Monday, May 31, 2010

OPEN BLOG: Would you like to do a meet-up?

The first idea is to do a meet-up at our local movie house, Chatham 14.

In 2009, JP proposed to do a meet-up for Star Trek. Unfortunately that didn't get off the ground but we still hope to do something and support our neighborhood movie house.

If there is interest, we will have to work out some details and logistics. JP seems to favor going to local restaurants and then go to a show. That's one start although I would forgo that and just have the meet-up at the theater itself.

Also we may have to decide whether or not this should be a matinee or evening show. We also have to decide if this is something that can include either the whole family from children to the elderly or at the very least should we only do an event for adults.

In addition while we want to encourage neighbors to join this meet-up it WILL be open to anyone who reads this blog, especially if they live in the Chicago area and looking for somewhere to go.

QUESTION: Would you be interested in a Chatham 14 meet-up? What movies would you like to see? In answering that second question you don't have to limit yourself to current releases. You can propose an old movie that has already graced the silver screen in the past.

Memorializing our veterans

We at the Sixth Ward Blog want to honor those who gave their lives for our freedoms, and those around the world.

We appreciate their service.

This particular Memorial Day hits us hard in our community as a veteran we have to now remember, Thomas Wortham IV, lost his life in the line of duty.  However, it wasn't in the Middle East or on our streets in patrol -- it was serving his family and community, and struck down at a very young age.

We thank him him and many others for their sacrifices, and hope each of us in the community can honor their sacrifices by making our own community, and the world around us, a better place.

If you have any stories, photos, etc. of our troops(those who have gone on, and those still with us), please let us know

Thank you!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Chatham Food Market Cookout Today!

Chatham Food Market, 327 E. 79th (at Calumet & 79th) is having a Memorial Day Cookout this afternoon.

Stop by this afternoon (Sunday) and check it out!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ready for memorial day

One evening I was walking through the neighborhood and found some neighbors place these patriotic ribbons on lamp posts on the 9700 block of South Prairie.

How are you commemorating this coming Memorial Day?

Local Memorial Day Food Options

During the Memorial day weekend go purchase good from the following stores/restaurant.

Brown Sugar Bakery- Cakes, Pies, baked goods

Dat Donut- Some of the best donuts

Chatham Food Market- Get all your grocery items

Wings Around the World- 25 flavors from 9 countries. Great for those days you don't want to cook and holiday parties

Quench- Turkey Burgers, Jerk Chicken tacos

Soul Vegetarian East- Take your vegetarian and vegan friends out for a holiday meal

Lem's Barbeque- Some of the best ribs in Chicago

Reggios Pizza- Chicago Southside style pizza

Capt. Curts Barbeque- Some of the best ribs in Chicago

There may be more and if you are aware, please let us know.

McDade Classical School staff in danger!

I will post separately some reflections of the CPS Board meeting, including suggestions for parents and community members who want to speak at such meetings..

My one-line summary is that they McDade community was the most well represented at the CPS Board meeting, with 18 individuals standing up to support their efforts to keep 2.5 staff positions. They were well-organized, and have a passion for their school and education in general.

Here's a list of actions they have done/are doing:

So far, this is what McDade has done to combat the proposed budget cuts, which will include the elimination of the assistant principal and 1.5 teaching positions.

1) The parents have filled out petitions and collected names (parents and community members) to present at the board meeting tomorrow.

2) Students have written letters to Ron Huberman stating their positions on the proposed budget cuts.

3) Parents have written letters and emails to Ron Huberman and various members of the Board (see attached letter).

4) Parents have logged on to and sent emails to state legislators.

5) Tomorrow (Wed. May 26), a bus load of parents will leave at McDade at 6:30 a.m. to attend the board meeting at 10:30 a.m. to participate in the public participation segment of the board meeting.
Also, a letter sent to CPS CEO Ron Huberman
Ron Huberman, Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools
125 South
Clark Street
Chicago, IL. 60603

Dear Mr. Huberman,

The members of the McDade Classical School Family are urging you to reconsider the proposed reduction in staff at our school. We understand that the Chicago Public School system is currently facing a $600 million budget deficit, and all schools in the system must join in the effort to reduce spending. The cuts that you are proposing at McDade, however, will have far-reaching consequences beyond what can be measured in dollars and cents.

McDade Classical School has been a beacon of achievement in education on the Southside of Chicago for over four decades, evidenced by the annual ratio of applicants to available spaces at the school. Our students have consistently maintained high academic standards, while receiving limited resources, due to the dedication of our family of teachers, administrators, parents and support staff whose doors are always open to feedback from all.

With the rising level of violence on the South side of Chicago and in the Public Schools, McDade Classical School is a shining example of excellence that should be recognized and maintained.

We are not blind to the fiscal realities that the public school system is currently facing; in fact, McDade serves as a prime example of how a school is able to perform at a high level with limited funding. Once we became aware that your proposal included eliminating such positions as our assistant principal, we could not in good conscience sit by and allow this to happen without making you aware of how devastating this would be to our school. This reduction in force will negatively affect the academic standards at McDade.

If budget cuts are absolutely necessary at McDade, we would like to make the following recommendations to the Board:

= Reduce the total number of positions at McDade by 1/2 of a position
= Require the Assistant Principal to split duties between administrative and
James E. McDade
Classical School
8801 South Indiana Avenue
Chicago, IL. 60619
Local School Council,
Parent Teacher Association
Attorney, Roderick Sawyer
Mr. Jerod Lockhart
Ms. C. Lynn White
Attorney, Montel Gayles
Detective, Gregory Auguste
Detective, Donna McElroy


We understand what is at stake in terms of the education of our children and certainly would like to participate in constructive conversation to look at options. We look forward to working withthe Chicago Board of Education in determining an acceptable outcome.

Member of McDade Classical School Family
While many may argue about eliminating positions at failing schools, McDade is one of the top schools in the entire state. According to the SunTimes ranking, McDade is on par with Kenilworth school. Note that Kenilworth is one of the richest suburbs in the nation. So if we can compete with them, does that not show success?

Let's support this jewel of education and great reflection of what Chatham is about!

The World is Yours daycare

We've talked about the positive aspects of more day care centers in the neighborhood.

