Saturday, August 31, 2013

Speed cameras coming to Abbott Park near end of September

According to the Chicago Tribune with an explanation of this program:

Just as most Chicagoans were heading into the holiday weekend and tuning out the news, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the full list of 50 locations where the city will put up ticket-issuing speed cameras near parks and schools by the end of the year.

The Emanuel administration previously had announced 12 of the locations where one or more of the cops in a box will be keeping an eye on motorists during school and park hours. A news release issued Friday afternoon includes the other 38 sites. Each camera, like those already up, will trigger warning tickets during the first 30 days. After that, drivers exceeding the speed limit by between 6 and 10 mph will get $35 tickets in the mail. Those exceeding the limit by more than 10 mph will get $100 tickets.

Near parks, the cameras will be active when the parks are open, generally from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. The speed limits near parks is 30 mph.

Near schools, the cameras will be active from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on school days. From 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., the speed limit in those areas is 20 mph when children are present and 30 mph when they are not. From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., the limit is 30 mph.

Under state law, the city can install the cameras at up to 300 schools and parks in designated safety zones. A Tribune analysis showed they could cover nearly half the city.
The article contains the full listing of all locations where these cameras are expected to be installed.

Hat-tip Uptown Update.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Kirk/Rush tours the Englewood neighborhood

Via Sen. Kirk's Instagram
The pic to the left shows US Congressman Bobby Rush and US Senator Mark Kirk listening to Englewood families during their neighborhood tour yesterday. It appears they still disagree on some of the solutions, they at least publicly vow to solve the issues that exist in Englewood. During their tour there was no press and it was by bus with a police escort.

Below are some various videos of coverage of this tour. NBC Chicago has the concluding press conference.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Can Domino's Pizza Make it the Second Time Around

On a recent visit to the local Chase bank branch at 82nd Cottage Grove, I noticed that the adjacent community room had paper on the window and a Dominos Pizza sign above it. I was taken back because Dominos opened  several years ago directly across the street on the west side of Cottage Grove. The store stayed opened approximately 1 year and closed.

Recently, there was quite a bit of after the fact discourse about the relocation of Dunkin Donuts to 87th Vernon. So I took the time to write a statement to Dominos. My statement is as follows:

I'm a resident of the Chatham community in Chicago and noticed that you are planning to open a new store at 82nd Cottage Grove. The store is directly across the street from a store you previously operated that failed. I'm  concerned that this store will not succeed based on your current menu options, that I do not feel will be appealing to my neighbors and lack of outreach to my community regarding employment and management opportunities. Unless there are some changes I see this ending up like the first store.
 I felt that the time to complain and ask for changes to the standard model is before a store opens and not after everything is inked. While the store is officially located in the 8th ward and not the 6th, they must get business from the 6th to stay in business.

The Dominos today is different from the previous store as the corporation was sold and they have made attempts to change their menu to attract a more diverse customer base. That is why I do not feel that its not a problem to ask them to sell alternative crust( whole, wheat, gluten free, etc), alternative protein(chicken, turkey, etc) and other options that would answer the "healthy" issue that many are asking for. Also, I believe that they should hire locally and our children should have opportunities to work in the community.

So far Dominos has not responded to my email and I have not been notified by any of our community organizations or Alderman that they have been contacted. I plan to contact them again and if they do not respond then I will respond by not spending my money at their location. So what do you think?

Tribune: Rush, Kirk to tour Englewood on Thursday, talk violence

US Sen. Mark Kirk
I look forward to seeing the press conference after the tour. It would be interesting to see Sen. Kirk's reflections on seeing Englewood. Hopefully something will come of this.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush is making good on his promise to show U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk around crime-ridden areas on Chicago's South Side.

On Thursday, according to a news release from Rush's office, the lawmakers from Illinois are scheduled to tour the Englewood neighborhood and discuss urban violence, obstacles to economic growth and other community needs.

