Saturday, October 31, 2009

Daylight Savings Time ends tonight -- fall back an hour!

A friendly reminder for Chatham/Avalon Park Community Council
Remember daylight savings time ends on Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 2:00 A.M. Set you clocks one hour BACK! Don't forget to replace the batteries in your smoke and CO2 detectors!
In our house, however, we will only turn it back 40 minutes, so we can make it to church on time!

PHOTOS: 79th & State Street with vacant lot and abandoned building

I took these pictures near 79th and State Street sometime in September when there was actually sun out! This lot that's vacant, well I don't remember when it first turned vacant. What I will say is that in earlier times there was a store (probably a convenience/liquor store) that had it's entrance directly on the corner. I will assume that there were apartments since it was a multi-story building with about 3 floors and perhaps an entrance directly on State Street.

Eventually that building would not only be vacant with that store closed and boarded up, but eventually torn down although I couldn't even begin to tell you when it was torn down.

BTW, you might have also seen pics of this site on Worlee's Concerned Citizen's of Chatham. As always you can click on the pictures to get a much larger resolution.

We're going to get to this exact building in the next set on this post. It was noted by JP Paulus that there was a tree growing right out of the building. It just shows how bad a shape this structure is in at the current time.

When I was here in September this fence was broken. When I returned in October, didn't even notice if it was very put back together or not!

The next set of pictures are of a building that is abandoned that I had taken on October 27th. It used to be a bank as there is lettering at the very top of the building that indicated who used to own it. There is a vacant lot to the east of this building that's used by the Carter Temple Church on the corner of 79th & Wabash.

These next to pictures are of ghosts signs. Not sure if they'd have been visible if the building at the 79th and State intersection has remained, but I can barely make out that it was ever there. I see lettering, but not sure what this sign was for or even said.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Community organizations buying up vacant houses and apartment buildings

A post from the CAPCC blog:
We, at the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council, seek the cooperation, coordination, and company of all of the Block Club Presidents to work and discuss the need for private ownership and rehabilitation of the housing stock in the Chatham and Park Manor neighborhoods to reduce the probability of flippers who do not have our values of living in our community. Block Club Presidents, hold meetings on your block with your neighbors to seek their input and participation to buy, hold, and build the vacant housing stock and revitalize our Chatham/Avalon Park/Park Manor area for the betterment of us all. Investment clubs are being organized to deal with the issues of vacant housing.
Perhaps an answer to any vacant property that may exist in the community. I truly hope that the neighborhood organizers can work this out!

Halloween activities

Just a reminder of a couple of the neighborhood activities
Friday: Family fun night at St, Mark United Methodist Church.

Saturday: Whitney Young Library Magic Show

ALSO: A number of neighborhood businesses will be giving out treats for Halloween. In the past (and planned) include the following on 79th:
  • Williams Hydroplants
  • Creative Floral and Gifts
  • Copy Cat
  • McDonald's

Thursday, October 29, 2009

EVENT: GCA Wal-Mart town hall November 7th

I just recieved this info recently via e-mail. This is something worth attending in the near future.

For Immediate Release 

For More Information Please Contact:
Toni Costonie

Greater Chatham Alliance Community Council (GCA)
hosts a Town Hall Meeting on the proposed Walmart store
for the 83rd & Stewart Shopping Center

 The Greater Chatham Alliance Community Council (GCA) will host a Town Hall meeting on Saturday, November 7 at St. James Lutheran Church, located at 80th and Michigan. This open forum will cover issues related to the proposed Walmart tenancy at the new 83rd and Stewart Street shopping center--current home to Lowe's Home Improvement, Potbelly Sandwich Works and Aldi grocery store, currently under construction.

Among topics discussed in the forum will be the pros and cons of the direct impact Walmart will have on the Chatham, West Chatham, Chesterfield and Park Manor communities.

Plus, the possibility of alternative economic development ideas such as: restaurants, retail stores or retail outlets, community green space and tourism.

Another topic of discussion, based upon findings by Toni Costonie, GCA Walmart Chairman, is that the developer of the 83rd Street Shopping Center site, where the proposed Walmart will be located, acknowledges that the Shopping Center is a "brownfield."

This means the Shopping Center land is contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution. Concerns raised by community residents as to the types of toxins that are present and how they will be remediated will be aired.

Invited guests include 6th Ward Alderwoman Freddrenna Lyle, 21st Ward Alderman Howard Brookins, representatives from Walmart, the Openlands Project, Elce Redmond of the South Austin Coalition, and more.

The meeting will be held:

Date: Saturday, November 7, 2009
Time: Noon until 1:30 pm
Where: St. James Lutheran Church, 8000 S. Michigan.

All Chatham / Avalon residents are invited to attend to discuss the Walmart store and submit questions regarding the store or any other topics related to the Shopping Center.

This event was also produced in association with the Chesterfield Community Council, West Chatham Improvement Association and Park Manor Neighbors Community Council.

For more information please contact GCA's Walmart Committee Chairman, Toni Costonie
773.723.4892 or GCA president Carl Lewis at 773.994.5308.

Free Halloween Day activitiy: Magic Show

The Whitney Young Library is hosting a magic show on Saturday (Halloween, October 31) , from noon to 1pm.

It is free, and for all ages.

For more information, contact the library:
7901 S. King Drive , Chicago, IL 60619
(312) 747-0039

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Family Fun Night (for Halloween) THIS Friday night!

From the Chatham/Avalon Park Community Council blog,
Please join us for our Annual St. Mark United Methodist Church, 8441 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60619, phone: 773-846-2992; for Fall Family Fun Night, Friday, October 30, 2009 6:30-9:00 p.m. Free admission. Come out for games, prizes, Food and fellowship for the whole family! Costumes are not required. If you do choose to wear one, please no witches, devils, or characters from horror movies, etc. This is a wholesome God-honoring, family event that is an alternative to traditional Halloween activities.
Check back on this blog for other Halloween activities.

Michael Richards joins ISACorps

Michael Richards is from the Marynook area, and is assigned to the Richland Community College District.
ISAC Tabs Richards for Illinois Student Assistance Corps

Corps members to deploy throughout state as near-peer mentors to guide students on the college path

CHICAGO – The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) announced that Michael Richards has accepted an offer to join the Illinois Student Assistance Corps, building partnerships with local schools, businesses, and nonprofits in order to deliver free career and college planning and preparation services to students from families with no prior college-going experience.

Richards, who hails from Chicago and currently resides in Chicago, recently graduated from U of I with a degree in Psychology and looks forward to serving in the Corps.

“[I want] to help students realize their potential and help them make good decisions that will have a positive impact on their future,” explained Richards.

"It’s a case of paying it forward. So many of the Corps members talk passionately about how they needed help navigating through the process as they prepared to go to college,” said ISAC Executive Director Andrew Davis. “Now, they want to help the next generation of college students."

Funded by the College Access Challenge Grant Program, the Corps tremendously bolsters ISAC's ability to provide high-quality personal service to students in every single community in the state. Corps members will provide assistance with career exploration, college selection, test preparation, scholarship searches, application completion and the financial aid process in each of the 39 Illinois community college districts.

Richards concluded: “All of the experiences that I have had through high school and college will influence the advice that i give to students I work with. I will try and relate my experiences to their lives in order to give them more relevent information.”

Corps members will deploy to community college districts throughout the state in mid-September.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission provides students of all ages and backgrounds with the resources and support to obtain financial aid for higher education. A state agency, ISAC has paved the path to post-secondary education with innovative programs for more than 50 years. Last year alone, ISAC continued its mission to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students by issuing over 186,000 grants and scholarships totaling nearly $431 million.