But isn't the phrase "The world is yours" popularized by the movie Scarface, starring Al Pacino? And haven't the ganster rappers taken on Scarface as a role model?
i remember even Master P mentioning Scarface on "Dancing With The Stars", of all places.
While parents might recognize the phrase, is that really a good association for a day care center? Aren't these day cares supposed to be places where we develop kids who will not be attracted to thug life?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Taste Chatham- The Pan African Cuisine Destination

Our community has become a destination point for Pan African Cuisine, dishes inspired from ingredients indigenous to the continent of Africa. So during the holiday weekend go out and taste Chatham. Here are some restaurants to try

Yassa African Restaurant - African Fusion
716 E 79th St
(773) 488-5599
Dishes from Senegal and other African Countries

Cafe Trinidad- Afro Caribbean
555 E. 75th Street
Traditional Caribbean dishes

Soul Vegetarian East- Vegetarian Soul Food
205 E 75th Street
(773) 224-0104
Traditional Soul Food with a twist

Army & Lou's Restaurant- Southern Soul Food
422 E. 75th St.
Traditional Soul Food dishes

Izola's Restaurant-Soul Food
522 E 79th St.
(773) 846-1484
Traditional Soul Food dishes

Captain's Hard Times Diner- Soul Food
436 E. 79th St
(773) 487-2900
Traditional Soul Food dishes

If I missed any, please feel free to add your favorite.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Remembering Mary Pegue Pullins (1901-2010)

Alderman Lyle alerted us about one of our oldest residents passing away. She sent us a link to her obituary, appearing the Chicago Sun Times.

Mary Pegue Pullins came to Chicago to make her fortune, becoming a pioneering steelworker and union leader who didn't mince her words -- she once admonished her preacher nephew that if she wanted to gamble at the greyhound track, that was her right.

She was one of Chicago's most-senior citizens. Her family said she was 108 years old. In 1961, she registered her birthdate with the Chicago Board of Elections as July 3, 1901.

Mrs. Pullins died May 21 at her South Side home.

She sang with gospel great Thomas Dorsey and gave birth to a law enforcement officer, Richard Pegue, who was killed in the line of duty in 1946 at age 25, according to records. That officer begat a beloved Chicago disc jockey, "dusties" spinner Richard Pegue. He passed away last year.

Hard work and faith kept Mrs. Pullins going, as well as positive affirmations. Her family plans to decorate the lining of her casket with her motto: "Forward Forever, Backward Never."

Mrs. Pullins was born Mary Magdelene Sykes in Monroe County, Miss.

One of the many things her family will miss about her is her unofficial role as their genealogical librarian and witness to history.

She told her family that her father's grandfather was sold to the Sykes Plantation, where the family got its name, her niece Rhoda Hatch said.

Mrs. Pullins' uncle wound up buying the land where slave ancestors worked, a source of great pride for her.

"That was always meant to kind of engender drive in those of us who were descendants," said her nephew, the Rev. Marshall Hatch.

Mrs. Pullins' mother was her role model. "Her mom was a little wisp of a woman who was very firm," said her nephew. "When she felt this white man was trying to cheat her children and underweigh the cotton her children picked, she had to be restrained."

Mrs. Pullins came to Chicago because it was "a promised land" for Southern migrants, her nephew said.

She worked as a maid and played "policy" -- the numbers. When she won, she sent for her brother Elijah -- Hatch's father -- to join her. Two more siblings

When her nephew was a young, earnest preacher, he tried to talk her out of gambling. "I said, 'Aunt Mary, you don't have any business going to the dogtrack at your age,' and she said, 'Now, baby, I won the policy in 1939, and I sent for your daddy, and your daddy met your mama under the L tracks on 43rd Street. Now policy is the reason you're in the world, baby. The father's in everything.' "

In 1920, she married her first husband, Murray Pegues. (The family later dropped the "s" at the end of Pegues.) She gave birth to a son, Richard Earl, in 1921. He survived service in World War II but died on her 45th birthday when a rape suspect overpowered the Park District officer and shot him with his own gun.

His son -- her grandson --grew up to be a beloved icon of black radio, "dusties" DJ Richard Pegue.

After her first husband died, she married Samuel Pullins, a hotel valet and steelworker. She began working at U.S. Steel in World War II and became a union organizer. "She said she made the bullets that killed [Italian dictator Benito] Mussolini," her niece said.

A white foreman once called her 'sister,' and she replied with what her niece called a "Mary-ism," saying: "'My daddy never told me I had a brother who looked like you. If you want to talk to me, call me by my name or [employee] number."

Even into her 90s, she worked as a caregiver for some people who were a decade or more younger, her niece said.

She stopped driving at 96.

"She turned in her license," her niece said. "An elderly man ran into some
people on the street, and she said old people shouldn't have licenses."

Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th) brought her to City Hall to be recognized for her
achievements by the Department on Aging. "She told the mayor about his father,
and who the mayor was before that, and who the mayor was before that," said
Lyle. "She could recite all of this history."

When she arrived at her polling place to vote for Barack Obama for president in 2008, Lyle recalled she said: " 'I'm voting for that smart young man. God ordained this.'"

She was a longtime member of Christ Universal Temple and she always wore a hat, every day.

A public viewing is from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today at Carter Funeral Chapel, 2100 E. 75th St. Visitation is at 10 a.m. Friday, with services at 11 a.m. at the chapel. Burial will be in Lincoln Cemetery, Blue Island.

She is also survived by a great-granddaughter and two great-grandsons.

Forgot to mention from the May 2010 newsletter

If I had a copy of the May newsletter I could've gotten this out in a timely fashion.


The next public meeting of the Police Board is scheduled for Thursday, May 20, 2010, at 7:30 p.m., Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 South Michigan Avenue.

Members of the public are invited to attend and address questions or comments to the Board. The Superintendent of Police and the Chief Administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority also attend the meeting.

Prior sign-up is required of those wishing to address the Board contact the Board’s office by 4:30 p.m. of the day before the meeting to add your name to the list of speakers.

In addition to receiving input from the community, the Board reports on disciplinary actions and other matters, and receives a report from the Superintendent.
In light of what's been going on in this community since during the spring I think we need to continue to encourage residents to make visits to the various boards of city government. Especially the Chicago Police Board and to be sure I never thought of them as having open meetings. Here is a schedule of meetings for the Chicago Police Board, I hope we can make more in the future!

Also did anyone reading this blog attend this Police Board meeting on May 20th? Let us know in the comments or send an e-mail, please. ;)

Reminder: tomorrow's pre-emptive prayer strike at Ruggles School

Just a reminder about tomorrow's pre-emptive prayer strike....

Now, i know there are many who are sick of "rallies" and want "action." To be honest, this event may disappoint. For this event, we would focus more on the ACTS prayer (adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication) rather than planning to do this or that .

The hope is that people will build prayer (especially for our community) into their lives, and  their daily physical walk becomes a walk with God, where we not only talk but also listen for Him in our day to day lives.  From that, He will guide us to appropriate action.

The other hope is that you will see neighbors who have a similar spiritual perspective, and you can connect with them for future action (in addition to prayer).

JP Paulus and his family will be there. How about you?
A pre-emptive prayer strike against the violence before it happens in our community!

