Monday, June 30, 2014

DNA Info: Community Meeting to Update Englewood Residents About Whole Foods Store

63rd/Halsted Whole Foods Market conceptulization
If you're still interesting in knowing more about Whole Foods Market coming to 63rd/Halsted in 2016, DNA Info alerts us to a groundbreaking and a community meeting to take place on Tuesday.
Ald. JoAnn Thompson (16th) will meet with Englewood residents shortly after a groundbreaking ceremony takes place for a new retail development, to provide further details, such as job opportunities.

The meeting is from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday in the Community Room at the Englewood Police District, 1438 W. 63rd St., which follows a 10 a.m. grounbreaking for the five-acre development at the corner of 63rd and Halsted streets and will be anchored by a Whole Foods store.
While I'm sure many who attends the meeting with Ald. Thompson would have jobs on their mind, they would also be concerned about how much the products will cost at this new Whole Foods. That's certainly one thing many people opined about when this development was announced last September.

Hopefully those who attend will certainly have questions and Ald. Thompson and Whole Foods representatives will have answers for the community.

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Roseland Heights neighborhood watch sign...

Years ago when I started this blog, I was keen on making signs like the one above more or less as a marketing tool although that plan never got off the ground. The idea was to produce signs that could be displayed in the front window of a home or business.

Thankfully some of our neighborhood associations already produce such signs as the one above that were handed out at a recent Roseland Heights neighborhood meeting. The scan above and below this paragraph were of the signs handed out at the recent meeting from this past Tuesday.
The scans you see below Roseland Heights residents may have found on their porches, screen doors or perhaps mail boxes on a Wednesday morning. The Roseland Heights neighborhood watch signs were produced by West Chesterfield Community Association President Michael LaFargue. Provided with these signs were a legal-sized paper flyer that highlighted many of the accomplishments of Mr. LaFargue in real estate and as a community activist.

I wonder if this is a concerted effort between Roseland Heights and Mr. LaFargue or both were done independently. So this means there are questions and perhaps there are some answers.

BTW, the scans of both signs have been uploaded to my scribd account. The Roseland Heights version and the Michael LaFargue version. Both versions are printable especially with photo paper available from either Walmart or Target.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sun-Times: CPS announces more than 1,000 staff layoffs

This is certainly an interesting if not a shocking development:
Before releasing its budget recommendations for the 2014-15 school year or enrollment projections, Chicago Public Schools announced staff layoffs on Thursday for 550 teachers and 600 other school staffers.

Added to the 147 staffers (including 76 teachers) who already got pink slips at three schools confirmed for a turnaround, 625 teachers and 671 other school employees are now looking for work.

CPS began notifying approximately 1,150 employees on Thursday that their schools would not retain them in the fall due to falling projected enrollment. That’s about half the number who got pink-slipped last year in the wake of a historic number of school closings, and district officials said on Thursday they believed that like last year, about 60 percent would be rehired at other CPS schools.

“The staffing changes are driven by declining student enrollment at each of the affected schools,” said schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett. Since the district doles out a set amount of money per child enrolled, fewer students lead to budget cuts, she said. The 550 teachers, she said, represent the lowest number of annual teacher layoffs in the past five years. And some help has been available for schools who have asked for it, she said.

The Chicago Teachers Union said the layoffs also mark the fourth time in the past five years in which more than 1,000 CPS employees lost their jobs in the summer. All of the teachers and at least 250 of the other staffers are CTU members.

Event: What's going on?

I apologize for posting this event on the day of, it was intended to be posted way before today but never got around to it. Just one more event for today beyond the city sticker sales this morning at Ald. Sawyer's 6th ward office.

This information was sent to us by the West Chesterfield Community Association. It's also taking place on June 26th with the 6th Ward office city sticker sales taking place earlier that day.
  • “WHAT’S GOIN’ ON?”

    - words of the immortal Marvin Gaye -

    - Community Meeting -

    Thursday, June 26 -- 6:30p.m. to 8:30p.m.

