December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Dreams for 2009 Writers Block Writers Block I

Lover Boy Get that Mouse Hauling it in

This is Work

Happy New Year!!!

The Longest Story of The Year

24/7’s main story of 2008 began here. The path to transparency began in a public CAPS meeting of all places!

With support from the community, S.O.C.C. (Save Our Community Center), other park councils, neighboring organizations, and SEIU Local 73 - the grand finale to several high energy meetings was this rally to ‘Save Our Community Center.

A week after this rally, the building opened as a public space.

Not only were our council(s) and neighbors heard, our work was also noticed. Just a month before the rally, the Rogers Park Garden Group kicked off their annual Garden Walk at the Nature Garden.

In November, the Nature Garden in Triangle Park was awarded the Mayors Landscape Award.

Many thanks to the neighbors and organizations who volunteered time and plants to create this lovely garden.

And for a pleasant year end surprise, this letter arrived in the mail!


Standing up for what is right has its rewards. This award is for all of you who supported the efforts of S.O.C.C.

December 30, 2008

Da Clean Machine

Apparently the caverns of some underground system are getting cleansed. It’s a pity this machine can’t be moved into the hallowed halls of city, county and state chambers to perform some long overdue purging.

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How about that latest TV gig from Blago? The media talking heads claim Burris is the only one who didn’t run from Elvis. Even Danny Davis said ‘no’. Keep being testy Blago!

December 29, 2008

Sinkhole Watch

Chicago Pothole coverage.

Here’s a couple of potholes I noticed on yesterday’s stroll to Jarvis Beach. I might not have noticed the big one if a passing car had missed it. As it was, a very loud noise caught my attention. The smaller one is in the walkway. Since I’m a walker, I have a fondness for these damn ankle twisters.

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Walgreen’s Cavern


With No Help From Joe or Wayne or 311

The Marshfield Sinkhole

December 26, 2008

S.W.A.P. for H.E.L.P.

Between the rounds of snow this month, this S.W.A.P. team was cleaning trash at the bus terminal. They were also cleaning out storm drains to avoid the lakes that were created on Christmas Eve and will continue with this strange weather.

This is the first time I’ve seen them here – perhaps others have. It would seem sensible that they could clean some of our side streets and storm sewers instead of the bus terminal which is supposed to be cleaned daily by SSA#19.

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When I called 312 603 6444, I was transferred to the S.W.A.P office only to get a recording to call back during normal business hours 9am – 4pm. I called back and asked if S.W.A.P. was open today, the operator didn’t know. The website doesn't appear to have updated the S.W.A.T. information since 1996. One would think melting snow in the city limits resulting in lakes and flooding should be considered an opportunity to help city residents too. We're part of Cook County right?

With the melting snow and rains that are in the weather forecast, we’ll have additional lakes on our side streets. We’ve already received the alderman’s decree to shovel or face fines if we don’t shovel City of Chicago sidewalks in a ‘timely manner’. Many of us are unsure if timely means the ‘it depends on who you are and if I like or dislike you’ method of operating. I didn’t write or call the ward office in search of help with snow removal because I don't always receive answers in a timely manner. The latest read but not answered email is still dangling in cyberspace.

If another email blast lands ordering residents to get their hip boots out and clean the storm sewers of ice, snow and sewer clogging trash, will anyone be surprised? What would truly shock everyone would be a ward wide email blast warning everyone that slumlords enabling drug dealers and gangbangers, open air drug dealing, drinking in the public way, gambling, loitering, and blatant trash tossing on a daily basis is illegal and the laws concerning such behavior will be strictly enforced beginning yesterday. There’s money to be made for the city other than residents shoveling snow.

Blogger note: After the December 16 snow, my neighbor and I shoveled. I got energetic and shoveled the sidewalks on either side of our building. Since it was the light stuff, I plowed all the way to Howard so people could get through and not pack it down. One person did pass me and said ‘Thank you’.

December 24, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear?

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Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

December 21, 2008

Me and Dr. Kaz

Yesterday Mom made a phone call about me. A little while later someone called her back and she was telling them my foot was swollen. She also snitched on me that I was a southpaw and the conversation led to my picking on MizAli and our hissy fights. I heard her say ‘OK, he’s not going to like this.’ The next thing I knew she grabbed me, wrapped me in a thick towel and stuffed me in my carry cage.