“Back to the Basics”
A Praying City - Chicago

What: Neighbors simply gathering to pray for our neighborhood before summer begins.

When: Friday, May 28, 2010, 6:30pm – 7:30 pm
(but many will gather by 6pm, and continue later in the evening)

Where: Ruggles Elementary School Park, 7831 S. Prairie, Chicago IL 60619
(on 79th, 2 blocks west of King Drive, 4 blocks east of the Dan Ryan)

Bring family and a friend – or 5!

For more information, contact Ms. Brown at 773-712-4203

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 2010 - 6th ward monthly newsletter

I realized last night after recieving a couple of e-mails last night for either future ward meetings, ward summer events, and even an anti-violence rally scheduled for tonight that I had yet to recieve the newsletter via e-mail. As a matter of fact it was noted in an earlier iteration of the newsletter that there was an error on the time of the next (June 12th @ 10 AM) ward meeting. Although it was noted that this iteration was handed out at the May 5th ward meeting and I see it has been corrected.

I found this version online at Ald. Lyle's official website. You can check out earlier newsletters here as well.

Lee Bey: School’s out for…ever at old Kennedy-King College

Photo by Lee Bey
Lee Bey's Vocalo blog documents the demolition of old Kennedy-King College located near 69th and Wentworth. In January his blog also let us know that the City Colleges of Chicago has slated this complex for demolition. The former site of KKC is expected to be green space.

Hmmm, green space? Not that we can go wrong with more green space, but I think we should look at more commercial uses for this site as well. What do you think this site should be used for?

Zipcars and I-Go racist?

Zipcars and I-Go have a system where residents can essentially "rent a car" for a day or even a few hours.

It helps the environment by not adding unnecessary cars, and saves people money by not having to maintain a vehicle (and insurance for days they aren't driving), as well as parking spaces, which in some parts of our neighborhood would be helpful.

Did you know that both companies have zip (as in zero) cars south of the 90-94 split, and east of I-57? I posted an entry on HR Block's "Best of Both Worlds", which this year, in practice was perceptually racist. Seems like a similar thing here, where the cars seem concentrated in white areas of the city.

While there are certainly some areas they should avoid, there are areas that are safer than the North Side where they have several locations! For example, my block is 4 times safer than where i used to live in Uptown!

Is there anyone out there that wants to advocate for Zipcars or I-Go?

Some potential areas include the parking lot near 87th & the Dan Ryan (many people park there anyway, to go to the El), Walgreen's at 75th & the Dan Ryan (it's fairly active, open 24 hours, and seems fairly safe)

Check the locations for Zipcars and I-Go, and let us know what you think.

Any other ideas for locations? Anyone else interested in participating?

Note: Levois wrote about this over 1 1/2 years ago, with a comment posted from I-Go
Hey there-
I handle marketing and communications for I-GO; a coworker of mine just flagged this post for me. As a matter of fact, we do maintain a car in your area, in the South Shore neighborhood, at 1809 E. 71st St. At present, it happens to be a Toyota Scion xB five-door station wagon. You can find out more about membership in I-GO and how to reserve that car (as well as any of the vehicles in our 200-car citywide fleet) by calling us at 773-278-4446 or going to our website at It's $75 to join ($25 for a credit and license check; $50 for initiation fee; $25 annually to renew), and most of our members reserve cars on a short-term hourly basis (although we do offer day rates as well that are competitive with rental agencies). (The hourly rates vary, but average around $8 or so.) I-GO pays for the gas, insurance, reserved parking, and maintenance. Our entire fleet is low-emission vehicles; about half of those are hybrids. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and urban congestion is a big part of our mission. Currently, we're in more than 30 neighborhoods in Chicago, Oak Park, and Evanston, and we've got just over 10,000 members -- a number that's been rapidly growing, in large part due to the ongoing energy crisis and rising cost of gas. The average car sharing customer saves thousands of dollars by giving up their car or by making a car-share vehicle their family's second car option. Check us out!

Craig Keller,
It's been over 18 months, and still nothing south of the I-90-94 split! There ar eplenty of places to house them, most notably the malls at 87th & the Dan Ryan, but also elsewhere in the community.

Maybe i-Go and/or Zipcar can sponsor a table at the 6th ward picnic this summer, and take some surveys as to where a truly local placement could be made.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Couple found trapped by their own junk!

From Chicago Breaking News...of a couple who were trapped by their own junk!

An elderly couple who authorities described as hoarders were found buried alive under mounds of trash in their South Side two-flat Monday night and may have been there for as long as three weeks, authorities said this morning.

"It (the residence) was packed from floor to ceiling," said Police Lt. Dale Kingsley.

Police conducting a well-being check at the request of a neighbor about 6:30 p.m. in the 1500 block of East 69th Street in the Grand Crossing neighborhood detected an overpowering odor and called the Fire Department to make a forced entry, police said.

A fire official on the scene said couple had not been heard from for three weeks and the 75-year-old woman had injuries that resembled rat bites. Both she and her 76-year-old husband were taken to Jackson Park Hospital in critical condition, but a nurse there said this morning their conditions were improved, although they still were in intensive care.

(more on the website)
Thankfully, they are still alive!

However, it's a stark reminder that we need to know our neighbors, and check in on them every so often.

We complain about trash...but we need to be humble enough sometimes to ask for help, and be generous (and not selfish) to give things to people who may need them. Or, if you need the money, work with someone to sell things on e-bay!

Services for Officer Wortham

Was updated in the round-up of Cole Park fellowship stories. The Sun-Times' Stella Foster offers a schedule more in keeping with what Ald. Lyle indicated it was:
A SAD REMINDER: Off-duty Police Officer Thomas Wortham IV, who was fatally shot last week on the South Side, during an armed robbery outside of his parents' home, will have visitation Thursday at the Leak and Sons Funeral Chapels, 7838 South Cottage Grove, 3 to 8 p.m. The funeral on Friday at the Trinity United Church of Christ with the wake at 10 a.m. and the service at 11 a.m.

This columnist sends deepest condolences to the family on the loss of this precious 30-year-old war veteran and police officer. I am just happy as heck that the alleged shooters have been arrested. Now, if they could only throw those merciless cowards six feet under the jail. The Leak family is donating their services. . . . as always for fallen policemen. That is so gracious of them to do so.

Fake cop can't fool real thing

This seems so incredibly tacky. I know that this case has nothing to do with what happened to Officer Wortham, but what this man did was in incredibly bad taste.
Herman Thompson, 41, of the 500 block of West 62nd, threatened to beat up a chef at Izola's Restaurant, 522 East 79th St., Saturday morning, according to charges filed by the Cook County state's attorney's office.

