Monday, December 31, 2012

From Blacktop to the Big Top

From Blacktop to the Big Top
By Christopher Getty
Mayor, Village of Lyons

As Mayor, I am constantly pondering how can we make things better and determine ways that the Village of Lyons can do more for its residents.

Some things are more obvious than others, like “Blacktop.” Everyone would like a new street and so I and the Village Board have been persistent in moving in that direction to pave our many streets. We have improved seven streets, just in this past year.

But many times, the real memories from a small community like Lyons come from things that the “big top” brings. 

I’m referring to the “big top” tent of the Kelly Miller Circus.  The Kelly Miller Circus rolled into Lyons for the first time ever in September of 2012 and it thrilled children of all ages at Smith Park. 

This was a fantastic show that I will always remember, from the clowns hitting each other over the head to the elephants parading around the ring thrilling the audience as they stood on their hind legs. 

Over 1,500 people came out to experience this one-ring wonder in Lyons and it truly touched the hearts of all in attendance.

At the same time, I do remind myself it’s not all fun and games and residents expect results.

That’s why “Blacktop” comes first and I push, as the Mayor, to constantly achieve these accomplishments. 

I am proud of what we have done. I pushed for the completion of Veterans Park, now the largest park in our community, and the construction of a concession stand to be finished in time for the Little League’s Opening Day this past spring.  I also pushed to have our parkway trees trimmed all across town, to insure safety and a beautiful neighborhood.

We routinely continue to move forward with many regular projects to modernize our water system, host our annual Father’s Day car show, apply for additional federal and state grant funds, and put on a fabulous parade and fireworks show on the fourth of July, which saw record attendance this past year.   

Most importantly in Lyons is the fact that we have real progress on all levels.  Yes, we’re laying new blacktop on our streets but we’re also making sure to provide those lasting “big top” memories in our communities.

I will continue to push for more or both, “Blacktop” and “Big Top,” and I look forward to what 2013 will bring for Lyons.


Lyons Parks and Recreation Hosts New Class for Expecting Parents

Lyons Parks and Recreation Hosts New Class for Expecting Parents

Lyons Parks and Recreation Department have added a new class to their program schedule for expecting parents that Parks and Recreation Director Frank Torres says is an important service for residents.

Many expecting parents have nowhere to turn for information, Torres said.

“We wanted to provide expecting families in our community and neighboring areas with a class that would cover the important issues surrounding pregnancy and parenting,” said Torres.

The four week class will be taught by licensed registered nurse Carole Cannon.  Carole Cannon, RN, MSN has worked in the Neonatal Unit at UIC Hospital for almost 30 years.

“Since working at UIC, I have seen countless expecting parents try to find classes to provide them with much needed information, but have been unsuccessful, said Cannon.  “When Lyons Parks and Recreation Director Frank Torres asked me to develop and teach the class, I immediately said yes and began to put the class together.”

 Cannon said the class will help and reassure expecting parents of Lyons and the surrounding communities.

The first class starts Wednesday, February 13th from 7p.m. to 8:30p.m. and will cover many topics including pregnancy, labor, delivery options, motherhood and taking care of a newborn.

The cost is $20.00. Contact Lyons Parks and Recreation department at 708-442-4858 for more information or to sign up.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mayor Getty Welcomes New Business to Lyons

Mayor Getty Welcomes New Business to Lyons

Mayor Getty welcomed new restaurant, Falafelji, by stopping by its recently opened location last Wednesday.  Falafelji is an Arabic word that means “Guy who sells Falafel” serves Eastern Mediterranean food at a fair price.

“I always want to visit a new business and personally welcome them to our village, said Mayor Getty.  “We are a business friendly community and I want new businesses to feel at home in Lyons.”  

After growing up in the restaurant industry, Falafelji owner Bilal Beiram wanted to open a place of his own and share his passion of Middle Eastern food with others.  Along with his wife Nuha, Beiram chose the  3910 S. Harlem Avenue location as his new business venture.

Beiram expressed his gratitude to the Village of Lyons and to Mayor Getty for personally coming in to visit his restaurant.

“I would like to thank Lyons for being so easy to work with.” said Beiram.

Beiram said the Lyons Building Department was very helpful in the remodeling process and it was due to their immediate response and efficiency that he was able to open in time.