Yikes it was cold outside. I yelled when that smelly bus roared up. But people on the bus told me how cute I was so it made the ride a little better.

When we walked in I realized where we were. Alan came in the room and weighed me – I’m now a big boy at 8 lbs and 10 ozs. Then Dr. Kaz figured Mom’s theory was right, looks like my paw got swatted by MizAli. I do terrorize her relentlessly. So now I’m taking this pink medicine and getting warm compresses on my infected paw. She told me about New Years Resolutions – I don’t know if I can stop pestering my sister though! I’m going to meditate on my options – being a good boy or making more of those horrid bus rides.

Here’s Dr. Kaz and me! I look like I just got busted! That’s Dr. John T. Kasmersky D.V.M at Broadway Animal Hospital, 6320 N Broadway, 773 262 5445.

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And here’s Alan and Tess – they’re always so nice to me too.


I'm feeling much better this morning but Mom insisted on giving me more pink stuff. MizAli is on her chair snickering.

December 20, 2008


Hello, it’s Lover Boy again. Hope everyone is alright after that snow storm. MizAli and I are getting a little concerned about Mom. She’s gathering all kinds of favorite pet photos to post – including dogs and other creatures. Then she got this framed picture down and showed me a little girl holding a pet chicken! It was Mom when she was maybe 3-4 years old! So I guess I didn’t quite know what I was getting into! But we’re all much more enjoyable to look at than the humans in the news lately!

Anyway, here’s neighbor Craig Gernhardt’s dog Cota (the black dog) with her neighbor sharing a stick. The gray dog belongs to Craigs neighbor, Andy McGhee.


Here’s Craig’s nephew Phil with his pet goat! Craig wrote that Wilber is a video hit. This goat snow-skates and has performed on both of Phil's dvd's. That would be a fun movie to watch don’t you think?


December 19, 2008


Tom the street vendor got his dog Reba back after the dog-napping episode. But Reba was older and had serious medical issues. The vets at the Humane Society did all they could to help her but a few months later she passed.

After his grieving period, Tom appeared one day with this little guy.


Meet Hercules, the defender of the corner of LaSalle and Madison and the master of Tom. Hercules was out yesterday snugly wrapped in layers for lunchtime entertainment with Tom. . [Photos were taken weeks ago]


Tom was so lost when Reba was ‘taken’ that the media and office workers in the area helped him find his gal. They were reunited for only a few months but at least Tom was able to say goodbye. And with her passing, Hercules found someone to pamper and spoil him – the circle is complete.

“For it is in giving that we receive” Prayer of St. Francis

December 18, 2008

Snow Kitty

From Lover Boy and MizAli:

Sometimes we turn our noses up at certain food Mom gives us and that’s a big mistake. We hear about the starving, homeless alley kitties who would be grateful to have the food we’re ignoring. To make matters worse, Uncle Tim sent her a photo of this kitty that he and Aunt Eva feed every morning. They’ve named him Yul. While he gets a regular meal he’s really missing out on the best part of life – being loved. You see, he’s feral and afraid to get too close to humans.


MizAli: Like Yul, I was out in the alley and with three babies to feed. Thankfully the Mom I was in the process of adopting started feeding me. I staked out her arrival time and started waiting for her. After a few weeks, I let her touch me. When I trusted her enough to bring my babies up for food they wouldn’t let her touch them. Then a huge raccoon discovered our food source and chased us away. But when the kids were grown and had gone their own way, I came back to the porch and let her know I wanted a home.

We send love and purrs to Aunt Eva and Uncle Tim for taking care of Yul as much as the poor, scared fellow will allow. For this holiday season, we hope Yul gets the courage to trust humans and get a nice home.

December 16, 2008

Eastlake Cats

Hi everyone, it's Lover Boy again! Mom finally came in from playing in the snow. I can't believe she'd selfishly come home and start pushing snow around without feeding us first. We had to sit inside in the nice warm house and watch from the window. I suppose humans need to play - but pushing snow can't be as much fun as hiding in a paper bag and jumping at my step-sister.

I refused to purr until she shared the photo of Pretty and John that their dad emailed us.


Thanks for the pictures of your kids!

