Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017: Year in review

Happy new years everyone a few things happened and one big story we'll talk about at length here. Of course that will make this year end post unusual this year. 2017 has certainly been an interesting year - especially since this blog has been publishing for 10 years. Here's looking towards 2018 and the promise the new year offers.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Woodlawn is going to the finals....#CurbedCup2017

Woodlawn is back in the finals in the 2017 Curbed Cup, this year they will face the South Loop. Sorry no rematch with Uptown, although a lot of positive developments is coming to that part of town. We will hear from them again yet, especially if Uptown Update has anything to say about it.
While good things are expected to happen to Woodlawn with some construction going around for the Green Line - and I don't mean the restoration of service past Cottage Grove. There's the Obama presidential library that's expected to come to Jackson Park. A new Jewel-Osco is coming to 61st & Cottage Grove, so some things are happening there.

Meanwhile the South Loop which contains an area from roughly Cermak to the lakefront and then Congress to the Dan Ryan on the West. I've been following their progress through the Sloopin blog - which had been quiet about the Curbed Cup until today - and the area appears to be a hot neighborhood over the years. The redevelopment of that neighborhood even inspired a post years ago wondering if Chatham could be "South Looped".

Click the tweet you see above or click here and hopefully you will support Woodlawn to repeat in 2017. Voting will be open through January 2, 2018.

Once voting is over and the winner of the Curbed Cup 2017 is announced hopefully we can discuss what neighborhoods we'd like to see get their recognition next year. Curbed Chicago always looks for those neighborhoods with some development, for example new business activity, new construction especially for housing, and certainly it helps if a major project like a national park in the case of Pullman or in the case of Woodlawn getting a presidential library is being planned or created. Let's find ways to make something happen in our communities so that they get the attention they deserve!

Don't forget to support Woodlawn through January 2 and happy new year!

Friday, December 29, 2017

20 years ago ICE Chatham 14 Theaters opened...

Reading the archived ICE Theaters website their three theaters were open for business on November 24, 1997.  Meanwhile 20 years later we discuss some history and ultimately the future.

In October, Worlee Glover at Concerned Citizens of Chatham marked the occasion in the 1990s when Donzell & Alisa Starks - the couple who owns ICE Theaters - approached the community about opening their facility in Chatham. It's noted that while there have been many changes to the theater since opening in 1997 one aspect of their vision remains - we still need not have to go too far from our neighborhood to catch the latest Hollywood releases.

Wanting to see Tomorrow Never Dies - a James Bond film starring Pierce Brosnan - it was nice to not have to drive to the then General Cinemas and current AMC Theatres at Ford City to catch a movie. Just drive up the Dan Ryan to 87th Street to catch a show. It was something my mother and I had done faithfully for years. The Chatham community has a history of successful Black-owned businesses which included Seaway Bank and it was also cool that this theater was Black owned even if day-to-day management were actually performed by Cineplex-Odeon at the time.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Woodlawn is back in Curbed Cup finals...

In yesterday's poll over at Curbed Chicago - the tweet you see below - they edged out the hipster enclave on the northwest side of Logan Square. Woodlawn is one step closer to repeated at the Curbed Chicago neighborhood of the year.
Meanwhile the other final four contest is between the South Loop & Uptown. So far there doesn't appear to be a winner as I write this post. Though I like the idea of a Woodlawn vs. Uptown Curbed Cup. Time will tell on that.
I'm sure JP Paulus would like to amp up the trash talk with our friends over at Uptown Update who I'm sure are on the edge of their seats waiting for their results. If Uptown gets into the finals again there will be a rematch from last year with Woodlawn and bear in mind Uptown already won two Curbed Cups.

Free rides on CTA for #NewYearsEve

According to the Mayor on his Twitter account between 10 PM to 4 AM CTA customers will enjoy free rides on New Years Eve. Excellent for those of who plan to turn-up for the New Year and hopefully you'll have some very responsible friends to ensure that you get home safely.
And just think 10 years ago all you needed was a penny to ride CTA on New Years...

