Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jahmal Cole featured in Chicago Citizen

UPDATE BY LEVOIS 1:09 PM -  You can also read this that I uploaded to scribd. Just the pages where Cole's interview is available.

Jahmal Cole shared with us that he is featured in this week's Chicago Citizen newspaper.

His book, Torch of Decency: Rekindling the Spirit of Civic Organizations, is featured, and sold 500 copies so far.

Copies are availble at Chatham Food Market as well as at

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chicagoland Shakedown: Why It's Impossible to Run A Business Without Breaking the Law

[VIDEO] This video from an outlet known as PJTV takes a look at Chicago's regulatory climate mainly through the eyes of the owners of a Hyde Park neighborhood coffee shop. It makes you wonder how many other entrepreneurs or small business owners are running into the same issues described here. Is there room for reform in Chicago's regulations?

Also it was noted here on this blog that the city council passed a plan to reduce the number of business licenses.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

WBEZ: High school hopes to change image two years after beating death

It's great to hear a story about how Fenger High School - located at 11220 S. Wallace - seeks to rebound after the death of one of their students - one Derrion Albert - back in 2009. At the same time I want to know why is Ald. Michelle Harris commenting about a school that isn't even located in her own 8th Ward. Shouldn't there be a quote by Ald. Carrie Austin because the school is located in the 34th Ward?

Tribune: Teen charged in 2011 triple murder outside Chatham neighborhood bakery

Aaron Barnes - Chicago Police Photo
An update to last year's murders outside of a bakery on 87th Street:
Cook County prosecutors have charged a 19-year-old Chicago man in the 2011 slayings of three people outside a bakery in the Chatham neighborhood.

Aaron Barnes, of the 9000 block of South Jeffery Boulevard, was arrested Friday and later charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the fatal shootings of Chanda Thompson; her boyfriend, Shawn Russell; and their friend Cortez Champion, authorities said. He is being held on a no-bail arrest warrant.

Barnes' arrest come four months after prosecutors dropped murder charges in the case against another teen, Nicko Grayson, 17, who authorities originally implicated in the shooting. New evidence, including witnesses who came forward, pointed to Barnes as the killer, authorities said.

The shooting was retaliatory, authorities said.

Thompson, Russell and Champion, all 21, were fatally shot Nov. 5 while sitting in a car outside A Piece of Cake bakery in the 400 block of East 87th Street. Thompson had just picked up a cake there for her daughter's birthday party when the shooting occurred.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Chicago Farmers Markets 2012 Schedule

There are quite a few Farmer's Markets on the South Side this summer

One started in Beverly already at 95th & Longwood which started on May 13 through Oct. 28 every Sunday from 9 AM to 1 PM. And one will start on June 6 through Oct. 31 at the Urban Partnership Bank Parking Lot - 70th & Jeffery in South Shore every Wednesday from 7 AM to 1 PM.

The one at Seaway Bank - 87th & Langley - starts July 25 and ends on September 26 between the hours of 9 AM to 2 PM every Wednesday. There's one in Pullman located at the intersection of 111th & Cottage Grove at Arcade park also every Wednesday from 7 AM to 12 PM start July11th through October 31. 

Check this link for a more comprehensive listing of all farmer's markets throughout the city. Also note that some of these markets accept a LINK card as well!

VIDEO: The anatomy of a successful beat meeting

[VIDEO] We've talked about CAPS a few times on this blog and surely the readership of this blog has been to beat meetings. This two year old video uploaded onto YouTube back in May 2010 talks about what it takes to have a successful beat meeting. If you've actually been to such gatherings do you agree with this video?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Burnside school featured on CPS Facebook page.

Location: Burnside Elementary Scholastic Academy, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
The Chicgao Public schools' official Facebook page today features Burnside Scholastic Academy as their  FB banner, and have posted a "Burnside Takeover" -->!/media/set/?set=a.423875374299498.92097.192405757446462&type=1

RE: Bus Tracker lets teens in high-crime areas wait inside school

To read the clipping to the left you must click the image for a larger resolution!

The clipping from the Roseland Heights Newsletter shows some of what happened at last month's Roseland Heights Community Association meeting. It mainly shows the dissatisfaction of last month's article with regards to the CTA Bus Tracker program (a $7000 pilot program) being utilized at Harlan Community Academy. The article in question was posted last Sunday.

First they want to make it clear at Roseland Heights that Harlan wasn't chosen for the program not because it resides in a high crime area, but that it has a high percentage of students who take public transportation. Indeed this clipping concludes with the idea that the bus tracker protects Roseland Heights residents. The students are relatively safe in that neighborhood, however, as stated a few times here if there are criminal issues they're usually confined at the 95th Street red line terminal.

