Friday, December 19, 2014

DNA Info: Residents Rip CPS' Rejection of Private School's Offer To Buy Vacant School

Levois J of The Sixth Ward :P
So the fight continues over what to do with the closed Shedd School - 200 E. 99th St. Shedd was closed in 2013 due to declining enrollment having been used as a branch of the larger Bennett School located at 10115 S. Prairie Ave.

Recently there was a meeting held at the office of 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale. It was advertised here on Saturday and this DNA Info article discusses the debate over the sale of Shedd.

The neighborhood of Roseland Heights had been in support of a religious school ultimately moving into the former school apparently CPS accepted the bid of a real estate developer. Needless to say the leaders of the Roseland Heights Community Association wasn't too happy about this development. Here's why:
In fact, Patricia Hernandez, an official with CPS' Department of Procurement, told the group that Shedd's sale wasn't technically part of those being repurposed in the June 2013 closings. Therefore, "soliciting community input is not required or incorporated into this process," a Dec. 9 email to the Roseland group states.

The email stated that the district was required by law to take the highest bidder.

"If that is true, why did they tell the Rescue Missionary School something different?" Tucker asked. "Why did they say they needed community approval?"

CPS officials did not address that in Wednesday's statement but said that the district did have the discretion to resolicit bids if necessary. They said, however, that community input will not be required in the process going forward.
This article mentioned in passing the meeting that took place with Alderman Beale regarding Shedd School. He had been quoted in that article but hopefully someone out there will let us know what happened at that meeting. And hopefully some updates regarding the rebid for Shedd School.

Monday, December 15, 2014

9th Ward Alderman on CAN-TV "Political Forum"


[VIDEO] You know I wish I was more in tune to what's going on the CAN-TV call-in program Political Forum. Now that we're in the midst of municipal election season we're probably going to find plenty of incumbents willing to come onto this show to tout their positions on important issues and their accomplishments.

Last Wednesday December 3rd it was Ald. Anthony Beale's turn to talk about "jobs, raising the minimum wage, cab regulations, red light cameras, and more".

I haven't yet had the chance to watch the video above but everyone who reads this blog is more than free to discuss their thoughts on this appearance. The map of the 9th ward which you have seen here from time to time is shown below.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Meeting on the closed Shedd School

MEETING NOTICE!

All Communities Are invited

Please join us for our Meeting on
Monday, December 15, 2014
Discussion: The Sale of Shedd School

Invited Guest: The Every Block & Educational Village Keepers community organizations, concerned citizens; union affiliates & Alderman Anthony Beale

Shedd school was closed in 2013. The school is in a one block park with ball field and play lot. CPS took bids to Sale the school. The top two bids were Rescue Missionary school, which had community support and a housing developer who's name is still unknown. On Wednesday December 3, 2014, we heard from Principal Marilyn Keeter of Rescue Missionary School to inform the community that CPS has given Shedd school to the housing developer. CPS has not given us the name of this organization. We thought that whoever made a bid for the property must have the consent of the community. CPS says soliciting community input is not required or incorporated into this process and it's up to Alderman Beale as to what will be done. If he truly cares about encouraging a greener ward he will not let this developer come into our community and take our green space to build houses.

We plan to meet with him
When: Monday December 15, 2014
4:00pm
Please arrive by: 3:30
Where: 9th Ward Office
34 East 112th Street Chicago, IL 60628

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

C-Span Student Cam 2015

[VIDEO]I'm a believer in such activities such as this. It's important that we can interest our young people in civics and having students do documentary projects on our government and public policy is as good a way as any. And consider the prizes although the competition will more benefit a school and it's teachers and students than the student themselves.

The image you see below is the theme of the 2015 competition. Want more information go to: http://www.studentcam.org/

Also, I promise to advertise this much earlier than I see to have been able to whenever I bring this competition up.

Monday, December 8, 2014

CTA holiday bus and train...

Via Transit Chicago
Over at The Sixth Ward blogger JP Paulus posted some times when the CTA holiday bus would be on the south side. So the holiday bus will be running along the #3 King Drive bus starting at Chicago State University on December 9th. The holiday bus also ran on the #3 on Dec. 6th.

Also if you want to head to the bus terminal near 79th/Western the holiday bus will also run on Dec. 23rd. That's two days before Christmas Day. Here are scheduled runs on select bus routes throughout the city until the 23rd.
Via cta web/flickr

The holiday bus has been preceded by the CTA holiday train you can see a schedule of where you will see the train for this holiday season. The holiday train will be running on Dec. 16, 18, 20, and 22. The last run of the holiday train will be on Dec. 23 on the yellow line two days before Christmas Day.


Since JP has two young children he enjoys bringing them to the holiday bus and trains and have often done blog posts and pictures for that purpose. Hopefully you will do the same for your children.

BTW, I think it's time to start talking up the CTA Red Line extension so that one day in the future the holiday train can go as far south as Altgeld Garden!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tribune: Aldermen turn up heat on CPS' bond deals

Ald. Thomas by Chris Walker / Chicago Tribune
I was amazed to see that Ald. Latasha Thomas of ward 17 is leading this charge. I'm wondering if her leaving the city council at the end of her term has anything to do with this:
The Chicago City Council’s Education and Child Development Committee will hold a hearing to examine Chicago Public Schools’ borrowing practices, committee chair Ald. Latasha Thomas said Wednesday.

Eight aldermen signed a resolution calling for the hearing in the wake of a Chicago Tribune analysis of the school district’s foray into auction-rate debt. Leading the effort is 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti, who plans to run against Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the Feb. 24 mayoral election.

The Tribune found that CPS' 2003-07 issuance of $1 billion in auction-rate bonds, paired with interest-rate swaps, could cost the district $100 million more than traditional fixed-rate bonds would have.

"They were gambling with our children’s future," Fioretti said Wednesday in an interview with the Tribune.
...
Thomas said she had yet to see the resolution but was willing to explore the issue at committee level. Thomas, unlike Fioretti, typically sides with the mayor on major issues.

No hearing date has been set.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

No kid hungry

[VIDEO] NOTE: The video above is a preview for the documentary Hunger Hits Home. You can watch the documentary directly from the Food Network website via the VIDEO link in the brackets.