    St. Kevin's Church
    10501 S. Torrence Ave. - Chicago, 60617

    Moderator - The GreenPreneur MICHAEL THOMAS
    WVON 1690 am Radio Personality

    Come to Hear
    LOCAL UPDATES about:
    • Pullman as a National Park
    • The Lake Calumet Vision
    • 95th Street Station Improvements and Red Line Extension
    • The Obama Presidential Library and Museum
    • Community Gardens
    • A major Mountain Bike Park Plan
    • Bike Trails
    • Ceasefire
    • The Millennium Reserve
    • Local Available Jobs,
    • and more.
    Refreshments served.
    For additional information call:

    Refreshments served.

    Leaders, please bring your one minute elevator speech about you and your organization and bring table handouts.

An actual flyer is posted below 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

DNA Info: Mariano's South Shore? Alderman Taking Grocery Store Boss on Tour

Bob Mariano w/ Mayor Emanuel - DNAinfo/Ted Cox
What figures in this story is the fact that while the Mariano's grocery chain has expanded aggressively in the Chicagoland area and has taken over many former Dominick's locations they also haven't moved into the spot at 71st & Jeffrey that used to be a Dominick's. Now Bob Mariano - who is the CEO of the company that owns the Mariano's chain - is taking a look at South Shore:
Bob Mariano said Monday he'd be touring the South Shore area in the coming weeks to explore whether it "makes any sense" to place a new Mariano's outlet there.

Mariano, chief executive officer of the Roundy's supermarket chain and head of the Mariano's stores in the Chicago area, made the comment after addressing the City Club of Chicago in a lunch speech Monday.
"We're scheduling a meeting with Ald. Hairston to drive her ward in the near future, so that's being worked on right now," Mariano said. "We'll listen to what she's got and we'll see if it makes any sense.

"We've got to go into the neighborhood, drive the neighborhood together and see her vision and her ideas and see if they fit with ours," he added.

Hairston's office confirmed a tour of the 5th Ward is being planned with a date to be determined.

Mariano, however, would not comment on news reports that have Mariano's showing an interest in the former U.S. Steel factory on the South Side, saying only, "We'll have something to say about that in the future."

Mariano stressed the notion of "community" in his remarks to the City Club.

"For us, it's about one thing — community," he said. "We stress in each one of our stores, we are a community."

He said the chain emphasizes "the groundedness into the neighborhood, into the community," adding, "Your store is your community."
If he's not at all interested in the 71st/Jeffrey space, perhaps he'd be interested in the former Sears store @ 1134 E. 79th St. and I'm sure there are other locations on the south side where he could place a store.

I hope that there is press on this tour, that would be some good coverage.

9th Ward community meeting . . . TONIGHT!

Now there is no mistake, it's TONIGHT! :P

For those of you who reside in the 9th Ward tonight is Ald. Beale's monthly community meeting. It was posted to our FB page and is worth sharing here on the blog as well:
  • 9th Ward Alderman Anthony A. Beale and City Department Representatives present a 9th Ward Community Meeting

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014
    6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

    Pullman Presbyterian Church
    550 East 103rd Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60628

    For More Information: Please Call the 9th Ward Office at 773.785.1100

    Thanks to Rev. Eddie L. Knox, Jr. and Pullman Presbyterian Church for their community support!

Artwork unveiled for CTA Dan Ryan Red Line stops

Art work to be installed at 63rd/Halsted
From Cermak to 87th Street new artwork will be installed in the future at those stops.

Both the Chicago Tribune & DNA Info has photo slideshows of the expected artwork for each stop. Also the CTA has their own press release regarding this project.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

87th Street Out of Control

 I don't know how many times you have to cross the intersection of 87th State Street but for residents of the 6th and 21st wards we have to pass it on a regular basis. Or in my case try to avoid. On Saturdays there is gridlock and it causes some to run the red light and get caught by the camera. The intersection is one of the top ten red light camera revenue producers in the city collecting approximately $500,000 a year. Part of what causes the gridlock is the street solicitors. On any given Saturday, there are the bucket boys, towel, candy, socks, taco & burrito, CD's (legal and illegal), DVD's (illegal) as well as alleged youth groups soliciting for "uniforms"and lastly youth groups performing  for  "uniforms" to perform in the Bud Billiken Day parade. Most of the solicitation occurs on the west side of 87th which resides in the 21st ward but spills over to the east side which is in the 6th ward. What is upsetting the residents of both wards is the City of Chicago not enforcing the non-solicitation ordinances that are in both wards. There is not suppose to be any solicitation from 87th Cottage to 87th Western. Now a local business has incensed residents with their advertising. Krispy Krunchy Chicken has hired an individual to put on a chicken suit and strut in the middle of 87th Street. I received the following from a concerned citizen