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

My archive footage of Englewood ca. 2008 or 2009

[VIDEO] Not exactly the most exciting footage ever shown, however, I shot this on the CTA Green Line through Englewood probably during the summer of 2008 or 2009. I was on a train headed towards downtown after having taken an #9 Ashland bus to the Ashland/63 Green Line terminal.

Those of you who reside in Englewood probably know best about the changes from Ashland to Halsted. The Whole Foods Market and the shopping mall around it and the loss of another old building due to fire on 63rd/Halsted. I wish I could've gotten a shot of the masonic temple that would be right behind me as I pull into the Halsted stop. The masonic temple is in such disrepair now that it's all a matter of not if, but when it gets demolished - if it hasn't already. And we see a police station under constrution on this stretch as well.

As the snow fell on Christmas Eve and the weather has finally gotten much colder enjoy this image of warmer weather which will return very soon. April will be here before we know it and we can watch some archive footage of a neighborhood at the start of change little did I know at the time!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Two unfortunate local stories that ocurred on Christmas

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas unfortunately for the day after I wanted to share with you some sad stories that occurred on Christmas Day that happened locally. To start there was a shooting in Chatham.
A brief excerpt of what happened.
A man was fatally shot on the South Side a little after midnight on Christmas Day, authorities said.

He was standing on the sidewalk in the 8100 block of South Wabash Avenue in Chatham when two people came up to him and fired shot, hitting him in the head and chest about 12:15 a.m. Monday. The man was taken to St. Bernard Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

He was identified as Albert Abu, 57, who lived in the same block where he was killed, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. He was pronounced dead at 12:28 a.m. Monday.
To which I must add that, Jahmal Cole's My Block My Hood My City ig noted this on a post he made on Xmas day.

Can we help Woodlawn repeat as winner of the Curbed Cup?

Remember last year when Woodlawn won Curbed Chicago's Cup for neighborhood of the year. Then the year before where it was Pullman that had the honor.

In 2017 Woodlawn is back and made it into the final four for this year's Curbed Cup. There were three other entrants in this competition from Chicago's south side. Hyde Park, Bronzeville, and yes the South Loop. I do consider the South Loop south side even if they may have the close proximity to downtown and for many years it was an area that hadn't be doing well until the 21st century.

Anyway, why Woodlawn again? The expansion of the University of Chicago further south, the Obama library is expected to come that way, there's going to be a new Jewel-Osco on 61st & Cottage Grove. I want to add a grassroots movement to re-extend the CTA Green Line beyond their current terminal at Cottage Grove. This would be great news for another are of Chicago's south side that hadn't done well in recent years until now.

BTW, voting will begin on the final four neighborhoods after the Christmas holiday. Hopefully that means on Tuesday - today - you will see a poll on a future poll at Curbed Chicago. Let's support Woodlawn and allow that neighborhood to repeat their accomplishment from last year.

And I still want to open the floor for other neighborhoods we all hope will get nominated next year. Yes I'm looking at you Englewood, Chatham, Roseland, or even Pullman - again! Am I missing any from our part of town? Let us know!!!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

[VIDEO] Enjoy this "Peanuts" special A Charlie Brown Christmas. And apparently it first aired on TV 52 years ago. I have been a "Peanuts" fan and hopefully you enjoy this on your holiday. Enjoy your gifts and your family & friends today.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas greetings from RAGE

I regrammed their ig post on Christmas Eve and decided to share again on this blog. Here's hoping you will share a happy holidays with your loved ones on Christmas.
A post shared by R.A.G.E. (@rage_englewood) on

Friday, December 22, 2017

Influence on an elected school board by the teacher's union?
Thursday on the Capitol Fax, there was a discussion on whether or not an elected school board for CPS would result in a heavy influence by the Chicago Teacher's Union. The CapFax links to the Chicago Reader
And an elected school board isn't exactly a fringe idea. According to education advocacy group Illinois Raise Your Hand, 94 percent of school boards around the country are elected, and Chicago's is the only one in Illinois appointed by law. Several nonbinding referenda over the last few years have shown again and again that Chicagoans want to elect their boards. So what's the argument for having the board appointed by the mayor?

