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Bernard Ramos

County health officials begin eviction process at Cherry Orchard

By Dave Hinton/Rantoul Press/Champaign-Urbana Public Health District officials, accompanied by sheriff’s deputies, went door to door at a rural apartment complex Friday afternoon to inform tenants that they had until Saturday morning to vacate the premises.

Julie Pryde, public health administrator, said many tenants at Cherry Orchard Village apartment complex were not at home, and some did not open their doors.

File photo/ A building at Cherry Orchard apartment complex. A Champaign County judge ordered the complex closed in April, but its managers, Bernard and Eduardo Ramos, continue to rent out units on the property. Champaign County health officials received a temporary injunction Thursday that allows them to evict tenants from the property to stop the use of a broken sewage system that left raw sewage on the ground and in neighboring areas.
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Cherry Orchard tenants to be evicted; managers ordered jailed

Pam G. Dempsey/CU-CitizenAccess/A Champaign County judge granted a temporary restraining order Thursday that gives public health officials the power to evict tenants living at an unsafe apartment complex north of Thomasboro. The judge also ordered the managers jailed until the complex’s problems are repaired.  

The action follows a previous court hearing in April in which Bernard and Eduardo Ramos, managers of the Cherry Orchard Village apartment complex, were ordered in April to close down the property. In addition, they were fined more than $54,000 following the conclusion of a civil case filed by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District. 

Court file/This diagram shows the flow of sewage from six of the eight buildings that make up the Cherry Orchard apartment complex.
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Cherry Orchard still open for business despite health and safety problems

By Pam G. Dempsey, CU-CitizenAccess.org, and Sean Powers, Illinois Public Media - An apartment complex south of Rantoul continues to be open for business despite numerous health and safety issues, a pending public health case and county nuisance violations.

Though occupancy at the property, known as Cherry Orchard, is unknown, public health officials estimated at least eight single men continue to live there and have noted several cars parked outside apartment buildings. 

Acton Gorton/The entrance to Cherry Orchard apartment complex. The landlords of the property are scheduled to stand a bench trial today in a three-and-a-half year old civil case filed by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department. The landlords are accused of failing to repair an illegal septic system on the property.
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Witnesses tell of ongoing sewage problems at Cherry Orchard

By Dave Hinton/Rantoul Press editor — An official with an Urbana wastewater treatment company said he saw raw sewage on top of the ground and children running through it at an apartment building complex.

Steve Johnson, president of J&S Wastewater Systems Inc., testified this week in the trial of Eduardo and Bernard Ramos, managers of Cherry Orchard apartments, located between Rantoul and Thomasboro.

The bench trial before Judge John Kennedy is expected to wrap up Monday at Champaign County Courthouse. The Ramoses, who are representing themselves, will present defense testimony.

Acton Gorton/ Gutters hang off an apartment building at Cherry Orchard complex.
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Cherry Orchard resident finds relief in move

By Dave Hinton/Rantoul Press — Hermalinda Cruz moved out of her apartment Thursday afternoon.

That’s not a newsworthy event under most circumstances. But for Cruz, it took a bit of courage and came with a sense of relief as she exited unsafe and unsanitary surroundings.

Cruz and three of her children were among the residents living at Cherry Orchard apartment complex in rural Rantoul, in conditions that Julie Pryde, administrator of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, called “appalling.”

CU-CitizenAccess/file photo. Cherry Orchard apartments.
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Cherry Orchard residents find new temporary home

By Illinois Public Media News— Health officials are moving forward with a plan to transfer residents living in Rantoul’s Cherry Orchard apartments to new homes.

This is in response to health concerns that have marred the apartment complex for nearly two and a half years. Health inspectors learned in Sep. 2007 that there was something wrong with the Cherry Orchard apartments after discovering sewage seeping from a septic system into nearby farmland. Since then, there have been reports of mold, inadequate heating, and power outages.

The landlords of the property, Bernard Ramos and his father, Eduardo, promised that by late last year they would address the septic tank issue by moving tenants into housing units that were up to code.

Courtesy of the Champaign Public Health District/ An ariel map of Cherry Orchard, an apartment complex south of Rantoul.
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Apartment buildings in Rantoul-area complex to close by Dec. 20

Pam G. Dempsey/CU-CitizenAccess â€”

A Champaign father-son landlord team has until Dec. 20 to vacate five apartment buildings at the Cherry Orchard apartment complex south of Rantoul under an agreement with the Champaign County Public Health Department.

Bernard Ramos and his father Eduardo agreed to the deadline in an ongoing three-year-old case the health department has brought against the two. 

Both the Ramoses and the health department came to a verbal agreement in November, and that agreement was followed up with a letter from the Champaign County state’s attorney’s office Nov. 29, said Jim Roberts, director of environmental health for the health department.

Bernard Ramos declined comment for this story.

Shelley Smithson/File photo/A car sits next to an apartment building at Cherry Orchard, an apartment complex south of Rantoul. Landlords Bernard Ramos and his father, Eduardo Ramos, have until Dec. 20 to close five buildings on the complex under an agreement with Champaign County.
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Landlords face charges about overflow of raw sewage at apartment complex

 

A Champaign County landlord convicted Wednesday of renting a condemned apartment was in court again Thursday on charges that raw sewage is overflowing at his apartment complex near Rantoul.

Bernard Ramos, 36, was found guilty Wednesday in a bench trial of criminal housing management for renting an apartment with numerous health and safety hazards at 709 W. Church St., C.

On Thursday, Bernard Ramos, and his father, Eduardo Ramos, appeared to answer charges that a septic system is leaking sewage at Cherry Orchard Village apartments, located on U.S. 45, just south of the Rantoul city limits.

Shelley Smithson/ A car sits next to an apartment at Cherry Orchard Apartments outside of Rantoul.
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