While I can believe that sometimes the Harlan students may be engaged in criminal activities let's not forget - as it's often been stated at Harlan LSC meetings - that students from other area high schools come through 95th Street as well. We hear about how certain other area schools seems to carry on with students from Harlan enough where there is concern about where Harlan students should be able to attend summer school.

Secondly, Roseland Heights wants to be identified correctly. The surround neighborhood doesn't want to be called Roseland. Technically, the neighborhood is located within the Roseland community area but that's not the name residents refer to the neighborhood. Using the name Roseland, no one will have a good perception about this area as well Roseland isn't known as a very safe area. All one has to do is just drive south on Michigan Ave past the Bishop Ford (Calumet) Expressway to see how it changes!

In any event you can see what information is contained within the May 2012 issue of the Roseland Heights Community Voice embedded below.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

CTA Tattler: CTA schedules open houses on Western, Ashland corridors BRT project

One of those meetings is located in Englewood at the 7th District Police Station located at 438 W. 63rd Street on June 12th from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. It is the first of three meetings scheduled by the CTA on bus rapid transit (BRT). Here's more from CTA Tattler:
CTA riders can explore various options for bus rapid transit (BRT) projects on the 21-mile stretches of both Ashland and Western avenues during three open house meetings June 12-14.
According to an email from the CTA, the purpose of the meetings is to:
  • Introduce the project and the Alternatives Analysis (AA) process. The AA is a study of the potential impacts of the various project options. Each option or “alternative” includes different features and service plans.
  • Provide additional information to the public about the project.
  • Solicit feedback from the community on the project.
During the AA process, the CTA, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration, offer various BRT options for the community to weigh in on. They will explain the positive and negative impacts of a variety of Bus Rapid Transit features and service on both Western and Ashland Avenues.
Here's a link for more information on the proposed BRT and on these public meetings!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

South side public meeting: streets for cycling plan

Below is a flyer to a meeting for south side residents on May 31 at the Gary Comer Center located at 7200 S. Ingleside with regards to the placement of bicycling facilities and the locations of bicycling trails along the south side of town. This was mentioned at the recent Roseland Heights meeting in addition to the Major Taylor Trail from the Dan Ryan Woods to Riverdale. How many of us utilize a bicycle to get around the city? How many of us could benefit from making our streets more friendly to bicyclists?

20 Block Prayer on 79th street THIS Saturday!

Location: 408 E 79th St, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
From John Hannah's New Life Covenant Oakwood church -



CHICAGO (May 16, 2012)- As an urban church, Senior Pastor John F. Hannah and New Life Covenant Church don't routinely target and fish for souls in a traditional way. In fact, when violence and crime continue to be a way of life in the Grand Crossing community, New Life goes beyond the four walls of their sanctuary to break the code of silence through prayer. Back by popular demand, New Life is having its 2nd "Prayer on 'The 9" event Saturday, May 26th at 11:30am CST.

If you missed the last Prayer on 'The 9 event, more than 1,000 residents and church goers stretched from 79th Street and Dobson Avenue to the Dan Ryan Expressway to pray for the Grand Crossing community and its surrounding areas. "We do this event because we want to gather in one location and ask God to send us peace in our community," said Pastor Hannah. In the past, this event has caught the attention and participation of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, former 6th District Police Commander Eddie T. Johnson, and 8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris. "I was tremendously overwhelmed by the outpouring of the church [New Life] in terms of their commitment to the community they are serving, and the community's response to them," said Alderman Harris. "I would like to commend Pastor Hannah because he's connecting the community through prayer. We need more of these events."

This event starts prompt. Early arrival is suggested.

Meeting Location and Time

*New Life Covenant Church
1021 E. 78th Street
Chicago, IL 60619

Prayer Time: 11:30am CST

*Other churches and organizations may have different meeting location for this event.


If you would like more information about this event and others, please call the main office at 773.285.1731, or e-mail

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chicago Park District Financial Assistance Program

Location: 8530 S King Dr, Chicago, IL 60619, USA

Summer is around the corner, and the best way to keep the children of our communities safe, is to keep them occupied.  The Chicago Park District has many free-to-low cost programs for youth and teens alike this summer.  Thanks to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Summer Safety Surplus grant, we are able to offer financial assistance to thousands of children for day camp.   Applicants must provide proof of participation in the Illinois Free and Reduced Lunch Program. Applicants who do not participate in the school lunch program can prove eligibility by providing income verification (i.e., 2012 recent pay stubs for last 30 days, AFDC / TANF case #, a copy of a recent IRS 1040 form). All information submitted is confidential.   To apply for financial assistance, bring copies of the required documents to the desired park through June 11 during normal park hoursI have attached the financial assistance flyer for your convenience. 
  If you know of any families that may be able to take advantage of this opportunity, please feel free to share this information. Chicago Park District Day Camps run June 25th through August 3rd.   Contact your local park for details.

