Friday, August 29, 2014

Positive Loitering Tonight, 7pm-8pm

Come stand with your neighbors and police officers for a safer Uptown.

from the Uptown Chicago Commission:

"Positive Loitering enters its fifth year in 2014, taking place in trouble spots in the 19th District on Friday evenings.  Tonight we will stand at the southeast corner of Wilson & Broadway, near the currency exchange, then may walk to another spot at 7:30, depending on the group consensus.  Bring a friend, bring a neighbor, bring your dog!  All are welcome to attend.  The 19th District Police are aware of and encourage our efforts.  As always, they will stand with us and/or drive past our location(s) every few minutes to lend support."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Second To Last Argyle Night Market Of The Season Tonight

From Uptown United:
  • Feel the rhythm at 5pm with drum circle at the base of the Sheridan Road stage...
  • followed by Kuumba Lynx, who seek to empower youth and their communities with their Hip-Hop sounds in partnership with...
  • Elephant Rebellion,  a collective of artist, writers, and activists inspired by, and in honor of John Vietnam Nguyen.
  • Fresh and prepared foods, arts, crafts, desserts, accessories, and activities are among the diverse offerings this week from vendors which include vintage collectibles from Sylvia's Backroom as well as Phoenix Bean, Lyons Fruit Farm, Hai Yen Restaurant, and the pure deliciousness of Beijo de Chocolat. 
  • Thursday - 5pm to 9pm
  • On Argyle Street  at Sheridan Rd  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Suspect Arrested for Allegedly Setting Fires

There's been a lot of talk about someone setting fires in the north part of Uptown.  Ald. Osterman's office sent out this note with regard to the alley fires set behind 840 W Ainslie and the 925 W Margate porch fire last week.  Some good news from Ald. Osterman's office:

"Message from the 48th Ward

I received word that the 20th District Police have arrested a person of interest in connection with the Alley fires in the area. They are currently investigating and questioning him. As soon as we have confirmation of charges I will relay those as well. If anyone has any additional information that may help in this investigation please forward the information to me and I will get it to the proper authorities.

Thank you

Marko Zaric
Staff Asst To Alderman-- Public Safety Liaison 48th Ward
5333 N Broadway
Chicago, Il 60640
p- 773-784-5277
f- 773-784-6630"

Ashland Water Main Replacement Project - September Through December

If your commute takes you along Clark, Damen, or Ashland, read this.  Gonna be a PITA for a few months, but if you broke an axle on one of Ashland's many potholes last winter (I did!) or were forced to play Bode Miller just trying to drive down the street, you'll know it's a good thing in the long run, not only for century-old pipes running under the street, but for a complete repavement of Ashland.

From Ald. Pawar:

  • "Starting next week (Tuesday, September 2nd), contractors working with DWM will begin replacing the water mains installed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries under Ashland Avenue from Irving Park to Lawrence. After the water main work is complete, Cook County will be providing the funds to resurface the entire stretch of Ashland between Irving Park and Lawrence. 
  • Please note that the southbound lanes of Ashland between Montrose and Irving Park will not have the water main replaced, but will be resurfaced as part of this project.
  • The entire project, including restoration, is expected to be completed by the beginning of December.
  • Crews will work in four-block segments on Ashland, and full lane closures will be necessary during their work for safety reasons. Work will be in progress Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm. 
  • Thanks, in advance, for your patience as the City completes this needed update to our aging infrastructure.
  • Crews will begin on the northbound lanes at Ashland and Irving Park and work their way to Montrose. They will then move to the northbound lanes between Montrose and Lawrence. During working hours, ALL northbound traffic on Ashland will be detoured to Clark St. 
  • They will then move to the southbound lanes between Lawrence and Montrose. Southbound traffic will be detoured to Damen via Lawrence during this time. The project is expected to be fully completed by late November. 
  • As crews make progress, there will be interruptions to E/W traffic across Ashland Avenue."

Show Your True Colors At Crew

Whether it's azure-blue-and-maize, orange-and-blue, or green-and-white, Crew wants to see you in your alma mater's colors this weekend.

"Crew begins the season with our Wear Your College Colors promotion. Just wear your team's logo into Crew any time between Friday and Labor Day and you will draw for a prize.  It could be a keychain, a free appetizer or a tailgate party for eight. There are only 100 prizes up for grabs and you can only claim one per day.