Your posting made me smile, and that is a rare occurrence in the Illinois blogosphere these days. These are my two hairballs, adopted from Felines near Devon and Clark, our neighborhood shelter. Be careful viewing . . . there are a lot of little faces in this link! Felines Inc.


The brother and sister team are Pretty and John.

December 15, 2008

Holiday Wishes From The Editorial Staff


Mom said I could help (as if she has a choice) and do some cat talking with everyone about being responsible pet parents. Last summer, some nice people noticed me coming to eat at the feral feeding place. I quickly let them know I was a sweet, tame kitten who loved his tummy rubbed. One lady sent an email to cat people and Mom adopted me.

It’s been heaven ever since – except for my step-sister, MizAli but that’s another story.


We are both discarded alley cats who found a home. Now we don’t have to walk too far for a meal, we're safe from cars, bad weather and other enemies. My step-sister still dives under the rug when it thunders! I have lots of snoozing places, and a cat mother who lets me editorialize (and swat at the mouse).

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I’ll never forget coming to Mom’s house and meeting her. She picked me up, kissed my handsome cheek and it was a done deal! The rescue people had been calling me different names. Mom couldn’t decide on a name for me. From my charming kitten personality came one recurring phrase, ‘Lover Boy’.

Mom’s made me a nice nest by the computer so I could tell you my story. If any readers plan to get a kitten or puppy for a Christmas gift, please take care of it. Get it spayed or neutered and don’t let it roam the streets. Just like people, we need love and care and will give you much happiness in return. We’ll be your best friend through good and bad times, so please adopt only if you have time and lots of love for us.

In closing, when Mom took me to Dr. Kaz when my foot was sore, he looked in the room and said “He’s gorgeous, (big smile) don’t tell me you got him from an alley too!” So my step-sister MizAli and I wish you a wonderful holiday and please remember my story.

Lover Boy and MizAli

December 13, 2008

Fedora Boy Talked To Blago Boy

From the Chicago Tribune:

“Emanuel delivered a list of candidates who would be "acceptable" to Obama, the source said. On the list were Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Veterans Affairs director Tammy Duckworth, state Comptroller Dan Hynes and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Chicago, the source said. All are Democrats.

Sometime after the election, Emanuel called Harris back to add the name of Democratic Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan to the approved list, the source said.”

Jan spoke to Fedora Boy Emanuel on Thursday to ‘get some intelligence on whether Obama might approve of her selection as senator'.

At this point, Mr. Obama, you might consider asking a regular person to be senator. It's only a two year stint. You just might get a person who understands the plight of Illinoisans better than these egotistical politicos – Aunt Jan in particular. Please don’t tell me she has no hidden agenda. For all we 'idiot taxpayers' know one of the contenders may have put the idea in the ear of a contenders cling-on to play Blago's raise a million game hoping they'd get caught! Anything is possible in this movie.

She was given a folder with photos of conditions people in the Broadmoor were living in years ago when she came to speak on hot summer evening. Her aide took it and was told of the quality of life issues that plagued North of Howard. No one ever contacted anyone on the list of names given. To do something constructive to correct the mess her friend Joe made of this area would not have been politically correct.

Essentially – the message from politicians to taxpayers is: To Hell With You – We’re Really In This For Our Own Gain.

December 12, 2008

Our Grade B Movie

With all the connect-the-dots to Blago’s plots, here’s another interesting twist. It takes a certain amount of time and planning to hold a fundraiser. The media has been inundating readers for months on Blago, so one has to wonder ‘what was Chico thinking’? Better yet, how could he find the time from fending off the evils of those Save Our Park, Save Grant Park and Save Our Community Center taxpayers? Not to mention building senior homes in the middle of a park or sprucing up those golf courses.

The mayor has sort of spoken while his club 50 remain silent as little sheep…er lambs. With the exception of Blago’s father-in-law , Ald. Richard Mell, has any alderperson jumped on this train wreck? Will Ald. Jackson be the next one to speak?

One also may wonder how wide this spiderweb really spans. Or would it be more appropriate to state just how damn deep is this hole of corruption? It’s been traced to Rogers Park today, imagine that! Here’s a somewhat Interesting Video on our Political Tree.

There’s a whole lot of political recycling going on. Term limits wouldn’t stop a governor from jumping to another position…as Blago threatened to do.

But it’s a humorous to imagine some of these political creatures blasting the music to drown out a bug; or crawling around looking for the bugs – just like the movies. I wonder if they're all wondering just who is wearing the wire?

