Wednesday, June 30, 2010

looking for something cool to do on Thursday night?

If you want to stay in the 'hood, you could go to Blue Moon for Foreign Language Roundtable or ride with the Beverly Bike Club.

If you want to go downtown, but not to the Taste, Orchestre Septentrional d'Haiti and its big band of thirteen musicians bring the sounds of merengue, konpa and bolero to the stage when they make their Chicago debut. 7:30PM at Millennium Park.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wednesdays at Blue Moon

Senior Bike Ride meets at 12:30 p.m.  Hosted by Beverly Bicycle Shop.  For more information, call Paul Weiss at 773-238-5714.

Beverly All Stars play from 7:30 to 10 p.m.  Enjoy dinner, drinks and dessert with some tasty jazz. 

Check it out at Blue Moon, 1742 W. 99th, just east of the Metra tracks.

Monday, June 28, 2010

rain blockers - love 'em or hate 'em?

Last summer, our intersection only had substantial flooding in the worst rains AFTER the drains had gotten blocked by debris. This spring, the vaults under two drains were collapsing and were rebuilt. The rude surprise we got afterwards was that the city crew had added rain blockers. Now those two drains flood the intersection during every storm that generates significant rain (more than 1/2").

We have one 65-gallon rain barrel in our back yard, which is mostly used for watering gardens. There hasn't been an opportunity to use much of the water between storms, because the gardens haven't needed watering, so it hasn't helped much in reducing the amount of water flow to sewers in the most recent storms.

We've had several storms in the past month that each dropped an inch or more of rain in a very short time. Yesterday morning's storm left 2.5" of rain in our rain gauge in less than 2 hours.

As you can see from the story dates on this item and this one, this problem has been going on for several years now. And after years of using us as guinea pigs, why can't they get it right?

Tell me - do you consider this bit of engineering a success if it slows the flow of a torrential downpour into sewers to the point where all that water backs up over lawns, right up against houses and into window wells or walkout basement stairs? Do you think that having hours of standing water up over the curbs, making streets impassable, is a success? When the ground is as saturated as it's been lately, streets this badly flooded have increased the number of flooded basements.

Some of my neighbors at the low point on our block had everything in their basements ruined by Sunday morning's storm. Many who were not at low spots had a lot of water in their basements. Even with rain blockers, half the block got sewage coming up through their drains. The additional rain blocker-induced flooding at our intersection (high point on the block) ran down to the low point, making things worse for our neighbors in the middle of the block.

I took a bike ride around the neighborhood this afternoon. The high water marks (shown by flood debris) are 2 to 5 feet over the curbs in many places. There are several locations within a mile of our house where the high water marks are anywhere from 10 to 30 feet over the curb. At our intersection, it was 10 feet over the curb. In many places, would have taken very high curbs (1 foot or higher) to hold all of that in the streets.

Since the technology for permeable pavement exists, might it make sense to explore this option more often instead of rain blockers?

In many city neighborhoods and suburbs, the amount of impermeable pavement keeps increasing. People build concrete patios, make small patios bigger, or sometimes cover all of their lot with concrete right up to the house. We have many more big box stores with enormous parking lots, generating huge amounts of runoff. All that water has to go somewhere.

If many of those parking lot and patio areas could be replaced with permeable pavement (in locations where the soil would absorb water), some or all of the water that is currently shed as runoff could be absorbed into the ground, greatly reducing the amount of flooding and the amount of water requiring sewage treatment. Upfront costs would be higher, but the cost of treating all that sewage and dealing with all the property damage would be greatly reduced.

Right now there are way too many mounds of ruined furniture and other items waiting for the garbage men. Some neighbors already have contractors lined up to tear out ruined drywall and rebuild. Many of these homes haven't experienced significant flooding in many years, but now do since rain blockers have been installed. Does it sound like rain blockers are the right answer, unless there are other modifications made to prevent the rain blockers from increasing flood damage? What's your $0.02?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Beverly garden walk on Sunday 6/27

The Beverly garden walk is happening tomorrow 6/27. Enjoy gardens and trees throughout the neighborhood, including a garden designed by Jens Jensen, the landscape architect who created Garfield Park and several other Chicago masterpieces.