When Chicago Police arrived, he brandished handcuffs, told the officers he was a Cook County sheriff's officer and yelled at the chef to "take your --- to the kitchen!" according to a police report.

But Thompson couldn't produce a police badge, and the Sheriff's Department hasn't heard of him, according to the report.

Judge Laura Sullivan ordered Thompson -- who's charged with assault, impersonating a peace officer and trespassing -- held on bail of $15,000.

Evil that struck Wortham lurks around corner

Mary Mitchell:
No more than two weeks ago, I talked to Thomas Wortham III, the slain man's father.

I was in Cole Park for a press conference that was hastily called by the Rev. Jesse Jackson to bring attention to a spike in violence that was occurring in Chatham.

The Wortham home sits directly across the street from the park.

From his front doorway, the elder Wortham can see everyone from the walkers who come from the suburbs to use the walking track, to the young thugs who are trying to stake out a territory.

In recent months, there have been three shootings in or near the park.

"The people who did the shooting don't come to the park every day. They drive by. They are running by and are not the regular people who use this park. They come here because they know this park is neutral," Wortham told me that day.

So far two young men, Paris McGee and Toyious Taylor, have been charged with killing Wortham's only son.
They are being held without bond on charges of attempted robbery and murder.

None of these men lived in Chatham: Floyd lived in the 3700 block of South Princeton. McGee lived in th 6300 block of South Ada, and Taylor lived in the 4300 block of South Lamon.

Young men like these are urban terrorists who prey upon those they see as easy targets.
Let's keep Cole Park neutral. Let's never allow any thugs from outside this community to claim it. And let's also find a way to let them know that their activities will not be tolerated in Cole Park either.

Via Capitol Fax morning shorts!

Peace Rally at St. Marks Church

Thomas Wortham's death should not go without an appropriate community response, and demand for resources and services
that can ameliorate conditions that exist within the Chatham
community because of many social conditions that have been
unduly thrust upon the community.

Speakers will include:
- Chicago Alderman Freddrenna Lyle
- Reverend Jon E. McCoy
- The Avalon Park Community Council

The senseless violence in Chicago must stop; something can be done. Stand up and collectively let your voices and concerns be heard.


MAY 26th
6:00 PM

Monday, May 24, 2010

More stories about the Cole Park fellowship

UPDATE: The Alderman alerted us in the comments that the times for the wake and funeral was changed over at the Chgo Breaking News link below so the updates are reflected in the quote. Hopefully the schedule of events will be verified.

Well first this is first. Funeral arrangments have been made for the late Officer Thomas Wortham who was murdered across the streets from Cole Park last week:
Visitation is scheduled from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday at  Leak & Sons Funeral Home, 7838 S. Cottage Grove Ave. A wake is scheduled Friday at noon 10 Trinity United Church of Christ, 421 W. 95th St., with the funeral expected to begin at 1 p.m 11:30 a.m..  Burial will follow at Lincoln Cemetery in southwest suburban Alsip.
Next CBS2 has a report from yesterday's fellowship at Cole Park. This event was planned not long after the shootings in Cole Park during the month of April. The first warm day was when this was to take place. Unfortunately it took place without Wortham who was President of the Cole Park Advisory Council. The video report is accessible below.
Click picture to watch video

Here's more from the Chicago Tribune. They seem to discuss what I'm sure many believe may be the root of the violence occurring in this community:
Many longtime residents of Chatham, one of Chicago's best-known black middle-class neighborhoods, have grown concerned over the increasing crime they attribute to Chicago Housing Authority residents moving to the area. According to the agency, 118 families have used vouchers to relocate from public housing to Chatham. That is less than 1 percent of the neighborhood's households.

Lewis Jordan, the CHA's chief executive officer, said complaints that former public housing residents are responsible for an increase in crime in Chatham are unsupported by the facts.

Kassandra Scott-Ward, 59, was 8 years old when her family moved into their Chatham home. Back then, children knew where their teachers lived and neighbors raised chickens or horses and grew fruit trees in their yards.

Now, "these people have moved into a community without having a sense of community," Scott-Ward said.

Jordan said the distribution of former residents of CHA high-rises has not been concentrated in any particular area, but throughout the city.
Finally Mark Brown has a column:
People are already looking for ways to honor slain Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham IV, some even suggesting that Cole Park, where he served as president of the advisory council, be renamed for him instead of legendary singer Nat King Cole.

I would respectfully endorse an alternative suggestion, also involving the park, that seems more in keeping with the selfless life of service that Wortham led as a soldier, police officer and community leader.

In the weeks before his death, Wortham was working to secure the park and allow for the reopening of the basketball courts that had been shut down last month after a pair of shooting incidents.

Let's get that accomplished for him, immediately, even if it means starting out with a full-time police presence.

Returning that previously peaceful park to the people of Chatham should be our top priority, as it was to Wortham, both for the immediate benefit of the neighborhood's residents and for the symbolic impact of the broader community taking a stand that his death is not acceptable.
Finally a foundation offers the police officer's family with a check:
The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation on Saturday presented the family of slain officer Thomas Wortham IV with a check for $50,000.

Funded entirely through donations, the foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to honoring the lives and memories of fallen officers. Among its goals are providing support and financial assistance to families of officers killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty.
That article was short, but it should be noted that the check was presented to Wortham's family by the foundation's executive director and former Police Superintendent Phil Cline.

The Cole Park Unity Day-Update

The Cole Park Unity Day event was well attended. The crowd included politicians, police, community organizers and the most important attendees residents. the crowd was estimated at over several hundred.

A quick observation from JP, who attended with his daughter:
The vibe around the park was similar to when my family was looking to buy a house at 84th & Vernon. We decided to walk around the neighborhood, and walked to the Park.

There were families everywhere, peaceful...and great place where our family could fit.

The main differences from that first visit to Cole Park that i noticed were: "celebrities" and major city/state officials, police officers, and the several dozen bikers (in support of fellow biker, Tom Worthem,. My daughter, riding her tricycle, told some of them she wanted to join them. They all smiled, and added to the community feeling).
Here are a few pictures from the event.

The Black Star Project presents The Deborah Movement

The Deborah Movement
Women as Mothers, Prophetess, Judges, Warriors and Leaders Working to Eliminate Violence in Chicago
Wednesday Nights
The Black Star Project
3509 S King Drive, Ste 2B
Chicago, IL

Call Dorothy at 773.285.9600 for more information or

Sunday, May 23, 2010

City's Food Deserts Shrinking, But Far From Gone

Gallagher's report in 2006 found 633,000 Chicagoans lived in neighborhoods without major supermarkets, limiting their access to healthier and fresher foods. Since then, Gallagher found, the city's food deserts had shrunk by 1.4 square miles, benefiting nearly 24,000 people.