Supporters of an appointed board say it removes politics from the board's composition. If you ignore for a second that Chicago has run on patronage since its inception, this still makes very little sense. An elected school board would represent the diverse viewpoints of members' constituencies the same way any legislative body does. But an appointed board only represents one point of view: the mayor's. What the politics-free argument truly is after is a board that will oppose the Chicago Teachers Union.
With this being said my position has been in favor of a hybrid board both appointed and elected. This is provided that it's considered constitutional if you will. What are your thoughts?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Chicago's Best Fried Chicken: 5 Loaves Eatery

[VIDEO] Recently a 6th Ward business 5 Loaves Eatery was show on Chicago's Best TV which airs both on WGN & CLTV. We shared an Instagram post from 5 Loaves early last month letting us know that CBTV host Britney Payton was dropping by to film a segment hear and invited people to drop by.

I'm sorry to say I've never visited this place, however, since they are located near 75th/King Drive they're worth a visit. Also it's a plus that they're not far from Lem's Bar-B-Q which is down the street on 75th also.

Has anyone else been? How do they like the food? Also what would you recommend for a first timer to that restaurant?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Should the United Nations be involved with maintaining peace on Chicago's streets?

[VIDEO] Over the years on this blog, we've seen some semblance of discussion regarding crime in Chicago. More specifically there have been those who wanted martial law in some parts of the south side - especially for example along 79th Street in Chatham.

Among other solutions to the issue of violence is bringing in the United Nations. Normally this diplomatic organization that seeks to maintain the peace of the world engages in a number of hotspots around the world. Richard Boykin - a west side Cook County commissioner - wants the UN to intervene in the violence occuring in Chicago's streets.

While above, I have a video from the Dec. 15th edition of FOX News' Special Report I'm also going to share a post from Chicago's Hottest Blog.
Huge thank you to Commissioner Richard R. Boykin for shining a light on violence in Chicago while in New York at the United Nations.

As everyone knows, Chicago is in a public health and safety crisis. Gang violence that somewhat mirrors sectarian violence in foreign countries has taken over Chicago.

Even the President of the United States, Donald Trump has been mentioning the violence in Chicago. Since January 1, 2017 to the present, over 3,000 people have been shot in Chicago, and over 600 people have been killed!

Yes, Chicago needs serious attention and resources.
The need for attention & resources much agreed. My doubts are no different than asking for the Nat'l Guard to patrol city streets. Does the UN really care about issues of warring gangs on city streets? Does gang warfare represent a serious danger to the peace of the world?

It's great to use the UN to bring attention to the issue of Chicago violence - especially as President Trump seeks to point to Chicago as a disaster. We definitely need to find ways to get the city to really tackle this issue and make our streets safer. Something is not working and it's a problem when the thugs are using their guns as we head into winter.

BTW, just had to add that the blog 2nd City Cop had something to say of course...
Boykin obviously has no idea of the federal laws and Constitutional hurdles that would have to be overcome to have any sort of foreign forces operating within US borders, armed or unarmed. Not to mention Rules of Engagement and other such concerns. Add in the constant headlines of corruption, rape and sex trafficking that follow the UN everywhere and you have a recipe for disaster upon the disaster that already is the south and west sides.
Ah, so Chicago is know for corruption just add more corruption from foreign forces. Regardless Boykin brought attention to the violence issues in Chicago.

CTA bus boardings at 95th has returned to normal

Tuesday night bus boardings has returned to normal. Although the project to rebuild the 95th Red Line terminal continues the arrangement many have been used to is back to normal. According the Sun-Times:

The west bus terminal along Lafayette Avenue had been closed since November as part of the station’s $280 million overhaul. Most CTA and Pace bus routes were scheduled to return to their normal boarding areas as of 10 p.m. Tuesday, according to the transit agency.

