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Chicago aldermen decide on liquor moratorium lift for Devon Avenue in Roger’s Park Chicago aldermen decide on liquor moratorium lift for Devon Avenue in Roger’s Park(0)

August 6, 2015

By: FeliciaD

In an statement on Thursday, August 6 Alderman Joe Moore (49th) announced that he, Ald. Osterman (48th), and Ald. O’Connor (40th) will support the proposal to lift the liquor moratorium on Devon Avenue. Ald. Moore also stated that Ald. Osterman will also support the zoning change in order for the brew pub to be able to open. The Chicago City Council will review the proposal for final decision on September 24.

“This small brew pub will contribute greatly to the commercial revitalization that Devon is currently enjoying,” Ald. Moore said in the statement.


On Tuesday, July 28, Ald. Patrick O’Connor (40th), Ald. Harry Osterman (48th), and Ald. Joe Moore (49th) held a cfrom Broadway to Ravenswood should be lifted to make way for D and G Brewing Company– a prospective brewpub– at 1221-27 W. Devon Ave.

The brewpub would be located in Ald. Osterman’s district, so he will have the final say on the necessary zoning change for the liquor moratorium lift. But the future of the “dry” area of South Devon and the issuance of future liquor licenses will require Moore and O’Connor’s support in front of the City Council.

If an ordinance to lift the alcohol ban is approved and adopted by the City Council, a new ban cannot be reinforced for one year. If agreed upon, the moratorium on liquor consumption and the selling of alcohol, called “packaged goods,” would be lifted for a year while business owners get approved for the necessary licenses and open their doors for business, and then the moratorium would be re-instated in two block increments. Because of the redrawing of the ward boundaries, all three alderman oversee sections of Devon Avenue, so any ordinance enforcement of the area is supervised by them collectively.

The owners of the proposed brewpub, Loyola grads Alex Drayer and Brittany Groot, and the owner of the property it would open on, Scott Whelan, were also in attendance at the meeting to answer questions and pitch the benefits of having the brewpub to the community.

“We were looking for places in Chicago that we thought would kind of be more open to a smaller joint where we could just exist on the local community support,” Groot explained to the community members. “And within this region, you have about 150,000 people who live here and right now you’re served by two breweries, neither of whom brew in this area.”

Osterman has been taking initiative to develop the 48th ward by working closely with small business restaurants and cafes. He has also begun projects to beautify the neighborhood, such as the streetscape project currently under construction on Argyle Street. Many see the neighborhood as a good place for a small business to succeed.

“With the development on Morse, some of the development in Andersonville, and some of the development on Broadway, we saw a lot more independent businesses and kind of one-off businesses instead of the larger chains,” Groot said.

The brewpub would be a small-scale, direct-to-customer brewery that would only serve beer made on the premises. There would be no kitchen, and no food would be served, although Groot and Drayer do plan to allow for customers to bring their own food.

Some concerns brought up by community residents included potential parking shortages and a possible increase in noise and crime near the brewpub. But Groot and Drayer, who both have backgrounds in criminal justice, assured the community that they would be working with police to prevent crime and minimize noisiness.

The owners only intend to distribute their beer to a few handpicked local bars.

“We have to go somewhere on our day off,” Groot joked.

Adoption of the ordinance is just the first step for Groot and Drayer, as the lifted moratorium would not guarantee the issuance of a liquor license. The pair must still apply for a license and be approved by the city of Chicago’s Local Liquor Control Commission. However, the Commission may consider the opinion of the aldermen and the community in his decision.

During an alderman-led vote, six of the residents present did not support  the brewpub, while over 45 residents were in favor of it.

“I think this is extremely exciting. I’m very optimistic of this development,” said 48th ward resident Matt Swentkafske. “My wife and I moved into this neighborhood five years ago because of the opportunity. Obviously there are going to be some challenges, but I see a lot of benefits economically and it’ll help our property values go up. There’s going to be a lot of benefit to revitalize the area between Broadway and Clark.”


Immigrants Attend Congressman Luis Gutierrez First Community Orientation On Immigration Executive Action in Chicago Immigrants Attend Congressman Luis Gutierrez First Community Orientation On Immigration Executive Action in Chicago(0)

Humboldt Park, Chicago, IL (60654)

By: BreakingVoices

On Saturday, December 13, 2014, at Iglesia Rebano in Humboldt Park, Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez held the first organized community engagement outreach effort to educate immigrant communities on how prepare and determine their eligibility for the Executive Action on Immigration that President Obama announced on November 20.

Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez Orientation Event in Humboldt Park on December 13, 2014
Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez Community Event on Immigration Executive Action
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The event called “Orientation On Immigration Executive Actions” or “Orientacion Sobre Las Acciones Ejecutivas De Inmigracion” took place at Iglesia Rebano Church, located at 2435 W. Division in Humboldt Park. The event was held from 9:30am-2:00pm.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel was also in attendance and spoke to the audience. Prior to the event, Congressman

Gutierrez’s office dispersed flyers written in both Spanish and English.

Luis V. Gutierrez Community Flyer on Immigration Executive Action

More than 500 families had pre-registered for the orientation.
Those who pre-registered received informational packets that described the Immigration Executive Action and also got the opportunity to meet one-on-one with “Family Defenders,” trained professionals who shared how to prepare for the application period, which begins approximately 180 days following the November 20 announcement.

Luis Gutierrez Community Event in Humboldt Park on Immigration Executive Action

Congressman Gutierrez encouraged all people who may qualify for the executive actions to apply for the program so that they can avoid deportation and help keep their families together.

Laura, a U.S. citizen, discusses why she came to support the Luis Gutierrez event on Immigration Executive Action

Approximately 5 million immigrant individuals and families could be prevented from deportation according to the Executive Action on Immigration. Chicago was among the major cities that held orientation sessions in community centers and churches. Also on Saturday in Los Angeles, more than 5,000 people lined up to attend a immigration information session to find out if they qualified for the executive actions on immigration that President Obama ordered.

Facts about Immigration Accountability Executive Action to defer deportations, keep families together and streamline immigration process.
Undocumented parents who have U.S. born children or lawful permanent resident children and who have lived consistently for 5 or more years in the U.S. will be eligible to apply for a 3-year temporary relief from deportation and work permits. The program is called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA)

Anyone undocumented who was brought to U.S. as a child before their 16th birthday, also known as Dreamers, will be eligible to apply for 3-year deportation relief and work permits and will be eligible to apply for the program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

For foreign students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at U.S. universities, the Department of Homeland Security will propose changes to expand and extend the use of the existing Optional Practical Training (OPT) program and require stronger ties between OPT students and their colleges and universities following graduation.

High-skilled workers waiting on green cards along with their spouses will be given H-1B spouses work permits

Department of Homeland Security will clarify guidance so that individuals with pending applications for lawful permanent resident (LPR “green cards”) or temporary status will have opportunity to travel abroad with advanced permission.
For more facts about immigration executive action visit the White House website.

Southside Chicago Volunteer ( Event Happens Less Than 12 Hours After Violent Shootout Which Ask Us All The Question : Does Chicago Care? Southside Chicago Volunteer ( Event Happens Less Than 12 Hours After Violent Shootout Which Ask Us All The Question : Does Chicago Care?(0)


By: Vince Wallace

With all due respect to the brothers & sisters who are out there trying to lift the South Side from the despair of the #Chiraq label, on Friday night about 11:30 pm the area around 93rd and Wallace Ave. sounded like a war zone. That’s the only way to describe it.

I live in the area, Washington Heights. It’s a bedroom community with neighborhoods marked by rows of 40-50 year old bungalow houses, tree-lined streets that teachers, city workers, even a few cops call home. Hearing gunshots is, unfortunately, a fairly common occurrence. But the level of firepower that announced itself half a mile in every direction on Friday night was far from ordinary. It was terrifying and I took to social media to describe what was going on and hopefully hear some information back from others about what was happening.

Later I found out I was wrong about the number of shots fired. Saturday morning, crime scene investigators marked close to 70 rounds spent at the scene. That wasn’t the only information that needed adjustment. The original story was of a traffic stop gone wrong. That characterization would come into question as well.

All of this took place right in front of a school, Rudyard Kipling Elementary School. Saturday morning the school eagerly expected a group of volunteers from local service group Chicago Cares to come and do some painting as part of a massive volunteer service weekend with projects all over Chicago. They arrived as scheduled Saturday morning – a small army in purple t-shirts. The buses that transported them were directed around the police barricades that surrounded the school on all sides. The volunteers stepped off the buses, gathered in the gymnasium, got a pep talk from their project coordinator, and Kipling Asst. Principal Dr. Regina Hampton. Then they got to work on improving the school grounds with no idea that the area around them had been ripped apart by a hail of gunfire less than 12 hours before they arrived.

