Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 the year that was

 Earlier this year Chicagoans went to the polls to either vote out their incumbent Alderman or to vote in new ones. In addition, the city threw the mayoral contest to a run off for the first time and resulted in a victory for Rahm Emanuel and a second term for mayor.

As a result of the recent municipal elections Ald. Roderick Sawyer replaced Ald. Howard Brookins as chairman of the city council Black Caucus. Ald. Sawyer has been all over the McDonald shooting and the release of the police footage of that incident.

In addition, Ald. Brookins is running for the 1st Congressional District seat held by Bobby Rush. Congressman Rush had reportedly been looking at retirement until he revealed later that he plans to run for re-election in 2016.

Though he's been re-elected a recent reversal of events during the last two months of 2015 has activists calling for his resignation. The reversal involves a police shooting last year of Laquan McDonald shot by a police officer 16 times and any footage of this incident suppress by Mayor Emanuel & state's attorney Anita Alvarez.

Speaking of the state's attorney as a result of her alleged role in the suppression of police footage of the McDonald incident activists are calling for her to resign as well. For the moment while the next mayoral election is 2019, Alvarez has a primary coming up next year. She already has some seemingly strong opponents going up against her so we shall see if she can eke out the Democratic nomination - which is certainly a shoo-in for being elected in November.

Another Chicago politico in Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown as a result of federal investigations into her campaign has lost the support of the Cook County Democratic Party. She had originally been slated but federal warrants caused Democratic "bosses" in Chicago to remove their original slating.

We're still following the Whole Foods Market coming to 63rd & Halsted. Thanks to Bruce Montgomery on instagram we've been seeing some progress as far as construction of the future site of Whole Foods Market Englewood.

Disclosure: One of the bloggers here at The Sixth Ward is a team member at Whole Foods Market.

In addition local lender Seaway Bank celebrated 50 years in business. While loyal customers and the bank's employees are celebrating there are some hiccups and that includes the sudden resignation of their new President & CEO who had been installed in 2014.

Also another local lender Highland Community Bank failed and taken over by a Indiana-based bank. As a matter of fact in different times Seaway had been in talks to buy the bank located on 87th Street near Ashland Avenue.

BTW, on the south side Pullman after a new factory opened up and a national monument designation is in the running as of this posting for 2015 Curbed Cup neighborhood of the year. In the meanwhile near the end of the year Chatham was the recipient of further attention thanks to the many modernist homes built in the area over the years.

What is a story you followed during the past year? What are you predictions and expectations in 2016?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Curbed Cup final Loop vs. Pullman

Hotel Florence Pullman
Pullman advances and you have until tomorrow night on New Year's even to cast your vote for the neighborhood of the year over at CurbedChicago. Hopefully you're vote will be for the Pullman neighborhood which has had quite a year in 2015.
the Pullman neighborhood on the city's far south side has had a huge year. Its historic district has become the first national monument in Chicago and there's even growing support for a full blown national park campus. Pullman also welcomed the first new factory to open on Chicago's south side in three decades. The colorful factory is not only generating much needed revenue for the neighborhood, but it has also set a very high bar for other companies when it comes to being environmentally friendly.
To be sure I like the loop but home for me is the South Side and it's a no brainer that this part of town would get my vote. Hopefully Pullman is back again for the Curbed Cup in 2016.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Pullman in Curbed Cup Final Four!!!

Via The Chicago Neighborhoods
 It's the end of the year and Curbed Chicago has their annual Curbed Cup. In the final four and the neighborhoods of Pullman, Uptown, Lakeview, and the Loop.

Unfortunately I missed the start of this neighborhood competition that pits up-and-coming neighborhoods of Chicago against each other. This is how Pullman is described:
The Pullman neighborhood on the far South Side had a very big year. The area, which is known and named for its connection to the Pullman Palace Car company, was designated as a National Monument by President Obama in February. Then in April, the soap maker Method opened its $30 million eco-conscious factory in the neighborhood. Pullman gained a lot of momentum this year, and the neighborhood doesn't appear to letting down anytime soon. When we called for Curbed Cup nominations, Pullman residents came out in droves to make sure that their voice was heard.
So far Pullman has edged out Bridgeport and the West Loop neighborhoods can they edge out the north side community of Uptown?

