Friday, September 30, 2011

City Council Black Caucus next ward remap townhall

This information was posted by former Ald. Lyle - who is representing her former city council colleagues as an attorney in this remapping process - on our FB page.
The City Council Black Aldermanic Caucus is hosting a 2nd Public hearing on the first draft of its new Ward Map at South Shore Cultural Center, Monday October 3, 2011 at the South Shore Cultural Center beginning at 7:00 p.m. For further information contact Ald. Howard Brookins Office at 773 881-9300 
If you weren't able to attend the one on Thursday at Malcolm X College hopefully you can make some time in your busy schedule to attend this hearing on Monday. ;)

Reason: The Tragedy of Urban Renewal

[VIDEO] "The destruction and survival of a New York City neighborhood"

I know there are a lot of people who long for the old days of Chatham. Who knows if those times will ever come back the way it was recalled, but in this video we see that there was no community to return to. It was bulldozed in favor of "urban renewal". Just thought this video was worth sharing here with it's history.

Hat-tip Instapundit!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Two candidates seeking petition signatures last night...

Just outside of the church where the Roseland Heights Community Association held their September 2011 meeting.

First is a flyer for Kari K. Steele who is again running for Water Reclamation District. She ran first in the 2010 Democratic Primary and didn't make it into the general election. A representative was at the meeting collecting petition signatures for her.

Here's both her campaign website at and you can find her on FB here!

Ward Remap Town Hall tonight at Malcolm X College

I know this is short notice, but it's worth mentioning if you can make it tonight to Malcolm X located at 1900 W. Van Buren (actually right off the Eisenhower Expressway).
Want to have a say in how your community is represented on Chicago’s City Council? The Chicago City Council Black Caucus will be hosting a town hall meeting on the new proposed ward map for the City of Chicago at 7PM this Thursday, September 29th, 2011. The Town Hall will be held at the Bruce K. Hayden Center for the Performing Arts, at Malcolm X College (1900 W. Van Buren). Alderman play a central role not only in setting public policy for the city that affects residents, but also in providing essential public services to neighborhoods and residents.
BTW, I learned at the recent Roseland Heights meeting that the neigborhood is to be drawn into the 9th ward and Ald. Beale has already made overtures to that organization. That being said the President of the Roseland Heights Community Association is talking as if "it's a done deal".

Also, another RHCA member last night had a copy of the West Chesterfield newsletter one of the articles is that they have a petition to express their displeasure over being drawn out of the 6th Ward and into the 9th Ward. Their FB page has a post about a meeting on Oct 4 at 6 PM to be located at 9351 S. Michigan Ave. Hopefully I can see if I can see the mood of that organization and/or get a copy of their newsletter.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ChathamNOW: Blog Question

It's OK to talk about gentrification and commercialism withinour community, but I wonder why race would have to enter into revilatlizing Chatham. What do you think?
Do you think that reverse white flight would bring commercialism and gentrification and re-gentrification to Chatham due to its offering of the newly renovated Dan Ryan Expressway and Red Line, while bringing down the crime rate? Leave your comments on the comment line.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Change My Story- What's Behind these Billboards

You have seen the bus shelters and billboards around the city. Change My Story? So what is behind these ads. The ad campaign is a new grassroots initiative aimed at minority communities on Chicago’s South Side by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. AIDS Foundation of Chicago is a leader in the worldwide fight against HIV/AIDS. Founded in 1985 by community activists and physicians, AFC collaborates with community organizations to develop and improve HIV/AIDS services; funds and coordinates prevention, care, and advocacy projects; and champions effective, compassionate HIV/AIDS policy Change My Story features real people who provide real talk about serious health issues. From local hairdressers to pastors to business owners and celebrities, current and former residents of several South Side neighbourhoods are lending their voices to the campaign through PSAs, bus shelter ads, blogs and social media. Campaign supporters include TV personality/comedian Sherri Shepherd, renowned producer and musician Frankie Knuckles and jazz artist Maggie Brown. The goal is to encourage people to live their life to the fullest by taking control of their health, getting tested and getting care. serves as a tool to connect the community to health resources and information in a relaxed, conversational tone, doing away with the complex clinical jargon and taking the conversation to the streets. I had the pleasure of speaking with a community ambassador Mr. Curtis Montgomery, last week. Mr. Montgomery is an AID outreach worker, advocate and an individual living with AIDS. Mr. Montgomery stated he contracted AIDS as a result of engaging in high risk activities with no regard of the consequence. He further stated that this disregard of consequeces is one of the major reasons individuals contract the disease. He got behind this effort because although there have been high profile individuals who contracted the disese and a number of other initiatives, the number of AIDS cases in the African American community continue to rise. Groups that are seeing the greatest increase are both male and females 18-25 and African American women. My question was how and why? Mr. Montgomery stated that high risk behavior(i.e. sex with no condom,multiple sex partners, etc.) and unprotected sex with men who are having sex with other men and or engaging in high risk behaviors. I asked about testing and how advances technology has made testing as easy as taking a mouth swab. So why won't people get tested and find out their status? The fear of rejection and isolation are the predominant reasons per Mr. Montgomery. Individuals are scared of the rejection from family, friends and their community and being singled out as an "individuals with AIDS". So how does "Change My Story" get the message out. The website offers information in a non threatening manner on where to get tested, why you need to get tested, and most importantly if you find out you are infected, where to get care and support regardless of your financial situation. As Mr. Montgomery stated to me that finding out you are infected with HIV is not a death sentence. He stated that advances in medical technology give individuals with the disease longer life expectancy and a better quality of life. Also, there are support groups available and a number of churches are opening up and offering support to individuals with the disease. For more information on Change My Story go to or Also, Mr Mongomery and other community ambassadors are available to addrees your group. Contact them at I'm going to "Change My Story" by passing this information along to everyone I know, so in the future I won't have to see any more neighbors, teachers, former co workers and friends of the family die from AIDS. I want to see the number of my fellow church members standing, who have had someone close to them die from AIDS, reduce. Hopefully, this information will Change My Story.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Farwell reception for state Rep. Constance Howard...

