Sunday, June 30, 2013

When Chatham Comes Together

Location: 8600 South Rhodes Avenue, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
Earlier today I received this letter

On June 27, 2013 at approximately 6:00 p.m a rushing thunderstorm violently pushed its way through the city.
The storm lasted about 10 minutes before the sky became clear again, but the after affects were
devastating.  It looked like a tornado had touched down.  On the block of 86th and Rhodes a tree was split, which fell
in the street and travel going south bound was impossible.  311 was called, but all lines were busy. It was no use trying to get through
and even if they did answer, it would take days before a crew would come and cut the tree and branches that blocked the street.

However, MEN, that's right real MEN gathered and developed a strategic plan in order to move the tree and the branches
out of the street.  One man went and got his electric saw, the others got hand saws and two had power saws.  The MEN on the block
of 86th and Rhodes went to work.  It was the most amazing thing I have witnessed in quite a while.  The scene was powerful.  Real men
coming together in a crisis situation and solving a problem.  We didn't wait, we acted like men and took charge.  Women came out of their houses and were galvanized by watching men come together, take control and solve a problem..  It was heart moving to some, but normal and expected from men. We were all on one accord. My heart is filled with joy and confidence knowing that I live around some black men, real men, responsible men, caring men who stepped up for the call the of duty.  I salute every man, both young and old who championed collectively for moving the tree and branches.
It was some hard work but that's what men do, "Work", Labor, Fight for what is right , and come together for a common cause.
These stories don't only occur on the North Side and in neighborhoods filled with white men. No, this story and many other stories just like this one happen daily in the black community with black men who care.  It's just time for me to share this story for the men who live in my "HOOD"/Neighborhood.  It's time to share the story, especially in a day when negativity, disrespect and not being valued as a black man has become the norm.  It's time to highlight the positive things the black men do in our community in order to lift them up and to let them know that they are appreciated.  To the men that helped on that day, June 27, 2013,  Praise the Lord you mighty men of valor.
Love and Respect: Black Men,
Rev. Dr. Marc A. Robertson 

What do you think?

Friday, June 28, 2013

An update to 87th/Vernon and Dunkin Donuts

Recently the Greater Chatham Alliance updated the Chatham neighborhood about the possibility of a local franchise operator to relocation from the current location to another along 87th Street. We've talked about this location at 87th/Vernon earlier this year and Worlee wrote about this at length earlier this month as well.
Dunkin Donuts??Franchise request to relocate from their Cottage Grove location to 87th Street.

The owners of Dunkin Donuts on Cottage Grove want to move to a vacant lot/ building location they own at 87th & Vernon.

At our June meeting, residents who live in this vicinity brought this to our attention for discussion?-and they were plenty of pros and cons on the situation. Why?

It seems the Dunkin owners want to have a 24 hour franchise and some neighbors don't want that round-the-clock activity. Or they would prefer to see a different type of restaurant since we have three (3) Dunkin Donuts and a Dat's Donut in our community already.

So these residents feel the community should push for a more upscale, fast-food chain like Chipolte or Portillo's.

Other residents feel that if a barrier was put up to separate residents from the 24 hour franchise activity, then our community would have, at least, an operating business in the location instead of a vacant building / property.
Well I didn't want to copy and paste the whole text on this subject, but if this was a possibility many are concerned with the activity and trash of a 24-hr store operating in their community. All the same it appears they're coming so what else may come of this?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Why is the Chicago Police Department Causing KAOS in Chatham