I saw a few minutes of this documentary on the Food Network this morning. This is an ongoing concern here in these United States where we're concerned about our young people struggling with hunger.

While this blog hasn't consistently tackled this issue we have posted about it on occassion. What was shared here at one point was an appearance on C-Span's Washington Journal was actor Jeff Bridges and Bill Shore talking about hunger in America.

In my mind yeah hunger is an issue but so is health. We want to teach our young people to eat healthy and that's as important as ensuring that they have something to eat.

BTW, over the years I have been tempted to share programs from Whole Foods Market to help schools start gardens. I know that they're not the only player as far a grocery stores in this activism. Perhaps to help not only the issue of hunger but of nutrition there are ways to attack this issue as well.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Most public school students aren't prepared for college work, data show

Most public school students aren't prepared for college work, data show



Click the link above for the Newsalert blog to read more about this subject. I will write my thoughts in the near future. If you see the excerpt it's a shame. What can we do to get CPS students ready for college?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Open House for the Method plant in Pullman NEXT Thursday

This information was sent to people on 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale's e-mail list:
  • Open House

    Informational Session for the Pullman Community (9th Ward)
    Thursday, September 18, 2014
    7-9pm

    Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy
    250 E 111th Street
    Chicago, IL 60628
    (Enter Door #36)

    for more information on open positions or to submit your resume, please visit www.methodhome.com

    If you do not have a computer to apply for method jobs, no worries... 9/2/14 -10/3/14, please call 773.928.6000 x229 to schedule an appointment to use computers that are available, here you can apply for jobs, upload your resume, and complete a prescreen assessment.
An actual flyer is seen below.

    Wednesday, September 3, 2014

    DNA Info: 'The Wiz' Screening Encourages Audience To Sing Along, Dress in Costume

    [VIDEO] So the Studio Movie Grill owned Chatham 14 Theaters still have those Black World Cinema events every 1st Thursday. This Thursday The Wiz - released back in 1978 starring the late Michael Jackson and Diana Ross - will be shown at the Chatham.
    Black World Cinema's movie night this month at Studio Movie Grill-Chatham will feature "The Wiz" — and audience members are encouraged to sing along and dress in character.

    The movie, starring singer Diana Ross and the late Michael Jackson in the "Wizard of Oz" remake, will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday at the theater, 210 W. 87th St. Admission is $6.

    Venisha White-Johnson, director of operations for the theater, said she hopes the audience will sing during some of the musical numbers.

    "It's a fun way to engage the audience and have fun, too," she said. "We also want kids to come dressed up in their favorite 'Wiz' costume."

    Free school supplies also will be given away, but White-Johnson said children are not required to wear a costume to receive the school supplies.
    How appropriate that this event was scheduled because school has just started for the year.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    Congrats to Jackie Robinson West #JRW


    I want to offer a belated congratulations to the Morgan Park based Jackie Robinson West Little League team. They made it all the way to the Little League World Series and unfortunately lost to a team from South Korea on Sunday for the Little League baseball world title.

    Unfortunately I never had the chance to truly watch them play but it's great to know this group of young men have already tasted success in their young sports careers. Here's hoping they will continue to have success not only on the baseball diamond but also in their lives away from sports.

    Every young man or woman either playing youth sports or even playing in high school, college or professional can always have the ability to become a champion if they work extremely hard. That also goes for life whether in school or in a career as well.

    Chicago was truly behind this team and this morning there is a parade for them.

    BTW, Worlee over at The Sixth Ward shared his own thoughts on not only JRW, but also the state of Little League baseball on the south side. We need to provide outlets such as this for our youth to keep them out of trouble and team them skills that would help them not only in sports but in life.

    Saturday, August 16, 2014

    DNA Info: Movie Theater Will Give Away Free Tickets For Donated School Supplies

    http://utddiscountfun.blogspot.com/2013/11/studio-movie-grills-savings.html
    Photo via UTD Discount Activities
    And again sorry for the short notice on this, but if you're going to the Studio Movie Grill theater in Chatham @210 W. 87th St. perhaps you can bring some school supplies as well:
    An annual event at Studio Movie Grill-Chatham will give away movie tickets for a donated school supply worth $5 or more.

    Tickets can be used to see any movie but must be used the same day, said Lynne McQuaker, a spokeswoman for Studio Movie Grill. High school and college students must show a valid ID to receive their student tickets and no adult tickets will be distributed.

    The third annual Back-To-School Supply Drive runs from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday at the South Side theater, 210 W. 87th St.
    Also for additional reading over at The Sixth Ward on Thursday, the expected changes to the Chatham 14 are running behind!

    Friday, August 15, 2014

    9th Ward Back to School parade, picnic, & health fair

    I apologize for this short notice. This event is expected to occur tomorrow afternoon and is worth noting here.

    Further information is below:
    • Alderman Anthony A. Beale's 15th Annual Back-to-School Parade, Picnic and Health Fair
      Join Alderman Anthony Beale for his 15th Annual Back-to-School Event Saturday, August 16, 2014


      Parade Kick-off: 11:00 a.m.
      Roseland Little League
      12483 South Michigan Ave.
      Picnic Immediately Following in Palmer Park
      201 E. 111th Street

      Alderman/Committeeman Anthony A. Beale
      34 East 112th Place
      Chicago, Illinois 60628
      773.785.1100
    Flyer is below




      Thursday, July 24, 2014

      HuffPost - 'This Is Are Story': Chicago Public Schools Are Failing

      WOW, we see more public school bashing here.

      "This Is Are Story" - this article states this is a theme for the senior class at Robeson High School. See something wrong with this short statement. Yeah one glaring one we should all know especially since a conjugated verb is substituted for a similar sounding determiner pronoun.

      Either way this story is about the CPS and the statistics regarding our school system that doesn't make it look very good:
      Four out of 10 CPS freshmen don't graduate.
      91 percent of CPS graduates must take remedial courses in college because they do not know how to do basic math and other schoolwork.
      • Only 26 percent of CPS high school students are college-ready, according to results from ACT subject-matter tests.
      After you completely read this is public education more of a holding cell and should it be used more as a launching pad?

