Friday, July 31, 2015

DNA Info: CPS Changes Start Times For 82 Chicago Schools (FULL LIST)

In addition to change start times at 82 city schools, CPS also plans to consolidate school bus stops:
In the past, CPS buses have picked up magnet and selective-enrollment students at 450 stops — stops located at their neighborhood schools — across the city. But this fall, CPS plans to consolidate the number of bus stops to 180.

According to a statement, "the plan to shift bus arrival times resulted from an analysis that revealed that CPS’ transportation costs far outpace those at other large, urban districts."

At an LSC meeting at Andrew Jackson Language Academy last week, Martin Ellinger, CPS manager of student transportation routing, said the district is working to ensure the security of students and to make sure no children have to cross gang lines or other unsafe areas.

The eliminated bus routes will force some kids to walk up to 1.5 miles to their nearest stop, the district said.
Click on the link to DNA Info's article for the list of schools and see if your neighborhood school's start time is expected to change. We also hope that if your child takes a bus to school no major changes as far as where they should catch their bus.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What About Shedd?

Closed Shedd School
Found this in an e-mail blast, more news about the closed Shedd School in Roseland Heights at 200 E. 99th St.:
  • Thanks to all who attended the 9th Ward meeting last night.

    The table I was sitting at did not get cards to write questions for [Alderman Anthony Beale]. I was given cards after I asked , but they were never picked up! Others told me they were not given cards also.

    However the alderman did answer the question about the Business Zone being put on the school. He said he did that because no business would want that location and it would stop others from buying it until he could discuss want the community wanted in the location. Really???

    These former schools sites are not being sold to meet the needs of the community, they are being sold to meet the needs of, money, money!

    A CPS CEO says “While there is still work to be done, we are working deliberately to ensure former schools sites bring value to CPS and their local communities for years to come.” ...and the game goes on.
Here are some related posts on the news related to Shedd School.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Chicagoist: Wicker Park, Bucktown Home Values Spike After Bloomingdale Trail Opens

Is this something to look forward to when a similar project such as turning inactive rail embankments into greenspace happens in Englewood?

Via Chicagoist:
Just weeks after the opening of the newly-transformed Bloomingdale Trail, known as The 606, thousands of homeowners in Wicker Park and Bucktown are seeing their property valuations soar.

Home owners are reporting seeing whopping 30-60 percent increases in their home values this year in housing value reassessments handed out by Cook County officials. The county last assessed the values of these homes in 2012.

About 107,000 homeowners received their new valuations in the mail this month, according to DNAinfo, and they have until Aug. 17 to appeal the assessments. If they don't appeal, they are likely to see their property taxes spike in the coming year too. That could mean more annual housing costs for homeowners and increased rents for renters.

The median sale price for a home in the city's West Township, which encompasses some of its most popular West Side neighborhoods, has gone up 34 percent for condos and 12.3 percent for other types of residences, according to a release from the office of Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios.

Friday, July 24, 2015

DNA Info: Englewood Whole Foods Is Already Hiring, A Year Before Opening
If you're looking Whole Foods Market has some positions to fill at the future Englewood store.
Nearly a year before it plans to open, the Englewood Whole Foods Market is already hiring.

The national retailer, which plans to open the 18,000-square-foot store by next summer, is looking to fill a community nutrition educator position, which would start on Oct. 1. Keith Stewart, executive marketing coordinator for the chain’s Midwest region said that the job posting is already online, but it closes July 31.

The full-time position will require the employee to be responsible for organizing, promoting and facilitating various nutrition outreach and education events. More information can be found online.

A second position, which will be posted next week, is a community liaison. The requirements are simple, Stewart said: “They need to have a passion for the Englewood community,” he said. “They need to understand the community and know how to bring people together, but passion is No. 1.”

There will be about 100 available jobs for the Englewood store and Stewart said there will be job fairs and open hiring calls to ensure they're getting people from the community.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Washington Post: Yes, 14th Street may be better these days, but something vital is missing

Last week I shared a story about Englewood to become host to a Starbuck's store right next to the coming Whole Foods Market on 63rd/Halsted. I often like to post a link to one of the posts here "The dreaded G word" in light of the coming Whole Foods.

