Thursday, February 11, 2016

Smoking Popes To Appear At Paper Machete On Saturday

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Paper Machete, the live entertainment magazine that plays weekly at the Green Mill, is always fun, free and fabulous. But this week has a little sumthin' extra -- musical guests are the legendary Chicago punk band The Smoking Popes. Paper Machete founder and performer Christopher Piatt says, "It's a huge honor for us to have them on the bill."

Others appearing with Paper Machete this week are JC Aevaliotis, John Patrick Coan, Ali Klingler, Laura McKenzie, and Abbi Rajasehkar. It all begins at 3pm, but if you've been to the Green Mill, you know seating is limited, so you'll want to get there early. The Green Mill is located at 4802 North Broadway. The Facebook event page is here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Maryville Gets City Council Zoning Okay, Nearing Final Steps of Approval Process


It's been a big week for the proposed Maryville development plan. Yesterday the City Council's Zoning Committee gave its approval to allow redevelopment of the site, and today the full City Council approved the same. This is the farthest any plan has come in the years-long attempts to get it done, and we're thrilled.

The next -- and final -- steps toward actually seeing something happen are getting the approval of the City Council's Finance Committee (because it's a TIF area) and then the approval of the full Council.

We've been waiting for years to see something besides abandoned buildings at this site, which have sat empty since 2005. Ever since 2008, when Sedgwick Properties Development Corp. first entered into a sale agreement with the owners, and since 2010, when former alderman Helen Shiller created the Montrose-Clarendon TIF to enable them to buy it, we've been waiting to see it begin generating taxes and adding to Uptown's tax base. Ms. Shiller must be thrilled to see one of her last big accomplishments as alderman finally approaching fruition.

This enormous 3.5-acre property hasn't been on the the tax rolls since 1939, when the tax-exempt Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus became the owners. That's the year Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz premiered in theaters. That was before the U.S. entered World World II. It was before the Cubs' last pennant in 1945. Total revenue the city has collected from this property during all the years since: $0.00.

It's 2016. The buyers want to buy. The sellers want to sell.
  • A sale will enable the property to pull its weight and start generating taxes. You know, the things that pay for city services. 
  • It will create 20 new units of affordable housing in the first building, and more units when the second building is built.
  • It will generate sales taxes from the 30,000sf of planned retail and commercial space.
  • It will ensure that within eight months of construction beginning, $4.6 million will go toward saving the deteriorating Clarendon Park Fieldhouse (which is $4.6 million more than the Park Department is able to provide). 
  • It will ensure that $5.8 million goes into the Low Income Housing Trust Fund to help Chicagoans earning 30% or less of the area's median income to remain in their neighborhoods and homes.
  • It will create jobs, as well as housing and shopping opportunities for Uptowners, and bring more residents to our community.
Let's get it done. It's time.

CAPS Beat 1914 Meets Tonight At Clarendon Park

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A reminder to those living in Beat 1914 (the area bordered by the lake, Montrose, Broadway, and Lawrence) that CAPS is tonight at 7pm at the Clarendon Park Fieldhouse, Sunnyside & Clarendon. This is the first CAPS meeting since last October for this beat, due to the Veteran's Day holiday, the December hiatus, and the new bimonthly schedule.  Please attend if you are concerned with safety in your community!

Presto Change-o -- Firehouse By Design

Before (via Google Streetview)

The empty firehouse on the 1200 block of Gunnison was certainly undistinguished. We never even noticed it across from the Bezazian Library. When the developer Cedar Street announced in November 2014 that it was seeking a zoning change to rehab the firehouse into apartments, it was the first time we ever really took a look.

And now, the firehouse is done and ready for tenants. It's quite a turn-around in a short time from a board-up to a funky rehab. You can see its transformation here in previous Uptown Update posts. The official webpage is here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Red & Purple Line Massive Modernization Project Gets A Little More Real

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For years, we've been hearing about ambitious plans to completely rehab the Red Line tracks and stations north of Wilson. Today Mayor Emanuel, Sen. Durbin and the CTA announced that some major funding had been delegated toward Phase 1, which includes the Uptown portion.

