Monday, October 31, 2011

Concerned Citizens of Chatham: Upcoming Community Meetings

Concerned Citizens of Chatham: Upcoming Community Meetings

A partial listing provided by Worlee of all future neighborhood meetings for next month. If you have any you'd like to share feel free to comment on this post or send an e-mail to blog [@] thesixthward . us. Thanks!

EDIT: These events were added to this blog's events calendar!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Revisiting the meet-up idea

Chatham 14 lobby June 2011
I've sat on this post since June. It's about time that this post sees the light of day!

Since about 2009, both JP Paulus and myself have been discussing doing a meet-up at the ICE Chatham 14 (210 West 87th Street).Then after the show we could go to a local restaurant and have some dinner.

This is just one idea I have had for a while. Letting the word go out on social events in our communities. Our calendar is largely filled with important events such as neighborhood meetings, seminars, etc but rarely do we know about social events. It's something that's been done very well at other neighborhood blogs such as EdgeVille or even Uptown Update

My first idea was to see if we could rent a theater. Perhaps see a movie that had already been released. Then hopefully find a way to take a bite out of the concession prices if we did organize such an event. Surely there was a way to do that. How much does it cost to rent a theater?

In any event, what I propose now isn't so technical. Mainly we could just meet up at the show especially for newly released movies at an agreeable time. We could choose to meet up on a more busy time such as weekends or choose a weekday. We could also check out the many events that will take place at Chatham 14 such as the event, Black World Cinema.

I figure that we can get the word out for such events through our FB page. We could also set-up a Meet Up account to organize this. EveryBlock could be utilized using "neighbor messages".

This is just one idea to bring neighbors together to unwind and be entertained. We will always have time to get together and talk about the issues of our neighborhoods. There also should be ways that we can enjoy ourselves at the same time.

What are your thoughts? Are there any social events you would like to share with us? What other events should we create to highlight what we have in our communities?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cops not distributed equitably across city, ACLU says in lawsuit

Chicago is a city of haves and have-nots when it comes to police protection, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois sued in Cook County Circuit Court, saying the city is failing to deploy cops equitably across the city’s neighborhoods.

The number of backlogged 911 calls is unevenly large in neighborhoods with the biggest minority populations, the lawsuit said.

“Disproportionate numbers of delays in 911 calls have a devastating effect on a neighborhood,” said Harvey Grossman, an ACLU attorney.

On Thursday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he understands the basis for the lawsuit. But he said he’s sought to add resources to high-crime districts since he took office.

“We’re ahead of where we were on May 15. We’re not done applying our resources — by holding commanders accountable or applying manpower. But it is not just manpower alone.”
You think this lawsuit is worthwhile. Could it result in more police on this part of town?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

VIDEO: The state of 95/Dan Ryan...

[VIDEO] This is a project from students of DePaul University interviewing CTA riders along the Red Line at various L stations along the way. This video was uploaded onto YouTube on October 24 and three riders were interviewed stating that they wish for better security, more police, better upkeep, and better cleaning. Furthermore one of the interviewees wished that the Red Line would be extended. Something that hopefully is still being discussed even in the current fiscal environment.

What else do you think is needed at 95th Street?

Hat-tip Chicago News Report!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The first lady was in the 6th ward!!!

Photo from WBEZ
Alderman Sawyer mentioned that when he addressed the Roseland Heights Community Association last night. Here's a story from WBEZ:
First Lady Michelle Obama returned to her native South Side Chicago on Tuesday to promote her initiatives on healthy eating for children as well as her quest to eliminate food deserts.

Obama stopped by a refashioned Walgreens on 75th and State Street. Last year the chain started stocking its shelves with fresh fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods where crisp produce is scarce. Often, such food deserts either lack healthy stores or are home to stores where processed and junk foods prevail.

The First Lady said the issue of food deserts speaks directly to her.

“I saw this growing up in my own community,” said Obama, who grew up in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood. “Starting out with wonderful grocery stores but slowly, but surely, as the economies changed, many of these resources just disappeared into thin air. This is true for so many communities across the country. This just isn’t happening in Chicago or on the South Side.

“If folks want to buy a head of lettuce for a salad or some fruit for their kids’ lunch, they’d have to take two or three buses to do it.”

Obama invested time and considerable political capital in a program called “Let’s Move,” which aims to reduce childhood obesity.

Her visit coincides with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s daylong food access summit. Mayors from around the country gathered in Chicago to explore best practices to expand fresh food in underserved communities.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What's happening in the 6th Ward???

6th Ward remap DRAFT
Today is the lastest Roseland Heights Neighborhood meeting. On the agenda is the ward remap. Here is an article on that from the latest newsletter.

As the City Council prepares to redraw Ward boundaries Black aldermen unify to save south side wards. Chicago loss 200,000 residents in the last ten years; 180,000 were black (2010 Census). This means we will loses some black wards. The 6th Ward may become part of the 9th Ward with a new Alderman (someone you did not vote for!). How do you feel about your boundaries? The political landscape has shifted in Chicago's City Council and because of this where you live may undergo drastic changes. We need to pay attention. Even if we accept the change we need to know what the change will be and how it effects us. We have invited Alderman Sawyer to this month's meeting. In solidarity.....WE must be One!
Here's this month's Roseland Heights newsletter. Below are some related posts!
I think I should trot out the contact info for both Aldermen Howard Brookins (who chairs the city council's Black Caucus) and Richard Mell (who chairs the Rules Committee that oversees the remap)! I urge you to give them feedback on what you expect from this remapping process!

Woodlawn Wonder: Why Would You Think Anyone Would Want To Live With Violence?

The Woodlawn Wonder wants to destroy the myth that she says is often stated in the many racist comments that are made on any crime story at the Chicago Tribune or Sun-Times. Especially if this crime story originates in a predominantly Black neighborhood. She gives us her conclusion!
It’s not that the people in the neighborhoods don’t care; it’s just that their self appointment leaders had sold them out.

Sold out their constituency and sold out their neighborhoods for a metaphorical 30 pieces of silver.

And of course the perception of being “decision makers.”

Which when you think about it is laughable.

Anyone with half a brain knows that the big decisions in this city are made so far away from committee meetings and neighborhood forums.

The fix is in long before the public is asked to give their two cents.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is called plantation politics and in my opinion it has ruined a vast majority of this city.

The "squatter" house is back!

This boarded-up house near 95th & Michigan is being used again as a place to put up posters. Picture taken on Monday afternoon

You've seen this house here before!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Two Shih Tzu Dogs Found!

