Thursday, May 14, 2020

Editorial: The Avenue could again become magnificent #Ward09

The Chicago Neighborhood
This editorial from the Chicago Sun-Times makes reference to last year's fire at the former Gatelys Department store on the Michigan Avenue shopping strip south of 111th Street. It's probably time to redevelop that corridor, especially in time for that Red Line extension whenever it gets funded and construction starts.
Keep an eye on the Roseland neighborhood’s Michigan Avenue, once a retail strip so popular it was called Chicago’s second Magnificent Mile.

Shoppers could find anything from school supplies to furniture to brand new cars.

Rocked by two devastating extra-alarm fires within the last year, and now slammed by a pandemic that’s likely to change forever how we shop and gather, the faded and struggling commercial strip faces a tough future.

But “The Avenue” — as this stretch of Michigan Avenue between 115th and 107th was called in its heyday — now is being targeted by the city for possible redevelopment.

The plans were in place before the coronavirus broke out and they’ll need to be modified. But given that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit all traditional retail strips hard — have you seen the boarded up stores on North Michigan Avenue these days? — saving The Avenue should be even more of a priority.

When neighborhood shopping dies, neighborhoods die.

The Avenue’s day as a regional commercial giant are not likely to return. People just don’t shop in brick-and-mortar stores the way they used to, and the street’s major retailers, such as JCPenney, are long gone.

But the buildings still stand and could be reused in potentially exciting new ways. And if done correctly, the lessons learned here could be applied to troubled commercial streets in neighborhoods elsewhere on the South and West sides.
Probably excerpted a lot more than I should've so I'll stop there and hope that you'll read the whole thing.

The editorial itself makes reference to this strip's proximity to the Pullman National Monument. How could the businesses and the community leverage that. The Avenue - at least for those old school residents might refer to the strip - might not return to the glory days. I still would like to see what plans could develop with revitalization. What entrepreneurs can become successful in this area.

White Castle near 111th & State #tbt #Ward09

You may well have already seen this photo below on social media taken in the mid-1980s of the White Castle that formerly stood at 111th & State Streets or actually 2 E. 111th street. I'm most familiar with this location since often looking for a hamburger slider fix this was where my folks went. At some point during the 1990s this location was closed and demolished.
Then looking for photos I found an even older photo of the White Castle taken in 1937 according to the information on the photograph. Could be the same building and I don't recognize the neighborhood around it.
Via Pinterest
Of course back in the 1980s the White Castle was surrounded by a post office to the north and then to the east on 111th Street was the YMCA. The post office is still there however the YMCA is long gone though the building itself remains.

I hope you enjoy this look back and a break from the dire news regarding coronavirus.

Friday, May 8, 2020

No more pandemic press conferences on the weekend from the state

I'm noting that Gov. Pritzker doesn't plan to further continue holding his daily updates over the weekend as he had been once coronavirus became a problem. There will still be daily updates usually in the form of a press release by the Illinois Dept of Public Health which will continue to be released every day, however, the governor will continue his press conferences during the rest of the week as opposed to Saturday and Sunday.
If you haven't been following this, I wanted to find a way to share this with you. Jahmal Cole has been doing a wonderful job - he's been getting a lot of attention as you all may know for his many initiatives within the community - providing care packages to seniors during this pandemic. Seniors are unfortunately vulnerable to this virus and he's providing senior citizens with supplies to help them combat this disease. Especially since items like hand sanitizer has been at a premium due to the panic buying by many consumers.

He made his appearance at a Saturday press conference with the governor to deliver a speech that Rich Miller of Capitol Fax refers to Cole's speech as fiery. I was hoping there was an easy way to share his speech, however, in a recent email blast Cole himself provided a video with snippets of his speech. [VIDEO]
I agree with Mr. Cole hope is what is needed right now.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Multi-phase plan to reopen the state

[VIDEO] Im glad to see this plan from Gov. J.B. Pritzker as far as reopening this state. Illinois is a far more diverse state and there is a lot more to our state than the Chicago area. Chicago and Cook County - also certainly the collar counties - are more of a hotspot that other parts of the state. And 97 of the state's 102 counties have reported cases so far

I would recommend you check out the governor's remarks from Tuesday as he discusses his regional phased reopening plan.