Looks like the 34th State Representative seat is up for grabs. This event is for Rep. Howard, but it makes you wonder who's interested in this state legislative seat. Anyone want to fill us in?

Also if you go to this event feel free to let us know what happened. Hopefully there will be pictures as well!
To the Media:
September 21, 2011
Contact: Josephine Wade

A farewell reception is being held for Rep. Constance “Connie” Howard (D-34th) 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, September 25, 2011, at Hardtime Josephine’s Cooking Restaurant, 436 E. 79th Street, Chicago, Il.

In office for 17-years, Rep. Howard has gained national recognition for her work on ex-offender issues and other initiatives such as HIV/AIDS in the African American community and bridging the digital divide in minority’s communities.

Rep. Howard continues to fight for reform and causes that ultimately saves the state of Illinois millions of dollars through her innovative legislative initiatives especially in the realm of her ex-offender work aimed at turning tax burdens into tax payers.

To learn more about this courageous woman who still insist constituents call her at home and to e-mail her, click on the PCC Network link:

I hope you can cover Rep. Howard’s farewell reception on Sunday, September 25th from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. along with other confirmed guests such as:

House Speaker Michael Madigan, Co-Chair
Honorary Co- Chairs
Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-1st) Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-2nd) Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-7th) Secretary of State Jesse White Ald. Walter Burnett, Jr. (27th) Rep. Monique D. Davis (D-27th) Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) Senator Donne E. Trotter (D-17th) Senator Emil Jones, Jr., Illinois President Retired Melody Spann-Cooper, President/CEO WVON Radio Dr. Rev. JoAnn and Rev. Dr. John Long Spencer and Henrietta Leak, Sr. Leak & Sons Funeral Home
Dr. Frances G. Carroll, IBHE Board Member Victor Love, Co-Owner, Hardtimes Josephine’s Cooking Joyce Washington, Health Care Consultant Edward and Shirley Calahan, Calahan Funeral Home Eric Peterson, Promotions Valencia E. Ross, Legislative Aide to Rep. Constance Howard Dr. Lona Bibbs, Ph.D. Gloria Twine, Asst. Director Hardtimes Josephine’s Cooking Anna Robinson, Public Relations, Hardtimes Josephine’s Cooking Clarence Majestic Glover, owner, Majestic Florist Young Pate, Jr., Allpoints Security and Detective Co.
Rev. Dr. Shirley Coleman Mary Daniels, Outreach Coordinator for U.S. Senator Mark Kirk

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An Open Letter to the Community about St. Clotilde School

Location: St Clotilde's Church, 8430 S Calumet Ave, Chicago, IL 60619-6032, USA
St. Clotilde Catholic Church at 8430 S. Calumet has recently caused a community stir by housing an altnertive school that started this year, without the community knowing about it.

Here is the link from Aldereman Sawyer's office: An Open Letter to the Community about St. Clotilde School

And the letter...

Dear Community,

In recent weeks there has been legitimate concern in the community about a new school that has moved into St. Clotilde on the 8400 Block of South Calumet. I have reached out to the church, school and community leaders to do an investigation into this project, and I am writing this letter to provide you with some information about how this school came to our community.

For those who are unfamiliar, it is the Richard Milbourn School, an “Alternative Safe” educational facility that accepts students from the 6-12th grades. An Alternative Safe school is a school for students who have been expelled from their primary school, but have not yet exhausted their options for returning to their home school. This facility keeps these students anywhere between 45 days and 2 years. The school had approximately 35 students when I met with the Administrator on September 12th, and can potentially house as many as 115 students. The middle school aged students are bused to and from the school and the high school age students must take public transportation to get to the school. Security officials are posted at the bus stops in the morning and afternoon, escorting students to and from school. The Administrator understands the concerns of the neighborhood, and the school administration seems well meaning in their attempts to mitigate issues in the community.

My concern, however, is in the process that was used to bring the school into the area. This school was placed in this building by the administration of St. Clotilde and the Chicago Public Schools without any consultation with the neighbors or with my office. This is disrespectful to the community and shows a complete lack of regard for the legitimate concerns of a neighborhood to opening this school in a residential neighborhood. This is not an attempt to demonize children who have made a mistake; however, there are legitimate questions about filling what was traditionally an elementary school with high school aged students. There are legitimate concerns about having teenagers take public transportation to a school that is multiple blocks from most sources of public transportation. The process that was used in installing this school ignored all of those legitimate concerns in the neighborhood.

I hope that this is not indicative of the level of cooperation we can expect from the Emanuel and Brizard administrations. I want to be partners in improving both our schools and our children, but that requires collaboration with teachers, parents, government and the community. I am asking my Chatham neighbors to keep an eye out on this school and let us know if they are being good neighbors. I would also encourage those who want to assist the school in their goal of placing these students on the right path to visit the school and offer your assistance. They have pledged to maintain an open door policy and work with the community, and I intend to hold them to that vow. The city had a poor process for placing the school in our neighborhood, but we will not allow the school to remain in our neighborhood if it actually results in problems in our community, and for that, you are my eyes and ears.


