UPDATES FROM THE THORNTON TOWNSHIP ASSESSOR’S OFFICE
The 2nd installment property tax bill is scheduled to be mailed on June 30th with a payment due date of October 1st instead of the normal August 3rd due date. Due to the covid 19 pandemic, taxpayers are being granted 90 days in which to pay their property tax bill with no accruing of late penalties if paid on or before October 1st.
Please check your tax bill, once you receive it, to ensure that any exemptions(s) you may qualify for where applied. If your tax bill does not reflect your exemption(s) please contact us immediately.
The Annual Tax Sale of delinquent properties has been postponed per the Cook County Treasurer, Maria Pappas until further notice.
The 2020 Reassessment for all south suburban townships is upon us. Reassessment notices for Thornton Township are scheduled to be mailed July 27th, taxpayers will be able to file an appeal after receiving their notice until September 1st. Should the taxpayer miss the filing date, he or she can file their appeal with the Board of Review through our office.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
First and foremost, we hope you and your family are safe and in good health.
Please Continue the Good Fight
The message we send is straightforward but carries enormous life and death consequences. The news is this: As we continue to fight the good fight against the deadly COVID-19 virus to keep ourselves, our family, and our neighbors safe, we will not succeed unless we arm ourselves with as much trustworthy and reliable scientific information as possible. Having trustworthy and reliable COVID-19 information is especially important for Township residents currently participating in protest marches related to the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. To avoid increasing the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the Township, these residents must be very mindful of practicing good COVID-19 safety hygiene upon returning from these and other large gatherings where people were not practicing social distancing. We are asking that all residents, seniors and youth, to always keep COVID-19 top of mind in all that you do.
For this crucial reason, our Institute has joined hands with the Youth and Family Services Center and the Parent STEM/STEAM Advisory Team (PSSAT) to create this Township COVID-19 Safety and Wellness support resources webpage. Two COVID-19 realities have also inspired this initiative. The first is the many acts of human dignity, decency, generosity, compassion, kindness, and courage shown by essential workers, neighbors, and even strangers during this crisis have been simply amazing. We witnessed brave and caring people from the many colors and cultures that make our resilient human family around the world, the nation, and throughout the Township, joining hands to contain and defeat this unseen and powerful enemy. Their selfless act is undeniable proof that we are indeed Stronger Together!
COVID-19 Public Health Crisis: Local Communities
This COVID-19 safety/wellness support resource webpage is also motivated by alarming reports from scientists, governors, and mayors that COVID-19 is hitting low-resource Black and Brown communities of color especially hard. Some states and big cities like Chicago report that 60-70 percent of the people who have died from the virus are African American (African Americans are only 29% of Chicago’s population). In our state of Illinois, African Americans are 14.6% of the state population, but about 30% of the COVID-19 deaths. There are other reports that the Latinx community in Illinois is testing positive for COVID-19 at higher rates than other groups in Illinois (nearly 60%). Public health researchers tell us that among other social and psychological issues, systemic racism, and entrenched inequalities in health care resources are mostly responsible for these sorrowful conditions. We see this also as a moment of truth. A test is given to all of us to see if we understand that we are truly our brothers and sisters keeper. Now is the time for all members of the Township human family to join hands. Blacks, Whites, Latinx, Asians, and other members of the Township must now come together in true brotherhood to solve these problems and work together to build stronger and more economically prosperous communities for all children and families.
The American political system is created to ensure federal, state, and local governments all play specific roles in creating and implementing solutions to these and other COVID-19 challenges. However, most experts agree that until a vaccine is discovered (perhaps 12-18 months away), engaged and empowered local communities and their local government units are most important to containing and eventually defeating the coronavirus. Although late in arriving, we agree with and applaud this revelation. Some of you probably know that community engagement and empowerment is the mission of our educational organization. As such, there is absolutely no doubt in our minds that when future stories of how the war against COVID-19 was won, they will tell of how resilient and empowered local communities came together to create a new future, realizing that they were indeed, Stronger Together. However, as the matter stands right now, too many vulnerable local communities of color do not receive reliable and trustworthy scientific information they need to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe. At the Institute, we call this problem the COVID-19 knowledge gap.
COVID-19 Knowledge Gap: Misinformation, Myths, and Conspiracy Theories
Researchers at our Institute are examining what we are calling the COVID-19 knowledge gap, occurring in Illinois and other parts of the nation between more affluent White communities and low-income communities of color. We are concerned that trustworthy and reliable COVID-19 information does not reach communities of color at the same speed and quality as middle and upper-class White communities in the state and nation. While the latter communities are actively and intellectually engaged in high-level conversation on such life and death issues as reopening the economy, and what levels of COVID-19 testing, isolation, contact tracing, and quarantine is required, vulnerable local communities of color are still working frantically to put out COVID-19 wildfires started by inequalities in public health services, and inflamed by COVID-19 misinformation, myths, and conspiracy theories. Perhaps the most devastating myth is that because Blacks have melanin in their skin, they cannot become infected with COVID-19.