The Commission provides educational funding with student loans, as a loan guarantor and via numerous public programs such as the Monetary Award Program (MAP), the Illinois Veteran Grant and College Illinois!sm , the Commission’s groundbreaking 529 prepaid college tuition program. Students and families have free access to a wealth of financial aid and college planning information at ISAC’s family of websites available at


Paul Palian
Media Affairs
Illinois Student Assistance Commission
100 W. Randolph Street, Ste. 3-200
Chicago, IL 60601
312-814-3679 Direct
312-590-9970 Cell
ppalian (at)

ARCHIVED NEWS: Filling station a roadway to style of past

Worlee posted pics of this property on his Facebook page a while back and I just so happened to have found this article at HighBeam regarding this former gas station. It was in fact written by Lee Bey published on April 26, 1999 in the Sun-Times:
But a Chatham neighborhood resident and state preservation officials are seeking to save a 71-year-old gas station at 419 E. 83rd by getting it placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The shuttered and battered gas station, which was built to match the architecture of the Chatham neighborhood, is one of the few remaining "domestic style" stations in the city.

"It's very rare to see a 1920s gas station, period," said David Newton, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency's assistant National Register coordinator. "It's very amazing, I think." Gas stations began simply enough. Many were small brick buildings built in the late teens and early 1920s with big hip roofs that kept customers dry as they gassed up their cars. Then the stations evolved. Some were built in outrageous, eye- catching styles design to capture attention.

The Chatham gas station was built by William D. Meyering and David L. Sutton, who both served as alderman of the 8th Ward. The full- service station in 1928 was a business investment, according to the National Register nomination form. Shell Oil Co. leased the building, followed by Marland Refining Co. and Conoco Oil Co. Located on a two-lane street in a residential area, the station was designed to resemble a house. The brick gas station has a gabled canopy, arched doorways, limestone coping and Mission tiles, not unlike the homes that surround it.

"It was always an attractive building that kind of stood out in your memory because it seems so incongruous that something with the function of a service station would be built to match the area's architecture," said Yvonne Polk, the building's owner.
Polk purchased the Chatham gas station 20 years ago when its previous owners closed the businesses. She never managed to reopen the building. National Register status could bring historic federal tax credits that can be used to assist the cost of restoring the building, but the trick, according to Polk, is finding a use for the structure once it is saved.

"People have constantly approached me in terms of buying the facility," said Polk, who sought National Register status. "I asked them, `What do you want to do with it?' Much of the time it's replication of what we already have in the community: barbershops and fruit stands. "I've always wanted to do something community-oriented with it," she said. "(My ideas) have including things like turning it into a community radio station - which didn't go very far. I approached Amoco with the possibility of running a model alternative gas station - compressed natural gas was popular at the time - but it never happened. I'm still interested in keeping it within the transportation context."
I've excerpted a lot from this article, but read the whole thing here!

I took pictures of this building on Tuesday afternoon. If this building should be preserved what do you think it should be used for ultimately?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Whose property taxes went up most in Chicago?

Four out of five Chicago homeowners will see their property taxes go up when they get their bills later this week, Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan said Monday.

In the West Garfield Park neighborhood, the median tax bill will jump 46.4 percent, the highest spike in the city, according to the numbers compiled by Houlihan's office.

"I think it's outrageous. It doesn't seem fair," said Latonya Nelson, 39, who rehabbed a 100-year-old graystone opposite the park with her husband. "Especially with the economy being the way it is."

The main reason for the higher tax bills is the phaseout of the "7 percent" cap on property tax increases, Houlihan said.

Houlihan's controversial effort -- backed by Mayor Daley -- used a complicated math formula to shield homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods from sudden steep property tax hikes. The formula shielded the first $40,000 of home value from tax hikes and aimed to prevent homeowners' bills from going up more than 7 percent a year.
Read the whole thing! So far this only affects "gentrifying" neighborhoods such as Garfield Park. Check out the chart at the article to see how other Chicago community areas are faring as far as property tax assessments!

UPDATE 11:22 AM The Tribune also has the story:
In Chicago, the median hike in residential bills will be about 3 percent, although the median increase in many neighborhoods will shoot significantly higher than that, a Houlihan spokesman explained.

As with any event involving property taxes, the size of bills and increases can vary dramatically from house to house, block to block and neighborhood to neighborhood. The median tax hike in any community is the middle point of all increases, with about half of homeowners facing higher hikes than the median and half facing less.

Figures provided by Houlihan illustrate how the upward march of property tax bills appears to have largely defied the housing-market crash as well as the steepest economic swoon since the Great Depression.

"This is just a terrible time for this to happen," Houlihan said. "People are really pressed and their bills are going to go up."

Some of the sharpest increases will be felt not by residents in trendy North Shore villages but rather in middle-class communities near O'Hare International Airport. In Franklin Park, the median hike in tax bills payable in 2009 will soar by 20 percent over last year, according to the assessor. In neighboring Schiller Park, the median increase will nudge 18 percent.

In the city, the median increase in the trendy Lincoln Park neighborhood is a modest 3 percent and in the North Side Lakeview neighborhood it will be even less, 2.1 percent. On the flip side, however, the median increase in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side nears 25 percent. The median rise in President Obama's Kenwood neighborhood is 9 percent.
BTW, I got this pdf file from the Tribune showing. I provide that for you here.

Chicago police officers injured in crash in Chatham

Two Chicago police officers were hospitalized Monday evening after the squad car they were driving struck a utility pole in the Chatham neighborhood on the South Side, police said.

The accident at about 10:30 p.m. 300 block of East 79th Street involved two officers from the Gresham district, said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro.

They were responding to a call when they lost control of their squad car and struck a pole, Alfaro said. No pedestrians were injured, he said.
The injuries to the officers were non-life threatening. So we should expect that they'll be alright.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saving ShoreBank

ShoreBank is one of many banks that have branches in our community. They have a branch on Cottage Grove a block from 79th Street. That branch used to be the HQ of Independence Bank, a formerly black owned banking company that was sold in the mid-1990s.

Today, however, ShoreBank is a struggling entity!
Lauded around the world for bringing banking services to the poor, Ronald Grzywinski and Mary Houghton have a new mission: rescuing the bank they launched 36 years ago.

The pair made a career of defying conventional banking wisdom, turning ShoreBank Corp. into a globally acclaimed standard-bearer for the proposition that banks can make profits and do good in communities mainstream lenders avoid.

But at an age when most senior executives would be looking to groom new leadership and ease out, Mr. Grzywinski, 73, and Ms. Houghton, 68, find themselves fighting to save the bank as bad loans pile up. Experts say they need to raise $50 million or more to keep ShoreBank afloat. And the price of a bailout could be their departure from policymaking roles at the bank they personify.

Investors "could demand changes in leadership because filling a hole created by management's mistakes does not meet their own mandates," says bank consultant Michael Iannaccone of Oak Park.

Ironically, the plight of the two banking iconoclasts stems from the same mistakes that are bringing down lenders across the country.

Like so many bankers, Mr. Grzywinski and Ms. Houghton hit the gas during the credit boom of the mid-2000s. ShoreBank's assets swelled by $1.1 billion, or 65%, during the past four years. Most of the lending was in neighborhoods hit hardest by the credit collapse and foreclosure crisis.
You should read the article, it's an inspiring story. Hopefully people who want to own a business or rehabing housing or commercial property can have such a relationship with a bank as the people of South Shore has. Right now they are hobbling thanks to the current environment involving the financial services industry.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

ARCHIVED NEWS: Making it - The story of Chatham

I found this article through Actually it's a series of articles I would like to gradually roll out over time. I found a number of old articles about Chatham recently on Highbean and there are four "Making it" article. On this day we start with the very first article originally published in the Sun-Times on April 28, 1986.