On Monday, June 16, 2014, I stopped in Krispy Chicken and Seafood located on 87th Street and the Dan Ryan in order to speak with the manager of the establishment. I kindly introduced myself and explained my reason for speaking with him. I proceeded by explaining that I feel that there must be a better way of advertising for their store. I told him that having a black man in a chicken costume dancing and jigging in the middle of 87th street for his store was offensive to me and the black community. I told him that this effigy isn't who we are as black people in this community and said, “I’m sure you don’t have a man of your ethic race in a chicken costume dancing in the middle of the street where you live.” The manager of the store shook his head in agreement to indicate that they don’t have this act of buffoonery in his neighborhood. He told me that he would share my concerns with the owner. I also told him that if this dog and pony show doesn't stop immediately that I will call for a boycott on his store and to please inform the owner. 

Brothers and sisters, have we become so immune to stuff in our community that what we see no longer affects us anymore? Or have we become so inundated with so much mess that our mess has become our normal? As long as I live in this neighborhood I will continue to say the words of the James Brown, “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud.” What about you? We cannot continue to allow this debacle to take over our community and we say nothing about it. 

The struggle continues…………. 

For His Kingdom, 
Rev. Dr. Marc A. Robertson

Friday, June 20, 2014

6th & 9th ward offices city sticker sales...

The flyer above was sent to us from 6th ward Ald. Roderick Sawyer's office. Consider this post a re-iteration of information posted last Friday.
  • Alderman Rod Sawyer's 6th ward Service Office, 8001 S. King Drive
    Thursday, June 26, 2014, 9am -3pm
Also in last Friday's post we posted information on 9th ward which is coming up this Satuday
  • Alderman Anthony Beale's 9th ward Service Office, 34 E 112th Pl
    Saturday, June 21, 2014, 9am-2pm  

The information for Ald. Beale's office was found directly from the City Clerk's Google Calendar. You can also check out dates & times for stickers sales at other city ward offices.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

It's Showtime: The Race for the 6th Ward Aldermandic Seat is On

Although the election isn't until April 2015 individuals are already publically declaring the candidacy. Recently, on Facebook a former Sawyer campaign worker Delton "jerry" Pierce declared his intent. There are several others who are rumored as c
andidates, but versus stating what I have heard I will let them officially come out.

I expect this to be an ugly race this time around, as individuals attempt to "pimp" the horrific incident that occurred on 79th. Hopefully, we will not have to put on our Frank Sinatra recording of "Send in the Clowns".

Alderman Sawyer released a video today on Youtube so is it game on?

Crain's: Northern Trust veteran becomes Seaway Bank CEO

Darrell Jackson
More changes at one of our neighborhood banks. This time at the top!
Seaway Bank & Trust Co., the largest black-owned bank in Chicago, which has stumbled recently after decades of profitability, has named a veteran of Northern Trust Co. as its president and CEO.

Darrell Jackson, executive vice president and Northern Trust's president of wealth management for suburban Illinois, succeeds Walter Grady, who has led Seaway for more than 30 years. Mr. Grady, 74, will retire effective July 31, and Mr. Jackson, 56, will start with Seaway on Aug. 1, the bank announced today.

The move comes as Seaway tries to recover from substantial losses tied to acquisitions of two failed banks. Those losses have Seaway's capital at levels below what's necessary to be deemed “well-capitalized” by regulators.
For those of you who remain concerned that this bank could be sold and possibly purchased by a non-black ownership group:
Mr. Jackson's hiring puts to rest speculation that Chicago-based Seaway might be sold. But the $538 million-asset bank needs an equity infusion to bolster its capital levels.