Rush's promise arose as a peace gesture after Kirk in May called for jailing all Gangster Disciples members. Rush ridiculed the notion, calling it an "upper-middle-class, elitist white-boy solution" to Chicago's crime problems.
Last week, Kirk said that although he still supports mass arrests of gang members, he used the 18,000 figure to shock Illinoisans into realizing how extensive the gang issue is in the state. Kirk said he rode along with Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood last month.
Hopefully pics of the tour will be posted to the Senator's various social networking accounts such as Twitter, Flickr, or even Instagram!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sun-Times: Judge dimisses lawsuit seeking to overturn city’s new ward map

Redrawn 6th Ward map
There is an appeal expected in this ruling handed down recently:
The costly legal battle that aldermen tried desperately to avoid — but happened anyway one year later — ended earlier than expected, thanks to U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman.

In a little noted Aug. 16 ruling, Coleman concluded that the City Council was well within its rights to approve a map with wards that differ in population by as much as 8.7 percent.

“The Supreme Court has held that, ‘an apportionment plan with a maximum population deviation under 10 percent falls within this category of minor deviations that are insufficient’ to support clams” that the equal-protection clause has been violated, the judge wrote.

The League of Women Voters and 14 individuals wanted the so-called “incumbent protection” map replaced by boundaries divided equally by population and drawn by an “impartial blue-ribbon commission” or “individual special appointee.”

They also asked the judge to prohibit Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration from immediately implementing the disputed boundaries when it comes to making pivotal decisions that affect zoning, traffic, transportation, housing, sanitation, licensing and aldermanic menu spending.

Coleman dismissed all of their arguments. She noted that “virtually any reapportionment scheme will naturally make it easier for some aldermen to be re-elected” while making it more difficult for others.

“The Supreme Court has expressly rejected the argument that the possibility of drafting a ‘better’ plan alone is sufficient to establish a violation of the one-person, one-vote principle,” she wrote.

“In the drawing of any map, mathematical equality is one factor among several that affects the contours of districts. Furthermore, there are no allegations in the complaint to support an inference of intentional discrimination of an identifiable group and actual discriminatory effect on that group.”

As for the immediate implementation argument, Coleman wrote, “This court is not and should not be in a position of reviewing decisions of individual aldermen to ensure they are serving their current constituents.”
Plaintiffs’ attorney Tom Geoghegan said he plans to appeal Coleman’s ruling. He remains confident the federal appeals court will have a different view of individual wards that differ in population by “thousands” of voters, with the 2nd, 15th and 36th Wards the most egregious examples of wards “arbitrarily” drawn. 
I always figured that city aldermen wouldn't have drawn a map last year that they knew wouldn't could be over-ruled by a court. In this instance at least it has been proven.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What would you like to see around the Regal Theater?

Photo via Vertin Valuation Services
In light of the potential purchase of the Regal Theater located at 1641 E. 79th Street, I've been wanting to do a post about what would you like to see around that venue. The Regal has been compared to the long shuttered Uptown Theater which recently has been getting more attention. The main comparison is cost in the long run perhaps it costs much less to get the Regal up to speed than it is the Uptown.

Let's also keep in mind that in addition to the Uptown Theater there are other venues nearby such as the Rivera Theater and the Aragon Ballroom all located not far from the intersection of Lawrence/Sheridan. That area is getting more attention recently because there are plans to create something of an entertainment district in that area. Perhaps that same potential could be found near 79th/South Chicago.

DNA Info mentioned that a soul food restaurant could be coming across from the Regal at a site located at
1638 E. 79th St. which used to be home to a Leon's BBQ joint which is long gone. Of course this of concern to another restaurant who used to get sales from the Regal Theater crowd but has lost some business because of it's closure in 2003.

Now the question becomes other than restaurants what other businesses would benefit from the hopefully eventual reopening of the Regal Theater?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

CBS Chicago: Chatham Park Event Honors Fallen Police Officer

[VIDEO] CBS Chicago's Mike Parker paid a visit to Cole Park - 361 E. 85th St. - honoring the life of Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham IV. He was murdered near the park back in 2010 and since then has been host to a number of events including Peace in the Park after Dark which have been held in his honor.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Capitol Fax: “Stand your ground” and concealed carry

Capitol Fax recently had a post about the precedents regarding "stand your ground" here in Illinois. Of course relate this to the fact that conceal carry is now legal in this state. I also want to keep in mind what happened with Trayvon Martin in Florida where stand your ground was as much on trial as George Zimmerman was. Just thought this was worth sharing.