Last week the Chicago Red Eye ran an a not so flattering article about a section of East 79th street which is covered by the 6th District of the Chicago Police Department . So when I received the attached letter that was mailed to my home on Saturday 6/22/13 from Chicago Police headquarters via U.S Postal Service.  The letter to those who live outside of Chatham might seem to be harmless, but for those of us who live here it reeks on various levels.
6th district CAPS
Besides being a poorly written letter, it's not signed by the commander but someone else. Secondly, the partnering is questionable. Why are taxpayers paying for the promotion of a community organization meeting? Isn't the CAPS program suppose to partner with residents irregardless of group affiliation? In Chatham, we have two established organizations, Chatham Avalon Park Community Council (CAPCC) and Greater Chatham Alliance (GCA) and I have never received a letter promoting their meetings nor any other community based organizations that resides in the 6th district.
Politics is definitely involved  as I previously wrote a post about this group and when politics and policing get together that definitely produces an unholy alliance.
With the crime situation we have in Chatham and the City of Chicago financial situation, this waste of taxpayers money and practicing petty politics is something we don't need.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Red Eye: Troubled streets

[VIDEO] You may have seen a link to this article over at Worlee's Concerned Citizen's of Chatham. FolaSade Lawason opened a fashion boutique near 79th & Cottage Grove a year and a half ago and finds herself in a streetscape of salons and vacancies. This area has already been noted for having a high rate of crime and the reputation of this area preceded many of Lawason's friends who this article had stated were reluctant to return after the grand opening.

Above you will see a video where Lawason was interviewed by RedEye's Tracy Schwarz.

Now, to figure out a solution to the crime near 79th & Cottage Grove.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

CTA Announces Artwork Plans for Red Line South Stations

There are meetings coming up for public art to be installed at the closed Red Line South stops when that branch is finally reopened in October 2013. Here's an official press release from CTA and these are the dates provided within:
  • Thursday, June 27
    6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
    Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church
    5141 S. State Street
  • *Tuesday, July 9
    1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
    Chicago Police Headquarters
    3510 S Michigan Avenue
    (*this meeting is only regarding the Sox-35th Red Line station
  • Wednesday, July 10
    1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
    Chinatown Library
    2353 S. Wentworth Avenue

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ed Gardner stops sewer construction project...

You may have seen information about this protest on our FB page. Michael LaFargue of West Chesterfield e-mails an update to this work stoppage by former Soft Sheen Products & House of Kicks owner Ed Gardner. He's on this crusade to advocate for construction jobs on projects that especially take place in Black communities. He started with the projects taking place in Evergreen Park with a new shopping center. This time a sewer project taking place in the community.
Ed Gardner Stops Sewer Construction Project at 90th and King Drive

On Friday June 7, 2013, Mr. Ed Gardner, leading 50 to 60 people, stopped the work at the sewer construction site between 90th and King Drive and 90th and Indiana. This site was shut down from about 9:30am to 2:30pm due to the ongoing lack of African Americans working. (A few photos recently received are attached)

Some of those in attendance included Alderman Roderick Sawyer, Radio Personalities Cliff Kelly and Dorothy Tillman, W.L. Lillard, Bob Isreal, Carl McFarlan, Mr. Godfrey Lawson and Mr. Arnold Pugh of the Roseland Chamber of Commerce, Mrs. E. Washington of Chesterfield Community Council, and John Large of the West Chesterfield Community Association. There were also many local carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc. present.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Truth About 87th Vernon

Location: 8701 South Vernon Avenue, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
This is a site that we have talked about several tines on both Concerned and The Sixth Ward Blog. Last week an update was issued about the site and this past week Chatham Avalon Park Community Council (CAPCC) invited the owners of the property to their subarea 6 meeting, so they could inform those who live in that area what the owners are planning to do with the property.

Well, it appears that this meeting seemed to have angered one resident. Per a Facebook post in a group called "Children of Chatham" the following was said.
On june 11 hatham Avalon Park Community Coun il hel sub area 6 meeting to discuss the relocation of Dunkin Donuts from 87th Cottage to 87th Vernon. Meeting was announced less than 48 hours with flyers in doors. Not many residents attended to hear the presentation but some decisions were being made by a few to not have another meeting thus denying more residents to voice their thoughts. Ald Sawyer was present. Do you have a con ern about how this process is working? The 86th Vernon block has been greatly impacted by the lounge and eatery near our homes. The traffic, increased violence and food garbage that is dumped on our property. This DD wa.ts a drive thru and 24 hour business. Yet they want to accelerate with their plans without giving another meeting to the residents with a weeks prior notice soon. Sounds like the CTA, CPS mode of representation. The businesses in our community don't give us the respect that tax payers should re cieve. please contact Alderman Sawyer to request that another meeting be held and that residents receive a weeks notice of location and time. Also CAPCC 866-272-1215 with the same request.
I cannot speak for CAPCC about how they communicated the meeting other than I did see it announced on their blog. I can say that anybody that knows the President, Keith O Tate (a true child of Chatham), his reputation speaks for itself and to accuse him of some sinister plan is pretty low. Secondly, not knowing CAPCC  process on where they stand on issues is very shortsighted.