In an email, [Seaway Bank Chairwoman Veranda Dickens] said: “The bank’s management team is determining the amount of capital to raise and soon will begin interviewing potential investment banking partners. Once the capital raising process moves forward, it’s likely to include potential non-African-American investors, as well, who believe in the bank’s mission and bright future. There have never been plans to sell the bank.”

Seaway's troubles came from higher-than-expected losses stemming from failed minority-owned banks it acquired in Milwaukee and west suburban Maywood.
The bank Seaway acquired within the last few years in Maywood wasn't "minority-owned" although the bank in Milwaukee - formerly known as Legacy Bank - had been.

UPDATE 4:15 PM: An official statement by Seaway Bank

DNA Info: Morehouse College Graduate Seeks To Become Chicago's Youngest Alderman

Corey Hardiman by DNA Info Wendell Hutson
I wrote about this young man this past March when he brought a group of students from his alma mater - as a graduating senior at that point - to the south side of Chicago for a spring break service project. Now he wants to unseat 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale and DNA Info profiles the recent college graduate:
"I know people may think I am too young and inexperienced and that I won't be able to raise enough money to put fourth a good fight but that's what they said (in 2008) about President Barack Obama," Hardiman told DNAinfo Chicago Monday. "If he was able to do it then so can I."

The aspiring politician, who is a member of Salem Baptist Church, said he is scheduled to speak at 6 p.m. Monday to residents at the Altgeld Gardens public housing complex on the far South Side, which is part of the 9th Ward.

"I am going to speak to residents to let them know their opinion matters to me and I want to hear their concerns regardless if they are a registered voter or not," Hardiman said. "Ever since I graduated from high school I have always wanted to enter politics to make a difference in my community."

In 2010 after graduating from George Corliss High School as a Gates Millennium Scholar, where Beale is also an alumnus, Hardiman predicted at Mayor Richard M. Daley's annual interfaith breakfast at U.S. Cellular Field that he would run for mayor after finishing college.

"Well, maybe I was aiming too high at the time," Hardiman said. "But I certainly think it is a realistic goal."

Among the biggest issues facing the ward, Hardiman said, is public safety, education and economic development. While he praised Beale, 46, for "finally" getting a Walmart store in the ward, he said much more needs to be done on an economic level.

"If we could get President Obama's library to the far South Side that would create unlimited opportunities economically," Hardiman said. "Gone are the 'ma and pa' businesses in the 9th Ward and we need to bring back those small, family-owned businesses."
Here's an FB page if you wish to follow his campaign for 9th Ward Alderman.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

CBS2Chicago: South Shore Residents Prod City To Find Dominick’s Replacement

[VIDEO] It seems the activists of South Shore who wants to bring in another grocery store to the former Dominick's space near 71st/Jeffrey have a store in mind. It doesn't help that the city hasn't found a store for the last vacant Dominick's located in the city. What if New Orleans based Sterling Farms decided to open another store in South Shore? Would you consider shopping there?

9th Ward community meeting NEXT TUESDAY!

UPDATE JUNE 18, 2014 @ 3:21 PM: I erroneously wrote in the title that the community meeting was on Tuesday night which was June 17th. My apologies for the confusion, we were alerted to this mistake via e-mail. The rest of the post is correct as the meeting is on June 24th, which is next Tuesday!

For those of you who reside in the 9th Ward tonight is Ald. Beale's monthly community meeting. It was posted to our FB page and is worth sharing here on the blog as well:
  • 9th Ward Alderman Anthony A. Beale and City Department Representatives present a 9th Ward Community Meeting

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014
    6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

    Pullman Presbyterian Church
    550 East 103rd Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60628

    For More Information: Please Call the 9th Ward Office at 773.785.1100

    Thanks to Rev. Eddie L. Knox, Jr. and Pullman Presbyterian Church for their community support!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

DNA Info: 'Guerrilla Urbanists' Use Flower Boxes to Fight Bridgeport Blight, Crime

Photo by DNA Info/Casey Cora
Along Cottage Grove there have been planters that were maintained by a volunteer group that also contained students from area schools hoping to beautify the parts of the street in our community. I'm wonder if it's time to expand that concept along 79th Street which unfortunately has gained an crime ridden reputation.