Vote here now and hopefully by tomorrow we'll know whether or not Pullman moves onto the final and hopefully a wonderful 2016 for that historic far south side community.

BTW, I wonder if our friends up there at Uptown Update are following this -  and they are.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

John's Hardware featured on TV!

Our independently owned John's Hardware, based in Englewood, was featured on WCIU's "You and Me" morning show.

Thanks to Judge Fredrenna Lyle for posting this news on her Facebook page!

You can also find the segment here.

Help support the store by visiting
(773) 483-7443

Monday, December 21, 2015

Our very own Jahmal Cole featured on TV

2 Saturdays ago, ur very own Jahmal Cole was featured on ABC 7's African-American centered public affairs show "Heart and Soul."

See it for yourself!

You can also visit the ABC 7 Chicago website for the segment.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Are we losing our Christmas spirit?

So are our neighborhoods losing our Christmas spirit?

So for example, on my block, we have a tradition of the light posts alternating red and green lights. But in 2015, it's literally the middle of December, and only 9 homes have changed their lights.

I have also noticed that the 8700 block of Calumet, which used to have each household have some kind of light display, is also lacking this year.

How are things in your neighborhood? And have you noticed the difference?

But as a reminder, Williams Hydroplants is selling fresh live trees. Please support our local business. Read more from our previous post on William Hydroplants.

From that post:

Their store is at 311 E. 79th Street Chicago, IL 60619. They will sell the Christmas Trees in their lot across the street at 79th & Prairie, also across the street from the south playground of Ruggles elementary school. Their phone number is (773) 651-3426, so can call ahead and schedule your pickup.

Also, if you have other needs, please contact them.  They can have items such as salt and snow melt ready for you out there as well.

Let them know JP Paulus (dad of Mia and Faith) sent you. It won't result in any discount. But it would be great to know connections have been made


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Murder and a missing child

In our Facebook newsfeed, we saw two stories we felt the need to share.

Today a tow truck driver was shot   in the 6800 block of South Anthony about 9 a.m

ABC 7 Chicago has the story details.

Also from Greater Grand Crossing (thanks Fatimah Macklin for having this on your newsfeed):

A 14-year-old girl has been missing since Monday from the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood on the South Side.

Samaria Banks was last seen 10:30 p.m. Monday, according to a missing person alert from Chicago Police. Her family told police that this is the first time she has been missing and that she frequents the area around the 200 block of East 69th Street.
She is described as a black girl with black hair and brown eyes, standing 5-foot-5 and weighing 135 pounds.

Anyone with information about Banks’ whereabouts should call the Area Central Special Victims Unit at (312) 747-8380.

See the full story from Fox 32 Chicago.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Today is a great day for a birthday.

A little self-indulgence...but today is my (JP Paulus) birthday. It's also the same date as the birthdays of a diverse group of people in our community.

First and foremost, it's also the birthday of Levois, the creator & administrator of The Sixth Ward Blog.

Former State Representative Connie Howard (D) shares this birthday.

On the other end of the political spectrum, Former 6th Ward Republican Committeeman candidate Fatimah Macklin shares this day with us as well.

If it's your birthday, Happy Birthday to you! And while we're here.. Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Brown Sugar Bakery robbed -- of their cakes!!!

Location: 328 E 75th St, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
We have a report from DNAinfo that our very own Brown Sugar Bakery-Chicago was robbed -- but of all of their cakes (and apparently sold them for cheap).   This happened shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday and the thieves stole 48 cakes, cupcakes and brownies. Thankfully, there was no other serious damage other than the window (which has since been repaired).

So please come out and support them so they can recover their losses... and does the no-snitch policy hold when it comes to selling illegally obtained cakes?

Please visit 328 E. 75th St., Chicago IL 60619 . Their phone number is (773) 224-6262 and the website is 

You can also find them on Facebook, to leave a supportive comment.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Recounting all of our officials who have gotten into trouble

We're following up on yesterday's post about former State Representative Connie Howard.

The following officials were all in office at the same time for at least 6 tears (2006-2012). That’s 4 out of 5 of our local offices where there’s been at least a serious allegation or arrest, if not a conviction. (We don't have any official allegations for Aldermanic offices, at least east of the Dan Ryan and north of now 87th).