According to the press release, "Phase 1 of the project includes four station reconstructions (Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr), reconstruction of track structure and viaducts (including some that are more than 100 years old), and the construction of a rail bypass north of Belmont station to increase rail capacity and alleviate train congestion."

Today, Pres. Obama's proposed 2017 federal budget allocated $125 million for Phase 1, and the USDOT allocated a separate $156 million. Phase 1 will cost (brace yourself) $2.131 billion.

The press release also says, "The CTA intends to move forward with its promise to encourage redevelopment in the Red and Purple corridor as part of Phase 1. The CTA will seek a consultant in 2016 to work with local communities and elected officials to develop a Transit Oriented Development Plan for parcels located in the Lawrence-Bryn Mawr and Red-Purple Bypass project areas."

You can read more about the project here, and the Lawrence-Bryn Mawr portion (Phase 1) here.

We don't think they'll make their goal of beginning construction by 2017, so don't hold your breath. But the wheels are turning to make it happen... eventually.

Sarah's Circle Plans 7-Story Expansion at 4830-34 N. Sheridan

Proposal showing the plans for Sarah's Circle expansion with 7 story addition (Sarah's Circle)
Current view of the vintage storefront at 4830-34 N. Sheridan (Google)
1936 view of this same stretch of Sheridan with proposed building site (CDOT)
Sarah's Circle, which provides shelter, training, and job placement for homeless women, has presented plans for a 7 story addition just south of their current building at 4838 N. Sheridan that underwent a significant rehab from how it looked in 2009. The plans were presented to the Argyle-Winmore Block Club which is in support of the project and has sent a letter of support to Ald. Cappleman. Sarah's Circle entered into a "good neighbor" agreement in 2011 and according to neighboring block clubs, has been a responsible neighbor. Plans appear to call for the demolition of a vintage one story storefront (pictured above). You might remember this as the site of a proposed day labor agency by former Ald. Shiller that did not pan out after community objections. This old storefront at 4830-34 N. Sheridan has been around for a while and it would be wonderful to see it somehow integrated into the new, modern design.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Tree-mendous Changes At Buena Park Circle

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The infestation of the emerald ash borer has come to Buena Park Circle (Buena and Kenmore). Sadly, most of the trees there are dead or too badly diseased to be saved, so the city has been removing them. According to reader Jeffrey Hamrick, who took this photo, the honey locust trees on the north side of the park will likely survive, but the rest must come down.

The emerald ash borer epidemic has hit the Midwest hard. Nearly 20% of all the trees in Chicago are susceptible to the tiny beetle, which was first discovered in Illinois in 2006. Thousands of trees have died or had to be removed.

It's similar to when Dutch Elm Disease swept through Chicago. If anyone remembers, St. Boniface Cemetery and portions of Sheridan Park were stripped of most of their trees during that devastation. The good news is that other trees have taken the place of the elms, and eventually the same will happen with the ash trees.

Photo courtesy of
City of Elgin Public Works
How destructive is the beetle? Well, once the eggs are in the tree, that's pretty much it. Treatment is expensive and not always successful. Even wood used from downed trees can carry the disease, so it can't be used for firewood or mulch.

According to Jeffrey, a Parks District worker told him that 60% of the trees in Chicago's parks are ash, which does not bode well for the future. He says, "I predict we'll see very different trees in the city in the coming decades, most likely trees from further south, such as the Kentucky coffee tree." Hopefully Buena Park Circle will be reforested very soon.