The striking thing about looking at archived stories is that the issues that may be facing Chatham today was of concern over 20 years ago. Believe it or not!
The community has two major problems. One is the vitality of its shopping strips. A far more significant problem was summed up by the Rev. Michael J. Nallen, pastor of St. Dorothy's Church and one of the few remaining whites in Chatham.

"We just had six funerals in two weeks," he said. "And this is a small parish."

It's the community's greatest challenge: "the graying of Chatham."

Chatham's pioneers are dying off, and it's an open question who'll succeed them.

America has many dreams. And the 73-year-old [US District] Judge [George N.] Leighton suggests that one of them, integration, might now be eroding the original purpose of Chatham. He wondered aloud if blacks still need such a community.

"Something has happened," he said. "The younger people are moving out. They're moving into places like Lake Point Tower, Outer Drive East, Lincoln Park. They are quietly disappearing into the integrated community. And I have no doubt that Chatham will pay a price. But I think it's good.

"When I was active in civil rights, we were talking about an integrated America. At least, that's what I understood. I thought we were struggling for the very thing that to some extent is happening now. And I have a great deal of difficulty mustering any feeling of regret about this."
 Perhaps the difference between 1986 and 2009 is that the younger people may well be more apt to move to the suburbs in addition to the more upscale parts of the city such as Hyde Park, South Loop, or even the aforementioned Lincoln Park. What can Chatham offer for college graduates or even young married couples with families?

You can read the whole article here!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What's the difference between community areas and neighborhoods?

A question worth discussing as it was on our tour on 75th Street. It's something I wondered myself. It seems as if neighborhoods are a different animal from these community area.

For instance Chatham is said to go up to about 75th Street to the north and 87th to the south. Then from the Dan Ryan to Cottage Grove from west to east. However the Chatham community area ends at 79th Street on the north and ends at railroad tracks on the south end and extends beyond Cottage Grove and the Dan Ryan from east to west.

Since what's considered the Chatham neighborhood effectively straddles two specific community area particularly Chatham and Greater Grand Crossing. When this happens some might point to the division of a community. Of course a good question would have to be what type of division.

According to wikipedia (not that it's the best source, however it's readily available) community areas are used for census data or for the purposes of urban planning. It's entirely possible that if Chatham for instance engaged in some massive urban planning such as what happened in Englewood in the late 1960s or Hyde Park in the late 1950s or early 60s a segment of the neighborhood that isn't officially part of the community area could be left out.

Well it's a theory, but for certain something needs to be clarified between community areas and neighborhoods. One could be treated more officially than the other. And for the neighborhood well since they may not be treated as official it's possible that real estate agents can play with that distinction and give a name for an area that may never have existed. Certainly doing so giving such an area a great marketing appeal.

Any comments on this?

Friday, October 23, 2009

A need for the National Guard?

Chatham/Avalon Park Community Council: Blog Question: Thug Life
Do you think the National Guard should be called in to the Chatham neighborhood to rid the area of the thug element terrorizing residents with their crime wave?

The term terrorist has some legal issues surrounding it that gives the federal government powers to do as they see fit. Do you feel the crime situation in our community is this far out of control?

Black Enterprise Homeownership Contest

Here a contest for First Time Homebuyers

Here is where you sign up

'Renaissance Row' Is Reborn

Today even Mike Flannery came out to see the rebirth of 75th Street:
It's a strip known as Renaissance Row, and that name has never been more appropriate than now.

The street is back open, after construction nearly caused some of the businesses to shut down.

It's a 12-block stretch of East 75th Street and is home to one of largest concentrations of black-owned and operated retail businesses in Chicago.
Read the whole thing or watch the video here!

BTW, I added some links in the sidebar under local businesses for all those establishments that are located on 75th. Check em when you get a chance!

Ribbon-cutting on 75th Street

The grand re-opening of Renaissance Row. More to come later!

Gubernatorial launches 'jobs tour' at Chatham Market on 83rd St.

A GOP candidate for Governor next year, Brady paid a visit to our part of the South Side recently:
State Sen. Bill Brady, a Bloomington Republican running for governor, went to the Chatham neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side Tuesday to launch what he called his “jobs tour” of Illinois.

He spoke as he stood at 83rd and Stewart on the site where Wal-Mart wants to build a store but has been blocked by the Chicago City Council.

Brady introduced legislation in May that would allow the store, and other non-union big-box retailers, to get around the pro-union City Council. Brady’s bill would need a “super-majority” in the Illinois Legislature to overrule Chicago’s home-rule powers. And it’s unclear Brady, even as governor, would be able to persuade pro-union legislators to back such a bill.
Well understanding that the 6th Ward and the 21st Ward (the actual site of the proposed Wal-Mart) trends heavily to the Democrats I would like to share his campaign website. The last paragraph that I chose not to excerpt has his proposals to help out the business climate in Illinois.

Via Capitol Fax!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mellody Hobson and Mayor Richard Daley endorse the Legacy Project by Fellowship MBC

This is the redevelopment of the Soft Sheen facility. Do you agree with the project and because the mayor endorses this project does it mean that we will see a bridge over the Dan Ryan at 85th Street.

I has this real-estate listing and was looking for an excuse to post it. Now I have an excuse, so check it out here! - Levois

Come to the grand re-opening of Renaissance Row - 75th street!

Join the communty at 10 am THIS FRIDAY for the re-opening of Renassaince Row.

See this posting from the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council Blog:
Save the Date

Celebration for the 75th Street-Renaissance Row RE-OPENING 

Event: A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony celebrating there-opening of the 75th Street-Renaissance Row business district. There will be a walking grand tour after the ribbon cutting to show our well established Business District. 

Please come out and be a part of the ceremony for the new and improved 75th Street.

When: Friday October 23, 2009
Time: 10:00 a.m.

Where: 75th and King Drive @ Northwest corner  

Attention Shoppers and Community Builders:This is a great opportunity for you to help rebuild and stabilize an outstanding business district on the southside of Chicago.

We are asking you to re-direct some of your shopping dollars into the 75th Street Business District where you will find a wide variety of goods and services.

Please RSVP for the free Walking Business Tour.
Contact: The Business Economic Revitalization Association @ 773-783-2636

95th becomes focus of beautification project

Medill Reports:
The last stop on the Red Line – 95th Street – is not, for most of the South Siders who travel there daily, a final destination. The station instead is a gateway to a multifaceted commute home.

More than 20 CTA, Pace and Greyhound buses all converge at this one station, which sits under three intersecting highways. Riders wait inside and outside the crowded, doorless facility, wondering how long it will take to get home -- and whether they will get there unscathed.

The city’s attention to violence among CPS students in the wake of the beating death of Derrion Albert has put focus on 95th Street.

As a result of the district’s open enrollment policy, high schoolers travel all over the city on trains and buses just to get to school. Consequently, this station serves as a meeting place for students from rival high schools – a hub for youth-on-youth violence.

One community group, Developing Communities Project, is trying to adopt the station as part of the CTA’s Adopt-a-Station program. Members of the organization have said that 95th, like a needy, neglected child, warrants support and special attention to address some of its darker issues.

“Boundary shifts have forced students from schools like Fenger, Carver Military, Corliss and Julian into corridors where they are strangers. There’s always been issues about safety and shootings at or nearby the station,” said John Paul Jones, who works with the organization, by phone last week.

