Monday, May 24, 2010

Rats Love Stone Soup?

A reader sends in the following info and call for help:
"I live near the Stone Soup Cooperative at Leland and Dover. They have prairie grass growing as their front lawn. For the past few weeks, we have seen hoards of rats coming from under their front porch and running across their lawn. There must be a few nests as well because we've been seeing more and more babies. This is a huge problem! Sometimes, you just see and hear them moving in the prairie grass, other times then run right across the sidewalk in the middle of the day. We've contacted them and asked them to take care of the problem and have called the city several times, but nothing has been down to improve the problem. This is a high traffic area for walking and several kids play around the neighborhood when heading to Chase Park. Maybe a post on Uptown Update might help them take some action."


  1. You might want to also contact the rectory at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. I believe that Stone Soup is sponsored by the parish in some capacity.

  2. We had a building like this a couple of years ago on our street. The people in my building and others in the neighborhood called 311 until someone came out to fix the problem.

    It wound up being a win-win as the building owner built a new porch and added some nice landscaping. It must have been a costly process because not long after the building went to market rate rentals and several shady characters left the area.

    Just don't let up with your calls to the city and something will get done.

  3. Call Don Nowotny and have him cite them.

  4. Sweet crud, what's with all the cranky "you damn kids get off my lawn" posts coming from UU nowadays?

  5. You have to call the city...calling the proprietors never works.

  6. You've gotta be a troll, Mike Harris. Where do you live? If you post your address, I'm sure Stone Soup's neighbors will be happy to bring the rat nests over to you. Since you don't care about petty bourgeois things like disease carrying vermin in your yard, dontcha know.

    Quality of life issues: What a concept!

  7. Wow Mike, yesterday you defended a public intoxicated drunk sprawled out on the sidewalk and today a rat infested house.

    Only in Shillerville can her staunchest supporters translate a post about a "rat infestation" to an old man yelling at a kid to "get off his grass."

    I understand being "Unemployed" like your profile states makes it difficult, though unfortunately not impossible to get a mortgage loan but the rest of us would like to save any value we have left in our investments. So if we happen to bitch occasionally about a Gang, Crackhead, Drunk, or even a furry little rat, cut us a little slack.

    There is not a huge line right now of homeowners or businesses willing to invest in Uptown so please feel free to use some of that "unemployed" time and invest back in the community. Work with a gang of troubled youths, pick a drunk up off the street, kill a rat, or pick up some litter so the rest of us working folks can come home to a little better place than what we left in the morning. Just "Stay off my grass" please.

    Thanks Mike!

  8. election must be coming up....

  9. That house needs some tender loving care on the outside. It rivals the CAtholic Workers house for being run down.

    I have rat traps set outside our building and manage to catch a few of the furry beasties every year. I of course have to check the traps as my neighbors are squeamish about such things.

    I'm sure the Stone Soupers could use something similar to reduce their population of beasties. Although, it wouldn't surprise me if some or all of them would object to killing any creature.....even a rat.

  10. Our condo association called the alderman's office and that week they sent someone out to address and eliminate the problem.

  11. Irish - In which case they can use "humane" animal traps which capture the critter in anticipation of the device being taken into the wild and opened.

  12. Call 311. Or, submit a request online.

    "Rodent Baiting/Rat Complaint" is a service they provide.

    And from the conversations I've had with their reps, they treat rodents as a high priority issue (health concerns and all).

    You could call the alderman's office; but, even the 311 folks snicker at that since the alderman is just going to contact them, anyway.

  13. My understanding is that the house is suffering from severe financial mismanagement. The tall grass isn't an attempt to resurrect the prairie at the corner of Leland & Dover. They're just too lazy & disorganized to mow the lawn.

  14. “HOARDS of rats – running across their lawn.” Let’s think about that statement for just a minute and be fair… this sounds like a bit of exaggeration at best.

  15. Alisha, just how many rats living next door is acceptable to you?

    I live across the street from a house that, although occupied, was a haven for vermin. When a tow truck came by to get rid of a vehicle on the property, they opened the doors and banged on it with a board and, yes, HOARDS of rats came streaming out. It was like something out of a horror movie.

