Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas tress onsale starting TOMORROW at Williams Hydro Plants.

We wrote about Williams Hydro Plants 2 years ago. We wanted to let you know they are selling Christmas Trees again, in their lot on the NorthWest corner of 79th & Prairie (across from Ruggles School's main playground). Sales start tomorrow, and hours are later (going into the 7pm hour).

Support our local small businesses!

Here's what we said then:

Worlee did a great job on an article about Charles and Belinda Williams of Williams Hydro-Plants a short time ago.

I can personally testify to how friendly and helpful they are.  They have also become their unofficial granchildren. (see the photo of the girls with Mr. Williams),

The Williams are selling Christmas Trees starting Saturday, December 1.  They will be doing so through the evening (past their closing time of 5pm).  We encourage you to buy from them if you use real trees.

Their store is at 311 E. 79th Street Chicago, IL 60619. They will sell the Christmas Trees in their lot across the street at 79th & Prairie, also across the street from the south playground of Ruggles elementary school. Their phone number is (773) 651-3426, so can call ahead and schedule your pickup.

Also, if you have other needs, please contact them.  They can have items such as salt and snow melt ready for you out there as well.

Let them know JP Paulus (dad of Mia and Faith) sent you. It won't result in any discount. But it would be great to know connections have been made.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Small Business Saturday is tomorrow!

While it Small Business Saturday is a BIT of a publicity stunt by American Express (like Hallmark Holidays), it's a great ""excuse" to push people to shop local and shop small.

Please let us know if you know of any small businesses that should be featured. You can begin in the comments, and let's see if we can feature them on our blog!  (we may have one on Sunday).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

#HappyThanksgiving from The Sixth Ward blog!

Just a wishing you #HappyThanksgiving!

We here at The Sixth Ward blog truly appreciate your readership and input.

It has meant a lot to us these past 7 years, and we look forward to many more.

Now PLEASE get off the internet and go appreciate your family!

(And forgo today's"#BlackThursday" sales in favor of Small Business Saturday in your neighborhood!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My experience at the DMV

Photo by Levois J.
How is YOUR experience with the Secretary of State's office (the dreaded DMV).

My experience at our local facility at 9901 S. King Drive has been a very positive one...i'm not sure how it is on the north side & suburbs, but I think we have it good when it comes to this facility.
In a previous trip down there, to renew my sticker, it took me literally 5 minutes from beginning to end.

This trip (yesterday), I had 2 things to do, and took a bit longer. It's literally been years since I had to take a written test, or even get a new license (I was able to use a sticker the last time, to extend it by 4 years). I didn't have the license or paperwork, so more time was definitely factored in.

So I set my timer to begin after I asked the information booth about my situation (having 2 issues, i wanted to know who I should start with)

I started with getting the sticker renewed. I didn't have the card mailed in, so I had to wait a very short time for them to print out a paper to take to the cashier. (if I had it, the SoS personnel directed people straight to the cashier)

That was completed in 7 minutes and 46 seconds.

From there, I walked out the building and to the other entrance for Drivers licenses. 

I began again at 9 minutes and 7 seconds.

The longest part was waiting after checking in at theintake desk, and showing my material(I didn't have my license, so I presented alternate material). I was given ticket A196, with A182.There were also several tickets begging with B-F.

At 43 minutes and 25 seconds, I began the process, going to the visual test, then the cashier, and then the written test , and finally the photo to get my license.
That ended at 1 hour, 5 minutes & 7 seconds. 

So 22 minutes from talking with someone to getting it the actual license.

Overall, a pretty quick process. And everyone was pretty friendly.

How has your experience been?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Follow-up to our 2015 election post

We just wanted to write a quick update to yesterday's election coverage post.

We have updated our 2015 election page,covering the 6th, 21st and 9th wards. We know our information is incomplete, so we encourage you to contact us with updates. You can e-mail us at blog (at) with photos and links.

If you have an opinion, we also welcome it. 2 things we ask is that 1) You write a disclaimer if you are working on a campaign  2) keep it civil. Libel,for example, will NOT be tolerated, and such sentences will be deleted before publication.

Also, for more detailed election information (such as number of petition signatures and current cash-on-hand totals), we encourage you to subscribe to Aldertrack ( For $10, you get access to their "Racing Form"(and every one of their daily PDF updates), and daily e-mail updates. We have agreed to not publish information we cannot obtain easily through searches, such as on Google or Facebook.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Petition filing period has concluded

Now that petition filing has concluded we have updated our 2015 page with those candidates who have filed for the alderman races in wards 6, 9, & 21. There are some new names on this page that we didn't previously put on the page. Some names since they apparently didn't file any petitions have been struck and will be deleted in the future.

BTW, next month the period for petition objections begins. Depending upon the success of these objections that will further whittle away those candidates who we have listed to run in the 2015 election.

We also have an article of interest for you from the Tribune. Most of the media's interest appears to be on the race for Mayor.

We hope to maintain our interest in the Alderman races in the three local wards that we're currently covering.