Uptown's Original Starbucks Scheduled To Close Next Month


Sadly, the rumors we've been hearing for the past year are true and we'll have to get our Tall Non-Fat Lattes With Caramel Drizzle somewhere else. A reader writes:
"The Starbucks at Wilson and Magnolia recently got word from Corporate that it will be closing on March 7. The manager confirmed as much in a conversation this afternoon. All the employees will be given opportunities to transfer to other Starbucks. The manager told me that there was a possibility Starbucks will re-open in the Wilson Station when it is ready."
We confirmed the closing with a representative of Cedar Street, the building's owner, who said Starbucks had been a great tenant and they were sorry to be losing them.

We don't know the reason for corporate's decision to close this location, but there's a glut of coffee shops in the immediate vicinity, which may have led to caffeine overload. There's Heritage Outpost and Baker & Nosh, both within a block of the store; Everybody's Coffee a few blocks east on Wilson; and two other Starbucks a short walk away, at Lawrence/Broadway and inside Target at Sunnyside/Broadway. That's a lot of competition for the same target market.

Starbucks on Wilson was controversial when it opened in 1999 as a Magic Johnson-owned franchise with the goal to "create economic activity in historically underserved ethnic communities." Johnson Development Corporation sold the store back to Starbucks corporate in 2010. You can read more about the history of the franchise here.

We're sad to see this closing, and sad to see that the entire retail building will be vacant as of March 7th. Having all the spaces empty will give Cedar Street plenty of options for reconfiguring the storefronts if they so choose.

We hear that Baker & Nosh will be expanding its seating area in the near future, a move that will benefit Starbucks' former clientele. Pass the madeleine cookies, put on a compilation CD, and let's sit back and see how it all shakes out.

Update: A former manager of Starbucks posted on Uptown Update's Facebook page: "There are several reasons for the closure. It was starbucks decision to close. the upkeep from the previous owner (not cedar) was terrible, the store needed an expensive full remodel and when the decision was introduced there had been several shootings in the area. I believe they looked into relocating nearby, not sure where that went. It had nothing to do with homeless."

Sunday, February 7, 2016

'Snack 4 Less' Gang Loitering & Flavored Tobacco Issue

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Snack 4 Less Convenience Store at 1144 W. Wilson
A reader writes in:
"I have noticed, as well as many of my neighbors, that the area outside Snack 4 Less (on Wilson between Racine and Clifton) has really gone downhill. I call 911 regularly on gangbangers openly making drug deals in front of this store. I try to give my business to 7-Eleven because of this. I mentioned all of the loitering and drug issues to the 7-Eleven cashier and they told me that Snack 4 Less is also selling flavored tobacco, which according to the BACP (Business Affairs and Consumer Protection) is not allowed within 500 feet of an elementary, middle or secondary school. Not many people realize that Truman College has a secondary school inside of it and that would make selling flavored tobacco illegal. The worker I spoke with in 7-Eleven mentioned that they wanted to sell flavored tobacco if Snack 4 Less was. They said the clerk in Snack 4 Less keeps it behind the counter and overhead so if an inspector comes in, it is not visible. I realize this is only part of the problem with the loitering but I wanted to make sure your readers are calling 911 for drug deals and gang loitering in this new hotspot and hopefully the inspectors get on this."

Suspect Arrested In Battering Death Of Uptown Man

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A homeless woman has been arrested and charged with the beating death of a 63-year-old Uptown man last December. This week, the police arrested Sabrina Shaffer, age 45, at a Gold Coast donut shop.

Keith West was found severely beaten in his apartment on the 4500 block of Sheridan Road on December 26th after a friend asked the police to do a well-being check. He was taken to Illinois Masonic, where he passed away on December 28th.

The police classified his death as a homicide investigation a week or so later. They said that they did not have anyone in custody, but kept quiet that Sabrina Shaffer, who uses the address of the Pacific Garden Mission downtown, had been seen leaving Mr. West's home with some of his belongings shortly before he was found critically injured. The relationship between the two is unclear.

This past Wednesday, Ms. Shaffer caused a disruption in the Dunkin Donuts store at Chicago and State, and the police were called. When they ran her name, the information came up that she was a person of interest in the death of Mr. West.