Beverly Potters and other local artisans will offer a variety of pottery, art, handcrafts and gifts. Master Gardeners will also be available to answer visitors’ gardening questions.

Gardens will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Garden guides will be available at the departure site. Guided trolley tours of all the gardens depart at 12:20 p.m. and 12:40 p.m. on a first come, first served basis. Participants can choose to self-guide in their own vehicles or on bikes.

Advance tickets are $10 and are available at County Fair, Beverly Bank, Calabria , Heritage Gallery, The Blossom Boys, and Bookies Paperbacks. Or you can buy tickets for $12 at the start location, Beverly Bank & Trust branch, 1908 W. 103rd St.

Boulevard Lakefront Tour on 8/29

Have you registered for the Boulevard Lakefront Tour yet? One of the best rides of summer just got better, with a new start location and all new routes.

Choose from a 15 mile family-oriented route, a 35 mile neighborhood tour, and a 62 mile route with many more neighborhoods. This is a fully-supported ride, with marked routes, rest stops, mechanical assistance, and a post-ride festival with food and entertainment on the UIC campus.

The event benefits the Active Transportation Alliance, our local advocacy group for safer, better bicycling, walking and public transit. It's a great way to enjoy exploring Chicago neighborhoods. Save $5 by registering before 7/4!

CAPS meeting, beat 2212

If you live in Beat 2212, your CAPS meeting is at 7 p.m. on Thurs. 7/1 (1st Thursday of every month) at the 22nd District Police Station, 1900 W. Monterey Ave. If you have concerns you would like to discuss with the police, bring 'em here. 312-745-0620

Friday, June 25, 2010

suggestions for sharing local trails

Heading out for a ride on a local multi-purpose trail this weekend? This feature on the Active Transportation Alliance web site offers some useful suggestions on how to share the trail without conflict. It's worth taking a few minutes to read, and remember when you're out for your ride.

non sequitur Friday

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

please take a minute to read this and write a letter

An injustice was done this week to the people of Cook County that should not be repeated. And we deserve to know why.

Two drunk drivers in Brookfield deliberately ran down bicyclists last year, and both got off with sentences that were totally inadequate in light of the violent nature of their crimes.

One friend raises some good questions. Is the judge an idiot who was fully responsible for the light sentence? Did the prosecuting attorney negotiate to take the easy way out and avoid a trial, tying the hands of the judge? Did the defense attorney bribe somebody?

And I add: Is there a mandatory minimum sentence for this type of incident? I suspect that there isn't.

The Active Transportation is spearheading a letter writing campaign to Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, asking for answers and for more appropriate prosecution of future cases. The link above gives an e-mail and snail mail address and suggested letter text.

I'm also trying to find out whether there is any mandatory minimum for vehicular assault. I will post an update when I find out.

If there isn't any minimum, I would strongly encourage you to write to your state legislators urging them to introduce mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines that are appropriate to the violent nature of this type of crime.

Please take a minute to send an e-mail, fax or letter to Anita Alvarez. It's worth a few minutes of your time to work for safer road conditions in Cook County for cyclists and pedestrians.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

recovering from the storms

Those storms last night were a vivid reminder of the power of Mother Nature. I went for a short bike ride after the earlier storm had passed. Within a 3 block radius, there were at least a dozen trees that were completely destroyed and many others with significant damage. I saw trees fallen on house and garage roofs, crushed cars, and lots of blocked streets.

In the course of an hour, central Beverly was turned into a maze by all the blocked streets. The huge maple tree at 97th & Winchester had snapped at the base. Half a block west on 97th, another huge maple fell across the street and took down a power line. Many houses and a section of 95th St. were in the dark overnight. Our neighbors across the street were in the dark last night, but they got their power back this morning. The Beverly library is closed today, because their power was out, too.

