May 31, 2008

Another Ignored Problem Surfaces - Again

Here’s another ignored transportation problem to chew on

From the Sun-Times

“A big choke point is Chicago, and any solution will have to include this hub, which handles about 40 percent of all U.S. rail freight on 180,000 trains a year.

The problem is that the Chicago hub was designed in the mid-1800s.”


What isn’t mentioned is that most of the rail lines in the US are owned by the federal government who coincidentally is the parent of what we know as Amtrak. Passenger trains share the same tracks with freight trains.

I have many memories of riding the train from that little town in Missouri to Chicago and vice versa. I can remember the teeny bopper excitement of going to the ‘big city’ to see The Who at the Kinetic Playground. As an adult city dweller, I remember one frigid –80 degree (with wind chill) Christmas waiting for a 6PM train that finally departed Chicago around midnight. That year everything came to a standstill. But in milder seasons, there were (and probably still are) delays. The old train was the easiest way to get to the homestead without a car.

There were always threats of killing Amtrak altogether just to get more federal funding. The problem is, government can’t run itself very efficiently, so what makes it an expert on the transportation level?

There’s been a surge in ridership with the rising cost of airfares and gasoline. It takes longer but for years people with limited spending funds have ridden the trains. Had the powers been looking to the future, we wouldn’t have an 1800 circa hub that’s choking.

Amtrak on Wikipedia

National Atlas

May 30, 2008

Pfleger Gagged!

“The Catholic Church does not endorse political candidates, George said. Consequently, while a priest must speak to political issues that are also moral, he may not endorse candidates nor engage in partisan campaigning.

Racial issues are both political and moral and are also highly charged, he said.”


Thank you Cardinal George.
It’s about time someone told this alleged religious fool to Shut Up! Pfleger has been overdue for a long vacation for some time now. His little pretend game is out – he’s not entitled either.

Unfortunately, Cardinal George can't shut the rest of the nuts up.

May 29, 2008

From Our Friends Of The Parks

Blogged with permission from Friends of the Parks. It's from an email blast I received yesterday.

Please click below the article from today's Chicago Tribune regarding the construction of Artificial Turf Fields. Earlier this year, Friends of the Parks (FOTP) requested the City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation and its Chairman Alderman MaryAnn Smith to conduct a subject hearing on this matter. We just received word that the next City Council Parks and Recreation Committee meeting is scheduled for June 9th, 11 a.m. on the 2nd floor of City hall. However, the subject hearing on Artificial Turf is not yet scheduled.

The Chicago Park District's 2008-2012 Capital Improvement Plan is programming the construction of several new artificial turf fields. At the May 14th, CPD Board of Commissioner meeting, Commissioner's approved an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Chicago for the transfer of Tax Increment Financing funds for the construction of an Artificial Turf Field and Field house renovation at Riis Park located at 6100 West Fullerton ($1.5 million budgeted).

Chicago Tribune Story

Today, FOTP will be requesting that the City's Parks and Recreation Committee include as part of its June 9th meeting a public hearing on Artificial Turf Fields and/or during the month of June 2008.

Please allocate time to attend park related meetings and hearings. Here are other park related dates to place on your calendar:

May 29th, Community Dinner and Dialogue on 2016 Olympic Bid, U of C - Harris School of Public Policy, 1155 East 60th Street

June 2nd, 7 p.m. Portage Park Playground Design Charette - 4100 North Long (Senior Citizen Center)

June 5th, 10 a.m. - City Council Committee on Zoning "Chicago's Children's Museum" CCM Plan

June 7th, Walk and Ride Event, from Tuley Park to Meyering Park along South King Drive

June 9th, 11 a.m. - City Council Committee on Parks and Recreations - Agenda: Open Space Impact Fees

June 11th, - 11 a.m. - City Hall - City Council Meeting

June 11th - 4 p.m. - Chicago Park District Board of Commissioner's Meeting @ 541 N. Fairbanks

June 12th, 7 p.m. - Last 4 Miles Community Meeting @ Loyola Park (1230 West Greenleaf) Roger Park Residents ONLY!

June 14th, Park events all day at Lindblom, Loyola, Odgen Park, Brainerd, Wicker Park and Sheil Park

June 18th, 6:30 p.m. Last 4 Miles Community Meeting @ Broadway Armory (5917 North Broadway) Edgewater Residents ONLY!

Educating Youth On Toxic Relationships

"In 2004, the state cut funding for domestic violence shelters. Congress reduced funding for the Victims of Crimes Act—one of the key sources of revenue for states—by close to $75 million earlier this year. Illinois' share of the federal money dropped from more than $16 million to around $11.6 million.

The shortfalls have forced 27 counties in southern Illinois to cut courthouse advocates who work specifically with abused women by helping them understand their rights and apply for protective orders, referring them to shelters and shuttling them to and from court, Ferguson said.

Meanwhile, the need continues to rise, Ferguson said. Illinois courts granted more than 60,000 orders of protection in 2007, but two-thirds of women seeking help never get it, she said." Full Tribune Article
Sadly, too many women become victims of abuse by co-creating the atmosphere that fosters it. There are cases of abuse to men from women too. Many will get ruffled but that’s the way it is. We see teenage mothers who continue the pattern they grew up in thinking it is ‘normal’. It’s normal to make a mistake but it’s habitual to keep repeating it.

Scenario: What about a young woman who has a child with a convicted felon who was busted for dealing drugs? Does she move on with her life and care for her child or does she continue to pal around with Baby Daddy? Baby Daddy lives with another woman but the young mother clings to some fantasy because he’s the father of her baby. So where does that fantasy lead? Oh, jealousy, anger, fights, and the possibility of all three adults stalking one another, and ultimately physical and/or property damage for starters.

Rather than breaking the insidious pattern, the young woman becomes pregnant by him again. Is she repetitively clinging to a fantasy thinking he will change his ways and they’ll live happily ever after? Does she think that if she loves him more he will change? Does she allow him to use the first child as a weapon to keep coming around? Unfortunately, the answer is usually yes, because she doesn’t see a pattern.

It’s symptomatic of low self-esteem, the need to be loved, the need to love, and an ingrained mindset that love conquers all. These symptoms, like all deadly diseases, do not discriminate according to age, gender, income, education, or ethnicity.

Perhaps instituting classes in 7th-12th grades on the patterns of abusive, toxic relationships might be just as or more preventative than a paper with an order of protection. The latter comes after the abuse. Could this be another symptom of the tunnel vision of lawmakers and enablers?