Here is an updated candidate list for the offices up for election next year Mayor, Clerk, Treasurer, and for all 50 aldermen. In addition here is a board of election page regard the expected events leading up to February's election.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tribune: 'Vulnerable' cafe makes a stand in a tough part of town

We've been hearing about Kusanya Cafe - 825 W 69th St - over the years from its conception to the eventual opening. I'm glad that such an establishment is in the Englewood community and hopefully it will be there for years to come. All it took was someone with the vision to make it real. We hear from the brains behind the operation:
When Phil Sipka and some of his Englewood neighbors opened a cafe a year ago this week, skeptics had suggestions.

How about rolling security gates over the wall-size windows? Or a permanently locked door, with a buzzer to buzz customers in? Maybe a nighttime security guard.

Sipka and his neighbors had a different idea.

"Let's be vulnerable," he said Thursday, sitting at one of the tables he made from reclaimed wood. "I think people respect intentional vulnerability."

The cafe is named Kusanya, a Swahili word that means "to gather," and though it's in a neighborhood that makes news most often when someone makes trouble, it has managed to stay safe since it opened last Nov. 19.
And more about Mr. Sipka:
Sipka, 34, is a man of several talents. A native of Alma, Mich., he studied at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. He honed his coffee skills at the popular Robust Coffee Lounge in Woodlawn. "The Steve Harvey Show" featured him (video available on YouTube) quitting that job in song, backed by a doo-wop group.

When he moved to Chicago seven years ago, he immediately settled in Englewood, just a block from the cafe. He is white in a neighborhood that is predominantly black.

"A lot of people thought I was a cop for a long time," he said. He laughed. "I'd be the worst undercover cop ever."

He built Kusanya's coffee counter and wooden tables himself. He studied YouTube videos to learn how to hang a door.

"I've always liked making things beautiful out of things people throw away," he said.
You know, I wonder what brought him to Englewood. Why Englewood for him instead of other parts of the city?

Either way he had a vision and gained the support of the neighborhood. He had some help from the community getting this place ready for business.

I'm going to put this on the list of places I should visit on the south side.

State Rep. Andre Thapedi HR1348 Press Release

Click image for larger resolution or click link for PDF version.

Friday, November 21, 2014

BuzzFeed: Top 7 Ways Chicago Incumbent Aldermen Will Try To Win Re-Election

I ran across this link in one of the many neighborhood oriented FB groups. It seems quite hilarious but then some of what you see listed doesn't seem too far from the truth. Does this make you laugh or is this basically reality in Chicago politics?

More "gentrification watch" in Englewood via Curbed Chicago

Curbed Chicago spoke to a retail broker who opined on the future Whole Foods Market Englewood development:
"It is a changed community already," says James Matanky, a real estate broker and President of Matanky Real Estate Group, which is wooing retail tenants such as Whole Foods to Englewood as part of a much-discussed development set to open in spring of 2016. When asked about issues of gentrification this development introduces, he pointed to support from the neighborhood, alderman, students at Kennedy-King College college and the $10 million city investment in the 13 acre property as evidence that others see this as a economic catalyst. His role bringing in big name like Whole Foods helps embolden other potential tenants, he says, and helps bring more needed goods and services into the neighborhood. "We as brokers and developers need to show them they won't be the only one, and that the investment will bring profit," he says.
BTW, they mentioned Walgreen's as a trailblazer. Walgreen's has always been at 63rd & Halsted although perhaps at a different location than they are now. What other exciting development is in store once Whole Foods Market Englewood is finally online.

Previously: CurbedChicago: Will the Englewood Whole Foods Change the Neighborhood?

Tribune: Aldermen turn up heat on CPS' bond deals

Ald. Thomas by Chris Walker / Chicago Tribune
I was amazed to see that Ald. Latasha Thomas of ward 17 is leading this charge. I'm wondering if her leaving the city council at the end of her term has anything to do with this:
The Chicago City Council’s Education and Child Development Committee will hold a hearing to examine Chicago Public Schools’ borrowing practices, committee chair Ald. Latasha Thomas said Wednesday.

Eight aldermen signed a resolution calling for the hearing in the wake of a Chicago Tribune analysis of the school district’s foray into auction-rate debt. Leading the effort is 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti, who plans to run against Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the Feb. 24 mayoral election.

The Tribune found that CPS' 2003-07 issuance of $1 billion in auction-rate bonds, paired with interest-rate swaps, could cost the district $100 million more than traditional fixed-rate bonds would have.

"They were gambling with our children’s future," Fioretti said Wednesday in an interview with the Tribune.
Thomas said she had yet to see the resolution but was willing to explore the issue at committee level. Thomas, unlike Fioretti, typically sides with the mayor on major issues.

No hearing date has been set.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Capitol Fax: Progress Illinois on the brink of extinction

We may not always agree with Progress Illinois but it's unfortunate to hear that this longtime online publication may not last past the year. They posted a report on a protest of a methadone clinic in the Chatham community recently. In addition they have reached out to us during the 2011 municipal elections.

Here's hoping a cash infusion comes their way in the near future.

