Showing posts from April, 2014

Hinz: What's at stake for Chicago in transportation budget battle?

According to Greg Hinz , there is a coming fight over transportation infrastructure in Washington. Perhaps this might mean the difference between getting various transit projects done and I would include for example the Red Line extension: At issue, potentially, for the Chicago area is everything from building western access to O'Hare International Airport and rebuilding hundreds of miles of crumbling roads and bridges, and maintaining and maybe even expanding service by the Chicago Transit Authority and Metra, to freeing up the region's often-blocked freight-rail system and keeping interstate passenger trains rolling. Metropolitan Chicago now is heavily reliant on the U.S. government to help pay for those kinds of items, and unlike with most federal spending, we actually do pretty well with federal transportation money. The Chicago area now gets $612 million a year from the feds for highway and transit funding, more than any other metropolitan area except New York, accordi

DNA Info: Englewood Schools Closed in 2013 Eyed for Numerous Uses

Elihu Yale School 7025 S. Princeton Ave Some good ideas for the six empty elementary school buildings that dot the landscape in Englewood. Hopefully those buildings and others around the city don't remain vacant & unused for the foreseeable future. We mentioned this event last Thursday. When Chicago Public Schools closed 50 schools in 2013, six Englewood schools were shuttered, and now residents want to see those empty buildings used to benefit the community. One idea was to create a Bernie Mac production center. The late entertainer, whose real name was Bernard McCullough, was an Englewood native. A Bernie Mac center at one of the schools would "allow students to see that careers in entertainment are also behind the scenes and not always on stage," said Asiaha Butler, president of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood , which organized a Friday retreat on the shuttered schools issue at Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School , 6130 S.

$79-million for 95th Street Bus and Rail Project

From WLS-TV about the coming project to reconstruct the 95th terminal : U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the closing of a $79 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to the CTA for the 95th Street Bus and Rail project. The project will rehabilitate the current 95th Street Bus and Rail Terminal, which dates from 1969, with an expanded modern facility. The 9.4 mile Dan Ryan Branch of the CTA Red Line, ends at the 95th Street Terminal. As part of the CTA 2013-2017 Capital Improvement Plan, the Dan Ryan Branch is being fully reconstructed. Improvements to the terminal will mean better bus and rail connections and reduced travel congestion and delays. The project will enable CTA riders connecting to and from rail services to access multiple transportation options, including bus service, bike-and-ride and car sharing. Planned improvements will include increased lighting and security cameras, wider walkways, a pedest

Crain's: Bringing Whole Foods to Englewood

[ VIDEO ] The video above was already shared onto our FB page . It seems people are still talking about the Whole Foods Market coming to 63rd/Halsted. It was very cool to see vintage photos of the area as it was before it's decline. One thing has me wondering about this video. According to the developer DL3 Realty's Leon Walker he says that while prices at a store such as Aldi's would be less expensive than Whole Foods Market, however, he also noted that most people shop at the corner store for groceries and thus prices at the corner store is actually more expensive than Whole Foods. Seems odd, right? If this is true then why would the corner store would be more expensive than Whole Foods? In making this announcement last year it was noted in the news that Whole Foods would stock their new Englewood outpost with items that their sure Englewood residents could afford. who knows, when this store is finally built and opened in 2016 perhaps this idea of "Whole P

CAN-TV Political Forum with Ald. Roderick Sawyer on April 23, 2014

[ VIDEO ] The 6th Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer full program from April 23, 2014. Hosted by Dartesia Pitts, Ald. Sawyer talks about a variety of issues from the city's pension issues to potholes to parking meters. Speaking of potholes, the effects of the harsh winter is still with us and the best advice Ald. Sawyer offers is to call 311 to report your potholes. In addition, in nothng that he has a great relationship with police superintendent Garry McCarthy said that the 6th ward is a target for increased bike patrols and foot patrols in the community. That in addition to private TIF security along Cottage Grove between 79th & 87th Streets. BTW, there was a caller about the debris at 75th & King Drive that was the result of a fire in January. On this program we learn that this property is owned by the same people who own the Chatham Village shopping center on 87th & Cottage Grove . EDIT: It's possible I may have misheard the information from the program.