Come back all season long to watch your team.  Crew has 24 screens of college football in HDTV. Our DirecTV subscription includes the Big 10 Network, ESPN Gameplan, SEC Channel and more!  Enjoy great drink specials, fight songs and our friendly staff each Saturday.

Check out our calendar for games with sound."

Refresh With Yoga Anew

Nominating Petitions May Now Be Signed By Registered Voters For February Election

It's the official beginning of the silly season, a/k/a Chicago Municipal Elections.

As of Tuesday, August 26th, candidates interested in running in the municipal election next February are now able to begin circulating nominating petitions.  In short, that means that anyone running for Mayor, City Clerk, City Treasurer or alderman can start gathering signatures to get their names on the ballot.

If you're a registered voter in the city of Chicago, you can sign any petition you choose to.  Note, however, that if you sign multiple petitions for the same office, only your first signature will be counted. You can sign for anyone running for a city office (mayor, city clerk, treasurer) and for any aldermanic candidate running in the ward in which you live.

Petitions are turned in to the Board of Elections in mid-November, checked with a fine-tooth comb, and eligible candidates emerge from the process.  That's when we find out who's gathered enough signatures to have their names appear on the ballot.  Then there are possible appeals, possible challenges, blah blah blah, followed by campaigning, and the whole thing ends with a general election on February 24, 2015.

(Unless there's a run-off.... we'll get to that further down the road.)

If someone approaches you for a signature, be kind.  They're most likely a volunteer, and this is all new to many of them.  There's six months until the election, and we're sure things will get heated along the way.  Might as well start out mellow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Daily Show's Jordan Klepper Headlines This Saturday's Paper Machete

The Daily Show's Jordan Klepper
The Daily Show’s Jordan Klepper headlines the final installment of the Paper Machete’s FRESH MEAT series, a month-long project featuring exclusively comics and writers making their Machete debuts.


Plus CHAD THE BIRD and musical guests WHITE MYSTERY!

3 p.m. Saturday, August 30 at The Green Mill, Broadway & Lawrence and best of all, free!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Man Shot At Clarendon & Windsor

We're hearing that six shots were fired around 9:30pm at Windsor and Clarendon, just a couple blocks from the scene of last night's craziness.

Clarendon is blocked at Wilson, as there are many first responders at the scene, including a heavy police presence and an ambulance.

Our friends with scanners tell us it's a Conservative Vice Lord gang member shot in the shoulder, in good condition.

Again, gang retaliation is quick in Uptown.  If you see anything like a group gathering, or something that makes you think a situation is going to become volatile, call 911.  There are a ton of cops in the area, both undercover and in uniforms, so if you see anything, call!

And via Twitter from Ald. Cappleman:

Sneak Peek Of Somerset Place Lobby

Somerset Place lobby
A reader got a quick look at the lobby of Somerset Place Apartments still under construction at Sheridan and Argyle. As you can see, it looks impressive and will look even more so when complete. We are glad that the developers are taking the time to restore the exterior and breathe new life into the interior. Bravo!

"Chicago Fire Festival" At Buttercup Park This Afternoon

As part of the "Great Chicago Fire Festival," Ald. Osterman, BPAC and Redmoon Theater are bringing the party to Uptown today.

Per Ald. Osterman's newsletter:

"Sunday in Buttercup Park - with Redmoon! Sunday, August 24 2:00pm - 5:00pm. Join friends and neighbors for a magical Sunday afternoon at the beautiful Buttercup Park with free burgers and grilled snacks, treats from La Patisserie P, a dance-off featuring the talents of Kuumba Lynx, kids activities, surprises and artmaking from out partners at Redmoon Theater, as we get ready for the Great Chicago Fire Festival. Hosted by 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman Buttercup Advisory Council, Uptown United, RefugeeOne and Redmoon Theater - bring your friends and neighbors for an amazing Sunday in the Park!"

You can read more about it here.

Wilson L Public Meeting, September 16 @ 7PM

Via Alderman Cappleman:

After many conversations with you over the past two years about plans for the new Wilson L Station, we are now ready to go!

I am hosting a public meeting with the CTA next month so we can all know how the construction will impact our daily lives for the coming years. You can also attend to receive information about job opportunities with this project.

