Thursday, March 30, 2017

Standing water at Abbott Park

After today's heavy rains this is how Abbott Park at 95th & Michigan had fared earlier this afternoon. After the heavy snow melts and with heavy precipitation it seems prone to standing water in the grassy areas of the park. And standing water on the sidewalks surrounding the park.
A post shared by The Sixth Ward (@thesixthward) on
If you have any weather related pics send them to us or tag us on Instagram.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Curbed Chi: Proposed Trump budget could threaten Chicago’s mass transit network

A variety of transit projects in our fair city could be on the gun but I want to emphasize one project that could be derailed - no pun intended - by the priority on people who drive their own vehicles:
Amtrak isn’t the only transportation network expected to feel the squeeze from Washington. While CTA’s $2.1 billion Red-Purple Line modernization program managed to secure $1.1 billion in matching federal funds during the waning days of the Obama Administration, Trump’s proposed budget could cast serious doubts on a plan to extend the Red Line beyond 95th Street to Chicago’s Far South Side.
If there was a time for Chicago's south side leaders to make sure we get that extension funded now, this is the time. And yes I realize Trump doesn't have many friends or allies here in Chicago.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tribune: Chicago area pays steep price for segregation, study finds

Another article I saw referred to Chicago as "Balkanized" i.e. divided. There's a price to this division:
The seven-county area's murder rate could be cut by 30 percent, its economy could churn out an additional $8 billion in goods and services and its African-American residents could earn another $3,000 a year if it could reduce racial and economic segregation to the median level for the nation's largest metro areas.

And 83,000 more residents could have earned bachelor's degrees, spurring another $90 billion in collective lifetime earnings.

Those were the findings of a study by the Metropolitan Planning Council, a Chicago-based public policy research group, and the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank.
The Capitol Fax has more on this and the full study.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Vallas to run Chicago State University

On Friday over at the Capitol Fax we were given an idea on how Paul Vallas would run Chicago State University. Seems look a good plan.

Let's remember Vallas was formerly the CEO of Chicago's Public Schools and after leaving Chicago lead other urban school districts and came back to become former Gov. Pat Quinn's candidate for Lt. Governor in 2014. Unfortunately Quinn didn't win his bid for re-election.

Now as we consider the strong possibility that Vallas could run Chicago State there is opposition. A group of Black leaders expressed their opposition. For example 6th Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer spoke on this issue.
"I just don't know what value he adds to this university, that's my concern," said Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th. "I don't even know what a crisis intervention specialist means. I can understand it, but I would like to see a defined description of what that looks like and what he's supposed to do. Is he usurping the president's authority and powers? Is he adding to that? Has he got a specific task in mind?"
In the meanwhile it appears Vallas is coming whether anyone likes it or not:
Chicago State University trustees will vote on potential leadership changes at a Monday morning meeting, where it is widely expected ex-Chicago Public Schools chief Paul Vallas will be given a top administrative role.

The board is convening for a special session, which was added to the schedule amid a frenetic week of rumors and political wrangling.

What exact responsibilities Vallas could assume are not clear. Nor is it known how any changes in upper administration will affect the job of interim President Cecil B. Lucy, who has led the university since September. But the shift comes as Gov. Bruce Rauner ramps up efforts to engineer a turnaround at the beleaguered Far South Side university by handing direct control over to his political rival-turned-ally.
I wonder what the good folks at the CSU Faculty Voice are saying about Vallas coming over to shake things up.

Here's one indication of what they think. Not in favor of Vallas, however, they want Chicago State to be treated as a state university not a political ward. I strongly agree!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

HINZ: Chicagoland leads U.S. in population loss

What are we going to do to change this decline?
The estimates are that the three-state Chicago metropolitan area lost 19,570 people in the year ending last June 30, dipping to 9.513 million. That's bigger than the drop of 11,324 people the year before, according to the bureau.

The region did gain a little bit since the last census in 2010, moving from 9.461 million then. But the increase of .4 percent is a small fraction of the hike in the same period by large peer cities like Los Angeles (up 3.6 percent), New York (+2.8 percent) and San Francisco (+7.7 percent).

However, Chicago's decline last year and small rise over the past six years is roughly similar to that of other big Midwestern cities, lagging the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and Indianapolis, but ahead of Cleveland, Detroit and St. Louis. Even so, all of them did better than Chicago in the last year alone.