DNA Info explores this option in another south side neighborhood, Bridgeport:
A secret group of "guerrilla urbanists" is placing flower-packed planters along Morgan Street in an effort to beautify Bridgeport.

A source said the mystery group will continue polling business owners and landlords to see if they'd like one of handsome planters placed in front of their buildings on the sidewalk. If so, the building owner must agree to care for the planter and the flowers in it.

The source, who requested anonymity, said the project was initiated to combat "the ugliness and the visual and real violence that pops up from time to time" on Morgan between 31st and 35th streets: "The group believes it's time to make an effort at making our streets safer, saner and aesthetically pleasing."

The project is also a tribute to Carissa Hinz, a barista and artist killed last year in an unsolved hit-and-run crash.

Already, a few of the planters, which are big enough to hold two 5-gallon buckets filled with dirt and flowers, have appeared in the 3200 block of Morgan Street, not far from where a 25-year-old man was killed after being shot in the head on Sunday.

The mysterious Morgan Street campaign is the second effort in recent months to call attention to what some may perceive as a problem of economic neglect in Bridgeport.

Friday, June 13, 2014

DNA Info: Ryan Harris' Mom Still Waiting for Field House at Park Named for Slain Girl

Sabrina Harris by DNA Info/Josh McGhee
It seems at times that this blog often visits Ryan Harris Park located at 6781 S. Lowe Ave in Englewood. Ryan Harris was 11 years of age when she was murdered in 1998 not far from this park. Harris' mother is now sounding the alarm of an unmet need at the park named for her daughter:
When Sabrina Harris visits the Englewood park renamed after her 11-year-old daughter, who was brutally raped and murdered just a few blocks away, she sees 16 years of broken promises from the city and local politicians.

Ryan Harris Memorial Park, 6781 S. Lowe Ave., was renamed in 1999, almost a year after her daughter's death. Since then, aldermen and the Chicago Park District promised Harris a field house and a restroom facility that have never been built, even though close to $500,000 has been donated toward it.

"I’m wondering what’s the hold up now?" asked Harris at a news conference at the park Thursday morning.

"You all have the funding for the park and for the facilities you all said the park [needed] and it’s been 16 years and I still don’t see it. And I haven’t been contacted as far as when will the structure be allowed to be put up," she said.

According to Harris, Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) donated $200,000 to the project and state Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) donated an additional $350,000. Sawyer could not be reached for comment.

Collins did make the donation for bathrooms to be built but has received pushback from the Chicago Park District about building the facilities, a spokeswoman for Collins said.

The Chicago Park District did not immediately return calls about the project.

Before the park was built, Sabrina Harris played around the open lot as a child, but now the park is an emotional journey for her. As she walked around it Thursday she broke down in uncontrollable tears several times. A viaduct, which serves as a backdrop for the park, shields the area where police found her daughter almost 16 years ago in July.
May this park receive the attention it needs and be truly a place for leisure and play with nothing but peace!

City Stickers sold at 6th Ward office on June 26

The information below is for city sticker sales at the 6th Ward Service office
  • Alderman Rod Sawyer's 6th ward Service Office, 8001 S. King Drive
    Thursday, June 26, 2014, 9am -3pm
However the City Clerk office has a schedule for other city sticker sales at other city ward offices. For example
  • Alderman Anthony Beale's 9th ward Service Office, 34 E 112th Pl
    Saturday, June 21, 2014, 9am-2pm 
Check the schedule for city sticker sales at a ward office near you!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Crain's: Wilson, 95th Red Line revamps advance

Greg Hinz reports on the project that will update CTA's 95th Street Red Line rail/bus terminal:
The Chicago Transit Authority today approved two big contracts for reconstruction of the Wilson and 95th Street stations, two of the busiest stops on the Red Line.

There was nothing surprising in the pacts for the long-awaited work, which was announced more than a year ago. But this being an election year, City Hall wants you to know what it's doing for you. And we here at Crain's certainly want you to see those absolutely lovely artists' renditions of the new facilities (below).
The 95th Street contract, for initial foundation and retaining wall work, is for $23.1 million and went to a joint venture led by Walsh Construction Co., the same firm that got the Wilson contract. The new station will replace a smaller station and two satellite buildings that opened in 1969. Work is expected to begin in the fall.