Ms. Shaffer appeared in bond court at 26th & Cal on Saturday and was charged with first-degree murder. Her bond was set at $750,000. According to the Tribune, Ms. Shaffer told the court she suffers from mental illness. The court records show that she has a long rap sheet going back to the 1980s, and was once sentenced to a seven-year prison term for robbing and battering a senior citizen.

Our thoughts go out to the friends and family of Keith West.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

"Big Game" Happenings

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We're sure just about every place in Uptown that's open on Sunday will be tuned to football. Here are what some of them have let us know:
  • Sonic (1022 Wilson) will offer 1/2 Price Wings all day Sunday.
  • Crew (4802 Broadway) will be serving brunch with bottomless mimosas and suggests you get there early to secure a seat for the game.
  • Driftwood (1021 Montrose) will open at 3pm and will have a chili cook-off along with football.
  • Papa Ray's (4757 Sheridan) is already accepting orders for Sunday. "Now accepting orders for Super Bowl. Order today to guarantee kick off delivery. Only 5000 wings on hand for Super Bowl, place your order early. Call 773-754-0394"
Did we miss your spot? Let us know, either in the comments or by emailing and we'll add it to the post.

Wilson Men's Club Hotel Is For Sale, And Oak Park Columnist Is On The Case


It's always entertaining when people who don't live in Uptown tell those of us who do what is acceptable for our community. So many outliers care so greatly about Uptown from their nests in Rogers Park, Ravenswood, Chatham, and Northbrook. They feel we should turn to them for answers because we're just too unaware to know what's best for the community we grew up in, live in, and vote in.

Just this morning, Mark Brown of the Sun-Times fired up his Mac from Oak Park and took on the future of the Wilson Men's Club hotel at 1124 Wilson.

Owner Jay Bomberg has been selling his company's properties in Uptown. The Wilson-Windsor Apartments at 915 Wilson and the Bachelor Hotel at 1136 Wilson have already changed hands. Now Mark Brown is concerned about what will happen if and when Bomberg sells the Wilson Men's Club (which has been on the market since at least 2013):
Instead of aggressively pushing out residents in preparation for a sale to market-rate developers, owner Jay Bomberg has been accepting new tenants and promising to try to find a buyer who will preserve the Wilson Men’s Hotel for low-income housing. Bomberg says he’s conducting “business as usual.”
Meanwhile, Ald. James Cappleman (46th), one of the prime movers behind a 2013 effort to shutter the cubicle hotels, has told residents he supports efforts to keep the facility affordable.
Bomberg told Brown that "it’s still possible the building will be sold to a buyer who would continue to operate it as a cubicle hotel." The building had a sales contract, according to LoopNet, in 2013, but if that was true, it didn't happen.

Here's an idea -- why don't all those people who are very concerned about Uptown pool their money and buy the place? Surely they want some skin in the game. Oak Parkers, Ravenswoodians, Chathamites, Northbrookers, Rogers Parkers -- start talking to your banks about loans and mortgages. We're sure Jay Bomberg would be happy to complete another sale, and you can do whatever you'd like with Wilson Men's Club hotel.

Or is it more fun to view Uptown as your own personal SimCity without actually having to be part of it?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Harry Osterman On "Live From The Heartland" On Saturday

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Ald. Osterman will be a guest on the Live from the Heartland radio program, which is broadcast from the Heartland Cafe in Rogers Park at 9am on Saturday. It's on WLUM-88.7 FM. The show's website describes it as "An hour of conversation with people you should know: politicians, performers, activists and everyday people doing extraordinary things. An hour of conversation with people you should know: politicians, performers, activists and everyday people doing extraordinary things."