The idea to adopt 95th came up this summer when the Roseland-based organization toured the station with CTA officials as part of CTA’s proposal to extend the Red Line farther south. Lori Baldwin, who is heading the adoption project, said the transit hub has so many needs that the group decided it was a community issue.
Read the whole thing!

The main idea is said to be for 95th to be a cleaner greener hub. Expect to see more local art at the station. Perhaps a project for the creative students at Harlan!

Another point to note is that the aforemention group (in the excerpt) wanted to put doors onto the crowded station. If you go to the 95th station page at there are pictures that show that once upon a time there were doors that would lead you to the fare controls. Who knows when the station was revamped especially before the more recent revamp between 2002-2004, however, it's safe to say that putting doors back onto the station is one step back towards the past. Who knows it could solve some problems.

At the same time, another reason for the needed extension further into Roseland. It might take another few years to get that project started but the one benefit I can see for extending the Red Line may well to be to lessen the traffic at 95th from all the high schools that may be serviced by the terminal.

What do you think about this project?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Section 8 Housing -Good idea gone Bad ?

This article asks the question "Do white families deserve the crime Section 8 tenants bring with them? ".

Do you feel that the rise in crime comes from section 8 housing?

City to offer free H1N1 flu shots

Beginning Saturday morning, free H1N1 swine flu shots for city residents will be made available on a regular basis at six city college locations for at least the next several weeks.

The announcement of the vaccination clinics heralds the arrival of steady, regular supplies of the vaccine that the federal government first began shipping out in small quantities less than two weeks ago. Though they offer the free vaccination clinics, city health officials urged people who have personal physicians to go to them for vaccination.

The early shipments of the vaccine are being made available only to persons most vulnerable to the H1N1 virus. Those include: pregnant women; all children and young adults ages 6 months to 24 years; people who live with and/or care for infants younger than 6 months of age; people age 25-64 with chronic health conditions (like asthma or diabetes), and health care workers.
Locally you can pay a visit to both Kennedy-King College @ 6301 S. Halsted St. and Olive-Harvey College @ 10001 S. Woodlawn Ave.

Via Uptown Update!

Sen. Burris on Washington Journal this morning

He appeared sometime after 8AM this morning on C-Span's live call-in show. This clip unfortunately is only a minute and a half long, but he spent half an hour taking questions from callers. He basically talked about his support for a public option in the current health care reform debate. He has also promised to not vote on legislation that doesn't contain a public option.

Scene outside at Abbott Park today

Well, it was unusual to see a long line outside of the field house there today. Not sure what was going on, perhaps I should place a call to figure it out. I couldn't tell if this line was full of high school students from Harlan, but most looked relatively young. The line largely stopped oustide of the doors and there didn't appear to be a table with anyone directed traffic or working with the line. The line largely didn't move as I made my way to the L station.

I wonder what this was about?

UPDATE 3:04 PM I found out just now that the line outside of the field house at Abbott Park this morning and this afternoon was for low-income light & gas assistance.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This should also go onto the CTA Tattler, part 2

Yesterday afternoon after leaving downtown Chicago I rode back with JP and a friend back to the south side and would like to mention one oddball occurence.

There was this guy who sat in front of us and decided to start talking to a woman. We both noticed him at 63rd Street and he was just rambling and slurring his speech. The only thing I could make out of what he said was to say that he thought she was beautiful and he attempted to sit next to her because he wanted to. Eventually he did sit next to her, but she was just about arriving at her next stop.

He noticed me and JP and started talking to us. What he said was largely complimentary and noted that there was one race, the HUMAN race and said that we (humanity) messed things up. Even at one point started cursing.

This individual was most likely intoxicated (or drunk) and I could tell by the smell. Exclusive of being drunk I would have just assumed this individual had some issues of some type. Unfortunately he wasn't through talking to people on board the train. He decided to talk to another man and switched seats but that man wasn't in the mood for him. He told him that he really didn't want to hear it and to leave him be and at first this individual respected that.

Then after we left 87th Street and headed towards 95th, this man decided to talk to this other man. Eventually this man was tired of it and moved to another part of the train. And this man was a little riled up talking about his children and his own personal history. We finally arrived at 95th and he was still trying to talk to this man who wanted nothing to do with him. And even got into it with another guy who by all accounts wanted to get a square (cigarette).

One of the passengers as we got off the train said that man was about to get slapped. I couldn't agree more and I ran off the train as soon as the doors opened.

I can only wonder. If events like this and another event I witnessed on the train last week are reasons why people may choose another mode of transportation instead of taking the CTA. I wish there was a way to police the system where people are not disturbed by anyone's banter!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Princeton University Summer Journalism Program

Information courtesy of TUCC Higher Education Corp.

The application for summer 2010 is available here.
What is the Princeton University Summer Journalism Program? We welcome about 20 high school students from low-income backgrounds every summer to Princeton's campus for an intensive, 10-day seminar on journalism. The program's goal is to diversify college and professional newsrooms by encouraging outstanding students from low-income backgrounds to pursue careers in journalism. All expenses, including students' travel costs to and from Princeton, are paid for by the program. Students who attend the program come from across the country. Bios of our students from this past summer can be found here. The program will enter its ninth summer in 2010.

What is the program like? Classes at the program are taught by reporters and editors from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The New Yorker, CNN and ABC News, among other media outlets. Students tour the Times and CNN; cover a professional sports event (in past years, a Yankees, Mets, Jets or Liberty game); cover news events in the Princeton area; film and produce a TV segment; and report, write, edit and design their own newspaper, The Princeton Summer Journal, which is published on the program's last day. The program is also designed to give students a taste of what life is like at one of the best colleges in the country—students live on campus and eat in one of the university's cafeterias—and to prepare them to apply to top schools. Students meet with Princeton's top professors as well as the school's president and its dean of admissions. Students attend seminars on every aspect of the college admissions process. They also take a practice SAT and attend an SAT class taught by Princeton Review. The program's 2009 schedule can be found here. After students return home, program staff remain in contact with them, assisting them during the college application process and helping them to apply for journalism internships once they are in college.

What have our students accomplished? More than 165 students have graduated from our program during the past eight years, and many return each summer to serve as mentors to our current students. We are proud of their academic and journalistic accomplishments. Four of our alumni are currently enrolled at Princeton. Others have gone on to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, the University of Pennsylvania, Williams, Amherst, Middlebury, Georgetown, Bowdoin, Johns Hopkins, the University of Virginia, New York University and many other selective schools. Their work has been published in college newspapers across the country, including The Daily Princetonian, The Yale Daily News, The Brown Daily Herald, The Columbia Spectator, The Cornell Daily Sun, The Middlebury Campus and The Bowdoin Orient. Our alumni have also landed jobs or internships at The New York Times, The New Republic, The Miami Herald, The New York Daily News, The Dallas Morning News, The Star-Ledger, The Philadelphia Daily News, NBC and CBS, among other outlets. Alumni reflections on the program can be found here.
Who is eligible? This program is intended for low-income students with excellent academic records who are committed to pursuing a career in journalism. To apply for the program, you must meet the following qualifications:- You must currently be a junior in high school.- You must live in the continental United States.- You must have at least an unweighted 3.5 grade point average (out of 4.0).- You must have an interest in journalism.- The combined income of your custodial parent(s)/guardian(s) plus child support payments, if any, must not exceed $45,000. (Note: This program is for students from under-resourced financial backgrounds. If the combined income of your custodial parent(s)/guardian(s) plus child support payments, if any, exceeds $45,000 and you still wish to apply, you may attach a statement explaining why you believe your family qualifies as financially under-resourced.)
Who runs the program? The program was founded, and is still directed, by four Princeton alumni from the class of 2001—Richard Just, Michael Koike, Gregory Mancini and Rich Tucker—who wanted to diversify the world of journalism. It is staffed by professional journalists, young alumni of Princeton, current Princeton students, and students who attended the program in past summers. Except for one student intern who is hired annually to help coordinate the program, everyone associated with the program is a volunteer. More information about the program's directors can be found here.
Who funds the program? The program is funded entirely through the generosity of donors, mostly Princeton alumni. In 2009, we received 275 applications, but, because of funding limitations, we were able to accept only 23 students. We receive so many applications because we are, to our knowledge, the country's only high school program that seeks to propel low-income students into professional newsrooms by combining journalism education with intensive college admissions preparation—and pays all the expenses of students who attend. Every year, with guidance from the program's staff, our students apply to, and are accepted at, the country's best colleges, where they go on to write for top student papers and earn internships at the nation's most influential newspapers, magazines and television stations. This year, we could have filled our class many times over with outstanding students. We would like to increase our class size to meet the extraordinary demand among low-income students for spots in the program, and we are therefore currently seeking a donor to help us expand the program in future years. More information about how to donate to the program can be found here. If you are considering a donation and would like more information about the program, the best way to reach us is via email at You can also leave a message at 609-258-8046. During the academic year, no one answers that line, but we check the voicemail regularly. If you leave a message, we will return your call.