This article discusses a Black community in Washington, DC eventually succumbing to gentrification. With the changes occurring in some of Chicago's Black communities, I sincerely hope that those neighborhoods here will prove to be the exception with gentrification.
I was walking along 14th Street NW in midtown Washington the other day and was impressed by the new look of the once-infamous strip. Where abandoned buildings and vacant lots had blighted the surrounding neighborhoods for decades, there were now chic new boutiques, home-furnishing stores, restaurants and condominiums.

But something vital was missing. There used to be thousands of black residents living and working along 14th Street. You could hear laughter and music. People sitting on the front stoops would shout greetings to passersby. There were children playing, young adults flirting and hardworking people trying to get a toehold on the economic ladder and claw their way up.

For years, the struggles of middle- and working-class black people animated life on 14th Street. Now all of that is gone. It’s been replaced by a stultifying air of aloofness. The millennial newcomers — most of them white — jog, bike and walk about the city as if in a trance, oblivious to the lives that helped form the place they now call home.
Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fewer Black teachers in CPS?

There are a lot of changes going on at CPS. To start there will be a new CEO in Forrest Claypool and a new school board chairman in Frank Clark. Now another issue has arisen:
Just 15 years go, 40 percent teachers in CPS schools were black. Today, it’s 23 percent. Many black students are segregated into majority black schools—like National Teachers Academy in the South Loop, where [Taree Porter] teaches.
The face of Chicago Public Schools teachers is changing: the teaching workforce is whiter and less experienced. Meanwhile, most of the students in Chicago’s public schools are Hispanic and African American. Black enrollment has gone down, but black students still make up 39 percent of the district.
[Chicago Teachers Union researcher Pavlyn Jankov] said the number and percentage of schools where there are virtually no staff or no students who are African American has increased a lot too. In just the last decade the number of schools with fewer than a 10 percent black teaching staff jumped from 69 to 223. Schools with no black teachers soared from 10 to 50.

Of course, school policies aren’t the only thing going on. There also may be fewer black teachers because other professions have opened up to African Americans.
While Black enrollment is going down in CPS schools there are still schools with a significant population of Black students.

So why is the Latino caucus seemingly more interested in this subject?
Members of the Chicago City Council’s Latino Caucus are calling on the school district to hire more Latinos as teachers, principals, and administrators.

The push comes after WBEZ reported on the gap between the percentages of Latino teachers and Latino students. Data shows the percentage of Hispanic teachers is crawling upward, but not enough to keep pace with the rapidly growing Hispanic student population. Latino students now make up the largest ethnic group in Chicago Public Schools, at 46 percent.
Congrats to the opening up of new professions, but if the lack of Blacks in a classroom is problematic what can be done to encourage other Blacks to consider teaching?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tribune: Volunteers help spruce up Pullman neighborhood
Via The Chicago Neighborhoods
Yesterday, I posted about the attention being given to Englewood and then found this article about the attention given to Pullman. Pullman was designated a national monument and that means it will be getting further attention in years to come.
When railroad baron George Pullman built the Hotel Florence in 1881 in the heart of his company town, he meant for the extravagant Queen Anne style inn to host businessmen and dignitaries.

In addition to hotel rooms, the building featured a dining room, billiard room, barber shop, separate men's and women's parlors, and the only bar. Over the past several decades, most of the four-story, 50-room hotel, named after one of Pullman's daughters, has remained closed during restoration efforts, which include a new slate roof and an elevator.

On Thursday, with the building's doorways still draped in sheets of plastic and much of the ornate ceilings in its rooms still in the process of being torn down, the hotel hosted new guests. Five months after President Barack Obama named a portion of the historic Pullman neighborhood a national monument, volunteer Sam Gutterman and others helped clean up the hotel's main entrance.

"It's getting closer to having people attracted to come here," said Gutterman, 67, who lives on the North Shore, as he washed the first floor windows with a rag. "Because if it's in rundown condition no one's going to want to come here, no one's going to want to learn about the history. If you make things a little more attractive — it doesn't have to be perfect — people will appreciate it."

The hotel was among half a dozen sites in the Pullman neighborhood that were targeted in the first major cleanup of the area by the National Parks Conservation Association.

