Cook County Property Tax Bills Due March 3

CHICAGO – The latest property tax bills show local government debt and have a due date of Tuesday, March 3, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas said Jan. 22.
Pappas said taxpayers can pay online at cookcountytreasurer.com, and noted that county offices will be closed on Monday, March 2, for Casimir Pulaski Day.
Property owners can pay several ways: Online at cookcountytreasurer.com, from a checking or savings account; At nearly 400 Chase Bank locations in Illinois (Chase will be open on Pulaski Day); From an account at some 200 participating community banks; By mail with a U.S. postmark no later than March 3, 2015.

Payments received or postmarked after March 3 will be charged 1.5 percent monthly. Partial payments are accepted. Taxpayers must reference their 14-digit Property Index Number (PIN) located at the top of each tax bill for all payments and must write their PIN on the face of each payment check.
Pappas said the First Installment bills for tax year 2014 now being mailed show every unit of government (taxing district) that has levied a tax on a home or other real property. The information listed is: Money Owed by Your Taxing Districts, Pension and Healthcare Amounts Promised by Your Taxing Districts, Amount of Pension and Healthcare Shortage, Percentage of Pension and Healthcare Costs Taxing Districts Can Pay.


Chicago Fil-Ams hail nurse’s acquittal from sexual abuse

By Grace Garcia
PINOY Newsmagazine

At the Sunico Piano Recital Fund Raiser: From left, Roy Flores, Dr. Raul Sunico, Alma Jaromahum, President PNAA Chicago Chapter. (Photo courtesy of Grace Villamora)

CHICAGO--Dioscoro A.  Flores, 39, a Filipino American registered nurse employed at Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Hospital (RIC) was acquitted  Jan. 12 from allegations of sexual abuse of his quadriplegic patient after 15 months of lengthy trial.
This comes as a victory to the Fil-Am community who rallied to help to support Flores ’ defense.
“Numerous people all over the world have gotten in touch with Roy to congratulate him and to express gratitude that the American legal system works, “said Grace Villamora, collaborator of the Friends of Roy Flores Defense Fund.
Trial Judge Maura Slattery Boyle found Flores, “not guilty” beyond reasonable doubt on Jan. 12. Chicago Attorney Daniel H. Wolff represented Flores.
Flores, a native of Oton, Iloilo, was charged and arrested in October 2013 of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, battery, and neglect of a handicapped patient. He was put on administrative leave by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) with pay.
The patient of Flores is a war veteran who suffered brain injury from a driving incident while off duty in Texas.  He is unable to speak. His form of communication is through a “spell board” and eye motions, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
According to a Chicago Tribune report, the patient told his father that Flores allegedly fondled him a second time in August 2013.

Monitored his case
 Fil-Am community leaders came to the defense of Flores ’ case, determined to help prove his innocence.
The Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA) Chicago chapter, led by its president, Alma Jaromahun, collected additional legal funds and organized  for full attendance at Flores ’ court hearings. The PNAA is a professional organization whose mission is to uphold the positive image and foster the welfare of Filipino nurses in the United States.
Family, friends, retired Chicago nurses, members of PNAA and Philippine Nurses Association of Illinois (PNAI) , and Chicago Deputy Consul Romulo Israel , Jr. attended Flores ’ hearing Jan 12.
Former University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Greater Chicago (UPAAGC) President and founding member of Alliance of Filipinos for Immigration Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) Grace A. Villamora collaborated with consultant and president of Rizal Travel Center Inc. Isabel Juan and Gilda B. Small to form the Friends of Roy Flores Defense Fund.
The case was brought to the attention of Filipino-born lawyer and civic leader Loida Nicolas Lewis who interviewed Flores for two hours.  Lewis declared  “this man is innocent,” after studying the details of the case.
Juan and Lewis brought the matter to Philippine Ambassador to the U.S.,  Jose L. Cuisia, Jr.,  who briefed the Philippine Consulate Chicago officers and staff to monitor the case.

 Flores’ supporters invited world-renowned pianist Raul Sunico, PhD, President of the Philippine Cultural Center and Dean of UST Conservatory of Music to perform in Chicago to raise for his legal defense. The concert raised $13,000, according to Gilda B. Small.
"The acquittal has a huge impact to all the Filipino nurses in the U. S. for justice was served and the truth came out.  We should not be afraid to speak up.  There is a legal department at PNAA that could provide assistance to Filipino nurses on this kind of issue,” said Alma Jaromahu, PNAA Chicago Chapter President.
Fellow nurses of Flores testified to his high professional conduct and work ethic, Villamora said.
Flores expressed his thanks for the help extended by the community. “Aside from my strong faith in God, I was able to sustain this horrible ordeal because of the overwhelming help, love support of those who came to my rescue,” said Flores.


Fil-Am Lawyer receives prestigious award
from AACC at Lunar New Year Celebration


The Asian American Coalition of Chicago (AACC) will celebrate its 32nd Annual Lunar New Year Celebration at Rosemont on Feb. 28. The AACC awards those who exemplify excellent community service from Asian Americans communities composed of the Filipinos, Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Thais, Laotians, Vietnamese, Indians, Malaysians, and Indonesians. The Indonesian American community will host this year's event.