      Tuesday, July 8, 2014

      WBEZ: CTA overcharges kids to get to summer school, job programs

      WBEZ/Linda Lutton
      As often stated I don't have children yet. It would be unacceptable that CTA and CPS hadn't adequately einsured that students still get reduced fare to get back and forth between home and their schools. Especially during the summer session as indicated in this recent article.
      In what appears to be another stumble in the city’s transition to the new Ventra fare-collection system, thousands of young Chicagoans are paying more in train and bus fares than they should be this summer.

      Typically, students under age 20 going to summer school or jobs programs would pay reduced CTA fares—currently $0.75 per ride and $0.15 for a transfer.

      But many have gotten a rude awakening this summer when they’ve used their student cards on buses or trains.

      “I swiped it, and I had (added) a dollar. Usually a dollar is good for me to get over here, but it said ‘insufficient fares,’said student Cesar Fierro in the hallway of his high school, Noble Street College Prep. Fierro rides on a student Ventra card he purchased at school.

      He’s been paying $4.50, every day, to get to and from summer school—if he has the money.

      “Like yesterday I had to walk all the way home,” said Fierro. That’s a 4.5-mile hike, from Augusta and Milwaukee to Fullerton and Kostner.
       And while school officials attempt to solve this issue, they seem to get the runaround:
      School staff at Noble Street say they’ve “easily” spent 10 hours on the phone over the last two weeks trying to get reduced fares for summer school students— “calling back and forth to Ventra, being sent to CTA, the CTA saying, ‘Go back to Ventra.’ It seems to be a very confusing time for the companies as well as the schools,” said Noble Street administrative assistant Nicole Baily.
      ...
      CTA spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis says that’s because reduced fares are for students enrolled in an educational program, not for all youth. “If you're enrolled in the regular fall term, once that term finishes, the entitlement on the Ventra card is turned off automatically,” said Lukidis.

      For students to get reduced fares during summer, schools must submit each student's individual transit card ID number to the CTA (or to one of Ventra's subcontractors). Lukidis says the transit agency has been working since spring with schools to prepare for the summer session. She says 5,500 Chicago Public Schools students and 9,500 students from charters and private schools are already receiving the reduced fare.

      “So we have mechanisms in place for this to work successfully, and it has,” says Lukidis. She blamed Noble Street's problems on a "miscommunication on how to activate and get all of those entitlements processed."
      Well at least there's an explanation, not to keep this from happening again!

      Monday, July 7, 2014

      Tribune: Starting this fall, free breakfasts, lunches available for all CPS students

      I can't believe according to this article, school lunches in elementary school could go for $2.45 on average. When I went to Bennett-Shedd it was .75 and went up to .85 cents. Perhaps the quality of food today is much better.

      Regardless CPS has found some money to provide free meals to all students. That's certainly excellent news:
      The high number of students living at the poverty level in the district qualified CPS to meet the required threshold for full reimbursement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to CPS officials.

      In the past school year, lunch at a typical elementary school  for students who didn’t qualify for assistance cost an average of about $2.45. High schools charges slightly more.

      The district expects to serve 72 million meals to students in the coming year, two million more than during the last school year.

      “If a student eats that day, the district gets reimbursed,” said Leslie Fowler, executive director of CPS’ nutritional support services. “But if they don’t eat, then CPS doesn’t get reimbursed and there’s no cost associated with that meal. We can’t predict what they do or don’t do, but we hope we can encourage them to participate.”

      In the past, the school district’s free and reduced lunch program for financially eligible students was fraught with fraud. Several CPS school officials, including principals and assistant principals, were accused by the district’s Inspector General of providing false income information on applications for the free lunch program.
      Sooooo, I don't have children yet, however, as a parent I would have fought tooth & nail not to pay over $2/day to feed my child. They'd get sent to school with a lunch from home at the very least.

      Still this development under which this program has been expanded one thing is for certain CPS is dominated by low-income students.

      Friday, June 27, 2014

      Sun-Times: CPS announces more than 1,000 staff layoffs

      This is certainly an interesting if not a shocking development:
      Before releasing its budget recommendations for the 2014-15 school year or enrollment projections, Chicago Public Schools announced staff layoffs on Thursday for 550 teachers and 600 other school staffers.

      Added to the 147 staffers (including 76 teachers) who already got pink slips at three schools confirmed for a turnaround, 625 teachers and 671 other school employees are now looking for work.

      CPS began notifying approximately 1,150 employees on Thursday that their schools would not retain them in the fall due to falling projected enrollment. That’s about half the number who got pink-slipped last year in the wake of a historic number of school closings, and district officials said on Thursday they believed that like last year, about 60 percent would be rehired at other CPS schools.

      “The staffing changes are driven by declining student enrollment at each of the affected schools,” said schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett. Since the district doles out a set amount of money per child enrolled, fewer students lead to budget cuts, she said. The 550 teachers, she said, represent the lowest number of annual teacher layoffs in the past five years. And some help has been available for schools who have asked for it, she said.

      The Chicago Teachers Union said the layoffs also mark the fourth time in the past five years in which more than 1,000 CPS employees lost their jobs in the summer. All of the teachers and at least 250 of the other staffers are CTU members.

      Saturday, June 21, 2014

      2014 Children Summer Series at Studio Movie Grill

      Click image to go to SMG page
      A few years ago under the ownership of ICE Theaters, the Chatham 14 on 87th Street had a film series called "KidsRule Summer". Well things change and under new ownership - this time Studio Movie Grill - the Chatham 14 now has "Children's Summer Series". Although it had started as of late May 2014 it will continue through August

      Thursday, June 19, 2014

      9th Ward community meeting NEXT TUESDAY

      UPDATE JUNE 18, 2014 @ 3:21 PM: I erroneously wrote in the title that the community meeting was on Tuesday night which was June 17th. My apologies for the confusion, I had been alerted to this mistake via e-mail to The Sixth Ward where this was also posted. The rest of the post is correct as the meeting is on June 24th, which is next Tuesday!