Celebrate The Year of the Monkey In Uptown

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From Ald. Osterman's weekly newsletter:

"Mark your calendars for this year's Lunar New Year celebrations on and around Argyle!
  • Argyle Lunar New Year Celebration
    1pm-3pm, Saturday, February 13
    on Argyle, between Kenmore Avenue and Broadway
    Ring in the Year of the Monkey with the Argyle business community, Uptown United, Uptown Business Partners and Alderman Harry Osterman.
  • Chinese Mutual Aid Association Celebration
    10am-1pm Saturday, February 13
    Truman College, 1445 W. Wilson Avenue
    Enjoy a traditional Chinese lunch and performances by CMAA youth groups. The event is free, but tickets are required for entry and lunch. Over 400 community members and leaders, elected officials and diplomats will be in attendance. Click here for more information
  • South-East Asia Center’s Lunar New Year Event
    11am, Saturday, February 13
    Furama Restaurant, 4936 N. Broadway
    Enjoy a 10-course, royal-style Chinese banquet while being entertained with traditional performances including the lion dance. For reservations, please send a check for $25 per person to South-East Asia Center, 5120 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640 along with your contact information. For more information, please call San O or Fanny Wong at 773-989-7433.
  • Vietnamese Association of Illinois Tet Celebration
    1pm-5pm, Saturday, February 13
    St. Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Church, 5649 N. Sheridan Road
    Refreshments, cultural performances, live entertainment and more will be provided by local Vietnamese artists and musicians. For more information, please call 773-728-3700.

Got Overdue Books? CPL Amnesty Is On

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It's Amnesty Time! Break out of Library Jail and get back into the Chicago Public Library's good graces.

Until February 18th, any borrowed materials that are overdue (books, DVDs, CDs, whatever) will be accepted without past-due fines. No questions asked. If you've lost the item, you will be responsible only for the replacement cost.

Last time CPL had amnesty, back in 2012:
  • 101,301 overdue items, valued at approximately $2 million, were returned
  • CPL waived $641,820 worth of fines
  • Over 40,000 patrons renewed their Library cards
  • Overdue materials ranged from items only a few weeks overdue to one book that had been due in 1934
  • Almost every item returned was able to be put back out into circulation within a few days, so that other patrons could check them out.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Look Divine For Your Valentine

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Spoil Me Salon & Spa wants to make your shine for your Valentine with February specials. Gift certificates are available as well. Spoil Me is located at 4668 North Broadway, at the corner of Leland. More about their services are available on their website:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Got a Gripe With Lincoln Towing? Sign A Petition Urging Ald. Pawar To Investigate It

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Everyone has a story about Lincoln Towing. Few, if any, of them are complimentary.

From the late 1960s, when Mike Royko did a series of columns exposing their less-than-honorable business practices, right up until today, the mere mention of their name causes even hardened Chicagoans to start spewing invective. Stories abound of damaged cars, illegal tows, and threats from personnel. Here's an encounter an Uptown Update reader had with them in 2012.

When the story broke this week about a North Center family whose car was towed from the parking space behind their home, and Lincoln Towing's insistence that they pay $200 to get it back, someone decided to do something about it.

Lakeview resident Basil Diab went to and started a petition addressed to Ald. Pawar, in whose section of Uptown Lincoln Towing is located (4882 North Clark, for those lucky enough not to have paid them a visit).  In email, Mr. Diab says,
"I'm a native Chicagoan, so stories of Lincoln Towing date back to my childhood. For me, it was reading about the Old Irving Park family who had their car illegally towed from their own property this past week. ... It wasn't until the media stepped in that Lincoln Towing (sort of) admitted fault and returned the car to the family. The company changed their story as to the reason for the tow and instead blamed it on a new driver.

