Friday, February 28, 2014

CBS 2 Chicago: #chiberia 2014 case for the worst winter ever

Abbott Park - 49 E 95th St
The winter of 2014 has been very relentless. Consistent snow and consistently cold temperatures. And we have approached the end of "meterological winter". Still at this point the temps are still cold and snow is forecast over the weekend. Do you think the winter of 2014 is the worst winter ever? You should read this CBS 2 article before you come to your conclusions.

The pic above is of Abbott Park after the recent thaw last Saturday, but the ice formed again in the fields.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

LSC Elections extended

We just want to remind everyone that the deadline for Local School Council candidate applications has been extended until March 14.

Many of our schools need members. Please consider being a part of it. If you're a CPS parent, you can still join your local school's council as a community representative.

CHICAGO – Chicago – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced that it has extended its Local School Council (LSC) election candidate filing deadline from February 26 to March 14, giving parents and community members an extra two weeks to submit their nominating forms. Elections will take place on April 7 for elementary schools and April 8 for high schools during report card pick-up from 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

"I strongly encourage any parent or community member who is passionate about education and helping our students reach their fullest potential to run for their Local School Council," said CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett. "Getting involved at the school level is great way to have a positive impact on your community and helps the District achieve its overall goal of ensuring 100 percent of our students are college-ready and 100 percent are college-bound."

LSC representatives serve as an important link between a school's administration, the community, CPS and students, and play a significant role in decision-making to boost student academic achievement. Elected LSC representatives will serve a two-year term, beginning at the start of School Year 2014-2015 (SY14-15). Each LSC is made up of six parents, two community members, two teachers, one non-teacher staff member and the school's principal. High School LSCs also have a student representative.

Parents and community members who are interested in running for their LSC must submit nominating forms at their respective school by March 14, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. Those eligible to run for their LSC include parents whose children attend the school, community members, and the teachers and non-teaching staff from the school.

The forms, along with additional information, can be found at, in the main office of any CPS school, CPS Network Offices, and the Office of LSC Relations located at CPS' downtown headquarter. For more information, please call the Office of LSC Relations at (773) 553-1400.

The Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 400,000 students. It is the nation's third-largest school system

The original press release is here:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

EVENT: Meet the candidates forum...

Candidates forum Saturday March 1 from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM location is House of Hope located at 752 East 114th St. A number of local politicians were invited and three candidates for governor were invited to attend as well. More information is in the flyer below!

West Chesterfield - a historically Black neighborhood

9351 S. Michigan Ave
The image below is a history of the West Chesterfield neighborhood. It was recieved to this blog in a recent email with this introduction:
The West Chesterfield Community Association encourages communities to get to know their Black Histories as a sense of pride it may instill in neighbors and our youth. We applaud Chatham, Pullman, Riverdale and other communities that are doing this.

The West Chesterfield Neighborhood occupies the area from 87th to 95th State Street to Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. North West Chesterfield occupies census track 4406. The area north of the B&O rail tracks is in the Chatham Community.

Do you know the enclave of West Chesterfield south of the 91st Street and B&O rail tracks occupying Roseland’s census track 4903 is a historically black area?. This is the primary area of our association.
The picture to the left is of the West Chesterfield Cultural Center. The last paragraph at the bottom of the image below shows a history of this bungalow where the neighborhood association hold their monthly neighborhood meetings.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

DNA Info: Whole Foods Set to Open in Hyde Park in 2016

Location: 1525 East Hyde Park Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60615, USA
By Studio Gang Architects via DNA Info
What could this mean? Depending on how work progresses on the future Englewood store could we see that store open before Hyde Park to be located @ 1525 E. Hyde Park Blvd? Or as stated in the article could the Englewood store be pushed back a year behind the slated opening for the future Hyde Park location?
A Whole Foods executive said Tuesday its Hyde Park location won't be open until at least June 2016.

“These things are always fluctuating somewhat,” said Scott Saulsberry, vice president of Midwest operations for the upscale grocer, conceding the opening could be pushed back to September 2016.

Whole Foods will occupy 30,000 of the 110,000 square feet of retail space in the City Hyde Park development, a $114 million shopping center and apartment building designed by Studio Gang Architects.

Saulsberry said the grocer was trying to stagger its openings in the city, with the four former Dominick's locations opening next in 2015.

Allison Phelps, a spokeswoman for Whole Foods, said the opening date was based on the construction schedule worked out with the developer.
Furthermore as to further developing the store when it's built:
The Whole Foods spokeswoman said it normally takes the grocer 12 to 15 months to complete the interior work and product selection for a new store. She said amenities like a juice or wine bar have not yet been set for the Hyde Park location.

St James Lutheran Church - Black History Month

Location: St James Evangelical Lutheran, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
Pastor William E. Hall, the newly installed senior pastor of St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church at 8000 S. Michigan, post this piece of local Black History on his Facebook page:

Black History Moment:

Rev. Robbin W. Skyles III

This is Rev. Robbin W. Skyles III, who founded St. James Lutheran Church, the first African-American Lutheran Congregation in the State of Illinois.