Both new stations are being financed by federal, state and local government sources.
You can read CTA's official statement on this impending project here! And check out renderings for the new 95th terminal on flickr.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Red Eye: Chatham residents stand up for community in wake of violence

Via The Chicago Neighborhoods
So three of Chatham's future leaders are quoted in this article from the Red Eye. Unfortunately Chatham has been in the news unfortunately for various incidents of gun violence in recent years. The most recent incident occurred on 79th Street and resulted in the death of a CPS special education teacher.

In any event three people you should know in that piece. You should know Jahmal Cole who wrote this great book about Chatham titled The Torch of Decency, Rekindling the Spirit of Civic Organizations. And of course recently he's been hosting events often holding court at the Whitney Young Branch of the public library. He believes the issues of Chatham involves a lack of role models and intends to do "positive loitering" to help Chathamites take back their community.

There's also one of the founders of Fleck's Coffee - Zuli Turner - who says that Chatham isn't a lost cause. Not only does she own the coffeehouse located @ 343 E. 79th St, she also owns and operates a daycare center Young Achievers Academy @ 520 E. 79th St. I'm sure many of us would agree with that sentiment.

Finally Alderman Roderick Sawyer's chief-of-staff Brian Sleet who gave a great real estate advertisement for Chatham:
Brian Sleet, chief of staff for Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), whose ward includes Chatham, said crime is confined to a few blocks. "The majority of Chatham is still a very safe, very positive area," he said.

Challenges for Chatham include lack of food options and transit-oriented development. The neighborhood needs a facelift because it looks the way it did in the 1950s, but the vibrant storefronts are now gone, Sleet said.

"The community is not under siege. It's really a great location. While there are some actual challenges, the majority of Chatham has a lot of good things going on and is moving in the right direction," Sleet said.
 As for Mr. Cole you should check out his new project My Block*My Hood*My City lately he's been visiting city parks - referred to ask 12 Parks in 12 Weeks - as part of this project. Recently he's been to Cole Park which in recent years has also been the site of a few incidents of gun violence.

Also check out this infographic from Red Eye some statistics about Chatham. Also be advised that while the community area is a vast swath of area, the neighborhood itself is much smaller than depicted in the infographic as in general the boundaries are from roughly 75th Street to 87th Street north & south and Cottage Grove to the Dan Ryan east & west.

WBEZ: Watch Chicago's 2nd Ward fly north over the years

The remap that was approved in 2012 has returned to the news recently. WBEZ reports on the history of the 2nd Ward and how and where it was drawn over the years. It was discussed in light of a case before federal court regarding the 2012 remap. It was noted that since 1980, three out of four remaps were challenged.

Back during the whole remap debate, this issue proved to be controversial amongst the many residents of the 6th Ward. Many of the neighborhoods contained within didn't want to be mapped out of the 6th although this came to pass anyway. Many cited similarities to the other communities of the 6th Ward such as Chatham (which remains in the 6th) and West Chesterfield (which ultimately was remapped into the 9th Ward).

All the same, I'm pretty sure Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his allies wouldn't have put forward a map if they didn't think it would prevail in a courtroom. As for that idea whenever there is a ruling - how do i find out about the ruling is the next question - we shall see if the remap expected to be implemented by the 2015 elections will prevail or not.
  • Check out the redistricting label for previous posts on the ward remap!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Maintaining the closed Shedd School...

These pictures were shared on May 22 in the Bennett-Shedd Elementary School FB group. Then wrote in the comments that the grass had been cut by that Sunday afternoon. Then on the afternoon on June 5, 2014 I took a few snapshots with my phone outside of Shedd School.

I got more than just taking pictures of cut grass. I think putting gang graffiti on a school building abandoned or not is vulgar in the worst way!