May 28, 2008

Sightseeing NOH

Remember the episode of closing the street to plant flowers on Paulina? A commenter remarked that many had died. New geranium plants have been added to detract from the barren tree beds.


With every spring thaw or rainstorm, we have Lake Jonquil at Jonquil/Bosworth. Plus the usual disrespectful litter. Where's the plunger?


The broken window in the top left of the Northpoint building has not been repaired in at least a year. Neighbors on Paulina claim the Northpoint office has been informed over and over but still no repairs. Allegedly, a disrespectful young person NOH threw a rock and busted it. The same young person has been rude, disrespectful and has intimidated neighbors on the street.


Several neighbors have started sitting in the Harold Washington Playlot and speaking up when kids disregard the rules. We need more neighbors like that to ensure the little ones can play safely without being trounced upon by older kids playing football. No one cares if the older ones play football – just do it in Triangle or Gale where there’s ample space.

The excuse of ‘my mom told me to stay outta there’ is wearing thin with parents of small children. These older kids roam freely with no apparent parental concern.

How Predictable

More boring but predictable, expensive excuses from the Illinois political arena.

Excerpt from the Sun-Times quoting Big Jim Thompson:

"The man has gone from being the governor of the state of Illinois to being a prisoner in the federal penitentiary," Thompson said. "His career is gone. His reputation is gone. His pension for the moment is gone. . . . I think everybody's interests have been served."

I have wondered when this would be presented to Bush…now we know.

Meanwhile, the current Governor of Illinois remarks about Carol Ronen

Blago claims he “…didn't know about it until I read it in the paper.” Shame on those who voted down the recall. So just who out there is on the taxpayers side? Anyone?

May 27, 2008

An Awesome View

And we thought it was windy and chilly today? Imagine trading places with these workers. This building is on the northeast corner of LaSalle/Madison. A few years ago, the slabs of stone siding came tumbling down. Luckily, it was on a weekend.


The green rooftop of City Hall.


May 26, 2008

Holiday Re-Cap

It was a relatively quiet holiday weekend North of Howard. There was the exception of the adult male setting off illegal fireworks in Gale Park Saturday. Sunday afternoon neighbors heated up the grills, turned up the music and had a good time in the park. Yes, there were alcoholic beverages being consumed in the park and on Howard Street. But what the heck, it's a holiday, the rules don't apply.

This evening, I had to close the window so we could watch and hear the Tudors simultaneously. The green mosquito has been taken out storage and was buzzing the neighborhood. Tonight he was joined by the red and blue mosquitos aka screaming two wheel vehicles.

There were reports of ambulances and police on the west side not long ago. Then the cold wind from the north hit. It's finally getting quiet.

Hope you had a good break and be sure to dress for winter again tomorrow!

May 25, 2008

Pot A Plant At Gale Greenhouse

Rogers Park Garden Group invites you to pot a plant in May. Join your neighbors

Tuesday, May 27, 6:30 pm
Gale School Greenhouse (7600 N. Marshfield - Jonquil Terrace & Marshfield Ave.)

Learn how to plant a great container for your balcony or garden with Joan Mazat of Ball Seed. Bring your own container. Potting soil and plants grown and cared for by students from Gale School and community volunteers will be available for $2-$3. All proceeds will benefit Gale Elementary Community Academy and Greenhouse Project. If needed, a cart will be available to transport completed containers to the door.

A donation will be made by the RPGG to America in Bloom. America in Bloom is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to promoting nationwide beautification programs and personal and community involvement through the use of flowers, plants, trees and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements. To learn more about this wonderful organization visit their website here.

May 24, 2008

Another Silly Law?

I noticed a ticket in the row of bikes. When I got close up it was a scooter. The motorized bike owner made the mistake of treating the small two-wheeler like a bicycle. If I owned one of these things – which I doubt will ever happen – I wouldn’t want to pay $35 a day in a downtown garage for SUV’s to knock it over because my mode of transportation was taking up a whole space.

Howard5.9.08 007 Howard5.9.08 008

This ticketed mosquito hardly compares to a rumbling Harley, a humming BMW or one of those other gawdawful screaming machines. SUV’s aim at them too. Of course, SUV’s seem to aim at everything. Maybe Chicago needs to set aside parking areas for motorized two wheelers. Think about it, how many of these would fit into a regular parking space?

Easy Money

First reported on The Bench

and now from the Sun Times

Excerpt from the Sun Times:

Ronen said she meant to stay on Blagojevich's staff longer, but "circumstances just didn't permit that.

"There's a huge, huge deficit in this current year's budget, $750 million, and another one looming for the next one. All the projects I was interested in required resources. . . . Plus, you see what's happening in Springfield. There is a toxic environment that pervades everything," she said.

Ronen was elected to the Illinois House in 1992 and served five terms there before moving to the Senate in 2000. As a senator, she voted for a 2003 law that went after bloated legislative pensions.

For her pension to be based upon her $120,000-a-year governor's office salary rather than her final legislative pay, Ronen had to spend one month working under Blagojevich. Ronen was hired March 1 and left the governor's office April 30.

Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff declined to offer time sheets or work product for Ronen and said Ronen's pension was "never discussed and wasn't a consideration" in Ronen's hiring.


Ronens' reason for accepting then declining the job due to a lack of resources makes no sense. She's been around long enough to know that Illinois has been in the hole for a long time. And now we'll be short $38k more.

It always amuses me how the 'liberal' politicians in this area promote assistance for the poor, preach on their soapboxes about doing more. As I recall there was that sneaky attempt to plant one more social service in this small area. At least Moore said 'no'. Hope he doesn't change his mind. Oddly the same liberals can't say 'NO' to more money in their banks. A true blue bleedin' heart would give it to the poor wouldn't he/she? Walk the Talk.

The aldermen vote for their on-going pay raises. Then there's the Stroger family and friends plan, and didn't Bobbie Steele boost her pension as the interim Cook County President? Talk about silly laws! Get real - these little pension and salary perks create a portion of Illinois debt. The state is in the hole and it's doomed to stay in the hole until voters wake up. That includes all income levels.

The rest of us can work in the non-government sector, pay their bloated taxes, and what are we doing? Enabling the enablers.

May 23, 2008

Local Building Part Of The Conspiracy

Conspiracy to defraud on Granville!