The coalition gives out three main awards: The prestigious Ping Tom Memorial Award, the 2015 Exemplary Community Service Awards and the 2015 Youth Who Excel Awards. The Ping Tom Memorial Award, formerly known as the Pan Asian Award, was named after the late legendary Chicago Chinese American civic leader Ping Tom who was one of the founders of the AACA.

This year's Ping Tom Memorial Awardee is Aurora N. Abella-Austriaco, Owner and President of Austriaco & Associates, Ltd. in Chicago. Attorney Abella-Austriaco focuses her practice in the areas of real estate and business litigation and commercial and residential real estate transactions, among others.

Austriaco has been heavily involved in the community. She is currently serving her 11th term as Chair of the Cook County State's Attorney Asian American Advisory Council and as board member of Maryville Academy. She served 11 years as Commissioner for the Cook County Human Rights Commission.

In 2008, she ran as a Democratic nominee for Illinois State Representative of the 65th district.

She was the first female and minority to be elected as President of the Illinois Real Estate Lawyer's Association (IRELA), an organization of approximately 1,500 real estate lawyers throughout Illinois. She served on the board of the Chicago Bar Association, becoming its president in 2012-2013.

She has previously worked as Of Counsel at Clark Hill, PLC, as Corporate Counsel at Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. and as an Associate at Harold I. Levine, Ltd.
Austriaco is married to Dr. Jerome Austriaco and they have two children.

The Asian Pacific American population in Illinois numbers approximately 586,934, or 4.6% of the statewide population, according to the 2010 Census.

The 2015 Exemplary Community Service for the Filipino American community goes to Clarita Santos , Senior Director of Community Initiatives of Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
The 2015 Youth Who Excels Award for the Filipino American community goes to Samantha O'Brien, 17, a high school senior at Jones College Prep in Chicago.




Search for 4TH Annual Fil-Am Youth Leaders

CHICAGO- The Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. announced the search for the fourth batch of delegates for the annual Filipino American Youth Leadership Program (FYLPro).

FYLPro was launched in 2012 by Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., as part of his advocacy to reach out to the youth and encourage them to actively engage in their own communities and, at the same time, promote the Philippines' development. The Embassy and Philippine Consulates General in the U.S. co-organize the FYLPro with the Ayala Foundation in the Philippines.

Thirty promising Filipino-American youth leaders have participated in the immersion program that includes meetings with top government, business and civil society leaders, and visits to local communities.

Individuals must meet the following criteria: No younger than 25 years old and no older than 40 years old by July 2, 2015; Ready and capable of traveling to the Philippines to participate in the 4th FYLPro and the 10th Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour (ACGTDT) on July 2-4 and July 6-9 , respectively; Have potential or demonstrated leadership skills within their school, community, workplace or other area of involvement; and, Have potential or demonstrated involvement in the Filipino American community.

Interested individuals may download the application form from http://philippinessanfrancisco.org/news/4366/591/Search-for-the-4th-batch-of-Filipino-American-Youth-Leadership-Program-FYLPro-Delegates/d,phildet/ starting 15 January 2015.

Applications and documentary requirements should be submitted to the Foreign Service post nearest the applicant's place of residence – the Embassy in Washington, D.C. or the Consulates General in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Agana – on or before 30 March 2015.

The names of the 10 chosen delegates will be announced April 30, 2015.



Piyesta Pinoy festivals to be held in March and June 2015


CHICAGO – The Philippine American Cultural Foundation (PACF) in partnership with the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago announces two Piyesta Pinoy celebrations for the spring and summer of 2015.

The Piyesta Pinoy in Chicago Philippine Fest Celebration will be held on Sun., March 15 as part of the Neighborhoods of the World series Sundays February 8 to March 29, 2015 at Navy Pier's Crystal Gardens. Chicago is famous for its ethnic neighborhoods – and Navy Pier is proud to honor the city's Filipino community with this cultural celebration for all ages. The Filipino community has been invited to participate for the 4th year in a row to showcase our culture.

The Piyesta Pinoy in Bolingbrook Philippine Fest Celebration will be held on Sat., June 20 at the beautiful Bolingbrook Performing Arts Center in Bolingbrook.

Last year's event attracted about 4500 people in attendance, 6 food vendors, 25 merchandise and service vendors and 10 non-for-profit organizations. It featured 12 hours of music and dance entertainment including super star Dingdong Dantes from the Philippines plus several other interactive activities and children's games.

The PACF was founded in 1996 as a Not-For-Profit organization to promote and share the rich Filipino cultural heritage and traditions in America, so that future generations will remain proud of their Filipino cultural identity and heritage as Filipino Americans.

To donate to PACF and to get more information on Piyesta Pinoy and all other PACF events and to join next year's Piyesta Pinoy celebration, please visit the newly designed Philippine American Cultural Foundation website – http://pacfmidwest.org/.


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