He was 29yrs old when he founded St. James, and can you guess where... I serve as pastor at the age of 29.


Happy to be apart of Black History.


Happy to be apart of Black History.
We hope to get more info to post information this history on our blog.

It's campaign season so here's a flyer for you...

Click for larger resolution
JP noted on the FB page that current 4th District County Commissioner Stanley Moore has several opponents on the ballot for next months primary election. Here's a flyer for one of his opponents - Mr. Nick Smith. You might know him from the Roseland Heights neighborhood where he was the past president of the community association and I do believe he was also associated with former 6th Ward Alderman Freddrenna Lyle. Feel free to visit his website

Monday, February 24, 2014

EVENT: GCA property tax exemption workshop

Apologize in advance because this does seem to be late notice. Many of you may have gotten a robocall from Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore advertising this workshop. A flyer for this event is posted below and the date and times for this event is below as well.
  • Tuesday, February 25, 2013
    Crerar Presbyterian Church
    8100 S. Calumet
    Times 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM & 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM
    There is free parking available

Chicago Mag: Why Bob Mariano Wants Your Old Dominick’s Store
Chicago Magazine interviews Roundy's CEO Bob Mariano. They discuss not only the expansion of Roundy's Mariano Fresh Market stores in the Chicago area and the decision by Safeway to exit the Chicago area and close their Dominick's stores last year. What's of focus here are the plans for a future Mariano's store in the Bronzeville neighborhood:
Mayor Emanuel has pledged to open supermarkets in so-called food deserts. Are you involved with that effort?

We’ve been working [with the mayor’s office] for a long time. We have a store in Jefferson Park, which, believe it or not, was a partial food desert for a long time. We’re working on a [Bronzeville] location at 39th and Martin Luther King Drive. [But] Jewel, Whole Foods, independent stores—we all do business in the city. Each needs to step up.

What’s the status of the Bronzeville store?

Because it’s [on Chicago Housing Authority land], there are things that CHA and the city have to do to free the site up. I hope that by this time next year we’re through the regulatory phase and ready to start. We had an architectural competition with four minority-owned architecture firms, because this is a very special location. We wanted the building to be reflective and respectful of the existing architecture.
We've been keeping an eye on the Bronzeville Mariano's for a while - at least since 2008 - although it's a long way from this part of town.

    Sunday, February 23, 2014

    Sun-Times: Chicago crews to start dibs demolition

    Photo via Chicago Dibs
     Thankfully over the past few days most of the snow has melted away, but expect the city to remove your "dibs" from the street on Monday. This news probably would've been appreciated earlier in the weekend, but hopefully if you're able to you should probably remove your items from the street tonight!
    Dibs isn’t dead in Chicago, but it’s about to take a break after one last weekend.

    On Monday, the Department of Streets and Sanitation will begin a job nearly as painstaking as side-street snow removal: carting away the lawn chairs, beat-up couches and discarded toys that have helped Chicagoans stake claim to cherished parking spaces they have cleared of snow.

    Chicagoans were urged to spend the weekend removing their space-saving items or risk having city crews do it for them.

    The time is right to declare a final weekend of dibs, the controversial but time-honored tradition that City Hall has condoned with a wink and a nod.

    In a winter that has featured a relentless barrage of snow and cold and the fifth-highest snow totals in Chicago history, there appears to be a break in the action. There are cold temperatures but no major snowstorms in the forecast until March 2.

    That gives Streets and San crews that have been piling up overtime a rare chance to clear the streets so they don’t look quite so tacky.

    “As is the case with each winter season, crews remove items from city streets near the end of the winter season,” Streets and Sanitation spokeswoman Molly Poppe said Friday.

    “With weather conditions improving and the snow melting, Streets and Sanitation crew will begin to remove the ‘dibs’ debris and other obstructions from the public way, beginning next week.”

    Friday, February 21, 2014

    Chicago Mag: Why Are Chicago Metra Stations So Bad, When the Suburban Stops Are So Nice?

    Kensington/115th Metra Station by Strannik45/flickr
    So I'm going to assume that a reader sent this question to Chicago Magazine's Dennis Rodkin about Metra Stations in the city. We do have Metra stations nearby especially the Metra Electric stations nearby.
    Follow the money. In the 1970s, legislation that resuscitated various dying commuter rail and bus lines in northern Illinois mandated that nearly all transportation taxes collected within Chicago limits go to the Chicago Transit Authority, which was in dire straits even back then.