ABC 7: Urban Prep celebrates seniors' college plans

[VIDEO] We hear a lot about this institution one of their campuses is located in the old Englewood High School on 63rd Street near the Dan Ryan Expressway. They have three campuses altogether one in Bronzeville and another located on the west side near 14th Street & Loomis.

This ABC7 story aired on May 15th:
For the third year, 100 percent of Urban Prep Academies' seniors have been accepted into a four-year college or university. The Chicago White Sox joined the seniors Tuesday at 'signing day' as they committed to college. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel was also on hand to support the class.

Urban Prep's mission is to provide a high-quality, college prep education to young men that results in them succeeding in college. The Urban Prep motto is "we believe."

"The future is theirs for the taking," said Tim King, Urban Prep CEO and president.

During a ceremony at U.S. Cellular Field, the seniors put on ball caps and announced where each of them is going to college.
At the end of the story one of the students at this school was said to have been accepted to at least 60 universities. Very outstanding!

I do have to ask, however, I do want to hear stories like this at regular public high schools. When are we going to hear stories like this from such schools as Harlan (GO FALCONS)? They could use some good news as well even though this news from Urban Prep Academy - an all-male charter secondary school - is very much outstanding in and of itself. Great news with regards to our young Black males!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bus Tracker lets teens in high-crime areas wait inside school - Chicago Sun-Times

This is deja vu of sorts as well we already knew that Harlan (GO FALCONS!)already provides this service to their students. In fact it was featured on the CTA program Connections it was posted onto this blog back in 2010. This article was published in the Sun-Times late last month!

Well let's be clear, the neighborhoods outside of Harlan - namely Roseland Heights where the school actually resides and West Chesterfield to the north - are hardly high crime neighborhoods. For the most part if there is crime during say dismissal or even when school convenes in the morning it comes from elsewhere for the most part. I wonder how many students from Harlan actually resides in either Roseland Heights and West Chesterfield or at the very least somewhere nearby.

I think the idea of school using Bus Tracker displays at school is a sound one because as stated in the article:
To Evans, there’s a simple logic: The less time students spend hanging out on the streets waiting for their buses, the less likely they are to be the victims of crime or get into trouble. Now, students can stay inside and step outside just in time to catch the bus.
Still that being said this is something that should be of concern if you're about going home and getting some homework done then you do want to be sure to know when your bus will arrive near the high school so that you can be on your way. And let's hope there are no incidents near the 95th terminal as well.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Deneen LSC elections TODAY! (also Robeson, Guggenheim and others)

Location: Deneen Elementary School, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
I just happened to be on the website for LSC's today, and checked regarding the supplemental elections - where schools that didn't have enough people running for an seat on their LSC would have a second election.

Deneen Elementary School (7240 S. Wabash Ave.) - now an AUSL , essentially is having the entire election on that date. While some schools may have been missing a few parent or communty slots, Deneen needs to fill ALL of their offices.

Guggenheim Elementary School (7141 S. Morgan St.) is seeking to fill the same number of slots.

Robeson High School (6835 S. Normal Blvd.) is also looking to fill 5 parent slots.

If you are a parent of a student, or live in the immediate community around the school, you have until 7pm TODAY to vote. Some of the serious candidates will be out near the school, so you can meet them and decide to vote for them,

Here's the link for the elections -->

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Alderman Sawyers First Year Report

Location: 461 E 83rd St, Chicago, IL 60619, USA

Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer came into office with an aggressive plan to clean up the ward, including many areas that had been long neglected.  This included many vacant lots in Englewood, as well as alleys on the east side of our ward.  The new Ward Superintendent Paul Bryson dove right in and got his hands dirty working with Streets and Sanitation. He received assistance from earn-fair workers and community volunteers to help keep our neighborhood clean.  While strides have been made, we need more community input, and we have to hold our neighbors accountable.  The high number of vacant homes makes it difficult for the city to get to every lot or overgrown yard as soon as we would like.  We need to look for some neighborhood based solutions to some of these concerns.
Alderman Sawyer has been judicious about supporting the removal of buildings, as too many demolitions result in problem vacant lots in areas.  Alderman Sawyer is working to find investors to rehab properties, and get them back into the hands of homeowners.  Alderman Sawyer has made every attempt to protect the community from unscrupulous outside investors. These investors wanted to buy homes cheaply, and place more transient renters in more of our homes, instead of looking for a long term solution to entice people back to our neighborhood.  As part of this long term solution, Alderman Sawyer addressed the pillars of our community in his first year:  safety, economic development, education, community engagement, and city’s governance.