For me, that was a last straw, and I decided the time was right. After the parking meter deal, increasing crime and impending property taxes, I know Chicago residents are reaching a tipping point for their tolerance of abuse. So I took action."
The petition was put online on February 1st, and by evening on February 3rd, has reached just shy of 2,000 signatures.  In part, it reads:
"Given the insurmountable evidence, Lincoln Towing Company is a clear and dangerous nuisance to the Uptown Neighborhood as well as the other surrounding neighborhoods that have been victimized by its alleged practices of theft, fraud and safety endangerment. The citizens, visitors and consumers of the City of Chicago hereby petition Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th Ward) and the Chicago City Council to immediately suspend Lincoln Towing's business license until a satisfactory operational audit clears it of all allegations and it is found to be operating with acceptable standards, practices and ethics."
If you'd like to add your name, you can find the petition here.

On his Facebook page, Ald. Pawar posted Wednesday afternoon,

My office will be introducing a resolution with Chairman Ariel Reboyras asking the ICC (tow truck regulator) to testify...
Posted by Alderman Ameya Pawar on Wednesday, February 3, 2016

It's obligatory at this point to add Steve Goodman's song about Lincoln Towing, called Lincoln Park Pirates. Just how long has Lincoln Towing been notorious? Well, Steve Goodman has been dead for more than 30 years and wrote the song in 1973.

Day Of Remembrance Commemorates American Internment Camps & Civil Liberties

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The Japanese American Service Committee (JASC), located at 4427 North Clark, is one of the sponsors of the Day of Remembrance, an annual event commemorating FDR’s signing of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, which authorized the forced removal and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. More than two-thirds were United States citizens. You can still meet people who were forced into the internment camps and their descendants living in Uptown.

This year's events will take place on Sunday, February 21, at the Chicago History Museum, with the spotlight on the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which authorized an apology and monetary compensation to surviving incarcerees from the Japanese American concentration camps.

The main speaker will be Mitchell T. Maki, co-author of the book Achieving the Impossible Dream: How Japanese Americans Obtained Redress. There will be a discussion with youths/young adults about redress between noon and 1:30pm, and the main program will run between 2pm and 4pm. Both are free and open to the public. For more information, see JASC's website.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Buena Park/Beat 1915 CAPS Meeting This Thursday

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A reminder that the 19th District has changed the CAPS schedule to bimonthly instead of monthly. The Beat 1915 meeting, which covers Buena Park, takes place this Thursday, February 4th. Note the earlier start time (6:30pm) and new location (The Shift, at 4101 North Broadway).

Elderly Man Missing From Uptown (Updated: He's Been Found)

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Update: CPD sent out a news release Wednesday afternoon, February 3rd, stating that Mr. Salgado had been located. Good news.

Original post:  Please keep an eye out for LUIS SALGADO, who is missing from the 4500 block of Beacon. He is 80 years old and suffers from memory loss, hypertension, and diabetes.

Monday morning, after a doctor's appointment on the 2200 block of Division, Mr. Salgado called his daughter and said he was not returning to the nursing home on Beacon where he lives. He said he was going to a bank, and then to O'Hare to return to Puerto Rico for a visit. That was the last anyone heard from him.

He is 5'7", 160 lbs., and has brown eyes and grey hair. He was last seen wearing a green coat and grey jogging pants. He was seen carrying a gym bag.

If you have any information about him or have seen Mr. Salgado, please call 9-1-1 or call the Area North SVU at 312-744-8266.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Political Junkie? Watch the Iowa Caucus Results Tonight At Driftwood

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Progress On The Wilson Red Line Platform Continues

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All that Wilson L night construction work is paying off. You can see the canopy going up on the Sunnyside part of the platform. The only thing better?

A long shot, with the new future elevator in view. Click to enlarge.

Free Income Tax Help Available Through CEP

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click to enlarge

If you need tax help and qualify, there are places to go for free tax assistance. They aid lower-income residents to file their taxes and charge nothing, thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers and professionals. As usual, the Center for Economic Progress is offering tax preparation help at Truman College, 1145 West Wilson, now through April 18th, among many other sites:
  • Saturdays, 10am - 1pm (now through April 16)
  • Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:30pm - 8pm (now through April 18)
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2pm - 8pm (now through April 14)

Uptown Tax Preparer Sued By Lisa Madigan

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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a lawsuit against Individual Income Tax Service (IITS), which has an office at 4548 North Broadway, in the McJunkin Building. She has requested that all IITS's offices be closed immediately and has moved for a temporary restraining order.