The Honorable Roderick T. Sawyer
Alderman, 6th Ward

The school has been turned over at least twice (St. Clotilde had their own school. When i moved ito the neighborhood a couple of years ago, there was New Way Christian School, which since folded). As I have walked by the church several times, I have noted just how empty and inactive it is, though having a block to work with (including a huge parking lot). I can see how desperate the church may be to have some income to maintain the property. What was the church like in its "glory days", and what happened to the people who enlivened it then?

CHICAGO ARGUS: Everyone wants their own police station

CHICAGO ARGUS: Everyone wants their own police station
FOR THIS ISSUE is going to be spun as the potential for certain neighborhoods to lose their local police protection. That really isn’t true, since any closing of stations also would reconfigure the police district boundaries so that all of Chicago is still covered.

But that will be lost in the shuffle.

People are going to complain if their neighborhood stationhouse gets shut down – even if it would be more efficient, practical or cost-effective to run police out of fewer locations.
Been quite a while since I linked to Gregory Tejada's Chicago Argus blog.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pullman retail project gets money for road, land - Chicago Sun-Times

Pullman retail project gets money for road, land - Chicago Sun-Times
The state of Illinois announced it is providing a $4.6 million grant for infrastructure improvements for the Pullman Park project, a multi-phase development that will include a 148,000-square-foot Wal-Mart with a full-service grocery and that is projected to create 1,000 permanent and 700 construction jobs.

The improvements will take place on Woodlawn/Doty Avenue between 103rd and 106th Streets, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said Monday. The grant, which comes from disaster recovery funds, will strengthen and elevate the road up to 4 feet. The road has continued to deteriorate since flooding in 2008, the state said. The funding will support sewer and water main improvements and road upgrades designed to mitigate future flooding on the road, which leads to the retail site at 111th Street east of the Bishop Ford Freeway.

The grant was announced at a press conference to mark the beginning of construction of the development.

U.S. Bank Chairman Richard Davis also announced the bank will donate 2.3 acres of land to the city of Chicago for the rerouting of Doty Road and an additional 6.3 acres of land for future retail development and a detention pond.

U.S. Bank has provided a $9 million loan to the developer, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, an independent nonprofit. U.S. Bank also is committing more than $7.5 million in additional financing.

The first phase of the development involves about a third of 174 acres of the former Ryerson Steel plant site. Besides the Wal-Mart store, development plans call for a 125,000-square-foot second retail anchor, smaller retail stores, restaurants, a hotel and housing.
Mayor Emanuel and 9th Ward Ald. Beale was at Monday's press conference in Pullman.

Numerous battles haven't slowed Rep. Bobby Rush

Congressman Rush represents a portion of Chicago's 6th Ward. Read the whole thing, although what I excerpt below is near this Tribune article's conclusion:
Another hopeful is the Republican mayor of Blue Island, Donald Peloquin, a mortician and funeral home owner. He said more needs to be done for economic development, including redeveloping old industrial sites as intermodal transportation hubs.

Democrats whose names get tossed around as potential challengers — including state Sen. Kwame Raoul, 46, and 4th Ward Ald. Will Burns, 38 — said they won't challenge Rush. Asked about the area's rising stars, Rush cited state Sen. Mattie Hunter, the majority caucus whip; Ald. Michelle Harris, 8th; and former 6th Ward Ald. Freddrenna Lyle.

This year, Rush has gone to the House floor to publicly mourn constituents who have died and to laud Orland Hills for its 50th anniversary. On a more substantive score, he criticized Republicans, who recaptured House control in January, for holding a hearing on radicalization within the U.S. Muslim community.

Does he shy from meaty issues? "There are a lot of people who spend all of their time before the cameras on the House floor," he said. "I pick my fights."

But some Democrats complain that he's ineffective. "That's what attracted Barack to challenge him in the first place: He was considered a 'back bencher,'" said one longtime political activist in his district, who because of work in public policy did not wish to be identified.

Friends disagree. On the South Side, Timuel Black, a longtime activist and former teacher, said Rush may be older and frailer but he continues to advocate for the less fortunate "whether they are black, white or brown."

At DePaul University, political scientist Michael Mezey said Rush's reputation is that of a strong liberal who is neither a show horse with a national name nor a work horse who has developed an expertise so great that other lawmakers seek advice and information. "He does his job," Mezey said. "He shows up for work. He takes care of the constituency. There are a large number of people like that."

His Beloved Community Church, and its affiliated health care center and youth programs, likely have helped burnish his reputation. Rush, who said he preaches almost every Sunday before 75 to 150 people, agreed to be photographed at the church on Sept. 11, then changed his mind, saying through spokeswoman Renee Ferguson that the church board would not allow it.

The church itself has received more than $165,000 from Rush's campaign treasury. He's paid wife Carolyn as a consultant; since 2002, she's received $270,500 from the war chest. "She's a bit underpaid for what she does," according to Rush, who said she manages the political operation, oversees the filing of Federal Election Commission reports and gives advice.

Rush is close to Bill and Hillary Clinton and has campaigned for scores of candidates, including Gov. Pat Quinn. He was outspoken in favor of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's controversial decision to name Roland Burris to fill Obama's Senate seat.

He also has friends in the GOP, among them Dennis Hastert, the former House speaker from Illinois. Both Rush and Hastert said the speaker was key in getting federal dollars for the Beloved Community Family Wellness Center.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Suggested Ward Map revealed by Black Caucus

Location: Chatham, Chicago, IL, USA
Fomer 6th Ward Alderman Fredrenna Lyle posted on her Facebook page a link to Maze Jackson's blog which announced the news of the Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus' proposed ward re-map.