Falafelji is completely redone with granite counter tops, tiled floors, new tables, new chairs, fresh paint and a new kitchen. The food is made fresh and made to order and the inside of the small restaurant, mainly serving takeout, is very bright and refreshing.

Mayor Getty is happy with the opening of new businesses around Lyons.

The Village is excited Falafelji made Lyons their new home and wishes them the best of luck, said Mayor Getty.

Falafelji is located at 3910 S. Harlem Avenue and is open Monday through Saturday from 11am until 9pm and Sunday from 12pm until 8pm.       


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lyons hosts Christmas Party for local children

Lyons hosts Christmas Party for local children

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty and officials of the Village of Lyons held their annual Children’s Christmas Party on Saturday December 15.

As excited children waited patiently for the doors to open, they could smell of fresh baked cookies donated by the Lyons Retirees Community Group in the room. 

As the doors opened, the band “Varieties Music Team” began singing Christmas music.  The children hurried into the Community Room to play games, eat pizza and cookies, and enjoy the Christmas Music.

While the children were enjoying the party, Santa stopped by to surprise them.  The children lined up to take a turn to visit and take pictures with Santa.  Santa gave each child who attended a Christmas stocking filled with gifts donated by Mayor Getty and the Village Board. 

“The Village Board and I are happy to give to the children in the community,” Getty said.

“These events make communities stronger and bring the residents closer together.  Children are the future of our village, and I want to make sure every child in Lyons has the opportunity to see what the village has to offer them.”

Sixty five children attended the Christmas party, which is double the attendance from last year.   


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty and Other Elected Officials Volunteer at Senior Party

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty and Other Elected Officials Volunteer at Senior Party

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty volunteered his services at the Lyons-McCook Senior Party held on December 9th.

Along with State Representative Silvana Tabares and Cook County Judge Edward Maloney, Mayor Getty welcomed over 300 local seniors at the Lyons Community Room at the Village Hall.

Local seniors were excited to attend the event and celebrate the holiday season.  Lyons resident Vic Zynda expressed his gratitude to Mayor Getty.

“Mayor Getty really cares about providing for the seniors in his community and it shows,” said Zynda. “My friends and I wait for this party all year.”

During dinner Mayor Getty spoke to the seniors about a few of his goals for the residents.

“These last four years I have changed the village’s direction and put the residents first,” said Mayor Getty.  “I want to continue to provide the residents of Lyons the best services the village has to offer.”

Representative Tabares and Judge Maloney also addressed the seniors, both thanking them for their strong support during the recent election.

The senior Christmas party was sponsored by the Lyons-McCook Business Association. The party included a traditional turkey dinner, frozen custard donated by the local Lyons Culvers restaurant, music, an Elvis impersonator and a visit from Santa Clause.

“The LMBA is very proud to sponsor this event and are honored to have a chance to give back to the community who support the local businesses all year long,” said LMBA Director Eddie Wilkowski.

The LMBA has been sponsoring the senior Christmas party for the past four years. More than 40 local residents and members of the business community came out to volunteer for the event.

Pictured: Maria Monaco, Frank Rossi as Santa Clause, and John Fejdich


Lyons takes quick action in graffiti removal

Lyons takes quick action in graffiti removal

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty reacted quickly to reported graffiti at Smith Park by ordering the immediate removal of the vandalism.

The Mayor’s quick reaction reflects his strong belief in the “Broken Window” theory when dealing with crime prevention.

Photo caption: Mayor Christopher Getty with Resident Michael Bennett

“The ‘Broken Window’ theory calls for us to fix the relatively small problems quickly in order to prevent future crimes from developing,” said Mayor Getty.

Mayor Getty said this has been carried out by tearing down or renovating damaged buildings, active maintenance and cleaning of the village, encouraging property owners to upkeep their yards and acting quickly to reported vandalism.

Upon receiving the graffiti report at Smith Park, Mayor Getty assessed the damage and ordered its immediate removal.

Smith Park is a public park and it was imperative to order the removal of the graffiti the same day the incident occurred, said Mayor Getty.   

“We need to be proactive by providing outlets for kids; having clean parks, having recreation programming, and when we need to be reactive our response needs to be immediate” said Mayor Getty who observed the removal of the graffiti.