      For those of you who reside in the 9th Ward tonight is Ald. Beale's monthly community meeting. It was posted to our FB page and is worth sharing here on the blog as well:
      • 9th Ward Alderman Anthony A. Beale and City Department Representatives present a 9th Ward Community Meeting

        Tuesday, June 24, 2014
        6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

        Pullman Presbyterian Church
        550 East 103rd Street
        Chicago, Illinois 60628

        For More Information: Please Call the 9th Ward Office at 773.785.1100
        Thanks to Rev. Eddie L. Knox, Jr. and Pullman Presbyterian Church for their community support!

      Wednesday, June 18, 2014

      DNA Info: Morehouse College Graduate Seeks To Become Chicago's Youngest Alderman

      Corey Hardiman by DNA Info Wendell Hutson
      I wrote about this young man this past March when he brought a group of students from his alma mater - as a graduating senior at that point - to the south side of Chicago for a spring break service project. Now he wants to unseat 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale and DNA Info profiles the recent college graduate:
      "I know people may think I am too young and inexperienced and that I won't be able to raise enough money to put fourth a good fight but that's what they said (in 2008) about President Barack Obama," Hardiman told DNAinfo Chicago Monday. "If he was able to do it then so can I."

      The aspiring politician, who is a member of Salem Baptist Church, said he is scheduled to speak at 6 p.m. Monday to residents at the Altgeld Gardens public housing complex on the far South Side, which is part of the 9th Ward.

      "I am going to speak to residents to let them know their opinion matters to me and I want to hear their concerns regardless if they are a registered voter or not," Hardiman said. "Ever since I graduated from high school I have always wanted to enter politics to make a difference in my community."

      In 2010 after graduating from George Corliss High School as a Gates Millennium Scholar, where Beale is also an alumnus, Hardiman predicted at Mayor Richard M. Daley's annual interfaith breakfast at U.S. Cellular Field that he would run for mayor after finishing college.

      "Well, maybe I was aiming too high at the time," Hardiman said. "But I certainly think it is a realistic goal."

      Among the biggest issues facing the ward, Hardiman said, is public safety, education and economic development. While he praised Beale, 46, for "finally" getting a Walmart store in the ward, he said much more needs to be done on an economic level.

      "If we could get President Obama's library to the far South Side that would create unlimited opportunities economically," Hardiman said. "Gone are the 'ma and pa' businesses in the 9th Ward and we need to bring back those small, family-owned businesses."
      Here's an FB page if you wish to follow his campaign for 9th Ward Alderman.

      Tuesday, June 10, 2014

      DNA Info: Metropolitan Family Services To Host A Jazzy Fundraiser in Roseland

      http://www.metrofamily.org/
      If you're looking for some events add this to your calendar via DNA Info:
      The nonprofit Metropolitan Family Services, which provides social services to needy families, is hosting an annual Jazz at the Met fundraiser featuring live jazz from local performers at its far South Side office.

      Music will be provided by local DJ Mike Burns and jazz artists The Beverly All-Stars featuring Liane Williams and Margaret Murphy, Jamiah On Fire and The Red Machine, and Russoul.

      The event runs from 3-7 p.m. Saturday, June 21 at 235 E. 103rd St. Tickets, which are available online, are $50.
      This event takes place no more than one block away from Bennett School!

      Friday, June 6, 2014

      Maintaining the closed Shedd School...

      These pictures were shared on May 22 in the Bennett-Shedd Elementary School FB group. Then wrote in the comments that the grass had been cut by that Sunday afternoon. Then on the afternoon on June 5, 2014 I took a few snapshots with my phone outside of Shedd School.

      I got more than just taking pictures of cut grass. I think putting gang graffiti on a school building abandoned or not is vulgar in the worst way!




       The pics below was taken near the school's front entrance and shows some gang graffiti. Very vulgar findings on a former place of learning. Here's hoping someone can take command of this building and be able to keep this school's grass cut and and vandalism off this property.

      UPDATE June 7, 2014 @ 1:55 PM Crossposted to The Sixth Ward

      Friday, May 30, 2014

      Mechanics: I Ran for Local School Council and Maybe I Even Won!

      The author of this article - Phil Huckleberry - discusses his experience as a candidate for his neighborhood school's LSC. He apparently won the election, but discovered at a recent meeting that the results have been challenged. That school's LSC won't meeting until next year after new elections, and the school's LSC functions would be governed instead by CPS' central office. Something pertinent Mr. Huckleberry said in his piece:
      Now, this story isn't about me and my awe-inspiring 21 votes. It's not about whether or not there was some sort of problem with the election.

      This is a story about bureaucracy.

      I can rail against charter schools or say negative things about the mayor just like a lot of people who write words that get put on the Internet. I can talk about how great Karen Lewis is just like the next cherished Chicago journalist.

      But here is the crux of the situation: Bureaucracies put bureaucracy first. And the reality is that Chicago Public Schools is a horrifically clunky bureaucracy, steeped in nonsensical inefficiencies, ultimately overseen by an unelected board who are themselves nothing more than hand-picked highly privileged bureaucrats. The system is failing its students because the system is more important than the students.

      There are a lot of smart and dedicated administrators within CPS. But things are never truly going to turn around so long as everything is about CPS and not about the actual students.
      I suggest you read the whole thing, and of course we hope to hear your thoughts on this.

      Tuesday, May 27, 2014

      CSU Presidential Library Support Requested

      We were aware of some meetings regarding the future Barack Obama Presidential Library as it pertains to Chicago State University. While Mayor Rahm Emanuel is encouraging a single bid for the city to become home to a library many sites in Chicago are seeking one especially the President's former employer University of Chicago.

      You can check out Curbed Chicago's coverage of Obama's Presidential Library Chicago State's bid for the library. The contents of the e-mail you will see below.
      Hello,

      Our 95th Street Panel of Development,Business Development Coordinator, Michael LaFargue, asks each you to write a letter of support from your POD, business, church or block club... in support of a presidential library being build at CSU. Original letters, not form letters are requested.

      Chicago State University Presidential Library LETTERS OF SUPPORT

      Write and Mail To:
      • Dr. Wayne Watson
        c/o The President's Office
        Chicago State University
        9501 South King Drive
        Chicago, Illinois 60628-2123

      EMAIL TO:
      • wwright @ csu.edu
        Wanda Wright, Director Community Relations

      ALSO, Please CSU Presidential Library Online Petition:
      Library Petition is on the Menu to the left i.e. "show your support"!!

