Sunday, December 28, 2014

community alert: theft of car wheels

From Chicago Police 22nd district:


Wanted for Theft of Car Wheels 22nd District (Morgan Park)

About This Crime:
This alert gives notice to residents of the Morgan Park (22nd) District of five recent Theft incidents that occurred in the Beverly neighborhood on December 9th, 10th & 17th. In all of these incidents, unknown offenders use a hydraulic jack to lift up a car, remove all four wheels from the car, and leave the car on cinderblocks. Three of the thefts occur in the daytime in the area of the Metra Tracks while the owners were at work. The other two thefts occurred during the midnight hours on the 9900 Block of Western and 11000 block of Campbell.

About The Offenders:
On December 5th one Male African American Adult and one Juvenile were arrested for taking the wheels off a car on the 9400 Block of South Damen. Offenders were driving a Purple Monte Carlo. This car may still be involved in the recent thefts.
Safety Tips:
  •   Consider installing an audible car alarm on your auto.
  •   Park your car in a well lit and high traffic area.
  •   Be aware of this situation and alert neighbors in the area about this crime.
  •   Call 911 immediately and provide a detailed description of any suspicious people
    including any vehicle description and license plate information.

    If you have any information about this incident call:
    Area South Property Crimes Bureau at 312-747-8273
    Reference RD#s HX-536281, HX-536903, HX-537611, HX-537900, HX-546027 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

give yourself a gift of wellness

If you'd like to give yourself a gift of wellness in this holiday season, check out a homegrown small business.  E'a Williams has created a warm, energetic space on 95th St. 

----------------------------------------

Shepherded by Beverly resident E'a Williams, BE Fit! Tri Wellness Studio is Beverly's premier fitness and wellness studio. She opened in April to provide you out of the box fun and effective dance/ fitness classes set in a community atmosphere. She collaborates with artists to bring you African Drum and Dance class, Double Dutch and Jump Rope Games, Hip Hop Fusion, Belly Dance and more. Offering complete services for your holistic health - you can also enjoy yoga classes, massage services and body treatments.

Visit www.BeFitTriWellness.Com to find out more or even better stop by at 1836 W 95th St and Longwood.

Friday, November 21, 2014

simple gifts

5:45 p.m., 96th & Longwood: I was walking home from the train. A speeding driver approached the intersection, barely slowing down for the 4-way stop, then hitting the gas again and flying down Longwood. About a minute later, a similarly lead footed Texas driver stopped for about one second, then stepped on the gas when I was in the crosswalk, about to step in front of his car.


First responders: unless you are working and on your way to an urgent call, this applies to you too. We respect you more when you have respect for the most vulnerable road users.

How many 19th ward residents make unnecessary car trips to walkable destinations because they are afraid that someone will run over them or their kids if they were to walk there?  Too many.  This has a significant impact on quality of life in the ward, and it needs to change.

Take a holiday season pledge: yield to pedestrians. Better yet, slow down for a little while and walk to a neighborhood business or two. Say hi to a neighbor along the way. You may find that you enjoy it and even make a habit of it. If each of us makes more more walking trip each week instead of a car trip, the ward becomes a more pleasant place to be. It's a simple gift that we can give to our neighbors and ourselves, and it costs nothing.

non sequitur Friday

A salute to Marquis Hill on winning the Thelonius Monk trumpet competition.



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail meeting tonight (11/19)

If you're interested in events and stewardship on the Major Taylor Trail, please join us for our monthly meeting on Wednesday 11/19 at Ridge Park fieldhouse, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

For those who aren't familiar with our group and what we do, we are a non-profit advocacy group working to improve and maintain the Major Taylor Trail and promote its use. We have an active working relationship with the Chicago Park District, Forest Preserve District of Cook County and other non-profits and government agencies. We organize volunteer workdays, bike rides and other events.

In the past 2 years, we've done 5 tree planting projects with the Openlands TreeKeepers program: near 87th Street and between 124th and 127th. In the future, we'd like to add public art projects and other improvements along the trail. We'd love to have your ideas and help with future events and projects.  Please join us!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Electronic/hazardous waste collection tomorrow (Sat. 11/1)

The Green Sanctuary Group of Beverly Unitarian Church is having an electronic and hazardous waste collection day tomorrow, Sat. 11/1 at the church parking lot (10244 S. Longwood, behind the Irish castle).  Cash donations are appreciated to help cover the cost of transporting the collected waste. For more info, contact Eileen Klees (eklees@gmail.com, 773-968-3396) or Fran Sowa (frannevpk@yahoo.com)  8:30 to 11:00 a.m.

non sequitur Friday

This one has become a Halloween tradition. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ride to Restore on 10/25


Friends of the Major Taylor Trail and Friends of the Forest Preserves (FOTFP) are having a ride, tour and workday on Saturday 10/25.  Join us for a ride along the trail from Dan Ryan Woods to Whistler Woods.