Removing graffiti helps the quality of life in Lyons. Mayor Getty encourages everyone to report graffiti and any vandalism to the Lyons Police Department.


Lyons holds line on tax levy; approves taxpayer rebates

Lyons holds line on tax levy; approves taxpayer rebates

The Lyons Village Board voted at its December 5th meeting to accept a budget proposal that holds the line on increases and maintains the annual tax levy at the same levels as the prior year, Mayor Christopher Getty said.

Getty said the budget that was submitted will have to be voted on by the full board following the public hearing. It addresses serious budget issues left by prior administrations and will eventually become the basis for next year’s 2013 budget.

"I and everyone on the board recognizes how tough our economy is and how important it is that we carefully review all spending to identify savings for our taxpayers," Mayor Getty said.

"The board voted unanimously to abate two tax levies on debt service obligation bonds obtained from prior administrations that significantly reduces the village debt on combined bonds totaling just over 2 million dollars."

In introducing the villages new budget, Mayor Getty and village administrators worked tirelessly to rectify the $900,000 in deficits left by the prior administration.

“There were numerous budget issues left to us by the past administrations,” said Mayor Getty.
"We have fixed these issues and are ready to move forward.”

Mayor Getty said a public hearings on the budget will be held on December 19th at 6:45 pm. Copies of the budget will be made available to the public, Mayor Getty said. He said that the village will begin the process to approve the 2013 budget in January.

Additionally, the board voted to abate $2 million in taxes on past debt levies approved by past administrations, and approved several contract renewals including one for Groot Industries that is significantly lower and that reduces village costs.

Getty said that in the past the contract has reflected increases that had been passed on to residents. He said by reducing the Groot contract, rather than increasing it, the fees for garbage collection will remain unchanged through next year.

“You see other communities constantly increasing garbage collection costs but we were able to keep them down this year,” Getty said.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Village of Lyons Utilizes Drug Forfeiture Funds to purchase new police vehicles

Village of Lyons Utilizes Drug Forfeiture Funds to purchase new police vehicles

The Village of Lyons recently purchased two new patrol vehicles for the Lyons Police Department with funds obtained from drug forfeitures.

“Maintaining good solid fiscal management and maintaining good running vehicles for the police is a constant priority for local municipalities,” said Mayor Christopher Getty.  “We were able to achieve both of these by utilizing the drug forfeiture funds.”                

The purchased vehicles were two Ford Explorer Police Interceptor SUV’s, a change from the traditional Crown Victorias often used by Lyons and surrounding communities.

Ford has discontinued the Crown Victoria and the Village is transitioning to Explorer SUV’s.

Mayor Getty said the Explorers will be critical when driving in poor weather conditions and the purchasing of these vehicles were at no cost to the taxpayers of Lyons. 

By law, drug forfeiture funds can only be used towards equipment purchases for the police department. The added patrol vehicles were valid and beneficial expenditures.

Mayor Getty plans to purchase additional police vehicles in 2013 using these same funds.

Photo caption: Sergeant Matt Buckley, Mayor Christopher Getty, & Police Commissioner Dan Hilker


Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty Receives Award and Recognition from Mustang Youth Football & Cheer for His Ongoing support of the Program

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty Receives Award and Recognition from Mustang Youth Football & Cheer for His Ongoing support of the Program

Mustang Youth Football & Cheer organization recognized Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty for his loyal support at their annual awards banquet on Saturday, November 17th.

In front of a crowd of 400 people, Mustang Youth Football & Cheer’s President Juan Duarte presented the award to Mayor Getty while thanking him for his ongoing support. 

Mustang Youth Football and Cheer is a well-established program designed for children ages 5-14 residing in the surrounding communities that feed into Morton High School.

Mayor Getty, a Morton High School Alum, was honored to receive his award and spoke to those in attendance, including the young members of the program waiting to receive their own awards for the night. 

Getty addressed the young Mustangs emphasizing that the awards they were about to receive was an honor that was earned and not given.

“I am honored to receive an award from an organization like the Mustangs,” said Getty.