What is noted is that 1 black ward was lost in the process.

A quick reading of the map showed some interesting things:
  • The 6th Ward (which this blog covers) now has up to 5 wards with influence in the Chatham community area
  • Englewood will be represented by "only" 5 wards (Thanks to RAGE for the heads up)
  • Also, in regads to Englewood, more of it would be represented by the 6th ward
  • Northeast side wards such as the 46th, 48th, 49th & 50th retain as only one community area as their main base (Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park and West Ridge, respectively).

This is the link to the blog entry.

here's a picture of the re-map

What are your thoughts on the proposed re-map? How would things change for you?

Sun-Times: Police mull closing district stations

In the excerpt below listed are the oldest district police stations still in operation. Calumet is also the HQ for Area 2 and covers roughly Roseland Heights in the 6th Ward. Of course there's Grand Crossing and that should cover some of the northern portion of this ward.
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy is exploring the politically volatile idea of closing district police stations to save millions and free scores of officers for street duty.

McCarthy is under the gun to cut at least $190 million from the police department’s $1.3 billion-a-year budget. He is under further pressure to put more police officers on beat patrol at a time when the city can’t afford to hire more officers.

Chicago has 25 police districts, each with its own station. O.W. Wilson, the city’s first civilian superintendent, bit the bullet in 1960 and closed several stations, leaving only 20. Five have been added since then.

For every station closed, dozens of officers could be made available for street duty. Building maintenance, utilities and renovation costs also would be reduced.

Asked whether he was considering closing stations, McCarthy said, “We’re looking at everything .”

Other high-ranking officials confirm that police station closings are under serious consideration and that the “dynamic and complex” decision would be based not just on the age of the buildings but also on demographics and crime in the surrounding neighborhood.

Sources familiar with the current deliberations refused to identify the stations that could be closed or pinpoint the precise number being talked about. The oldest stations are: Monroe, Prairie, Wood, Belmont, Wentworth, Harrison, Rogers Park, Calumet and Grand Crossing.
Here's a comment from Ald. Anthony Beale. The 9th Ward is home to the Calumet police station:
Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), former chairman of the City Council’s Police Committee, said he, too, could support station closings provided there would be “no lapse in public safety.”

“I do believe with this consolidation you could have more officers on the street because you [now] have people duplicating administrative services,” Beale said.

But he warned, “No comamunity will want to lose their station. That’s where you might run into problems. You have to sell this. You have to educate the community that it’s not the building that protects the people. It’s the officers being out on the street.”
Do you think closing and consolidating police districts is a good idea?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

U.S. Bank says Pullman Park project will create more than 1,000 jobs

U.S. Bank says 1,000 permanent jobs and 700 construction jobs will be created as it builds out its Pullman Park development on the South Side.

The Minnesota-based bank has scheduled a press briefing for next Monday to provide an update on the Pullman Park project, which was started by Park Bank Initiatives, a nonprofit subsidiary of the now-defunct Park National Bank. Park National was acquired by U.S. Bank.

A land donation announcement will also be made at the briefing, as will a status report on retail and food offerings coming to the area, said the media advisory, which also outlines the jobs.

The event, at the U.S. Bank office at 1000 E. 111th St. in Chicago, is expected to be attended by Richard Davis, chief executive of U.S. Bank, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Ninth Ward Alderman Anthony Beale, and Warren Ribley, Director, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the advisory said.

The Tribune reported last year that U.S. Bank is using $2.8 million in neighborhood stabilization funds to buy and renovate foreclosed homes as part of its larger Pullman Park project that will be anchored by a Wal-Mart store. Remaking the residential blocks west of the retail project is considered a necessary part of the plan to attract additional private investment to the area.
Have kept an eye on development in this area in the past. Since Park National Bank had been acquired after failure, I was concerned that development in this area wouldn't happen. Although we already know that Wal-Mart is coming to Pullman in the near future whether or not redeveloped as first discussed in 2008 were to even come to fruition.

School council in Lakeview debates longer school day

This almost related to what was discussed at yesterday's Bennett-Shedd LSC meeting. It wasn't on the agenda really, but the issue of a longer school day came up. It doesn't appear that any LSC member made a stand on that issue.

The principal didn't take a stand either other than to raise her concerns such as safety. One could say soon the schools will not only serve breakfast and lunch but they may serve dinner. Therefore if the school day ends later what's going to happen when the student is out by themselves at night and no one is able to pick them up from school. Something to consider.

Here's the Tribune article:
Although teachers at Agassiz Elementary School in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood have already said they oppose a longer school day, the local school council held an emergency meeting on Wednesday night to discuss the issue with parents.

Like similar discussions at other schools, the debate at Agassiz was wide-ranging. Some parents supported the longer day, arguing that it helps teachers and parents. Others said Mayor Rahm Emanuel's offer of incentives is merely a political effort to break the strength of the Chicago Teachers Union.

“I want you to think about it,” Ingrid Kromer, a member of the local school council, told teachers at the school. “It's one school year of making a sacrifice. It's taking a little risk so we can have some extra money.”

The school’s teachers have informally rejected working a longer day. But they have yet to hold a formal vote on the issue.

Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard have promised $150,000 in discretionary money for schools ready to start a longer day this month and a $1,250 bonus for each of those teachers. Schools ready to start in January would gain $75,000, and their teachers each would receive an $800 bonus.

But some parents at Agassiz said the school should reject the money. They were willing to raise the necessary funds.