The lawsuit claims that IITS committed fraud by illegally telling clients that they could only pay for tax preparation filing fees using a refund anticipation check, which forces consumers to pay for their tax preparation fees out of their refund. The suit also alleges that IITS charged prohibited fees and higher fees to those clients, to the tune of over $200,000.

In addition to Uptown, IITS operates five other offices on the South and West sides. To report a complaint involving a tax refund anticipation product, contact Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Chicago hotline at 1-800-386-5438.

Update: As of Monday night, this business was open and accepting new clients. If you choose to take your business there, be advised that they may be closed down at any time by the State's Attorney General.

With Friends Like These....

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William Shaw
In his weekly newsletter, Ald. Osterman talked about the shooting on Winona last week. He said, "Two persons of interest are being questioned by the Chicago Police Department in connection with this incident."

Indeed they were. William Grant, 26, and Royale Newell, 27, were arrested the same day as the shooting. According to a news release from the CPD, Newell has been charged with one count of Aggravated Battery with a Firearm and Grant has been charged with the same, as well as an additional charge having to do with an outstanding warrant.

Royale Newell
Here's the interesting thing: Both alleged attackers and the victim are part of the same gang, according to the Tribune. They knew each other. According to the Trib, the victim was driving down the street, Grant and Newell stopped him to have a conversation, and he was shot. So much for the myth of gang unity and loyalty. Another interesting thing: the victim ID'd both Grant and Newell for the cops. That's a real rarity.

The CPD gives Newell's address as the 1000 block of Hollywood, although his Facebook page puts his allegiances at Winona & Winthrop (along with photos of him holding his fingers in painful-looking arthritic postures). Grant's address is given as the 4100 block of Kenmore. The Trib says both of them have extensive felonies on their records dating back to 2007, which is right about the time they became adults in the eyes of the law. Real go-getters, these two.

Both appeared in bond court over the weekend. Shaw's bond was set at $950,000 and Newell's at $75,000, which gives a good indication as to which one is thought to have done the actual shooting. They both are scheduled to appear in Branch 42 of the Cook County Court this week, which is for "Felony Preliminary Hearings." At the moment, they are guests of the county at 26th & Cal.

Nice work by the 20th District Police in making the arrests the same day as the shooting occurred.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Voting In The Primary -- What You Need To Know

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Election Day is Tuesday, March 15th. It's primary day for most offices, and a full election for a handful. The ballot is lengthy. It includes judges, ward committeemen, Presidential preference, delegates for the Presidential conventions, U.S. senator and representatives, state senators and representatives, county clerk, state's attorney, comptroller, and many more.

Due to the length of the ballot, we strongly encourage you to vote early. It's faster (all electronic machines, as opposed to paper ballots on Election Day) and you can choose when and where to vote (on Election Day, you must vote in your own precinct only).

So here's what you need to know:
  • If you want to register during the grace period (February 17-March 14), you can do so at any early voting site. You must vote at the time of registration. Bring government-issued photo ID with you.
  • Early voting. You must bring a government-issued photo ID with you.
  • Available downtown (69 West Washington) only after about February 17th.
  • Available throughout the city. You can vote at any early voting site, not just the one in your ward. All the early voting sites are here. These are the ones closest to Uptown:
  • Truman College, 1145 West Wilson, open Monday through Saturday, February 29 - March 12, 9am-5pm
  • Welles Park, 2333 West Sunnyside, open every day, February 29 through March 14. Hours are varied: Monday, February 29 through Saturday, March 5, 9am-5pm; Sunday, March 6, 10am-4pm; Monday, March 7, 9am-5pm; Tuesday, March 9 through Friday, March 11, 9am-7pm; Saturday, March 12, 9am-5pm; Sunday, March 13, 10am-4pm; Monday, March 14, 9am-5pm
  • Edgewater Library, 6000 North Broadway, open Monday through Saturday, February 29 - March 12, 9am-5pm
  • Merlo Library, 644 West Belmont, open Monday through Saturday, February 29 - March 12, 9am-5pm