Alderman Sawyer knows that the main characteristic of any strong neighborhood is the ability to feel safe.  As often stated, the Alderman’s goal for the 6th Ward is to be able to walk from your home un-accosted to pick up something you need on a street near you. He wants residents to have the option of stopping to have a good, healthy meal, be entertained and return home un-accosted; all in their own neighborhood.  Safety is a major component of turning this vision into a reality.  In the first year the four districts (3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th) have all received new commanders and the term began with the installation of a new police commissioner.  Alderman Sawyer has maintained good communication with police throughout this transition, as well as worked with the implementation of new strategies to combat individuals who refuse to follow the law.  As always this requires your help as well, whether attending your CA PS meetings, being a nosey neighbor or following the number one rule of public safety, “If you see something, say something.”   Alderman Sawyer’s focus has been more on working with neighbors to collect actionable intelligence on crimes to share with the police.  This will help them work towards producing more real convictions in troubled areas, rather than continue chasing the problems from corner to corner.
Alderman Sawyer also believes that in order to keep our neighborhood safe, we as residents need to take our neighborhood back.  Alderman Sawyer has participated in numerous prayer vigils, anti-violence marches and roll calls in troubled areas. He knows that the solution is not for the good people to hide in their homes and shut their doors.  It is important that all good neighbors get to know each other and do things outside in their neighborhood. Forming those relationships will make it easy to correctly identify outsiders and warn them to keep moving. Further, Alderman Sawyer has begun the conversation with community groups about creating residential Special Service Areas (SSAs).  This program would create an additional tax levy on residents.  The funds, which would be controlled by the neighborhood that instituted the program, could be used for private security.  As focused as he remains on safety, Alderman Sawyer knows there cannot just be a policing solution to t his problem.  He is working with faith leaders, community groups and local businesses to rebuild the sense of community throughout the ward.  This is also the main reason he has been focused on fixing the educational and economic opportunities in the area. The best form of violence prevention is job availability.

Economic Development

The first directive from Alderman Sawyer is that we need to begin to plan our neighborhoods one area at a time, rather than storefront by storefront.  Our main business thoroughfares need to have an identity, and be planned in a way that does the most for economic development and eases licensing hurdles.  Alderman Sawyer has worked with the Chatham Business Association and is organizing business groups within all of the 6th Ward major business districts to get together to help the office address the challenges facing small business in this environment.
Alderman Sawyer also held a transportation meeting where he introduced the concept of transit oriented development into the conversation of the 6th Ward.  As head of the ward that contained or abutted the most red line stops in the city, Alderman Sawyer felt the need to point out the glaring economic loss that was the lack of any real development around our transportation stops.  The lack of this development has contributed to the loss of jobs in the community, decreases safety and home values, and removes a large amount of potential revenue to the city, county and state.


Alderman Sawyer worked to get involved with his schools. He had a goal of changing the fact that the great majority of the schools in the 6th Ward were on probation.  Rather than jumping to conclusions Alderman Sawyer set out to find the answers because he knew that many of his schools had dedicated and talented administrators, teachers, and parents.  Therefore, the Alderman held a meeting with his principals, to discuss the issues that they were facing including our neighborhood schools, selective enrollment schools, charter schools and turnaround schools.  In his two meetings thus far, Alderman Sawyer learned that much of the cause of the probation battles were unrealistic federal standards that didn’t measure growth, which made catching up more difficult. The high mobility of families, caused by the housing crisis forced students to have to change schools multiple times in their first few years.  Finally, Alderman Sawyer was able to learn about many of the innovative programs that our schools are using, and other schools got ideas of how to better push things forward.  What became key is that much of the neighborhood, including parents and students were unaware of the work being done in our neighborhood schools. We need to address the stigma of attending a neighborhood school so that parents and students will take advantage of the opportunities that are available to them.

