Friday, April 28, 2006

Happy Weekend



Breitbart's Odd World


British town's pubs scan fingerprints to spot louts
Apr 28 1:43 PM US/Eastern
Revellers in a British town are to have their fingerprints scanned when they enter pubs and clubs in a scheme aimed at weeding out drunken troublemakers. The "In Touch"...

Aiming for Guinness record, Georgian wrestler pulls 4.5 tons with left ear
Apr 27 7:30 PM US/Eastern
A young Georgian wrestler pulled two Ford minibuses tied to his ear and weighing 4.5 tons over a distance of 41 meters and 10 centimeters, in an attempt to make a new entry into the...

David Copperfield works a little magic with thieves
Apr 26 4:20 PM US/Eastern
Magician David Copperfield was assaulted after a show in West Palm Beach, Florida, last weekend, but with a little sleight of hand he managed to hold on to his belongings, reports said.

Condom in a bottle - Pepsi ordered to compensate Indian man

Apr 26 2:31 PM US/Eastern
An Indian court reportedly fined US softdrinks giant PepsiCo's Indian subsidiary and ordered it to pay compensation to a man who discovered a condom in his bottle of Pepsi.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

From the Trib'


Activists Fear Circle Line to Push Past Transit Plans

CTA officials say they have not prioritized the five projects. But transit watchdogs point to the progress on the Circle Line alternatives analysis study as an indicator that it's at the top of the list.

The agency will hold three public hearings on the Circle Line next week, a required step in the alternative analysis study that began in 2004. Similar studies have not yet begun on the Red Line extension and two other projects: the extension of the Orange Line to Ford City shopping center and the Yellow Line to Old Orchard shopping center.

"Essentially what's happened is this great brainstorm child of the CTA has leapfrogged ahead of existing unfunded and unaddressed capital priorities to become the new megaproject goal," said Jacqueline Leavy, executive director of the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group, a civic watchdog organization.

Gale Community Acadamy Plant Sale

Tomatoes, Chile Green, Red and Jalapeno Peppers,
Various Sun and Shade Flowers, Hanging Flower Baskets,
Potted Plants and Herbs

All Grown By Parents and Students in the
Greenhouse of the
Gale Community Academy

Plants are available for sale in the greenhouse during
school hours until 6pm. Saturday and Sunday,
the greenhouse will be open from 8am-9am.
Starting in May, plants will be available in the
teachers parking lot on Saturdays and Sundays
from 8am-11am.

Clara Hayes, John Hoekwater and 46 parents, teens
and volunteers have spent 2000 hours, building the

plant tables, installing the drip irrigation system and
planting and maintaining the seedlings. Much of the
seed and soil material was donated by Ball Seed Co.
in Batavia and Gethsemane Garden Center.

Many of the teens that volunteered received credit for the
16 hours of Community Time needed towards graduation.
Clara anticipates a fall plant sale also that will feature mums
and poinsettas and the goal of the program is to raise approx.
$10,000 to purchase
educational products and services for
the school.

In my first visit almost 2 months ago, the plant tables were not
yet complete and only some of the plant trays had been planted
and today, the plants are ready for sale.
Everyone who participated should be congragulated.

For More Information call Clara Hayes 773 534 2750


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

From the Trib'


Here's What's Wrong When We Start Labeling People

April 25, 2006
Charles M. Madigan

The nation is in a political debate about immigration. One little chapter of the struggle focuses on what we should call the people who come here, with papers or not, for work. Aliens, immigrants, migrants, illegals. We cast around, searching for something politically acceptable, something correct.

When we finally settle on this question, we will have committed one of our most common cultural offenses, the labeling of people as members of a class. No names. No stories. No personalities. Just members of whatever group title we settle upon.

In the category of wrongs, it might not seem like a great offense until you think about what labeling does.

It creates an inhuman description of very human people.
It diminishes them.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Objective Observer


When I walked into the Devcorp office for my appointment with Rene Camargo, I was early and had a few minutes to kill so I decided to look around a little. The space is large and airy with a high ceiling and oversized artwork on the east wall, like lofts I’ve been in. And there are the usual padded office dividers that created semi-private offices, conference room and the like.

People were talking on the phone and busy at computer stations: the normal office activity you would expect to find in any normal office setting. It was a comfortable space and as I walked back to the waiting area after my tour, I noticed that the cubicle that I had first passed was fast filling up with people. Not Devcorp employees but just regular people. I took a good look this time and saw it was a room filled with computer stations and every one of the computers was being used.