There were some challenges by two downstate legislators and another by a pastor challenging the governor's' new stay-at-home order which went into effect on May 1, 2020. Here it is in full. There was a ruling by a federal judge on Monday declaring the governor's executive order as constitutional which involved the lawsuit by a pastor in Illinois

I do want to address this video many of you seen from Saturday afternoon in the parking lot at the shopping center on 87th street that contains a Jewel. It was a crowd of people standing outside and congregating and evidently a full parking lot. On a typical day with all stores open - although Burlington Coat Factory had recently closed - the lot wouldn't be that full.

I could see this as an act of defiance and the weather is getting warmer people will get restless. However, if encouraging people to stay home will help to get Chicago reopened then I'm definitely for it.

Here's the video below.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Stossel: Coronavirus cans the bag ban (taxes)

[VIDEO] Grocery stores and pharmacies are considered essential business as people still want to pick up prescriptions and over the counter medication. People also still have to eat and while many restaurants are open for take out orders only, your best bet is still go to the grocery store and find your ingredients so that you can cook.

I noted this a while ago in a post about coronavirus numbers and the effect of the pandemic on "essential" retail. A few grocery stores aren't allowing for the usage of re-usable bags I know for sure the Jewel-Osco, Whole Foods Market, and Target if you go to a cashier they won't package your items in your reusable bags.

Personally reusable bags are very convenient, however, what's noted in this John Stossel video is that there are many of us who don't take the time out to clean them. Sometimes I throw them in the washers, however, sometimes it's just something that I don't take the time to do. If you don't clean them then you could be carrying microbes on your reusable bags that are often dangerous.

Stossel takes aim at the attempts by governments around the nation to ban plastic bags. Chicago has asserted a 7 cent bag tax to encourage use of reusable bags. It's understood that they want to discourage use of those plastic "Jewel" bags. Unfortunately whether or not you use a "Jewel" bag or a paper bag, you still get charged a 7 cent tax. And paper is not only better for the environment not only because they are reusable (even if fragile as you see in video above) they are also recyclable, yet if we use a paper bag from a store we STILL get charged a tax.

Another thing of note is that while Whole Foods, Target, and Jewel that I know of for sure seemed to have waived collecting the city' bag tax. If you go to Mariano's and use a bag with them they will still charge you the 7 cent tax.

In my opinion, who knows if this is going away. Since the pandemic has caused the shut down of many businesses, surely tax revenues are down. Since in many places there is already a bag tax enacted, my idea is this is one convenient tax that won't go away. Especially since people during this difficult time still got to go out to shop for "essential" items.

Any other retailer - especially grocery stores - still charging you the 7 cent bag tax? Let us know...

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Highest number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois #pandemic

[VIDEO] Dr. Ngozi Ezike is the director of the Illinois Dept of Public Health who is often at these press conferences with Gov. J.B. Pritzker as part of this state's response to the coronavirus pandemic. She makes the announcement yesterday of the largest one day total of new cases for this virus at 2,754 in a one day period coupled with the largest number of tests in a one day period which is 16,316 tests.

It's heralded as a step in the right direction by the Governor, it may explain the high numbers of new cases over the past week or two. The main thing about getting out of this crisis is to insure people are tested, especially if knowing have been exposed to the virus or otherwise experiencing symptoms. It's one of the criteria to eventually end the lockdowns throughout the country as a few states are set to ease some restrictions such as Florida, Texas and Georgia.

In Illinois, however, on Thursday it was reported that the governor plans to extend the stay-at-home order through the month of May. It's also been reported that this order isn't completely written and he doesn't plan to sign it until next work. The original order from last month and was extended through April 30, 2020.