FOTFP will offer a tour and snacks at Whistler. It's a beautiful site with prairie, wetland and savanna ecosystems. Shoes you can walk in are recommended for the tour. The estimated return time below includes time for the tour.

If you'd like to be part of a stewardship workday at Whistler, part of the group will stay a bit longer. We'll help with invasive species removal, trash pickup and burning of brush piles and get a more in-depth look at the site.  Hiking boots or work boots are recommended for this. Gloves and tools will be provided.  Return time to Dan Ryan Woods would be slightly later for this option.
Total distance is about 12 miles, easy pace.  Start location is 83rd St. trailhead - enter from parking lot on NORTH side of 83rd St. between Western and Damen.
Please be at the start location by 10:00 a.m. We'd like to get rolling no later than 10:15.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Beverly Art Walk on 10/11

Tomorrow is the big day for the Beverly Art Walk, a special free event happening in locations throughout Beverly and Morgan Park from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

You can find more info here.

Dan Ryan Woods cyclocross racing on 10/12

Cyclocross racing comes to Dan Ryan Woods on Sunday 10/12. Access/viewing locations at the 87th/Western parking for the sled hill or the parking lot/walking trail on the south side of 83rd St. east of Western. It's great fun. Come on out!

non sequitur Friday

Such an appropriate tune after a really long week. Happy Friday, folks!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

community meeting tonight (10/7) about fostering diversity

BAPA is hosting an open meeting tonight (Tuesday 10/7) at 7:00 p.m. on fostering diversity in our community.  They invite individuals and groups who are interested in being part of a community-wide effort to fight racism and increase diversity. There will be an open discussion at Beverly Area Planning Association Community Room, 11109 S. Longwood Dr. For information:, email bapa@bapa.org

Sunday, October 5, 2014

supporting advocacy for better walking, biking and transit

Do you want to see improved conditions for walking and biking in the city and across the metro area? Do you want better transit? You can help by supporting our voice for sustainable transportation, the Active Transportation Alliance. Become a member now, or renew your membership if it's lapsed.

Better walking, biking and transit helps make Chicago a greener, healthier place to live.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Are you registered to vote? Deadline approaching.

Are you registered to vote? The deadline for the upcoming November election is 10/7. That's this Tuesday.  You can check online using this link to see if you're registered, whether your address is current and get info on your polling place.

If you are NOT registered, you can use the same link to register online.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Harvest Moon festival on 103rd St. on 10/4

News from BAPA:

Join Heritage Gallery, Calabria, Root Consignment, RMH Interiors, New Beginnings Alterations, and Starbucks at a Harvest Moon Festival on 103rd St. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Enjoy samples, music, food, face painting, demonstrations and vendors including Garden Keepers, Sweet Freaks, French Country by Dawn, Jewelry & More, and the Cupcake Gangster.

Ride to Restore postponed to 9/25

The Friends of the Major Taylor Trail and Friends of the Forest Preserves (FOTFP) rider and workday is rescheduled to Saturday 9/25 due to weather.

non sequitur Friday

Friday, September 26, 2014

demonstration for unity and racial harmony tonight

I'm sharing a news item from BAPA:

Community residents are invited to demonstrate for unity and racial harmony at a rally Fri., Sept. 26, 6 p.m., at 110th Street and Hermosa Avenue. Organized by area clergy, 22nd District Police, BAPA, the 19th Ward office, and concerned citizens, the rally is being held in response to recent incidents of racial and derogatory graffiti painted on the property of neighborhood residents.

Contact: Alice Collins 773-233-3100. Read more:  http://www.beverlyreview.net/news/featured_news/article_78b9a610-433e-11e4-967a-0017a43b2370.html

non sequitur Friday




Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dan Ryan Woods workday on 9/13


Join Friends of the Forest Preserve at Dan Ryan Woods this Saturday, September 13 from 9:00 am-noon  for their monthly volunteer workday.  Tools, gloves, and training provided. Wearing  boots or sneakers is recommended, as conditions may be muddy.  

Meet at the Dan Ryan Woods East parking lot (2 blocks west of Damen on the north side of 87th Street).  Please contact Benjamin Cox at 773-398-1178 or benjamin@fotfp.org for more information.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

leaf blowers - reasons why their use is not good for our health

Leaf blowers are a plague on our neighborhood. This article is a well written argument against them. If you use a landscape service or have a leaf blower yourself, please give this a read and consider whether using really makes sense for the big picture - the health of you and your family, your community and the environment overall.