      Monday, May 26, 2014

      Strausberg: Pfleger says no one shot or wounded last night is proof ‘We can do this’ #putthegunsdown

      Fr. Michael Pfleger
      An interesting account written by Chinta Strausberg for those events connected with #PutTheGunsDown from last Friday. Here's hoping everyone had a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.
      Pfleger says no one shot or wounded last night is proof ‘We can do this’
      Fed more than 500 at city-sponsored peace rally
      By Chinta Strausberg

      Police officials confirmed Saturday that no one died or wounded last night—an unusual state in this violence riddled city but good news to Father Michael L. Pfleger who said, “God is just waiting for us to be the inhabitants of the earth he called us to be and last night should tell us one very important truth…we can do this.”

      The nearly 200 citywide “Summer of Faith” peace rallies took place last night and just a few weeks after Mayor Rahm Emanuel and radio personalities signed unto a “Put The Guns Down” anti-violence prevention campaign. Many of those attending the rally held at Saint Sabina’s Renaissance Park held signs bearing that message.

      “I thought the night was a wonderful showing of what community is all about and should be every day….people from blocks all around, children playing games and dancing, adults laughing and dancing, teens playing basketball and everybody eating,” said Pfleger. “We fed over 500 people. It was a vision of what we all want and can have if we come together.”

      Joining Pfleger were Amy Emanuel, the wife of Mayor Rahm Emanuel who was accompanied by Cyndy Lyons and Dr. Anita Blanchard, associate professor at the University of Chicago, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-16th), WGCI’s Tony Sculfield, DJ Farley “Jackmaster” Funk, and many others.

      While Mrs. Emanuel briefly spoke to the crowd, McCarthy gave a clear blueprint of how to eliminate the violence that continues to grip Chicago neighborhoods. “Violence is not a police department problem. It’s a community problem. It’s kind of true, but it’s everybody’s problem and we are all part of the community. We all live in the city of Chicago,” McCarthy said.

      Quoting the mayor who often says, “A murder or shooting in the city of Chicago affects everybody in Chicago” none of this not in my backyard, none of this that says it’s on the South Side, who cares, or if it’s on the West Side, who cares. If it’s in the city of Chicago, it affects everybody,” McCarthy said.

      “This is a police problem. It is a community problem, and it’s a legislation problem and we need some leadership to step up and give us a hand, but it’s not going to happen because of anything we’re doing. It’s going to happen because of something we are all doing.”

      Senator Collins said, “This is the best effort made by a community to come together on behalf of promoting peace….Anything that we can do and show that we care to one another, respect another, counts” and that includes coming out to have fun.…

      Sculfield, who grew up at 79thand Aberdeen, asked the crowd to chant “peace” and to “lay the guns down.” “We had a long, tortuous winter and we want our babies, our kids and our families to be able to come out and enjoy the summer weather. We want to sit on the porch. We want to go to the park. We want to play in the back yard. We want to bring the grill out. We want to enjoy ourselves….” “Put the guns down, now.”

      “We are going to be doing this once a month…. We need real men in the communities, real citizens…. We’re going to take this city back….Put the guns down. Peace,” bellowed Sculfield. Funk echoed Sculfield’s message also chanting, “Put the guns down.”

      Father Pfleger announced that Chris Baker, who owns a tattoo shop in Oswego, Illinois, will remove any gang tattoos for free on Friday, June 13th during Saint Sabina’s 7 p.m. end of the school year march to proclaim peace in the streets rally. When asked why does he provide this free service, Baker said, “God gave me the ability to tattoo letters which I love and this is my way of giving back some love and right now Chicago needs some love.”

      Friday, May 23, 2014

      5th District Candle Light Peace Rally #putthegunsdown

      This rally will take place on tonight from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at 113th & Michigan. An event such as this is scheduled to take place at roughly the same time in neighborhoods throughout the city of Chicago. Please let us know if you're holding such an event in your neighborhood feel free to mention to us on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

      Wednesday, May 14, 2014

      Black School Principal critical of Emanuel takes to blog, airs complaints

       Got wind of this story via the Newsalert blog:
       The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

      "An outspoken elementary school principal who recently blasted the mayor’s office for silencing Chicago Public School principals in an opinion piece he wrote for the Sun-Times, is now airing comments from other school leaders on his blog.

      Troy LaRaviere, principal at Blaine Elementary School in Lake View and a veteran of the U.S. Navy, called the administration’s interaction with principals “insulting,” in an opinion piece he wrote in Saturday’s Chicago Sun-Times.

      “While publicly praising principals in speeches and with awards, behind the scenes this administration has disregarded principals’ knowledge and experience,” he wrote. “They have ignored and even suppressed principals’ voices in order to push City Hall’s political agenda for Chicago’s schools.”

      When principals questioned the merits of Emanuel’s signature longer school day in 2012, for example, “CPS officials were then dispatched to tell the principals their opinions didn’t matter,” LaRaviere wrote."
      You should read the original  opinion piece here it's pretty explosive!

      Tuesday, May 13, 2014

      Chicago Teachers Union votes to oppose Common Core Standards - Chicago Sun-Times

       
      http://www.ctunet.com/
      Chicago Teachers Union votes to oppose Common Core Standards - Chicago Sun-Times

      I've been hearing about this Common Core for a while and most of what I heard isn't good. I think it's time for me to check out what Common Core is and why the Chicago Teacher's Union is on record opposing this.

      Here's an official statement from the CTU on this development.

      Monday, May 5, 2014

      Tuesday, April 8, 2014

      LSC elections & thoughts on the state of education


      Monday and Tuesday are days for LSC Elections. Monday was LSC election for elementary schools and Tuesday are such days for the high schools.
      It was my intention to post the above flyer over the weekend unfortunately it seems I kept running into a snag with regards to posting it online whether through Blogger or the FB page. Anyway if you're living at least in the Roseland Heights or West Chesterfield area you may have found this in your screendoors or mailboxes. Sharon Banks-Pincham represents the community on the LSCs for both Gillespie Elementary and Harlan Community Academy.