Boarding at the north side of the terminal are the #29 State bus as well as Greyhound buses. Boarding at the east terminal are the CTA’s #N5, #100, #108 and #112, along with Pace bus routes #352, #359 and #772.

CTA routes #N9, #34, #103, #106, #111, #115 and #119 return to the west terminal, along with Pace routes #353 and #359.

Riders of the westbound CTA #95 and Pace #381 buses still have to board at 95th and Lafayette in front of the McDonald’s restaurant, due to sidewalk construction.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

WLS: Bill Campbell, former ABC7 colleague, recovering from stroke

[VIDEO] When I found this video on WLS' YouTube channel I looked up Bill Campbell's linkedin page. Had no idea he went to Harlan Community Academy and eventually launched his career in local TV until he retired from our local ABC affiliate in 2010. I also heard that he also attended Bennett Elementary School so alright.

In this video it was revealed that he suffered a stroke, and as a fellow alum of both schools wish him a speedy recovery. Now GO FALCONS & because I'm old school and somewhat disappointed that Bennett has changed their mascot GO BADGERS!!!!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Forrest Claypool to resign

I wish I had done something of an anatomy of this current scandal. Claypool - a former county commissioner, a former President of CTA, and current CEO of CPS - is expected to resign his current post at CPS due to ethical lapses. It seemed to have been a slowly burning storm as I started seeing headlines for this during the course of the week.

This is a shame because I believe him to be a great public servant and even was a fan of his tenure at CTA.

I will include two tweets. To start Rich Miller at Capitol Fax shared some other tweets about this story and then later updated with news that Claypool will resign from CPS.
Next I will share with you a story regarding Claypool's resignation from WBEZ.
Another WBEZ post such as revolving door with the top spot at CPS. The current Chief Education officer Janice Jackson succeeds Claypool and she may have some support with the Chicago Teacher's Union.
It's a shame as CPS got more bad press with regards to the decreasing enrollment at many of CPS high schools and the possibility that other schools may close in the future.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

South Side Mason Temple in Englewood - demolition imminent...

If you've been following our ig page we discovered through Eric Allix Rogers that demolition is imminent for the South Side Masonic Temple in Englewood (6400 S. Green). As noted over the years that historic building has seen a serious deterioration and unfortunately something is about to give here. Sadly in an emerging neighborhood of the future in Englewood is losing a building that had a great potential for reuse.

Refer to these following posts referring to the old masonic temple in Englewood then check out the instagram post below.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Additional thoughts on a new Englewood high school

You know I didn't do coverage of a new high school in Englewood the justice it deserved this year. A recent post shared several stories talking about underutilized and low enrollment high schools. That in addition to the closure of four Englewood area high schools that will close for a new high school. So allow me to go back to June of this year with this article from the Sun-Times where CPS chooses Englewood for a new high school set to open in 2019.

Then earlier in the year I wrote this piece before the decision was made. A new high school could've also been placed in Chinatown or Roseland. In light of the other news involving the low enrollment of 17 other CPS high schools, I just wanted to share this post written in January on the "Shedd School" blog.

Basic gist of that post, a new high school better have something to offer that the other high schools in an area doesn't. I wasn't talking about selective enrollment or magnet programs exactly though certainly programs that would ideally attract those families with a child who will soon transfer to high school. So at this point I would like to share that post with you all.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Todd Stroger drops out of the race...

Never fear though, he's only dropping out of the race for Cook County Board President. According to NBC Chicago's Mary Ann Ahern he plans to run instead for Water Reclamation District.
Stroger himself comes from a political family as his father John Stroger was a former County Board President and commissioner. So another excuse for him dropping out of a rematch with his successor Toni Preckwinkle
It's almost inconcievable that he'd have difficulty getting or exceeding 25,000 signatures since he came from a political family. He should still have those connections that his father had that helped him in his political career years ago.