    The CTA, of course, runs the city’s buses and el trains. By contrast, Metra makes its money from suburban tax dollars (more than half of transportation taxes in the suburbs go to Metra; the rest is split between the CTA and Pace). As a result, says Chicago geographer and historian Dennis McClendon, “Metra doesn’t have much of a constituency to cater to in the city.” A Metra spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

    Which isn’t to say that Metra ignores city commuters completely. It is currently overhauling the Ravenswood station, with Edgewater and Auburn Park stations soon to follow.
    Last year I wrote about the isolated Metra Electric stop at 95th/Cottage Grove. The pic above is the 115th/Kensington Station in Roseland further south. It is considered one of the busiest stations on the Metra Electric line

    Would you like to see greater investment in local Metra stations on the south side?

    Thursday, February 20, 2014

    Flood Prevention tips!

    Our Very Own Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioner Kari Steele posted this on her Facebook page . We hope this can help prevent some flooding!

    Status Update
    By Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
    Winter flooding alert!

    Rain is anticipated in the Chicago area on Thursday, and coupled with ice and snow melt, there is an immediate risk for flooding in the entire Chicagoland region.

    Because the frozen ground can't absorb water and snow, run-off immediately flows to the sewers. In addition, ice can block storm drains and streams. Flooding may occur when the sewer system becomes overwhelmed from the combination of normal sewage flow, rain water and snow melt.

    The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is preparing for the additional flow. To help minimize flooding, the MWRD is lowering water levels in the Chicago Area Waterway System to make room for runoff, and our Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) tunnels are ready to hold over two billion gallons of water.

    The public can help plan for and minimize flooding by reducing water use. Postponing high water consumption activities such as bathing or showering, running dishwashers or washing clothes will help provide maximum capacity in the local and intercepting sewer systems.

    There are some other activities that can help minimize flooding:
    • Make sure storm drains are clear and not buried under snow drifts.
    • Keep areas around streams free of floatable debris.
    • If your home has a backwater valve installed on the sewer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to ensure that it is functioning properly.
    • Check your sump pump to make sure it is working properly.
    • If your home or area is prone to flooding you may want to remove valuable items from basement floors.
    • Keep your gutters clear. When they are blocked, water will pour over the edges, landing on the ground next to your home. If you have cracks in the concrete wall of your basement, this water could enter your home.

    If you see flooding, report it to your municipality; in Chicago, call 311.

    Our water environment: Take it personally.

    Let us know if you have any problems with flooding

    Looks like we're finally getting our thaw in the weather

    [VIDEO] As you see in the video above from CBS 2 Chicago, city officials are keeping an eye on the melting snow and ice. Also rain is expected tomorrow further washing away the snow that has been on the ground for the past month.

    Also when the snow and ice melts thanks to the warm temps and the rain all the result water has to go somewhere and unfortunately could cause flooding in the area. City officials are getting ready for any expecting issues.

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel joked about the change in the weather. He's suggested to his underlings that they watch the coming Noah movie urging them to come up with a plan for the melting snow.

    In addition to patching up the streets that have taken a beating this winter, now it's time to clear up all the catch basins and storm drains so that the water will be cleared from city streets. At least that's the plan from the city for all this water we're going to see.

    At least we're finally getting a taste of spring! :)

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

    EVENT: SMG Chatham to host an Oscar viewing party

    Location: 210 West 87th Street, Chicago, IL 60620, USA
    Photo of Chatham 14 by Wendell Hutson
    Of course this event coming soon to the Chatham 14 will benefit a charity via DNA Info:
    A charity serving children with disabilities will benefit this year from an Oscar-viewing party being held for the first time at the Chatham 14 Theaters.

    The party will raise money for the nonprofit Variety the Children’s Charity of Illinois. The private organization partnered this year with Studio Movie Grill, which owns the Chatham 14 Theaters, for the event.

    The viewing party starts at 6 p.m. March 2 at the South Side theater, 210 W. 87th St. Tickets are $40 per person or $70 for couples.

    The 86th annual Academy Awards will be shown on one movie screen and 150 seats are available, said Venisha White-Johnson, director of operations and community relations for the theater.

    "You will feel like you are at the Oscars with the red carpet treatment you will get. And who knows, there may be a few celebrities on hand, too," Johnson-White said.

    Tickets must be bought online by Feb. 25.
    UPDATED 2/20/2014 12:08 AM Let me add that Worlee over at Concerned Citizens of Chatham has also promoted an event on Thursday at the Chatham 14 for Black World Cinema, a sci-fi film starring and produced by Harry Belafonte entitled The World, The Flesh, & The Devil. Check Worlee's post for more information and hopefully you will plan to attend.

    DNA Info: Title Loan Store in Chatham Draws Mixed Reaction From Community

    8701 S Cottage Grove by Wendell Hutson/DNA Info

    Last year Worlee Glover wrote about Speedy Cash coming to the southeast corner of 87th/Cottage Grove. The building it will take over was once an autoshop and it appears the project is coming along nicely. At the same time there are still many in the general community who aren't very happy about the new business.