Shih Tzu
Courtesy of a GCA e-mail blast on Sunday!
Two Shitsu (Shih Tzu) Dogs Found!

A neighbor who lives on the 8200 St. Lawrence block found two Shitsu dogs in her yard. She would like to find the owners. Right now, she has possession of the dogs.

If someone you know is looking for these two dogs and wants to claim them, please contact me.

I will pass the info along. It won't hurt if the owner sends pet names so we can verify how the dogs respond or photos.
The pic to the left is an example and not of the found dogs!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What Chatham Residents Want

Worlee over at his blog is looking for your input on businesses/services would you like to see in our communities. He wants to send such a list to Ald. Sawyer's office.

Especially noted in his post was the EZ Pawn wishing to expand into the old Chatham Pancake House space near 87th & Langley. So that brought to mind IHOP and mainly because well if that location used to be a restaurant that served mostly breakfast food then it shall be again.

In any event IHOP can be added to the list he already has going there. Let's keep adding to it!

Clean the sewers!

The leaves are falling, and the rain is coming. Rather than letting out streets be flooded. Let's be proactive and brish off leaves when we can. Street cleaning is happening this week in certain areas, so it's an ideal time to do it.

I know you're thinking "That's Street and Sanitation's job!"

But realisitically, they can't be everywhere, and this is relatively low priority compared to our many other needs.

If you don't want to yourself, perhaps some bored youth wouldn't mind using some sticks to clear things out.

Let's do our part to prevent flooding!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Public radio wants your input on = Empty Buildings: Eyesore or untapped potential?

Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ = 91.5 FM) is looking input on a story they are doing on abandoned buildings.

An abandoned building can be a potent symbol of a bad economy or a depressed area. So-called "ruin porn" has been decried and criticized as unhelpful voyeurism, but the pictures of crumbling buildings in places like Gary, IN and Detroit, MI continue to multiply on photo sharing sites across the web.

Perhaps it's simply too hard for aspiring photographers to resist.

After all, the Midwest is littered with abandoned factories. Michigan and Illinois have home foreclosure rates among the highest in the country, with Ohio following not far behind. And the picture isn't much better for commercial real estate, where vacant structures include everything from strip malls to office buildings.

Some of these buildings will never be revived and are destined to remain empty or eventually be demolished.

And yet, despite the tough market, redevelopment is happening. Throughout the region, local communities, private developers and individuals with vision are trying to take advantage of a buyer’s market.

Changing Gears, a public media collaboration between Michigan Radio, WBEZ and Ideastream in Cleveland, is exploring the challenges and opportunities of abandoned buildings as part of its ongoing exploration of the industrial Midwest.

We want to know about and chronicle this transformation of the landscape - and we want you to help:

What do you think makes a building worth saving?

Is there an abandoned building in your neighborhood that absolutely drives you crazy?

And if you're redeveloping an old building, how it’s going?

(And we'd love to see the transformation...)

Contribute to our coverage: Click on the question links above - and send us your pictures of abandoned buildings in your area, and rehabilitated ones.

Here;s the link to leae your comments...and let us know too, so we can post photos as well! 

Empty Buildings: Eyesore or untapped potential?

We know we have a few....let's see if we can work with to help highlight our potential, and get some development!

Capitol Fax: Gaming the white flight program while blacks leave in droves

Rich Miller takes a look at who actually administers a little known government-run home equity program and how he's used this program to his own benefit. This program was created in a law back in 1988 and was designed to stop white-flight from Chicago. Then couple this with the fact that Blacks are leaving Chicago in droves and are either moving to the suburbs or moving out of state.

Then concludes:
Obviously, it’s way past time to end that state-sponsored white flight prevention program. It appears to be gamed too much anyway.
Go to the Capitol Fax and read up on this issue!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Citizen Watchdogs of Education Training

Coming to St. Columbanus at 7120 S. Calumet on October 27th courtesy of the Better Government Association. More details below...

Are you satisfied with your local school? Do you want to know how decisions are made?
The BGA is holding a training session at which you'll learn about:
  • the governing structure of the Chicago Public Schools,
  • school budgets, and
  • how you can monitor what’s going on in your local schools.
Education experts will help you understand how schools operate and how budget decisions are made. You'll also hear inspiring stories from regular citizens who have stepped up and made a difference in their local schools. If you want to understand what's going on in your schools and you want to get involved, we'll show you how. Become a BGA Citizen Watchdog of Education!

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Barb Macholz at 312-821-9025 or at bmacholz[@]bettergov[.]org.

Freakonomics Chatham Style- The Fried Chicken Dilemma

Worlee relates a book Feakonomics to how fried chicken value meals has stymied economic development in Chatham. His conclusions on the negative effect of the price war between at the fried chicken chains (such as Church's) in our community:
While it sounds like a win for consumers and a win for the business, it has become a loss for the Chatham community. The Brown's store has closed as they couldn't compete, several restaurant entrepreneurs have reported that they are having difficulty obtaining financing from financial institutions because the financial institutions do not see the community supporting a fast casual restaurant because they all they see is the $.99 deal continue and it is rumored that Whole Foods passed on Chatham because of the $.99 deal and several other issues. So the $1 deal looks good for both business and the consumers but its been bad for community economic development. Sometimes cheaper is not always good. Maybe the Freakonomics team can give us some insight on this dilemma that can be used to stimulate economic development.
I need to read Freakonomics so that I can understand what he's talking about. Although he has talked about why Whole Foods isn't coming to Chatham anytime soon. And certainly the amount we'd pay for food and who we buy the food from is just one reason among many. What do you think?

MAPS: City Council Black Caucus 50 wards proposal

These maps were sent to me by cartographer Ed Sarpolous who made a presentation at the Black Caucus ward remap hearing from October 3, 2011. Note that the maps below are only drafts and that no particular map has been agreed upon at this point. This map is merely the beginning  of this process and so far there have been two hearings where public input is expected in the city ward remapping process.

The hard deadline for the city council to agree upon a city ward map is December 1st. At that point if the city council can't agree on a map then there will be a binding referendum for the voters to decide in next year's Presidential Primary.

I do intend to post contact information for City Council Black Caucus Chairman Ald. Howard Brookins & Rules Committee Chairman Ald. Richard Mell!

Provided are links to PDF versions of these maps if you wish to print any of them off. Click on the images below for a better resolution.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

See the Bears on the Big Screen @ Chatham ICE Theaters!

Are you going to this event?

Tell us what it was like!