So I asked Sandi about it and she told me. I was impressed so I’m writing about it. I didn’t plan to, because having not stepped into Devcorp’s new office since they moved here to 1557 North Howard, I didn’t know this even existed. And the reason I’m writing about it is that is filling an obvious need, is very successful, others should know about it and there is a synergy with another community based project I have been working on. Actually, it might be the missing link and I am pursuing that project now with Daniel Butt, who is the project coordinator for this program. And as I said I would, I am finding common ground where I can.

So I am asking that you go to your hat rack or wherever you keep your objective hat and put it on for a few minutes as you read this. I like giving credit where credit is due and this is a program and an effort that deserves some recognition. Lots of people had a hand in its inception, its initial and ongoing funding and the day to day management. The program is so successful there is now a waiting list that has about a hundred names scribbled on it.

Rogers Park Computer Lab and Technology Center

The program grew out of a survey done by Devcorp headed by Rene Camargo to find out how the primarily Hispanic merchants on Clark Street were utilizing computer skills and internet access to help their businesses become more efficient. The study found that between 70 and 80% of the businesses that responded, did not use computers at all. So the need for computer education was obvious and a program that was borne from this data in 2003 to help these business people become more computer proficient, has now expanded to include Gale School Parents, EarnFare Workers, small business owners and anyone who needs and wants to learn about Quickbooks, Microsoft Word, Power Point, Excel and Access and Web Design for Small Businesses. In addition to the regularly scheduled classes during the week and on one Saturday a month, there is ample “open” computer time available.

For a 10 week course, the Registration Fee is $40.00. It is free for the Gale School Parents and EarnFare workers and anyone who can demonstrate a financial need. If you are between jobs and need help with your resume or want to develope some additional marketable skills, go to the office and talk to Daniel Butt. The instructor is Ricardo Bustamante and he has been the bilingual teacher since 2004. I have not met him, but by all accounts and judging by the graduation rate of the students, which is quarterly performance based data needed for ongoing funding, he is well liked and good at what he does.

The initial $50,000 grant was awarded by then SBC, now AT&T in 2004 and lobbied hard in Springfield by State Representative Harry Osterman and State Representative Willie Delgado, President of the Department of Human Services, Kimberly Bares and Rene Camargo. Sandi Price was instrumental along with Kimberly and Rene in writing up the initial proposal. The ongoing funding is from D.C.E.O. and as stated earlier, is performance based. Devcorp pays monthly for the AT&T DSL service.

Objectively speaking, this is a great program in a great location. If you or anyone you know needs some low cost computer help like I do, I suggest you check out this program. There is a growing waiting list and an expanding curriculum that is offered on a weekly basis. If you want to call and get some more information, the number is 773 508 5885 and ask for Daniel.

The Objective Observer

1640-42 West Fargo Meeting Tonight 7PM

Fargo Frontage

Rogers Frontage Across from Runge's

Sign on Front Door and Garage Door

On 2-8-06, an amendment was filed to change RT4 residential two flat, townhouse and multi unit district and c1-2 neighborhood commercial district to B2-3 neighborhood mixed use distrct to allow the subdivision of 1 lot into 2 lots. the existing 6 dwelling bldg. to remain and a new 4 story, 3 dwelling unit building.

Open Security Door at Northpoint, Locked Today Tuesday April 25

will try and get a pic later

Inspectors Visit Northpoint Building


On Wednesday, April 19, three Building Department inspectors and one Fire Department inspector spent approx. 1 hour writing violations and taking photographs of the AIMCO managed building located at 7628-36 North Bosworth. The inspectors were accompanied by two police officers in an unmarked patrol car.

Five young people, who were outside the entrance of the building all morning, quickly disappeared into the several courtyard entrances of the building through the propped open security door. This door has been open for a over a week and still is.

When their inspection was complete, the inspectors and the officers discussed whether they should walk or drive to the next building that was on their list.
When asked how many buildings they intended to visit, one inspector said "Oh, lots of them"
He could not confirm or deny that the list included the 12 AIMCO managed properties but responded "Hhmm, maybe." and all four vehicles drove away a short time later.

A call to the Alderman's office was made and Kevin Cosgrove returned the call Thursday to confirm that the Alderman's office had not initiated this coordinated inspection.

In a related matter, there is an obvious increase in overall police presence in the North of Howard neighborhood by this observer. This has been verified by other neighborhood residents who have noticed the increase in patrol cars, especially during the day. There appears to be a coordinated effort to discourage quality of life activities such as loitering and loud and disruptive behavior on the street.