    Just because you haven't seen it personally doesn't mean something isn't so.

  16. That's "Hordes" of rats. Which may occupy a house where there is much "hoarding" of garbage, etc.

  17. Norway Rats Habits and Biology:

    The young rats reach sexual maturity in 2-3 months, females average 4-7litters a year, with 8-12 pups per litter. Adults live about a year. They live in colonies. The Norway rat generally prefers to live in underground tunnels. On farms, they will be near a food source: barns, granaries, livestock buildings, and silos. In the cities, they will be in the ground in their is available space, but have been known live entirely inside buildings. Rats will seek food outside, but many times will come inside at night to forage for food and return to their burrows. Needing a water source, they can obtain water from toilets, sinks, rain puddles, or condensation from utility pipes. Their nesting burrows on the outside are often along the foundation of walls. As the rat family grows, more burrows are built, resulting in a network of underground tunnels.

    Per the above it wouldn't take long for a few rats to become hordes of rats.

  18. There have been problems with rats in Uptown for some time now, in large part because of condo development. When buildings around Clark have been razed and new foundations dug, existing rat burrows were disturbed and they spread to existing, well-managed properties.

    I also want to say that there is a prairie restoration in front of my house as well, and it has not produced hoardes of rats. Nor did city officials that were dealing with our rat problems see any need to mow it down.

    I am wondering what your real attempts to contact people at Stone Soup have looked like, because from reading these posts, you seem to know very little about them. The Leland house is not sponsored by the Our Lady of Lourdes. They don't hoard trash. They have been very responsive to other community issues. They did not plant the prairie because they are too disorganized and lazy to mow their lawn.

    I wish you would get to know your neighbors rather than bitch on this website. I wish your would have real conversations with them about the problem rather than bitch on this website. I wish you would buy a rat trap to put under their porch rather than bitch on this website.

  19. Thanks, Jennie, for putting it in a far better way than I did.

    TrumanSquareNabr, you got it, I must be a troll, right? Anyone who disagrees with the group's main thrust of thinking has just got to be a troll. Couldn't just be ... someone who believes differently than you, could it? *gasp* Quelle horreur!

    Chip Douglas, at first, I was going to be insulted. Then, I realized that your entire profile text is copied verbatim from The Cable Guy, each and every bit. Suddenly, I'm saying to myself, "Wait a minute, and this guy is actually expecting me to take him seriously?"

    As for Shiller, may surprise you, but until I started reading UU I didn't even know who Shiller was. I'm not much one for city politics.

    What I'm reacting to is the fact that we've suddenly had a string of posts on UU that are markedly uncompassionate towards one's fellow man.

    And, given the viciousness which you've attacked someone not in line with your particular line of groupthink, all you're doing is providing further corroboration for my opinion.

  20. You figured us out, Mike. You see, it goes like this. Anyone who buys a place here absorbs some type of chemical that goes to their blood and it then goes to their brain, forcing them against their will to become heartless. It spreads rapidly and even seeps through computer screens, especially if they happen to go to

    As luck would have it, there's a cure. All it takes is to vote at the next aldermanic election. There won't be any sudden change in the environment, but the voting will cause a change in leadership, and once people feel like they've been heard, even if a little, they start getting cured.

    Weird, though, ain't it?

  21. John said...
    You figured us out, Mike. You see, it goes like this. Anyone who buys a place here absorbs some type of chemical that goes to their blood and it then goes to their brain, forcing them against their will to become heartless.

    I don't think it's as much "heartless" as it is "bitterness" for having forgotten the three rules of real estate: Location, Location, Location.

  22. Jennie, the original poster said they contacted Stone Soup Cooperative about the problem but nothing got done. Are you saying they're lying, and if so, on what basis?

  23. "I don't think it's as much "heartless" as it is "bitterness" for having forgotten the three rules of real estate: Location, Location, Location." Toucan

    Oh, then I get it now. The condo owners deserve it because they should have moved to a better neighborhood. Also, the poor people in the neighborhood deserve all the rats because they're poor and poor people don't deserve any better.

    Toucan, is that what you mean?