#CTAfail = TWO groups of bunched buses in a row!

MAJOR #CTAfail today. 

TWO Batches of bunched buses resulted in me walking to my meeting, and now complaining on the internet.

I was at first hesitant to write this, as I complain about North Siders being complaining brats at times. But I guess that’s how service works. I am also curious to see if anyone has had the same problem. And if so, let’s unite to hold CTA accountable!
So I was less than a block from the bus stop near 80th & King, going South bound at 8:21am.  I saw a bus sail past my stop. So I walked, thinking, well, maybe another bus will come in a few minutes. Try a few SECONDS. About 45 seconds later (if that), a SECOND bus FLIES by.

I am in utter shock. After s couple of seconds, I try to run to the next stop, which has a stoplight which is turning yellow (and then red). That SHOULD have been enough time for me to catch up. (And an “excuse” for the bus to slow down and NOT bunch up with the first bus). But instead, they GUN IT, and I miss that bus.

I am extremely frustrated, but think, well, maybe there’s another one in a few minutes. SO I text in the info (which has actually been helpful).

Here’s my text log:

8:22am = stop 2249 King& 80th
19 min. & 19 min.
WHAT????? With a 20 minute gap, NO ONE at CTA HQ or the Bus Supervisor SEES this discrepancy?

8:24am = stop 2252 King& 83rd
19 min. and 19 min.
I texted this stop to see if perhaps that 2nd bus that passed me slowed down at all. Clearly not. But 20 minutes between buses??? That 2nd bus couldn’t have slowed down AT ALL???
At this point, I actually stop, and call in to complain.  The customer service person says she can only take the complaint, and can NOT communicate with the bus supervisor, who COULD have stopped that 2nd bus for a couple of minutes.  She says she’ll call me with the ticket number (for my complaint) later, as I have to walk really fast to my destination (a school board meeting – not one I wish be sweaty at).

8:39am = stop 2257 King & 88th
10 min and 10 min.  STILL bunched up. The latter bus COULD have waited at some stops (i.e. major intersections) for 2 minutes, and no one would have noticed.

8:48am = stop 2260 (King at 91st)
Said DUE and 2 min. 

At that point, I was 1 ½ blocks east of stop, WALKING to my destination, and still did not see the bus. 

Basically, I had beat the bus from my home to the near my destination. I was cold in some parts and sweaty & smelly in others. And my sore foot may have gotten worse.

Oh, and remember that complaint I sent in? It’s 3PM and no phone call. There’s a 311 complaint number: 14-02004134

Let’s see if anything happens from that.  Feel free to call 311 with this complaint number and see if you get anything.

MAJOR MAJOR fail, here CTA.  Will you make a change? Call me back?

I will have to look up later Chicago Public Radio’s Curious City story on bunched buses, and to see if South Siders get the shaft more than North side buses.

But please share your stories – and see if we can make this better.

p.s. Unrelated CTA complaint – I asked on their Facebook page if they could post the DATE of when the Red Line Holiday Train will happen. I understand that the TIME is not yet set…but I need to know if I should plan ahead for THAT event or another.  How hard can setting a date be? They've been doing this every year!

Does Chatham/Park Manor Want to Save St. Dorothy Parish

A group of alumni, church members and residents came out to the Whitney Young Library to say YES.

A group of alumni including Keith Tate, President of Chatham Avalon Park Community Council (CAPCC) who is an alumnus and member of the steering committee  to save St. Dorothy School chaired the meeting.  Residents and neighbors including Ms. Darlene Tribue, President of Park Manor Neighbors Community Council (PMNCC), a St. Dorothy alumna, came out to hear what is going on with St. Dorothy Elementary School as well as what the future is for the parish.

Several weeks ago, the Chicago Archdiocese announced that they were closing nine elementary schools around the city of Chicago as well as create a new school Augustus Tolton. Tolton  would be a new school created from the merger of St. Dorothy and St. Columbanus. The archdiocese reason for the merger was both schools have operating deficits as well as declining enrollment The new school would be housed in the former St. Columbanus school building and the future of the St. Dorothy building was in question.

The announcement came as a surprise to the students, parents and church members of both St. Dorothy and Columbanus. Per responses from parents they were informed via a flyer just before the official announcement and church members were notified just before the announcement via an announcement in church. The announcements just prior to the official announcement is the start of frustration for the parties affected.

Per St. Dorothy members, parents and alumni this decision was done under  a veil of secrecy and the reasons given for the merger are not true. They felt disrespected by the Archdiocese and the pastor of St. Dorothy, Father Bob Miller especially as the parish is planning to celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2016 and they were given assurances that the school was in no danger of being closed.

Per Keith Tate he and a committee were actively raising funds for capital improvements and other operational needs of the school.  He was assured that the fundraising would be viewed positively and assure that the school would not be up for consideration for closing.

Since the announcement, there have been meetings for parents of the school and anyone else who has attempted to attend  has been asked to leave the meetings. Request for financial information have gone unanswered with no reasons given. Overall, all attempts to gather any information to create a starting point to assist have been dwarfed.