It is interesting to note that in several elections, these officials ran unopposed.

1st Congressional District – U.S. Representative
Bobby Rush
17th District – State Senator
Donne Trotter
34th District – State Representative
Connie Howard
4th Cook County District – County Commissioner
William Beavers
Convicted of tax evasion.  Spent 6 months in Federal prison

How does that make you feel about our representation in our area? Will we have choices and accountability in the next election?

Rep. Bobby Rush

St. Senator Donne Trotter
Former St. Rep. Connie Howard

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Former State Representative Connie Howard sentenced for fraud

Former St. Rep. Connie Howard
The Chicago SunTimes has reported that former 34th Distirct State Representative Connie Howard will be sentenced for fraud. (we first posted the link this morning on our Facebook page).

In addition to 3 months, and then a 2 year supervised release term, she was ordered to pay $28,000 in restitution, the same amount she was convicted of pocketing.

The Chicago Tribune has a more detailed article

Tomorrow we'll make a note of other politicians in our area who have had some trouble.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

CapitolFax: Could Rush be toast?

Just to piggyback off of JP's post this morning we get some more details on the petition challengers of Bobby Rush. Alderman Howard Brookins who is also running for the 1 congressional district seat initiated a challenge to them. Over there you will get links to see copies of the petitions in question that Rush had turned in.

In a press release Brookins noted the following discrepancies:
  • Multiple signatures from the same person on different petition sheets.
  • One signer signed for another person or multiple people at a single address.
  • Circulators signed their own sheets.
  • Circulator signatures do not match.
  • Notary notarized his own signature.
  • Circulators repeatedly visited the same addresses and collected duplicate signatures.
  • Some sheets have no signatures and only printed names.
  • Is it possible for the veteran Congressman to push back the challenges to his petitions?

Here are the examples of the discrepancies for Rush's petitions provided by Howard Brookins
Will the veteran Congressman be able to beat out these challeges to get on the ballot next March?

1st Congressional District Candidates We w

At the end of this post is the list of those who have registered to be on the March 15, 2016 primary ballot for U.S. Representative for the 1st Congressional District. You can find this list at the state election website.

We will post more information such as photos & websites once all the challenges have been handled. We ask that candidates send us you web page link, as well as a link to your preferred photo, so that we can post this information  on the blog.

Note that the incumbent, Bobby Rush, has been challenged, as well as Harold Bailey. We should see the results by January 1, 2016.

(Obj. Pending)
11/30/2015 8:12 AM
11/30/2015 11:12 AM
11/30/2015 12:02 PM
(Obj. Pending)
11/30/2015 5:00 PM
MOKENA, IL 60448
11/23/2015 3:48 PM
11/30/2015 3:14 PM

Monday, December 7, 2015

Konkol: Roseland's Only Steak House Survives Tough Times Down At 'The Ranch'

Photo by Mark Konkol - Yolanda Pierce from right and two employees
All the times I passed this place on Michigan Ave and never been inside. It seems to be one of the few consistent businesses on this stretch. It survived a long time and apparently still does although times and demographics have changed since this business opened in 1969.
On a morning stroll, I hiked west from Pullman and under the 113th Street viaduct that leads to the wrong side of the tracks.

I walked past Palmer Park, where the faint scent of marijuana hung in the cool, humid air, and headed up the hill toward Michigan Avenue — Roseland’s once-vibrant shopping strip now populated by hustlers, pimps and dealers who openly cater to the vices of the addicted, the desperate and the damned — on my way to “The Ranch.”

That’s what locals call the neighborhood’s only surviving steak joint, where you can get a T-bone, charbroiled just the way you like it, with a baked potato and salad for less than 20 bucks. And they serve tasty breakfast — two eggs with hash browns and toast for under $5 — all day long.

The late John Kapsaskis opened The Ranch Steak House at 11147 S. Michigan Ave. in 1969. Back then, Roseland was home to mostly blue-collar white families who later fled to the suburbs when black folks moved in and good-paying steel mill jobs dried up. His son, Dino — “The Greek Cowboy,” as one photo behind the counter calls him — kept the family steakhouse going even as the neighborhood’s population changed and its economy slumped.