Since 2006, a new grocer, Food 4 Less, moved into West Englewood, affecting 307 blocks and roughly 40,000 people, the report found. But Chatham lost a Cub Foods outlet and a Dominick's store, reducing food access for nearly 142 blocks and about 16,000 people.

However, a Food 4 Less recently opened in Chatham, Gallagher said, but it was after data had been collected for the study.
The Cub Foods that was in Chatham was replaced by a Food4Less. Of course as this article indicated that was after the date had been collected for teh study.

I know the focus was largely on low-income areas, however, if you've been following the news surrounding Officer Wortham's death Chatham is considered a middle-class neighborhood. Far from being a low-income area.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

At the prayer vigil

To be honest, it didn't seem like too much like a prayer vigil (only about 10 minutes of prayer).

This was more of a show of support for the family and neighbors who knew Officer Worthem and his family. That's OK, because this was less than 24 hours after this happened, and healing and a sense of community are definite needs at this time.

Many people lingered after the prayer, and it seemed like neighbors were re-connecting with each other.

There will be a greater focus on the prayer aspect on Friday 28 at Ruggles school. Click the link for info. We encourage you to come out to that and to know your neighbors and listen to how the Lord wants to lead you in our community.

The violent world of police beat 624

A hub of crime in Chicago police beat 624 is located at the intersection of 79th & Cottage Grove:
The most violent part of Chicago? It's a section of Chatham, the largely middle-class, African-American neighborhood on Chicago's South Side that has long been a bastion of black lawyers, cops, plumbers and other professionals, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis has found.
An unwanted spotlight was cast on Chatham last week, when Thomas Wortham IV, an off-duty Chicago cop, was shot to death by robbers trying to steal his new motorcycle as he left his parents' home.

But the current epicenter of violence in Chicago sits five blocks north of there -- what the Chicago Police Department calls Beat 624.

The department divides the city into beats, 279 in all. And Beat 624 ranks No. 1 among them in violent crime for the first three months of 2010, according to the Sun-Times analysis, which takes into account the total number of major violent crimes reported -- all of the murders, sexual assaults, robberies, aggravated batteries and aggravated assaults in every police beat.

Beat 632, where Wortham was killed, ranked 17th.
Perhaps even more surprising, the analysis shows that three of Chicago's traditionally highest-crime police districts -- Englewood on the South Side and Austin and Harrison on the West Side -- didn't have any beats in the top 25. 
Beat 624 is bordered by 75th on the north, 80th on the south, King Drive on the west and Metra's railroad tracks on the east. But police say the violence is concentrated in a 24-block chunk of the beat, mainly along a spine of crime -- 79th Street, one of the South Side's main east-west routes.

Twenty-eight of the beat's 66 violent crimes were robberies. Two were murders, two were sexual assaults, and the rest included shootings, beatings and stabbings.

Police Cmdr. Eddie Johnson did his own analysis of the department's Gresham District when he took over there in 2008 and determined that 624 was "our worst beat."

"Our public violence -- robberies and shootings -- was extremely high, so I created a violence-suppression team, with a sergeant and eight officers," Johnson said.

He also formed a bicycle team whose officers are focusing on Beat 624, and he has assigned two foot-patrol officers to 79th and Cottage Grove, at the hub of crime.

Officers "have driven robberies down about 60 percent on that beat," Johnson said. "[Crime] is still higher than you want it to be. But, as bad as it is, we are seeing success."

Police sources said the department plans to deploy citywide crime-fighting units this summer to problem areas in Beat 624. Other citywide gang and narcotics units regularly operate in the Gresham District, the sources said.

Still, community leaders, retired cops, shopkeepers and others who live and work there said they believe the Police Department is understaffed in the Gresham District, emboldening the crooks in Beat 624.
I think this article is worth a full read.

From Chicago Breaking News, a short story about West Chatham's Bungalow District...
A South Side neighborhood has been named to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency says West Chatham Bungalow Historic District has made the list.

The National Park Service is recognizing the neighborhood that's bounded by Perry and Stewart avenues and 82nd and 79th streets.

The state says the district includes 260 brick bungalows. The neighborhood's bungalows were a favorite of working-class families and date back to between 1913 and 1930.
Nice to have some good news...even though it will be overshadowed by our tragedies.

This isn't the first time our historic bungalows have been designated. We posted about the South Park Manor District in 2008. There are signs which designate this area as such. The Chicago Bungalow Association has a PDF file which goes into more detail about that district.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Chatham Unity Day at Cole Park


More stories on Officer Thomas Wortham

This one from FOX Chicago:
Wortham had gone to see his parents “to show his dad his new bike,” said Lyle, who represented Wortham when he closed on a building in the neighborhood.

He’d also driven her around during one of her aldermanic campaigns, she said.

“To have people try to rob him of his motorcycle — to have that happen at his father’s house? I’m numb and heartbroken,” she said. “He was willing to put his life on the line for this country, only to have people who want nothing and are about nothing take his life. I’m just so angry about this.”

Wortham was active in his community. He was president of the Cole Park Advisory Council, a role he sought so he could “keep the park safe, enjoyable and well-stocked for the children of the neighborhood where he was raised,” Lyle said, and was involved in a “take back the park” effort planned for Sunday in response to recent shootings there.

Wortham was gunned down in front of the house where he grew up. His grandfather built it. It’s at the north end of Cole Park.
The shooting stunned neighbors of the Wortham family.

Miles Stewart, 48, was coming home from work on the back of a buddy’s bike Wednesday night. As he rounded the corner a block from the Wortham home, he said, “10 shots rang out.”

He said Wortham was on the ground in his motorcycle helmet and gear. Two of the would-be robbers were lying on the ground, he said, and two more jumped in a car and sped off, running Wortham over.

“I ran over there and went up to Thomas to help, and his dad told me to get away from his son,” Stewart said. “"His dad had two guns — a semi-automatic and a revolver, and he said, ‘They were robbing my son, and I shot them.’ ”

After Stewart identified himself as a family friend, Wortham’s father let him assist, he said.
There are other stories linked with this article. I won't excerpt but hopefully you might be interested in reading them.
BTW, John Kass talks about Daley's renewed call for more gun control:
A reporter asked the obvious question: Given the numbers of shootings in the city, isn't the handgun ban ineffective?

The question was more than fair. In Chicago, the only people who are confident in their 2nd Amendment rights to bear arms are the criminals, the cops and the politicians.

Law-abiding citizens can't own handguns. They don't have an army of bodyguards, as does Daley. Political hacks have guns. They get out the vote for his machine.

And the retired neighbor who's never been arrested in his life? Oh, no. If he has a gun, it would be anarchy in the streets, according to Daley.