That’s at the edge of wards 48 and 49. Another development allowed to sell and the new owners get to foot the bill? If this is the same building I heard about, the few occupants have already forked out a lot of money in legal fees. There were other strange connections in this building.

The Feds need to keep digging. That dig might include some city attorneys and their method of plea agreements for developers caught cutting corners or ignoring them. Who follows up on what is started after the plea agreement? Finish what you start is not their motto. Again, why don’t the alderpersons keep track of their wards? Bad buildings or construction, it should all filter down to home base keeper of the kingdom. The Feds should look into the whole pyramid . The Attorney General’s office is usually too busy to do it, but we pay the taxes.

Then there may be employees at the recorder of deeds who don’t get documents scanned and uploaded online so the public can locate information. Don’t forget there are two entities that are supposed to submit them for posting – corporation counsel and/or the building commissioners department. The building department has long covered many backsides by claiming the public should physically visit them and pull the records. We’re only in the 21st Century.

Then on the flip side, what about all the red tape, rules and regulations, involved in these codes? It’s surprising there’s not a code for planting flowers. Or is there? Are some of those codes really necessary or are they just on the books as an excuse to generate revenue?

Then there’s the cover thy ass aspect of these codes. We won’t mention the tyrannical side of it.

The 7 city employees are just mere offerings to keep the god of justice from roaring. Let him roar.

The whole messy story

GPS systems were put on inspectors vehicles to make sure they could be located. There’s nothing illegal about a walk to Starbucks. Maybe they all need ankle braclets with built-in recording devices. If the city is going to be so hell bent on despotism, that’s an option.

"At the end of the day" a lot of innocent taxpayers and owners pay the price.

May 22, 2008

Politically Incorrect Humor

I was walking past the mental hospital the other day, and all
the patients were shouting ,"13....13....13"

The fence was too high to see over, but I saw a little gap in
the planks and looked through to see what was going on.

Somebody poked me in the eye with a stick.

Then they all started shouting "14....14....14"...

From The In Box

From the In Box in reference to this

On Tuesday when I got off of the train (4:00 p.m. ish) There were about 30 – 40 kids slowly meandering across Howard, blocking traffic, talking loud and pretty much just doing the normal inner-city teen thing of being as big of a BUTT as they could be, No threats of a fight or anything like that. They were being shadowed by a number of undercover cars and police vehicles. Once NOH, they moved to Gale Park and some started to disperse. So some of the police activity could have been pro-active to abate any problems later that night; I’ve never seen that many teens grouped together and moving in that herd mentality before. This could be something new for the summer? Hope not.

Blog note: Was there a teen peace march that day? Was there any kind of event that would require police shadowing?

A Surprise For The Local Machine?

BY MICHAEL SNEED Sun-Times Columnist
Dateline: Springfield -- Sneed hears rumbles those aspiring to replace U.S. Sen. Barack Obama -- should he win the presidency -- are in for a shocker.

• • To wit: U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky and others might be surprised to hear Gov. Blagojevich, who would pick Obama's replacement, is eyeing Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth. She's bright. She's hard working. She's a woman. She's a disabled vet. What a combination!


Stuff Happens.

May 21, 2008

Chester Commodore Exhibition

Subject: Press release for Chester Commodore exhibit and opening program--
Sat., May 24

CONTACT: Leland Elder
(312) 747-4053

The Free Exhibition Will Open On May 24, 2008

For Immediate Release
May 7, 2008

The Chicago Public Library is pleased to announce the
opening of a free exhibition, entitled Chester
Commodore, 1914-2004: The Work and Life of a
Pioneering Cartoonist of Color, on Saturday, May 24,
2008, in the exhibit gallery at Carter G. Woodson
Regional Library, 9525 S. Halsted Street. The free
exhibition, which can be viewed during regular library
hours, will run through Dec. 31, 2008.

There will be an opening program on May 24, beginning
at 1:30 pm, featuring family, colleagues and friends
of Chester Commodore, as well as scholars who will
place Commodore's work in the context of African
American journalism.

The speakers at the opening program will include Earl
Calloway, Fine Arts editor for the Chicago Defender;
Adam Green, Professor of History at University of
Chicago; Bill Hutchins, Chester Commodore's step-son;
Tim Jackson, current editorial cartoonist for the
Chicago Defender; and Victor Margolin, retired
Professor of Art and Design History, University of
Illinois at Chicago. A reception will follow the

The Chicago Public Library's Vivian G. Harsh Research
Collection of Afro-American History and Literature was
scheduled to open this major exhibition on the career
of the late Chester Commodore-one of the country's
most influential African American cartoonists-in
April. However, due to unavoidable exhibition
preparation conflicts the April opening was postponed.
At this time, all of the exhibition construction
details have now been finalized and the new opening
date is confirmed.

The exhibit will include more than 125 items selected
from the Chester Commodore Papers, permanently held at
the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection. Among the
rare and unique items are original cartoons,
photographs, letters, awards and other memorabilia.
The exhibit will also offer additional material to
provide a historical context on the social events
depicted in Commodore's cartoons and by other African
American cartoonists.

Chesterfield (Chester) Commodore was born in Racine,
Wisconsin in 1914, and moved to Chicago at the age of
13. He was fascinated by cartoons from an early age
and was largely a self-taught artist. In 1948,
Commodore landed a job at the Chicago Defender, and
advanced quickly from doing photo layouts to story
illustrations and then to drawing humor cartoons. In
1954, Commodore became the Defender's primary
editorial cartoonist where he vigorously campaigned
for civil rights and against prejudice. Commodore
continued his consciousness-raising mission for 50
years until his death in 2004.

Commodore was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize twelve
times but he never won the Pulitzer. He was, however,
a seven-time winner of the Best Cartoon award from the
National Newspaper Publishers Association. Commodore
also received awards from such diverse groups as the
Chicago Newspaper Guild, the National Conference of
Christians and Jews, and the Lu Palmer Foundation.

One of the speakers at the program, Tim Jackson, was a
leading organizer of the recent nationwide action by
African American cartoonists protesting against their
marginalization in print media. The exhibit will call
attention to the historical significance of
cartoonists of color and the impact they have made on
race relations in the United States.