Inside the front door is a far different world than the one left behind on the sidewalk. A set of bull horns hang from the ceiling. A sign welcomes customers to a dimly lit dining room decorated with carved Indian chief statues and faded photos of cowboys, those rifle-toting white men on horseback from Hollywood westerns.
Yolanda Pierce runs the ranch although the family who owns it no longer appears to be involved. Pierce's ex-fiance who's family runs the business is out taking care of his elderly mother in Greece. So now it's Pierce:
She’s the blond-haired, blue-eyed gal, a former hair stylist from Griffith, Indiana, who runs The Ranch now that Dino Kapsaskis — the owner and her ex-fiance — packed up and moved to Greece to take care of his 93-year-old mother.

Pierce’s friends tell her she should be angry that Kapsaskis left her to run The Ranch by herself, unsure if he’ll ever return.

“Even though he is my ex, this is his business. Dino could have sold this place. He always said business is business. He felt like he was doing me a favor. If I go anywhere else I’ll make minimum wage. What can I do?” Pierce said.

“We still care about each other enough to keep it going. I’m not mad at him. He did what he had to do. I’m taking care of my mother. I take care of my daughter. I do what I got to do.”
If you read the rest of the article she'll not that this place considering it's location isn't making a huge profit but she emphasizes how she helps her employees:

She doesn’t just do it for herself and her own family. The Ranch is the lifeblood that keeps a lot of people — her dishwasher, waitresses and cooks and even Kapsaskis, whom Pierce sends cash she considers “rent” — on the winning side of “the struggle.”

“They say when you eat at Outback Steakhouse or one of those chain places you’re paying for the owner's private jets and fancy houses. What we make helps everyone here. Nobody makes a lot of money. Here, you’re paying for our people to buy clothes for their kids,” Pierce said.

“I just feel like I don’t care if it’s a struggle. I’m gonna keep it going and that’s how Dino feels, too. No matter what, we’re going to try to keep The Ranch open for as long as can. Either things are going to get better or … whatever.”
I suggest you read the whole thing. This is a course on how to run a business in a difficult community to own a business. You may not agree with everything Griffith says about parking meters or minimum wage

Here's hoping The Ranch survives for any position renaissance that I expect Roseland to one day have. Especially when the CTA Red Line is finally extended further south. Plus I hope that the Pullman National Monument will have an effect on the surrounding communities as well.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

LaQuan McDonald

Unfortunately, I was asleep when the whole LaQuan McDonald story came out. Kudos to the person(s) who were able to bring this to light. There are a lot questions worth asking about what happened last year when he was killed by a police office. We now see photographic evidence for what it was worth of what happened that night.

We see a lot of people are passionate about what happened with Mr. McDonald and it's ramifications. Alderman Roderick Sawyer of the 6th Ward has been on top of this story in his capacity as chairman of the city council Black Caucus.

So the question is what now? Well there have been demonstrations around downtown Chicago, some shenanigans took place such as ripping Christmas decorations off of the tree in Millennium Park. Perhaps some issues in the South Loop on the first day of demonstrations. And then the Black Friday demonstration where protesters block entrances to the many stores on Michigan Avenue to impact sales.

Thankfully no serious unrest and hopefully it stays that way. In the meanwhile, now it's time for the hard questions between the city's authorities regarding not only the McDonald case. Also regarding the relationship between police and the city's "minority" communities.

I've attempted to keep up with the various aspects of this story. For example the Capitol Fax has covered this story in it's various facets which also includes the firing of police chief Garry McCarthy

BTW, if you haven't seen the unfortunate dash cam video of the police action against McDonald click on video in brackets [VIDEO]. I have no plans to watch it but I know so many have been all over it. At the same time I have little interest in seeing a man get killed in real time.

ALSO, yesterday we learned that the state Attorney General is going to ask the Federal government to conduct a civil rights probe on the Chicago Police. So if the feds do take a look at this then there will more heat on local police in light of what happened to McDonald and perhaps other cases that can be uncovered.

Below is what was posted to our ig account an example of the Black Friday protests on North Michigan Avenue.
A video posted by The Sixth Ward (@thesixthward) on