    Wendell Huston of DNA Info has the story:
    A vacant auto repair shop in Chatham is being redeveloped into a new title loan store, generating mixed reactions about its value to the community.

    The store at the corner of 87th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue is set to open in April and will be the first Chicago store by Speedy Cash, a national lender headquartered in Wichita, Ks.

    Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), whose ward includes the store, said it would become the fourth short-term loan store in her ward.

    "I would have rather had anything else built there that would have been a fit in for the community," Harris said. "I feel like I don't have a choice [in the matter]. I don't control the process."

    She added that she has not had a lot of complaints from her constituents about the loan store.
    Noted in the article there are nearby bank branches to this Speedy Cash. Seaway has a drive-in branch and their HQ is nearby. Also PNC is nearby on the southwest corner of 87th/Cottage Grove. In addition in the shopping center anchored by Target in the northwest corner is a branch of Chase Bank. Furthermore to Ald. Harris' comments:
    "Traditional banks hold a process for people that have great credit," Harris said. "But what about the population of people that have nowhere to go? What are they going to do?"
    In other words, there are people who need money and they wouldn't be approved by a bank. OK, so there is a need whether we may like it or not. What would the community rather see come into the neighborhood if they don't approve of a loan store:
    And for that reason Roosevelt Vonil, president of the nonprofit Greater Chatham Alliance, said he is opposed to title and payday loan stores.

    "They ... [put] people in a bad position," Vonil said. "What we need around here is a community credit union that has easy lending terms."
    "We don't need any more title loans or places selling lottery tickets," said [Ann] Gore, 57, who has lived in Chatham for seven years. "I would have preferred a job training center or something to help people find jobs. That's what is missing in Chatham."
    Well what do you think? You think there's a need for a loan store? If you don't approve of a loan store, what would you rather see come into the area?

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

    Final Day to register to vote -- even for 17 year olds!

    Location: 69 West Washington Street, Chicago, IL 60602, USA
    TODAY is the deadline to register to vote for the March 18 primaries! There are Special Hours for Voter Registration today, Tues., Feb 18 from 9 am to Midnight, and the Chicago Board of Elections (69 W. Washington) . And if you are 17 but turn 18 by the time of November 4 (the general election), you CAN vote in this primary. 

    This is great for Chicago, because where we live, the Democratic Primary IS the general election, where change can actually happen. If you vote in November, may of our local offices will have already been decided. 
    Here's the official press release from the Chicago Board of Elections:

    Tues., Feb. 18 is Deadline to Register to Vote 

    The Chicago Election Board’s special hours for last-minute voter registration at
    69 W. Washington St. in Chicago: 
    •  Sun., Feb. 16 – 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
    •  Mon., Feb. 17 – Presidents Day – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
    •  Tues., Feb. 18 – 9 a.m. to Midnight 
     Tues., Feb. 18 is the deadline to register to vote in Illinois’ March 18 Primary
    Election. The Chicago Election Board will be open at 69 W. Washington St. until midnight
    on Tues., Feb. 18 to accept registrations from new voters and those who need to update
    their address records. 

     “For the first time in Illinois history, voter registration is open to most 17-year-olds.
    Under a new state law, U.S. citizens who were born on or before Nov. 4, 1996 are eligible
    to register and cast ballots in the March 18 Primary, even if they are still 17 on Election
    Day,” said Langdon D. Neal, Chairman of the Chicago Election Board. “We hope to see
    many young voters make history at this election.” 

    Those who already are registered need not act. Chicagoans may check their voter
    status at 

    However, those registering for the first time and those who need to update their
    name or address records should visit the Election Board or submit a mail-in form
    postmarked by Feb. 18. The mail-in form is available at 

    To register to vote, a person must be: a U.S. citizen; at least 18 years of age by
    Nov. 4, 2014; and a resident of the precinct at least 30 days before the election.
    From Feb. 19 through March 15, Chicagoans may still register or update their
    records through the “Grace Period” program. But during the “Grace Period,” voters must
    register in person at the Election Board and vote during the same visit. “Grace Period”
    voters cannot cast ballots in their home precincts on Election Day. 

    You can also download it here:

    Monday, February 17, 2014

    Just Another Moment In Black History

    Location: Chatham, Chicago, IL, USA
    The following comes from our neighbor Rev. Dr. Marc Robertson 