During the meeting it was brought out that consultants were hired to assist the school but  when request for what they cost and what they actually did were made again no answers.

The following letter was sent to the archdiocese
Re: Request to Postpone Closure of St. Dorothy School
Founded 1917
Dear Reverend Archbishop-Designate Cupric:
We would like to extend a warm welcome to the windy city of Chicago. Cardinal George served the Archdiocese of Chicago with passion for many years and we wish him much favor as he leaves this office. We are a diverse group of interested parishioners and alumni of St. Dorothy Parish and school who are here to listen, dialog and participate in supporting and enhancing the Church and its missions.
Your transition to the city comes at a critical time in Chicago’s Southside community. Unanticipated and unexpected decisions are being/have been made resulting in the impending closure/merger, of the St. Dorothy School located on the south side of Chicago. Despite how characterized, a vacant school building is a closure and a painful loss to a community struggling to recover.
Throughout its nearly one hundred-year existence, the St. Dorothy School prepared students for excellence. Their accomplishments in many cases dwarf the accomplishments of others not tethered with financial and social impediments. St. Dorothy alumni include former and current executive directors, vice presidents, attorneys, executive managers, IT professions, doctors, political consultants, teachers and the like. This is a legacy we believe is worth saving and more importantly we believe with notice, information and welcomed participation the impending closure of the St. Dorothy School could have been avoided.
We were strongly cautioned that appeal of this decision would be of no effect, our efforts in vain, that there would be no redemption. We are however hopeful and faithful that this communication does have decidedly redemptive value. We seek your intervention, leadership and grace in preserving an institution that has been a haven and opportunity for survival. We also need leadership to remedy an ever-widening chasm of perspectives. At the very heart of our most immediate concern is preserving the nearly one hundred-year legacy of the St. Dorothy School, a Catholic institution of primary education founded in excellence and service to a deserving parish. Unfortunately the closure of this once revered flagship institution has been decided without a modicum of information, appropriate notice or reasonable opportunity to overcome the challenges to the viability of St. Dorothy.
The St. Dorothy community has a history of triumph when given proper notice and opportunity to engage in problem resolution. We do not believe we were given that opportunity. Our voices were not timely sought, heard or understood and as a result the St. Dorothy School did not have an advocate. We request that immediate remedial action is taken preventing closure pending an audience and a comprehensive review of the importance of the St. Dorothy School to the parish and the community. This community needs a path to self-reliance, not another vacant building, not another testament to hopelessness or track to the criminal justice system.
We are equally mystified by the total disenfranchisement of the parish community in the making of this monumental decision. We are also shocked and taken aback by the loss of foresight to make this issue a priority and a known crisis. The general information provided was that the parish would have up to three years to address the concerns of the school. It was not until September 2014 that the parishioners, parents, resource committee and representatives from the Archdiocese were brought together. The topic was the future of St. Dorothy School, however, at no point in this meeting was it communicated that closure was imminent. One month later it was announced that the school would close. After the decision, it was clear that the steps taken were perfunctory measures to make the process appear inclusive, but it was not.
We understand that reasonable minds may differ as to the most effective way to build a strong continued Catholic presence in the community. It is this difference that encourages us to bring our concerns forward. It is now time to rebuild, to reinvest in communities that have had many blessing but also have had many disadvantages. We encourage the Church to be bold in its mission by creating more opportunities for spiritual growth. We believe that this cannot be done with school closures; rather, it can be accomplished by expanding the Church’s presence through re-committing to these institutions of learning. “Give me a fish, I will eat for a day, teach me to fish and I will eat for a lifetime.” Anonymous
There is much information we have to share about our ideas for rebuilding our Church’s presence in the community. We thank you for your consideration and are hopeful for an audience with you. If you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Yours in Christ,
St. Dorothy Concerned Alumni and Community to Prevent Closure of a Historically African-American Institution
 As of the writing of this post, there has been no response from the archdiocese.

The steering committee and alumni are passionate about saving the school because they believe that once the  school closes the closing of the parish is imminent. They state examples of the former Mercy/Unity, Mendel, and other catholics school and properties on the southside that have been sold to developers or Chicago Public Schools

The group has more meetings planned to inform the community on their plans as well as there are meetings going on at St. Columbanus to discuss the vision of the new school Augustus Tolton.

Since the announcement what have been visibly absent is a unified community response from residents of Park Manor/Chatham or any of the numerous community based organizations. This leads to the question does the community want to save St. Dorothy?

Earlier this year, representatives from Concepts Charter attempted to sell the community that their  Clay Evans campus was going to be the savior for the children of Chatham. They even had one community organization, West Chesterfield Community Association issue a letter of support. When questioned about their ties to Turkish extremist they became hostile and called individuals "Racist" for asking questions. Subsequently, the campus was nixed and Concepts was raided by the FBI. But with all of that some were ready to give away some of our public schools to this group that has no track record of achievement and no african american teachers.