Should other businesses (like restaurants) hold events like this?

And more important -- would you actually go?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reminder: Greater Chatham Alliance meeting this Saturday

Saturday, October 15
11:00 a.m. - 1 p.m.
St. James Lutheran Church
8000 S. Michigan

Agenda items include (from the GCA e-mail):
Milburn Alternative School at St. Clotilde
Many of  you are aware about the Alternative school at St. Clotilde. Well, our guest speaker on Saturday is the Chicago Public School's Deputy-Chief of  Alternative Schools. We are sure you have lots of questions to ask her. See Alderman Sawyer's letter if you need more details on the school situation.

Proposed Mega Pawn Shop For 87th St.
Now we have another issue regarding a company called EZCORP Inc., a publicly traded company located in Austin,  Texas.
They want to redevelop the former Chatham Pancake  House, at 700 E. 87th St., into a mega-size pawnshop  called EZPAWN. And GCA wants to hear what you think about that?

The Black Caucus' (Chicago Aldermen) Proposed Ward Remapping for the 6th Ward
The Black Caucus' proposed ward remapping is currently in draft stage. But we do know this: the Caucus is recommending that 6th Ward communities--south of 87th street--like Chesterfield, West Chesterfield and Roseland Heights, plus Chicago State University, be placed in Alderman Beale's 9th Ward community.So we ask is this really about being more equitable in ward redistricting in Chicago? Or is this more about diluting the 6th Ward's strength as a group of communities.

For more information, email:  or call 773.635.6500 for more info

An additional note, just came in yesterday:
In addition to Jennifer D. Vidis, Deputy-Chief of Alternative Schools from the Chicago Public
Schools, attending our meeting, we have been notified today that Calista Winford, the principal of the Milburn Alternative School at St. Clotilde will also be in attendance.

As always, we want to conduct our meeting in a structured, serious manner. So we will ask the audience to submit written questions.
GCA knows that our audience won't hold punches and will ask the serious questions.

We encourage that!
However, if you would like to bring your question(s) for early submission, please print them out.

Please let us know what you hear at the meeting (if you attend), or what questions/solutions you have...

Harlan Community Invite Night & LSC meeting...

NOTE: I learned just last Thursday that Harlan High School will now hold their Local School Council meetings on the first Thursday of every month. Didn't think to ask for the time, but feel free to clarify with an e-mail or a comment in this post. For the purposes of establishing a time, I just set the time at 6 PM.

Anyway, I was at Harlan last Thursday for their Community Invite Night. According to LSC Community Representative Sharon Banks one of the events to take place was a tour of the school. This didn't pass unfortunately basically in the beginning turnout wasn't that great and eventually other parents started to trickle into Harlan's social room.

There was a very talkative gentleman talking shop with Harlan's principal Reginald Evans. His name was James Patrick and he's a retired assistant principal who once worked at South Shore High School. Also he's a member of the Harlan High School Alumni Association. In talking about the issues high schools face these days he backed up Principal Evans close to 100%.

Alderman Roderick Sawyer came to Harlan on that particular evening. Spent the better part of roughly half an hour talking to the LSC about the issues facing the school. Especially the issues of crime against Harlan students. Specifically mentioned by them was the gas stations nears the corner of 95th & State which have been of concerned and allegations of illicit dealings thrown about. Also directed at Ald. Sawyer ways to continue to market the school and continuing to create positive programming for the students.

Principal Evans has been serious about wanting to find ways to market Harlan High School in the way that Urban Prep, Whitney Young Magnet High School, and others have done to recruit students. In fact before the end of this evening I took a picture of this banner that was pulled out of the closet by Harlan's Assistant Principal. It almost struck me as something that you would see on a college campus.

In any event the LSC meeting was called to order at 5:33 PM. It was scheduled to start at 6 PM, but it appears some moments had been decided on the fly.

During the course of this meeting, I learned for the first time that the area south of 95th Street is the testing ground for the new CPS reorganization scheme. Harlan is part of the Far South Side (Area 24) network.

It was noted that the network chief made an appearance at Harlan, however, it was not long after a shooting had taken place that had involved some Harlan students. In spite of that setback the network chief found that the school continued to function accordingly and he felt better about Harlan. I especially understand that the network chief is from Miami so he would have a lot to learn about our fair city.

Now back to Ald. Sawyer. Evans noted that he wanted to find ways to get parents to attend school events. It was noted that Back to School night held in September had a disappointing parental turnout. The next thing discussed might bring parents out to see what's going on at Harlan, a parental report card.

This report card would only provide a checklist for the parents as to what the parents are doing to ensure the success of their children at school. The only thing the parents would in fact would be graded on is student attendance.

Also noted was, at the time I write this post I have yet to do enough research on what this is supposed to mean. However it's connected to the eventual phase out of No Child Left Behind and this is expected to be a different set of standards for school achievement.

For an interesting change I wasn't the only person in the audience for this LSC meeting. There were other parents in attendance one had a question about how to insure that parents will know how to utilize the Parent Portal. This will enable parents to check on the progress of their children online. It was even noted that for report card pick up there were plenty of parents with questions about this program and parents were lining up to learn about it.

Finally it was noted that there are students at Harlan who are homeless. The lady - who is a Harlan parent -  who asked a question about Parent Portal also wanted to note that her organization is hosting a fundraiser in Chicago Heights so that she can help to serve homeless youth. In the near future I will be sure to post information on that in the near future.

Should there be a task force to attract businesses?

Yesterday, I wrote a post about my visit to a restaurant on 79th Street (btw, the establishment in question was Pepe's on 79th & Indiana). Also yesterday JP piggy-backed on my post to talk about his favorite business which will close at the end of this week.

Which leads me to connect those two post with one that I had found over at the EveryBlock blog. I think that can be as useful here in the 6th Ward as we seek to rebuild our local commercial areas. It's about a community message regarding Bronzeville posted on EveryBlock. This was the initial message:
Residents of Bronzeville and surrounding areas, let's put our heads together and brainstorm the types of businesses that we'd like in our neighborhood! Step 1: Give 1-3 suggestions, along with where you think the businesses should be located. I'll leave this open for a few days and we'll move onto Step 2, which will be counting the suggestions and narrowing down to the top three suggestions. After that, we'll take it from there. Thanks in advance!
As we learn this thread formed the basis of an eventual task force created to investigate what businesses should be located in that community.

We know that various communities in the 6th Ward have been opposed to a dollar store or more recently a pawn shop located within our neighborhoods, but certainly now is the time to find ways to attract other businesses here. Is it time to consider creating a task force for the purposes of bringing desired businesses to our community?