Community Engagement

Alderman Sawyer believes that the best way for our community to return to its former status is by rebuilding our neighborhoods, block by block and community by community.  This is why Alderman Sawyer has worked with several groups to establish block clubs, connected newer block clubs with longer serving groups and worked to empower community organizations.  Alderman Sawyer wants residents to know their neighbors and be active in their community organizations. It’s the connection of neighbors and families that make neighborhoods strong, more than political boundaries.  Along those lines, Alderman Sawyer attends the regular meetings of each community organization and many block club meetings as his schedule allows.  It is important that we first understand and feel connected to what is happening in our neighborhood; getting to know our own neighbors to help pre-build the bonds that are fundamental for a community.  Further, Alderman Sawyer has hosted meetings for Bloc k Club Presidents and the Presidents of Community Organizations so that the leadership of these groups can have a bond and share best practices and information.

Alderman Sawyer has promoted protesting particularly when businesses in our neighborhood do not treat us appropriately.  As a former licensing attorney, Alderman Sawyer knows the difference between a good business that needs to come into some compliance, and a problem institution that does not belong in a community.  The constant refrain with some of the problem stores—possessing general business licenses—is that we must put our money where our mouth is and stop supporting these businesses.  As long as you give money to businesses that do not respect you, more disrespectful businesses will follow.  Alderman Sawyer has worked on “stop the violence” marches with the SEIU and demands for community investment with Action Now.  The Alderman is currently standing with Congressman Bobby Rush in the fight for fair jobs from Metra on the Englewood Flyover project.  Alderman Sawyer is determined to do more than just meet on problems; he is ready to stand on the front l ine with the community.  He just asks that the community stands up with him.

City Hall

With the arrival of Mayor Rahm Emanuel this has been a time for rapid change and a serious discussion about the direction of this city. Alderman Sawyer has been a major figure in these discussions.   He took the fact that he was elected to be independent very seriously, and has been judicious about when he has sided with the Mayor and when he has not.  When it comes to addressing the fiscal challenges, Alderman Sawyer has been guided by the principles that the brunt of the burden cannot strictly be placed on those who can least afford it.  Alderman Sawyer has also fought for investment and the expansion of services in the communities in his ward.  After experiencing a summer of very slow response times by the Bureau of Electricity and the Department of Forestry, Alderman Sawyer worked within the budget process to secure more trucks for each department to get that work completed. 
Alderman Sawyer voted against allowing the city of confiscate income taxes for money owed to the city, as well as the speed camera ordinance because they seemed regressive ways to increase revenue.  He supported the overall budget and the infrastructure trust, because those seemed like well-intentioned vehicles to fund the sorts of major improvements that are desperately needed in the 6thWard.  Even with those votes it was a deliberative process where he earned the respect of the Mayor’s office, and often receives individual briefings when he requires more information.  Alderman Sawyer voted against the ward remap, as it has separated communities. His attempt in the process was to maintain single representation of as many middle class wards as possible. However, it was clear that due to a reduction of population, according to the census, there was going to have to be some shifts in ward boundaries.  The balance between protecting overall black representat ion in the 6th Ward was difficult, but the best idea would have been to maintain full communities.  As the interests of residents where being ignored for political reasons, Alderman Sawyer could not support the map.  Alderman Sawyer was a co-sponsor of the Clean Air Ordinance, stood against the library cuts, and served on the Mayor’s Aldermanic Sign Task Force. He is also in the working group to increase regulations on metal yards, that have been accepting stolen goods.
In all it has been an excited first year including thousands of service requests accepted through every form of current technology as well as better getting to know our 6th Ward Neighbors.

Progress IL: Community activists to show the world a different side of Chicago

I hope that RAGE is getting in on this action!
Grassroots Collaborative, an association of 11 community organizations, including SEIU* Local 73 and SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana, will guide visiting journalists on two “Chicago 99% Tours” this week. With reporters from Reuters, the BBC, and various local publications already signed on, the tours will take the press via charter bus through Chicago’s Englewood, Brighton Park, Little Village, and Back of the Yards neighborhoods.

“We want the visiting journalists to get outside of downtown, to hear the real stories from Chicagoans who live in different parts of the city who are dealing with issues like foreclosures, violence, and school safety,” said Amisha Patel, executive director for Grassroots Collaborative.

One of the issues Patel and her organization have been most vocal about is the millions of dollars World Business Chicago raised to support the NATO summit. In a press release, the community activists said about $14 million will go towards paying for “NATO parties.”

Patel said she’d like to see some of that money redirected to help Chicago’s poorest residents repair their neighborhoods by setting up safety watches for school children, or use to prevent the closures more local mental health facilities.
These tours are scheduled to take place the mornings of Thursday May 17 & Friday May 18!

Via Capitol Fax morning shorts!

Monday, May 14, 2012

House listing from 90th Street...