Crain's: Local investor to buy historic New Regal Theater

Regal Theater by nvaughn
Yesterday it was going around that music industry power couple Jay-Z & Beyonce were set to buy the Regal Theater located near 79th & Stony Island. That rumor was smashed into pieces and in Crain's today it appears that there is another interested party in that venue:
A local real estate investment firm is taking a swing at a challenging South Side property: the New Regal Theater.

Chicago-based Community Capital Investment Partners LLC has a contract to purchase the historic venue at 1645-55 E. 79th St. in the South Chicago neighborhood, according to sources familiar with the transaction.

The deal appears to be a new direction for Community Capital, which describes itself as an affordable-housing developer on its website.

Jerald Gary, listed as the firm's president and chief investment officer on the website, was not available for comment today.

A spokesman for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which owns the property, declined to name the theater's purchaser.

Built in 1927, the New Regal is known for its distinctive Moorish-style architecture. It once showed movies, and famed musicians including B.B. King and Smokey Robinson played concerts at the property, which has 2,400 seats, over the years.
Having been shuttered under the ownership of Ed and Bettiann Gardner in 2003 and subject to foreclosure under new ownership more recently it was put on sale by the FDIC who currently owns the property for $100,000 according to Lee Bey. Let's hope under new ownership, this venue will be back in business in the near future.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sun-Times: Mayoral-backed $285 million rail yard project temporarily derailed

I'm sure the Englewood neighborhood is celebrating this stoppage. It's likely temporary, but hopefully more concessions will be made from either the railroad or the city so that this project could in fact benefit Englewood. This was reported by the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday:
The Chicago Plan Commission derailed for at least a month a vote on expanding a pair of tax-increment-financing districts needed to allow Norfolk Southern Railroad to proceed with a $285 million expansion of the railroad’s intermodal yard in Englewood.

Englewood residents and their environmental champions are demanding more concessions from Norfolk Southern armed with a new study that concludes the project would make the pollution problem worse in a neighborhood that has long suffered from high rates of asthma.

They’re also demanding a firmer commitment that residents of a neighborhood with 50 percent unemployment will benefit from the 400 jobs the $285 million project is expected to create.

On Thursday, Plan Commission members appointed by the mayor sided with local residents.

Although railroad officials disputed the methodology used by the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Plan Commission member Bishop John R. Bryant was not convinced.

“What I have heard is a history — and it’s hard to ignore a history. All across the country, these entities are always placed in poor communities that do not have the financial or political oomph to stop them. They’re never taken to communities of strength and economic and political clout,” Bryant said.

“I’m extremely disturbed…An entire community feels that their questions have not been answered in detail….I really want to [delay the vote] for one month to have some dialogue…to give some specific answers that will give a degree of comfort.”
Via Curbed Chicago!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The sentences have been handed down for former power couple Jesse Jr. & Sandi

On Wednesday the sentences was handed down for both Jesse Jr. and Sandi Jackson. Both had pled guilty in federal court with Jesse Jr. pleading guilty to using campaign funds for personal purposes and Sandi for under reporting her income to the IRS. Jesse Jr. resigned from his congressional seat not long after his re-election in November 2012 and Sandi in January of this year from her old city council seat.

Sandi's former colleagues on the Chicago City Council had some comments about this whole ordeal for Sandi. 6th Ward Ald. Roderick Sawyer had his comments:
Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), son of former Mayor Eugene Sawyer, has known Sandi and Jesse Jr. for more than 20 years. Sawyer worked as an attorney on Jesse Jr.’s first congressional campaign.

On Wednesday, Sawyer’s thoughts were with the Jackson children, ages 13 and 9.

“They’re gonna be spending time without their parents. Any time that happens, it’s devastating. I hope they can get through this,” said Sawyer, who sat next to Sandi Jackson in the City Council.

“I’m not trying to defend bad or illegal behaviors. But they’ve been people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a long time and, if they reach out to me, I will reach back. That’s the act of a friend.”
As far as sentencing, Jesse Jr. will serve his prison term first as he will serve 30 months at a federal prison. Sandi on the other hand will serve 12 months in a federal prison and that means she won't get out early as if she had a "year and a day". Since Jesse Jr. will serve his prison term first that means Sandi will serve as soon as her husband completes his term.