CPS to roll out high school-college hybrid

Mayor Rahm Emanuel helped secure a $400,000 "challenge grant" from IBM that will lay the groundwork for as many as five new schools in Chicago Public Schools in 2012-13, each offering technical training in areas such as computer technology and engineering.

The schools are a departure from traditional vocational high schools because incoming freshmen could be enrolled for up to six years and leave school with an associate's degree and specialized training. Graduates also will be given preference for entry-level jobs at IBM.

"If we're going to really meet our commitment to young people to say, 'You're going to be prepared for entry-level jobs in a good-paying career, not just a job that leads to a dead end,' they're going to need an associate's degree," said Robin Willner, an IBM executive who's overseeing the Chicago initiative. "This is not about narrowing a student's opportunity. It's saying not only will you be first in line for a job at IBM, but also prepared for an IT career (elsewhere)."

In selling the proposal for a longer school day, Emanuel and CPS chief Jean-Claude Brizard have talked about the need to increase opportunities not only for collegebound students but for those who bypass college to enter the workforce immediately. The challenge, Brizard has said, is that many graduates lack the real-world training to land "21st century" jobs in math, science and technology.

Willner said these new schools will help fill that niche by partnering students with mentors from IBM and other businesses, by creating a path to college beginning in the ninth grade, and by challenging students with college-level work and specialized, hands-on training.

But many of the details have yet to be sorted out. It's unclear if these five new schools will, in fact, be new schools or whether existing high schools will be expanded to accommodate the new curricula. This month, IBM will also begin the process of identifying teachers within CPS who would like to receive training to be a part of the program.
No where in this article was the City Colleges of Chicago mentioned. The Chicago Public Schools surely won't enter the business of conferring Associate degrees on their students. It's great to see the private sector step up to the plate, but  how can they set up a vocational training program for CPS students without the City Colleges? Especially if you can expect to recieve an Associate degree at some point!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Creative Floral and Gifts is closing its Chatham Location.

Creative Floral and Gifts is closing their Chatham location. We've talked about them several times on the blog.

Carole and Louis Hobson, the owners of the floral shop at 343 E. 79th St., cited the poor economy as well as higher overhead costs as reasons to close the store this weekend.

Carole also mentioned that Balloons & Stuff (460 E 75th St, Chicago, IL 60619; 773-723-4126) will be closing by the end of the year. (Also owned by an older couple).

Creative Floral is a great community business.  They have hired people from the community (such as "Ms. J." who is now at Ruggles school), and given back to the community (hosting events for students at Ruggles, for example, and attending community meetings).

My 6 year old daughter has fallen in love with the place, and is actually mad when she doesn't get a chance to say "hi" to Ms. Hobson.

What wasn't said, but is obvious from Levois' recent posts as well as walking around is the deterioration of 79th, and the loiterers that are along the street that detract from real business.

How do we more effectively help community businesses like Creative Floral? Complaining about what we do NOT want isn't helping businesses we DO want thrive, let alone survive.  Let's spread the word about the businesses that still exist in our community.

Creative Floral will still be in business and serving our community.   Orders can be placed through the website at or you can also call Tollfree: (888)-368-8969

Another thought on 79th Street...

Since Worlee brought up on his blog what he would like to see occur on 79th Street, here is another thought. I will not name a certain restaurant along 79th Street, but every time I patronize this place there is always something going on.

For example in the carryout area there is often a man there who has bootleg merchandise on sale. Namely he has sold bootleg movies or that is movies that are currently available at a movie theater near you. He also sells designer purses and handbags as well. People will check out what he has too!

On the last time I was there, a woman was letting people know to try her free sample butter cookies that she also had for sale. Now this to be fair seems far more appropriate to peddle in a restaurant than what the man above sells sitting at this restaurant.

At another point on that particular evening, a man came into the restaurant looking to sell a pair of shoes. He even went up to the carry-out window to see if anyone in the kitchen was interested in buying them. Then went so far as going into the dining room to see who would want to buy his shoes. This does bring to mind another incident from another evening that I had witnessed, a man attempting to sell deodorant and toiletries during his brief stay.

Finally on this particular evening, a man was in this place begging people for money. He wasn't selling anything at all just looking for some spare change. To be sure this isn't very uncommon it's happened at other establishments where a person knows you got to pay for food so they come to you while in line asking you for some change. Sometimes they come to you when you've already placed your order and waiting for it to be ready. Or as it was in one case on this particular evening this man was outside to ask you for some spare change. BTW, the begging man also went into the dining room to bother someone for some change. Of course to give credit where credit is due a manager at this establishment did go and kick this individual out of the restaurant.

The point of writing this is to say it's expected that none of this activity should occur at a restaurant. I would be bothered by the fact that this is the price of doing business on a major thoroughfare such as 79th Street. No one should be bothered by a beggar nor a salesman while eating in a dining room. Hopefully we can all agree on that!

I should also note that this restaurant has another location in Roseland - on another night but at roughly the same time I has been at 79th on the more recent trip - there wasn't a lot activity to note. In fact it was almost dead on that particular evening I had visited. And while my belief was that 79th Street was a better location than going into Roseland, now I'm starting to wonder.

My hope is that at some point enough people would say they will no longer tolerate this kind of activity along 79th Street.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Victim in Pill Hill shotgun attack: 'They'll be back.'

This morning an article was posted on the FB page about a shooting that took place in the Park Manor neighborhood. Let's home no one in our general area will be the victims of such a senseless crime such as this:
She was at work Monday when she received a call about noon or 1 p.m. from one of her neighbors, Jerusha Stewart, who told [Eva] Spencer her house had been broken into. When Spencer came home, she learned from another neighbor that at least two people stole the TVs and hid them in a neighboring garage that’s part of vacant property.

Spencer was eventually able to recover the stolen items. But shortly before calling police to report the burglary, Spencer said, she was standing on the sidewalk when a man she’s seen in the area before walked near her and exclaimed, “B----, I’ll be back.”

“I don’t even remember what I said,” said Spencer, thinking that must’ve been the same man who broke into her home. “I froze. I was shocked he’d even say anything to me.”

About 6 p.m., Spencer stood outside her home talking with Stewart and the other neighbor. A man, who Spencer wasn’t able to identify, walked past them while talking on a cell phone until he got to East 93rd Street and South Chappel Avenue.

Unbeknownst to the trio, that man was armed.