Chicago’s grade B movie.

Holiday Benefit - 12.14.08

Lakeside CDC, a nonprofit housing agency that works to preserve and create affordable housing opportunities, is holding its holiday benefit on Sunday December 14 at The Morse Theater, located at 1328 W. Morse. The event, which begins at 3:30 pm, will feature a showing of the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” on the big screen in the theater’s state-of-the-art and beautifully restored performance space. More than a holiday classic, the film is really a timely message-film about the importance of affordable housing and the need for community residents to pull together in times of need to help their own. I take particular inspiration in seeing how small acts of kindness, given over a lifetime, can make a substantial impact on the lives of others.
Immediately following the film, our guests are invited to join our volunteers, staff, and board members at a scrumptious reception in the second floor lobby/cocktail lounge. Tickets for the event are $40, with all proceeds going to support Lakeside’s housing programs, specifically counseling assistance for low-income renters and homeowners facing foreclosure. Information on Lakeside and the event can be found here. For information or to reserve tickets, please call (773) 381-5253 or email

December 11, 2008

Who's Afraid Of Rodney Woolf?

After finally reading the entire Blago Complaint [PDF] last night I felt the same kind of exhaustion I felt years ago. I was a very pregnant ‘military wife’ in England sitting home alone one Saturday night while hubby dearest was guarding the runways at Lakenheath air base. I turned on the television and watched the late movie Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

By the time the movie was over I was mentally and physically exhausted, thirsty, and unable to shake the visions of Martha and George.

After that intense reading last night, I turned on the television and must have watched the same cable channel as John Kass. One after another, the host and guests called Blago delusional, among other synonyms. They brought up chapters of corrupt Illinois history and stated Blago et al should be wearing flashy suits and fedoras like Al Capone. It was an amusing image since there are too many politicos who would look wonderful in the 1930’s style. Shall we say – it’s a timeless fashion?

Imagine the alderpeople or their minions making the rounds to the mom and pop stores collecting their monthly ‘donations’ to keep the inspectors away. Or imagine them making a call to the new owner who wants to rehab...'we can take care of certain things for you'. And it happens in other cities and small towns across the country – its known as politics.

But back to Blago – his conversations flitter all over the board. First he feels “stuck” as governor, then he wants a special job created for him and his wife, then he sinks into paranoia about “being impeached” then suddenly he’s working on his image to run for president in 2016!

True, it sounds nutty but isn’t that what most politicians do all day long? They brainstorm, maneuver, plot and plan on how to balance their budgets (and their friends) at the taxpayers expense. Oddball screaming resolutions are passed in legislatures that have little to do with improving the lives of their constituents. These are our media addicted Illinois machine politicians living on the edge, dreaming of better places and bigger rewards for their hard work!

From Kass closing:

“So listen up, you amateur psychiatrists from national cable TV land. Don't be alarmed when Chicago machine politicians act like raving lunatics.

It's when they're quiet and reasonable that you've got to worry.”

$5.5 Million for Park District Golf Courses

The golfers of Chicago will love it. Meanwhile, this is a marker of allocations made by our governing bodies.

Is it partly retribution or the budget woes that the Park District did not, or cannot, provide Internet service or a computer for the park facility at 1610 W. Howard? Or do they feel that even though it only took 12 years to get built, while construction costs rose during those 12 years, that their $8 Million is more than enough for this area? It's more than enough if they couldn't vendor it to the BGC with our tax dollars.

People can't sign up online if there's no Internet service! Are they hoping people won't bother if they have to get out in the cold to do it?

Of course, an email blast from Joe supporting the new public park facility would have helped but its more politically savvy to bitch and moan in a public safety meeting about the 'handful' of people who fought privatization of a public space.

Wasn't crime an issue in Rogers Park long before the construction began?

Welcome to Willye White Park

Gale Park was renamed Willye White Park yesterday at the monthly Park District meeting even though an extension was sought by the Gale Park Council and allegedly by Joe Moore. I use the term allegedly because Joe and his supporters, Vitale and Gregory thought that the students doing research on deceased women who had contributed to Rogers Park would be a grand idea. But when the plan to turn a community center into an extension of the Lathrop BGC met resistance, the research thought was dropped – with no communication to the advisory council.

