "So on behalf of the Friends of the VIP and as a resident of the community, I wish to thank ...". Tell me, Bryan, when one writes " ... on behalf of ... I wish to thank" isn't it a logical inference that the writer is part of or associated with the entity that s/he is "behalf of"? Just to clear things up, is your mother part of or associated with the "friends of the VIP"? Get it, Bryan?

Brian Arthur  

Posted: December 14th, 2016 12:14 PM

Steven, By all means, please "educate" me as to how you gathered your information as to how much the village has spent on lawyer fees in regards to the fire privatization lawsuit? I assume you did your due diligence and collected all the correct information as to how much was spent. Unfortunately, I do not have any inside information, do you have inside information? Did you file FOIA documents to find out how much money was spent? Have you met with the Mayor and talk with him face-to-face and ask him how much money was spent? If you did any of those things, then you would of put the correct dollar amount in your original comment instead of dollar figures like "three million dollars, Five million dollars, or even ten million dollars." Also, my mother wrote this letter ALL BY HERSELF. I know because I was home the day she wrote it out, typed it up and sent it to Bob Uphues. So unless you know something I don't when you stated, "the letter was written not only by your mother, but by one of the "Friends of the VIP"", I would like to know who you think also wrote this editorial letter? Last time I checked, my mother was fully capable of writing a letter all by herself.

Steven Spiro  

Posted: December 14th, 2016 6:19 AM

Oh, by the way, Brian, do you have any inside information you care to share with us ignorant NR taxpayers in regard to the dollar amount the village has spent on lawyers to fight the firefighters union over the course of the legal maneuvers? You termed my guesses "outrageous". Educate us, please, Brian.

Steven Spiro  

Posted: December 14th, 2016 5:23 AM

I understand your impression that my comment below was disrespectful given that Ms. Folz is your mother. However, the letter was written not only by your mother, but by one of the "Friends of the VIP" who, apparently, found it important to widely publicize these ostensibly benevolent acts three or four months out from the local election. Aren't doing the good deeds enough? Apparently, not. My impression of the intent of her letter was to curry favor for the VIP. "The members are so kind", "What a great political party". "Aren't we fortunate to have them in office"? My comment was directed not to your mother as your mother, but to a "friend of the VIP" that was, in my opinion, giving a rather false impression of the VIP's benevolent bent. "Where's my Christmas spirit", you ask? Why, it's in keeping dollars in taxpayers' pockets rather than stuffing it in lawyers' pockets. More specifically, it's in keeping more money in NR seniors' pockets so that they can, for example, better afford their medications. It's in spending hard-earned taxpayer money wisely rather than frittering it away on lost causes. It's in honoring our brave firefighters. Oh, and come on, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it all"? Really, is that you're considered opinion?

Brian Arthur  

Posted: December 13th, 2016 11:40 PM

Steven, I find it disrespectful that you have taken an innocent letter, that's not politically charged, and turned it into something negative. At no point in this letter, does it talk about eliminating or privatizing the fire department or these outrageous dollar amounts you have come up with. All this letter talked about was how nice it was that a group of people put together a fundraiser to raise money to help families in need and making sure they have a wonderful Christmas. Where's your Christmas spirit? Here's an old saying for you...."if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all!" Merry Christmas Steven. Oh by the way Steven....P.J. Folz aka "Mr. Folz" (how you stated in your comment) actually Ms. Folz. I should know....because she is my mother and I couldn't be more proud than I am right now for the nice letter she wrote.

Steven Spiro  

Posted: December 13th, 2016 6:00 PM

Let's give credit where credit is due especially with North Riverside elections occurring in the not too distant future. The Friends of the VIP efforts have been laudable as have the efforts of the Local 2714 firemen spreading Christmas cheer at the McDonald House at Loyola. Each year, this Local provides help to those that can't be at home with their families during the Christmas holidays. Of course, this is the same group of firemen that VIP members seek to diminish or even eliminate through privatization of the fire department. These heroic individuals that each day face the very real possibility of putting their lives on the line have been disrespected and treated incredibly poorly by VIP members. Tell me, where is the appreciation, support, and Christmas-like spirit from these and other "benevolent" VIP members for these individuals that protect our community? Not surprisingly, Mr. Folz failed to mention the on-going gift that VIP members bestow upon the village lawyers. What is it now, three million dollars? Five million dollars? Even ten million dollars? He failed to mention that these tons of dollars come from the pockets of hard-working village taxpayers, and, to-date, seem to have been squandered on efforts to eliminate our union firefighters from North Riverside. Yes, VIP members have been benevolent to the poor and less fortunate, if you're inclined to focus on their politically-motivated braggadocio. However, using our taxpayer dollars, they are far more benevolent to the lawyers. That's what we as taxpayers should focus on election day.

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