When: Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 7pm
Where: Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson

See you there!


Shots Fired At Clarendon Park And On Wilson Avenue

An absolutely ridiculous night for law-abiding Uptowners, as the gangs decided to play Wild West at two different locations.  As far as we know, no one was hurt.
  • Readers report hearing 20-25 gunshots fired at Clarendon Park around 10pm.  Police responded immediately and in force, as seen in the photo above.  The park was cleared.  A helicopter circled, and as late as midnight, there were still investigations going on and a large police presence.  Several readers saw shooters as they were near the park when the shooting took place.  One suspect is described as "Suspect M/B in his 20's, braids, all white clothing may have changed into black shirt."
  • Around the same time, there was a shooting on Wilson Avenue, across from Truman College.  A reader says, "Purple minivan getaway waiting on Racine drove north after hooded shooter shot 8-10 times, ran and drove away, hitting nobody."
Don't know what prompted tonight's violent outbursts; possibly the local youth were settling some scores before school starts and they settle down to studying for their degrees and doctorates.

Seriously, there's a gang war that involves affiliated gangs from Lakeview to Evanston.  Anything anywhere along the way could have sparked some payback.  Rogers Park and Edgewater murders have been linked to an Uptown rap conflict on YouTube, of all things.  Incidents like tonight's are so frustrating because they're so senseless to everyone except the participants.  Luckily, no lives were lost tonight.

Where there's gang violence, there's usually blowback, so be sure to call 911 if you see anything suspicious, any incidents that look like they're about to escalate into something more serious.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Buttercup Park Clean-Up Saturday, August 23

Tonight's Argyle Night Market Cancelled Due To Weather

If you were planning to attend tonight's Argyle Night Market, it has been cancelled due to expected weather this evening. You still have two more chances this summer to check it out so see you next week!

UPDATE: Another event tonight is cancelled as well, this time in Buena Park:

Tonight's concert in the Park has been cancelled due to the weather.  We have no rain date.  Buena Park Neighbors thanks everyone who came out to our events this summer.

Construction Continues On Truman College's "North Entrance Plaza"

The current view outside the Wilson Avenue entrance to Truman College
If you are a student at Truman or just a neighbor who passes by on a regular basis, you may have noticed construction fencing outside the Wilson Avenue entrances to Truman College. We poked around on Truman's Facebook page and found out what is in store for this area:

"Construction of the north entrance plaza for Harry S Truman College continues. The design calls for a new, more defined and inviting entrance and garden area. The north entrance plaza construction is in response to campus community requests to create an outdoor space for Truman’s students, faculty and staff to meet and study. The space will include a variety of raised planting, beds that define the space, an arbored walkway, and new as well as existing trees to provide shaded seating areas. A faculty and staff advisory committee is working with the designer on a landscape plan that will include plantings and trellises that are in keeping with the Sustainable Chicago 2015 goals."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"The Public Barber" & "Pine & Plastic" Finalists For FLATS Project

Which of these two great businesses would you like to see in a FLATS storefront in Uptown?
Vote now for either "Pine & Plastic" who manufacture locally crafted totes or "The Public Barber" which will provide old school grooming to a new generation. The winner will receive free rent for a year in a FLATS storefront. Voting ends August 31 at midnight.

More info on the businesses and the link for voting can be found here. Good luck to both participants!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fire Destroys Building On Margate Terrace

Fire engulfs the back porches of 919-23 W. Margate Terrace
A fire ripped through 919-23 W. Margate Terrace shortly around 4am this morning. Firefighters were on the scene immediately and the fire was extinguished.

A neighbor sends in the following photo and accolades for our Chicago Fire and Police Departments:

"Just want to send a huge thank you to the men and women of the Chicago Fire and Police Department. Our neighbors suffered a tragedy this morning due to a fire that destroyed their homes. Both departments were quick to respond and I believe no one was hurt. Thank you again to all that helped. Our hearts and thoughts are with our neighbors."