Didn't know you can comment on an EveryBlock crime report

The report was on the 9100 block of South Wabash on criminal vandalism to property. This was to a residence and occured at around 6:30 PM:
On this same day at ~8:55 p.m. I saw three black males in this same vicinity. Two were on the east side ( near the middle of the block) of the street, one on the west side (about two houses farther south). I made eye contact with one on the east side of the street. He immediately grabbed what appeared to be a cell phone on his right side.

I looked down the street after parking ~8:58 p.m. when I saw a possible fourth person farther to the south (about two houses from corner) on the west side of street. walking south. Decided to call police and neighbors. Did not get a reference number.
Want anymore information you can always click on the link for a case number and even the beat number.

Citizen Newspaper: Nation of Islam Expresses Interest in Former Building

JP was right, the Nation of Islam wants their old property at 78th & Cottage Grove back!
Ronald E. Garner, architect for the building and president of Group Design Associates expressed an interest in the building during a Sixth Ward meeting. Garner, who said the property has been vacant for more than 15 years, added the Nation of Islam (NOI) owned the building more than 30 years ago.

Under the leadership of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the NOI owned the building in the 1970s until his death in 1975, according to Garner and Maurice Farrakhan, project director for the proposed property. However, the organization lost the property in probate court in the early 1980s. Garner added that it would take more than $3.5 million to revitalize the building while construction could last anywhere from 12 to 14 months.

The NOI joins other business leaders including Spencer Leak Sr. of Leak and Sons Funeral Home and Bren Sheriff, co-owner of Amaxx Title Services, who have also expressed an interest in the property. Sheriff was “shocked” to find out that there was a third party of interest in the property because she thought that she and Leak were the only two parties involved. While Bro. Leonard Muhammad, advisor to Nation of Islam Min. Louis Farrakhan, said he is “confident,” that NOI’s proposal will be selected, both Sheriff and the NOI expressed an interest in working together if Sheriff’s proposal is not accepted. Proposals will be presented to the Department of Planning this week which will make a decision about the future of the building next week.

This should also go onto the CTA Tattler

I was on the red line Friday morning and at either 79th or 69th street a street preacher walked on. He had  flyers (such as the one above) with him and started telling his story about how he was down and out on the L and eventually turned his life around and a ministry gave him some help and even sent him to bible college. That being said he proceeded to quote not only scripture, but also talk in tongues and was talking up a storm as the train headed downtown.

Eventually he announced to the car that he's got to go and suddenly the people on the train miraculously was offering dollars to this preacher as he performer like he was at a church service. For their donations many of these people are given either cookies or candy bars. Either they were into his preaching or they really wanted him to go. Unfortunately he didn't go away soon and continued to perform on the train talking to an elderly lady and loudly until he finally got off the train at Cermak.

Believe it or not, I caught up with JP Paulus (you know him by now I hope the original other blogger here) today downtown. And we talked about this flyer he raised the issue that there is a small possibility that this gentleman may not be apart of this organization and is raising money on his own. Well there is only one way to verify this and that's by making a phone call to this organization and asking if they have people on the CTA preaching and fundraising.

That being said, I didn't post this to "snitch". In fact on the Dan Ryan red line for the most part this is seen the most where people either beg, panhandle or even fundraise on the train. In fact Christian Outreach has often had people on the train fundraising so this is in fact nothing new. Indeed I was wondering if they still existed since I haven't seen their people express their message in some years.

The main reason why I post this is to say that if you find this to be a legit organization that can truly deliver people from whatever their issues are in life, then perhaps you should consider donating to them. Hopefully they won't have to fundraise and preach on the L in the future. If I understand policy in general this activity is generally not appropriate on the CTA.

Since this has become a long post expect a part 2, soon!

Chicago man charged in sham property selling scheme

Wow, I think JP called it before the Tribune covered it!
John Hemphill, 39, was arrested last week and charged with mail fraud and falsely posing as a federal official.

Authorities alleged he filed fictitious deeds in counties around the Chicago area that purported to transfer properties he didn't own to United States Mortgage Release Corp. and other businesses of his.

Hemphill then told some would-be purchasers he held the properties as a "federal receiver," authorities said, and tried to sell them for cash even though they were really owned by others.

Investigators conservatively estimated that there were more than 100 victims in the case.

"We encourage anyone who bought or leased property from the defendant or his companies to contact U.S. postal inspectors on their hot line," said Randall Samborn, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago.

Samborn said anyone with information can call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Fraud Complaint hot line at 800-372-8347 and press 8.
As JP indicated his office was located at 211 E. 79th. He is expected to be in court at the Dirksen Building downtown today for a detention hearing. Also, he had been taken into custody Thursday after selling a property that he didn't own at 8600 S. Stony Island to an undercover agent for $6,000.

Not only did YoChicago pick up this story but also found this via EveryBlock.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Jakendra Williams is a part of the ISACorps

Jakendra Williams is from the Chatham area, and is serving the South Suburban Community College District. Happy Birthday, Jakendra!

ISAC Tabs Williams for Illinois Student Assistance Corps

Corps members to deploy throughout state as near-peer mentors to guide students on the college path

CHICAGO – The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) announced that Jakendra Williams has accepted an offer to join the Illinois Student Assistance Corps, building partnerships with local schools, businesses, and nonprofits in order to deliver free career and college planning and preparation services to students from families with no prior college-going experience.

Williams, who hails from Chicago and currently resides there, recently graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Urban and Regional Planning and looks forward to serving in the Corps.

“I have an interest in student affairs and would like to help prepare others through sharing of my experiences,” explained Williams.

"It’s a case of paying it forward. So many of the Corps members talk passionately about how they needed help navigating through the process as they prepared to go to college,” said ISAC Executive Director Andrew Davis. “Now, they want to help the next generation of college students."

Funded by the College Access Challenge Grant Program, the Corps tremendously bolsters ISAC's ability to provide high-quality personal service to students in every single community in the state. Corps members will provide assistance with career exploration, college selection, test preparation, scholarship searches, application completion and the financial aid process in each of the 39 Illinois community college districts.