Fitness In The Parks Offers First Month Deals

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If your well-intentioned resolution to lose weight and get fit is but a distant memory, you can get back on track with fitness boot camps from RISE, held indoors in parks in and around Uptown. The first month's membership is discounted to just $20 and there's no contract to sign.

Boot camps are held:
  • Gill Park, 825 N Sheridan:
  • 6:30pm - Monday, Wednesday, Friday
  • Chase Park, 4701 N Ashland:
  • 6:15am - Monday, Wednesday, Friday
  • 7:30pm & 8:30pm - Tuesday, Thursday
  • 9am & 2:30pm - Saturday
For more information, check out RISE's website here.

Kids Storytime On February 8th

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Two Gang-Related Shootings This Week

From Ald. Osterman's weekly newsletter:
"Shooting on Winona. At around 5am on Thursday, a 37-year-old man was shot at 948 W. Winona St. The victim, who was in his car at the time of the incident and drove himself to the hospital, is recovering from the shooting. Two persons of interest are being questioned by the Chicago Police Department in connection with this incident.

We will have a further update on the shooting next week. If anyone has information about this incident, please contact Area North Detectives at 312-744-5277 or Marko Zaric in my office at"
According to DNAinfo, "The man is a documented gang member, police said."

This shooting came less than 12 hours after another shooting at 4423 North Sheridan, Wednesday evening at 5:45, when a pedestrian was shot in the stomach and taken to Illinois Masonia in critical but stable condition. Shockingly, this man was also a documented gang member. The power of mindless revenge, unregistered guns,  peer pressure, and hurt feelings.

The next meeting for CAPS Beat 1914 (beat where Wednesday's shooting took place) is Wednesday, February 10th, at 7pm, in the Clarendon Park Fieldhouse, Sunnyside and Clarendon.

The next meeting for CAPS Beat 2024 (beat where Thursday's shooting took place) is Thursday, Feburary 18th, at 7pm, in the Margate Park Fieldhouse, Ainslie and Marine.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Stewart School Sale Official Today

The west campus, in front of the building
In his email newsletter today, Ald. Cappleman says:

"Today, CPS has officially sold Graeme Stewart School at 4525 N. Kenmore to Morningside USA. Their bid was the highest of a total of 4 bids and their plans complemented Metropolitan Planning Commission's report based on community feedback. Click here to view a copy of that document.

This development will be in 3 different phases, with the first phase focused on the rehab of the school itself into 50 residential units. Second and third phases will rely on zoning changes that will require further community feedback from residents and the 46th Ward Zoning & Development Committee. The architectural firm Pappageorge Haymes Partners is doing this project.

You will see some immediate changes to the property. For liability reasons, Morningside USA will fence the entire perimeter of the property, close the parking lot just north of the property, and remove the existing playground equipment. Morningside has donated this equipment to Kids Around The World for reuse because neither the Chicago Park District nor CPS are able to take the equipment once it has been removed.

This particular area is going through a lot of construction with the Wilson L and two other transit-oriented developments within a few blocks of one another, which can be very inconvenient. However, I am hopeful that the lasting benefits to our community will far outweigh the temporary inconveniences. As always, please contact my office if you have any questions about this or any projects in our ward."
The south section of the campus, next to Sunnyside Avenue

The north section of the campus, currently a parking lot with an entrance off the 4500 block of Kenmore, once used by school staff. Behind Uptown Pizza & Ribs.

Previous Uptown Update articles regarding Stewart School: