Cicero’s schedule of family-friendly outdoor activities closed out its summer slate with national events, back-to-school activities and the final weeks of the annual Summer in the Park festival.
The month started with National Night Out, the annual outdoor event held in thousands of cities across the United States and Canada to increase cooperation and communication between the police and fire departments and the community they have sworn to protect. This year marks NNO’s 35th anniversary, which featured live music, free food, games and other activities for the kids.
“We continue to see excellent support between the police and town residents, but we must never take that for granted,” said Police Superintendent Jerry Chlada, Jr. “Our department works hard to ensure we are responding to the community’s needs and concerns.”
Since Town President Larry Dominick took office in 2005, violent crimes have dropped. Gang-related shootings and homicides have fallen to make Cicero one of the safest towns in the state.
“One of the first things I did as President was change the way we stopped gang violence,” Dominick said. “We have worked together, as one town, to stop the gang-bangers and make our neighborhoods safe for kids to ride their bikes and play outside.”
As the month marched on so did the activities, as Summer in the Park started winding down. The three-month festival ends over Labor Day weekend this year and has included many opportunities for kids and families to fill their weeks with safe and friendly activities. This year’s themes included Western Week, American Independence, Circus Week, and many more. One traditional week in August is the Back to School Week, which provides basic school supplies such as notebooks, pens and pencils to help students to start the new academic year prepared to learn.
“It is our responsibility to take care of our kids, which is why we have so many opportunities to keep them off the streets and have fun during the summer months,” Dominick said.
Other Back to School activities included the Morton 201 and District 99 programs that were held just before school starts. The kick-off celebration featured an opportunity for students new to Unity Junior High to become familiar with the building and discover the opportunties they will have as they prepare for high school.
“We want to set a solid foundation for our kids as they start school, giving them everything we can to ensure their success when that first bell rings,” said District 99 Superintendant Rudy Hernandez.
All of the events were sponsored or hosted by the Town of Cicero’s Board of Trustees, including Supervisor Joe Virruso, Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias, Assessor Emilio “Emo” Cundari, Collector Fran Reitz, and trustees Victor Garcia, Larry Banks, Bob Porod and John Cava.