Williams concluded: “As a NUFP fellow--a program for students interested in student affairs--along with other college prep programs like College Summit, I have first hand experience with some of the challenges faced by the youth when preparing for college. I have learned that the best way to impact youth is by utilizing everyday situations when educating on different topics surrounding the college experience.”

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission provides students of all ages and backgrounds with the resources and support to obtain financial aid for higher education. A state agency, ISAC has paved the path to post-secondary education with innovative programs for more than 50 years. Last year alone, ISAC continued its mission to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students by issuing over 186,000 grants and scholarships totaling nearly $431 million.

The Commission provides educational funding with student loans, as a loan guarantor and via numerous public programs such as the Monetary Award Program (MAP), the Illinois Veteran Grant and College Illinois!sm , the Commission’s groundbreaking 529 prepaid college tuition program. Students and families have free access to a wealth of financial aid and college planning information at ISAC’s family of websites available at


Paul Palian
Media Affairs
Illinois Student Assistance Commission
100 W. Randolph Street, Ste. 3-200
Chicago, IL 60601
312-814-3679 Direct
312-590-9970 Cell
ppalian (at)

The Historical Bugalow and Green Home Expo

I attended the Historical Bungalow ad Green Home Expo today held at the Merchandise Mart. There was a lot of info on restoring bungalows as well as making them energy efficient. I was pleasantly surprised to see a local business there. Here are some products and services that stood out and require further investigation

Chatham Paint and Supply- local paint store
The Glam Can- Indoor/Outdoor mountable trash receptable
Molly Meyer- Green roof contactor/consultant
Tankless Water Heater- hot product at show

All the vendors listed above are available to come out for presentations.

'Black Wall Street' hit hard by sewer project

When Stephanie Hart was frustrated that a massive construction project outside her Brown Sugar Bakery was devastating to her business, her fans on Facebook turned out to be saviors for her South Side store.

"I told the Facebook fans my plight, and they responded," Hart said of her shop at 328 E. 75th, which is famous for its caramel cakes. "When I would say, 'This construction project is killing me,' many of the fans would come in. It was encouraging."

That extra business drummed up through the social media Web site, in part, helped Hart endure during the $1.5 million sewer-line replacement project that is scheduled to wrap up Friday.

But those businesses on 75th Street -- between State and Cottage Grove in the Grand Crossing neighborhood -- were hit extremely hard by the sewer-line prep work, which started in late July. Street parking was eliminated during the project, and even water service was cut off at one point, business owners said.

Hart said her bakery lost 30 percent of its revenues the first week after the city closed 75th. Business dropped 75 percent by the third week of the project. She is only now seeing business come back -- but slowly.
Read the whole thing. Read about the Black Wall Street project and what their involvement could mean for 75th Street's "Renaissance Row". In addition to the actions of BERA (Business and Economic Revitalization Association) and Ald. Lyle to help the businesses on 75th Street during this difficult time of sewer repairs.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Precious- A movie that requires a community discussion

I had the opportunity to see an advance screening of this movie. Not for children but I believe that the themes in this movie need to be discussed as a community.

Mayor Daley: Economy Could Affect Debate Over Wal-Mart

At a news conference on the city's dire budget situation, the mayor said the economy is making some aldermen think hard about the jobs Wal-Marts could bring.

DALEY: It creates jobs and people working and they will have to come to grips with that.

But Alderman Scott Waguespack says just because the city's struggling to bring in jobs doesn't mean City Council will drop its issues with Wal-Mart.
Well there is no Olympics to worry about now. The next task is to reduce the deficit of our city government and bring in those jobs. Hopefully instead of outright opposition we can get one with bringing Wal-Mart in and hopefully resolving any issues that keep Wal-Mart from developing the site at 83rd & Stewart.

Here's more on the budget situation of the city from the Sun-Times:
What do you do when you’re a 20-year incumbent with a personal low approval rating and a record-high budget shortfall?

How do you wipe out $550 million in red ink without infuriating voters already fuming about sky-high parking meter rates tied to a 75-year lease that got off to a disastrous start?

Mayor Daley is confronting those gnawing questions by rolling the dice.

Instead of raising taxes, fines or fees in 2010, he’s risking the bond rating used to determine city borrowing costs by doing what he said he would never do: raiding reserve funds generated by city asset sales.

The mayor’s public argument for the reversal is that Chicago taxpayers are at the end of their rope.

“I understand that times are still tough for people, and I don’t feel right asking them to pay for more city government right now,” the mayor said Thursday.
Ald. Lyle was quoted:
“The [2011] election is coming —and it’s not just coming for him. It’s coming for 50 aldermen,” said Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th).

“When the parking meter issue came up, the first thing people were saying is, ‘You have these reserves. Use them.’ There is a potential for a problem later. But going to taxpayers and saying we need more money now is a bigger risk. . . . We would get killed out here for even suggesting it,” she said.
Read the whole thing!

2 wounded in South Side shooting

A 14-year-old boy and a companion were shot Thursday night by three men who approached them on a South Side street, police said.

At about 11:15 p.m., officers responded to shots fired in the 7000 block of South Indiana Avenue, said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro.

There a teen was found with two gunshot wounds to his leg, Alfaro said, and was taken to Comer Children's Hospital in "stable" condition.

Another male victim, described as in his 20s, suffered a graze wound to his leg, Alfaro said.
More from the Sun-Times:
The victims, 20-year-old Keith Davis and a 14-year-old boy were standing on the sidewalk when a gray or silver car pulled up and three males -- all of whom were armed -- got out, according to a Grand Crossing District police lieutenant.

The suspects asked the two, “Where’s the weed?’’ and when the victims said they didn’t have any the three--who appeared to be in their teens or late 20s -- started walking back to the car, the lieutenant said.

One or more of the trio then turned and began firing, striking the boy twice in the right leg and grazing Davis also in the right leg, according to the lieutenant. After they were shot, the victims -- who are not related -- ran to 6948 S. Indiana Ave. where police responded.

The boy was taken to University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital where he was in “stable” condition and Davis was treated on the scene, according to the lieutenant. No one else was hurt and the car fled southbound on Indiana.
According to a police lieutenant, the suspects one of the suspects were wearing a brown baseball cap and jacket. They may be driving around in a silver Chevy Impala or Malibu. Also this suspect is said to be about 200 pounds. From what I can tell in any accounts I have found (primarily thru EveryBlock) there were no suspects in custody as of 1:30 AM this morning. Calumet area detectives are investigating.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

US Mortgage Relief Corporation -- RAID!

Please note: the following were just observations...please check the news for any hard facts.  If anyone has any knowledge, however, we are interested. However, please note that we do not publish libel.

As we were picking up our child from daycare, we saw several personnel from the US Postal Inspectors office at  the office of US Mortgage Relief Corporation, 211 E. 79th Street  (it has the green walls...i believe it used to be an HR Block office until it moved).

If you have had any business dealings with US Mortgage Relief Corporation, we currently do not have an official contact for you to get information for your situation. Our best guess is to go to the US Postal Inspector's website. Here is the contact infomation for the Chcago office:


433 W HARRISON ST RM 50190
CHICAGO IL 60669-2201
Phone : 877-876-2455

We hope nobody suffers due to this situation.

City employee indicted in 'booze cruise' theft

An employee of the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services has been charged with official misconduct, forgery and attempted theft, accused of using public money to buy supplies for a "booze cruise"-style bus trip for her friends and co-workers, the Cook County state's attorney said today.

Karen Huff, 50, works as a project coordinator at the Chatham Senior Citizen Satellite Center and was in court this morning, where she pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to a statement by the state's attorney's office.