Secondly, the charter school network has made it clear that they are actively looking to make additional inroads into the community. They took advantage of the gift Gary Comer made to the Grand Crossing community and established Gary Comer High School. Also, the Alternative School Network in conjunction with Chicago Public Schools has been actively pursuing closed schools to place Alternative Schools or schools of last resort.

Lastly, while public schools in Chatham/Park Manor were saved from the last round of closures several were  included on preliminary list.

So where do we stand on education? What is the future of St. Dorothy?

Updated 2015 page noting petition filings for candidates...

Worlee have been keeping track of petition filings for candidates in wards 6, 9 and 21 on our FB page. Candidates for any of our city offices have until Nov. 24, 2014 to file their petitions per the Chicago Board of Elections 2014 calendar.

On our 2015 page we have noted those candidates who have filed so far with an asterisk (*). We will contine to update the page through the final day for candidate filing for next year's municipal elections.

Stay tuned to our FB page for updates and our 2015 page.

ALSO, here is a current list of all candidates for the 2015 municipal elections via the Chicago Board of Elections.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

CurbedChicago: Will the Englewood Whole Foods Change the Neighborhood?

Future site of Whole Foods 63rd/Halsted via Curbed Chicago
And would you be surprised that Curbed tagged their thoughts on the future Whole Foods Market Englewood under "gentrification watch". It shouldn't be that big of a surprise! Here's one takeaway though:
In an extensive piece about the development in the Washington Post, reporter Emily Badger breaks down how the company is banking on the restorative nature of the store, and how it might restore a region that once held serious economic clout. While today's numbers aren't rosy — a third of the households live below the poverty line, 25 percent of adults are unemployed, crime rates are among the city's highest — the company can point to a somewhat similar success in Midtown Detroit a few years ago. The chain, which is busy in other Chicago neighborhoods, needs to find ways to work in a variety of neighborhoods to meet their expansion targets, and with proper outreach, it may be an important catalyst.
I blogged about the Washington Post piece about the future Englewood store on Monday.

I also want to remind you about last year's post about the "dreaded G word".

As always feel free to let us know what you think about this future development.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

VIDEO: CHA project turned into artists' home

[VIDEO] This seems like a great case for adaptive re-use of a CHA housing project. While the housing isn't just for artists it's still great that this property had been revitalized and put back into use.

Theaster Gates is an artist who's also involved with making art for the Dan Ryan branch of the CTA Red Line. You will see him in this video from the Chicago Tribune as well.

Crain's: Seaway Bank swings to a profit. Here's how.

Photo via Chicago Sun-Times
Check out this rather incredulous quote from a recent Crain's article about the longtime community bank located in Chatham:
The dramatic turnabout for Seaway is highly unusual. “I've never seen a material error that goes in the bank's favor after a turnaround team comes in,” says Paul O'Connor, a locally based 30-plus-year veteran of the banking industry and currently an investment banker for community banks. “I've seen many that go in the opposite direction.”
So after having changed the executive team at the bank this past summer and talks of finding new investors or the bank having a loss it turns out Seaway actually made money this year.

Read the article to see how they did it. And check out this graphic lifted directly from Crain's.

Monday, November 17, 2014

AP: Candidates can start filing petitions Monday for Chicago's 2015 election

Today is the day to file your petitions Aldermanic candidates:
Candidate filing has started in Chicago for the 2014 municipal elections.

Petition filing for the Feb. 24 election started Monday morning at the Board of Election Commissioners for the city of Chicago. Races on the ballot include Chicago mayor, city treasurer and alderman in all of the city's 50 wards.

A Dec. 3 lottery is planned to determine top ballot positions for each contest. Candidates who are in line at or before 9 a.m. on Monday qualify for that lottery.

Petitions will be accepted through Nov. 24.
If you haven't already check out Aldertrack's 2015 racing form to see who's running in your ward. As for us we still have our 2015 page ready to be updated for the candidates in wards 6, 9, and 21.

Washington Post: Why Whole Foods is moving into one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago

Rendering of Whole Foods Market Englewood - DL3 Realty / Ethos Workshop

It seems there are those who are continuing to ask this question regarding the future Whole Foods Market Englewood - why Englewood? Even the Washington Post asks the question in a recent article. I like how they started with a history of the future location at 63rd/Halsted:
The center of Englewood has been vacant for so long that many people in the neighborhood can’t quite recall when it became that way. Thirty years ago? Forty? It was after blockbusting began on the South Side, after white flight was well underway, after the big Sears Roebuck, with the Hillman’s Pure Foods in the basement, closed in the 1970s.

Sometime around then, the small businesses at 63rd and Halsted closed, too, and the buildings that housed them were razed. And so one of the busiest shopping corridors in Chicago was reduced to a desolate stretch of city: 13 acres of crabgrass and concrete with aging streetlights.

