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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

South Side Weekly: Repurposing Shedd School #Ward09

Shedd School on Christmas Day 2017
Sorry to have missed out on this article from last year, it's still a contentious issue after almost five years. What to do with the former Shedd School. Well there were some proposals that were rejected:
The Rescue Missionary Christian School then presented their information to the district and 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale, along with another bidder (“We never got a name. All we knew was that it was a [housing] developer,” Tucker said). Both bids were rejected. “The highest bidder did not get community approval so my thought was, ‘Shouldn’t it go to the second highest bidder since you only had two?’ But no, he rejected both bids and put it back up for sale. At least that’s the story we got,” said Tucker.

In fact, because Shedd was not officially considered one of the schools closed in 2013, there was no district requirement for community input or public meetings at the time (now, that requirement has been lifted for many schools closed in 2013 as well).

According to Beale, the bid by the Rescue Missionary Christian School was denied because he felt they did not have “the resources to accomplish what the community is looking to have done,” he said. “If the building needs redoing, they really don’t have the capital to rehab the building, keep up with the maintenance of the building, keep up with the landscaping, all those types of things.”

According to a Freedom of Information Act request, Shedd Elementary accumulated approximately $5,430 in gas and electricity costs from July 2015 to June 2016, which has residents wondering why taxpayers are still paying to keep the lights on in a closed building.

Beale explained that some buildings are secured by alarm systems. “You don’t want a school just sitting there open. You might want to make sure the heat stays at a certain temperature so the pipes don’t freeze. There’s a lot of things going on, just because a building is vacant doesn’t mean that there’s no activity in the building. There’s still a light amount of maintenance being done,” he said.

The building is still in good condition and has yet to become an eyesore in the neighborhood. But residents still want to see the building repurposed.
Too bad they didn't send a photographer to this property. When the weather warms up and the leaves on trees grow ago there are vines growing on what used to the the kindergarten class room. That's an eyesore enough although yes, the building itself may well still remain in good condition. Here's hoping a satisfactory plan will be created for the former Shedd School.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Latest updates from Ald. Beale #Ward09

Here's the latest e-mail update from Ald. Anthony Beale, there's lots of information here. If you have an e-mail address feel free to visit his site @ to sign up for his e-mails.

Be advised of the upcoming community meeting for the 9th Ward the first for 2018!
  • Community Town Hall Meeting
    Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 6:30 pm
    Pullman Presbyterian Church
    550 E 103rd Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60628
Of course this is how to get into touch with the Alderman's office
  • 9th Ward Service Office 34 E 112th Pl
    Chicago, IL 60628
    Tel 773-785-1100
There will be more to extrapolate from this update later.

    Tribune: Politics, funding impede Pullman restoration as monument approaches 3rd anniversary

    Via The Chicago Neighborhoods
    This Tribune article updates us on the progress of that Pullman National Monument announced by then President Barack Obama in 2015:
    Since 2015, Pullman National Monument has moved sluggishly toward these goals. The state-owned grounds are in the midst of an extensive cleanup from decades of industrial waste. The National Park Service’s visitors center, planned for the clock tower building, has been pushed back at least a year. Plans mapping out the monument’s long-term future were supposed to be completed within three years but are only now beginning. State and federal money has been minimal, and progress on some projects has been slowed because of several federal government shutdowns and an unprecedented two-year state budget standoff.

    The one project that could move forward, an apartment building for artists, is on hold after federal officials told the developers to seek additional input from the public.

    “My wife and I have been here for 50 years, and we’ve seen different cycles and levels of interest from people working in Pullman,” said resident Mike Shymanski. Progress “takes time and takes patience, but once the restoration is done it’ll be around a long time.”

    Pullman was expected to draw 300,000 visitors per year by 2025, however, with its current annual attendance at only 50,000, those estimates seem ambitious.

    Now, the park is contending with a president who is less supportive of conservation. The Trump administration recently shrunk two Utah national monuments, bringing about at least two legal challenges and legislation to counter the move.
    Here's something from Tribune Graphics showing a map of the Pullman area under the national parks.
    While it's not looking that good there are some positive developments:
    The first floor of the state-owned Hotel Florence could open even sooner, possibly over the summer after contractors finish building an accessibility ramp and restoring and furnishing the elaborate interior.