Friday, August 29, 2014

non sequitur Friday

In honor of this weekend's Jazz Fest, we'll feature a few of the artists who are performing there.







Thursday, August 28, 2014

Four Star Bike & Chow comes to Beverly and Morgan Park

This year's Four Star Bike and Chow ride happens on Sunday 9/7 and it's coming to Beverly and Morgan Park.  There are 4 routes to choose from, ranging from 12 to 62 miles.  The 2 longer routes will visit our neighborhood.  Not familiar with the concept?  It's a neighborhood tour highlighting parks and a selection of local foods.  Each rest stop along the way features a different food.  Challenge yourself and have some fun.  Registration is open until the start of the event.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Saturday, August 16, 2014

95th St. construction

I made a discovery a little while ago that was good news-bad news.  The good part: they're finally repaving 95th St. through Beverly (probably Vanderpoel to Leavitt, not sure of length of project).  The bad part: they have the westbound lanes closed NOW as they work, so traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction on the south side of the median.

If you need to reach a business along 95th today, allow yourself extra time for traffic and/or creative navigation.  Traffic approaching the construction zone is likely to be extremely slow.  Better yet, walk there or ride your bike, approaching from a side street. 

If you are going somewhere near, but not ON, 95th, I'd suggest avoiding 95th totally.

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail meeting on 8/20

If you're interested in events and stewardship on the Major Taylor Trail, please join us for our monthly meeting on Wednesday 8/20 at Ridge Park fieldhouse, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

For those who aren't familiar with our group and what we do, we are a non-profit advocacy group working to improve and maintain the Major Taylor Trail and promote its use. We have an active working relationship with the Chicago Park District, Forest Preserve District of Cook County and other non-profits and government agencies. We organize volunteer workdays, bike rides and other events.

In the past year, we've done 4 tree planting projects with the Openlands TreeKeepers program: near 87th Street and between 124th and 127th. We'd love to have your ideas and help with future events and projects.  Please join us!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Saturday, August 9, 2014

4 Star Bike & Show on 9/7


Experience the perfect combination of riding carefully created routes, sampling delicious cuisine like tacos, hot dogs, chicken and waffles and more, and enjoying a tasty post-ride Revolution Brewery beer at the Four Star Bike & Chow on Sunday, September 7.

Choose 12-, 22-, 40- or 62-mile route options on Chicago’s South Side. Not sure about riding on streets with traffic? Participants of the 12-mile route can also sign up for Safe City Cycling and learn how to ride confidently and safely on city streets. 

Recruit your friends, co-workers and family members to participate . Save on your registration when you sign up in groups
Stay for lunch at the post-ride festival at the field at Circle Memorial Grove on the UIC campus (Taylor & Morgan Streets).  Picnic with your fellow riders, enjoy music and camaraderie.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Dan Ryan Woods workday on Saturday morning 8/9

Join Friends of the Forest Preserve at Dan Ryan Woods this Saturday, August 9 from 9:00 am-noon
 for their monthly volunteer workday.  Tools, gloves, and training provided. Wear  boots or sneakers are recommended, as the conditions are a bit muddy.  
Meet at the Dan Ryan Woods East parking lot (2 blocks west of Damen on the north side of 87th Street).  Please contact Benjamin Cox at 773-398-1178 or benjamin@fotfp.org for more information.

non sequitur Friday

Friday, August 1, 2014

non sequitur Friday

A live performance by a notable talent



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail community ride CANCELLED

UPDATE: Ride is cancelled due to likelihood of thunderstorms.

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail are having a community bike ride on Sunday 7/27, starting 2 p.m. at Ridge Park.  Please click here for more details.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

bike racing Thursday 7/24

Beverly's annual evening of criterium bike racing is happening on Thursday 7/24. For the 2nd year, it will feature both a women's race and a men's race. The women's race starts at 4:40 p.m. and the men's race starts at 6:30.

The festival area at the start/finish (107th & Longwood) will feature live music and food & drink by local folks, including a special craft beer - a collaboration between Horse Thief Hollow and Argus Brewery.

Bring your lawn chairs and come on down! Each race is for category 1 & 2 racers, the highest levels of skill and speed. This will be an action packed evening. Come out and cheer the racers on!

Friday, July 18, 2014

non sequitur Friday

Variations on a theme: "Besame Mucho"

The original version, sung by Consuelo Velasquez.






Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail meeting TONIGHT 7/16

If you're interested in events and stewardship on the Major Taylor Trail, please join us for our monthly meeting on Wednesday 7/16 at Ridge Park fieldhouse, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

For those who aren't familiar with our group and what we do, we are a non-profit advocacy group working to improve and maintain the Major Taylor Trail and promote its use. We have an active working relationship with the Chicago Park District, Forest Preserve District of Cook County and other non-profits and government agencies. We organize volunteer workdays, bike rides and other events.

In the past year, we've done 4 tree planting projects with the Openlands TreeKeepers program: near 87th Street and between 124th and 127th. We'd love to have your ideas and help with future events and projects.  Please join us!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

farmers market this Sunday

Our Beverly farmers market happens tomorrow and every Sunday into the fall, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot at 95th and Longwood Drive. Come on down for fresh produce, bread, meat, cheese, plants, flowers and more.

115th & Western update

FYI - This Tuesday 7/15 will see a permanent change to Morgan Park traffic patterns, when access to eastbound 115th St. from Western will be closed to traffic for construction of the Morgan Park Sports Center.

Friday, July 11, 2014

non sequitur Friday

Three takes on a Motown classic





Monday, July 7, 2014

Jazz on the Hill 7/10

from the BAPA newsletter

Chicago State University President Wayne D. Watson and 19th Ward Ald. Matt O'Shea invite community residents to enjoy Jazz on the Hill, a free concert and light refreshments,Thurs., July 10, 5:30 to 8 p.m., at the CSU Presidential Mansion, 10400 S. Longwood Dr. The concert will feature multiple musical acts including CSU student musicians.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

BAPA survey on neighborhood business districts

Have you taken the BAPA survey about our 19th ward business districts?  If not, please do.

Most businesses on 95th and on Western can be reached by bike with a little creative navigation and many can be reached by walking, some of them quite easily. Getting across on 111th to destinations in Mt. Greenwood would be so much easier if we had bike lanes from about Washtenaw to Albany. Speeding drivers are a major problem there. Kedzie is even worse, because too many drivers try to run cyclists off the road there.  Even though Mt. Greenwood businesses there do have bike racks, I won't put them on the list due to the hazard of Mt. Greenwood drivers.

We've got plenty of bike friendly places to eat and drink in the neighborhood. If Cafe 103 was still around, I would have included them in the list. Jimmy Jamm is easy to walk to, and I hope the city will give us a bike rack there.

Bike groups do tours all over the city. When they hear about good restaurants in areas that interest them, they come. If they have good experiences, they tell their friends and they come back again. Neighborhood business districts in many parts of the city have learned this lesson. Why can't ours?

Top Notch
Hardboiled Coffee
Ellie's Cafe
Rainbow Cone
Calabria
Horse Thief Hollow
Kingston's
Iona's
Beverly Bakery & Cafe
Janson's
Markland Hubbard

Saturday morning at Ellie's

Businesses around 99th & Walden make their pedestrian friendly locations inviting. While sidewalk space along Walden is too tight for bike racks, having racks just around the corner on 99th works pretty well.  I really miss Blue Moon and wish we had a lunch and dinner cafe at that intersection.

Here's my list of biggest frustrations with our neighborhood restaurant offerings:

* not enough quality places open for dinner or on Sundays
* not enough non-Italian ethnic choices
* not enough variety in types of food offered (too much emphasis on pizza, sandwiches, burgers and not enough other choices)

There's so much untapped potential here.  Has there ever been any thought about doing an incentive program for building owners on 95th to improve the appearance of their buildings? Are there other long-term issues about the buildings themselves that have made them unattractive to mid-level businesses? Does anyone have an answer as to why the street level retail space in the new 103rd St. residential building east of the Metra tracks is still vacant? Is it an issue of rents that are too high for the neighborhood?

We've got a lot of good independent businesses in the ward that are worth supporting. Independents help give our business districts a unique character and make those areas destinations - for folks in the ward and from other parts of the city.  Let's give them our support and try to get more of them to fill the abundance of vacant storefronts.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

non sequitur Friday

Two more oldies for your amusement.



Thursday, June 19, 2014

construction update - 98th & Longwood

Update: Nice surprise. Peoples Gas completed the project quickly. The intersection and 98th east of Longwood now have nice smooth pavement.

If only I could say the same of the perpetual torn-up nightmare that is 95th St.  Will it ever get smoothly repaved?

-----------------------------------------------------
6/13:  This morning on my walk to the train, I discovered lots of construction trucks clogging up Longwood Drive between 97th and 99th. A bunch of frustrated drivers who were stuck at this unannounced construction site were honking and fuming.  The middle of the intersection of 98th & Longwood was being torn up, and those trucks weren't going anywhere.