Lyons will be hosting the Mustang’s Spring Flag Football & Cheer League.  The season will run from March to May. 
For information contact the Lyons Parks and Recreation Department (708)442-4500 or

PHOTO CAPTION: Mustang Youth Football & Cheer’s President
Juan Duarte (right) presents award to Mayor Christopher Getty at banquet.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lyons Teams with Heartland Blood Centers for Blood Drive and Sees Record Numbers in November

Lyons Teams with Heartland Blood Centers for Blood Drive and Sees Record Numbers in November

The Village of Lyons partnered with Heartland Blood Centers November 13th for their third blood drive of the year, seeing their most successful blood drive yet.

Working closely with local communities to set up blood drives, Heartland Blood Centers projected to collect 15 units of blood from Lyons. They received a record number of 20 as residents came out in droves.  

“It does not surprise me that we broke the record, the residents of Lyons are always willing to help the community,” said Parks and Recreation Director Frank Torres.

The next blood drive the village will host will be in January of 2013.

Mayor Getty reports on increased street & sidewalk improvements in Lyons

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty told attendees at a recent meeting of Lyons Retirees that the village has surpassed its goals for sidewalk and street improvements this year.

Speaking at the Lyons Retirees on November 18, Mayor Getty celebrated the club’s third year at their annual anniversary party.  With more than 160 retirees attending the event in the village’s community room, President of the Lyons Retirees Ken Getty applauded the village’s achievements.

The five hour event included food and entertainment donated by Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty.

Getty offered a review of the work completed by the Village of Lyons during the past year including the renovation of seven streets and 1,200 sidewalk squares, and the replacement of 36 catch basins.

“In the past, the village would only replace about 400 side walk squares per year, but this year, the village replaced 1,200 side walk squares,” said Mayor Getty. 

Street improvements in Lyons

Getty was proud to inform the group that the majority of completed projects were county and state funded and he was seeking an additional two million of federal grants for a water main replacement and restoration of Smith Park.

“Communities have to fight for their share of public funds from the state and Federal government and I am proud to be on the front lines to insure that the essential work needed in our community is addressed. This year, we were able to go beyond what had been projected.”

After he addressed the club, Mayor Getty joined the retirees in listening to some live entertainment from the band the Affects.

“It was great to spend time with the retirees.  I love coming to their events and visiting with all the residents, said Mayor Getty.”

The Lyons Retirees is the largest civic club within Lyons and meet at the Lyons Village Hall twice a month.  Membership is twenty dollars per year. 


Mayor Getty Makes Progress towards Village Improvement Goals

Mayor Getty Makes Progress towards Village Improvement Goals 

The decision to demolish the former iconic Alphi’s Steakhouse will help the village open the door to more business improvements, possibly attract a new business to the now vacant site Mayor Christopher Getty said.

“This is progress and it will open up that space for a future development or business opportunity,” said Mayor Getty.  

Located on the 7700 block of Ogden Avenue in Lyons, Alphi’s steakhouse was once a thriving fine dining establishment serving the Lyons community and its neighboring suburbs.   In the 1990’s the restaurant closed its doors after 30 years of being in business, a sad day for many of its regulars.

Since its closing, there have been a number of failed attempts to duplicate Alphi’s success at that location and in recent years the now bank owned vacant building has served as an eyesore for the village.

Mayor Getty and the Village Administration took action by applying pressure on the bank to either maintain the vacant building or tear it down.

“I’m happy we are seeing progress from our work, we applied pressure on the bank, who owned the property, to maintain the building or tear it down.  They choose to tear it down,” said Lyons Building Director John Pierce.   

Demolition of the former Alphi's Steakhouse on Ogden Ave


Monday, November 19, 2012

Getty tours newly opened Walgreens health clinic

Getty tours newly opened Walgreens health clinic

Lyons IL – Lyons Mayor Chris Getty toured the recently opened health clinic hosted by Walgreens in its store located at the corner of First and Ogden Avenues.

Getty said the new clinic will allow residents to address routine medical needs short of emergencies.
Walgreens store manager Philip Abed led the tour of the new community clinic, and reviewed services residents can expect there.

Abed said that residents from the surrounding area will go to the new “take care clinic” to address general health care needs.

“Walgreens has brought a flagship store to Lyons” Mr. Abed told Mayor Getty, “and expanding to include this health clinic is going to be a great asset for the village.”

Walgreens aims to have their new stores promote health offering fresh fruits and nutritious snacks to customers. The expanded store space allows for more room in the freezers and removes underutilized stock storage space allowing for customers to experience a larger variety of choices.