The FACTS about the matter are :

  1. The property was sold by an African American to another entity. All financially qualified parties could have purchased the property and only one party followed through. FOR SALE means just that. Put up some skin or at least bring some interested parties to the table.
  2. The intent of what the owners wanted to do with the property has been known for some time. Several months ago I received the following email.
 From: Marc Robertson <>Sent: Thu, December 27, 2012 7:29:32 PM Subject: Change is Coming !!!Sent: Thu, December 27, 2012 7:29:32 PMSubject: Change is Coming !!!
that I had the opportunity and privilege of meeting the person who purchased the land where
the old cam gas station used to be on 87th and Vernon.  I met the owner the other day and he
told me he'll be putting a Dunkin Donuts there by the year 2014.  It is always my goal as a
community servant to keep all of you well informed.

Your Community Servant,
Rev. Dr. Marc A. Robertson
I hope and pray that everyone had a blessed Merry Christmas.  I wanted to let you know
Lastly, I want to thank all of you for always keeping me in the loop and I will always do the same for you.

 Do we all want to see diversity in the businesses that serve our community? The answer is YES. Do we have the right to disagree? YES. Do we need to exaggerate and miscommunicate information to those in and out of the community? NO. It would be great if we could get more businesses like Fleck's Coffee, but the reality is that unless we the taxpayers offer subsidies to African American business owners they do not want to come to the community. Those that do in many cases have little to no business experience and have no regard for the community. The prime example is the business located at 300 E 75th street which the owners are friends of someone who calls himself a "community leader" and former aldermandic candidate. This African American owned underground "juke joint" has caused unnecessary problems for residents and the neighboring business
. Francis's Lounge, a longtime business on 75th license has been suspended because of the problem this business has caused.

Posting in "remember" groups and stating inaccurate information is not going to get us diversity in businesses. The best way to show your displeasure with a business is not to shop there.

We need to build upon the Flecks Coffee, Garrett's, Shell, and new Enterprise Rent a Car location to rebuild our business strips. The effort that goes into nonsense could be better used to contact retailers you want to see.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Role Model Movement: Fulfilling the Words of the Declaration

Jahmal Cole is back to discuss the Declaration of Independence. This event is two days from the 4th of July holiday, the day that started the American Revolution:
The next Role Model Movement presentation takes place July 2nd at Whitney Young Library, 7901 S. King Dr. Presentation begins at 6 p.m.

The Topic of Discussion is Fulfilling the Words of the Declaration

Everyone in attendance will get a personal copy of the declaration of independence.

Tweet questions @rolemodelmoves and I will answer them during the discussion.
Let's hope that Mr. Cole considers an event on the US Constitution. *hint, hint*

Friday, June 14, 2013

63rd/Halsted: What would YOU like to see here?

Created this collage of pics using this application called PicStitch and depicts the scene around 63rd & Halsted. The top left and lower right corners are of the buildings of Kennedy-King College. The top right is of the remaining retail still there. The lower left corner is the vacant lot waiting for development. Thanks to the Red Line reconstruction it was much easier to get to this area because all I had to do was transfer at Garfield from shuttle buses to take the Red Line back to Halsted.

Over the years pics of this intersection from back in the day has been posted here. On RAGE's FB page you see yet another pic of this intersection from 1929. Once upon a time it was a very active intersection it was almost like a downtown, but a number of factors hastened it's decline.

Some may blame suburban shopping malls, some may blame white flight, some may blame ill-fated urban renewal schemes. More recently some have blamed the 1994-96 closing and reconstruction of the CTA Green Line as you see in this debate over at Curbed Chicago talking about this very area. If it wasn't for that project whatever life remained here probably could've survived even if it was on life support.

The northwest corner of 63rd & Halsted is vacant with a former fire station that's abandoned and a parking lot from the days when this area was a pedestrian mall where traffic - save for CTA buses - were diverted around the intersection. And up north towards 63rd Parkway is evidence of this former traffic pattern. In any case this part of this area is a blank slate waiting to be redeveloped perhaps once again as the business hub it once was especially for the city college students who go to school here

Speaking of the city college, Kennedy-King College has been open at their new campus since 2007 after the college moved from its former location at 69th & Wentworth. It has been hoped it would revitalize this area although it seems to be slow going at the moment. If it wasn't for this Kennedy-King this intersection would be totally dead.

This leads me to a recurring question as of late. That being what would YOU like to see happen here?

BTW, I have a few more pictures to share of my brief visit here that shall be saved for another blog post however.

Monday, June 10, 2013

VIDEO: Chicago aldermen speak out at Lit Fest

[VIDEO] Ald. Roderick Sawyer of the 6th Ward was at the Printer's Row Lit Fest with fellow Aldermen Bob Fioretti (2nd Ward) and John Arena (45th Ward). Rick Kogan especially talks to Ald. Sawyer about the resurgence of 75th Street which was noted as a street that was home to music, nightlife, and restaurants. As Kogan correctly notes our area has taken a beating, but hopefully it won't continue to take a beating for long! They especially talk about some 6th Ward businesses that reside on 75th such as Brown Sugar Bakery and Eddie's Liquor Emporium. In addition to that, all of the Aldermen talked about their relationship with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Chatham Executive Building: What Would YOU Like to See

Location: 640 East 79th Street, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
The Chatham Executive Building formerly the Sister Clara Muhammad Building is considered one the "greenest buildings on the Southside of Chicago. Mr.Clarence and Mrs Lisa Hall, who owned several other commercial buildings on 79th were urged to purchase this building by the community and received verbal commitments from local business people to lease space.

The City of Chicago who owned the building prolonged the transfer of ownership and by the time the Hall's were able to complete the economic climate had dramatically changed and many who made commitments moved on. The building has been vacant for several years and is currently up for sale.

Here is the link from the Sixth Ward Blog post and also what their webpage said about the building.

What Would YOU like to see in this building?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What's going at the Roseland Hospital?

[VIDEO] Perhaps it's time to look at Roseland Hospital a little more closely. Yesterday's post I focused on the financial picture officials at the hospital alleged that the state owed them money. It's been reported over the years that the state hasn't paid social service providers at the very least.

Well there's more to this story than that. It's also alleged that the hospital has mismanaged their financial resources. Whatever is going on at the Roseland the threat is out there that they may close and also forced to transfer their patients to other nearby hospitals.

All the same, this situation cost the President of the hospital her job. While it seems she was the one who pointed the finger to Gov. Pat Quinn others may point the finger at her for the financial mismanagement at the hospital. Tuesday was her last day at work and has reportedly tendered her resignation weeks ago according to ABC 7. However, it was reported that she had been escorted from the hospital although sources there claim that isn't true. Of course being escorted sends a different message than tendering a resignation long in advance.

Also, the Tribune wrote more about the financial picture of the hospital. The ex-President of Roseland Hospital's financial numbers were disputed it was estimated at first the state owed the privately run hospital $6 million, but later issued a statement as inaccurate. The state had issued an advance supplemental payment of $958,240 to the hospital.

In the meanwhile, it's reported that state officials have been meeting with the administration of Roseland Hospital for the last six weeks. Also as a result of this news there was a rally that took place outside the Thompson Center and of course protests near the hospital as well in fact one was reported on late last month by ABC 7.