I turned the corner onto 98th, walking towards Walden, and noticed "no parking" signs posted by Peoples Gas for the time period of 6/13 (today) through 6/23 (a week from Monday).  

Why was there NO advance public notice of this project?  There was NO signage at 97th or 99th warning people not to go that way.  Huge fail for Peoples Gas and the ward.

I hope that BAPA or the alderman's office will get some answers and give us some warning if/when there are more gas line projects on neighborhood streets.  We've endured enough already with the never ending torture of the eternal gas main project on 95th, plus water main construction on 103rd and Wood.  How much more concurrent construction can we endure in a relatively small area?

Friday, June 13, 2014

non sequitur Friday

In honor of Mother Nature's spring show - and the 24/7 robin partying happening in our yards right now - here are 2 versions of an oldie: the Jackson 5 from 1972, and the Bobby Day original from 1957.  Happy Friday!



Thursday, June 12, 2014

town hall meeting TONIGHT 6/12 at 22nd district police station

The 19th Ward, Civic Association of Morgan Park, and Old Morgan Park Civic Association will co-host a Town Hall Meeting TONIGHT 6/12 at 7 p.m. at the 22nd District Police Station, 1900 W. Monterey Ave.

Ald. Matt O'Shea and 22nd District Police Commander Daniel Godsel will discuss their work in the Morgan Park community. Representatives from several city agencies and departments will be present to address individual concerns from 19th Ward residents.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Lake 95th St. has returned

Every few months without fail, a drain grate by the 95th St. Metra station gets clogged with mud and debris and Lake 95th St. returns, making it challenging for passengers going to and from the station and making the storefront at 1800 a less desirable space to do business.

The drain got clogged several weeks ago, undoubtedly due in part to debris from all the uncovered gas line excavations uphill from this spot. I've made a couple of 311 requests, without success, as you can see from today's photo.



It looks a little smaller now than it did during last night's downpour, because so much water has been splashed in all directions by morning rush hour traffic. Last night when I got off the train, the water was nearly up to the door of the storefront at right, and touching the median at left.

I've seen this situation many times in the last several years, and 311 requests never get this particular problem solved. What's the problem? Why should it take emails and phone calls to the alderman to get it cleared?  95th St. does not seem to be a priority for our ward or for the 311 system.

Monday, June 9, 2014

103rd St. construction - local businesses are OPEN

Starting today, 103rd St. will be closed to through traffic east of Longwood from early morning to about 3 p.m. each day.  Local businesses WILL be open.  Parking may be a little less convenient for a while.  If you can walk or ride your bike, please consider it.  After the hard winter, let's support our neighborhood businesses so they survive the added burden of construction.

one bike rack is not enough

In recent weeks, it's been more difficult to get bike parking when shopping at County Fair (10800 S. Western).  There were previously 3 2-bike racks, providing space for 6 bikes (and perhaps 1 or 2 more, if folks are creative).  Two of the racks were removed, and I've gotten no complete answer as to why that happened.  I talked to a store employee yesterday, who said that one of the racks and an adjacent light pole had been hit by a car that ran onto the sidewalk. He didn't know why the other rack had been removed.

When I rolled up yesterday, one bike was already locked to the rack. I locked up to the other spot. Two more cyclists rolled up as I was locking up. They ended up leaving their bikes unlocked when they went inside. Another cyclist arrived and did likewise.

Full rack - no more room to lock up

When I came out, the unlocked bikes were gone, replaced by 3 new ones, including one cleverly sandwiched into the middle of the rack. This volume of bike traffic to the store is not unusual.  Some store employees ride to work, so there should be room for them and for customers. With no parking meters or posts available, there is nothing else suitable for secure bike parking unless one wants to go a block or two down the street.

If someone is shopping by bike and concerned about the security of their bike, the lack of secure parking could result in some lost sales for the store. I value County Fair as a quality neighborhood store, so I don't want to see that happen.  My bike is one of my main forms of transportation, so I don't want to leave it unlocked anywhere on Western. This may not be a high bike theft area, but it does happen. I have no desire to see my bike become another theft statistic.

Do you ride your bike to County Fair? If you'd like to send a message that bike racks matter at this location, please submit a bike rack request here.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Open Streets is coming to Blue Island

On Sunday afternoon 6/8, Open Streets is coming to Blue Island for the first time.  If you're not familiar with the concept of Open Streets, it's been done a few times in Chicago.  Minneapolis is doing several events this year.  Portland and San Francisco are doing it, too.