“We heard a ‘Pow!’ And then I got shot, and I turned around, looked and he was running,” said Spencer, whose lower back and legs were left covered with pellet wounds. “When I felt it…it (the wounds) was warm.”

“I was crying. I was crying. I was hysterical,” she said, adding that her wounds evoked painful memories about the death of her 31-year-old brother, Joshua, who was fatally stabbed on the North Side in March 2010.

After the shooting, Spencer ran into her house. A friend drove her to the hospital a short time later.
Pill Hill is also known as an upper-middle class community and they're starting to have problems as well apparently. Perhaps even they have issues with foreclosures!
Frustrated by recent break-ins in the neighborhood, including two at her home, Stewart said her block has problems with several vacant properties and youths who loiter continuously in front of a convenience store across from Spencer’s home.

Stewart said she’s complained repeatedly to her alderman about the those issues. “I’m terrified. I’m terrified to stay in my own house now,” said Stewart, who works for the state of Illinois and has lived in her house since 1979.

“People are coming out here and not doing anything but living off of the things that other people have accomplished…It seems like it’s being tolerated too much.”
Let's hope she continues to report the issues in her neighborhood. That lady who was shot no longer feels safe in her house and has opted to move out. Let's be sure that never happens again!

GCA is talking about the ward remap...

This was in an e-mail blast by the Greater Chatham Alliance. While Chatham will remain in the new 6th Ward under a draft proposal by the City Council's Black Caucus.
The Black Caucus' (Chicago Aldermen) Proposed Ward Remapping for the 6th Ward

The Black Caucus' proposed ward remapping is currently in draft stage. But we do know this: the Caucus is recommending that 6th Ward communities--south of 87th street--like Chesterfield, West Chesterfield and Roseland Heights, plus Chicago State University, be placed in Alderman Beale's 9th Ward community.

So we ask is this really about being more equitable in ward redistricting in Chicago? Or is this more about diluting the 6th Ward's strength as a group of communities.

We really need to know how you feel about that too!

If we are paying the tab for our city services and government officials, then don't we have the right to determine the direction of our communities?
I think it's about time to provide contact information for both the Chairman of the Black Caucus Ald. Howard Brookins and also for the Chairman of the City Council Rules Committee Ald. Dick Mell (33rd). The rules committee is where any potential remap will be considered before it reaches the full city council. It will be outlined in full on a blog post.

BTW, the next meeting of the GCA will be next Saturday October 15th about that alternative school that opened up at St. Clotilda there Chatham residents are so concerned about. A representative from CPS' office of alternative programs will be there. Check out this meeting flyer as well and hopefully you will plan to attend!

CAPCC To CPS- Richard Milburn Alternative High School Must Go!

This was the message that Keith Tate, President of the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council (CAPCC) told Chicago Public School(CPS) representative Jennifer Vidis, Deputy Director of Alternative Schools. While the focus of the meeting was to be on EZ Pawn, who decided not to attend the meeting, Roderick Sawyer, Alderman of the 6th ward invited Mrs. Vidis to come out and address the community. The uproar started last month when resident living near St. Clotilde Catholic Church ( moving trucks full of supplies unloading these goods in the former elementary school. When they asked questions, they were rudely told by St. Clotilde and Milburn representatives it was none of their business. When the regular school schedule started they saw buses unloading students. Numerous attempts by residents and community organizations to find out information about this school went unanswered and finally when Alderman Sawyer inquired it was stated it was an alternative "safe" school for student ranging from the 6-12 grades who had been expelled from Chicago Public Schools ( who could be reinstated if they showed improvement in their behavior. Questions arose as to why the community wasn't notified by CPS, Chicago Archdioces( St. Clotilde parish. Also, the community had questions about the students and the reason some were expelled because they noticed the school had armed security guards. CPS and the school's principal reached out to the Alderman after the story showed up on television and newspapers. The answers CPS gave were unacceptable to the community and they decided to send Ms. Vidis out to address the community's concerns. The Chicago Archdioces and St. Clotilde parish have yet to respond to numerous inquiries. Ms. Vidis was greeted by Mr. Tate with a straight forward and direct opening stating his displeasure with CPS, Chicago Archdioces, St. Clotilde parish over this matter. Mr. Tate stated CPS and Milburn's offer to create a community advisory council was far too little and way to late because this was something that should have been handled prior to the school's opening. Ms. Vidis stated that the CPS is mandated under State law to provide these young adults an education. A decision to move Milburn from the former Holy Angel's facility, because of health and safety concerns, were known back in early July. She further stated that the Chicago Archdioces offered Milburn the St. Clotilde location. These answers just fueled the anger of the crowd. Questions and comments from the audience ranged from the lack of disclosure from the Milburn, CPS and Archdioces parties who knew Milburn had to move from the former location. Also, that there have been allegations of residents witnessing a student engaging in indecent exposure and another skipping school. Also, it was asked why other Alternative and Charter Schools in the area such as Sullivan House,Charles Houston and Gary Comer locations were not considered. Ms. Vidis stated these students were not eligible to attend these schools because they were expelled from the CPS system and these schools are considered CPS schools. Also, Milburn won a competitive bidding process to offer this type of schooling. Per Milburn's website they do not operate any other schools in Illinois. Lastly, after the call to void the Milburn contract and move the school, Ms. Vidis stated she would go back and speak with CPS legal counsel about the matter and would attempt to come up with some solutions to address the community's concerns. Also, the Chicago Police Department attended the meeting to address concerns over the violence that occurred this past weekend. A call by CAPCC to have the Chicago Public Library build a 15,000 sq ft building versus a 16,500 one and a half story building was brought up again. The final topic was cadidates introductions. Kari Steele stated she is runing for Water Reclamation District Commissioner. Two candidates made it public that they were running for 34th District State Representative seat that is being vacated by Constance Howard. Elgie Sims and Sondra Wortham both stated that they are in the running for the office and they join Paul Gregoire and Richard Wooten. The only question now is will Ms. Vidis come back out to Chatham for the Greater Chatham Alliance meeting and answer questions for those residents.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Progress Illinois is looking at our committeeman race

At least three committeeman races they think will actually be competitive at the ward level. This is what they say about the Democratic Committeeman race here in the 6th Ward:
Besides the 36th and 47th, another race to watch is the 6th where ward committeewoman Freddrenna Lyle lost her aldermanic seat to Roderick Sawyer this past spring – and Sawyer now plans to run as committeeman. 

Lyle has not yet indicated if she will try to retain her position at the top of the 6th Ward. 