An indictment alleges that Huff forged two supervisors' signatures on a form to buy party trays from a local store to serve on the bus trip. One of the supervisors realized something was amiss when the store sent an invoice to the office and the supervisor saw that someone had forged a signature to pay for the food.

A search of Huff's computer yielded a flyer publicizing the bus trip and investigators found that trays similar to those purchased were served on the "booze cruise."
UPDATE 6:29 PM Sun-Times has more on this story:
A flier recovered from Huff’s city computer by the inspector general’s office allegedly revealed that Huff had planned a bar-hopping “booze cruise” beginning at 7 p.m. on that day, at a cost of $35-a-head.

To feed those aboard the chartered coach bus, Huff allegedly ordered 96 pieces of chicken and party trays filled with deli meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables using a $544.85 “materials or service request” bearing the phony signatures of two of her supervisors at the Chatham Senior Satellite Center.

The food was allegedly picked up from a Far South Side Jewel by Huff’s boyfriend. Jewel employees were told to send the bill to the city, prosecutors said.

“According to one woman who attended the `booze cruise’... three bars/lounges were visited during the course of the trip. And the food was similar to that which Huff’s boyfriend had picked up that same day, including finger sandwiches, chicken and vegetable trays,” assistant state’s attorney William E. Conway said in a court proffer that noted that the Chatham center had “no events” that weekend.

The food bill went unpaid until February, 2008, when Jewel contacted Huff. She allegedly paid with a money order signed, “Chicago Department of Aging.” But Jewel had already faxed a copy of the request to Huff’s supervisor, who discovered the allegedly forged signatures.

During a bond hearing Wednesday, Huff pleaded not guilty. Bond was set at $100,000. Her attorney, John Muldoon, refused to comment.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Family and Support Services said: “We have initiated disciplinary proceedings against two employees. They have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings.”
Officials would provide no information on the second employee.

VIDEO: Artist Kerry James Marshall

On Chicago Tonight from October 6th. This black arist discusses why he chooses in spite of his success as an artist to remain in the Bronzeville neighborhood. His answer may well be very important for people in the 6th Ward and in other black communities in the city.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chatham and the Nation of Islam

It isn't widely known but a portion of Chatham as we know it was owned by the nation of Islam. The Chatham Village Cooperatives and the surrounding buildings including the mall are located on land that was once owned by the Nation of Islam. The land was seized by the government and was slated for public housing.

Also, the Nation of Islam has owned numerous building in our neighborhood that include:
Capt Hardtimes formerly Shabazz Bakery
7900 Champlain formerly Sister Clara Muhammed School
Senior Suites 8300 S Cottage formerly Salaam Restaurant
Family Dollar 8400 S Cottage formerly Your Supermarket
7801 S Cottage
I requested pictures from CROE but did not receive a response. So do you feel they have a right to reclaim property they once owned regardless of the circumstance in which they lost it?

PHOTO: Minimalist block club sign

Location: King Drive & 88th Street, Chicago, IL 60619, USA

A clear sign with blue lettering found at King Drive and 88th Place. I wish I got a better picture than this. Hopefully if you click the pic it will be in better resolution.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ex-stickup man teaches kids to stay out of jail

Location: S Michigan Ave & E 74th St, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
The school referenced in the article used to be housed on State Street; you can see a remnant of the sign on that building.

Ex-stickup man teaches kids to stay out of jail :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Mark Brown

Shared via AddThis

CTA fares to go up, express routes and operation hours cut

The CTA's plan to close a $300 budget deficit. Two local routes that will be affected is the X3 King Drive and the X4 Cottage Grove.

The major changes would include:
• Basic train fares to $3 from $2.25.

• Basic bus fares to $2.50 from $2.25.

• Express bus fares to $3 from as little as $2.25 now.

• Full fare 30-day passes to $110 from $86.

• Seven-day passes to $30 from $23.

In addition, express bus service would no longer be available on nine routes: X3, X4, X9, X20, X49, X54, X55, X80 and 53 AL.

Hours of operation also would be reduced on 41 other bus routes, generally in the early morning and late night. Each would lose between 25 minutes and about three hours of service a day, with a few routes even more.

In addition, buses and trains would run less frequently. Effective Feb. 7, the CTA is proposing to eliminate 827,000 hours of bus service (or 13.7 percent), and 57,803 hours of rail service (or 9.8 percent) across all bus routes and rail lines. These reductions would be spread across the day to affect the lease [SIC] number of customers, the CTA said.
I will also refer you to the CTA Tattler which talks about the proposed fare hikes and express bus and operation hours cuts.

The first link that takes you to Chicago Breaking News posted an image of the notice of public hearing regarding the 2010 budget. One of these hearings takes place at South Shore Cultural Center @ 7059 South Shore Drive on November 3, 2009 at 6 PM. An informational meeting on proposed fare hikes and service cuts will be held at the Austin Town Hall @ 5610 W. Lake Street on October 29, 2009 at 6 PM. Those are opportunities to learn more, but also to speak your mind!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Park Manor Theater

Location: 321 E 69th St, Chicago, IL 60637, USA

Another old movie house to be mindful of. I found this place thru Cinema Treasures and it claimed this theater was demolished long ago, but if you look at this image via Google Street View it looks like it may still be erect.

If this is the former Park Manor Theater @ 321 E. 69th Street between Calumet and Prairie Avenues, then it's a long way from being demolished. In fact it appears to be home to a church just like the Grove Theater. The difference between this theater and the Grove is only a matter of seats 300 for the Park Manor Theater vs. 1800 seats at the Grove. They were open a decade apart with this theater open in 1914 and Grove open by 1926.

Due to its size I would refer to this place as a nickelodeon. Nickelodeon is not only the name of the famous cable channel for children but what early small neighborhood theaters were referred to in the early part of the 20th century. In fact admissions to such theaters was only a nickel and the most competitive theaters had a musician who played either an organ or a piano.

Now nickelodeon may not be an appropriate term for the former Park Manor Theater. It may well be an intermediary toward the much larger movie palaces that seated more than 1000 people with balconies that played host to film audiences during most of the 20th century. Again the only reason I use that term with that theaters is because it was a theater that served only 300 and for the most part nickelodeons were considered nothing more than storefront movie theaters.

To know about other small movie theaters in the area I will refer you to this post I wrote back in June about the Burnside Theaters at 93rd & Cottage Grove. It was a small theater similar to the Park Manor both opened in the 1910s (Burnside opened in 1911). Both were also closed in the 1950s (Park Manor in 1950 and Burnside by 1951).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

PHOTOS: Michigan lights are back on!!!

A follow-up to Thursday's post with pictures of a dark Michigan Avenue. The lights were back on Friday night!

Looking North on Michigan Avenue with bright lights!
I never had the opportunity to photograph the light fixtures attached to the streetlights. They were installed probably about late August and Michigan Avenue has never seemed brighter. Walking on the sidewalks I can only imagine is now less dreary.

On Michigan Avenue again from 97th Street looking toward 95th Street. Bright lights once again!
BTW, here's 98th Street. It's dark unfortunately, but if Michigan Avenue is lighted up then 98th west of Michigan will be lighted up as well.

Also, I never called the bureau of lighting. In fact I never thought about calling anyone at least before JP posted his story about the sidewalk on his block. It's something I'm going to keep in mind perhaps when I snap anymore pictures of streetlight outages I can have more to say.

Foster Bank sees profits as other minority banks struggle

What would this mean in terms of the city's black-owned banks. We see that Highland Community Bank (one of four black-owned banks located on west 87th Street) is facing loan woes!
In his office on the Far North Side of Chicago, Foster Bank Chief Executive Paul Byungtag Kim maps out a growth plan that many lenders these days couldn't contemplate.