  24. If you see rats and it grosses you out, DEMAND action from the city. It is a public health hazard and it is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

    And by all means, share the issue with your neighbors on UU because it impacts all of us who live around that poorly maintained property.

  25. Why isn't Don baiting for rats?

    Don obviously does not do regular drive bys. In the 48th Ward you see Streets and San Superintendent Conrad Suerth out on the streets all the time.

    Conrad gets grafitti removed faster than calling 311.

  26. folks would be better dishing digs out at the local play lot, rather than assaulted neighbor via a scathing post on uptown update!

    the folks who live at stone soup are nice people. these are our neighbors. we should work with them and help them eliminate the problem. rats are never going to go away, but we can help our neighbors and drive them out.

    overall, i feel like the intentions of all on this blog are the same: we want uptown to be a top notch community. this requires working together. let me know how i can help my neighbors, and i will be there!

    thanks to everyone for caring about my neighborhood!

  27. Where does taking responsibility for maintaining one's property fit into your philosophy? In your world, just because someone's "nice," they don't have to take responsibility for inflicting harm on their neighbors?

    Here in the real world, people are responsible for making sure that what they own doesn't harm their neighbors.

    Make no mistake, harboring vermin (in this case) and having a facade that crumbles on pedestrians (in another building just down the street) makes those property owners irresponsible and liable under the law. No matter how nice or well-intentioned they are.

    The original poster said he/she had approached Stone Soup and got nowhere. So how is that "assaulting" them on a blog?

    Oooh, it's gonna be a fun year... the class warfare that's the first and only resort of the Shilleristas is already starting.

    In Uptown, people who actually maintain their own properties and who are victimized by their neighbors' neglect are considered mean, elitist and wrong. Can't wait for this upside down reasoning to right itself.

    Personal responsibility - what a concept!

  28. Just curious - has anyone actually contacted the Stone Soup people via phone, e-mail or both? If so what has been their response? I have an e-mail address for the Leland group but don't want to "pile on" at this point.

  29. in large part because of condo development.

    Oh, come now.

    Not that I'm disagreeing with some of your points, killer - but that was just a blatant poke.

    A new foundation was dug at WY, y'know.

    Did WY lead to a larger rat populaton?

  30. Boo,

    I get Jennie's overall point: communicate, first - bitch later (if at all).

    And, of course - get the facts straight.

    Nothin' wrong with that, on concept.

    Practical exercises don't always work out that well, unfortunately - for various reasons.

    Hence, my (and others') suggestion to contact 311 and let the city handle it.

    The socialism aspect doesn't really play, here - so much, I don't think.

    Not on this level, anyway.

    What does play here is the curious "through-the-looking-glass" aspect when differing mindsets collide.

    Some come to UU to bitch.

    Some come to UU to bitch about the bitching.

    There's common ground to be found, especially on a topic like this; but, oddly, the ones making that point are falling victim to the same frustration-anger reactions as those they condemn.

    Just sayin.

    Oh, and Mr Harris ..., ye' without sin on the ol' profile content, eh, babe?

    While Chip may have a ... well, let's say "interesting" fascination with a particular movie, I'm curious if that's better or worse than being John Denver fan who is a self-proclaimed political junkie who isn't into city politics.

    Maybe it's just a wash.

  31. That was actually the point I was making, Yo. Chip was the one who started crafting ad hominem taunts based on researching the profiles of those stating viewpoints he disagreed with. So "ye without sin", etc.

    As for my own, yes, I was a political junkie (the profile text is old), but it was national politics, not city politics, that I was into.

    As for John Denver ... well, there's nothing wrong with John Denver, really. I like a lot of different musical genres, and one of them is folk/folk-country. Not that unusual.

    And, yes, I'm unemployed. Not the most cutting of taunts, given how steeply this particular graph shoots upwards.

    "An ad hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument."

  32. Um. Mike. I didn't say anything about your employment status.

    Ease up on the yolk, champ - I wasn't attacking you.

  33. Um. Mike. I didn't say anything about your employment status.

    Chip made the remark concerning my unemployment; you made the remark about John Denver and noticed the discrepancy regarding politics. I was addressing both.