Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Is Trump right that Chicago is more dangerous than Afghanistan? Yes and no.

According to the website AEI:
In an interview with ABC News, President Donald Trump talked about the “carnage” taking place in Chicago, declaring, “Afghanistan is not like what’s happening in Chicago. People are being shot left and right. Thousands of people over a short period of time.”

Is Trump right that Chicago is more dangerous that Afghanistan? For Americans, yes. If you compare US casualties in Afghanistan to those in Chicago, the “Windy City” has been a far more perilous place for Americans. Consider the statistics.

The total number of Americans killed in Afghanistan since 2001 under Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel is 2,377. By contrast, there have been 8,229 murders in Chicago during that same time period.
Indeed, since just the middle of 2011 when Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office, there have been 2,980 murders in Chicago. So, more Americans have died in Chicago in five years under Rahm Emanuel than have died in Afghanistan in the 15 years since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The death toll for Americans in Chicago not only exceeds those in Afghanistan; it exceeds the total number of Americans killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined. According to the Department of Defense, 4,518 Americans have been killed in Iraq since the start of combat operations in 2003: 4,412 Americans killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom, another 73 killed in Operation New Dawn, and 33 in Operation Inherent Resolve.
In other words, Afghanistan is a much more dangerous place for civilians than Chicago. But of course, that is to be expected. Afghanistan is an actual war zone. Chicago is not – at least, it shouldn’t be.

The fact is, most murders in Chicago are concentrated in certain high-crime neighborhoods where most outsiders never venture. Most Americans would not set foot in Afghanistan, unless they were sent there by the US military, the press, or international organizations. But millions of Americans visit Chicago every year. Indeed, in 2015 Chicago set a tourism milestone, with 51 million visitors – more than any other year on record. The Windy City is setting both tourism records and murder records at the same time. Go figure.
I cherrypicked some quotes here and click the above link if you want further numbers. Is Chicago far more dangerous for American civilians? What do you believe? And I hate the comparison to an actual warzone of which Afghanistan is certainly not the only one around the world.

 Hat-tip Newsalert.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The future of the Seaway Bank

Does the bank & name survive?
The closure of Seaway Bank and FDIC orchestrated purchase by the State Bank of Texas has certainly come as a huge shock. There have been rumblings that there had been trouble at the bank for the past two years. This even though it was in the news that Seaway Bank within the last three years was actually making a profit.

What this means is that Veranda Dickens is no longer majority owner and Seaway Bancshares holding company no longer own the 52 year old bank. Essentially and perhaps many of you already figured this out, the bank is no longer Black-owned. Regardless as happens in situations like that such as this operations are basically status quo for a while at which point the new ownership starts making decisions that makes sense for them.

Saturday night I saw that Seaway's ig account had been reactivated with the last post was to let the world know that the bank is hiring. Problem is the website is still down unless job seeking individuals should for the moment visit the career page of the State Bank of Texas - which has no job postings at all. BTW, State Bank already has a presence on Devon Avenue so they're not that unfamiliar with the Chicago market.

The reactivation of the bank's ig account could be one indication that the Seaway name will survive. That may mean the brand is still significant and they recognize as an Indian-American owned bank that they will be serving a different market now. I could see them keeping Seaway as a subsidiary until whatever time they may decide to sell the bank. Perhaps depending on whether or not regulators may approve any potential sale. Or whether or not this is a successful enough operation where they will choose to keep the bank.

BTW, we've covered bank closings before especially the ShoreBank closing. We covered that somewhat with all the media attention because of any perceived political favoritism towards them. Seaway had been one of the largest Black-owned banks in the nation until the FDIC and State Bank took over. This is a very significant story and like the closure of ShoreBank takes place directly in our community.

For this new re-iteration of Seaway Bank under non-Black ownership what does the future hold?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Seaway Bank is closed down by FDIC

This is the page you will see when you visit Seaway Bank's online home as of Friday night. For the many supporters of Seaway Bank this is truly a sad day. Unfortunately what did them was the purchase of assets from two other failed banks and essentially loan losses.

Read more about it at Crain's. Which now says Chicago now has only one Black-owned bank in Illinois Service Federal. Then of course Liberty Bank on the city's west side (formerly Community Bank of Lawndale and Covenant Bank) which is actually based on New Orleans.

BTW, Seaway Bank recently started a ig account unfortunately it has been deleted. I took a screencap of that also. And even worse the immediate last post after the screen cap posted to ig was of a group of young men who were at the bank being mentored on working in the banking industry.

So this blog is almost 10 years old

Or at least it will be as of November as this blog started in November 2007. Perhaps as we go through the course of the year we can note some of the stories we have tracked over the years here. We got some heavily trafficked post here. But I can't believe that this blog has been in publication for 10 years.

We're almost as old as Uptown Update for example, a great Chicago neighborhood blog from that north side community.

So congrats to myself (Levois), JP Paulus, Worlee, and even Mr. Zack Isaacs who joined us very briefly. Can we make it another 10 years is an obvious question?