Monday, August 18, 2014

Harpo Studio's "Iyanla, Fix My Life" Filming On Dover

The filming notification from Harpo Studios

Some neighbors living on Dover have received notices from Harpo Studios stating that "Iyanla, Fix My Life" is filming in a single family home at 4726 N. Dover. The filming started Sunday, August 17 and will run through Friday, August 22. If you have more trouble than usual finding parking nearby, you can probably assume it is related to this.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Uptown Psychiatrist's License Suspended

Community Mental Health Services at Lawrence & Kenmore (Alex Garcia-Tribune)
By Karisa King, Tribune Reporter

For years, Dr. Michael Reinstein was a prolific prescriber of a dangerous antipsychotic drug in nursing homes and mental health facilities, giving it to more than 50 percent of the patients under his care.

The psychiatrist's prescriptions of clozapine, known as a risky drug of last resort, were linked to three patients' deaths and triggered federal accusations of kickbacks and fraud.

Now, the Illinois medical board has indefinitely suspended Reinstein's license, saying he received $350,000 in illegal payments from the drug's maker while disregarding its life-threatening effects and alternative treatments. Clozapine can cause seizures, a decrease in white blood cells, inflammation of the heart wall and increased risk of death in elderly patients. Continue Reading

NUNA Helps Secure Grant For Garden At 4919 N. Clark

Envision's Kathryn Kruger Center at 4919 N. Clark
Good news from North Uptown Neighbors Association (NUNA):

The United Airlines Foundation awarded five Eco-Skies Community Grants nation-wide to support employee-sponsored environmental service projects to help protect or enhance the environment in the communities where we live and work.  The organizations that received grants include Sadiq Garden (Missouri), Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio), Heal the Bay (California), Sweet Virginia (Virginia), and Envision Unlimited (Illinois - Uptown).
North Uptown Neighbors Association (NUNA) members worked to secure this grant for Envision Unlimited.  Envision’s Kathryn Kruger Center is located 4919 N. Clark Street and serves ten seniors with developmental disabilities and 17 adults with autism.  Our objective is to transform the Center’s outdoor space from an unwelcoming asphalt pad into a vibrant green space for both clients and community members to enjoy.  The grant value is five thousand dollars.  Envision Unlimited is a non-profit human services provider, that has been operating in the City of Chicago continuously since 1964.  Envision enhances the lives and expands the future for 1,200 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities across all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.

The Envision Project

    -Elizabeth Lindau, NUNA Vice President who was familiar with Envision’s desire to improve their facility developed the project plan and will act as project manager.
    -Seven United Airlines employees who are NUNA members (Jackie Denofrio, Michael O’Gara, and Jimmy Sanders) and close neighbors (Jack Quinones, David Friedland, Mike Oslansky, and John Kirchberg) sponsored the United Airlines Eco-Skies Grant securing the funding.
    -NUNA member Margot is dedicated to bringing together NUNA members, friends, and her business associates to plant the flowers and shrubs.  Alderman Pawar would like to join us to plant.      

John Kearney, Sculptor Of Uptown Gorillas Passes Away

By Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune
There is wonder in the work of sculptor John Kearney, and that wonder — in the form of large-scale metal sculptures that dot the Chicago area — gives joy to any who pass by the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scare Crow and Dorothy and Toto in Oz Park; the gorilla climbing up a wall in Uptown; three deer at the Aon Building; and creatures at the Museum of Science and Industry and the Lincoln Park Zoo. Continue Reading

UU Note: Kearney was also the sculptor of the "Hull House Gorilla," currently on hiatus and soon to be returned to the apartment building being constructed at 4520 Beacon. He also sculpted the gorilla that resides on the side of a home on Castlewood, and the pumas outside Goudy School.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Alderman Cappleman's Statement On Last Night's Leland Incident

Via Ald. Cappleman's website:
"I am working with the police and community members to find out more on what happened last night on Leland.  I want to thank the neighbors that called 911 immediately to alert the police. Anyone with property damage please contact the police immediately. Anyone with information please contact the police and my office. I’ve requested more police be in the area tonight in case of another incident. Do not hesitate to call 911 if you see anything suspicious."

Update: It now appears, according to the Alderman, that a birthday party held at Chase Park with close to 50 kids/teens was the source of the mob.