The improved photo counter offers more options to select from for digital and film based cameras. With more photographers using digital based media it allows the photo counter operate in an environmentally friendly way taking advantage of state of the art technology.

Walgreens will bringing more shoppers to the Village of Lyons by offering more to customers. The expansion of the Walgreens store shows that Lyons is a Village ready to grow economically because it is a community that is business friendly and resident driven.

“In today’s difficult times, the ability to find routine healthcare services at an affordable price is important,” Getty said.

“I think this new clinic service that Walgreens in Lyons is offering will be very popular with residents.”

Pharmacy and Clinic Staff at Walgreens

Mayor Getty tours the expanded services at Walgreens


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mayor Getty Seeks $400,000 in Park Improvements for Lyons

Mayor Getty Seeks $400,000 in Park Improvements for Lyons

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty met with Springfield legislators and government officials recently to push for the approval of a $400,000 grant to improve William G. Smith Park.

Getty said the Village applied for an “Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development” (OSLAD) grant to upgrade the park and renovate and replace equipment. 

Smith Park is located on Lawndale Avenue across the street from the Lyons Village Hall and is adjacent to the recently developed Veterans Park. 

“Smith Park is one of the final key pieces to successfully completing the park campus for our residents,” said Mayor Getty. 

“The Village complex is often the first thing that visitors to Lyons see and this will make it an even more impressive experience for visitors while also providing improved park services to our residents.”

Lyons is seeking $400,000 to rejuvenate and rebuild Smith Park, which has is in need of improvements.

In total, 69 municipalities applied for the OSLAD grant, but only 49 were invited to interview in Springfield.  Each applicant that went to Springfield had to speak in front of a state committee to prove why they deserve grant money. 

“Many Municipalities hire consultants to make the trip to Springfield, but I feel it is my responsibility to represent the Village of Lyons,” Getty said.  

Mayor Getty was accompanied by Parks and Recreation Director Frank Torres during the Springfield trip to meet with the OSLAD Committee members. 

One of the few elected officials to attend the meeting, Getty spoke firsthand about the village’s need to improve its parks and to receive state grant funds to complete the project. Getty stressed the improvement will benefit all of the residents of the entire village.

Frank Torres took the committee on a tour of the project which includes: a multipurpose field for soccer, football, and lacrosse, a picnic area, and a lighted walking path with exercise stations. 

“This is a unique and rare opportunity for Lyons, our residents deserve a park which everyone will enjoy,” said Director Torres.

Lyons is likely to receive notification of any grant award in early 2013.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Mayor Getty and Lyons Officials Commemorate Veterans at Annual Veteran’s Day Ceremony

Mayor Getty and Lyons Officials Commemorate
Veterans at Annual Veteran’s Day Ceremony

Lyons, Il -- Mayor Getty and members of the Lyons Board honored veterans during annual Veteran’s Day Ceremony on Sunday in front of the Eternal Flame, the Village memorial site.

With more than 60 people in attendance, including representatives from the American Legion Rifle Squad, elected officials Clerk Dawn Campos and Trustee Paul Marchiori, and American Legion Post Commander Benjamin Fuerst, the ceremony paid tribute to members of the Armed Forces both past and present.

Post Commander Fuerst, who also served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event, opened by leading attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. 

In addressing the audience, Lyons Mayor Getty reminded everyone why Veterans Day is important.

"We honor our veterans and recognize a soldier’s sacrifice for we are grateful to anyone who has ever put on a uniform to defend our Nation and its freedoms," said Mayor Getty.

After a performance of “God Bless America” by David Molinari, Lyons Resident Sargent Jason R. Thomas from the United States Marine Corps placed the commemoration wreath for display in front of the Eternal Flame. 

The ceremony closed with the American Legion Rifle Club firing four shots as a salute to all veterans, a bugle performance of “Taps” by Lyons Police Officer Roger Wiggins, and Molinari playing the World War II song “Til Then.”

In his closing remarks, Post Commander Fuerst asked everyone to keep all service members in harm’s way in their prayers.

The Veteran’s Day Ceremony has been a valued tradition of the Village for many years.

Lyons American Legion Post and some of its members

Lyons Mayor Chris Getty with U.S. Marine Sgt. Jason R. Thomas