A few hours before the shootout WTTW’s Chicago Tonight aired an illuminating week-in-review segment. The panelists from the Sun-Times, the Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business discussed a proposed lighting initiative that supporters believe will transform Chicago into the “Paris of the Midwest”. Panelists were divided about whether such a move is really the right priority for Chicago at the moment. Mary Mitchell of the Sun-Times was quite adamant that it isn’t. John McCarron at the Tribune agreed and said:

“If you’re the mayor understand there’s two cities, I mean let’s admit it. And you got to be able to chew gum and walk at the same time. I mean you got to be able to deal with the fiscal problem, and the violence problem and so you’re absolutely right about that” (follow the link at the bottom of the page for a full review of the conversation).

“The solution to all this is not marching”.

There are some indications from the community that the first reports on the shooting incident may not be entirely accurate. Eyewitnesses and people close to the persons involved insisted that it was not a routine traffic stop. More than one person described a pair of Chicago Police Department gang unit SUVs boxing the suspect vehicle – the grey Buick pictured above – from the front and rear along Wallace Ave. That description is consistent with commonly observed police tactics used when suspect vehicles are considered dangerous. The car was believed to be connected with persons who fired shots at officers on Thursday night. Believing someone in the vehicle was armed police demanded they come out and drop any weapons. The man and woman inside the vehicle did not respond fast enough and the police fired one shot, probably a warning shot. The man in the passenger seat opened fire. “It sounded like he had a machine gun”, one witness said. The police rammed the car front and back and returned fire heavily.

One of the two police vehicles involved and the Buick police located and blocked in

There are some questions about the identities of those involved. While reporting says the suspects were recovering in the hospital some believe that the driver and gunman were killed, while those in police custody at Little Company of Mary Hospital were actually driving a second vehicle and took off running in opposite directions once the shooting started. This version of events should compel further investigation since it is one possible explanation for the pair of police helicopters that were surveying the area after the shooting.

Understandably, those with knowledge of the incident declined to be identified publicly.

Even with conflicting versions of events there was tell-tale evidence all around and the neighborhood was out and talking. One member of the community pointed to the place where a bullet ripped through the drain pipe, right below a bedroom window. Though the South side is known for sporadic violence, this was beyond the norm considerably. People were fed up. Asked about the actions of the police one person said, “They [gangs] come and ride around here all the time. And there wasn’t no [police] brutality. You can’t blame the police for all this. The solution to all this is not marching”. Another chimed in, “Gangs plant people in the CAPS meetings, in the block club meetings. Take down what you say. If you say something they don’t like you get a brick through your window”.


Friday night marked a significant escalation in the level of violence taking place in Chicago neighborhoods. The pattern spans multiple neighborhoods in multiple wards. No single community can successfully confront this epidemic alone. The South Side needs some backup.

“A volunteer experience”

Chicago Cares volunteers setting up garden boxes with CPD still on scene. Volunteers from Chicago Cares touching up Rudyard Kipling Elementary School the morning after a shootout injures 2 Chicago police officers. Joe Weiss, project coordinator for the trip to Kipling Painting & stenciling the hallway. The crime scene investigators were finished in the early afternoon, but the block remained roped off and police maintained their presence as the Chicago Cares group worked around the school grounds. A couple of the volunteers heard that something happened last night. Most thought it was just a traffic accident since the police SUV and the Buick they rammed were still there. They painted hallways, took care of weeds in the playground, painted a map of the world on the blacktop, and put together garden boxes for the biology classes to plant and learn. It was a real flurry of good-hearted activity.

Some could be cynical about why a bunch of folks from downtown and the North Side would take an interest in a school all the way across the city. But for the people who made the trip, and brought along friends and family to lend a hand during this massive citywide volunteer event cynicism be damned. They believe in making a difference. They believe in stepping up to be instruments of change. In essence, they want to bring the two Chicagos together through service to prevent us being brought together by the daily repetition of collective tragedy.