Glen Fulton opens a window on the fourth floor of the bank building on 63rd to look out at all this blank space. “What I experienced as a child,” he says, “I want to experience again.” He imagines a shopping hub that would bring back jobs and retail dollars and basic goods that are now hard to find here. Maybe a Corner Bakery, a Gap, a Famous Dave’s barbecue chain. And in the middle of it, an anchor that would serve the function Sears once did: an 18,000-square-foot Whole Foods.
And then back to the future and that ceremonial groundbreaking from the past summer:
When the city held a ceremonial groundbreaking a few months ago, Walter Robb, Whole Foods’ co-chief executive, showed up in Englewood and vowed that it would be “one of the most meaningful things we’ve done as a company.”

This store, though, is no act of philanthropy. Nor is it a bet, by Whole Foods, on neighborhood change. The arrival of its gleaming stores in a neighborhood often signals the influx of wealthier residents. But that is not likely to happen in Englewood, at least not any time soon. Whole Foods is planning to sell olive oil and snap peas to the people who live here now. It is also planning, in the process, to make money.

That proposition entails unusually high stakes for a supermarket. Whole Foods is gambling that it can tailor its high-priced brand to a low-income market. It’s gambling that it can create customers out of people who out of necessity have long shopped at corner stores and Save-A-Lot. It’s gambling that it may even change what some of them eat.

Residents like Fulton, who grew up in Englewood and now heads its community development corporation, are hoping that more food options will mean healthier residents. And they’re hoping that Whole Foods will attract other retailers in a way that a Giant or a Jewel might not, spurring a business revival here.
Furthermore 63rd/Halsted is still a strategic location:
When Whole Foods selected the site, with the city’s help, it chose an unlikely neighborhood but a strategic location. It’s across the street from a community college culinary school, which opened here in 2007. There’s an elevated train stop at the corner, too, and a straight shot down 63rd onto the expressway that could bring other South Side shoppers to the store. The lot, where the city is spending $10 million to prepare all 13 acres for development, is large enough for several retailers and maybe some apartments or a park.
Read the whole thing. And of course feel free to let us know what you think. There's a lot to consider in this article.

Friday, November 14, 2014

It's been 7 years already...

Via The Sixth Ward ig
Our first post here was on November 7, 2007.

I can't believe this blog has been continuously posting for over seven years now.

Thank you for your support over the years and hopefully we will more issues and stories to cover in the future. I'm very sure we can make it to ten years.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers visits Flecks Coffee

New Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers kicked off his 77 Chicago community area tour with a breakfast conference at Flecks coffee today (Thursday, November 13). There were several reporters at the event, with a total of approximately 30 people in attendance, filling the entire establishment.  I (JP Paulus) was there from  8:30am until the end.

Summers explained his role as treasurer, which includes investing the city of Chicago’s money.  He stated that “conventional wisdom” was that investing in minority communities was a bad investment.  Summer said that was not true and would in fact invest in minority communities.

Summers said he worked with a group of leaders to work on a plan for Chatham, including bankers, investment community, and others. Ald. Rod Sawyer, after the meeting, said that they will release a public statement on the alliance in the near future. He also noted that Summers was involved with this long before being tapped to be City Treasurer.
He stated that there was a plan by World Business Chicago that was created three years ago, and wanted the community to help him answer the question of  “How do we bring this to Chatham?”
Summers also mentioned phrases such as "ministry of presence" during his conversation.

Attendees included Alderman Rod Sawyer, his chief of staff Brian Sleet, 6th Ward aldermanic candidate Brian Garner, Chatham blogger Worlee Glover, Flecks Coffee owners Olga & Zuli Turner, among others.
We plan to post links to other stories about this event in a future blog entry, as well as sharing them on our Facebook page.

Crain's: Here's what the numbers say about Rahm Emanuel

Greg Hinz and Thomas Corfman from Crain's Chicago Business interviews Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Also check out this graphic which shows how the city fares under Mayor Emanuel. Furthermore note that the Mayor also looks at his accomplishments or current issues in terms of the previous Mayor of Chicago - which is referred to as his two-step.

I share this knowing many aren't particularly happy with the current Mayor the question is if you look at this information from Crain's would it help inform you in time for next year's municipal elections.

Be advised that the Crain's piece are behind a paywall and my require you to register for an account or purchase a subscription from Crain's.

Time to consider the 2015 elections...

We got through one set of elections last week which saw the election of a new Governor in Republican Bruce Rauner. Now it's time to look at the municipal elections next February.

As you know this blog will cover the races for wards 6, 9, and 21. Next week hopefully we will know who turned in petitions and who will successfully whether challengers to petition signatures. Of course this process may drag on until at least the holidays.

Furthermore we may well consider the mayor's race. Now that Karen Lewis of the Chicago's Teacher's Union isn't running there are others who are lining up against current Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Also Kurt Summers has been appointed to take over for the departing city treasurer Stephanie Neely - who is leaving for a position in the private sector - starting December 1, 2014.

All the same for any updates from the three wards we will cover for next year's municipal election refer to our 2015 page for further updates. As we get closer to the election we will provide further updates.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

DNA Info: South Side Baker Impresses Food Network Judges Before Elimination

Stephanie Hart on Food Network
To be honest, I've never been to Brown Sugar Bakery and never had any tasty treats from our local baker Stephanie Hart. It's great to know how much support she has gotten from her appearance on Food Network as part of a competition. Unfortunately she was eliminated early on, however, surely this may have gained her more supporters.