Let's hope the hospital will remain afloat. Especially for the ones who need health care services and doesn't have insurance. Especially for those who need emergency care in a short amount of time. What's especially noted is Roseland's crime rate and as a result the need for emergency care before going to another hospital for further treatment.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

NBC Chicago: South Side Hospital Ordered to Move Patients

The reason why patients are being moved from Roseland Hospital is because they're expected to close and will not be admitting any more patients. In reading this article, it's not clear who's ordering the hospital to move patients, however it's clear whom the hospital is pointing the finger at for the financial issues:
The Far South Side hospital reported a $2 million deficit at the end of the 2011 fiscal year and faces closure as they prepare to move their patients.

Hospital officials said they were expecting the state to repay them what they claim they are owed, and that they are devastated by the moving notice.

“I’ve seen this hospital do a lot for this community,” said hospital employee Paulette Perry. “I love my job.”

Community members, workers and union leaders protested the closure last week and rallied again Monday, saying Roseland is the only hospital within an eight-mile radius, and is a lifeline to the South Side community members.

“If there’s nothing here at all, period, then where are they going to go? Just lie in the street and die?" one protester said.

The Roseland Coalition, a community group, said closing the hospital would put nearly 50,000 people in the community at risk and 600 employees could lose their jobs.

The hospital let go 60 workers two weeks ago due to the lack of funding and activists are calling on Governor Quinn to use emergency funds to save the center.

The hospital said they will stop accepting patients Wednesday and said Monday they are sending Quinn a bill once more stating they are owed $6 million from the last four years
In an e-mail where this article was sent was this editorial quote: "Roseland needs a Trauma Center not a hospital closing". Also Roseland Hospital is in a medical district which is expected to revitalize that area, however, it seems to be made difficult with a hospital in the red. Also it has been noted that trauma centers are in very short supply in neighborhoods throughout Chicago's south side.

Here's more required reading. CBS2 also talked about the financial picture of Roseland Hospital last month and Gov. Quinn was said to be concerned about the financial picture and also noted the hospital as part of a medical district. One can only hope that a solution is in the works.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Lynn Sweet: Rep. Bobby Rush to meet with Sen. Kirk over Kirk Gangster Disciple arrest plan

This article is an update to news regarding US Congressman Bobby Rush's comments about what our US Sen. Mark Kirk wants the eventual US Attorney for Northern Illinois to do about the issues of crime in our area. Rush was quoted as using the "race card" in discussing Sen. Kirk's expectations. Very harsh language was used however that's not to say that Kirk's expectations weren't realistic.

At the same time now that these comments have come to light Congressman Rush now has offered a different tone.
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) will meet Tuesday here in the wake of Rush's stinging criticism of Kirk's call for mass arrests of 18,000 Gangster Disciples, a Rush spokesman said Monday.

Kirk last week said he will seek $30 million from Congress to bankroll the project. Rush wants to discuss channeling more money to youth unemployment. Rush will also tell Kirk that "he is willing to show him around his district," spokesman Debra Johnson told the Sun-Times. Johnson said Rush sought the meeting with Kirk.

Later on Tuesday, in a separate meeting, Rush will discuss gun violence with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). Rush also requested the Durbin meeting, Johnson said.
 It was also reported that Sen. Kirk didn't seek to meet with the other Black US Reps such as Danny Davis or the newly elected Robin Kelly to discuss this issue with them. I'm glad that Rep. Rush made the offer to both Kirk and Durbin and hopefully they will take advantage of the offer.