There's more than one name for this type of event: Ciclovia, Open Streets, Sunday Streets, Sunday Parkways.

It started with Ciclovia in Bogota, Colombia and became a big event in Medellin and other Colombian cities.  This inspired similar events in other cities around the world.

In Blue Island, Greenwood Street will be closed to vehicle traffic between 127th and 119th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.  The street will become an activity space for walking, biking, skating, dancing and other forms of fun.  Click here for info.

I'd love to see an event like this happen in the 19th ward.

non sequitur Friday

on bike parking, sharing and secure locking

Recently I've seen more folks getting out and about in the neighborhood by bike - a sight I welcome. The downside - some appear to be newbies who don't quite understand how to use the longer wave-style racks that we have in some locations.  The fact that the 10-bike rack in front of the public library on 95th is incorrectly installed (too close to the wall) doesn't help.  In most places, racks are correctly installed with enough space to use them as designed.

Failing to share on 95th St.
Yesterday I was trying to park my bike on 95th St. and was disappointed to see the bike in the above photo blocking 4 out of 6 available spaces on the rack where it was locked.  Someone could have locked another bike parallel to this one, limiting the rack to half the capacity for which it was intended.  These racks are designed for the bikes to be parked perpendicular to the rack, not parallel.  

This is how you do it.

Using rack as designed, so that all spaces are available for bikes
Note: for a 2-bike rack, either way is okay, but parking perpendicular can allow a 3rd bike to be locked over the top of the rack - a common practice in places where demand for bike parking is high.

I also see lots of folks locking their bikes in such a way that even an amateur bike thief could easily take them. I don't want to see anyone lose their ride for such a preventable reason.  Here are a few pointers to help keep your bike secure.  

1. Don't rely on a cable lock to offer real security. They can be easily cut with bolt cutters and then your bike is gone.

2.   If you're leaving your bike for a few hours, or all day, it's best to secure both wheels and the frame.  If you're just stopping into a store or restaurant for a short time, securing one wheel and the frame can be enough, at least here in the 19th ward.  Downtown or in other high theft areas, you're better off fully securing the bike - both wheels and the frame.

3.  If you lock only the frame to the rack, your wheels can get stolen.  If you lock only one wheel to the rack, the rest of the bike can get stolen.

A few visual examples of good and bad practices


Bike theft is not as big a problem in the 19th ward as in some parts of the city, but it does happen. I hope that your bike stays yours and doesn't become a statistic.

Ride safe and have fun!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

city stickers available at Ridge Park today

This Wednesday, June 4th, the City Clerk is selling "city stickers" at Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Drive, from NOON - 6:00 pm.

2013 vehicle stickers will expire on 6/30/14. You can also buy stickers online at www.chicityclerk.com.

To ensure a smooth transition to the new year-round sales schedule, residents are now REQUIRED to bring the following:

1) vehicle registration which includes VIN and license plate numbers,
2) state issued ID or driver's license,
AND 3)  pre-printed Chicago City Vehicle Sticker renewal form.

This will ensure your eligibility to purchase and speed the sale process.

Note: senior citizens will remain on a June to June expiration cycle.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

breast cancer walk is happening this Sunday

The annual Beverly breast cancer walk is happening on Sunday 5/11, starting and ending at Ridge Park.  You can find all the info here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

farmers markets begin for the season

Our Beverly farmers market (park & ride lot, 95th & Longwood) starts this Sunday 5/11, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Link cards are accepted.

For a full schedule of farmers markets across the city, click here.

Friday, May 2, 2014

non sequitur Friday

I've discovered some exceptional music talents of other countries thanks to musical collaborations like these.





Friday, April 18, 2014

non sequitur Friday

A little taste of the tropics to help counteract the effects of this week's weather...

Click here for an hour-long program of Colombian cumbia music.

Monday, April 14, 2014

103rd St. detour

Starting on Wed. 4/16, 103rd St. will be closed from California to Kedzie while CSX Railroad replaces the crossing at Sacramento. Work should take a week, and the street should be re-opened to traffic on Wed. 4/23.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

summer lifeguard jobs with Chicago Park District

If you or someone you know is interested in a summer lifeguard job with Chicago Park District, check this out info from a flyer I received.

You must complete a swim test to be eligible for the lifeguard training program.  Upon completion of the program, you'll get an interview for a lifeguard position.  Over 90% of those complete the training are offered jobs.  Starting pay is $13.38 per hour.