      Hopefully you were able to be informed of the LSC elections on Monday and were able to vote. Hopefully you're able to vote on Tuesday for LSC members at your local high schools.

      Speaking of education, on Monday Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax ranted about the state of education in Illinois. Many of us are concerned about the state of education in Chicago especially for the K-12 set. So he starts out with a piece comparing charter schools with the neighborhood public schools and states:
      Obviously, there’s very little difference here, which will cause some to scream “Then why do we need charter schools at all?”

      I make no apologies for disliking the industrial education model. I prefer choice. I think people ought to have choices.

      And, like with neighborhood schools, not all charter schools are meh. Some are quite good. Sometimes, experiments fail. We shouldn’t be afraid to experiment. What’s needed is an overall improvement in all schools.
       And then more food for thought. Miller opines about CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett stated aim of ensuring 100% of graduating CPS students to be college-ready or college-bound:
      First of all, that’s just not true or else lots, lots more would be done to improve the schools. Secondly, this over-emphasis on taking tests (with the resultant uproar over what are likely quite meaningless results) and driving kids to attend college is philosophically wrong-headed, whether in Chicago or the suburbs or Downstate.

      * Don’t get me wrong here. I do not think kids should be discouraged from attending college, but why saddle a student with tens of thousands of dollars of debt just for the sake of having a so-so degree from a so-so university?

      Why not foster the development of more high schools, charter or otherwise, that focus on tech/trade careers? Do you know how much operating engineers make?

      * When a system’s entire focus is “100 percent college-bound” you’re not giving students nearly enough choices. Period.
      ...
      Teach them to be good citizens. Teach them how to comprehend language and to do math. But give them choices in how to get there.
      What direction do you think education policy should go?

      Tuesday, April 1, 2014

      DNA Info: Wi-Fi Hot Spots, Laptops to Be Loaned by Libraries Under Pilot Program

      What do you guys think of this idea? Is this workable in the longterm?
      The Chicago Public Library is planning to lend out wireless hot spots and laptops in one of the first programs of its kind in the country.

      "Wi-Fi lending is a pilot program that we are interested in exploring in order to make the Internet available to people without this technology at home," said Brian Bannon, commissioner of the library system.

      The system's "Hotspot at Home" initiative has been in planning stages for a while, but received a boost when the library decided to apply for funding through the Knight News Challenge grant competition earlier this month.

      The details of the pilot program are still being hashed out, but will likely start out at 12 branches that are in communities where home broadband usage rates are the lowest.

      As with checking out books, DVDs or fishing poles, anyone with a library card in good standing would be able to take home the devices.

      Monday, March 17, 2014

      The hope dealers

      Last week students of Morehouse College went on spring break. Also last week a group of 14 Morehouse students led by Roseland resident & Corliss High School alum Corey Hardiman came to Chicago forgoing the usual spring break rituals - i.e. going to the beach - to engage in service on the South Side of Chicago. I'm going to share some of the media that I have found of these young men doing good in Chicago in early March

      Mary Mitchell discusses these young men in a recent column:
      Corey Hardiman and his crew could be kicking up sand this week in Florida.

      Instead, Hardiman and 14 other students from the historically black Morehouse College are in Chicago shoveling snow — and delivering hope — to young people who have been impacted by the violence on the Far South Side.

      Hardiman grew up in Roseland where he attended Lavizzo Elementary School and Corliss High School.

      Now about to graduate from Morehouse, where he attended on a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholarship, Hardiman returned to his alma mater this week as an alternative to the spring fling most college students are enjoying.

      “Dope has plagued our community for so many years, it is time to give out hope,” Hardiman told me. “Dope is for sale, but hope is free.”
      ...
      Hardiman, 22, raised about $4,500 to pay for the bus tickets
      Hardiman said he was inspired to do this by a literacy project he did in Philadelphia as stated in the Mitchell's column.

      Also this article from the Tribune also discusses this service project. Below it's illustrated how well students who go to Roseland area high schools perform on the ACT tests:
      In Roseland, the picture for black males is even more dire than the national portrait. According to Chicago Public Schools data, there arefour high schools that serve students in Roseland. At Corliss, Harlan, Fenger and Julian High Schools, only a little more than half of the student bodies went on to graduate in 2013, statistics show. The average ACT score at those schools was about 14, which is considered poor. The average score in the state last year was 20.
      Wow, it's been years since I took the ACT and well my score was slightly above the average score for thos local high schools and much lower than the average score for this state. Although let me just admit that it's been years and who knows how they score the test these days. Assuming the ACT changes like the SAT.

      Now here's some other media. Audio and some videos!
      To start these men of Morehouse - Hardimon and two of his classmates - were interviewed on Chicago Public Radio's Afternoon Shift about their activities [AUDIO]
      ALSO, Mr. Hardimon was featured on a report from ABC7 on their service during their spring break service this past week:
      "My father was a dope dealer, why can't I become a hope dealer" Man! I like that a lot!

      IN ADDITION, a [VIDEO] from the Chicago Tribune published on March 11th so probably not long before these men of Morehouse started their service project. They were shown reading to elementary school students and telling them about the "Five Wells" of Morehouse College.

      FINALLY, a report from a local Atlanta station from before these young men left for Chicago close to a week ago.

      Monday, March 3, 2014

      Morehouse College Glee Club coming to Chicago this month!

      morehouse.edu
      I've been knowing about this information for more than a month. Two years ago, I got to see the Morehouse College Glee Club in action at the Harris Theater. Of course many came to support the young men who make up the student body at Morehouse. Here's more information via Morehouse Chicago Alumni FB if you wish to attend this event.
      The Morehouse College Glee Club is coming to Chicago March 21, 2014 at Harris Theater

      Ticket information can be found at www.HarrisTheaterChicago.org

      Support Morehouse College and the Chicago Area Morehouse College Alumni Association in our quest to raise scholarships for deserving students in their matriculation at the college

      For more information on the Morehouse College Glee Club www.mcgclub.org

      www.morehousechicago.com

      Also refer to the flyer below! Full disclosure, I'm an alum of Morehouse College although currently not a member of the Morehouse Chicago Alumni Chapter.