Although perhaps Congressman Rush should've made this offer before going into a "race-card" tainted attack against the Senator's plan. Of course that's not to say Kirk's plan was realistic in the first place.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Save The Date: Meet New 6th District Commander Mr. Fred Waller

Location: 8000 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
The Chicago Police Department CAPS Implementation Office are hosting a Meet and Greet for new Chicago Police Department 6th District Commander Mr. Fred Waller.  The details are as follows

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Why Speedy Isn't Always Good

Location: 8701 South Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
Recently, it was brought to my attention that a Payday Loan store was coming to the community. The site at 8701 S Cottage Grove, which was previously a Michaels's muffler will be the new home to

2013-05-22 15.31.41 When a pawn shop or payday loan store want to open up they must apply for a special use permit.2013-05-22 15.32.20 In April 2012, EZ Pawn, a national pawn shop company presented their case to the residents of the 8th and 6th ward at a community forum held at the offices of Michelle Harris, Alderman of the 8th ward and President Pro-tem of the City council. michelle harris'The community was not receptive and although the community said resoundingly NO they decided to plead their case to the City of Chicago Zoning board. The case was continued until earlier this year and the Zoning Board denied the special use permit for EZ Pawn. The reasons they cited were:
Speedy Cash. of Wichita Kansas currently has no locations in Chicago and this choice of locations is puzzling.
Speedy Cash
Pursuant to Section 17-13-905 of the Chicago Zoning Ordinance, the Board makes the following findings with reference to the Applicant's application for a Special use Permit: 1. The application is not in the interest of the public convenience and will have an adverse effect on the general welfare of the neighborhood in that the community is overwhelmingly opposed to the establishment of a pawn shop at the Subject Property; 2. It is not compatible with the character of the surrounding neighborhood as it is incompatible with the economic development in the surrounding area in that it will have a negative impact on other potential tenants; 3. The proposed project does not contribute or promote pedestrian traffic in that there are at least four banks within the immediate vicinity of the Subject Property and a pawn shop at the Subject Property will not contribute to the convenience of those residing in its immediate vicinity.
With the zoning board's decision on EZ Pawn, why would Alderman Michelle Harris believe that a payday loan store would add to the community. There is an existing location located in the East 1200 block, one at the 8300 S Cottage Grove and three banks in the East 700 block and several church credit unions with a half mile radius. So why didn't Alderman Harris host a community forum on this site? Why wasn't it published in any of her newsletters? Guess to find those answers we will have to wait for her updated D2 statements to be published by the State of Illinois Election commission to find out.

115th/Michigan: What would YOU like to see here?

Southwest Corner of 115th/Michigan in Roseland

The picture shown above is the southwestern corner of 115th/Michigan Ave in the Roseland neighborhood sometime in the fall of 2012. The lot here was home to a shopping center that contained restaurants, laundromat, and retail such as Perry Drugs which eventually became a Christian bookstore and a grocery store. Further down on Michigan near a railroad viaduct was a Church's Chicken which is now gone as well. You can check out the pictures of the demolition of this area at Roseland, South Side of Chicago.

I'm interested in this area because it's the location of one of the new stops on the CTA Red Line whenever the extension is finally built. As a matter of fact there is the railroad that runs along this property which follows the approximate route of the extension. And let's not forget the Red Line South project is expected to help to facilitate the eventual extension from 95th Street. Until that time however, what could be located here when the trains are finally running?

In another picture shown below is a sign with the name of the owner Musa Tadros located on the fence of the northwest corner of 115th/Michigan. Most of us may have heard that name before as he's responsible for Chatham Village Square near 87th/Cottage Grove for example. Also we here blogged about him developing this very lot with Aldi's a possible an anchor there.

The building you see below was home to a former Hollywood Video store that has long been shuttered. It's on the same lot as Curtis Elementary School located on 115th/State and apparently it's also owned by Tadros' real estate company. One can only wonder what might attract a potential tenant to this property.

I thought about this, what if the lot on the southwestern corner was developed with "transit-oriented" development in mind. Perhaps some commercial spaces could be built with the commuter in mind. A place to buy a quick breakfast, buy some quick produce, or a news stand. Also while three bus routes pass through this intersection I could envision a terminal for those buses to pass through although who knows if that's feasible or not.

Anyway, the question to be asked here is what would you like to see here? And of course, the floor is open to any of our readers who just so happen to reside near this part of Roseland.