The pics below was taken near the school's front entrance and shows some gang graffiti. Very vulgar findings on a former place of learning. Here's hoping someone can take command of this building and be able to keep this school's grass cut and and vandalism off this property.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Tribune: Artists gather to reclaim Englewood parks during 'So Fresh Saturdays'

Night Out in the Parks
The first event for "So Fresh Saturdays" at an Englewood Park takes place Saturday from 3 to 8 p.m. in Hermitage Park, 5839 S. Wood Street. It's part of the Chicago Park District's Night Out in the Parks. In the meanwhile more info from the Tribune  :
A collective of community-based poets, rappers, musicians, dancers and other artists will gather Saturday in Englewood to kick off a series of free outdoor festivals in the neighborhood, officials said.

“So Fresh Saturdays” is a series of gatherings designed to get residents out into their local parks to claim the spaces for child’s play, said Asiaha Butler, a long-time Englewood resident and president of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood.
The move comes just as school is about to let out for summer and the warm weather will drive more people into the city’s public spaces.

Gathering in the parks to play, entertain and educate young people, the group hopes, will leave little room for gang members and adults committed to wrongdoing to take over the areas.

“We know … we have to blend arts and entertainment with activism in order to engage and address issues we have throughout the neighborhood” Butler said in a released statement.

DNA Info: South side Dominick's site owner claims he's not blocking new tenants
71st/Jeffrey Dominick's by Eric Allix Rogers/flick
In this recent DNA Info article we finally hear from the owner of the development at 71st/Jeffrey where since last year a space that was once home to a Dominick's store has remained vacant. Many in that part of the city wants to see another grocer set-up shop there however that has taken more time. The Dominick's grocery chain had shut all of their locations down last December.
The owner of Jeffery Plaza said he is trying to replace the shuttered Dominick’s in his mall as quickly as possible and rejected Ald. Leslie Hairston’s (5th) and other city officials' claims that he is blocking tenants from moving in.

“We want to fill up the space as soon as possible at a cost that is justified,” said Shervin Mateen, CEO of Cannon Commercial.

At a Tuesday meeting, Hairston told South Shore residents that Mateen “only cares about his profit,” and was not cooperating with leasing the former grocery store at 71st Street and Jeffery Boulevard.

On Thursday, Mateen, speaking from his office in Los Angeles, said he was “shocked and puzzled” by Hairston’s comments.

Mateen said the company is currently in negotiations with four grocers to take over the space, including Ultra Foods, but first needs to convince Dominick’s to give up or pay out on its lease, which runs through May of 2015.

“No matter what other decisions we want to make, they have to approve it,” Mateen said. “They have the keys to the site.”

Representatives from Cannon said they are working with Dominick’s parent company, Safeway, to give up the space, but the company has been moving slow because it is currently being bought by Albertsons.

A representative of Safeway was not available to comment.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sun-Times: More officials than solutions at Chatham anti-violence summit

If found this Sun-Times article on FB and the headline grabs your attention. There's another article from DNA Info on this same subject and I'll excerpt from it. The Sun-Times headline almost reads like an editorial but perhaps there is some truth to it. What do you think?

Anyway an excerpt of what the Sun-Times reports:
The heaviest hitters in Chicago politics got together for more than an hour Wednesday to figure out what to do about gun violence in the Chatham community.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn were there. So were Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush played host to them and several other political, religious and business leaders. They all met behind closed doors at his South Side office in the 700 block of East 79th Street — less than a block from where special education teacher Betty Howard was fatally shot in the head last week.

But when the doors opened, the group had little new to announce beyond a “hope and healing” neighborhood festival, a commitment to make more summer jobs available in the area, a rough plan to open a job training center in a vacant building nearby — and an agreement to keep on meeting.
Here's an excerpt of what DNA Info reports:
If violence in the Chatham area is ever going to be curbed — and if the South Side neighborhood is ever going to see a revival — more needs to be done to reduce the number of school dropouts, create permanent jobs and improve economic development.

That was the conclusion of several city, state and national leaders who took part in a 90-minute meeting at the South Side district offices of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago).

"The city is committed to bringing back what has slipped away, and that's a once-vibrant community," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel of the neighborhood's history of having a large black middle-class community home to many retired teachers, among others.

In addition to Emanuel and Rush, the meeting at 700 E. 79th St. included Gov. Pat Quinn; Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez; Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett; Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy; and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
I think this statement is worth addressing:
 "The ones doing all this shooting in Chatham are the ones not in school," [Josephine Wade, who owns Josephine's Cooking] said. "If they were in school they would not be doing all this shooting."