I have witnessed 6 such interventions in the past 2 weeks. The groups who last year, routinely milled around Tony's and the food store located in the Broadmoor building are gone. Additionally, Urban Equities' recent take over the management of The Broadmoor from IMC, has also helped. There are now two security guards who routinely patrol the street from Howard along the entire property line on Bosworth.

While there are these improvements elsewhere, the above mentioned Northpoint building remains a potential trouble spot. People routinely loiter and walk in and out of the building due to the lack of security and propped open door. If for some reason the door happens to be locked, people have been seen climbing over the gate to gain entry. The only visible AIMCO management presence is a maintenance person who sweeps the debris from the street once in the morning.

The Objective Observer

Monday, April 24, 2006

New Aldermanic Candidate

Chris Adams
A six year resident of Rogers Park, Chris Adams will bring a strong commitment to accountability to the Chicago City Council, while he helps build the vision of a growing, progressive 49th Ward.

By working directly with.....
School officials to help improve education options....

Public safety officials to create a safer community.....

Business owners and entrepeneurs to build a viable and vibrant commercial district.....

Chris Adams will help move the 49th Ward in the positive direction already taken by its immediate neighbors such as Evanston, Lincolnwood, and the 50th and 48th Wards.

Chris Adams would serve as an independent alderman.

Note: Above excerpts are from press release. According to a campaign spokesperson, Friends of Chris Adams held a Kickoff Fundraiser last night at My Pie restaurant, 2417 North Clark Street.

Chris Adams for Alderman

thanx hugh.

Note: originally posted Friday, April 21

From the Trib'


Legislators Spar Over Pay
Tight finances are making it tough for Illinois lawmakers to agree on a state budget, but that may not stop them from getting pay raises of up to 13 percent.

Soldier Field Gets What it Deserves
April 24, 2006 By Blair Kamin
And so, the Big Lie about Soldier Field is finally and officially exposed. From the first, the architects who designed the renovation of Soldier Field insisted that they were "saving one of Chicago's great landmarks." Those words, which appeared on the...

Soldier Field Loses Landmark Status
April 22, 2006 By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah
Soldier Field's controversial renovation, which critics dubbed a "flying saucer" and "a fish bowl," has stripped the stadium of its national historic landmark designation. The National Park Service said Friday that former Interior Secretary Gale Norton...

ZALUC Minutes April 11, 2006 / incomplete


Tuesday, April 11, 2006
7:00 PM

Zoning Amendment C1-2 to B3-3, 7030 North Clark Street.
Michael Land, staff assistant to Alderman Moore, announced to the Committee that he had been informed by the owners of the A & T Restaurant at 7030 N. Clark St. that they no longer wish to pursue their proposal for an 18-unit mixed-use condominium building on the site of their restaurant.

Request to amend the affordable housing set aside commitment for
1444-48 West Morse Avenue.
Robert Coe, the developer of 1444-48 W. Morse (northeast corner of Morse and Greenview), appeared before the Committee and asked for permission to make a monetary contribution to the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund in lieu of creating one affordable condominium unit in his development under the Chicago Partnership for Affordable Neighborhoods (CPAN) program. The money contributed to the Low Income Housing Trust Fund would be used to provide affordable rental housing in the 49th Ward.
Alderman Moore mentioned to the committee that at least two other Aldermen, Rey Colon (35th Ward) and Helen Shiller (46th Ward) have used this as a substitute for CPAN with the understanding from the Commissioner of Housing that the contributions to the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund would be earmarked to subsidize rental units within their wards.
Mr. Coe appeared before the Committee and explained that he would prefer to make a contribution to the Low Income Housing Trust Fund and build the same unit as others in his proposed development, thus providing “construction synergies.” Mr. Coe offered a $30,000 contribution to the Trust Fund.

He arrived at that figure by calculating the following:
CPAN unit $165,000
plus Non-luxury finishes $15,000
plus not including parking $20,000
plus construction synergies $45,000
Value of not providing CPAN unit $245,000
Market Value 2 bedroom unit $290,000
less brokerage costs $15,000
Net proceeds from Market Value unit $275,000

Mr. Coe also mentioned in his presentation that he would no longer be able to provide first floor and basement space for DevCorp North’s offices as originally proposed. Mr. Coe explained that soil boring tests revealed that caissons would be required to build a basement. This would increase the estimated construction costs by $280,000. Accordingly, providing a basement, which was part of the agreement with DevCorp, would be cost prohibitive.