Candidates have until the end of November to gather the signatures necessary to get on the ballot.  A wrinkle to these races is that the City Council is supposed to remap the city’s 50 wards by the first week of December, which could substantially change some of the neighborhood’s the committeemen represent.
No one knows former Ald. Lyle's plans although she is still the current 6th Ward Democratic Committeeman. All the same I know about one other entrant in the race between he was circulating petitions outside of a neighborhood meeting, Richard Wooten. He ran for 6th Ward Alderman in February.

We will vote on the next committeeman for all three parties in the 6th (Democrat, Republican, & Green) in next year's March primaries.

Ready, Set, Grovel; It’s Slate-Making Time

This Chicago News Cooperative article has this tidbit about Kari Steele who is again running for a commissioner's slot at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District:
The reclamation district competition had candidates promoting their fund-raising acumen. Debra Shore, a reformist incumbent, also said she’d deal with medicines flushed into toilets (she won slating), while Kari Steele cited her current job as a chemist for L’Oreal USA. (Ms. Steele, daughter of an appellate judge and ex-alderman, also won.)

Patrick Daley Thompson, a lawyer and grandson of the legendary mayor, underscored how he had been a precinct captain in the Daleys’s 11th Ward for 20 years. He also came out for disinfecting the Chicago River. He won.
I would like to wish Ms. Steele the best of luck in her bid. It couldn't hurt that she won slating in her bid for her first elected office.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

West Chesterfield on the ward remap process...

SIDENOTE: The map to the right is a superimposed map of the current 6th Ward boundaries represented in yellow and the Black Caucus' proposed 6th Ward boundaries drawn in gray. It's a detail of one of four maps provided by cartographer Ed Sarpolous. Please note that this map is only a draft proposal and the city council has until December 1st to agree to a ward map!

Tuesday night, I attended a meeting of the West Chesterfield Community Association (WCCA) at a bungalow located at 9351 S. Michigan Avenue. One of the items on their agenda was the ward remap. In their newsletter for this month they made sure to note that they protest the redistricting of the 6th Ward and it affecting West Chesterfield. At the meeting there was a petition circulated around the audience that requests that West Chesterfield remain in the 6th Ward under Alderman Sawyer.

WCCA President Michael LaFargue as a matter of fact was at the previous night's ward remap hearing at the South Shore Cultural Center. He especially made the Black Caucus members who were in attendance on that evening (Aldermen Deborah Graham - 29th, Latasha Thomas - 17th, Roderick Sawyer, Howard Brookins, Joann Thompson - 16th, Michelle Harris - 8th, and Carrie Austin - 34th) point out where West Chesterfield would like under the Black Caucus' proposed map.

Another term we learned in the whole drama around the remap: "community of interest". LaFargue argued a community of interest not based on race/ethnicity, but on geography. He identifies not with say Roseland which is part of the 9th Ward, but he identifies instead with the Chatham community.

Communities of interest may be according to race/ethnicitiy, but it could also involve say a group of people sharing the same values. Perhaps West Chesterfield share the same values as Chatham for example. Another community of interest is where the people in a given area share a similar religion or worldview. Former Alderman Lyle noted that Catholic Parishes would be considered a community of interest.

As a matter of fact an Asian lady asked a question about communit of interest at the hearing. Well more of a comment she noted an increase of the Chinese population in the Brigdeport, Fuller Park area but how the population just wasn't enough to justify a Chinese-American ward. The percentage was about 45% when an group to be identified as a community of interest has to be 51%. And ideally as the Asian population is considered dispersed around the city if they were more clustered that could also justify drawing a mostly Asian-American Ward.
Photo courtesy of the Alderman's office on Twitter

In any event, Ald. Sawyer spoke to the West Chesterfield neighborhood talking about the remap process. He urged the community to continue their petion drive to keep their neighborhood in the 6th Ward. In addition he urged them to contact Ald. Mell of the City Council Rules Committee.

He reiterated that the Black Caucus had only drew up a draft map. Ald. Sawyer may lose three strong community organizations in the form of the WCCA, Chesterfield Community Council, and the Roseland Heights Community Association. That also means he could lose the good areas of his ward and possibly Jones Hamburgers of 9818 S Michigan Ave (Ald. Sawyer mentioned them specifically). He wants those organizations to help him make the 6th Ward once again one of the more high turnout wards in Chicago!

A question came up at this meeting was about whether or not being drawn into the 9th Ward might affect property values. It was obvious that this neighborhood didn't want to be under Ald. Anthony Beale - in fact there were gasps about their neighborhood joining the 9th Ward - and Ald. Sawyer made sure to note that these three communities vote! West Chesterfield, Chesterfield, and Roseland Heights provide more votes than the whole 9th Ward as it's currently composed according to the Alderman.

The Alderman also noted that he saw an earlier map than the one publicly unveiled that was more favorable to him than the map than the public draft map by the Black Caucus. There will be some politics involved in this process and he doesn't want to vote for a map that cuts out the heart of his ward. Also noted that there would be no problem with the 6th Ward taking in new areas because that would be an opportunity to lift them up to be part of the 6th Ward. This is what he hopes to accomplish with the people in East Englewood.

Again a consensus map has to be agreed on by December 1st! Of course if the city council can't agree on a map there would be a binding referendum to vote on in next years Presidential Primary. Yes that means we the people will have a chance to decide on map for their communities.

Mr. LaFargue figures that they have the rest of October to continue putting out petitions to the community to show support for remaining in the 6th Ward. Let's hope they are very successful in that drive.

For the purposes of full disclosure while I'm neither a West Chesterfield resident nor a member of their organization I also signed the petition to remain in the 6th!

Documents from West Chesterfield meeting!

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s surprise: Cuts ‘job killer’ head tax in half - Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s surprise: Cuts ‘job killer’ head tax in half - Chicago Sun-Times
Emanuel campaigned on a promise to phase out the head tax over four years by lopping off $1 from it each year.

But he opted to do it twice as fast — and eliminate the tax entirely by July 2014 — because the deal that nailed down as many as 2,000 new jobs at a Far South Side Ford plant was contingent on the phase out.

“This was a significant piece of helping us secure the 1,200 jobs at the Ford plant and what they’re gonna add also to the stamping plant across the street. It’s another 700” jobs, the mayor said.

Emanuel noted that every one of the city’s 50 aldermen has heard business owners speak “in very colorful language” about how much they despise the head tax and how big a disincentive it is to creating the jobs Chicago so desperately needs.