“This just seems like CPS is trying to put money out there to turn people against each other,” said Julie Rakay, parent of a kindergartner and an incoming pre-schooler. “I'd rather send my kids to a school that stands with its union. My kids’ well-being is directly related to their teachers' well-being.”

Some felt any effort to add 90 minutes this month was too rushed. Others asked for a compromise, such as a longer school day in January.

So far, teachers at seven schools across the city have voted for the additional instruction time for students.
The Bennett-Shedd LSC meeting discussed making a transfer of funds to make a 25% match to a grant provided by T-Mobile for after school programs. They could easily make that money through the extra discretionary funds if they went to a longer school day if not now perhaps next year in time for the 3rd marking period.

This year it's only optional but it looks like Mayor Emanuel and CPS will make it mandatory next year. What do you think about a 90 minute school day? Will it be beneficial or do you think it doesn't matter how much time a student spends in school each day?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Capitol Fax: Doing themselves no favors

Rich Miller takes a look at the back and forth over a longer school day between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his CPS CEO Jean Claude Brizard and Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. For some the message may be inconsistent as to whether or not the teachers want to implement a longer school day. Who do you think will claim victory in this battle?

Honorary street sign dedicated to Joseph Caldwell

CAPCC blog:
On Friday, September 23, 2011 : Chatham Businessman Mr. Joseph Caldwell, owner of tailorite cleaners established in 1956 with 3 locations 8459 Cottage Grove, 6507 S. King Drive & 8335 S. Racine on the southside of Chicago & vice president of the Chatham Buiness Association will be honored on Friday, September 23, 2011. (84th to 85th) Cottage Grove an honary street sign will be dedicated Joseph Caldwell avenue. Congratulations and best wishes from the CAPCC board of directors! 
You can visit the TailoRite website here. It's great to see our neighborhood business-people honored in such a way.

The Citizen: CBA Leaders Speak Out

Report on a recent meeting held by the Chatham Business Association. The various programs available to help their many members. Especially the Tech Center located at 806 E. 78th Street. In addition to that the SSA #51. Finally mention of another event an awards gala to take place on Friday at the Hyatt Regency Chicago (151 East Wacker Drive). This article is worth a read.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Not guilty plea in murder of Officer Michael Bailey - Chicago Sun-Times

Not guilty plea in murder of Officer Michael Bailey - Chicago Sun-Times
A 24-year-old South Side man who allegedly bragged about gunning down Chicago Police Officer Michael Bailey pleaded not guilty to the officer’s murder on Tuesday.

Antwon Carter of the 1200 block of East 69th Street was charged July 26 with first-degree murder of a police officer and attempted armed robbery in connection with the case, in which Bailey was shot and killed just steps from his front door in the summer of 2010.

On July 27, Cook County Judge Israel Desierto ordered Carter held on $500,000 bond for an unrelated aggravated vehicular carjacking charge, a case in which he allegedly attacked a motorist at 75th and Cornell just days after Bailey was killed. He was later ordered held without bond for the murder.

At a hearing before Judge Stanley Sacks on Tuesday, Carter pleaded not guilty to the murder and attempted robbery of Officer Bailey, according to Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.

Bailey, 62, was shot to death while cleaning his black Buick Regal outside his home in the Park Manor neighborhood on the South Side about 6 a.m. July 18, 2010, in what authorities say was a botched robbery attempt.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ward map redraw may become ‘a mess’ - Chicago Sun-Times

Ward map redraw may become ‘a mess’ - Chicago Sun-Times

A mess because it's about that time to circulate petitions for another election in Chicago's wards, ward committeeman. All 50 wards have both a Republican and Democratic Committeeman in addition to a Green Party Committeeman. Those offices are up in next year's Presidential primary.
Chicago’s ward bosses (“Democratic Ward Committeemen,” technically) began gathering signatures last week to run for re-election, as did their challengers.

A funny thing could happen on the way to Election Day this time around. Candidates for ward committeeman must turn in their signatures between Nov. 28 and Dec. 5.

That’s about the time Ald. Dick Mell (33rd) is hoping his committee will have the wards redrawn based on new census numbers. But he admits it may be later than that. “We’re hoping by Thanksgiving,” Mell said.

But what if the maps are not done until after the signatures are due?

That means people could collect signatures for their North Side ward only to find that the map-drawers have re-drawn it to be primarily a West Side ward.

“That’s a mess — that happened before, 20 years ago,” Mell admitted.

The Board of Elections is operating on the assumption that candidates will run under the current ward boundaries.

But if the aldermen put an effective date on the new map that precedes the March 20 primary election, the confusing scenario of running for committeeman of a ward that has precious little of the old ward where signatures were gathered could happen, said Board of Elections spokesman Jim Allen.
Noted are those freshman aldermen and their plans for running for committeeman. Not all of the freshman aldermen plan to run for committeeman. Only one so far has expressed concern about the city council re-map.

Especially noted is Ald. Roderick Sawyer's plan to run for 6th Ward Democratic Committeeman. Still no word as to whether or not former Ald. Lyle plans to retain that spot. You can read this article about Chicago's ward organizations here! It's where we first heard about Ald. Sawyer's plans.

Cole Park Advisory Council

Location: 8500-8598 S Dr Martin Luther King Jr Dr, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
The next Cole Park Park Advisory Council (PAC) meeting:
September 14, 2011
6:30 PM
Cole Park Fieldhouse
8500 S King Drive

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Former HDO chief enlisted to help Hispanic aldermen boost Council seats - Chicago Sun-Times

Former HDO chief enlisted to help Hispanic aldermen boost Council seats - Chicago Sun-Times
The City Council’s Hispanic Caucus has hired former Hispanic Democratic Organization chieftain Victor Reyes to represent them in what could be a contentious battle for four to six more Hispanic wards to coincide with Latino population gains.