The Chicago Public Library acquired the Chester
Commodore Papers in the summer of 2007 as a generous
gift from his stepdaughter, Lorin Nails-Smooté and
family. The acquisition process was a collaborative
effort involving support from the Commonwealth Edison
Company, philanthropists Sunil and Julia Garg, and the
University of Chicago's Mapping The Stacks project,
led by Professor Jacqueline Goldsby. Support for the
exhibit (and accompanying programs) has been provided
by The Joyce Foundation, The Chicago Cotillion
Charities Foundation, and the Vivian G. Harsh Society,

For more information, please call the Harsh Research
Collection at 312/745-2080.

May 20, 2008

Police Presence In Hot Spot

Last Friday a commenter mentioned there were 60+ people hanging out on a nice evening at the Ashland/Jonquil cul de sac. S/He questioned the definition of ‘loitering’. Tonight as I was rushing to the park council meeting I noticed these squads in the circle and in Gale Park. The meeting went on until about 8:30 and the streets were relatively empty and quiet. Humm


May 19, 2008

The Street Is Alive - With Flowers

Enjoy the hibiscus, asparagus fern, and other greenery while they last! What would summer be without the arse planters on Howard? It would be like switching Independence Day and Christmas. That’s not a bad concept for this area – it could be a deterrent from the month long siege of illegal fireworks in June-July.

GEDC0003 GEDC0001 GEDC0002

These planters were supposed to be either donated or auctioned off to the parties submitting a last minute ‘proposal’. I guess that plan was dismissed or no one wanted them. Or else the new shipment didn’t arrive in time.

Is any one willing to make wagers on the duration of these nice plants? Maybe this year they will survive.

May 18, 2008

Gale Academy Greenhouse

Yesterday was a wonderful day for gardening – finally. Here are some shots from the trek to Gale Academy’s greenhouse.

GEDC0017 GEDC0020 GEDC0019 GEDC0018

The students greenhouse is quite impressive. I hope they know how lucky they are to have such a special place.

May 16, 2008

The Ward Office Did NOT Fix This Hole

8:00 AM Workmen were on Howard this morning patching potholes with asphalt. With a smile and a ‘good morning’ I started my plea with them to fix the hole in the sidewalk even though their job was for the street. My sales pitch included the cold hard truth where my finger was pointing to the Hole On Howard . It’s conveniently located where wheelchairs are supposed to be able to roll safely across the alley and it’s a Safety Hazard


They considered my plea and walked over to inspect it. One remarked that there were paint markers so it's been noted. I responded that the paint had been there for months and we've made numerous 311 calls for repair. They snickered and snorted! The supervisor said he'd have to call and get permission and told another worker put a marker on the culprit. I thanked them and went to work.


4:00PM tonight. Folks, the ward office had absolutely nothing to do with the patch on the former Hole On Howard.



Thanks to the sensible, understanding workmen this morning, the seniors in wheelchairs can safely get across. And those of us pushing shopping carts won't have to cuss at the damn thing anymore.

Have A Safe Friday

It’s Friday, the weather forecast looks heavenly. Sadly, up here, it’s the kind of weather that builds tension. The outsiders come to visit, buy drugs, deal drugs, party, maybe participate in a dice game and eventually there’s some issue erupting. I hope everyone makes it to and from home to school or work and back safely. After the last two Fridays with the bullets on Bosworth episodes, I’m still waiting for a response from the alderman. Betsy, his chief of staff, did respond Friday evening and stated she’d copy Joe and Alicia but as I wrote back a few days later, I have yet to hear from either one. As of this morning, he’s not read the AOL email sent with the subject matter: shots fired on Bosworth sent Friday, May 9 at 5:59 pm.

There’s mayhem in pockets of Ward 49 but apparently our leader is more concerned with Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and fair democratic processes. Perhaps the friends of Joe Moore fund could purchase him a police scanner so he could hear what we are expected to deal with. The ward is supposed to be represented at CAPS meetings, the ward is supposed to deal with taxpayer concerns and complaints. Instead, anyone with a valid complaint must first be a part of the Inner Circle. WTF is democratic about that?

There were two police officers walking on Howard when I de-trained last night. At first they were ‘loitering’ in front of the pizza joint then started walking west turning the corner at Paulina. Apparently enough neighbors made enough noise at last week’s CAPS meeting to warrant a little attention. So the CPD is stepping up a little, where’s Joe?

In fact, where are the neighbors who may have heard those shots for two Fridays in a row? Where are they on any night on any street here? Where are they when groups gather in front of buildings, yelling and screaming? What is the point of calling or emailing some of us about it? Spend that time and energy calling 311 or 911 and Joe to report the event.

Could this mentality of see nothing, hear nothing, do nothing enable the enablers to keep enabling? Or worse yet, have neighbors just given up?

Have a safe Friday.

May 15, 2008

Who Has The Biggest Steamroller?

The Ward office sent an email blast on an upcoming community input meeting on Sheridan Road this morning. Then tonight there was the coverage of yesterday’s dissolution of the foie gras ban. Granted, it was the Meigs Field of goose livers in the democratic process - but it happens all the time.

Ironically, the long-timers North of Howard have explained and proven to me with documents that similar push through decisions were made here without fair discourse from the community.

I’ll never forget my first and only Builders Group meeting a few years ago. At the end of the meeting a member who had been quiet all evening piped up and said “how can the group ever gain the trust of NOH again?” Later those documents surfaced to connect to the stories I’d heard. We’ll probably never know how many buyers were lured here with the BS that this was a neighborhood ‘in transition’ and those big buildings were apartments. So the real estate agents took their commission and we’re paying the mortgages, hiked up Stroger taxes, shopping for the best security system payment plans, weapons, and heavy duty exterior lighting. Oh did I forget we’re out there doing our part to ‘take back our streets’?

Ahh, but I digress…….let’s get back to those emails.

Many claim that certain developers are favored and it appears that way doesn’t it? If it isn’t Camelot, it’s Coe! There’s a community meeting but no zoning minutes to inform the taxpayers what the zoning committee discussed (or decided). It’s a mirror image of what we read in the papers about the big picture downtown, downstate and in DC. There’s always a bigger steamroller somewhere. Aside from bruised egos, hurt feelings, humiliation, smirks and snickers, are the taxpayers best interests being tended to?

Stroger, Daley, Blago and their counterparts in all 50 states are blaming our financial problems on Bush’s illegal war. The next target of blame is the mortgage arena and banks who enabled people to buy homes who didn’t understand the long term commitment and the fine writing. Yet, we have ‘silly laws’ and we have outrageous laws that should never, ever have been allowed on the floor for a vote. Here’s a fine example of our politicians respecting taxpayer money!