The metro area declines are heavily concentrated in Cook County, but show signs of spreading to outlying counties, too. For instance, the bureau estimates that DuPage County lost 3,000 people in the past two years, and that Will and Grundy Counties had small population losses last year.

Though the percentage drop was more elsewhere, the numerical population of Cook County dropped more last year than in any other county in the country, according to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

The bureau did not break down the data by municipality, so it's impossible to tell for sure if the Cook County decline was in Chicago proper, suburban areas, or both.
Somewhat related

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Curbed Chicago: Plan to renovate Pullman’s historic 1880 factory building is moving forward

Plans are being made to turn the historic Pullman factory and clock tower - located at 111th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue - to become a visitor center. In addition there will be a interpretive center and HQ for National Park Service operations. This is an initiative of the National Park Service and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Chatham: You are beautiful

Walking along 79th Street this past Saturday saw this on the side of a beauty salon right off the corner of 79th & Evans. Perhaps a project of the Chatham Development Corporation who you can also follow on Instagram.

Friday, March 17, 2017

My Block My Hood My City: Helping hands in Pill Hill

[VIDEO] We had our first serious snow of 2017 earlier this week. Jahmal Cole and his volunteers go to Pill Hill to help the senior citizens and retirees to shovel snow on their sidewalks.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Capitol Fax: CPS testifies against elected school board

For those of you who support an election Chicago Board of Education there's some news. And it appears officials (or even former officials) with Chicago Public Schools don't want this bill to pass in Springfield.

For example:
"I'm not here to make a generalization about elected versus appointed school boards and its impact in any school district," [CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson] told a House panel. "But I am here to say that for Chicago Public Schools, we have been governed in a particular way — and that is being threatened. And I believe that there will be an impact on academic outcomes because of the lack of stability.
What are they scared of?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

SMG Chatham: Hosts 6 Weeks of Community Events to Celebrate Remodel

SMG Chatham in January 2016
Another press release from Studio Movie Grill Chatham. A series of events to celebrate the grand re-opening of our long-time local movie house which from 2012 onwards has gone through a couple of ownership changes. Now, it's featuring a brand new concept.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Re-entry education summit at Olive-Harvey College

Thursday, March 16, 2017
11:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Olive-Harvey College
10001 S. Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL

Refer to flyer below for more details on this event.

Friday, March 10, 2017

It appears Seaway Bank survives again....

Subject to regulatory approval the remains of Seaway Bank will go from the ownership of State Bank of Texas to Self-Help Federal Credit Union. The North Carolina based financial institution already has a presence in the Chicago market where it took over the assets of Second Federal Savings.

In any case the well known Seaway Bank name survives once again. Steve Daniels who wrote a number of stories on Seaway Bank had this to write today:
The owners of the Texas bank that acquired Seaway from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in late January now are selling Seaway's branches and deposits to a North Carolina-based credit union.

Greensboro, N.C.-based Self-Help Federal Credit Union, which specializes in lending to low-income and minority customers and already owns a Chicago lender focused on Hispanics, will take over Seaway's franchise beginning in May.

Dallas-based State Bank of Texas will continue to hold and manage Seaway's existing loans and will operate the foreign-exchange concessions at O'Hare and Midway airports.

With the deal, Self-Help, a nearly $2 billion-asset credit union with branches in California and Florida in addition to Chicago, could become an important provider of financing in South Side neighborhoods afflicted by joblessness, violence and population decline.

Self-Help also is clearly a better fit with the mission of what had been Chicago's largest black-owned bank for decades—provide credit in communities other banks avoid. State Bank of Texas is expert mainly in lending to hotel operators, often Indian-Americans as also is the family that owns the Texas bank. "It plays to everybody's strengths," said Sushil Patel, president of State Bank of Texas. "The result is a win for the community, Self-Help, the (National Credit Union Association) and State Bank of Texas."

Martin Eakes, who founded Self-Help more than three decades ago and remains its CEO, said he was intent on expanding into Chicago's South Side even before Seaway's failure. Once news of Seaway's demise hit, he reached out immediately to the Patel family, which owns State Bank of Texas.