“We’re gonna cut this tax. I pledged in the campaign $1 per year to eliminate it by the end. [But] my budget will start the first year with the elimination of $2 and cut it in half,” the mayor said, without saying how he would make up the $23 million in lost revenue.

The head tax applies to roughly 2,700 Chicago companies with more than 50 employees who are taxed at a rate of $4 per employee, per month.
Now let's bring most of those new jobs that could come to Chicago as a result of the repeal of this tax to the 6th Ward!

Concerned Citizens of Chatham: Chatham Resident Jahmal Cole Wins Chicago Ideas Week Award

Worlee at Concerned Citizens of Chatham makes note of Jahmal Cole's recent honor courtesy of Chicago Ideas Week. That event runs from Oct. 1st to 16th!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Health and Human Services Secretary visits Walgreens

US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visted our local Walgreen's at State and 75th. One of the featured events included the Sceretary getting a flu shot from Walgreens' health clinic (and promoting )

The visit also highlighted the several changes to the store, including the fresh foods (mention of the Food Deserts, and Sebelius congratulating Walgreens as being an "oasis"), the health clinic (offering easier access to basic health care), and highlighted the new remodeling, which features a more lighted, open space.

Melinda Kelly of the Chatham Business Association spoke at the podium following the Secretary.

Several VIP's attended the event in addition to Walgreens' president, including a Deputy Governor.  Several reporters and photographers were also present, including WGN news and Univision.

Cristal Thomas, Deputy Governor for Public Policy, is on the left while Debbie Garza , Divisional Vice President, Government and Community Relations of Walgreens, speaks with store manager Wayman Freelon

This event was also done in coordination with First Ladies (The wives of prominent Chicago area pastors, including Chatham's Carter Temple).  Here is a link to a recent event, also co-sponsored with Walgreens, the First Ladies led.

Our Walgreens is a popular place to be.  A second event with the Chicago Urban League, was scheduled for later that afternoon at Walgreens. (I was not able to attend that event, so we don't have details)


Here's the Walgreen's press release, sent 2 hours before the event:

photo by JP Paulus

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius will receive her seasonal flu vaccine and will talk about the importance of prevention measures and flu season preparedness this morning at a Walgreens (NYSE:WAG) (NASDAQ:WAG) "health and daily living" pilot store in Chicago. The Secretary also will tour the store with Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson, who will highlight the store's ability to offer accessible, preventive health services such as flu vaccinations and diabetes care in underserved communities.

"It's very exciting to see stores like these built on the principle that good health starts with steps we can all take to avoid getting sick in the first place," said Sebelius. "A perfect example of preventive care is getting your annual flu shot to protect yourself and your loved ones. So we're working closely with pharmacies like Walgreens to make the vaccine widely available in communities across the country."

photo by JP Paulus
"We appreciate Secretary Sebelius recognizing the important role of community pharmacists in health care," said Wasson. "With this pilot store, we are advancing the profession of pharmacy by providing greater accessibility to pharmacists for medication counseling, answering questions and providing additional clinical services."

Pharmacists are on the front lines of health care and among the most trusted professionals as ranked by Gallup's honesty and ethics survey. Especially in medically underserved communities, pharmacies provide critical access to health care services that often go beyond dispensing medication. Walgreens new pilot pharmacy addresses the desire of customers for better products, tools and guidance as they aspire to make healthier choices in their daily lives. The pilot pharmacy also addresses the national focus on prevention and management of chronic diseases, which has highlighted the need for a model of care that is convenient, coordinated and affordable.

More details will be posted when available

Chicago area church First Ladies, including Micheal Newman-Brooksof Canaan Community Church in Englewood (first on the right), as well as John Gremer, Walgreens Director of Community Affairs. photo courtesy of Pastor Jonathan Brooks, Canaan Community Church

Recap of the Black Caucus ward remap hearing...

Click pic for a larger resoluation!
Sidenote: The map at the top is the publicly released 50 ward map proposed by the City Council Black Caucus provided by Ed Sarpolous who drew this map. There are four other maps that provides for streets, community areas, and even current ward boundaries. They will be on display here. Please note that this map is only a proposal no vote has taken place on it yet and the process will continue until the December 1st deadline to agree on a ward map!

Monday night I attended the City Black Caucus ward remap hearing held at the South Shore Cultural Center @ 7059 S. South Shore Dr and then the next night the West Chesterfield Community Association held a meeting where one of the items on their agenda was the city ward remap. I wrote notes at both gatherings and the South Shore Center gathering was very informative.

At the Black Caucus hearing, it appeared to have started early. It was advertised to have started at 7:00 PM however the meeting was already in progress by the time I had arrived on the 3rd floor where the hearing was being held. In fact, another man (who turned out to be 17th Ward Aldermanic challenger David Moore) asked me if the meeting was supposed to have started at 7:00.

When I had arrived cartographer Ed Sarpolous was giving his presentation on how he drew the draft Black Caucus 50 ward map. He showed details of the southwest side, southeast side, and the west side black wards. Mainly in drawing these maps he made sure that there were at least 51% black population in at least 19 wards. It was noted that the 2nd Ward would no longer be a Black ward but that's should be no surprise since most of the projects near downtown had been torn down and the population dispersed throughout the Chicago area.

Furthermore the population of the city has shifted both downtown and towards the west side. Also has been noted in the press wards along the lakefront or Indiana state line and city limits along the north, west, and south sides means that the ward boundaries will have to shift accordingly. The 9th ward for example has to move North because it can't move further south.

There were a number of questions, but a lot of questions about the census and a recount. It was noted that a recount wouldn't matter as far as the remap, but it would matter for say more federal funds. They expressed doubts that 180,000 blacks left Chicago and theorized that despite a serious effort at outreach many Blacks in Chicago just chose not to complete their US Census surveys.

Also there was a question about possibly cutting the city council in half. Mainly Ald. Howard Brookins (21st Ward) argued status quo and said it would be a problem with a larger area and more people. They could save money in Aldermanic salaries but it would be offset with an increase in Alderman staff. Especially since Chicago citizens still rely on their Aldermen for not only city issues but state and federal issues as well.

Sidenote: I argued it might be necessary to change the whole job description if we wanted to cut the number of Aldermen in half. They may not be able to do most of what they're expected to do now in enlarged wards and with more people.

The draft map presented by the Black Caucus will not be the final map for certain. There will be different maps to be drawn and the Rules Committee of the City Council will ultimately put forward a map to the full city council by December 1st. If the city council can't agree on a map at that solid deadline there will be a binding referendum in next year's Presidential Primary that will allow for the voters to pick their preferred map.