Dr. Simon was chastised for driving a county car for personal use. Do these alleged caretakers of the taxpayers of Illinois feel comfy in their big ass gas guzzlers getting 9 mpg? Even corporate America has cut back on such luxuries!

They may as well legalize drugs because they’re all very high on themselves at our expense.

Rx For The Big Drug Peddlers

Caution: This medication may cause shortness of breath, dry mouth, diahrrea, constipation, drowsiness, loss of appetite, hot flashes, cold flashes, tingling in extremeties,weird behavior, suicidal tendencies, loss of.....

The warnings on these ads should be enough to make a person compare the symptoms to the side effects. People need to research their physicians' offerings before they're plunged into some financial pharmaceutical black hole. But we're supposed to trust the white coat right?

Gone are ads for the legal drug - alcohol. Gone are the condom ads with STD warnings. So the drug boys switched gears and target the Boomer generation with all the scare tactics available. Thank you lobbyists!

May 14, 2008

Save Grant Park Tomorrow

From the Spam Mail box:

More on tomorrow's Plan Commission Meeting on the Chicago Children's Museum from the coalition fighting the machine. At least Moore wasn't for this takeover.


They are NOT going to make this easy. They are trying to demoralize us by limiting testimony. This is not an objective process.

Please read these revised rules for the Plan Commission Meeting on Thursday, May 15, at 1:00 in City Council Chambers in City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle.

It is strongly advised that people get there as early as possible. Please also work this evening to find additional people to join us. We expect the museum to try and occupy all the seats.

For those who live at 340, 360 and 400 East Randolph - please try to get your neighbors to attend. You will have the strongest standing with the committee and ability to cross examine. Not everyone can cross-examine, but ANYONE CAN TESTIFY IF YOU SIGN-UP.



· The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, May 15th at 1:00pm in CityCouncil Chamberson the 2nd floor of City Hall. The doors will open at 12:30. If you would like a seat, of course, arrive ahead of time.

· You must sign in to testify. Signing in consists of filling out a short form supplied by the City at the hearing. THE CITY HAS DESIGNED NEW FORMS AND WILL NOT BE ACCEPTING THE OLD FORMS. You must be present to fill out the form AND speak.

· The City is limiting testimony to 3 minutes. They will be turning off the microphone if you go over.

· The City is also limiting access to Chambers. There will be Fire Marshals stationed outside of Chambers and will hold people out in the hall once they reach capacity. If you are waiting in the hall and it is your turn to testify, you will be escorted in to speak then out after your 3 minutes are up.

· You must make sure your sign-in sheet is in the hands of the City (the representative collecting them at the hearing) prior to the beginning of the presentation for the Children's Museum. The Museum is now item #2 of 3.

· You must check the AGAINST THE PROPOSAL box, if you fail to do so, they may not allow you to testify.

· You must be present when your name is called to testify.

· Testimony can consist of a speech, a presentation (please bring a flashdrive or CD---there will be a laptop there) or questions posed to individuals who were part of CCM's presentation to the Commission. The current limitation on such questions are from individuals who own property within the "effected area" (the 250' radius of the project). Although if you happen to not live within that radius, it is worth a try to ask a question if you have one.



Save Grant Park

What About The Rogers Park Report?

At 9:21 AM today the Ward49 office sent an email blast outlining the April City Council Report. Today there was another CC meeting. Of course, as we all know from the media and blogs, it was not a good day for Moore. No one is fond of bullies, and I can almost understand how it must have felt to have the Mayor plow over Fois Gras. Almost.
Overview of April City Council business per Joe Moore:

· A new taxicab surcharge linked to fuel prices is now in effect. If the price of gas remains $2.70 or higher for a week, the surcharge is 50 cents/trip; if $3.20 or more per gallon, then the extra fare is one dollar. (Looks like $1 for sure, based on the prices seen around town these days!) The cabbies would have liked an even greater fare hike to cover rising fuel prices, while riders, especially those making short trips, will be particularly affected (as the surcharge is the same for two blocks or twenty miles). But the compromise was good enough to pass. This legislation will be in force for at least a year, when a permanent fare increase can be considered.

· An ordinance now combines the regulation of junkyards and recycling facilities into one category. This new law will allow the city to be more stringent with their tracking and inspections of these facilities. A recent increase in metal theft, from aluminum siding to plaques stolen from statutes provided the impetus for the law. I know from calls to my ward service office that such theft exists in our area as well as citywide. This new ordinance should help.

And briefly:
· An amendment strengthening the noise ordinance was passed to provide additional protections to citizens.

Blog ?: Does that include enforcing the decibel law on loud car radios? Or what about that loud motorcycle roaring around last night setting off all the car alarms?

· The City's contribution to funeral expenses for an officer killed in the line of duty was increased to $8,000.

· An ordinance is now in effect to insure that parents with baby buggies have access to passenger (rather than only service) elevators in large apartment and condo buildings.

· The Council voted in favor of a resolution censuring the University of Chicago for not divesting in companies doing business with the Sudan (as Northwestern University and the University of Illinois have already done.)

· And finally, another honorary resolution was passed--to honor and thank Gary Washburn and his years of service as a City Hall reporter for the Chicago Tribune. I very much appreciated his clear, accurate and unbiased reporting; a style of reporting that sadly is becoming far less common today.

Blog ?: Just who is that reporting jab directed toward?

Thanks for reading this report on April's City Council meeting. Look for a report on today's meeting soon.

Blog: You are welcome. Thank you for the report. We are waiting to hear your version in your words of the foie gras debacle. Until then, perhaps you can re-group your thoughts and energies and hold a slumlord summit to clean up NOH. Maybe Jody Weis could join us on a midnight tour of this place. The police need his reassurance.

We need more than rakes and shovels, we need leadership and a plan with community input. By community, we mean people who really live here, pay taxes here and want to be safe in their homes, on the sidewalks and streets. (That is if we aren’t all wiped out by stray bullets by the gunslingers.)

May 13, 2008

Secrets of Marshfield

This is how real estate tennis is played North of Howard.