Confronted with a logical question, here's what the mayor did: He picked up a rifle from the prop table of guns, raised it and began to babble.

"It's been very effective," said Daley of the handgun ban. "If I put this up your butt, you'll find out how effective it is. Let me put a round up your, you know."

The mayor of Chicago then went on to say if the justices were attacked by thugs with guns, they'd see things his way.

"Maybe they'll see the light of day," Daley said. "Maybe one of them will have an incident, and they'll change their mind overnight, going to and from work."
ABC 7 with a report on the murder of Thomas Wortham:

CBS2 has a report about Cole Park, the park is right across the street from where Officer Wortham was murdered. You can also click the pic to watch the video.

Another video from CBS2 about a prayer vigil at Cole Park

EDIT: In the comments section of the Chicago Tribune / Chicago Breaking News story, one person suggested re-naming the park after Officer Wortham, especially in light of his dedication to it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pre-Emptive prayer strike at Ruggles School = May 28

JP Paulus and his family will be there. How about you?

A pre-emptive prayer strike against the violence before it happens in our community!

“Back to the Basics”
A Praying City - Chicago

What: Neighbors simply gathering to pray for our neighborhood before summer begins.
When: Friday, May 28, 2010, 6:30pm – 7:30 pm
(but many will gather by 6pm, and continue later in the evening)

Where: Ruggles Elementary School Park, 7831 S. Prairie, Chicago IL 60619
(on 79th, 2 blocks west of King Drive, 4 blocks east of the Dan Ryan)

Bring family and a friend – or 5!

For more information, contact Ms. Brown at 773-712-4203

Update on shooting of an off-duty police officer


WGN was at the scene of the crime where Officer Thomas Wortham was murdered in an robbery attempt. And we know more about one of the suspects, the one who was killed by Wortham's ex-police officer father.
The dead suspect has been identified as 20-year old Brian Floyd. The wounded suspect is in critical condition at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

Police say they are looking for two other suspects who fled in a Nissan Maxima north on the Dan Ryan Expressway. Officers later found the car abandoned miles away from the scene, but the suspects are still at large.

ShoreBank rescue prompts call for congressional probe

Two top Republicans on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, including U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Hinsdale, wrote a letter to President Barack Obama demanding records pertaining to any administration involvement in the $140-million Wall Street bailout of ShoreBank Corp.

“Some believe that ShoreBank was really saved because of an assumption that high-ranking officials in the Obama administration favored a bailout of this failing institution with deep political ties,” said the May 19 letter by U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., and Ms. Biggert. “The administration’s perceived involvement raises very serious questions as to whether the federal government is facilitating the rescue of a politically connected hometown bank when hundreds of others are forced to close.”

Mr. Bachus is the senior Republican on the Financial Services Committee, which oversees banking laws, while Ms. Biggert is the top GOP member on the committee’s subcommittee on oversight and investigations.
A perception has fueled by anonymous comments from Wall Street sources to other publications that Goldman Sachs and other recipients of federal aid in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis acted knowing that the administration favored a rescue of ShoreBank.

ShoreBank’s leaders, most of whom live in the Obamas’ home neighborhood of Hyde Park, long have had a personal relationship with the president, going back to when he was a state senator.

Mr. Bachus and Ms. Biggert requested that the White House provide all records of communication relating to the ShoreBank negotiations, including with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Eugene Ludwig, a former ShoreBank board member and head of Promontory Financial Group, a Washington, D.C., consultancy that assisted ShoreBank.
I suppose there are those who think that ShoreBank has connections. The rescue from Wall Street may not be considered genuine!

Via Newsalert!

UPDATED: Chicago police officer killed in robbery attempt

An update to Worlee's post from around midnight last night:
Authorities say a Chicago police officer who recently returned from Iraq was shot and killed when several people approached him outside his family's home and tried to steal his new motorcycle.

Police say the officer's father — a retired Chicago police officer — came to his son's aid and shot two of the attackers, one fatally, in the attack late Wednesday.

Chicago Alderman Freddrenna Lyle knew the officer and says he had just finished his second tour in Iraq.

Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis (wees) says the 30-year-old officer had been on the force for three years. His name has not been released.

Police are looking for a third suspect who fled the scene. News Affairs Officer Amina Greer says charges are pending against the injured suspect.
I posted Facebook status messages on the police activity along the Dan Ryan last night at least there's one explanation for that. May this officer rest in peace.

UPDATE 9:45 PM Well Chgo Breaking News provides the identity of this officer
Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham served two tours of duty in Iraq, but his latest battle had been against rising violence in the Chatham neighborhood where he grew up.

It was a fight he would not survive.

Wortham was gunned down in front of his parents' home late Wednesday night as three men were trying to steal his motorcycle, police say.

Just last week, in an interview with the Tribune, he had decried a recent rash of shootings that forced the alderman of his ward to take down basketball hoops in Cole Park across the street from his parents' house.

"It's starting to feel like it's expected in this community," said Wortham, 30, who was president of the Cole Park advisory council and whose grandfather built the home across from the park 50 years ago.

"When people think of the South Side of Chicago, they think violence. In Chatham, that's not what we see. It's happened, and we're going to fix it, so it doesn't happen again."

Wortham was planning to literally take back the park.

Off-duty cop wounded during apparent armed robbery

From the Sun Times

An off-duty Chicago Police officer was shot late Wednesday during an apparent armed robbery, police said. Two other people were reportedly wounded.

The off-duty officer was shot about 10:30 p.m. in the 8400 block of South King Drive, police said. The shooting appears to be an armed robbery.

Chicago Police requested State Police assistance in locating the maroon Nissan Maxima involved in the shooting. The car was last seen heading northbound on the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-94), Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Anthony Hoop said.

He said three people were wounded in the shooting.

The gunman fled in the car westbound on 83rd Street, where it entered the northbound lanes of the Dan Ryan Expressway, Hoop said.

State Police notified their units, but have yet to spot a matching vehicle as of 11:30 p.m., Hoop said.

Read the entire story at,off-duty-cop-hurt-police-shooting-051910.article

Wings around the World featured on WGN Channel 9

Some news we wanted to pass on:

Major shouts to all the Wings Arond The World Family......Got some great news on Monday the 10th of May, We were featured on the new show on WGN at 10pm Sundays called Chicago's Best.

Our feature will be shown on the 23rd of May 2010.....please set the Tivo or the DVR to record this show or just be glued to the TV.

Please tell as many people as possible.