Also we should look out for information with regards to a map room located at City Hall on the 3rd floor. There citizens will be able to view multiple proposed ward maps on display. It's currently not open, but the city council rules committee will offer more details as a later date.

Coming soon...

Today I will publish my report of  the Monday night City Council Black Caucus hearing on the city ward remap process. At that meeting I made sure to give the cartographer Ed Sarpoulous this blog's e-mail address so that I can receive the different drawings of the publicly available redrawn city ward map presented by the Black Caucus. There is also a chart with the numbers behind redrawing our city's wards. I would like to present them to you as well.

Earlier this year I had two posts that link to other sites which utilized census data that utilized interactive Google Maps to show which wards lost population and which wards gained/lost a population of whatever ethnic group lived in a particular ward. Another link has information on which census tracts in the city either gained or lost population.

Tomorrow will be a report from West Chesterfield. Michael LaFargue who is the President of the West Chesterfield Community Association was at the Black Caucus hearing Monday night and presided over his monthly meeting on Tuesday where Ald. Sawyer discussed the remap process with that neighborhood.

Related links:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Harlan "Community Invite Night"

Last month Harlan Community Academy (@ 9652 South Michigan Ave) has a "Back to School" night and it was advertised on the new electronic marquee board outside of the school.

Tonight as I returned home from the recent West Chesterfield Community Association meeting, there are two new events posted on the board. One of them is a Community Invite Night from 4 PM to 6 PM on this Thursday October 6th. Then at 6 PM is the Harlan LSC meeting.

Let's see how many holdovers will stick around for the LSC meeting. If you're concerned about the safety of the students near 95th & Dan Ryan, this is probably one place you need to be. Besides a lot of the folks at the West Chesterfield meeting were concerned about the activities of students before the start of the school day, during the school day, and of course at dimissal time.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Abandoned Home Shows Effects of Predatory Lending - Chicago News Cooperative

Abandoned Home Shows Effects of Predatory Lending - Chicago News Cooperative
In November 2004, Wanda Carter bought a home at 6548 South Morgan Street on the South Side and thought she got a good deal.

A bank lent her $142,000, which covered the sale price and loan fees, and provided $20,000 to fix up the place. To Carter, it seemed as if the bank was paying her $20,000 to take the loan. She did not even have to come up with a down payment.

After the deal closed, Carter discovered the house needed structural work that would cost far more than $20,000. Then the man she married about a year after moving in received a diagnosis of late-stage cancer.

Carter soon fell behind on her mortgage. After a bank advised her that the best way to settle her mortgage debt was to evacuate and let a lender sell the house, the couple moved out. Instead, banks let the house deteriorate, and now it is an eyesore in its Englewood neighborhood — the kind of house that devastates nearby property values.

“This place is a disaster,” said a neighbor, Ernest Hearny, surveying the trash-strewn yard of the boarded-up home. “There’s nothing inside. Gangbangers got in there and got high, had sex. The odor is so bad. They took the pipes, the plumbing, everything. It started going downhill when the people moved out. ”

Carter’s story is more than an all-too-familiar tale about the ravages of predatory lending. It is also an example of why the Woodstock Institute, a nonprofit research group specializing in housing issues, just reported that Chicago’s inventory of foreclosed homes continues to be at record levels. Red tape, clogged courts, victimized borrowers and overwhelmed banks have created a glut of abandoned homes mired in a foreclosure nightmare.
 I think you should read the whole article. Probably the story of many abandoned properties throughout Chicago's south side. Perhaps a case for financial literacy to make sound decisions in real estate investments!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Twitter report of Thursday nights ward remap townhall...

At Malcolm X College provided by Aysha Butler courtesy of her twitter account both from September 29th
  • @mrs_englewood Do the black community just not care about this issue? I am stumped... 
  • @mrs_englewood Oh my god...Its no one at this Black Caucus Hearing for the remapping of the wards...What kind of outreach was done for this??
That's disappointing. Does anyone out there have any thoughts about the remap process? Was anyone else able to make it to Malcolm X on Thursday night? Would you like to let us know what happened?

Also note the next townhall is coming up on Monday night @ the South Shore Cultural Center. Hopefully both this blog and RAGE will be able to turn people out!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

On Facebook, Neighborhoods as They Once Were

While we are talking about people from Brooklyn it almost certainly sounds a lot like the reminiscing we may often see at the FB group Children of Chatham. A news paper story could be written about this group and all the mentions the "Children of Chatham" have about their childhood:
WHEN she and her husband moved out in 1980, Kathy LaPolla DeStefano was not at all happy with Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

“The neighborhood was starting to go down the toilet, honestly,” Ms. DeStefano, 56, an elementary school teacher, said over the telephone from her home in Coconut Creek, Fla. “There was a lot of drugs and crime. It was an unsafe place to raise a family.”

But lately she can hardly stop reminiscing about the Williamsburg of her youth, back when Pete’s Candy Store and Union Pool, now barrooms, were selling candy and pool supplies. The reason? She discovered a Facebook page, created expressly for Williamsburg natives, called “The Neighborhood: Who Says You Can’t Go Home?”

“I’ll be up commenting on people’s posts until 3 in the morning,” Ms. DeStefano said. “I’m like, ‘Kathy, you have to stop this!’ ”

New York City neighborhoods have always been in nonstop flux, but many are now being frozen in time on Facebook, where current and former residents have banded together to post photographs, documents and other memorabilia of their neighborhoods as they used to be. These virtual sections of the city have drawn thousands of contributors, particularly in parts of Brooklyn like Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Flatbush and Carroll Gardens, where zoning laws, gentrification and shifting demographics have rapidly transformed the streets.

Facebook, of course, is already famous for bringing together former classmates and friends. These pages, however, are being used not only to share memories, but also to vent about change. “The point about the old New York City neighborhoods is that they provided real social cohesion,” said Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban policy and planning at New York University. “People shared responsibilities for watching each others’ children, or for keeping an eye on the property. And though new trends in urbanism try to recapture those old communal feelings, you can never recreate what emerged organically.”
Unlike an earlier post I did that illustrated a neighborhood that was bulldozed in favor of urban renewal, this article illustrated a neighborhood that has changed. Perhaps Chatham hasn't changed as much as Flatbush, Brooklyn but it has changed.

Are any of you involved with any online groups dedicated to the neighborhood of your youth?

Joe Zekas R.I.P.

 Joe Zekas ran the real estate news website YoChicago . If you have been following that site and their social media channels i.e. YouTube o...