BTW, here is our first post from November '07

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

EVENT: Stop the violence...solutions

Held at the Greater Englewood CDC located at 815 W. 63rd Street 4th floor where you will hear from Executive Director of the Greater Englewood CDC Glen Fulton, RAGE founder and president Asiaha Butler and Teamwork Englewood's Michael Tidmore. To be held from 11 AM to 1 PM on Saturday January 28, 2017. There's a flyer below for more details.

Chicago Stars Ep. 4 - Century of Progress // MBMHMC tv

[VIDEO] Unfotunately Mr. Jahmal Cole didn't go to the area where the 1933 Century of Progress Fair was held which was Northerly Island/Adler Planetarium/former Meigs Field. According to Cole anything built for the fair over 80 years ago is no longer standing. It's still recorded as the fourth star on Chicago's flag.

In this edition Cole pays a visit to the predominantly latino Little Village neighborhood. He purchases donuts from La Central Bakery and ask customers what the fourth star on the Chicago flag represents.

Another message from this video is basically how to break down the segregation in Chicago. Our city basically is divided into thirds between latinos, Blacks, and whites. And regardless if we cluster on the south, north or west sides of towns we all reside in this great city. The best ideas come when people of diverse backgrounds come together and share ideas.

Is this something we've failed to do in Chicago in recent years? Perhaps through this little project Cole could bridge the gap between different communities of Chicago. He says shop local and as he does in most of his videos he visits local eateries.

In the meanwhile it's time to buy myself a shirt. And you all should consider doing the same. His activities is far more than interacting with Chicago residents or even tourists. Cole has also helped innercity teens leave their neighborhoods and explore the many communities and cultures that exist in our fair city. Expand their horizons and that's certainly something we can support.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Transit Matters - Pullman open house

This open house about a Pullman Transportation and Access Plan to take place January 26th at the Pullman National Monument Visitor's center located at 11141 S. Cottage Grove from 6:30 to 8:00 PM with a presentation set to start at 7:00 PM. Refer to flyer below.

And checkout this website www.pullmantransportation.com

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Capitol Fax: New White House website references “thousands of shootings in Chicago”

Now that we have a new administration in Washington, DC we have a new set of priorities. Starting with law and order and the new President has pledged to support our nation's police organizations.

Rich Miller at the CapFax notes the new policy page with regards to law and order. I'll just excerpt what he says regarding our fair city:
The Trump Administration is committed to reducing violent crime. In 2015, homicides increased by 17% in America’s fifty largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. There were thousands of shootings in Chicago last year alone.

Our country needs more law enforcement, more community engagement, and more effective policing.

Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, or the violent disrupter. Our job is to make life more comfortable for parents who want their kids to be able to walk the streets safely. Or the senior citizen waiting for a bus. Or the young child walking home from school.

Supporting law enforcement means supporting our citizens’ ability to protect themselves. We will uphold Americans’ Second Amendment rights at every level of our judicial system.
It has been in the news that the current President Trump had been somewhat boastful about ending the gun violence in some of the gang infested neighborhoods of Chicago. Does anyone think the White House can put an end to the rash of gun violence in this city?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Chicago Stars Ep. 3 - The World Columbian Exposition // MBMHMC tv

[VIDEO] In this episode Jahmal Cole goes from the ferris wheel at Navy Pier to the Museum of Science & Industry. The significance the third star on the Chicago flag represents the World's Columbian Exposition.

There was a ferris wheel at the exposition which took place in the Frederick Law Olmstead designed Jackson Park. The Museum of Science & Industry is the last remaining structure of that event held in 1893 which formerly housed not only the Palace of Fine Arts but also an early incarnation of the Field Musuem.

Finally Cole ends this episode at the south side's Chef Sara's Place located at 7201 S. Exchange Ave. And here's hoping the many eateries Cole visits in his many episodes of My Block My Hood My City gets much more business.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Defender: Chicago Announces Pilot Program to Develop Vacant Homes

This is a program I can get behind:
On Sunday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a new pilot program to acquire and rehabilitate vacant homes in Chicago neighborhoods that need investment and jobs. The program will create opportunities for local businesses while supporting affordable homeownership.

“This pilot program is a win-win-win. It creates employment opportunities for at-risk youth, supports community stability and turns vacant homes from community burdens into neighborhood strengths,” Emanuel said. “By working with local contractors and developers, the pilot initiative will help support community improvement and homeownership, while driving neighborhood economic development.”

Through the pilot program, the city is investing $2 million in a capital fund for neighborhood contractors, investors and developers to rehab vacant homes in designated communities. Support for the program will come from surplus funds initially designated for the property tax rebate program.