    The park service also plans to work outside the monument to generate buzz through a grant from the McCormick Foundation to develop curriculum in area classrooms on nationally significant themes: transformation of passenger rail travel, urban planning, Pullman’s role in the American labor movement and the porters’ civil rights movement.
    What are the plans for the Hotel Florence? I'm very keen on finding out!

    Monday, February 19, 2018

    CBS 2: Students Go To "Black Panther" To Get More Than Entertained

    [VIDEO] Vince Gerasole was at the Studio Movie Grill Chatham - 210 W. 87th Street - to document the school groups that were up there. Those students are said to also be treated to a talk that will encourage them to pursue careers in the film industry.

    What's especially highlighted was that this film has come off of a strong opening weekend:
    The numbers are in and Black Panther is a monster hit. More than that, it has already earned a place in the box office history books in just its first three-to-four days of release. The movie earned a $201.8 million Fri-Sun weekend and will earn an estimated $235m over the Fri-Mon holiday. So, without further ado, I wanted to take a moment to note the copious big ways that the Ryan Coogler-directed/Chadwick Boseman-starring superhero spectacular has already planted its flag in the sand.
    Just consider this is the biggest opening weekend of a movie with a mostly Black cast and by a Black director. And of course it's setting the bar for comic book movies in general also.

    I have no problem encouraging young people to pursue careers in film. Going into Hollywood is lucrative so that's never discouraged, let's however encourage them to explore their own voices as artists. That as important as scoring a job in that business, main thing is to go ahead and get started.

    Also enjoy Black Panther it's really good.

    Saturday, February 17, 2018

    #formyblock Shoveling for Seniors #twill

    [VIDEO] Major kudos to Jahmal Cole who spent some time during last weekend's snowfall doing snow removal on those blocks that could use it the most. Especially those blocks with a relatively large senior population. He definitely was using instagram to get the word out for volunteers and in no small feat got people to come out from all over the city.

    I  don't want to blow hot air but great things are happening for Mr. Cole. Thankfully the snow from last weekend is melting but  wouldn't mind volunteering with him during the next winter snowstorm. Get a good shovel, some salt, and perhaps even a portable snowblower. There's nothing wrong with helping Chicagoans in need!

    Also he got some significant media attention during last weekend's snowfall. I shared a story from NBC 5 though that wasn't the only news coverage he got!

    Tuesday, February 13, 2018

    Pullman gets a 2nd Gotham Greens facility

    Via Reana / Flickr
    Found a post about this on instagram recently, and decided to find the accompanying story for this via Chicago Tribune. There's something going on in Pullman with that Whole Foods distribution center and now Gotham Greens coming with a new greenhouse:
    The new $12.5 million, 105,000-square-foot greenhouse will be on South Doty Avenue on the former Ryerson industrial site in Pullman, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office, near the company’s first Pullman greenhouse on top of the Method soap factory. The expansion reflects both the company’s success in the Chicago market — through selling its products in chains including Jewel-Osco and Whole Foods Market — as well as the continued redevelopment of the Pullman area. While Gotham’s first Pullman greenhouse was a rooftop structure, the second one will be free-standing.

    “We’re thrilled to be building a second, larger, state-of-the-art greenhouse facility in Pullman,” Gotham Greens CEO Viraj Puri said in an email. “Retailers, institutional food service operators are increasingly attracted to consistency and reliability of our year-round, local produce supply. Further, consumer interest in locally produced food continues to grow.”
    The project could receive up to $3.35 million in tax increment financing assistance for site work on 6.2 acres, though that’s still subject to City Council approval, according to the mayor’s office. The existing zoning of the planned development would also need to be amended to allow for light manufacturing, according to the mayor’s office.

    The land — situated just north of Planet Fitness along the Bishop Ford Expressway — is part of the former Ryerson industrial site owned by U.S. Bank and Pullman-based nonprofit developer Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives.

    David Doig, president of CNI, said the nonprofit would improve the site before selling it to Gotham Greens for up to $800,000.

    The new Gotham Greens greenhouse will employ about 60 workers.
    Here's the aforementioned ig post by Ian Lantz below!

    A post shared by Ian Lantz (@ianlantzart) on

    Friday, February 9, 2018

    Artistmac on the politics of snow

    [VIDEO] While I didn't want to post another artistmac video so soon after I already posted one on Monday, however, with the snow coming down at this moment this is appropriate. Not a blizzard at least, but this is heavy snow regardless.