We reported on a Tribune/Metromix/RedEye poll featuring Wings Around the World. We later found some suspicious activity, the poll numbers never changed, despite the poll allegedly still being open.
Perhaps they noticed, and are now doing our local businesses justice. Uncle John's staff have noticed significant increase in business since they appeared on Chicago's Best. We hope the same will happen.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Weis creates new category of 'indoor' homicides

"Indoor" homicides are considered homicides that occurs inside people's homes. I would assume that would entail domestic violence amongst families. Police Superintendant Weis has police measure "outdoor" homicides separately from these "indoor" homicides. Ald. Lyle sees no distinctions:
Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th) has her hands full combating a surge of homicides in the South Side’s Gresham District.

She was also forced to lock or take down the basketball rims at Chatham’s Cole Park after two shootings at the courts in one month left several young people wounded.

Not surprisingly, Lyle draws no such distinction between indoor and outdoor homicides.

“I understand the logic — that police would have no way to know about what goes on inside peoples’ homes. But, I don’t necessarily believe that becomes a separate category when you’re talking about the number of people murdered in a city. The average citizen doesn’t make that distinction,” she said.

“I understand that what would go on inside my house this evening the superintendent would have no way of knowing and no way to intervene if there was an incident. But, it doesn’t diminish the numbers.”

Lyle said she’s grown “immune to the numbers game” being played with Chicago’s crime statistics.

“It doesn’t bother me. They do press conferences releasing reports that say homicides have gone down citywide. What I have to deal with is a community that knows that, maybe they’ve gone down citywide, but they’re up in my community,” she said.

“Crime is up tremendously in the 6th District. ... That’s because crime has moved as housing patterns have moved. [But], there’s been no real acknowledgement that crime has moved with the migration of people” tied to the so-called “Plan for Transformation” that demolished CHA high-rises.
So you may ask what makes an "outdoor" homicide. Well if a murder happens outside then there are witnesses and people are more likely to call police.

Hmmm we should address this issue involving the "Plan for Transformation". I think there is some truth to the crime moving from former CHA projects into the neighborhoods. Is there really any acknowledgement of that fact? And what can we do to prevent those who are prone to criminal activity from engaging in that activity outside of their CHA projects?

BTW, the rest of the article is worth a good read when you have time!

Chicago readies health care high school

You know this was the first year for a magnet engineering program at Harlan, perhaps in some of our neighborhood schools we could include a health-care profession program as well. Who says we should only institute such programs in newly constructed high schools?
Chicago Public Schools this fall will open the city's first charter high school specializing in health care, a move local hospitals hope will help relieve chronic workforce shortages.

The school, which recently used a lottery system to enroll a freshman class of 160, will have a heavy emphasis on math and science. Juniors and seniors will be able to earn credits by shadowing hospital workers and interning as assistant nurses and in other professions.

Planners aim to prepare students for health- and science-related college programs and certify them for entry-level jobs in health care, such as pharmacy technicians or assistant physical therapists.
The Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy will set up shop temporarily on the Chicago campus of National-Lewis University, at 122 S. Michigan Ave. It will seek a permanent site in the Pilsen neighborhood.

Instituto del Progreso Latino and the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, a trade group of hospitals and other medical providers, applied to CPS to form the school. It’s one of nearly 100 city schools formed under Renaissance 2010, the city’s six-year-old plan to open innovative schools in poor neighborhoods.

Memorial for Shayla Raymond

These memorials were in place at 87th & King, and 87th & Vernon, in March of 2010.

They are in memory of Shayla Raymond, who was killed by a hit and run driver on Saturday night, March 6.

We posted a blog entry on this tragedy soon afterward.

Her good friend Trishaun Coleman recently posted a comment, noting how at this writing, this crime is still unsolved.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Anyone know a good cell phone dealer?

Got a bit of a selfish request from JP

...but where can i get a cell phone (for my new small business).

At this time, i don't need a lot of bells & whistles, or even that many minutes (yet).

I AM in need of a number that could fit with my business, Do-Gooder Consulting. For example, f i could get 773-2-DO-GOOD (or any Chicago area number), i would appreciate it. So any dealer that would be happy to help me search for an approprate number would be the business I am interested in finding.

Just post the info in the comments, so everyone can benefit.


ShoreBank saved; $20M from G.E. puts bank over the top

General Electric Co. has committed to pump about $20 million into ShoreBank, providing the last amount of capital needed to keep the ailing South Side community development lender from failing.

Discussions that went into the wee hours last night finally produced an agreement among a who’s who of Wall Street banks and a group of local lenders that will provide about $140 million of private capital to rescue ShoreBank, a person familiar with the matter said.

That will enable ShoreBank to tap up to $75 million in bailout funds from the Treasury Department. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. had prepared to seize ShoreBank, which lost more than $100 million last year due to huge losses from real estate loans in its low-income neighborhoods, but held off as the extraordinary private-sector rescue effort gained momentum.

Local financial services firms participating with smaller contributions include Northern Trust Corp., State Farm Insurance Cos. Harris N.A. and PrivateBancorp Inc.

A ShoreBank spokesman said the bank isn’t commenting but may make a statement later today. A GE representative wasn’t immediately available.

Monday, May 17, 2010

North Side Playgrounds getting a better deal?

Chicago Breaking News has this article. regarding disparity between North Side and South Side parks

Alderman Lyle is prominently featured with a few quotes
Ald. Freddrenna Lyle, 6th, whose ward contains the decrepit Memorial Playlot, said she was not surprised by conditions there.

"Every year, I go through this war with the Park District," Lyle said. "I will go through and show them all the programs available in other communities and meet with them, and they will give you 9,000 reasons why the programs are not available here."

"Our wards are so much larger geographically, so I have to spend my (discretionary) money every year on sidewalks and streets. And I have less money to spend on parks," Lyle said
Another resident has a quote.
On sunny afternoons, Snow, a single mother in Englewood, gathers up her children, and they'll ride the bus a half-hour south to Tuley Park, 90th Street and King Drive, a place she calls a "real playground."

"Having five kids, I can't take them to places that will cost me every time," Snow said. "I do know (that) playing for kids is what makes them learn and grow. I grew up in this area, and years ago (Memorial Park) was OK. Now it's a hangout for drug dealers."
There are several comments critical of the South Side, essentially saying that the South Side doesn't deserve the same improvements the North Siders receive.

Any truth to those comments?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chatham residents team up against violence

Location: Nat King Cole Park, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
Rims locked at Cole Park by José M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune / May 10, 2010
Chatham residents fondly remember the fierce competition at Cole Park that at times drew some of the best local talent for pickup games.

The park, tucked among the neighborhood's tidy streets, was also a place for local kids to shoot hoops — and maybe dream of one day being that good.

Then on a spring evening last month, a gunman fired into a crowd of teens playing on the court, wounding two young men. One was hit in the calf and hip; the other in the neck.

It was the second shooting on the courts in four weeks. By that night, the basketball rims at the celebrated courts had been disabled with locks or taken down altogether, on orders of Ald. Freddrenna Lyle, 6th, who said it was simply too unsafe to play there.