The $584.6 million-asset bank recently told the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. that it's interested in bidding on failed institutions.

Last month Foster also applied for permission from Virginia banking regulators to open a Washington, D.C.-area branch that would cater to the large Korean population. It helps that Foster, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary, is turning a profit.

Nationwide, U.S. minority banks lost money in the first half, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The regulator defines a minority bank as one in which 51 percent or more of the institution's stock is owned by blacks, Asians, Hispanics or Native Americans. Also, banks are considered minority if most of the board is minority and if the community it serves is mostly minority.

In Illinois, of 15 minority banks, seven reported losses in the first half of 2009.
There are two black-owned banks in the 6th Ward. Seaway Bank has it's flagship branch in the 6th on east 87th Street and Illinois Service Federal Bank has a branch at 87th and King Drive. That reminds me, you can find this info in the recently distributed Aldermanic newsletter:
Illinois Service Federal Savings & Loan is celebrating its 75th year of operation.  Opened in 1934 in a 1 room office on 47th & State, with $7000.00 in deposits, the bank now has 2 branches ( 46th & King and our branch at 87th & King) with a total of more than $133 million dollars in deposits. The legacy of the 13 African American businessmen who wanted to create a Savings & Loan where Blacks could obtain mortgages is all around you as you drive through Chicago's South Side. When Blacks were denied mortgages to buy property in Chatham, South Shore, Park Manor, Englewood, etc., they could and did turn to ISF.  75 years later and still supporting our community, ISF welcomes your patronage. For more information go to

P.S.  ISF was never in danger during the most recent banking meltdowns because it didn't engage in predatory/risky loans.  
Seaway was said to be in the same boat so this is excellent news for certain!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Keeping the City accountable

Location: S Calumet Ave & E 80th St, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
EDIT: I talked with Rosemary McDaniel at the 6th ward meeting last night, so I am hopeful we'll have a resolution soon.

Here's another 311 dilemma. I called this probably June, if not earlier. Even called the Alderman's office. I tried again August 28, this time got a reference number. But so far , NOTHING has been done. (A follow up call to 311 had referred it to Dept. of Transportation, but as I said, no VISIBLE work has been done. Not even a sign or spray paint!)

At this point (with fall here and winter soon approaching), there are some SERIOUS threats to human life:
  • The leaves are falling, and can cover the hole. Someone, especially the many elderly,can fall and hurt themselves. A lawsuit waiting to happen.
  • The hole is right above the water pipe leading to my home. If water comes in and freezes the pipe, we will have no water. Another lawsuit waiting to happen.
  • The gravel along the sidewalk is also starting to seep in. The small hole will become a HUGE problem. More tax money unnecessarily wasted.
History note: the city side of the lawn experienced a pipe burst. The city fixed the problem, and eventually repaired the lawn. But the sidewalk collapse is happening on top of that pipe, as I mentioned. Not saying it's connected, but very coincidental.

I just e-mailed the alderman's office, so we'll see if any action is taken.

This is relatively minor, compared to Worlee's previous ordeal. And when I first called, I was only expected one of those work horses to be put up until they would have time to fix it. But I think 4 months is enough time.

Let's hope the city has learned its lesson and acts on it SOON.

CAPCC on the 6th Ward montly meeting Thursday night

That post tackles a number of subjects covered at that meeting, but I want to focus on the property at 7801 S. Cottage Grove:
The property known as 7801 South Cottage Grove was discussed with the interested party of the Nation of Islam with Ron Garner as architech seeking a needed $3.5 million in rehab funding to rejuvenate the building.
Does this mean that there are now three interested parties who have proposals for this property? In addition to the Leaks and Bren Sheriff?

GCA: Criminal activity on 87th Street

An e-mail from the Greater Chatham Alliance:
I did a random survey of my neighbors (after the member got the 87th street alert yesterday).

Two neighbors have been burglarized in the 60th block of East 87th Street two weeks ago.

My house was hit on last Monday. They took an old laptop, DVDs - even Roots Collectors Edition & The Inauguration - and a class ring, so I guessed they would be young men or even teens.

Do you, or even the Security Chairman have any details regarding Illinois Law? What guns are legal to protect a home? Hand Gun? Shot Gun? Are there any specific laws regarding protecting one's home which may be of help in circulating? I began researching this past weekend - I guess my question boils down to when is it legal to shoot and do they have to be inside the property. The laws read vaguely. In short, can you blow someone away protecting your home.

While I did not grow up in Chatham, I began riding the 87th Street bus at 13 from my school to an internship downtown by way of the South Shore neighborhood. My Great Uncle and Aunt also owned on Wabash in the fifties and we spent Sunday dinners at their home well until they passed in the 1980's. Many of my friends also grew up in Chatham, so the decline of the stability is very disheartening.

I don't want to accuse a random vehicle, but recently I've seen a white pick-up truck around at different times. They may be totally innocent, but something just struck me, because they were driving slowly and I've seen them a few times. Something is sticking with me on this.
Decline of the stability? It brings back this post I wrote back in August about whether or not Chatham is a thriving residential community. It might open up another idea for an open blog post this weekend.

CBA Highlights Significance of Black Entrepreneurship

Citizen Newspaper published Sept. 22nd, 2009:
As the Chatham Business Association (CBA) gets ready to celebrate 37 years of community service at its upcoming gala fundraiser entitled, “Restore, Realize, and Live the Dream,” a retired history professor highlighted Black entrepreneurship at the organization’s regular monthly meeting and said CBA members stand on the success of other pioneer African- American business owners.

Dr. Christopher Reed, from Roosevelt University, touted past and present Blackowned businesses such as the Illinois Service Federal, Supreme Life Insurance Company, Seaway Bank, Binga Bank, Victory Life Insurance, as examples of how Chicago gained its reputation as a mecca for Black-owned businesses during the 19th and 20th centuries. Many of them, including Victory Life Insurance, Supreme Life, and the Binga Bank, were located in the Black metropolis area (known as Bronzeville) from 26th Street to 55th Street between Wentworth to Cottage Grove before businesses such as Seaway Bank and Independence Bank made their mark in Chatham.

Reed said the success in Chatham is an affirmation of the dreams that started in the Black Metropolis. “You are doing something that is part of a tradition,” Reed told CBA members. “Just as they succeeded until the Great Depression, you’re going to succeed as this recession is ending.”

With Black-owned businesses such as Seaway Bank and Illinois Service Federal Bank still standing strong, Reed said Chatham has the potential to thrive. “More and more Blacks can own their own businesses but they have to convince themselves of [those possibilities],” he stated.
Go to that page and read the whole thing!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

PHOTOS: Why are the streetlights out on Michigan?

Location: Roseland, Chicago, IL, USA
The streetlights have been off since Wednesday night at least!

Looking south towards the Bishop Ford Expressway

Looking north from 97th Street towards 95th.

I took a shot of this CTA Bus Stop at 97th Street looking south on Michigan

Looking east toward Indiana on 97th Street. At least there are lights on going east.

A dangerous afternoon...

Location: E 79th St & S Prairie Ave, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
Today was a dangerous afternoon in the neighborhood.  It just a few minutes/ less than a mile,  i saw a number of problems:

- A single car crashed into a tree on 78th, just East before Indiana

- A car crash on 79th just west of Prairie.  A fire truck & an ambulance blocked the eastbound lane.

- The alley along the 7700 block of King Drive (west side) was blocked by a police vehicle, and I believe yellow police tape.

Any one with details on these incidents?