DNA Info: Community to Discuss Future of Closed CPS Schools in Englewood

More discussion on the utilization of closed schools in Englewood: The future of six now-empty neighborhood schools closed last year as part of a citywide effort to shutter underutilized facilities will be the focus of a retreat Friday taken by local officials and activists. "These buildings have so much potential, and if used wisely could improve neighborhoods greatly," said John Paul Jones, president Sustainable Englewood Initiatives . The retreat, which runs from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Lindblom Math & Science Academy , 6130 S. Wolcott Ave., was organized by the Resident Association of Greater Englewood, known as RAGE. Chicago Public Schools closed 50 schools citywide in what it called a cost-saving measure. The meeting will focus on what to do with six area shuttered elementary school buildings: Elihu Yale, 7025 S. Princeton Ave; Daniel Wentworth, 6950 S. Sangamon St; Benjamin Mays, 838 W. Marquette Road; Arna Bontemps, 1241 W. 58th St; Charles Earle, 6151 S. Hermitag

Happy Birthday, Worlee & the Citizen Newspaper!

You may not always agree with him (see my comments often in response to him), but today is the birthday of the Sixth Ward blog's Worlee. While I definitely disagree on a number of opinions and style, Wolree has definitely given this blog, and other media (such as Concerned Citizens of Chatham ), a lot of useful information about our neighborhood. Following stricter journalistic guidelines is the Chicago Citizen newspaper , celebrating 49 years today, according to Facebook . We appreciate them being an independent voice that includes the positive news of our area. Happy Birthday to all!

CapitolFax: GOP Leaders are “Nay” to Obama library

Image We've been talking about a presidential library for Pres. Obama for quite a while now. At that point all we know is that if Chicago will be home to an Obama library he wants a unified bid. We don't yet know where this library will be located although a number of sites are seeking to be the home especially Hyde Park, Pullman and even Chicago State University. Now there is a debate in Springfield regarding this library. House Speaker Michael Madigan wants to appropriate state funds for the library, however, we learned that Republican members of the General Assembly are opposed.

6th Ward Alderman on CAN-TV's Political Forum

Photo via Ald. Sawyer's Instagram account Above photo is from Ald. Roderick Sawyer's Instagram account with him talking to WBBM radio about the debris on 75th/King Drive. Below is an announcement you may have seen not only at Concerned Citizens of Chatham or our FB pages , but also seen over at EveryBlock recently: Join your 6th Ward neighbors for a live, interactive conversation with Ald. Roderick Sawyer this Wednesday, April 23, at 7 p.m. on CAN TV21 and at . Covering the area's news and issues, Political Forum is your chance to be heard and get answers about what's going on at City Hall. You can also leave a question for Ald. Sawyer as a comment on this post and we will pass it along. (Learn more at ). Feel free to submit your questions on EveryBlock and hopefully it will be answered on air Wednesday night!

Two incumbent Alderman could go head to head in 2015 elections

Left Ald. Thompson, Right Ald. Foulkes via DNAInfo  All the rumors I heard before the ward remap was approved by the city council I figured one person who could get hurt was 15th Ward Alderman Toni Foulkes. She seemed to be a not very visible alderman, and especially noted was her unwillingness to debate her 2007 challenger - Raymond Lopez who's now the 15th Ward Democratic Committeeman. Now she's a bit more visible having made some TV appearances, she made some noise about the remap, and she even joined a progress caucus on the city council which is largely opposed to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Today we're hearing that she's making a new move literally. She wants to challenges 16th Ward Alderman JoAnn Thompson for her city council seat. Saw two stories this morning about that from DNA Info and Mark Brown of the Sun-Times. It's interesting that Ald. Foulkes spoke to DNA Info's Wendell Hutson instead of Mark Browk but it is what it is. All the same, Ald. Foul