The mission statement on the Chicago Cares Twitter profile reads, “Chicago Cares builds volunteer experiences that mobilize and inspire people to make Chicago a stronger community.” You can see how that “volunteer experience” translates to action in the Serve-a-thon pictures posted on their feed and the photo album in this article. The man (and woman) power, along with the funding for materials all came from Northwestern Memorial Hospital – an institution that is no stranger to the effects of Chicago gun violence. 3 (or 4) busloads of people came to the South side with swimming pools worth of paint and enough rollers for every hand to demonstrate the transformative power of volunteerism. Lead coordinator Joe Weiss brims with pride talking about the project and his crew which included his son.

Chicago cannot, and will not stay separated from itself forever. We have a choice whether we will come together in service or through tragedy. One side of town cannot stem the tide of violence alone. The people at Northwestern Memorial, one of the dwindling number of level one trauma centers in the city, know that it can’t. The Chicago Cares bi-annual Serve-a-Thon can be a memorable afternoon or the beginning of something more. Chicago needs it to be something more. Groups like Ceasefire/Cure Violence, church groups and others have the desire to take ownership of their communities and build a more peaceful city. But they’re often isolated and exhausted facing summer after summer of an ever-intensifying uphill battle without much help from an Emanuel administration that either treats them like part of the problem, or manipulates crime statistics to justify disregarding the problem altogether.

Through their efforts the people of Northwestern Memorial Hospital could change the destinies of hundreds or even thousands of Chicagoans. The opportunity is real. Instead of one day wheeling a man who used to be a Kipling student into surgery, the day could come when they quietly staff an empty emergency room on a hot, summer Friday night. That kind of impact is a volunteer experience worth building.


So on behalf of Washington Heights, I’d like to thank Chicago Cares for coming by to see us. Please, don’t be a stranger.


The full Chicago Tonight Panel video


Since 1991, Chicago Cares volunteers have completed more than 1.4 million hours of service through over 30,000 group volunteer projects.Chicago Cares builds volunteer experiences that mobilize and inspire people to make Chicago a stronger community.

We work closely with community leaders to identify and research critical needs and develop targeted programs which mobilize thousands of volunteers to address those needs. Our programs make Chicago a better place to live for everyone. We inspire people to give of their time and energy, creating a real sense of community and shared responsibility.

Southside Chicago Perspectives Charter Schools Students March For Peace Jam Fest To Combat The Violence in Chicago Southside Chicago Perspectives Charter Schools Students March For Peace Jam Fest To Combat The Violence in Chicago(0)

By Raquel Harris – Bronzeville – Chicago, IL

Earlier this morning, hundreds of students and teachers from two Perspectives Charter School campuses marched through the streets of Chicago to fight for peace, and the very cause that they were fighting for brought some participants to tears.

I Am for Peace: A Student Documentary For Change



Perspectives Charter Schools students are leading a campaign to promote peace in Chicago—”I’m for Peace.” Through the A Disciplined Life education model they are developing strategies and actions to curb violence and promote peace. These same students are creating a documentary video to showcase their efforts.

“It was very powerful to walk with my students holding the peace sign, it was pretty moving actually,” said Samantha Mondro.
The march was titled “I Am Peace,” and started around 9:30 a.m. at South State Street and West Cermak Road. The march ended on East 36th Street and South Wabash where the open “Peace Jam Fest” was being held. The Peace Jam Fest was the resting stop for the marchers where they were able to enjoy music and other activities.

The word “peace” can have a variety of different meanings, but for the city of Chicago peace is ironically a war that Chicagoans are fighting daily to win.

Chicago is known for its festivals, music, and culture, but what some may not know is that it also a haven for gun violence, gang activity, and high death rates. The city became so infamous for these traits that citizens nicknamed the city “Chiraq” because of the war-like similarities to the War on Terror in Iraq.

Scimone Williams is an 11th grade student at Perspective Charter School, Math and Science Academy, and talked about the violence in her community.


I’m For Peace—Perspectives Charter Schools from Perspectives Charter Schools on Vimeo.


“Things are really getting crazy, you can’t go out with friends or family without even worrying about your house getting broken into, or getting killed, you know? It’s not fair that students can’t go out and have fun,” said Williams.

Mondro, is an 11th grade English and Composition teacher and said that she participated in this march because her students are important to her. “We think of each other as a family, and whatever affects my students affects me so I think it’s really important that we take responsibility for each other because that’s all that we have,” Mondro said.

Tears began to fill Mondro’s eyes as she expressed what the march meant to her emotionally. “This is why I became a teacher to see them [the students] doing something that’s real. It made me proud to be a charter school teacher and an educator; these kids are definitely a part of my family.” Mondro said.



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