Reyes will lead a high-powered legal team that also includes the city’s former Human Resources Commissioner Homero Tristan and Virginia Martinez, former staff attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund.

While Chicago lost 182,000 black residents and nearly 53,000 whites over the last decade, the city’s Hispanic population grew by 25,000. The City Council has until a Dec. 1 deadline to redraw ward boundaries to coincide with the 2010 U.S. Census.

On Thursday, the Hispanic Caucus held a City Hall news conference to kick off the remap process by showcasing its legal team, distributing maps of Hispanic population gains and scheduling a pair of public hearings Sept. 21 and 30.
BTW, it looks like the Black and Hispanic caucuses are talking to each other
In a statement distributed Thursday, Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), chairman of the Black Caucus, promised to push that position “without infringing upon the rights of other protected classes.”

“We have met with members of the Latino Caucus to share mutual concerns and will continue to dialogue with them as we go forward,” Brookins said.
I didn't want to over excerpt but the whole "protected classes" comment you'll see in this article is a reference to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Read the whole article!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Teachers union chief: Emanuel declared war over longer school day - Chicago Sun-Times

Teachers union chief: Emanuel declared war over longer school day - Chicago Sun-Times
The Chicago Teachers Union on Thursday filed its first major legal salvo in the battle over a longer school day, charging that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his education team are waging an illegal campaign to circumvent the union.

CTU President Karen Lewis said Emanuel’s actions amount to a declaration of war.

The union’s complaint with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board came as teachers at a fourth school — Benjamin Mays Elementary in Englewood — voted to waive the existing CTU contract and add 90 more minutes to the school day in exchange for 2 percent raises and other perks.

At other schools, the CTU complaint alleged Tuesday, the district conducted “sham elections’’ with non-union members, “intimidated” some teachers with the threat of layoffs and offered “inducements’’ to others “in an attempt to bypass the CTU’’ and the wages it already negotiated.

“They are going around us to negate the contract with our members, and that is unlawful,’’ Lewis said.

“This is just out-and-out disrespect and war. That’s what this is. This is an attempt to take down and make irrelevant the Chicago Teachers Union because if the CTU goes, they can roll over every union in the city.’’
 For the most part we already know that CPS and the teacher's union have been at each others throat with regards to their raises that the Board of Education eventually voted down. Now it's over adding 90 minutes to the school day and with now four schools to adopt a longer school day this year.

Aldermen back Emanuel push for Chicago casino

The Chicago City Council met yesterday and here's one of the measures that had passed:
The City Council today backed Mayor Rahm Emanuel's push to get Gov. Pat Quinn to sign off on a major gambling expansion that would bring a casino to Chicago.

One after another stood up to say a casino would bring new jobs and generate $20 million a month or so that Emanuel has pledged to use to rebuild the city.

“Governor, sign this bill, it’s a no brainer,” said Ald. Richard Mell, 33rd, who has long advocated a casino for the city.

Emanuel has been pushing Quinn to sign a major gambling expansion bill. The governor has expressed deep reservations, saying it's "top heavy" and could weaken gambling oversight. Lawmakers have yet to send him the bill.

“This is not a tax increase,” said Ald. Ray Suarez, 31st. “Give Chicago a chance to have a casino. Give Chicago a chance to use that money on infrastructure, which is badly needed.”
The leaders of the city's Black and Latino caucuses - Howard Brookins (21st) and Daniel Solis (25th) - have supported this resolution in favor of bringing a casino to Chicago.

Schools Aim to Keep Students On Track At a Critical Juncture - Chicago News Cooperative

Schools Aim to Keep Students On Track At a Critical Juncture - Chicago News Cooperative
On the first day of school nearly two weeks ago, Jillian Carew quickly realized getting all of her freshman algebra students on the same page would be a monumental task.

That’s because the 250-plus freshmen at Johnson College Prep, a Noble Street Charter School, come from 124 different elementary schools. The new class did have one thing in common, however.

“We definitely found out very early on that they really don’t know how to multiply,” Carew said. “Some of them are even struggling with adding.”

Each year, high schools across the city must quickly acclimate students to the rigors of high school. In Chicago Public Schools, where the graduation rate hovers just above 50 percent, the transition between eighth grade and freshman year is crucial to setting students on a path to graduate.

Research conducted by the Consortium on Chicago School Research shows that students who are on-track at the end of freshman year are four times more likely to graduate from high school. On-track students are defined as those who have earned at least 5 full credits and have not failed more than one semester of a core subject.
Here's a program that could've been used when I was in high school. Have any of you ever heard about it?
CPS has its own initiative to ease the transition to high school. Freshman Connection, launched in the summer of 2008, is a four-week summer program that provides incoming students with extra math and literacy instruction, as well as a course designed to address skills such as time management and conflict resolution.

About 11,000 students participated in this year’s program, according to district spokeswoman Ana Vargas. The average attendance rate during the first quarter of the school year for students who participated in the program last year was 93.8 percent, compared to 88.1 percent for students who did not participate.
I could almost chuckle hearing about the rigors of high school vs. elementary school. When it was that time for me, I was warned about the rigors and found that it didn't matter. Of course I'm talking about something that happened many years ago. I would expect times have changed in many of our high schools.