Crain's: Widow of Seaway Bank owner takes charge, plots overhaul

The article I'm excerpting below was posted to our FB page last night about Seaway Bank . As noted earlier there were some big changes in store because of the death last year of longtime majority owner and chairman Jacoby Dickens. Also noted was that the bank posted a loss last year thanks to the acquisitions of two banks that had been shut down by the FDIC within the last four years: A year after the death of Seaway Bank and Trust Co.'s long-time majority owner, his widow has taken control of Chicago's largest black-owned bank and made significant changes. Veranda Dickens, the wife of the late bank chairman Jacoby Dickens who inherited his majority stake in Seaway, was named bank chairman earlier this month and moved promptly to appoint an outside consultant to the newly created role of chief restructuring officer. The bank also will seek to raise capital to shore up its finances following a year in which it lost 30 percent of its book value to unanticipated losses

City Journal: Chicago's Vanishing Middle Class

Chicago's Vanishing Middle Class by Aaron M. Renn, City Journal 16 April 2014 Click for larger resolution This article by Aaron Renn who writes The Urbanophile blog further discusses Chicago's vanishing middle class. Earlier this month I showed an animated image that illustrated middle class areas go from either very wealthy to very poor since 1970s. That image you will see to the right. If you believe that Mayor Rahm Emanuel may not be entirely responsive to the plight of middle class people in the city perhaps there are some political aspects involved: The plight of the middle class in cities like Chicago can’t be blamed entirely on liberal policies. The global economy has clearly benefited the talented, the educated, and the already wealthy, often at the expense of those in formerly middle-class occupations, like manufacturing. And it’s unlikely that the forces unleashed by globalization will diminish. One might expect, then, that big-city Democratic leaders lik

Red Line meeting next month and other thoughts on transit plans

In a recent article about a proposed rail bypass for Brown Line trains on the north side there was so information on a future meeting with regards to at least the proposed Red Line Extension . The Red Line south extension open house will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on May 13 at Palmer Park Gymnasium, 201 E. 111th St., Chicago. The second step is being taken in long-awaited plans to extend the south branch of the Red Line by 5 1/2 miles, from the current 95th Street terminal to 130th Street on the Far Southeast Side. Plans include building new stations near 103rd, 111th, 115th and 130th streets. A lengthy environmental review process is required by the federal government for the CTA to secure funding for the $2.3 billion rail extension. CTA officials said they hope to satisfy the federal environmental impact statement process by the middle of 2016 and receive a record of decision from the Federal Transit Administration — leading to funding — by late 2016 or early 2017. BTW,

Sun-Times: CTA weighs two options for Red Line extension route

Proposed Red Line Extension Hmmm, I thought that the CTA settled on routing the Red Line extension along the Union Pacific tracks not along Halsted Street. Anyway more talk about this long discussed, long planned extension from 95th Street terminal: The CTA has narrowed to two the routes for a long-awaited Red Line extension from 95th to 130th Street — one down the middle of busy Halsted Street, the other mostly running along existing freight tracks. Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), whose South Side ward would be most heavily affected by the extension, was briefed on the options Tuesday. The chairman of the City Council’s Transportation Committee emerged with a ringing endorsement of the alternative that steers clear of Halsted. That option for the $2 billion, 5-mile-plus extension generally follows freight tracks operated by the Union Pacific Railroad. A large portion of the tracks run along Eggleston — four blocks west of the existing 95th Street station — and curve eastward as

Sun-Times: Why can't they just get along?

A few times I alluded to this on the blog. It has often been reported that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn aren't getting along very well. This is likely the start of how things started going downhill, apparently according to Fran Spielman they had a mutual friend in David Axelrod and used to play basketball on Saturdays. How did two Democrats who need to work together to solve Chicago’s pressing problems become so distrustful of one another? “One reason for the tension is that Quinn is in the weaker position … his job approval is lower than the mayor’s. He’s also in a difficult re-election fight while the mayor isn’t. And Quinn needs Rahm more than the other way around. So Quinn doesn’t appreciate the mayor forcing him to do unpopular things — like support property tax increases,” said David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. No one in either camp will allow their name to be attached to a discussion of the tension