For another thought on this unfortunate case Mary Mitchell opined on this as well.

Friday, August 16, 2013

REMINDER: 40th Anniversary "Enter the Dragon" Screening

We posted about this event earlier this month that takes place tomorrow at our local cinema - Chatham 14 Theaters located @ 201 W. 87th Street. This event marks the 40th Anniversary of the martial arts film Enter the Dragon starring the last Bruce Lee and Jim Kelly. Jim Kelly died in June and this event celebrates his life & career as a martial artist and actor. This extravaganza is an all day event with martial arts demonstrations and screenings of other martial arts films.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Representative Thapedi Back to School event on Saturday August 31

 We received the following e-mail from the office of 33rd District State Representative AndrĂ© Thapedi:

Good afternoon,

My name is Amilcar Leme and I am the District Coordinator for State Rep. André Thapedi. The Rep. asked me to reach out to you with the attached
flyer which contains information about a back to school event which the
Rep. is having at the end of this month to be shared with your readers.

What - Back To School - Basketball Hoop Out
Where - Ogden Park - 6500 S. Racine - Basketball Courts
When - Saturday - August 31, 2013 at 10 A.M.

There will be state agencies present as well to provide information and
services to the attending public.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me back ( ) or contact our office at 773-873-4444.

Thank you and have a great day.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

It's Time To OCCUPY THE 6th WARD

On August 9th, 2013  a majority of the summer youth programs(educational, employment, recreational)  will have ended. Most of our schools both public or private will not begin until August 26, 2013. This leaves approximately 17 days that our youth will not be engaged in positive activities. Based on what has already occurred this summer this idle time is something our youth do not need as it breeds negative behavior.

The bloggers of the 6th ward are encouraging concerned residents, block clubs, community based organizations, the faith community and law enforcement to reach out and OCCUPY the 6th Ward during this period. We need you to use your creativity to put on positive loitering events that will OCCUPY hot spots throughout the ward during this period.
Some ideas are as follows:

·         Ice Cream Socials
·         Prayer Corners
·         Street Sing-a longs

Over the next couple of days additional information will be coming out about events that will occur and how you can get involved.

We want you to bring your ideas forth as you are the experts in the community and know what is going on and what youth in your area will want.

 Let’s OCCUPY Park Manor, Greater Grand Crossing,Chatham, Chesterfield, West Chesterfield.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Chicago Tonight: "My Block, My Hood, My City"

[VIDEO] If you missed it yesterday, here is Jahmal Cole's appearance on Chicago Tonight. He talks about his new project where he shares with us his many visits across the 77 community areas of Chicago. We hope to share some of his adventures in the near future. It's awesome that he's found himself on Chicago Tonight, may we see him more places on Chicago TV.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Jahmal Cole on Chicago Tonight...TONIGHT!

Jahmal Cole will appear on Chicago Tonight on WTTW (Channel 11) tonight at 7pm.
Tune In!  (It also repeats on WTTW Prime at tonight 10pm, and tomorrow (Friday) at 6am, and 12p on WTTW Prime,  and WTTW at Midnight and 5am. Also available On Demand after 24 hours.

You can get a sneek peek from this link at the Chicago Tonight website.

Here is some information from Jahmal on his project:

My project has been selected to Seed Chicago, the city's curated Kickstarter page for projects that specifically focus on job creation and growth in Chicago's Neighborhoods. A major benefit to being selected to Seed Chicago is my project will receive greater exposure, increasing my ability to meet my funding goal. In the interest of encouraging travel and inspiring teenagers to dream bigger than their surroundings, I've created a Web series where I'll be traveling to all 77 Chicago communities, promoting diversity, supporting local businesses, interviewing local residents, etc. You can check out the link for more details  and to learn more about the project. Jahmal Cole

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

DNA Info: Bobby Rush Denies He Sold Out Englewood for $50K

US Rep. Bobby Rush
This has been in the news recently a growing scandal at Metra. The CEO resigned and it started off with a severance package for him and then allegations of political influence for some employees to get raises and then the chairman of the board of Metra resigns and also several other Metra board members resign. This includes businessman Larry Huggins who resigned last week.