BTW, during the course of the summer Harlan's calendar was filled with events regarding Freshman Connection registration. Same program and hopefully - well expectedly - positive results!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Englewood school is fourth in Chicago to adopt longer class day - Chicago Sun-Times

Englewood school is fourth in Chicago to adopt longer class day - Chicago Sun-Times
As ministers rallied Thursday at City Hall and Chicago aldermen prepared to join them by approving a resolution in favor of the longer school day, teachers at Benjamin Mays Elementary, 838 W. Marquette, overwhelmingly agreed to work 90 minutes longer, beginning in January.

The 81 percent vote handed another symbolic victory to Mayor Rahm Emanuel in his quest to move up the timetable on his signature education initiative — instituting a longer school day and school year

Emanuel lobbied the Illinois General Assembly to approve the longer school day and school year, but he can’t implement it this year without union approval to do so citywide or authorization from teachers to do so at individual schools.

After rescinding a 4 percent pay raise tied to the teachers contract, schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard offered to give 2 percent back, but only to elementary school teachers who agreed to work 90 minutes longer this school year.

The Chicago Teachers Union rejected that offer, but Emanuel, refusingd to take “no” for an answer, has worked with Brizard to rally parents and ministers behind the immediate change while attempting to pick off individual schools one by one.

Concerned Citizens of Chatham: Izola's Restaurant Benefit Fundraiser

Concerned Citizens of Chatham: Izola's Restaurant Benefit Fundraiser:

Got wind of this on August 20th as noted by Worlee as a day where many events had to contend with the rainy weather that day. Worlee also noted that Izola herself was at the 6th Ward Back to School Picnic at Tuley Park that day as well. I got the flyer at home, but Worlee posted it on his blog as well.

The goal of this Friends for Izola White Fundraiser/Benefit is to raise $35,000 to pay for lease/rent, state & federal taxes, and to possibly reopen Izola's restaurant. It will be held on Sept. 9 at 8731 S. Calumet Ave and if you want tickets or have questions here's contact info:
DeWayne Mason, Guardian
773.936.1455 (cell)

And also here's a FB profile for her:

I do hope that Izola's Restaurant will be back in the near future after this benefit!

Soul food disappearing in Chicago as blacks leave

This AP article (recieved from a reader) starts off talking about Josephine's (the former Captain Hardtimes) in addition to mentioning other city soul food restaurants that have since closed. Then they talk about why those restaurants that do survive are having a hard time:
But places like Josephine's — located in a sagging building off a busy commercial stretch— may number only a half dozen now, having gradually given way to fast food, healthy food and imports like Cajun cuisine, along with the pressures of a bad economy. Also, more middleclass residents are moving to the suburbs, some retirees are heading "home" to the South and others are pursuing the economic lures of the Sunbelt, reversing the historic wave that brought southern blacks pouring into Chicago for jobs in industry.

The Chatham neighborhood on the South Side shows the change. The rows of once-classy homes in the black middle class neighborhood, including a brick cottage that was home to gospel legend Mahalia Jackson, are now pocked with boarded up windows and vacant properties. Other traditionally black neighborhoods have suffered even more as the population loss and foreclosure crisis have left behind weed filled lots.
It was mentioned by candidate Richard Wooten for 6th ward Alderman (in 2011) that Chatham is a "restaurant desert".

What can be done about these trends of population decline and to bring restaurants into our communities?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Home energy assistance programs

Utility Help -Energy Flyer_2012

A flyer from CEDA provided courtesy of the Greater Chatham Alliance.

Quad-level home for sale...

Found this listing for this home at 9825 S. Prairie on Trulia and was posted just last week at EveryBlock:
Split Level w/ Sub, Quad Level - CHICAGO, IL 

move right into this cozy quad level home. this meticulous home offers two generous bedrooms, eat in kitchen, family room, rec room with built in bar area, fenced yard and two car garage. new garage roof and siding in 2011. walk to chicago state university. minutes to red line and expressway.
This lot is right across the street from Shedd School and just two blocks to the west is Harlan High School. You should check out the pics of the interior at the dreamtown listing as well.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How did the first day of school go?

To start, Mayor Emanuel and CPS CEO Brizard paid a visit to STEM Academy. This elementary school was one of three to agree to implement a longer school day in exchange for more money in discretionary spending. FOX Chicago had a report where Brizard was interviewed live at STEM.

Also from the first day of school, CBS 2 has a story in the surrounding neighborhood of Cook Elementary. This story is about the Safe Passage Project. Keeping our young people safe at our schools.

BTW, this is the new lighted sign outside of Harlan. It has a digital sign and as you can see it's illuminated at night. Harlan High School has a Safe Passage presence before and after the school day.

In any event how did the first day of school on the regular track go?

It's still coming...

We got an e-mail recently with regards to Ald. Sawyer's ward website that suggested that there needs to be a website for his website. There is one being designed to I checked out his website not long after that website @ Back in July, I posted about the first iteration of the website that was then under "maintenance mode".

So far the most useful portion of this website is a form for city service requests. Of course I can only wonder if this will go to the Alderman's office or directly to the city's 311 system. Even with this the basic instructions are to call 311 and be sure that one has recieved a service request reference number so that the service office can follow up on it.

I very much look forward to the rest of the website being written in English. Not a criticism, but certainly noticeable.

Again here are the various web presences for the 6th Ward Chicago service office

Chicago police review board reforms gain steam

After years of resistance, a Chicago alderman's plan to shed more light on the largely secretive work of the city's police discipline review board gained momentum today.Under Ald. Robert Fioretti's proposal, the votes of the nine-member Police Board would have to be posted online within 10 days. The board also would have to list the rationale behind its decisions, as well as the reasons members voted against rulings.