Launch of storytelling series at Kusanya Cafe

We were alert to this event at the Kusanya Cafe sometime last week. The event will commence on Thursday. More details below with a flyer as well! The Frying Pan Stories: Pages Ripped From our Cookbooks Thursday, April 17, 2014 What : The Moth GrandSlam Champion Stephanie Douglass and a medley of other storytellers will be sharing tales about the food we eat- as well as how, where, and with whom we eat- sparking a conversation about all things food within communities of color. Kusanya Café, a vibrant, colorful new space that is Englewood’s first sit-down café will serve as the backdrop for the launch of this new contribution to Chicago’s rich storytelling (aka Live Lit) scene. This event is the first of a storytelling series by the IHC called Living in Color, which will cover topics of food, migration, radical love, and identity in intimate spaces throughout Chicago. Storytellers : Lily Be is a moth GrandSLAM champion and hosts her own storytelling event, Stoop-Style Sto

Chicago Public Schools Spring Break 4/14-18

Reminder: There is no school for all Chicago Public School students Monday 4/14-Friday 4/18. All Chicago Park District parks are open as well as there are other options Although there are activities that young people can enjoy we will have those who will be in the neighborhood unsupervised. We will have to be on alert this week.

DNA Info: Seaway Bank and Trust Co. in Chatham Is Not Being Sold, Officials Say

Photo via DNA Info I'm really sorry I missed this article. In Febrary, Crain's Chicago Business published an article about losses at Seaway Bank & Trust Company as a result of their acquisitions of two banks. Then got translated into Seaway may be forced to sell at some point. To be sure acquiring two banks taken over by the FDIC is change enough and then the death of longtime owner & chairman Jacoby Dickens may well inspire more changes at the black-owned financial insitution. All the same in this DNA Info article from last month an executive from the bank is seeking to reassure customers that the bank will not be sold and would remain Black-owned: Officials with Seaway Bank, 645 E. 87th St., said customers should know that while it suffered financial losses of $4.4 million in 2013, there are no plans to close or sell the city's largest black-owned bank. "Seaway is not for sale, nor has there been any discussion about selling the bank," said

CBS 2: Park Manor Residents Tired Of Building Eyesore

[ VIDEO ] We've heard about this building since the winter. A dollar store and the building it inhabited on the corner of 75th/King Drive burned down in January . Now the residents near that corner wants to see that lot cleared of all debris from the fire. The story you see above from CBS 2 discusses this eyesore even more with some updates on this property. One update you may have seen recently over at Concerned Citizens of Chatham : Post by Concerned Citizens of Chatham . If you want to see how long the complaints about the debris go back look no further than this DNA Info article from February . Here's hoping that lot gets cleared and with a plan for a new building in the future.

Update on 75th King Drive

Courtney Gosslin from Channel 2 was out today and did a report on the condition of 75th King. She stated the story will probably air at 5-6pm tomorrow. Also, WBBM Radio will run a story today. Here is a link to the interview.

ABC 7: Chicago-owned residential lots sell for $1 in Englewood, Washington Park, Woodlawn

[ VIDEO ] We've been hearing about this program for quite a while, the city wants to sell vacant lots in distressed residential neighborhoods for $1. This program is only available in the Englewood, Washington Park, and Woodlawn neighborhoods. Further more this story from ABC 7 mainly explores the potential impact in Englewood: Tina Harbin, a homeowner, has lived for a dozen years on a block with an empty lot. "My dream is to have this space where residents can gather in a community garden, come home and walk their dogs,'' Harbin said. For just $1, the city is expected to sell the lot to the Harvard-Yale Homeowners' Association. "To be able to transform it into something that adds value, long term. It's not an eyesore when you ride or walk down the street. It's something that's beautiful and just sets a different tone for the neighborhood,'' Harbin said. Who can buy them? A homeowners' association or residents who live app can help us avoid street cleaning tickets.