Meanwhile, in the fall, Joe called one of his reliable contacts NOH to see if the project could be extended. Ten days later he called me and left a message but didn’t like my response too much so didn’t respond when I returned his call. You see, if you remind Joe that he excluded you or your group, made plans for you, your neighbors, and the community behind your back, he gets upset and starts the reverse blame game.

At any rate, at one point Joe requested an extension and the Gale council president outlined the Moore/Gregory/Vitale renaming plan to the Gale Academy principal and a teacher in charge of the project. However, yesterday, during the morning meeting it was announced that Joe Moore had sent a letter to the Park District Commissioners approving the renaming of Gale to Willye White. A copy was not sent to the park advisory council however. Perhaps it got lost in the mail?

In the midst of the research, a beloved science teacher at Gale Academy passed away. The teacher in charge of the renaming project took six grieving students to the meeting yesterday. I was told the students read poetry and a eulogy to the commissioners. Though moved by the youngsters grief, the commissioners told the kids they would name a room in the facility for their teacher – or something.

Now that this run-around exercise is behind us, perhaps Joe can respond to the letter the councils sent to him some weeks ago asking that 1) he contact the appropriate president of the three parks concerning Park District developments at their park instead of non-council members and 2)to inform us who will attend our combined monthly meetings to represent the ward office. It has been put in writing that he work with us as a hired employee of the City of Chicago. He was given email addresses and phone numbers of each park council president.

We still await his response and a copy of his letter to the Park District. So who is difficult to work with?

The public meeting of the three park advisory councils is held every third Tuesday at 7PM at the new park facility at 1610 W. Howard Street. Joe is invited to attend as are all neighbors. The next meeting is December 16.

Blog note: Mr. Pickens, Park District Commissioner requested this name change for his late friend, Ms. White. He was on the 1968 Olympics wrestling team. He is very proud of his wife's work and position as a high ranking VP of the Boys and Girls Club.

December 10, 2008

The Shake Down School

John Kass

Does the behavior pattern sound familiar? Blago, like other pols we must deal with, take the heat personally and seek revenge. I’m gonna get you mentalities from the shake down school.

Going after Sam Zell and the Tribune editorial staff was just brilliant! Threatening Childrens Memorial runs a close second and selling a senate seat sounds typical of politics in Chicago. Didn’t John Stroger bequeath his seat to his son with the help of locals?

Everything and everyone has a price tag.

Anyone disagreeing with a politician in this state had best be prepared for shake downs, inspectors, defamation of character, harassing phone calls, frenetic little wannabe spying episodes and inflammatory mailings.

I can’t understand why everyone is so shocked.

Blogger Note: The super sell-out Commissioner Suffredin is encouraging us “to attend the upcoming public hearing on the 2009 Cook County Budget, to be held Thursday, December 11, 2008, at the Skokie Courthouse, 5600 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, IL 60076, beginning at 6:30 pm.

"I encourage all citizens who are concerned about Cook County’s healthcare system and tax policy to come and share their views with the full Board of Commissioners," said Suffredin.”

Cook County Website

December 9, 2008

Jail House Rock?

Self-fulfilling prophecy of Blago’s Narcissism?


Is the Blagman singing an Elvis tune or another artists song- Don't Rock The Boat-Baby?

Cartoon by our wonderful neighbor - Tim Jackson

Republic Windows Cast and Crew

What an interesting bunch of players in the Republic Windows scenario. Blago, who is lawful and only has sunshine around him and Dick Durbin who begs for mercy for convicted felon George Ryan. Enter Gutierrez who is looking a tad tarnished over his real estate deals with a campaign contributor.

And, last but not least, our own Joe Moore who is “incensed to learn Republic executives formed a limited liability corporation that has purchased a plant in Iowa, where labor is cheaper.” The TIF subsidy was paid in 2002 and 2003.

Sooo, does that mean we, the people, of Ward 49 have a right to be incensed about TIF dollars going to the restoration of the Howard Theater that didn’t quite happen? How many LLC's do we see floating around in Moore development deals? Maybe these alderpersons should have spent their time freeing up TIF money for the shortfalls in the budget instead of taxing Chicago to death giving small business good reason to run to Iowa. They caved in to da Mayor - again.