      Friday, February 28, 2014

      It's that time of year...getting into a high school

      Wow! The drive to get into a high school is still strong or at least not find themselves in a neighborhood school that doesn't often promise to deliver academically. Years ago in the 8th grade I failed to get into a decent high school because my parents strongly believed it was better for me safety wise to attend a neighborhood school.

      Although the difference between then and now is that well the high school I attended all four years - GO FALCONS - is doing much better now than it had been when I attended. That's not to say there still aren't issues but from what I can tell current leadership there is doing some good there.

      Of course in the 21st century I've learned competition is strong to get into CPS' selective enrollment schools such as Walter Payton, Jones, and North Side College Preps. Those schools are listed in this DNA Info article as the most difficult to get into.

      All the same what's written in that article is a portrait of what it takes to get into the city's top performing high schools. In addition we see what's offered at many high schools throughout CPS. Programs have been expanded even at those "dreaded" neighborhood high schools.

      You know this is truly an expanded universe as the top school back when I was in the 8th grade was Whitney Young Magnet. That school was intimidating because it was for the smart kids and it wasn't for me. I only wish I had been willing to compete back then! Well that was then.

      Wednesday, February 26, 2014

      Tribune: End of winter? We have records to break, more snow to shovel

      Here's some info posted last month on resources during this latest cold snap! It seems this winter weather isn't going away anytime soon although thankfully the worst was over last month. This winter seemed to have broken some records. From the Tribune:
      The worst of winter should be over by the end of February. That would be Friday, when it will still be miserably cold. Then we'll get more snow, maybe a lot of it.

      Temperatures are expected to drop below zero overnight Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night as we again get hit with cold air "in abundance," in the words of WGN-TV meteorologist Tom Skilling.

      That's in keeping with a winter that has already delivered 22 days of lows below zero, Skilling noted. The 129-year-old record is 25 days below zero, a record that's clearly in danger.

      Skilling says temperatures will average about 22 degrees below normal for the next five days, 20 degrees below normal for the five days after that, and 13 degrees below normal for the five days after that – which gets us into the middle of March.

      This has been the third coldest winter in 143 years of recorded Chicago weather history, Skilling said, with about 7 days in 10 since November producing below-normal temperatures. Meteorological winter ends with February, marking the close of what is usually the coldest three months.
      AND....we can expect more snow to come this way by the weekend. Although hopefully not the amount of snow we had through the month of January and February.

      ALSO, for a brief time I took the weather widget down and now it's back up top in the sidebar. When I checked before writing this post it registered at only 8 degrees that's at about 12 PM on Wednesday.

      Friday, February 21, 2014

      EVENT: SMG Chatham 14 to host an Oscar viewing party

      Photo of Chatham 14 by Wendell Hutson
       Of course this event coming soon to the Chatham 14 will benefit a charity via DNA Info:

      A charity serving children with disabilities will benefit this year from an Oscar-viewing party being held for the first time at the Chatham 14 Theaters.

      The party will raise money for the nonprofit Variety the Children’s Charity of Illinois. The private organization partnered this year with Studio Movie Grill, which owns the Chatham 14 Theaters, for the event.

      The viewing party starts at 6 p.m. March 2 at the South Side theater, 210 W. 87th St. Tickets are $40 per person or $70 for couples.

      The 86th annual Academy Awards will be shown on one movie screen and 150 seats are available, said Venisha White-Johnson, director of operations and community relations for the theater.

      "You will feel like you are at the Oscars with the red carpet treatment you will get. And who knows, there may be a few celebrities on hand, too," Johnson-White said.

      Tickets must be bought online by Feb. 25.

      Friday, February 14, 2014

      AP: Multiple groups vie for Obama's Presidential Library

      President Barack Obama
      The AP has a story about the many groups here in Chicago who are vying for their particular insitutions or neighborhoods to become home of the President's future library. Those sites include Bronzeville, Chicago State University, University of Chicago, Pullman, and even that former US Steel site on the southeast lakefront. In the case of Chicago State and Pullman:
      There are also two potential bids on the Far South Side, one led by Chicago State University and the other by a group promoting the historic Pullman neighborhood. It was in those areas that Obama established his earliest roots in the city as a community organizer in the mid-1980s, setting up job training programs and defending the rights of public housing tenants.
      ...
      The Far South Side is a longshot given its distance from downtown, lack of transportation options and the gang violence that persists there.

      And presidential libraries aren't guaranteed to lift the local economy.
      So far the main competitors are:
      The main point of tension is between the University of Chicago, where Obama spent 12 years as a constitutional law professor until his 2004 election to the U.S. Senate, and a group advocating for Bronzeville, the city's historic center of black culture, business and politics.

      "They think that they can get whatever they want," Bronzeville organizer Harold Lucas said of the university. "If you compare the cranes in the sky and that opulent growth of this university to the surrounding, predominantly African-American community, it's a travesty. It's a clear tale of two cities."

      Lucas and other critics of the university's bid say the school has been secretly working its White House connections at the expense of a plan that would benefit more of the city and honor the black community's role in electing the nation's first black president.

      For its part, the university says it wants to work with neighbors on a plan to build the library off-campus in a part of the South Side where it can spur development. A university spokesman declined to comment beyond the school's previous statements. 
      We already know that Mayor Emanuel wants to submit only a unified bid for Obama's Presidential Library so the various groups need to come up with a good bid. And bear in mind one point of this article, "presidential libraries aren't guaranteed to life the local economy". That being said the library could easily either go to Hawaii where Presient Obama was born or to New York so time will only tell if Chicago will eventually succeed in its bid.

      Saturday, February 8, 2014

      WBEZ: Committee releases CPS school repurposing plan

      What to do when schools are closed and they just sit vacant? It appears now is the time to figure that out:
      The public bidding process for closed Chicago Public Schools buildings will start this spring.

       A committee appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel has released a report advising the district on what to do with its dozens of shuttered buildings. There are 43 empty school buildings because of last year’s sweeping round of closures. The report didn’t come up with a plan for each school. Instead it set parameters for the district to repurpose the buildings.

      The committee says possible building uses include churches, urban farms, housing and community centers.