Location: 312 E 90th St, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
This is one of the many houses or properties that one may find using the EveryBlock widget on our Blotter page. It's located at 312 East 90th Street and as you see in that picture it's boarded up. It's priced at $80,500 and is listed as having 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom along with a basement! It was built between 1951 & 1954, well actually the Trulia page lists two different years for initial construction. Click the Trulia link for more external or internal pictures within this home. Would this be a home you're interested in?

Sun-Times: City to give $2 million to companies that hire City Colleges grads

Sounds great but then where is this money coming from?
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a $2 million stipend for companies willing to hire City Colleges of Chicago graduates.

“You hire one of our community college kids, we’ll pay their stipend for the first four weeks of work,” Emanuel said Saturday during his commencement address to 3,300 graduates at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion. “. . . I want the rest of the country and all the people to know we got great community colleges with great kids who are ready to go to work.”

He also told the graduates — a record number for City Colleges, which granted only half that number of associates degrees a decade ago — about the importance of battling adversity.
I hope the students at our nearby city colleges, Olive-Harvey and Kennedy-King take advantage of this in the future!

Tribune: Pickup truck crashes into CTA station entrance

Location: 87th Red Line Station, Chicago, IL 60620, USA
87th Street auxilliary entrance via
This incident occurred Sunday night:
The collision happened just before 9 p.m. at the 87th Street station's auxilliary entrance that sits on the north side of the 87th Street overpass, according to CTA officials.

The westbound pickup truck jumped the curb and collided with the glass double doors, officials said.

Chicago police confirmed the crash, adding that Illinois State police were handling the incidwent because the pickup's driver was suspected of a previous offense minutes before the collision.

The pickup's driver was being held pending DUI charges, state police said.

Two people from the crash were taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Chicago Fire Department officials said.

One was transported in serious-to-critical condition and the second patient was in fair-to-serious condition, a spokesman said. It was unclear whether they were CTA passengers or were inside the pickup truck.
Also in another report from the Sun-Times
CTA spokesman Brian Steele said the vehicle “made contact” with glass double doors at the auxiliary entrance, which is located on the north side of 87th Street across from the station’s main entrance. The station remained open, and service on the Red Line was not affected, Steele said.

Does anyone know the story of this house?

Located at the intersection of 90th & Prairie, it appears to be a large house that could be called a "McMansion". A case could be made for it to be a rental property with various floors to be rented out. It's close to being completed and has been sitting like this for approximately 3 to 5 years.

I'm posting this for one main reason. Some of my assumptions about this property could surely be challenged. Therefore, it would be curious to know some of the history of this home? Who built it and why is it in its current state?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Shooting on 75th Street last night..

Found this Tribune report via Blotter. One of a number of violent incidents throughout the city within the past day:
A 36-year-old man was shot in the Chatham neighborhood about 1:30 a.m. He was in the 300 block of East 75th Street when someone shot him in the foot, police said. He turned up at the University of Chicago Hospital, police said.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

City business plan competition extended to July

For those of you with business plans and hopefully seek the opportunity to win some cash money in the process. The deadline has been extended to July 6, 2012 at 4:30 PM:
Do you have a great business idea? The City wants to hear it.

The Chicago City Treasurer’s Office is proud to announce the launch of the annual Business Plan Competition. The competition is open to start-up and existing small businesses throughout the city.

To compete for a chance to win cash for your small business, submit your two-page executive summary (official executive summary template can be found at detailing your business and what makes it unique. Ten finalists will then be selected to submit a full business plan. Three winners will be selected based on their ability to clearly and concisely articulate their business idea, the creativity and practicability of their marketing and sales strategy, and the overall viability of their business.

The winners will be announced on October 5 at the Chicago City Treasurer’s Small Business Expo – 725 W. Roosevelt Road - 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. In addition, the winners will present their winning business plans at the Expo.
On June 27th there will be a business plan workshop at the Chatham Business Association located at 806 E. 78th Street from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM.

Metal theft prevention tips...

Found this over at EveryBlock posted by Worlee and consider this a follow-up to these to recent stories posted to the blog:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ward Room: City council approves slashing city business licenses

According to this article it should save small businesses more than $2 milllion and result in fewer fines for business people and entrepreneurs:
The City Council on Wednesday approved an ordinance to reduce the number of Chicago business licenses from 117 to 49 and make it easier for dogs to accompany their owners to restaurant patios.

The move takes Chicago from one of the most heavily licensed cities to one of least, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. It cuts unnecessary red tape and decreases bureaucracy for local businesses, especially small businesses.