It appears Congressman Bobby Rush has found himself ensared in this scandal because of his role in the Englewood flyover:
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago) said Tuesday he never tried to force Alex Clifford, the former CEO of Metra, to pay a Washington, D.C., organization $50,000 to monitor a federally funded transit project in his South Side district.

Instead, Rush said he only suggested the National Black Chamber of Commerce because he was asked to make a recommendation by Metra for the $93 million Englewood "flyover" bridge project.

"I did not speak to anyone at Metra directly. Someone from Metra called my office and made the request," Rush said at a news conference in Englewood.

Clifford has said that he was forced out of his job at the metropolitan rail agency after resisting pressure by powerful politicians in hiring and contract decisions, and named Rush in a memo.

Metra ultimately refused to pay the Black Chamber of Commerce to monitor hiring.

Concerned Citizen's of Chatham: It's time for an unpleasant but necessary conversation

Chatham Executive Building - 640 E 79th St
A longtime reader of ours twitter user @strannik_reb45 alerted us to a recent posting on his LiveJournal blog regarding the opening of Fleck's last month. This sparked a debate between himself and Worlee under @ccitzofchatham here is just a sample embedded below
I'm sure this exchange prompted Worlee's recent post over at Concerned Citizens of Chatham which talks a lot about 79th Street. Worlee has often discussed the many ways 79th can be improved and often it has started with better street light. The focus of his recent post was to bring more business activity to that corridor. In fact there are more comments in a post over the the Concerned Citizens of Chatham FB page.

In any case there is a question he wrote that comes out of this:
With several buildings on 79th street remodeled and in great condition and renewed interest in 79th Street, residents of Chatham have to start to have an unpleasant conversation. The conversation of "is it time to tear down some of the mixed used building to make way for new modern development".
A few years ago we talked about Chatham "Hyde Parked" (or "South Looped") and in talking about we must keep in mind that Hyde Park was a different community almost 60 years ago than it was now. And we can still ask the question is this what's necessary here in Chatham?

I often bristle at the idea of unnecesarily tearing down buildings especially if they remain viable. Most importantly my preference is to see nothing torn down unless something else is set to replace that structure. Besides Chatham has waited over 20 years to see something replace the vacant lot that once was home to the Rhodes Theater for example. I recognize that development doesn't always work like that although all throughout the south side there are vacants lots where a commercial building or home once stood with no immediate plan to redevelop such property.

In one of the comments I've seen on FB, it was noted that there is a need for a project such as the Target on 87th/Cottage Grove to make 79th more attractive to businesses. So if there is ever a need to tear down buildings on that street then perhaps we should start there.

A better idea, what could replace the Pioneer Building that was torn down last year at 7801 S. Cottage Grove. Better yet what about the recently redeveloped but still vacant Chatham Executive Building. Where could we start to make 79th Street more attractive to businesses?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Crain's: A Business of Life & Death

[VIDEO] A presentation at Crain's profiling the local Leak & Sons Funeral Home located @ 7838 S. Cottage Grove. It was noted in the video above that this family was involved with the Civil Rights movement where Funeral Home founder A.R. Leak marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Alabama. Also it was noted that they buried singer Sam Cooke, athlete Jessie Owens, and comedian Bernie Mac. In addition to those they also buried 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins who in March 2013 had been murdered in an attempt on her father's life who she just so happen to be with at that unfortunate moment.

Unfortunately the focus of this piece is that Leak & Sons have had to handle at least quarter of Chicago's more than 500 victims of gun violence. In many cases he's forced to help the many families who aren't able to pay for the funeral of their loved ones.

Also, Spencer Leak Sr. had been interviewed last year for NBC News and offered his thoughts on the violent crimes here in Chicago.

This presentation is both eye-opening and very sad.

311 Call -- now over a month!

The 311 request from July 5 has been partially fulfilled -- but that may be due roofers working on the garage who decided to take out all of the trash -- not just their roof work, but the tree branches as well.

However, the other garage still has tree debris that is rotting away.