Stronger Together – COVID-19 Safety and Wellness Support Resources Webpage
These facts and many others clearly show the dire need to begin laying foundational COVID-19 public health bricks to support the delivery of trustworthy, reliable, and culturally sensitive COVID-19 information and knowledge to communities of color. To this end, our Stronger Together COVID-19 safety and wellness resources webpage offer Township residents the following:
Thornton Township COVID-19 Safety and Wellness Resources
In his epic battles for freedom, justice, and equality, one of Dr. King’s most powerful phrases was the “Urgency of Now.” The simple message behind this phrase was, “we cannot afford to waste any time.” The life and death decisions COVID-19 are bringing to us each day also mean we cannot afford to waste any time. Please be clear on thisvital point: your immediate and consistent COVID-19 safety and wellness feedback (mainly by surveys) is key to our success. The goal is to customize this safety and wellness webpage to your actual COVID-19 safety and wellness needs in real-time (e.g., masks, gloves, food, mental health assistance, testing, quarantine, employment opportunities, prek-12 remote learning technologies, etc.). The COVID-19 urgency of now safety and wellness survey will also solicit your ideas and opinions on reopening and reimagining the new economy.
Finally, many thanks for taking the time from your busy day to engage this message. In times like this that we need to have each other’s back. As your good neighbor, please do not hesitate to make full use of any and all the provisions we have to keep you and your family safe.
With the theme “Awakening to Greatness,” and a call for leadership to begin, Thornton Township hosted its annual Martin Luther King event. Taking place at South Suburban College Kindig Performing Arts Center and sponsored by the Thornton Township Human Relations Commission, more than 500 people heard the uplifting words of powerful speakers and performances by School District #205 students.
“Love everyone, don’t hate, fairness, nonviolence, and equality were a few morals and principles Dr. King implemented in his lifetime,” said Linda Wyley, of Chicago, who attended the event. “He set a great example for the young people. MLK was just a great role model.”
This event was a great way to bring several people from many different backgrounds together in one place. With special appearances from District 205 and 150 band and mixed choir, Jada Johnson, Dyimond Moore, Zion Hurndon, Kayode Adebogun and keynote speaker Dr. Chandra Gill.
The keynote speaker Dr. Chandra Gill CEO of “Blackademically Speaking,” went through several themes during her speech that touched personal moments for everyone who attended.
She preached, educated and shared some life stories. Some of the wise words from her included “You are not going to give a beggar $50 because they asked for it, so America isn’t going to give you freedom because you asked for it. You have to fight for it.”
Dr. Gill made that message clear and she said it is as easy as ABC.
“A is for attitude. I need you to stop apologizing for those who can’t see our greatness. Don’t lose your greatness for people who don’t understand your greatness. Lose those who don’t get your greatness. B is for behavior. Your behavior has to be alignment with your character. Dignity and integrity still matter. C is for champions break chains. I need us to know and understand we left the plantation, but the plantation aint left us. Break the chains of fear and failure,” said Gill.
Dr. King was an African American Christian minister and activist who lead the Civil Rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. Some would say they know him from his “I Have A Dream” speech; however, Dr. King was more than just one speech. He risked his life daily to lead, fight, and speak for a large sum of the American population. He championed people being treated equally and having basic human rights. Dr. King led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the march on Washington, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. He was by far one of America’s most selfless leaders in American history. It is only right to have a day out of the year to celebrate and remember all that he accomplished in his short 39 years of life.
Dr. King once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” With all Dr. King did for his people, he stood tall by this sentiment.
Thornton Township would like to thank everyone who helped with the event and everyone who came out to the event. Please join us at our future events and next year when we host the next Martin Luther King Day Celebration.
Thornton Township once again was a winner at the annual Township Officials of Illinois Conference in Springfield. The township won two awards, which adds up to 10 awards in the past four years.
Thornton Township Supervisor Frank M. Zuccarelli was the recipient of the 2019 Robert Turner Award, presented by Sherrill Knorr, Reed Township supervisor. The Robert Turner award is given by the president of the Township Supervisors of Illinois to the supervisor who displays an extraordinary dedication to township government in their role.
Named after the late Bob Turner (1932-2008), the person who receives the award embodies the characteristic work ethic and attitude that Turner, who received the first award in 2006.
Thornton Township also received the 2019 Best Township Innovative Program, presented by Illinois Township Association of General Assistance Caseworkers President Mary Jo Imperato. Thornton Township was given this award because of its Emergency Financial Assistance program.
Thornton Township honored the area veterans who have fought bravely for our country during our annual Veterans Day event. The township gave each veteran an individual pin to show its appreciation and served each veteran a free buffet dinner. The event was held at our senior center in Calumet City.
“This is one of my favorite events of the year,” said Frank M. Zuccarelli, Thornton Township supervisor. “We remember the sacrifices they made and the courage it takes to defend honor, duty, and country. Thinking of the heroes who join us that day and those who are here only in spirit, we stand here as a family.”
The keynote speaker was Teresa Chandler, who has worked for taxpayers at the Cook County Assessor’s Office for over 20 years. She serves as a Community Outreach Specialist in the Communications Department and is the Township Assessor Liaison for all 38 townships throughout Cook County.