    "Just imagine that I took you on a trip, blind folded to some unfamiliar neighborhood but on a street that looks just like yours. Once we got to that particular block not a soul was insight. I removed the blind fold from your eyes and I asked you, “Is this a white neighborhood or a black neighborhood”? What would be the basis for your conjecture? And whatever your conjecture may be, what does that say about you? And what does that say about US as black people and a black community? 
    Today, we live in a society where most everybody wants to be politically correct. People are afraid to speak truth. We just allow anything and everything to go on and no one says a word because of fear of being persecuted or not being liked for standing up for what is right. Some Pastors, the Church and the black community are plagued by a spirit of apathy and God hates apathy, “So because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16). 
    There are things that go on in our neighborhoods that should not be tolerated. Have we lowered our standards? Or do we even have any standards? The standard that we should live by must be the word of God. (1 John 4: 5-6). 
    Why is it, that if Mr. Charlie lived on the block, people would respect him, be polite to him, wouldn’t be rude, mean, inconsiderate and obnoxious and would maintain their property value, just for Mr. Charlie? Do we as black people hate ourselves that much that we can’t take pride in what God has given us or even loving your neighbor as yourself? Or have we been so indoctrinated by “Willie Lynch”1, that it has blinded us from what God created us to be? 
    History has a way of repeating itself. Look at all our black leaders who fought for us during segregation and for civil rights. Who were the main ones that turned their backs on them? Who stabbed and tried to kill Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? (1Thessalonians 2:15). I guess some things never change but just imagine if they did? This is just another moment in black history." 
    A Luta Continua---The Struggle Continues. I Won’t Give Up! 
    Rev. Dr. Marc A. Robertson, B.A. M.A, M.Div, D.Min. 
    Community Servant and a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc, since 1981. 

    Footnote: 1, Willie Lynch: The Willie Lynch Letter And The Making Of A Slave, 1712.

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

    Chicago Reader: The city that works, just ignore the poverty

    Boarded up building 59th & Eggleston by Steve Bogira
    Our friends over at R.A.G.E. shared this article with their audience so now we should share this article with our audience.
    There are many ways to assess cities. I judge them on the scope and depth of their poverty. By that measure, Chicago has needed revamping for ages—and still does.

    In 2000, nearly one in five Chicagoans—19.6 percent, or more than 556,000 people—were living in poverty. That's not a statistic any major city could be proud of. A decade later, our poverty rate has increased, to 22.1 percent. (The poverty line for a single adult younger than 65 is $11,344.)

    In 2000, 10.1 percent of Chicagoans were living in extreme poverty—their incomes were below half of the poverty line. Today, in revamped Chicago, the proportion of residents in extreme poverty is—still 10.1 percent.
    Those figures are from a new report by the Social IMPACT Research Center of the Heartland Alliance. Each year, the center analyzes census numbers and tabulates the socioeconomic status of Chicago's 77 community areas. The citywide poverty numbers aren't new, but the figures on the community areas are—and they show that the city that’s "obviously" getting things done isn't getting them done in the neighborhoods desperate for help.

    Ten community areas have poverty rates of at least 40 percent: Englewood, West Englewood, Washington Park, Oakland, Fuller Park, Burnside, and Riverdale on the south side, and West Garfield Park, East Garfield Park, and North Lawndale on the west side. You might expect that a revamped Chicago would no longer be hypersegregated—but these ten communities are 92 to 99 percent African-American.

    Seven of these ten communities also lead the city in extreme poverty, with at least 20 percent of their residents below half the poverty line. That's an extraordinary rate, given that people in extreme poverty are often living in shelters or squatting in abandoned buildings.
    Read the whole thing!

    Friday, February 14, 2014

    AP: Multiple groups vie for Obama's Presidential Library

    President Barack Obama
    The AP has a story about the many groups here in Chicago who are vying for their particular insitutions or neighborhoods to become home of the President's future library. Those sites include Bronzeville, Chicago State University, University of Chicago, Pullman, and even that former US Steel site on the southeast lakefront. In the case of Chicago State and Pullman:
    There are also two potential bids on the Far South Side, one led by Chicago State University and the other by a group promoting the historic Pullman neighborhood. It was in those areas that Obama established his earliest roots in the city as a community organizer in the mid-1980s, setting up job training programs and defending the rights of public housing tenants.
    The Far South Side is a longshot given its distance from downtown, lack of transportation options and the gang violence that persists there.

    And presidential libraries aren't guaranteed to lift the local economy.
    So far the main competitors are:
    The main point of tension is between the University of Chicago, where Obama spent 12 years as a constitutional law professor until his 2004 election to the U.S. Senate, and a group advocating for Bronzeville, the city's historic center of black culture, business and politics.

    "They think that they can get whatever they want," Bronzeville organizer Harold Lucas said of the university. "If you compare the cranes in the sky and that opulent growth of this university to the surrounding, predominantly African-American community, it's a travesty. It's a clear tale of two cities."

    Lucas and other critics of the university's bid say the school has been secretly working its White House connections at the expense of a plan that would benefit more of the city and honor the black community's role in electing the nation's first black president.

    For its part, the university says it wants to work with neighbors on a plan to build the library off-campus in a part of the South Side where it can spur development. A university spokesman declined to comment beyond the school's previous statements. 
    We already know that Mayor Emanuel wants to submit only a unified bid for Obama's Presidential Library so the various groups need to come up with a good bid. And bear in mind one point of this article, "presidential libraries aren't guaranteed to life the local economy". That being said the library could easily either go to Hawaii where Presient Obama was born or to New York so time will only tell if Chicago will eventually succeed in its bid.