Flash from 2007

The last mortgage recorded was on 4/15/08 for a mere $8,644,600.00, Grantor 7612 N Marshfield LLC, Grantee Wheatland Bank. The mortgage before that was recorded 10/11/05 with 7612 N Marshfield LLC as the Grantor and Libertyville B&T as the Grantee. That mortgage was for $4,300,000.00. Executed on 9/15/05 and recorded on 10/15/05 was the Trustees Deed in the amount of $3,500.000.00 listing LaSalle Bank Trust as the Grantor and 7612 N Marshfield LLC as the Grantee. Is this normal real estate tennis?

This photo was taken in January 2006.

This was taken January 2007.


While busy observing the sinkhole, I noticed two huge banners, one stating condos for rent the other stating apartments for rent,so I called the agent listed to inquire. They are not condos but apartments for rent I was informed. Why the misinformation on the banner I inquired? Oh, the ‘owner’ changed his mind and decided to make them rentals. But when I asked who this owner was, I couldn’t get a response. However, if you dig enough on CCRD you will notice “Lohan Hoem Design” in the transactions (Hoem is probably a typo) and the real estate agent coincidentally shares the surname of Lohan.

Here we are in 2008.
Holes on Marshfield5.6.08_007

There are 40 units, some still under construction – but you can move into the finished ones. A 1 BR is $800 a month. A 2 BR 2 BA is $1,200 a month and a 2 BR 1 BA is $950 a month. Tenant pays for forced air heat, central air, electric and is off the hook for water.

So to play the tennis game, our leaders will justify their immersion of North of Howard with subsidized buildings stating that ‘developments’ such as this off-set the real problems, and NOH is a true mixed-income neighborhood. In that type of comparison, it might almost be considered but the crime rate doesn’t justify this scattershot planning (if you can call it that). Nor does it enhance the economic development (or lack thereof) due to the crime rate and the reputation that just won’t slide off.

As I pored over three years of photos, very little has changed here. Chip bags, booze cans and bottles, trash, boom box cars at 2am, open air drug markets, gunfire, illegal fireworks, hookers on Howard, johns cruising for hookers on Howard, but by golly, this is what is termed 'diversity' and change is on the horizon.

At least with tenants paying this secret owner(s) more than some pay for mortgages, hopefully 911 will ring off the hook to report the activities of Howard Street and that all night party garage under their alley windows. Perhaps then someone will listen up.

May 12, 2008

Push Back Time

A comment on ‘One Less Problem On Howard’

Putting lipstick on pigs - yeah, that's about right. DevCorp, in its current form, really doesn't seem to benefit the neighborhood. I think North Coast has a good point. The money that is currently being flushed down the proverbial toilet, courtesy of DevCorp would be better spent on getting the slumlords in line and making the place civilized enough that having planters and benches is actually an asset.
We may be on to something here! DevCorp and the alderman together would have the necessary power or force to bring some of the current slumlord-related problems to a halt. If the city and the feds are no longer doing 30 year extensions on subsidized housing, then why did the term on Northpoint slide through with the help of a few self-serving organizations? Many who sit on those boards do not live here therefore do not round the corner to gunfire at 5:30 PM or come home to it at midnight.

Of course, the city is in the process of tearing down the projects and creating mixed-income properties and people must live somewhere if they no longer qualify. Enter the less than considerate property owners who don’t do security checks but cash those guaranteed government rent checks. Still, as federally funded entities, these owners are subject to follow rules and guidelines. So where’s the enforcer?

Imagine: The alderman and DevCorp doing something constructive about the problem of enabling the anti-socials. Some of the business owners on Howard (the few that we have) were in a slight uproar last week at the CAPS meeting. The police claim the mayor has “tied their hands” and they can only do so much. Well guess what – the rest of us can only do so much too. We can hope to get home without being hit by a stray bullet, or having our property trespassed upon, broken into, because we are the hated targets fed by politics and fiery religion. Instead of expecting us to know our place, the creator of this pocket of poverty owes the decent neighbors and business owners some respect for a change.

If you make the mess then you are responsible for cleaning it up. Stop playing tennis and tossing that ball in our court. It’s time for a little meeting with the notorious managers up here and get some ground rules set. The rules are already there actually, it’s just up to the creator to see that they’re enforced.

DevCorp is either part of the problem or totally blind to the way they’ve been manipulated. IF they want an economy on Howard Street, IF they want safe, secure shopping, IF they want business owners to set up shop and stay here, then perhaps they need to do the push back on the alderman for a change.

Someone needs to stop the tennis game, so let’s ask DevCorp to rise to a new level.

May 11, 2008

CBS Town Hall Meeting

I missed most of the town hall on CBS last night. What I did not miss was Dr. Adolph Brown addressing issues some have been chastised for daring to speak about. His physical transformation from the audience to the stage and key words are priceless.

CBS Video


May 10, 2008

One Less Problem On Howard

Before I left for work yesterday morning, a neighbor called stating ‘there's a man with a sledgehammer in front of the Broadmoor’…and the cell phone dropped the call. I called back and heard the rest of the story. The man with the sledgehammer was breaking up the arse planter in front of Sandy’s on Howard. Actually, there were two men taking care of the thing.

Howard5.9.08 001 Howard5.9.08 002
The DevCorp arse planters have long been an eyesore on Howard - thanks not only to the pitiful blocky design but to people who demolish flowers with their lazy arses. I think they cost the SSA#19 taxpayers $300 each plus plants and ‘maintenance’. Their approximate weight is 800 per block, enough to support a 200 lb lazy arse or two. Many pretty plants were murdered in that planter.

The Broadmoor management, tiring of the loitering on the corner, decided to deal with one of the problems. DevCorp has allegedly purchased more planters at the expense of SSA#19 taxpayers with a less comfortable design for arses. We shall see.

Howard5.9.08 003

Humorous (tongue in cheek) thought: Could last night’s shooting event have been in retaliation for the death of the local arse planter?

Early Friday Morning Mugging

At 1:00 AM Friday morning a wife woke her husband because there was a man screaming for help as he was being chased by four other men heading eastbound on the 1500 block of Birchwood.

Here’s the neighbors account:

One of these four individuals had come up behind the victim and thrown him to the ground in an attempt to rob him. I suspect the attackers henchmen were on hand to back him up. While the victim began screaming for help and tried to run away. It appears the attackers gave up after following the victim for the initial length of our block.

We called the police and once they arrived we said goodnight to gentleman who lives on Fargo. I know nothing else about the status of this but the victim had no money so other then having his pants torn in the scuffle. He was just grateful that he wasn't shot. Although, there was no evidence that they actually had any weapons.