Several dozen volunteers grabbed ponchos to combat the rain and fanned out across the historic factory district. Among the efforts: A team of volunteers painted the baseboards of Greenstone United Methodist Church; another group weeded around the Historic Pullman Foundation Visitors Center, and a local landscaping company donated mulch and assisted in sprucing up Arcade Park.
Of course the 9th Ward Alderman jumped on some of this attention:
 Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th, who also was in attendance, still remembers riding his bike past the historic row houses and other architectural gems as a child, thinking "it was like driving through another world." Witnessing the cleanup and initiatives since the national monument designation has been especially poignant for Beale, given the huge blow the community suffered in 1998 when an arsonist destroyed much of the factory district and damaged the administration building.

"To be able to quarterback the rebirth of this ..." said Beale, who paused as he looked toward a damaged factory building with black tarps covering its structural beams. "I can't even put words on it.
There's already ranger overseeing this park:
Sue Bennett has become the park's first full-time employee taking on the role of acting superintendent. Bennett has worked across the country as a park ranger for 26 years, most recently at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Though the national park still doesn't have a budget (that usually is set up after two years by Congress), the Illinois native says she's been lucky to lean on a number of established community organizations for help.

"I never dreamed when I started on my journey that I'd be back in my home state in a city that I love and doing the kind of service work, community outreach and preservation and stewardship, here," Bennett said. "So I'm the luckiest park ranger in the world in that I have at least 10 key partners that have been here on the ground and doing work to make it easier for us."
It's good to know the community has stepped up to the plate at least until Congress finally sets up a budget for the Pullman nat'l monument.

How long until Pullman gets their own Starbuck's? Would it be located at the Hotel Florence?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Starbuck's coming to Englewood...
First the Whole Foods Market announced in 2013 and now Starbuck's. I've reposted a gram from RAGE and now the "dreaded G word" is rearing its ugly head again:
Another jolt of economic activity for Englewood: Starbucks will soon join Whole Foods at 63rd and Halsted.

The upscale coffee maker plans to serve more than lattes. Also on the menu will be job-training for the disadvantaged, CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports.

Howard Bailey employs a half a dozen young people at his new cafe in Englewood. When he opened six months ago, he came in with a mission to hire youth from the community.

Bailey is doing exactly what Starbucks is planning. The coffee giant plans to build a shop and training center at 63rd and Halsted.

Like Bailey, Starbucks will target underserved youth aged 16 to 24. They plan to hire and train 20 to 25 at the Englewood location.
Look out for a job fair in August.

Whatever is happening in do we bring that to other parts of the city?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

WBEZ: Tuition increases approved for Chicago's City Colleges

Been hearing about this but have yet to read into it until now.
The cost of community college is going up in Chicago—especially for students who attend part-time.

City Colleges of Chicago is moving away from a pay-by-credit system to one that classifies students as full- or part-time or charges them $599 for a single course.

The flat-rate pricing would increase tuition on average by $225, but could be more for some students and less for others. The new prices go into effect this fall.

The Board of Trustees for the City Colleges of Chicago unanimously approved the changes on Thursday morning. Students and faculty were told about the new tuition amounts in an email late Tuesday, drawing criticism from the few who people signed up to speak.
Forgot to mention this article was published on July 8th and updated July 9th. The City Colleges Chancellor further commented:
Chancellor Cheryl Hyman, also a former City Colleges student, said the financial burden is not lost on her. But she blamed Springfield for the uncertainty.

“When fall registration opened in April, we still did not have clarity on state funding plans, so we could not finalize, nor communicate a tuition change,” Hyman said in her opening remarks. She did not take questions from reporters after the meeting.

The new rates will be: $1,753 for full-time students; $1,069 for part-time students; and $599 for a single course. The prices are still competitive compared to four-year universities and are still cheaper than if a Chicago resident were to attend a community college elsewhere. But compared to the cost of resident-tuition at other community colleges in the Chicago-area, the price is on par or now higher.

“Even with this new plan, we still remain the lowest cost community college option for Chicagoans,” Hyman said.

Hyman said the new “flat-price” tuition is designed to encourage students “The new flat-price tuition structure is designed to encourage full-time status and faster completion for students,” City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman said in a statement.