To get started, go to www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/lifeguards or call the Aquatics Division at 312-742-5121.  Financial assistance is available for training fees.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Thursday, March 6, 2014

bicycles as vehicles for opportunity

U.S. Dept. of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx spoke at this week's National Bike Summit about bicycles as vehicles for opportunity and the need for safe pedestrian and bike facilities.  He's posted a related blog piece.  Aside from any infrastructure investments, we can each do our part to make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

When residents and visitors in our ward can safely access local businesses, schools, parks and other destinations safely without getting into a car, it's a win for quality of life. Businesses can serve more customers with less parking. Employees at businesses have more transportation options. Traffic congestion can be reduced.

When you are a driver or passenger, do you look before opening your door to avoid creating a hazard for approaching cyclists?  Are you aware that injuring someone with your car door is a violation of Chicago law?

Are you also aware of these laws regarding pedestrian and bike safety?

The number of 19th ward driver who slow or stop to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks is disappointingly low.  Can we make a commitment as a ward to be more conscious of the idea that people on foot and on bikes have as much right to get where they're going safely as anyone in a car?  If a pedestrian is waiting to cross Longwood Dr., 99th St., or any other street where drivers tend to disregard anyone on foot, will you slow or stop in compliance with the law to allow that person to cross safely?

Let's make 2014 a safer year for pedestrians and cyclists in our ward. Each of us can make a difference.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

winter farmers market TODAY 3/1

The Beverly Unitarian Church (in the Irish castle) is hosting a winter farmers market today (Sat. 3/1) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Stop by 103rd & Longwood and check it out!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

flooding alert - please read

A press release from MWRD - we can make a difference by minimizing water use today.

We would like to share this important winter flooding alert from our partners at The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD). Please share this alert with your neighbors, family and friends.
For Immediate Release
February 19, 2014

Winter Flooding Alert

Rain is anticipated in the Chicago area on Thursday, and coupled with ice and snow melt, there is an immediate risk for flooding in the entire Chicagoland region.

Because the frozen ground can't absorb water and snow, run-off immediately flows to the sewers. In addition, ice can block storm drains and streams. Flooding may occur when the sewer system becomes overwhelmed from the combination of normal sewage flow, rain water and snow melt.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is preparing for the additional flow. To help minimize flooding, the MWRD is lowering water levels in the Chicago Area Waterway System to make room for runoff, and our Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) tunnels are ready to hold over two billion gallons of water.

The public can help plan for and minimize flooding by reducing water use. Postponing high water consumption activities such as bathing or showering, running dishwashers or washing clothes will help provide maximum capacity in the local and intercepting sewer systems.

Making sure storm drains are clear and not buried under snow drifts and keeping areas around streams free of floatable debris can also help reduce flooding,

If you see flooding, report it to your municipality; in Chicago, call 311.

Our water environment: Take it personally.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail meeting tomorrow night 2/19

If you're interested in events and stewardship on the Major Taylor Trail, please join us for our monthly meeting on Wednesday 2/19 at Ridge Park fieldhouse, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

For those who aren't familiar with our group and what we do, we are a non-profit advocacy group working to improve and maintain the Major Taylor Trail and promote its use. We have an active working relationship with the Chicago Park District, Forest Preserve District of Cook County and other non-profits and government agencies. We organize volunteer workdays, bike rides and other events.

In the past year, we've done 3 tree planting projects with the Openlands TreeKeepers program: near 87th Street and between 124th and 127th. We'd love to have your ideas and help with future events and projects.  Please join us!

Friday, February 14, 2014

non sequitur Friday

I'm really looking forward to seeing Kurt with his new band at College of DuPage this Sunday.



Thursday, February 13, 2014

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail meeting on 2/19

If you're interested in events and stewardship on the Major Taylor Trail, please join us for our monthly meeting on Wednesday 2/19 at Ridge Park fieldhouse, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

For those who aren't familiar with our group and what we do, we are a non-profit advocacy group working to improve and maintain the Major Taylor Trail and promote its use. We have an active working relationship with the Chicago Park District, Forest Preserve District of Cook County and other non-profits and government agencies. We organize volunteer workdays, bike rides and other events.

In the past year, we've done 3 tree planting projects with the Openlands TreeKeepers program: near 87th Street and between 124th and 127th. We'd love to have your ideas and help with future events and projects.  Please join us!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

99th & Walden pedestrian safety issues

When the 99th & Walden streetscape project was announced, it included the formation of a Special Service Area (SSA) to help maintain the area.  This winter, safe pedestrian to parts of that area have been exceptionally bad.  The sidewalk around the All Day Montessori parking lot has generally not been cleared, in spite of all the people who need to use it, including families going to All Day Montessori.  One of the results is pedestrians walking in the street at evening rush hour, when there is a lot of car traffic on Walden, increasing the risk that someone could get hit.