The main thing to bear in mind with this new order is that it mandate the usage of facemasks in public and allows some businesses to reopen only for pick-up outside by customers for both online and telephone orders.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Is Chicago bending the curve?

[VIDEO] While Mayor Lori Lightfoot seemed to remain doubtful that the stay-at-home order of Gov. JB Pritzker may be lifted. At a press conference yesterday she noted that the curve as far as coronavirus cases are beginning to bend. This was also indicated by Gov. Pritzker during his press conference on Monday noting the same for the rest of the state.

Instead of coronavirus cases doubling every two or three days back in March as Mayor Lightfoot stated in the above video. According to this graph from the city of Chicago COVID-19 data page cases are currently beginning to double every twelve days.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Will the stay-at-home order be lifted after April 30, 2020? #Pandemic

This was addressed at yesterday's press conference regarding the updates to the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic. It was reported yesterday that there are 1,173 new cases of coronavirus with 74 deaths with a total of 22,025 cases in 87 counties throughout the state.
Pritzker said he envisons the Trump Administration offering "advice," with individual governors determining how to lift their respective state orders.

"It’s up to the governors to make decisions about the executive orders that we've put in place," Pritzker said at his daily media briefing on the novel coronavirus.

He would not say whether his stay-at-home order would be extended from April 30, the current end date, but said any return to normalcy could come in phases rather than all at once. Earlier Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she thinks it's likely people will need to continue staying home beyond April 30.

Pritzker said data will determine whether the stay-at-home mandate is extended and also whether students go back to physical classrooms before the end of the academic year.
Mayor Lightfoot was at an unrelated press conference and discussed whether or not she thinks the stay-at-home order will be extended beyond the end of the month.
Lightfoot was asked at an unrelated news conference whether April 30 looks like the last day of the stay-at-home order in Chicago. “I think that’s going to be difficult for us to say, April 30, everything comes up, I don’t expect that to happen,” Lightfoot said. “I think it will extend beyond that.”

During a Sunday appearance on the CBS program “Face the Nation,” Lightfoot was asked about a statement from the United States’ top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, that the economy might begin reopening on a rolling basis in May and whether that would be true in Chicago.

“We cannot open up the economy until we make sure that we’ve got all the health care controls in place,” Lightfoot said. “That means widespread testing, contact tracing, and we’ve got to see not just a flattening of the curve but a bending down.”
The city’s “trending in the right direction,” Lightfoot said. Cases had been doubling every one to two days and now are roughly every nine to 10 days.

“But we’ve got to see a lot more progress on the heath care front before we can even start talking about reopening the economy,” Lightfoot said.

Pritzker said Monday that “it’s likely adjustments will be made” as the state starts to see slower growth in number of cases of the coronavirus.

“It’s not like we’re anywhere near herd immunity, and there isn’t a treatment,” Pritzker said at his daily news conference. “And in order for you to get to a point where you want to start moving significantly back to normalcy, you need widespread testing. We don’t have anywhere near widespread.”
I'm all in favor of an adjustment or a gradual end of the stay-at-home order. It's great that the numbers for the coronavirus in the city and state are going in the right direction. Im sure those stats will be used to determine whether or not to extend or adjust the stay-at-home order which is scheduled to expire at the end of themonth. 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Daily numbers #Pandemic

These numbers are from the Illinois Dept. of Public Health with further information available in the links to the press releases for that specific day. Since my last post on Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - 1,529 new cases of coronavirus with 82 additional deaths

Thursday, April 9, 2020 - 1,344 new cases with 66 deaths

Friday, April 10, 2020 - 1,465 new cases with 68 deaths

Saturday, April 11, 2020 - 1,293 new cases with 81 deaths

Sunday, April 12, 2020 - 1,672 new cases with 43 deaths

As of Sunday afternoon the totals in Illinois are 20,852 cases of positive coronavirus infeections with a total of 720 deaths. Cases of coronavirus are in 86 Illinois counties.