“There are so many brave men and women who have served,” said Chandler. “We want to thank all the veterans for answering the call and serving our country. Because of you we have the freedom of speech and so much more.”
Thornton Township appreciates the service members as they possessed courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty and integrity. They were called to be part of something bigger than themselves. They were ordinary people who responded in extraordinary ways in extreme times. They rose to the nation’s call because they wanted to protect a nation which has given them, us, so much. The Lansing Ceremonial Honor Guard and Neil Venhuizen from Post #845, lead the ceremony playing TAPS. Reverend Jesse Burrage of Burnham lead the crowd in prayer throughout the event.
“ We understand that we can do more together than we can ever do apart. This country was built on people working together and finding a common bond,” said Zuccarelli. “They lead by example showing what true leadership looks like. We must also acknowledge the family members of the soldiers. We know you have all lived through difficult times and often took on the heavy load to keep everything running smoothly at home.”
Culture is a way to bring families, communities and future generations together. In our
society today, we are so pre-occupied with school, work and family that we tend to stray from
our cultural customs. The Thornton Township Hispanic Heritage Celebration reminded the
community about the importance of culture. The event, which took place in late September as
part of Hispanic Heritage Month at the Thornton Township Senior Center in Calumet City, was
filled with cultural food, history, music and dance.
“Events like these provides different perspectives of cultures and educates the community
on the importance of it in our everyday lives,” said Bert Rivera of Lansing, co-chair of the event
and member of the township Human Relations Commission. He also mentions the importance of
understanding the history of the Hispanic culture and how it originated.
“The more we know about each other, the more we learn to love each other and that’s
what’s most important,” said Rivera. “Learning to respect and accept others for their religious
and cultural backgrounds is an important factor.
The event was a wonderful way to bring families and friends together.
“When I first heard about this event, I thought it was a great opportunity because I’m
Hispanic and it is important that my daughter understands her cultural background,” said Yahira
Isidoro from Griffin, Indiana. “There are always new ways to learn about different cultures and
even cultures that we originate from, and this event shared the true meaning of culture.”
Others mark their calendars every September for the celebration.
“I attend this event every year and similar events because it gives me the opportunity to
explore different cultures and their meaning,” said Wyonnie Woffre from South Holland, IL.
The keynote speaker was Marilu Gonzalez. She has been a District #205 teacher for more
than 11 years and received bachelor’s in education in Physical Education at Chicago State
University and masters in Educational Leadership at Concordia University. She was the head
women’s coach at South Suburban College for eight years and is an alumnus of Thornridge High
School and Coolidge Middle School.
She spoke out about her life growing up as a Hispanic in Harvey IL, and the challenges
she faced throughout her life. She mainly spoke of how important culture is and how it was an
influential factor in her life and the life of others. “Culture is viewing the way other people live,
and through sharing these stories, you wouldn’t believe how strong the impact of sharing culture
is,” she added.
The Thornton Township Hispanic Heritage Celebration was a momentous event that
taught the true meaning of culture and brought together a diverse community.
“It is important to celebrate other peoples’ cultures and history, and to understand how it
all originated gives me a different perspective on the Hispanic culture” said Patricia Patterson
from Calumet City.
Betty Jones watched as her grandchildren and others jumped, danced and hugged some of their favorite superheroes and princesses. She could see the joy in the room full of excited children as they spent a few hours living out the south suburb version of Disney World.
“I heard about this event and I greatly appreciate it because it offers opportunities to meet new people from the neighborhood and it gives the children a chance to meet and make friends with other children their age,” said Jones. “The children could not have been happier.”
It was just another aspect of the successful 18th annual Taste of Thornton Township event which took place on a beautiful summer day at South Suburban College, 15800 State Street in South Holland. The morning began with a breakfast, where superheroes and princesses ate with the children and the parents. During this event, children participated in coloring activities, photographs, dance parties and ate breakfast with their families and fictional heroes.
Not only was there an incredible turnout, but it was an opportunity for the parents and the children to enjoy a family-friendly event that was free to the community.
“This is an event that has been a staple at Thornton Township for years and it continues to grow. We add more superheroes and princesses and more entertainment for the kids,” said Paula Counts, a Thornton Township Human Relations Commissioner who helps coordinate the event.” We heard incredible feedback and we appreciate all the kind words that families have told us about the event. They mention how very few events offered are free.”
At the end of the breakfast, volunteers handed out backpacks to the children to start the school year off with a fresh start. Immediately preceding the breakfast was the festive Taste of Thornton Township where it was filled with local food vendors, crafts, live music and performances, free carnival rides and games, and free petting zoo amongst the free activities and amenities. There were hundreds of people and families who joined the event and each person appreciated different aspects and qualities about it. Some came for the rides while others arrived later for the live music.
“We had an incredible turnout once again this year. This event gets bigger and better with each year,” said Frank M. Zuccarelli, Thornton Township supervisor. “These kinds of events not only provide a great service but focus on bringing the community together and creating everlasting memories.”