These politicians have wasted and manipulated our tax dollars on their little back scratching expeditions. It’s really amusing to see them scramble for the limelight on this one! Unfortunately, we keep voting in the same cast and crew for these dramas don’t we?

The Cast of Illinois politics jump in front of cameras to show they care for the little people. Meanwhile, there will be a protest at B of A headquarters 231 S. LaSalle today at noon by the real people who pay taxes and really have to work to pay their bills.

Blogger note: According to The Bench, the protest is tomorrow, Wednesday, December 10

December 8, 2008

The Bakery Is Back!

From the rubble of the storefront collapse arises the temporary home of The Caribbean American Baking Company at 1547 W. Howard.

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One night last week I was walking west on Howard when a car cruised by the old site. I motioned to the new location, so for all the fans of this terrific food, here's the scoop. They're open Monday through Saturday from 10AM to 7:30 PM and Sunday from 10:00AM to 5:00 PM.

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The signage from the mostly empty Gateway Mall just before entering the atrium area.


I followed the steps down and made a left and discovered this.

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December 7, 2008

If You Have An Opinion

If YOU have an opinion on the recent begging of Senator Dick Durbin to pardon former governor George Ryan, follow the links in John Kass’ column today.

Ryan and his wife have enjoyed a 'prosperous' life - the six Willis children didn't have a chance.

I had wondered when this pardon would surface.

December 6, 2008

A Contract For Change

Parents, neighbors, teachers, police, et al who are concerned about student behavior might try creating individual binding contracts. Education has changed - sometimes for the better sometimes for the worse. Parenting, policing, and community involvement have been on the roller coaster too. As adults deal with the ups and downs, often the kids are given more freedom than they can maturely handle.


Free Behavior Contract
Sample 1
Sample 2

Just as parents sign leases with rules and regulations, they have jobs with rules too. Of course schools have rules, society has rules, but who is actually teaching them? Do we still have civics or social studies classes or have they been boiled down to an all-encompassing label of history?

How effective are those parent-teacher conferences? There are parents who are deeply involved and concerned and there are those who present themselves as angry adults with the emotional level of a teen. They were probably given too much freedom and not enough guidance early on and the result carries into parenting. And there are teachers who are dedicated to their students and there are some who are there to work.

Instead of a public dog and pony show that allows neighborhood venting and political attacking and counter-attacking, we need a more thoughtful and private approach. For starters, the schools, both elementary and high, should have mandatory assemblies for students and parents with the police. I’m not referring to Officer Friendly who may make an impression on a 7 year old but not on a 15 year old.

So how would the contract work? Adults are rewarded at work with promotions, raises, maybe bonuses for jobs well done. Kids are often rewarded with toys and freedom because they whine until they get their way. Parents will cave in to stop the noise. Threatening to remove the toy or the freedom after the fact have proven the parent is not in the role of power – the kid is.

The schools know which students/parents are at risk. After these assemblies there should be break-out groups with the favorite teacher or principal for parents/student(s) to work up a customized contract that all three sign. Parents and the co-signing teacher should have progress follow-ups on behaviors both at home and at school.

The last thing students need is too much free time and gadgets to play with. For the price of unwholesome junk food – just two days worth – would pay for a 10 week park district activity. We’ve all heard the financial gripes over the price of programs but $10 for 10 weeks? That is $1 a week. A Big Mac, Fries and soft drink with tax is how much? How much do mom and/or dad spend on Chicago taxed cigarettes? About $8 a pack. The same goes for that six pack of beer or other liquor. Mom and Dad could forfeit one pack of cigarettes or liquor or bypass the junk food snack purchases and enroll their kids in an activity that would teach teamwork and provide a more positive social setting than roving the streets.

And Rogers Park businesses could pitch in and help too. Even though the economy is in the toilet, a tax-deductible donation to sponsor an indoor soccer, basketball team, (boys and girls) dance or music activity and in the spring outdoor field activities, would be a proactive assist to parents whose kids may be struggling. Healthy snacks might be a viable donation too.

Neighbors who have the knowledge and skills to help with fundraising or mentoring ideas could offer their time or write a check to sponsor one child for one activity. North of Howard has high school and grammar school students who would benefit from being active in the new Gale Park Community Center. Most of us work harder when there is an incentive involved don’t we? Kids need incentives and guidance too.

