Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 year in review

2018 is just about over, and it seemed to move fast too. As we look back at the year that was we look forward to the year that will be 2019. Here are some important stories we noted on this blog and other news in general that we hadn't followed.

In 2019 we look forward to an open seat on city hall's 5th floor. Rahm Emanuel chose not to run for a 3rd term and as I write this the many candidates for mayor are in petition challenge mode. There were as many as 21 candidates for mayor who filed their petitions and we still have a long way between now and the February mayoral election. As of now even though there were a few known names running no front runner has emerged as of yet.

Also in 2018 the state had elected a new governor. J.B. Pritzker defeated incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner in November. Pritzker will be joined at the top of this state with state Rep. Juliana Stratton who will become the first Black elected to the office of Lt. Governor. Rauner was considered a very ineffective governor during the course of his term and now voters are curious about what Governor-elect Pritzker will bring to the table.

Earlier this year if you live in both the 34th state house district and the 17th state senate district as of February you will have new representatives (whom you did NOT elect in the primaries). Longtime 17th district state senator Donne Trotter resigned from his seat in January and was replaced in that capacity by local Democrat leaders by 34th district state represenative Elgie Sims. And in the 34th district now state senator Sims was replaced by ward 9 streets & sanitation superintendent Nick Smith. In the February primary Trotter and Sims remained on the ballot for their respective districts, and voters didn't see state rep. Smith on the ballot until the November elections.
Near the Christmas season south siders were greeted by the shocking announcement that two south side Targets in Morgan Park and Chatham were closing. There were protests & boycotts in both communities for that decision. As of now it seems there is no interest by Target to reverse their decision. Now as Target is set with the expected closure of their stores in February of next year those communities are looking at who to replace Target with in the future.

Our neighborhood is also losing another locally owned bank. Urban Partnership bank has been sold to Providence Bank & Trust. I also found out through Nextdoor that the Urban Partnership branch near 79th & Cottage Grove (and the former HQ of Black-owned Independence Bank) will be closed in the new year.

However, we have at least one positive business gain. Chi Pizza Pie is a new sit-down restaurant in the mall area that currently houses Target. They do NOT have bulletproof glass and will actually contribute to OUR community. We will post more details in the next month, before they OFFICIALLY open in February (they have currently soft-opened).

Also another popular story on this blog has been regarding those two homeless sisters. JP Paulus  asked about them earlier this year after find their stuff unguarded on the lot of the former Church's Chicken on 87th Street & King Drive. We find out later that one of the homeless sisters passed away and spawned some interest from a number of mainstream media outlets. Now I wonder about the remaining homeless sister and whether or not she's reconciled with her family.

Speaking of that former Church's Chicken. The community had been up in arms about a convenience store complete with bulletproof glass that had opened in it's place. After a number of community meetings during the course of the year, the convenience store had closed down. It was ultimately replaced by a Krispy's Chicken which was another popular post shared on this blog. Time will tell if this business will prove to be the right fit for the Chatham neighborhood.

Also the Whole Foods Market distribution center in Pullman is now open. It was one of those expected projects that had been announced after the opening of the long awaited Whole Foods Market Englewood store at 63rd & Halsted streets. The facility is located just behind the Pullman Walmart along with the Methods factory and Gotham Greens on 111th Street.
The Chicago Police was hit hard not with on duty deaths of police officers including the death of a police commander in downtown Chicago and the death of two police officers chasing a suspect on a railroad in Rosemoor. Also the suicides of several police officers this year including two who committed suicide in the parking lot of the 5th District HQ on 111th Street. We honor the deaths of these officers and hope that in the new year that any police officer who wants to reach out for help will receive it. We also honor those officers who risk their lives for the safety of the public.

And while I hate to note this I wanted to note there were some unfortunate incidents that involved police officers during the course of the year. Especially the protests that took place after a police shooting in South Shore. I also want to note the trial of Officer Jason Van Dyke in relation to the police shooting of LaQuan McDonald which resulted in Van Dyke's conviction. Here's hoping for a better year with regards to the relationship between the police and the community.

Also I wanted to note my two visits (including seeing Into the Spiderverse on opening night to celebrate the birthdays of 2 The Sixth Ward blog writers - myself and JP Paulus) to Studio Movie Grill's Chatham 14. It also played host to a program with regards to Chatham Center Chicago which is an initiative to revitalize Chatham business areas. These were some of my first visits to the long time neighborhood movie theater since the many upgrades were completed in 2017. Just come to 210 W. 87th Street to enjoy some of the same amenities you could enjoy either at Showplace Icon on Roosevelt Rd. or the AMC Block 37 dine-in theaters in the loop.

Finally , our community lost 2 of our community leaders. Keith Tate was longtime president of the Chatham Avalon Community Council. Even more shocking was Brian Sleet who was only 41 when he passed away. He was a former 6th Ward Aldermanic candidate, but later became the Ward Chief of Staff and later a political consultant. 

Are there any memorable stories of issues you'd like to note? Leave a comment or hit us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and let us know some of your own from 2018. And as always Happy New Years to you all! 

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