Tuesday, October 11, 2016

No strike

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This is really old news and most of our young people are in school this morning after the Columbus Day holiday weekend. The deal was struck yesterday between CPS and CTU to avert a teacher's strike. I'm glad that the children are back in school and we won't have a repeat of 2012.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Chicago Tonight: Whole Foods Brings Economic Development, Lower Prices to Englewood

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Cross-posted from The Sixth Ward

Chicago Tonight did a story about the new Whole Foods Market Englewood that opened on Wednesday. Since this development was announced in 2013, there were plans to keep prices down at this store. It appears that they've kept their promise:
“Definitely there are lower prices here and some very reasonable prices. For an example, whole milk is $1.99 a gallon here, and it’s roughly $4 a gallon in our other locations,” said Michael Bashaw, regional president of Whole Foods. “I think you can go all through the store and look at commodity, day-to-day items that you need to feed your family, and you’ll find those good values.

“We are passing on the benefit of being here in Englewood … the rents are cheaper here, and so our operating costs are lower and that allowed us to have lower retails.”
The dreaded "G" word has come up in this excitement and it appears from this quote from Andrea Natay of RAGE that it's not a concern, “Whole Foods coming into the community does not equal gentrification. Whole Foods coming into the community equals great change. A great, positive change, at that.

Also consider the fact that 63rd & Halsted had once been an important commercial hub as stated on Chicago Tonight which went into decline during the 1960s and 1970s. We see a fall and now a rebirth.

Speaking of that, it's funny how before 2013 another member of RAGE - in fact the founder - was on WCIU calling for a Whole Foods in Englewood and then guess what it happens. If only I could find that video and preserve it as it had been posted here but is no longer available online. A self-fulfilling prophecy?

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

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Donzell Starks RIP

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On Monday, we've learned that Donzell Starks one of the owners of who owned ICE Theaters with his wife Alisa Starks. According to a fb status shared on Concerned Citizens of Chatham he died due to pancreatic cancer.

Also in that same status Alisa was referred to as his ex-wife, unsure if that could be verified independently of social media.

One of the main stories we covered during the past four years revolves around the ownership of the Chatham 14 changing hands. With a business dispute causing ICE Theaters to be evicted from the Chatham with operations taken by new ownership. Currently, the Chatham is owned by the Texas based company Studio Movie Grill.

In 1997 ICE Theaters built and opened theaters in the Chatham, Englewood, and Lawndale bring movie theaters back into inner city neighborhoods. He without a doubt leaves behind a significant legacy that hopefully other entrepreneurs in our communities will also do something as groundbreaking.

Condolences to the Starks family.

EDITED 10/4/2016 8:45 PM- Another post via Concerned Citizens of Chatham shows information on memorial services.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Red line extension moves forward

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Rendering of the 103rd CTA station
I'm somewhat disappointed that the red line extension to Roseland may not open until at least 2026 at the earlier according to what was written by Greg Hinz. Regardless more progress is being made in the future progress to bring the CTA L system further south from 95th street. This project is expected to cost about $2.3 billion.

As CTA continues to move forward we will see a draft environmental impact statement which will be seen on this project's website. In addition as hopefully construction would begin at 2022 at the earliest another step is to purchase those properties within the footprint of the route whether or not the CTA goes with the two options for their preferred routing.

Friday, September 30, 2016

VIDEO: Whole Foods Englewood and Starbucks Grand Opening

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Cross-posted at The Sixth Ward

[VIDEO] JP Paulus was at the grand opening of the new Whole Foods Market Englewood on Wednesday morning. Hopefully he'll be ready to share his thoughts on this historic and exciting occasion at the intersection of 63rd & Halsted.

There are a few shots shared on ig regarding the grand opening provided by this blogger. Unfortunately I didn't get there in time for the grand opening and arrived just as the rain got heavier.

In the meanwhile, artistmac was there to shoot 33 minutes of video of the grand opening. He did this previous with the opening of Walmart stores in West Chatham and Pullman also. He was also there for the ground breaking at Englewood Square which took place in 2014.

Anyone else visited the store on the first day? How was your experience on the first day? Will the Englewood shop be your store in the future?

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

Monday, August 15, 2016

9th Ward events

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9th Ward Paper Shredding Event!
  • Friday, August 19, 2016
    10:00 am - 1:00 pm
    Dollar Function Parking Lot
    319 East 103rd Street
9th Ward Back to School Picnic and Health Fair
  • Saturday, August 20, 2016 
    12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
    Palmer Park
    201 E. 111th Street
For more information on these events call 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale at 773.785.1100

Click here to view e-mail

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Discussions on converting Metra Electric to a rapid transit line

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Found this article via Sloopin that was published on June 24. There is official interest in turning the Metra Electric Line into a rapid transit service with more frequent trains.
A proposal to convert the Metra Electric District Line into a rapid-transit line with more frequent stops to serve the South Side and suburbs has drawn the interest of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has asked the head of the Regional Transportation Authority to facilitate discussion on the issue, RTA officials said.

During the transit agency's monthly board meeting Thursday, Chairman Kirk Dillard told a representative of a coalition of South Side and south suburban groups that Emanuel had reached out to him about the rapid-transit idea last month, and that talks had begun.

Dillard said he spoke with Metra Chairman Martin Oberman about the proposal Wednesday.