The email sent to students and faculty said that, based on the current average costs, the changes would mean students taking 15 credits would save $91 per semester, but for those taking 12 credits the cost would go up $286.

>Part-time students take the biggest hit. Based on average costs, the email estimated a student taking two classes would pay $384 more. The cost of a single course doubles from around $300 per class to $599. A spokeswoman for City Colleges said 45 percent of students are considered part-time, 15 percent take just one course at a time, and 40 percent are full-time.
Could this be beneficial to the city colleges? Would the students be best served by this new policy?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Fresh moves making a return

This initiative lasted at least a year and a half hoping to provide relief to the food deserts of Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is hoping to bring this program back. When it shut down a few years ago it posted losses will it be successful in it's newest incarnation?
The program now is being run by Erika Allen, an Emanuel appointee to the Chicago Park District board and the director of Growing Power Chicago, an urban farming nonprofit that grows fruits and vegetables year round on 12 acres in the city. Allen will run Fresh Moves, with its first bus debuting July 18 and plans for a second bus to start up this fall.

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided a one-year grant of $45,000 to help Fresh Moves to begin operating a second bus. This year, Emanuel said Vilsack agreed to a one-year grant to serve as the seed money for the latest produce bus model. Allen said the grant is for $100,000, but she believes ultimately the bus program will largely fund itself through sales.

Asked what's different about the program this time around, Allen didn't hesitate: "We grow our own food."

Under Food Desert Action's previous business model, the foundation purchased produce and turned around and sold it on the buses, operating on thin price margins. Allen argued she has far less overhead than that previous setup since her nonprofit Growing Power, which started and still operates farms in Milwaukee, provides much of the food the bus will sell.

Allen said 90 percent of what is sold on the buses will be grown in Chicago or within 200 miles of the city, with the exception being more tropical fruits such as bananas and oranges. She said the bus also will sell salads and healthy drinks and snacks that will help generate revenue.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Black love festival...

Unfortunately this festival is to be held on the west coast in San Francisco.
The Black Love Festival, organized by China Pharr, Leigh Davenport, and Etecia Brown; provides an example of love being used as an organizing tool to build bridges, share resources, and create healing spaces for and by black people. It takes place on Saturday July 18th from 12-6pm in Heron’s Head Park in Bayview Hunters Pointand will be MC’d by v-logger Gazi Kodzo, with performances by DJ Underdog, Rexxliferaj, Aziza Cree, and live painting by Markus Prime, headliners and more artists will be announced soon. The festival will provide a space for music, food, health education, environmental justice, healing, and arts and is fiscally sponsored by Farms to Grow, an urban farming organization based in Oakland. When asked about the importance of this festival China Pharr states, “Love is resistance and it’s important that we work on healing before continuing this struggle. We’re taking a different approach to how people view resistance. Resistance isn’t just protesting.” Leigh Davenport adds, “Social activism is very taxing . The point is to show love to the black community and to use it as a form of liberation.”
It's importance to the Black community of the Bay Area:
Pharr gave a compelling argument about why all Bay Area folks should come out to support the Bayview during this event. She mentioned that although the Oakland black community is facing similar issues related to gentrification pushout, there’s a wealth of activities and events that are provided for black people in Oakland which simply isn’t the case in the Bayview. “The black community in San Francisco is hanging by a thread. It has the fastest out-migration of black people since post-Katrina New Orleans,” says Pharr. “We are facing similar issues and it’s important for us to see and learn about the Bayview and connect with black folks across the bridge. Rallying people to make the trip  will be an important first step towards unity.”
The next question and the reason why I share this is to ask if this is something that could be done here in Chicago? All we need to do is pick a community where this would take place.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

NBC News: A tour of Roseland

The video above had been shared onto our FB page. A man talks about his Roseland neighborhood what it takes to survive there and what it takes to make it a better community. Even better how the community used to be in the 1970s.

A shame that the community was very nice back in the day only to regress into the violence he talks about today. Roseland and it's people deserve so much and soon. What does it take to turn that community around?

I invite you to read this article from NBC News which talks about violence in our fair city whether Roseland or the west side. Unfortunately Chicago has been taking an unfortunate hit because of the incidents of gun violence here. If only there is a solution to this problem.