Blog Note: This would have made it to the posting last night had it not been for the gunslingers up here.

May 9, 2008

Shots Fired On Bosworth - Again

Just a week ago gunshots were fired on Bosworth. Tonight a little after 5:30 PM shots rang out again. I came around the corner by Sandy's, heard the pop pop noise and saw people scattering. One woman carrying a small child ran across Howard into the bakery. I looked down Bosworth and noticed two people hitting the ground for cover. About all I could do was hang out on Howard and dial 911.

When it got quiet I went around the corner again and asked a woman and man standing in the Broadmoor doorway what they saw. The woman pointed to two buildings and said a 'kid pulled out a gun and started shooting'. She said the shooter and others ran into the gangway.

I checked out the building that was the source of the problem last week and the gate was propped open with a newspaper. I emailed the owner, phoned the manager and the alderman. So if any neighbors saw anything you may want to email your alderman so he can fix the problem. I can't.

The woman who had rushed past me with her child denied running, denied knowing anything, hearing anything or seeing anything. It's amazes me how people can yell and scream about safety then become part of the problem with their inability to do the simplest action - speaking when it's really necessary.

As one tenant in the building said "It's cold tonight, what's it going to be like when it's hot?"

May 8, 2008

News Flash From Tonights CAPS Meeting

Neighbors on Rogers and Sheridan and other neighboring streets will be relieved to know that Island Groove is no more.

Last month the problem solving meeting was broken into groups or individuals who identified a problem and were to report on what steps they took to resolve it at tonights meeting.

Sargon Isaac reported on his resolution tonight: The lease with his tenants at Island Groove (the former Biddy Mulligan site) has been terminated and the locks have been changed. So for the neighbors who spoke up loud and clear, one problem building has been silenced for now.

CAPS Beat 2422 May Meeting - Tonight

For the Merry Month of May, CAPS Beat 2422 meeting will have a short Recap on Problem Solving for those who missed the April meeting, followed by reports from those who identified problems and how they worked on solutions in the past month.

Karen Hoover will be the guest speaker.

Thursday, May 8
Gateway Senior Apartments
7450 N. Rogers - Community Room
7:00 PM

May 7, 2008

From The Spam Mailbox

The following portion of an email from Suzanne Elder was in my spam mailbox. Thankfully, I didn't delete it.

Save Grant Park Online Petition

Save Grant Park—Forever Open, Clear and Free
(or as one advocate said, "Mr. Mayor, What part of the four supreme
court decisions don't you understand?)

A Special Place with a Special History
For 171 years, Chicago's Grant Park has remained specially protected
open space, "forever clear and free" for Chicagoans of every age and
from every corner of the city to enjoy, thanks to four Illinois Supreme
Court decisions.

Dozens of Other Projects Rejected Throughout the Past
Thanks to the courage and wisdom of previous generations dozens of
other worthy projects have been rejected in Grant Park, including the
Field Museum and most recently, the DuSable Museum of African American

Stand Our Ground, or the Grant Park We Know Will Be Gone
The erosion of public space doesn't happen all it once. It starts with
a trickle, then a stream (or maybe a soccer field), then a river, and
finally a flood. Already, one museum backer is floating a second
proposal to build a tavern on the park. More proposals will follow are
sure to follow if we permit a 100,000 sq ft children’s museum to be
built on Grant Park.

Broad Opposition to Building in Grant Park
Organizations that oppose building in Grant Park include Environment
Illinois, Friends of the Parks, Friends of Daley Bi, Friends of
Downtown, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and Crain's Chicago
Business, as well as thousands of individual residents across the city.
Online polls by independent news organizations find that public
opposition to building on Grant Park runs 3 to 1.

Four Things You Can Do to Save Grant Park

1. Sign the online petition to save Grant Park today at

2. Call your alderman and tell them you are a resident of their ward,
and you want them to vote “No” on building a children's museum in Grant
Park. There are better locations. In the 7th district, contact:
---Alderman Pat O’ Conn0r (40th Ward) is undecided. Call him at
---Alderman Helen Shiller (46th Ward) is undecided. Call her at
---Alderman Gene Schulter (47th Ward) is undecided. Call him at
---Alderman Mary Ann Smith (48th Ward) is undecided. Call her at
---Alderman Joe Moore (49th Ward) is the only district Alderman who is
on the record against this proposal. 49rs, you can give your Alderman a
happy shout out at 773-338-5796.

3. Ask your friends, co-workers, and family who live outside the
district to call their Aldermen and tell them to vote “No,” too. Email
a link to so they can sign the petition and send
info to their friends.

4. Encourage your Condominium Association Board and other
organizations that you are involved in to officially support Alderman
Reilly. It’s easy. Send a copy of the Letter of Support (download a
sample at as soon as possible.

What the Daily Papers Have Said:

“You can love children, not be racist and still oppose building a
Children's Museum in Grant Park.
With so much subterfuge, it's easy to lose the real issue: The
lakefront is sacred ground, "forever open, clear and free." That's how
it was designated way back in 1836, and that's what court rulings have
declared four times since, when prior generations pushed other civic
projects thought to be the perfect fit for Grant Park.
Today, the park is not an appropriate venue for an $8-per-head
glorified activity center for children, no matter how far the building
is sunk into the ground or how green the roof.” — Chicago Sun-Times
Editorial, September 21,2007

“No, Mayor Daley. This debate is not about people who've chosen to
live near a park that welcomes people of all races and incomes suddenly
wanting to exclude poor minority kids. This is about rich people
certain that they have enough influence over you to claim a part of
Grant Park for their project....
The issue here, Reilly correctly wrote, is "the future of Grant
Park" -- whether uncounted generations of Chicagoans will enjoy the
same open space that's under the stewardship of this generation. What
will we bequeath to them?
— Chicago Tribune Editorial, September 19,2007

One Less Gun In Rogers Park

May 6, 2008

Regress/Progress on Sinkhole From Hell

Yesterday afternoon, May 5, 2008 – the asphalt lump had been removed leaving this crater. Dan L has been keeping a watchful eye on the pothole from hell too with this comment:

"Re: the pot hole from hell on marshfield

They had that temp fix in from the weekend. This afternoon it's all dug up. Looks like they're going to lay in some concrete."

Holes on Marshfield5.6.08_002

This morning there were several workers at the site but I didn’t have time to snap the work in progress.