I really wanted to joke that he's not running because of this blog he had when he was county board president. Either way, I find this story unbelievable though it seems for the moment he's taking on a much less demanding political race.

BTW, I just had to add this from conservative activist Dan Proft
Mr. Proft was looking for a Nixon-like comeback. Heh.

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

30 years ago, we lost Harold Washington...

[VIDEO] I intended to mark this event in Chicago's history late last month and unfortunately never got around to it. On November 25, 1987 - 30 years ago - Mayor Harold Washington died of a heart attack. Washington was Chicago's first Black mayor.

As you see in the video above CBS Chicago marks the legacy of Harold Washington as mayor roughly around the anniversary of his untimely demise.

Tonight I would like to share with you something you might see in this month's edition of Chicago magazine discussing his death.
The Chicago Tribune’s coverage of that day depicted a city convulsed in grief: “Women sank, sobbing, onto plaza benches. A man sat and buried his head in his hands.” A memorable photo showed a police officer standing guard outside the mayor’s City Hall office—where Washington had collapsed just hours earlier—wiping tears from his face.

Washington, a former U.S. congressman, was 65 years old, overweight, an ex-smoker, and a notorious workaholic in a stressful job, yet his death hit Chicagoans—especially African Americans, 98 percent of whom had voted for Washington in the first election—like a gut punch. To many black residents, the loss of their charismatic, Bronzeville-born mayor threatened to extinguish four and a half years’ worth of progress in a city that had long been ruled by machine politics and marred by racial injustice.

During that period, having overcome fierce opposition from an obstructionist group of mostly white aldermen known as the Vrdolyak 29, Washington increased the number of minorities in local government, awarded a record number of contracts to minority-owned businesses, improved governmental transparency by granting the public access to official records, and formed an ethics commission to root out corruption. The mayor envisioned those and other moves as merely a start, quipping after his April reelection that he was going to be “mayor for life” and die at his desk. His prediction proved uncannily true, and all too soon.

Two days after Washington’s death, his body lay in state in the City Hall rotunda, drawing thousands of mourners. He was buried four days later at Oak Woods Cemetery, not far from his Hyde Park apartment. Early on December 2, over the vociferous objections of protesters who supported Washington’s widely acknowledged heir apparent, Timothy Evans, a majority of the City Council selected Eugene Sawyer, an African American alderman favored by the late mayor’s foes, to succeed Washington. In the eyes of many Chicagoans, the machine had regained power, and a momentous era was over.

But for a great number of those who knew and worked with the man, their impressions of Washington have faded little in three decades, and the things he fought for feel more urgent than ever. For a handful of people who lived through that November day in 1987, the memories are indelible.
Another perspective is from the Chicago Reader just click the tweet below

Ten years ago, I had shared a link to an NPR program called This American Life which had an episode discussing the time of Harold Washington as Mayor of Chicago. And apparently it re-aired last month also. Give it a quick listen.

Friday, December 1, 2017

WBEZ: Will Chicago Close Another 50 Schools?

In 2013 CPS closed 50 schools on Chicago's south and west sides. Now the debate restarts.
From the WBEZ article:
Nearly five years after shuttering a record number of under-enrolled schools, Chicago once again confronts the same stark realities: plummeting enrollment and more than 100 half-empty school buildings, most on the city’s South and West sides, according to a WBEZ analysis of school records.

Chicago Public Schools has lost 32,000 students over the last five years, nearly the same enrollment drop as in the 10-year period leading up to the closures of 50 elementary schools in 2013. Those missing students could fill 53 average-sized Chicago schools.

This massive enrollment decline comes as a self-imposed five-year moratorium on school closings lifts in 2018. Despite that, political observers and CPS insiders said they are not betting on Mayor Rahm Emanuel closing 50 more schools — at least not all at once.

Now bear in mind back in April 2012 when the issues of school closings were being discussed. It could've been as many as 100 schools at one time instead of 50. This time around the expectations would be it would be a slower process than it was in 2013.