    WBEZ: How many Chicagoans were born in the city?

    There are many neighborhoods in our city that have seen generations of various families maintain their home in their community. And yes, I'm sure Chatham is one example among many in our city. This article from Chicago Public Radio explores this future.
    Tracy Miller noticed something about Chicago when she moved here nine years ago. “I meet many people who say they are native Chicagoans,” she says. “It seems like there are more natives still residing here than in other cities I have lived in.”

    Miller came here from Austin, Texas. Before that, she’d lived in Dallas and Los Angeles. In all of those cities, she says, “Everybody is from somewhere else.” But Chicago seemed different. That prompted her to ask Curious City:

    “How many people live here who were born here, and what about the previous generations? There seems to be many generational families that call Chicago home.”

    It’s a simple question, but the answer is complicated — and hard to pin down. We’ll confess upfront that we haven’t been able to come up with a statistic that precisely answers Tracy’s question. But the U.S. Census Bureau does collect some data that gets us close to an answer. Those census statistics suggest that the presence of local natives varies quite a bit across Chicago's neighborhoods and racial groups — while the city, as a whole, has a "native" profile close to the national average.
    You may want to listen to this segment below [AUDIO]

    Thursday, February 13, 2014

    Valentine's Day in Chatham - DNAInfo

    If you're looking for last minute activities, DNAInfo has what's going on in Chatham

    Here's the list:

    • For those looking for some fine wine: A&S Beverages, 308 E. 75th St., is hosting a "Valentine's Day Love Affair" from 6-9 p.m. Friday, a free wine tasting that includes a raffle for a couple to receive a $50 store credit. 
    • For those looking to eat southern style food: Luversia's is a hometown favorite in Chatham. 
    • For those couples looking for a spiritual environment: Carter Temple CME Church, 7841 S. Wabash Ave., is sponsoring a dinner dance for couples beginning at 7 p.m.
    • For those looking for a good rubdown: Infinite Touch of Chicago, 231 E. 79th St., is a massage therapy and mobile spa that personalizes its massages, which include deep skin tissue rubdowns and hot oil treatments. 
    • For those looking to eat a little of this and a little of thatJosephine's Cooking, 436 E. 79th St., offers a broad menu from soul food to a good old-fashioned burger. 

    For more details, go to

    Tribune: CTA to restart jobs program for ex-offenders

    Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune / December 19, 2013
     This is certainly great news:
    An entry-level CTA jobs program designed to offer a second chance to hard-to-employ individuals is itself getting a second chance, officials announced today.

    Reinstating the program, while providing employment for 65 people, might also help lead to cleaner CTA rail cars, which has been a challenge for the CTA this winter.

    The CTA reached an agreement with its rail union, represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union, to reinstate the rail car servicer apprentice program, which employs ex-offenders, individuals completing drug-abuse programs, victims of domestic violence and others.

    The program was scrapped at the end of 2013 in a dispute between CTA management and ATU Local 308. The rail union's president, Robert Kelly, said he was protecting union jobs by dissolving the apprentice program. He said the CTA was cutting back on jobs that pay full wages and benefits and hiring people in lower-paying positions. The CTA rejected Kelly's contention.

    Reinstatement of the rail car servicer program, combined with 200 bus servicer apprenticeships introduced last year, expands the CTA’s apprentice program to 265 total positions, officials said.

    Sun-Times: Chicago’s snow removal costs already $4.5 million over budget for 2014

    A Sun-Times photo
     Can we read this as a very expensive winter? That in addition to the other ways we can describe this winter.
    Chicago has already plowed through $25 million in snow removal spending — $4.5 million over a budget that was supposed to cover this winter and the start of next — exacerbating the city’s financial crisis.

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel has dipped into a $6 million motor fuel tax fund surplus to cover the extra spending, leaving only $1.5 million in the fund that has served as the mayor’s security blanket during the relentless barrage of snow and cold.

    Normally, the motor fuel tax fund is used to pave streets and fill the explosion of potholes caused by heavy moisture and dramatic temperature swings. Emanuel has been “working to improve” the fund “with the purpose of creating a snow reserve,” sources said.

    Once the surplus is exhausted, the mayor may have no choice but to ask the City Council to approve a supplemental appropriation to cover snow removal costs.

    “This is the snowiest winter in 35 years — worst since the blizzard of 1979 — and is the seventh-snowiest in history,” Kelley Quinn, a spokesperson for the city’s Office of Budget and Management, said Wednesday.