"The RTA is working with the CTA and Metra," Dillard said after the meeting. "We need to get a handle obviously on the finances, as well as ridership numbers historically in that area. We're in the preliminary fact-finding stages."
We've been hearing about grassroots proposals to turn the Metric Electric (aka IC line) into a rapid transit service as opposed to a commuter rail service. It even has two different color designations such as the Gray or Gold Line.

Question to ask here is how this could benefit the many communities on the far south side if there was more frequent service on the Metra Electric line if CTA institutes more frequent service? This could very much benefit the neighborhoods of Pullman, Roseland, West Pullman, South Shore, South Chicago and perhaps even the near suburbs of Riverdale. And hopefully wouldn't take as much time to institute as finally building the CTA Red Line extension from 95th to 130th Streets.

BTW, part of me wishes that instead of using those double decker Metra coaches prevalent on all Metra lines if only it was possible to turn this into a typical third rail service instead of overhead traction. Perhaps find a way to connect this to the L system at some point. Perhaps more express service for Metra Electric & South Shore riders coming from the south suburbs and Indiana

Better yet if only such service could exist along the Metra Electric's South Shore and South Chicago branch and it could be converted to a third rail service. I realize these are all questions of later study and probably won't be instituted immediately. Even the Yellow Line aka Skokie Swift had been in service years before it was converted to a third rail traction line.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Lead testing at CPS

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Originally posted at The Sixth Ward

In light of recent social media and blog posts about maintenance issues and lead issues at city schools we now see stories about lead testing of drinking water. Of course in an earlier post about lead poisoning shared here on this blog it was over lead based paint in some older schools.

The Sun-Times and DNA Info shares articles on this and also a listing of those schools tested for lead via CPS. In addition at DNA Info you see a google map that show which schools have testing positive for lead and those that have tested negative.

Also, the lead poisoning testing was noted on Capitol Fax in a post on Thursday where north side legislators and educators invited Governor Rauner to tour a school. Unfortunately this invitation was noted as a "stunt".

Because there is still no budget from Springfield CPS can't say if they are going to have summer school this year also via Capitol Fax. We also see a further debate regarding charter schools or even newer charter or otherwise.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

DNA Info: Put A Park, Not A Cell Tower, In Vacant Lot In Roseland, Residents Say

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The pictures above were shot in April 2016 near 107th & King Drive of a vacant lot which as you see in the pic above is zoned for a cellphone tower. A group of Roseland activists want to see this turned into a park:
Members of the 9th Ward Greater Roseland Community Coalition said they fear the potential environmental and health threats the cell tower could bring to the empty lot at 107th Street between Vernon and Eberhart avenues.
The neighborhood coalition has been circulating petitions opposing the cellphone tower. Members said they want the land cleaned up and turned into a park and botanical garden.
Of course there's this:
The city did an environmental screen of the site in 2014 to identify any potential environmental concerns and said the site’s history of pollution doesn’t make it the best location for a garden.

"The site is listed as an abandoned service station, and available records identified several underground storage tank (UST) installations and removals dating back to 1953," a letter from Fleet Management to [9th ward Ald. Anthony] Beale reads. "In addition, at least three USTs were abandoned in place in 1984, and a demolition notice was issued in 1996. Although no releases have been reported for the Site, the majority of the USTs were removed or abandoned in the 1970s and early 1980s, prior to requirements to have spill protection, conduct confirmation sampling, or report releases."

The letter says that since there is no data available to confirm a release hasn't taken place, the tanks "present an environmental concern to the Site."

It was recommended that the site not be used as a community garden because there is “high potential for both current and historic USTs at the site.”

Bryant Payne, a spokesman for Beale, confirmed Friday that the land is contaminated and that before anything is built there, it would have to be cleaned up.
This is a nice lot that could see some use in the future. How successful will this group be in getting it cleaned up and hopefully a garden could be placed there instead of a cell tower?

Oh yeah a recent ig post about this lot below.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

From October 2015, photos along 103rd Street

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Crossposted from The Sixth Ward

I realized that I failed to what I set out to do a few months ago. I wanted to do a photo essay and basically I started with taking some photos along 103rd Street. This was back in October and although I shared a few pics back then there were than that in my photo library.

For example, I have some pics taken east of King Drive on 103rd Street.
103rd & Rhodes
The pic above I knew at one time as the offices of Congressman Mel Reynolds. In 1995 he was caught up in a sex scandal with an underaged girl and was forced to resign. Unfortunately this property is now vacant and looking for a use since the time of Reynold's having his congressional offices here.

Across the street is a former dry cleaners. It's unclear when this particular building became vacant. Across the street from here is this.
103rd Street between Rhodes and St. Lawrence
In a different time this property had once been home to a McDonald's. That store eventually closed down and was ultimately demolished a with a church built instead.

Beyond this church and the former dry cleaners is this vacant lot.
103rd Street between Rhodes & St. Lawrence
I see this as potention for this part of 103rd and one of many undeveloped lots ready for the right development. To be sure 103rd is largely a commercial corridor and is quite walkable. With the right development it could be a very vibrant corridor.

Of course this is only an example of some of the pics I took in October 2016. I hope to share more of them in the future. And apologies for not sharing these much sooner. My goal is hopefully to come up with some ideas perhaps this part of town could use some bold vision and why not.