Chicago Public Radio recently mentioned this a web/mobile service that can help remind you of street cleanings.   Click this link then scroll down to find the story on SweepAround . (Sidenote: Dennis Haynes of Chesterfield Community Council  was also featured in another segment of that day's Afternoon Shift ).  is a website that can provide dates as well as free text reminders to move your car. As an example, check out The next ones are April 15 and 16 for the shown area. As a suggestion, no matter where you live, be a good neighbor and help add some spaces. Pull all the way up to/back to (but not crossing) signs such as handicapped parking. When you ignore using these signs and leave several feet in front or behind you, you essentially destroy a parking space for your neighbor. That is especially difficult on families with young kids or elderly parents. Check this link for the official City of Chicago street cl

Ventra balance tranfer events in our area

Still have some money on a stripe card or a Chicago card? Our area will be home to two Ventra Balance Transfer Events. St. James AME Church, 9256 S. LaFayette on Saturday, April 12, 10am-3pm Avalon Library, 8148 S. Stony Island om Friday, June 20, 11am-2pm You can see more details, as well as other dates and locations at this link -->

LSC election flyer and some thoughts on education...

Monday and Tuesday are days for LSC Elections. Monday was LSC election for elementary schools and Tuesday are such days for the high schools.  It was my intention to post the above flyer over the weekend unfortunately it seems I kept running into a snag with regards to posting it online whether through Blogger or the FB page. Anyway if you're living at least in the Roseland Heights or West Chesterfield area you may have found this in your screendoors or mailboxes. Sharon Banks-Pincham represents the community on the LSCs for both Gillespie Elementary and Harlan Community Academy . Hopefully you were able to be informed of the LSC elections on Monday and were able to vote. Hopefully you're able to vote on Tuesday for LSC members at your local high schools. Speaking of education, on Monday Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax ranted about the state of education in Illinois. Many of us are concerned about the state of education in Chicago especially for the K-12 set. So he st

Dukes Lounge: Is it Going to Become the Next Laristo's

I believe that Bars, Lounges and nightclubs have their place in our community. But as former promoter,DJ and wine & spirit salesman the first thing I always learned was RESPONSIBILITY. You are responsible for the way you promote, controlling the room,safety of consumers and following the law. Several years ago, Laristo's on 75th street downgraded their crowd and bedlam broke out and a shooting took place and patrons were injured and nearby businesses were damaged. Recently, Dukes Lounge (121 E 79th) has prescribed to the same recipe for disaster for Friday nights. Per the staff of Pepe's the owner did allow Dukes to use the lot with the exception of the immediate spaces around the perimeter of his restaurant but the patrons take up all his spots including the handicap spots. The restaurant is losing business as customers cannot find a place to park. The patrons of Dukes are taking over the Pepe's lot, the medical center lot across the street and parking on the residen

City Notes: Watch Chicago’s middle class vanish before your very eyes

Click pic for larger resolution I'm sorry I missed this as this was shared on Friday via The Capitol Fax . The animated image you see above is a documentation of Chicago's shrinking middle-class since 1970. The middle-class areas are those you will see in grey. Bascially this map measures "each Census tract’s median family income as a percentage of the median family income for the Chicago metropolitan region as a whole" . It's interesting to read the comments on both sites although unfourtately CapFax has since closed their comments for the weekend. That doesn't mean we can't continue to discuss the many changes and the factors that cause the middle-class to leave the city. BTW, last year I posted one factor why middle-class families move to the suburbs and then recently found another article which chronicled another city family who is leaving the city. These families blame CPS schools for their decision. Perhaps it's one reason amongst ot

6th Ward Shred A Thon

Ald. Roderick T Sawyer is hosting a free shred a thon event on Saturday, April 19,2014 10 am to 2 pm 8001 S. King Dr. ( 6th Ward office)  Residents can bring old documents containing private info to be shredded. For more information, call 773.635.0006.

WBEZ: In Chicago's Beverly neighborhood, integration is no accident

Via The Chicago Neighborhoods I found this WBEZ story interesting. Many neighborhoods on the south side began to experience change from being a white neighborhood to a Black neighborhood. Natalie Moore seeks to explain why Beverly on the southwest side of the city became an integrated neighborhood. In fact unlike such neighborhoods as Hyde Park or Roger's Park, Beverly didn't have a university to anchor and play a role in their real estate. The many communities that have changed from Black to white in the 1950s & 1960s include Chatham and Englewood. Chicago has often been a city cited for it's stark segregation between different races and ethnicities. One can only wonder if this could change in the future.