    Wednesday, February 12, 2014

    Will MegaChurches Squeeze Chatham Residents

    Location: 8522 South Lafayette Avenue, Chicago, IL 60620, USA
    Two weeks ago, the Chicago Public Schools approved a charter for Horizon Science Academy at 8522 S Lafayette. The school is reported to  have signed a lease that would pay an affiliate of  Fellowship  Missionary Baptist Church who's pastor is Charles Jenkins, $1.0 million in yearly rent.  Mr. Jenkins  is a trusted advisor to Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. Many believe that this figure is out of line compared to what other schools are paying for similar space. Many believe this is a diabolical covert way of publicly funding a church pastored by an ally of the mayor. The church with an estimated congregation of 6,000 is planning to relocate on adjacent land and build several buildings

      brookins and jenkins The Chatham community has a number of churches. There are churches of all denominations and faiths.  A number of these churches have dwindling congregations for a variety of reasons. Prior to the announcement, it was announced that to the east of Chatham in the 8th ward  at 1021 E 78th Street that Alderman Michelle Harris gave another megagchurch, New Life Covenant, several city owned lots so they could build their church complex. New Life Covenant has an estimated congregation of 6,000 members and is pastored by radio personality Mr. John Hannah.  While most would see a combined estimated $60-80 million in developments  as a positive to the respective communities, there comes some issues with these churches. Several years ago, Pastor and former State Senator James Meeks of Salem Baptist church started a crusade to close stores in Roseland  that sold liquor and tobacco that his church deemed "undesirable". He was successful in closing stores but the strip of Michigan Ave. between 100th-119th has not seen any businesses come in to take the place of those that are closed and until the recent opening of Walmart was left without a grocery store. In Chatham, along 79th street there are several liquor store and lounges. Most are law abiding, while one has become the target of community leaders to get closed and was closed for several months.  So the question in my mind is as a resident of Chatham who is of legal age, sound mind, taxpaying and law abiding citizen do I lose my right to purchase wine and spirits as a result of the church moving nearby and a bunch of people who come into the neighborhood one day for several hours feel that its not what they want? In west Chatham, the proposed Fellowship MBC development will end adjacent to the parking area of the new Studio Movie Grill-Chatham. SMG-Chatham is on track for renovations of its lobby and the renovations will place a small scale casual dining restaurant  that will include a bar. The theater itself has been at 210 W 87th for over 16 years but when the church moves in and disagrees with a particular movie or the serving of wine and spirits do I lose my chose as a legal age. law abiding, sound mind and tax paying citizen? While the churches may believe that they can provide alternatives I believe not. They are not going to be able to replace the 150 jobs at SMG-Chatham and the other jobs lost along 79th street. Also, will younger families want to move to a community that offers no entertainment venues? These are questions the Chatham community will have to answer. What do you think?    

    Tuesday, February 11, 2014

    DNA Info: Mayor Rahm Emanuel Meets Privately with South Side Pastors

    Location: 436 East 79th Street, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
    Ministers meet with Mayor Emanuel photo by Wendell Huston/DNA Info
    The Mayor was in our community on Monday and perhaps it's safe to say with his re-election up next year he's already planning ahead:
    Mayor Rahm Emanuel met behind closed doors Monday with a group of about 15 pastors who voiced concerns about everything from a lack of jobs in their communities to the future of shuttered school buildings across the city.

    The 1-1/2-hour meeting at Josephine's Cooking, a soul-food restaurant at 436 E. 79th St., was off-limits to the press and public. But afterwards, the pastors said progress was made on a number of issues.

    "The meeting was very informative and one that I am sure will bring more jobs to our community," the Rev. Simon Gordon, pastor of Tristone Full Gospel Baptist Church in Beverly, said afterwards. "The meeting came about from some of the ministers who had concerns about the communities they serve. I thought the mayor was very receptive to our concerns."
    Read the whole thing. You'd be interested in who attended and the issues noted especially what to do with these vacant school buildings that dot many Black communities.

    EVENT: 95th Terminal/Red Line Extention Panel of Discussion

    Rending of new 95/Dan Ryan terminal
    You are invited to The 95th Street Terminal - Red Line Extension Panel of Discussion (POD) Meeting -
    Tuesday February 11, 2014 @ 7:00 PM
    New Progressive Church
    9425 S. Perry Avenue

    Michael LaFargue - President of the West Chesterfield Community Association - is on the Work Force Development Committee of the Developing Communities Project.

    If you are a licensed bonded MBE, put MBE in the subject line and send your information to Michael at: wcca1956 @ 

    If you know of an MBE, put MBE in the subject line and send their information to Michael at wcca1956 @ 
    There is a flyer for this event expect that to be posted here as soon as I upload it to Scribd.

    Saturday, February 8, 2014

    WBEZ: Committee releases CPS school repurposing plan

    What to do when schools are closed and they just sit vacant? It appears now is the time to figure that out:
    The public bidding process for closed Chicago Public Schools buildings will start this spring.

    A committee appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel has released a report advising the district on what to do with its dozens of shuttered buildings. There are 43 empty school buildings because of last year’s sweeping round of closures. The report didn’t come up with a plan for each school. Instead it set parameters for the district to repurpose the buildings.