The old number  was 13-00887639.  The new number, called on 7/24, is now 13-01016686

Would we still be waiting if this was Downtown or most of the North Side?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Chicago Tonight: Local Store Closed for Gang Activity

[VIDEO] Somewhere in this city, there are other citizens who are fighting against the criminal element. On Chicago Tonight last week - a show that I rarely watch a lot these days - we see one such fight taking place in Humboldt Park. Almost seems similar with what happened to that store on 83rd Street yes?

In any event the problem store was eventually closed, but not before the gangs retaliated. Perhaps someone is facing that same fight some where on the south side right now!

Sun-Times: Two aldermen resurrect idea of cutting Council in half

I've written about this subject before. There are some who want to see the city council cut in some numbers during the remap 32nd Ald. Scott Waguespack on the north side wanted to cut only 15 Alderman to give the city council a size of 35 Alderman. Still, there are proposals to cut the city council's size in half.

More recently two Alderman 42nd Ward's Brendan Reilly and 47th Ward's Ameya Pawar have taken up this cause.
Now, Aldermen Brendan Reilly (42nd) and Ameya Pawar (47th) are revisiting the idea to begin to chip away at the city’s $338.7 million shortfall and perhaps turn a City Council that’s even more of a rubber stamp for Emanuel than it was for his predecessor into a more deliberative body.

“For the last six years, I’ve been representing nearly a double-sized ward. I don’t think I’m all that special. If I can do it, my colleagues could do it as well. It’s a lot of work and an incredible volume. But it can be done,” said Reilly, who has been inundated by the population surge in his downtown ward.

“It would certainly cut several million dollars out of the budget. It would also demand more accountability from fewer aldermen representing more geography. To some extent, it also could result in more divided roll calls. You could end up having some interesting debate, which has been generally lacking.”

Pawar acknowledged that the millions saved would be a “drop in the bucket” compared to next year’s $338.7 million shortfall and the $1 billion gap Chicago is facing in 2015 without substantive pension reform.

But he said, “We are where we are today because we’ve always looked at Chicago as 50 little fiefdoms…If everything is on the table when it comes to how we deliver services, then the City Council should be on the table as well. I don’t think anything should be a sacred cow.”
I've always said while not opposed to this idea, that it would have to change the role that Alderman play currently. If the voters have an idea about what an alderman does then we'd essentially have to change their general job description. In a geographically larger ward with significantly more people, would an Alderman be able to micromanage every aspect of their wards from garbage collection to signage to whatever.

Mayoral floor leader 40th Ward Ald. Pat O'Connor seems to come to the same conclusion I did:
“If in fact you were to do that, the delivery of services would be considerably changed. You would essentially be doubling the geographic area each alderman represents and, to the extent that we try to police and bring services to our wards, it would hamper our efforts. I’m not sure people’s expectations would be met based upon the current delivery of services.”
In any case before this could even become enacted into law, this either needs to go through the state legislature or Chicagoans can have a binding referendum on this subject. I wonder how many Chicagoans would go for this. Would anyone on the South Side consider such an action?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

40th Anniversary "Enter the Dragon" Screening

August 17, Chatham 14 Theaters, 210 W 87th Street,
  • Admission for both adult programs $10.00
  • Kid's Program, $2.50 including free popcorn
To celebrate the iconic cinematic presence of the late Jim Kelly, the black martial arts movie star best known for his role opposite Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon and whose character helped defined this period of martial arts action cinema, Chatham 14 Theaters,Black World Cinema, the Chicago Cinema Society, and South Side Projections are excited to present a daylong celebration of his life and films. The day culminates in a screening ofEnter Dragon, on the 40th anniversary of its release.

The film lineup includes films for martial arts fans of all ages. Feature films consist of The Karate Kid (2010, 140 min.) and two of Jim Kelly's films, Black Belt Jones (1974, 87 min.) and Enter the Dragon (1973, 98 min.). The celebration also includes a rare screening of the short film South Side Warriors (2002, 30 min.), about the martial arts tradition on Chicago's south side; it focuses on the late Hamza Gregory Jaco, father of the award-winning hip-hop artist, Lupe Fiasco (Wassalu Jaco).

Between the films, martial arts schools from the Chicago area will do demonstrations in the theater lobby, and local karate masters who knew Bruce Lee will attend the screenings and introduce the films.