The deal with State Bank of Texas is strikingly similar to the agreement that brought Self-Help to Chicago in 2013. Then, Rosemont-based Wintrust Financial, which had acquired the deposits of Chicago-based thrift Second Federal Savings after it failed, turned around a month or so later and agreed to sell the deposits to Self-Help.
Something tells me that when Seaway's business finally settles down it'll be back in the hands of Black-ownership. Yes I know wishful thinking, but at least for it's many depositors ownership who didn't seem like a good fit for the many communities Seaway serves has decided to move on from this market. They have the loans that Seaway once had and the airport foreign currency exchanges they'll have as long as the city will allow it.

If you want to read other posts about Seaway click here.

DNA Info: Woodlawn Hasn't Gentrified Despite $400 Million In Investments, Report Says

Woodlawn won the 2016 Curbed Cup. With that said DNA reports that the south side neighborhood to be the recipient of former President Obama's presidential library has yet to gentrify:
Woodlawn has seen more than $400 million in investment in the last five years. In some neighborhoods, that kind of money would have inevitably led to gentrification, forcing longtime residents from their homes.

But that's not the case, the largest developer in the neighborhood said in a new report about the investments.

Preservation of Affordable Housing, a national nonprofit which has sought to revitalize some of the nation's largest cities while keeping housing affordable, released a report Monday showing $400 million was invested in the neighborhood in 2011. That year, the group started redeveloping Grove Parc Plaza through a $30.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Bill Eager, vice president for the nonprofit’s Chicago branch, which is behind more than $100 million of that investment, said the neighborhood has improved greatly and is still a ways away from gentrification.

“There’s lots of room still for everyone,” Eager said. “There can be lots of development still in Woodlawn before gentrification becomes a problem.”

Local religious and political leaders agree the development has not led to displacement, at least not yet.
As you'll see in this article there are some construction projects going on in the intersection of 63rd & Cottage Grove.

Perhaps if there is a tipping point in this community perhaps someone can advocate for a reconstruction of the CTA Green Line to send that line back past Cottage Grove. Time will tell on that.

Chance The Rapper names CPS schools receiving $10K

In addition to $1 million he's donating to CPS school after his meeting with Gov. Bruce Rauner to discuss the schools, Chance the Rapper is also donating $10,000 to these schools.
  • Charles Carroll Elementary
  • Clemente High School
  • Fenger High School
  • Hirsch High School
  • Juarez High School
  • Mahalia Jackson Elementary
  • Nathan S. Davis Elementary
  • Orr High School
  • Robeson High School
  • Oliver S. Westcott Elementary
These donations are from Chance's Social Works Chicago non-profit. According to WGN:
"The one million dollars is not meant to cure the $215 million CPS funding shortfall, but to call attention to the political feud in Springfield and how it affects communities."

You're also encouraged to visit the Social Works website and make a donation in addition to Chance's donations.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Chicagoist is going to soon be under the DNA Info umbrella
The owners of Chicagoist - called appropriately Gothamist LLC - announced that they have been acquired by the Joe Ricketts owned DNA Info. Gothamist also has blogs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York (the home base) and DC. That means DNA Info would expand into new cities.

Over the years we have used articles from DNA Info. In some cases Worlee may have been quote in an article or a photograph posted to this blog was used in an article. And Chicagoist has linked to us once also.

And why did I mention Joe Ricketts, well as you see in the post via Gothamist, he's the owner of the 2016 world series champion Chicago Cubs.

Studio Movie Grill launches remodeled Chatham theater

Early concept of SMG Chatham
The concept you see above have come slowly, but has finally become reality according to this press release from Studio Movie Grill regarding our local movie house. And also this ig post we shared around Oscar time.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Celebrating Josephine "Mother" Wade

Josephine "Mother" Wade , owner of Josephine's Cooking (formerly known as Captain's Hard Time Dining), at 436 E. 79th Street,  has had a very good week.

This weekend, she was honored with a stretch of 79th street named after her, in an honorary street sign. The event was attended by several community leaders and politicians.

She was also featured in  the most recent issue of the African American Tribune (on the cover and a story; the issue is available in many places, such as churches).

From the Inspiration 1390 AM Facebook page -
Today she was on the morning show on Inspiration 1390 AM with Sonya Blakey. She talked about her history with the neighborhorhood, community involvement. She also noted that she actually wanted to keep the name Captain's Hard Time Dining. Her son, in consultation with others, thought it would be better branding to not have "negativity" (i.e. "Hard time") in the name, though she noted that the name change threw a lot of people off. She also shared th emany connections she has in our city and community.