    Meanwhile, the last video by artistmac was really about complaining about a ridge or snow in his backyard. The video above tells us about the politics of snow about dibs, also the city shouldn't plow alleys or private property, and of course private property owners especially businesses should shovel the snow on their sidewalks.

    Also artistmac is pretty saavy. Let's say you see a city plow for example plowing an alley if you have your fancy iPhone or android device or a Blackberry snap a photo or record video. You can send this to your alderman's office you can also send it to the local TV news stations. He does state we are in sweeps period.

    For your weather needs check the WGN Weather page. And be careful when shoveling your snow!

    BTW, just remember that we're almost a month away from spring. We're almost at the point where the cold weather and the snow becomes rain storms and warmer weather.

    Thursday, February 8, 2018

    How to find out who your elected officials are

    [VIDEO] It's that time of year again. 2018 is an election year and then 2019 we vote for Mayor, City Clerk, Treasurer, & the Aldermen of course. Artistmac shows you where to go to find out who represents you and were to go to find out who's running where you live.

    I'll give you two links that you'll know about in the vid anyway.

    Wednesday, February 7, 2018

    Capitol Fax: Emil Jones explodes at Pritzker, “safe blacks”; Bishop Trotter disinvites; Staffer quits

    In this campaign with the wealthy JB Pritzker as a front runner seeking to be the Democrat nominee for Governor against the also wealth incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner some long ago wiretaps have been heard from in campaign ads. This time however another wiretap from what I can tell never heard in a campaign commercial so far has caused a different more racial controversy.

    On Tuesday at the CapFax the comments made in this wiretap where JB Pritzker calls then Gov. Rod Blagojevich - shortly before his arrest by the FBI on corruption charges that would see him removed from the office of governor. Pritzker & Blagojevich discusses who to appoint to Obama's US Senate seat & yes this probably wasn't long after Barack Obama has been elected President of the United States. The comments Pritzker made offends one of Obama's mentors former state Senate President Emil Jones Jr.

    As you'll see when you click the tweet below, Jones isn't happy - it's also noted that Jones in fact supports another wealthy candidate Chris Kennedy for governor. I could attribute this to hurt feelings and even if it was only that Jones definitely plays the race card.
    Of course there is more to this. The chairman of the city council Black caucus Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward) offers a statement:
    Finally let's get to this ABC 7 story further discussing this. At about 2:15 into this video Ald. Anthony Beale (9th ward) he absolutely takes umbrage to Pritzker's statements with regards to the Black community.
    Allow me to pull this quote:
    "This is a slap in our face, taking our community for granted, playing our community against each other, this is not the kind of leadership we need at this time," said 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale.
    Now I wonder who Beale supports in the Democrat primary for Governor.

    Saturday, February 3, 2018

    Community meet & greet on Saturday

    Sorry for the late notice - and late crosspost from - on this as I just got wind of this on Friday night. Meet not only your new state Senator Elgie Sims, and state Rep. Nicholas Smith also county Commissioner Stanley Moore at their offices.
    • 8658 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
      Suite 404
      Chicago, IL 60619
      1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
      Phone: 773.933.7715

    Flyer is below.

    Thursday, February 1, 2018

    Nick Smith succeeds Elgie Sims for 34th district state representative

    On Wednesday with Elgie Sims moving up to his mentor's - Donne Trotter - state senate seat there was now a vacancy in Sims' 34th state house district. In a meeting with Democratic bosses Nick Smith was named Sen. Sims successor in this state house seat. Smith is the current 9th ward Streets and Sanitation superintendent and was at one point a former President of the Roseland Heights Community Association.

    Though I said I was going to step back from Nextdoor it was interesting the see the names who presented their credentials for this vacancy. Michael Lafargue of West Chesterfield, Richard Wooten a former police officer who actually ran for this seat in 2012, Jahmal Cole of My Block My Hood My City, Eli Washington of Chesterfield. These are all names many of us have heard of in the public as leaders of community or youth organizations.

    It let's you know that even though many of us didn't get to vote on any of these names, you can have an impact in your community and you can forward your name for any political position. And of course the possibility is there that you can become a person state official using in part that experience.

    Congrats to state Rep. Smith!