The above are viable concepts to help solve a problem in our neighborhoods. It’s time to put the grudges aside and promote the asset at 1610 Howard Street.

December 2, 2008

Hit The Ground Running

Today was David Sobcyzk’s second day on the job as Police Commander at District 24. Frankly, I was impressed that Sobczyck kept a previously scheduled meeting that was on former Commander Caluris’ calendar. That calendar entry was with the safety committee of the Parks Advisory Councils and Sharon O’Connell, Gale Park supervisor. Though abbreviated to more of an overview of park safety issues, tonight’s meeting was productive and the groundwork was set for a follow-up meeting.

He asked (and answered) questions, made very interesting observations, and stated he’d driven around during daylight to get acquainted with the neighborhood. I sincerely hope that the next community meeting with our new commander can be as productive as our small one tonight.

As the old saying goes, he has hit the ground running.

December 1, 2008


The grass in our front yard always had a bare path worn through it from people and animals cutting across, so my neighbor and I decided to build a brick walkway. That was my first summer here. We did our online homework, purchased the bricks, shale and sand that were delivered. It all had to be stored in his garage until we dug the trench.

It’s sometimes eerie how history carries on and leaves little clues for the next generations. While we were piling bricks in 2003 I noticed writing on the garage wall. It was fancy old-fashioned writing and it was just a pencil signature of a mans name. At the time I said ‘This was written by a woman in love’.

One summer evening I googled the man’s name on the garage wall and found a match in a nearby suburb. I mulled over making the call knowing it was a long shot but finally decided to try. A young woman answered the phone and I told her who I was, where I lived and why I was calling. Thankfully she didn’t think I was a loose nut. Instead, she simply said that Mr. S. was ‘old’. I asked if my call would disturb him and if so I wouldn’t continue but she asked me to hold.

A few minutes later, a soft-spoken gentleman listened to my story about my discovery in the garage here. His namesake, Michael S. written on the garage wall was his fathers’ brother. Uncle Michael’s sweetheart, Mary Lou lived somewhere on Bosworth though he couldn’t remember the exact address. Uncle Michael served in the armed forces in Europe during WWII and came home to Chicago and married his sweetheart Mary Lou.

The gentleman said the newlyweds opened up a photography shop around Belmont and Clark in the 1940’s. We had a wonderful conversation about the history of the neighborhood and his family. Mary Lou’s fancy writing is tiny piece of Rogers Park history. Hopefully another 5 years won't sneak by without researching the early owners of this building. It's long overdue as is a photograph of the writing by a woman in love.

November 29, 2008

Such Silliness

Broken Hearts reporting on Crime seemed to take the sideline of Blame it on Gale Park Advisory Council and residents who rallied against the stealth attempt of privatization of a long-awaited public space!

To the commenter who mentioned three NOH names – I think you did just fine! How many times can the same blame be put on those who did not originate the problems in Rogers Park? We didn’t work behind closed doors to work out a 30 year extension with Illinois Department of Housing for North Point – Joe and his supporters did. Could it be that HUD and the City of Chicago weren’t promoting large low income concentrated projects any longer but the state was still in the game?

And what about those liquor licenses? Why didn't the proper authorities attend the hearings? Why is it always up to taxpayers to take vacation days to do City work for their overpaid officials?

And what about the parents of those Sullivan High school kids? Sometimes a parent can't control what their child does but after X number of issues, the school, problem students and their parents need to write up binding behavior agreements with consequences for their actions. But that might take too much effort to get the parents of problem kids involved. I can't judge all parents, but too many may be behaving on the same emotional level as their children.

Moores' supporters seem willing to excuse any manner of unprofessional behaviors and actions if it keeps their street free of issues that have plagued North of Howard for decades. Crime issues were on-going for the years the park land sat dormant, while zoning issues and musical chairs at the Park District were awarded the trophy for excuses. When phone booths were removed to stop drug dealing where was Ginderske et al? When neighbors boarded up bad buildings on weekends, where were the Moore Supporters who don’t live here? Moore only showed up for photo ops when the media came to cover the neighbors actions.

When neighbors organized walks around Jarvis Square years ago, I doubt that some of Joe’s current supporters even lived in Rogers Park. Later when neighbors resumed walks North of Howard, one supporter jumped in with his predictable race card rants. Little did he know that many people were afraid to walk because they didn't want to be the target of intimidation of 'walking with those people'. They would wave from windows or honk their horns but actual participation might have put them in jeopardy. Some of the do gooders who chime in with the blame game have their own neighborhood they could be working on. Some are, some aren’t.