      “One of the key pieces here is community involvement in an active role. Many proposals will be encouraged to really get the community behind their proposal before actually making the proposal,” said committee chair Wilbur Milhouse, who owns an engineering and construction company.

      Many of the buildings are in troubled neighborhoods that have high foreclosure rates and vacant land. Milhouse said some schools will be easier to sell than others but all the sales will go into one fund. The money would help facilitate finding purchasers for those properties.
      A south side neighborhood - Englewood - is certainly interested in this topic. An neighborhood organization - R.A.G.E. - has even written a "white-paper" on the subject. If you have a vacant school building in your neighborhood, what would you re-purpose that building for?

      Friday, January 31, 2014

      Concerned Citizens of Chatham - Novel Idea: Let's Give Charters To Parochial Schools

       
      Since I've already stated that education would still be a focus on this blog, here's a piece to read. Worlee Glover also writes for my other blog - The Sixth Ward. In addition he also maintains his own blog - Concerned Citizens of Chatham.

      He mainly opines about the recent approval of 7 new charters schools. Then additionally offers his idea to offer charter school status to parochial schools.
      The parochial or catholic school system has operated in the city of Chicago for more than a 100 years. It has been the only option in some communities and was the only alternative for some families who had poor performing Chicago Public Schools. Over the last several years with some Chicago Public Schools offering high performing schools such as Young, Payton, Jones, Brooks, etc it has made some catholic high schools pay model obsolete. Also, when Mr. Tim King, who attended the all boys school Mendel Catholic and was later the principal at the all boys school Hales Franciscan, opened Urban Prep it basically doomed the all boys school pay model.

      The remaining schools high schools such as Leo, Mt. Carmel, Hales Franciscan and Gordon Tech , etc and the host of elementary schools should be offered the option to become charter schools. It makes sense because most of these schools out perform Chicago Public Schools and operate schools in areas where CPS has closed schools and in some cases could take over buildings that have been left vacant by the last round of school closures.

      Ultimately, the master plan is to have a master education system administered through CPS and since we are almost halfway there why not finally put "children first" and provide proven, stable environments operated by proven operators versus having operators with questionable backgrounds come out of no where and payoff politicians to get taxpayers money,waste it and not serve our young people.
      This makes sense I suppose, but this was said knowing that many are opposed to charter schools. Probably many are opposed to charter schools because of the organizations who got the charter and their ties to certain politicians.

      For example, amongst those seven charters approved is a Concept Charter school to be located at 8522 S Lafayette has ties to Rev. Charles Jenkins who is the pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church owns the property where the school will be located. He also has ties to the Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel. The property Rev. Jenkins owns is referred to as The Legacy Project click the link for more information.

      All the same I recognize that this idea could truly raise eyebrows amongst those who support public education. Besides Mayor Emanuel may be a proponent of charter schools, however, there are plenty of opponents of charters as well.

      What are your thoughts?

      Tuesday, January 28, 2014

      School is back in session on Wednesday and weather updates

      This is starting to feel like a ritual. We just did that the first full-week in January and just like at that time classes resume on Wednesday. The extended forecast still has cold temps through rest of the week but only in the teens and unfortunately more snow is expected.

      Remember spring is just around the corner!

      Monday, January 27, 2014

      CPS schools will remain closed on Tuesday

      Schools remain closed on Tuesday. You can recieve further updates via either CPS' FB page or CPS' Twitter account. In addition, you can call the 773.553.1000 for any further updates from CPS via recorded message.

      As always there is an Accuweather widget at the top of the sidebar for your convenience. Feel free to use it to check out current conditions or visit the Accuweather website for weather forecasts.

      Now just for the sake of talking some CPS closures news, I would like to share this Sun-Times article which discusses not only city Alderman who are unhappy with CPS plans to close schools in light of the weather emergency. They also discuss how people around the city are coping with the cold weather.

      How are you coping with the cold weather so far?

      Also 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale cancelled the community meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday night. Also Ald. Beale sent out an e-mail on warming centers througout the city. As always call 311 for information on warming centers!

      Finally the Tribune has news on alternative programming for children while schools are closed during this "polar vortex".
      The YMCA of Metro Chicago is providing “School’s Out Day’’ activities at five Chicago facilities today and Tuesday, according to spokeswoman Michelle Damico.

      Kids will be doing interactive crafts, active physical group games, skits and drama and other fun activities from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the following locations:

      McCormick Tribune: 1834 North Lawndale Ave.

      High Ridge: 2424 W. Touhy Ave.

      South Side: 6330 S. Stony Island Ave.

      South Chicago: 3039 East 91st St.

      Rauner Family: 2700 S. Western Ave.

      Check back for updates.

      Sunday, January 26, 2014

      CPS schools are closed on Monday


      The notice above was posted to the CPS FB page today. CPS schools will be closed on Monday due to the expected weather for tomorrow. Schools had been closed on January 6th & 7th due to the extreme cold weather.

      If you seek any further updates you can use the number above 773.553.1000 or call CPS hotline at 773.553.3100. You can also follow CPS on FB and on Twitter to seek further updates!

      Friday, January 24, 2014

      Since the "polar vortex" weather is back


      I originally posted this information over at The Sixth Ward on January 6, 2013 during the first "polar vortex" episode. So this information remains important. Please remember if you need transportation to or information on the nearest warming center call 311.

      State Rep. Elgie Sims (District 34) provides some more resources with regards to the weather in a recent email
      Please use the following resources to keep you safe and warm:
      • Keep warm Illinois
        • A website aimed at identifying warming centers around the state and other information necessary to assist with keeping warm during the cold months of the year.
      • Getting around Illinois
        • The website will provide residents and motorists with information regarding the status of our roads. 
      • ComED energy assistance
        • Customers are encouraged to notify ComED as quickly as possible if they experience an outage. 
        • Customers can text OUT to 26633 to report any outages and receive restoration information, or they can contact ComED by calling 1-800-EDISON-1.
      And as always this:
      Please check on elderly neighbors and make sure that you and any children under your care are sufficiently bundled up if you must go outside.  Please do not forget pets and keep them indoors during these extreme conditions.
      Be careful out there everyone! Stay safe and warm!