  I (JP Paulus) even called in, and with a short description was able to identify me. (I am not sure if that aired...I called around 8:45 am but didn't hear it in the next hour). She definitely has the gift of connection.

Sonia posted a Facebook live conversation at

Mother Wade was in the restaurant shortly after her appearance on 1390AM, and might still be there if you stop by today to wish her Happy Birthday!

Congratulations Mother Wade!

Gold Coast neighborhood concerned about rising crime

If only the community organizations of the south side had the resources presumably that the Gold Coast Neighbors Association has. What we see here are snippets of e-mails from that CBO expressing concern about a series of violent crimes in that near north side - or actually near downtown Chicago - community.
The man behind Newsalert shared these screencaps with the quote: "No word yet on when the wealthy progressives will suggest 'packing heat' in Chicago."

That's certainly one angle to approach with this, however such a hoi-polloi neighborhood near downtown Chicago, the city surely will take care of such a community. In the meanwhile, the other communities that have serious issues with crime don't have as much to unify and combat these issues.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

CBS Chicago: 9 Chicago Kids Found Alone In Squalid Home Without Food Or Heat

I'm posting this because in a great society as we have in this great nation - yes I know many of you would debate this - this shouldn't happen. And this is without a doubt very terrible.
Chicago police said officers were called to a home in the 900 block of West 59th Street shortly before 1 p.m., when they were notified of a child allegedly left alone. Once inside, they found nine children, ranging in age from an infant to a teenager.

The two-flat has several broken windows, but no heat, and police said there was no food for the children to eat.

“We have never seen those children. We did not know they were hungry. We did not know they were being neglected,” said Apostle Willie Shears, with God’s Divine Glory Ministry, a church located just steps from the home. “We were totally unaware, and it’s a shock to us. We would have reached out. We would have helped them in any way that we could have helped them.”

The children were taken into protective custody.

“At one time, there were families in that building, and they were outgoing, they was doing food, they was doing barbecues at night, they was literally partying and everything. So it seemed as if there was nothing wrong,” Shears said.

Parents in the neighborhood were in disbelief.
Check out the rest of the story with the magic words Dept. of Children and Family Services DCFS
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said it is investigating the parents for allegations of neglect. The children were being placed with family members under a DCFS-monitored safety plan.

DCFS confirmed the kids are children of two mothers, and range in age from 3 months to 17 years.
What would you do if you observed such an unfortunate situation?

Via Newsalert!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Capitol Fax: Today's must listen

[AUDIORich Miller shares a podcast from The Daily Line (aka Aldertrack) where Dean Angelo - President of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, the Chicago Police union - to discuss the reforms in the wake of the Justice Department probe. Offers this rather damning headline: "The headline on the piece quotes Angelo as saying that Chicago police 'care about black lives more than most black politicians.'"

Bakery case at Whole Foods Market Englewood #teamwfm

Went there on a sunny Friday afternoon to do some actual shopping there for the first time since they opened September 2016. Snapped this shot of the bakery case there and posted to ig. Not a very busy afternoon it appeared and just meant quicker checkout. :P

Found out through the store's ig page that they hosted an event the $5 after 5 which is basically: "a glass of wine and an appetizer, and receive a free Whole Foods Market Englewood wine glass." There was also an example of this event in a later photo posted also. I wonder how well they did with this event.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

WBEZ: Black Homeownership - The Promise and The Pitfalls

Via The Chicago Neighborhoods
JP Paulus shared this post on our FB page and I basically got stuck on the "black tax" what does this even mean?
But Chatham was no urban Mayberry. When I was in high school, the “Chatham rapist” stalked the neighborhood. On more than one occasion, thieves broke into our garage.

“There was crime in the neighborhood, although it was a very nice neighborhood,” my mom said. “But you would hear about robberies in the area, so that was a downfall, I think.”

This is part of what’s called the black tax. Black middle-class neighborhoods are more affected by urban ills than white middle-class neighborhoods; you have to deal with more poverty, more crime, worse schools and fewer services.
Another example of this black tax:
My dad said he saw the black tax even when he shopped at a Jewel grocery in the neighborhood.

“When I wanted to pay for the groceries by check, I had to almost get my birth certificate for ID,” he recalled.

But then he went to a Jewel in neighboring Evergreen Park, where he didn’t have to show any ID. He also noticed the prices were lower. When he asked why the prices were higher at the Chatham store, he was told the store had to pay for security.