Also it's been discussed in the news nationally that Blacks are falling victim to this disease increasingly. The disease itself and its effects are affecting a number of families around the nation unfortunately. With this said I want to share this PSA that is directed towards the Black community. The message here is to do all that's possible to protect those in our family who are vulnerable. [VIDEO]

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Daily numbers #COVID19

Sunday - 899 new cases of infections with 31 additional deaths

Monday - 1,006 new cases with 33 additional deaths

Tuesday - 1,287 new cases with 73 additional deaths

Totals in Illinois are 13,549 cases of coronavirus with a total of 380 deaths.

In today's press conference the Tuesday death total was referred to as the largest single day death total. As I hoped we wouldn't anymore 1,000 cases days, I'd rather hope we wouldn't keep seeing largest single day total. That's not the first time I've heard that since I've started following the news as far as what the daily numbers are.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

10,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Illinois #COVID19

The numbers of the past two days of confirmed coronavirus infections.

Friday - 1,209 confirmed new cases with 53 deaths

DeWitt, Effingham, and Jersey counties are reporting cases

In Cook County "1 male 30s, 1 female 50s, 4 male 50s, 4 females 60s, 6 males 60s, 1 unknown 60s, 2 females 70s, 6 males 70s, 2 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 4 females 90s, 1 female 100s". Which makes 33 new cases in Cook yesterday.

Saturday - 1,453 confirmed new cases with 33 deaths

Jasper, Lee, Mason, and Pike are now reporting cases there are now cases in 68 Illinois counties

In Cook County "1 male 20s, 1 male 30s, 1 female 40s, 2 males 40s, 1 male 50s, 1 female 60s, 1 male 60s, 3 females 70s, 6 males 70s, 2 females 80s, 2 males 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s" 23 new cases in Cook County reported today.

FORGOT TO ADD total as of today Saturday, April 4, 2020 10,357 cases of coronavirus with 243 deaths.

Yesterday we saw a press conference at McCormick Place with Gov. Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot. McCormick Place will be a field hospital. My understanding is that if you're seriously ill you will be sent to a hospital and the field hospital at McCormick will be for those who have mild symptoms . If you want to know more about what was said I'll share this story from CBS Chicago [VIDEO]

While grocery stores (Jewel, Mariano's, Whole Foods for example) and pharmacies (CVS or Walgreens for example) are making further strides to insure social distancing in their establishments. You may hear more announcements about this over the PA system. These stores aren't even going to allow you to use your reusable bags - and I do have to ask about that 7 cent bag tax. More from CBS Chicago again though it aired late last month. [VIDEO]

Thursday, April 2, 2020

#COVID19 update and a police officer dies of the virus...

Click for larger resolution
I found this graph in the comments at Capitol Fax on Thursday. It's within a post that contains portions of a IL Dept. of Public Health press release reporting 715 new cases of coronavirus with 16 additional deaths. The totals so far is 7,695 cases and 157 deaths.

12 of those 16 deaths came from Cook County according to the press release.

Further Logan, Macoupin, Mercer, Moultrie, and Piatt are now reporting cases and that makes  61 Illinois counties reporting cases of coronavirus.

The above graph is self-explanatory. Solid lines are cumulative or total cases and deaths from coronavirus the bottom dotted lines are the daily cases and deaths from coronavirus.

I want to give you this somber news from today it was announced that a Chicago Police Officer died from coronavirus. While many of us shelter in place in our homes the first responders police and fire aren't as able to do so. They still have to protect the public and remain the first line of defense in this pandemic. They don't treat the people who have the disease, however, they're the ones who crack down on the gatherings of more than 10 people. They're the ones who help to insure that this dreaded disease won't spread. I appreciate the fact that they're at risk in this pandemic especially.

Condolences to the family of narcotics detective Marco DiFranco.

In addition to the late Det. DiFranco 62 other police officers and 2 civilian police employees have been infected by coronavirus.