An all-day pass costs $10, or individual tickets are available for $6 each. The morning screening of The Karate Kid is free for children under 15.

The full schedule is as follows:
  • 11:45am: $Children's karate demonstration
  • 12:00pm: The Karate Kid - $2.50 special admission for kids and free popcorn.
  • 2:30pm: Martial arts demonstrations in the lobby
  • 3:00pm: South Side Warriors screening and discussion with Gregory Jaco Family and martial artists portrayed in the film
  • Black Belt Jones screening and discussion with local martial artists(starts at 4:00pm)
  • 6:00pm: Martial Arts Demonstration
  • 6:30pm: Enter the Dragon screening and discussion
For more information, please contact Floyd Webb at Black World Cinema, 708-704-1482

Hat-tip to Sensei Kirk Haygood who is a representative of the United Schools of Survival - a martial arts school located at 811 E. 82nd Street - you can give them a call at 773.457.8899 to see about enrolling in a martial arts class.

Latest news letter from State Representative Elgie Sims

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ State Representative Elgie Sims announces new website serving residents of the 34th District In an effort to continue engaging and providing information to the residents of the 34th Illinois House District, state Representative Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D - Chicago) is pleased to announce the new 34th District website located at []. "Residents visiting the website can request state agency assistance, see job announcements, invite me to events being hosted in their community, see legislation I am sponsoring and find out other important news related to our office," Sims said. "This website will allow residents of the district with a one stop place for information which will help us provide the level of service our constituents deserve." Residents are encouraged to visit the new constituent service website at []. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Family Wellness Health Fair State Representative Elgie Sims (D-Chicago) in partnership with state Senator Donne E. Trotter, state Representative Marcus C. Evans, Jr., Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore, Jr. and Wal-Mart is hosting the 17th Legislative District Family Wellness Heath Fair and Back to School rally on Saturday, August 3 at Avalon Park in Chicago. As we prepare to celebrate the start of a new school year, the Fair will provide students of our area with school supplies as well as the opportunity to receive health information for the entire family, including free child immunizations (shot records required), HIV/AIDS testing and adult wellness checkups (blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes), all screenings will occur free of charge. Sims represents Illinois' 34th House District, which includes portions of the South Side of Chicago, Chicago's south suburbs, and Will and Kankakee counties. For more information, please contact Penny Tillman at (773) 783-8800. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ State Representative Elgie Sims & Cook County Board of Review presents "Property Tax Appeal forums" State Representative Elgie R. Sims, Jr. in partnership with Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers, Jr. is presenting several upcoming forums that will provide residents information related to the Cook County property tax appeals process. The upcoming events will be held at the following locations: Thornton Township Property Tax Assessment Appeal Forum The Dorchester Center Monday, July 30th at 6:30 pm 1515 East 154th Street Dolton, IL 60419 Lake Township Property Tax Assessment Appeal Forum Christ Universal Temple Monday, August 5th at 6:30 pm 11901 South Ashland Avenue Chicago, IL 60643 Should you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our constituent service office at 773-783-8800 or visit our website at []. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ State Representative Elgie Sims Announces Satellite Office Hours in Peotone In a continued effort to keep an open line of communication with the residents of the 34th district, state Representative Elgie Sims (D-Chicago) will be hosting satellite office hours in Peotone on Monday, July 30th 3:30 - 5:30 pm at the Peotone Village Hall, 208 East Main Street, Peotone, IL. "One of my top priorities is to be an open and accessible legislator for the communities in our community," Sims said. "I understand that not everyone is able to visit my office during the work day. These satellite office hours will help ensure that all of my neighbors across the district can seek assistance or share their thoughts on state and local issues." Sims established satellite office hours as a way to make sure that all constituents throughout the 34th district are able to contact their state representative. District office staff will be on hand to answer questions and assist with state issues. Sims encourages district residents to stop by to share their views on legislative developments or request information on pending legislation. Appointments are not necessary. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ State Representative Elgie Sims presents "A Summit of Hope" State Representative Elgie Sims (D - Chicago) in partnership with the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois Department of Public Health will be hosting a "Summit of Hope." The Summit of Hope is a community expo that will bring service providers together to provide the necessary services and resources to ex-offenders with the mission to guide and assist them with community services to ensure reintegration into the community and reduce recidivism. The Summit will be held: August 6th - 8:00 am - 4:00 pm Thornton High School Field House 15001 Broadway Avenue, Harvey, IL 60426 For more information call our constituent service off at (773) 783-8800. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ State Representative Elgie Sims 773-783-8800 Email:
Website: Give us a call today! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ STAY CONNECTED Facebook [] Twitter [] LinkedIn [] Pinterest []

Saturday, August 3, 2013

God's on the Block Party TODAY -- and much more!