The 9700 block of Hoyne was especially hard hit. Three large trees were either completely or mostly destroyed, one car crushed, a few houses hit. Calls to 311 were not getting any response, as the backlog was too big. Calling 911 was almost as futile. The system was completely overwhelmed. Instead of enjoying the usual dinner hour, neighbors on the 9700 block of Hoyne banded together and started working with chainsaws and other tools to clear the blockage. This morning they were out there again, and the piles of tree trunk and branch pieces lined the curbs for most of the block. Now that's an example of neighborly teamwork.

I hope that everyone gets their power back soon. I'm posting this from a library location outside Beverly, because our cable service is out and I can't get online from home. Trying to call Comcast was futile, because they seemed to have a huge backlog, too.

I went for another bike this morning and saw crews out working all over the neighborhood - from the city, Com Ed, Comcast, and various tree services. Those guys will be busy for a while.

It was truly heartbreaking to see so many huge old trees destroyed. We can rebuild houses and replace cars fairly quickly, but trees that big take a long time to build. An hour of furious wind will leave its mark on the neighborhood for years to come.

Ride for Shelter 2010

A couple of friends volunteer at the PADS shelter in Marquette Park. They are currently planning a fundraiser, and they could use your help. Their info follows.

It’s been a rough year for Southwest Chicago PADS. The economy is creating greater need for our services while donors, especially foundations, have less to give this year. We also have extra expenses related to the recent fire at the shelter.

To help meet these economic challenges, some PADS volunteers are organizing the 2010 Ride for Shelter----from the Mississippi to Marquette Park.

On June 26, bikers will set out from Clinton, Iowa, on a 2-day trek. Starting on the west bank of the Mississippi on Saturday 6/26, they will ride alongside Illinois cornfields and through towns like Sterling and Dixon. After resting overnight from the 100 mile jaunt in DeKalb, they will bike through St. Charles and Naperville, cross the I & M canal in Summit, and arrive at the shelter Sunday afternoon.

For donation sponsorship forms, or for more information, contact: Mary Harkenrider, Al Holdsworth or Pat Cummings.

You can make a donation by credit card on our web site or send a check to Southwest Chicago PADS, P.O. Box 29453, Chicago, IL 60629. Please note 2010 Ride on your online contribution or check.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pullman Garden Walk tomorrow 6/19

The Historic Pullman Garden Club hosts the 15th Annual Garden Walk tomorrow, Sat. 6/19, starting at 10 a.m. Start at the Hotel Florence, 11111 S. Forrestville Ave. $12 in advance, $15 at the door. For more info, call 773-568-2441.

non sequitur Friday

Thursday, June 17, 2010

what's happening this weekend

Here's a slice of what's happening in the neighborhood and nearby this weekend.

* Outdoor movie, "Shrek the Third," Fri. 6/18, dusk, sponsored by the 19th Ward Youth Foundation & Sutherland School at the school, 10015 S. Leavitt. 773-238-0288

* Chicago Rat Pack, 8 p.m., Sat. 6/19. $22 ($20/BAC members). Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. 773-445-3838. .

* Farmers Market, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sundays through October, in the park & ride lot at 95th & Longwood Drive. Fresh produce, plants and more from regional farmers.

* Free Yoga Classes, 10 a.m. Sundays through summer. Certified Yoga instructor Erin Kelly. Crescent Park, 108th & Bell. 773-569-1015.

* So you want to talk politics? discussion group, Mon. 6/21, 7:30 p.m., Panera Bread, 2314 W. 95th St.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

a different kind of bike ride

Want to try a different kind of ride?  Bring your digital camera, your memory for Chicago history and trivia, and your navigational skills to the Digital Photo Scavenger Hunt on Sunday 6/27.  Go here and scan down to the end for details.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

peregrine falcons in the city

From time to time since their reintroduction, we've heard about falcons in multiple areas around the city, including the Uptown Theater and Evanston Library.

