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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Pullman in Curbed Cup Final Four!!!

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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.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Star Trek Beyond trailer

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[VIDEO] The main event people are going out to see right now during the holiday season is the new JJ Abrams production Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Then recently a new trailer for next year's Star Trek Beyond comes out and there seems to be mixed opinions on the trailer.

The trend lately has been that these previews seem to give most of the movie away. Not a whole lot given away in this trailer but by some it gives an impression of films such as Guardians of the Galaxy or The Fast and Furious franchise. Either way this is another film to look for next year.

BTW, would you believe 2016 will mark 50 years for the Star Trek franchise. It's been close to 20 years since as a 6th grader at Shedd School I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and then following all things Trek ever since. I will be looking forward to this film soon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

#LaQuanMcDonald

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Crossposted last week at The Sixth Ward wanted to run this here as well

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

Monday, December 7, 2015

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

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Yolanda Pierce at right and two of her workers - Photo by Mark Konkol
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.