From a press release via Chinta Strausburg


The Greater Institutional AME Church, headed by Rev. Dr. Walter B. Johnson, Jr.,7800 South Indiana Avenue, Chicago, IL, is hosting a free "God's on the Block" Block Party today, Saturday, August 3, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on 78th Street between Michigan and Indiana Streets and Indiana between 78th and 79th Streets.

There will be food, entertainment, raffle, giveaways, clowns, CFD, CPD, basketball, dancing, health screening, documents shredding, Illinois Chip Program and a lot more.

For further information, call: C. Johnson at: 773.874.7100, Ext. 7808 or 312.307.3364


Also happening is a Peace March from Salvation Church of God and Rev. Marc Robertson.

They leave at Forman Mills on 79th Street, march to King Drive, then down 83rd, to end at Salvation Church of God.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Crain's: Deal off to rescue black-owned bank on South Side

Highland Community Bank
It appears that Highland Community Bank located west of Ashland on 87th Street won't be acquired after all:
Matthew Roth, a former Harris Bank executive who has attempted for several years to start a bank on Chicago's South Side, confirmed that his deal announced in March to recapitalize Highland is off. He would provide no other details.

The lack of a deal leaves Highland, a 43-year-old lender owned by former University of Illinois football player George Brokemond, at risk of failing by the end of the year.

Highland needs millions to continue. Mr. Roth's startup, Generations Community Bank, would have needed $8 million or more to recapitalize the bank.

Highland posted a $781,000 loss in the first half of the year, enough to push its capital levels to the danger point. Highland's “Tier I” capital — the type of capital most valued by regulators — was just 2.5 percent of its assets, leaving the bank undercapitalized. A Tier I leverage ratio at 2 percent or lower typically means regulators will seize a bank soon thereafter.

Highland CEO Dennis Irvin didn't respond yesterday to requests for comment.
I'm very curious as to what scuttled that deal. Here's more on its significance and what could happen if the many issues there could cause it to fail like Covenant Bank who was taken over by the FDIC and ultimately bought by a New Orleans based Black-owned financial institution:
That would leave just two African-American-owned institutions in the city — Seaway Bank & Trust Co. and Illinois Service Federal Savings & Loan Association of Chicago, both on the South Side. Seaway, which has grown by acquiring the deposits and assets of two failed banks in the last few years, would be expected to bid on Highland's deposits and assets if regulators move to seize it.

West Chesterfield community meeting

August 3, 2013 WCCA Community Meeting 10:00 a.m. to Noon 9351 S. Michigan Avenue

  • Republican Committeeman Darnell Macklin - Voter Registration and Opportunities  
  • Tom LaPorte - Assistant Commissioner Department of Water - Sewer Projects
  •  Democratic US Congressman Bobby Rush Staff on Health Care Reform 
  •  Andrea Reed - Greater Roseland Chamber of Commerce
Also noted in the e-mail that provided this information was that there is a report coming about the number of minorities who are working on the CTA Red Line South Project. We've been getting a lot of e-mails from our community leaders who are concerned about that particular issue. Hopefully West Chesterfield will have some good news on that front!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Chatham Post Office loses a service -- anything else looming?

I  saw this signs recently at our local post office at 7715 S Cottage Grove Ave
Another service taken away from our community!
I don't like to spread rumors -- but it made me wonder -- are "they" thinking of shutting down this post office?

The demand for passports surely hasn't dried up. So why take it away?

There has been talk in the news over the past year about shutting down post offices. While ours was not on the list...these type of actions make you wonder what is planned for the future.

If anyone has any solid information, please pass it on!

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...