And you know that this means, I need to make my way to Brown Sugar in the future. This means the next visit to Lem's just across the street I can find out what sweet treats are available from Ms. Hart.

Progress IL: Chicago's Chatham Residents Call For Changes To Local Methadone Clinic

Via Progress IL
Former DNA Info reporter Wendell Huston has landed at Progress Illinois. He reported on the protest outside of the Methadone Clinic on 110 E. 79th Street that took place this past Saturday:
A group of Chatham residents pushed back against a South Side methadone clinic, that serves sex offenders and drug users, during a protest Saturday. The South Siders would like to see the facility relocated; and if that doesn't happen, they want increased supervision of the clinic's patients.

Clarence Collins III has lived in Chatham for 22 years and is concerned about the close proximity of the clinic, located at 110 E. 79th St., to nearby schools.

King's Kiddie Kingdom III, a daycare center, is located across the street from the clinic at 207 E. 79th St., and Martha Ruggles Elementary School, 7831 S. Prairie Ave, is just three blocks away.

"That's too close for me. I would not want my children attending a school this close to a clinic that treats substance abusers," Collins said. "We [Chatham residents] have reached out to management on more than one occasion, but have not heard back from them regarding a meeting."

He added that the protest was meant to bring awareness to the growing problem of patients loitering in the neighborhood after leaving the clinic.
Read the whole thing and lets us know your thoughts.

Monday, November 10, 2014

#MBMHMC: "The Old Obama" Altgeld Gardens, Riverdale

[VIDEO] Episode 5 of Jahmal Cole's webseries My Block My Hood My City takes him to the Riverdale community which includes the Altgeld Gardens housing project.

The President is mentioned because of his history in that area. In a time before he first became at Illinois state senator Obama had been a community activist in this part of the city. If you want to know more about those activities you may want to refer to his autobiography Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.

Also the photo below is a wall with all the names of deceased residents of Altgeld Gardens over the years Cole explains:
"The Wall" or "The Wall of Death" lists the names of deceased Altgeld Residents --- going back decades. It's a tradition at the Gardens to write the names on the wall, so the person's name will be set on stone and never forgotten.  This is social capital at its finest. In the Pullman community, residents that live on a different tier of the Socioeconomic ladder, hang fancy art work on the gates in their alleys. At the Altgeld Gardens, the local residents write names on the wall. Beauty can't be stratified. 
Please watch the video above and of course feel free to let us and Mr. Jahmal Cole know what you think.

The wall at Altgeld Gardens via MBMHMC

Saturday, November 8, 2014

DNA Info: Jim's Original, 24-Hour Restaurant Near 95th Red Line, To Close Monday

16 E. 95th St.
DNA Info has more of the impending closing of the Jim's Original hot dog stand located near the 95th Street CTA terminal. Reflected are the many quotes of disappointment by many of the customers of this hot dog stand where they could get a quick bite when then get off of the CTA bus or Red Line.

There appears to be some compensation for the closing. CTA is finalizing some relocation fees with Jim's so perhaps it's possible that in the future we can have a Jim's Original stand in the area in the future. However for now there are other places on the South Side to get your fix for a Maxwell Street polish sausage. Or you can always go to the stand @ 1250 S. Union Ave. near UIC.

ALSO, I noticed in some of the comments at DNA Info that the building where Jim's currently resides has been around longer than 24 years. The building has housed a number of businesses there over the years although I'm unsure of how long it has been at this spot.

Friday, November 7, 2014

REMINDER: Methadone clinic protest on 79th street

110 E. 79th street
The protest for last Saturday had been cancelled but it was rescheduled for tomorrow November 8, 2014.
  • Chatham Avalon Medical Center
    110 E. 79th street
    10:00 am
If you plan to go feel free to send us any photos or even your own observations. It definitely won't be hard to reach us if you have something to share about this methadone clinic protest.

BTW, if there's any further news about this Saturday protest (i.e. any further rescheduling) we'll be sure to post it here.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Jim's Original is closing on November 10th

 This afternoon I paid a visit to Jim's Original hot dog stand near 95th & State. Because it's near the 95th Street Red Line terminal is often jumping 24/7.

The news that was posted around the structure wasn't entirely surprising (I'm also sorry I didn't take any photos of the notices posted on the structure) as of November 10, 2014 this hot dog stand will be closing permanently. The CTA's 95th Street station project is expected to take up some of the land along 95th & State from roughly 94th to 95th Streets.

Even though they recently painted the fences the gas station on the corner of 95th & State is also expected to be razed as a result of this project. There are other properties there another gas station an old cab stand (or livery service) also a recently built currency exchange and former home of a Cosmo store are expected to go as a result of the 95th Street project.

BTW, you can also go to their location near UIC on Union Ave. if you want a fix of their offerings. And the embed you will see below is of the pic above from our IG account.