Lyle has promised to leave things that way until there's more security. She's turned to the Park District and police for help.

The loss of the courts has disappointed many residents who say kids need a place to play. At the same time, the shootings illustrate a deeper concern in Chatham — how this neighborhood that prides itself on its middle-class values will stem brewing violence.

"It's starting to feel like it's expected in this community," Tom Wortham, 30, president of the Cole Park advisory council whose grandfather built a home across from the park 50 years ago, said of the violence. "When people think of the South Side of Chicago, they think violence. In Chatham, that's not what we see. It's happened, and we're going to fix it, so it doesn't happen again."
Read the whole thing! Apparently before these unfortunate shootings this park was full of activity in addition to basketball. Lately the violence in the Chatham community has started to become a problem. What can we do about it!

Friday, May 14, 2010

We Need Your Help!!!

This was a comment left for a post on the board several months ago concerning the young lady killed on 87th King drive. This young lady needs some help to get closure on this event. Can any of our readers help her?

Trishaun has left a new comment on your post "15 year old girl dies in Chatham hit-and-run":

Shayla Raymond was my bestfriend( Still is).. She didnt deserve this.. She was just trying to get home.. Her birthday is coming up and we've been planning this year since we were in 4th grade.. Now what are we (me and our other two bestfriends) going to do?? We have to mourn this day because shes gone.. I dont want to sound selfish because it was her time but it just dont add up and its still no working out.. I want the truth... , Trishaun Coleman

Goldman Sachs, others race to save ShoreBank

Chicago Breaking Business:
ShoreBank, the ailing South Side bank, continues to try to raise more than $120 million in capital on its own from new and existing investors, sources familiar with the situation said.

Regulators recently began looking for a healthy buyer for the undercapitalized Chicago-based lender, but it's racing against the clock to try to raise money to remain independent.

Goldman Sachs, U.S. Bank, Citibank and State Farm are among the new investors that have made tentative commitments.

Citi and Goldman in particular have expressed a willingness to make significant commitments, kicking in at least $10 million apiece. Goldman Sachs, which has come under national criticism for its business practices leading up to the financial meltdown, might be willing to step up with at least $20 million, a source familiar with the talks said.

Existing investors such as Chase and Bank of America, as well as charitable foundations, also are weighing additional investments.

Possible job losses at Reggio's Pizza because of loss contract with CPS

From the Bean Soup Times

Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality's Use Of ("Minority Pass-Thru Company") Is Reason Black-Owned Frozen Pizza Manufacturer Will Be Forced To Layoff 40 Hardworking Employees

Reggio's Pizza takes great pride in delivering an award-winning pizza produced in a state-of-the-art, USDA-inspected,immaculate south side facility to children in Chicago Public Schools, which provides jobs for many hard-working, honest Chicago residents.

For three (3) years running, Reggio's Pizza has won the "Most Preferred Menu Item" in the High Schools, an honor voted by the High School students. So passionate about helping students make health choices, Mr. Clark, President/CEO of Reggio's Pizza and its staff, with the assistance of General Mills, developed a whole wheat pizza crust, in an effort to promote good health among young people, consistent with First Lady Michelle Obama's focus on nutrition and obesity.

But all that may come to an end at the end of this school year, June, 2010 because Chartwells, a North Carolina-based company that up until now contracted with Reggio's to provide the pizzas to middle and high schools, has decided to end Reggio's Pizza contract. "I was led to believe that my contract was being renewed" said Mr. Clark.

Apparently a minority "pass-thru" company will be used to purchase the crust for the pizzas, which will now be assembled by CPS lunch room employees, which will shift costs from Chartwells to the CPS operating budget. Many community and religious groups are very distrubed because not only is this practice definitely unfair and possibly illegal, but will result in more job loss in the Black community, where the jobless rate is already 20-25%.

Read the entire article at

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fresh ideas via e-mail

What do you think about all these ideas
I could go for a nice place to eat with healthy food. Corner Bakery, Panera Bread, a Thai restaurant, another Starbucks with WiFi. And we need that Wal-Mart. A job is a job. How about a Pete's Fresh Food Market? Stop by new store on 95th Street (in Evergreen Park). Wow!

A yoga studio, too. I'd like the existing businesses to clean up the litter around their establishments. Make customers want to visit your stores. Maybe even put out a few flower pots. Woo us. Show us that you're trying to upgrade the neighborhood.

The observer
Any other fresh ideas that may be worthwhile for the 6th Ward community?

Wreckage - waste of a once-beautiful building

We previously talked about an abandoned building at 8212 S. Calumet.

Here are some photos of an abandoned home at 74th & Indiana (Northeast corner).

They include:
  • View from Indiana
  • View from Michigan
  • View of the Basement
  • View of the Garage (which has no roof)

This property at 74th & Michigan is in far worse shape than Calumet. Not only has it been stripped of walls, pipes, also seems to be missing floors. You can see sunlight from the roof from the basement.

The building has been completely gutted, and the structure as a whole is falling apart. From the basement you can see sunlight due to a hole in the roof.

From what I have seen, it just seems like a waste to even try toput it back together again (i.e. the amount of work needed to fix it). It's such a waste.

I don't want to give the impression that Chatham has become Englewood or Roseland...rather, point out a couple of issues that could be good opportunities. Gut rehabs with the gutting already done.

Anyone have any photos or other info on this house from better days?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

GCA Meeting Update

In a email from GCA today
The 6th District Commander, EddieJohnson will be attending the May meeting.

As you know he was just at AldermanLyle's meeting last week. The majority of the people attending her meeting were Chatham folks.

But at that meeting, they would not allow questions in front of the general audience. You had to wait in line afterthe meeting to ask questions.

At our GCA meeting you will be allowed to ask questions.

MAY 2010 Meeting
Saturday, May 15
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
St. James Lutheran Church
8000 S. Michigan

In comments about the meeting, Alderman Lyle gave her reason for the format as well as feedback she was given from CPD.

Burglar killed police officer Chatham off duty -

Burglar killed police officer Chatham off duty -

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Then and Now- Are we still using Currency Exchanges

It has been 10 plus years since the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago performed a survey on banking usage in the Chatham community.

The Chatham survey took place in 1997-1998. A total of 196 households and 181 small businesses were interviewed. A team from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago led the data collection efforts.

The results of the survey were not shocking at that time. The results showed that a significant portion of our community primary banking relationship was with a currency exchange.

Now in 2010 we have had a number of financial institutions come in to the community. Also, existing institutions have opened additional branches and there are bank and third party owned ATM machines in practically every store.

But what is puzzling why haven't we seen the currency exchanges disappear?