The program will work with community partners to facilitate acquisition of the properties, finance the renovations, and generate employment opportunities for at-risk youth to maintain the homes until they are rehabilitated and sold. The network of partners will ensure the program generates economic opportunities for local contractors, developers and investors. Partners will include the Emerson Collective and Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF).
Another idea I have is that we can bring some architecturally significant construction to areas with significant vacant lots. Of course what I hope doesn't happen is that the city decides what designs should be constructed. At the very least some work can still go to at-risk youths who will work on something that could prove to be groundbreaking. Another condition, a young hungry architect will get recognition. Of course this is only an idea an in recognition of Chicago's history of great architecture.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Watch President Obama's farewell speech

[VIDEO] On January 20th, 2017 President Barack Obama will be out of office succeeded by President Donald Trump. This farewell address was what many people have been waiting for as we heard about tickets available.

I missed this speech last night so believe me I'll be watching this with you all. To be honest I never always agreed with many of the President's policies - and I expect no more or less that I would with the President-elect Trump.

However I share this with the idea that many of our young men and women hopefully will be inspired to go into politics and maybe become President themselves in the future. If anyone is interested in taking this path one piece of advice - start running now!!!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Chicago Stars Ep. 2 - The Great Chicago Fire // MBMHMC tv

[VIDEO] I really like how the officials at the Chicago Fire Department Academy literally had to kick Jahmal Cole out of their training exercise. That is understandable at they are in training and surely there is an element of danger in their training.

Either way that segment is fitting as we explore another meaning for one of the stars on Chicago's flag - the Great Chicago Fire. We learn that there wasn't a fire started by a cow, but several fires near Lake Michigan which due to the buildings of the city at the time with wood and tar just spread all over the city.

Also ironically the alleged farm where the Great Chicago Fire started is exactly at the Chicago Fire Academy located at 558 W De Koven St.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Studio Movie Grill Chatham 14 NOT showing Hidden Figures?

The above ad had an old date -- the Hidden Figures movie website has January 6 as the new official wide release date
From The Sixth Ward writer JP Paulus...

Our local Theater, the Studio Movie Grill Chatham 14 Theaters , according to the website, doesn't seem to be showing the movie Hidden Figures this Sunday.

While Chatham 14 hasn't been black owned in some time  (with Michael Silver essentially taking it from the founders, Donzell and Alicia Starks , and then selling out to the Studio Movie Grill chain) , many of the staff, and more importantly, the audience remains the same.

This is puzzling because Chatham 14 hosted an event in September to celebrate the movie "Queen of Katwe". Now, that event was organized by an outside group, but certainly made my family proud to be there, and to see various African cultures (as well as chess playing) being celebrated all over the theater.

Now, with the renovations for becoming at true Studio Movie Grill facility have now taken over the lobby, I understand they couldn't do much. But surely they could have a flat movie display, with some homemade signs that say thing like "Future genius" or "Junior Mathematician".

Or even simpler -- just have it up on the website's schedule (under "Coming Soon") and allow for some advance ticket purchases. I was going to tell others to buy tickets for a certain show, but nothing was available. Many seats have bene changed over, so seating now is limited, and you have to arrive early in order to get good seating, so simply meeting at the theater for a certain show might not be practical.

If the company did any research, they should know that movies of African-American significance and/or interest are often sold out at opening weekend. Despite the construction, this would have been an excellent public relations opportunity. 

Instead, if the "Coming Soon" is accurate, it might actually be a lighter weekend than usual, with $5 Tuesday possibly being a stronger day.

My family will wind up watching" Hidden Figures" with friends this Sunday at Marcus Theaters - Country Club Hills this Sunday at the 3:15pm show. How about yours?

Fashion Show at the special Queen of Katwe movie night at Chatham 14

Chess Playing at the special Queen of Katwe movie night at Chatham 14

Runway for the fashion show

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Woodlawn - 2016 Curbed Cup champs

After the New Years break over at Curbed Chicago and some voting irregularity Woodlawn has won the Curbed Cup in 2016. In 2015 another south side community Pullman won the Curbed Cup.

So what's going on in Woodlawn that has caught Curbed's attention. This is from yesterday's post:
This new year is going to be an important one for the Woodlawn community. It seems like 2015 and 2016 were the years that really set a few major things in motion, but the neighborhood will really begin to see the fruits of these projects pay off in the coming years. In 2015, the neighborhood’s historic Shrine of Christ the King cathedral designed by Henry J. Schlacks burned down in a horrific blaze which left the church’s future in limbo. However, the community pulled together to save the historic building and work is underway to restore it.
However, the biggest news in Woodlawn in the last year has been about the future Obama Presidential Center. The new facility is planned for a section of Jackson Park which faces the Woodlawn community. It will be designed by the famous husband and wife architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and is expected to cost anywhere from $500 million up to $1 billion. The Obama Presidential Center is a major investment that will not only attract visitors to the community, but it help create new permanent jobs, and is expected to spur economic growth and new development activity throughout the South Side.
Congratulations to Woodlawn and may greater growth happen in that neighborhood. A future post I would like to reiterate those communities who I hope will place in future Curbed Cups. There was a similar post written about this last year.

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...