“There is a shortcoming of living in an all-black neighborhood, even one as affluent as Chatham,” he said.
Basically the article discusses Black homeownership in mostly Black areas vs. integrated areas. Reporter Natalie Moore discusses choosing to own a condo in Bronzeville - an area we hear had been on the upswing - vs. renting in more intergrated Hyde Park.

Her own parents ultimately left Chatham and moved further southwest to Beverly:
My parents made a good decision, but they also got lucky. They bought the Chatham home in 1974 for $30,000 and sold it almost 20 years later for more than four times that amount. By 2010, Chatham was going through rocky times. U.S. Census Bureau figures show population loss, decreased median income and plummeting home values.

There was also the housing collapse. Black homeowners were set up, by certain lending practices, to take a harder hit than whites. Subprime loans were targeted at black homeowners, and those loans were concentrated in black neighborhoods, like Chatham.

My parents left before the collapse, and the devastation of the housing crash didn’t hit their new neighborhood like it did in Chatham. Their new home -- a four-bedroom, mid-century modern split level -- is located in a housing market with stable home values.

My parents told me their decision to move into an integrated neighborhood -- Beverly is 62 percent white and 34 percent black -- has paid off. Blacks have far less equity in their homes. That changes if you live in an integrated or white neighborhood.
Why should ethnicity in a neighborhood make a difference as far as equity?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Seaway National Bank closing a conspiracy, not very likely...

[VIDEO] What you see above was the only YouTube posting I have found so far that discusses the failure of Seaway National Bank. Where do I start in talking about what happened here?

This discussion is happening knowing our community - that is perhaps someone wanted to take Seaway Bank out. The host of the video above alleges that once the "Bank Black" movement took hold and those who supported that movement chose to start accounts at Seaway - in some cases closed accounts at larger majority-owned banks (and I won't explain what this means) - this itself started the regulatory scrutiny that shut Seaway down.

What I recognize is that Seaway was dying through the purchase of two failed banks earlier in this decade. Most banks fail due to an inability to recapitalize and it doesn't help that a bank handed out many loans to customers who couldn't afford to repay. Another indication that Seaway was dying is the leadership, there was a shuffle going on that it never recovered from - that is Seaway lost their longtime chairman and there was some shuffling at CEO. It's generally agreed that Seaway was a mess before the FDIC stepped in.

In the above video you will also see a report outside of Seaway the night of the closure. We see a representative of the new owners from State Bank of Texas indicating that they'll keep most jobs for now and they have great respect for what Seaway means to the community. However to be honest when they took command of the bank the next week they immediately started cutting jobs and it'll be a while before they finish.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Bill Daley: Chicago cannot keep tolerating gun violence

The former Obama White House chief of staff, former Clinton Secretary of Commerce, and the son & brother of two Chicago mayors has this to say about the gun violence in our fair city's crime ridden neighborhoods
We keep thinking that Chicago's gun violence can't get worse, and then it does. Three children killed in four days in February. Nearly 100 gun deaths already this year, after 766 last year. The latest? Chicago gangs are increasingly using high-powered rifles to maim and kill each other (and innocent bystanders, too, of course). As the Chicago Tribune reports, police say rifles are increasingly becoming popular because, well, "they are deadlier." "Rifle bullets can tear through cars and other obstacles, including standard-issue bulletproof vests worn by Chicago police," the Tribune reports.

If foreign terrorists had infiltrated Chicago to commit this mayhem, is there any doubt that the country would be at war? Why, then, are we wringing our hands but taking so little meaningful action when it's Chicago residents killing each other?
He mentions solutions such as mandatory minimums for those who carry firearms without a permit. Also give police leeway to stop and search suspect without setting any racial profiling triggers. Essentially we're talking about stop and frisk with that which Daley noted:
Many people wrongly believe a federal judge in New York City ruled that stop-and-frisk policies are unconstitutional. In fact, the judge specifically said such tactics can be legal if they don't amount to racial profiling.

A study of New York City's stop-and-frisk policy, published last year in a Columbia Public Law Research Paper, concluded that targeted police stops "based on probable cause or (indications) of actual crime" were associated with "significant crime reductions."
And of course the next step is to establish better relationships between police and citizens especially in those minority communities affected by gun violence. Regardless something needs to change and we can't have innocent people living in a virtual war zone in this world class city.

Via Newsalert