Now the next question is what is the CTA expected to do with this land once they're finished with the CTA project?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

DNA Info: Company Wants To Turn Capone's Old Home into 'Crash Pad'

7244 S. Prairie Ave
You may have seen this on our FB page last week. A real estate company is interested in buying Prohibition-era Chicago gangster Al Capone's old Park Manor - at 7244 S. Prairie Ave - house for the purposes of a "crash pad" for those who work in the mortgage lending business. This company still has to raise the funds to make the purchase however.

So now we have some interest for this historic home which has been on sale for more than 5 years now. One can only wonder who else may be interested in this property.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Want to talk about election results?

The writers of The Sixth Ward DO like talking politics....we try to keep it civil on the blog....but we definitely have opinions.

If you're on Facebook , join us at the Talking Chicago Politics page. It was created by JP to engage in robust --but respectful -- discussion of the elections. I (JP) plan to log on around 9pm or so.

Hope to see you there!

Happy election day 2014!!!

I voted early today and when leaving my local precinct recieved one of these palm cards from a petition collector for 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale. So these are the horses he's picking for today. Polls today don't close until 7 PM so hopefully many of you will make it to your precinct by 7!

Hopefully we will know for sure which of these candidates especially at the top of the ticket will reign victorious!

Tribune: Developers riding 606 trail deeper into Northwest Side

The 606 - Bloomingdale Trail
We've followed from time to time the plans to turn some of the Englewood area's unused railroad lines into elevated recreational space. Here's hoping that they're taking a look at what's going on with the 606 trail up north. Hopefully planners are taking some ideas from that.

You may have seen this article in Sunday's Chicago Tribune
Along portions of Chicago's 606 trail, it's hard to tell the construction workers from the construction workers.

Some are working on the much-anticipated, elevated recreation space along Bloomingdale Avenue expected to open in June. Others are building homes, condominiums and apartment buildings nearby that will bring new residents into neighborhoods and up the steps to the trail's access points.

The $95 million transformation of an unused elevated railway spur into 2.7 miles of park and trail space is designed as a gateway between neighborhoods on the northwest side. But it also is helping fuel housing development that has moved past Western Avenue, pushing up property values and attracting new residents.

At the same time, the changes are likely to raise concerns about gentrification and the inability of some residents to afford more neighborhoods in Chicago. From 2007 to 2011, more than 23 percent of renters in Logan Square, 34 percent in Humboldt Park, 20 percent in West Town and 26 percent in Hermosa were paying 50 percent or more of their income on housing, according to Census data.
Read the whole thing!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Corner Side Yard: How "Black = Urban" Ends

Tuesday we'll be voting for of course offices in the state and federally as we will vote in a US Senator especially. Then after Tuesday's election we will be thinking about next year's municipal elections. It'll be time to turn in petitions and seeing how many candidates are able to remain on the ballot for the election next February.

I would like for you to consider this post from the Corner Side Yard as they discuss influence of Blacks on urban politics. Do you think Black influence on Chicago politics is on the wane?

GCA methadone clinic protest postponed & rescheduled

110 E. 79th Street
Got this e-mail from the Greater Chatham Alliance. There was supposed to be a protest on Saturday morning (November 1st) of a methadone clinic @ 110 E. 79th Street but it had been cancelled due to the weather. Here's more information:
  • Due to the inclement weather affecting the Chatham and Park Manor community, the GCA Methadone Clinic Protest for Saturday November 1st has been pushed back a week to Saturday, November 8th.

    Cee Powell, the GCA protest march chairperson, has asked that you note this rescheduling announcement for your media calendar.

    Again, the protest has been moved to next Saturday starting at 10:00 am at the same location:

    • Chatham Avalon Medical Center
      110 E. 79th street
      10:00 am

    Your coverage support is much needed to make the difference between how our community lives and how others make you live. Thank you.
JP posted a reminder of this protest on Friday, but I will repost the e-mail message that he shared on this blog here. The reasons for this protest:

Saturday, November 1, 2014

DNA Info: Wanna Rent a Place by the 'L'? Here's What it Will Cost You

Click for larger resolution
I posted this article to our FB page this week. It shows the average rent near any CTA rail line. You see how much average rent is in Englewood, Chatham, or even Roseland if you look at the map provided by this website RadPad.
RadPad, a Los Angeles-based apartment rental company, studied 18,000 listings of one-bedroom apartments within a half-mile of 36 "L" stops.  "We appeal mostly to students and young people in their 20s," said CEO Jonathan Eppers, who noted that many people in that group don't have cars. "If I moved there [to Chicago], I probably am not going with a car."
Most of the expensive one-bed apartments are downtown the least expensive are...
On the other end of the price scale, there are bargains in the northern and southern reaches of the city. The median listing in Roseland, within a half-mile of the 95th/Dan Ryan Red Line station was $712 per month. Near Lincoln Square's Western Avenue station, the median listing was $933 per month. The infographic focuses on stops that had enough listings between July and September to analyze, Eppers said.
You can further read RadPad's blog for more information on the above infographic.

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...