It also consolidates business licenses so restaurants won't need to apply for the separate $125 "dog-friendly" license.

Aldermen overwhelmingly supported the proposal, saying businesses "deserve to have the red carpet, not red tape."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ward Room: First Lady to Host NATO South Side Tour

This is a cool thing for Michelle Obama to orchestrate in connection with the coming NATO summit here. There's more to Chicago than either the north side or the downtown area of town:
The First Lady has invited spouses of NATO leaders on a tour of the Gary Comer Youth Center on Chicago's south side, followed by a private dinner at the Chicago Art Institute.

The visit to the youth center will include performances by the South Shore Dance Drill Team, dancers from the Muntu Dance Theater and musicians from the Soul Children of Chicago. Following the performance, Mrs. Obama and the other spouses will sit down for a private lunch created by Chef Paul Kahan. Kahn will work with Gary Comer Youth Center youth members in preparing the meal.

The Gary Comer Youth Center is about two blocks from the apartment where the First Lady grew up, the White House said in March.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Examiner: Replacing Chicago business not an easy task

Location: 700 E 87th St, Chicago, IL 60619, USA

Here's some news on the site of the former Chatham Pancake House it was demolished within the past month and as you see above it is now a vacant lot! Now the plans for this lot by the developer of the nearby Chatham Village Square:
“If I could purchase the land behind the car wash occupied by a tennis field no one uses, I could combine that space with the pancake house and that would allow me to offer potential developers enough space to build,” [Musa Tadros] said. “But until then I needed to demolish the building to keep it from being taxed as an operating business. And besides, it was starting to deteriorate so there was also a liability issue.”

One business Chatham residents can rest assures will not be built on the site is another liquor store.

“I hate that there is a liquor store across the street now so I know I would not accept any proposals for a liquor store. There will be no pawnshop there either,” he explained. “And whatever goes up there the community will have a say.”

The Chatham Business Association already has a few ideas for the location.

“There are numerous fits in the community. I would love to see a WiFi coffee, breakfast type establishment to replace the pancake house,” said Melinda Kelly, executive director of the Chatham Business Association, a non-profit Chicago organization.. And Alderman Roderick Sawyer, whose sixth ward includes the pancake house site, said he supports redevelopment of the land and is excited about the possibilities for it.

“I am pleased there is a plan to redevelop the old Chatham Pancake location, while I regret the loss of that business I look forward to a new vibrant business on 87th Street,” Sawyer said. Local, black business owners are pushing for another Black business to move into the space.

“I hope that whatever is put there it is a black-owned business,” said Milton Moses, president and chief executive officer of Community Insurance Center, a 50 year-old, black-owned agency at 526 E. 87th St. “That’s what wrong with black neighborhoods now. As soon as a black business goes under or relocates a non-black business moves in.”

Tadros added he would not discriminate and is open to all proposals regardless of race.
Tadros had purchased the lot of the former pancake house pledged to only find a development that would make "good business sense". Also noted that the limited space on that lot could cause any attempt at development to take much longer. The article noted it could take as much as two years to develop the pancake house lot.

Also I'm sure taking away the tennis courts of Brown Park will raise some eyebrows even if they are rarely used!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The old Wendy's and the store next door...

I took this shot near 95th & King Drive this past Thursday. Wendy's has been closed for about a month already the establishment boarded up and Wendy's sign removed. What would you like to see here to replace them?

BTW, this is old news that was noted on our FB page last month. A reader chimed in that the owners of this franchise sold the business and moved on.

ALSO at the time I took this picture a group of young people were loitering just outside of the store next door to the former Wendy's. The store formerly was home very briefly to a Quench Fresh Family Foods store. There was a big group no more than 10 young people standing outside. I know that a lot of people are at odds with this store, but to their credit someone came out to shoo the loiterers away from their door. They didn't move along right away but eventually they did.

I did attempt to get a shot of the loitering but hey can't always get the perfect shot. I took a shot of some young loiterers at a gas station near the 95th Street terminal on Tuesday. When it's dismissal time -with Harlan and Gillespie nearby - there is normally a police car present however on this day there wasn't.

It makes you wonder what's the appeal of just standing around near a place of business with no intention of doing any business?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Yard sale sign for Saturday...

Took a snapshot of this sign advertising a yard sale at the corner of 89th Street and King Drive Thursday afternoon. It's coming May 5th from 6 AM to 6 PM. Does anyone plan to participate as either a seller or a buyer this weekend?

What's going on in Roseland (9th Ward)?