    The committee says possible building uses include churches, urban farms, housing and community centers.

    “One of the key pieces here is community involvement in an active role. Many proposals will be encouraged to really get the community behind their proposal before actually making the proposal,” said committee chair Wilbur Milhouse, who owns an engineering and construction company.

    Many of the buildings are in troubled neighborhoods that have high foreclosure rates and vacant land. Milhouse said some schools will be easier to sell than others but all the sales will go into one fund. The money would help facilitate finding purchasers for those properties.
    The article also lists the members of the advisory committee which includes Ald. Latasha Thomas (17th Ward). She represents a piece of Englewood and they're interested in the repurposing of these many vacant school buildings. R.A.G.E. has even written a "white-paper" on the subject.

    If you have a vacant school building in your neighborhood, what would you re-purpose it for?

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

    Did the CTA bus completely miss our neighborhoods yesterday morning & today?

    Location: South King Drive & East 79th Street, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
    Has anyone else been experiencing problems on the CTA lately?

    Yesterday, as my wife was on her way to work, we checked the CTA bus tracker around 6:15 am for the Westbound 79th street bus, near the King Drive corner. The text message said "No arrival times". As she walked her way to the 79th street station, she saw MANY CTA riders who also texted and got the same message. It took her 20 minutes o get to the station.  Along the way,she saw many people who also had texted and got the same response.  Meanwhile, about 4-5 eastbound 79th street buses passed along the way.
    This morning at 6:24, atone stop, the times were as follows:

    • 79to 77th/Centr 25 min
    • 79 to Solo CupF 22 min
    • 79 to Western 28 min

    So at least 22 minutes before another bus would show up, and then a 3-5 minute gap.  Is this acceptable? Certainly the "No time available" is NOT acceptable.

    Please comment here and on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Let's make some noise!

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

    Who's buying Chicago-area Dominick's stores?

    Location: 2101 East 71st Street, Chicago, IL 60649, USA
    2101 E. 71st St. by DNA Info's Quinn Ford
    Crain's recently shared a Google Maps graphic of all the Chicago area Dominick's stores and what their current status is. It was in the news recently that Whole Foods Market will take over some of Dominick's former locations. This is of interest because at the moment the one that closed in South Shore located at 2101 E. 71st St. - blogged here in December - remains vacant waiting for a new store to set up shop. Anyone in South Shore have an idea who they would like to see take over that spot?

    Tuesday, February 4, 2014

    February is Black History Month

    You know, I don't recall if there has ever been a dedicated acknowledgement of Black History Month here on this blog. The audience for this blog and the areas we hope to cover are predominantly Black and hopefully if we ever did BHM themed posts it would be appreciated.

    On RAGE's FB page they asked whether or not BHM is still relevant. It's relevant in more ways than one and knowing history is very important.

    I've simply come to a conclusion that Black history isn't merely reciting dates, facts, and biographies. Also we're also making history everyday. It's for that reason that I hope to start reading more for BHM.

    There are some books on my reading list that would be considered must reads in February. For example, many of us mourned the death of South African President Nelson Mandela last year. How many of us has read his book The Long Walk to Freedom. While it's a book from a different country it's still a relatable story.

    There is also Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave written by Frederick Douglass himself. Who here has read this book starting at least in elementary school as I did? If only I was actually willing to read back in those days. And now since it's a public domain book there's really no excuse to not read it at all!

    Another book, that I started reading recently but have yet to finish is Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington. If you don't know who that is he's especially known for founding Tuskegee University, an HBCU located in Alabama. It's another autobiography worth reading about someone who was also born into slavery or at least born immediately after slavery's abolition. This book is also available in the public domain, so again no excuse to not read it.

    Of course there are other books worth reading if you're into local focus. Perhaps you could read Jahmal Cole's book - The Torch of Decency - which is about Chicago's Chatham Community. There's also the late Dempsey Travis' book An Autobiography of Black Chicago & An Autobiography of Black Politics. And those aren't the only books worth reading from Dempsey Travis either.

    What are you doing to mark Black History Month? Do you have any books to recommend reading for Black History Month? What would you do to make history yourself?

    Monday, February 3, 2014

    How will the SMG Chatham 14 look?

    Location: 210 West 87th Street, Chicago, IL 60620, USA
    Concept of the new SMG Chatham 14 via
    If you're unfamiliar with the changes coming to the Chatham 14 here's a post from last month about the coming changes.

    The photo above is seen on Studio Movie Grill's locations tab and then click on the button for SMG Chatham. This is a concept of how the Chatham 14 would look after the expected renovations under their new concept. It's about that time for the renovations to start and while the theater remain open soon the Chatham will have the new amenities that you see listed below.

    BTW, if you expect to purchase tickets through the SMG website there is still a link that will refer you to the Chatham 14 website where you will continue to check showtimes and buy your tickets online as well.