Sidewalk next to All Day Montessori parking lot

Parents picking up or dropping off frequently park right at the corner, creating a blind spot for turning traffic and higher risk of injury for pedestrians crossing Walden.

Vehicles are often parked over or right up to 99th St. crosswalk,
creating a blind spot for eastbound drivers turning onto Walden.
I hope that the SSA's maintenance plan will keep sidewalks and crosswalks clear in future winters and that a curb bumpout will be included in the streetscape to prevent cars from parking right up to the corner.  When simple things like uncleared sidewalks and blind spots end up pushing people to drive rather than walk, it has a very negative impact on quality of life in the neighborhood and on the health of our residents.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

safe access to the proposed sports center at 115th & Western

The proposed sports center has the potential to be a great community amenity. However, if bike and pedestrian access aren't thoughtfully done to maximize safety by minimizing conflicts with motorized traffic, it would create a negative aspect to a facility that should be equally accessible to vulnerable users and drivers.  Streetsblog Chicago has published a thoughtful piece on this aspect of the plan.

Many have voiced concerns about the center's potential to significantly increase car traffic in the area of 115th and Western. This is another compelling argument to maximize the ease of pedestrian and bike access so that more people will walk or bike to the center rather than driving.

Others have questioned the wisdom of spending millions on yet another piece of infrastructure when so much of our existing infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, sewers, etc.) is poorly maintained.  A few have commented that this feels like a "let them eat cake" (while our streets crumble) moment. They have a point.  I would love to see our miles of deteriorated sidewalks made more walkable again.  Getting our streets in better condition would make biking much safer and more enjoyable.

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

not very neighborly

Ridge Park - Longwood Drive

Ridge Park - Longwood Drive
I know that this winter is wearing on a lot of people's nerves. Some folks seem to have given up on clearing their sidewalks.  Others have never done it at all, even though most of them have the means to take care of it.  Ridge Park employees have usually done a good job.  Their efforts along Longwood Dr. this time around leave a lot to be desired. After plowing the sidewalk along the length of the park, why leave a wall of snow at the edge of the property?  This isn't their usual practice, and it's not acceptable. 

Chicago Park District employees need to remember that many of us WALK to and through the park, even in winter.  It needs to be safely accessible to pedestrians.  When you have the equipment and employees out there to do the job, please do it right.

On a similar note, the 9500 block of Wood gets worse by the day.  Many of us use it to walk to and from the Metra station. 



9500 block of Wood
Property owners and managers need to live up to their legal responsibility to keep sidewalks clear and accessible.  That includes Metra, who didn't do a very good job with this latest storm. The platform at 95th was not cleared before yesterday's rush hour, and work done since then left a lot of snow and ice still on the platforms.  It would be nice if we could all survive the rest of this winter without getting injured or killed due to poor snow removal practices.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

non sequitur Friday

The Bangles' take on a chilly tune...



...and the Simon & Garfunkel original

Thursday, January 23, 2014

changes in our parks

In recent weeks, you may have noticed major changes to the landscape of some of our neighborhood parks. Many ash trees are being cut down due to emerald ash borer infestation. Some of the trees are quite large, 20"-40" trunk diameter. The largest of them are over 100 years old and have provided shade to several generations of park visitors and shelter to many more generations of wildlife.

The decision to remove these trees was not made lightly by park district forestry. Many of the trees were already dead or nearly so, while others have been dying for some time, dropping rotting branches and creating a hazard.  In some parks, as many as 30-40% of the trees are ash trees that have been slowly compromised by the emerald ash borer.  The ash is one of our largest native tree species, providing sustenance to many native wildlife species, so this is a very significant loss to our urban ecosystem.

Work was recently completed in Crescent Park and will also be done in Ridge Park, Barnard Park and others in the 19th ward.  Ada Park and West Pullman Park in the 34th ward will also lose a significant number of mature ash trees. 

New trees of other species will be planted,  but they will take many years to reach mature size.  They will not reach maturity in most of our lifetimes.  We may see similar changes on many of our streets in the coming years.  We have already lost hundreds of ash trees in Dan Ryan Woods and in many other forest preserves. 

I hope that a treatment can be found that will be more effective than the injections that are extending the lives of ash trees that haven't yet been too extensively damaged. More importantly, I hope such a treatment will be developed before the ash tree becomes extinct.

Perhaps a new variety of ash that is resistant to emerald ash borer will be developed, as was done with the elm tree after it nearly disappeared due to Dutch elm disease. Until that happens, we will continue to witness the disappearance of grand old ash trees from our parks and streets.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday, January 3, 2014