A hotel in downtown Chicago, Hotel Essex on Michigan Avenue is offering their rooms to those first responders concerned that they may transmit coronavirus to their families.

#tbt Riding the CTA green line through Englewood

[VIDEO] Let's take our mind off this coronavirus pandemic for second and look at video from over a decade ago in much warmer weather. I uploaded the above video to our YouTube channel a ride from 63rd & Ashland through 63rd & Halsted crossing the Dan Ryan Expressway/CTA Red Line through to State Street and then heading north along Prairie Avenue to the normal routing to Harlem & Lake in Oak Park, Illinois.

The most interesting part of this video is the changes that took place along the former Englewood branch of the L. We see the new 7th Englewood district police HQ being built. The lot which was then vacant where the shopping center that contains Whole Foods Market now. Then yet another lot in front of the former Englewood High School which now contains a St. Bernard Hospital Ambulatory Center.

It's interesting how many vacant lots there were built upon in recent years and how many old buildings have since been torn down.

I must add that you've seen a similar video to this before on this blog.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

#COVID19 Update

I didn't share yesterday's numbers I will do so today from CapFax with a press release from the IL Dept. of Public Health

937 new cases of infections with 26 additional deaths. With 17 deaths in Cook County reported yesterday.

Yesterday Ford & Ogle counties are reportings cases now 54 of Illinois' 102 counties.

Also yesterday in his daily coronavirus press conference Gov. Pritzker has extended the stay-at-home order through the end of April. It was originally set to expire April 7, 2020, hopefully we'll have better news by the end of the month. [VIDEO]

Meanwhile here are today's numbers:

Monday, March 30, 2020

Today's #COVID19 update

Here are today's count of coronavirus cases 461 with 8 deaths. The current totals so far is 5057 cases with 73 deaths. Via Chicago Tribune

According to a press release from the Illinois Dept of Public Health four of those 8 deaths announced earlier today is from Cook county

Also noted in the Tribune:
At his daily press briefing, Pritzker also announced that a COVID-19 field hospital at McCormick Place will have 500 beds available by the end of the week. The alternate care facility will hold 3,000 beds for patients, mostly with mild symptoms who do not require intensive care, the governor said. Construction began on the sprawling convention center over the weekend.

Additionally, Chicago Public Schools’ hundreds of thousands of students will receive daily learning activities as part of a new remote learning plan that is due to start on April 13, the Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office announced Monday. Officials have laid out a goal of delivering 100,000 electronic devices to its neediest students.
While I know it could be a while before we can be clear of this pandemic, I was rather hoping the executive order enacted earlier this month could be lifted. Unfortunately as with many things during these difficult times an extension is possible according to NBC Chicago:
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday it's something he's considering.

"It is something that we need to consider, whether to extend and if we did, how long," he said during his daily briefing, though he did not indicate when a decision would be made.

Pritzker's press secretary said Sunday the governor "can only do disaster proclamations 30 days at a time."

"I think he's mentioned that he'll follow the experts on extending them," Jordan Abudayyeh said.
Bear in mind it was announced by President Donald Trump over the weekend that federal social distancing guidelines will be continued through the end of April. It's expected that we will hit the peak nationally next month. 

And as always be safe out there.

CBS 2: Chicago School Teacher Keeps Students Moving At Home With 'Bean Bag Boogie' #Ward09

[VIDEO] While the lady you see above isn't currently a CPS teacher I think it was necessary to show this story that aired on CBS 2 over the weekend. Denise King of St. John de la Salle School located in the Rosemoor community is keeping her students moving with her YouTube channel.

I'm sure that just as with the Chicago Public Schools whose students are out of school until April 21, 2020 due to the coronavirus, it's probably just as easily a hardship for those students who attend a private school. I celebrate the efforts of Ms. King to use her platform to continue helping our students during this difficult time.

I think this is good news we can use while we keep an eye on all the numbers of infections in this state. And of course we look forward to our young people eventually finishing the current school year strong once this is all over.

As always be careful out there.