Did you know that there's a nesting pair at UIC (University of Illinois - Chicago)?  They had babies again this year, and the little ones should be flying soon.  You can watch them on webcam here (if they're in view).  If you're lucky, maybe you'll even get to see them in action.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Saturday night at Blue Moon

The power-pop band SLUMP rocks the courtyard starting at 7PM.  Don’t miss this great family-friendly show!  Enjoy dinner, or a drink and dessert.  Check it out at Blue Moon, 1742 W. 99th St.

a new place for jazz

Tonight when I was listening to the Beverly All Stars, I happened to hear about a new jazz place in town, the Living Room Lounge in East Pilsen.  They have live music on Saturday nights.  Gotta check this place out soon.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Saturday at Blue Moon

Tomorrow 6/5 at 10 a.m., there will be an Organizing for America Vote 2010 Kick-Off event at Blue Moon Coffeehouse, 1742 W. 99th St.  You can respond here if you're interested in attending.

Major Taylor events on 6/5 and 6/6

There are 3 different events happening this weekend (6/5-6/6) in celebration of National Trails Day.

Saturday 6/5

Trail clean-up 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. - 91st St. to 95th St. - meet up at the 91st St. trailhead (91st & Beverly Blvd).  Some gloves and tools will be available.  If you have your own work gloves, rakes, flat-bladed shovels, etc., please bring them.  Wear closed-toe shoes (NO sandals) to protect your feet.

Organized by Brian Lewis-Jones, Americorps/American Red Cross, 312-729-6192, inconjunction with Friends of the Major Taylor Trail.

Whistler Woods clean-up 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. - meet in parking lot - access from Forestview/Acme Dr. (13400 S) just east of Halsted in Riverdale.  Some gloves and tools will be available.  If you have your own work gloves, rakes, etc., please bring them.  Wear closed-toe shoes (NO sandals) to protect your feet.

Organized by Rebecca Blazer, 773-972-8080.  Please RSVP so she knows how many gloves and tools to bring.

Sunday 6/6

Bike safety and first aid event  11 a.m. to 3 p.m. - 83rd St. trailhead, Dan Ryan Woods.  Access from parking on north side of 83rd between Western and Damen.  Bring your kids to a pair of informative demonstrations by the Mayor's Bicycling Ambassadors and the American Red Cross.  Organized by Brian Lewis-Jones, Americorps/American Red Cross, 312-729-6192, in conjunction with Friends of the Major Taylor Trail.

Please share this information with anyone you know who might be interested.

non sequitur Friday

Thursday, June 3, 2010

miracles can happen

Leavitt was recently repaved between 96th and 99th.  Yesterday I was out for a bike ride on Longwood south of 111th and noticed one of those big pavement grinding machines parked at the bottom of the Lothair hill.  Could it be true?  Will that hill section of Lothair get repaved?  Could be another miracle.  :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

blues at Iona's on Saturday night

I happened to stop by Iona's today to grab some lunch, and Eric told me he's got a hot blues band playing this Saturday from 5-9 p.m.   Stop by and check it out.  It's a friendly place, and the food is delicious.  1767 W. 95th St., opposite the 95th St. Metra station, 773.233.0027

BTW, Eric happened to mention that he'd like to add a patio, to improve the summer ambience.  A project like this needs aldermanic approval.   If you like this idea and would like to see it happen, contact Alderman Ginger Rugai and let her know.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Beverly All Stars on Wednesday night

The Beverly All Stars will be at Blue Moon tomorrow night (1742 W. 99th St., near the 99th St. Metra station). Looks like a beautiful night for music on the patio.  You can BYOB for a modest corkage fee. Enjoy dinner or dessert on the patio with some tasty tunes from 7:30 to 10 p.m.