Tonight Dan’s prediction proved correct. Fresh cement was poured almost to the top of the crater. Drivers, hopefully you can have two lane traffic again soon.

Holes on Marshfield5.6.08_003 Holes on Marshfield5.6.08_004 Holes on Marshfield5.6.08_005

May 4, 2008

This Is Spiritual


GEDC0006 GEDC0004 GEDC0005 GEDC0007

Progressive Sunday

Progress, we have progressed from a sinkhole to a lump on Marshfield. But it’s progress!

Two weeks ago:
sightseeing42008 008

Holes on Marshfield_001
Holes on Marshfield_002

7532 N Rogers is still open for tourism, front (note the blue ward flyer!)
and back. These gentlemen were not playing chess.

I did learn that the City has been notified and inspectors were sent to this vacant property. According to the non-ward 49 source, the owner(s) must give reason to the city why this vacant property should not be demolished.

The ward office did respond to an email about this problem, thanked me for the blog links and stated that a call had been made to the owner to respond ASAP. The only problem I have is that this property has sat vacant for years, has been brought up in CAPS meetings and none of the city entities followed up on it. Maybe the appropriate entities missed that meeting or blog post about a year ago?

May 3, 2008

Clearing The Mind

A friend was researching methods to relieve an arthritic hip and keep physically fit without causing more pain. So his doctor suggested certain yoga poses, stretches and meditation. Always open-minded, my friend was overjoyed when he did a few simple stretches and found he felt much better. He’s also an avid junkie of the political money pit we’re being shoved into and how politicians could avert hurting their constituents.

As he delved further into his reading and internet searching, he kept firing email blasts to friends to read. When he found the literal meaning of ‘asana’ was 'seat' this thoughtful man entertained the thought that if politicians who ‘sit’ on the arses all day would do this pose they might be enlightened by this release. Clear the fog so to speak.

For those who dislike rigorous exercise, politics or the politics of religion, this may be more suitable.

Today he sent me these links that illustrate the use of props to assist doing certain postures until ones body becomes more pliable and to increase the duration of the pose.

assisted asana #1 and assisted asana #2

Aldermanic Side Job Disclosures

May 2, 2008

Bedlam and Rehab

Blog note: I had written this post before last night's gun fire episode.

After reading of tonight's NOH lunacy can one still entertain thoughts that this place has a thread of hope left? The police were sounding the bullhorn outside for people to move. I suppose there has to be an episode of bad boys with weapons early in the evening to get that reaction.

On the brighter side of Howard (if there is one) there are some visible changes. The Broadmoor is getting new patio door window replacements in the front. Broadmoor East and it’s counterpart on Howard (and those storefronts)appear to be vacant and undergoing some form of rehab.

The shoe repairman has moved from Broadmoor East to a rehabbed storefront on Howard under the Broadmoor. The north side of Howard Street between Bosworth and Greenview is empty save for the WIC storefront, the video store, the clinic, and the laundry mat.

sightseeing 001 sightseeing 002

The new digs are on the other side of Bosworth…where the recording studio was when I moved here. Hopefully, Mikhail will get a new sign soon.
sightseeing 013

The Howard Tire Shop has moved to Evanston and here’s a map for your convenience.
sightseeing 003

Further west on Howard, there are two storefronts for lease adjacent to the US Dollar Store and across the alley from the Bargain Paradise discount store.
for rent.howard st 002

The usually empty Howard Communications is available for lease.
for rent.howard st 003

And the granddaddy of chicken bones and grease on Howard, JJ’s Fish, is for rent too.
for rent.howard st 001

The success or failure of this hopeful transformation will depend on what type of businesses are being courted for these spaces. That is if anyone is bold enough to open shop up here. Will the landlords take the needs of the neighborhood into consideration or grab the first business offering a deposit and rent? Can the economy support another bargain store, shoe store or social service agency? Does Howard Street need or deserve more of the same? No, Howard Street and this neighborhood deserve a diverse shopping experience on the street – not that damn mall.

Midnight Shots On Bosworth

Just after midnight 5/1/08 I heard what I thought was a gun shot. Then I heard 3 more and I got out of bed and called 911. Soon there were several squads and undercovers and a couple of men in the street talking to them. I got dressed and went down to see what was going on. One man was my neighbor who had been standing on Howard watching 6-8 persons milling about in front of Bud Ogle's building at 7625 Bosworth. All were male with the exception of one female. The security from the Broadmoor had been outside observing it too.

One male had a gun and fired in the air toward the second story of a building across the street. Naturally, they all fled when the Broadmoor security and the neighbor, myself and possibly others dialed 911 and the sirens began wailing in this direction. Of course, the police couldn't determine which apartment they may have fled to since the building is rather large. They could have taken off down the alley too.

We’ve had problems at this building before and some neighbors who have been watching the old pattern developing report the problems are starting up again.

No more excuses Bud, we don't care if they're your tenants or friends of your tenants or just loiterers. Get security cameras aimed on the sidewalk and see for yourself. Be a part of the solution for a change.

May 1, 2008

It's All In The Approach

For you Cubbie fans who enjoy a beer before or after a game listen up if you are also a smoker. Tuesday, a woman I know took clients to the Cubs game and afterwards stopped in Casey Morans. Knowing the rules, she told the bouncer she was going outside for a cigarette but would be re-joining her guests. She dutifully held out her wrist for the 'stamp' so she could get back in. The mark he stamped on her wrist was 'I Love Cancer'. She considered it a hateful and damaging bit of PR.

She spun around, grabbed her clients and went to Bernie's. The stamp there was a smiley face. ;-)


Overheard last night at Walgreen's on Clark: Paramedics removed a female overdose victim from the bathroom.

From News-Star

Viewpoint of the summer to come

Positive Loitering

May Day

CHA Work Requirements

Excerpt from Tribune Article:

"It's really about accountability," CHA Commissioner Sandra Young said after the meeting. "We need to be in a position to encourage residents to move to another level."

At 19, Young was a high-school drop-out and single mother of two kids. She received government assistance and lived at the Wells Homes, a public housing development in the Oakland neighborhood on the South Side.

Young said she was able to pull herself out of a hard situation by enrolling in free, basic skills classes. She said she got off welfare in 1989.

Today, she owns a home in nearby Oakwood Shores and works for the Chicago Park District as a program facilitator.

"Never sell yourself short," Young said.