“For far too long the decisions have remained without reasons,” Fioretti, 2nd, told members of the Public Safety Committee at today's hearing. “Two people who were charged with the same offense, one would receive a few days suspension, and the other one could be up to a year, two years.”

“I think it helps restore trust — between our police department and the board, and between our citizens and the board,” the alderman added. He expected the changes to be approved Thursday by the full council and take effect 90 days later.

In addition to disciplining cops, the review board also interviews prospective superintendents and provides the mayor with three potential candidates when the office is vacant.
Another way to follow the activities of our city's police department!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Emanuel: 3 schools 'did right' voting for longer class days

This was announced at a press conference before the Chicago Football Classic:
Teachers at the three Chicago Public Schools campuses who agreed to opt out of their union contract in exchange for 2 percent bonuses "voted right for our children's future," Emanuel said during a news conference before the 14th Chicago Football Classic at Soldier Field.

"The teachers did right by their profession and they did right by the children that they teach," Emanuel said while surrounded by several schoolchildren in cheerleading outfits and band uniforms.

A majority of teachers at Genevieve Melody, Skinner North and STEM Magnet Academy schools approved the pacts to extend the school day, CPS officials say. They were rewarded with one-time bonuses equal to about 2 percent of the average district salary, and the schools were awarded as much as $150,000 in discretionary money.

On Saturday, Stem principal Maria McManus stood by Emanuel and said teachers at her school were eager for what she said would be 40 minutes more for math and reading. CPS officials say 76 percent of teachers at Stem voted in favor of extending the school day, starting this month.

"We have a very unique curriculum at the Stem Magnet Academy, and in order to effectively execute that, they felt that they needed a longer school day," McManus said.

At Skinner North, 60 percent of the teachers supported extending the school day, also this month, a district representative said. At Melody, 75 percent of the teachers approved starting a longer school day in January.
And the teacher's union isn't very happy about this at all:
The teachers union is accusing Chicago Public Schools of bribing teachers at three schools that agreed to adopt a longer school day.
The union had advised teachers not to vote in favor of any waiver to their contract, but the 90-minute additions were approved at Melody Elementary on the West Side, Skinner North in Old Town, and the new STEM magnet school on the Near West Side. Skinner and STEM will begin their longer day immediately. Melody will start in January. They join about a dozen schools that already have an extended day.

The Chicago Teachers Union immediately filed a grievance. The union says teachers are being coerced into holding the school-by-school votes to add the 90 minutes, and the payments amount to bribery.
What do you think about an extended school day? Should more of our neighborhood schools have 90 extra minutes?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Alderman: Target police, fire contracts to reduce budget deficit - Chicago Sun-Times

Alderman: Target police, fire contracts to reduce budget deficit - Chicago Sun-Times
Mayor Rahm Emanuel could wring $300 million from the combined $1.8 billion budgets of Chicago’s Police and Fire Departments, in part by dramatically altering union contracts that expire June 30, an influential alderman said Thursday.

“There’s no more sacred cows when the taxpayers are hurting like they are,” said Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), former chairman of the City Council’s Police and Fire Committee.

Beale has already infuriated the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) by targeting the $1,800-a-year uniform allowance officers receive as well as duty-availability pay, a $2,800-a-year lump sum that essentially compensates officers for being on call at any time.

Now, he’s going even further.

Instead of having the same number of police officers assigned to every watch and district, Beale is talking about putting officers when and where the crime is. That would allow Emanuel to eliminate 1,400 police vacancies and shrink the police force through attrition.

“I know it’s an unpopular thing to say. ... But if you put the officers where they’re needed vs. where they’re wanted, you could see a reduction,” he said.
 Ald. Beale was a one-time chairman of the city council's police and fire committee. What do you think of his proposal?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Uptown Update: New Law: Felons With Guns Go To Jail

Uptown Update: New Law: Felons With Guns Go To Jail:

Uptown Update notes a new law to go into effect that came about as a result of the death of Officer Thomas Wortham last year. It was recently signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn on August 2nd.

In fact, it seems similar to another law that was signed into effect at Chatham's Cole Park last year by Gov. Quinn during the course of last year's election.

Well we should ask the same question as the Uptown blog:
Since so many of the gangbangers are convicted felons, do you think it will have any effect on their behavior?  Or at least get them off our streets for longer periods of time?
What do you think?

3rd Annual FREE Back to School Hair Cuts

Information was posted on our FB page. It's that time of year but at least for those who are returning to school next week!
3rd Annual FREE Back to School Hair Cuts
for Elementary & High School Studentst
***All High School students MUST Bring School ID or a Parent Must Be Present***
Monday September 5, 2011
9:00am to 1:00pm
...L&M Barbershop
422 E. 87th Street – Chicago, IL 60619
Sponsored by:
6th Ward Committeeman Freddrenna Lyle
6th Ward Junior Democratic Organization
The Barbers of L&M Barbershop
Lyle For Kids
Food Court USA

Assailant misses off-duty cop, hits friend in Chatham neighborhood

Location: E 75th St & S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
From Chicago Breaking News

An off-duty Chicago police officer managed to avoid being hit by gunfire in the Chatham neighborhood early this morning but a friend with him was hit, police said.

The two were outside a residence in the 7500 block of South Wabash Avenue about 2:20 a.m. when a gunman opened fire on the pair, said Police Officer Amina Greer, citing preliminary information.

The officer returned fire but missed, Greer said.
For the rest of the story...  Assailant misses off-duty cop, hits friend in Chatham neighborhood

As of 7:35am this morning, police were still on the scene, with tape up