Wade said she she speaks daily with youths as they walk pass her soul-food restaurant and discovered many are high school dropouts.

"These kids tell me they stopped going to school when they were 9 and now they are 14 and 15-years old," she said. "They're the ones committing the crimes but no one seems to be focused on that."
While I do believe education is the key to many of the problems we're facing among the youths today, we may not win them all. What do we do about the ones who may not want to return to school and will cause problems if they're forced to return to the classrooms? We do have a lot of discussions about the many issues we have out there and the best solutions to move forward.

BTW, this was posted to Worlee's Concerned Citizen's of Chatham yesterday. How many other people out there feel the same way about this as Worlee.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Historical mural unveiled at Burnside Scholastic Academy on Thursday, June 5

Burnside Scholastic Academy is unveiling a mural which recounts protests which led to Burnside becoming an integrated school, and opened the doors for the rest of the Chicago Public Schools system.

The public is welcome to join the school at 9:30am to unveil the mural. Burnside is located at 650 E. 91st place (near 91st & St. Lawrence, behind Tuley Park).

Tony Burroughs, a student at Burnside during the movement, was instrumental in getting the mural established, and work with youth to tell the story.

Carolyn Elaine is the artist who, along the school's art teacher, helped the youth create this mural. Ms. Elaine developed the concept and details.

There is also a surprise for former students who participated in the protest.

Please see the  Facebook event page with more details.

We will try to post an update, with more information when available.

Full Disclosure: My daughter is a student of Burnside, and Worlee's child is an alum.

EDIT: Here is the official press release (please excuse the editing -- some problems on our end):

Tony Burroughs
Burnside Principal Kelly Thigpen: 773/535-3300

*Burnside Sit-In Mosaic Tile Mural*
*Dedication -- **June 5, 2014***
*Burnside****Scholastic****Academy**, **650 East 91^st Place***


A ribbon cutting for a 300 sq ft beautiful broken tile art mosaic mural will be held at Burnside Scholastic Academy on Thursday June 5, 2014 at 9:45am. The mural is dedicated to the historic 1962 sit-in at Burnside. Renowned muralist Carolyn Elaine ( <>), designed the mosaic with Burnside students and art teacher Sarah Didricksen. Elaine has designed mosaic murals for many buildings and public art in Chicago. Internationally known genealogist Tony Burroughs ( <>) conducted workshops with students on Black History and Civil Rights in preparation of the mural design. Burroughs was one of the sit-in students and his mother was one of the organizers.


May 17^th marked the 60^th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. The movement to desegregate schools in Chicago began on January 2, 1962 with a sit-in at Burnside Elementary School. It was organized by PTA mothers and was the spark that ignited the Civil Rights Movement in Chicago. Three of the PTA mothers, in their 80s, and four of the sit-in students, in their 60s, plan to be in attendance at the dedication.

The Burnside Sit-In inspired ministers, Civil Rights workers from the NAACP, Urban League and Freedom Riders to support the protest. Momentum grew and inspired mothers at other schools to protest. This lead to The Woodlawn Organization (TWO) and the Coordinating Council for Community Organizations (CCCO) to protest Willis Wagons, temporary mobile classrooms built to relieve overcrowded schools in African American communities. This was led by a young Reverend Arthur Brazier.

CCCO, CORE and the Chicago Friends of SNCC organized a city-wide school boycott the next year on October 22, 1963. Approximately 250,000 students stayed home. It was the largest school boycott in the country. Dr. Martin Luther King said the Civil Rights Movement in Chicago was the most organized movement in the north. King came to Chicago in 1965 to support the fight for education and returned in 1966 to fight for housing and jobs.

A few June events

Some upcoming summer festivals & events are beginning even now. Here are a few (via their Facebook photos). If you are having trouble reading these, or have your own event, please email us at

The first is from St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church, at the corner of 80th & Michigan. See you this Friday, June 6 at 7;30pm.

Chatham Academy H.S Street Festival 

June 14, 2014
12 noon - 8pm

90th Langley
(near 90th & St. Lawrence, 1 block North of Burnside Scholastic Academy)

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...