Media coverage of the incident:

WGN: Video captures vandals damages slew of cars in Uptown

DNAInfo: Dozes on Kids Terrorize Motorists, Damage Cars in Uptown

Fox 32 News: No arrests after reports of 'wilding' reported in Uptown

MPC Releases Its Recommendations About Stewart School & CTA Wilson Property

You may recall that in May, the Metropolitan Planning Council, at the invitation of Ald. Cappleman, held three meetings to get community input into what happens with the building formerly known as Graeme Stewart School and the empty spaces that will be left near the Wilson Red Line station after the reconfiguration takes place.  After the meetings, there was an opportunity for residents to participate in a survey reacting to several proposals that arose from the three community workshops.

MPC has just released its conclusions from the process and you can read all about it, here.  There is a brief overview on page 3 of the report, which is reproduced below.  If you'd like to read the entire explanation of the recommendations that MPC arrived at, you can go to pages 18 and 19.  It's a good read, if you're into that kind of thing (and we are).

Here's the short version of the conclusions derived from the workshops and survey:
"The following summarizes the primary conclusions of the majority of participants in the Uptown CDI workshops and online survey. For more details, see page 18.
Both sites
  1. Dense, mixed-use buildings that fit within the urban fabric of Uptown are preferred.
  2. Many participants stated that any new housing built should be targeted to a range of income levels, with at least some portion of the building dedicated to low-income households.
  3. Given the proximity of the sites to Wilson Station, developments should only include the minimum required parking spaces.
Stewart School site
  1. The existing school building, a beautiful, historic and important structure in Uptown, should be preserved and reused.
  2. If the building is reused as a school, the community’s strong preference is that it be a public school.
  3. If the building is not reused as a school, at least part of the redevelopment should serve the neighborhood, whether as a community, arts or youth center, a farmers market or otherwise.
  4. New construction should be planned for the parking lot adjacent to the school, at a scale similar to the school building (about four to six stories).
  5. Retail options should be incorporated at the ground level if possible, preferably facing Broadway.
Wilson Station site
  1. The redevelopment of Wilson Station offers the opportunity to significantly improve the space under the elevated rail tracks. Working with Truman College and local businesses, CTA should improve lighting and offer a paved, landscaped connection between Truman College and Broadway.
  2. Development on the parcel just west of the CTA tracks is acceptable to the community, particularly if it includes retail facing Wilson Avenue and an “eyes on the street” design that emphasizes safety for pedestrians."
Again, the entire report is here.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Wilson Avenue In 1955

Wilson between Hazel and Clarendon in 1955

The same stretch in 2011, courtesy of Google Streetview

Another view, courtesy of Google Streetview

Wilson Avenue between Hazel and Clarendon is hardly residential these days.  There's Lakeview Towers and the Covington Apartments at the corner of Clarendon and Wilson.  Go west, and you'll find vacant lots, parking lots, a big-box pharmacy, Uplift School, and the Chicago Health Department building before you get to Hazel Avenue.

There's just one exception:  a small residential building on the north side of the street, next to the alley.

Take the Wayback Machine to 1955, and you can see that Wilson used to be chock full of brick apartment buildings.  Best of all, there was a neighborhood bar in the commercial space of the lone residential building. No name or marquee, just an ad for Peter Hand Reserve Beer (Peter Hand was the bottler of Meister Brau, once a big name in Chicago brewing.  The brewery was located at Sheffield and North, where the Container Store and Whole Foods are now), and a small "For Rent" sign.

Neighborhoods change.  This building somehow survived.  Our favorite part of the photo comparison? The same fire hydrant is still there in the parkway.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Positive Loitering Tonight, Wilson & Broadway

Come stand with your neighbors and police officers for a safer Uptown.

from the Uptown Chicago Commission:

"Positive Loitering enters its fifth year in 2014, taking place in trouble spots in the 19th District on Friday evenings.  Tonight we will stand at the southeast corner of Wilson & Broadway, near the currency exchange, then may walk to another spot at 7:30, depending on the group consensus.  Bring a friend, bring a neighbor, bring your dog!  All are welcome to attend.  The 19th District Police are aware of and encourage our efforts.  As always, they will stand with us and/or drive past our location(s) every few minutes to lend support."

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

National Night Out At Buttercup Park

Some glimpses of what last night, National Night Out, was like at Buttercup Park, thanks to Mariano's and JJ Peppers, who supplied the food and drinks, and the police and volunteers who supplied the grilling and serving. Reader JK sent in these photos and says, "Tons of folks out enjoying the park @Sheridan and Ainslie."