Logic and common sense aren’t liberal or conservative or red or blue issues but fall in to the category of community planning and education when the topic is crime. This meeting seemed to have taken the usual off-topic course to avoid the purpose of the meeting. Senator Steans should have conducted a slumlord summit and kept slamming the gavel to keep on-topic. Any rental property owners, including stores, that seem to provide a haven for criminal activities should have been at the table with the police and politicos working on viable solutions to the crime-related issues they enable. Instead, it was one of those summits attended by people who aren’t breaking, bending or ignoring the rules. Most people are tired of the Hot Seat Blame Game.

I did not attend but I’m still trying to figure out how recycling is a deterrent to crime. I’m not attempting to understand how and why the issue of Gale Community Center is still their one and only burning excuse. There have been illegal activities abounding here for decades and the neighborhood had to hit the streets, establish CAPS, get petitions, and go to court to accomplish change. Where were the leaders? They were and still are taking all the credit.

On November 20th there was a meeting on Howard Street conducted by Partners for Rogers Park on the economy. Across the street at the park facility kids and parents were shooting hoops for turkeys and pies donated by area businesses. Joe couldn’t make the time to walk across Howard and make an appearance even though he told park staff he would stop in. Some of his staunch supporters, election judges and pollwatchers were there!

Deep-seated resentments don’t work well as the fuel for change for a politician or wannabes unless the last 8 years have been forgotten. Perhaps the angry boys and girls who promoted our president-elect on the platform of change should take lessons from Obama instead of hijacking community meetings with recycling silliness and latent anger over the Boys and Girls Club not being allowed to take over a public facility. It’s time to act like adults now, OK? From what I read, it was more of the same old tactics – blame, excuses and diverting from the topic to avoid dealing with it head on. If it’s up to the neighbors to take over the streets, then we may as well be self-ruling and dismiss city council. I’m sure 50 wards could target that $110k and staff money to better their neighborhoods.

November 25, 2008

Send A Card To The Troops

If you go to this web site you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq , Afghanistan. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

It is verified as Truth on

November 24, 2008

The Time Capsule

A neighbor emailed these historical photos of Howard Street. These were before my tenure here.

Old Kiwanis Park -


Jarvis-Greenview Corner


Ashland-Howard and Queens Pantry


November 22, 2008

Will These Two Have Their Job In 2009?

Months after the initial call for service, the dead limbs have finally been removed from the city parkway tree. It is now safe to park under it. At least safe from falling dead branches.

Tree Trimming at last Tree Trimming at last

At first, the cutter called and announced who he was and said he didn’t see any dead limbs. Duh, that’s because all the leaves have fallen – come on up and I’ll show you. From the window I showed him the dead branches without bark that were over the curb and street areas. At last, the point was taken and the sawing began.

As I left for work, the man doing the trimming announced to me that the branch was indeed dead. His partner on the ground hadn’t heard the update on the mayors and alderpersons agreement on the 2009 budget.

I hope the fearless leaders who took their 6% salary increases but expect other city workers to take unpaid furlow understand the full impact of their actions. Among other things….

At least one can see results from some city employees work.

November 21, 2008

Two Winners In The Turkey Shoot

These ladies hold their first and second prizes for winning the women’s final round in the first Turkey Shoot at Gale Park Community Center last night.

First and Second Prize Womens Turkey Shoot, Gale Park

Contestants by age and gender groups had ten hoop shots in two rounds; the highest ranking won a turkey and second highest ranking won a choice of apple or pumpkin pie.

Unfortunately, one lady expressed her anger that everyone who participated didn’t win a turkey. I asked “Well, did you have fun meeting up with your neighbors?” She still insisted that she wasted two hours of her time for nothing. As I told her, ‘hey, I’m just volunteering and I don’t expect to take anything home but the experience of watching everyone having fun’. Sometimes it’s good to give with no expectations of receiving anything in return. It was a contest and how many people win on those lottery tickets they purchase?

Other than this lady, everyone enjoyed shooting hoops, line dancing between rounds and chatting with neighbors.

The rest of the photos will be printed up for Sharon to display in the atrium.