Questions centered on how the proposed $30,000 contribution for the donation was arrived at and the precise meaning of the term “construction synergies.” The Committee also inquired as to why soil boring tests were not conducted before the offer was made to DevCorp. Mr. Coe acknowledged that providing a CPAN unit was one of the trade-offs for receiving a zoning change to B3-5, which allowed him to build an extra floor. He explained that the CPAN unit would be a onebedroom,one bathroom unit. If he were not required to build the CPAN unit, he could match the construction of the other units, thus saving construction costs.

During Committee discussion, Committee members expressed surprise that Mr. Coe was planning to build a CPAN unit smaller than the other units. Committee members agreed that the CPAN unit should have no fewer than two bedrooms and two baths. Committee members also agreed that soil should have been tested before the proposal to include DevCorp in the development was offered to the public. Finally, Committee members agreed that while a contribution to the Trust Fund in lieu of constructing a CPAN unit was an interesting concept, Coe’s $30,000 offer was unacceptable.

A motion was made to recommend that the Alderman decline Mr. Coe’s offer to contribute $30,000 to the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund in lieu of constructing a CPAN unit and remind Mr. Coe that he is required to build a two bedroom, two bath CPAN unit. The vote was 5 in favor of the motion, 0 opposed and 1 abstention.

The Alderman accepts the Committee’s recommendation and has advised Mr. Coe of the same.

Lakefront Protection District Approval,
Loyola University, 6525 North Sheridan Road.

Wayne Magdziarz and associates from Loyola University appeared before the Committee and presented the University’s proposal to construct an addition to its main library. The proposed addition will be constructed in the open area between Cudahy Library on the north, Madonna Della Strada Chapel on the south and the Jesuit Residence on the west. The proposed building contains approximately 73,000 square feet and is 67 feet (four stories) in height. The proposed addition needs approval under the Lakefront
Protection Ordinance.
Mr. Magdziarz explained the need for additional study and gathering spaces for the growing student body, described the project and the site plan, referred to the green LEED certification standards (environmentally sustaining) that this building meets and discussed the community process with the Loyola Lakefront Advisory Committee. He further described how this project fits in Loyola’s master plan that emerged from
that planning process. Mr. Magdziarz mentioned that freshman enrollment would be capped at 2100.

The Committee discussed the community meeting on the project, which was held on April 4th , and where a number of students objected to the elimination of the lawn in front of the Jesuit Residence, which opens onto the lake. Mr. Magdziarz promised that the terrace on the lake side of the new building will be softened with more greenery and explained that there are plans to make green space that is actually larger by greening over a parking lot north of Coffey Hall.

Alderman Moore mentioned how Loyola has made mistakes in the past with some of its buildings, and urged Loyola to consider providing more greenspace in front of the building. A committee member suggested that the university might consider pulling the building back at least to Madonna della Strada. Mr. Magdziarz responded that pushing the building back would disrupt plans for a student quad behind the building. The student quad meets another student demand for more athletic space on campus.

During Committee discussion, Committee members agreed that the building design was beautiful and expressed strong support for the LEED standards. The Committee also recognized Loyola’s pressing need for more library and athletic field space. Finally, the Committee acknowledged that the proposed building was entirely hidden on Loyola’s campus and not adjacent to any non Loyola property.
A motion was made to recommend that the Alderman support the proposed project before the Chicago Plan Commission. The vote was 5 in favor of the motion, 1 opposed.

The Alderman accepts the Committee’s recommendation and will write a letter of support for the plan to
the Chicago Plan Commission.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Press Release


Alderman Joe Moore and the
49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee
invite you to a meeting to discuss a proposal to re-develop the lot at 1640-42 W Fargo.

The meeting will be held
Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 7:00 P.M.
at the Gateway Center Apartments, 7450 North Rogers Avenue

George Samutin and his attorney, John Pikarski, will be presenting a proposal to change the zoning designation on the above lot from RT4 to B2-3 and split it in two in order to build a four-unit building on the rear portion of the lot, which would front on Rogers Avenue. The lot is 6201 square feet and currently contains a six-flat with a four-car garage. The garage would be replaced by the four-unit building. The two buildings would have a total of 10 parking spots.

RT4 allows one dwelling per 1000 square feet of lot area, B2-3 allows one dwelling unit per 400 square feet of lot area. The proposal is under review by the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee.

"I look forward to hearing from the community, and will only support the project if it enjoys substantial community support," said Moore.
For further information, please call the
49th Ward Service Office at
(773) 338-5796.