Check out this EveryBlock discussion that was started with the statement below on May 1st with regards to Ald. Anthony Beale's administration of the 9th Ward:
Alderman Anthony Beale's plans for 9th Ward Roseland posted by DMC

 Does anyone know of any plans for the Roseland community? I drive around and see nothing but senior housing going up. The lot at 115th State has been torn apart a year ago yet nothing has been done to it, where's the Aldi and why do we need another when there's one just a mile west? There's nothing more than urban wear and hair supply stores on Michigan than blend quite well with the storefronts that are closed; such as the former Rent-a-Center lot on 115th Michigan behind Curtis School. Lastly, how many more churches can one ward have, like we haven't lost enough tax revenue in our community already? have Can anyone share any information on ANY worthwhile project in the 9th ward???? I'm lost here...
Check out the comments a number of things being said the main things mentioned is

Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep - we found out here that Ald. Beale had been elected to the LSC there. That is an issue because Brooks is a selective enrollment school and it is thought to be a conflict of interest. Also another potential issue is an attempt by Ald. Beale to use his "clout" to remove the sitting principal at Brooks. To be fair Ald. Sawyer himself had served on an LSC for McDade Classical School although I'm not certain if he remains on the LSC at current moment he didn't run to retain his seat in the recent LSC elections. Refer to JP's post for a link about LSC election results!

Development -  The comments appear to be not so thrilled with Wal-Mart coming to the area or do not believe it to be the savior while other commercial developments are being neglected. Especially the area of Michigan Avenue between roughly 107th and 115th Streets. Also they complain about the types of businesses that have set up shop in the 9th ward and the lack of development especially of the lot that was largely razed for an Aldi's at the corner of 115th & Michigan.

Constituent services - Many of the comments complain about Beale's lack of responsiveness to his residents. As the 9th Ward will take in a new constituency within the next few years this will prove to be key as it has been said that the areas located currently in the southernmost portion of the 6th Ward votes much more heavily than all of the 9th Ward. Some of the residents will seek out Ald. Beale at his office on Monday nights when he usually will be available talk to his constituents.

9th Warders are more than welcome to talk here about their communities and how their ward is faring currently. Do you think Ald. Beale is doing a good job as your Alderman? Why or why not? Well what say you?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chicago 311 requests to get tracking numbers...

It seems as if the crew at the 6th ward service office was ahead of the curve. Soon we won't have to ask for a service request number, soon they will just give it to us to track the progress of our requests. From NBC Chicago:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Thursday that Chicago is enhancing its 311 system to assign tracking numbers to requests so callers can see a request's progress.

“Taxpayers who call 311 for a City service should be able to quickly and easily find out when that service has been completed,” Emanuel said in a statement. “This new system will reassure the public that their requests are not falling into a black hole and make it easier for taxpayers to hold City departments accountable.”

Emanuel said the new system, to be operational by the fall, will provide more information to calling residents and "ensure greater accountability" for departments that respond to service requests.

Each request will get a tracking number similar to one given for a Fed Ex package. City officials can more easily monitor the request, Emanuel said, and the caller will be notified when it's completed.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

LSC Election results

The results are available for the Chicago LSC Elections.
To find your school via a map, go to -->

Some results were horrendous.

Dixon had at most 12 parents voting. I'm not sure how big it is, but doing the math of 2 classrooms times 1st - 6th grade = 12. So it seems like ONLY 1 parent per classroom bothered voting, even though the election was on Report Card Pick Day (with teacher conferences).

Gillispie only had 2 parents to run (for up to 6 open slots), with 15 voting

Pirie several parents running, and but only one received 16 votes; a community member garnered 14 votes.

Neil had 24 voting.

Mcdade, despite being a Classical school (and one of the top 2% in the state) only had up to 48 vote. (This is a school I would expectr to have high parent involvement, as well as interest of neighbors).

Ruggles had at least 73 parents & community members voting

Burnside had at least 86
Harlan High had 37, including it looks like former State Rep. candidate Sandra Worthem.

Hirsch High had 27.

Deneen, being now a charter school, did not have any elections listed.

The database can be found at

A supplementary election is planned later this year. 
Disclaimer: The Sixth Ward blog writer, JP Paulus, ran for Burnside's LSC, and won as a parent representative.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Harlan High School student missing!!!

The date of this missing person alert  for Sasha Clemons was from April 23, 2012. She had been last observed leaving Harlan located at 9652 S. Michigan Avenue at around 1PM (listed as 1300 hrs on the alert). As of today's publishing there has been no further updates on this case. If you have any information with regards to this young lady the number for Chicago Police area central is 773.747.8380. The alert itself is posted below!